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Old 25th January 2015, 15:39   #1
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Default VW Vento R-Line: With Race Dynamics DieselTronic Pro

This is the story of a bond shared by a man and his machine, a bond forged in steel, bathed in oil, fueled by passion and ignited by the raw thrill of motoring!

Backlog : I come from a family of auto enthusiasts. Many of my sweet childhood memories are linked to something on wheels, one way or the other. My Dad has this passion for cars and I'm proud to have inherited it from him. In a way, as we grew older together, so did our passion! If it werent for Mom's firm hold on the family's finances, we would've sold everything and spend the rest of our lives in a full-size luxury saloon (and quite happily at that too :P)

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(That's me)

Fast forward to 2008, as soon as I was 18, got my driving license and was legally ready to take on the challenges that lie on the road ahead. I had my eyes on Dad's Ford Fiesta 1.4 duratorq. However, Dad decided that I need to get my hands on something small and manageable. Thus we made our way into India's most trusted brand and got ourselves a Maruti Suzuki 800 Uniq. Boy oh boy wasn't she a beauty! The pure mechanical feel of the 800 sans any electronic wizardry(not even power steering) was an experience in itself. Even a trip to the grocery store was an event in itself!

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(Old is Gold)

Come 2012 and we upgraded to the Hyundai Neo Fluidic Elantra 1.6 CRDI SX MT. The Fiesta was left under my full time possession. For the first time in my life I understood what an 'enthusiast's choice' is. She was a beauty to own and ride. She taught me that riding is not all about power and speed. It's about the rhythm, the control and even the subtle loss of control. The 800 and Fiesta were monumental in shaping my motoring skills.

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(Into the wilderness)



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(The supermodel)



2013- The year of reckoning : The Fiesta had been our close companion for 7 years. It was time for me to bid farewell to this highschool sweetheart of mine. And so with teary eyes we bid farewell to her. And so the hunt began. Wasnt much of a hunt as I already had my eyes on the Ecosport.

My preferences:
1. It had to be a diesel sedan/SUV.
2. Good punchy motor (preferably with 100+bhp)
3. Capable dynamics.
4. Excellent looks.
5. Good mileage.
6. Nice interiors.

The contenders were:

Ford Ecosport : The favorite! Was following team-bhp thread for about an year. Would've blindly gone for it if not for the other TD.

Likes :Awesome looks(loved the tail mounted spare)
High ground clearance
Funky interiors
Well-manageable size

Dislikes : Lethargic diesel engine (especially evident after other TD)

Easy to drive around city and our less than perfect roads...this was THE car for our Indian roads! Almost zeroed in on the Ecosport, but alas, it was not to be!

Other contenders were considered just for completion sake.

Renault Duster : Liked the design, ride quality, absolutely loathed the utilitarian interiors. The interior never looked as if they belong to a 10+ lakh rupee car!

Skoda Rapid : Skoda horror stories made sure that it never made into the serious contender list!

Hyundai Verna : A well-rounded product, but ruled out as we already had the Elantra. Didnt want to have 2 like looking cars to end up in the garage. Also dynamically it wasnt too accomplished.

Fiat Linea : The true blue enthusiast's choice but left out as it was getting a bit too old in the tooth.

Renault Fluence : Wasn't seriously considering it. Went for a TD purely out of curiosity. Wasnt really a fan of it's looks. Somehow the French styling couldn't make an impact on me. Liked the instrument console, although the screwed up ergonomics was a downer.

XUV 5OO : Again, another curious and interesting consideration. Admire M & M for home-breeding a class product! It was a bit out of my budget though. Couldn't really see the point in buying one, as I usually drive alone and dont need the extra space. The styling was a bit overdone IMO, especially the front whiskers. Would've gone with black, if I had decided to go through with it.

Now you might be surprised why I didnt consider the new Fiesta. It pretty much satisfies most of my criteria. Well, to start with I wasnt exactly a fan of its looks. That bulbous rear just didnt cut the cake for me. Also, the Ecosport seemed a better choice considering the price. The not so good service experience we had previously faced with Ford played a role in ruling out the Fiesta and subsequently the Ecosport as well.

Dad always had a soft corner for Volkswagen. Even during our previous purchase of the Elantra, he was fixated on the Jetta's dynamics. But we left it out considering the cost involved and the lack-lustre equipment levels. Decided to give VW a second shot purely out of my Dad's recommendation, and boy did it change my life!

