Category Archives: Auto

Volkswagen Jetta Hatchback Review & first Drive

OVERVIEW

Volkswagen is largely known in India for its two crucial models – Polo and Vento. These offerings give the Indian buyers a taste of German engineering while being affordable to own and run at the same time. What goes unnoticed for the masses is the Volkswagen Jetta, which is in its sixth generation and is being offered in India since its fifth generation. This mid-size premium sedan has seen a small set of buyers including some enthusiasts or people obsessed with German machines. It happens because at this price range, most of the Indian buyers start craving for SUVs. Now Volkswagen has updated the Jetta and we take a quick spin to see what’s new on offer.Check for review & price of Volkswagen cars

EXTERIORS AND STYLE

This is makeover 2.0. The car we see today is more of a cosmetic upgrade than anything else. The top-end Highline (only diesel) model now gets new LED day time running lights along with Xenon headlamps and dynamic cornering system. The shape of the headlamp has been altered yet again, to appear sharper than before. There’s a new grille – larger, with three chrome slats, which now merges seamlessly with the headlights. The bonnet is also slightly different and along with the redesigned front now gives the 2015 Volkswagen Jetta a wider stance. The front of the new VW Jetta looks more premium and now closely resembles the bigger VW Passat. The top-spec diesel also gets these solid looking twin-5-spoke alloy wheels. New bootlid with integrated spoiler, new rear bumper and redesigned tail lamps complete the upgrade to the rear section of the car. Check On Road Price of Volkswagen cars

INTERIORS AND CABIN

Volkswagen has always been subtle with its styling updates on facelifted versions, be it the Polo, Vento or for that matter the new Jetta. The updated car carries minimal styling revisions and you can count them on your fingertips. The headlight unit is now equipped with LED strips without any changes to the layout and the grille now gets an additional chrome slat on the top. The bumper at the front is new, so is the small kink at the top of the boot lid and the new design tail lamps. All these minor revisions make the car look sharper than before and it is one of the elegant cars in the D-segment.The cabin doesn’t tell you a different story either, with the changes being lesser than that on the outside. The new flat-bottom steering wheel is straight from the Polo and the Vento and I would write the same that I wrote when I reviewed the Polo, it is brilliant. The dashboard is angled at the driver, clearly showing the focus of the car. Everything is well laid-out and falls nicely to hand and while the cabin is very functional, the quality seems a little compromised as everything looks like have been borrowed from the Polo and the Vento. If you have been in a VW car before, you would relate to the instrument layout, the placement of the wing mirror adjustments, it’s all the same albeit, things are larger.

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE

The engines remain the same—the 1.4-litre TSI petrol which produces a maximum power of 121 bhp and the 2.0-litre TDI diesel with an output of 138 bhp. The petrol is mated only to a six-speed manual transmission, while the diesel additionally gets the DSG gearbox. Unlike sibling Octavia, which is based on the Volkswagen MQB platform, this Jetta is based on the old PQ35 platform. This explains why the Jetta doesn’t get the 1.8-litre TFSI engine that the Octavia boasts of. (The 1.8 TFSI is an MQB-specced engine.) The petrol is available in Trendline and Comfortline trims, and the diesel is available in Trendline, Comfortline and the top-end Highline trims.

First, the petrol. While 121 bhp doesn’t read too much for a car this big, the 1.4 TSI is a rev-happy engine. The six-speed manual transmission further enhances the driving pleasure; the gear-shifts are precise and very smooth. The engine easily takes the car to three-figure speeds and even overtaking at such speeds is not much trouble. The TDI diesel is one of the best motors in the business—it is very refined, quick, and is relatively quiet. It pulls the car relentlessly and there is no apparent turbo lag. The reason is that the TDI engine generates a huge amount of torque—320 Nm. Just nudge the accelerator pedal and the car effortlessly surges ahead. NVH levels in both petrol and diesel variants are impressive. Mention must be made of the fact that the DSG in the Jetta diesel is not a seven-speed box seen in the Octavia but a six-speed one. However, even this box is one of the best in the world of cars and shifts gears at the speed of thought; you also have the option of manually changing gears using paddle shifts on the steering wheel.

RIDE AND HANDLING

The Volkswagen Jetta gets multi-link suspension as standard across all the engine options. The ride and handling balance that it offers is terrific as always. It has pure German drivability thanks to the taut and solid feeling suspension with brisk handling. The ride is on the stiffer side at low speeds but very well damped and as the speed increases, it gets flatter and there is no vertical movement. The Jetta absorbs bumps, potholes and harsh tarmac maturely and hardly did we feel any clunky noise filtering through. It’s based on the PQ71 platform that offers excellent handling, which is fun around the ghats. The car stays glued to its line and is confidence inspiring at any speeds. The steering is light and weighs up well according to the speed giving precise feedback. Braking is effective with precise pedal bite and feedback.

BRAKING AND SAFETY

Disc brakes are inset in the front as well as in the rear, vital braking features like anti-lock-braking system with brake assist and brake pad indicator constitute the proficient braking system of the Jetta. Safety of occupants is a primary concern at Volkswagen and they load their vehicles with pertinent safety equipment. Jetta is no exception and comes incorporated with a host of potent safety features available as standard fitments across the range. Starting from fatigue detection, electronic stability control, anti-slip regulation, electronic differential lock, hill hold control, height adjustable front seat belts, seat belt tensioner in the front, 3-point rear centre seat belt, ISOFIX mounting points for two child seats on rear seat bench, 3 rear head restraints, central locking with 2 remote control folding keys, electronic engine immobilizer, engine and transmission guard, driver and front passenger airbag, front passenger airbag deactivation, curtain airbag for front and rear passengers, side airbags (front) and retro reflectors in all door. Compared to other saloons in its segment viz; Volkswagen Jetta Vs Toyota Corolla Altis, the former is endowed with considerably more safety features

CONCLUSSION

Globally Volkswagen is seen as a premium luxury automaker. It has the Skoda brand under its umbrella among many other brands. The Jetta faces a stiff rival in the form of Skoda Laura, Chevrolet Cruze and others.The refreshed look of the car deserves appreciation. It’s not just a visual treatment but a complete overhaul from its earlier version. The design cues which are a part of the present generation Volkswagen theme act as a pro as well as con for the new Jetta. The negative aspect of the design is its striking resemblance with comparatively lower priced Vento. The first glance of the car can mistake you for the Vento, though when seen properly one can differentiate the characteristi

 

Tata Tiago Facelift Review & Test Drive

OVERVIEW ;

Tata Tiago is, undoubtedly, one of the best available options in the entry-level hatchback segment. It is based on the company’s new “Impact” design philosophy, which offers a driver-focussed layout with best-in-segment size and proportioned cabin-to-body ratio. The Tiago hatchback is small but agile, and it does tick all the right boxes that make the car so competitive in its segment. What makes this Tata car special is that it is extremely feature-rich, both inside out. After all, not many cars in the segment would offer you the quality, fit & finish and the urban interiors as the Tiago will. Every bit of material inside the car is of high quality. In fact, the moment you get inside, you will find it miles better than the original Indica. The Tata Tiago car is offered in both petrol as well as diesel trims, which opens up to a wide range of customers, unlike some of its competitors that have a petrol engine only. Moreover, a close look at the segment will give you an idea that both the fuel versions, the Tata Tiago diesel or petrol are much more powerful than most of its competing vehicles. Check for Tiago price in Pune

EXTERIORS AND STYLE ;

The Tiago bears no resemblance to any other Tata product, which in our books, is a very good thing to begin with. The Bolt and the Vista were plagued by the ‘Indica lookalike’ tag which didn’t go down well with the masses. The hatchback follows Tata’s ‘Impact’ philosophy, just like it’s elder siblings, the Zest and the Bolt. It looks fresh, contemporary and modern. It is amongst the widest cars in the segment at 1647mm, second to only the Grand i10. It has a shorter wheelbase than the Celerio, in spite of being a full 146mm longer. However, it is the heaviest car in the segment by a considerable margin.

The front profile is home to a pair of swept back, smoked headlamps. Joining the headlamps is a curved strip of chrome that Tata calls the ‘humanity line’.The grille harbours a three-dimensional Tata logo and hexagon detailing that become smaller as they spread out towards the headlamps. The air dam is sleek and is peppered with some more hexagons. The fog lamps are placed at either end of the air dam and get a chrome surround as well. The subtle creases on the bumper complement the ones on the bonnet, thereby lending the Tiago a confident face

We particularly like the sharp character line that runs across the side of the car and finishes into the wrap around tail lamp. As is the norm in the segment, the Tiago gets blacked out B-pillars and indicators on the wing mirror as well.The side shows off the low-slung stance of the car beautifully, with the 14-inch alloys filling the wheel well. However, the design of the alloy itself is a bit of a letdown. In comparison, the diamond cut wheels on the Grand i10 look truly a class above.The rear profile is clean and minimalistic. The almond-shaped tail lamps and the faint character lines connecting the two look really classy. It also gets an integrated spoiler that houses a high mounted stop lamp.

