Volkswagen cars in India: From Polo to Phaeton

The Volkswagen group has come out with an impressive line up of cars in India in 2010, straddling the entire range from the upper-B segment hatchbacks to the D-segment luxury sedans.

The VW Group companies, comprising of the three companies – Audi, Skoda and Volkswagen, achieved an extraordinary growth in deliveries to customers of 131.9 percent in the period between January and September 2010.

Volkswagen itself has emerged as the largest selling firm in the group in the period with impressive sales figures of 15,957 vehicles in the period as against 2,201 cars sold in the corresponding period in 2009, an incredible leap of 625 percent! Of course, the launch of the Polo and Vento helped sales immensely.

Here we take a look at Volkswagen cars in India: the Polo, Vento, Jetta, Passat, Phaeton and the Touareg. We’ve left the iconic Beetle out for the moment, though the 2010 Beetle is available for Rs 21 lakh as a completely built unit import.

Volkswagen Polo

Volkswagen cars in India: From Polo to Phaeton
The Polo 1.6 perol is the most powerful perol hatchback car in India now

This is the 5th generation Polo, launched globally in 2009, while the Polo badge itself dates back to 1975.

The car wears a very chunky and balanced stance. It retains a classic ‘VW’ look, yet is contemporary enough. The design of the car is understated and subtle. The Polo looks distinctly German and exudes a feeling of solidity. There is an absolute lack of the quirkiness in design that we’ve seen with some recent launches.

The wide headlamps and big fog lamps dominate the VW-Golf inspired front; however, it’s unfortunate that the Indian Polo does not wear the twin-focal smoked European headlamps that look so much better. Subtly flared wheel arches add muscle to the car. The low and wide stance packs appeal with the Volkswagen Polo looking absolutely delicious in red. In an era of tall boys, it’s refreshing to see a contemporary low-slung car.

Unlike most newer generations among other car brands, the Volkswagen Polo has cut flab and actually weighs a few kilos less than its predecessor. Further, contrary to the global trend where cars get taller with each successive generation, the 5th generation Polo is actually shorter than the 4th. Build quality is solid German and should easily handle the abuse meted out by Indian driving conditions. Related: Volkswagen Polo in India: 1.2 petrol variant road test

The interiors of the Polo are also top of its class. The spacious interior and flexible luggage compartment of the Volkswagen Polo is yet another incentive to buy this beauty.

The Volkswagen Polo is available in three engine types. The 1.2-litre petrol engine is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission that ensures an outstanding performance with excellent fuel efficiency. This 1.2-litre engine delivers 75 bhp of power at 5,400 rpm and a maximum torque of 110Nm at 3,750 rpm.

The VW Polo 1.6-litre petrol engine comes with a 5-speed manual transmission, which produces maximum power of 105 bhp at 5,250 rpm and a maximum torque of 153Nm at 3,750 rpm. The 1.2–litre diesel engine also comes with the same 5-speed box and is an impressive performer. It produces 75 bhp of power at 4,200 rpm and 180 Nm torque at 2,000 rpm.

The basic Trendline model of the Volkswagen Polo features front power windows, power steering, HVAC, body coloured bumpers, central locking, and 14-inch steel wheels. The top-end Highline model gets ABS, dual airbags, keyless entry, 15-inch alloys, MP3 player, front fog lamps, and rear defogger as standard equipment. Prices range from Rs. 4.34 lakh to Rs. 6.70 lakh.

The Polo’s clear cut looks, aggressive pricing and the Volkswagen brand name has made this car a hot-seller in its category, but it will still be a while before the Polo gets into pole position.

Volkswagen Vento

Volkswagen cars in India: From Polo to Phaeton
Photo: Volkswagen Vento sedan offers 105 PS

The Vento is the big brother of the Polo hatchback. The Vento is a stylish luxurious sedan that offers a distinct sporty look. The secret of its design lies in the combination of a robust appearance with functional details. The exterior design gives the car a smart and an elegant appearance. The classy look of Vento spells sophistication all the way. Related: Volkswagen Vento in India: Road test

The front of the Volkswagen Vento is similar to the Volkswagen Polo design with a chrome-trimmed front radiator grille that offers a classy and elegant look. The saloon and the hatch are similar to the B-pillar, except for a different grille and lights, to differentiate it from its hatchback sibling.

