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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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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.

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Ford Ecosport Engine & Safety Features

OVERVIEW ;

Most cars go through a process of design development from the exaggerated sketch on the drawing board to clay mock-up model to a much more watered down final production prototype. However, the EcoSport looks like it just went straight from being a futuristic sketch on the drawing board to its final form

Its design is unconventional, but not uncomfortable. It has urban chic written all over it, but it is certainly not metro-sexual. The best part though is that its design works, in an odd sort of way. It brings in a lot of freshness to the compact sports utility segment and it had better, after all, there is a lot riding on its tall shoulders. Check Price of Ecosport

To be fair, the EcoSport is an honest attempt at building a relevant urban SUV for the new-age automotive markets of the world like Brazil and India. But it also makes you wonder if it is deception on four wheels.

EXTERIORS ;

The Ford EcoSport is a smart looking vehicle and this updated model that we have over here is no different. There are hardly any changes to the outsides and the SUV continues to flaunt its muscular and aggressive front fascia. The alloy wheels remain unchanged on the Indian model and we would have appreciated if Ford could have provided a different design with this update. It is also good to see that the spare wheel is still mounted on the tail-gate unlike the overseas model. The fog lamps get integrated DRLs while the headlights get light guides which are basically thin strips of white light. The EcoSport now gets a new brown colour which looks pretty attractive. The boot opening button is moved underneath the chrome handle unlike the previous model.

INTERIORS ;

The interiors are on the same page as those in the current Fiesta. The seats are comfortable and the red stitching on the black leather seats add a bit of premiumness to the EcoSport. The EcoSport comes well equipped with standard features like climate control; 16″ alloy wheels, steering-mounted controls, six airbags and of course SYNC multimedia system which makes the controlling of the the audio system, phone and other features very simple

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;

There are three engines – the now-familiar 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost petrol, a 1.5-litre turbodiesel with 90bhp, and a 110bhp 1.5-litre petrol four. We’ve yet to test the naturally aspirated 1.5-litre petrol but have driven the other variants offered in the range.

Equipped with the 1.0-litre EcoBoost the Ford is hardly fast, taking 12.7sec to complete the 0-62mph benchmark, but it is smooth. The engine’s now-familiar three-pot note is prominent, but not intrusive, during acceleration – and at motorway speeds it remains audible. As in the Fiesta, it’s a likeable powerplant.

It was also 30 per cent more economical, according to our touring test, and quieter than the EcoSport both at idle and at 30mph. Gaps that size – to an undistinguished mid-class performer, remember – aren’t what we expect from Ford, and they aren’t what its customers are used to accepting, either.

The EcoSport’s 1.5-litre turbodiesel is rattly and coarse at idle, and it only gets noisier and less civil with revs. It responds to the accelerator reasonably well and is mated to a transmission that has a decent shift quality and a pleasant clutch, but it feels short on torque through the mid-range (because it is compared with most small diesels) and both harsh and asthmatic above 3000rpm.

At slower crank speeds and under a gentler throttle, the intrusion is tolerable, but even here there are vibrations through the seat and controls that you won’t find in most small crossovers. Consequently, despite some potential economy and CO2 benefits, it would be hard to recommend the diesel.

The EcoSport’s Goodyear Assurance tyres (a type with which we’re unfamiliar) and disc front/drum rear brakes don’t make for particularly good stopping power, either. There’s no reason why a 1300kg supermini shouldn’t stop from 70mph in less than 50 metres in the dry, or need more than 55 metres to stop from the same speed in our wet surface test.

The EcoSport missed both markers – not just because of a general lack of pure grip, but also because of an anti-lock braking set-up that lacked delicacy and sophistication.

DRIVING ;

Dynamics and Ford cars go hand in hand. The EcoSport boasts of excellent handling capabilities and it is actually a very fun car to drive around. The steering is very precise and it offers excellent feedback and feel. It is moderately weighed, neither too heavy nor too light while it also gains weight significantly as the vehicle’s speed increases. High speed stability is good on the EcoSport and it is fun around the corners but only upto a certain limit. You can never push an SUV as much as a sedan but the EcoSport does feel car-like to drive. There is some body roll too but not as much as other compact SUVs. It is somewhat comparable to what small cars have.

The ride quality on the Ford EcoSport is also very good and the suspension does an impressive job of ironing out all the potholes and craters that Indian roads have to offer. The SUV comes with MRF tyres which have satisfactory levels of grip if you don’t intend to push the vehicle very hard and the brakes also perform in a positive manner, making the vehicle shed speeds without any sort of unnecessary drama.

SAFETY AND FEATURES ;

To begin with, our press demonstrator was the Brown. The Mars Red colour might appeal to several, but I prefer the Kinetic Blue on the Ecosport. This in my opinion looks more upmarket and carries a hint of sophistication. The variant we drove was the Titanium Option. It comes with keyless entry, push start and stop, artificial leather, in-dash music system with Bluetooth, auxiliary and USB connection, reclining rear seats, 60:40 split, six airbags and ABS. In our long-term report, we share the fuel efficiency, performance and the pros and the niggles that we faced with the Ford Ecosport in our daily running.

