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Old 29th August 2011, 21:39   #2731
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Default Re: Volkswagen Vento : Test Drive & Review

Yesterday I got an opportunity to drive the Polo for respectable distance/time/traffic conditions/road conditions etc. I grabbed the opportunity only to come back with some mixed feelings. As a 'To Be (or Not To Be)' owner of the Vento am going to split my feedback into 2 sections, things are invariably common with the Vento and stuff that is specific to the polo (which did not concern me much). Before Vento owners bash me, remember, I have booked the Vento and waiting for delivery.

To describe the drive

- 17.4 Kmís or really bad road (bad as in no road, just red mud with crater size holes and almost no black topping)
- The 17.4km stretch took us around 2 hrs to cross as it was in a god-forsaken area. We ended up there due to GPS trying to help us with the shortest route. There was no traffic, actually we were the only ones who rode the road except for an once in a blue moon bus - precisely 3 of them in that entire time and about 10 - 15 odd motorbikes
- 120 Kmís of well tarred road
- Some 40 odd Km's of average road with the regular potholes
- 20 odd Km's of City road
- 4 People in the Polo
- Morning/Afternoon lean Sunday traffic in city & in the highway (NH 5 - Part of the GQ)
- Evening traffic (Bumper to Bumper for around 50 mins in Anna Nagar - Nugambakkam stretch; Chennai folks will understand what I mean. For Mumbai folks, itís probably same as Worli Naka - Peddar Road stretch or the InnerRingRoad towards Koramangala in the evening for Bangalore folks)

What is common between the Polo & the Vento as far as I am concerned (Feel free to correct me)
- The driver cabin space, seat positioning, legroom, reachability of Clutch, Brake, Accelerator
- Frontal view, Ground Clearance
- NVH level (to an extent)

About people in the car

- Am 6"1', medium built & my wife
- My wife's friend (the other driver/owner of the car) 6" and on the heavy side of build & his wife

Another Wagon R toed us which had 3 occupanants or average build/height. The Polo in question is 60days old with 2000 odd Kmís on the ODO.

Segment 1
The ride on the really bad bad bad (bad x 100) patch of the road was a huge eye opener. I had the (mis)opportunity to drive the 17.4km stretch on a god forsaken part of the earth. I hardly saw any black topping; it was red mud all the way through half of it washed away by rain and the other half with deep tread marks of a tractor in many places. There were some really crater size holes on the road.

With me driver and my heavy built front sitting beside me, any average size hole we had to put the car through at a speed of 10Kmph (maybe less) and with all the angular driving and trying to find the sweet(est) spot, the bottom scraped. These were the same spots the Wagon R passed through without much trouble. Especially with my heavy friend sitting on the back the car seemed to be happy scrapping ever other pothole (but again these are not the regular pot holes we find in our regular bad roads, these are probably crater holes). So when a really bad one came at a couple of spots I asked my friend to get down and then we did manage to pass through with relatively minor scrapes. With similar suspension and similar ground clearance am sure the Vento would have just about fared the same way. Probably the larger tyres would have helped a small bit but defiantly not a big difference. In comparison the Wagon R which had 3 passengers passed through much of the holes without scrapping the bottom. Itís a car that has seen the farther side of 60K odd Km's

Driving through the average road gave me a huge relief after 120 mins of grueling drive but every 'normal' pothole resulted with a nice thud

But I have to commend the car on a well paved surface - seems well planted, well behaved and gives you the confidence to zip around those massive 18 wheelers who randomly occupy the left as well as the right side of the lane in a zig zag fashion

Now for the most painful part of the drive - my knee, literally. The space between the curvature of the dash and the lever like thing which you have to use to tilt the steering wheel is the part where your knee will slot into under normal driving conditions - and man the space is extremely stingy. The left part of my left knee still hurts. Am sure the setup is same in the Vento and this scares me. The only relief (marginally though) was to push the seat back by a large extent but this being the polo played spoil sport with the rear occupanants comfort. Also pushing the seat back largely screws up with the driving position. So to me it sounds like getting a superb driving position is going to be tough. I am comparing this to my Indica and the SX4. The former is oodles of space and the later though not the best dint play spoil sport with my bones.

