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Audi A3 Cabriolet Facelift Review

OVERVIEW ;

The Audi A3 Cabriolet is an interesting vehicle. With its fabric roof up, it’s quiet and comfortable pretty much like the regular A3 sedan but with the roof off; it turns into a classy boulevard cruiser, rolling top down through the bustling streets and reaping attention of onlookers as you crawl through traffic. This is basically what cabriolets do – there’s something quite mystic about driving them but they are not the most practical of cars. The A3 Cabriolet, though, proved to be rather practical (with its neat roof arraignment and proper seating for four) when we first sampled it back in 2015.

Fast forward to today and we have just driven the 2017 A3 Cabriolet which brings everything that was good about the old version, but adds edgier styling, new paint options and a substantially different driving experience. Let’s take a closer look and gauge the improvements that make up the 2017 model.

EXTERIOR ;

The A3 Cabriolet is very similar to the A3 sedan on which it is based. So you get the same headlights, tail lights and 17-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels but in spite of that, it looks quite different. That’s because the Audi A3 Cabriolet gets a fabric roof and loses out the two rear doors (the front doors are longer), resulting in an even shorter length than the already short in length A3 sedan. Thus, the A3 Cabriolet is unmistakably an A3 even when you see it from afar because the compact dimensions are an immediate giveaway about the identity of the vehicle.

The Audi A3 Cabriolet does get a brushed silver finish on the frame of the front windscreen which looks quite nice. The car does look short when the roof is up but once you put it down, it does look bigger than it actually is. Roof down motoring is quite a new concept in India so when you drive with the top down, people do stare at the A3 Cabriolet like it’s some supercar. Thus, if you want to turn attention, the A3 Cabriolet will do it for you, something more expensive sedans are unlikely to manage.

INTERIORS ;

The Audi A3 cabriolet has exactly the same layout and elements as the sedan and is available with either the full grey colour scheme or the two-tone beige and grey combination which looks much better but in the long run is likely to be harder to maintain.

Slip into the driver’s seat and you are greeted by a four-spoke steering wheel and analog dials with a digital display nestled in between. Reach over to the side as well as under the seat to adjust yourself into a comfortable position and you are greeted by manual controls to perform all three functions, a let –down when you consider that this car is priced at Rs 44 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).

The infotainment system is pretty basic and requires you to have the proprietary Audi MMI cable to physically connect anything to the system. It makes use of a five-inch screen which pops out of the dashboard when you activate it. While this may feel rudimentary, what is quite exciting is the B&O speaker system which work quite well even when the roof is down. The navigation system has to be specified as an optional extra when purchasing the car.

.Move over to the back and there is not much on offer there. The reduced wheelbase means that space is hardly available at the back making the seats best suited to small children or for carrying luggage.

However, that being said there are dual AC vents as well as cup holders for the rear passengers. The seats also tumble forward fully for additional carrying capacity. The boot space is 320-litres which is not much due to the reduced dimensions but can swallow up a few bags even with the roof down.

PERFORMANCE ;

The Audi A3 Cabriolet only comes with a petrol engine and the 40 TFSI motor has got much applaud for its performance. In the A3 sedan, the petrol mill gets overshadowed in lieu of the more frugal oil burner but in the A3 Cab, one can’t help but get addicted to the performance. The 1.8-litre gasoline powerplant outputs 180 HP but what’s crucial is the torque output of 250 Nm, from as low as 1250 RPM, going up all the way to 5000 RPM, that is a massive torque band, more so by petrol car standards. 0-100 km/hr comes up in 7.83 seconds as per our VBOX tests which is half a second slower than the sedan due to the 135 kgs increase in weight over the petrol A3 sedan caused by the roof operating electronics.

This 1.8 TFSI mill also powers a range of Volkswagen Group cars and the more praises showered on it, the less it is. The car idles with super smoothness and is refined at all times. Give it the beans and it spins to its 6500 RPM redline with no effort at all, having a linear pull throughout the rev range. The A3 Cabriolet sounds very exciting and although its twin exhausts emit the same aural bass as the sedan, the shorter length of the car makes them more vocal inside the cabin, more so with the roof down. The vehicle reaches the ton in third gear while at the same speed in top gear, it does 2100 RPM on the tachometer, having a lot of punch for quick overtakes. The top speed is 240 km/hr and the A3 Cabriolet pulls to high speeds in a flash.

Audi has paired the A3’s 1.8 TFSI mill to a 7-speed S-tronic automatic gearbox. This dual-clutch unit offers smooth shifts and shows signs of urgency when you need quick cog changes. The vehicle comes with Audi Drive Select with five modes – Efficiency, Comfort, Dynamic, Auto and Individual. The modes change the way the gearbox goes about doing its job while also altering the engine response. The car is also offered with the option of a sporty 3-spoke steering wheel (the standard wheel is 4-spokes) which brings along paddle shifters too although without this option, one can still take control of things using the tiptronic function on the gear lever, there is also a Sports mode there. The A3 Cabriolet returns a mileage of 9-12 km/l, it benefits from a recuperation system that boosts mileage by up to 3%.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

The Audi A3 Cabriolet gets McPherson struts in the front and a multi-link rear suspension. The ride quality is on the firm side and combined with the large wheels make for a stiff setup. It is plush and almost carpet- like when the tarmac is really good but as soon as the road quality drops, the ride becomes hard once again.

