• Volkswagen Virtus 1.0-litre TSI MT Review

It offers the joy of driver-centric sedans in a more accessible package

SUVs have been dominating the Indian automotive industry over the past few years, with sedan launches being comparatively very farand few in between. Recently though, we have seen a steady influx of sedans in the market. Volkswagen is known for its driver-centric sedans, and our long-term Virtus GT reaffirms the stereotype. But that is more of a halo Virtus variant. The real action is in the smaller 1.0-litre variant especially in manual trim which is a lot more affordable and subsequently garners more interest among the car buying lot. We drive the Virtus 1.0 TSI MT trim to find out if it is as smile-inducing as other Volkswagen sedans. 

The Virtus looks elegant yet sporty and I can assure you that it looks even better in the flesh. The clean lines and sharp design language is enhanced by the slim headlamps and the tail lamps which are well-integrated with the rest of the front-end and rear-end design. The chrome treatment on the front grille and the bumper are nicely done and with the car being the largest in its segment, it certainly has a commanding road presence.  

Step inside the cabin and you’ll notice that it's a very welcoming and comfortable place to be in. And being a Volkswagen, everything from the dashboard, the glove box, the centre console to the seats and even small bits like the dials and knobs feature immaculate fit and finish levels. The seats are comfortable for even large adults and offer excellent underthigh support. At the rear, it has fantastic rear legroom and space for three adults (or two if they are of my size!). Overall, the cabin is spacious thanks to the car’s large dimensions which is going to earn it a lot of brownie points with the buyers. The Apple CarPlay and Android Auto features work seamlessly and the infotainment screen’s touch sensitivity and functionality impressed as well. 

The flat-bottomed steering wheel looks quite sporty and feels chunky to hold. It gets a digital ‘Virtual Cockpit’ instrument cluster (for Topline variant only) which impresses with itsa clean and crisp layout. You can even choose from three different layouts. The gear lever is placed just a bit high up on the centre console, which is perfect from a driving enthusiast’s perspective. The engine start/stop button is placed on the centre console next to the gear lever and it is when you push on it and fire the car up, that you start to experience the best bits of the Virtus: the powertrain and overall dynamics. 

Our test car comes equipped with a 1.0-litre TSI engine mated with a six-speed manual transmission. The three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine offers good and enough grunt for a sporty driving experience. There is good performance at low revs but the motor wakes up post 2,500rpm. Past 3,500rpm, is where the meat of the powerband resides and the place to be if you want to extract maximum performance. The excellent midrange makes getting up to triple digit speeds and overtaking slow trucks easy.  It sounded fantastic at high revs and had me rev the car just to hear that lovely three-cylinder thrum. 

The gear shifts feel engaging but not as slick as its Japanese rivals..The first two gears feel short and feel well suited for crawling through heavy traffic. The rest four gears are tall and help keep revs low which subsequently should help improve fuel efficiency. The clutch pedal has a sharp bite. It's synonymous to Volkswagens equipped with a manual gearbox and takes some time getting used to.  

The suspension setup is on the firmer side which allows for sportier dynamics but at the same time does a good job of absorbing road imperfections to ensure a comfortable drive for the passengers inside. It comfortably soaks up most bumps on the road and at high speeds, stays steady and also feels planted around corners. Body roll is well-contained around the corners and the Virtus gives you the confidence to drive aggressively. The steering feels precise and  well- weighted with excellent feedback which makes the drive all the more fun

At a starting price of Rs 11.21 lakh (ex-showroom), the Virtus commands a premium over its rivals like the Hyundai Verna, Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, Honda City and the Skoda Slavia. Volkswagen is known for making great driver’s cars that are also comfortable for the family. The Virtus keeps the tradition alive with its fantastic driving dynamics, comfortable interiors,excellent fit and finish levels and a design that should age well like other Volkswagen sedans. 

Cars First drives

Leave your comment