If you own a Volkswagen AG (VAG) car in India such as the Volkswagen Taigun/ Virtus/T-Roc/Tiguan/Polo or Skoda Kushaq, this post is for you. I am going to show you how you can activate hidden features in your car. These features are not available in the console of the car, so your car manual or dealer will not mention it.
Most Indians did not know about these hidden features or the software required to unlock them until the Government introduced a warning sound at 80 kmph and 120 kmph as part of the BSVI norms. Let us see how we can remove these chimes, because frankly, it is annoying. In fact, this is what has lead them to discover other hidden features in VAG cars. Some folks on Instagram and YouTube are charging a lot of money for these hacks. I show you 3 different methods which you can pick and choose yourself. We will also see the pros and cons of each of them.
What do I need to unlock hidden features in my VAG car?
The majority of cars made in the past 2 decades are fitted with an OBD2 or OBDII diagnostic port. The OBDII scanner is the way for the authorized garage to diagnose fault codes. The main purpose of the OBD based devices is to scan the vehicle for fault codes. Using the same OBDII port, and some software, you can unlock features using adaptations and long coding.
The most common method of unlocking hidden features in your Volkswagen Taigun/ Virtus/T-Roc/Tiguan/Polo or Skoda Kushaq car is by using VCDS. It is made and sold by an American company called Ross-Tech.
The Ross-Tech product has two components – a hardware component (the Hex v2 cable which goes into the OBDII port) and a software component. There are mainly 2 types of licenses for the VCDS hardware/software combo. You need to connect the cable via USB to a Windows laptop running the VCDS software.
The VCDS product is expensive. See screenshots of the pricing from the Ross-Tech website:
This pricing does not include shipping and customs duty. You can expect to pay 50-70% more if you are importing this cable from the Ross-Tech website to India.
There are places from where you can get this cable for cheaper (hint: China). They also give you a pirated version of the software along with the cable.
There are some obvious downsides to going the cheaper route.
- You have to turn off the antivirus software on your Windows system to install the system. This is risky, and potentially impossible to do on an office laptop.
- Upgrading the software may break the functionality and render the cable useless.
- You have to keep the old version of the software installed on the system forever in case you want to revert changes.
- Ross-Tech can introduce a firmware upgrade to render the fake cable useless.
The biggest advantage that the VCDS software has over the other methods is that it is the most complete software package to diagnose your car and unlock hidden features. It also allows you to disable the warning sounds that the Indian VAG cars make at 80 kmph and 120 kmphs. But I cannot imagine carrying a laptop around with me if I need to diagnose faults in my Volkswagen Taigun 1.5 GT DSG.
Another way to unlock hidden feature is by purchasing the OBDEleven device. This device connects to the OBDEleven app via bluetooth. You need to pay an annual fee to use the app on your iOS or Android device. And for every feature that you want to unlock, you use up credits, or you pay a small fee. Personally, I found this recurring cost high, so I did not feel it ist worth my time to explore this option. The OBDEleven product is available from their website directly. Their shipping cost to India is high and since they use DHL/FedEx, you can expect to pay import duty.
On the plus side, the OBDeleven is also another way to disable the warning sounds that the Indian VAG cars make at 80 kmph and 120 kmphs.
Let me tell you about another cheaper method to unlock hidden features without breaking any laws or having to import devices from abroad.
How Do I Unlock Hidden Features in my VAG Car without VCDS or OBDEleven?
There is an app known as Car Scanner ELM OBD2 available for iOS and Android. To use this app with your VAG car, you need a ELM327 based OBDII adapter. This adapter is easily available in India. Remember to buy an adapter with an original ELM327 chip though! If you need to know how to source this adapter for cheaper, leave a comment below. You can check if your adapter comes with an original ELM327 chip by connecting it to an Android phone and running the ELM327 Identifier app.
So once you have purchased the ELM327 based OBDII adapter, you can pay for the Car Scanner ELM OBD2 app and start coding your car to unlock hidden features. The best part is that this app supports many cars, and not just VAG cars.
I purchased the Vgate iCar Pro Bluetooth 4.0 (BLE) OBD2 Fault Code Reader. It connects to my Android or Apple iPhone via Bluetooth 4.0 (BLE). The Vgate iCar Pro device works with most popular OBD apps such as Torque, Car Scanner, OBD Fusion, OBD Jscan, BimmerCode, etc which can turn your iPhone or Android phone/tablet into a sophisticated car scan tool.
Once you pay for the Car Scanner ELM OBD2 app (it is cheap), you can unlock the full features which includes adaptations and long coding.
