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Tata Zest Price & Specifications

OVERVIEW ;

The past few years haven’t been good to Tata Motors’ passenger car division. It has had a few good products, but there always was something that didn’t sit right. Of course, there were even more things that were brilliant about the products, but desirability, one of the most important things in an economy such as ours where a car still remains in large part a luxury rather than a necessity, was absent. Tata has now recognised this, and has thrown everything they have behind the new range of products that will launch from now on, and it all begins with this small car that will replace the cheapest sedan on the planet – the Tata Zest. Does it manage to deliver what Tata so badly needs? Check Ex Showroom Price of Zest

EXTERIORS ;

Tata Zest was designed with inputs from the company’s three different design studios – Pune (India), Conventry (UK) and Turin (Italy). Several designing processes were also carried out by the help of Jaguar Land Rover – company’s luxury vehicle divison, as more than 6000 engineers and technicians worked relentlessly and rigorously across five countries and eleven centres. All the aforementioned hard work resulted in the birth of a distinct and never-seen-before sedan in the form of Zest. Being based on a thoroughly modified X1 platform, The all-new styling of the Zest is based on its new design direction of ‘Confident Dynamism’. As far as the front fascia is concerned, it flaunts the all new company signature grille with the newly introduced ‘Humanity Line’. This front grille is complimented immensely well by the dual projector headlamps with chrome accents, which are standard for every variant, except the base XE. Moreover, the top-end trim XT also enjoys LED daytime running lamps. The front bumper boasts triangle shaped twin fog lamps and double slat air dam.

Coming to the side profile of the sedan, it has an enlarged C-pillar which makes the roofline a bit sloppy. The Zest has body colored ORVMs with blinkers and turn indicators, body colored door handles, and body colored bumpers as standard across the entire range of variants. The flared wheel arches have been bestowed with 15″ alloy wheels which, again, are standard feature and offered with each and every variant. At the rear-end of the car, the Zest is the first car in its segment to flaunt LED tail lamps. The whole tail lamp cluster is quite stylish and feature a wrap around design. The boot-lid gets a lot of chrome treatment, particularly around the horizontally positioned strip, company logo and model badging. Tata Zest is being offered with 6 vibrant colors – Buzz Blue, Venetian Red, Sky Grey, Dune Beige, Platinum Silver and Pristine White. In all, Tata has finally succeeded in carving out a niche sedan that is good looking, stylish and sporty. It won’t be an exaggeration to term it ‘The Best Tata Car’ till date in the exterior designing aspect.

INTERIORS ;

Now most of the Indian consumers wants maximum out of their cars interior because this is the place where most of them and their family would spend their time in. Tata has tried to make the interior look new and fresh and we must admit that the interior of the Tata Zest neat and and modern compared to other Tata Motors products.The first thing that catches everyone’s eye when they step inside a car is the dashboard, in the case of Zest compact sedan Tata has fitted a completely new dashboard which looks very modern and premium. Tata have used Java Black & Latte colors. The newly designed three spoke steering wheel looks new.In addition to that Tata also has highlighted some important bits with chrome which overall adds a very interesting and premium finish to the dashboard. The top end variants definitely gets lots of goodies like Harman touchscreen multimedia system with 8 audio speaker, Voice recognition and SMS readouts and even steering mounted controls. The top trim also gets automatic temperature controls which can be operated via the touchscreen interface.

Now coming to the comfort factor the seats definitely feels comfortable while the white colored leather seats make the interior feel plush and appealing. From the pictures it is quite clear that the rear seats has sufficient amount of leg room which will definitely be useful during long journeys but what you will lack are the storage spaces inside the cabin, there is neither any arm rest on the front or even in the rear seats which is bit disappointing though. However at the rear of the car you will get a 360 litre boot which can help you store lot of luggage’s but the Swift Dzire or the Honda Amaze provides even better boot space.The base XE trim gets lot of important goodies like tilt adjustable power steering, air-conditioner with a heater option, front power windows, manual central locking and foldable key but unfortunately you won’t be getting any audio system with this trim. While the top end trim gets Automatic climate control, Multifunction steering wheel with voice command, Rear parking sensors, Electrically adjustable wing mirrors, Driver seat height adjustment, Harman music system with 8 speakers which supports

PERFORMANCE ;

The Tata Zest is offered with the tried and test 1.3-litre Quadrajet diesel engine which produces the same output as it used to earlier. This engine is sourced from Fiat and is also popularly called as the “National Diesel Engine of India”. While offered with a 5-speed manual earlier, it now also gets paired to a 5-speed AMT automatic gearbox, making the Zest the cheapest diesel automatic in the country and also the only diesel automatic car in its segment. The bigger news is the new 1.2-litre Revotron petrol engine, which has been developed by Tata Motors in conjunction with AVL. It’s the first and only turbocharged petrol engine in its class.The 1.2-litre Revotron turbo engine uses an alloy head and a cast iron block, it belts out 90 PS at 5000 RPM and 140 Nm of torque at as low as 1750 RPM (up to 3500 RPM). The Zest gets a clutch lock and once you start the vehicle, you will really appreciate the low NVH levels, the motor is super refined with no vibes at all. In fact, the NVH is so good that at speed with the audio system playing, you can’t hear much of road, tyre or wind noise. Drivability is where the 1.2T Revotron mill truly shines, it offers an excellent low and mid-range punch but lacks top-end thrust. There is no turbo lag and performance is instant too, with power delivery being linear. The engine doesn’t rev quickly though and you do have to work the gearbox for quick overtakes, more so if the RPM drops below 2500 RPM in higher gears (4th and 5th).

So for instance, driving at 90 km/hr in fifth and you stand on the pedal, the motor does take its time to pull, clearly fifth gear is for cruising. Redline comes in just under 6000 RPM with the tacho glowing red once you whizz past 5500 RPM. 100 km/hr comes up in third gear with the tacho ticking in at around 2300 RPM in top gear at the same speed, so the engine is relaxed when you want to maintain cruising speed on the highway. Tata Motors has tested the engine for 3 lakh hours and there are many highlights of this powertrain – 10% faster than the closest rival, highest power and torque density in it class, 23% better peak torque than the closest rival. The engine doesn’t sound sporty but you can hear the turbo whistle. This is not the motor which will put the tarmac on fire as it’s not tuned for high revs but drivability is its forte. Still, it does cut off smoothly when it hits the redline (like European cars) and doesn’t feel jerky there.While accelerating, if you lift off, the RPM doesn’t drop quickly, it increases a bit and then falls very slowly. First gear is good for 50 km/hr while second will see you do 90 km/hr. The engine won’t rev more than 5000 RPM in neutral. The Revotron engine also has a first in class drive mode selector (developed with Bosch), you can choose between Eco, City and Sport. By default, the car is in City mode and a touch of a button on the centre console changes the mode (which is reflected on the 2.5-inch display on the instrument cluster). This change happens on the fly and the Eco mode is aimed at mileage, the Sport mode boosts performance marginally while the City mode gives you the best of both (the throttle response is altered). You can feel the power trailing off a bit in Eco mode while the accelerator feels more instant in Sport, the 0-100 km/hr timings reflect the difference in different modes and the same is significant. The 5-speed gearbox offers smooth shifts and the clutch is light too. We can expect a mileage of 13-15 km/l from the petrol Zest.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

The final area where huge strides have been made is the chassis and suspension. Without getting into too much detail, what you need to know is that Tata has managed to find a sublime balance between ride and handling; perhaps even the best in this class. Drive it over any manner of road blemish and it will flatten it out impeccably, and quietly. Even big potholes hardly faze it. Road shocks are cushioned brilliantly and the sense of calm in the cabin even on a really bad surface is amazing for a car in this segment. The only time it comes close to being caught out is when you drive it quickly over large road undulations, at which point, it may pitch a little at the rear. Under very hard braking too, the rear can get a bit unsettled

Amazingly, the relatively heavy and tall Zest darts around corners quite capably too. Its wider tracks help it feel more planted than an Indica, and the body movement is very well controlled for a car that seems to ride quite high. Yes, there is a bit of body roll but the overall balance of the chassis doesn’t make it an issue. The new electric steering unit, borrowed from the Nano Twist, also works really well. It’s pretty accurate and the ‘active return’ feature does subtly make things easier on the move. At speeds, the steering does feel a bit light but doesn’t take confidence away from the driver.

