Monthly Archives: November 2017

Volvo S60 Test Drive Review

Volvo S60 Price in India

 

Curvy and distinctive Swedish saloon that puts safety at the forefront of its not inconsiderable engineering prowess, the S60 is giving up some of its past Volvo identity to become another accomplished but indistinguishable Euro-box with competent road manners, good refinement and lots of kit at a keen price.

 

This facelifted one gives the front end a much-needed refresh, and also tries to clean up the mass of controls inside, although with more limited success here.

 

EXTERIORS AND STYLE

 

Volvo has done a smart job in sprucing up the exteriors of the S60. If you notice, the design remains intact compared to the pre-facelift version but the subtle revisions on the nose makes it look mature and modern. For instance, the grille gets wider with a pronounced Volvo badge and the headlamps are now sleeker, getting rid of the additional strips of LED daytime running lights. Now the DRLs are placed neatly on the revised bumper that features new black and chrome elements on the chin. These little changes have made the front profile aggressive and sometimes reminiscent of a snake face.

 

The Volvo S60 has a clean side profile that looks sporty at the same time with the smartly raked roofline and traditional Volvo shoulder line that gives the tail a curvy shape. We loved this particular theme of Passion Red colour and gun metal tone alloy wheels. Paint quality is superb and it grabbed a lot of attention on the roads of Delhi. At the rear you will find boomerang shaped tail lights and bold VOLVO lettering in the centre. The single side exhaust pipe is finished in chrome. In terms of styling, Vovlo has nailed it and the S60 can unabashedly boast its presence amongst the Germans.

 

INTRIORS AND COMFORT

 

The interior of the S60 Polestar feels more special than the regular S60 and is a significantly better place to be mainly thanks to the large front seats; however, we have some bad news. It’s a very old design and there is no denying that it’s starting to feel its age. The quality is there and the finish of materials is what we have come to expect from Volvo although we would like to see this performance-focused model with a cabin that better reflects the car’s aggressive nature.

 

What stands out in here is the big chunk of real carbon fibre on the centre console. Then there are several little Polestar logos on the door sills, aluminium pedals, door inlays, gear lever and the seats which look the part thanks to contrasting blue stitching. Speaking of which, Volvo does comfort rather well and the perforated leather seats on this car are among the best in its class – featuring solid side bolstering, they hold you in place firmly even under heavy cornering.

 

Like all new Volvos, the S60 Polestar is brimmed with safety features. In fact, it gets adaptive cruise control, lane keeping aid, collision warning with full automatic braking and pedestrian detection and blind spot information system besides multiple airbags, ABS and ESP.

 

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION

 

Volvo has not introduced its much acclaimed Drive- E engines in India and this seems to be an opportunity gone missing. The S60 comes only in diesel power train- D4 and D5. The five cylinder 1984cc D4 engine churns out 161bhp and 400Nm of max torque. The engine is good and offers plenty in terms of mid-range power. There is a hint of turbolag but that quickly dissipates as you floor the pedal. It is good to drive in the city and very able on the highways. On our review the engine did well in the hills with good pulling power.

 

The D5 engine on the other hand is a 2400cc mill that produces 215 bhp and a health 440 Nm of torque. Both the engines are mated to a six-speed Geartronic transmission. Gear shifts are a tad slow but it does get a sport mode for more active driving. When it is activated, the gearbox reacts more urgently to throttle inputs and allows the engine higher revs during acceleration

 

RIDE AND HANDLING

 

The S60 balances the needs of driver appeal and on-board comfort pretty well. It handles crisply and has plenty of grip, and although the suspension is rather firm, it’s not uncomfortable and it controls body movement well. It’s only on bad roads where things can get a bit choppy, particularly if you specify R-Design trim, which features lower, stiffer suspension. The steering reacts quickly in all versions, which is good on a twisty road but not so welcome on the motorway.

 

With road noise subdued and suspension noise negligible, the S60 is quiet enough in isolation. However, it’s not as refined as its key rivals, because there’s a fair bit of wind noise at speed. The gearshift on manual versions is vague, too.