We believe that a major contributing factor to this is the fact that the car is a CBU for India and has been designed keeping the high quality roads found in Europe. The steering is a little dead and there isn’t sufficient feedback to go very hard in the corners. I did not like the brakes as they were spongy and lacked the required initial bite. They are progressive in a manner that will need you to start braking much earlier than you would normally do while driving such a vehicle.

These in all probability are the same brakes on the standard car and it appears Audi has not changed or modified them in any manner in a bid to keep the costs down. The car does get all the standard bells and whistles like ABS with EBD, traction control as well as an ESP. If we look beyond the hard ride, it is easy to notice that the car is fun in the corners and thanks to the stiff setup is able to hold its own more often than not.

SAFETY ;

The Audi A3 Cabriolet hasn’t been tested by Euro NCAP but its sedan and hatchback derivatives have received a 5-star rating. The A3 Cabriolet comes with a host of safety features including 5 airbags, rain sensors, light sensors, ABS, EBD, ASR, EDL, ESC and Adaptive brake light. It also gets secondary collision brake assist, rest recommendation system and comes with an electromechanical parking brake. Audi’s dealership network in India is decent and although not the biggest, it is being expanded at a steady pace.

VERDICT ;

Because it is a CBU import, the Audi A3 Cabriolet costs Rs 44.75 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), or Rs 12 lakh more than the most expensive locally assembled A3 sedan. Now, with your sensible hat on, you might think paying big luxury sedan money for a compact luxury car with compromised practicality makes no sense. But then, that’s missing the point. This isn’t meant to be your first car; it’s meant to be at least your third. It’s a toy you take out for a drive in town at night (don’t try and squeeze in more than one companion though), or on a blast through the Western Ghats on a chilly weekend morning, as we did. With all the other convertibles on sale in India priced north of Rs 70 lakh, the only car that comes close to being competition for the A3 Cabriolet right now is the cheaper but even less practical Mini Cooper Convertible. Like that car, this one is largely a fashion statement that just so happens to be fun to drive too. The soft-top A3 is undoubtedly an indulgence that comes with a number of compromises, but if it’s roofless motoring you’re after, it’s the most practical option yet.

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Renault Kwid Engine & Performance

OVERVIEW ;

The Kwid’s underlying proposition is its sports utility styling. Driven by the fact that this is the body style that is currently the rage across markets, and not the least because Renault’s success in India is underlined largely by the Duster’s popularity, the Kwid makes a statement even when standing still. The entry hatchback segment is lacking in variety and the tall-boy design is by now passe. So, is it just SUV styling or does the Kwid’s design also serve a purpose? Well, if the 180mm ground clearance and the extra headroom at the front can be considered more practical than what is offered by the others in the segment, then the Kwid’s design would have already served a purpose. Check for Kwid price in Hyderabad

EXTERIORS ;

The Renault Kwid 2017 looks very beefy. It is a contemporary car and looks that way. The Kwid has tough looks and a tall appearance. High ground clearance is one of its USPs of Renault Kwid 2017 and it also gets matte black body cladding. This makes it look bigger and bulkier as compared to other cars in its segme

Renault Kwid 2017 has transformed the entire entry level hatchback segment. The Kwid has SUV looks and not typical car looks. The others cars in the segment are compact and basic in styling, while the Kwid feels large enough and rugged with its high ground clearance. The Kwid looks more rugged due to the body cladding. The Renault Kwid 2017 stands out in a crowd with its black grille. From the side it looks seems impressive with a high ground clearance. The tyres are skinny and are the only downside on the Kwid. This is in view of keeping costs low and deriving a higher fuel efficiency. It gets blacked out door pillars and also door handles. The rear profile of the Renault Kwid 2017 is also quite good with small tail lamps and black rear bumper. Find best offers on Kwid

INTERIORS ;

The interior of the more powerful Renault Kwid is ditto and there are no extra features on offer in this variant. However, the Kwid is already well equipped to keep the buyers happy. The layout is simple and functional but the touchscreen infotainment system is the party piece of the Kwid’s interior. You don’t get such features in the competition. You have navigation system, Bluetooth connectivity with music streaming and a lot more. Sadly, rear view mirrors still don’t get internally adjustable function. Rear passengers don’t get power windows either. What you do get is plenty of cabin space along with a huge 300-litre boot space.

PERFORMANCE ;

The Kwid uses an all-new, all-aluminium, three-cylinder petrol engine. Its capacity is 799cc, power is 53.26bhp and torque is 7.34kgm, but the statistic you really want to know is 25.12kpl – an ARAI rated fuel economy figure that makes it the most efficient petrol car in the country. That figure remains to be tested in the real world, so for now, let’s see what it’s like to drive.