SAFETY ;

The Tata Zest uses a baked hardened steel in its construction. It gets front and side crumple zones along with protection bars for rear passengers. Safety equipment includes dual front airbags, ABS, EBD and Corner Stability Control (CSC). The Zest feels strong, the doors close with a reassuring thud and the thickness of metal is good too. However, the vehicle isn’t tested by Global NCAP yet and we can only comment on the safety of the vehicle after a crash test rating has been given to it. The company has crash tested the Tata Zest at its own facility and it meets Indian regulations.

VERDICT ;

It must be said that Zest is probably Tata’s best and well coveted attempt to target most sort after compact sedan segment. It actually breaks away from what we Indians are used to seeing in Tata Motors product portfolio till date as this sedan brings forward the company’s latest design philosophy and engineering to conquer competition. In sheer performance, the petrol is the one that impresses the most while the availability of an automatic in diesel is definitely going to attract a great number of seekers. The attractive pricing at which the company has launched the Zest into the market, will surely pull a lot of customers towards it, especially when it comes to the first-in-segment diesel automatic variant.

 

 

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BMW M6 Series Test Drive

OVERVIEW ;

The BMW M6 entered its 3rd generation in 2012 when it debuted at the Geneva Auto Show. Compared to the previous model, it featured more aggressive styling in the front and rear, and the non-convertible variants had the weight-saving benefit of having a carbon fiber roof. For 2016, the M6 went through its mid-cycle update bringing it more in line with the other M models. It was still powered by the S63, 4.4-liter V-8 from the BMW M5 that delivers 560 horsepower and 501 pound-feet of torque, but it was offered with new exterior colors and new interior leather shades. Furthermore, the M6 received LED headlights, Park Distance Control, and iPhone-look. With 560 ponies on tap and the 60-mph sprint taking just 4.1 seconds (4.3 seconds if you prefer to go topless,) the M6 isn’t a bad way to spend $113,000 to $120,000.

Thanks to weight saving features like the carbon fiber roof, the M6 was actually about 44 pounds lighter than its M5 sibling. However, despite being lighter than the M5, the M6 Coupe was actually 309 heavier than its predecessor and the convertible was 110 pounds heavier than the previous-generation M6 convertible. The M6 was available with a decent list of options, but the most impressive is the Competition Package. It increases engine output by 40 horsepower and 15 pound-feet of torque to 600 and 516, respectively. With the competition package, the Coupe and Gran Coupe can hit 60 mph in 3.9 seconds with the convertible doing the same in four seconds. With the Competition Package, Bimmer also removes the 155-mph limiter, allowing the car to top out at 189.51 mph. Not bad.

EXTERIORS ;

BMW M6 Gran Coupe pictures of the outside depict changes made to the exteriors are minor. The sumptuous vehicle touts lavishness testified by the pompous dimensions. Up front a set of new adaptive LED head lights featuring four LED daytime running light rings including auto high beam assistance are included. A head light washer system is inset in the head lights. BMW’s signature kidney shaped front radiator grille has been altered to appear even better than before. Presence of black coloured M double rods with chrome bezels add to the overall appeal of the grille. Atop is the special M carbon roof that is designed in sync with the M moniker. The power foldable outside rear view mirrors feature automatic anti-dazzle and mirror heating functions, besides they also get memory function that enables retaining previous settings. Heat protection glazing, rain sensor and automatic driving lights are the other exterior fitment on offer.

INTERIORS ;

The cabin reflects an air of comfort and utility, while at the same time, giving the passengers a peaceful atmosphere through the drive. The seats, doorsides, front panel and center console have all been arranged for an image of sophistication and grace. The M multi contour seats come with an articulated upper backrest and headrests. For the front row occupants, there is a central armrest for added support. A premium Merino leather upholstery dresses the seat surfaces, the door trims, armrests and the gear shift lever as well. The black carbon fiber trim also magnifies the plush character of the interiors. The driver gets an enhanced drive feel with a 3-spoke leather-wrapped multi-function M sport steering wheel mounted with controls for easier usage. Floormats are present for the purpose of convenience. The split folding rear seats give occupants the benefit of a larger storage capacity at the rear.The car offers 3 stage heated front seats, giving an uncompromising experience for the passengers. The automatic 4 zone climate control builds a pleasant environment within the car always. Also present for utility are cup holders by the front seats, a keyless entry with multi function remote control, parking distance control, power windows and a micro filter ventilation system. An iDrive system with an on-board computer and touch-pad controller provides a relieved experience for the driver. Also present for the benefit of the driver is a BMW navigation system that comes with the aid of a 10.2 inch high resolution screen. The Harman Kardon surround sound audio system provides a channel for quality entertainment within the cabin.

PERFORMANCE ;

Powering the rear-wheel-drive 2017 BMW M6 is a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 that produces an impressive 560 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque. Opting for the Competition package raises output to 600 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque.BMW is one of the holdouts in the performance luxury segment that insists on offering a traditional six-speed manual gearbox, one with a third pedal for the clutch, as a no-cost option. However, if you want the Competition Package, you’ll have to stick to the standard seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual, which you’ll shift using steering-wheel-mounted paddles rather than row a gearbox.In Edmunds performance testing, a convertible M6 with the automated manual transmission sprinted to 60 mph in a mere 4.2 seconds. The coupe is roughly 250 pounds lighter, so expect it to be marginally quicker.EPA fuel economy estimates for both the coupe and convertible stand at 16 mpg combined (14 mpg city/20 mpg highway) with the automatic and 17 mpg combined (15 city/22 highway) with the manual transmission.

DRIVING ;

The 2016 BMW M6 is a truly comfortable grand tourer that’s a beast at full throttle. The zero -to-60-time only begins to tell the story, as it’s affected by the limited traction of rear-wheel drive at launch. Once you’re putting all the power to the pavement, this is one of the fastest non-exotic cars in the world, gathering speed with the effortless thrust of an executive jet accelerating down the runway. It’s never frightening, though, thanks to a refined stability control system that modulates power delivery at the limit without shutting down all of the fun. Turning stability control off, though, allows a skilled driver to burn through tires about as quickly as they will fuel.

In true GT fashion, the M6 is also a joy to drive if you’re taking a road trip or even running a weekend errand. The adjustable settings for the suspension, steering, transmission and throttle response, allow you to adapt the M6 to your every mood. Viewed in a vein of pure performance, the M6 sits on the hefty side of the scale, with challenging sight lines over its long, V8-housing nose. The M6 wouldn’t be our first choice for canyon-carving, though it will hold its own.

SAFETY FEATURES ;

In terms of safety, the Gran Coupe is equipped with various protective functions. These includes active front headrests, alarm system, active protection with attentiveness assist, electronic vehicle immobilizer, electric parking brake with auto hold, crash sensor, ISOFIX child seat mounting, side impact protection, airbags and warning triangle with first aid kit.Talking about the braking mechanism of this vehicle, the automaker has incorporated inner vented, high performance and perforated compound disc brakes to front and rear wheels, which work simultaneously with sophisticated brake callipers. The BMW M Series M6 Gran Coupe is also backed by anti-lock braking system (ABS) accompanied with brake assist as well as cornering brake control system. For further reinforcement of the overall braking mechanism, traction control and stability of the vehicle, a dynamic stability control with M Dynamic Mode has been incorporated. In addition, the front axle of this luxury car comes with double-joint spring strut type system whereas integral rear axle along with M Specific set up is mounted on the rear axle.

VERDICT ;

While BMW doesn’t have to do much with the M6 in order to attract customers, it’s hard to consider the 2016 M6 as even mildly refreshed. The changes are that minor. BMW still offers its “Individual” range that allows customers to customize their BMWs to suite with 11 bespoke paint colors, different interior packages, and the exclusivity that comes with the branding.

