A new top hat design is likely for the sub-4 meter compact sedan that Volkswagen India is putting together for the car market here. This decision from Volkswagen India could have to do with three reasons.
1. The Polo, a B+ Segment hatchback on which the Vento sedan is based, measures 3,970 mm, which gives Volkswagen very little room to attach a boot and still stay under the 4 meter threshold for availing excise benefits. Also, the Polo’s wheelbase of 2,456 mm is nothing to write home about with buyers often complaining of the rear legroom. Maintaining the same wheelbase will not cut the ice with compact sedan buyers.
2. The Vento measures 4,384 mm in length, with a wheelbase of 2,552 mm. Shortening the Vento to a sub-4 meter length, would require Volkswagen to cut down on the boot, while retaining the wheelbase, making for a disproportionate looking car This is something that the German car maker would want to avoid given its traditional brand appeal of understated yet elegant cars.
3. Brand differentiation. A new top hat design will give Volkswagen designers a stab at making the compact sedan look different from the likes of the Polo and the Vento, allowing the new car to have an identity of its own. Volkswagen India is currently struggling with two cars, the Polo and the Vento that look alike, save for the sedan-style boot on the latter. At this juncture, another car that looks very similar to the Polo and the Vento isn’t what Volkswagen needs, especially at a time when it needs to desperately boost market share in India.
Therefore, a decision towards a new top hat design for the new, Volkswagen sub-4 meter compact sedan is very likely. This approach would allow Volkswagen to retain the PQ25 platform of the Polo/Vento while coming up with a better packaged car that sits in between the Polo and the Vento, in terms of both the length and the wheelbase.
CarToq sources have revealed that Volkswagen India has already begun requisitioning vendors for compact sedan parts. The car’s development has already begun and the test mules should be on Indian roads next year. The Volkswagen sub-4 meter compact sedan’s debut is also expected to happen next year.
Two four cylinder engines, the 1.2 liter TSI turbo petrol and the newly introduced 1.5 liter TDI turbo diesel, are expected to power the Volkswagen compact sedan. Using these engines will allow Volkswagen to project the new compact sedan as a peppy yet competitively priced alternative to the likes of the Maruti Dzire and the Tata Zest.