Before I begin talking about its driving experience, I would say that the Volkswagen Virtus, and its Skoda counterpart, in my opinion, are perhaps one of the most crucial launches the Indian car market has seen this year. Why? Because these models have resurrected the once revered D-segment for sedans in the country. And I, for one, am glad about it. You see, at a time when SUVs rule our roads, if a sedan that looks as attractive as the Virtus comes along, enthusiasts are bound to make a beeline for it. The signature understated VW styling, coupled with some clean lines and balanced proportions, makes the Virtus a sure-fire head-turner. Especially in its sporty GT guise that you can see here, the Virtus looks really tempting and, dare I say, drool-worthy.
But enough about its visual appeal. Truth be told, I am afraid a single page is not enough to write about the way the Virtus drives. Anyway, here we go. The star attraction, in this case, is VW’s 1.5-litre four-pot TSI engine and the slick-as-ever seven-speed DSG. A match made in heaven, for this combo delivers power seamlessly. And thanks to the Virtus’ able chassis, carving corners around the BIC is as fun as it gets. The way the car simply darts into turns instils so much confidence that it is hard not to push the Virtus to its limit. Perhaps one of the biggest compliments I can offer to it is that at times on the track, I forgot that I was driving a front-wheel-drive vehicle. Why? Well, it seems that the Virtus doesn’t know that one thing that FWD cars are infamous for – understeering. Even off the track, the Virtus can be a really good sedan for everyday driving, especially because the 1.5 TSI engine comes with Volkswagen’s Active Cylinder Technology (ACT). Thanks to this, the engine can simply shut off half the number of cylinders when not needed, thereby boosting fuel economy. So, the Virtus seems to offer the best of both worlds – performance and efficiency. It also scores a few extra points in terms of comfort and practicality, for its generously-sized boot and spacious cabin.
'Signature understated VW styling, coupled with some clean lines and balanced proportions, makes the Virtus a sure-fire head-turner'
However, there is a fly in the ointment. While the Virtus looks great from the outside and drives supremely well, you don’t feel particularly nice sitting inside. And I am not faulting the car’s ergonomics. But the interior layout, design, and the quality of materials used just don’t feel special enough. In fact, its Skoda sibling does a much better job on this front, at least in my opinion. On the powertrain front, I really wish VW offered the top-spec 1.5 TSI with a manual gearbox too, because at the end of the day, no matter how good an automatic gearbox is, it simply can’t replace the feel of a manual unit. Nonetheless, though there’s still some scope for improvement, the Virtus has all the makings of a great product.
- Volkswagen Virtus (Lap Time – 01:12.0)
|COMFORT / SPACE||5||3|
|RIDE & HANDLING||5||4|
|VALUE FOR MONEY||30||19|