Sub compact Sedan segment is one of the fastest growing ones currently in India. Due to Tax benefits from the Government and near hatchback dimensions that is also convenient for use. The segment is ruled by Maruti Suzuki DZire followed by the Hyundai Xcent, Honda Amaze and others like Ford Figo Aspire, Toyota Etios, Tata Zest etc. Now Volkwagen has entered this segment with its offering – The Ameo, which happens to be its first ‘Make in India’ model. We took the VW Ameo on a long and enchanting drivethrough the mighty Sahyadris. Find out how good this new German number on the block really is in our exclusive road test review.
Food for thought:
The Ameo is based on the Volkwagen Polo. The car had its global reveal at the 2016 Auto Expo at New Delhi. VW claims that what you will be getting is German engineering with an Indian heart. This happens to be the most anticipated car model for VW India, which is currently not at its best here. The Ameo could very well change the scene around for this German Company here in India.
The Ameo looks exactly like the Polo from the front. It has the VW family face. The front grille gets two matte black horizontal slats and a chrome strip under them. The front bumper is a few mm larger than the one on the Polo, it comes with chiseled bodylines on both the edges.
The headlights are made up of twin barrel halogen lamps. You get a thick chrome strip that runs in an inverted U pattern across the bumper in the air dam area. You have wide design fog lamps with cornering lights, which is a unique feature of this segment. The bonnet gets the same bodyline that the Polo has, which flows back towards the windshield.
On the side, the fenders look a tad bit different than the Polo because of the slight redesigning done on them. The Ameo comes with 185 forward flap 60 R15 MRF ZVTV tubeless radials mounted on elegant-looking multispoke silver alloys. The wing mirrors get body coloured housing, integrated LED turn lights and come with full electric adjust and autofold feature.
The door handles are grab-type and have a very rich-looking chrome pink striping along with body colour. The window frame get an all blacked out masking finish on them. The side profile gets a sharp waistline than runs across from the front fender and ends on the tail light. There also are bodylines flowing on the lower section touching both the fenders. The boot section while seen from the sides seems short and neatly integrated into the overall design. It does not seem like an afterthought addition.
The rear section is where all the similarities between the Polo and the Ameo end. The taillights get sharp, edgy designing and look slightly inspired by the Vento. The boot lid gets the angular bodyline on either sides of the number plate, reminding you of the Skodas. You also get a tiny in-body design tail-lip spoiler. The bumper gets rounded styling along with integrated strip reflectors on the lower section.
The roof gets a radio antenna same like the Vento and the Polo. Smart designing of the front and the rear bumpers make the Ameo’s dimensions within the sub-four meter mark. The exteriors remind you a lot of the Vento and the Polo. Fit and finish is typical Volkswagen class and quality. The blue silk colour of the Ameo that we drove was catchy and extremely attractive.
The cabin are of the Ameo is very similar to that of the Polo. The dashboard of both the cars is identical. You get a dual tone colour scheme of beige and black. The dashboard gets its top in black with rectangular AC vents having chrome surrounds. The instrument cluster is again the same as that of the Polo, getting twin round dials with a red needle running on them. Between these two dials you have a digital MFD (Multi-Function Display) with a digital fuel meter, trip meters, clock and other readouts.
The steering comes with a three-spoke designing with a flat bottom. You get glossy piano-black detailing on the steering along with a dash of chrome inserts making the steering look upmarket. Multi-Function Display command buttons are neatly integrated on the steering. The leather-wrapped steering can be adjusted for height and reach manually. The gear shifter on the Ameo is the same as that on the Polo. This is a short-throw shifter with leather wrapped on it.
The center-dash gets a touch screen infotainment system. This also doubles up as the reverse camera screen while parking. Along with audio connectivity and play back, you also get Bluetooth mobile connectivity, USB, AUX and MirrorLink. This allows you to connect to any Apple or Android Smartphone and use all the features through it. You also get VoiceCommand feature on this system. The Ameo gets four speakers on its audio unit.
Single Zone Climate Control with digital setting sits under the infotainment system on the center dash. The Ameo has a long list of features, many of which are segment firsts. You get Cruise Control, Rain Sensing Wipers, Front and Rear Anti-Pinch Power Windows, opening and closing of the windows with the remote key, One-touch Auto Up and Down.
The seats get cloth upholstery in beige. The driver’s seat gets manual height-adjust. The front seats are large in size and proportion offering maximum comfort. You get a foldable center arm-rest for the driver which also has a storage area under it. The rear seats get a set of adjustable headrests. The backrest of the rear seat can be fully folded down to extend the boot area which is 330 liters. Seating angle on the rear seat is comfortable offering a good amount of leg room, knee room and a lot of head room. The back of the front seat is scooped-out to offer the rear passengers more leg room.
The rear passengers also get a rear AC vent placed in between the front two seats. Features like a large, cooled glove-box, bottle-holders on the door-pads, can-holders on the center console, auto-dimming center rearview mirror, etc. go a long way in enhancing convenience on this car. Built-quality is excellent with the use of superior materials. Everything in the cabin area feels built to last.
Engine – Transmissions – Drive:
Volkswagen has only launched the Petrol Manual Transmission version of the Ameo. The 1.5 L Diesel Manual and DSG Automatic variants are expected to be launched before the festive season starts. The Volkswagen Ameo currently comes powered by 1198cc three-cylinder MPI Petrol engine. This is a DOHC engine that makes 74 BHP at 5,400 RPM and has 110 Nm at 3,750 RPM. This engine is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission.
Start the engine and you can notice the engine noise to an extent in the cabin. On the move, this engine is tuned for more low end power delivery and the transmission is also tuned for the same. The engine can be heard at high speeds, whereas in normal driving conditions this three pot engine behaves very well. The gear shifts are extremely precise and the steering feedback is very lively. The power delivery is decently adequate for a car this size.
Volkswagen claims an ARAI fuel efficiency figure of 17.83 kmpl on this Petrol version. Handling is very sharp and the drive is typical Volkswagen. The Ameo offers the best in class ride quality thanks to the typical Volkswagen tune on the suspension of this car. The brakes offer good, confident feedback and feels positive. Overall, the Ameo impressed us with its flawless drive dynamics.
The Ameo comes with dual front airbags as standard across all variants. ABS on all variants, cornering lights, height adjustable head restraints, 3 point front and rear seat belts, etc.
The Ameo is a typical Volkswagen product that has all the virtues of the brand. It outshines its rivals in terms of many firsts in class features, drive quality, fit and finish. Moreover, Volkswagen has intelligently priced the Ameo lower than the current segment leader, the Dzire. This sub-compact sedan from Volkswagen can be a very good option if you are looking for a top-class German-engineered car built for India at a very pocket-friendly price.
Volkswagen Ameo Spec Sheet:
Volkswagen Ameo Photo Gallery: