Purchase experience & initial ownership review: Volkswagen Vento TSI MT

I'm going to say I've skimped on a few things to get the manual 6MT variant. This was more of a decision from the heart than anything else.

BHPian Sen recently shared this with other enthusiasts.


This'll be my first initial ownership report on this forum, and although I'm not much of a photographer, I can definitely get a chuckle or two out of y'all, I'm sure! Please read (thank you for doing so!) with merciful eyes.


I've never owned my own car. Driving around in my dad's '99 MS Zen LX and '16 WagonR, the itch to own a fun-to-drive steed was reaching it's peak.


24 years old, I considered a second-hand beater to satisfy myself, but no-go. Either the finances didn't line up, or I wouldn't feel sated with the way the car was treated by it's previous owner(s). Reliability concerns. Local social stigma. All of that didn't really add to the feel-good factor of owning a car, and I couldn't bring myself to do it despite all the information available to me here that made a 2nd hand car such a great deal.

I considered too many options to list, but somehow was never able to strike a chord with any particular car I found.

I'd just like to pause here to mention that I'm a big fan of the VAG group cars. Always had been..

The Octavia RS (2-litre petrol variant before the current RS245) was quite a favorite of mine, even if it was a FWD. Explosive engine, giving cars north of the 30L mark a run for their money in terms of performance and handling characteristics, always punching above its weight.

So was the Polo GTI, that sold out fully before I could ever hope to own one from a financial perspective. Another beast from the SAVWIPL stable, 189 horses on tap, 250 nm torque, 4 discs, it was a 3-door wet dream come to life, and even if it was a 2-seater (I mean, come on, try fitting 5 in there, I dare you), it was a blast to drive I'm sure, what with the paddle shifters, 7 speed DSG and front locking differential. A GTI badge on any other car is sacrilege!

Horror-stories with aftersales aside, the VAG group always made some solid, fun-to-drive, mechanically-sorted cars, with timeless designs, no matter how old the platform (PQ25 or otherwise) may have been here in India. It was German engineering, and time was running out..The age of ICE-powered cars is on its way out. What with BS6 coming in, diesels being ostracized everywhere in the world, fuel prices catching up and soaring close to the Rs. 100/l mark, EVs charging in at lightspeed (pun intended).

In a few years...owning a fossil-fuel powered car would be a pipedream out of reach.

I love driving, even if it was the ol' reliable WagonR:

The car was a boat, body-rolled more than a Pokemon special attack on corners, and felt like a box on wheels. The best-selling tallboy India has seen. Japanese cars are reliable, and are known for it for a reason. It took a highway dog to the knee, and shrugged it off at approx. 67k on the odo. Some visual damage to the condenser coil apart from the plastic grill protecting it at the front, it just carried on, business as usual.

You see, I don't remember a single problem from the WagonR. Maybe I didn't look hard enough. Maybe they weren't memorable to begin with (the driving experiences anyway). There were no cabin rattles. No unforeseen bills to cater to. Whatever it did, it did well.

It was reliable to a fault.

But, it wasn't safe or exciting enough. The 67bhp 90nm K10N 1-liter engine worked, and revved, but didn't do too much apart from that. It was uninspiring to drive. Ordinary. Stop at a signal, you'll see a lot of em'.

I did a lot of highway driving in it as well, and most of my driving was in this WagonR. About 20k kms of the current ~80k on the WagonR's odo was clocked by me in the 4 years my family has owned the car. This car was good, but not for what I wanted.


The year hit like a truck. The COVID era arrived, everyone was grounded, driving was suddenly out-of-bounds, and mental mayhem ensued. The itch was like a chicken pox infection.

I needed a car, especially since my dad had transferred to another city alone and would only come on every alternate weekend, and the Zen (unfortunately) was in a sorry state despite my best efforts (was too young to do anything back then) 20 years later. It'd break down willy-nilly due to poor maintenance, and after clocking over a lakh and a half kms (I think I remember the ODO crossing the 2 lakh mark, can't be too sure!). With no alternatives in sight.

October. The hunt begins:

Now, before I list out the cars I considered, I just want to point out that a bit had changed since 2017. I now had an SO that would have to be a part of my future plans. This put a practicality twist into my plans. I'd need to drive around my folks as well as the future family around, have enough space, creature comforts, heck, even the car's color wouldn't be in my hands to choose. But it HAD to be fun. to. DRIVE!

I've always believed in keeping my cars for a good, long time. 7-10 years kind of long time. The budget was tentatively set to around 13 lakhs on road. While I believe my post's title spoils which car I ended up choosing, "Why did you pick this car out of everything available sub 13L OTR? This old nan?", you ask. "What about the F-E-A-T-U-R-E-S?"

I'll tell you what, I'll quote myself from my first post here on Team-BHP since joining in May, 2020 (thank you very much, mods! I've been lurking here for far, far longer though!):

The problem is also that with the chokehold MSIL and HMIL have on India with their cars, when a competitor with actual quality on offer (other downsides aside) requests for a pulse by offering something, nobody wants to get the party started for them and trust in the quality instead of looking for filled brochures page-on-page packed with features. There's only so much feature-clutter that is needed in a car that does its job well - D-R-I-V-E.

The population of petrolheads/torqueheads is a small subset of the general mentality in the market, as clearly showcased in the sales charts month-on-month, and is really unfortunate.

So, in essence, price-to-fun factor was key for me personally.

Base requirements:

Now with that out of the way, another thing apart from my budget that I used to narrow my list down was my other deal-breaker condition: The car HAD to be a top end.

Whatever variant it was, it had to have all the bells and whistles that model could offer. Safety, comfort, feel-good features, or anything else.

So, without further ado, below were my options in no particular order:

Hyundai i20:

Yeah, I was willing to pay that price. Bookings for this car had just opened before I was to take delivery. "Test drive? Saar if you want car you hurry, test drive difficult, take it or leave it." -Smug Hyundai SA

It had a lot going for it, sure:

A big BUT however, is the recent Seltos NCAP news (and speculation on the related models Seltos, Creta, Sonet, Venue, even the i20!) had just surfaced (team-BHP is always the best for the right kind of breaking news compared to other automotive industry sources! It's like comparing a Nat Geo documentary to your padosi pyaarelal going birdwatching).

Sunroof? You'd enjoy for the first 100 kms and on the rare occasion, and then shut and forget it.

Let's start counting them NCAP stars, shall we?

The SA had no answer for this in his training/marketing materials. Of course he didn't, Hyundai didn't bother sending cars for crash tests here, did they? A dirty secret hidden in there, perhaps?

The brake failures were fresh in recent memory, too.

The great thread by CrAzY_dRiVeR highlighting that no OEM is playing it clean these days. Hyundai historically asks customers to go fly kites when it comes to their word vs the dealer's.

To summarise:

I wanted none of that baloney in my first car. Not one bit. No thanks!

I can deal with terrible after-sales service, but I can NOT deal with an unsafe car with niggles like that. No sir-ree.

Tata Nexon XZ+(O):

Now, this car really made me think hard about what I wanted out of my car. It needed to be safe, and by default, tin-can Maruti was out. Tata...was a serious consideration.

This one car made sure of that. I mean, it was a good car.

5 star NCAP rating. The trendsetter in safety. As safe as we'll get it out here in the urban jungles, where two wheelers prowl in every corner, waiting to dart in front of you or overtake you from blind spots, and pedestrians crossing the roads like lemmings any and everywhere, zebra crossings or not. Lane discipline? What's that?

Story time! I have a Duke 200 (non-ABS) that I had a crash on in 2018, where an Activa coming in from behind me near the Begumpet shoppers' stop at 90 km/h on a rainy day sideswiped me from the front causing me to brake too hard. Even on a set of Michelin Pilot Streets known for good grip, I ended up locking my front wheel, and ate some concrete so as to not land us both into the divider head-first (anyone familiar with that flyover coming from the Paradise side?), where the activa rider was saved and didn't even stop. If I didn't have my SNELL-rated Bell Vortex on my noggin, I might not be here typing this right now. If this wasn't a painful wake-up call, I don't know what else is. My guardian angel finally said meh and took a nice, long vacation.

My right arm's Humerus had a spiral fracture in it, made my arm hang loose separate from my shoulder (flesh and skin intact), and took a swiss-made titanium plate and 12 screws overnighted to fix over the course of 2 years. 2 surgeries later, I still only have 95%+ of function back in my arm and some permanent nerve damage to this day.

Yeah..bikes were not gonna cut it anymore.

No matter how safe you ride, cars were the in thing (with no less pressure from friends, family and SO), and my first thought was this car.

The car had great highway manners, a stiffer setup for good overall handling, all the safety tech I could think of (ESP, rollover mitigation, airbags, the lot!), a good ICE system (that touchscreen lag didn't help, but it wouldn't have been a decider anyway.)

The fly in the ointment (very subjective ointment at that) was that I was a stickler for petrols.

All our cars had been good petrols, and the few cars I'd rented and experienced diesels in on this side of 15 lakhs hadn't been quite the fun I was hoping. They'd run out of steam too quick on the RPMs, and the power surge died as fast as it came.

I needed the best petrol motor I could get for my money, off of which nuts shall be revved. Period.

The engine options pushed me off of the Nexon. It was a spruced up turbo-charged variant, and is well known for it's lack of oomph. Their sales team also particularly felt entitled and didn't help when I specified a date and time and they said they'd try and get me a car for a TD. Here's a quote from one of my other posts that describes my experience briefly:

They think their car is already sold from the very first hello. I requested for a test drive of Nexon the other day, and they directly jumped to talking about pricing and getting me connected to their sales rep for quotes.

I laughed and said they'd have to earn it with a precursory test drive first, and then it dawned on them.

I highlighted it in the other post about the 4 millionth passenger vehicle rolled out, but Tata vehicles aren't without their own niggles and flaws.

Honda City ZX MT:

Now, I know what you're thinking. "You said your budget was 13L OTR above for the top end you liar!".

I know and I agree, blame this on GTO.

But, with everything said and done, Honda had a lot going for it. All the usual features that people could need without being greedy. A NA 1.5 that's free-revving in nature that isn't turbocharged, and the i-VTEC magic with a slick-shifting (one of the slickest out there!) 6MT. Good steering dynamics. a 5 STAR ASEAN NCAP rating (wasn't too sure about it being valid for the Indian model to be honest). A decent 8 speaker ICE with no badge on it. An antiquated but usable touchscreen. all LED lights (I'm a sucker for that). God-like ergonomics due to their human first design philosophy. Oodles of space especially in the back. Brand image (ooh beta look, our neighbor bought a city! {'nuff said}). and last but not the least, LEGENDARY Honda reliability.

I mean, look at the way Hondas used to be built even back in the day!

But, there's always a but.

The price didn't justify the offering. Even if it was THE C-Segment sedan posterchild, it still didn't make it value for money for the top end (the only end I was looking at, I wanted zero regrets damnit!)

Just to get this out of the way, I absolutely detest that front. Especially that overhang and thick, fat, ugly chrome strip. Just my personal opinion.

With how Honda positioned themselves, complacent as the king of the C-Segment sedans, they also shot themselves in the foot with where they priced it. And what they provided for that cash. I pay enough taxes in life, I don't want another Honda tax.

Tata Altroz XZ(O):

This was a great release from Tata. Great hatchback. Safe. Features aplenty. Great highway behavior. Fit and finish was up there(!). Feature-laden as per my needs and wants. Spacious enough. Tight characteristics on the handling front.

You all saw this coming from a mile away, didn't you?

Purchase experience & initial ownership review: Volkswagen Vento TSI MT

What was Tata thinking with that petrol engine?

Anemic is an understatement. This thing, when I test drove it, was almost as sluggish as my WagonR. Definitely not something I'd enjoy driving every time I got into the cockpit, not by a loooong shot.

Both 3-pot motors, both with barely enough power to get rolling felt like.

I'd already lived this life before, and I was clear in my needs, I NEEDED a fast, fun and rev-happy powerful petrol. No buts there.

Unfortunate, but that was the Altroz out for me.

VW Polo Highline+ TSI 6MT:

Now, if I was the only one this car was for, this was it. It had everything I needed. A great engine, enough features, headlights were a kalank, but a bulb swap might even make it livable and drive able at night.