Fire it up and you will get a fair bit of vibration and clatter that lingers at idle, but soon fades away as you start to rev it. Snick the positive-feeling gear lever into first and try to set off, however, and you’ll notice it feels very jerky and hesitant. Many will feel the need to feed in some throttle and slip the clutch, in fact. Get past this and progress becomes a lot smoother, and you’ll soon notice the engine has a good amount of pep. The max torque may be produced at 4,386rpm, but you get 80 percent of it from as low as 1,200rpm. However, it’s best to use the accelerator gently and smoothly with this engine, as it doesn’t respond well to hasty inputs. Punch down hard and it will stutter and fumble, and the resultant acceleration is not smooth at all. In fact, power delivery overall can be a bit inconsistent, with noticeable ‘gaps’ in progress. Speaking of which, there’s also a big gap between second and third gears. Refinement is not great either, but rather than a three-cylinder clatter as you might expect, the bigger noise is an ever-present mechanical whine in the cabin. Push on and power suddenly drops off and gives way to noise after a certain point. Still, we feel the performance is more than adequate by the 800cc segment standards.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

It is a Renault at the end of the day and this is felt with the way the Kwid handles. There is a slight roll felt around corners at high speeds but the entire setup does a great job of maintaining its straight stance. Renault rightly claims that the Kwid mimics the Duster by offering similar level of driving dynamics, which has to be its salient feature. To make sure there isn’t much of drama when it comes to bringing the vehicle to a complete halt, it gets disc brakes in front and drum on the rear. Since there is no ABS offered for now, the tiny rubbers screech to glory during abrupt braking. We wish the brakes to be tad more effective. Overall, it leaves an amazing impression and is undoubtedly the best city car to drive in its segment.

VERDICT ;

If it is your first car, and you haven’t experienced a torque converter or dual clutch automatic before, the Kwid AMT will prove both easy to drive and agreeable to own. The gearshifts aren’t jerky, the throttle is linear and responsive, and thanks to the 1-litre engine, it is also energetic to drive in the city. We haven’t tested it for fuel economy yet, but we expect it to return efficiency figures matching the manual Kwid 1.0. What’s more, it carries over the highlights of the Kwid: a light steering, a plush low speed ride and clear visibility.

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Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza Engine & Transmission

OVERVIEW ;

Maruti may be king in the small car space, but what the carmaker’s line-up lacked was a compact SUV model. This all-new Vitara Brezza plugs that gap in India’s largest car manufacturer’s product mix. It’s an important product for another reason too – it is the first Maruti to be designed and developed entirely in India. Maruti insiders reiterate this is a model made in India, for India, and the 98 percent localisation level further underlines the point. The overwhelming initial interest in the car suggests Maruti has a winner on its hands, but let’s just zoom in a bit and see the Vitara Brezza for what it is. Check for Brezza price in New Delhi

Built on Suzuki’s global C platform, the Vitara Brezza measures just under 4m in length. Like chief rival, the Ford EcoSport, the monocoque-bodied Vitara Brezza places its engine transversally and will be a front-wheel drive only; there is no provision for an all-wheel-drive system. While the last bit is unlikely to be a deterrent for buyers, what is sure to find universal appeal is the Vitara Brezza’s safe but robust design. Maruti designers wanted to capture the upright stance and look of a proper SUV within the small footprint and it must be said, they’ve succeeded to that end.

EXTERIORS ;

The speciality of this exquisite vehicle is that it has the qualities of a SUV as well as that of a hatchback. Hence, this car has a smooth run in the Indian city roads. I can traverse the highways with an equal amount of ease. The Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza exterior presents an aggressive look in many ways. The new engine grille does play a great part in this aspect of the vehicle’s personality. The chrome designs ensure that you get a fantastic combination of beauty and sturdiness in equal measure. The front bumper has the same colour as that of the body and thus looks like the extension of the body in many ways. A big air dam and two high intensity fog lights are the highlights of this front burner. The smoked look of the headlight cluster that has projector lamps and daytime running lights is a fantastic experience. The 16-alloy wheel arches enable a high quality Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza performance. This is one of the few cars that have black window pillars to suit the colour of the tinted glass. You can recognize this magnificent vehicle from afar because of the chromium plate with its name engraved. A faux silver garnished aluminium plate guards the rear bumper. In short, one can say that the actual looks of the car matches perfectly with the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza images.

INTERIORS ;

First thing you would notice about the cabin is the comfortable ingress and egress. You just walk inside the cabin, which is also a boon for people having knee problems. The three spoke steering wheel looks familiar but the dashboard is entirely new. There is a neat looking centre console which is enclosed with a gloss black outline. The dashboard is all black but gets silver elements in the middle. The air vents are sizeable and the auto climate control works really well to cool the cabin quickly. The lower half of the centre console has well laid out uncluttered buttons which feel nice and premium to use. Overall quality of the cabin is good but in some places you might find hard plastics and components (window controls, steering stalks) that are shared with older Maruti cars.You get a neat looking instrument cluster which has some fancy tricks up its sleeve. You can change its colour to white, orange, blue, red and yellow. The infotainment system is well kitted up having a nice big touch screen with good touch quality. It offers Apple CarPlay connectivity along with MirrorLink so you can seamlessly stay connected with your phone through the car. The audio quality is above average and many won’t feel the need of changing the speakers. It also offers navigation system which isn’t intuitive to use if you have a habit of using Google Maps. The big screen also doubles up as a reverse parking camera display that is very convenient in congested situations.

The best part about the cabin of the Vitara Brezza is the driving and upright seating position that adds to the confidence while driving. The steering and seat is height adjustable and has a good range so both tall and short people will find a comfortable position to drive. The large glass area ensures that the cabin feels airy despite having a dark interior theme. Maruti has offered clever storage spaces across the cabin including two gloveboxes, the upper one is a cool box while the lower glovebox is the conventional storage to keep documents and essentials. There is a front sliding arm rest with storage, front passenger side under seat storage, 1-litre bottle holder on all the doors, coat hanger, seatback pockets and hook, front cup holders, sunglass holder, rear arm rest with cupholders and more.