VERDICT ;

It’s a long time since a new Ford was as bad as the EcoSport. It may not be a European-hailing car and it may be due an early revision to address its failings, but customers won’t care and neither should we.

Its perceived quality is regrettable, its diesel powertrain is rough and flat, and its chassis is so rudimentary that it could even damage Ford’s prized reputation for dynamic excellence.

Anyone who has test driven a rival or two will instantly be aware that the EcoSport just isn’t worthy. Neither is it cheap enough to be unworthy.

Ford’s repost will be that this has already proven a successful car for developing markets, but on tougher roads and catering to different tastes from ours

There have been plenty of great Fords like that over the years – from Mustangs to Broncos to Falcons – but none has cut the mustard in Europe. Neither will this.

 

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Mahindra Scorpio Review

OVERVIEW ;

In 1998 Tata launched India’s 1st Indigenous SUV the Tata Safari. Mahindra was not a brand to settle and for a viewing seat. So in 2002 Mahindra launched the 2nd indigenous SUV in India called the Scorpio. This car was more focussed on style than hardcore SUV capabilities. Mahindra Scorpio has developed a great fan following.It is a lot more efficient now and the price remains the same too. With a lot of improvements the Scorpio is almost a new vehicle. Let us check what all is new in the Mahindra Scorpio. Check Price of Scorpio

EXTERIORS AND STYLE ;

M&M has retained the body of the old car, though most of the panels, except for the roof and doors, are new. The overall proportions are still lopsided, thanks to the excessive height and narrow width of the body (which has an effect on the driving dynamics) and it’s easily recognisable as a Scorpio.It’s the nose that is truly all new and gives the Scorpio a fresh face. The big fan-shaped grille has been replaced with a slimmer but wider design with distinctive looking ‘dagger-shaped’ chrome strips. The headlamp cluster is also superbly designed, with a neat LED strip sitting above the projector lamps. We also loved the way the smart-looking skid plate has been integrated into the tough-looking bumpers. The bonnet scoop adds a sporty touch, apart from feeding cool air directly to the air-to-air intercooler. Find best offers on Scorpio

From the side, the carryover doors and windows make the changes less obvious and the old-fashioned rain channels betray the Scorpio’s vintage.There’s new plastic cladding and a cheesy looking faux vent behind the wheel arch, which don’t really work, but the larger 17-inch wheels do improve the Scorpio’s stance.The plastic cladding on the tailgate with an inset chrome garnish for the number plate do a good job of making the upright Scorpio look less slab-sided from the rear. The tail-lights with their LEDs and clear glass are another design highlight.

Given the limitations the designers had, it’s fair to say they’ve done a pretty good job. The new Scorpio looks far more sophisticated than before, though we are not sure how well this would go down with traditional Scorpio owners. The big changes though are below the body and centre on the all-new ladder or body-on-frame chassis that will underpin future Mahindras. The new chassis is far stiffer and stronger than before, and is designed to meet future crash regulations. The limitations of the body didn’t allow the wheelbase to be altered, though the new chassis can be stretched and widened to suit the dimensions of future models.

INTERIORS AND SPACE ;

Step inside the Scorpio facelift and there is hardly anything that an individual can relate with the previous model. The cabin seems to be extremely advanced and up-market, with an array of never-seen-before sophisticated and contemporary features. To begin with, the SUV has an all-new dual tone black and beige dashboard with new blue-grey interior scheme. The conventional and old-fashioned faux-wooden finish for AC vents and centre console have gone for a toss in favour of new chrome finished A/C vents and premium looking centre console and needless to say, both these upgrades lift the overall ambiance of the cabin tremendously. The new centre console displays all vital informations’ related to gear position, trip distance, fuel and temperature. There is a new steering wheel with audio controls and cruise control mounted on it which is being sourced directly from the elder sibling XUV 500. Vouching for decent comfort and convenience inside the cabin, viola! Mahindra Scorpio comes loaded with an array of such dynamic features which rejuvenates an individual inside out. Some of the prominent ones present in the SUV are Fully automatic temperature control (FATC), Height adjustable driver’s seat, Front centre arm rest, 12V accessory sockets for front and middle rows, Smart rain and light sensors and Reverse parking sensors. By no means, Mahindra intends to hurt the sentiments of music and technology lovers as it has incorporated a new Hi-Tech 6-inch touch screen infotainment system with inbuilt GPS

Navigation/Bluetooth/CD/DVD/USB/Aux in the top-end variant S10. However, the mid-level variants like S6, S6+ and S8 haven’t been left out as they consist of a 2 Din Audio System with CD/USB/AUX with speakers and tweeters as standard features. On the contrary, the entry-level variant S2 seems to be quite lacklustre and impotent as it barely boasts anything in terms of comfort and convenience stuff.