I used the steering in the top most position while typically in the SX4 i tilt it to the bottom most position which makes me feel comfortable.

Finally I was in the city traffic (it was 7:30pm and I was tired after a long day) and the bad traffic got at my nerves a lot. The stop go traffic and the hard, springy clutch was really the last thing I wanted. Its no fun to drive a diesel sedan with a hard clutch in city traffic (I have been driving a series of petrol cars for the past 15 years).

On the positive side, I felt every knob, every stalk work with a reassuring click which speaks about decent quality. The dash looks decent too but I have read about the bray interiors in Vento playing spoil sport. So following are the grouses worry I carry forward from the Polo which I think will be there in the Vento

Question to Vento Owners
- Stingy cabin space and driver positioning, specially the knee part which is at arms with the dashboard. How bad is it (appreciate honest answers please)
- How reassuring is the suspension on bad potholes
- How about long distance drives; Do you guys feel really refreshing
- How good is the car in stop go traffic? Does it get at your nerves, specially the hard clutch?
- The engine, enough has been said about it, but boy, is it noisy?!? It sounds like a old sumo, seriously...

On the brighter side
- Am happy with high speed road manners
- The frugality of the engine
- Build quality of various things in the car
- Looks pretty good

Segment 2 (Polo specific)
- Rear space is too confined. I will never buy this unless its only 2 people and probably a small child
- The engine is a pain in lower RPMS / especially when you are either in 1 or 2, drives like a tractor.
- Takes ages to reach respectable speed, I really was cautions about a number of overtakes in the single laned roads and had to downshift often


Having done the ride, I am having second thoughts about the Vento now. The primary reason is the driving comfort. I donít want to end up with a sore knee every other day for the next 6 or so years. So I am kind of wondering weather I am still doing the right thing by sticking to my decision to get the car. While one can conclude with a ďto each his ownĒ advise, I am looking forward to feedback from fellow BHPians on the points/concerned raised.
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Old 30th August 2011, 00:11   #2732
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Default Re: Volkswagen Vento : Test Drive & Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by SR-71 View Post
What is common between the Polo & the Vento as far as I am concerned (Feel free to correct me) [ Can't comment, never driven a Polo ]
- The driver cabin space, seat positioning, legroom, reachability of Clutch, Brake, Accelerator
- Frontal view, Ground Clearance
- NVH level (to an extent)
Question to Vento Owners
- Stingy cabin space [ Thats something new that I am hearing, reviews and personal experience says otherwise ] and driver positioning, specially the knee part which is at arms with the dashboard. How bad is it (appreciate honest answers please) [ I am 180 cm and comfortably fit in without the knee hitting the dash or whatever - even when i used the Swift I used to push back the seat . For Vento at least there is enough leg space in the rear behind me for an average Indian male to be seated comfortably. I took a few days to get used to the low stance of the car coming from a tall boy habit where i used to walk in - banged my head a few times . Now its not a problem ]
- How reassuring is the suspension on bad potholes [I don't know how much aware you are of Mumbai roads. My daily commute is through the BPT road , there the craters are possibly big enough to show up on google map The car has never scraped , let alone give any issues. The best part is that even after the daily torture there is not even a single creaking noise ! ]
- How about long distance drives; Do you guys feel really refreshing [ Done 3-4 long drives - Mumbai - Goa - Mumbai trip , 675 km (each way) in 10-11 hrs with 1 break being the longest . Pretty comfortable effortless driving. Highway driving should be a breeze though I doubt anyone would have a refreshed feel after 10-11 hours of dodging trucks and wrong side traffic ]
- How good is the car in stop go traffic? Does it get at your nerves, specially the hard clutch? [ Clutch is hard without a doubt especially in the first 5-10K km . Frankly if thats a big issue then you should go for the automatic . Manuals would be either hard or very hard to start off with ]- The engine, enough has been said about it, but boy, is it noisy?!? It sounds like a old sumo, seriously... [Agreedand it will stay noisy, VW TDi is built to be noisy. I hate the idling rrrrrr but absolutely love the mid and high rev note. I use 100% AC and some music or the other softly plays in my car so I live with just the first few minutes of the idling note ]
Tried adequately to give reply to your queries as above - all the best for whichever car you choose .
cheers
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Old 30th August 2011, 02:05   #2733
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Default Re: Volkswagen Vento : Test Drive & Review

Note about my previous post on this thread: Was on the phone then. Made posts to both, the Nissan Sunny thread and this one. Strangely, I just noticed that reply made on the Nissan Sunny thread is here also! Probably my mistake. Probably something else. Reported to mods to delete.