However, the things that drew our attention remain the gloss black spoiler spats that are placed on either end of the integrated spoiler. Tata says that it not only looks cool but also aids aerodynamics. The matte-black finish around the number plate area helps break the monotony of colour at the rear. Notably, the exhaust is neatly tucked away from view. Boot space stands at 240-litres, which is on par with the Celerio for all practical purposes and is slightly smaller than that of the Grand i10.We will go out on a limb and say that the Tiago is the best designed Tata till date. The proportions, the sharp lines and attention to detail are praiseworthy.

INTERIOR AND COMFORT ;

The Tata Tiago gets a fresh new dashboard with only a few parts being borrowed from the Bolt which is actually a good thing because the fantastic 3-spoke 360 mm steering wheel is not only good to look at but is also nice to hold and comes with ergonomically positioned audio controls. Just like the Zest and Bolt, the Tiago’s cabin is well put together and is a step in the right direction as far as quality, fit and finish goes. The use of colours too are fresh and the company states it has firmly banned the usage of beige in the interior of its cars. Thus the Tiago gets a two-tone black and grey cabin which looks different in a good way. The instrument cluster gets similar colours and dials as the Bolt with the MID being identical too.

There is plenty of piano black and chrome usage on the inside with parts of the steering wheel, centre console and door handle getting the glossy finish while the AC buttons, AC vent surrounds and door knob get the chrome treatment. On the orange and red coloured cars (on other cars the vents are finished in gloss black), the side AC vents are finished in body colour whose appeal solely depends on personal taste, we don’t like it much. One does have the option of customising the colour of the interior (at dealer level) with orange or red colours for the side AC vents, steering spokes (the silver can be changed), gear lever surround and other areas which are finished in piano black like the centre console and the door handles. The AC isn’t a chiller and when you run the fan on full speed, the blower does make quite a lot of noise.

There are a lot of practical touches in the car, in fact Tata has equipped the vehicle with 22 utility spaces including a ticket holder on the windshield, recessed storage on top of the centre AC vents, cubby hole next to the gear lever, two cupholders next to the off centre handbrake, driver side storage pocket under the right most AC vent, tab holder in the glove box, front door pockets to accommodate two 500 ML bottles, rear door pockets to store one 1-litre bottle, glovebox with cooling function, hooks with weight markings (on the centre console and in the boot) and a decent sized boot with a low loading bay.Other interesting bits include the centrally placed cabin light which uses LED, adjustable driver seat height (but no adjust for the seat belts), button operated glovebox, mirror on both sun visors, knitted headliner, one touch down driver side window and a Tata typical illuminated key ring. Below the AC switches are sockets for charging, USB and AUX. The vehicle gets a flip key, key operated follow me home headlamps and rear parking sensors (there are four sensors which are concealed properly and graphics are displayed on the infotainment screen).

What we miss on the Tata Tiago is a dedicated lock/unlock button (one has to pull the knob up and down now) while the front seat back misses out on pockets and the rear seat folds down in a single piece (no 60:40 here). The spare wheel isn’t an alloy and isn’t painted black either. Space inside the cabin is good and there is ample legroom and knee-room (the seatback is scooped) but headroom is a bit lacking for tall passengers at the rear while seats could also do with more under-thigh support. The seats are good and offer a lot of back support but the rear seat gets small, non-adjustable headrests.Three can fit in at the rear and the rear passengers can tuck their feet under the front seats. The Harman sourced ConnectNext audio system offers good audio quality through its 4-speaker, 4-tweeter arrangement and also gets NaviMaps wherein turn by turn navigation is displayed on the vehicle’s infotainment screen while connected to an Android device (using paid version of MapMyIndia maps which is free for a Tiago owner). The vehicle also gets a Juke-Car app wherein one master phone is connected to the car via Bluetooth and the same phone creates a virtual network (via WiFi hotspot) which others can join (up to 10) to jointly create a playlist, a helpful feature when multiple people are travelling in the car on a long journey. The audio system also has speed sensitive auto volume adjustment.

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;

The 1.2-litre Revotron petrol engine is a grounds-up design and uses lightweight all-aluminium construction, a four valve per cylinder DOHC setup and variable cam timing for the intake. It’s an undersquare engine with bore and stroke measuring 77mm and 85.8mm respectively. Peak power is 83.8bhp (at 6,000rpm) while max torque of 11.6kgm is produced at 3,500rpm.

Respectable as the above numbers are, the petrol Tiago isn’t a very lively performer. The engine doesn’t rev particularly quickly and performance is adequate and no more. The feeling is that you always have to work the engine to bring out its best; a tall third gear only makes this more evident in slow moving city traffic. In stop-go traffic, you’ll also notice power delivery to be jerky. You can sense the fuel cut off the moment you lift off the throttle. The clutch is light, but not very progressive, and the gearbox also requires effort to slot in at times. Refinement levels are fair at low revs though the thrum from the three-cylinder engine can get intrusive, especially at the 3,000rpm mark when a bit of resonance filters into the cabin.

To be honest, it’s the three-cylinder Revotorq turbo-diesel engine that seems a lot nicer. This 1.05-litre engine is actually a downsized (and thoroughly modernised) version of the Indica’s 1405cc, four-cylinder diesel unit. The block is cast iron while the aluminium head houses twin cams and four valves per cylinder. The engine’s 69bhp at 4,000rpm and 14.27kgm from 1,800-3,000rpm make it far more powerful than the Celerio’s two-cylinder diesel unit.

Start the engine and there’s no escaping this is a small displacement three-cylinder motor. There are vibrations but it’s not all that bad. The engine also takes time to wake up but builds speed reasonably well from about 1,500rpm though the real power comes in only post 1,800rpm. Thereon, the engine pulls sufficiently but again it doesn’t feel particularly peppy. That’s to say it gets the job done but doesn’t excite in the least. The powerband is narrow and by 3,500rpm you know the engine is done with its best. At this point, the engine also gets noisy with a rough roar for a note and this gives even less reason to rev it to 4,000rpm and beyond. Drivers will find the clutch light but snappy (more so than the petrol) in the way it engages. The gearbox too is not as crisp as the competitions’.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

The Tata Tiago is very impressive when it comes to its ride quality. It is easily the best in its segment. The Tiago’s suspension is well tunes to offer a pliant ride. The ride is well-cushioned and absorbs most bumps and potholes with comfortable ease. Tata has traditionally been good in this department and gets better with the Tiago. The handling is also pretty good for city driving. The steering is light and responsive. This makes it easy to park in tight spots. On the highway the car doesn’t lose its composure and one can easily cruise at 130 km/h. The car remains steady. We wish the brakes were slightly better.

SAFETY FEATURES ;

In terms of safety, Tata Motors has provided front driver and passenger airbags along with ABS and EBD including cornering stability control that works with the ABS. There is speed-sensing auto door lock function along with immobiliser for the owner to feel safe about the car. With the HORIZONEXT program, Tata is making sure to improve their after sales service quality and it has come a long way compared to the old days. However, there is still some room left for better service quality. Tata has a wide network and reach across the country including Tier-II and Tier-III areas.

CONCLUSSION ;

Based on the Tata Tiago price, the car has a good range of features on offer. It is extremely efficient but powerful too, something that most of its competitors are low on. Even the AMT gearbox unit is smooth to drive and does not get any hiccups along the way. Moreover, the car ranks high on fuel efficiency and will save you loads on fuel bills, for sure. Even the automatic transmission variant is equally efficient as the manual, something that is not very common among contemporary cars

 

Audi Q5 Engine & safety Features

OVERVIEW ;

Positioned between the smallish Audi Q3 and the huge Audi Q7, the Q5 promises to be a great urban SUV. It can handle bad terrain, and won’t be too cumbersome to drive in traffic either. Also, given that it looks good too, Audi hasn’t had a problem with the competition either. Back on tarmac, it’s docile and boasts car-like dynamics.??While Porsche is readying the Macan (it will be priced higher than the Q5) and BMW has the X3 already, the Q5 enjoys its position, because of its capability as a product, and Audi’s well deserved value in the market.

EXTERIOR AND LOOK ;

The Audi Q5 comes up as a very subtle looking SUV. The overall design of it looks more coupe inspired than a typical SUV. The sloping roof lines, mild flares on the side with a longish bonnet make the Q5 look very suave in nature. The Q5 does not look like a typical in-your-face kind of a SUV but then it still has a bold look and looks contemporary.Having a family face, this one too has a single frame radiator grille which has been finished in gloss chrome. The vertical chrome struts look very neat. The three dimensionally finished bonnet flows very elegantly between the single frame grille to the front windshield making the design look very aerodynamic. The Xenon plus trapezoidal headlamps sweep back to the side.

The side profile is humble. The window lines have been done in chrome. The Audi Q5 measures 4629mm in length. That also translated to good interior space. This one gets a 10 spoke V shaped lightweight forged aluminum wheels and 235/60 R18 tyres. The combination of these two make the car look dynamic. The roof line drops very subtly and the lip of the roofline ends with a spoiler which makes it look sporty.The rear has wide spread tail lamps. The tail gate indeed gives it a distinct look and one can easily it’s an Audi you are following. The tail gate is indeed very practical and makes it very practical to load and unload. Hidden under the massive chunk of a rear bumper are the exhaust diffusers which have been done in brush Aluminum.

