10 Affordable Benefits of Using A Virtual Phone System

If you own or run a company, you will more than likely be familiar with a PBX (private branch exchange) phone system. This local phone network allows your workers/employees access to phone calls while sharing a few external company phone lines or numbers. In other words, customers calling your company’s phone number can be quickly routed to the proper agents or branches within your company.Obviously, having an efficient PBX phone system is crucial to the operation of any company – big or small. Therefore, choosing and implementing any PBX should be taken seriously because your decision can often determine how successful your company will become in the future.

With competition getting fiercer in almost all business sectors, it is critically important for a business enterprise to have an efficient communication system for it to stay and survive and grow. After studying various phone systems available in the market, it can be said without fear of contradiction that a hosted PBX virtual phone service is the best option for small and midsize business houses to optimally meet their communication needs.The hosted virtual PBX solution offers you numerous useful features compared to the old hardware based systems and more than that, it enables you to save a lot of money. Yet another huger benefit of virtual PBX system is that you need not invest in costly equipment and the maintenance and support is the responsibility of the service provider.

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

1. Total Integration

Let’s face it; we have become a totally mobile computer obsessed world – one that is completely connected every second of every day. Total integration of your company into this mobile connected world is the only way to proceed. Using a virtual PBX system will fully integrate your company’s operations into this wireless environment and synchronize all your operations with your computer network.

2. Quick Set-up Or Installation

Installation or set-up is almost instant as there are no landlines or hardware to install. The common use of cell phones, mobile tablets/laptops makes setting up a Virtual PBX system quite painless. While many virtual phone providers do supply special VOIP phones your company can use, but depending on the size of your operation, your current smartphones and computers may suffice.

3. Cheaper Costs With One Monthly Payment

Virtual phone systems usually cost less than traditional ones – especially when you consider the expense of installation and ongoing maintenance of a landline system. There is one low monthly payment, and long-distance calls will be cheaper over a VOIP system.

4. Completely Scalable

A virtual phone system is completely scalable – you can add lines or numbers within seconds. This factor is important if your company is growing quickly and you want to keep costs to a minimum.

5. Location Independence

With a web-based phone service, you and your workers have complete access regardless of where they are located. This location independence means your company is no longer limited to one location. Also, it means customers can reach your company 24/7, 365 days of the year.

6. Flexible

These virtual phone systems are very flexible when it comes to call management. There are many options including voice mail, direct routing or even a virtual secretary if you’re operating on a small budget.

7. Convenience

Again, having a web-based system will offer much more convenience since you and your workers are no longer restricted to one location. Calls can be accessed from anywhere at any time, so this offers great convenience to your workers.

8. Enhance Customer Interaction

Virtual systems can offer greater enhanced customer interaction especially if they are set-up properly where a customer is quickly directed to the right service or employee that can solve their problem or issue within minutes.

9. Internet Fax

Most of these virtual phone providers also offer Internet or online fax as an additional feature that can be a major benefit for companies. Online faxing is portable, convenient, flexible and much cheaper than traditional faxing methods.

10. Competitiveness

Competitiveness is a major benefit that should be considered by any company opting for a virtual or cloud solution to their phone network operations. Any owner will have to consider if having a phone system that is mobile, scalable, flexible, convenient, cost-efficient and totally integrated into the web will simply make your company more competitive?

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Renault Duster Engine & Safety Features

INTRODUCTION ;

It is the revised and improved version of the SUV that started the avalanche of compact SUVs in the country; a segment that the Hyundai Creta is currently milking. The Creta had delivered a knockout punch to the Duster not just by winning every comparison test it entered, but by outselling the Renault Duster by a huge margin.The latter isn’t taking this thrashing lying down, and now with its refreshed exterior, improved interior quality, more equipment and crucially, an affordable and efficient automatic gearbox, the Renault Duster is back with a vengeance. Check price of Duster

DESIGN ;

Those anticipating a sea change to the exterior would be disappointed to know that Renault hasn’t fiddled much with the Duster’s design. Yes, the purposeful-looking stance is still there though what’s new for this 2016 model is some garnishing to the bits that matter. The square-ish headlights, for instance, are a lot busier now and feature multiple sharp creases and the front bumper, too, is equally refreshed with dollops of brushed silver cladding.

Never is a major facelift complete without a newer set of alloy wheels and for the Duster, Renault has opted for a 5-spoke blacked-out design that seems to have been inspired from those good old die-cast models from Hot Wheels. Apply car loan for Duster at Carzprice

The new Duster also gets chunky-looking roof rails, different wing mirrors and a revised taillight cluster with funky detailing. While these new taillights retain the basic shape of the old units, they do look rather nice when lit up. Rounding off the changes, there’s a new colour option as seen on the car here. Called Cayenne orange, this shade really brings out the taut and beefy lines of the Duster.