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;

The new Scorpio is powered by either one of two engines, a 2523cc four-pot that makes 75bhp and 200Nm or a 2179cc common-rail diesel with 120bhp and 280Nm. The S10 you see on these pages is powered by the latter and remains old-school in providing drive primarily to the rear wheels, with the fronts getting power as well in the 4WD version. It is a tractable engine, and combined with the slick-shifting gearbox, one can keep a good pace going. It is rated at 15.4kmpl, which is strangely more than the XUV’s. However, it exceeds the Safari Storme’s ARAI figure but lags behind the Duster/Terrano twins by a significant amount. The Scorpio’s engine has a little turbo lag, but things are moving nicely along by the time 1800rpm comes around, and it will rev happily to its redline beyond 4000rpm but there’s no real gain beyond 3000rpm. Keep the revs between 2000 and 3000 rpm, and the Scorpio moves along at a surprising pace. There is no automatic or petrol option available at this point in time. The turning radius of the 2WD model has been reduced to 5.4m but the 4WD remains the same as before at 5.7

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

Another huge change on the new Mahindra Scorpio is the chassis. It still is a body-on-ladder frame SUV but the ladder frame has been completely revised for the new model. The frame is lighter and doubly stiff as compared to the older Scorpio. The wheelbase has been kept the same but the tracks – front and rear – are wider in order to reduce the turning circle as well as improve stability. What’s more, the suspension geometry has been altered, there are new more effective dampers and there’s even an anti-roll bar now at the rear. And of course the new Scorpio now runs 17 inch wheels instead of 16 inchers.On the road, the new Scorpio feels better tied down now. There’s still some side to side movement and the ride quality over broken roads is still jiggly, but it isn’t uncomfortable. The ride is also quieter and the increase in travel along with bigger wheels makes the new Mahindra Scorpio almost invincible over pot holes, no matter how huge. As for ease of driving, the shorter turning circle makes it easier to manoeuvre; the visibility is still great upfront and from the sides and via the large ORVMs; and with reverse parking sensors (in this the S10 trim), parking is a non-issue too.

One of the big issues with the older Scorpio was its unrefined dynamics. Even though various improvements were made over its near decade and a half long lifespan, the handling and braking of the Scorpio was never really secure. Now with the new chassis, new track lengths and significant suspension changes, the new Mahindra Scorpio feels a lot more planted. It’s still not a handling or braking benchmark, but you can finally push it hard without a prayer. The steering response is acceptable and even though the Scorpio still rolls and dives, the movements aren’t alarmingly high. The brake feel has improved and the new Scorpio displays less tendency now to swing about under hard braking.

SAFETY FEATURES ;

The outgoing Scorpio did feature a longlist of comfort features such as rain sensingwipers, auto lights, tyre pressure monitor,parking sensor, start-stop technology andmore. The new Scorpio carries forwardthese features as well. Safety features likedual-airbags and ABS will continue tobe offered, a new Panic Brake Indicationhas also been included. All the additionsand modifications will add to the pricebut we still think Mahindra will price itcompetitively. The number of variants hasincreased too, allowing buyers to choosethe model that suits them best.

CONCLUSSION ;

The Mahindra Scorpio facelift like we said will be launching towards the end of the year 2017 and most probably towards the festive season. The SUV will be getting mild updates to its exterior as well as interior while there won’t be any changes made under the hood. There is a slight possibility of Mahindra introducing a petrol variant alongside the diesel version while it will surely get a new 6-speed automatic transmission as well.

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Nissan Sunny Engine & Performance

OVERVIEW ;

The caaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrr has become more affordable now! The Nissan Sunny 2017 is now available at a starting price of INR 7.6 lakhs, on-road, Delhi.This is one of the favorite chauffeur driven cars and offers excellent rear seat comfort and unmatched space. The space inside is nothing short of a Limo. The Sunny was launched in 2011 has been doing fairly well. Nissan had given it a few upgrades recently and now betters it with a lucrative price. Read more on the new Nissan Sunny 2017. Check Price of Sunny

EXTERIORS ;

The Nissan Sunny has never been a looker, it’s a car with neutral styling and the massive length gives it quite the presence on our roads. The Japanese automaker has made multiple changes on the outside which make it look fresh amongst a sea of sedans now vying for buyer’s attention in the C-segment. At the front, the Sunny gets new headlights which are bigger and seem to have taken a slight inspiration from the Altima and Teana with its arrow boomerang shape finishing on the side running deeper into the body. The grille too is new and bigger with thicker chrome surrounds. The front bumper is new as well with a chrome lip while the new fog lamp housing gets a chrome surround. The side remains quite similar, the rear view mirrors are new with side indicators while new wheels caps/alloy wheels (Y-shaped 12-spokes) make a debut.

The rear carries the same tail light while the rear bumper is new with the lower half getting a faux black diffuser to reduce the visual bulk. A sedate rear spoiler is being offered as an accessory, the same is standard on the Sunny in some markets. A new short antenna has been added (shifting the position from the front to the rear), while the boot lid gets a chrome garnish. The Sunny continues to look like its predecessor but the minor changes do make it look appealing. Nissan wants to position the car towards the more mature audience and thus sporty colours (like red) have been discontinued, being replaced by more stately shades, a new black colour has been added which appears purple in the sun.

