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Old 20th January 2013, 12:43   #1
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Default It's a VW Vento (Petrol Highline AT)

Background

Our hunt for a new car started almost 9 months ago, and saw us test driving a ridiculously wide range of vehicles. At the end however, we ended up buying the car which was probably the No 2 contender even before we started, the Volkswagen Vento Petrol Highline AT.

My wife and I live in mid town Bombay, and have daily commutes in opposite directions - I work at Nariman Point, while my wife is at BKC. Net result, we have had two cars for most of the past decade. Our current rides were a Skoda Superb 1.8 Tsi AT (see the review here ) and a Hyundai Getz. The Getz was purchased back in 2005, and was clearly showing its age - the AC would occasionally act up, and the pick up was mediocre even though it has covered under 60,000 km. Net result - it was due for a replacement.

Given the usual trend towards slight upward mobility each time you purchase a car, the obvious choice was the Honda City. But a combination of factors made us consider a much wider set.

The obvious one was the massive differential between petrol and diesel prices. When I bought my Superb in 2010, I did not for a minute think about the diesel - the petrol was much better to drive, I had not realized how significant the design flaws with the DQ200 7 speed DSG were, and with a price difference of over Rs. 3 lakhs and with petrol at Rs. 54 per litre and diesel at about Rs. 42 + an annual commute of about 10,000 km, the economics seemed to be clearly in favour of the petrol. By early 2012, the price differential had increased from Rs. 12 per litre to Rs. 30+, and seemed to be heading only one way - and hence a diesel seemed attractive.

The other big difference was the cultural change in my friends circle between 2010 and 2012. When I bought my Superb, most of my colleagues (seniors, juniors and peers) were buying cars from the same bracket - Accords, Superbs, and the odd Passat. By 2012, this had changed. A number of friends had picked up 3 series, and some were seriously considering 5 Series or A6s. Given that we keep our cars for at least 6-7 years, I was sorely tempted by the idea of trading up to a luxury car. (Do I want to wait till I am almost 45 before buying a luxury car?). Hence the new 3 series and the 5 series entered the consideration set.

The third parameter was that while my wife has a driver, neither she nor I like depending on him - and hence the car had to be easy to drive and park. Hence, despite the desire to keep upgrading, we also decided to look at small hatch backs. And given that I found the AT in my Superb was highly addictive, we decided to look at both AT and manual versions of all cars.


The Shortlist (or perhaps the Long List)

After spending some time on Team BHP et al, we decided to consider the following cars:

Mid size sedans

1. Honda City Petrol AT and MT
2. VW Vento Petrol AT
3. VW Vento Diesel MT
4. Hyundai Verna Petrol AT
5. Hyundai Verna Diesel AT
6. Ford Fiesta Petrol AT

I would have added the Skoda Rapid twins to this list, but my wife vetoed Skoda after the DSG failure on my Superb.

Hatchbacks

1. Honda Jazz
2. VW Polo 1.6

We did not like the looks of the Skoda Fabia, and my wife felt that the Hyundai i20 was too cramped in the rear for her comfort

Luxury Cars

My wife was pretty clear that buying a luxury car did not make sense. But nonetheless, I decided to include the following luxury cars to the list

1. BMW 320 D (F-30)
2. BMW 520 D
3. BMW x1 -diesel

A friend had picked up the 525 D, but I decided that Rs. 45 lakhs ex showroom was far too much.

We thought about the D1 segment, but decided that cars in that segment were priced too close to the lower end of the luxury segment to make sense.


Test Drive Results

BMW 520D

From this long list, the first car that I test drove was the 520D. A friend (who eventually ended up buying it) had called for a 520D at our office, I went along for the ride, and I ended up driving it from Chowpatty back to Nariman Point.

Frankly the car was a disappointment. The rear seat room was decidedly mediocre when compared to my Superb. Though the car is much more powerful than the Superb, I could not find a material difference during my test drive. Marine Drive did not give me an opportunity to test its handling, and the feature list seemed quite skinny (except for the very nice sun roof and the auto hold). I was clear that spending Rs. 40 lakhs odd ex showroom for this car was not worthwhile.