CABIN ;

The interior too is familiar but the upgrades and changes made do go a long way in making it a lot more user friendly. For starters the ridiculous ORVM adjustment switch is no longer below the handbrake and has now found a new position on the driver’s side. There are also a set of new AC vents which get a lovely contrast surround option on a few select variants. The new centre console is smart and not overdone in any way.

The Duster also gets climate control now but the touchscreen infotainment system is pretty much similar to what we got earlier. That said, the screen position has been moved slightly lower than before making it difficult to read the map at a quick glance or do simple acts like playing a new song or choosing another radio station. The quality of the plastics too have improved over the early cars but there are still niggles on certain panels that continue to persist. Other features include cruise control, a reversing camera with parking sensors and GPS navigation which comes as standard on the top of the line variant.

Although Renault has skipped on the leather seat option, the fabric seats do offer a sense of richness with its dual textured. Again, as with the accents on the dashboard, certain variants like the AWD get unique fabrics and colors that do look a lot better. That said, the issue with the driver’s side seat, which tends to rock back and forth when put on its lowest setting still exists as it did on the original Duster and that, in our opinion is frankly unacceptable.

Rear seats are comfortable but do not have a 60/40 folding split. Legspace seems to have improved over the earlier car due to a scooped out front seat and the omission of the rear AC vents. That said, in a market like India, we would have much rather preferred a rear AC system instead of extra few centimeters of legspace.

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION ;

As before, the Duster is available with a 104PS, 1.6-litre petrol engine, an 85PS, 1.5-litre diesel and a 110PS, 1.5-litre diesel. Again, front-wheel drive is standard though the 110PS diesel can also be opted with all-wheel drive. What is new is the option of an automated manual transmission or AMT for the 110PS front-wheel drive Duster. Renault calls the system Easy-R (to be read as ‘easier’) and, well, it does make driving in heavy traffic less of a chore.

At mild throttle inputs in average scenarios, automatic gearshifts on the six-speed ’box are timely and largely predictable. Gearshifts aren’t exactly seamless, but unlike the characteristically abrupt shifts of other AMTs, the Duster’s gearbox swaps ratios more progressively. We suspect the K9K 1.5 diesel engine’s relatively heavier flywheel has a smoothening effect. The Duster Automatic is the first AMT to come with hill-start assist too, which allows for safe getaways on an incline.

Where the Duster’s AMT unit does get caught out is when you press down hard on the accelerator, say to overtake. There’s a bit of a delay before the gearbox downshifts to the right gear and in general, there’s no escaping the characteristic AMT ‘head-nod’ or pause in power between gearshifts. Gearshifts are expectantly not as fluid as on the Creta’s more sophisticated torque converter unit, but its safe to say this is the best AMT in the market today.

The Easy-R gearbox does give drivers the option to shift manually too. In manual mode, gearshifts are nicer and what’s good is that the electronics don’t intervene with an upshift right till 5000rpm. This is an important point because it gives you better control especially through corners and on hilly roads.

Earlier Dusters were known for transmitting road shock through the steering wheel and while this has been minimised, there’s still a fair bit of judder that filters through the steering whilst cornering on rough roads. Handling on the whole though is surefooted and predictable and the Duster’s legendary ability to flatten bad roads is just as good. The suspension is one of the highlights on the Duster. While it can come across as a tad stiff at low speeds, it absorbs just about everything at higher speeds. The AWD version gets independent rear suspension that is a touch more supple and sure-footed but, as mentioned, it doesn’t come with an AMT option, which is only reserved for the front-wheel-drive version.

DRIVING DYNAMICS

Ride quality of the Duster is also a big plus. The monocoque construction, the rigid chassis and a good match in the 215/65 R16 tyres give the Duster confident handling characteristics on the highway and winding hill roads. The suspension set up includes anti-roll bars at the front and the rear. Though very bad roads momentarily seem to leave the Duster a bit unsettled, the suspension does an excellent job of soaking up most of the challenges that regular roads throw at it. Some amount of road and wind noise seeped into the cabin in the RxL variant I was driving, but that could be a one-off. The noise was absent in the RxZ variant I drove later and I am also told by Renault engineers that considerable work has been done on insulating the cabin.

