A couple of months ago when the Škoda Slavia came to the showroom floors I just couldn't hold any patience and went to my nearest Škoda showroom to check the Slavia out and recorded and posted my first impressions on Team-BHP, so naturally I couldn't hold my horses when I got the news that Virtus had finally arrived the showroom floors. The showroom was pretty much deserted which was a boon for me since it allowed me to take my time and closely observe the different aspects of the car and before you ask, no I wasn't able to do a TD. So here goes my observations.
Looks & Design
The car looks really nice in person and you just cannot predict the way it will look like in the real life by just seeing it via digital media and I request everybody whether interested in buying the Virtus or not to at least pay a visit and have at least a look at this car. Until now I believed that the Škoda Slavia was the best designed mid-size sedan in the segment but now there is no competition.
The Virtus is the best designed car in its segment, somehow Volkswagen have managed to strike the right balance between elegance, sexiness and timeless design, VW often gets bashing for making boring(although timeless) designed cars and well here they have given their answer! Although as much as I love the design my only grouse is the fact that Volkswagen in a bid to make the car in GT line sporty have given full gloss black painted alloys which considering the extremely tough and dusty environment of our country would be a pain to maintain.
Wheels & Tyres
On a related note Volkswagen have given GoodYear tires in the Virtus which although not very good is still better than its sibling which gives rubbish CEAT tires on its Slavia but still I believe both VW and Škoda at least in the 1.5L variants should provide better/sportier Yokohama/Michelin rubber as these cars with their ballistic engines definitely need some serious grip while dropping the anchor from silly speeds.
Virtus like other VAG 2.0 cars doesn't get rear disc brakes but the front discs on the GT version like the Taigun get red calipers, also like rest of the VAG cars there is full wheel-arch cladding on all the wheels, no cost-cutting there, good job VW.
The boot space is similar to the Slavia and is actually quite spacious and Virtus can easily do those airport runs when you need to drop your mother-in-law back . Although on a related note the plastic panel of the boot in the area surrounding the boot latch was flimsily attached which made it look very out of place, even my dad's 2010 WagonR has better plastic around that area.
I don't know if it was a specific issue in that car but better Volkswagen rectify it before delivering the cars to customers since its simply unacceptable in a 20L INR Volkswagen premium sedan, also like the Slavia the boot is having partial cladding only and the boot ceiling is actually unconcealed and not even properly painted, the covering material of the boot was not properly cut and felt like someone cut it with a pair of blade manually at the last minute
The doors like rest of the cars from VAG were really hefty and had that proper German thud, also the insulation and rubber beadings were all present in generous amount, no cost-cutting there. Also, the doors from inside had a very nice soft leather pad for the elbow rest and the door handles too felt robust, absolutely no complaints there.
Interior & Seat
The interiors are a step up from the Taigun for sure and more in line with the Slavia I experienced a few months ago. The dashboard plastic though hard felt nice to touch and feel and the quality of grains too was nicer and I hope it ages nicely without getting brittle considering the harsh tropical sun in our country. The red touches in real life don't look that much gaudy as they did in the pictures and actually help in the breaking the usual black and beige monotony.
On the subject of seats, the front two seats in the Virtus GT now come with Ventilation which I think is implemented by VW after the feedback they received since the Taigun GT+ was devoid of this useful convenience feature, also the leather felt nice and supple and the compound was also excellent, although a tad bit softer than I would have liked but still very comfortable indeed.
The rear seats too were comfortable and spacious, though I must say that they are not all that roomy as the exterior dimensions and looks suggest and just like the Slavia the space was good but not class-leading and somehow I found the head-room to be on the lower side, also the bench is best for two only, the third passengers' seat base is raised and the seatback itself was quite hard and not comfortable for long drives, although that portion does carry an armrest with twin cupholders.
A point which I noted there and found a bit weird was the fact that in the armrest, just near the cupholders the leather cover was no tucked in properly and was protruding a little bit, its hard to describe but try to imagine when your shirt isn't tucked in properly into your trousers and when it juts out it looks a bit odd, its the same case here, a small thing but felt like sharing.
The steering wheel is IMHO the best part of the interior in this car along with the Taigun and much better looking than Škodas new 2spoke design and a nice departure from the same old VW steering which was seen right from Polo to Passat! The steering had a nice and perforated leather wrap which made it grippy to hold and the switches mounted on it felt tactile.
Still, I've a small suggestion for not only Volkswagen but for other OEMs too, in foreign countries I've seen OEMs offer heated steering wheel as the drivers' hand there becomes too cold and car tries to comfort him, in India considering the harsh heat, especially when the car becomes like an oven when parked under the direct sunlight, can we get cooled steerings, which compounded with the ventilated seats and a chiller air-con would make our lives oh so more bearable during the harsh and humid summers.
What was rather a cause of concern for me was the fact the centre console which is finished in gloss black was creaking, though not as bad as the one in Creta but it was very very shocking indeed, also that gloss black panel on the center console and dashboard though looks nice would be a pain to maintain in our dusty environment and in no time would be full of scratches and swirls no matter how much you try keeping it clean with microfibers.
Overall I would say that I'm much more happy with what Volkswagen have done with the Virtus and have incorporated many of the feedback from the Taigun and improved on those fronts with this car and feels more like a full fledged attempt by them than say the Taigun which TBH at least in the initial batches felt like a half-heated attempt, though there is a lot more way to go and a full 5-6 years ownership experience would properly analyze if these newer lot of cars age gracefully like their illustrious predecessors due to which VAG cars in India got the title of affordable luxury. Now some more pictures for your viewing pleasure.
Shared by: Aryaan Aneerudh (Youtube Subscriber)
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