The Trendline variant of the Vento comes with 14” steel wheels with full wheel caps, chrome inlays in the front grille, body-coloured bumpers, body-colour exterior door handles and mirrors, halogen headlights, partially zinc coated body with six-years anti-rust warranty.

The Highline variant is designed with body-coloured ORVMs and door handles, 15-inch alloy wheels, chrome strip on trunk, metallic and pearl effect paint job, chrome finish on front air dam and fog lights surrounds.

The Volkswagen Vento is available in both petrol and diesel engine choices. Both the engines are 1.6-litre DOHC in-line engine. The engine with four valves per cylinder offers greater torque and low emissions.

The engine is mated to a 5-speed manual and the Highline petrol variant also has a choice of a 6-speed automatic gearbox with tiptronic shift, for occasional driver-demanded shifts. The engine allows for a low idling speed without compromising on its high-speed performance, improving efficiency. The petrol engine puts out 105 bhp at 5,250 rpm and torque of 153 Nm at 3,800 rpm. The diesel has the same power output, but torque is bumped up to 250 Nm at 1,500-2,500 rpm.

The comfort features for the Trendline Vento variant include HVAC with rear AC vents, central locking, push type fuel lid opener, central locking, outer rear view mirrors manually adjustable from inside, four power windows with driver side one-touch down, electric trunk opening, rear defogger, white instrument back-lights, audio connections prewired, front intermittent wipers, dust and pollen filter and 14-inch steel spare wheel.

The Highline Volkswagen Vento variant is equipped with some extra comfort features such as electrically adjustable outside mirrors, climatronic automatic air conditioning, height-adjustable driver seat, remote central locking, multi function info display including door opening warning, and radio with CD/MP3 player.

Volkswagen Jetta

Volkswagen cars in India: From Polo to Phaeton
Photo: VW Jetta CRDI

The Jetta is basically a booted version of Volkswagen’s best selling Golf hatchback. It’s also based on the same platform as the VW Passat and the Skoda Laura. Going by these facts, it would seem that the Jetta is just a mix of cars put together — disjointed and confused. However, that is far from the case – it’s already VW’s best seller in North America. The charm lies in its do-everything motif.

The Jetta was launched in India in mid-2008 and is being assembled locally at Volkswagen’s Aurangabad facility.

Sophisticated elegance is what the Jetta’s theme seems to be, and the car’s design pulls it off effortlessly. The double barrel headlights, the familiar grille all scream VW. The looks are understated and remind you of the Passat. And this is most evident when you see the tail lamp cluster. Otherwise, the rest of the car looks rather ordinary and well, German. No design exuberance here and there. The ample ground clearance also makes the car look taller than it is. DwsAuto’s first ever story on the Jetta in India

The multi-spoke 16” alloy wheels and dual-tip chrome enhances the car, complimenting it with a sporty look.

The Volkswagen Jetta comes to India with two engine options — a 1.6-litre petrol and a 1.9-litre diesel engine. The top-of-the-line diesel is mated to a 6-speed automatic DSG gearbox, while the petrol variant gets a 5-speed transmission as standard. Frugality is the stand-out feature of the engine. The diesel engine produces 105 bhp, while the petrol puts out 100 bhp.

The Jetta returns an estimated 11.11kpl in the city and 13.3kpl on the highway on a litre of diesel, arriving at a respectable overall efficiency figure of 11.7 kmpl. Power is not eye-popping, nor is the pump deuse diesel’s refinement, but nowhere does the Jetta feel lacking in any way. Jetta accelerates from 0 to 100 kph in just 12.2 seconds can reach a top speed of 186 kph.

On the inside, the Volkswagen Jetta sports a three-spoke steering wheel, a premium audio system, updated air-conditioning controls and instrument cluster. The white on black dials with red needles replace the old model’s purple and red backlit dials and the instrument cluster looks more modern.

