Replaced Vento with Virtus GT: Why I chose it over other cars under 20L

I obviously have a soft corner for the VW Group since I’ve been driving them for last 7 years

BHPian Jangra recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

A perfect replacement of a legend:

July of this year:

I was in the market for over 4 months to replace my VW Vento 1.2 TSI to supplement my Kodiaq. My Vento was over 7 years young and 60k km which never really gave me any issue, but it was my longest-ever possession, and this time I was set to replace it. My requirements were:

  • Fun to Drive
  • Only a Hatchback OR a Sedan – preferably a sub 4meter. Already have Kodiaq, so wasn’t looking at Crossovers.
  • Budget of 15 lacs with an ability to stretch ~2-3 lacs
  • It should feel like an upgrade from Vento

And here, the fun search begins.

A pre-worship route that did not work for me:

As I was looking for a beater car, thought why not explore the pre-worshipped route and get a German marque – 320D OR C220D Or an A4 TDI. My budget meant at least a 6-year-old 60k driven which I was fine with. Came to realize after test-driving about 12 or so cars that this option wasn’t for me. Its unspeakable how some people maintain cleanliness and wear-n-tear of their cars and none inspired confidence in reliability. All my possessions in the past and current ones were and are in their top shape. My family was anyway hoping I get past this thought of buying a used car. And post my own experience, I did make peace with not going the pre-worshipped route. I’m sure if I had spent more time in the market, I would have found one, but did not have so much time and patience to explore.

The next thought was a Maruti for an Ease of mind, light on the pocket, and my last Maruti was super fun to drive Swift VDI which I sold back in 2011. But what changed from 2011 is that I’m an Automatic convert and can’t go back to driving a manual. And hence, I gave an AMT a try.

Baleno Alpha AMT – OTR 11.2lacs – I always turn back to look at Baleno when it drives past me. It looks stylish, especially from the rear and my wife also loves the look. So, there we go and take a test drive. It took less than a minute drive for us to decide to drop AMT from our shortlists. After driving a DSG, AMT felt like a student who engineered this gearbox for a project car at his university. It’s a shame that Maruti does not offer a Torque Converter on a Baleno

Well – there is Fronx then, which comes with a Torque converter Gearbox

Fronx Alpha AT – OTR 15.8lacs Ya, that’s right! – However, still within a reasonable stretch of budget. Hence the test drive. Now imagine 2 houses’ interiors done exactly the same way with the same couch, TV, and kitchen. That was the feeling in the cabin of Fronx after driving a Baleno. But, its not bad at all, you can live with it. Post the test drive.

The Good:

  • Looks, esp in Blue but we would have gone for Black
  • Acceleration – it is almost fun to drive with five adults seated but not in the league of a Vento
  • Reliability – What can go wrong with Maruti’s?
  • Wireless Apple Carplay
  • Higher ground clearance

Let down:

  • Majenta color theme inside – looks shabby
  • Not so nice sounding music system
  • Not as fun to drive as a Vento
  • Legroom wasn’t enough in the rear

At this point – this was definitely shortlisted. Also, got to highlight the experience at Nexa was outstanding.

A day later, a thought – Hey! Why not a Hyundai i20 , as it fits the requirements.

I20 Asta (O) – 13.7 OTR – Test drove with family

The Good:

  • Acceleration – almost similar to Fronx with five adults seated.
  • Interior ambiance was far superior than that of Maruti
  • Looks handsome, though I liked Fronx better
  • Music system sounded pretty good

Let down by:

  • Almost hits its underbelly at all speed bomps with five adults seated
  • Suspension thud sound was far worse than my Vento’s at every pothole
  • No wireless Apple carplay

No big dealbreakers – Hence was a shortlist

I obviously have a soft corner for VW Group since I’ve been driving them for last 7 years, I was so disappointed with them for not bringing Polo back esp with refreshed Interiors. Since my requirements was sub 4 meter, I never really stepped into VW showrooms but I knew at some point I would want to test drive my favorite-looking sedan – A Virtus.

And there we go on a Sunday. Took a test drive of 1.0TSI as well as 1.5TSI. My budget was in favor of a 1.0 TSI Highline but could stretch to a Topline 1.0.

After a test drive of the Virtus 1.0 TSI topline, was amazed by:

  • Car looks awesome – period. Looks & styling to me is very important and I appreciate that its subjective.
  • Interior quality – Everything looked neatly tucked in, dashboard layout looked classy
  • Acceleration – It is fun to drive, more than Fronx and I20. But not more than Vento TSI I owned
  • Great sounding music system
  • Wireless Apple carplay

Let down by:

  • The car is long! longer than my requirements which is not a good thing in Mumbai. Though this one is not a negative for the car

Again! no dealbreakers with the Virtus 1.0 Topline except that it is 3 lac more than what I want to spend. However, it did not strike the right strings ONLY because the same car comes with a 1.5 engine in the avatar of GT. But then it would be 6.5 lacs over the budget which is not smart.