 

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Audi R8 Review & Performance

OVERVIEW ;

The 2017 Audi R8 exotic sports car isn’t the only fully redesigned Audi this year that looks an awful lot like its predecessor (ahem, A4). But in the R8’s case, at least, that might be more of a compliment than a criticism. After all, the first-generation R8 was so Hollywood cool that it served as Iron Man’s steed, and it was still turning heads when it bowed out in 2015. The challenge, as Audi saw it, was to preserve the R8’s curb appeal while adding contemporary technology and even more performance to its repertoire.

As before, the all-wheel-drive 2017 R8 is based on a sister car from Lamborghini. This time, it is the new Huracan, which is a replacement for the discontinued Gallardo. Gone, for better or worse, are the original R8’s sultry base V8 engine and distinctive exposed-gate manual transmission. With the new R8, you can have any powertrain you like as long as it’s a screaming Lamborghini-derived 5.2-liter V10 paired with a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic. There are probably a few people who will lament the loss of the old-school manual, but there’s so much greatness with the precise S tronic automated gearbox that’s it hard to really complain.

EXTERIORS ;

In every way a car from the future, Audi R8 is the epitome of sports car designs. There was always an apprehension about creating cars that run quick at the same time look elegant because having one automatically pushed the other into an abyss at some level. Audi however found the perfect mix. The front grill of the Audi R8 too is innovative, slightly tweaked from its other cousins. With strong horizontal strokes extending through the front grill, the vents under the headlamps, the car is a true design gem.The curves on the front bonnet extend so effortlessly like a butter sliding on a hot pan. It is this brilliant design aesthetic that gives Audi an edge over its aerodynamic skills. While the curves extend on the roof and the side profile too, never do the curves make the car look voluptuous. Rather they are like a perfectly made sculpture with the right about of muscle in the right places. The car’s side profile is predominantly dominated by the beauty of the ASF and we cannot complain for it just looks so wonderful with the entire design in general. The rear profile of the Audi R8 has the letters R8 etched with a red parallelogram behind R showing off its sporty appeal. The air vents are right under the tail lamps since the vehicle’s engine is mid moutned. The curves fit perfectly together without just enough gaps between plates to make a grown man kneel for more. As a whole, the exteriors of Audi R8 are splendid and the sheer pleasure of seeing it, let alone riding it is indescribable.

INTERIORS ;

Inside the cabin, the changes are more noticeable than they are on the outside. First up is a redesigned, flat-bottom steering wheel with plenty of controls mounted on the crossbars – more than on the 2015 model. Audi also added a set of revised sports seats with enhanced lateral support, thanks to revised headrest and deeper pockets – these updated seats are standard on the V10 Plus but optional on the standard model.Giving the driver all the important vitals on the 2017 R8 is Audi’s virtual cockpit, which features a 12.3-inch screen. This screen not only replaces the instrument gauges, but also the MMI screen that cluttered up the center console. The driver can reconfigure this display via controls on the new steering wheel to show only the information he wants.From images, I can see that the designs of the dashboard and the center stack are new, too. The air vents are reshaped and the center vents are no longer housed within the center stack bezel. Additionally, the HVAC controls are repositioned and appear to be easier to reach. Lastly, with the six-speed manual transmission no longer an option, the center console features only the S tronic transmission’s switchgear.

The covering for the cabin is at the discretion of the buyer. He can go with an Alcantara-and pearl Nappa leather combo or the optional full fine Nappa leather. Other optional dress-up items include diamond stitching and clear-coated carbon-fiber trim.Standard on the 2017 R8 is MMI navigation and the MMI touch wheel. The Audi connect module gives the passenger the ability to connect his smartphone or tablet to the car and utilized the system’s Wi-Fi hotspot. For buyers who need a little more, there is an optional Bang & Olufsen audio system with 500 watts.Overall, the cabin looks and likely feels like a new generation compared to the 2015 model. So where Audi failed to completely impress me on the outside, it certainly made up for it in the cabin.

PERFORMANCE ;

Enough discussion on the exteriors and interiors, let’s get to the meat of the matter now. The powerplant sitting at the rear of the car is a beastly 610 HP at 8250 RPM and 560 Nm at 6500 RPM naturally aspirated, 5.2-litre, V10 engine which comes matched to a 7-speed S-Tronic gearbox. Press the red button on the steering wheel and the motor comes to life with a loud rumble. The engine settles with a meaty exhaust note and once you start driving with light throttle inputs, the mill constantly gives out a burble. Give it the beans and the music from the V10 powertrain is a source of immense pleasure.

Talking about driveability, there is a linear surge of power right from 1000 RPM to the 8000 RPM redline. This being an NA engine, turbo lag is out of the question, the aggressiveness with which the power is delivered is mindblowing. 0-100 km/hr comes up in just 3.2 seconds and the entire rev band feels punchy. The Audi R8 has a top speed of 330 km/hr. The 7-speed tranny is quick shifting and downshifts gears rapidly when you pin the throttle in kick down mode. There are different driving modes via Audi Drive Select like Comfort, Individual, Dynamic and Auto and I think Comfort mode is good for most driving situations. The Dynamic mode is useful on the track as well as when you want to push the car on the twisties. Talking about fuel efficiency of a supercar is a crime so no comments here. However, I’m sure you’re curious and so, the R8 churns out 3-4 km/l under usual driving conditions with some pedal-to-metal moments while sedate and consistent driving on the highways will deliver 6 km/l too.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

A vehicle of this might requires equally strong chassis and braking systems, and the company sees to this. The front wheels come with 8-piston brake callipers, while the rear wheels are equipped with 4-piston callipers. We thought that cornering, braking and stopping were a marvellous and strain free affair. With the massive speeds that the car takes to, however, you’re likely to be thrown around slightly during swift cornering. The vehicle tackles road anomalies moderately, but one needs to note that it has been designed for high speed cruising on clean raceways, not bumbling over potholes and road bumps. Its advanced suspension arrangement includes dynamically tuned springs and shock absorbers, and this does help to ease the overall ride condition

SAFETY ;

Audi has a pretty good sales and after-sales network in India so servicing the R8 won’t be an issue. In terms of safety features, you get a lot of tech like traction control, ESP, ASR, Electronic Differential Lock, collapsible steering column, ABS with EBD along with multiple airbags including dual front airbags, side airbags, seat-mounted and side head level airbags.

VERDICT ;

Absolutely. It may not be the fastest, most charismatic or the best-riding supercar around and, in the rarified atmosphere in which it operates, it may not have the most alluring badge either. But as an all-round experience, there’s very little that can take on and beat Audi’s new R8. It’s blisteringly fast, drives like a track car, is beautifully built on the inside and looks just stunning. It’s even good value, what with prices starting at Rs 2.55 crore and competition like the Huracan costing in the region of Rs 2.5-3.43 crore. It’s even likely to be better looked after, especially with a long list of dealers spread across the country and service stations now in many small towns. So, if a supercar is on your shopping list, make sure you test drive one of these.