SAFETY FEATURES ;

The New Renault Duster AMT gets safety features like ABS & EBD, along with brake assist function. There is ESP and hill-start assist too, as well as dual air-bags at the front. It also has central locking, speed sensitive door locking and driver seat belt warning. The New Renault Duster AMT is fairly feature loaded.

CONCLUSSION ;

The Renault Duster has now got a new lease of life with so many significant updates. It looks younger, gets more appeal and also comes with the convenience of an AMT gearbox. Sure, it lacks the finesse of its direct rival, the Hyundai Creta, but otherwise it is very fun to drive and power is in abundance too. The Renault Duster has positioned itself as a very strong product in the affordable SUV space and with all these enhancements, the vehicle has just improved its own standing in the market.

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Mercedes Benz CLA Class Performance

OVERVIEW

The Mercedes CLA is an entry-level sedan offered by the Stuttgart-based automaker. The CLA was first launched a couple of years back and it is based on the A-Class. The sedan is one of the best looking cars out there in the market and now the automaker has given it a minor update as part of a mid-life facelift The Mercedes CLA is known to be one of the most aerodynamic cars. The vehicle has sporty dynamics and while it isn’t targeted towards families or people looking for rear seat space, the CLA makes for a smart choice for the millennials.

EXTERIOR AND DESIGN

A coupe like looks with futuristically rounded tail lamps & frameless doors had always been one of the strong points for Mercedes CLA ever since its launch. The long swooping bonnet merging into the neatly flowing roof line at the rear renders an impeccable silhouette for the most stylish car on offer in the segment. The classic Mercedes emblem resting snugly on sloping bonnet along with a large three pointed star on the grille creates a nice identity statement for the brand.

One look at the side profile & you cannot miss the beautifully crafted doors with smooth flowing folds lines that define the bold character for the car.

Like the exteriors, you will find a lot of similarity with the Mercedes A Class. The retro sporty style AC vents with a large dia shouts out loud on the dashboard & is one of the most noticeable design touches on the interior. 2017 CLA also comes with a refreshed dashboard insert with a new colour & a rich texture adding a pinch of luxury premium to the interiors.

INTERIOR AND SPACE

Inside a Benz, there are some things that you can take for granted like luxury, comfort and amazing fit and finish of trims. The CLA too follows the same tradition of delivering one of the finest interiors seen in a luxury compact sedan.

It looks visually more appealing than an Audi A3 as the complex lines of the dashboard paired with the mix of use of aluminium, soft touch leather and soft touch buttons make it feel expensive. The front dashboard, like the A-Class, borrows many elements including the air con vents and instrumental styling from the higher models thus making its customer feel connected with the brand.

It comes with sporty seats for the front as well as rear passengers. Unlike the hot seats in the CLA45AMG, these seats are comparatively more comfortable. The front zone can accommodate fairly tall passengers provided they are not too keen on moving their knees around. The rear passengers are not in for any joy as the sloping rear roofline will be an obstacle always especially if the car is being driven enthusiastically. While the rear passengers do get a door handle on top to hold, the front co-passenger doesn’t get one.

The other issue being that of the front view getting completely blocked by tall front seats. It gets individual rear seats which can seat only two occupants in comfort and leaves a remote possibility of squeezing one more provided he agrees to sit in between with a folded central armrest to his back support.

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE

;We are test-driving the CLA 200 here and mechanically, the car is unchanged from before this refresh. Under the hood is the same 1991cc, four-cylinder turbo-petrol with a power rating of 184hp and maximum torque of 300Nm. The engine is quite responsive and generally quick off the line, with barely perceptible turbo lag. It spins quite freely and propels the car into three-digit speeds without breaking a sweat. It is mated to a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic gearbox which complements the car’s sporty orientation rather well.

Press the accelerator sedately and the gearbox skips through the ratios rather quickly to maximise efficiency and minimise engine noise. In fact, the upshifts, under such gentle driving, are more or less seamless. Slam the gas hard, though, and you will see the speedo needle spin to the redline (in Sport mode) before the gearbox shifts up. It transforms from a sedate background worker to a frontline soldier almost immediately. It is so eager and aggressive that it will gladly downshift two ratios at a time if it senses urgency in your foot flexing. And if you’re still not satisfied, all you need to do is tug at the paddles behind the wheel to take control (or at least most of it) of gear shifts.

The engine is mostly refined, though it does become progressively more vocal with rising revs; mind you, this is not a complaint, because its snarl is rather satisfying. The different engine modes – Comfort, Sport and Eco – mainly alter the engine and gearbox response.