Until this time I did NOT know about Virtus 1.5 GT DSG Variant launched a month back! Ex Showroom of GT DSG is same as 1.0TSI Topline. What it misses out on over GT PLUS:

  • Aluminium Alloys (of Highline variant) and not BLACK – I can get it colored hence not a dealbreaker
  • No sunroof – Who cares! half sunroof neither helps the front row nor the back. For me, its a Panoramic sunroof OR no sunroof
  • This variant comes with black / grey Fabric seats – Ammm. ok! Not thrilled about it but can live with it
  • Analog Instrument cluster – Not a dealbreaker at all.
  • LED Reflectors instead of Projectors – I don’t drive much at night. No problem!
  • No ventilated seats – Sure! Fabric seats would help
  • 2 Airbags instead of 6 – I’m not starting another debate on the importance of airbags but 2 will just do fine. It is only going to be driven in city as I plan to take Kodiaq on highways

After thinking for about 2 days, I decided to go with this variant:

This car feels like a proper upgrade from my Vento

  • 1.5 TSI will keep me happy for a long time to come. Far superior to my Vento TSI
  • My last ICE engine better be powerful.
  • This car felt so much better than Fronx and I20 in all aspects except the peace of mind. But then like GTO said – I’m ok with 2 days of VW headache for 363 days of fun behind the wheel.

PS: I did not consider Verna Turbo Petrol as I did not like the styline – each to its own

My observation of this search:

  • Cheapest Turbo Petrol with DCT is I20 at ~14acs
  • Cheapest Turbo petrol with Torque Converter is Fronx at 15.8lacs
  • Most fun to drive the cheapest Automatic (not AMTs) is I20
  • If someone doesn’t mind spending 15.8 lacs on Fronx Alpha AT- please go forward. It’s an amazing city and a highway car.
  • There arent many options for those who are looking for a fun to drive automatics under this kind of budget
  • Man! Once owned VW, it’s very hard to switch.

28-Aug – Car comes home!

Cant express the excitement of finally behind wheels of a sedan. Fun fact – In my search of pre-worshipped, I had almost put my money on a 2018 Audi A3 Diesel which was 17k driven for 21lacs. Virtus GT has 13 more HP, same Torq AND its new with 6YR warranty. Hey, I needed peace of mind with a beater car!

Lets start with the likes:

  • LOOKS! It is very important to me to turn back at my car after I park it and I never fail to stare this one
  • Under 10seconds (8.9 to be precise) 0-100. Can easily out-perform SUVs costing 2.5time more. I needed to feel the upgrade from Vento and it has what it takes to put a smile in those corners and while overtaking
  • Say what you want of VW DSG reliability – transmission is butter smooth, super quick going up or down and shifts are hardly felt. Compare that to DCT of 120 I drove felt raw and unfinished.
  • 5 Star GNCAP rating. Always at peace when you know your ride is safe
  • Refinement. One cannot hear the engine while cruising and it starts to sound sweeter as you floor the pedal to the metal
  • Cruising / Coating mileage of >14. This is like have your cake and eat it too.
  • Interiors – Everything is neatly tucked in and feels premium.
  • Two and a half months and I dare say – Zero rattles! No kidding, Virtus takes the crown compares to my Kodiaq on being absolute silent
  • Nimble to drive. It’s like behind the wheels of a play station. Absolute effortless to drive, quick power delivery, point and shoot!
  • A lot of space and cubby holes for knick knacks. Glove box and under armrest storage is also massive
  • Paint quality of the Carbon Steel grey is super and no faults to my naked eye
  • No Panel Gaps. Thanks VW for being true to your DNA
  • Unlike Sedan’s DNA, this one in this color looks dope when dirty
  • Car comes with 205 55 R15 CEAT SecuraDrive – very acceptable braking and corner grips even during heavy rains
  • Feels smaller than what it is. There are many a times when I felt the car would rub / scratch against something, but then it surprises me
  • Fantastic music system in loud volumes. Great bass, punch, and good mid-range. Not as bright as in my Kodiaq but its no slouch. But got to say, its not impressive in low volume.
  • Never yet have I hit its underbelly on any speed bumps
  • Fabric seat quality is amazing! It feels like a glove and no loose of sagging spots
  • Wireless Apple Carplay. Who doesn’t like the convenience of wireless and a clutter free interior?
  • Wireless Charger – Just putting it here for those who like it. Its useless and simply heats up the phone
  • Light steering. Some enthusiasts will disagree, but this is a city car for me and the light steering does not tire me at all. After driving this, my friend’s Fortuner literally feels like a truck. No offense!
  • 2.5 months and 2k on the ODO – have been feeling her up with normal petrol (not the 95 Octane) and it has been trouble free. Touchwood!
  • AC in Mumbai heat has not been an issue with me. Trust me, Sep and Oct were really hot! But then since 7 years I only have VW group cars to compare it with. But hey, if I’m cool inside the cabin, AC is good
  • Analog dials has been a breath of fresh air after driving my Kodiaq for nearly 20months. Its so easy to navigate to the information you need on the display
  • Amazing large boot – For those who wants. Frankly I did not have his in my requirement. I Would have been happier with a Virtus hatch if it came in that size
  • Not sure how many would agree but for under 19 lacs, this is more than all the car you will ever need. This can be your daily drive, weekend get away, long solo enthusiast drives, a family car etc.
  • It comes with Valet mode ensures your Valet doesnt fiddle with your Infotainment settings

