After a long time Volkswagen has come up with a brand new car in the mass market segment. Moving beyond new variants of the Polo and Vento the German car maker has launched the Ameo in the very competitive compact sedan segment. Looking at the car for the very first time some may think that this is just a Polo with a boot. But that’s not really the case as Volkswagen is offering this car with a lot more features and something that is attracting everyone’s attention is that this one is priced lower than the Polo.
German car makers have always been famous for the way they style their cars. The Ameo also looks very smart and sleek. The front reminds you of the Polo because the grille is very similar but the fog lamps mark a distinction. The dual barrel headlamps are also similar and add a pretty picture. The big lower air intake and the air dam get a dash of chrome. The chrome is also used on the handlebar makes the car look expensive but the same cannot be said about the tail lamps which are boxy in shape. The bumpers are nicely designed and when compared to the Polo the front bumper is tucked in by 35 mm to create more space inside the car. Overall it’s a job well done to keep the car under 4 meters in length and it is one of the better looking sedans in the segment.
As you’d expect from a Volkswagen there’s no compromise on quality and the fit & finish is quite impressive. There’s chrome inside as well on the AC vents which looks appealing. There’s also smart steps taken to give a lot of storage options, one being under the armrest stands out. The flat-bottomed steering wheel, which was only meant for sporty variants of cars, from the German car maker, is seen here as well. 2 features that Volkswagen is proudly promoting are cruise control and automatic rain sensing wipers, as they’re not really seen in this segment. The highline variant of the Ameo also sees a touch screen infotainment system, along with USB, aux-in and Bluetooth. The new Android mirror link user interface from Volkswagen is a welcome addition and good to use. The rear seats are good on space but miss out on a centre armrest though they come with AC vents.
German car makers have always been famous for the way they style their cars. The Ameo also looks very smart and sleek. The front reminds you of the Polo because the grille is very similar but the fog lamps mark a distinction. The dual barrel headlamps are also similar and add a pretty picture. The big lower air intake and the air dam get a dash of chrome.
For the time being Volkswagen is offering the Ameo with just a 1.2 litre petrol variant. 73bhp is what it produces and there’s 110nm of torque on offer, numbers which are pretty sufficient for the segment. The car is expected to get a diesel variant during the festive season later this year. There’s a five gear manual transmission and the gearshifts are smooth and slick. Every gear change in the range of 2000 to 2500rpm is met with equal delight and there’s a good amount of surge, even when you’re planning an overtake manoeuvre. What disappoints you is that some bit of noise creeps into the cabin and there surely could’ve been better NVH levels on the car. You can expect a mileage to be over 17 kmpl and that’s a thumbs up for the petrol variant of the Ameo. The clutch also is a little bit on the heavier side, something we’ve seen on other VWs as well.
Ride & Handling
The light steering wheel will be good for use in the city. And even on the highway the car feels very steady. Its only sometimes in the higher gears and higher speeds that handling suffers a bit. The ride quality on the other hand is very impressive and the Ameo takes to the bumps and the potholes quite well. This despite the fact that cars from VW are made to focus more on better handling than ride quality. The car shares the same 15 inch wheels seen on the Polo.
This is one of the most fiercely competed segments in the Indian car market. With cars like the Maruti Dzire and Honda Amaze the going will not be easy for the Ameo. But Volkswagen gives a strong built quality that’s hard to match. Safety is also paramount when it comes to the brand and that’s true even for the Indian market. The company has worked on strengthening the actual structure with new construction and assembly techniques like laser welding. The car also gets ABS and 2 airbags as standard across all variants. They’ve entered the compact sedan party rather late but what might tilt the balance in their favour is that the Ameo is an able car that’s priced very attractively starting at Rs. 5.17 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai).
Richa Kapoor is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars.