Volkswagen Virtus Review — Mature & Youthful, Serious & Playful: Hello Goosebumps?

Volkswagen is one of those brands that quickly earned a reputation for developing and retailing premium cars in India. Cars like the Polo, Ameo, Vento, Jetta, Passat, etc, were among the best in their respective segments. They boasted great build quality, impressive performance, and a feeling that they were built to last.

The Volkswagen Vento for example was the sedan that pretty much revolutionized the entry-level sedan market. It brought to the segment new features and instantly increased buyers' expectations from other cars. It was first introduced back in 2010 and as they say, all good things do come to an end.

Volkswagen Virtus Review — Mature & Youthful, Serious & Playful: Hello Goosebumps?

Earlier this year, Volkswagen began the process of discontinuing production of the Vento. A few variants were axed and like the Polo, we will soon have to bid goodbye to the Vento as well. Replacing the Volkswagen Vento is the new Volkswagen Virtus.

It is larger, more powerful, and packed with features. Needless to say, it looks very impressive as well. Is it the perfect replacement for the Vento? What is it like to drive? Does it have a mature or a youthful character? We drove the new sedan in town ahead of its launch to find some answers to those questions.

Volkswagen Virtus Review — Mature & Youthful, Serious & Playful: Hello Goosebumps?

Design & Style

A mature and elegant design language has always been the strong suit of most Volkswagen cars since the very beginning. The strong design language has been retained on the new Virtus as well. It sports the new Volkswagen family design language and it is quite obvious that it is a VW, even from a distance.

We drove both the Dynamic Line variant with the 1.0-litre turbo-petrol and the Performance Line with the 1.5-litre turbo-petrol and while both variants feature a similar design language, the Performance line with its GT badging and sportier design stands out.

Volkswagen Virtus Review — Mature & Youthful, Serious & Playful: Hello Goosebumps?

Up front is a slim and sporty grille with the Volkswagen badge placed prominently in the centre. In fact, the Volkswagen logo is bigger than the grille itself. The grille features a black horizontal slat sandwiched between the chrome strips. These chrome strips connect the two headlamps and even run through the headlamps. The chrome inside the headlamps makes it look even more attractive especially given the fact that they are smoked headlamps.

While the grille and headlamp setup is slim and tidy, the lower grille in the bumper is large and offers great contrast. The longer you focus on the lower grille, the weirder it starts to get, hence it is better not to look at it as an individual element and instead look at the entire front end as one. The fog lamps are also housed in this same lower grille.

Volkswagen Virtus Review — Mature & Youthful, Serious & Playful: Hello Goosebumps?

The Performance Line variant also features a GT badge on the grille, side fenders, and boot lid. When viewed from the side profile, one's attention is first drawn to the sporty, blacked-out alloy wheels. The other black element is the ORVM which also features integrated turn signal indicators. These are elements that are specific to the Performance Line or GT variant.

The blacked-out elements make the sedan look very sporty and it is very attractive indeed. Even more so in this shade of Fiery Red. The contrasting blacks make it stand out even among a crowd of sporty sedans. That is a great achievement for a sedan that is otherwise supposed to be premium and stately.

Volkswagen Virtus Review — Mature & Youthful, Serious & Playful: Hello Goosebumps?

At the rear, you find a classy design and this is where the sedan looks its stylish best. The split tail lamps carry a blacked-out style and the lip spoiler on the boot lid too is finished in black. The VW badge too looks stylish with its black background. At the bottom of the boot lid is the Virtus badging and the aforementioned GT badge as well. This might be one of the best rear ends in this segment with the right colour choice.

On the whole, the Volkswagen Virtus carries a styling that is edging more towards the sportier side and is, therefore, more youthful. It is very likeable indeed.

Volkswagen Virtus Review — Mature & Youthful, Serious & Playful: Hello Goosebumps?

Cockpit & Interior

With a car like the Virtus, you would expect to find a spacious, elegant, and mature interior. Step inside though, and the dashboard almost gets rid of that last word. It is more youthful and sporty and in a way, very attractive.

There are multiple colours at play on the dashboard despite the whole sedan featuring a dual-tone interior. It is pretty hard to miss the red element on the dashboard. In fact, this element is pretty much in your face and while it might be very attractive to the younger audience, we're not very sure the slightly more older and understated buyers would dig this.

Volkswagen Virtus Review — Mature & Youthful, Serious & Playful: Hello Goosebumps?

This red element surrounds the AC vents and screens. It is even found on the door panels. If you somehow get yourself to ignore this element, you will begin to see the matte black on the upper half of the dashboard and the beige on the bottom half. A similar colour theme is found throughout the rest of the sedan too.

Volkswagen Virtus Review — Mature & Youthful, Serious & Playful: Hello Goosebumps?