The seats are quite supportive and well padded for long trips. There is a good sense of space at the rear too and you have ample amount of legroom for average height adults but tall passengers might find the legroom limited to some extent. Shoulder room is decent too for three passengers at the rear. Head room is excellent, even for tall people. Maruti could have added air vents for the rear passengers but the AC works quite well and you won’t feel the need of it. The engineers have carved out excellent boot space of 328-litres in the Vitara Brezza which can accommodate your luggage for weekend getaways. The best part about luggage space is that the rear seat folds flat down and it is flexible too with 60:40 split. Some of the key features of the Vitara Brezza include cruise control, auto headlamps, auto wipers, keyless entry with push button start, reverse camera and sensors, power foldable ORVMs and more.

PERFORMANCE

For the time being, the Vitara Brezza is being offered with a choice of only one engine – the tried and tested Fiat-sourced 1248cc, four cylinder, DDIS 200 diesel engine, which we have already seen on other Maruti Suzuki offerings like Ciaz, Ertiga and S-Cross as well. Here on the Vitara Brezza, the engine develops a healthy power output of 90 PS, while the peak torque is rated at 200 Nm.

Like on the other offerings from Maruti Suzuki which come with this very engine, the Vitara Brezza pulls off in a linear fashion with a minimal turbo lag, which is quite impressive, however, it could have done with slightly more amount of power, as even with the full force on the throttle, the engine doesn’t pulls off instantly. Though, the car begins to pick up some pace once the rev counter crosses the 1500 rpm mark, with a nice linear surge of torque flowing across the rev range. The engine is not something which an enthusiast will love, and it lacks the punch and adrenaline rush of the 100 PS Ecosport, but then, it has an adequate amount of power, decent enough for your daily duties and occasional highway runs, without feeling underpowered anywhere.

Fuel efficiency has always been a big trump card for Maruti Suzuki, and here on the Vitara Brezza, the 1.3 liter engine delivers a claimed fuel economy of 24.3 kmpl. Though, on the test runs, we did obtain a combined fuel efficiency of 21.4 kmpl, which is pretty impressive for a car of this size.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

The Maruti Vitara Brezza is a compact SUV and you don’t expect it to be as fun to drive as its closest rival Ford EcoSport. However, the Vitara Brezza is surprisingly quite engaging to drive on the ghats and confidence inspiring on the straights with its balanced suspension setup. The handling is very predictable as the car follows your steering inputs quickly but not as sharply as the EcoSport. The electric steering is a bit numb in the centre and offers neutral feedback. It is light at slow speeds and weighs up enough for highway cruising. The ride quality is a big USP of the Brezza as it glides over potholes and bumps without getting juddery. Both low speed and high speed undulations are taken care of very well by the suspension setup. Braking is very effective too, we stood on the brakes and it came to a halt without any fuss.

SAFETY FEATURES ;

ABS, EBD and dual front airbags for driver and co-passenger are among the vital safety features aboard. While driver side airbag is standard across line-up, the co-passenger side airbag is offered only on the top-spec variant. Other features such as front seat belt pre-tensioners with load limiters, front fog lamps etc also also be available on the SUV. Along with the aforementioned features the Z trims will come with projector head lamps in front, automatic AC, LED daytime running lights, piano finish for centre console, 16 inch alloy wheels, 60:40 split rear seat, steering mounted controls for audio, height adjuster for driver, rear wiper with washer, rear centre arm rest, fog lamps in front and faux skid plates on bumpers. And the range topping ZDi+ variant comes with few extras such as cooled glove box, automatic head lamp, rain sensing wiper, electrically folding wing mirrors, arm rest in front, navigation and reverse parking camera display, push button start and cruise control.

VERDICT ;

There is no denying the fact that the Vitara Brezza is a sure shot winner for Maruti Suzuki with a real possibility of it becoming its bread and butter product in the next few years. It has exciting and yet understated looks, a good interior that comes packed with gadgets and a good mechanical package. Negatives of course include the plastic quality which really needs to be improved and the fact that the NVH levels are just a tad bit too high for our liking. Although we were a bit skeptical about the Vitara Brezza, the car certainly has not disappointed in any form or measure and is certainly something we would strongly advice our readers to buy if you are looking for a new car around the Rs 10 lakh range. All said and done, you have to wonder, does that mid-size sedan or premium hatchback really make any sense anymore?

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Maruti Suzuki Dzire Engine & Gearbox

OVERVIEW ;.

The New Maruti DZire 2017 is launched. Yes you read that right, Maruti Dzire and not Swift Dzire. The Swift moniker has been done away with and the Dzire is now positioned as an all new model. The Dzire has been a runaway success for the company since the time it was launched. From a proper sedan, it later transformed into a compact sedan. This time, it comes in an all new avatar.Check Price of Dzire

This is an all new sedan and is built on the Heartect platform of Suzuki. It continues to be a compact sedan but now has new dimensions. it is bigger than before and has changes in height, width and length. What is visually evident is the new width. The car also is lower in height, which makes it looks more proportionate. The new Maruti Dzire looks much wider than before. Even the weight of the car has reduced due to the new chassis and the car is about 100 kilograms lighter. The New Dzire also sees the introduction of a new variant in its lineup, which is the ZDi +

The same engines power the 2017 Maruti Dzire. These are the 1.2-litre K-Series petrol and the 1.3-litre DDiS diesel engines. The engine and power ratings remain the same, but the the car performs better as it is lighter. With engines are offered with a five-speed manual transmission and both engines also get AMT options. So there is a choice for automatic in both petrol and diesel and this is a big advantage over competition.