BMW 328 i

The new 3 had just been launched, and I decided to push the dealer for a test drive. They were not yet willing to bring the car, either to my home or my office, but offered to get me a test drive if I went to their showroom. When I went there, it turned out that the 320 D test drive car was not available, but I was offered a drive of the 328i instead. An interior inspection revealed that this car was much better in terms of rear seat space than the old 3 series, and was arguably almost as spacious in the back as the 5. We started with the sales agent behind the wheel, rounded the turn at the Samudra Mahal traffic signal and then he put the car in S mode and gunned it. He could keep accelerating only till the next signal but the "pushed back in your seat" feeling was astounding. I had a fairly long test drive on Worli sea face, and it was clear that this car was far superior to anything I had ever driven before (replacing the Mercedes C 250 CDI which I had test driven the previous year as the best car I have ever driven). The only downside was that BMW was offering the 328i only in a fully loaded Sports Plus version - which cost Rs. 40 lakhs ex showroom. Further, they had very few cars allotted, and the choice of interior and exterior colours was severely limited. I strongly suspect that if they had offered a Luxury version for about Rs. 35 lakhs, I would have considered this car seriously. But the pricing was much beyond what I wanted to spend.

BMW 320D

A few days later, I managed to get hold of the 320D for a test drive. In terms of acceleration and driving feel, it was much better than the 520D, but no where near as good as the 328i. Further, the engine was quite noisy (the 520D, which uses the same engine has much better sound insulation). While most T BHPians think that the 320 D is a better driver car than the C 250 CDI, I have to disagree - in my view, the C 250 CDI is a much better car to drive (even if its rear seat is a torture chamber). The Luxury Plus version seemed over priced - no discounts were on offer, which made the price difference compared to what my friend eventually paid for the 520 D negligible. But with the much cheaper Luxury trim available, this car seemed to be a decent performer as an overall package, and I decided to consider it seriously.

The next day, I broached the topic with my wife. "Why don't you come with me to test the new 3 Series? It's a great car - I think you will love it." But it was of no avail. My wife was very clear that buying a 3 series as "her car" was a non starter, as was transferring the Superb to her. "If you want to buy a BMW, sell your Superb and buy one. But don't try to fire off my shoulder." That obviously did not make economic sense. And my BMW dreams were postponed to 2016.

Last edited by Hayek : 20th January 2013 at 13:58.
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Old 20th January 2013, 15:10   #2
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The Business End of Our Test Drive Saga

After having fooled around testing a bunch of BMWs, I decided that it does not make sense for me to attempt to choose a car for my wife without her coming along for the test drives - and most further drives were done jointly by the two of us. The results were as under:

Honda City Petrol AT

The first car we test drove was the Honda City Petrol AT. In terms of interiors, our feeling was that this car is clearly a notch below the previous generation 2004 Honda City, which we used to own. However, rear seat room was very decent, and it was also easy to find a comfortable driving position. On driving the car however, we were very disappointed. If you feathered the accelerator, pick up was very poor, and the car crawled along. If you pressed it a bit harder, the engine roared loudly but pick up was not dramatically good. The steering feel was decent, and AC cooling was good. But the real deal breaker was the brakes - they did not give us a great deal of confidence, and braking distances seemed unacceptably large. If this was the best that we could hope for in this segment, we will need to rethink the car we want to buy, I felt.

Honda City Petrol MT

The City Petrol MT was similar to the Petrol AT in looks and space. The gear box was super smooth, and the clutch was easy to operate. Acceleration was far superior to the City AT, without the loud noise that the AT made. Braking too seemed to be a bit better than the AT, since we would instinctively downshift and get some engine braking going. This car was an acceptable one, and was retained in our consideration set.

Volkswagen Vento Diesel Highline MT

We next went over the VW showroom. The interiors of the Vento, to our mind, seemed to be a notch or two higher than those of the City. The feel of the steering wheel, the quality of the steering mounted controls, and the indicator / light switches made me feel I was in a mini Superb.

Rear seat knee room was less than that in the City, but still acceptable (I have fairly long legs, and I could sit behind my driving position). The middle seat in the rear was impeded by the transmission tunnel - but this was not a deal breaker for us as our son usually occupies the rear middle seat even when we are traveling with a full load. The only ergonomic failure was the front arm rest, which kept fouling with the hand brake lever.

