Volkswagen Ameo Diesel DSG Review: The Volkswagen Ameo might have been built specifically for India but the Diesel Ameo DSG, on the other hand, was designed for Delhi. Not officially, but it does tend to feel like it. For one, it’s a Volkswagen, which for the brand conscious among us is couture and chic. The Ameo is one of the most expensive cars in its segment, for reasons that we are yet to ascertain considering that it shares most of the features that you might find on it’s Japanese, Indian or Korean counterpart. The Volkswagen fan-boy in the audience, however, will be quick to point out that your extra pennies are going towards giving you a touch of German quality. And this is true as the buttons are damped better, the doors close with a premium sounding thud and NVH level are in control even when pushing the engine. Having spent more than a month in the Ameo, the DSG is one of the things that makes the car more comfortable if you're driving it daily.
Volkswagen AMEO DSG Design
The Ameo is built on the same slap-a-boot-on-a-hatch formula as the previous generation of the Maruti Suzuki Dzire and the Hyundai Xcent. The only exception is that, come 2017, both the other cars got a refresh that took them away from that oddball design, but the Ameo is yet to get that kind of cosmetic attention. The result is a car that looks like someone literally started building a boot on the Polo and then stopped dead just under the 4-metre mark. The front is almost identical to the Polo and is great to look at for the same reason. The seemingly restrained design of the Ameo seems to be the single greatest drawback in my opinion.
Volkswagen Ameo DSG Engine, Gearbox and Performance
The Ameo shares its motor 108 hp 1.5 litres 16V TDI Diesel Engine with the Polo GT, making it one of the most exciting cars to drive in its segment. Paired with the Volkswagen’s 7-Speed DSG, the Ameo gets a wonderful range of performance. It’s great for crawl-pace through rush hour traffic, thanks to the absence of the clutch and the DSG ’s inherently quick-throttle response. This is thanks to the Ameo’s more than generous 250 Nm of torque, which kicks in as low as 1500 rpm staying all the way up to 3,000 rpm. The Ameo Diesel already is the most powerful car in out of the current crop of sub-compact sedans and the DSG just adds a bit of pizzazz.
The engine is quite refined when warm, but on a cold morning, you are likely to hear that very familiar diesel clutter, which stays for quite a while till the engine gets warm. Proper insulation on the cabin and a good focus on User experience mean that this problem can be largely resolved by just rolling the windows up. Push the Ameo a bit and the combination of a torquey engine and a quick to react dual clutch DSG unit turns hot. The DSG will not hesitate to drop a gear or two even to move out quickly whenever you want it to. This almost telepathic response from the DSG is something that really makes the Ameo one of the best drivers' car in the segment. The Ameo’s engine will happily sit in the upper triple digits on the highway and is quite smooth as well. The addition of cruise control is a big boon for those who intend to use their Ameo for touring.
During our test, which lasted over a month, the Ameo returned 13.5 kmpl in rush hour conditions with the AC on. On highways, this figure goes up to as much as 20 kmpl depending on your driving style and elevation. Both figures in the real-world are admirable considering the Ameo’s full size 1.5-litre diesel and its power output. While the rest of the segment may have fuel efficiency on their side, the Ameo is still a very efficient car in its own right, despite being much more engaging to drive.
Volkswagen Ameo DSG Suspension and Handling
The Ameo like the rest of the Volkswagen group cars has a very well-weighted steering wheel that allows you to feel the road very well. Unfortunately, this also means that there is significant feedback through sharp bumps or potholes that can be unsettling at high speeds. This comes from a stiffer suspension set up than the Polo, to compensate for the added weight. That said, the Volkswagen Ameo is easily the best-handling car in its segment and feels planted changing direction even at higher speeds.
The ride quality, as a result, can be a bit bumpy on bad roads, although not unbearable. The Ameo feels most comfortable cruiser on well-paved highways.
Volkswagen Ameo DSG Interiors and Infotainment system
The inside of the Ameo sure is well built. Top quality materials and good user experience is the theme almost uniformly on the inside. The Highline variant that we drove came almost fully packed out with a touchscreen infotainment system that features Bluetooth, USB, Aux-In and FM connectivity. Overall the infotainment system is easy to use and the speakers have rich sound in comparison to the rest of the segment. Well appropriated cubby holes have not been missed either. The interiors seem rather spacious thanks to the light coloured interiors but can get a little cramped in the back-seats for people taller than 5 foot 11 inches. One of the problems with the interiors is the 330-litre boot on the Ameo, which is not only the smallest in its segment but also has room for improvement in terms of space management. Anything more than a weekend's worth of luggage could be a problem.
Volkswagen Ameo DSG Long Term Review Conclusion
Volkswagen’s Ameo is an impressive driver’s car without a doubt. The punchy motor and the optional DSG make it a great car to own if you're looking for a reliable quick city runabout. If you can look past the slightly odd designed boot and the premium set pricing, Volkswagen Ameo can be quite appealing. It's great for the urban commute and can be quite efficient if driven well. The Ameo is the car for you, if you are someone who loves driving and enjoys the occasional spirited drive in the hills. Although it is fair to say that if you are looking for a very efficient, soft ride, then the Ameo can become a little less attractive.
The truth is for an enthusiastic driver like myself the Ameo was quite apt. It was a healthy dose of well-appropriated performance that can be had for a comparatively reasonable sum. That is what makes it so very special. So special in fact, that I held on to it till I was strictly instructed to give it back!