Volkswagen Virtus: The only car you need
“With age comes wisdom,” declared the great Oscar Wilde, but growing up also tends to make you look at things a bit more practically. As a kid in short pants, I always envisioned myself driving a flashy luxury sedan that was fun behind the wheel yet superbly cushy to waft back home in after a hard day’s work. I was particularly smitten by the Volkswagen Passat at one point, having followed the long-term test impressions of the sedan zealously in automotive magazines, and considering the praises that motor noters sang of it, I began to nurse a soft corner for it.
Flash forward to the current day and the grown-up me became painfully aware that buying a car wasn’t as straightforward as simply following your impulse. Even though well-to-do enthusiasts have the luxury of owning multiple vehicles for different applications, for most of us, the sole car at home has to cope with all the scenarios that one might need it for. Luckily for me, I have been driving the Volkswagen Virtus and it fits that bill to a T. But could it be the only car that I needed?
The answers started to arrive when I first drove the Virtus, right in the thick of Pune’s evening rush hour traffic complete with the ever-present swarm of unruly bikers. This is the worst possible time to be behind the wheel, but I was unusually chilled-out inside the cabin of the Virtus. Keeping a cool head in traffic has never been my strong suit, but when you’re sitting on those comfy ventilated seats with the climate control set just so, twiddling thumbs in traffic is a lot more peaceful.
The wireless Apple CarPlay is a boon too, perfect to crank up a new playlist and the seating position has left me terribly spoilt, with me wishing that every car on test should be offered with a steering adjustable for rake as well as reach, just like the Virtus.
And what a lovely steering it is. In the city, it is beautifully light and that makes it a cinch to manoeuvre the Virtus into my particularly tricky parking bay. And if you prefer handing over the keys to the chauffeur, the rear bench of the Virtus is very comfortable to be spending your time in, a fact that my folks would surely appreciate.
That said, the Virtus’ pièce de résistance has always been the way it drives, and it does put a massive smile on your face. Out on the highway, the Virtus feels incredibly surefooted when cruising at triple-digit speeds with no ‘floating’ sensation that can rob a driver of confidence when piling on the miles.
The ride is typically German, with a firm edge at low speeds but the Virtus never feels uncomfortable over India’s less than perfect roads. The ride gets better as the speeds increase but that doesn’t come at the expense of handling, with the Virtus feeling very predictable and enthusiastic when chucked into a corner. It actually eggs you on to pick up the pace!
The ground clearance of the Virtus is superb too, you never have to worry about scraping the undersides over particularly bad bumps. This is a big plus, considering that most people tend to flock towards SUVs purely for the ground clearance, but with the Virtus you can take it all in your stride.
You might feel that the 1-litre TSI engine that powered our test car would have felt out of breath on the open road, but with 113bhp on tap, the Virtus never left me lacking for power. Our test car was mated to the six-speed torque converter and along with the convenience offered in the city, the shifts are seamless yet quick when you’re out on the open road and driving in an enthusiastic manner ― a tall order to achieve considering that our benchmark for auto ’boxes has always been Volkswagen’s own DSG. It even holds on to gears when you mash the accelerator for making a quick overtake, the gearbox is so intuitive that you never need to shift to the manual mode. It makes driving even more stress-free, without you needing to work the ’box and keep the engine on the boil.
Be it in the city or out on the highway, what the Virtus definitely excels at is the ability to put you at ease. Having used the sedan for commuting in the city as well as for the occasional jaunt on the highway, I can definitely attest to its all-round usability. And come to think of it, this might be the only car you need. The Virtus has something on offer for everyone ― the TSI engine and handling chops to keep the enthusiast enthused along with the comfort to keep the rest of the clan very happy indeed. I can even picture the Virtus now, parked in my garage back home, sitting proud against the neighbours’ two-car garages. With the Virtus being a car that can do it all without breaking a sweat, there’s no reason why it cannot be the one and only ride that you need.