The slightly more expensive Comfortline variant gets a touch-screen audio system which was first seen on Skodas with the black, grey, white and red colour-coded user interface that matches the rest of the interior.

Prices range from Rs.13.08 lakh – Rs. 16.08 lakh.

Volkswagen Passat

Volkswagen cars in India: From Polo to Phaeton
Photo: New Volkswagen Passat TSI petrol in India

The Volkswagen Passat has long been a favourite among shoppers looking for a little more luxury and style in their midsize family sedan. For many folks, the Passat fills the gap that exists between normal, humdrum family cars and the financially out-of-reach luxury brands. Displaying a classy, restrained style inside and out, the Volkswagen Passat gives the impression of quiet competence, which is borne out by its refined driving character. Spirited performance and competent handling, along with a supple ride, are typical Passat traits. Related: Our first story on the Passat – Volkswagen Passat launched in India (from 2007)

The body sections have been changed, but the sixth-generation Passat’s shape is still quite similar to older models. When you view the Passat head-on, there’s a lot of Jetta that catches your eye. The chromed front end is strikingly similar to the smaller VW while the rest of the form hints at styling cues from the Phaeton. The large appearance and the C-pillar are so very typical of the larger Phaeton. This makes the Passat appear classy and it has an air of understated grace to it.

The Volkswagen Passat is available only with the new TSI petrol engine. The 1798 cc petrol engine is paired with a contemporary 6-speed slick shift manual transmission. It offers two overdrive ratios on the 5th and the 6th gears so as to achieve greater fuel-efficiency and lower emissions.

The 1.8-litre engine puts out power of 160 PS at 4,500-6,200 rpm and maximum torque of 250Nm at 1,500-4,500rpm. A recently developed balancer shaft is placed in the engine that reduces the vibration to a minimum and ensures a smooth and fuel efficient drive. The four-cylinder inline engine is very smooth. The company recently phased out its diesel engine variants.

There’s a plethora of the regular electronic knick-knacks which one expects in cars in the Passat’s segment. There are electrically folding mirrors, power windows, a keyless entry system, parking sensors, climate control, sunroof, “coming-home” headlamps, automatic lights and a host of other features. A nice touch is the manual blinds that transform harsh sunrays into soft light while not impeding visibility. Prices start at 19.20 lakhs.

Volkswagen Phaeton

Volkswagen cars in India: From Polo to Phaeton
Photo: Volkswagen Phaeton image via Volkswagen

We now come to the luxury end of VW’s portfolio – the Phaeton. Globally, its a one-off, because this is one of the most expensive cars ever to come out of VW’s stable. In India, it’s priced at Rs. 76 lakhs. That’s quite steep, considering Volkswagen is seen as a company that makes the “people’s car”.

The Volkswagen Phaeton is based on the same platform which is used to build the Audi A8. The Phaeton is an excellent combination of high standard materials, cutting-edge technology and exceptional design.

Globally, VW’s luxury sedan takes on the Mercedes-Benz S-class, the BMW 7-series, and the new Audi A8 and Bentley GT Coupe, in-house rivals that share many of the same mechanical components. Masterminded by Ferdinand Piëch, VW’s recently retired chairman, the Phaeton sets out to be nothing less than the best car in the world.

The Volkswagen Phaeton is available with both petrol and diesel engine options and with automatic and manual transmission options. Its diesel variant is powered by a 3.0L, V6 TDI diesel engine with a six speed manual transmission producing 240 bhp of maximum power. The diesel variant can cross the 100kmph mark in just 8.3 seconds and it can achieve a top speed mark of 235 kmph.

On the other hand, the petrol variant is available with a 6-litre, W-12 (that’s 12 cylinders) petrol engine with a five-speed automatic transmission that produces 450 bhp of maximum power. This petrol variant is much sportier in comparison to the diesel. This engine can take the Volkswagen Phaeton past the 100 kmph mark in 6.1 seconds and it can touch a top speed of 280 kmph.