An older variant of this (hello Polo GT TSI DSG 1.2!) was actually my first foray into VAG cars via a test drive. It accelerated and made me smile like nothing else till that day. It was a great, well-balanced car. Quick. DSG fun and convenient, reliability aside.

No rearview camera, but a cheap retrofit nonetheless, if I wanted at approx. 8-10k (dealer install).

Space was adequate, but hey, if it was just for me and the future was just me driving around, this'd be perfect. Chauffeured? I always drove the car myself! Even when being taken to the dealer stockyard for my own PDI. Price premium aside, it was a good, well-built machine. No wonder these Polos (MPI or otherwise) still sell like 3000 units every month in India, despite how premium-ly they are priced with the kind of features on offer (or lack thereof).

So many compromises I was ready to live with, the clincher however, was the rear bench. What year is it? Was the cabin made for ants?

It was simply too cramped..I couldn't justify a long-time purchase with this kind of rear bench room. My family simply wouldn't have it. The latest Polo abroad solves this problem quite well, but of course with our government's sub-4m rules and other taxation...it's not available here in India, despite being more than halfway past it's lifecycle abroad.

I'd feel like I was compromising on something, and I wanted zero regrets. And so, the hunt continued.

Skoda Rapid Monte Carlo 1.0 TSI:

There. We've arrived at the twin from the sister company. This was a questionable deal at best. The Monte Carlo, for the price it charged (what, 14 lakhs OTR?) didn't have the bang for the buck that I was looking for from a top end variant. The driving, engine, feature-set, form factor, everything was mostly similar to the Vento..but one thing really wrecked the chances for this one.

The price.

That red and black two-tone finish with those alloys almost got to me, not going to lie. But pricing, coupled with the fact that Skoda could write an entire season of Aahat (that hindi TV horror show) with their horror stories, car parts being swapped with others of inferior/dangerous quality, intentionally sabotaging customer cars, etc, the list goes on. The OG of aftersales horror, Skoda themselves.

Which brings me to the end of the considered cars list.

So, why the Vento?

Affectionately named Taco, the people-carrying burrito. He was christened hence by my SO.

I'm going to say I've skimped on a few things to get the manual 6MT variant. This was more of a decision from the heart than anything else.

I've been eyeing this car since 2018, the latest facelift with the LED headlamps on the top end variant and that TSI+MT combo just sealed the deal for me. Fanboyism much?

Heck, VW even threw ESP/Hill Hold Assist out the window to make it saltier for me. There goes my safety speech, I guess.

Well, here's my twisted logic:

The good:

Toffee Brown Volkswagen Vento Highline Plus MT.

All inclusive coming to about 12,77,992/- including insurance on road for Hyderabad.

That pricing is what sealed the deal for me.

The bad:

ABS sensors conking off at the slightest caress of road-puddled water, steering rack failures early into ownership, potential timing belt failure (on the bigger TSI engines anyway), spark plugs making the ignition coils go kaput, water pump failure, enough bushing changes to make VW a small fortune, etc.

Thank heavens I don't have a DSG to worry about with the MT.

The ugly:

"After-sales service? What kind of bird is that?" - SAVIPL, probably.

Although definitely a step or two above Skoda, VW is part of the same group, and horror stories are out there to read.

My Swagat service. I walk in at 09:30 AM on an appointment basis. Tell them I'm in a hurry and need the car fast. (this is Bangalore VW Palace Cross Mysore Road we're talking about, one of the highest rated service centers), and told them to at least get it done by 12 PM seeing they took an appointment for it and KNEW I was going to be coming in for an express + Swagat service (they missed the memo somehow, mine was processed as a regular service on a Monday). And guess when I got to collect my car? 2:30 PM.

Without even a proper waterless wash. After continuously asking them about an estimate for the time of delivery, delaying my other appointments.

They did allow me to stay with the car from start to finish of the service (ha! I'd loved to have seen them trying to refuse my service otherwise!) and provided me a place to have my breakfast in the meeting areas in the back end until service started on my car an hour after my arrival, but hey. I digress. The service wasn't the issue, it was the time it took. Customer time, when I was present in person.