INTERIORS ;

This rather cheeky marketing campaign has been quite successful in highlighting its best features- cabin space. The Sunny is extremely spacious on the inside; it almost feels like you’re sitting in a purposefully built long wheelbase model. The 2015 Nissan Sunny offers generous space for five adults and room to spare for their luggage. The car is more refined and Nissan has upped the level of comfort. The dashboard looks and feels premium although, the basic layout has been retained even in this updated version as well however you get an all new Piano Black center console which has made things look interesting inside although the most noticeable change is the addition of new steering wheel (the top end variant gets new leather wrapped steering wheel) which comes with audio mounted controls Yes! My friends the Sunny now has its own steering wheel and no longer shares its steering wheel with the hatch Micra. The on-board 2 DIN Wide-display Audio System entertainment system supports USB and iPod and also comes with Bluetooth connectivity. The top end version gets a display screen for the reversing camera. Now coming to the most important part of the Sunny and this is the reason of its popularity in the Indian market, the facelift Sunny continues to provide the same spacious interiors for its occupants inside like its predecessor in addition to that now the Nissan Sunny comes with a refreshed and premium looking cabin. The new seats fabrics have made things even more interesting. You can also get rear adjustable headrests and leather upholstery with the top end variants. The Sunny provides an impressive 490 litres of boot space at the rear which is also a big advantage for this sedan.

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;

If you are one of those who never forget to carry a stopwatch during their drives, you can leave it at home for this one. The Push engine start key does its job in this one as well. The 2011 Nissan Sunny is not the one that can be termed as the driver`s delight. The Sunny is powered by a 1498 cc, 4 Cylinder, 16 Valves DOHC engine. The power figures are decent 99 PS @ 6000 rpm and a torque of 134Nm @ 4000 rpm.

These figures are not performance oriented, especially if power to weight ratio is considered. For every single bhp it pulls 10.32kgs which makes the car obviously sluggish. The mid range power delivery is not as impressive as its American rival. The gear shifts are not something which would go unnoticed. It`s on the harder side. We did some performance driving but were struggling to reach the top whack.What earns my thumbs up is the low range revving of the motor. At lower revs and at higher gears, The Sunny won’t struggle or knock. It maintains its own calm. The Mcpherson suspensions were not totally tested by us, but still we got a nimble response from it.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

The front MacPherson strut and the rear torsion bar suspension set-up works well for the Sunny and is a blessing on the kind of roads found in India. It is very forgiving and can take on any pothole or bump without sending you straight to the first spinal cord clinic en route! This works against the Vettel types who would seem to be all at sea with the car wallowing in the high speed corners but then there is always the 370Z and the GTR for this lot. Excellent ground clearance is another major attribute for our terrain, yes, urban and rural and thanks are also due to the 185/65-R15 tyres (ours was the top-of-the-line offering which has this size rubber while the other two versions make do with 185/70-R14 Bridgestones) for the fine poise and the ride quality. Among the other positive attributes of this big ’un in a very competitive segment poised for take-off is the fine and comfortable driving position with ample all-round visibility coupled to a very light yet precise steering. Both of these make themselves felt and count when gliding through traffic on our city roads despite the obvious girth of the vehicle.

SAFETY ;

One area where the Sunny scores is its fuel efficiency. The light weight and moderately powerful engines mean that the Sunny is not particularly thirsty. Nissan India claims the diesel Sunny manages 22 km/l in test conditions and the petrol CVT is close to 18 km/l. Of course, real world figures are lower, but oour experience has been that the Sunny really is among the most fuel efficient mid-size sedans in the country. . VERDICT ;

The Sunny has always been the stepson of the segment, recommended to those who want value rather than features or snob value. No more, not with the features list that is now available with the Sunny. Nissan has gone for a relatively safe strategy and not offered a top-spec petrol (yet), instead preferring to promote the diesel. If Nissan manages to keep the 2014 Sunny within Rs 20,000 of its predecessor, it will make an extremely strong case for itself if you’re looking for an alternative to the segment’s usual picks, the Honda City and Hyundai Verna.

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Honda Brio Facelift Review

OVERVIEW ;

Honda Cars launched the new Amaze at the start of the year. The second we set eyes on it, we knew that the new Honda Brio would be just around the corner as well, the company just kept mum about it. Well, we were right and here it is, the new Brio, ladies and gentlemen.

The changes which Honda have made are not mechanical, where they have chosen to focus their attention on is the styling and features. A mid-life upgrade, if you will. Well the old Honda Brio was a car that provided the individual quirky looks, Honda reliability and affordability. However, it needed something more and that comes in the shape of the new Brio we test drive today. Check Price of Brio

EXTERIOR AND STYLE ;

The Honda Brio was showcased as a futuristic concept in the previous, 10th edition of the Auto Expo held in Delhi last year. Of course, the final production version of the Brio doesn’t quite have all the sci-fi features that the concept featured, but it has carried forward much of the design concept. The Brio’s design is classically Honda. Starting from the shape of the headlamps to the aerodynamic profile, to the broad bonnet grille with the H logo in the middle and the character lines, the Brio’s design features can all be traced back to other Honda hatches. Yet, the Brio is distinctive and very unique in the brand’s line up.