We first drove the diesel Highline. Everyone on Team BHP has been raving about its massive torque, but for me, it did not seem all that great (may be I was comparing it to a Superb and not to the other cars in its segment). However, power was clearly adequate, and the engine was not excessively noisy from inside (arguably, it was less noisy than the 320D). The gear box itself was smooth, but the deal breaker was the excessively hard clutch. I found it tough, and after two test drives, my wife decided that this would not do - if we bought this car, she would use it if the driver was around, but would be unwilling to drive it herself in evening peak hour traffic out of BKC. Buying a car that would make us depend on the driver was not happening, and we decided that this car would not do.

Volkswagen Vento Petrol Highline AT

Next we drove the Vento Petrol AT. This was a sublime experience compared to the Honda City we had driven about an hour earlier. The engine and gear box combination seemed much better suited to each other, pick up was decent even when you feathered the throttle, and while flooring the throttle did not give you a DSG style "take off" experience, it led to superior acceleration without excessive noise. Handling was very good, and braking was much better than the City. Even before we completed the test drive, my wife opined that this was the car she wanted to buy.

We got back to the showroom and inquired about booking the car. To our chagrin, the sales person seemed shocked that there was someone who wanted to buy a Petrol AT. He indicated that they had sold their last Petrol AT sometime in June (this was mid July, if I recall correctly), and had no idea when fresh supplies would come. Further, while the brochure he had given us mentioned Leatherette seats as a feature of the Petrol AT, he seemed to think those would not be on offer. He also indicated that he would not be able to give any kind of discounts or certainty on pricing. The attitude seemed to be, "You are stupid enough to buy a Petrol AT car - you obviously have more money than brains, and so should take whatever we deign to throw at you." He tried to cross sell the diesel MT to us, and even offered us a test drive with a different car, claiming that the car we had driven had been abused a bit and hence had a hard clutch.

Overall, we left the VW showroom disappointed. We had liked the car a lot, and the service until the point we tried to book it had been very good (we were even given a VW coffee mug as a freebee) but they just did not seem interested in selling petrol cars.

Hyundai Verna Diesel AT

After a disappointing end to our romance with VW, we went across to the Hyundai showroom. The attitude there was certainly shocking. This was the same dealer from whom we had purchased our Getz (at a time when the Santro was the only Hyundai that used to sell), and we had been quite pleased with their responsiveness then. But the attitude had changed completely. They seemed reluctant to even let us sit in the display Verna and try it out. AT Test drive cars were not immediately available - the dealer indicated that he would try to source a diesel AT test drive car the following week, but that the Petrol AT would not be available for a test drive. "Yeh Gaadi bina test drive ka bikta hai", was what he said when we expressed shock at this state of affairs.

The diesel AT test drive car did not appear in the following week, or even the next. Finally, after repeated follow up, they deigned to send us a diesel AT test drive car one Saturday evening. We had told the dealer that we needed the car by a certain time, as my wife had another engagement. But the car arrived late, and I had to test it without her presence.

Admittedly, the car was fairly good to drive. It was even quieter than the diesel Vento, and the AT was fairly responsive. The gizmos were great, the parking camera displayed on the rear view mirror reminded me of the 328i. But rear seat leg room was poor. I decided that this car was worth considering, and asked them to coordinate with my wife so that she could drive it. But despite her following up a couple of times, they did not send the car again, and we decided to drop this from our consideration set.

Honda Jazz MT

With the one car we liked so far not available, we decided to expand our set, and asked the Honda dealer to send us the Jazz for a test drive. The car was incredibly cute, and the flexible seating was amazing. even though it is a hatch back, boot space was very decent. Thanks to the flexibility of the design, rear seat leg room was also very good.

The clutch was light and easy to use, the gear box was super smooth, and the feel of all the parts was high quality. The only downside was the engine - the 1.2 petrol is inadequate for this car, and the lack of power was painfully obvious while taking the car on a flyover during the test drive. Overall, I really liked this car, and think that with the City's 1.5 engine, this car would be a far better and more practical buy than the City. It really galls me that such a wonderful car has, through a combination of our ridiculous taxation system and obsession with Boots (even a fraud faux boot like that in the Swift Dzire), become a flop product.

So while we liked the car, we decided that from this set, we would likely wait a bit for the Vento Petrol Highline AT, or else go with the City MT.

Ford Fiesta Petrol DCT AT

In the meantime, we gathered that VW was planning to launch a refreshed Vento shortly, and that Petrol ATs would become available only once the refreshed Vento was out. The dealer had no clarity on either timing for the launch, or on what features would be added (or for that matter deleted). So we decided to expand our list further, and try the Ford Fiesta Petrol AT.