A bright and sunny day - Went to EVM Volkswagen, Perumbavoor for a TD of the Vento. Many of the staff there were previous acquaintances of my Dad's. Hence, it was a pleasure to deal with them. I have to admit, I went in there with my fingers crossed. I had driven a friend's Vento once. It was a city ride and didn't impress me much. The hard clutch with all the vibrations played spoilsport. A silver Vento 1.6 TDI was ready for the TD. Started up the engine and the diesel clatter was quite evident. 'Yup! This is NOT going to be my next car'- I told to myself. Took the car out of the showroom and pottered along. The fit and finish were impeccable for a 10L sedan. But I still liked the funky interiors of the Ecosport. Slotted the gear into 3rd, and the sales exec asked me to floor the throttle. Floored it indeed and boy, does she fly! The torque delivery just pushed me and my folks into the seat. Off to 4th and 5th and the car touched 130kph in no time! What was once a cynical grin on my face soon turned into one of ecstasy. I just couldn't stop doing it! Decelerated to about 30 kph and did it again, and again and again. The overall dynamics were really impressive! I was like a 5 year old kid who found his perfect toy! The moment of truth was upon me. THIS is the car I want! And the rest as they say is history!

Booking and delivery experiences
This was one area where we had our fingers crossed. Had heard a lot of stories about customers being very unhappy with the VW dealership experience. I must say, we had a small share of that when we TD'ed the Jetta a while ago at VW Ernakulam. But the experience here was pretty good. From the booking till the delivery, there were no hiccups.

The total cost of owning her came up to about Rs.11,80,000/- including accessories. The dealership did give some discounts by the name of corporate offers and insurance discounts.The overall buying experience was pleasant. Didn't opt for extended warranty at the time of purchase.

VW Vento R-Line: With Race Dynamics DieselTronic Pro-vento-1.jpg
(The day she came home)

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(Face to face)

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(Honeymoon shot at Charpa waterfalls, Athirapilly)

It was like a match made in heaven! I quickly grew accustomed to the car's nature. Call it German engineering, but every control was where it was supposed to be. Everything fell so easy to my hand. It was so intuitive. Took my own sweet time for running in the engine. When I took the car from my home to Thrissur where I was doing my internship, the MID showed a mileage of 24kpl!! Of course I was being extra cautious with speeds climbing only upto 80kph and the roads were great too. But it sure felt nice. The engine, if judged by its sound wouldnt look out of place in a truck, but boy does she fly when floored! The driving experience was just phenomenal. I had heard a lot of reviewers ranting about european build, quality and solidity, but failed to imbibe what those actually meant (until I had TD'ed the Jetta previously). Vento being a miniature version of the Jetta didnt disappoint. The hardships of internship were outjoyed by my blue stallion's driving prowess. Even after 12-16 hours of duty, I still found time to take my baby out for a midnight joy ride! And when there were free days, I would take her to Athirappilly and enjoy driving her up and down the well laid, winding roads there. Over the course of time, me and my stallion grew closer together.

VW Vento R-Line: With Race Dynamics DieselTronic Pro-v3.jpg

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In case you were wondering, yes you read it right. It is indeed a Vento R-line. Just another regular Vento you ask? No sir! Not by a long shot! You see, my car was conceived as a Shadow Blue Vento 1.6TDI Highline MT. VW bothered to launch Vento only in the three regular trims. Trend, Comfort, and Highline. A car as accomplished as this demanded more, deserved more! So if VW is not going to do anything about it, I will, and I did!

VW Vento R-line - The goodies

- Racedynamics DieselTRONIC pro with on the fly drive select.

- Wider Michelin XM2 195/60R15 tyres.

- Mega Audio 8 in touchscreen infotainment system complete with GPS, DVD player and Reverse view camera.

- OBDII scanner

- Rear spoiler

- Osram night breakers

- R monikers

The Drive

Vento had always been the torque monster. The way it spools up torque and delivers it had been my biggest addiction. On the highway, this translates to effortless overtaking maneuvers. Even if you're cruising at around 100-110kph at 5th gear, all it takes is just a push of the throttle, and the car just surges ahead instantaneously. Driving in cities, the low end torque is ample to potter around with lesser gearshifts. Although I must say, this car is meant to be driven on the highways. So how does an RD box better the fabulous power delivery?

The head games :

VW is known for their adamant stand on aftermarket fitments. You just have to whisper 'aftermarket' to see the salesman frowning and looking down upon you as if you have uttered some unimaginably offensive word! Add to that the hassles of cost of probable repairs and it's easy to shy away from such stuff. I'm a total noob when it comes to car mechanics, so was really confused whether to take the plunge into the world of tuning boxes. I didn't know if they could damage the car's components in any way. Decided to throw Racedynamics Bangalore an email. They replied positively and also gave the contact details of their authorised dealer at Thrissur, and he was just 5 mins away from where I used to live. Called him up and clarified my doubts. He also gave the numbers of a couple of other customers who had chipped their cars. Called them up too and the replies were overwhelmingly positive. I could hardly hold my horses now and decided to go through with it.