EXTERIORS ;

The new Maruti Suzuki Dzire is based on the next generation Swift that should come to India by the end of FY 2017-18. However it’s only the front that it borrows from the hatchback, and of course, the platform as well. Unlike the previous generations, the new Dzire is a completely different car from the new Swift A-pillar onwards. Also Read – Maruti Suzuki Dzire vs Baleno vs Brezza. Request test drive for Dzire in Cazprice

The countenance is purposeful with muscle at the right places on the bonnet and the wheel arches. The hexagonal front grille is also short and wide, and it all adds to make the Dzire look broad. Chrome work is generous on the front grille, below the fog lamp housing and even in the headlamp unit, but it doesn’t look overdone. In fact, the quality of chrome is so good that it would match the finish on cars twice its price. Unfortunately, Maruti Suzuki offers LED projectors and DRLs on the top ZXi+ variant only, so the lower variants get reflector headlamp units that tone down the aggression a bit

The muscle on the bonnet is carried on to the front fender and a sharp shoulder line weaves through from the front to the rear. A pinched character line at the lower end breaks the monotony of what would otherwise be a plain design. The A-pillar onwards, the Dzire looks more sedan-like in profile with the roof flowing from the A-pillar to the C-pillar smoothly. The proportions are better too, as Maruti Suzuki has increased the width by 40mm and reduced the roof height by 40mm. However, the ground clearance is reduced only by by 7mm, down to 163mm now. So, while the Dzire will tackle the speed breakers of different sizes with ease, sharp gradient changes may require you to double check the front overhang before committing to them. Also Read – Maruti Dzire Vs Sub-Four Metre Rivals – Spec

Unlike the front design that imparts the Dzire a big-car appeal, the rear is usual business as far as compact car designs go. Nonetheless, it is a step forward as the boot is now better integrated into the C-pillar and doesn’t look like an afterthought. It’s stubby with the bumper hardly extending any mass beyond the boot lid. The arc-shaped lip is Ciaz-like now. Importantly, the Dzire now not only looks proportionate but is also pleasing to the eye

INTERIORS ;

Coming to the interiors, here’s where a lot of major revisions lie. The dashboard gets an all-new design and even though some elements are derived from the new Swift, Maruti has again made a lot of changes to things like the instrument cluster, AC vents, steering wheel, inlays on the dashboard, etc. There is a dual tone black and beige colour theme and the top variants come with wood inserts on the dashboard and steering wheel. The wooden inserts are provided with an intent of making the car feel premium but honestly, it could have been done in a better way and the quality also feels a bit inferior. However, the overall fit and finish of the insides feel much better than the second generation Dzire

Due to the rear doors being wider, ingress and egress have become easier. The seats are large and comfortable and the cushioning is also soft but under thigh support felt a bit lacking. The driver’s seat gets height adjustment while the steering gets tilt adjustment and hence you can find yourself a good driving position with decent visibility all around. Space at the rear is decent but at the front, the footwell eats into space slightly. The roofline limits the headroom at the rear a bit. The boot is nicely shaped and has good cargo carrying capacity, it is larger by 60-litres now.

The third generation Maruti Dzire gets a good equipment list. You get automatic climate control and the cooling performance from the AC is very good and the rear AC vents are a big plus. The ORVMs are electrically adjustable and folding. The audio system is the same one that is also offered on the Baleno. The 7-inch touchscreen has a good response and it gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto too. Connectivity is seamless and the sound quality from the speakers is very good. Apart from that, the Dzire also gets keyless go with push button start and unlock sensors on the door

PERFORMANCE ;

Underpinned by the HEARTECT platform, the Dzire is lighter than its predecessor by 85 kg for the petrol version and 105 kg for the diesel version. This makes a considerable difference to the performance and efficiency of the vehicle. Despite the usage of the same 1.2-litre petrol and 1.3-litre diesel engines, the lighter Dzire now feels a bit more zippier to drive. Fuel-efficiency has gone up by 6.8% to 28.4 kmpl, making it the country’s most fuel-efficient car. The petrol version’s figures too have improved by 5.5% to 22 kmpl. Power output for the petrol engine is 81 hp with 113 Nm of torque, while the diesel mill develops 73 hp and 190 Nm of torque. The extra torque of the diesel motor makes it more fun to drive and there is a hint of lag that disappears once the tacho needle swings past about 1,600 rpm. The petrol motor, on the other hand, becomes lively past 2,500 rpm but drivability in both engines is good and doesn’t call for frequent gear shifts.

Talking of gear shifts, the Dzire comes with a five-speed manual and a five-speed AMT (Automated Manual Transmission) or the AGS as the company calls it. The best part is that AMT is available with both petrol and diesel engines and is available in middle and top variants. The manual transmissions offer smooth shifts and the well-tuned ratios complement the engine’s easy-to-drive nature. The AMT on the Dzire turned out to be quite a surprise as it shifted quicker than expected. Even the diesel AMT shifts at a reasonably well speed and the petrol is a tad quicker with a kickdown response being good for both. One can also take control of the gears manually, in case a quicker shift is required in case of overtaking on highways. NVH (Noise, Vibration & Harshness) level is significantly lower in the new Dzire compared to the older model. This is a result of the new platform that improves NVH efficiency and the pendulum joints further help the cause. Overall, the Dzire offers good performance, easy drivability, class-leading fuel efficiency and the option of an automatic in both diesel and petrol versions, taking it a step ahead of the competition.