So, the new Q5 which recently got its dose of updates is a good looking SUV. It looks more like a big hatch and less of a SUV. The fact that the Q5 is selling in good numbers also assures that India has matured as a market in terms of taste and choice. So, the Q5 packs in cues from Big-Bro Q7 and still manages its own character. The daytime running LED lights of the Q5 are just an icing and looks simply awesome.

INTERIOR AND COMFORT ;

Perhaps even more vast a change than the exterior, the 2017 Q5’s interior gets huge update. It takes after Audi’s current design styling and features a low-hung, thin dashboard with its Virtual Cockpit gauge cluster, minimalist HVAC controls, and (oddly) tacked on infotainment screen. The center console also sports a new design that includes a new electronic gear shifter and track pad. The steering wheel takes after other Audi models, as well, and features a thin yet sculpted design. The hexagonal grille design is mirrored on the airbag cover, too.

In-dash technology includes Audi’s Virtual Cockpit with its 12.3-inch TFT screen and configurable digital gauges. The MMI infotainment screen perched above the center console offers 8.3-inches of viewing screen and is controlled by both touch and the large track pad just ahead of the shifter. The pad offers smartphone-like controls, with pinch-to-zoom and finger-writing to text capability. The system also features Audi’s Personal Route Assist, which learns your driving habits and can suggest alternate routs should traffic have your usual route blocked. Onboard LTE Wi-Fi allows the Q5 to be an online hotspot and there’s even a Qi wireless phone charger and integrated phone antenna to keep smartphone powered and connected. Audiophiles will appreciate the Bang & Olufsen Sound System with 3D sound.

Rear seats offer a good amount of legroom matched with lightly bolstered outboard seats and decent headroom. HVAC vents keep rear passengers happy on hot or cold days, and an optional rear seat entertainment package features two huge screens.The seats also fold flat, offering an impressive amount of cargo room. Audi says there’s 54.7 cubic feet of space with the seats stowed. With the second row in place, cargo room is cut down to 21.5 cubic feet of space. That’s does represent an improvement of 0.4 cubic feet of the last Q5.

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;

We have already witnessed the 3.0-litre, V6 TDI diesel engine in the Audi A6 and Audi A7 earlier, but this motor just doesn’t cease to amaze us every single time. In the Q5, Audi has boosted the output by 5 BHP and 78 Nm, which is quite significant considering the added twist on offer. However the addition in power hasn’t come at the cost of economy and Audi claims that the new Q5 is up to 15 percent more efficient than its predecessor. Power delivery is instant and rewarding and NVH levels are very good with very little diesel grunt audible inside the luxurious cabin.

This engine is mated to a 7-speed S tronic transmission which is at the forefront ensuring smooth cog swapping. There are no paddle shifts even on the top-end variant which comes as a disappointment, however one can take control of things by using the tiptronic function on the gear lever. Performance, as you would expect, is nothing short of explosive with every dab on the accelerator pedal resulting in an instantaneous surge ahead with plenty of reserve still left. Power delivery although linear, is still addictive and there is a definite shove in your knickers when you bury your right foot in the floor.

We can go endlessly with praise about the 3.0-litre TDI engine, it’s that darn good. The motor feels at home at all speeds, whether its ambling around the city, sprinting on open roads or simply cruising on the highways. This mill does a splendid job in hauling the 1.8 tonne Q5 with urgency and blurred scenery. The Audi drive select system offers various modes which control the accelerator pedal characteristics, automatic transmission shift points and amount of steering assist as well. How has Audi managed to boost performance and efficiency at the same time? The German car maker has reduced weight with the use of aluminum on the engine hood and tail gate. Whoever said ‘you can’t have your cake and eat it too’ was wrong, very wrong!

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

Apart from the engines, the other thing that Audi did not have to do much to was the quattro all-wheel-drive system, which has widely grown to be accepted as one of the best traction aids in the market. The bit of fine-tuning they’ve done has resulted in smoother transitioning from the efficient front-wheel-drive set-up to the all-wheel drive, but can you and I tell the difference? Probably not. What you will notice, however, is the new multi-link suspension set-up with the optional air suspension which has made the ride quality and transfer of weight noticeably more pliant. You can feel the suspension complying with the quattro system more amicably when you chuck the car into corners, pretending it’s a low-slung sportscar. It’ll play pretend along with you, keeping things tidy and under control. What also helps is that the new chassis takes away 90kg from the Q5’s kerb which helps it behave on the road the way it does.

SAFETY AND SECURITY ;

It has a list of safety aspects including a central locking system, heat insulating glass, a windscreen cleaning system, movable sun visors, sun blinds, roof-edge spoiler and anti-theft alarm. It has an advanced immobilizer system, first aid kit with warning triangle, tyre pressure monitoring system, a collapsible spare wheel and ISOFIX child seat mounting.

CONCLUSSION ;

There are a lot of products in the market that shout for attention, displaying a probable lack of substance. The Audi Q5 is the exact opposite. It is quite capable but doesn’t give a clue about it, until you get behind the wheel.The simple but effective styling, the range of good engines, and a wide array of options makes the Audi Q5 so special. The 2.0TDI is the choice of the lot. It has a good amount of power, and doesn’t drink too much of fuel either. ?It’s comfortable and spacious inside as well, which means if you are going to be chauffeured around in one of these, you won’t have any problems either. Add the good amount of stability and safety options the vehicle offers, and you have a winner in your hands.

 

 

Audi A3 Cabriolet Engine & Gearbox

OVERVIEW

India has one of the largest automobile markets in the world. We have all sorts of body styles on offer here. The evergreen hatchback, the aspirational sedan, the macho SUV and of course the family oriented MPV. Sadly though, convertibles in recent years have never taken the fancy of the Indian automotive manufacturers for reasons that seem to baffle us. That said though, if you do have a bit of money saved away and are willing to spend about 50 lakhs on a car you might want to see past the norm and look at something like this. The new Audi A3 convertible.

DESIGN AND STYLE

It’s a sense of familiarity when you look at the Audi A3 cabriolet from the front because it’s essentially the face of the A3 sedan that we see. The large black slatted grille is overlapped by the automaker’s four rings while the headlights expand outwards to the sides.

The cabriolet sits marginally lower than the sedan (4.42mm vs 4.45mm) with a pronounced forward heaviness thanks to the slope in the bonnet which is the same in the sedan but much more noticeable thanks to the lower height of the convertible. The air dams of the front bumper have little aerodynamic vanes which also serve to add to the sportiness of the car.

The side profile reveals the entire extent of the nose heavy stance as well as the sharp rake of the windshield. In that typical orderly German fashion we can see three separate sections to the side. The first section is the area around the edge of the cabin which sports a large chrome surround.

The second section comprises most of the door as well as a strong shoulder line. The third section is a large crease that extends from the edge of the softly flared rear wheel arch to the front wheel arch. The wheels themselves are large 17-inch clover design units which are specific to the non-sedan body styles of the A3.

This being a convertible, it looks particularly good with the roof down. Press down on the roof button in the centre console and watch the roof, windows and boot do a 20 second (we timed it!) synchronised dance to make the car go from top to topless. We would always recommend you bring the car to a complete halt and then take down or put up the roof.

The rear, like the front, has all the familiar Audi bits like the two- piece tail lamp as well as the familiar bulge below the bootlid section. Like the sedan, the cabriolet too has a small lip at the edge of the boot which doubles up as a spoiler. The rear bumper sticks out a bit and has a little honeycomb section just above the two- piece single side exhaust for additional cooling.

The A3 cabriolet is a combination of a modern product with all the traditional elements of a budget convertible. It will certainly get you the attention with the top up and more so when the roof is down and also because it is something you do not see every day on the roads.

CABIN AND SPACE

The cabin design may appear slightly dull but there is no denying that it’s beautifully made and finished to the standard you would expect of a high-end Audi. Positives inhere include dark black textures, plush leather and good quality materials such as the circular air vents and switchgear on the centre console. Audi has also retained the all-black wraparound dash design with horizontal lines which heighten the sense of width.

Despite the shortened wheelbase, comfort levels up front are on par with the rest of the A3 range. There is more than enough shoulder support and good cushioning. The under thigh support, too, is commendable. What’s definitely better though is the view out when the roof is down – the thin A-pillar, low-set door mounted wing mirrors and the absence of B-pillar all add up to provide brilliant visibility all round. Being a 2+2, you wouldn’t really expect it to accommodate two full-size adults at the back and in truth, it’s barely acceptable for short drives. Still, headroom and legroom is decent and it’s best to keep the rear reserved for kids. That being said, the pair of seats are heavily contoured and as a result, very supportive for those small enough to fit into them. Speaking of squeezing stuff, the boot space has been reduced from the standard A3’s 425-litres to 320-litres to accommodate the roof mechanism. Now although its opening is wide, filling it with large suitcases is plain impossible because of the enclosure’s lack of height and depth.