Quote:
Originally Posted by evilshantanu View Post
So the flashing of the glow plug (heater coil) is back again, and hence the Car is again going to the dealer tomorrow.

The attitude of the Service adviser is very good. He picks up my call in 2-3 rings, hears me out and come up with a solution right away. In this case arranging for the vehicle to be picked up. Since the vehicle is under warranty, no charges are being levied for the pick up / drop off.

Moreover when I got the vehicle the last time, they cleaned the seats etc complimentary, free of cost :-)

I just hope they are able to rectify this problem soon
The attitude of the service folks (sales too, for that matter) makes so much of a difference to the experience with the car. If it is easier to get the car's niggles sorted out (free pickup and a good SA helps a lot), we tend to get them rectified sooner and eventually remember them lesser. Thereby improving the overall experience and feel-good factor.

A few odd freebies (seats cleaning) too help. Takes some of the pain away from the botheration.

Anyone planning a service model for a car company should bear this in mind, IMO.
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Old 30th August 2011, 10:19   #2734
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Default Re: Volkswagen Vento : Test Drive & Review

My response to your queries

- I too found the driver positioning a bit odd. It is being amplified by the fact that the seat width is little narrow and the dashboard is quite high set. Though I got used to it within a week's time, I'm still not too happy with it. Back support is quite satisfactory though. Left knee does rub against the center console, but still there is room on the left of the clutch pedal to rest your foot.

- Suspension makes a loud thud noise if you go through a pot holes at moderate speed, apart from that they work very well.

As far as the bottom scraping goes - from the description of the road that you provided, any sedan/hatchback with the exception of wagon-R and Swift will scrape its bellies. Did you also check if it is the mud-flap of the polo which took the hit - this has been widely reported in the forum and is due to its poor design.

- Though I have not undertaken any long distance drives yet, I would expect them to be quite comfortable due to the good road manners of this car.

- Hard clutch - Dont remind me about it! Though diesels in general have hard clutches compared to their petrol counterparts, this one without doubt is hard. It also has a strong release/backforce which results in jerks if you are releasing it a little quick. This is a definite negative, especially if you drive a lot on B2B traffic.

- Engine is pretty noisy - No two ways about it. It definitely feels old school as far as refinement is concerned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SR-71 View Post

Question to Vento Owners
- Stingy cabin space and driver positioning, specially the knee part which is at arms with the dashboard. How bad is it (appreciate honest answers please)
- How reassuring is the suspension on bad potholes
- How about long distance drives; Do you guys feel really refreshing
- How good is the car in stop go traffic? Does it get at your nerves, specially the hard clutch?
- The engine, enough has been said about it, but boy, is it noisy?!? It sounds like a old sumo, seriously...
If not the vento, what else? Honestly every car in this segment is a compromise and I settled for the best compromise which suited my requirements. Your observations all are very right and I share the same sentiments. If effort of driving is the priority then you can take a look at the verna, but then be ready to compromise on all the other positives that you highlighted in your post! I'd be happy to answer any other questions you may have!!!

Quote:
Having done the ride, I am having second thoughts about the Vento now. The primary reason is the driving comfort. I don’t want to end up with a sore knee every other day for the next 6 or so years. So I am kind of wondering weather I am still doing the right thing by sticking to my decision to get the car. While one can conclude with a “to each his own” advise, I am looking forward to feedback from fellow BHPians on the points/concerned raised.

Last edited by bala80 : 30th August 2011 at 10:23.
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Old 30th August 2011, 10:42   #2735
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Post Re: Volkswagen Vento : Test Drive & Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by SR-71 View Post

About people in the car

- Am 6"1', medium built & my wife
- My wife's friend (the other driver/owner of the car) 6" and on the heavy side of build & his wife
Hope you and other guy is 6'1" and 6'. (else it is too small) Just joking

By the way the Polo you driven was 1.2 Petrol/Diesel or 1.6? If 1.2 how was the drive-ability with full load and NVH level?