 

 

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Maruti Alto K10 Price & Specifications

OVERVIEW ;

The current leader in car sales in India is the Maruti Suzuki Alto and fortunately for buyers, there isn’t just one engine on offer but a performance K10 option too. There was a time I really admired the Alto, I remember it being launched in India in 2000 but it was only in 2001 that I really started liking the small car. It was when I was in my teenage years and had gone to get the family’s Esteem serviced. It was then that I first sat in an Alto VXi. Now I mention VXi because the difference between LX and VX wasn’t just features (the latter also had a tacho) but also engine. The VXi was also called as the Alto 1.1 as it was equipped with a 1061cc F10D, 4-pot motor (the Wagon R too used this engine but the Zen didn’t as it was powered by a 1000cc motor, the same that was in the Maruti 1000). This was good enough for 64 PS and 80 Nm, what a rocket that was. Fast forward to 2015 and we have the Alto K10 which has been given a thorough revision and an AMT gearbox (Auto Gear Shift in Maruti speak), does it connect me to those days? Check Ex Showroom Price of Alto K10

EXTERIORS ;

The new Alto K10 sports a completely new look. It still shares it doors and roof with the 800 version but the rest of the panels – the bonnet, the front fenders, the tail gate and even the bumpers are unique to the K10. It has larger, more contemporary looking head lamps; a more aggressive air dam design; and it sits on larger 13 inch wheels. Overall, the new K10 still looks like an Alto as we know it, but it has a younger, sportier aura to it now. And in this top of the line VXI option trim, it also gets body coloured outside review view mirrors and body side moulding to give it a plusher feel. Find best offers on Alto K10

INTERIORS ;

The interior of the Maruti Alto K10 is totally fresh when compared to its 800cc sibling. The console and the dash has a black and beige tone with the instrument cluster having features like the USB option and aux input and a mp3 player. The buttons are big and clear and hence easy and convenient to use. This new centre console is a welcome after the old Alto 800 styling, which does look outdated.

The Maruti Alto K10 gets new rich beige fabric seats to add a pinch of richness in the cabin. The cabin space is sufficient and feels airy. The front row seats are comfortable for even long drives. In the second row there is sufficient kneeroom even for tall people and there is enough head room as well, but the thigh support could have been better.

ENGINE ;

The Alto K10 AMT has the same engine and transmission pair as the Celerio, but thanks to a lower weight, the Alto K10 feels a wee bit quicker. It is very sprightly off the line and it’s only when you reach speeds north of 70-80 km/h that the engine starts feeling a bit strained. The biggest talking point here, however, is the 5-speed AMT. This unit feels smooth and the jerks at lower rpms are well contained. When driven with a light foot the gear changes are relaxed and happen at a relatively low rpm

DRIVING ;

On the short 70 kilometre drive the Alto showcased just how brilliant its ride quality is especially in urban areas over some rough roads. The gas-charged shock absorbers on a MacPherson strut assembly at the front and a 3-link rigid axle at the rear give it superb low speed absorption qualities. However, as the speed builds up and the corners get tighter or the surface undulating, you realise just how woefully inadequate this suspension is. There is a lot of body roll and you need to be able to react quickly enough to offset the suspension getting upset at being pushed hard around corners. The Maruti Suzuki Alto therefore is best experienced between the speeds of 60-80kmph and anything beyond is just asking it to perform over and above its station.

The steering too is reasonably precise at lower speeds with enough weight to give you a well connected feel but as you go faster it gets vague and the communication between steering wheel and tyres a bit disconnected.

CONCLUSION ;

The Alto K10 is a move in the right direction by Maruti Suzuki. It has a lot of short comings, but the major flaw of the Alto has been answered, it is no more sluggish and never feels out of breath, something which the 800cc Alto could never boast about. It is the fastest car you can get at that price point and is economical too. The performance of the K10 motor very well makes up for all its short comings and if some one wants a pocket rocket, this is it. Add some good rubber and a few short comings of the Alto K10 will be resolved. There is truly no alternative to the Alto K10 and Maruti Suzuki have opened a new segment, the econo-hot hatch one.

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Hyundai Grand i10 Facelift First Drive

OVERVIEW ;

The Hyundai Grand i10 was launched in global markets as a successor to the i10 but both the models continued to be sold along side each other in India. The Grand i10 has been extremely successful for Hyundai and it is also one of the top 10 selling cars in the country. Hyundai has now given the hatchback a mid-life facelift that brings in refreshed exteriors, additional features on the inside and a revamped diesel engine. Get Ex Showroom Price of Grand I10 in Carzpric

EXTERIORS ;

Hyundai designs its cars brilliantly and the Grand i10 is no different. The Grand i10 follows Hyundai’s elegant Fluidic design language strictly. The car looks beautiful, elegant and premium than any other car in its segment. The Grand i10 matches the design of its bigger cousin Hyundai i20 closely but is more compact than i20. The Grand, as the company likes to call it, is focused on the youth of the country and it does not disappoint. The elegant-looking vehicle has sculptured bodylines, which makes the car very soothing to look at. The subtle crease, which starts just before the front door and connects to the tail lamps, makes the car elegant while the strong-shaped crease on the bottom of the front and rear doors makes the car look very aggressive. Following the Hyundai design language, Grand i10 gets sweeping headlamps, making the front fascia very strong. The fog lamps have been placed very conveniently in the especially-designed dams with black inserts to give it a manly look. Find best offers on Grand I10

The Grand i10 also gets roof rails in the mid and top variants, which adds to the sporty look. The Grand i10 looks very sporty and the rear spoiler makes things even better. Premium as it can get, Hyundai also offers optional diamond-cut alloy wheels on the top-of-the-line Asta variant and Sportz(O) AT. The Magna and Sportz variants get full size wheel covers, while the base Era model gets just the steel rims. Hyundai has also made a point by equipping body coloured bumpers with all variants. The base model misses out on body-coloured door handles, tail gate and mirrors. Hyundai has made a lot of things exclusive to the top-end variants. The micro roof antenna does not come checked with the base Era model. The Sportz and Asta models get the chrome dipped outside door handles for a premium look. The waist-line moulding, which saves the car from a lot of scratches, is also missing out from the base Era, Magna and Sportz models. The sporty-looking roof rails come as standard only with the Sportz and Asta models. The premium-looking indicators on the outside rear view mirrors also come as standard only with the Sportz and Asta models. Hyundai has made the Grand i10 brilliant but a lot of things are yet missing on the lower variants. Since the car offers a lot on paper, many important features, like ABS and passenger airbag etc. take a back seat in case of the lower variants.

INTERIORS ;

At launch, the older Grand i10 was one of the most feature-rich cars in its segment and for the price. With time, however, these features were available in other cars and for much less. Hyundai though has clawed back some of its lost ground. The new Grand i10 comes with a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system which has Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink. The system is easy to use and the only missing link there is an in-house navigation menu. However, this should be taken care of by the aforementioned apps. There is still 1GB of music storage within the system.

The steering wheel is new too and has a different pattern for the buttons with audio volumes to the left and others menus to the right. The buttons themselves are new too. The voice command option though will work only if you have connected your Android or Apple phone via USB. I would have preferred the simple idea that Maruti uses in the Baleno and other cars. Features that would have made the Grand an even better car will be height-adjustable seat belts, a centre armrest for the front seat occupants and a telescopic steering wheel. Other niceties that are carried over from the earlier car are a chilled glovebox, rear AC, automatic climate control, and power foldable and adjustable mirrors. The mirrors will also automatically close once you lock the car and unfold when unlocked. Neat! I however think that Hyundai should offer dual airbags as standard instead of just the driver airbag on all the models. Similarly ABS is available only on the top-spec Asta trims, which again in my opinion is a complete miss. If Hyundai could have gone the Maruti way by offering safety kit even as an option right from the base variants, it could have made much more sense.

PERFORMANCE ;

Pop the hood and it reveals the all-familiar, 1.1 litre, diesel engine which fills up the engine bay nicely. A three-cylinder affair, it does clatter when cold, but things settle down once it is warmed up. Besides, things fade away further upon rolling up the windows, which tells us that Hyundai have lavished some attention on the NVH characteristics as well. This oil burner produces about 70bhp of power and comes with a five-speed manual transmission.

The power & torque characteristics of the motor, coupled with the smooth-shifting five-speed gearbox are the ideal combination for the urban grind. There’s enough power on tap throughout the rev-range, with additional pull being only a down-shift away. The Grand i10 darts around traffic with a certain eagerness that’s most endearing. Not once did we feel the need for more power when doing the cross-city runs and even the occasional inter-city, highway runs. Yes, with the latter, one does have to be a bit careful, particularly if it is a trip full of long straights.