The 2017 A3 Cabriolet gets wireless phone charging function and full LED headlights as all-new features. It also gets dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, front and rear parking sensors and a 7-inch retractable screen for the MMI infotainment system. What it doesn’t get though are features like start/stop button, keyless entry and electric adjustment for the seats.

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION

There will be no diesel version of the Audi A3 Cabriolet. The only motor it comes with is the 1.8 TFSI turbo-petrol engine, which sends its 177bhp and 25.5kgm through the front wheels via a seven-speed S-Tronic dual-clutch gearbox. That’s fine by us, as this powertrain is what cemented the A3 sedan as one of our favourite cars to drive in 2014; the diesel version just isn’t as much fun. As ever, the 1.8 TFSI is super smooth and refined, spins quite freely and builds its power in a beautifully linear surge. There are, however, three differences to the driving experience compared to the sedan. For one, you can option a sports steering wheel on the A3 Cabriolet that comes with paddles for shifting gears manually, rather than just using the gearlever as you have to in the sedan. Secondly, the soft-top gets as standard Audi’s Drive Select driving modes – Efficiency, Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual – that alter the powertrain responsiveness as well as steering weight. And finally, with the roof folded, you can hear more of the otherwise silent motor when you open it up a bit, which only adds to the thrill. It makes a pleasing purr at high revs, and in Dynamic mode, delivers a subtle ‘whump’ from the exhaust with every upshift. Lovely.

Another concern with convertibles is that, in removing the roof, the car often loses a lot of its chassis rigidity, which in turn compromises handling and just the overall feeling of solidity. Yes, go over a steep bump and you might be able to sense a slight shudder through the body, but it’s barely there. Put it down to the car’s compact dimensions or just the integral rigidity of the new MQB-platform chassis the A3 is built on, which makes for a nice, taut bodyshell. Where it really matters, though, is in the handling, and we’re happy to report that almost none of the dynamic prowess of the A3 sedan has been lost with the roof cut off. It still darts into corners eagerly, there’s plenty of front-end grip and it just feels light and compact at your fingertips. In fact, the sensation is only amplified with the roof off and the wind in your hair. Find yourself some nice weather and a good road, and you won’t be disappointed.

RIDE AND HANDLING

The most comfortable A3 Cabriolets are those in SE spec, because this trim level gets well-judged suspension that blends good bump and pothole absorption with decent body control. Move up to S line trim and you get a lower set-up that’s noticeably firmer at low speeds, compounded further with the bigger wheels you get. None of these firmer set-ups is unbearable, but the good news is that you can specify softer SE suspension on S line trim – and doing so won’t cost you an extra penny. The S3 is lower and stiffer even than S line models, although it comes with standard adaptive dampers, so is actually quite comfortable.

The A3 Cabriolet changes direction eagerly. Its steering is precise and gives you plenty of information about what’s going on between the wheels and the road, even though it’s not the most rewarding system we’ve ever tried.

The car has plenty of grip for those twisting B-road drives in the country, allowing you to press on if you so desire. Fortunately, there isn’t too much body roll, even when you choose the standard SE suspension over the more focused Sport and S line set-ups.

Regardless of which suspension you go for, Audi offers an Adaptive Magnetic Ride system as an option, but the mix of comfort and body control is so good on the standard set-up, that we really wouldn’t bother paying the extra.

SAFETY FEATURES

The A3 sedan earns a five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It scores four out of five stars on its frontal crash and rollover tests, and it achieves five stars for the side crash test. The A3 also does well in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, earning a top rating in every category. The IIHS names the A3 a Top Safety Pick+. The Audi A4 receives the same rating from the IIHS, while the Volkswagen GTI earns a slightly lower Top Safety Pick designation.

Standard safety features in the A3 include a rearview camera with front and rear parking sensors. Other safety features are available. With adaptive cruise control, the A3 maintains a set following distance from the car in front of it, automatically slowing or accelerating with the flow of traffic. The A3 takes traditional adaptive cruise control a step further with the car’s ability to come to a complete stop and take off again, all on its own. Another driver assistance feature, lane keep assist, alerts you if you stray from your lane and gently nudges the car back into its lane. The A3 is also available with rear cross traffic alert, which monitors traffic behind the car while you’re reversing to prevent an accident.

CONCLUSSION

It is very easy to sum this car up. It has the advantages you get with the A3 sedan, the sheer thrill and pantomime of an open top convertible and of course, the added pride that comes with driving and owning something this special.

The A3 convertible may not be as practical as a top of the line A4 or a base model A6 that costs about as much but as an automotive package, it is certainly more thrilling. And although some might argue that at Rs 45 lakh it isn’t as pratical, for most buyers this will be a second or third car. Should you consider it? Well, if you are in the market for a stylish convertible, there is nothing available in India today that offers as much value as this does and yet allows you to indulge in a bit of fun.

 

Honda WRV Features & Specifications

OVERVIEW

With cross-hatches, car makers have kept the formula simple – take their existing hatches, inject some testosterone with thick slide cladding, roof rails, larger wheels and voila! We have an all-new model. The i20 Active, the Etios Cross and the Cross Polo, all seem to toe this line of thought (except the Fiat Urban Cross – but it hardly sells!).With the new WR-V, Honda has made an honest effort to create a Jazz-based crossover that stands out from its donor car. Not just in terms of its SUV-inspired looks, which gives it a different persona, especially when viewed from the front and rear. But also in the way it has gone about tweaking the suspension, raising ground clearance and adding a few more features to differentiate it from the Jazz. Check Ex Showroom Price of WRV

EXTERIORS AND LOOKS

Honda looked through the crosshatch business in India quite closely and created a design that not only tries to minimize the silhouette of the Jazz hatchback on which it is based but also create a sense of desirability in the onlooker. The front sees an uplifted hood with strong bonnet lines and a mega chrome bar thrown in for good measure. The chrome back connects the swooping headlamps to create a cohesive appearance.Thick plastic cladding up front saves the WR-V face from the ruts and rocks on occasional harsh road expeditions. The WR-V front looks nothing like a Jazz, and looks like a completely new car from that angle, but as you go to the side, the picture of a known hatchback becomes reminiscent.

Honda has ensured that image is diminished by throwing in ample plastic cladding and a set of roof rails finished in silver. They have also sized up the wheels. WR-V runs on 195/60 R16 Eco tyres with diamond cut alloy wheels, which look quite similar to the what’s in a BR-V. At the rear, tail lamps have been extended to contribute to a change in the overall design. These extensions include new rear fog lamps, which are quite bright at night to be honest.There is a thicker plastic bumper and silver rear diffuser to create the true essence of a crossover. Suspension setup has been reconstructed to make space for longer suspension travel and higher ground clearance. Honda WR-V sits at 188mm off the ground. WR-V may not look very attractive on paper but it definitely wins over the war of cross hatchbacks when it comes to design. Request test drive for WRV in Cazprice

INTERIOR AND COMFORT

The WR-V is a bigger machine than the Jazz, but it’s still under 4 metres long. So the space would be just about enough, right? Well, no. The sense of space could obliterate claustrophobia as a concept. While you won’t have that commanding/SUV-esque driving position, you do get the sense you’re sitting in a car that’s longer than 4 metres. That segment-first sunroof just adds to the airy feel. Seating five-up is easy but the middle occupant will want for more shoulder room. Also, the lack of adjustable headrests is just ridiculous and the integrated ones are too small and soft. The seat cushioning is a tad too soft, especially for long jaunts and considering this car’s positioning as something for explorers. After all, unlike the Jazz, this does get cruise control. Heck, you even get a 363-litre boot that’ll accommodate the average adult comfortably (kidnappers/Omni owners please note).

You also get nice touches like a steering that’s adjustable for rake and reach, and a can-holder in front of the driver’s AC vent. Also, modern cars have A-pillars that’re thicker than the US president, so the WR-V’s little quarter glass comes in handy at intersections. Somehow, the quality benchmark is similar for the tech and trim – just enough. There are hard plastics all-round, but nothing you’d call cheap. There’s no leather this or soft-touch that, but the upholstery is of a decent grade. The 7-inch infotainment system has a simple UI and a decent list of connectivity options including MirrorLink and WiFi, which is great. However, the system’s inherent lagginess is annoying and ever present. Moreover, the setup looks like an aftermarket add on. Also, the lack of Android Auto or Apple CarPlay can’t be ignored when there’re cheaper cars that get both. Lastly, the air-con may have a cool touch-panel but using it on the move isn’t all that convenient. You do have to take your eyes off the road to operate it and even the cooling was weak in our 40-degrees Celsius test conditions, which also draws your attention to the missing rear AC vents.

