Volkswagen gave the Polo a sedan trunk and renamed it the Ameo for the Indian market. The new subcompact is supposed to help boost VW’s sales in one of Asia’s largest automobile market.

With an annual production of more than 23 million vehicles per year, India has one of the largest automotive industries in the world. Hard to believe given that the country only began to liberalize its automobile market in 1991, but the high import taxes, which encourage cars to be produced locally rather than imported, have turned India into a big exporter. Also, the growing internal demand has prompted foreign automakers to open shop in India and even develop market-specific models. Important companies that have already did it include Ford and Suzuki, but Volkswagen has recently joined in on the fun with subcompact sedan that just broke cover at the 2016 New Delhi Auto Expo.

The vehicle in question is dubbed Ameo and it is based on the PQ25 platform used by the Volkswagen Polo, which pretty much makes it a Polo sedan. Given that Volkswagen is already selling a Polo sedan in India with a Vento badge, the Ameo doesn’t seem to make much sense, but it’s the exterior dimensions that make the difference, and not just from a design standpoint. You see, in India size matters when it comes to taxes and insurance, which is why many automakers came up with sub-four-meter sedans, which are cheaper to own. Developed specifically for this market, the Ameo is basically Volkswagen’s answer to the Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire, Honda Amaze, and Ford Figo Aspire.

The subcompact German sedan will go on sale by the end of the year and will remain exclusive to the Indian market. Volkswagen will offer a choice of two engines, including a diesel. Find out more about it below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen Ameo.

  • 2016 Volkswagen Ameo
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Engine:
    inline-3
  • Transmission:
    five-speed manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    73
  • Displacement:
    1.2 L
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 Volkswagen Ameo Exterior
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2016 Volkswagen Ameo Exterior
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2016 Volkswagen Ameo Exterior
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Styling-wise, the Ameo is identical to the Polo from the nose to the C-pillars.

Styling-wise, the Ameo is identical to the Polo from the nose to the C-pillars. The front fascia feature the facelifted Polo’s features, including the redesigned foglamps, the revised bumper grille, and the chrome strip. As we progress toward the back, we can see the same side mirrors, an identical wheelbase, and similar side and quarter windows. It’s the rear where the Ameo stands out compared to its hatchback sibling, sporting a brand-new bumper, a conventional trunk lid, and new taillights that seem to be based on the Polo’s, but have different shapes and cluster patterns.

Although described as a sedan, the Ameo is more like a notchback. The short rear deck and overhang suggests the trunk is rather cramped and the design is far from appealing. This shouldn’t be an issue with local customers though, as the Ameo was developed as an affordable, entry-level subcompact rather than a beauty contest winner.

Interior

2016 Volkswagen Ameo Interior
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2016 Volkswagen Ameo Interior
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2016 Volkswagen Ameo Interior
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The Ameo’s interior is also identical to the Polo’s, down to the instrument cluster, center stack, and steering wheel. This is great news for subcompact customers, as they will have access to a more premium proposition compared to other vehicles competing in this niche. More good news comes from the convenience features department, as the Ameo will be the first subcompact in India to feature cruise control and rain-sensing wipers. Volkswagen will also include static cornering lights and the dynamic Touchscreen multimedia system with Mirror link, iPod connectivity, and phonebook/SMS viewer as standard.

Drivetrain

The Volkswagen Ameo will be available with two engines. There will be a 1.2-liter three-cylinder with 74 PS (73 horsepower) and a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder diesel with 89 PS (88 horsepower). While the gas unit is also offered in Europe, the 1.5-liter oil burner is built locally and brand-new to this platform. Transmission choices will include a five-speed manual for both engines and an optional, seven-speed DSG for the diesel. The brand promises that the Ameo will deliver class-leading handling and high-speed stability. Official specs have yet to be released, but we will be back when Volkswagen spills the beans.

Safety

2016 Volkswagen Ameo Interior
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In spite of being built specifically for the Indian market, where safety regulations are more relaxed compared to those in Europe and North America, the Volkswagen Ameo is equipped with dual front airbags and an anti-lock braking system (ABS) as standard. A rear view camera with parking sensors is available as an option.

