Volkswagen Virtus 1.0 TSI manual entices you with its driving ability


Styled with ventilated seats, smooth gears and a soundless engine, this manual car makes driving all that more fun

Styled with ventilated seats, smooth gears and a soundless engine, this manual car makes driving all that more fun

It can be said the Volkswagen Virtus 1.0 TSI manual’s price, is the starting point for the sedan’s range in India. Prices start at ₹ 11.21 lakh (ex-showroom) for the Comfortline trim and tops off at ₹ 14.41 lakh (ex-showroom) for the Topline version featured here. It runs the same 115hp and 178Nm, three-cylinder, 1.0-litre, direct-injection, TSI turbo-petrol unit as the Virtus 1.0 TSI AT.

It might be the entry point to the Virtus range but that is not the only reason to consider it. The engine-gearbox combo is rather likeable. The engine starts out smoothly and performance-wise you really will not have any problem keeping up with the flow of traffic. Sure, when you do press down hard for a quick overtake from low speeds, there is some hesitation under 1,800rpm, but after that, you really will not be left wanting for power.

What also helps the experience in town is that the gear ratios are well-selected, so you will not be changing gears too often. Gear shifts are smooth, and even the clutch is progressive and easy to modulate.

As standard, the Virtus gets idle stop-start, which shuts the engine off at long halts to save fuel, but you would probably override the system on hot days to keep the air conditioner running. It is when you are idling at long halts that you would have that happy realisation that the vibrations typically associated with a three-cylinder engine are missing. Even when you are driving at normal speeds, you will not really hear much from the engine bay. Drive a bit harder and you will find the note is a bit grainy, and when you drive a lot harder, the engine does get fairly audible.

This engine will entice you to drive with enthusiasm every now and then. It feels lively in the mid-range, and if you really extend it, it will even rev well past 6,000rpm.

Complementing that performance is keen handling. It is entertaining in the corners and feels poised. Keen drivers would have liked a slightly weightier steering, though. In other areas, this Virtus is no different from the ones before. At higher speeds, you will like the European car sure-footedness and at low speeds, note that the suspension absorbs most of the bumps well.

The Virtus has a long list of strengths. Highlights include a stylish dashboard (though there are no soft-touch materials), large and supportive front seats, great legroom at the back and a massive 521-litre boot. Features-wise, the Virtus’ Topline trim does well for itself, with a large 10-inch touchscreen with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, an eight-speaker audio system, digital dials and handy ventilated front seats. The safety kit includes six airbags as well as ESC, and what stays with you is that all-encompassing feeling of toughness to the car.

The Volkswagen Virtus is a handsome sedan and has that all-important ‘big car’ air about it. The 1.0 TSI versions are available in Dynamic Line form, which means the exterior comes with crisp chrome detailing and diamond-cut alloy wheels. For reference, Performance Line versions are identifiable by their blacked-out wheels and subtler use of chrome. 

Given our ever-worsening traffic conditions, a manual would not be the version we would readily recommend. However, things are different with the Virtus 1.0 TSI MT. It is a car that is convenient enough to drive in town, and yet, one that delivers the fun you would associate with a manual car. That it is ₹ 1.3 lakh more affordable than a comparable Virtus 1.0 AT makes it a whole lot more interesting.

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