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2016 Volkswagen Ameo drive review

The festive spirit is still on as we bengalis have just concluded our Durga puja celebrations. The name ‘Ameo’ actually means “Me too” in bengali. And that is also the case with Volkswagen’s new compact offering. While other have already entered the space and fighting it out for a fair share, the Volkswagen Ameo has just entered the sub-4m party.

Volkswagen Ameo (2)

Volkswagen might have taken a year to develop the Ameo and though some might call it the late entrant, the fact is it has actually raised the bar of the compact sedans in India. Why do we say that? Let us explain

Volkswagen Ameo Design

When the design brief given to the team in charge is to make a sub-4m car, there is literally very less room left to play around with. Search for all the sub-4m sedans in India, and you won’t be praising the design of most of them. The Volkswagen Ameo is not a shortened Vento but is a spruced up Polo. Although, the difference between the sedans and the hatch is too less to be distinct.

Volkswagen Ameo (5)

The Volkswagen Ameo gets a clean bonnet and a simple yet classy front as seen with the triple slat grille with the VW logo affixed on the centre. The twin barrel headlight looks nice and sleek and is identical to the ones used in the hatch. The real difference that begins to start is the front bumper. It has been shortened compared to that of the hatch. Additionally, it sports crease lines and a slightly busier profile than the Polo.

Volkswagen Ameo (4)

I have always been a fan of the Polo’s design as it doesn’t look loud or have a fluidic design yet leaves an impact with an understated theme. In the Volkswagen Ameo, the roof has been marginally brought down to accommodate the rear in a proportionate manner. The character lines and the different profile sections are shared with the hatchback. The Highline and Comfortline trim comes with 185/60 R15 alloys whereas the Trendline gets 175/70 R14 steel wheels.

Volkswagen Ameo (1)

My views on the rear of the Volkswagen Ameo are mixed as there are times when I think it has an extremely smart design but the moment I see it from the rear quarter view, the appeal reduces. The straight sections from the shoulder line and the side seem to be chopped abruptly at the tail end. It gets squarish tail lights which carry over some details from the Polo’s. The most prominent bit is the lip spoiler nicely integrated with the boot lid. The crease lines on the boot lid also look reminiscent of the ones seen on the new age Skoda cars.

Volkswagen Ameo cabin design and features

Inside the Volkswagen Ameo, the cabin layout and the trim design looks identical to the Polo. The dashboard gets a beige-ebony combination which can be seen on the door trims too. The seats sport premium quality beige fabrics which are clearly one of the best in class offerings. The option of leather is always there and at an attractive price, it is the best accessory option to go for. The touch and feel of the buttons and the plastics exude the premiumness in the interior.

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Once seated inside, you will notice the nicer bits in the Ameo which also proves on how it is better than most of its peers. The aspect that I really liked about the Ameo is that is doesn’t feel compromised and just dealt with for the sake of it. VW has taken great efforts to bring in the same sense of feel that is seen on all its cars in this one as well.

Volkswagen Ameo (16)

It gets a flat bottom steering wheel with piano black inserts. The instrument cluster and the detailed information that is displays have been carried over. Just behind the steering wheel, one can see the cruise control lever which is a segment first feature. It doesn’t end at that. The Ameo also comes equipped with one-touch roll up/down on all four windows with anti-pinch function, something that cars in the above segment fall shy of offering. Additionally, there is the auto-dimming rearview mirror, rain sensing wipers, remote operated power windows, rear air conditioner vents, automatic climate control along with other functional features and options.

The Highline trim comes equipped with a touchscreen infotainment system with MirrorLink function that can replicate the same arrangement seen on your smartphone using a USB cable. The system can be controlled with the controls on the multi-function steering wheel. The Comfortline trims is offered with CD/MP3 player with USB, Aux-in, SD card input along with Bluetooth and iPod connectivity options. The entry-level Trendline trim gets a basic radio setup

Volkswagen Ameo (12)

Volkswagen Ameo (11)

While the above are clearly the good bits of the Volkswagen Ameo, there are a few cons that should be listed too. It is already known that the Ameo shares its wheelbase with the Polo and thus space is clearly an issue. Taller passengers can manage to accommodate in the front with just about sufficient legroom and comfort of seats, the rear occupants won’t be too happy in that section. Though, VW has scooped out a portion from the rear of the front seat to make space for an additional knee room, it still doesn’t feel as spacious.

Volkswagen Ameo (7)

Volkswagen Ameo performance

The Volkswagen Ameo is offered in both petrol and diesel engines. The 1198cc 3-cylinder petrol motor puts out 75PS of power at 5,400 rpm and generates 110Nm at 3,750 rpm. This motor is paired to a 5-speed manual gearbox. Get the motor started and you would hear a similar clatter that is audible in many three-cylinder motors. Saying that, the Ameo’s motor is the right option to tackle city driving conditions. The motor idles smoothly and swings into action pretty quickly. The only place where you feel the power deficit is on highways where you are compelled to downshift to make the motor reach peak. This is a bit of an issue while overtaking on highways.

Volkswagen Ameo Track (4)

The diesel on the other hand uses a four-cylinder 1.5-litre motor that makes 110PS along with a peak torque of 250Nm. Yes, those figures are impressive than that in the Volkswagen Vento which sits above the Ameo in the sedan range. However, Volkswagen will introduce the motor in the 2017 Vento which we believe will be launched by early 2017. How does the motor feel, we will tell you when we get our hands on it.

Volkswagen Ameo Track (2)

We all love the way Volkswagen cars handle on roads and the Ameo too is no different. On the contrary, it is close to 15kg heavier than the Polo hatch. The same lends a more planted feel of the sedan. Volkswagen hasn’t fiddled with the suspension setup in the Ameo as it shares the same arrangement that underpins the Polo. This makes the Ameo tackle road disturbances with great ease. Additionally, while driving over potholes in the city, the Ameo felt extremely comforting on the 185/60 R15 tyres.

Volkswagen Ameo Track (1)

Volkswagen Ameo Verdict

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If you have already gone through our drive experience above, it is clearly a no brainer that the Volkswagen Ameo stands out as a clean winner. When it comes to design, we have mixed feelings but then it is a subjective decision. The long feature list makes the Ameo’s cabin one of the most updated among its peers. And finally the petrol motor, the performance of which is extremely suitable for often city and occasional highway commutes. Overall, the Volkswagen Ameo ticks all the right boxes in the best way possible.

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