A number of simple, relatively straight lines that are meant to enhance the perception of length and width of the Brio have been integrated. There is also a lot of clarity and purpose with merging lines that give the Brio’s design a lot of sophistication – like the front bumper lip that seems to merge into the shoulder line and the aerodynamic profiling for the door mirrors that merge with the base of the windscreen.

The rear design of the Brio is the most simplistic. Triangular tail-lamps that have been peeled back and into the side panels try to offer some relief with a circular, cutaway, integrated stop lamp. The hatch door is frameless and all glass and it ends just a couple of inches above the base of the tail-lamps. The glass hatch door sports the Honda logo and Brio badging. The oversized rear bumper gives the Brio a squat, wide stance, as does the more prominent rear wheel arch. A rear wiper option is not offered with the Brio

INTERIOR AND SPACE ;

The plastic quality of interiors might not be what you expect of a Honda. Clearly, the company has done some cost cutting and it shows. There are some flimsy plastics, which scratch and come off quite easily. However, the overall quality is at par, if not less, than the competition.

Although there is enough room to seat five adults in the car, where the car lacks in is the boot space and is a big disappointment. Honda’s engineers have utilized the interior space in a way that maximum space is provided to the occupants while the boot has been relatively ignored, which isn’t big enough to store anything more than your groceries and vegetables. That said, the car feels airy and fresh, thanks to the large glass areas and the light beige plastics inside. The Honda Brio gets features such as power windows, steering-mounted audio controls, bluetooth and aux-in connectivity, defogger, electric mirrors, cup holders, etc. The car also gets projector halogen headlamps and push button keyless start. The Brio does miss out on the climate control, which could’ve given the car a more luxurious appeal. A dead pedal is sorely missed too, which is a clear oversight on Honda’s part.

ENGINE AND PERFPRMANCE ;

So when you look into the business end of the Brio, you find the familiar 1.2-litre i-VTEC mill that you find in the Jazz as well. Thankfully, Honda hasn’t decided to do something drastic such as downsize the engine for this smaller car, or something as dire as lopping off a cylinder to achieve that. What Honda has done is smartly retune the motor in keeping with the ‘city car’ aspect of the Brio. The 1198cc motor now produces 88PS of power which comes at 6,000rpm and a decent torque of 109Nm, available at 4,600rpm. The five-speed manual gearbox which sends that power and torque to the front wheels features revised ratios as well, which are very well suited to capitalise the new state of tune of the engine. What really works in favour of the engine is its unimaginable levels of refinement it offers. During our test drive, we were tempted to turn the key again to bring it to life when we though the engine was switched off, when it was already running, turning away at idle rpm.

With a state of tune that favours city driving over spirited, corner carving shenanigans, one would expect the performance to be rather on the low side. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. The dash to 100km/h from standstill is completed in just 14.36 seconds – the second quickest we’ve tested for any 1.2-litre hatchback so far, just a couple of tenths more than the Hyundai i10 Kappa. While the acceleration from zero certainly is impressive, the in-gear roll-on is quite strong as well. Put your foot down at 60km/h in fifth gear, and the 100km/h mark comes up in just 21.33 seconds. In fact, try the same from as low as 40km/h, and still the Brio doesn’t bog down at all – something that even more powerful cars available in the market struggle with.

The only place where the Brio’s engine shows its lower state of tune is in its top speed. With the torque dropping off sharply after its peak at 4,600rpm, the Brio runs out of steam after 142km/h when going for a top speed run. While it eventually will hit the company claimed 150km/h mark, it would need a really long straight, and maybe a bit of a slope to do so. But top speed figures are not what really determine a car’s worth. When it comes to driveability, the Brio scores high marks, be it in bumper-to-bumper city traffic, or even cruising at highway speeds.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

The Honda Brio is underpinned by a very potent platform in terms of dynamics. This is why currently Honda has four products based on the same platform including two 7-seaters. The Brio can handle triple digit speeds with good stability on the highways. The ride quality is flat most of the times and it doesn’t unsettle on bad roads. Since it is a light hatchback, the handling is brisk and the Honda Brio feels eager to take corners hard. The steering feels direct and very predictable while cornering. Braking performance is quite effective too having a strong pedal bite. There are no mechanical changes so you won’t feel any difference compared to the pre-facelift model.

SAFETY

CThe braking performance of the Brio is decent and on par with its rivals. The top version comes with ABS, further helping in the braking performance. The 175 mm-wide tyres also provide for a decent braking performance.

The front wheels have got ventilated disc brakes while the rear ones have drum brakes. The brakes do a good job in stopping this sprightly little hatch, thanks to the lightness of the car. The car has passive safety tech such as ABS (Anti-lock Braking System). The ABS system helps in case of sudden braking situations, and prevents the car from skidding and going out of control.