RIDE AND HANDLING

While the engines are powerful enough for the segment, it is the transmission that takes the cake. The 7G-DCT dual-clutch gearbox combines the comfort of a 7-speed automatic transmission with the driving dynamics of a manual, and is perfectly aligned to the power output of these engines. The gearbox consists of two sub-transmissions—one transfers the tractive power to the wheels while the other preselects the next gear, leading to quick, smooth shifts.

The ground clearance of 165 mm ensures the CLA won’t scrape most speed-breakers found on our roads. But while the ride quality is good, on bad roads the CLA turns a little nervous; however, the ride quality never goes harsh. The car behaves its best on smooth roads and cornering even at high speeds is a lot of fun. Braking is spot-on.

SAFETY

Being a Mercedes, there are a host of safety features. You get attention assist (which monitors the steering behaviour of the driver, recognises signs of drowsiness and warns accordingly); automatic headlamp; ABS; electronic stability; tyre pressure monitor; reverse camera; and six airbags.

CONCLUSSION

The Indian introduction of the Mercedes Benz CLA has been a highly anticipated one. The good news is, the CLA doesn’t disappoint. It is good looking, well put together and premium and luxurious for its class. It’s well specced too, and honestly, it isn’t too bad a drive; the petrol for sure isn’t. So, is it worth buying? Yes, it is! And should you also consider it over all else in the same price bracket? Well, now that’s a difficult one because if it’s value you want, there are clearly better options. But, if it’s a badge you want to flaunt and feel good about, yes, the CLA is just the ticket.

 

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Hyundai Grand i10 Facelift Performance & Test Drive

OVERVIEW ;

Hyundai Motors India LTD launched the facelift Grand i10 in India; the hatchback was unveiled for the first time in UK last year. While the hatchback is sold in the European market as the new generation i10 the same car is sold alongside its predecessor in the Indian market.The facelift hatchback which was launched yesterday promises redefined exterior styling, Hi-tech Features, improved performance and Fuel Efficiency. Priced in between INR 4.58 Lakhs – to INR 7.33 Lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi), this new hatchback surely brings a lot on the table.

DESIGN AND STYLE ;

There are very few changes to the exteriors but they do give the car a fresher look. The front bumper gets a mild tweak in design which includes a new fog lamp housing, honey comb grille and LED DRLs, which come on only when the handbrake is disengaged. The side profile continues to remain similar save for the redesigned 14-inch alloy wheels. At the rear, the bumper gets the most apparent change which includes a thick black strip with circular reflectors on either side. The Grand i10 has always been a pleasant looking car and the update looks good too. Find best offers on Grand i10

CABIN AND COMFORT ;

Step inside & you’ll find yourself wearing a nice, cheery smile near instantly. The cabin is a class act on the Grand i10. Fit & Finish levels are brilliant for the class. The dashboard is neat & well-put together. Get behind the steering wheel & you recognize the parts sharing that’s gone behind the car, but all that doesn’t really matter. You notice the fully-specced out interiors.The seat height adjust, the Bluetooth enabled entertainment systems; auto-folding mirrors, key-less entry & push-button start. Hyundai have even gone ahead & given the car a cooled glove-box for good measure! Plus, there’s enough storage options in the dash, the gear console & the door-pads to keep everyone happy as punch. What’s more, open the trunk & you’ll be delighted to see the amount of space that’s available. There’s enough in there to stow away the weekend luggage for all four occupants, with the backpack & duffel bag for the fifth occupant squeezed right in.

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION ;

This new hatchback also gets a new power source; an all-new, 1.1-litre, three-cylinder diesel motor (codename: U2) which develops 70bhp. Now, diesel engines and three cylinders don’t really go well together, as both are inherently prone to vibration, so it’s no surprise that the Grand i10 flutters and vibrates softly at idle. This new engine may be essentially Hyundai’s 1.4 four-cylinder unit with a cylinder chopped off, but that creamy idle is gone.Counter-balancing shafts have been used to iron out the inherent imbalance of a three-cylinder configuration, so when you rev the engine, it smoothens out a bit. There is a hint of turbo lag, but after 1,500rpm, the motor pulls cleanly and with a fair amount of enthusiasm. Performance feels smooth and linear at best, but you truly miss that strong surge in the mid-range that is so typical of more powerful diesel motors. The top-end isn’t strong either, and the engine labours as you cross the 3,500rpm mark, so it’s best to upshift early. Refinement on the move, however, is pretty good. At low revs, the engine is never intrusive and it’s only when you near the redline that you can really tell it’s a diesel. It must be said that this motor lacks the punch needed to really make the Grand i10 fun to drive, but the new Hyundai does have the right gearing for city driving. The short gearing makes you feel at home in the city and coupled with short throws, navigating through the box isn’t tiresome. We also had a go in the petrol version of the Grand i10 with the manual gearbox (it’s also available with a four-speed automatic). It uses the same 1.2-litre ‘Kappa 2’ four-cylinder motor as the current i10, which is equipped with variable valve timing (VVT in Hyundai speak).And just like the i10, it feels fairly peppy to drive. It may lack the outright performance of cars like the Swift or the Brio but, the power delivery is smooth and there is adequate power throughout most of the rev-range. You get useable power from 1500rpm and this makes it comfortable to drive in the city. Also, a strong mid-range means you can easily cruise at a reasonable 100kph on the highway and still have some power left in reserve for a quick overtaking manoeuvre.