The new Fiesta is probably the biggest flop that the C2 segment has ever seen. And following our test drive, it was clear why that was the case. As long as you are in the front seat of the car, everything is hunky dory. Interior quality is not bad, ergonomics are good, the car is good to drive, power is okay, the DCT transmission shifts quickly - all in all a car that would come somewhere close to the Vento AT in our reckoning. Get into the back seat, and it goes downhill very rapidly. I found it impossible to even get into the back seat behind my own driving position. Even my wife, who is just 5'4" found it a tight fit. Width is lacking, and the roofline makes the rear seat feel claustrophobic. While the Vento is a 4 seater, the Fiesta in our view is a 2 seater. It may have made a great 2 seater + the occasional kids hatchback, but as a sedan in India that is expected to have regular occupants in the rear seat, it is a disaster.

Not surprisingly, the sales person seemed to have heard this feedback several times before, and did not even attempt to convince us to change our mind.

Last edited by Hayek : 20th January 2013 at 21:32.
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Old 20th January 2013, 22:06   #3
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The Booking and the Wait

Rumors of the upgraded Vento started gaining momentum in early September. There were posts on the forum, which included pictures, pricing details etc.But the dealers in Bombay continued to have no clue about when the car was to be expected.

Finally, VW took out a 4 page ad in the Times of India launching the refreshed Vento, with an optional Garmin navigation system and rear view camera. I promptly called all the Bombay dealers up. But they had not yet received pricing details or commitments on delivery times. Two days later, they got back to me with quotes for the vehicle. To my disappointment, I found that the ex showroom price was higher than what it had been back in August, and a number of the dealers were claiming that the "optional" Garmin system (which I was not keen on) was compulsory. Net - net, this represented a Rs. 30,000 + price increase.

After shopping around with a number of dealers, and receiving contradictory information several times (one dealer sent me a written quote claiming that the navigation was optional, only to withdraw that once I sent him a written purchase order), I finally booked a Shadow Blue Highline Automatic Vento with the dealer who had given me the test drive. I gave him an alternate colour preference of Terra Biege. I was told that there was some chance that I may get the vehicle by September end, and that at any rate, they would try and deliver it by Dasera.

September end came and went without even a call from the sales representative. Close to Dasara, I called him - and was told that they had received one Blue and two Terra Bieges, but all of these had been allotted to customers who booked blind back in August. I was offered a White car, but that was not acceptable to my wife. They told me that they hoped to get a Shadow Blue by the month end.

At the month end, I was told that Shadow Blue was still not available, and that I should call back in early November when they would get the allocation details for that month. But when I called back, I realized that they still did not have the allocation. I tried again a few days later, and asked for an assurance that I would get it later in November, but was not given such an assurance - "Please call after the 15th, which is when we will know whether it will come by November end or not", was what I was told. "What will happen if you don't get an allocation", I asked. "Well, then we will need to try in early December", was the reply.

I lost my patience, and decided to cancel the booking. Amazingly, the sales rep did not even make a cursory effort to change my mind.
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Old 26th January 2013, 12:55   #4
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The Hunt Resumes

Having cancelled the booking for the Vento, we decided to resume our hunt for a new car. Having tried most of the C segment vehicles, and ending up dissatisfied either with the product or the dealership experience, I decided to consider D segment products, starting with the Toyota Corolla. Having learnt that we were looking at other cars, my 5 year old insisted we also consider the Fortuner. While I had tested the old 4WD Fortuner back in 2010, and been dissatisfied with it, I also decided, while at the Toyota showroom to try the Fortuner AT.

Toyota Corolla

I went across to the Toyota dealer to check out the Corolla. On paper, it seemed great. The high end automatic variant offered bi-xenon lamps, genuine leather seats, and 140 BHP on tap. I asked for it to be sent over for a test drive. The car had plenty of space, leather seats, a touch screen audio system etc. The drive was good but not great - even though on paper the Corolla gave up just 20 BHP to the Superb, it did not give you the same rush of power when you wanted it. However, it did seem to check most boxes.

We asked the dealer to send us a quote for the same, and also inquired regarding delivery times. Once again petrol ATs were not available off the shelf, but the dealer was able to tell us that he had been allotted a vehicle scheduled for production 20 days later, and that he could have that blocked for us if we responded quickly. The pricing offered too seemed very attractive - Rs. 14.5 lakhs ex showroom or only a little over Rs. 4 lakhs more than the Vento.

