After a long wait, Volkswagen finally entered the compact sedan space with the launch of the Ameo a few months back. And, as you’d expect from all cars that wear the German giant’s badge, this one too is built like a rock. Right from the bodywork to the interior, everything is solidly built. While the overall quality is superb, the same cannot be said about the Ameo’s design. The front looks identical to its hatchback sibling, the Polo, and while the design flows smoothly right up till the C-pillar, the boot is completley flat – due to which the design seems disproportionate.
On the inside, the seats are comfortable and fairly well bolstered too. It’s easy to find the right driving position thanks to the tilt and telescopic steering wheel and the height adjustable driver’s seat. Like most Volkswagen offerings, the Ameo too has a large transmission tunnel at the back eating into the rear leg room of the third passenger.
The Ameo that we got on the test was fitted with the 1.2-litre petrol powerplant. It makes just 74bhp and 110Nm, which is dissapointing when compared to its rivals. While in the city, it feels sufficiently punchy, the same cannot be said about its highway manners. Cross the 2,500-3,000rpm mark and the 3-pot motor starts to get noisy. Push it a bit further and you feel the need for more juice. The 5-speed gearbox, although not the best in class, is fairly slick. The clutch, however, is on the heavier side.
Volkswagen cars are known for their impressive handling dynamics, and the Ameo is no different. There’s a bit of body roll, but it doesn’t make you question the car’s ability to take on corners. The Ameo tackles rough roads with a fair bit of poise too, but over continuous undulations it tends to toss you around.
The biggest talking point of the Ameo, however, has to be its value for money proposition. The fully loaded top-spec version that we tested has been priced at Rs. 7.13 lakhs (Ex-showroom, Delhi) – not to mention the safety that VW cars offer. In this case it even gets a long feature list.
Elsewhere in this issue, we’ve tested the far punchier diesel-powered Ameo – which feels a lot better on the road than its petrol-engined sibling. It’s a far more comprehensive package, and definitely the one to pick if you’ll have any highway driving to take care of.