SAFETY ;

The 2017 Maruti Dzire now comes with dual front airbags, ABS and ISOFIX mounts on all variants which is a very positive move. The car is lighter than before since it is based on the new HEARTACT platform. Talking about service, Maruti Suzuki has the best sales and after-sales network in India and the Dzire can be serviced in any nook and corner of the country since the company has a service centre almost everywhere.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

Maruit Dzire has softened this car a bit and ride quality is noticeably better than the outgoing car. There are fewer body movements over bad sections of road and aren’t as jarring any more. It soaks up road imperfections in a very mature manner and feels nice and absorbent. The petrol’s steering is light and, with a tight 4.8m turning radius, it’s effortless to twirl around in the city. The return to centre is weak though, like many modern Marutis, and with all that lightness, it doesn’t feel as well connected to the road as before; there’s a bit of vagueness here. However, the diesel feels a bit heavier and more connected in compaBOTTOMLINE ;

BOTTOMLINE ;

Well, if you can spend that average of about Rs 50,000 on the automatic (AMT) or as Maruti Suzuki calls it, AGS – Auto Gear Shift, you should most certainly consider it. The good thing about the new Dzire is the fact that you can get the AMT option in the top of the line Z+ variant too which in turn means you can get a fully loaded car with the AMT option. The Ignis, which also has the AMT gearbox never offered that option. This means that you get the likes of the LED daytime running lights and LED headlamps along with the large touchscreen infotainment system while still enjoying the ease of the AMT gearbox. If I had to choose then, my pick would be the diesel engine with the AMT gearbox simply because of a combination of being a fun to drive car and yet offering phenomenal fuel economy.

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Hyundai Elite i20 Price & Specifications

OVERVIEW ;

Hyundai Elite i20 2017 will get some changes. There are some discounts on the Elite i20 2017. In Mumbai the discount is for INR 24,000, Bengaluru has INR 16,000 and New Delhi the discount is INR 35,000.The changes are majorly for variants. The lower variants gets more features, which makes the lower versions a better value for money. The lower trims like Magna and Sportz have additional features. What are the changes that other variants have? There is a discount of INR 25,000 on the Elite i20, on some variants. There are several changes that have been made on the Hyundai Elite i20 2017 as the lower variants get more bells and whistles. A new Asta Dual Tone variant has also been added. Read our detailed review and also know all about this premium hatchback. Check Ex Showroom Price of Elite i20

EXTERIORS ;

Hyundai believes the previous generation i20 had a youthful, sporty and hi-tech stance and now while retaining the same characteristics of the styling, they are promoting the Elite i20 with a bold, dynamic and powerful image. We agree with them because it looks powerful indeed and has mature design elements that grow on you with time. The front profile looks imposing with the hexagonal grille having a honeycomb mesh and chrome outlining. The wide swept back headlamps integrate reflectors on the top that act as faux daytime running lights because DRLs are not being offered with the new gen i20 as opposed to the outgoing model. The bonnet has strong creases that add to the visual appeal. There is a pause between the bonnet and bumper on the nose that houses the Hyundai badge neatly. At the lower end you’ll find trapezoidal fog lamps with sharp bumper lip.

The side profile reveals the sporty stance of the Elite i20, which appears forward leaning. The 16-inch ‘diamond cut’ alloys look premium and fill the wheel arches very well while the ORVMs have integrated turn indicators. There is a strong shoulder line that emerges from the headlights and continues upwards to the tail lights. The blackened B and C pillars gives the sense of a floating roof and we quite like it but it is a ‘love it or hate it’ styling cue. It’s integrated neatly to the body but the panel itself feels plasticky and boxy when you knock it. That said, the rear styling of the Elite i20 definitely grabs attention with its broad stance and big car feel. The three step detailing on the huge tail lamps looks upmarket and the bumper gets busy styling integrated with reflectors and one side reverse lamp. The rear parking camera is protruding in the middle and further down is the hatch opening button. The Hyundai logo integrating the button with a hidden camera would have made the tailgate look cleaner. The Elite i20 is 10 mm shorter and 24 mm wider with a 45 mm longer wheelbase. Find best offers on Elite i20

INTERIORS ;

While the cabin space is par-for-the-course, the upmarket ambience will be quite a deal maker. Premium hatchbacks today offer quality we’d expect in segments above and the Elite’s cabin is a perfect example.The dashboard is elegantly designed, with uniquely styled AC vents and a centre console with controls that are easy to navigate through. The lower portion of the dashboard is coloured black, while the upper half stretching all the way into the windshield is beige.We enjoyed the diversity of the atmosphere, and thought it fed off a trend that most car makers are following today here in India. The audio system is positioned at the top of the centre console, right below the central AC vents.Though it comes as a highlight, the central screen could have been bigger for improved ease of use on the move. The controls for the system are arranged around the display, and a large engine start/stop button is placed by the side of the console. The new edition has been updated with an advanced AVN(Audio Visual Navigation) system that comes along with a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

Below is the climate control console which hosts a slender screen with blue illumination. At the lower end of the console, you have a small storage area where occupants can keep phones and other spare items. Also incorporated here are dual 12V power sockets, a USB and an AUX port, adding convenience to the passenger’s experience.The 3-spoke steering wheel is draped in leather, adding to the upmarket experience of the cabin.The instrument cluster comes with an analogue tachometer and a speedometer, and the illuminated dials make it easy to read in any condition.Door pockets are present in all of the doors, but we have to stress that they’re too shallow to hold anything substantial. The entire arrangement is ergonomically sorted and everything falls to hand quite easily. Armrests and headrests provide added comfort, and the lumbar support is excellent too. The seat upholstery bumps up the premium feel in the cabin, while the contrasting beige and black stitching is a visual treat. Added bling comes in the form of the metal highlights on the gear knob, parking brake and the inside door handles, showcasing the attention to detail.