I asked him to send us a written pro forma invoice, and then checked out the Fortuner.

Toyota Fortuner

Climbing into the Fortuner reminded me of everything I had thought about it back in 2010. This vehicle is huge - it certainly reminds you that this is a truck based UV and not a car. However, driving dynamics of the AT were much better (not having to throw that huge gear lever makes a difference), and the brakes were much better than what I recalled. My wife drove it too, but we decided that this was clearly overkill for a family such as ours that seldom if ever ventures outside Bombay by car. Persuading our 5 year old would of course have to wait for some other day.

Skoda Laura

Having decided to up our budget, we decided to also check out the Skoda Laura. I persuaded my wife that Skoda now offers a 4 year warranty, and that most Laura owners on Team BHP were highly satisfied with the car. We test drove the Ambition DSG. I have to say that DSG gear boxes and VW group engines have something to offer even when compared to other vehicles with similar specs. While the peak power of the 2.0 litre diesel at 140 BHP is similar to the Corolla, this car was much better to drive - I presume due to a combination of 320 NM of torque and the DSG box. For a diesel, it was not too noisy either.

A look at the spec sheet however told us that the Elegance was what we wanted, and hence we asked for a quote for the same.

Skoda Rapid Petrol AT

When we returned to the showroom, we saw a Skoda Rapid with a custom leatherette seat trim installed waiting for delivery to another customer. The addition of the leatherette seats did seem to close the gap to the Vento. A test drive car was also available, and hence we decided to try it out. From a driver's point of view, there are only a few small grouses with the Rapid when compared to the Vento, the principal one being the absence of a leather wrapped steering wheel and the steering mounted controls. This did not seem to be a deal breaker. Large discounts were on offer, and a September manufactured Capuccino Beige Rapid Elegance AT was available with the dealer immediately. Overall, we would have got a vehicle very close to the Vento for much less. We decided to consider this.

The Decision

After a long discussion the next day, we decided that the Corolla seemed like the best bet. The Laura Elegance seemed to be Rs. 3.5 lakhs costlier than the high end Corolla, which was too much to pay. I called the dealer, and asked for a pro forma invoice. When it arrived, I was shocked. The dealer had mistakenly given us the price of the mid end automatic Corolla when we were at the show-room. The high end was almost Rs. 2 lakhs more. The gap to the Rapid seemed too large, and hence we decided to shift to the Rapid.

I called the Skoda sales-person. He was on leave, and said that he would send the pro forma invoice the next day. We were getting a bit irritated (I am obviously one of those who expects instant service). At this point, my wife suggested that we check with some of the VW dealers if the Vento Highline AT in Shadow Blue was available off the shelf. A few calls, later one of the dealers confirmed its availability. Further, he told us that the Navigation system was now a freebie, even though the Corporate discount had gone down. While waiting for the quote from this dealer, we received a call from the original dealer with whom we had booked - who offered us an even better deal (similar discounts, but lower "incidental charges" for registration). Fortunately for us, a different sales person handled our process this time, and he was far more proactive.

In a couple of days, the booking was done, and a week later, we took possession of our beauty. We had saved over Rs. 25,000 compared to our original booking price. Incidentally, we found that the vehicle originally allotted to us had been delivered to the dealer just about a week after we cancelled our original booking (of course, they had been too haughty to call us up.)

After having test driven virtually every car in the market place, we were back where we started almost 5 months earlier - and had got the car and colour that my wife originally liked.

Last edited by Hayek : 26th January 2013 at 13:19.
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Old 26th January 2013, 15:00   #5
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The Delivery Experience

Despite all the admonitions on Team BHP, I did not bother to go to the stockyard for a PDI. The morning before I was to get delivery, I realized I had forgotten to ask the dealer for floor mats and mud-flaps. At this point I had no bargaining power, and therefore asked them to fit the same at an extra cost to be paid in cash.

The delivery process itself was extremely smooth. We were received at the VW showroom like VIPs, and taken through all the features of the car, as well as all the documentation. The dealer had arranged for a garland so that we could carry out a brief Puja before taking delivery of the car, and also arranged for a box of chocolates and an instant print of a photo of the handover process. For the first time ever, I had a car delivered to me with 25 litres of petrol in it. Despite all the confusion during the booking process (or perhaps to atone for it), the dealer made us feel good while picking up the car.