The interior of the sedan is a luxurious place. The elegant interior is packed with a dual tone dashboard and a highly advanced instrument cluster. It includes a leather covered steering wheel, gear knob and other leather upholstery. Some other features that make this an exclusive Volkswagen are extended wood package, interior wood trim, burr walnut decorative wood inlay, ‘Lendinara’ decorative wood inlay, ‘Maiano’ Eucalyptus interior wood trim and stainless steel pedals.

Volkswagen Touareg

Volkswagen cars in India: From Polo to Phaeton
Photo: Volkswagen Touareg

The Touareg SUV is the biggest car VW makes. The Touareg is the first SUV by Volkswagen in the Indian market. Currently, the Volkswagen Touareg is available in India as a CBU (completely built unit) and it takes about 3-3.5 months for delivery.

The SUV is available at Rs 51,85,000 ( ex-showroom price in New Delhi) for the 3-litre diesel variant. It also features powered seats for both driver and passenger, auto sensing rain wipers, permanent all-wheel drive system, remote controlled rear hatch which can be opened and closed by it and dual-zone climatronic AC. For safety, the car is equipped with six airbags. A number of other computerised user-friendly features are part of this luxury SUV.

The Volkswagen Touareg is available in both petrol and diesel engine options. A 3.6L, V6 petrol engine that produces 280 bhp of power and offers impressive acceleration. The petrol Touareg can touch 100kmph in 8.6 seconds and reach a top speed of 216 kmph. The diesel Touareg is equipped with a 3.0L, V6 TDI engine the offers maximum power output of 240 bhp. The engine can hit the 100 kmph mark in just 8.3 seconds and it touches a maximum speed mark of 204 kmph.

Volkswagen Touareg is a premium SUV, that includes active and passive safety features like ABS with EBD, six airbags which includes dual front and side curtain airbags and seatbelt alarm. The Touareg is equipped with independent front and rear double wishbone suspension with steel springs and anti-roll bars to reduce jerks and enhance handling. The Touareg competes with other SUVs of this segment like the Audi Q7, Volvo XC90, BMW X5 and Porsche Cayenne.

Volkswagen cars in India: Price List

Delhi Mumbai Bangalore Chennai Chandigarh
Polo 1.2 Trendline(Petrol) Price Rs 4,42,000* Rs 4,45,929* Rs 4,42,000* Rs 4,47,100*
Polo 1.2 Trendline(Diesel ) Price Rs 5,42,000* Rs 5,58,086* Rs 5,46,818* Rs 5,42,000* Rs 5,47,100*
Polo 1.2 Comfortline(Petrol) Price Rs 4,93,000* Rs 4,97,381* Rs 4,93,000* Rs 4,98,100*
Polo 1.2 Comfortline(Diesel) Price Rs 5,92,500* Rs 6,09,745* Rs 5,97,767* Rs 5,92,500* Rs 5,97,600*
Polo 1.2 TDI Trendline Price
Polo 1.2 TDI Comfortline Price
Vento 1.6 Trendline(Petrol) Price Rs 7,02,883* Rs 7,18,533* Rs 7,05,213* Rs 6,99,000*
Vento 1.6 Trendline(Diesel) Price Rs 8,03,439* Rs 8,06,102* Rs 7,99,000*
Vento 1.6 Highline (Manual) Price Rs 8,28,075* Rs 8,30,820* Rs 8,23,500*
Vento 1.6 Highline (Automatic) Price Rs 9,26,619* Rs 9,29,691* Rs 9,21,000*
Vento 1.6 TDI Trendline Price
Vento 1.6 TDI Highline Price
Jetta 1.6 Trendline Price Rs 12,62,244* Rs 13,19,209* Rs 12,99,332* Rs 13,10,700*
Jetta 1.9 TDI Trendline Price Rs 13,84,379* Rs 14,45,534*
Jetta 1.9 TDI Comfortline Price Rs 16,38,252* Rs 16,94,042*
Passat 2.0 TDI Price Rs 19,20,777*
Touareg V6 Price Rs 51,85,000* Rs 52,47,465* Rs 51,85,000* Rs 51,85,160* Rs 51,85,000*
Touareg V10 TDI