Cheers!

Vinu

Last edited by myavu : 30th August 2011 at 10:43.
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Old 30th August 2011, 11:00   #2736
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Default Re: Volkswagen Vento : Test Drive & Review

I hope I answered your questions
Quote:
Originally Posted by SR-71 View Post

Question to Vento Owners
- Stingy cabin space and driver positioning, specially the knee part which is at arms with the dashboard. How bad is it (appreciate honest answers please)
I'm 5'8", I didn't find the cabin space for driver stingy. My friend who is more than 6 feet also found the cabin space good after pushing the driver seat bit back.
- How reassuring is the suspension on bad potholes Suspension is real good. But on craters you might hear a thud. But Scrapping is very very minimal
- How about long distance drives; Do you guys feel really refreshingDid Pune-Goa and other long distances, Not at all tiring
- How good is the car in stop go traffic? Does it get at your nerves, specially the hard clutch?Yes, clutch was hard in the beginning, but i got used to it, now, its pretty normal.
- The engine, enough has been said about it, but boy, is it noisy?!? It sounds like a old sumo, seriously...This is the only part i hated, during the cold start, but later it diminishes. Turn on the A/C, music and then there is no clatter sound
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Old 30th August 2011, 14:42   #2737
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SR-71 View Post

Now for the most painful part of the drive - my knee, literally.
and man the space is extremely stingy.
spoil sport with the rear occupants comfort.
largely screws up with the driving position.
Its no fun to drive a diesel sedan with a hard clutch in city traffic

I felt every knob, every stalk work with a reassuring click which speaks about decent quality.
The dash looks decent too but I have read about the bray interiors in Vento playing spoil sport.


Question to Vento Owners
- Stingy cabin space and driver positioning, specially the knee part which is at arms with the dashboard. How bad is it (appreciate honest answers please)
- How reassuring is the suspension on bad potholes
- How about long distance drives; Do you guys feel really refreshing
- How good is the car in stop go traffic? Does it get at your nerves, specially the hard clutch?
- The engine, enough has been said about it, but boy, is it noisy?!? It sounds like a old sumo, seriously...

Having done the ride, I am having second thoughts about the Vento now. The primary reason is the driving comfort.

Though I am not a owner of Vento, I thought I will take a go at it. I don't mean to demean the car, but it is a cramped up sedan for tall people. Not a very comfortable, soft, luxurious, pleasurable car you would have imagined it to be in your head for its imported brand.

I short listed your observations on a POLO ^^^ and you are right its almost the same with VENTO

Getting in and out is difficult (after using cars like SX4/Indica/santro/swift)
Seating on the driver seat is cramped - the knee fits the same place
There isn't much space at the back once the seat is pushed back for a 6 footer's comfort.
Driving it around is a lot of energy, I got tired after the TD
The quality of the finer details are nice
Sturdy machine
Noisy sure, but it is not that bad as the Indica Diesel
You can't seat more than 4 comfortably unless they are anorexics super models
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Old 30th August 2011, 18:21   #2738
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SR-71 View Post
Question to Vento Owners
- Stingy cabin space and driver positioning, specially the knee part which is at arms with the dashboard. How bad is it (appreciate honest answers please)
- How reassuring is the suspension on bad potholes
- How about long distance drives; Do you guys feel really refreshing
- How good is the car in stop go traffic? Does it get at your nerves, specially the hard clutch?
- The engine, enough has been said about it, but boy, is it noisy?!? It sounds like a old sumo, seriously...

.
My 2 cents

- I am 5ft 10 in didnt find the seat cramped at all. and trust me I drive a lot, in the last 7 months I have driven my car 18,500 KM, every single KM driven by me

- If you have seen the ORR in Bangalore (where practically there is no road left) I have never had any complaints with the suspension, or the GC of the car

- I have driven to Goa, Mumbai, Chennai, Pondicherry, Shimoga, Hampi in this car already, and yes no sign of tiredness

- The clutch is definitely on the harder side, but its not a pain at all. I travel a lot in city as well

- it sounds like an old Sumo, well that can be a comparison, but does it perform like the engine of Sumo ? Nowhere close to it. If you follow TDI engines, then all over the world their noise is on the higher side, but the bigger point here is the cabin is well insulated from all these noises. If you observe, Laura's engine (also a TDI) also makes the most noise in its segment, but do we have any doubts on the performance of that engine ?
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Old 30th August 2011, 18:46   #2739
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Quote:
Originally Posted by el lobo 6061 View Post

How come you came to look underneath the seat.
Are you getting leather seats or something of that order done on your car. Try asking the A.S.S. if they could be of any help in the matter.
I had Stanley seats done soon after purchase as the original seats covers pick up stains too easily and are difficult to bring up to original standards despite having very good cleaners and spray extractors.