Our Experience with the Car so far

Our experience with the car so far has been great.

Power and Acceleration

The car has been as good to drive as the test drive car was. Needless to say, we have been babying the car so far - no hard acceleration so as to ensure that the rev counter stays below 2500 rpm at all times, and have kept speeds below 100 kmph. Despite that, we have never had an occassion when the car has felt under powered. Even when our driver is at the wheel (admittedly, we have admonished him to be gentle), we do not hear excessive noise from the engine. My wife has had to take the car to office on her own on 2-3 days - and instead of hearing cribs about the traffic, I got a call one day saying, "This car is great to drive. What a pity that the driver uses it more than anyone else."

Fuel Efficiency

The day after we got delivery, we had to visit some friends in Thane, and got a mileage of almost 14 kmpl on the way there. Like in the Superb, fuel efficiency is highly variable depending on traffic conditions - cross town runs through Lower Parel take the efficiency down to below 5 kmpl, while highway runs at moderate speeds give us hatch back style efficiency. We have covered about 950 km so far, most of which has been in extremely dense peak hour traffic to and from BKC. The overall fuel efficiency so far has been about 6.5 kmpl. That does seem poor since my Superb gives me better efficiency, but that may be a function of the routes my wife drives through and the fact that she tends to hit absolute peak hours while I leave a bit before peak and often return after peak hour.

Ride Quality

I stuck to the stock Apollo Accelere tyres, and we have no cribs with them. Perhaps I am less sensitive about road noise than the connoisseurs on this forum. Ride quality is good, and the suspension and ground clearance seem fine - even with 4 adults on board, we have not had any occasion where the car scraped a speed breaker.

Headlights

A number of people on this forum have mentioned that the stock headlights of the Vento are inadequate. However, we have been satisfied with them so far, even while driving on patches of the Eastern Express highway with poor street lighting.

Space

The car has proven to be spacious enough for our needs. We have had occasions when the car has carried 3 adults and our son in the rear, and that has been fairly manageable. For a family that is used to traveling in the Superb, the lack of cribs about rear seat room is worth noting. Further, on occasions when it has been just the three of us with the driver, we have actually made use of the "Spacemax" control to push the front passenger seat ahead.

The Garmin GPS system and Reverse Camera

Since the reverse camera is integrated with the Garmin GPS system, we have to keep it on all the time. The reverse camera works decently - though I would have preferred if it had been integrated with the rear parking sensors, and had shown lines representing distance to obstacles on the screen. However, the RCD 310 ICE has a display which shows the distance to obstacles, and this can be combined with the reverse camera to achieve absolute comfort while reversing. We have not used the GPS to find directions so far - and hence are not sure how well it works.

The blue tooth phone integration with the GPS unit works well too - though we don't use it very often since our driver is usually in the car.

The ICE

We are not connoisseurs of in car audio - and have found the RCD 310 completely functional - sound quality is adequate, and the ability to change stations or tracks through the steering wheel certainly helps while driving.

Cribs

The only cribs we have so far are with the centre arm-rest, which keeps fouling with the hand brake lever, and makes releasing the hand brake with the arm rest down a bit of an issue. Our driver has found a simple solution to that problem - he prefers to drive with the arm rest up.

The other area of concern is that the Shadow Blue color is going to take some amount of maintenance - dust is highly visible against that background, and we have also got a couple of small scratches caused by vandals when the car was parked which show up quite prominently.

Personally, the only other crib I have (which I knew about before buying the car) is that the stepney is of a different size and is a temporary tyre - hence you don't have the option of using it to replace a damaged tyre as I have done in my Superb.

A Few Pictures

Have taken just a few pictures of the car so far - sorry for the mediocre quality of the same

The car on the day (or night) we got it - just back from the Temple

It's a VW Vento (Petrol Highline AT)-_mg_9344.jpg

It's a VW Vento (Petrol Highline AT)-_mg_9351.jpg

A few more pictures of the car - too many reflections, unfortunately

It's a VW Vento (Petrol Highline AT)-_mg_9364.jpg

It's a VW Vento (Petrol Highline AT)-_mg_9365.jpg

Things I liked, particularly compared to the Skoda Rapid

The Leather wrapped 3 spoke steering wheel, with chrome highlights and steering mounted controls

