Hot News: 2011 Volkswagen Polo Sedan

Volkswagen has christened the Polo saloon the Vento for the Indian market. The Vento, which means wind in both Italian and Portuguese, follows the VW tradition of naming its models after prominent winds. VW certainly hopes the Vento badge clicks in India when the car goes on sale this July. In fact, India is one of the most important markets for the Vento and the German company hopes to sell 25,000 units every year once production is in full swing.

The Vento (code: VW251) is essentially the saloon version of the recently launched Polo and it shares a common platform with the hatchback. Both the saloon and the hatch are similar upto the B-pillar, except for a different grille and lights to differentiate it from its hatchback sibling. The Vento’s rear section or third box is well integrated with the body and the VW engineers were aware that the Polo’s rear seat would be inadequate for saloon car customers and hence the wheelbase has been extended by an estimated 50mm for better legroom. Headroom too will be better as the roof doesn’t taper down as sharply as in the hatch. Using the Honda City as the Vento’s benchmark, VW engineers hint at best-in-class comfort with the use of special seat cushions to withstand prolonged use without compromising comfort. Boot space is expected to be in the region of 500 litres with a split seat option on offer. Equipment levels are expected to be higher than in the Polo and the top-of-the-line version could get some of the features from the Jetta.

The Vento will initially get two engine options – a petrol and a diesel. Both these engines displace 1.6 litres and both produce 105bhp. However, the diesel has a thumping 25.5kgm of torque to the petrol motor’s 15.8kgm and their driving characteristics will differ like chalk and cheese.

Like in the Jetta, the petrol motor in the Vento is a naturally aspirated unit but it’s more advanced. While the Jetta’s 1.6 motor had two valves per cylinder driven off a single cam, the Vento has a four-valve head and double overhead camshafts. VW is likely to introduce the same engine in the Indian Polo after the Vento is launched.

The 1.6 common-rail diesel is brand new and comes from the same engine family as the 1.2 turbo-diesel that powers the Polo and the bigger 2-litre diesel under the hood of the Jetta. This engine comes with 90bhp and 105bhp power outputs and thankfully VW has decided to give us the more powerful engine. If the relatively lightweight Polo is anything to go by, then the Vento won’t be more than a 100kg heavier than the hatch, which should give it a good power-to-weight ratio. While the petrol Vento may not match the Honda City for pace, the diesel Vento should be a close match for the 110bhp Verna diesel. Both these engines, the diesel in particular, have been tuned more for fuel economy and driveability.

Sadly, there are no plans to introduce a TSI engine. The direct-injection and turbo-charging hardware in a TSI motor is proving too costly for a saloon in the sub-Rs 10 lakh category. Also, both the petrol and diesel will come with five-speed manual transmissions initially but a DSG ’box in the top-end diesel maybe introduced at a later stage.

VW plans to price the Vento between Rs 7-9 lakh and is gearing up for a July 2010 launch. This all-new saloon with a brand new set of engines promises to blend performance, luxury and economy like no other mid-size car. Can the Vento blow its rivals away? Wait for a few months to find out.

Thanks to: Autocar India


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