 

SAFETY  AND FEATURES

 

The S60 comes with a raft of standard safety features that include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and whiplash-reducing front head restraints. Low-speed frontal collision warning and collision mitigation with automatic braking ( City Safety) systems are standard and can help the driver avoid a collision with other vehicles or a run-in with a stationary object at speeds of up to 19 mph by automatically applying the brakes if reaction from the driver isn’t quick enough. Also standard is Volvo’s On Call system that includes emergency assistance, automatic crash notification and stolen vehicle assistance.

 

Included in the optional Technology package (standard on the Platinum trim) is an upgraded version of the forward collision mitigation system that adds pedestrian and cyclist detection. This package also includes electronic warnings for driver inattention, lane departure warning and lane departure intervention.

 

Other available safety features include front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

 

BOTTOMLINE

 

The Volvo S60 till now was a fringe player in the luxury sedan segment. The specifications didn’t hold up against its rivals and the space and luxury was not right up there. But a new engine and gearbox has changed that and the comfier cabin gives the S60 that added bit of luxury now. It handles well and performs on par in the segment. Only if Volvo could sort out the low speed ride, the S60 would make for a better rounded package. The S60 R-Design on the whole however is still a far better car to drive and own than before.

 

Volvo S60 Ex Showroom Price in New Delhi ranges from 31,53,000/- (S60 Kinetic) to  53,10,000/- (S60 T6 Polestar) .Volvo S60 has 4 Variants of Diesel are available in India. Volvo S60 comes in 4 colours, namely Crystal White Pearl Metallic,Power Blue Metallic,Vibrant Copper Metallic,Passion Red Solid.

 

Rain Industries hits record high, up 9% as Motilal Oswal initiates coverage with buy call

Rain Industries shares hit a life-time high of Rs 286, rising 9.2 percent intraday Thursday after research house Motilal Oswal has initiated coverage on the stock with a buy rating, citing likely strong earnings growth and reasonable valuations.

The brokerage firm set a target price for the stock at Rs 362 per share, implying a potential upside of 33 percent from Wednesday’s closing price.

“Although the stock has got re-rated, valuations still appear attractive. We value the stock at Rs 362 based on 6.5x EV/EBITDA of CY19, and initiate coverage with a Buy rating,” Motilal Oswal said in its report.

 

After trading at low single digit PE for very long period, Rain has finally got re-rated on visibility of margin expansion and growth driven by multiple enduring tailwinds and multiple competitive advantages, it added.

Rain is globally the second largest producer of calcine pet coke (CPC) and coal tar pitch (CTP), which are used in aluminum smelting.

The research house feels the dual benefit of demand growth and supply shock is driving up global CPC prices.

CPC production is hurt in China after the government’s firm action in 2017 to contain pollution. As a result, China has turned a net importer of CPC. Simultaneously, aluminum production is set to grow outside China – many smelters in North America and Europe are restarting.

Motilal Oswal expects these tailwinds to last for 2-3 years, enabling EBITDA/PAT CAGR of 24/50 percent over CY16-19. It expects volume to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4 percent in CY16-19.

Motilal Oswal said coal tar pitch market has stabilised on capacity cuts in key markets where Rain operates.

Coal tar pitch has been oversupplied for many years in Rain’s key markets due to declining aluminum production. Consequently, there have been many shutdowns. Koppers, the largest producer of CTP in the world and a key competitor, has closed seven plants in the last 2-3 years. This has resulted in supply correction and improved utilisation.

The industry is now running at 80-90 percent utilisation and margins have stabilised. As aluminum production starts to recover on expected restart of smelters, demand and margins will expand, the research house feels.

Rain Industries, the second largest carbon product supplier to the aluminum industry, has decided to set up a 370ktpa CPC kiln at a capex of USD 65 million near Vizag to meet strong growth in demand from Indian smelters. It is also investing USD 17 million in debottlenecking of petrochemical feedstock distillation by 200kt in Europe.