This is the complete list of adaptations which worked for my 2022 Taigun GT Plus DSG (1.5L).
|Adaptation using the Vgate iCar Pro Bluetooth 4.0 and Car Scanner ELM OBD2 app
|Save air recirculation state after turning off ignition
|By default, the air recirculation mode in my car is set to “disable.” In automatic air recirculation mode, fresh air will enter the vehicle interior. The air recirculation mode will switch on automatically if the system detects an increase in the concentration of noxious substances in the outside air. The air recirculation mode will switch off as soon as this level has returned to normal.
But I live in a hot city so I prefer inside air to be recirculated always. I find that this cools the cabin quickly. With this adaptation, the car now remembers the last setting and I don’t have to enable recirculation mode every time I start the car.
|Temperature adjustment for hot countries
|I don’t know why this is disabled, but after enabling this adaptation, the car cools much faster than before.
|Show free space in fuel tank in the dashboard
|After enabling this feature, you can use view the free space in the fuel tank by using the controls in the left side of the steering wheel (Refer to page 32 of the car user manual for how to use these buttons in the steering wheel).
|Automatically lock car doors when key is outside of the car and all doors are closed
|This is a very useful feature as it makes locking of the car after exiting the vehicle totally hands free! Combined with the keyless entry feature which is available by default, I don’t have to take the car keyfob out of my pocket when entering or exiting the vehicle.
Note that for keyless entry, you have to press the button in the door handle. However, while exiting, the car locks automatically when the keyfob is outside the vehicle and all the doors are closed when this adaptation is active.
|Front fog lights: activate with high beam
|With this adaptation enabled, the fog lamp turns on when you turn on high beam. Useful for driving on dark roads. There are a few other options such as “Front fog lights: activate with high beam and blink with high beam blink” which I did not try.
|Turn lights: polite blinks count
|The lane change indicator is set to 3 times by default. You can change it to a max of 5 using this adaptation. This feature is useful if you are a careful driver who uses the indicator when changing lanes.
|Acoustic feedback: when locking
Acoustic feedback: when unlocking
Optical feedback: when locking
|These 3 features gives an acoustic and visual feedback by beeping the car horn and blinking the indicator when I lock or unlock the car. This gives me assurance of the car’s lock status.
|Smooth turn on buttons light
|The cabin lights dim before turning off when you enable this.
|Start engine button heart beat (pulsating light)
|The light on the engine start/stop button starts pulsating. Folks who have never sat in the driver seat of my car have a tough time finding the engine start/stop button. This should help.
|Access trip computer in multimedia when ignition turned off
The following adaptations which I tried did not work for me when I enabled them. There are many more adaptations which I did not try.
- Display blower (fan) speed in auto mode
- Active info display speedometer style
- Active info display tubes style
- Disable “Turn on lights” warning
- DRL: Turn off DRL when parking brake activated
- Show offroad screen in multimedia system
- Open and close windows holding key fob buttons
- Startup screen for dashboard
- Teardrop mode (additional wipers pass) on the windshield
You can see the full list of adaptations which are available in this app for the MQB platform here.
I did not find an option to disable warning sounds that the Indian VAG cars make at 80 kmph and 120 kmphs in the Car Scanner ELM OBD2 app. However, I have written to the app developer to ask if there is a way to do this via long coding.
Great News! The Car Scanner ELM OBD2 app has been updated (ver 1.101.9) and now supports disabling the warning beeps in Indian cars!
In summary, here are the pros and cons of the different software discussed here.
VCDS Hex 2
|Most comprehensive for VAG diagnostics and adaption (unlocking hidden features).
|Limited to VAG cars.
|Big online community and online documentation.
|Limited participation by Indians in the online forums.
|Good support by the company for paid users.
|Product is expensive to buy. Extra fee to transfer license.
Cheaper version limited to 3 cars (3 VINs).
|App based. No laptop or desktop required to use the features.
|Adapter needs to be purchased from OBDEleven. App subscription needs to be renewed annually.
|Speed limit warning for Indian VAG cars can be removed
|Limited online support for Indian VAG cars on the OBDEleven website
|Can unlock most other features
|Need to pay extra money over and above the app subscription to unlock features. Rolling back of features in future requires a fresh subscription.
Car Scanner ELM OBD2
I think the Car Scanner ELM OBD2 is most value for money because it can unlock most of the important features for Indian VAG cars. Personally, I don’t care for the features it cannot unlock. Plus, it works for many other brand cars as well. With the latest update, it can disable the warning beeps in Indian cars, making it the most cost effective way to not only diagnose your Skoda Kushaq or Volkswagen Taigun car, but also customise it.
The biggest con is that it cannot disable the 80 km/hr and 120 km/hr speed warning for Indian Volkswagen cars. I hope the developer responds to my mail and instructs me on how to do it via long coding. If you are interested to keep yourself updated, check back on this blog later.