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Volkswagen Virtus A Sedan to Go For!

Volkswagen Virtus

Considering the market potential, Volkswagen is continuously working on developing new products to suit the Indian customers. As a result of it, Volkswagen Virtus is born and is set to hit the Indian market, which is based on the MQB-A0-IN platform.

Volkswagen Virtus A Sedan to Go For!

Considering the market potential, Volkswagen is continuously working on developing new products to suit the Indian customers. As a result of it, Volkswagen Virtus is born and is set to hit the Indian market, which is based on the MQB-A0-IN platform.

Published:Updated:
Volkswagen Virtus

Currently, SUVs are dominating the Indian automotive market due to their versatility and therefore the sedans are on the back foot. If you wanted to make a mark in the SUV dominated market, it needs to strike that perfect balance between styling, features, comfort and capable drive traits. In spite of the SUV craze, still, there is a demand for sedans. Therefore, the German auto major Volkswagen under its India 2.0 project has developed its latest mid-size compact sedan Volkswagen Virtus to compete with the market leaders like Honda City, Hyundai Verna and Maruti Suzuki Ciaz. VW has been in India for a long time with its global products like Polo, Jetta etc. In spite of the well-built quality and driving dynamics, these cars didn’t perform well in India.

Considering the market potential, Volkswagen is continuously working on developing new products to suit the Indian customers. As a result of it, Volkswagen Virtus is born and is set to hit the Indian market, which is based on the MQB-A0-IN platform. While looking at the Virtus, it is bigger than Vento and in fact, in almost every dimension, this is the largest car in the class. It’s easy, of course, to draw parallels to the Skoda Slavia but much like with the Tiguan, Volkswagen has gone for a bolder, more Chrome heavy look.

Volkswagen Virtus A Sedan to Go For!

The front design looks classy with striking crease lines in the bonnet. The huge air dam in the front bumper is lined with glossy stuff and makes a big impression. The downside of this is that the small 16 inch wheels look even smaller. The big gaps in the wheel arches only emphasize this, but it does give the Virtus an SUV like 179 mm of ground clearance. There’s more chrome in the rear bumper and this along with the large blacked-out tail lamps do a good job of distracting you from what is quite a bulky rear end. Virtus comes in two trims, the GT Line and Dynamic Line. The GT trim is exclusive to the 1.5 TSI engine and gets a few differences too, like gloss black alloy wheels, a subtle lip spoiler on the boot and GT badging.

When it comes to the interiors Volkswagen has done quite a bit to distinguish it from the Slavia. The VW Virtus will be familiar if you’ve seen the interior of a VW Tiguan. In the GT line, there are red accents on the dashboard and it’s similar to the Taigun, but they’ve done a slightly different treatment for this gloss black trim on the Virtus. It looks classy, the plastic quality is generally good, build quality is solid, but there are a few bits that give away the cost-cutting that’s gone into this car.

The GT version gets black leather upholstery with red contrast stitching. The entire cabin is not black, there are still beige bits at the bottom of the doors and the roof lining, and therefore the cabin doesn’t seem too dark. Something that does return, is the lovely new Volkswagen steering wheel. It’s well built and handsome, in my opinion. And it has all the controls that you need. In terms of features, Virtus like its SUV counterpart is well equipped. The top-spec variants, get a 10-inch touch screen, eight-inch digital dials, wireless CarPlay and Android Auto, ventilated front seats, wireless phone charging, and a sunroof.

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Volkswagen Virtus A Sedan to Go For!

The digital instrument cluster is a well laid out unit that provides information clearly and logically. You can shift the screens, one with a speedo, one with a tacho and one which is more minimal. It gives you loads of information and looks cool at the same time. We don’t have the variant wise split yet, VW seems to have learned from the Tiguan and improved the features in low-end versions too. For example, you get LED headlamps, even in the base model.

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VW Vento or Polo had less space for the rear passengers, now in Virtus, this has been addressed and offers ample space. Volkswagen says this is the largest car in this class and it’s got a pretty long wheelbase too. It’s no surprise that in the back seat, there is plenty of space. For taller passengers, there is a lot of space in terms of knee room and headroom.

The seats are comfortable and supportive, but they are contoured more for two, a third passenger can fit but it’s a little on the uncomfortable side because of the race cushioning and the backrest. You will like that there are three individual headrests and three individual three-point seatbelts for all the passengers. Rear passengers also get AC vents and Type C USB ports.

A massive highlight of this car is the boot, which at a class-leading 521 litres same as Skoda Slavia that can really swallow up a lot of luggage. And if you need more space, you can even fold the split seats. It’s a good looking practical and well-equipped car.

Volkswagen Virtus A Sedan to Go For!

The Virtus is being offered with two turbo-petrol engines - a 114 BHP, 1.0 TSI with 6-speed automatic transmission (torque converter) and a 148 BHP, 1.5 TSI with a 7-speed DSG. Volkswagen has coined the trim lines based on the engines on offer. The 1.0 TSI is offered on ‘Dynamic Line’ and the 1.5 TSI is offered on ‘Performance Line’. The 1.5 TSI will not be available with a 6-speed manual transmission, which could be a big miss and additionally, there is no diesel engine on offer.