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE

As expected, the WR-V gets the same engines as the Jazz. That means a SOHC 1.2-litre i-VTEC petrol that produces 90PS at 6,000rpm and 110Nm at 4,800rpm as well as a DOHC 1.5-litre I-DTEC turbo-diesel that puts out 100PS at 3,600rpm and 200Nm at 1,750rpm. The diesel gets a 6-speed manual and the petrol gets a 5-speed manual – however, there is no CVT option like in the Jazz.The diesel engine has got good low-end grunt and with a responsive throttle, it will happily trudge along at 25kmph in third gear. The engine is quite free-revving and the linear power delivery makes the car quite enjoyable, if not exciting, to drive around. The gearbox is typically Honda with a precise ‘click-click’ when you shift gears, while the light and progressive clutch is nice to use in stop-and-go traffic.

Additionally, the 6-speed makes the WR-V a comfortable and effortless highway cruiser. While Honda didn’t give us any figures, they are claiming best-in-class acceleration figures. They are also claiming that the WR-V diesel will offer segment-leading efficiency with a figure of 25.5kmpl. This is 1.8kmpl less than what they claim for the Jazz. Apart from the extra 50kg that the WR-V carries, this could also be down to the gearing which, Honda says, has been optimised for better acceleration. But we’ll have to wait for the road test to get real-world figures.What is obvious is that the engine is still as loud as it has always been. NVH levels are quite poor in the cabin and that’s personally quite off-putting.

On the contrary, the 1.2-litre petrol engine is super refined and creamy. It’s very quiet till around 4,000rpm at which point the sound turns to a nice raspy note which gets louder as you get to the redline. That said, the sound is the only exciting thing about it. The engine feels annoyingly underpowered and you really have to rev the nuts off of it for some decent acceleration and that can get quite annoying especially during overtakes. This, despite Honda saying that they reworked the gearing for better acceleration. That said, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem within the city. The precise gearbox and the light clutch only make the experience that much nicer in slow-moving traffic. Honda is claiming that the petrol WR-V will return an overall average of 17.5kmpl which is quite respectable.

DRIVING DYNAMICS

Honda WR-V offers excellent driving dynamics, ride comfort, enthusiastic driving and punchy engines. Both petrol and diesel engines are very responsive and the level of refinement is impressive even at high speeds. The transmission offers smooth shifts with evenly spaced-out ratios. Power delivery is quite linear with a strong mid-range and an impressive top end. The 1.2-litre petrol engine has good performance in the city as the autobox makes driving in stop-go traffic a breeze, though its low-end performance is not impressive when compared to the competition. The 1.5-litre diesel engine performs better on the highways as you can simply go down a gear or two to make quick overtakes, but it is not very good when it comes to noise, since in spite of improving the NVH characteristics of the car, the diesel motor is quite audible inside. Book a Test Drive for Honda WRV

SAFETY

The Honda WR-V comes loaded with the usual safety features like dual front airbags and ABS with EBD. Honda has a good after-sales network in India and they are panned out across the country even in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities. Another positive point is that Honda cars have good resale value in the market

CONCLUSSION

The Honda WR-V is the first sub-4 meter Crossover from Honda which will help the Japanese Auto manufacturer to boost some sales because their other Crossover the BR-V definitely neither did not impress the Indian crowd much after its launch. The Cross hatchback looks loaded with features and although this is the beefier variant of the Jazz hatchback it gets slightly more interior space than the standard hatchback. Apply Car Loan for Honda WRV

 

Mercedes Benz AMG C43 Class Gearbox

OVERVIEW ;

The AMG models from Mercedes-Benz, driven by performance and excellence with luxury and versatility, have got a great response in the Indian Sports Car segment. The latest series of AMG model, the C-Class AMG C43 4MATIC, has been upgraded with new LED headlamps with the intelligent light system and radiator grilles in a diamond shape, with chrome grilles at the exteriors. The advanced features of instrument cluster with 5.5 inch multifunctional display, infotainment system with navigation and 20 CD audio, Artico man-made leather upholstery, and the panoramic sunroof are featured as a standard.

EXTERIOR AND LOOK ;

This C43 AMG has a front fascia that displays a diamond studded grille with a single chrome slat that holds a large Mercedes logo. Surprisingly, the AMG badge is inconspicuously stashed away at the corner of this grille that’s flanked on either side by those contemporary looking LED headlamps. Lower down, the bumper can be seen with bigger air dams and a silver front splitter that suit the intended sporty application.

In profile, the C43 AMG shows off its low stance with the ‘star’ design 18-inch five-spoke chrome-black alloys and potent AMG brake callipers. While a subtle boot-lid integrated spoiler adorns the rear section, so does the restyled lower section of the rear bumper that accommodates two exhausts with a quad look, a mesh grille, and a diffuser finished in silver paint. With the subtle but distinct updates, the C43 AMG in white paint earns a ‘sleeper’ reputation without any doubt whatsoever.

COMFORT AND CABIN ;

Inside the car gets multifunctional flat bottomed steering wheel finished in Black leather and red contrasting top stitching which helps it look good. The dashboard looks premium wrapped in high quality leather. The AMG instrument cluster delivers plenty of relevant information about the car. The instrument cluster consists of two round dials along with a 4.5 inch multifunction colour display along with a Racetimer and 280 km/h scale completed with a chequered flag.

The driver seat too now gets improved lateral support and wrapped with Artico man made leather while there is also option of DINAMICA microfibre upholstery. The safety belts too also gets red coloured contrast stitching as well while the floor mats are finished in Black gets some red edges.

ENGINE AND GEARBOX ;

The Mercedes-AMG C43 gets the 3.0 Litre V6 Twin Turbo unit which is capable of producing about 367 Hp of peak power and 520 NM of torque. The AMG powerplant is easily recognised by the red aluminium insert in the engine cover. The technical advancement which includes a modified power booster has helped the engineers to increase the engine power and torque output as well.

The engine for all your information is paired to a 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission which sends power to the four wheels of the car via the 4MATIC four wheel drive system. Mercedes claims that they were able to reduce the speed of the shift times of the new transmission system. The quick multiple downshifts helps give the AMG C43 short burst of speed. If we talk about performance then the Coupe is capable of sprinting from 0-100 km/h mark in 4.7 seconds while it has a top speed of 250 km/h mark.

The car further gets the AMG Dynamic select transmission modes as well which consists of “Eco”, “Comfort”, “Sport”, “Sport Plus” and “Individual” modes. The Sport Plus mode in particular promises to deliver an impressive hallmark AMG Dynamics. While the engine being part of the BlueDIRECT engine family from Mercedes-Benz is also fuel efficient at the same time because it gets ECO start/stop function and the ’sailing’ function which helps reduce fuel consumption.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

Hurtling down a twisty back road, the C43 feels crisp and well mannered, its responses alert but not harsh and madly aggressive like the brutish C63’s. AMG’s sharp, electrically assisted steering rack is direct and precise, if rather muted, and the selectable driving modes (Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, and Individual) give the chassis, drivetrain, and steering effort a sizable amount of bandwidth. The C63 also donates its three-position adjustable dampers and some of its front-suspension hardware, which give the C43 a 1.5-inch-wider front track than the C300 4MATIC, as well as revised suspension geometry and increased negative camber. New for 2017 is an updated three-stage stability-control system that in its sportier settings allows for a bit more sideways action at the handling limit before stepping in.

SAFETY ;

The braking system of C-Class AMG C43 4MATIC features adaptive brake system with anti-lock braking system and brake assist system with servo brake assistance for emergency braking. The safety features offered include front and side airbag for the driver and co-passenger with thorax protection, window airbags for the driver and front passenger, and curtain airbags for the rear seat occupants. The passenger seat occupant detection, Pre-Safe system with reversible belt tensioners, glove compartment with emergency lockable key and electronic immobilizer are featured for safe usage and prevention against theft attempts

CONCLUSION ;

Overall, the C43 does a great job of bridging the gap between the C300 and C63, providing buyers with the comfort and luxury of the C300 with some thrill and dynamics from the C63. Although the car is more reminiscent of the C300 than the C63, the C43 doesn’t defame the AMG name and still provides ample thrill to the driver. Compared to its competition, the C43 is rather pricy but few other models as close to engineering such a well-balanced machine … for the time being at least.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Hatchback Overview

OVERVIEW

Maruti is stepping up their game in the Indian market and of late they have been pushing the envelope in various new dimensions. The carmaker introduced their premium NEXA brand having niche products to taste the higher end of the mass market segment. Maruti recently experimented a different design direction with the launch of the Ignis targeting millennials and now they are finally entering the performance oriented segment. Yes, we are talking about the new Baleno RS that comes with a brand new BoosterJet engine. We just drove the hot hatch at the Buddh International Circuit, testing the limits of the 1.0-litre turbo petrol motor. The RS moniker here stands for ‘Road Sport’ and we see if the first performance-centric hatch from Maruti justifies the RS badge. Check for Baleno RS price in Kolkata

EXTERIORS AND INTERIORS

The Baleno Rs. (Road Sport, not rally sport, according to Maruti) is the car market leader’s first attempt at creating what is closest to a hot hatch. In the Indian context, this belongs to the performance category, while elsewhere in the world, this is just one more engine variant of the Baleno; and in most cases meant to help meet more stringent emission norms. But, what is in a name… or should we say an appendage. The numbers should still excite petrol-heads. How does 102 hp of power and 150 Nm of torque sound to you? Not bad for a sub-one-litre engine in a sub-tonne hatch, right?

