Volkswagen Virtus: Impressions & observations by a Jetta owner

The headlamps use LED projectors which look very similar to the ones on the T-ROC at first glance. Look closely however, and it becomes obvious we aren’t getting the whole deal.

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Volkswagen Virtus (Initial impressions):

BHPian romil.shroff and I dropped in at the local VW dealer to check the Virtus out. I am a Volkswagen Jetta owner and a part of the Jetta owners club. The amount of interest and curiosity this car has generated is something no other VAG has managed to do in the group. Romil on the other hand is looking to replace his aging Honda City I-DTEC 4th gen with another C-segment sedan. The Verna was at the top of his list, but he was and is still in no tearing hurry to buy a new car. He has also test driven numerous other cars including the Honda City.

The dealer had two cars on display. A maroonish red (Wild Cherry Red in VW speak) and a blue not seen on any VW before (Rising Blue Metallic). The red car was the top of the line 1.5L TSI DSG, while the blue car was a 1.0 TSI manual topline (the top spec 1.0 TSI).

I will break each section down into points to make it easier for readers.

Exteriors and overall build:

  • The car looks outstanding in the images and I am glad to report the same holds true in person too. I can draw a lot of parallels not only to the MK7 Jetta GLI but also the Jetta MK6 facelift (the post 2015 Jetta we got here in India).
  • The front end is a mix between the MK7 Jetta GLI and T-ROC. The slim headlamps that merge cleanly into the grille, the large air dam with the fog lamps pushed to the extreme ends and the three slat grille which (mercifully) has very little chrome on it give the front a very clean and non-offensive look.
  • VW claims the Virtus is 20mm longer than the Slavia and both Romil and I agreed that extra length has been added to the front overhang. This is what gives the Virtus the edge in terms of design. The Slavia’s stubby front overhang makes it look like a proper 3 box sedan, while the Virtus’ longer front overhang combined with the coupe-like roofline at the back, gives it a more clean and cohesive profile.
  • The headlamps use LED projectors which look very similar to the ones on the T-ROC at first glance. Look closely however, and it becomes obvious we aren’t getting the whole deal. The T-ROC gets two separate barrels, one being a projector LED and the other an LED bulb for the high beam. The Virtus makes do with a single barrel for both, with the other barrel being the turn indicator. VW has smartly made the inner barrel look like an LED projector, when it is only an indicator.
  • Though the use of chrome has been kept to a bare minimum on all variants, the GT line still gets some chrome on the front grille, air dam and the door handles. These elements could have been blackened
  • Coming to the side profile, the Virtus sticks to 16 inch rims when most competitors (sedans and CSUVs) have moved onto 17 inchers. Having said that, the average joe won’t be left wanting in terms of looks. Even with the 178mm GC figure, the side profile manages to look surprisingly proportionate.
  • The rear end once again has a lot of MK7 Jetta GLI to it which is not a bad thing at all. The smoked tail lamps combined with the bootlip spoiler (GT exclusive) give the rear a mean look.
  • Overall build quality is typical VW at most places. The paint quality is excellent with minimal orange peel visible. Both the red and blue shades we checked out had a nice depth to them. Panel gaps have been kept in check at all places.
  • One area where the Virtus doesn’t quite feel as solid as the Jetta or older CKD VWs is in terms of how thick the bumpers are. The doors also lack the heft the Polo/Vento could boast of at one point in time. The S.A was quick to point out this is down to newer pedestrian safety norms. Overall sheet metal thickness of parts like the roof and doors is a notch less than the Jetta/Passat, but this isn’t a yardstick to measure safety, nor is it irritatingly thin enough to be prone to dings and nicks.
  • All in all, any prospective customer upgrading from an Asian car belonging to a lower segment will find the perceived build to be perfectly acceptable if not very good. Polo/Vento or even Jetta owners might not share the same opinion.

Menacing front end. Lots of Jetta MK7 here. Don’t miss the GT badge on the grille. This is the top spec 1.5 TSI DSG. The chrome on the air dam atleast should have been deleted:

The Topline gets a thicker chrome strip running across its grille. This blue looks a lot better in person than in the images. Very close to the silk blue offered on the Jetta Mk6 and even the Polo and Vento:

Headlamps look very similar to global offerings, but they aren’t. The inner barrel is a simple halogen turn indicator on the Indian Virtus…

while international spec VWs get a separate high beam barrel altogether. The DLs are also slimmer and less conspicuous here:

Vertically stacked fog lamps. The air dam plastic trim is piano black. I have my doubts on how it will resist stone chips and scuff marks:

Tow hook cover is also dual tone to gel with two distinct parts of the bumper:

Interestingly, the driver side wiper gets its own wind deflector:

Blacked out elements look neat! However, the chrome running across the door handles should have also received the black treatment. Alloys are the same design as the Topline, just that they are blacked out too. A clumsy effort if you ask me. The 1.5 deserved a different alloy design if not 17 inch rims:

B-Pillar gets this rather nice looking “Volkswagen” detailing. Glossy black plastic seen here again as opposed to matte black on most other cars:

16 inch alloys on the Topline variant have the same design as the GT Line. Only difference here is they have a machined finish. Coincidentally, the design is the exact same as the one seen on the Polo Comfortline TSI, albeit in 15 inch form. 205/55 is the same aspect ratio the Jetta had. Goodyear Assurance are as usual a lousy choice of tyres. I recommend switching to better rubber:

Shark fin antenna looks great. Receives the black treatment even on the Topline variant:

Rear three quarter angle looks sexy, even with the excessive ground clearance. Smoked tail lamps with the coupe like roofline give the rear a mean look. Chrome insert running across the lower half of the bumper seems like an after thought:

Romil says these black inserts on the tail lamps remind him of the 5 Series G30 LCI:

Torsion beam setup at the rear, as expected from a car of this class. Notice how the fuel tank gets a heat shield to protect it from the exhaust heat:

Red brake callipers on the GT variants look smashing! Unfortunately, look closely and you will see some chipping on this one already. I believe this might have happened when mounting the wheel:

A few parting shots of the exteriors:

Continue reading BHPian vishy76s’ impressions of the Volkswagen Virtus for BHPian comments, insights and more information.

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