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I've had my Vento for 2 years - I don't want to part with it ever. Great, sensible car for dirt cheap these days. I bought it as a cheap, big car to ferry my musical equipment around but it turned out to be a shrewd money saving purchase!
The car was at a local dealer for £995, with only 67000 genuine miles. I had to have it so I part-exchanged my old Micra and got it for £795. I bought the car for band use. I am a guitarist and need to carry around 2 guitars, accessories, amp head, 4x12 cab (2.5'x2.5' in size roughly). The 5doors and massive passenger space were ideal. The main selling point was the 1.8 litre engine and what can only be described as the biggest boot in Christendom.
The boot easily fits my 4x12 cabinet and 1 guitar and accessories. The other guitar and amp head have to sit on the back seats but after this there is still room for 2 passengers to travel safely - a standard requirement as I often have to transport some of my band around. There is always room for an extra guitar or amp head also.
The 1.8 engine copes well with the full load and doesn't loose any power. The car is heavy and as with all older cars the brakes aren't as sharp as their modern counterparts but work fine, obviously the heavier loads when it is full require a greater breaking distance.
The car has plenty of speed and doesn't break much of a sweat if that's what you're after. I've had 110mph out if her - she had some left as well. Remember she's 14 years old and only the CL trim!!! If you are after speed opt for a lower mileage VR6 trim - higher mileage Vento models can have expensive gearbox issues and the head gasket in VR6s are a common problem so beware!
I have the CL model which isn't top of the range but its very nice and modern looking considering its older than most teenage mothers. I recently sat inside my friend's '07 entry level Golf and the interior trim is exactly the same. The only difference is that his '07 Golf has a more contemporary feel, but the layout and switches are in effect exactly the same. The seating position, dash - actually the whole cockpit in the '07 golf felt like I was sitting in my '93 Vento with harder suspension.
The safety standard was one of the highest for its time in production. And the fuel consumption is fairly good. It can be very noisy, as if there is an open window but this is inherent to the big VWs of the nineties.
The handling is nice, aided by the well constructed heavy chassis. Because it is a big car it will roll a little, mainly due to the weight on the suspension - which not being what it once will be prone to give a little easier - but it certainly isn't an issue. When you are in it you do feel like you can drive into a wall and not have a scratch on you or your car. It makes you feel really safe and well protected when you drive it.
As Jeremy Clarkson said 'If you want a [slow] car that looks like a Golf...buy a Golf". Most Golf enthusiasts hate the Vento but they're probably jealous. I like Golf's too, but my Vento has more room, has a well constructed and solid chassis - arguably stronger than the Golfs of the same era, a great 1.8 engine and costs pennies to run and maintain!!! Plus, the insurance premiums are a lot lower than a Golf's!! Alright I see you're point that it looks a wider, longer Golf with a boot, but if you want a Golf buy a Golf and stop bitching!
I am seriously considering the new Jetta [the Jetta change named in the UK to Vento & Bora before changing back to Jetta recently - but kept the Jetta tag in the US] as a replacement should anything happed to my car.
Below are the standard specs of the 1993 VW Vento CLi Volkswagen Vento CL 1.8 (75 PS) Type : L Doors : 4 Places : 5 Disposition of cylinders : R4 Disposition of engine : Fq Volume : 1781 Diameter of cylinder : 81,0 x 86,4 Degree of compression : 9,0 Valves : 2 Disposition of shaft : ohc Power supply system : ES Pressurization : - Power PS (kW) : 75(55)/5000 Torque : 140/2500 Type of drive : F Transmission manual : 5 Transmission automatic : 4 Front suspension : QL,FB Rear suspension : VL,FB Hydro : + Break : S/T ABS : o Tyre pressures : 185/60 R 14 H Wheelbase, mm : 2475 Track : 1464/1448 Size Length x Width x Height: 4380 x 1695 x 1425 Mass equipped : 1180 Mass full : 1590 Volume of trunk : 500/885 Mass of trailer : 1200 Volume of tank : 55 Dispersial 0-100 km/h : 14,8 Max speed : 168 Fuel : N