This time I pulled out the seats to clean the rails of sand a sales assistant had spilled when towels on the floor were replaced by 3D mats. It was not easy to clean it.

That is the story of why the seats were taken off. Rust is bilateral - both seats and throughout all the springs. It is not something newly formed. Will take it up with VW directly. The dealers will just mess up the car.
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Old 30th August 2011, 19:12   #2740
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Quote:
Originally Posted by basky

That is the story of why the seats were taken off. Rust is bilateral - both seats and throughout all the springs. It is not something newly formed. Will take it up with VW directly. The dealers will just mess up the car.
Basky, just for curiosity sake, can you check the VIN of your car and confirm if it is recent enough? I suspect otherwise. could be the reason for the rusting.
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Old 31st August 2011, 07:48   #2741
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nileshch View Post
Basky, just for curiosity sake, can you check the VIN of your car and confirm if it is recent enough? I suspect otherwise. could be the reason for the rusting.
Just checked the VIN and it is June 2011. The springs will be common to the range and even the seat frames must be outsourced and will definitely older than the manufactured date.

My thought is that these springs as with other components should be sufficiently protected with sufficient nickel plating or even epoxy paint to prevent rusting even after 6 years. It must be the case of a supplier cutting corners and the company overlooking it as it is an unlikely place for the customer to see. You will need a spline tool No10 to remove the seats.

So manufacturers beware: TBHP will see EVERYTHING
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Old 31st August 2011, 08:58   #2742
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Default Re: Volkswagen Vento : Test Drive & Review

SR-71, finding it a little odd that you would drive a Polo and extrapolate to a Vento . But since you asked:

Quote:
Originally Posted by SR-71 View Post
Question to Vento Owners
- Stingy cabin space and driver positioning, specially the knee part which is at arms with the dashboard. How bad is it (appreciate honest answers please)
The Highline has seat height adjustment, reach AND rake adjust on the steering on the driver's seat in addition to the regular front/back and seat incline adjustment. It may take some time but you WILL find the perfect sitting position without banging your knees.
I hate sitting in the passenger seat now- the position is really awkward without the height adjust. Thankfully I don't have to and the missus thinks it's pretty comfy!

Quote:
- How reassuring is the suspension on bad potholes
Not had any bad experiences yet. The rigid mudflaps scrape the ground occasionally. Suspension is perfectly set up if you ask me. I once had 3 heavily built guys in the back and that is the ONLY time I was nervous.

Quote:
- How about long distance drives; Do you guys feel really refreshing
Absolutely. I do Pune-Mumbai quite frequently. Have also done Solapur round trip on the same day (nearly 1000 km) and Aurangabad etc. in this car. Fatigue levels are less than in my Swift. Must confess though- it may be the AT or my plush leather seats that cause the difference! The light steering, excellent ride and handling also contribute.

Quote:
- How good is the car in stop go traffic? Does it get at your nerves, specially the hard clutch?
I don't have a clutch . The AT is a boon in stop and go traffic, except for the absymal FE it returns when consistently run in city traffic.

Quote:
- The engine, enough has been said about it, but boy, is it noisy?!? It sounds like a old sumo, seriously...
From what I remember of my TDI test drive, the clatter was noticeable but not all that bad. The petrol engine is virtually noiseless (sometimes need to check if engine is actually running).

