‘Change is constant, change is inevitable’, goes the famous quote from my namesake Benjamin Disraeli. To that, you might as well add ‘change is necessary’, especially in the current automotive context. The word ‘change’ is up for interpretation though – ranging from a nip and tuck that you’ll hardly give a second glance to a meaningful overhaul. On first glance the ‘new’ VW Vento falls squarely into the former category – the question is whether it is enough till the inevitable sub-four meter VW Vento screeches into showrooms to give a leg up to volumes.
Of course first thing you will ask is whether the VW Vento really needs a facelift. Thing is, to my eyes at least, the elegant, muscular lines of the Polo – and by extension, the VW Vento– has a sort of timeless elegance, aided no doubt by the determined shunning of overdone design frippery. Have to say though that the facelift, however mild, does make the VW Vento look even better; even more grown up and even more uncomfortably like the Jetta (uncomfortable for the latter of course!).
Let’s do the details. The grille is slightly larger and distinguishable by three chrome slats in place of the earlier two. The front air dam has been restyled and now features a prominent chrome strip running across the width of the nose that visually stretches out the car giving it better road presence. The bumpers are re-profiled with new fog lamps that have a cornering function. The bonnet is also re-profiled with a sharper crease line, though you will have to look real close to notice.
You might notice the new 15-inch alloys though. The ORVM’s are now electrically foldable and have integrated turn indicators but you won’t notice unless they are turned on. The tail lamps get smart looking lenses that border on the sporty and then there is the liberal application of chrome – on the aforementioned grille and air dam plus the door handles, boot lid, rear bumper and exhaust tip. That said, the VW Vento remains an elegant and understated car (much to my liking), a distinct alternative to the rather shouty Verna.
The interiors remain largely unchanged save for a two-tone brown and beige dashboard colour theme in the Highline trim and grey and beige theme (called Cloud – Titanschwarz!) for the Trendline and Comfortline trims. Personally I’d have preferred the all-black interior that the Polo GT now gets, at least in the VW Vento TSI, something that would have gelled well with the flat- bottomed steering wheel and nifty- looking gearshift lever that the VW Vento now comes with. Added features include cruise control, a cooled glovebox and the inclusion of a dead pedal, but all of this isn’t enough for the VW Vento to match the very high class benchmarks set by its rivals.
Motors remain the new(ish) 1.5 TDI diesel and 1.2 TSI petrol, both of which are capable performers with VW claiming an up to 7.5 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency on the diesel. The suspension setup is unchanged and continues to provide a very good ride, surefooted handling and brilliant stability.
All-in-all this makeover is all about subtlety and restraint till the inevitable (and not-so-subtle) chopping of the boot leads to a chop in price and bump in buyer interest. To paraphrase ’ol man Ben – change is imminent, change is necessary.