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Perhaps one of the bigger challenges is that the automobile industry has been launching an appealing sedan based on a successful hatchback design. Think about it and immediately you’ll get images of several car models that look as if the wrong boot has been welded onto the hatch by an absent-minded engineer. However, the engineers at Volkswagen did pay a lot of attention while designing it using the Polo and Golf platform. The car looks as if it were always intended to be a three-box design as the boot nicely blends in and, unusual as it may sound, it also has the entire ‘Volkswagen’ name along with the VW badge.
The Vento is a robust sedan which looks well-proportioned, smart yet understated and is offered with an equally solid range of powertrains. In our earlier issues we reviewed the 1.6 petrol with the five-speed manual transmission and six-speed automatic. We had saved the best for last and this month it’s time to take the Vento 1.6 diesel for a spin.
To be honest, the 1.6-litre, four-cylinder, DOHC, 16-valve common-rail turbocharged diesel motor would be my pick, given an option. This one feels the peppiest and most fun from the other Vento variants. The sturdy oil-burner develops a decent 105 PS power and can churn out 249 Nm of torque between 1,500 and 2,500 rpm. From the outside the common-rail engine is noisy, but the German engineers must be given the credit for keeping the cabin insulated, specially since the sedan is so competitively priced. Since the torque kicks in at such low rpm, the car is a pleasure to drive even while crawling in the city traffic or while cruising on open roads. There is always enough power available, all you need is to press the accelerator and you zoom ahead without necessarily shifting down. The five-speed manual transmission shifts effortlessly and compliments the refined powertrain. You can quickly shift to a higher gear, which makes the car very fuel-efficient. We got 16.5 kmpl overall, which is quite good. You can cruise at 120 km/h all day with the tacho at 2,000 rpm and the Volkswagen, thanks to its ridged construction, wouldn’t flinch.
The Vento is a gem when it comes to ride quality and has been brilliantly engineered for India with McPherson struts and stabiliser bar in the front and a semi-independent trailing arm in the rear, which work in harmony to offer the best back seat ride quality. The suspension absorbs even the worst road conditions, leaving almost nothing to filter through to the cabin. Accentuating the ride are the tyres that grip the road like a magnet, well, almost. The Highline trim is slightly bigger and so better 185/60 R15 rubber with alloys, which not only look good, but are also more apt for Indian driving conditions, while the base Trendline version gets the smaller 175/70 R14 with wheel-caps. The other visible differences on the Highline are the chrome accents on the grille, fog lamps and also on the bottom of the boot. Body-coloured door handles and mirrors further distinguish this variant.


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