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Volkswagen Ameo: First look review

  • Mar 01, 2016
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[caption id="attachment_19578" align="alignnone" width="1024"]The Ameo is the first ever compact sedan from the VW stables. The Ameo is the first ever compact sedan from the VW stables.[/caption]

Compact sedans have become in fashion now. In social media terminology, they are what one would call 'trending', or in serious demand. Over the last few years, the segment that is known as the compact sedan segment has seen a near meteoric rise and can only grow further. A few simple reasons that one can offer is that they have the presence of a sedan with the size barely more than a hatchback. It has a boot which can be used for all practical reasons and of course, many people in India find these vehicles what we call a 'value-for-money proposition'. Maruti-Suzuki, Ford, Hyundai, Honda and Tata have a presence in this lucrative segment and it was just a matter of time before Volkswagen too got into it.

Volkswagen Ameo Right Side Profile Dynamic

Christened as Ameo, VW's first ever compact sedan made its public debut at the 2016 Auto Expo. From what we have heard, the boffins at VW were given the short end of the stick as they had to create a design for a compact sedan without a single compromise in any department and keep the sensibilities of the Indian market in mind as well. The task was more than a handful but the VW engineers were up for it.

[gallery columns="4" link="file" size="medium" ids="19594,19587,19611,19608"]

Enter the Volkswagen Ameo, earlier called the ICS (Indian Compact Sedan). A first glimpse and one might almost think that its a Polo, unless he or she doesn't see the boot protruding at the rear. The front end is what the Polo looks like. The typical VW grille with the same headlamps and bumpers that do duty on the Polo can be seen on the Ameo. When the Polo was launched, many a journalists sang praises with regards to its looks and rightly so. While VW could have played around with the design a teensy bit, it decided to play safe and go ahead with the Polo DNA, which is not a bad thing at all. Viewed from the front three-fourths angle, the Ameo looks good. Once your vision goes past the C-pillar is where and when the stark difference is noticed.

[caption id="attachment_19580" align="alignnone" width="1024"] The VW Ameo gets s 330-litre boot.[/caption]

If you look at the Ameo directly from the rear, the design is, erm, not exactly pleasing, or in sync with the rest of the car. It just seems to be there, existing, as an afterthought. There is an inherent disconnect between the two ends of the car. The front end looks rather sharp and has character, the flared wheel arches also help add a tinge of muscle to the Ameo but the rear is not that great. There is an unfinished look to it, as if the boot was just sheared off. It is way too angular and boxy. The design is clearly inspired by its Skoda sedan cousins, the Rapid and the Octavia. From what we gather, the Ameo gets the wheelbase of the Polo which is 2,456mm rather than the Vento's which is 2,552mm. This means that there was more space left for the boot and the fact that it can gobble in 330 litres worth of luggage and then some more with the rear seats folded flat.

[caption id="attachment_19581" align="alignnone" width="1024"]The dash gets a dual-tone scheme in black and beige. The infotainment unit is all new. The dash gets a dual-tone scheme in black and beige. The infotainment unit is all new.[/caption]

Coming over to the interior, the Ameo is draped in a black and beige scheme which looks elegant. The gloss black finish on the dashboard is elegant. The layout is somewhat similar to that of the Polo and the Vento but the infotainment unit is all new and is comprehensive. The silver accents surrounding the infotainment system and the AC vents look really good and make the car even more premium. VW is wanting to cash on the reinforce the brand promise of delivering a car which holds back nothing and has no compromises. This translates into the fact that the features list will be very long. ABS and airbags should be standard on all variants and so should be the rear AC vents. The top trims will get an automatic climate control along with the regular AC on lower trims. The top trims will also get parking sensors and/or reverse parking camera. VW might also throw in the Mirrorlink system which can be paired to mirror your smartphone on the touch-capacitive infotainment system. The steering wheel will get controls for audio and the bottom is flat'tish', which adds to the overall sporty look.

[gallery columns="4" link="file" size="medium" ids="19598,19599,19600,19601"]

The space at the front is similar to that of the Polo and feels the same, it is the rear which has more room now, thanks to the tinkering that VW has done to the rear seats. The seats at the rear are slightly more upright and short to free up leg-space for passengers. The front passengers get an arm-rest which will be required for longer journeys.

[caption id="attachment_19582" align="alignnone" width="1024"]The space at the rear is marginally more than the Polo, thanks to the slightly upright seats. The space at the rear is marginally more than the Polo, thanks to the slightly upright seats.[/caption]

The powertrain for the Ameo will be the same which is on offer for the Polo. A 1.2-litre 75PS petrol engine and a 1.5-litre 90PS diesel engine. Transmission will be a manual 5-speed affair while VW might introduce the DSG boxes sometime later. One can also expect the Ameo to get the 'GT' version such as the Polo GT TSI and the GT TDI in the future. The Ameo will be available for sale sometime in the middle of 2016 and the prices should be starting from Rs 5.5 lakh for the base petrol variant and go up to Rs 10 lakh for the fully loaded diesel top trims.

[caption id="attachment_19583" align="alignnone" width="1024"]The Ameo will be powered by a 1.2-litre petrol engine and a 1.5-litre diesel unit. The Ameo will be powered by a 1.2-litre petrol engine and a 1.5-litre diesel unit.[/caption]

The Polo is one of the best-selling models for VW and is a peach of a car when it comes to handling and other dynamics. We expect the Ameo to do the same. Looks are subjective and sooner or later one will get used to the stubby boot. If priced right, the Ameo can prove to be gamechanger for VW. The competition in this segment such as the Dzire, Amaze, Xcent and Zest should definitely consider the Ameo as a serious threat.
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