Both projects are scheduled for completion by March 2019 and short payback period of 2-3 years should drive remunerative volume growth, Motilal Oswal believes.

Rain’s carbon segment contributes 80 percent to consolidated EBITDA. Its chemicals segment converts coal tar distillates into resins, modifiers, aromatic chemicals, superplasticizers, etc. It also operates a 3.5mt cement plant in southern India and sells cement under the Priya brand.

The company has been generating strong free cash flow and rewarding shareholders with dividends and buybacks. “We believe it will continue to do so,” Motilal Oswal said.

At 10:33 hours IST, the stock price was quoting at Rs 278.25, up Rs 16.30, or 6.22 percent on the BSE.

 

Source: MoneyControl

Skoda Octavia: 2017 Skoda Octavia review

 

 

Skoda entered the Indian market 16 years back with the first

generation Skoda Octavia which actually sold in quite a lot of numbers and

it was later replaced by the second generation of the sedan, which was

brought down to India with the Laura nameplate, and then the automaker

re-launched the Octavia in 2013. What we have here is a mid-life

facelift of the third generation Octavia which doesn’t get many

changes but keeps the product fresh.

 

DESIGN AND STYLING 

The 2017 Skoda Octavia gets a new front end. What is striking is the

new set of split headlamps which look exquisite. These headlamps are

full LED ones and also have LED daytime running lights embedded in

them at the bottom. The outer lamps are the low beam and the inner

ones are high beams. They are adaptive headlamps and they sense the

intensity of light and accordingly adjust their  illumination spread.

The butterfly grille now gets a glossy finish and also a chrome

surround the front bumper is new and gets a chrome strip in the middle

the hood also gets new cuts which make it look more muscular.

 

From the side the 2017 Skoda Octavia is the same and there is not much

change, however, it gets a new design alloy wheels which look

classier.

 

The rear is also similar to the outgoing model but now gets LED tail

lamps which are C shaped and look real fantastic. Overall, the Skoda

Octavia now with a heavy chiseled looks  is more aggressive,

attractive and premium than before.

 

CABIN 

The new Octavia’s cabin is clinical, clean and very German. The amount

of space available also hits you immediately when you step in. A

cream-beige and grey interior colour theme is pleasing to the eye and

also gives it an airy feel, though there is no dearth of light

streaming in.

 

Fit and finish quality and the material quality is perfectly matched

to the best in the segment and there is a general feeling of solidity

to the cabin, except the faux wood trim in the centre console, which

felt that too faux. The controls and knobs are all within easy reach

for the driver and there was enough electrical and manual

adjustability to the seats and steering for me to get the most

comfortable driving position.

 

Touch-screen infotainment system, nicely bolstered leather seats,

panoramic sunroof, chunky steering wheel and the auto-dimming rear

view mirrors were features that I liked and helped me during my test

drive in New Delhi. The thick centre tunnel going all the way to the

rear seat means that the passenger in the middle at the rear has to

sit astride and the Bluetooth pairing with my handset just didn’t work

with the infotainment system in the new Octavia.

 

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE 

The Skoda Octavia features a range of familiar VW Group engine and

transmission options. Four powerplants are offered: a 113bhp 1.0-litre

petrol, a 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol, a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and a

range-topping 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel.

 

All deliver adequate performance and are capable of 0-62mph in less

than 10sec, although the larger-displacement units are more flexible

and better suited to motorway cruising and cross-country driving.

 

TSI petrol and 2.0-litre diesel models get a six-speed manual gearbox,

the 1.6-litre diesel a five-speed unit.

 

Dual-clutch automatic gearboxes are available as well; whether you

prefer the automatic or the alternative (and cheaper) manual option

will primarily be a matter of personal preference. The DSG gearbox

works very well in the Octavia, and goes about its job quietly and

unobtrusively.

 

What’s most notable about the Octavia’s engine range, however, is the

somewhat disappointing 1.6-litre diesel engine. Most buyers might

consider it the sweet spot in the line-up, thanks to its high economy,

low emissions and moderate punch.

