First highway drive with my 2021 Volkswagen Vento TSI: Review
The car returned a fuel efficiency figure of 14.8 km/l over the course of the 2,200 km drive.
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I bought the VW Vento 1-litre, TSi, Highline Plus AT in August 2021 and since then have only been driving it in the city. I got a chance to take it on a long drive earlier this week and felt it was the right time to post a review.
Let me start with the expectations I had before buying the car and my priorities:
Here is the review. At the outset, let me apologise for not posting pictures; I am too lazy to do that.
Review aspect 1: The car build and interior quality.
Nothing to complain about here. Nice heavy doors and body that inspires confidence, good space for the driver and passenger, good space for rear-seat passengers who are up to 6’2″ (my son is that tall already).
The steering is great to hold and it is quite easy to find the right seat setting in terms of height and reach. The steering wheel can also be adjusted which makes it even more convenient. Internal storage is decent. The glove box is spacious and the door pockets are very functional. The armrest comes with some space, too. Front seats have pockets in the back for documents. My earlier VW came with a small box right below the headlight switch which is missing here; that would have been really good.
The back seats are very comfortable as per my family. The car stereo system is good and the sound delivered is really up to the mark. I do not intend to change it any time soon.
There are constant rattles from the plastic parts – more like creaking sounds – which is a slight bother. The armrest is a hindrance for the front brake lever as also when you want to slot the gear lever into S mode. However, it is a great place to rest your elbow during long drives.
Another feature that I really missed is auto-folding external mirrors when locking remotely. I can roll up the windows using the remote but I cannot fold mirrors. That, I feel, is a miss in an otherwise decently appointed car.
Review aspect 2: Boot space, parking ease and looks.
Full marks to the Vento on the boot space. There is enough space for 2 large suitcases and at least 4 backpacks and quite a few smaller bags. The boot does not have nets, though. All the articles tend to slide here and there when driving and braking.
Parking the car in tight city parking spaces isn’t all that difficult. It is at such times that the Vento feels like a Polo. The internal camera does a good job even at night on dark roads/places and gives an accurate distance from objects.
The looks, while subjective, do not disappoint. It does exude a feeling of premium-ness and does command attention. It is this understated design that actually made me move away from Skoda Rapid.
Review aspect 3: Driving aids and features.
You have everything you would need in normal driving scenarios. You have lane change indicators, dead pedal, well-sized brake and throttle pedals, auto-dimming IRVM, very good headlights with the auto-levelling feature, rain-sensing wipers, and one-touch windows roll up and down, anti-pinch windows, boot open button on remote key fob and cruise control.
The cruise control is not really user friendly, I found. In my earlier car, it was a lever stalk and I could set the speed at any level while driving. Here, the buttons are quite small and require some attention while setting speeds. Does it work well? Certainly, yes. Can it be improved? Most certainly, yes.
Review aspect 4: Driving, performance and mileage.
City driving is really, really easy. Now, my driving style is a bit on the staid side. I don’t push the car to its limits or try to redline it at every given opportunity. But in a city scenario, the most important thing for me is the power to overtake at any moment, speed and acceleration when required and safe braking. My Vento really scores high on all these aspects. All this is in the D mode. On bends and curves, I do not have to reduce speeds at all. The car just sticks to the tarmac (haven’t yet tried turning the traction off) and I feel really safe and confident. The crawl function felt quite aggressive in the beginning but I quickly got used to it; no longer a bother.
There is one irritant, though.
The power comes in only at 2200-2300 RPM levels. So, when I am starting off from stationary, it takes about 2 seconds before the engine reads the throttle input. This lag is also quite prominent when the gear drops to a lower setting. I guess I just have to time it properly or get used to it.
The story in S mode is quite different. It seems like a different car in the S mode. The turbo lag disappears, overtaking in city traffic is a breeze, starting off from a total halt is exciting and the gear changes are delayed to the last minute. It is great fun and quite addictive. The car feels more powerful in S mode and I have actually left some cars behind in my test runs (Creta, Honda City, Toyota Altis, Verna, Ciaz and, in one instance, Harrier).
The mileage is as expected – 10.2 km to the litre in the city which drops down to about 9.4 if I frequently use the ‘S’ mode. I am good with these figures and am glad I did not make mileage a criterion while choosing a car.
Review aspect 5: Driving, performance and mileage on the highway.
If I found the Vento up to expectations in the city, on the highway, it made me grin and smile all the way. Reaching speeds to 120+ was easy and did not take much effort and there was no drama like screaming engines, punch in the stomach or getting pinned to the seat. Straight-line driving was super easy and you do not have to lift your leg off the throttle when taking bends. A staid driver like me could do speeds of 130 even on bends. Overtaking was a pleasure, swift and easy. There was no instance of any car overtaking me once I left it behind. To be honest, there was just one car – a VW Beetle – who screamed past me at about 200 km/h and that was the last I saw of him and I was driving at 100 at that time.
My route took me through mostly good roads but some long patches of single lane village roads, broken roads and undulated surfaces which the Vento handled with aplomb. Most of all, neither I nor my passengers felt fatigued or exhausted anywhere during the journey.
The car remained rock solid at all times, felt brilliantly safe and performed as instructed. I did not experience the turbo lag issue during long highway drives making the whole experience even better. After driving for more than 12 hours at a stretch, when we took a night halt, I was eager to hit the road again. Anybody who relates to the concept of laziness will understand the compliment I paid here.
The MID showed a mileage of 16.1km/l at one time but my full tank to full tank method showed an average of 14.8km/l for all the 2,200 km I drove.
A few things which I found strange:
- The MID digital speed reading stuck to 80 even when I was driving over 120. The needle showed the correct speed nevertheless.
- There is a chime when I hit 80 and this chime becomes a continuous one above 120. This was difficult getting used to.
- There is another chime at 100.
- Why does one need this? I mean, increasing speed is a conscious decision and one does not need a warning. Maybe some convoluted research by their marketing team gave them this weird insight.
Review aspect 6: Service centre visit
I took my car to the service centre for the complementary health check twice – once after 30 days and then after 6 months.
Both times, the staff was very responsive and answered questions patiently. I am yet to get the first proper service done.
I am very happy with my decision to opt for this car. All the nagging thoughts about the car being phased out, old age design and features, running costs, etc. have vanished and all I have not is peace of mind.
If I could turn back the clock, would I buy this very same car? Emphatically, yes.
Without a doubt.
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