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Test Drive Review: Volkswagen Vento 1.2 TSI

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The Volkswagen Vento is no stranger to us. In fact, the Vento is essentially the Polo Sedan that has undergone a minor nip-and-tuck under the hood, though the rest of the Vento is essentially almost identical to the Polo Sedan.

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The first highlight of the Volkswagen Vento is the 1.2 TSI engine. The engine may not be new, as it was first introduced here when the Polo TSI made a local debut way back in 2010. The little 1.2-litre turbocharged mill churns out 105 PS and 175 Nm, with a seven speed DSG that sends drive to the front wheels. These figures are far from earth-shattering, but when coupled with the sub-1,200 kg Vento, acceleration is brisk.

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Though VPCM doesn’t outright say that the Vento TSI is a budget performance model, I do have a suspicion that the Vento could very well be one. The company has fitted 215/45R16 rubbers all round, possibly the widest rubber you can find on a B-segment sedan. The other sporty touch was the earlier-mentioned TSI combination, essentially making the Vento TSI almost a pocket-rocket.

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In real world driving, the Continental rubbers fitted to the Vento does the job well enough. When road conditions are favourable, tyre noises are minimal. However, one can expect significantly more tyre noise when road conditions worsen. On top of that, the firm springs coupled with the low profile rubbers does mean that the ride can get bumpy on rougher surfaces, which we believe won’t be an issue on the Vento Comfortline and Trendline, due to the smaller wheels fitted.

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But, with such wide rubbers, wouldn’t fuel consumption suffer, as there is a much larger rolling-resistance contact-patch, you may ask? Well, I was expecting the Vento TSI to be quite a guzzler due to its turbocharged nature. In reality, when driven sedately, the Vento TSI returns excellent fuel consumption. Give the Vento several hundred km of highway and it will gladly soak up those kilometers with ease whilst consuming less fuel than its naturally-aspirated rivals. In traffic jams however, the Vento TSI can get a bit thirsty.

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Inside, despite utilizing hard plastics everywhere, build quality is excellent with good fit and finish. Like the Polo Sedan, I’m pleased to find that controls were thoughtfully placed out. There was no need for trying to guess what button does what as everything is labeled clearly and had good tactile feedback.

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Granted, I did notice that the rear view mirror a tad too small for the sedan, as it could barely cover the entire rear windscreen. Other niggles include doors that didn’t lock themselves, silly arm rest position that hinders handbrake operation, assist grips that flings back into position when let go, instead of gently going back in. Niggles aside, the audio quality from the factory standard audio system is rather impressive.

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Safety kit is identical to the Polo Sedan, but the Vento TSI receives the much-needed Electronic Stability Control (ESC) that the Polo Sedan lacks. In fact, the Vento Comfortline and Trendline is still powered by the older 1.6-litre MPI engine and does not benefit from ESC. The Comfortline and Highline models gets 4 airbags, whilst the entry-level Trendline makes do with just two. ABS with Brake Assist, Intelligent Crash Response System (ICRS), Park Distance Control (PDC) and Hill Hold Assist make a return as well.

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Like the Polo Sedan, the Volkswagen Vento is an honest little sedan. It doesn’t play the pretending game of wanting to be something else. Granted, the outlook can be a bit on the plain side, whilst others can say that the interior looks dull. But that’s beside the point. The Vento is here to deliver excellent fuel economy without sacrificing performance or quality. And it does it extremely well. In fact, the addition of ESC meant that the Vento TSI is now an ASEAN NCAP 5 star-approved vehicle, up from the previous 4 star rating. If your daily commute requires a lot of highway travelling, give the Volkswagen Vento TSI a try. I reckon it’s worth every penny. On the other hand, this was what my editor thought of the new Vento.

Specifications: Volkswagen Vento TSI

Price: RM93,888
Engine: 1.2-litre inline-4 TSI
Horsepower: 105 PS @ 5,000 rpm
Torque: 175 Nm from 1,550 rpm to 4,100 rpm
Transmission: 7 speed DSG

Volkswagen Vento Photo Gallery