Volkswagen recently introduced the Ameo compact sedan and we spent sometime with the petrol version to tell you what it’s like.
What’s the fuss all about?
Tata started the compact sedan segment with the Indigo CS. This was followed by Maruti’s Swift Dzire and it led to the creation of an all new segment. This resulted in all manufacturers hurriedly slapping on a boot to their popular hatchback so that they don’t get left out. VW, though late to the party, has finally slapped on a tiny boot to the Polo. The result is the Ameo.
Is is any good to look at?
VW has a family look going on with the Polo, Vento and now the Ameo. They all have the same headlamps. There is where the similarity ends though. If you happen to notice closely, you will find that though the bumper looks similar to that on the Polo, it has a little more muscle. VW has tried to incorporate design cues from both the Polo and Vento, which isn’t a bad thing. The Ameo, like all other VWs is an understated and has sharp lines. There is nothing flamboyant about the design.
In a bid to make the vehicle a sub 4-meter one, VW engineers have given the rear end a more boxy rear end. The boot design with the angular cuts look similar to that on its larger Skoda sibling, the Rapid. At first glance, the Ameo may not look very appealing but trust me, the looks certainly grow on you. Yes, it may not be the best looking compact sedan out there, but it certainly isn’t the worse either.
How well is it loaded?
This is one area where the Ameo really shines. VW has loaded the Ameo with a whole host of features and even a few segment firsts. It comes with cruise control, rain sensing wipers, a touch screen Mirror link compatible system, an arm rest, auto folding mirrors, auto dimming rear view mirror that doesn’t need to be turned on (a real boon in the city) and rear AC vents. The touch screen system also doubles up as a display for the reverse parking camera which has pretty good quality. Thought the vehicle does have rear parking sensors, there is no display for the same.
The Ameo is based on the Polo and shares the same wheelbase which means space on the inside is a little tight if you are a big person, especially at the rear. The rear seats are comfortable and have an adjustable headrest which is a nice thing. A rear armrest is missing though. The Ameo has a 330 liter boot space which is less compared to that on the Aspire and the Amaze. The wheel arches also eat into the space.
In terms of cubby holes, the Ameo has a lot of them all over. The front doors have storage area for bottles and other such items, there is big storage area in the central console along with 2 cup holders and there is also a small storage area in the armrest.
Initially, VW only introduced the petrol engine in the Ameo. The engine is the old 1.2 liter MPi unit that is there on the Polo as well. It is a 3 cylinder one and has the characteristic 3 cylinder thrumy noise. The engine is quite audible at idle and even when speeds build up. This engine is not meant for those who are looking for a performance oriented vehicle. The moment you set that in your mind, the drive experience becomes better. There is decent amount of power to get you through your daily commute. On the highway, you will need to revv the engine hard if you want to get an overtake done. Those looking for a more powerful option, the diesel is the one to go for. One thing though, I found the gearbox really slick and has a really good feel to it.
VW has done a good job and given the car a flat bottom steering. This really improves the driving experience of the car. In terms of ride and handling, the Ameo has been setup keeping a good mix of both handling and ride quality. The suspension has been setup on the softer side and it does soak in the bumps pretty well, but this doesn’t eat much into the dynamics of the car. Be it cruising at 3 digits speeds or cornering at them, the Ameo feels very planted and inspires confidence to push it hard. In addition to that, the flat bottom steering wheel feels really nice to hold and gives a really good feeling while you are driving. For a compact sedan, the Ameo does a good job in the dynamics department. The brakes, like on the Polo are discs at the front and drums at the back. They do a good job in bringing the car to a halt and in shedding speed.
The Ameo happens to be the cheapest VW on sale in India, even undercutting the smaller Polo.
Petrol: Trendline: Rs 5.31 lakhs, Comfortline: Rs 6.0 lakhs, Highline: Rs 7.13 lakhs.
What we think?
VW have really got the pricing spot on with the Ameo petrol. The car is a good compact sedan for a small family. It feels premium on the inside, something that the other compact sedans don’t do so well. The only downside to the Ameo is the fact that the engine is pretty lethargic and that the space at the back isn’t really good. If you want a more enthusiastic drive, the diesel will be a better option. If you can overlook the less space at the back, this one is certainly a more premium feeling compact sedan.
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