The engine will quickly run out of steam in the higher part of the rev range, but she’d have given the driver enough warning to slow down to respectable speeds by then. This is the ideal urban commuter and will be more than happy to do the weekend highway runs, provided you don’t ask her to run with the big boys.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

The ride quality is pliant & the car handles bumps rather maturely. She’s a little out of her element when faced with quick directional changes, but make no mistake. She’ll pull through whatever you throw at her, just not in the most graceful manner, that’s all. The steering feedback sadly is still the typical Hyundai legacy affair & no matter how much time I spend behind the wheel, I still haven’t gotten used to it. The glaring lack of feedback is disappointing & takes away a lot from an otherwise solid city runabout package.

SAFETY FEATURES ;

Talking about the safety features, the facelift Grand i10 gets advanced safety features like Rear Parking Assist System with Dual Airbags, ABS, Reverse Parking Sensors and newly introduced Rear Parking Camera which displays all the output on the newly added 7.0 Inch touchscreen monitor.

VERDICT ;

Totally loved the Grand i10 when we had one in our long term fleet and with this update, Hyundai has refreshed the car nicely. The new diesel engine is very good for the segment and even though it still is a 3-cylinder unit, I think it offers very good performance and efficiency. The Grand also has an excellent ride and is pretty easy to drive. The interiors boast of excellent quality materials and even the fit and finish of exterior panels is better than most rivals out there. For me, the Hyundai Grand i10 is easily one of the best city hatchbacks around.

 

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Hyundai Santa Fe Hatchback Overview

OVERVIEW ;

Hyundai Motors is a South Korea based automobile manufacturer, which has some of the most luxuriant cars in its stable. Their vehicles have an outstanding design and refined technologies. Among its fantastic fleet, Hyundai Santa Fe is one of their elegant SUV series, which is being sold in three trim levels in the Indian car market. The company has now added a new infotainment system to this model series, which adds to the entertainment quotient of this fantastic utility vehicle. It is now available with a brand new 8-inch touchscreen display. As per the news, it has innovative features like flexibility of DVD and USB inputs, Bluetooth streaming, voice recognition and a total of six speakers. Apart from these, it also has Sat-Nav system with pre-loaded maps and certainly bigger screen for better experience. This vehicle is available in both manual and automatic transmission options for the buyers to choose from. The company is selling this model series with a 2.2-litre diesel engine as standard, which comes with a displacement capacity of 2199cc. This mill is based on a DOHC valve configuration and is capable of delivering a maximum power of 194.3bhp along with a commanding torque output. Its suspension is quite proficient that assists in keeping the vehicle stable. The braking system is also reliable and it is further enhanced by anti lock braking system along with electronic brake force distribution. In the Indian car market, this sports utility vehicle is a tough competitor of Chevrolet Captiva, Toyota Fortuner, New Skoda Yeti, Isuzu MU7, Mahindra Ssangyong Rexton and Honda CR V. Get Ex Showroom Price of Santa Fe in Carzprice

EXTERIORS ;

The Santa Fe is offered as two individual models – the two-row, five-passenger Santa Fe Sport, and the three-row, seven-passenger Santa Fe. Both bring unique styling, most noticeable up front, with the three-row Santa Fe bearing upright fog lights and five slats in the grille, and the two-row Santa Fe Sport using horizontal fog lights and three slats in the grille.The 2017 refresh also brings a slight tweak to the rear fascia design, plus new taillights and dual exhaust outlet.On the sides, you’ll find new rocker panel trim, integrated silver accents, and exterior side-view mirrors with a standard heating function. Wheel designs are new as well, with 17-, 18-, and 19-inch alloys.The redesigned headlights now get LEDs for the daytime running lights, while the three-row Santa Fe is offered with available LED fog lights. An automatic on/off function for the headlights is standard.Finally, there are two new hues when it comes to paint options, including Nightfall Blue for the Santa Fe Sport, and Storm Blue for the Santa Fe.

INTERIORS ;

Step inside and you can see great strides in cabin quality. Not because the new car’s interior is that impressive – fit and finish still lags that of the Germans’ – but because it is light years ahead of the current car’s rather old-fashioned, plasticky interiors. After you adjust the 12-way electric driver’s seat to get perfectly comfortable, you find yourself in familiar surroundings if you’ve driven a modern Hyundai before. A lot of the switchgear is carried over from other Hyundais, while the dashboard and the centre console, with its ‘hour-glass’ shape, are similar to the design in the Elantra. The Santa Fe, however, gets a seven-inch TFT LCD touchscreen through which you can access all the various functions. On the India car, GPS navigation is expected to be standard and Hyundai may also give a two-tone beige interior to suit Indian tastes. The Santa Fe’s equipment levels are expected to be best in class like most Hyundais these days. It will come with all the goodies and some more. Hyundai is likely to introduce its Smart Park Assist system and there’s even the option of a self-leveling suspension.

The front seats have loads of seat travel so tall people can stretch out, but the seats aren’t too supportive and could do with a bit more bolstering. Move to the middle row and decent legroom, a generous squab and adjustability of the seats make the Santa Fe a good SUV to be chauffeured in.The one-touch control to drop the second row seats, which have a 40/20/40 split, is really hassle-free. This gives quick and easy access to the third row, which is spacious enough for adults, but just for short trips. The 50/50-split third row folds flat into the floor to offer 534 litres of luggage space. And if you have really bulky items, you can go upto 1,615 litres by flipping the second row forward as well. The well thought-out cabin, which majors on practicality and versatility, is a strong point of the Santa Fe, especially in a market where seven-seat SUVs are increasingly popular.

PERFORMANCE ;

There will be three options offered to the customer, there is one manual transmission variant and two automatic transmissions. The engine in all three is the same, a next generation R series engine that has been worked on to enhance efficiency, reduce friction and provide better NVH than before. So the engine is the new 2.2-litre CRDi unit that delivers 197Ps of max power and two torque outputs. In the manual you get 420Nm of max torque but the automatic gets around 16Nm more, both between the same 1800-2500rpm. The new generation common rail direct injection diesel displaces 2199cc and its a quick and responsive engine. Having said that I must also comment on the noise within the cabin, despite the claims of NVH being up to date, you can definitely hear enough of the diesel engine clatter. An electronically controlled variable geometry turbocharger kicks in early enough to ensure power delivery is linear and immediate.Where efficiency is concerned, Hyundai claims 14.74kmpl for the manual and 13.01kmpl for the AT, these being ARAI figures. 1800bar rail pressures pumping fuel through piezo-electric injectors, the electronically controlled variable geometry turbo, swirl control valves and and electronically controlled EGR ensure that the fuel efficiency is optimised.

Both transmissions however have six forward ratios and the automatic adds a manual shifter to the equation. So the automatic is remarkably easy to drive. Even the automatic shift quality is surprisingly agile and not slow. Power is derived instantly and acceleration as a result is brisk and hurried.On the chassis front there have been several updates giving it a more secure feel. A MacPherson strut at the front and multilink suspension at the rear gives it better dynamics than before. There is still a fair amount of body roll but what I did like is that it is well controlled and measured. Never did the Santa Fe feel like it was losing comfort or getting too hairy. Of course there are a host of safety nets to reign you back in but still its a very decent handling SUV.With the chassis also come a few other changes. The steering for instance can be set up to match the effort you want to put in. So a comfort mode makes the steering light for urban duties, a normal mode adds some more weight while a sport mode significantly increases resistance in the steering feel while also making it more precise.

On the drivetrain front the manual transmission variant is available only as two wheel drive with torque applied to the front wheels. The automatic has two options, there is a two wheel drive and a full time four wheel drive variant. The four wheel drive variant I drove largely employs 2WD in normal driving cycles. However when the need arises in slippery tractionless conditions, torque is spread between all four wheels to enhance stability and get you out of tricky situations. A host of other driving aids also come in to play such as a traction control system, vehicle stability management and electronic stability control. You also get hill start assist and hill descent control, the latter if which can be activated through a button on the dashboard.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

The car maker has given this vehicle a proficient braking mechanism, which is further augmented by anti lock braking system along with electronic brake force distribution. The front wheels of this Hyundai Santa Fe model series are equipped with a set of ventilated disc brakes, whereas the rear wheels get conventional set of solid drum brakes. The 4WD AT trim is equipped with hill start assist along with down hill brake control function also. On the other hand, its front axle is assembled with a McPherson strut, while its rear is fitted with a multi-link type of mechanism. The high end trim is bestowed with electronic and vehicle stability management function that adds to the driving comfort. The cabin is incorporated with a power steering with flex steering function, which helps in customizing the steering wheel according to the driving style of the person. Then the advanced traction cornering control system distributes the driving force braking power to all four wheels. This steering wheel supports a minimum turning radius of 5.35 meters, which is rather good for this class. It comes with tilt and telescopic adjustable function, which makes it easy to handle even in peak traffic conditions.