Prices

Pricing for the Ameo is not yet available, but if Volkswagen wants its new subcompact to be competitive, it shouldn’t be a lot more expensive than its closest competitor, the Ford Figo Aspire. The latter retails from 515,900 Indian Rupees, which converts to about $7,615.

Competition

Ford Figo Aspire

2016 Volkswagen Ameo
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Launched in 2015, the Figo Aspire is the sub-four-meter sedan version of the Figo, which is the Indian version of the Fiesta. Available in six different trim levels, the Figo Aspire can be had with one of two engines. Ford offers an Indian-built, 1.2-liter gasoline unit rated at 88 PS (87 horsepower) and a Fiesta-borrowed 1.5-liter turbodiesel with 100 PS (99 horsepower). In terms of Safety, the Figo is better equipped than the Volkswagen Ameo, featuring four side and curtain airbags in addition to front airbags for the driver and passenger. Pricing for the Figo Aspire starts from 515,900 Rupees (about $7,160) for the gasoline version and from 615,900 Rupees (around $9,085) for the diesel variant.

Conclusion

2016 Volkswagen Ameo Exterior
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Much like the Ford Figo Aspire, the Volkswagen Ameo is a compromise between the compact yet spacious Polo and the advantages of a proper sedan trunk. It’s by no means pretty when seen from the back, but the Ameo should do the job it was designed for. Such a model wouldn’t make much sense in Europe or North America, but its premium looks and numerous standard features for the buck should make it a strong player on India’s subcompact market. At first glance, the Ameo has what it takes to boost Volkswagen’s sluggish sales in South Asia’s largest automobile market.

  • Leave it
    • * India-exclusive model
    • * Ugly rear end
    • * Likely more expensive than the Ford Figo

Press Release

Volkswagen, Europe’s leading car manufacturer, today unveiled exciting new products, including Volkswagen Ameo at the 13th edition of the Delhi Motor Show. With a heady combination of power and performance, the lineup highlights Volkswagen’s continued commitment and steady growth plans for the Indian market.

2016 Volkswagen Ameo Interior
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Addressing the press conference, Mr. Jürgen Stackmann Board Member for Sales and Marketing, Volkswagen Passenger Cars said, "The Delhi Motor Show is a great opportunity for us to showcase our enhanced product portfolio of segment-leading carlines to customers in this dynamic and growing market. Volkswagen wants to play a key role in India not only in terms of sales and market share, but also in terms of safety, quality and innovation. That is why we are strengthening our efforts here. We are expanding our product portfolio in India with the made for India product, Volkswagen Ameo, our first compact sedan, the latest edition Tiguan, which marks our debut in India’s SUV segment and the new Passat which will be launched in this fiscal."

2016 Volkswagen Ameo Exterior
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Mr. Michael Mayer, Director, Volkswagen Passenger Cars India said, "We are delighted to showcase our wide range of products at the Delhi Auto Expo 2016, and truly believe in the potential that each of these carlines holds, for the Indian market. The Volkswagen Ameo, our made-in-India and made-for-India carline and the premium SUV, Tiguan, are among the most important carlines for us at this Motor Show. This gives us an opportunity to break into new customer segments and offer them the best Volkswagen cars. Additionally, through the showcase of Passat GTE –we have an opportunity to highlight Volkswagen’s environmentally responsible plug-in hybrid technology. Our recently launched products – 21st Century Beetle, New Vento, New Jetta and New Polo have garnered a positive response from customers across the country. With the evolving Indian consumer, we have here a great opportunity to cater to their requirements of safety, build quality and innovation and make Volkswagen as the most accessible German premium brand in India."

Taking centre-stage at the Volkswagen pavilion was the Ameo, which made its global debut at the Delhi Motor Show. The new compact sedan has been designed specifically for the Indian market, and is expected to be a game changer for Volkswagen. There has been an overwhelming response to the sub 4-metre category in India, and with its superior technology, class leading features and high safety standards the Ameo is expected to raise the bar in sub 4-metre sedan segment with first in segment features like cruise control and rain sensing wipers along with static cornering lights and the dynamic Touchscreen multimedia music system with Mirror link, I-pod connectivity, phonebook / SMS viewer.

2016 Volkswagen Ameo Exterior
- image 664122

The Volkswagen Ameo will be available with two fuel options - 1.2L 3-cylinder MPI and 1.5L 4-cylinder TDI engine.

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