VERDICT ;

It wouldn’t need much of a stretch of imagination to call what Honda has on its hands a ‘perfect city car’. The Brio really hits all the essential nails perfectly in the head, be it convenience, comfort, driving pleasure and more importantly, the right price point. Coupled with the excellent reputation that Honda enjoys in India, the deal almost seems too sweet to be true. Even in this era where every car maker has a highly competitive product in this segment, you will be really hard pressed to find another hatchback that offers so many features, such great quality, absolutely premium feel and a brag-worthy badge on the front grille in one delectable package.

 

 

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Honda Jazz Engine & Performance

OVERVIEW ;

It looks like Honda has been readying the facelift Jazz hatchback in Japan. This is the mid-life facelift that the new generation hatchback will receive. Some Reports states that the facelift Jazz hatchback which is popularly known as Honda Fit will be launching within the next few months in the markets of Japan. Now the popularity of the premium hatchback from Honda has risen to a great extent in the recent year’s credit goes to the Indian consumers who are now getting their hands on the premium hatchbacks as well. Check Ex Showroom Price of Jazz

The upcoming Jazz hatchbacks according to the leaked reports on the internet are getting plenty of exterior as well interior changes. These changes will make the hatchback a far better competitive rival to the Hyundai Elite i20, Maruti Baleno.

EXTERIORS ;

The Honda Jazz has a strong design identity of its own and thus all three generations of this hatchback show an evolutionary direction. One might be tempted to call this car a compact MPV as certain angles does make it look like a shrunk down MPV. There are certainly some nice design elements which make the Jazz look premium like the headlights which are similar to the City (they are single barrel while the City gets dual barrel), they merge into the grille that gets a piano black finishing and a chrome line below. Honda’s angular design does make the Jazz look attractive at the front while at the side, the Jazz come across as big which is largely due to the glass area, the vehicle getting both front and rear quarter-glass for added green house. Find best offers on Jazz

The B and C pillars are blackened which will certainly look good on light colours like white while a strong belt line runs from the door, merging with the rear tail light at the top and flowing through the rear bumper on the bottom. The tyres look small on the car and bigger wheels (at least on the top spec trims) would have made the car look more balanced. The rear is nicely done with reflectors right next to the windscreen while a large chrome bar is right below, featuring the Honda logo. The reflector and rear LED tail lights together make the rear portion look a bit like the Volvo V40. There is also a rear spoiler (the VX trim gets a bigger one) with stop lamp while the bumper has a black rectangle mesh finish on either side to reduce the visual bulk. Just like all other Hondas, the design of the Jazz isn’t outright exciting or eye catchy but it does have subtle appeal.

INTERIORS ;

The Jazz shares the dashboard with the City and it has a really funky design with a flurry of asymmetric cues. It is well thought-out, with nice touches, including multiple cubby-holes and the touch controls for the air-con. There are as many as nine cupholders and quite a few cubbyholes too, so you won’t find yourself short on storage spaces for small items. Quality is quite decent, but it still can’t match the Hyundai as far as fit and finish is concerned. Also, overall plastic quality, though largely good, is still a notch down on the class best.The top-of-the-line Jazz comes with an all-black cabin which looks quite sporty. Apart from the top VX, all other variants get beige fabric, which makes the cabin feel even more airy, but gets soiled easily.

Like the old car, the brilliance of the Jazz lies in its unbelievable space efficiency. Entry into the massive cabin is made easy by large doors which open wide. Outward visibility is good, thanks to the generous glass area, but the front quarter-windows near the slim A-pillars obstruct view. The front seats have a tall seating position and are pretty broad with generous bolstering, comfortable over long journeys. In the rear, the seat squab is a touch short, so under-thigh support is not as good as we would have liked. Other than that, it’s hard to fault the back seat. The adjustable back rest, terrific head and legroom, plus generous width, make the Jazz’s bench comfortable. The flexible manner in which the rear seats function is also outstanding. But unlike the old car, only top-spec Jazz models will get the ‘magic seats’ at the back. These seats split, fold flat and flip upwards to make space for all shapes and sizes of cargo – that’s if the massive 354-litre boot won’t meet your needs anyway. These seats now also allow you to form a recliner by pushing the front seat backrests fully till they meet the rear seat base.

The top Jazz VX trim comes equipped with a 6.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system. There’s also satellite navigation, a reclining back seat, automatic climate control with feather-touch operation, steering-mounted audio and Bluetooth controls, height adjustable driver’s seat, a rake and reach adjustable steering wheel and auto folding rear-view mirrors. On the safety front, it comes equipped with two airbags and ABS with EBD. Surprisingly, although it gets a reversing camera, there are no parking sensors.

PERFORMANCE ;

The engines on offer on the Jazz are the 1.2-litre petrol with a five-speed manual transmission and the other is a CVT (continuously variable transmission). This will be the engine is higher demand as the price between petrol and diesel have narrowed and there is a higher demand for petrol cars now. This petrol engine has sufficient grunt to drive in the city, however you need to work your way up to extract the best possible performance. The Honda Jazz 2016 is more powerful than its competition not just on paper but even in real world. The Jazz petrol has a fuel efficiency of about 12-14 km/l in the city, while on the highway it will be between 14-16km/l.

