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2022 Volkswagen Virtus 1.0-litre AT review, first drive - the sweet spot?

Tuhin Guha Updated: May 06, 2022, 10:00 AM IST

The Virtus GT may be the one to draw in the Volkswagen fans, but if the other cars from the India 2.0 plan are any indication, the job of making the Volkswagen Virtus a mainstream success rests on the smaller-engined Volkswagen Virtus 1.0-litre TSI. This is also the reason behind this variant being offered in a wider range of trims, as well as a manual option for the true value seekers.

Volkswagen Virtus 1.0-litre AT driving impressions

This version of the Volkswagen Virtus carries over the same 1.0-litre TSI that came with the BS6 Vento and Polo and is also seen in the Taigun. It makes a similar 115PS and 178 Nm and is paired with the six-speed torque-converter here.

At low-speed city driving, there's little to choose between this and the Virtus GT with its larger 1.5-litre motor and DCT gearbox. This is largely on account of the crisp operation of the six-speed auto, which Volkswagen seems to have done an impressive job of tuning in this application. It seems almost as quick as the DCT in this scenario with its responses, fewer gears and the slightly narrower powerband of this engine helping it choose the correct gear better.

The shifts are a touch more perceptible at these slow speeds, but this isn't too much a bother with its soft, rolling shift action of the slushbox. As a bonus, vibrations are barely apparent, unlike in the 1.5. Progress isn't as brisk when you want to get a move on as in the Virtus GT given the lower output,s but the Virtus 1.0 is about as quick as would need any car to be in traffic.

The steering feel is near-identical to the 1.5-litre and so is the ride, although the lighter nose here seems to make the Virtus 1.0 a touch more alert at changing directions. The flipside to this is that the 1.0-litre seems to crash through bigger potholes a touch harsher. But this is a minute difference only apparent with both cars driven in quick succession.

The difference is starker out on the open road, where the Virtus 1.0 never quite has the authoritative pull of the GT. But seen in isolation, the Virtus 1.0 is a perfectly capable highway cruiser, you can ride the wave of mid-range torque easily and the gearbox is up to the job of serving up downshifts briskly enough to build speed or for overtakes. This only improves with the S mode and further still if you decide to take manual control via the paddles.

If our previous tests are anything to go by, this Virtus 1.0-litre may not be able to match the efficiency of the GT, proven by its marginally lower 18.12 kmpl ARAI mileage figure. The smaller engine works harder to maintain speed, especially with one less gear ratio and no cylinder deactivation. But the poise and security of the more powerful Virtus are still very much present.

Volkswagen Virtus 1.0-litre AT interior, exterior

Volkswagen doesn't deprive you of creature comforts for choosing the Virtus 1.0-litre. So you get all the highlights like the cooled seats, wireless phone pairing for the touchscreen and a digital dash. More a more detailed look and the Volkswagen Virtus's interiors and styling, click here.

But it is presented slightly differently, with more traditional choices of colours and materials. So the red highlights on the dash are replaced with a brushed silver finish, the instrumentation has a blue theme to it and the dash and upholstery get a dual-tone grey and beige look. This lends the Virtus 1.0 a marginally greater sense of space on the inside with the same impressive finish.

The theme continues to the outside, the more extroverted dark trims of the GT replaced with shiner elements like the dual-tone wheels and single-tone paint. So the Virtus 1.0 continues to be a good-looking car, just in a more formal sense.

Volkswagen Virtus 1.0-litre AT verdict, expected price

The smaller-engined Volkswagen Virtus may be all the car you need, especially if you are in the majority of prospective buyers who will use a sedan like this largely in an urban setting. It offers all the creature comforts of the Virtus GT in a calmer setting, with only a marginal drop in real-world performance, and arguably better refinement. The slight efficiency disadvantage should be offset by a much more attractive price.

Also read,

2022 Volkswagen Virtus 1.5-litre GT review, first drive - good news for enthusiasts?

Volkswagen Virtus to be launched on June 9

2022 Volkswagen Virtus unveiled in India, bookings open

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