The number games :

Stock mode - 105 bhp/250Nm
P1 mode - 15% more peak power and torque : 121bhp/288Nm
P2 mode - 30% more peak power and torque : 137bhp/325Nm


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(Always wondered why Ferrari keeps their driving mode toggles on the steering wheel !? It's so much fun!)

Stock mode runs the manufacturers ECU map.

P1 is where things get interesting. The moment you slot to P1, the engine becomes less clattery, more refined and eager to rev. Gear shifts are smoother. Low end delivery improves marginally, but it's post 2000rpm where all the action takes place. Engine just pulls so cleanly. Shifts are a lot easier and earlier. I think the projected numbers does hold up very well. Riding around town becomes easy too. This is the mode I use the most.

P2 is the afterburner mode! Power delivery is explosive. You pick up speed much faster than expected. Again, it's post 2000rpm where the action lies. Revs just keep on rising. I usually don't rev too much. Even in spirited driving, I shift at around 3000 - 3500rpm. Haven't tried P2 for extended periods of time though. Just a few instances of taking off from the green light. One reason is that P1 really makes me happy. Second being that driving on P2, braking is kind of a nervous affair with the ABS kicking in every now and then. Although I must say, the numbers projected are a bit too optimistic IMO. But perfect to teach that odd arrogant driver a lesson

Eco mode is mainly used for sedate driving, but once you experience P1 in traffic it's hard to switch to Eco. It's certainly driveable, but I rather prefer the P1's early power delivery, lesser gear shifts and the much needed occasional thrust to close into that gap in traffic.

So what does all this translate into in real life? Recently I put it to test against the mighty scorpion!

(Stint with a scorpion)

The shoes

No athlete is perfect without some good shoes to go with him, and no car is perfect without some darn good tyres!
The Apollos that my car came with were a poor choice IMO. Ofcourse, I never realized it until I switched to Michelins. The grip they provide are excellent. Ride is really pliant. And the increased width even adds more to the appeal( I bet 205 would look even better).

ICE- Cool or not?


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(The cockpit)

The Megaaudio system was procured from VW themselves. It definitely lifts the interior ambience, especially at night. I can't say I'm fully satisfied with it though.

Music - Sound quality is decent while playing through my USB. Playing from my Nexus 5 via Bluetooth is even better.

Video - Although a nifty feature, I hadn't used this after the first day :P

GPS - has a mind of it's own. Comes preloaded with iGo maps, should have rebranded it as 'napmyIndia'. Have left me stranded in the middle of nowhere a few times. Had to rely on Google to get me out. Any way I can install mapmyIndia or Google maps to the system??

Reverse camera works great in daytime. Too grainy at night. Also slotting into reverse gear takes a 2 sec delay for the feed to come up on screen.

Also has a slot for SD card, and an iPod connector.
In short, had to pay a bomb for the system but not fully satisfied.

OBDII scanner - Sourced from eBay and works like a charm.

Osram night breakers - Illumination is much better than stock headlights. Really helpful during those night drives.

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(Lights up the gloomiest of days)

To sum it up

The Likes

- Addictive power delivery

- Accomplished dynamics

- Impeccable fit and finish

- Looks- even though conservative, the shadow blue exudes a lot of class.

- Well thought out interior. Everything falls within easy reach.

The dislikes

- A bit more steering feel would've been wonderful.

- Gearshifts are pretty hard. In the Hyundai, they're just silky smooth.

- Cost of maintenance : A friend of mine has a BMW 520d. His first service costs 9000/- while mine came upto 12000/-. Costly spares, paint etc.

- The wipers are not so great. Sweeps are not the cleanest I've seen.

- The air conditioner is not quite the chiller, especially when compared to the Korean. I have also noticed that outside smells do get in, even if AC is set in recirculation mode.

-VW's adamant stance on even minor mods. That was what prompted me to buy the less than perfect MegaAudio system from the dealership itself.



Meanwhile the M800 Uniq was replaced in 2014.


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(Youngest in the family)


Currently the Stallion has run almost 28,000 kms. Finished her second service in May. I have noticed an increase in mileage post the second service though. Now I get almost 18 kpl, even with hard driving on the highways.
(P.S: I know Stallion and 'her' doesnt go together, but cant find a better way to express my feelings)

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(Plasters a grin on my face everytime I see her, and even a wider one when I take her out!)

Last edited by GKR9900 : 15th November 2015 at 09:41.
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Old 25th January 2015, 16:36   #2
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Default re: VW Vento R-Line: With Race Dynamics DieselTronic Pro

Ah, that is such a great colour than the Vento or for that matter any car can get. The shade of blue is unique and does attract attention. Majority of the Vento's that are seen are silver/white. The blue that I see on the roads here hook my eyes completely.

