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 Volkswagen Ameo TDI DSG Road Test Review 1 web

After a late entry into the compact sedan space, Volkswagen have stepped up the game with a twin-clutch automatic turbo-diesel version of the Ameo. We put it to the test. Here’s what went down.

Story: Jim Gorde
Photography: Aditya Dhiwar

You know when the new kid on the block comes in and joins the local football game? And, a few minutes later, the older bunch of kids realise that the ‘noob’ is better at everything and suddenly get handed a set of moves that will take them time to emulate, even though they’ve been around for longer with what was essentially a good game. But not good enough.

The sub-four-metre compact sedan space has had several names from across the globe setting up shop in India for a specific requirement. Yet, when it came down to the game, everyone had one standard strategy. How far can you get playing the same moves over and over again? Enter VW and their DSG. Less than a year after launching the India-specific Ameo compact sedan, Volkswagen have followed it up with a variant we were hoping for: a potent TDI turbo-diesel. And not just any turbo-diesel, this is a new 110-PS/250-Nm 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine made specifically for the Indian market. It’s available with a manual transmission as well as with what the Germans call a ‘doppelkupplungsgetriebe’ or double-clutch gearbox, which, in simple Volkswagen speak, is their ‘DirectShift Gearbox’ or ‘DSG’ which goes through gears faster than Kelis’ milkshakes get all the boys to the yard.

When you have a sub-1.2-tonne four-door sedan, 110 PS is a lot of power and the 250 Nm of torque is more than some executive saloons made not a few years ago. The styling is no different. It’s identical to the Ameo we tested last year, save for the ‘TDI’ badge. The ‘Highline’ trim we have here costs Rs 9.21 lakh (ex-showroom, Pune) and that’s good value considering the build quality and the stringent processes the Ameo goes through. Laser-welded roof, solid doors, heavy metal, well-made interior and a host of safety features — anti-lock brakes, electronic stability programme, hill-hold control, and airbags — considered, it’s a sweet deal for what is still high six figures (for the Comfortline) and a few rolls over Rs 10 lakh for the Highline on the road; with the DSG box, of course.

Inside, the biggest change is the gear lever and the two-pedal layout. With the number of vehicles on the road heading north and traffic sense going far down south, the need for convenient automatics has become evident and more people are biting into the pie. The Ameo’s bootless, twin-clutch-auto petrol sibling, the Polo GT TSI, has seen a substantial increase in road presence over the past year or so. Why? Convenience? Efficiency? Practicality? If this was an MCQ, the answer would be the last box that says ‘All of the above’.

Volkswagen Ameo TDI DSG Road Test Review 2 web

The Ameo gets standard ABS and dual front airbags even in the base petrol Trendline. The Highline DSG packs 15-inch alloy wheels with 185/65 tubeless radials along with an electronic stability programme and hill-hold control, besides the regular typically German safety features. A lot of people don’t realise that in Europe, the USA and several other markets, a car cannot be sold without ABS, traction control, and six airbags. Those are the minimum safety requirements. Does that mean that the people there have more money to spend? Maybe. Does it mean they value their life and those of others more? Perhaps. Why not here? Way to go, Deutschland. Keep ’em coming.

More on page 2 >

 

About the author: Jim Gorde

 

Automotive Correspondent at Bike India and Car India.
Believes that learning never stops. Loves V8 engines as much as a good breakfast.
t: @BikeIndia / @CarIndia

 

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