What is it?
Volkswagen is about to launch another Vento facelift, and unlike the one eight months ago, this time around, it will be a more comprehensive one. Up front, the bumper is all-new, as are the horizontal, rectangular fog lamps that also get integrated cornering lights. The three-slat chrome grille is bigger and more in line with the facelifted Jetta, and even the bonnet has deeper creases. At the rear, the tail-lights are revised and the streaks on them are meant to mimic LED lighting. The new rear bumper makes the Vento look wider, and the new horizontal chrome bar across the tailgate makes it look more upmarket. In fact, keeping the Indian customer in mind, Volkswagen has added lot of chrome bits to the car – door handles, front and rear bumper garnish, tail-pipe housing and the one across the boot too.
On the inside you get a new colour scheme – light brown and beige, rather than dark grey and cream – and a bit more equipment. Overall the interiors feel a bit plusher than before. Top trims now get cruise control, a cooled glovebox, a dead pedal, a boot release button on the boot itself and auto folding mirrors with LED indicators built into them.
What’s it like to drive?
The engine options haven’t changed – a 103bhp, 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine, a 104bhp, 1.6-litre petrol unit and a 103.2bhp, 1.5-litre diesel motor. Transmission options include a five-speed manual gearbox and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
We drove the 1.5-litre diesel automatic to take a closer look. Just like before, the motor is quite meaty through the rev range and the Vento moves forward without much effort. Refinement wasn’t really impressive even in the previous car, though there seems to be a slight improvement this time around. There is still a gravelly clatter at idle and a deep drone at low engine speeds. The dual-clutch, seven-speed gearbox is smooth to operate and works almost seamlessly.
There is no change in the ride quality either. It absorbs bumps well at typical city speeds and the suspension works silently, but as you go faster the ride gets a bit bouncy over undulating surfaces. The steering feels a bit heavy, especially driving at city speeds, but it is quite direct and like before the Vento feels very stable and secured at high-speeds.
Should I buy one?
With this facelift, Volkswagen is making sure that the Vento continues to be quite a well-rounded car and now with the added equipment it has worked on its weaknesses too. That said, it still lags behind the competition with the absence of a colour or touchscreen interface, as well as a rear-view camera. However, its strengths of strong build quality, a solid, planted feel and a great (albeit not super-refined) powertrain remain, and now it just looks a whole lot smarter too. Let’s just hope VW prices it well.