The sub 4-metre sedan segment is one of the fastest growing segments in the country currently. The German carmaker Volkswagen now jumps on this bandwagon with the much-anticipated handsome subcompact sedan, Ameo. Derived from the Latin word
“Amo”, meaning “I love”, the powerful sedan is capable of 300 kmph at all times and the sedan is considered to be the most significant product launch after the Vento, which was unveiled in August 2010.
Although Ameo may be late to the party, Volkswagen is expecting the good looking sedan to be a game changer for the company in India.
VW has placed Ameo between the Polo and the Vento segment in its fleet of vehicles. The exterior of Ameo looks exactly similar to the front face of Polo and the Vento. However, there are few subtle changes on the front bumper to make it look different and better, with most of the other parts borrowed straight from the Polo's bin. The roof is lowered by 15mm and includes a sweeping C-pillar to give the sedan a flowing line in the side profile, taking a cue from the abrupt end in the Polo. The premium exterior look includes new headlamps, tailgates and rear view mirrors with integrated turn signals.
Moving to the rear part, the sedan gets a small boot that doesn't look like another slap-dash job or an afterthought. The Ameo measures 3,995 mm in length, 1,682 mm in width, 1,483 mm in height and 2,470 mm in wheelbase, and weighs 13 kg more than the Polo.
Ameo has a plainer looking design overall though the designers have done a good job to make it look stylish and well-proportioned in the front. Ameo looks way better than Dzire and Xcent but falls short of the Amaze and Figo Aspire which looks a lot more proportionate.
The car coming from the VW has always set some basic benchmarks in the body design, dynamics, and the interiors.
The VW has carried this legacy forward with the Ameo sedan, with the nicely laid out dashboard and use of high-quality plastics in the interiors. The interiors may be an extension of the premium hatchback Polo and the cabin is built in top-notch quality with excellent fit and finish. The flat-bottomed steering wheel is one of the best in its class and makes the long driving experience a joyful one.
VW has given a black and beige theme to the interiors with the centre console wrapped in silver inserts as in Polo and the Vento. The armrest offering in the front will definitely delight the driver. The cars in the segment - Honda Amaze and Ford Figo Aspire still didn't get this feature, apart from the rear a/c vents. Everything in the front seems to be perfect whether its the dual tone interiors, the well-laid dash, quality of plastics, the seat fabrics or the feel of the switchgear. But unfortunately, that can't be said about Ameo's rear space. The rear is not a place to be in Ameo and occupants may feel little uncomfortable to get in and out of the car.
Ameo features a long equipment list especially on the top-end Highline that includes a touchscreen, automatic climate control, automatic wipers, rear-view camera, static cornering lamps and cruise control. The responsive touchscreen infotainment system supports Bluetooth audio /telephony, USB, AUX, SD-Card support, Voice command along with MirroLink. Apple CarPlay or Android Auto are only available if your smartphone supports MirroLink. The mid-variant of Ameo features rear ac-vent, electrically adjustable and retractable outside rear view mirrors.
Ameo offers 330 litres of generous boot space which is way lesser than the Honda Amaze's offering of 400 litres.
Overall, Ameo will make you fall in love with the cabin. The wheelbase of Ameo is the same as the Polo and offers better under thigh support than the cars in its segment-Figo Aspire and the Amaze, but that doesn't make the Ameo feel as spacious as Figo Aspire which is the most spacious out of the three.
The petrol engine is powered by the Polo's 1.2-liter three-cylinder MPI engine that produces a maximum power of 75 PS and 110 Nm of torque mated to a 5-speed gearbox while the 1.5-litre TDI diesel variant is capable of 108bhp and 250Nm of torque.
The petrol engine is at its best in city driving while on highways it is the diesel that gives you that extra punch.
The VW may not come across as aggressive as Amaze and Aspire but the flat-bottomed steering and the precise braking makes the driving experience a joyful one than the other two.
Ameo comes on par with Aspire in terms of suspension and handling. Amaze lags behind with suspension set up not upto the mark and is much more stiffer.
Ameo leads the way on the safety front with dual airbags and ABS as part of the standard equipment while the Aspire comes with dual airbags as standard but ABS is only provided in the top-end variant. Amaze get these equipments only as optional.
Overall, Ameo is a good package and is competitively priced with a bucket full of features. It is only the damper engine and cost of ownership that the buyer may look into before going for this strong product from VW.