The visual differentiation between the 1.5 GT and the 1.0 L variant. The 1.5 GT has been given some touches that give it a bit more sportiness. It’s got 16-inch blacked-out alloys with red callipers, a lip spoiler on the boot lid and a GT badge. All of these elements on the 1.5 GT make the car look a little bit sportier. While the 1.0 L variant looks clean with a fair amount of chrome on the grill and bumper. The car also gets 16-inch dual-tone machine cut alloy wheels, which makes the car look premium.

The 1.5 GT performs really well, especially due to its seven-speed DSG. Though Volkswagen is the pioneer of the double-clutch, automatic gearbox, the initial versions of it did have some issues and they’ve come a long way and this one feels smoother and quicker to respond. The gear shifts are instantaneous and helps things along. Of course, if you want to take manual control, the paddle shifters sit behind the steering wheel. We have seen this 1.5L TSI engine from Volkswagen not just in Taigun, but also in a T-Rock.

Volkswagen Virtus A Sedan to Go For!

The power outputs are healthy of course. It also has clever tech like cylinder deactivation, which means, when you are on a light foot with the engine it will deactivate two of its four cylinders and help you save fuwel. This powertrain also has an engine stop-start. If you can bear with the AC cutting out a bit, when you are in traffic, you will save a lot of fuel that way too. The engine drives quite freely for a turbocharged engine and VW says this 1.5 GT will do 0 to 100 kmph in nine seconds and go to a top speed of 190 kph.

With the relatively light curb weight of just 1,275 kg along with stop-start and the cylinder de-activation tech, it is expected that the Virtus should deliver better fuel economy. On the dynamics front, Volkswagen always does a good job. They did a tremendous job in the Taigun and this has translated to the sedan as well. The steering feels confident at low speed. At high speed, it requires a bit of feedback. The suspension set-up has a little bit of underlying firmness just as you’d expect from a European car, but it hasn’t come at the cost of low speed.

Volkswagen Virtus A Sedan to Go For!

The top-end variants are equipped with 16” alloy wheels with 205/55 section Goodyear Assurance tyres. The Performance line gets all-black alloys and the Dynamic Line gets the diamond cut dual-tone alloys. The wheels look a little bit small, frankly, but the upshot is that it allows this car to ride over bumps. Slight fullness and the suspension have allowed this car to behave really well, especially at high speeds on the highways.

A bonus is that the engine doesn’t sound coarse at high revs, in fact, it sounds sporty. Even beyond 5,500 rpm, the top-end isn’t flat and the engine keeps pulling all the way to 6,600 rpm. Highway cruising is a comfortable affair too in the Virtus and it can do triple-digit speeds easily.
Volkswagen Virtus A Sedan to Go For!

Even through the corners, Virtus performed well. The suspension setup combined with the steering makes it agile, and fun and makes it very well controlled.

The brakes do feel strong, though there aren’t disk brakes at the rear. Stomp on the pedal hard, and it will hold confidently. The absolutely tremendous 1.5 TSI is undoubtedly the driver’s choice, but hold on because the lesser 1.0 TSI might actually end up being the one you’d want to buy.

The 1.0-litre TSI version and much like in the Tiguan produces 115 horsepower, 178 Nm of torque. And here it is mated to a six-speed torque converter automatic. You can have this engine with a six-speed manual as well, but we don’t know when VW will launch it. The torque converter isn’t quite as quick or responsive to your inputs as the DSG.

Volkswagen Virtus A Sedan to Go For!

The throttle response is satisfactory and the Virtus moves off the line with ease. The engine is tractable and isn’t dead at low rpm. But there is turbo lag. If you really want, you can pull from under 1,000 rpm, but it’s only when you cross 1,500 rpm that the motor starts feeling comfortable. The turbo kicks in at 2,000 rpm and if you’re used to a strong turbo kick, you will be slightly disappointed by the soft power delivery of this unit. Overall, the city driveability is good and the power delivery is nice and linear. Combined with a light electric power steering, good ergonomics and excellent all-round visibility, the Virtus is city-friendly.

Out on the highway is where you will appreciate the mid-range and the top-end of the engine. Past the 2,000 rpm mark, the engine pulls nice and clean all the way to 5,500. If you’re pushing hard, this is where you would want to be. A bonus is that the engine doesn’t sound coarse at high revs, in fact, it sounds sporty. Even beyond 5,500 rpm, the top-end isn’t flat and the engine keeps pulling all the way to 6,600 rpm. Highway cruising is a comfortable affair too in the Virtus and it can do triple-digit speeds easily. All in all, while this engine may not be lightning quick, it is definitely fast and smooth.

Volkswagen Virtus A Sedan to Go For!

The Virtus comes equipped with 40+ safety features including six airbags, ESC, multi-collision brakes, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), Hill hold assist, ABS, rear parking sensors and many more. When launched, the Volkswagen Virtus will compete with its sibling Slavia, Honda City, Maruti Suzuki Ciaz and Hyundai Verna. The car looks classy, the built quality is good, loaded with features and it’s fun to drive. If the Virtus is priced aggressively Volkswagen can create an impact in the mid-size sedan segment.