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 like Grand i10 gets advanced safety features 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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Renault Kwid Facelift Overview

OVERVIEW ;

This, the new Renault Kwid AMT, is possibly the last chapter in the current Kwid’s evolution story. The story itself mirrors that of the high-selling Alto quite closely: First there was the 800cc, then the 1-litre came along, and now there’s the 1-litre with the AMT ‘box. And, we must say, this one is special. Sure, it has its shortcomings, but as a package for first time car buyers, it does more right than WRONG. Check price of Kwid

DESIGN ;

The Renault Kwid, happily, doesn’t evoke any of that. Dimensionally, it belongs to its class but design wise it is not anything we have ever seen in the segment. With its SUV inspired styling and a much modern design, it will strike a quick rapport with both the vibrant young as well as the sanely matured. Not an exaggeration to say, this ne also proved to be a looker as we kept answering the curious beings all over.

A dark chain linked grille holds the bold Renault logo on the front with slender clear lens headlamps to the side. To add some razzmatazz, there is chrome detailing done inside the headlamps. Move behind and you would see the muscular contours curving below the grille. The fog lamp housing also gets swanky matte surround; affixed to the bumper.

The front hood has multiple characteristic lines to make it look more appealing and the same can be felt with the steeply designed windscreen. The strong shoulder line flows from the muscular wheel arch in the front before parting way and moving up towards the C-pillar. The efforts taken to make the Kwid look distinct from other offerings can be seen with intricate detailing done on the side such as scooped door handle pockets, boxy fuel lid shape and other contour lines on the side profile. Apply car loan for Kwid at Carzprice

The ORVMs are done in contrasting black and need to be manually adjusted from outside. The matte cladding running over squarish wheel arches on the front and rear doesn’t look out of sync and instead blend nicely with the overall arrangement. The tall ground clearance of 180mm makes it sound relevant to the SUV inspiration and is also a best in class feature.

CABIN ;

One step into the Kwid and you already know you are getting into a fairly spacious hatchback by segment standards. The chunky steering wheel is neatly shaped and the Kwid comes with a digital instrument cluster, which is a first for its class. It comes with a elaborate trip computer and fuel economy reading which should help budget car buyers alter their driving style to eke out more efficiency.

The quality of plastics for a car of its price is quite good except for places like the door handles and aircon controls but overall the Kwid doesn’t look like it’s built cheap. There are plenty of storage spaces in the Kwid – two glove boxes, the top one with a bottle holder, two bottle holders in the front door pockets and plenty of scooped up places in the dashboard and in front of the gear lever. The seats are of the foamy, cushiony kind, and well contoured for the front passengers. The headrest is integrated and there’s decent under thigh support. It’s a spacious entry level hatchback, and in terms of boot space, it’s better than a few cars above the segment as well. At 300 litres, you can carry a big suitcase and an overnighter comfortably.

The Kwid has the longest wheelbase in its class at 2423mm, about 60mm more than the Alto and 40mm more than the Eon. It is also much wider than its closest competition and so you get more legroom and shoulder room. The Kwid’s packaging is seriously impressive.

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;

The 1.0-litre Renault Kwid produces 67 BHP at 5500 RPM and 91 Nm at 4250 RPM. This basically means 14 BHP and 19 Nm more at lower RPMs when compared to the 800cc engine. The added capacity and retuned engine offers strong low end and mid-range punch. The 3-cylinder engine doesn’t feel strained now and easily picks up the pace without letting you put effort. In-gear acceleration is better now and you don’t need to shift more frequently while driving in city traffic. The 5-speed transmission still feels a bit sluggish to use but has well defined gates.

100 km/hr comes up quickly if you upshift a tad before the redline since it doesn’t feel too responsive at the higher end of the rev band. Renault has worked on the NVH levels, which makes it less noisy and it feels more refined now. The more powerful Kwid now feels at home on the highways since you can cruise around 100 km/hr with ease at lower RPMs. The claimed fuel efficiency has gone down a bit to 23.01 km/l since there is a bigger engine under the hood.