Right in front of the driver is a chunky, leather-clad steering wheel. It feels nice to hold and looks elegant. The steering-mounted controls do look and feel premium. Behind the steering wheel is an 8-inch digital cockpit that not only looks great, but also offers lots of information to the driver. The display is intuitive and the graphics that have been incorporated into the display is excellent.

Volkswagen Virtus Review — Mature & Youthful, Serious & Playful: Hello Goosebumps?

Taking centre stage on the dashboard is a 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The fact that it features wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto makes it stand out. It also features connected car technologies and ensures that you are always connected with your car through your smartphone.

Volkswagen Virtus Review — Mature & Youthful, Serious & Playful: Hello Goosebumps?

Pairing your smartphone to the system is child's play and the touch interface is pretty smooth and fast. Below the infotainment screen are the centre AC vents and below them, lie the controls for the automatic climate control. It is a haptic touch panel and this is one of the many elements that gives the user a premium experience.

Volkswagen Virtus Review — Mature & Youthful, Serious & Playful: Hello Goosebumps?

The centre console continues with the premium feel and the gear lever even gets a leather boot. The piano black panel that surrounds the gear lever also features a few buttons that control the seat ventilation.

Ahead of the gear lever is a slot to place your smartphone and this also doubles up as a wireless charger. Volkswagen has also provided USB Type-C ports to charge your smartphone or any other gadgets. Behind the gear lever are the two cupholders.

Volkswagen Virtus Review — Mature & Youthful, Serious & Playful: Hello Goosebumps?

Controls for the panoramic sunroof are placed near the IRVM and they are pretty easy to operate. The roof liner is finished in a tone of beige and it lends a premium touch to the interior. The Volkswagen Virtus features black leather seats with contrasting red coloured stitching, making it look and feel sporty. On the whole, the Volkswagen Virtus features premium, classy and elegant interiors while a couple of elements try hard to make it look sporty.

Volkswagen Virtus Review — Mature & Youthful, Serious & Playful: Hello Goosebumps?

Comfort, Practicality & Boot Space

Comfort is one area where Volkswagen's cars always shine bright. They also happen to be very practical, offering lots of features to make life inside the car easier and simpler. The new VW Virtus is no different. All seats in the Volkswagen Virtus are perforated for added comfort. However, the front seats also feature ventilation and this only boosts comfort levels. Long hours behind the wheel even in the summer heat are all set to be so much more comfortable.

Speaking of comfort, the seats themselves are very comfortable and though we spent only a few hours on these seats, we could see ourselves spending so much more time in them. The rear is spacious and cozy too. The Volkswagen Virtus has a wheelbase of 2,651mm which is the highest in the segment and is only matched by Its cousin, the Skoda Slavia.

Volkswagen Virtus Review — Mature & Youthful, Serious & Playful: Hello Goosebumps?

This leads to an abundance of legroom and knee room for the passengers. The Volkswagen Virtus is 1,752mm wide, which is again the largest in the segment. Passengers can also make use of the rear AC vents and the two Type-C ports to charge their devices. In case you do not want to seat three at the rear, you also get a fold-down armrest with integrated cupholders.

Volkswagen Virtus Review — Mature & Youthful, Serious & Playful: Hello Goosebumps?

This leads us to storage spaces and cubbyholes in the Volkswagen Virtus. There is a small storage space in the dashboard for the driver to store small items like a wallet. There are cup holders in the centre console, a deep pocket under the armrest, deep door pockets, smartphone pockets behind the seats, etc. One can even access the boot via a hatch in the rear seat.

Volkswagen Virtus Review — Mature & Youthful, Serious & Playful: Hello Goosebumps?

The Volkswagen Virtus boasts a boot space of 521 litres, which is once again the largest in the segment. It can swallow quite a lot of your luggage and more. The rear seat can be folded down and once this is done, you get figurative acres of space for anything reasonable you want to put in there. The Volkswagen Virtus seems to do pretty well in the comfort, practicality, and space section.

Volkswagen Virtus Review — Mature & Youthful, Serious & Playful: Hello Goosebumps?

Engine Performance & Driving Impressions

This is where most of Volkswagen's cars shine bright. Several cars made by the brand offer a best-in-class driving experience. Even the Virtus' predecessor - the Vento - was one of the most engaging sedans to drive if the right variant was chosen. The Virtus too must be a good drive then right? We drove both variants to find out.

The base Dynamic Line variant is powered by a 1.0-litre engine that we are now quite familiar with. We have seen this engine in the Skoda Kushaq, Skoda Slavia, Volkswagen Taigun, etc. It is a 3-cylinder turbo petrol engine that puts out 113bhp and 178Nm. It can be paired with either a 6-speed manual gearbox or a 6-speed torque converter automatic transmission.

Volkswagen Virtus Review — Mature & Youthful, Serious & Playful: Hello Goosebumps?

At idle, it is pretty quiet, at least inside the cabin. Rev it hard though and the typical 3-cylinder noise comes through. Performance is decent and acceleration is linear. When the turbo kicks in, the sedan pulls hard and from a layman's perspective, performance is great. However, from the perspective of someone who has driven the larger and more powerful variant, it lacks the fizz.