Good to see the goodies for the R-line! Do try Philips Xtreme Vision headlamps when possible. They are better than Osram NB+ too.

Happy mile crunching on the Vento!
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Old 25th January 2015, 16:44   #3
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Default re: VW Vento R-Line: With Race Dynamics DieselTronic Pro

Interesting write-up. Seemed honest and your test-drive experience pretty much sums up Vento's assets. Here's to many more satisfied miles with the car

Seeing that you are the kind of enthusiast who loves driving, I am shocked to see you run your car on Michelin XM2s. The difference that a good set of shoes will make is more pronounced than the performance difference your RD Dieseltronics box would make. Please switch over to Yoko S Drives or Bridgestone Potenzas next time to see what grip, steering response, predictability, feel, braking and wet traction are all about

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Old 25th January 2015, 20:35   #4
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Originally Posted by a4anurag View Post
Do try Philips Xtreme Vision headlamps when possible. They are better than Osram NB+ too.

Happy mile crunching on the Vento!
Thank you sir Are the Philips headlamps plug 'n' play ? Do we need additional relay system? Would definitely like to try them out if they're even better!

Quote:
Originally Posted by IshaanIan View Post
Interesting write-up. Seemed honest and your test-drive experience pretty much sums up Vento's assets. Here's to many more satisfied miles with the car

Seeing that you are the kind of enthusiast who loves driving, I am shocked to see you run your car on Michelin XM2s. The difference that a good set of shoes will make is more pronounced than the performance difference your RD Dieseltronics box would make. Please switch over to Yoko S Drives or Bridgestone Potenzas next time to see what grip, steering response, predictability, feel, braking and wet traction are all about
Thank you sir Regarding the Michelins, it was kind of like a blind decision as we had used them in our Fiesta and the difference in ride quality was absolutely stunning! I never imagined Yoko and Bridgestone would be so much more capable. Will definitely try them out next time!

Could anyone please tell me if there's a way to change the default iGo maps to mapmyIndia? I am not sure about the OS running the ICE. It seems pretty cheap as a couple of times, an error message popped up like a Windows pop-up , but in Chinese.

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Old 25th January 2015, 21:52   #5
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Thank you sir. Are the Philips headlamps plug 'n' play ? Do we need additional relay system? Would definitely like to try them out if they're even better!
IIRC, the Vento had H4 headlamps right?

The Philips Xtreme Vision (60/55W H4) cost around 1100 a pair. It is plug and play "IF" it is H4 type.

I love night driving with these bulbs as compared to stock bulbs (Osram Bilux 60/55W H4).
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Old 25th January 2015, 22:00   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GKR9900 View Post
Thank you sir Regarding the Michelins, it was kind of like a blind decision as we had used them in our Fiesta and the difference in ride quality was absolutely stunning! I never imagined Yoko and Bridgestone would be so much more capable. Will definitely try them out next time!

Could anyone please tell me if there's a way to change the default iGo maps to mapmyIndia? I am not sure about the OS running the ICE. It seems pretty cheap as a couple of times, an error message popped up like a Windows pop-up , but in Chinese.
Sir? Please! I can see from your profile that you are both older than me and a doctor. I am younger and squandering my talents in far less meaningful areas. I don't deserve to be called "Sir"

Anyway, it is not about the brand it is about the kind of tyre. Michelins too have the Pilot Sport range. The tyres you run on right now are low rolling resistance hard compound tyres designed to increase mileage and nothing else. The tyres I am referring to are all UHP (Ultra High-Performance Summer) tyres.
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Old 25th January 2015, 22:22   #7
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Originally Posted by a4anurag View Post

IIRC, the Vento had H4 headlamps right?

The Philips Xtreme Vision (60/55W H4) cost around 1100 a pair. It is plug and play "IF" it is H4 type.

I love night driving with these bulbs as compared to stock bulbs (Osram Bilux 60/55W H4).
Yup! The bulbs are H4. Will definitely keep this in mind as I am planning to upgrade headlamps, fog lamps etc some time later this year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IshaanIan View Post

Sir? Please! I can see from your profile that you are both older than me and a doctor. I am younger and squandering my talents in far less meaningful areas. I don't deserve to be called "Sir"

Anyway, it is not about the brand it is about the kind of tyre. Michelins too have the Pilot Sport range. The tyres you run on right now are low rolling resistance hard compound tyres designed to increase mileage and nothing else. The tyres I am referring to are all UHP (Ultra High-Performance Summer) tyres.
Point duly noted bro! No more 'sir' I have to agree I didn't do my homework well before zeroing in on the tyres. Well, there's always a next time :P
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Old 16th November 2015, 11:28   #8
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Default Re: VW Vento R-Line: With Race Dynamics DieselTronic Pro

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Modifications Section. Thanks for sharing!
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