DRIVING AND DYNAMICS ;

Truly, the Renault Kwid 2017 impresses in many ways and that includes the ride and handling. It maintains Renault’s legacy of a fantastic ride quality, similar to what we have seen in the Duster and Lodgy as well. The potholes are not much of a bother when you are behind the wheel of the Kwid. Yes, it glides over them. The handling is something unseen in this segment and the Renault Kwid 2017 can put to shame many a cars from higher segments too. The steering is well weighted, not too light or heavy either and the feedback is quite precise.

CONCLUSSION ;

Design is often half the battle won here in the Indian market, and so Renault is off to a good start with the Kwid. It has also armed itself well, with many trump cards like a premium cabin, plenty of space, the best fuel economy, loads of equipment and ride comfort that is class leading. And Renault has got its strategy and pricing right too. The company has been clever to save costs in areas that customers won’t notice or mind, and instead provided features – like that touchscreen – that people really want. The company also claims it will offer the lowest overall ownership cost in its class; an uphill task when you’re up against Maruti. And, with 98 percent localisation of parts, it seems to have nailed the price too. The fully loaded car tested here (the RXT with options) retails for just 3.53 lakh(ex showroom Delhi), which is only around Rs 9000 above the top of the line Maruti Alto VXi. Yes it has its flaws, mainly with the engine, which falls short on refinement and power delivery, and some of the cheaper Kwids aren’t well equipped. Still, all things considered, Renault’s Kwid clearly is a breath of fresh air in this class, and from the look of things, has all the makings of a game changer. It’s deeply desirable, clearly capable and the aggressive price is only the icing on the cake.

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Maruti Suzuki Swift Engine & Safety Features

OVERVIEW ;

Maruti Suzuki Swift is one of the most easily spotted cars running on Indian roads. Launched in 2005, Swift has been here for more than ten years. Like most of the Maruti cars, Swift price is positioned competitively with entry level variant priced at Rs 5.96 lakh and the top-of-the-line variant available at Rs 6.3 lakh. Clearly the most contemporary looking hatch in MSI’s clan until Baleno came Swift has had an easy run amid rivals topping the popularity chart. During its product cycle, Swift has undergone one comprehensive facelift in 2011 followed by a couple of mild overhauls and various limited editions. Prepping to take a leap into the next generation, the new 2017 Maruti Suzuki Swift will receive vital changes to the exterior and interior. Dimensionally, it will be 50mm longer implicating more space inside the cabin. The new Maruti Suzuki Swift will underpin the new global platform used in Baleno and Ignis, implying lighter body as compared to the 3rd gen-model. Launched first in 2005, Maruti Suzuki Swift was a runaway success and its popularity continues in B segment.Check On Road Price of Swift

EXTERIORS AND STYLE ;

The next generation Maruti Swift shares great resemblance with its predecessor, but the new design alterations have added a sporty charm to the vehicle. With its curvy and elegant body, the Swift is definitely one of the most beautiful cars ever seen in its segment. The new Swift looks bigger with extended dimensions, stylish front grill, large headlamps, ORVMs with integrated blinkers, chrome-finished logo and fog lamps. The coloured door handles, thin window glasses, mirror cowls and alloy wheels further enhance its aggressive look. Its rear looks quite refreshing with body-colored bumper and chic LED tail lights. Maruti Swift has all the crunchy features that have made it a game changer in the Indian automotive industry. Exchange your old car for Swift

The mid variants of Maruti Swift are available with 14-inch steel wheels, whereas its top variants are equipped with 15-inch steel wheels, adding extra elegance to this premium hatchback. With an aim to offer comfortable and sporty drive, the new Maruti Swift comes with puncture-resistant tubeless tyres. The 165/ 80 R14 and 185/ 65 R15 are the standard tyre sizes for 14- and 15-inch steel wheels, respectively. The tyres are highly efficient and offer better grip over the rough Indian roads

INTERIORS AND COMFORT ;

Step inside the Swift, and you’d notice the interiors have received a major overhaul. There’s practically nothing that looks similar to the older generation, which we think is a big plus right off the bat. Most importantly, levels of quality have also gone up a notch. Yes, it isn’t in the league of the Hyundai Grand i10, but it does get pretty close.To aid the ‘sporty’ positioning, there’s no trace of a light colour in the cabin. Everything from the dashboard to the upholstery is engulfed in black. To break the monotony, Maruti has cleverly used matte silver accents around the centre-console, the door pads, and the steering. While the all-black theme does look good, it robs the cabin of its sense of space. The dull grey headliner and the black upholstery makes the cabin feel claustrophobic. This is especially prominent in the rear, where the small window amplify the feeling.