Quote:
On the brighter side
- Am happy with high speed road manners
- The frugality of the engine
- Build quality of various things in the car
- Looks pretty good
You summed it pretty well. The car is ideal for people upto 5'10" or so- taller folks may have a serious visibility problem which I find very funny in a German car. Ingress/egress is something you get used to quickly so I don't see the big deal about it. There are a number of small things that take the experience from ordinary to special, which you'll discover once you are an owner (for a headstart, look up Souravc's thread).
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Old 31st August 2011, 11:21   #2743
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noopster View Post
The car is ideal for people upto 5'10" or so- taller folks may have a serious visibility problem which I find very funny in a German car. Ingress/egress is something you get used to quickly so I don't see the big deal about it. There are a number of small things that take the experience from ordinary to special, which you'll discover once you are an owner (for a headstart, look up Souravc's thread).
The Vento is a fantastic car in its class. Germans too make some little mistakes - like deciding on an avearage indian -height, knowledge about cars etc but they will learn in time. If they do a little to improve the attitude of the Sales and Service staff, life will be good for us as customers.
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Old 31st August 2011, 13:31   #2744
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SR-71 View Post
- Stingy cabin space and driver positioning, specially the knee part which is at arms with the dashboard. How bad is it (appreciate honest answers please)
- How reassuring is the suspension on bad potholes
- How about long distance drives; Do you guys feel really refreshing
- How good is the car in stop go traffic? Does it get at your nerves, specially the hard clutch?
- The engine, enough has been said about it, but boy, is it noisy?!? It sounds like a old sumo, seriously...
Cabin space is very decent atleast for me (5'8''). The dashboard do eat up a bit on the knee space, but I can also rest my knee there. Frankly speaking it was never a problem. I like the seating to be on the lower side and the steering too. And the Vento does provide both of these adjustments. Great!

The suspension has never bottomed out. But there is a thud noise when going over big-potholes at decent speeds. Underbody scrapping? Never.
But mainly it is because of 1 or 2 people on board. So cant comment what will happen when fully loaded.

Long distance drive is not at all tiring. However the only irritating thing I found was the Horn. It is not easily accessible. And it requires a bodybuilder's thumb power. But driving at night on Highway may be a bit more tricky. Thanks to inadequate headlight illumination.

90% of our drive is in city traffic. I found the clutch a bit harder than the petrol cars. But it was never an issue. The vibration in clutch padal was something I used complain about. My dad had absolutely no complains whatsoever.

The only grouse other than the archaic ICE is the engine refinement. This is our 1st oilburner. So cant help but complain about refinement. It sounds like a matador from outside. Quite embarrassing for a 10L car. On the inside things are lot better. But there is a continuous rrrrr noise at idle. Also the noise while revving is no way sweet like a petrol. If refinement is your primary concern. Stay away.
But this engine delivers performance that is leagues above the others. Just tap the throttle and you are pushed in the back and you remain pinned there throughout (1800-4000) RPM and may be more I dont know yet.

If you are looking for a fun to drive diesel sedan, buy it with eyes closed.
If you are looking for practicality, well it offers more than Linea, Verna and Fiesta. So there you go again.
IMO it is the best compromise.

Last edited by oxyzen : 31st August 2011 at 13:32.
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Old 31st August 2011, 19:40   #2745
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Of course if you want to buy a car where you have to go to the PDI for checking whether there are rusts in the body parts, undercarriage , hinges then you should TD Optra . It depends on whether you are trying to go for "more car per car" (tranlsates to more metres per lakh) or a better built , better performing, much better finish car. Optra comes at the same price at Vento with a 2.0 ltr engine , leather seats , etc but still sells hardly 200 units per month as compared to the Ventos 3000 per month . Well, some of the Optra owners love to give the impression that they are the true connoiseurs of car and have discovered a hidden gem! I find it laughable that Vento's engine refinement has been termed as " a lot to be desired " - equating noisiness of the engine to refinement is seriously a "gimme a break" moment !
Some of the well known issues of Optra are :-
1. Build quality
2. Suspension problems - GM charges a bomb to replace it
3. Under steer and body roll - high speed stability ??
4. Rapid degradation in car performance - paper stats is good , you maybe holding a lemon after 2 years
I am ignoring the issue of resale value for the time being .
Optra is not even thought of as a competition by any of the C segment players - the fight is between ANHC, Vento , ANHV (and Ford Fiesta lately) - advisable to stick to any of these .

Last edited by GTO : 2nd September 2011 at 15:17. Reason: Quoted post has been deleted
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