Volkswagen Virtus: What is it?
In a market where car manufacturers are now having to focus on SUVs, comfortable and sporty sedans have become an almost forgotten segment. Now though, things seem to be changing and it appears as if sedans are back, and that too with some promising and purpose-built ones. One such car is the Volkswagen Virtus with a significant list of promises. After launching the Taigun in India last year, the next car in Volkswagen India 2.0 pipeline is the Volkswagen Virtus. Essentially, a sedan based on the Taigun’s underpinnings, this sporty sedan is set to rival the likes of its sibling, the Skoda Slavia along with the Honda City, Hyundai Verna and the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz.
The Volkswagen Virtus shares its platform with the Skoda Slavia, and though you’d expect the Virtus to feel the same from behind the wheel, the two German cars take a very divergent approach with their platform sharing. The exterior bears no similarity, and both also feel a bit different to drive, thanks to subtle changes to the tuning of the engine and suspension. Just like the Slavia, the Volkswagen Virtus will be available in two engine options, the 1.0 L and the 1.5 L. Before we get to the driving, let's talk about the way the Virtus looks.
Volkswagen Virtus: How does it look?
The Volkswagen Virtus is a brilliant looking car and we think this is the coolest looking car in the segment. It’s got the typical Volkswagen’s Clean and Strong design lines with beautiful proportions. The face clearly draws inspiration from the Jetta, while the tail section is sleek with a lip spoiler on the tailgate (GT variant) and we loved the details on the taillights. There’s a minimal shoulder line that gives it definition from the side, a really sporty, but elegant look.
The Volkswagen Virtus is a big car, in fact, longer than the Slavia. And compared to its rivals, it boasts the largest wheelbase, length that directly promotes the space on the inside. To our eyes, the car looks sporty and elegant from all angles.
So now let’s talk about the visual differentiation between the 1.5 GT and the 1.0 L variant. The 1.5 GT has been given some touches that give it a bit more sportiness. It’s got 16-inch blacked-out alloys with red callipers, a lip spoiler on the boot lid and a GT badge. All of these elements on the 1.5 GT make the car look a little bit sporty and menacing.
Talking about the 1.0 L variant, the car looks clean and decent. It gets a fair amount of chrome on the grille and bumper. The car also gets 16-inch dual-tone machine cut alloy wheels, which makes the car look sophisticated.
The Virtus will be available in six colour options – Wild Cherry Red, Candy White, Carbon Steel Grey, Curcuma Yellow, Reflex Silver and Rising Blue Metallic.
Volkswagen Virtus: How is it on the Inside?
Moving on to the inside, the GT gets an all-black interior with red detailing on the dashboard, red stitching and aluminium pedals. The 1.0 L variant gets a dual-tone treatment with silver-coloured detailing. The interior layout has been smartly designed, it features a three-layer construction with different textured materials like fibre, plastic and piano black materials.
The star here is the 10-inch infotainment system, it’s got a neat interface, the touch response is very good and it’s got wireless Apple car play/Android Auto. The visibility of the screen even under the direct sunlight is pretty good.
There’s also a digital instrumental cluster that stands out. It’s a well-executed unit that throws up information clearly and logically. You can shift between different screens, one with a speedo, one with a tacho and one which is more minimal. It gives you loads of information and looks cool at the same time.
The buttons for the ventilated seats and to start and stop the engine are located near the gearstick. There are all of the expected features, like auto climate control, cruise control, cooled glove box, connected car tech, ambient lighting, 4 USB ports, a sunroof (not panoramic) and wireless phone charging.
Moving to the rear seats, the generous wheelbase becomes apparent here and Volkswagen claims it has the longest wheelbase in the segment. There’s ample knee room, headroom and legroom and this is a backseat where two adults can sit comfortably. The boot space is impressive with 521 litres of volume and 1050 litres with the backseat folded down.
Volkswagen Virtus: Engine and Transmission
The Volkswagen Virtus gets the same two TSI (direct injection) petrol engines that are being offered with the Taigun. The turbocharged, 3-cylinder one-litre unit is being offered with a 6-speed manual and a torque converter automatic. The 1.5 TSI EVO petrol engine is only offered with a 7-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission.
Volkswagen Virtus: How does it perform and handle?
First, we drove the GT line with a 1.5-litre turbocharged unit that produces 150 bhp and 250Nm of torque mated to a 7-speed DSG (dual-clutch transmission). The 1.5 GT is for those who love driving and want a car that is fast yet comfortable. Every time you floor the car, it plasters a big smile on your face.
Performance is the reason that people will buy the 1.5 GT for. It feels quick the moment you step on the pedal, picking up speed with intent. Triple digits speeds come up before you know and it continues to pull hard after. Tech features like Dual VVT, a start-stop system and active cylinder-deactivation, make this engine efficient. The handling on the Virtus is impressive, there is a bit of a body roll but everything stays under control and the overall mechanical grip that you get is phenomenal.
Talking about the transmission, the DSG works as a DSG should. The shifts are fast and slick and the gear ratios of the DSG unit are better spaced, making it easier to access the full spectrum of the engine’s power-band width.
The 1.0-litre petrol engine on our test car was mated to a torque converter 6-speed AT gearbox. With 115 ps and 178 Nm torque on tap, the engine is sufficient to get the Virtus moving quickly. The 1.0-litre, some of you might think is underpowered or might just not be enough for a car this size but surprisingly the 1.0-litre still does the job pretty well. Even though this is a 3-cylinder engine, the refinement levels at high rpm are impressive. The 6-speed torque converter gets the job done as it’s paired well to the engine and the shifts are seamless.
Volkswagen Virtus: Safety features
The Volkswagen Virtus comes equipped with 40+ safety features, including six airbags, ESC, multi-collision brakes, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, Hill hold control, ABS, rear parking sensors, reverse camera, ISO FIX anchors and many more. In addition, the build quality on the car feels solid, translating into better confidence in the vehicle's structural strength.
Volkswagen Virtus: Price, Variants and Rivals
The Volkswagen Virtus will be offered in two distinct variant lines – Dynamic Line, which includes all the 1.0-litre variants, and the Performance Line, which includes the 1.5-litre variants. When launched, the Volkswagen Virtus will compete with its sibling Slavia, Honda City, Maruti Suzuki Ciaz and Hyundai Verna. We expect the Virtus to be priced between Rs 11 to 18 lakh, ex-showroom, India.
Volkswagen Virtus: Conclusion
Now that we’ve already told you everything you need to know about the Volkswagen Virtus it’s time to answer the big question. Is the Virtus good enough to make a place for itself in a segment that is full of pseudo SUVs? Well, the simple answer to that is a big yes. It looks good, it’s comfortable, it has a good set of features, it’s fun to drive and all of these make the Virtus a very good car. There’s no doubt that Volkswagen has a winner on its hands as long as they don’t out price themselves. Volkswagen Virtus prices will be announced at the market launch of the car on 9th June.