It's a VW Vento (Petrol Highline AT)-_mg_9354.jpg

The Gear shift lever with Chrome Trimming

It's a VW Vento (Petrol Highline AT)-_mg_9355.jpg

My only Crib - the Centre Arm Rest just above the parking brake

It's a VW Vento (Petrol Highline AT)-_mg_9357.jpg

Good Rear Leg Room

It's a VW Vento (Petrol Highline AT)-_mg_9367.jpg

Needless to say I got rid of the plastic covers after the day I took these pics

Summary

The Vento has so far met all the expectations we had when we booked the car. It is great to drive even though its early days yet, spacious, and when you are in the cabin, the quality of everything is as good as in cars two segments above it. Mileage is admittedly poor, but that was to be expected given the traffic conditions the car is driven in. For someone looking for a petrol automatic car (and hopefully that tribe will increase as the irrational diesel petrol price differences narrow), this is certainly a great pick.
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Old 28th January 2013, 12:39   #6
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Default Re: It's a VW Vento (Petrol Highline AT)

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 28th January 2013, 13:35   #7
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Default Re: It's a VW Vento (Petrol Highline AT)

Perfectly detailed ownership thread, with just the right amount of description covered for every aspect; right from the original analysis to the final call. Just a few points/suggestions

1. A honest opinion - please get rid of the (unfortunately) paid VW mats and get Kagu mats - you won't regret this decision atleast for the next 1+ years

2. Although you did start out looking in mid 2012, considering the TD-period continued into early 2013, why didn't you consider the Renault & Nissan options; especially considering you have looked at MT options too.

3. If not an issue, could you share (or PM me) the final price breakup? A friend in Mumbai is looking at petrol AT options.

Again, congratulations & glad to have you (back) on the Vento bandwagon! Looking forward to more Vento-related discussions on the Vento thread(s)!


Edit:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hayek View Post
Personally, the only other crib I have (which I knew about before buying the car) is that the stepney is of a different size and is a temporary tyre - hence you don't have the option of using it to replace a damaged tyre as I have done in my Superb.
You can. The overall diameter of the 175/70/R14 spare and the default 185/60/R15 differs by just a small margin. Of course, nothing beats having the spare in the same specs.

Last edited by ninjatalli : 28th January 2013 at 13:42.
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Old 28th January 2013, 14:48   #8
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Default Re: It's a VW Vento (Petrol Highline AT)

Wow, that is really long buying process.
But glad that you picked up the car that you wanted to pick.
Did you get a chance to use the GPS unit for navigation purpose, is it worth it ?

Drive safe and keep the thread updated.

Cheers
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Old 28th January 2013, 15:13   #9
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Default Re: It's a VW Vento (Petrol Highline AT)

The Vento is a high quality car. After living with a Superb, I doubt if any other car will give you the same level of satisfaction. Though the Toyota is high quality, Japanese plastic is not the same in feel and texture when compared to the Germans. I've traveled in my landlords previous gen Jetta a couple of times and even after two years, the interiors feel and smell new.

Enjoyed reading your story on the hunt for a new car. Very well written.
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Old 28th January 2013, 16:14   #10
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Default Re: It's a VW Vento (Petrol Highline AT)

When I saw your thread listed in the initial ownership section, I opened it expecting a well written, perfectly formatted and neatly presented review. And that's exactly what I got! Just love the way you have presented the process of your purchase. I can totally relate to your temptation of owning a luxury car (read BMW/ Merc/ Audi) before getting on in years.

The Vento AT is a rare car these days as the Honda City AT seems to be the pick of the segment. I agree with you about the interiors on the city. A cousin of mine recently picked up a City AT and the interiors feel very plasticy and 'hollow'. I had suggested him to check out the Vento AT and the Fiesta AT. Since he was more keen on back seat comfort, he chose the City AT among the three.

Two petrol ATs + two VAG cars in your garage now. Not for the faint hearted huh?
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Old 28th January 2013, 17:44   #11
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Default Re: It's a VW Vento (Petrol Highline AT)

Congrats Hayek. Good to see population of Vento AT increasing on this forum. Its amazing how many Blue Ventos are here! I see lots of Blue Ventos here in Bangalore these days. It is probably the best selling color now!