PERFORMANCE ;

Now the engines. As has become a norm in this class of hatchbacks, there’s one diesel and one petrol engine on offer. Both engines have been carried over from the previous i20. So, the petrol is a 83PS, 1.2-litre, 4-cylinder petrol while the diesel is a 90PS, 1.4-litre unit. The petrol is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox while the diesel gets a 6-speed manual. There is no automatic yet on offer.

We are driving the diesel here; the engine almost 70 per cent of Elite i20 buyers have opted for so far. And for good reason, because the first thing that strikes you is how good the NVH is on the new Elite i20 diesel. You can hear the diesel engine outside, but it isn’t an irritating or loud clatter. However, once seated inside the car, the engine feels both quiet and refined. It is also an easy revving engine. But if we had to nitpick, we’d say the turbo lag is a bit of a dampener. It’s only after 2,000rpm that the car really gets going. The 6-speed gearbox, however, doesn’t give you much to complain about. The gear shifts are precise, the throws aren’t very long and the clutch operation is light and progressive too.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

The ride quality is good for most urban and highway conditions. The MacPherson setup at the front with a torsion beam axle and coil springs at the rear are adequate dampers for good and bad roads. Large potholes can be a bit unsettling, resulting in sharp thuds but overall the ride quality is comfortable.On the handling front, I do feel that the new i20 is seriously underpowered for the kind of control it exhibits. It’s tightly controlled in corners and while there is some body roll, it’s not unsettling nor does it at any point make you feel unsafe. I did find the steering a bit elasticky and it’s not as impressive as in the Grand i10 but it’s light enough for urban commutes with enough weight for when you take it out of the city. The assistance fortunately is not excessive and like in the Verna or the previous i20, you do not need to be extra cautious when taking the steering wheel off centre.Compared to the diesel variant, the petrol i20?s steering setup feels lighter, thanks to the lesser weight of the petrol engine. But that also makes the steering feel more lifeless. The engine however, feels livelier than its diesel counterpart. Being a naturally aspirated mill, it has a more linear power delivery with no flat spots to complain about. The engine is rev happy and gets the car rolling from as low as 1,200 rpm. Needless to say, it is also quicker and more refined than its diesel sibling.

BRAKING AND SAFETY ;

Hyundai has incorporated a decent braking system in the hatch, which consists of disc brakes on the front and drum brakes on the rear. It is supported immensely well by the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), but that is limited to the top three variants. Earlier, Hyundai i20 used to be the only hatchback under Rs. 10 lakh that offered as many as half a dozen airbags and was impeccably safe. But, now the scenario has reversed as even the top-end trim has only 2 airbags. The base and mid variants don’t feature a single airbag, while the Sportz trim comprises of only driver’s airbag. The parking assist feature with reverse parking sensors and rear camera with ECM display comes handy during parking the hatch. There are front fog lamps to improve visibility in inclement weather conditions.But, again, both the aforesaid features are with Sportz and Asta trims. Additionally, the top-end trim also features seat belt pretensioners for the driver and front passenger, automatic headlamps, impact-sensing auto door unlock and clutch lock. On the security front, it has immobilizer, smart keyless entry, and central locking (door and tailgate) to endure any event of burglary or thievery. It can be propounded nonchalantly that the current gen Elite i20 stands nowhere close to its predecessor in terms of safety features. The company has disappointed thoroughly in the safety and security aspect.

VERDICT ;

If an engaging driving experience is all you seek from your hatchback, the i20 is not the car for you. It betters the old i20 in almost every way, but dynamics are still not its strongest suite. But if you are primarily looking for an all-rounder with lots of space, a premium cabin and lots of features, the i20 could just be your best bet. It’s got peppy enough engines that should prove to be sufficiently fuel efficient too. Overall refinement is also very impressive, so when you add all of it together you get a car that gets you your money’s worth, premium price notwithstanding. Hyundai’s proven service backing only helps to make the i20 a car that’s easy to recommend.

 

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What Is A Virtual Phone Number ?

Virtual telephone numbers are available for purchase in many countries around the world – but not available in many others. For instance, virtual numbers are not allowed in India as of this writing.

In general, countries that restrict use of virtual numbers are also countries that regulate use of VoIP internet telephony – and, usually, telecom markets in general.

In such countries, governments are typically trying to nuture incumbent telephone companies and protect them from low-cost competitors, especially from low-cost VoIP companies.

In countries with liberal telecom regulation, like the US, virtual numbers are easy to obtain with few, if any, restrictions on their use.

Virtual Phone Number

A Virtual Phone Number is a telephone number that forwards incoming calls to one of the pre-set telephone numbers chosen by the client.

