German engineering meets Indian jugaad. The Ameo is the least expensive Volkswagen on sale today and slots in between the Polo and the Vento. It enters a segment packed to the brim with contenders vying for a spot in the buyer's garage. The latest entrant to the sub 4-metre party goes up against the Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire, Hyundai Xcent, Ford Figo Aspire, Honda Amaze, and the Tata Zest. It is an uphill battle, and the Ameo has brought a bagful of segment first features to the table. You can read about them in our road test review, but, for now, let's take a look at what the Ameo could've done better:
1. Rear Seat Space
The Ameo shares its wheelbase with the Polo hatchback and not the Vento sedan. The hatchback isn't known for rear-seat space and comfort, and the Ameo is no different. Yes, Volkswagen has tried to liberate some extra knee room by scooping out the back of the front seat, but, overall space is average at best. On a related note, a rear armrest would have been greatly appreciated as well!
What's better? - Hyundai Xcent
2. More powerful petrol engine
The three-cylinder petrol motor has been borrowed from its hatchback counterpart as well. The 75PS/110Nm combo is just about enough to lug the compact sedan around. We would have loved to see the 1.2-litre turbo petrol motor from the GT TSi do duty under the Ameo's hood.
What's better? - Swift Dzire (1.2-litre K-Series 84PS | 114Nm)
3. Petrol automatic
Speaking of the GT TSi, Volkswagen could have (and should have) introduced the 7-speed dual clutch transmission from the hatch in the Ameo as well. We expect the automatic transmission to debut with the diesel engine in August. However, as of now, Volkswagen has no plans of introducing a petrol automatic Ameo.
What's better? - Ford Figo Aspire 1.5 DCT
4. Boot Space
The compact sedan features a fairly generous 330-litre boot. It is well-shaped and has a low loading lip that makes stowing luggage an easy affair. However, in terms of sheer volume, almost every other rival fares better.
What's better? - Honda Amaze (400-litre boot)
The German automaker's first 'Made for India' vehicle is an earnest attempt at making a car that the market wants. The shortcomings mentioned above aren't big deal-breakers in any manner, but, had these been better, the Ameo would've catapulted straight to the top of the food chain.