But, before we get carried away by the new Boosterjet engine and its prowess, let us get past the Baleno RS’s design identity. From a distance, the new sportier version of the Baleno could pass off as the existing model, except maybe from the rear and if you had a keen eye. Maruti Suzuki has chosen to keep the unique features on the RS’s exterior to a fair minimum. It has got a new bonnet grille with a grey metallic chrome surround and a new bumper at the front with what looks like a large airdam and aggressive profile. Faux skirts in the same grey metallic chrome finish run along the sides and under the front fender. The rear features a considerably altered fender compared to the regular Baleno’s. There is also the rear spoiler at the roof and the mid-tail gate chrome half spoiler with the reversing camera in the middle. The only place where the Rs. appendage is visible is at the rear with the badge in blue. The most unique and good looking feature of the new Rs. variant are the black alloy wheels.

The changes to the Baleno RS’s cabin are similarly minimal. The interior is offered in an all-black avatar, in keeping with a very sophisticated, European flavour. The touchscreen infotainment screen and the coloured multi-information display in the instrument cluster with the helpful power and torque delivery identified in a real-time circular chart format have both been carried forward from the current Baleno’s cabin. The RS’s cabin is otherwise identical and doesn’t sport any Rs. identifiers. But the Baleno’s cabin was already a good jump in fit and finish quality

PERFORMANCE

It doesn’t take much time to realise what this car is capable of. Shift into first gear, release the clutch and press the accelerator in under a second you might start to feel that everything around you is being fast-forwarded. The car touches a speed of 100kph in a little over 10 seconds, and has a top speed of 180kph. The Boosterjet pulls strongly from 2000rpm onwards, and keeps pulling beyond 5000rpm, so you never feel the car is running out of power, except when the rev limiter kicks in at above 6000rpm.

Now it’s a powerful engine, yet it is frugal. The claimed fuel-efficiency is a high 21.1kpl. The car has a fuel tank of 37 litres and an ideal range of over 700km on a full tank. (Part of the reason the Baleno RS is so quick is that it’s built on a lightweight platform – its weight is just 950kg.)

SAFETY

Maruti is offering the Baleno RS in a single variant and hence the car is loaded with top spec safety features as standard such as dual front airbags, ABS, EBD and ISOFIX child seat provision. Additionally, the Baleno RS comes with all-four discs for better stopping power. In terms of after sales, we all know that Maruti has a very renowned and wide network across the country. The NEXA channel is growing with each passing day and the ownership cost of the Baleno RS will definitely be the lowest compared to the other performance hatchbacks in this segment.

DRIVING

On the track, the Baleno Rs. feels much quicker than the regular Baleno. There is no turbolag and power is delivered quick… well, for a hatch in the mass market segment. The comparison can’t be with real performance cars and that is also the reason why Maruti isn’t offering a 0 to 100 kmph time for the Baleno Rs. But, getting to three-digit speeds is quick and on the long back straight in the circuit, I could reach 160 kmph or thereabouts before having to brake hard to take the fourth turn. Speaking of braking, the Rs. gets discs on all four wheels, and the brakes offer decent bite and consistent stopping force. The steering is typical hatchback style with not much feedback, though, putting the Rs. on the desired spot on tarmac isn’t so much a problem. However, the stock tyres we drove on weren’t that helpful at high speed cornering; they squealed and slipped quite a bit after a few lap

CONCLUSION

If you are looking for a quicker family hatchback, the Baleno RS won’t disappoint. With better acceleration, steering and brakes, the performance is an improvement over the standard petrol version. But this comes at a price. The Baleno RS commands a Rs 1.4 lakh premium over the standard petrol car and does not have any additional kit. Yes, along with the more powerful engine and rear disc brakes, you also get a stiffer chassis, improved steering and suspension. However, our sources tell us that all Balenos will get the stiffer chassis soon, anyway. That being the case, the Rs 1.4 lakh premium does seem like a lot. But performance has never come cheap. So, does the car do justice to its RS badge? Yes it’s quick, but out here on the F1 track it didn’t seem a quick hot hatch. Then again, this circuit has made many a sportscar look slow. Guess it’s time to put the Baleno back to back with the Abarth Punto and the Polo GT to find out.

Tata Nexon Facelift Review

OVERVIEW ;

After taking a marathon test of Indian buyers, Tata Nexon has finally made its way in the country. First things first, the Nexon marks Tata’s entry into the highly lucrative sub 4-meter SUV segment, and it is the fourth product after Tiago, Hexa and Tigor to be based on the company’s IMPACT design philosophy. Tata Nexon had its world premiere in concept form at the 2014 Auto Expo, while the production version saw the daylight a couple of years later at the 2016 Auto Expo. It is being presented in both petrol and diesel fuel trims in five grades: XE, XM, XT, XZ+ and XZ+ Dual Tone. The sub-compact SUV debuts several new comfort features in the Indian market, while paramount importance has been given to the safety of the occupants as well. Tata Nexon gets 1.2L Revotron petrol and 1.5L Revotorq diesel engines with 108bhp power, making it the most powerful in the segment. For the time being, it is offered with a manual transmission only, while the AMT gearbox is scheduled for a later stage. Check Ex Showroom Price of  Nexon

EXTERIOR AND LOOKS ;

Smashing! The Tata Nexon is one car that has stayed true to its concept roots. Everything including the stance and overall design language can be related to the concept. In fact, a few people in and around Kochi asked us if this is a prototype car that we’re driving around. The Impact Design, as Tata likes to call it, has been working quite well with all of its recent launches like the Tiago, Tigor and Hexa. The black honeycomb grille is a nice element with a chrome outline to it, flanked by the tear drop projector headlamps. These lights have a LED strip that doubles up as a DRL. Unlike the Brezza’s units, these cannot be switched off. The air intake too is large and above it, pushed to the sides are eyebrow-shaped enclosures that house the fog lamps. The lower part of this nacelle is a white ceramic sash which does its job quite well in bringing your attention to the car.

Moving on to the side, the coupe-like roofline looks really cool. The ceramic sash used for the fog lamps too has been used here for the rising belt line. The wheel arches aren’t unusually flared but house 16-inch wheels as standard. Tata Motors‘ designers have used a bluish grey colour for the Elite i20-like floating roof. At the rear, the pinched lines create a harmonious effect to portray what will be one of the most attractive derrieres on any Indian car. The lower part of the bumper has a black diffuser, which is also shared with the Tiago and its derivatives.If only looks could sell, the Nexon will be a top seller. However, the Nexon doesn’t look like a true-blue SUV and instead feels like a hatchback on stilts. Remember the Vista D90 Xtreme concept?

INTERIOR AND COMFORT ;

The Nexon’s interior has three prominent layers. The upper portion is finished in dark grey plastic, and its quality is on par with its peers. The middle layer gets an aluminium finish, and it looks particularly upmarket. The thickness and solidity of this layer throughout the cabin makes you feel like you’re sitting inside a more premium car. The third and the lowermost layer is a plastic of greyish shade of beige. This plastic is hard to touch, and the fit and finish levels aren’t too high either. For instance, the glovebox requires more than one attempt to shut, and the fit on the lower portion of the doors is questionable, especially around the door pockets. These two are probably the only touch points where fit and finish feels compromised. Otherwise, Tata has managed to do a good job of ensuring satisfactory quality levels at contact points. Sitting atop the Nexon’s dashboard is a 6.5-inch Harman infotainment system that’s fixed to the dashboard. There’s simply no missing it. More importantly, it feels high quality and well thought out. The display is crisp and readable even under harsh sunlight. It’s only the camera display that is a bit grainy. However, that must have more to do with the output of the camera than the screen itself.

The user interface is friendly and easy to use as it gets hot spots at corners for quick access to functions like air con settings, audio source and the mega menu. The touchscreen isn’t the most intuitive, and there’s a slight delay every time you operate it. However, it doesn’t skip inputs much. It’s quicker to respond when you use the physical buttons and knobs, which Tata has thoughtfully placed well within reach to operate on the go.Tata intends to offer Apple CarPlay at launch, and the test cars we drove only featured Android Auto. The driver side instrument binnacle is simple in terms of design and gets a multi-info display unit between the speedometer and tachometer. You get two trip meters, average fuel efficiency display, distance to empty and the usual readouts there.The centre console extends from under the central AC vents and goes all the way to the rear. Apart from the automatic climate control knobs, it houses a USB and an AUX port and the Drive Select knob as well. It also gets a pair of cup holders that can be shut with a Tambour door, which is a roller shutter that you see on some of the higher-end cars. Visually, it leaves you impressed. However, the cubby holes are an ergonomic failure: it’s too deep and crammed to be used for keeping and taking out cups. Move further behind, and there’s the armrest that opens up a small glove box with enough space to keep your smartphone and your wallet. This should have ideally been the place for having USB and AUX sockets. The centre arm stretches all the way to the rear cabin and houses air con blowers for the rear passengers.