Your mileage figure is really surprising/frightening. Good that I am not in Mumbai. Here in Bangalore these days I am enjoying 11-12 on my daily 6KM run (and if I leave office late, then I see 14-15 on the console). From the pictures of your car it is not clear if you got leatherette seats also? Has VW accorded us petrol buyers that as well?

Wish you great and satisfying ownership of your Vento AT.
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Old 28th January 2013, 17:46   #12
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Post Re: It's a VW Vento (Petrol Highline AT)

Congrats Hayek on the purchase of a shadow blue Vento AT. The color just seems to suit the car nicely; even tends to glorify its character. Nice!

Also congratulations on a thorough, well compiled and presented review. Just what we've come to expect from you mate.

Good to see a Petrol AT feature on someone's buying list - and a Vento at that. It would've been so easy to go with the City AT - the segment leader - certainly an easier option to exercise with its much lesser associated costs. But you've made a perfectly objective evaluation of your needs and went with it. That itself is a rare phenomenon these days.
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Old 28th January 2013, 18:46   #13
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Default Re: It's a VW Vento (Petrol Highline AT)

Hello Hayek,

Congratulations to you on your new acquisition!

I find the midnight blue shade to be the best and it suits the Vento in it’s totality. The new blackened headlamps also bump up the appeal to the next level. Any mods planned? An upgrade to a whiter light will really suit the new lamps

Is it only recently that they have started offering the AT in the Highline variant. I thought and so, have always seen Comfortline ATs. Can you please comfirm?

Wishing you happy miles with the Blue Babe. Could you please share the price break up as well?

-Shivang Gandotra
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Old 28th January 2013, 21:06   #14
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Thanks all for the comments. Shall keep posting from time to time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ninjatalli View Post
1. A honest opinion - please get rid of the (unfortunately) paid VW mats and get Kagu mats
2. considering the TD-period continued into early 2013, why didn't you consider the Renault & Nissan options; especially considering you have looked at MT options too.
I thought about skipping the VW mats, but decided that with my inertia, I would end up ruining the car by running it without any mats for 6 months. Agree that the mats they gave are quite sad. Shall consider your suggestion, but am unlikely to act on it immediately.

The TD period ended in December, not January. I did not test drive the Sunny, but have driven a friend's car - must say its brakes really scare me. Also my wife did not like the interiors. I thought briefly about the Duster given what a hit it has turned out to be, but I was not willing to live with a situation where the nearest dealer is in Andheri. (Sorry to sound like a Sobo snob, but it is strange that Renault has no dealers in the Island City).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Schoudhury View Post
Did you get a chance to use the GPS unit for navigation purpose, is it worth it ?
Not yet. But my experience with Garmin is that it does not find residential or office addresses that easily - Google maps is far better at that. Garmin works okay for Hotels etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Santoshbhat View Post
Two petrol ATs + two VAG cars in your garage now. Not for the faint hearted huh?
Agree with that, especially the two VAG cars point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joslicx View Post
Your mileage figure is really surprising/frightening. Good that I am not in Mumbai. Here in Bangalore these days I am enjoying 11-12 on my daily 6KM run (and if I leave office late, then I see 14-15 on the console). From the pictures of your car it is not clear if you got leatherette seats also? Has VW accorded us petrol buyers that as well?
Bombay traffic is far worse than most other cities. And my wife's route is particularly bad. Sorry for the poor pictures, VW has now added leatherette seats to the Petrol Vento AT as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MetalBuff View Post
Is it only recently that they have started offering the AT in the Highline variant. I thought and so, have always seen Comfortline ATs. Can you please comfirm?
Actually, the Vento AT has always been the Highline, to the best of my knowledge.
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Old 31st January 2013, 15:28   #15
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Default Re: It's a VW Vento (Petrol Highline AT)

Congrats on your new ride. As a fellow Vento owner here my 2 cents
1) Ride quality is amazing. I have taken my ride over a few rough roads the last two years I have been driving and the suspension is amazing.
2) FE as you pointed out is like a hatch on highway runs but as the engine runs in even within the city with full a/c on it will improve. (I have an MT diesel so with the AT it might be + or - 2 kms.
3) The color you have there is the one I fell in love with but had to settle with black.
4) The servicing is not that expensive I feel after throwing around the car a lot for 15k kms and 2 services later I paid 9000 / servicing which I felt was quite decent and almost comparable to my older car.
Oh and welcome to the club of T_BHPians who are Vento owners and almost all of them are a happy lot.
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