The front seats are among the best in the business, and can be adjusted for height, reach and tilt. They have the right amount of cushioning on the side, and there’s ample lower back and underthigh support as well. The steering, sadly, only adjusts for tilt – there’s no reach adjust on offer. That said, the steering is placed at a neutral distance from the dash and you’d rarely have a problem. It is just the right size, and feels nice to hold. In the top-spec variants, it also gets controls for the audio and the calls. Behind the steering lies the updated instrument cluster. It does look nice, and we especially like the silver outline it gets for the speedometer and the tachometer pods. There’s a monochrome MID sandwiched between the two, that reads out information such as the trip efficiency, time and distance to empty over and above the standard trip and odometer.

It scores very high in terms of ergonomics. The positioning of switches, the air-conditioning controls and even the cubby holes is right where you’d want them. The centre-console gets the waterfall theme kickstarted yet again, and houses a 2DIN audio system (with Bluetooth, USB and AUX inputs) and the automatic climate control interface. Air-conditioning works pretty efficiently, and cools the cabin down quickly. One will feel the lack of rear AC vents, though, especially since the all-black cabin doesn’t do much to keep in-cabin heat low.The Swift is a driver-oriented car, and there’s no denying the fact the driver’s seat is the seat to be in. This is made evident the moment you hop onto the rear bench. While Maruti claim an increase of 22mm in legroom, it still isn’t a comfortable place to be in – especially over long distances. The headroom isn’t all that great thanks to the sloping roofline, and the width barely manages to accommodate three abreast.Summing up, the Swift’s cabin is definitely a good place to be in. There’s a good blend of practicality and feel-good creature comforts to make it a rounded hatch for the city.

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;

Maruti Suzuki has come under a lot of pressure as newer cars in the segment were boasting of more mileage, thus both the engines had to be re-tuned for improved efficiency. The 1.2-litre K-Series mill now produces 2.7 PS less power, thus is outputs 84.3 PS at 6000 RPM while the torque has increased by 1 Nm to 115 Nm at 4000 RPM. This has been achieved by increasing the compression ratio from 10.0:1 to 11.0:1, the vehicle now returns an ARAI mileage of 20.4 km/l against the old car’s 18.5 km/l. The petrol mill has good mid and top-end performance and loves the redline, the changes made to the powertrain aren’t very apparent when you drive the car as it still moves with the same punchiness as before.

Coming to the famous diesel engine of the Maruti Suzuki Swift, the 1.3-litre Fiat motor, it hasn’t been tuned, thus it generates the same 75 PS at 4000 RPM and 190 Nm at 2000 RPM as before. The company has made tweaks to the ECU while also reducing friction to improve the mileage which is now rated at a stellar 25.2 km/l (the old car was claimed to return 22.9 km/l). The oil burner is fun to drive on the open road but there is considerable low-end lag which makes it difficult to drive the vehicle in stop-go city conditions. But once the turbo spools in full flow, the mid-range punch is extremely satisfying, still not as good as the last generation Swift which gave a kick in the pants feel like no other. Both the petrol and diesel engines are married to a 5-speed manual gearbox and there is still no automatic on offer, not even on the petrol model. Want an automatic only, get the DZire or so is what Maruti feels.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

The Maruti Swift 2016 is one of the few Suzuki that we pick when it comes to handling. The chassis of this hatchback is responsive and changes directions without much of a hassle. It is agile and it does well around bends. This is one of the strong points of the Swift. This chassis has been built to handle Swift Sport’s power, hence with this engine it does a good job. The ride on the Swift too is composed. It is a bit stiff, but that to improve the handling. The Maruti Swift 2016 certainly has a great package when it comes to the ride and handling aspects. The other strong point for the Swift is its steering wheel. It is light at low speeds and it weighs as you gather momentum.

SAFETY FEATURES ;

For the safety of the passengers inside the new Japanese spec Swift hatchback gets seven airbags, ABS with EBD, Rear defogger, Reverse parking camera with sensors, ESP and Hill Hold Assist (RSt variant), LED DRLs while there is also an Optional Safety Pack (which comprises of Dual Camera Brake Support, Lane Departure Warning, and speed limiter).