The Nexon’s cabin is so comfortable that it deserves a special mention. To make things clear up front, the Nexon is a car best suited for four. And when we say that, it doesn’t mean that the cabin is not spacious, just that the rear seats are designed such. So, while you get a bench at the rear, the seats are properly contoured buckets for two passengers. There’s a central armrest which folds up in case you wish to seat a third passenger. But you wouldn’t want to do that unless you’re doing short distances.Other than that, the Nexon’s cabin appears to be one of the most comfortable cabins in the sub-4m vehicle category. The steering is adjustable for rake, the driver’s seat is height adjustable and provides excellent lower back support. So, it’s easy to get into a good driving position. The bucket seats are big enough to accommodate people of varied shapes and sizes, and the extra under-thigh support just makes things more comfortable. The same goes for the rear seats too. Think of the two seats at the back as captain ones (yes, they’re so well defined in terms of their design), and you sit snug into them. The seat back angle is such that it is set into comfort mode by default. The regions around lumbar and under-thigh have been given more cushion in comparison to the other places, and the seats just feel made-to-order.

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;

The Nexon will be offered with a new 1.5-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine and a 1.2-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine. Both engines come mated to class-first six-speed transmissions with power sent solely to the front wheels. Automated manual transmission (AMT)- equipped versions of the Nexon are under development and could be out by the year end.Tata’s new 1.5-litre direct injection turbo-diesel that also debuts on the Nexon puts out a healthy 110hp. A scaled-up, four-cylinder version of the Tiago’s 1.05-litre, three-cylinder diesel, the new engine fires easily with the first poke of the starter button. There is a bit of flutter at startup and some vibration is felt through the gear level but it settles down to a smooth idle. This motor is pretty refined even at higher revs and doesn’t make the same racket as the gravelly sounding 1.3 diesel in the Brezza.What’s immediately noticeable is how tractable the engine is; the Nexon pulls cleanly from as low as 1,400rpm. This tractability, due to the 260Nm of torque from 1,500rpm, makes driving in traffic quite easy and you don’t need to constantly downshift. Once you are past 2,000rpm, there’s a gentle wave of power and there’s no real spike like in the Brezza’s Fiat-sourced diesel. Post 4,000rpm, however, you hit a wall, and though the engine does rev to 4,500rpm, the drop in power at the top end is quite sudden.

Unlike the Brezza’s unit which pulls well past 5,000rpm, the Nexon’s 1.5 diesel feels quite laboured at high revs. In fact, the lack of top-end punch and an average mid-range leaves you wanting for more power, even with the drive mode in the most aggressive ‘Sport’ setting.The Nexon’s high kerb weight of 1,305kg (110kg more than the Brezza) also blunts its performance to a great extent, and overall, we felt the Nexon could do with more punch. In a quick reference test, not done to our test standards, the Nexon managed to do the 0-100 run in 13.75sec, which is slower than the Brezza, at 12.9sec.The Nexon’s three driving modes, Eco, City and Sport, each with their own power and torque figures, distinctly alter the performance characteristics and have an impact on fuel efficiency as well. Sport mode, quite obviously, is the nicest to use, especially when extracting every ounce of performance but in the normal or City mode, performance is good enough for relaxed driving. In Eco mode, the Nexon feels particularly strangled and is only to be used if you’re running out of fuel or have exceeded your fuel allowance.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

The Tata Nexon comes with a dual path suspension and we must mention that it has been tuned very nicely. The suspension attacks potholes and bad roads with ease, without causing discomfort to passengers. The car remains pretty much stable even while going on broken patches at slightly higher speeds. The 16-inch tyres also have good grip levels. The steering is light at low speeds and weighs up nicely on the highways. It has decent feedback on offer and is pretty direct. Body roll isn’t much and I actually found the Nexon to be fun to drive. Braking power is good and ABS is standard across all variants.

SAFETY ;

The Nexon will come with a lot of standard safety equipment like dual airbags and ABS + EBD across the variants. It also gets ISOFIX hooks for child seats and height adjustable front seat belts.

CONCLUSSION ;

Well! The Nexon is the new generation product from Tata Motors which is quite refined and gets quality materials and plenty of new and exclusive features both inside and outside. It looks good and will attract everyone’s attention on the road. Rumors are that Tata Motors will price this new SUV quite aggressively as well. The Nexon gets both diesel and petrol engines under its hood which gives it an edge over its rival Vitara Brezza along with a 6-speed manual gearbox. Lastly for those who want a well built and premium quality interior with plenty of modern features and practicality can always opt for the Nexon

 

 

Hyundai Verna Hatchback First Drive

OVERVIEW

In recent years, the mid-size sedan segment has been sidelined by many in a bid to get behind an SUVs of varying shapes and size. With manufacturers offering compact SUVs, sub-compact SUVs, crossover SUVs and full-blown SUVs, sedans have not been enjoying the limelight of yesteryears. Nonetheless, the City from Honda continues to do respectable numbers within a segment where Maruti Suzuki have a firm footing courtesy Ciaz. Once a dominant player, the Verna from Hyundai gradually faded away under the onslaught from direct and indirect rivals. But no more. Or at least that is what Hyundai is hoping with the 2017 Verna. Check Ex Showroom Price of Verna

EXTERIOR AND LOOK

The k2 platform underpins the new Hyundai Verna 2017. This platform is light and does not compromise on safety. Ultra high strength steel used in almost 50% of the car. There are many useful features in the car. This platform is longer and wider. The design is based on the Fluidic 2.0 architecture.This architecture is present on Elantra, XCent 2017, Grand 2017 and even the Creta. Now the Verna follows the same and looks part of the family.

Fron / A new grille looks more mature and engulfs most of the front part. It looks more evolved. The headlamps are sleek and the grille gets chrome slate, though only on higher variants. Projector headlamps are now seen in the car and it and also gets LED DRLs. This is what makes the Hyundai Verna 2017 a lot more stylish and attractive. The fog lamps get chrome surrounds and the bumpers are stylish.

Side / The Hyundai Verna 2017 is sporty looking especially from the side. The design is inspired from a coupe and hence it looks suave as well. The silhouette has clean lines flowing across. The mid models have 15-inch steel/alloy wheels and the higher ones have 16-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels. The top variant also gets chrome door handles.

Rear / The Verna 2017 looks very similar to the Elantra. The LEDs on the taillamps remind one of the Elantra. The rear bumper gets a dual tone colour.

INTERIOR AND COMFORT

The cabin layout isn’t very different from its stablemates, but that isn’t a bad thing. Interiors are well-appointed and the placement of controls is good. The new steering controls add to the upmarket feel while offering better usability. The quality of plastics is as good as it gets and plastics are nice to the touch with a smooth feel. The 7-inch touchscreen offers a good resolution but a slightly crisper resolution would have been more welcome, particularly for the navigation. The infotainment system offers Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink connectivity.

The ventilated seats deserve a mention as their cooling effect is a boon, and the seats are nicely cushioned and offer good bolstering. The rear bench is comfortable but leg and kneeroom aren’t as generous as some of the competition. The rear seat is a nice place to be in though with its plushness as the height of the arm rest is perfect and the rear air-conditioning vents ensure drafts of cold air reach you well. There’s an additional USB port for rear occupants, a thoughtful addition for the chaueffer driven lot. Storage spaces are abundant with several useful cubby holes, cup holders, a front central arm rest with storage and one-litre bottle holders in all doors.

Boot volume may not be best in class but there’s good amounts of space and I don’t think the average buyer will complain. Another highlight is the remote opening function for the boot, like the Elantra and Tucson – you simply need to stand behind the car for three seconds with the key in your pocket for it to open – which helps a lot when your hands are full.

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION

Hyundai’s Verna will be offered with two engines, not four. The 1.4-litre engines have been shelved altogether. The 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines have been carried over, but not without tweaks. Though power figures are identical at 123PS (petrol) and 128PS (diesel), Hyundai says that the torque is a lot more accessible. For instance, at 1250rpm you’d have 245Nm of torque on tap, compared to 176Nm in the outgoing Verna 4S diesel. Similar case with the petrol, where it makes a full 7Nm more at 1500rpm compared to the outgoing car that developed 122Nm. There’s a 6-speed manual like before, but, the 4-speed automatic transmission has been ditched in favour of a 6-speed automatic, presumably borrowed from the Creta. We could only sample the diesel avatar of the Verna, but had a go with both the transmissions. Clutch in, thumb the start-stop button, and the engine comes to life with a faint clatter. The engine feels smooth and refined as you start driving. The highlight here is the drivability of the motor, courtesy the torque. You can lug it at 30kmph in third. Step on it, and expect it to build speed cleanly. Much like the little Xcent, power delivery remains linear, save for a small spike in power at around 1700rpm. The diesel should make for a good city car as the clutch is light (albeit springy), and the gearshifts are quick n’ slick.