And now the Dislikes:

  • Oh this one is first – “Horn” – sourced from TVS sccoty. Lot of times bikers are surprised that its a car honking
  • The variant I own DOES NOT come with 6 airbag. VW should have better cut corners on other features (like wireless charger etc) and retained the 6 airbags in this mid-variant. For those who wants it to be their only car are better off buying the GT PLUS variant
  • After driving a Kodiaq which has been very smooth with its gear shifts at low speeds, Virtus feels quite jerky. It ruins the experience in traffic
  • An enthusiast car with light steering! Cornering in the car is not confidence inspiring. After driving a Vento and Kodiaq, this one will take some getting used to
  • Ride quality is bit on a firmer side. Those who are familiar with Vento, it is likewise – doesn’t bother me
  • Wireless CarPlay works 75% of the times seamlessly. But the other 25%, it has mind of its own. Would refuse to connect and freeze the screen. Very inconvenient. 1 in 4 times of my hour commute, I sing to myself
  • Gone are those door-shut proper THUD. This one sounds like “KHUT” You know what I mean. Door quality is good and there is a heft to it, not sure why it doesnt translate to the same good VW Thud
  • Air pressure monitor the car comes with is Passive. It only warns for loss in pressure but will not tell you the impacted tyre. Got a warning once but the pressure were in range of 33-34.
  • Car looks a little raised, helps with ground clearance, but doesnt look Bad ass. I will wait for few years to get my warranty void, put some low springs and wider tyres. Can’t wait!
  • Boot once open, falls back down on its own due to the weight. My sister, wife and I have had our head hurt a few times.
  • Wireless charger – Just like the one in my Kodiaq – USELESS! Heats up the phone
  • I like the P R N D indication at the root of stick housing instead on the top of the stick. There have been multiple times I’m revving in Neutral OR driving sedately in SPORT mode
  • A nice LED headlight complimented by halogen (Yellow) fog lamps looks very much out of space. SO many times friends boarded the car with the comment that – “Yellow light hai fog lamps mein”
  • Sound insulation from outside world is quite bad. It gets very loud inside when moving in traffic. AND everyone outside know which song am I listening to.
  • I miss the height adjustable center armrest. I think VW 2.0 are the only cars that do not have this.
  • This variant doesnt have VW connect feature. I did not know that as I got quite used to the tracking of Cars with my Kodiaq

After owning a Kodiaq and selling my Vento, there was a big hole in my heart to have a Sedan. No matter how powerful a crossover / SUV is, Sedan is a Sedan. Driving pleasure being low to the ground is unmatched. I sold my Vento in a rush thinking this way we shall drive a Kodiaq a bit more. Vento was a car of choice if I was going to office OR my wife to pick my kid. Dont get me wrong, Kodiaq is a brilliant car but it cannot be the only car at home. Atleast mine! Hence the search started for a second car and one requirement that was tough to meet was to “Replace a Vento”

I’ve been driving this for past 2.5months and 200kms a week and must say the car is efforless to drive. It is sedate when you want it to and it is an enthusiast when you’re one. Floor the pedal and you almost instantly feel the torq. Yes, there is a slight lag for the DSG to react but post that point five seconds lag, you’ll start to appreciate the German engineering. But like I mentioned in my negatives, you really have to be used to the light steering before you start to corner this car enthusiastically.

My favorite formal attire is a Grey Shirt, Black pant and a Black Oxford. The result is:

The car does not come with blacked-out alloyes, I had to get it painted. I chose for my dealer to do it with the original VW paint. I’m big fan of original parts!

And this is how it looks for your compare to GT PLUS:

Did I put this on the negatives? Car comes ith a puny manual Night/day ORVM!

Looks better than a Jetta from some angles:

Underbelly is quite exposed:

Look at the GT DSG special fabric seats. Very acceptable:

When you break in your drives and drool over the looks:

Very handsome dashboard – very clean:

GT tag you can’t ignore:

Isn’t an analog dial a breath of fresh air?

Resembles Vento in Virtus avtar:

PS: The car ride and handling of a GT PLUS has been extensively spoken about in the official review and hence did not detail it here.

Some bonus angles.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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