The second engine in the Honda Jazz 2016 is the 1.5-litre diesel that churns out 98bhp of power and 200Nm of peak torque. This comes mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. This engine has sufficient grunt to be driven in the city or on the highway. There is sufficient pull available from the engine at almost any rev range. The diesel is a lot more powerful than the petrol and even its competition. Its ease of driving gives it an edge over the competition. The diesel is a lot more fuel-efficient than its current competitors. In the city, it will return about 15-17km/l, while on the highway it will be between 18-23km/l depending on your driving.

RIDE AND HANDLING

The ride quality of Honda Jazz 2016 is good and is also an improvement over earlier Hondas. It does a good job of absorbing the bumps. The Michelin Energy Saving tyres help to increase the fuel efficiency of the Honda Jazz 2016, however, they aren’t that sticky on the road. The handling of the Jazz is good. This along with the peppiness of the diesel, is a great combination. The steering feedback is excellent and it weighs up well. This is indeed one of the much better electronic power steerings in the market.

SAFETY ;

The front passengers are shielded with the presence of dual airbags. An anti-lock braking system (ABS) and electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD) are offered as well. Along with this, you also get a rear parking camera, front fog lamps, driver seatbelt reminder, rear windshield defogger and an immobiliser.

VERDICT ;

We Indians are hatchback crazy. It’s no secret that we simply cannot get enough of their practicality, ease of use or the low running costs and a few other distinct advantages that they have over sedans or SUVs. Needless to say, carmakers are well-versed with this trend and have actively introduced new and improved products over the years. And although a similar movement is taking place in the flourishing compact crossover space, it’s the hatchbacks that continue to demand a lot of time and effort from established carmakers. Honda, for one, is making all the right noises with the Jazz. The new Jazz certainly looks the part, has a versatile cabin with loads of space and for the first time – the efficiency of a diesel motor. It’s still not an enthusiast’s choice but that’s passable because it’s not what Honda was looking to make here. The Jazz is all about practicality and you get plenty of it.

 

 

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Renault Captur Engine & Gearbox

OVERVIEW ;

The Duster has been a smash hit for Renault in India, bringing many new buyers to a brand not very popular until then. The Kwid further established the French carmaker’s credibility and now, Renault hopes to repeat the success with the Captur, a premium SUV with strong crossover DNA.The Captur shares the engine, transmission and chassis with the Duster, which is a good thing as they’ve proved their mettle over the years. But what makes it more expensive than the Duster. We’ll find the answer in this review. check EX Showroom Price of Captur

EXTERIORS ;

The Captur’s crossover design may not appeal to all at first glance. But, spend some time with it and the edgy design grows on you. We once parked it next to a Duster at a restaurant and were pleasantly surprised at how mature the Captur looked. Yes, it isn’t as tall as a conventional boxy SUV, but there’s no doubt that it looks like a premium offering. Will you give it a second glance? Oh yes. It’s got a bit of novelty on its side for now, and the bright orange colour our test car wore only aided the eye-ball grabbing. There are some premium car elements here too. That includes the full-LED headlamps and the Audi-like ‘dynamic’ turn indicators. Low beam has a wide spread and a long throw too. But, in terms of illumination – it felt just a bit brighter than the LED projectors we’ve used in the Ignis or the Dzire. Find best offers on Captur

The profile and the rear are a notch understated compared to the face. The design here has some understated French flair, which is going to be an acquired taste for most. That said, the 17-inch wheels look classy, and the 215/60R17 tyres look just right sitting under the flared wheel arches.The two-tone is well-executed, and it’s easy to see why Renault say the Captur was designed to sport a dual-tone paint scheme even since it was conceptualised. Keep in mind that the dual-tone combination will be an option. There’s quite a lot of customisation options on offer as well, which should give you the liberty to deck the Captur up the way you want to. From the rear, the Captur tries hard to shrug off the resemblance to the little Kwid. The tail lamps, the bumper and the windscreen all look like polished, grown-up version of the hatchback. That’s not necessarily a bad thing in our books, though.

INTERIORS ;

While there’s nothing to complain about the chic exteriors, the interiors are a bit of a hit-and-miss. The wrap-around dashboard is a fresh design and certainly feels like a step up from the Duster’s. There are also some great design touches such as the butterfly-shaped instrument cluster that gets a large digital speedometer in the centre, flanked by a tachometer and a fuel gauge. And I really like the ambient LED lighting and design of the air conditioner controls. However, our biggest gripe is the type of materials that have been used for the dashboard and the overall use of hard plastics for the interiors. They don’t feel as upmarket as they should for a car in this category, especially the roof liner which feels like it’s from one full segment below.Then there are some slightly wonky design elements, like the centre armrest – it doesn’t fold away and interferes with the operation of the handbrake lever. We really hope that all variants of the Captur offer hill- hold assist; trying to start moving from a standstill on an incline will be quite tricky otherwise. Then there are the front seats. Only the driver’s seat gets height-adjust, which is fine. What isn’t fine, however, is the fact that even the lowest setting on the seat is so high that it not only gives you a commanding view of the road but also of the entire top of the very large dashboard; this serves as a visual reminder of the basic quality of plastics that populate much of the cabin. And, if you’re on the taller side, say over 6ft, you are going to be uncomfortably close to the roof. The other ‘fit’ issue with the Captur can be found in driver’s footwell. The pedals are well proportioned and placed, but forget a dead pedal, there’s almost no space to the left of the clutch. This means the driver needs to keep his left foot under the clutch pedal when cruising; not an easy transition to make if you have large feet.