SAFETY AND SECURITY ;

Santa Fe gets a host of safety features such as dual front airbags, front side airbags, curtain airbags, ABS with EBD, electronic stability control, vehicle stability management control, brake assist, rollover sensor, rear view camera with touch audio display, rear parking sensors, height adjustable front seat belts, engine immobilizer shift lock system, child seat anchor and speed sensing auto door lock.

VERDICT ;

The new third generation Santa Fe is a great product and impresses in each and every department. The fluidic design makes it look quite sporty and the comfortable and luxurious interiors will appeal to most. The large list of features on offer and abundant safety features are more than enough to have anyone convinced. Besides, its true SUV character is bound to impress the off-road junkie. Hyundai is offering a 3-year, 1-lakh kilometer warranty with service intervals at 10,000 kms. It is also superior to its Japanese rival in every respect but does it have the goods to find many takers? As a product, definitely yes but there is a catch. Hyundai has priced it quite optimisticly and that could be a turn off factor for many. But the Santa Fe is Hyundai’s flagship model in the country and it’s all about the pride. The pride of getting one up on the Japanese and a fitting reply it is, that the Koreans are closing in and mean serious business.

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Maruti Suzuki Celerio Facelift First Drive

OVERVIEW

Maruti’s small cars are always much-awaited and come pre-loaded with market-shaking potential. It is, however, true that after the Swift, there hasn’t been a hatchback from Maruti-Suzuki that has really rocked the passenger car market.But, the next small car from Maruti – the Celerio, due out at the Auto Expo next week, looks like it can disrupt the market. Get Ex Showroom Price of Celerio in Carzprice

The Celerio has been developed from the ground up on a completely new platform and has been endowed with a special automatic gearbox that Maruti officials believe with revolutionise the way we drive. The design of the Celerio is based on the A-Wind concept that Suzuki showcased at the Thai Auto show.

This new hatch has been built to fit into and complement Maruti’s portfolio of small cars, but it is also meant to take on new competitors in the segment such as the Hyundai Grand i10. The Celerio is just a bit smaller than the Grand i10 in terms of length and width, but matches the wheelbase and is even a bit taller than the latter

EXTERIORS

From various angles the Celerio brings to mind the Toyota Etios Liva, especially that smiling grille with the twin smiling slats flanking the Suzuki Logo. In fact, if you took off the Suzuki logo and replaced it with a Toyota badge you could easily fool anyone into mistaking this car for the latter. As it is, driving this car on the busy roads around Jodhpur did not elicit much interest from the very people who would in the near future be buying this car, the aam janta! And let me tell you in the past there hasn’t been a single new car that hasn’t grabbed attention on these drives. Find best offers on Maruti Celerio

At the front, the bumper is a strong element of the design and looks sturdy and well-sculpted, though the inverted curve to the lower air dam and the single fog lamps scooped inside the bumper continue to remind you of the Etios Liva. I like the hood which has this slight clamshell effect to it and gives the Celerio a sporty character.

The side profile is sculpted with two sweeping character lines that appear running parallel to each other. The one running along the shoulder starts at the fender and sweeps upwards towards the rear window with a sculpted kink. The outside rear view mirrors with integrated turn lamps and smaller indicator lamps on the fenders are the only ornaments that give this profile a sparkle. The rear is my least favourite area. The tallish tail lamps look a bit out of place, though the chunky bumpers look quite in sync with the rest of the body shell. The rear tail gate can only be accessed from the outside and not from within the car.

Where dimensions are concerned, the Celerio is comfortably long and wide, though to put it in comparison, it’s shorter in length than the Hyundai Grand i10 though taller by a few inches. At 2.425 metres, however, both hatchbacks share the same wheelbase and that also means the Celerio has substantial amounts of interior space, especially knee room, just like the Grand i10.

INTERIORS

As with the exterior, Maruti has played it very safe with the cabin. The two-tone dashboard uses a rather basic design, and though the instrument cluster is easy to read, it looks very bland. Plastic quality is good, but still not up there with Hyundai. It scores decently on practicality too, and though the front door pockets are slim, the rear ones house bottle holders. There’s another bottle holder between the front seats, a pair of cupholders near the gear lever and a medium-size glovebox. For luggage, you have 235 litres once you get past the tall loading lip, but you can also split-fold the seat for even more room.

Space is a strong point of the Celerio, with good headroom in all seats. Three adults in the back is a bit of a squeeze, but legroom is decent, and you get a good sense of space too. Apart from a slightly short seat squab and the low-set, fixed head restraints, the seats are really comfortable as well. Even the fixed-headrest front seats, though they don’t look the plushest, serve up a good mix of softness and support. The equipment level is acceptable and this ZDi (O) gets features like Bluetooth, driver’s seat height adjustment, steering-mounted controls, electrically adjustable mirrors, ABS and two airbags.

PERFORMANCE

The Celerio is being offered only with a petrol engine, though there are rumours already that Maruti Suzuki has developed a small, diesel engine in-house for use in the car. The same may be showcased at the Expo and potentially make it to showrooms late this year or early next year.

The engine that the Celerio will be launched with is the same one-litre K 10B engine that is currently available in the A-Star, Alto K10 and the Wagon-R. The engine is being offered in the same state of tune too. (See the Tech Spec box for more info.)

The story of the Celerio is actually inside the bonnet, but if the engine is a carry over, then what is different?

It is the new automatic gearbox that Maruti and Suzuki engineers have developed specially for the car, and which promises to be frugal both in terms of costs and in terms of fuel consumption. The new EZ Drive auto gear shift promises to do just that shift the gears on your behalf and it is a unique solution that is going to lead to a lot of clones cropping up amongst competitors. (Read more about it in the adjoining story).

The Celerio drives like a perfect city car. For an engine in this class, there is enough power and torque available on tap for all sorts of urban driving conditions and some more for the average highway cycle. The car is also offered with a 5-speed manual gearbox.

DRIVING

The suspension is soft enough to iron out road imperfections but the light car that it is, allows Maruti to keep the tune stiff enough for the Celerio to feel composed at high speeds. You don’t feel as nervous north of 100kmph in the Celerio as you would in an i10. The Celerio is a predictable handler too, fun to chuck around corners when you pick up the pace but the tyres could have offered more grip, especially in the diesel as there is more weight up front.

It is a given that a Maruti has to be an easy car to use in the city, and with the Celerio it’s no different. Light steering and good visibility out of the cabin coupled with nearly straight lined sides make for some precision driving when you are weaving through traffic. If there is one drawback in the diesel, it’s the lack of low end punch.

BOTOMLINE

The Celerio CNG is one of the most affordable hatchback in its segment and is the perfect package. The Wagon R’s interiors have started to look aged and the Celerio is a better option to pick as you will look at keeping the car for a period of three to five years. At the price and the mileage, Celerio CNG is a great buy. Wish it was also available in the ZXi variant also

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Maruti Suzuki Ertiga Facelift First Drive

OVERVIEW

It’s easy to see why the MPV (Multi Purpose Vehicle) segment is one of the most successful here in India. With large families predominant here, the average sedan is just not enough. The MPV, however, not only seats 5 or 7 in comfort but also carries everyone’s luggage with room to spare. And to top it all, it drives just as well as your everyday sedan. The Toyota Innova has been leading this scene ever since its inception, and Maruti Suzuki’s all-new Ertiga, though not the same size, aims to offer almost the same at a lot less. Check for specifications,features & price of  Maruti Cars

EXTERIORS

The Ertiga’s wheelbase, at 2740mm, is a considerable 310mm longer than the Swift’s and the kerb weight has increased by around 155kg. But this is impressive considering it’s a seven-seater. Suzuki has kept the Ertiga’s weight in check with extensive use of lightweight high-tensile steel in its construction.