The more powerful variant in question is the Performance Line and this one can make you fall in love with it. It is powered by a 1.5-litre TSI EVO engine. It is a four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine that puts out 148bhp and 250Nm. It can be availed with either a 6-speed manual gearbox or a 7-speed DSG.

Volkswagen Virtus Review — Mature & Youthful, Serious & Playful: Hello Goosebumps?

While traditional petrolheads would still prefer the 6-speed manual, the party piece for the new-age petrolheads is the 7-speed DSG. We spent quite some time behind the wheel of the sedan with the 7-speed DSG. Using the DSG is easy and we got out onto the open road in no time at all. The engine has its power spread out evenly throughout the powerband which means, there is enough and more grunt at the bottom-end, mid-range, and even at the very top.

Volkswagen Virtus Review — Mature & Youthful, Serious & Playful: Hello Goosebumps?

When you get to the top-end of the power band, the engine does become a little noisy and you start wishing for a throatier exhaust note to offset the engine noise. The engine is easy-going even in urban areas and stop-and-go traffic. However, the same can't be said for the DSG transmission. The DSG is happier out on the open road and the twisties, shifting gears really quick. We wouldn't hesitate in saying that the 7-speed DSG is an absolute treat to drive and is a perfect match with this 1.5-litre engine.

Volkswagen Virtus Review — Mature & Youthful, Serious & Playful: Hello Goosebumps?

Gear changes are quick and smooth even in drive mode. This turns into aggression in the sport mode, and we're not complaining. Then comes the manual mode where the gears shift almost as if it were a manual gearbox. This, combined with the brilliant feel on the paddle shifters makes for a driving experience any enthusiast will love.

The suspension that the VW Virtus is sprung on, is slightly on the stiffer side. At moderate speeds, the sedan glides over potholes, and corners are handled with grace. There is a reasonable amount of body roll, which isn't really something to complain about.

Volkswagen Virtus Review — Mature & Youthful, Serious & Playful: Hello Goosebumps?

The steering wheel is light at lower speeds allowing for easier maneuvering in urban areas but nicely weighs up as the speed builds, thereby instilling confidence in the driver. NVH levels are very well under control and at no point does one feel the noise could have been lesser.

Volkswagen Virtus Review — Mature & Youthful, Serious & Playful: Hello Goosebumps?

The larger displacement in the 1.5-litre engine makes picking up speed an easy task and the engine at no point feels stressed. The Volkswagen Virtus features a fancy cylinder deactivation technology in which two cylinders are deactivated when not needed. This makes the sedan a lot more efficient than it should ideally be.

With the Virtus, Volkswagen seems to have created a sedan that brings the best of both worlds. You get great performance along with comfort and maturity with youthful madness.

Volkswagen Virtus Review — Mature & Youthful, Serious & Playful: Hello Goosebumps?

Safety & Key Features

Volkswagen is known to make some of the safest cars. VW's cars are known for their great build quality combined with active and passive safety features and the new Virtus does not disappoint on that end one bit.

Volkswagen Virtus Safety Features:

- Six Airbags
- Hill-Hold Control
- Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
- Multi-Collision Brakes
- Electronic Differential System (EDS)
- Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
- ABS with EBD
- Traction Control
- ISOFIX Seats
- Park Distance Control

Volkswagen Virtus Key Features:

- Steering-Mounted Controls
- Ventilated Front Seats
- 10.1-inch Touchscreen Infotainment
- Cruise Control
- Keyless Entry & Go
- 8-inch Full Colour Digital Cockpit
- Type-C Charging Ports

Volkswagen Virtus Review — Mature & Youthful, Serious & Playful: Hello Goosebumps?

Variants & Colours

The Volkswagen Virtus is available in two variants and can be had in six colours.

Volkswagen Virtus Variants:

- Dynamic Line
- Performance Line

Volkswagen Virtus Colour Options:

- Wild Cherry Red
- Curcuma Yellow
- Rising Blue Metallic
- Reflex Silver
- Carbon Steel Grey
- Candy White

As aforementioned, the blacked out elements on the Performance Line variant require a contrasting colour for it to stand out and the perfect colour for this seems like Wild Cherry Red. Carbon Steel Grey and Rising Blue Metallic are excellent choices too.

Volkswagen Virtus Review — Mature & Youthful, Serious & Playful: Hello Goosebumps?

Verdict

The Volkswagen Virtus is sporty and elegant, aggressive and calm, young and mature, all at the same time. It is nearly impossible to choose whether it is mature or youthful as it is a combination of both characters. This one is much more than just a perfect replacement for the Vento. It is a sedan that will take on larger cars that slot into higher segments and that alone makes it a winner for us.

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Read more on: #review #volkswagen
Article Published On: Friday, May 6, 2022, 10:00 [IST]
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