THE Volkswagen Vento is a B-segment sedan that is manufactured by German carmaker Volkswagen AG (VW) since 2010 but it only made its way to Malaysia in May last year.
Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia launched the Vento GT at the end of May, giving buyers an option of a more buffed and sporty Vento.
B-segment sedans are the most popular and best-selling models in Malaysia. Models like the Honda City, Toyota Vios, Mazda2, Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Mitsubishi Attrage, Nissan Almera and Proton Persona are all competing in the segment.
The word Vento means “wind” in both Italian and Portugese. It is known as the sedan that doesn’t compromise and is made for drivers who want the best in performance without sacrificing safety.
We were given the chance to test drive the Vento GT, and walked away impressed.
The Vento GT is based on the Highline variant, which won the “Compact Car of the Year” award at the 2016 Malaysia Car of the Year ceremony.
It is powered by a 1.2-litre turbocharged direct injection (TSI) petrol engine that is mated to a seven-speed automatic direct-shift gearbox (DSG) transmission. It produces 104hp at 4,400rpm and with 175Nm of torque at 1,550 to 4,100rpm.
The Vento Highline has been given a five-star Asean NCAP rating for its range of safety features. It comes equipped with four airbags, an anti-lock braking system, intelligent crash response system, electronic stability control and Isofix child seats mounts.
The Vento measures in at 4,384 mm in length, width of 1,699 mm, height of 1,466 mm and a wheelbase of 2,552 mm. It weighs over 1,200kg and has 454 litres of boot space, as well as a fuel tank capacity of 55 litres.
It boasts of 16-inch wheels, cruise control, “Climatronic” automatic air-conditioning system, remote control operated power windows with all-round automatic one touch up/down power windows, infotainment system, multi-function steering wheel, three-way height-adjustable armrest and rear air-con vents.
Apart from that, the Vento GT also comes with accessories such as the “Satin” black roof, exterior mirror wraps, black door strips, leather seats, aluminium sports pedals, GT bodykits, GT scuff plates, emblems and carpet mats. The exclusive accessories are worth a total of RM9,000.
For a limited time, the Vento GT retails at RM89,888 and comes with a five-year manufacturer’s warranty and five year’s road side assistance, with a 15,000km service interval.
We find that the Vento GT is a fun, powerful and solid car to drive. We managed to clock 600km in it, driving through rough, damaged and windy roads in the city as well as rural areas.
People may think the 1.2-litre TSI petrol engine is underpowered, but this is far from the truth. It is one of the most suitable engines for drives in cities, on highways and in rural areas. It is also sufficiently robust to endure traffic jams and stop-start driving.
The engine has enough power to overtake slow moving traffic on the highway without working up a sweat, and it can easily keep up with most vehicles which have a higher engine capacities.
For city driving, the 1.2-litre TSI engine is very economical to deal with stop-and-go traffic.
The smooth quick shift seven-speed automatic DSG is the perfect combination for the engine providing efficient fuel consumption for highway and city driving.
VW has done a great job with the interior, giving a finishing and design that makes it feel classy, solid yet has a premium feel to it. The multi-function leather-wrapped steering wheel provides the driver with a soft touch, comfort and maximum grip.
While driving on rough and damaged roads, the absorbers and suspension system did well to smooth the ride, giving both the driver and passengers maximum comfort - only the bigger potholes and bumps were felt.
The Vento GT feels planted to the road on bends, regardless of the speed. It does well at both high and low speed cornering sitting firmly throughout.
Within the confines of the national speed limit, no tyre, engine nor wind noise penetrated into the cabin. However, above this speed limit, wind noise can easily be heard, and gets progressively louder at higher speeds.
Another feature we find useful is the air-conditioning vent in the glove compartment. It helps to keep drinks or even chocolate cold when driving on long distance. It is definitely a feature that is not available with any of the competitors in the segment.
We managed to clock 8.6 litres per 100km after a mixture of highway and city driving. After cruising on the highway at between 80kph and 100kph, the meter showed 5.5 to six litres per 100km.
Meanwhile, it consumed about 10.1 to 11.7 litres per 100km after some aggressive pedal-to-the-metal driving.
Although the Vento GT provides good driving pleasure, there is still room for improvement, like adding back support to the front seats.
Having a reverse camera would help to enhance safety and it would also raise the bar for the B-segment sedan if the Vento GT comes with blind spot warning system.