With a length of 4265mm, the Ertiga is a fair bit shorter than the other MPVs in the market, namely the Toyota Innova, Mahindra Xylo and Tata Aria. The Ertiga employs an independent, MacPherson-strut, coil-spring suspension at the front and a non-independent torsion beam setup at the rear. The brakes are also a conventional front disc and rear drum setup. Check for Ertiga price in Hyderabad

Styling is typically Suzuki, with swept-back headlights like the new Swift’s, and a grille and bonnet that resemble the Ritz. The overall design is pleasing, but not what you would call eye-catching. In fact, the van-like look, which clearly doesn’t exude the status and image of a saloon, is possibly the Ertiga’s biggest weakness.

INTERIORS

A new variant, Z+ is introduced in the New Maruti Ertiga. This variant gets additional features like keyless entry, push start and stop, touchscreen system with navigation and reverse parking camera. The New Maruti Ertiga gets the same beige interiors and the upholstery is also the same. In terms of other features, it gets single airbags and ABS as a standard feature. Dual airbags is available on all variants as an optional feature

The New Maruti Ertiga has an identical dashboard with the Swift, however it is beige in colour. The quality of the materials is not that premium. The front row of seats are quite comfortable and even large. On long journeys this helps quite a bit. The rear seat space too on the New Maruti Ertiga is good enough. These seats slide and recline too. The third row is quite cramped, but it gets some knee room when the second row seats are moved a bit ahead. The boot becomes small when all the seats are raised. One needs a carrier for luggage especially with seven passengers

PERFORMANCE AND HANDLING

The choice of engines for the Ertiga is the new 1.4-litre K14BVVT petrol engine and the D13A DDiS super turbo diesel carried forward from the SX4. Given the additional weight of the new vehicle the two engines manage to offer a fair balance of power and torque.

The new, larger K series petrol engine reflects the same characteristics of its existing siblings. Quiet and almost vibe-free in idling mode, the engine comes across as refined and quick under hard acceleration. With variable valve timing to optimise performance and with low friction components, the new 1,373cc, 4-cylinder, 16-valve engine delivers a peak power of 95PS at 6,000 rpm and a peak torque of 130Nm at 4,000 rpm.

The diesel engine is combined with an intercooled variable geometry turbocharger and this is same basic mill from the SX4. This 1,248cc engine with common rail diesel injection is almost free of any turbolag and delivers a peak power of 90PS at 4,000 rpm and a peak torque of 200Nm from as low as 1,750 rpm. The diesel engine makes its presence felt audibly despite the use of an extended dash silencer and other sound deadening components.

But, that is only when you accelerate hard, during idling and cruising conditions the familiar diesel engine is just the same as in the SX4. On the road, the Ertiga feels very much like the Swift and DZire. Though the Ertiga is no where near as big as the other utility vehicles like the Innova and the Tavera, you still get to feel its extra length compared to the Swift.

The engines have been mated to the five-speed gearbox already in the family cars, only the gear ratios have been optimised for the Ertiga’s expected driving cycle. Gear shifts are crisp and quick. The rated fuel efficiency for the petrol engine is 16.02 kmpl and the diesel is 20.77 kmpl.

The Ertiga handles quiet well too – almost, but not entirely, like a sedan. The suspension is also a carry forward in terms of its configuration – MacPherson strut at the front and torsion beam at the rear. The ratings for the springs have been increased and the dampers have been stiffened to handle the higher loads.

DRIVING

The Ertiga’s driving dynamics are largely influenced by its long wheelbase – the 2.74-metre gap between the front and rear axles give this MPV good poise and straight-line stability for most situations. The flipside is that it isn’t happy darting through corners and prefers a more relaxed driving style. The soft suspension means the low-speed ride is pretty absorbent, and even as speeds increase, the Ertiga handles bumps with aplomb and feels pretty solid. The Ertiga’s suspension works silently too and it’s just over sharp bumps that there is a mild thud from the suspension.

There is a bit of up-and-down motion over undulating surfaces and the diesel pitches a bit more in the front. However, at moderate speeds, this never gets uncomfortable and it’s only when you begin to push really hard that you long for a tauter setup. Considering its MPV proportions, the Ertiga doesn’t roll excessively and the steering is fairly accurate too. What you do miss is a tighter turning circle and the ability to wiggle into tight parking spots as with a hatchback. However, this doesn’t take away from the fact that the Ertiga is by far the most urban-friendly MPV in the market today.

SAFETY

Servicing the Ertiga won’t be an issue because Maruti has a service centre in almost every nook and corner of India. Talking about safety, the Ertiga comes equipped with dual front airbags and ABS on almost every variant. The LXi and LDi variants miss out on these safety features but Maruti offers them on the LXi (O) and LDi (O) trims. Apart from that, all the other V and Z trims come with these features. The same goes for front seat belt pretensioners too.

CONCLUSION

The Maruti Ertiga is a very good people’s carrier and it offers a good amount of features and practicality is also top notch. With the facelift, the car looks better, gets more equipment and even boasts of better efficiency. At the price it is offered for, the Ertiga does provide you with a lot of value and Maruti has got a strong contender on their hands in the 7-seater MPV segment.

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Maruti Suzuki Baleno Hatchback Overview

QVERVIEW ;

The Swift was the car which changed the hatchback dynamics in the Indian market when it was launched in 2005 and since then, it has single-handedly dominated the hatchback segment, being the top selling car in its segment, not by a small amount but by a huge margin. The Swift’s popularity and the fact that it was Maruti Suzuki’s best hatchback meant that the vehicle had to deal with more responsibilities, like competing in the premium hatchback space which has cars a segment above. Now to relieve the Swift of its duties in the premium hatchback space, Maruti Suzuki has bought in the Baleno, a car which is bigger than the Swift in every way and has been designed to lure customers who find shortcomings in the Swift. The new Baleno has a lot of significance, it brings back the old moniker used by Maruti’s then flagship sedan (in the 2000s) and the Indian automaker has been entrusted with producing the car for the world. But how good is this Hyundai Elite i20 challenger? Get On Road Price of Suzuki Baleno in Carzprice

INTERIORS ;

Honestly, I wasn’t very impressed with the interior when I first saw it at the Frankfurt Motor Show last month. And Maruti executives confirmed that the cars given to us in India are closer to production, which explains why it seems a lot more likeable now. The smart all-black cabin looks upmarket and sporty, but there are plenty of parts carried forward from other Maruti Suzuki models, which steals some of the freshness away. We expected the premium-positioned Baleno to use some soft plastic parts on the dashboard and maybe leather upholstery options, which could have made the cabin even better. Apart from this there’s not much to complain about, as the fit and finish is pretty decent for the segment

The front seats are large, comfortable and well bolstered. Thankfully, the driver’s seat is height-adjustable, which helps get a good driving position. In fact, the tilt and reach adjustable steering further helps this cause. The icing on the cake is the positioning of the switches and buttons, all of which are well within reach, making the cabin ergonomically sound. Find best offers on Maruti Suzuki Baleno

As desired in this segment, the cabin is spacious and there’s plenty of space at the back too. What’s most impressive is the excellent knee room for the rear seat passengers – something Maruti car buyers were always left desiring more for until now. India being a predominantly chauffeur-driven country, this will not go unnoticed. There’s a spacious boot too, with a very useable 339 litres of storage space.