Yeah, some aspects are still a way to go for VW/Skoda.

Some warranty claims can take weeks, while the car just sits there twiddling its control stalks in the workshop. Some(?) parts are never in stock, and always have to be ordered for some reason. Where's that 90%+ localization now? Why such fuss over warranty?

Post-warranty, pray you don't face the horrors of the aftersales music that VAG Group is known for. I'm taking all 7 of those warranty years, even with an MT, you better believe it VW.

Barely 30 kms after driving out of the showroom basement, when getting my tires changed, the car's left tail light fell off (not literally, but the bolt holding the tail light assembly on the left failed or had defective threading from the factory itself, and the tail light was dangling in its' "socket" against the closed trunk lid the entire drive back. I'll have to eat my "build quality" words already, won't I?

It required a 10 minute fix at their workshop (was handled well, showroom staff and service staff were quick to get it fixed and make it as good as new, but hey, it happened, and so its here. Nobody could've seen it coming.)

Earliest service center visit in India? You bet!

For reference, it was the bolt the person unscrews in this video at the 27 second mark.

Booking experience:

Alright, I've got to spill the beans here. The service I got from VW Secunderabad PPS was above and beyond what I'd expected (figuratively) walking in.

I didn't have transport, but told them I wanted to have a test drive (twice) of the Vento. They came each time, even on a Sunday.

I was treated as a sure-shot buyer in the last two years I've requested to drive their cars, and I'm thankful for being treated well. Initial impressions were very good, too!

Even with the car fully occupied by 5 adults, the usual huge speedbreakers I dealt with in my commutes were no big deal, and I'm pretty "big-boned" too. Rear seats were comfy, mom was happy, life was good.

I was sold the moment the engine revved to 2k RPM. The wave starts at approx. 1600 RPM, and is ready to surf on from 2000 RPM onwards.

Turbo-petrol kicking in with 175nm of torque all the way to the redline, I was discussing something, stopped talking mid-sentence, and just listened, that's how much I enjoyed that sweet motor. It's got the 3-cylinder thrum, but golly is it a fun 3-cylinder.

Booking amount? 5k, IMPS'd straight into their bank account. Car blocked, now I was on the hook.

I told them in no uncertain terms that I'd be a picky customer, and that I'm very particular about my due diligence (read PDI/fine print negotiations/extraneous charges removal/etc.

Negotiations? Went without a hitch, straight with the sales head at the branch. It started at the end of October, but due to personal commitments, couldn't buy the car till November end.

I visited their dealer stockyard twice, once to see the two cars in my SO's choice of color, Toffee Brown, available (it was dusty and parked in the sun since arrival in July or so), asked them to move my selected VIN to the shade at least for the remaining days, and they obliged.

Once more was to do my PDI before delivery, including interiors (since that wasn't done the first time, they didn't have the keys to the car). It's not often that their customers request them to go visit the dealer stockyard and do everything themselves said the SA and Sales Manager. /shrug

The SA, assistant sales manager and sales branch manager were all very courteous and patient with me, answered all my bajillion questions from start to finish, and even helped me with transportation for banking formalities since I didn't have transport. It was a great experience. (Psst- Thanks Shiva, Ravi and Nagarjuna!)

Delivery Experience:

Accessories I got for free (all OEM parts):

Price breakdown for those interested:

=12,79,391/- on road.

Does the keychain count? (499/-). (More details about the accessories in the accessories section, since I hit the 40,000 character limit).

I also specifically mentioned that there were to be no stickers stuck on the car before delivery, and no teflon coating or any body polish or anything at all, since I'd be taking it to a nearby 3M outlet immediately after.

And so, after almost 15 agonizing days, November 30th arrived. Finances taken care of, it was D-Day.

Full disclosure here, as a favor, I asked and even got to drive the test drive car (same variant and model as my car in that beautiful Lapiz Blue shade) to the airport to pick up my SO, and to make it to the showroom right after for delivery. Very nice gesture from VW Secunderabad, truly content with the service.