For example, a company located in China can have a phone number in Los Angeles. Virtual Phone Numbers are very popular among Call Centers, which are physically located in one country, when in fact they really work in another. International virtual phone numbers are also popular with people currently residing in a foreign country, giving their family members and friends a virtual phone number so that they can contact them at a local call price rate.

Frequently, the subscriber can easily set the Virtual Phone Number to forward calls to different telephone numbers (both landlines and mobile phones) depending on his or her preference. For example, on work days incoming calls can be set to be forwarded to one’s workplace, but on weekends to one’s mobile phone.

In recent years, many company owners and managers are opting for a virtual PBX system. These are VOIP (voice over IP) phone systems which operate on the web. It is often referred to as “Cloud” services because these programs are hosted by remote providers – far removed from one’s base of operation.Why are companies opting for this virtual solution? Perhaps, the over-riding reason has to do with the major benefits using a virtual phone exchange gives any company. These are discussed in some detail below, and if you’re considering a virtual PBX system they are probably worth knowing.

Auto

Skoda Rapid Engine & Transmission

OVERVIEW ;

The Skoda Rapid has been in our market for the past five years, but its success rate hasn’t been what the Czech manufacturer was hoping for. Buyers primarily preferred the ever dependable Honda City or the flamboyant Hyundai Verna or the value for money Maruti Suzuki Ciaz. The fact that it felt too similar to the Volkswagen Vento and people apprehension over Skoda’s aftersales service quality further put it out of preference. Check for Rapid  price in Hyderabad

Now though, Skoda has launched the updated Rapid and the changes aren’t just skin deep. You also get the upgraded 1.5-litre diesel unit which makes more power than before. To address its aftersales issue, Skoda is also offering a comprehensive 4-year maintenance plan with the car. So are these factors enough to get the buyers back in Skoda showroom? We drove the car in picturesque Mussoorie to find answers

EXTERIORS ;

Adding some sharpness are the new quartz-cut projector headlights. Adding some more drama is the chrome eyelash blending in with the jewel-shadow LED daytime running lights. It might sound complex but it does look good. The bumper has been revised as well with redesigned fog lights and now incorporating a lip spoiler s well.

The side profile remains the same barring the inclusion of the new 15-inch ‘Matone’ alloy wheels and chrome moulding on the deck lid and door handles. At the rear you now get C-shaped smoked tail lights and an integrated spoiler.Request test drive Rapid in Cazprice

Overall the Rapid looks much sharper and definitely in line to take on the fresh competition.

INTERIORS ;

Skoda have always had a common theme on the insides for all its cars and the Rapid is no different. While the basic dashboard layout is the same, it now gets doused in loads of Skoda overtones. A combination of beige and brown makes the already spacious interiors even more roomy. The front seats are extremely comfortable and offer good support all round. Adjustable for height and reach, finding a good driving position is very easy.

However it’s hard to ignore the carried over parts like the headlight switch, climate control and the aircon vents which could have received a different treatment. Another major miss are the steering mounted controls which Skoda for some reason seems to avoid.

PERFORMANCE ;

A major change however, is the addition of the seven-speed automatic DSG transmission. This is the same one found on the Octavia and also the VW Vento. The Rapid is powered by a 103bhp four cylinder diesel unit and mated to the new DSG transmission. The Rapid Black Edition is a pleasure to drive car with the DSG transmission. No more shuffling through gears or having to press the heavy clutch, which is painful in city driving. Just shift the transmission to the “D” position and let the car do all the work. The shifts are seamless and there is not too much turbo-lag. The Rapid Black Edition is easy to drive and is comfortable too. Power wise the Skoda responds well to changes in the throttle position as well as deciding which gear to be in. One aspect that should be highlighted is that the seven-speed dual clutch DSG transmission provides a better fuel efficiency than then manual car. At 22.1km/l the Rapid Black Edition is extremely fuel efficient, all because of two extra cogs in the gears.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

The suspension setup on the Rapid remains the same as previously, which is good considering the Rapid has always been comfortable on the move. Rapid’s ride settingsseem consistent with the engine characteristics as the petrol Rapid rides considerably softer than its diesel counterpart.

Between the petrol and the diesel Rapid, the petrol is lighter than the diesel by about 70kg for the manual version and 40kg for the automatic. The weight gain and stiffer setup results in a better grip for the diesel Rapid which inspires confidence at higher speeds.

The diesel Rapid is also a bit more engaging for the same reasons although the electro-mechanic power steering doesn’t deliver much feedback.

The steering feels light and doesn’t weigh a great dealat higher speeds. That said, the steering never appeared vague at any speeds; it’s just light but precise. Considering that the Rapid rides a bit soft, body roll is well contained and the cabin doesn’t unsettle unless it is driven rash.

SAFETY ;

Talking about safety, Skoda India is offering ABS and dual front airbags as standard across all the trims of the new Rapid. You also get Hill Hold Control and Electronic Stability Control with the DSG transmission. Skoda has had a bad reputation in India when it comes to after sales but they’ve come a long way in making the process transparent and reliable. They are also offering 4 year service car programme as standard with the new Rapid that covers 4 years warranty, 4 years of roadside assistance and an optional 4 year service package.

VERDICT ;

When viewed as a whole, there is a strong case to be made for the facelifted Rapid – it looks fresher and drives very well. While those looking for a family car might find more value in rivals like the Honda City or the Maruti Ciaz, those who are likely to spend most of their time behind the wheel will enjoy the punchy, relatively-more-involving drive of the Rapid.