EXTERIORS ;

The front of the Maruti Baleno is quite stylish and gives a unique presence to the car, one that sets it apart from the crowd. There are daytime running LEDs, but these come only in the top end Alpha variant, which is quite a dampener. The headlamp design reminds one of the Swift. The black honeycomb grille is smart looking and has chrome garnishing on the lower end, which adds some flair. The bumper gels well with rest of the body

From the side the car looks very contemporary and long as well. The side profile does look much better than the competition despite the fact all of them are under 4 metres and the same length hatches. The hood has a nice curve to it and the silhouette looks beautiful. This is certainly the best angle of the car

The rear is also appealing and muscular. There is a rear spoiler as well which is neatly integrated. Maruti follows the liquid flow design for Baleno, which makes it look trendy. The paint job on the Maruti Baleno is of good quality and makes it premium looking. The Maruti Baleno looks longer than the competition and even more premium in styling

ENGINE ;

The car brings to India one of Suzuki’s latest innovations globally – the 998cc Boosterjet direct injection turbocharged engine. This all-aluminium, three-cylinder engine produces a peak power of a little over 100bhp and a maximum torque of 150Nm. It is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. There is no automatic gearbox option, as of now. (Boosterjet combines the two modern automotive technologies: direct injection and turbocharger.)

SAFETY ;

One of the keys to succeed in this segment is to offer plenty of features and driver aids, and Maruti has ensured that the Baleno doesn’t skimp on this front by loading it with some of the latest gadgets you can think of. So higher models gets climate control, colour TFT information screen, a 4.2-inch touch screen with a rear parking camera and satellite navigation system, and segment-first Apple CarPlay which, by the way, is a really cool feature. Apart from this, there are also steering-mounted controls, keyless entry, push button start, USB and AUX ports, and special coating on the glass which prevents UV rays from entering the cabin. Also commendable are the safety features such as ABS, EBD and dual airbags which are offered as standard on all variants

DRIVING ;

The ride of the Baleno car is very good. We have only driven the 195/55R16 (top-of-the-line variant) and yet to experience the other variant that comes shod with smaller tyres. But the ride will more of less remain the same. The suspension absorbs all the bumps with ease making it a smooth ride. On the other hand, the handling of the Baleno is just more evolved than the Swift. The alacrity of the chassis is a lot more superior to the other Maruti products thanks to the lighter weight chassis. This not just enhances the power and efficiency, but also improves the driving dynamics. The steering wheel too is light and feels comfortable to drive in city. It does weigh up a bit making it a joy to drive on the highways too.

VERDICT ;

The Baleno RS has most of the points necessary to appeal to an enthusiast like an eager engine performance, being nimble around corners, have a great straight-line stability and good braking power. And then with a claimed fuel-efficiency of 21.4 kmpl, the Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS is still the most fuel efficient petrol hatchback in its segment. The Volkswagen Polo GT TSI and Fiat Abarth Punto might be a little more powerful than the Baleno RS, but then they are more expensive too. So overall, Maruti Suzuki seems to have played their cards well that should help the Baleno RS to be considered as an interesting proposition in the performance-oriented affordable hatchback segment in India.

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Volkswagen Polo GT Facelift Test Drive

OVERVIEW ;

Volkswagen recently launched the new Polo, which we reviewed in our last issue and were quite impressed with the improvements made to it. Now it was only a matter of time that the GT versions came out wearing the new changes. We were invited by the company to drive the petrol and diesel Polo GT in the scenic surroundings of Amby Valley and on a makeshift circuit on an airstrip. Here are the technical changes in the new models. Check On Road Price of Volkswagen cars in Carzprice

EXTERIORS ;

Even in the redesigned Polo GT TSI, little has changed. The front is exactly the same as the Polo facelift and the rear gets the same treatment. But it’s not that Volkswagen hasn’t tried telling people that this is the go-fast version of the regular Polo. So, there is GT badging on the front grille, on the C-pillar, on the rear door, and as a doorstep garnish. The ‘Estrada’ alloy wheels further differentiate the car from the regular Polo. Get On Road Price of Polo GT in Carzprice

However, the biggest difference is that the Polo GT TSI gets a rear spoiler which enhances the appeal of the car especially when looked at from the rear three-quarters. The ground clearance of 168 mm ensures the GT TSI is fit for most Indian roads. Overall, the car retains its classic, sober design and the subtle changes add to the sportiness of the new car. The paint quality and attention to detail is among the best you will find in a hatchback in India.

INTERIORS ;

The Polo GT TSI drives like a dream hatchback and it’s practical too. You get enough space inside the car to fit four people comfortably; three on the backseat can be a little cramped. The boot has enough space for two big bags or a sub-woofer, whichever you prefer.The driver gets seat height adjustment and the instrument panel shows a lot of relevant data like distance to empty as well as some irrelevant stuff like, in this case, the fuel efficiency. There is also tilt and telescopic steering wheel for the driver to adjust his reach.

You also get four speakers with a music system that can read music off a USB device, SD card and AUX. There is also bluetooth connectivity for your smartphone and a lot of buttons on the steering wheel that you can explore when stuck in traffic – the car even makes sure you don’t get bored while sitting idle.The Polo GT TSI comes with automatic climate control and the overall fit and finish of the cabin is exactly what you expect of a German car. The chrome inside the cabin has been subtly used and is tasteful.

PERFORMANCE ;

This is one aspect where the Polo does really well, as do the GT models. The GT TSI with the 7-speed DSG gearbox especially is an absolute bliss to drive. It performs well not just as a good automatic hatchback for your daily errands in the city but also as a performance hatch for your long drives. The GT TDI on the other hand has ample of torque thanks to which it doesn’t demand too many shifts while driving through traffic. That said, the clutch is a bit heavy. Ride quality and visibility all round on both the cars remains good.

The Volkswagen Polo GT TSI retains the same direct injection, turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol engine and the 7-speed DSG gearbox from the earlier GT. In this trim the Polo pumps 105PS of power and 175Nm of torque. The gearbox is seamless and responds instantly to the inputs of the throttle. Slot it into Sports or shift manually and the Polo GT TSI with its easy and quick revving engine makes for a delightful drive.

The GT TDI with the new 1.5-litre engine feels even more energetic than the petrol. Despite the fact that Volkswagen has retained the same engine from the standard Polo for excise duty benefits, it pumps out an extra 15PS of power and 20Nm of torque in the GT TDI guise. However, even though the new GT TDI is more punchy to drive than the regular similarly engine diesel Polo, it does feel a little lacklustre compared to the older 1.6-litre powered TDI. As for the shifts on this manual; the 5-speed gearbox is slick with precise and short throws.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

The Volkswagen Polo GT TSI also gets ESP which prevents wheel-spin although this system isn’t really required on this car since power is fed in a smooth manner. There is also hill hold which isn’t of much use on an automatic car. The GT TSI is lighter than the GT TDI and is less stiffer too, the softness of the suspension being very noticeable when you hit a bump, the tendency to bounce a bit and leave its line is there. There is less understeer though and ride quality is excellent. The steering is quick but could do with more feedback, more so considering the GT is a performance model. Braking performance is excellent and the car stops dead in its track at any given speed (the hazards turn on when you stand on the brakes). The new Apollo Alnac tyres offer better grip and don’t lose traction as quickly as the Aceleres offered before. Request test drive for Volkswagen Polo GT in Cazprice

SAFETY ;

Last year when it was reported that some of the most popular compact cars sold in India failed crash tests done by Global NCAP, almost immediately Volkswagen announced dual front airbags as standard fitment on all variants of the Polo. That says something about the company’s commitment to safety. The GT TSI gets ample safety features such as dual front airbags as standard, anti-lock braking system, rear-parking sensors, electronic stabilisation programme and hill-hold function. However, we believe that in addition to rear-parking sensors there should have been a rear-parking camera too.

VERDICT ;

What advantage the Polo GT TSi has is that it isn’t just an automatic that is fuel-efficient but at the same time it is more powerful than the conventional automatics. This means you can take this hatchback for weekend drives and at the same time even use it as your daily city car. This is fun and convenient at the most affordable cost.The German build quality, driving dynamics and the styling of the Polo makes it stand out of the crowd. The Polo is the oldest premium hatchback in its segment, but the German automaker has done a phenomenal job to keep it fresh in design and even features. The Polo is certainly a good option to consider.