 

While the 1.6-litre diesel is mechanically refined and perfectly

functional, it’s slow – more than a second slower from rest to 62mph

than Skoda’s claim for it and even further separated from the current

class standard. The first problem is a decidedly ordinary engine. In

the Skoda Octavia, the 1.6-litre turbodiesel seems quiet and flexible,

but it responds sluggishly at low speeds. And then once it’s pulling,

you can’t help but feel a little nonplussed by the maximum power and

torque it serves up.

 

If you’re set on a diesel option, it’s probably best to go for the

2.0-litre diesel. While it may be a little harsh at higher speeds,

it’ll return good economy and may prove even more frugal than the

harder-worked 1.6-litre unit. Don’t entirely discount the petrol

options though: they’re quiet, smooth and willing and, if you’re not

covering starship mileages each year,

 

DRIVING DYNAMICS 

Like before, the Octavia in the 1.8 TSi guise comes with a more

sophisticated, independent rear suspension as compared to the

non-independent setup on the other variants. In our brief drive we

weren’t able to figure out if the wider rear track has improved

handling but like before the Octavia felt planted and well balanced.

The electric steering felt direct and even when pushed hard, body roll

was well in check and it felt willing in quick directional changes

too. In terms of ride, the suspension does a good job of isolating the

cabin from the road surfaces. But you do have to take sharp edged

bumps with caution, as the suspension tends to thud through them

 

SAFETY FEATURES 

The feature list has been revised, and there are some interesting ones

on the safety and convenience front. The highlight though has to be

semi auto park assist. The system will identify a parking slot big

enough to accommodate the car – parallel or perpendicular and steer

the car into it at the press of a button. You merely need to use the

brake and throttle to park the car sitting in the driver’s seat, and

watch the car steer itself into the parking space. You can even get

the car out of a parking spot similarly in case you aren’t sure of

being able to steer the car out of a tight spot

 

The infotainment system continues to offer Apple CarPlay, Android Auto

and MirrorLink connectivity. The navigation system is pretty neat too

– maps are legible easily even on the go, unlike some of the

navigations systems on other cars. I’ve preferred using navigation on

my phone always, but the Octavia’s system is a breeze to use,

especially with the prompts through the multi-function display between

the clocks and prompted me to put my phone away and focus more on

driving the car.

 

For the chauffeur-driven lot, Skoda now has a smartphone app called

Skoda Media Command. It offers full control of the audio system and

also lets you punch in a new destination on the car’s navigation

system through your phone itself. Rear seat occupants also get two USB

slots with quick charging to recharge mobile devices, which is a

thoughtful addition.

 

There’s new additions on the safety front, too, as the Octavia now

gets a fatigue alert system that works on various complex algorithms

that calculate the driver’s alertness via his steering work and tell

him if he needs to take a break. Like before, the Octavia also gets

Skoda’s multi-collision braking along with 8 airbags. For the

uninitiated, multi-collision braking basically ensures the car

decelerates quickly from whatever speed it is travelling at after a

primary impact, to avoid a second impact with another vehicle on the

road or otherwise.

 

BOTTOMLINE 

Has Skoda done enough to keep the Octavia relevant in our ‘dynamic’

market of today? We certainly like to believe so as it was quite a

good product in its segment and now with these updates, both in terms

of design and features, the Octavia certainly seems to have inched

ahead in the game once again. However, what will work in favour of the

sedan is good pricing which, if GST does its work, will allow Skoda to

price the Octavia in the range of Rs 15 lakh to Rs 22 lakh, thus

making it excellent value for money.

Skoda Octavia Ex Showroom Price in New Delhi ranges from 15,49,405/- (Octavia 1.4 Ambition TSI MT) to  22,89,573/- (Octavia 2.0 Style Plus TDI CR AT) .Skoda Octavia has 8 Variants of Petrol are available in India. Skoda Octavia comes in 4 colours, namely Quartz Grey Metallic,Brilliant Silver Metallic,Magic Black Metallic,Candy White UNI.