If you don’t want that hassle altogether, the new automatic gearbox will save the day. It shifts through the gears quickly and just gets the job done. Don’t expect it to be a sporty gearbox that will give you split-second shifts. Think of it rather as convenience and it seems just right for the job. There’s a manual mode too, but it didn’t seem all that engaging to use. It’s best left to its own, really. What’s appreciable, is the fact that the Verna is no longer a skittish handler. Around the skidpad, it remained composed as we chucked it about. Yes, there’s a bit of body roll but it’s predictable. And, we’d say the same thing about the steering as well. It is light, sure – but not dead. It does a good job of telling you what the front wheels are up to. Impressive! We can’t comment on the ride just as yet, but Hyundai tells us the new suspension has been engineered to be more forgiving, more pliant and quieter. It should have no qualms munching highway miles, but we’ll reserve our word on it till we get enough time with the car.

RIDE AND HANDLING

The one serious shortcoming in the old Hyundai Verna was that it wasn’t a confident high-speed machine. With the new K2 platform and changes to both the front and rear suspension setup, Hyundai has completely transformed the driving experience in the 2017 Verna. The steering is still fairly light in town, making negotiating the tight traffic-filled street of Kochi a breeze, and when speeds increased out on the highway a nice reassuring weight enters the equation. The steering also feels quite direct and this really helps with letting you know what’s happening at the front wheels. Book a Test Drive for Hyundai Verna

It’s very well behaved around corners too. The chassis stays fairly flat and though there is some roll when really pushed it’s always predictable and controlled. The brake pedal is quite firm and though it is very linear and has more than enough braking force we do wish it was a little lighter action.Comfort hasn’t been compromised as the ride quality is still pliant in the new Verna. It’s on the firm side but yet manages to absorb bumps and imperfections in the road. This is down to Hyundai doing a lot of work on the suspension. It’s changed the setup of the McPherson linkages up front to limit the horizontal displacement that occurs when the front wheels go over sharp bumps and in the rear, the angle of the shocks have been changed to a more vertical design to better improve the backseat ride. It has worked.

BRAKING AND SAFETY

The next-gen Hyundai Verna gets disc brakes at the front and drum brakes at the rear. In addition, it is laced with a plethora of exceedingly reliable braking systems such as Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) as standard features. The body structure of the new sedan is developed with 50 percent of Advanced High Strength Steel, which is an additional increase of 37 percent over the preceding model. As for the safety of the occupants, the 2017 Verna comes several avant-garde features in form of 6-airbags, front projector foglamps, ISOFIX (Child Restraint System), Impact sensing Auto Door Lock, Cornering Lamps, Reverse Parking Sensors, and Reverse Parking Camera.

CONCLUSSION

The new Verna looks like a scaled down variant of the Elantra sedan which was unveiled last year. The new generation sedan comes with some modern elements on the inside like a new touchscreen infotainment system, but the biggest change that it has received come has to be the new automatic transmission which is much more responsive and smoother compared to the previous unit. Lastly the competitive pricing definitely will also help this sedan to compete with its rival quite comfortably. Apply Car Loan for Hyundai Verna

 

Maruti Suzuki Dzire Hatchback Overview

OVERVIEW ;

There is no denying the fact that the Maruti Dzire has shaken the compact sedan segment in India by selling in such huge volumes which no other rival has been able to come close to. The Dzire is also one of the highest selling cars here and hence there is a lot of anticipation around the new generation. The looks have changed, the interiors have evolved and the driving dynamics are better. Let’s check out everything in detail. Check Ex Showroom Price of Dzire

EXTERIORS AND INTERIORS ;

The use of wooden finish add a bit of class to the overall cabin quality of the new Dzire. There are also AC vents now for the back row passengers and despite being a compact sedan you won’t mind getting a chauffeur for it. The new platform used on the Dzire also makes space for some extra legroom for the rear passengers. There is also plenty of shoulder room at the back and getting three people to sit on the back seat is no longer a squeeze. Despite more legroom, the boot space 378 litres is more than what you would need on a family sedan. Apply car loan for Dzire at Carzprice

Now the biggest change on the new Dzire is how it looks from the outside. It now gets that fancy big grille up front just like its competition the Ford Figo Aspire. And the new eyes on the Dzire now has a shimmer to them thanks to the fancy looking DRL’s. The engine hood of the car in now much more flat and edgy and many would say it looks like a vintage design. We would say that Maruti has tried here to make it look classier with a modern aesthetic

One look at the Dzire from the side and you still get that feeling that there is something incomplete there. But that’s with almost any compact sedan in the market right now. The rear is something that we didn’t fancy that much on the Dzire. The reason is simple here, it’s just flat. The bumper, the tail-lamp and the rear boot hood are all on one line. And there is no major separation for all the three parts. That means there is a huge probability of a low collision impact damaging all those three parts

PERFORMANCE ;

The new Dzire carries over the same two powertrains from the previous generation. So, it is the same 1,197cc VVT petrol engine and the 1,248cc DDiS diesel engine with their 5-speed manual gearboxes. The powertrains get changes to their calibration and the automated manual transmission (AMT) makes an appearance in the Dzire. The AMT which we have seen in smaller Marutis is still the same basic tech involving sensors and hydraulic shifters mounted on top of the manual gearbox. The AMT’s relatively unrefined shifting characteristic is also, unfortunately, a carry-over. Unlike a torque converter or continuously variable (CVT) auto transmissions, AMTs tend to have prominent shift shocks during heavy acceleration. But, the head nodding pull during up shifts eases up during cruising speeds. Kick downs to lower gears when I stomp the throttle for an overtake maneuver also tend to be less urgent, but at slower speeds there is a double shift down from overdrive gears. With a lot of low-end torque being available, the diesel AMT was easier to use overall. Buyers have to be aware that the AMT tech is oriented towards optimising mileage in city driving cycles and so there is a certain inevitable performance compromise.

The petrol engine in the Dzire produces a peak power of 61kW at 6,000rpm and peak torque of 113Nm at 4,200rpm. This is a quiet, refined engine with its performance being an ideal combination for all types of driving cycles, My personal preference would be the manual transmission for both the petrol and diesel engines, but with more and more buyers preferring AMTs Maruti is now offering three trim variants each with the automated gearbox. The Dzire’s diesel engine delivers 55kW of power and 190Nm of torque. Peak torque is available from 2,000rpm. This common rail direct injection engine’s familiar character means that driving it in a Maruti is somehow always more pleasurable than in any other brand’s cars. It does get a bit raucous at high revs, but if you are a driver that loves to be connected with the car, this engine will keep you amply engaged.

The Bridgestone Ecopia 185/65 tyres that my test mule came with were shod on 15-inch alloys. While these tyres helped keep road rush to a minimum in the cabin, their relatively thin contact patch on the road meant lesser confidence while taking fast corners. However, straight line stability has improved dramatically and the Dzire now cruises confidently even at speeds of upto 160kmph

SAFETY ;

The safety features on offer include dual airbags, ABS with EBD and even brake assist. There is also ISOFIX on all the variants, which makes it a good option to consider. The other features on offer include the front seat belt with pre-tensioners, immobilizer, force limiter, seat belt warning lamps. Key left warning and door open warning are a part of this list.

(VXi/VDi) In the V variant, the additional features are day and night adjustable IRVM, speed sensitive door locking and anti-theft security system. (ZXi/ZDi) Z offers reverse parking sensor, front fog lamps, rear defogger as additional features. (ZXi+/ZDi+)

The Z+ also offers some additional features too. There is reverse camera with guide that is an extra over the Z variant

DRIVING ;

If I were to rate the most significant high points of the new Dzire, its ride comfort would come a close second after its interior space; it’s that unbelievable. Three key areas show significant improvement – the damping, the steering steadiness and robustness while tackling bigger potholes. The additional weight of the diesel Dzire lets the suspension setup deal with road uncertainties with aplomb. The characteristic can be experienced at both low and high speeds, and it ups the plushness of the cabin. The steering is also steadier now in and maintains its centre position when going over rough patches without much driver effort, which builds the driver confidence. The third, and the most common of the complaints associated with Maruti cars – that of crashing into the potholes, has also been addressed. The Dzire goes over uneven surfaces and even bigger uncertainties without any harshness

The new Dzire is built on Suzuki’s Heartect platform which is more rigid than the one on which it was based before. Apart from it passing the crash tests, it also improves the stability. The Dzire feels more planted now than before at speeds closer to three digits. While the platform makes it stable, the steering starts to get lighter with an increase in speed and makes it a nervous handler. At low speeds, the same steering feels better weighed. Braking is one department that doesn’t see any improvement. The Dzire still lacks the initial bite, and speed sheds only when you press the B-pedal hard. So, while the Dzire maintains composure under hard braking, it’s still not confidence inspiring

VERDICT ;

We won’t be surprised if the Maruti Dzire goes on to become the largest selling car by overtaking the Alto. Maruti Suzuki has taken a good package and made it even better with the new generation and the Dzire comes across as a well-rounded compact sedan that excels at a lot of things. What really impressed us is how the company has moved ahead in its quality standards and how the car is loaded with so many features. The driving characteristics are also very good and both the engines are efficient too. The Maruti Dzire is an excellent buy for someone looking for a not-so-big sedan that offers a competitive package.