As soon as I entered the showroom, there was a cake cutting organized for me, which caught me completely off guard, completely with the cheesy music playing from a showroom car. We finished cutting the cake and let the showroom staff have all the cake, and made our way to the basement for the delivery formalities (symbolic key handover, goodies, bouquet photos, a live-printed photo of everyone posing in front of the covered car, taking the wraps off of the car, all that jazz).

And it was off to the races!

It was around 12 by the time we were done. The car finally mine to drive, I drove straight to a reputable tire dealer, and got the stock Goodyear Assurance Triplemax tires exchanged for a set of 4 Continental UltraContact6 tires in the same size (195/55/R16).

Buyback price offered at first was 3500/- per tire, but when a competing buyback offer from another dealer (Ashoka Tyres, Minister Road) was pitched, they agreed to match the 4200/- per tire, and the deal was sealed.

Paid 12k for the new set of tires for the car and got Sensairy TPMS x4 installed in each tire at the same time (which I'd procured about 7 days before the car's delivery date from Amazon, 5700/-, worth. every. penny).

Overall install time was pretty less, in 30 minutes or thereabout, I was on my way!

I got my tires changed at Stunnerz Madhapur. Vasu was extremely professional, punctual, and even helped me out with a UPI blunder where I ended up transferring 36k extra because of network issues out of their own pocket, back to my bank. Grateful after how that whirlwind of a day was turning out to be.

It was during the above that I saw it.

As mentioned in the summarized points (kicking myself for not taking any photos of this), the left rear tail lamp was loose from the bodywork, hanging on only by the wiring and being held back by the boot lid due to the snug fit.

I first assumed someone shoved it and damaged it (I'd gone to the Ratnadeep supermarket next door to get something to drink for 10 minutes) or something of that nature, but there was zero signs of any damage whatsoever to the unit, meaning it had to be dundundunnnnnnn an inside job.

I'll show myself out, sorry.

But, my dismay was palpable. I was too shocked to take photos of the incident. When does this EVER happen to a brand new car a few hours later?

Called the showroom, kept my cool, my humor up and en-garde, and told them what happened, they offered to send a mechanic with the RSA car immediately, but since I was on my way home via that route (and mighty tired at that!) anyhow, I declined and told them I'll drop by myself. The unit was designed to be tucked alongside the boot lid snugly, so thankfully there was no danger of it falling off while driving, or stressing the wires connecting it to the body).

Drove gingerly (engine break-in time with this engine truly requires unholy levels of restraint), and around 6:20 PM, I reached the showroom and got the issue looked at. The staff and management swarmed my car and immediately began inspecting the defect, and then suggested I take it to the workshop of their's, which would close by 7 PM, so time was of the essence, and it was another 10 km away.

Hurried to the service center, and made it on time before it closed for the day. They took me straight in to the service workshop like a patient to an ICU, and got to work on replacing the bolt that held on the tail light cluster on the left to the bodywork.

The defect was very, very rare (and they'd never seen it happen before, or so they say), and within 10 minutes, I was on my way.

What a day! Unfortunate, but you know what they say.

Stuff happens.

With that small issue out of the way, everything has been smooth so far! (touchwood).

Went for a customary wash, wax and underbody rust-coat {for the future time this car would spend in Bangalore, famous for the weather, still made me think thrice due to this thread on Team-BHP.

Costed around 5700/- or so for the rust coat with 5 year warranty.

Didn't like their service too much (there were already light swirl marks in some places which they said were "normal" in a car fresh out of the showroom). I inspected the anti-rust coating work at a later date, wasn't too impressed either. Didn't seem like a professional job, but it is what it is.

3M has really dissolved into a substandard chain these days, haven't they? They had even coated the interiors with this substance that made my fingers all greasy and made me frown every minute, which I never asked for, and was never told they'd be doing, and there was also this smell inside that took quite a while to get out, suppressing that sweet sweet new car smell...almost criminal. Never going back there again.

Before we proceed to the actual review...

Some money shots in my recent travels (2k on the ODO, up!):

Me and fellow BHPian Shanenanigans' Figo S 1.5 TDCI enroute to Anchetty, TN.

PS - Twisties to lust for.

Continue reading BHPian Sen's review of his Volkswagen Vento TSI MT for BHPian comments, insights and more information.