Renault made a big deal about its ‘panoramic’ windscreen and minimal A-pillars, along with the quarter windows designed to provide you much better situational awareness of what’s around and in front of you. While the side-to-side visibility is great, sitting so high up behind a raked windshield cuts out a bit of the view of the sky. Now, this isn’t a problem when it comes to driving, but it does give you a feeling of looking at the world through a narrow letterbox.The front seats themselves aren’t too bad though. The two-tone white- and-black leatherette seats look and feel good, and there’s enough support for your back and under-thighs, as well as sufficient bolstering for your shoulders when tossing the car around corners. The design and similar contouring are seen on the rear seats as well. While two adults, or even three in a pinch, can sit fairly comfortably, the kneeroom is nothing to write home about, and the rising window line robs the back of some airiness. The rear cabin space also gets its own set of AC vents which should be useful on hot days.

PERFORMANCE ;

The Captur is powered by the very familiar 1.5-litre K9K diesel engine. Although this 108bhp motor is identical to the Duster, Renault has fine-tuned it, to boost refinement and drivability. Unlike our experience in the Duster which has pronounced turbo-lag under 2000rpm, the Captur feel more linear and there is a nice build-up of power from as low as 1600rpm. It felt significantly more refined too thanks to the better sound insulation. This motor comes in its own beyond 2000rpm and carries on till 4300rpm, after which power tails off. Even on the highway the punchy mid-range makes overtaking just a flex of the right foot away. Although the sixth gear ratio is really tall, it’s a great cruising tool that keeps the engine spinning at just about 2,000rpm at 100kph; great for stretching your fuel tank. The Captur will be a better city run about than the Duster too thanks to the lighter clutch and slicker gearbox. Like the Duster, the Captur’s ride quality is exceptional. It smothers even the biggest of potholes with ease and even on rough roads you can maintain a fair clip. In fact, the faster you go, the better the ride. Also Renault has worked hard on the refinement and it has paid dividends. The cabin is very well insulated from the outside and it’s only when you cross the three-digit mark that there’s some wind noise entering the cabin through the A-pillars.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

The Captur is dynamically very sound and it was bound to be since it shares it underpinnings with the Duster. Handling characteristics are very similar to the Duster. The steering offers good feedback, sometimes more than you would like. It still has the mid-turn kickback but can be irritating at times. Nevertheless, this is the best steering in the segment as far as enthusiastic driving is concerned. The Captur is not unnerved in changing direction and while doing so there isn’t much body roll.The Captur offers a very settled ride. It is barely moved by rough and bad roads. At slow speeds, almost every undulation is filtered before it reaches the cabin. At high speeds, the rear passengers did feel a few jolts over very rough roads but overall, the passengers would find no reason to complain as far as ride is concerned. Braking performance is progressive with the pedal offering good bite.

BRAKING AND SAFETY ;

The list of Renault Captur safety features include Front Disc Brakes, Drum on Rear, ABS with EBD, Rear Parking Sensors, Central Locking, Driver & Passenger Airbags, Crash Sensors, Rear Seat Belts, Seat Belt Warning, Power Door Lock, Child Safety Locks, Side & Front Impact Beams, Passenger Side Rear View Mirror, Rear Camera, Centrally Mounted Fuel Tank, Engine Immobilizer, Automatic Headlamps, Follow Me Home Headlamps and ISOFIX Child Seat.

VERDICT ;

So on the whole is the Captur a welcome addition to the market? Yes most certainly. It is stylish, offers unique style and is unlike another product in many ways. The fact that Renault is going to town with personalization options is also great. These span everything from excessive (!) chrome add-ons to theme-based decals, even an array of roof wraps and a cool chrome embellishment for the front grille (kind of reminds me of the A-Class’ diamond grille). Now to the prices – which start at ₹ 9.99 lakh for the petrol and go all the up to ₹ 13.88 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) for the top-end diesel model. The car will compete in the C-SUV space (compact SUV) and that currently sees products like Creta, Compass, etc. All I know is that I would have been surprised if Renault were to price the car at a premium. the current prices are very aggressive – as this is a Duster rival too after all. There are just three variants on offer and the base RXe variant comes with plenty of equipment, as I too pointed out earlier. Is the space hotting up then? You bet! Your move Maruti Suzuki (S-Cross facelift notwithstanding)! Dare I say the Vitara, baby?