CONCLUSSION ;

Overall the newL Swift takes the evolution of the Swift brand to a new level. Everything about the car is more crisp and essentially you get a feeling of being offered a lot more car than before and that is a boon considering the changing market dynamics. In 2005 when MSIL rolled out the Swift it set a benchmark for the premium hatchback segment. Now with competition having grown so much, the Swift was definitely getting old in the tooth, but it possessed immense brand value and had a strong fan following. The new Swift retains those values yet manages to take the game more than just a notch higher.From the looks of it, the new Swift is here to reset the benchmark and the competition might as well start planning their arsenal. With the ability to rule the roost, the only factor that will seal the new Swift’s fate as kingpin of the premium hatchback segment is its pricing. Maruti has been known to price its small cars extremely aggressively and we hope to see that with this car as well.

 

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Datsun GO Plus Features & Gear box

OVERVIEW ;

Nissan revived the Datsun brand after a huge time period and launched the GO entry-level hatchback in India. Unfortunately, the GO did not sell as well as anticipated in the market and recently the vehicle received a lot of flak for performing terribly in the NCAP crash test. Datsun has also developed an MPV based on the GO and with the recent climb in sales that MPVs are witnessing, Datsun seems to be quite optimistic that it will be able to gain decent sales with the GO+. But, the Datsun GO+ competes with some products that have the backing of manufacturers with a huge service network. So how does the GO+ perform? Does it have what it takes to capture the market? A nice drive through Rishikesh, Uttarakhand allows us to test the GO+ and its capabilities. Check Ex Showroom Price of GO +

EXTERIOR AND LOOK

The Datsun Go+ is essentially a larger version of the standard Go. And just as with the latter, the Go+’s styling will not really sweep you off your feet. The large hexagonal grille and chunky headlamps go add a sense of sophistication to the car. Just like with the Go, the Go+ looks more expensive than it actually is with its distinctively muscular bonnet lines. The side profile too isn’t disproportionate and a well defined waist line reminds us of the Mercedes-Benz B-Class.

The rear could have certainly done with a bit more excitement though. A chrome moulding instead of a body coloured one could have easily been incorporated to break up the monotonous tail gate. The extended greenhouse and body structure on the Go+ looks well integrated and reminds us of cars like the first generation Ford Focus Wagon. The small 13-inch wheels though take away most of the hard work that the designers put into the Go+. Not only does the Datsun Go+ look undertyred, the lack of alloy wheels even on the fully loaded version is slightly disappointing. Find best offers on GO+

CABIN AND COMFORT

Except the 3rd row, inside of the GO+ is identical to the hatch sibling. The dash and door panels are of ‘greige’ (mix of grey + beige) colour. Though plastic quality is very basic and just above satisfactory, sturdiness of the panels is a point worth mentioning here.We quite liked the black centre console that looks quite finished and smoother than the rest of the dashboard which carries a grainy texture. Quality of the plastic panels is decent & the GO+ uses the Sunnys-shaped door handles (save for the chrome).The GO+ uses an old school ‘stick’ type locking knobs, which might remind you of the car in which u learnt driving, but admiring them is a bit difficult. Central locking is available on the top-end variant only. The roof feels damn flimsy. There’s a lot of crunching & crinkling when you push the lining a few inches before hitting the roof. The sun visors have been carried over from the GO and don’t get vanity mirrors.

​​​​​​​The Go+‘s wheelbase is longer than most of our hatchbacks. As a result, there’s ample space in both the rows. What we also liked is the decent shoulder and headroom. Ingress and egress is convenient. Corners of the dashboard slope inward, which is a boon for older drivers who sit first and then swing their legs. Though, an adjustable steering would have made it very comfortable.GO+’s front seats are ‘connected’ to each other – like the HM Ambassador. The driver’s chair is a conventional one, it’s the front passenger’s seat that has an extension to fill the gap. Datsun says that area in-between is useful for placing knick knacks & handbags. But we think –it’s not that thoughtful because in case someone tries to sit there(which we’re sure many would), can be risky.The seats feel offers ample comfort and feels more foamy than cushiony. It gets integrated headrests and the seat cushioning remains thin. Knees of the rear occupant can be felt through the seat, which’s annoying on certain occasions.

ENGINE AND GEARBOX

The Datsun GO+ MPV is also powered by the same engine which also does duty on their Go hatchback because Datsun has not yet introduced any other engines in the Indian market yet neither any product. However, it will be interesting to find out whether this three cylinder 1.2 liter engine which returns 68 bhp of peak power and 104 Nm of torque mated to a 5 speed manual transmission will be powerful enough to carry a vehicle with 7 passengers inside it. The 1.2 Liter engine fitted under the hood of the Datsun Go is definitely smooth and refined but after all it is a 3 cylinder engine push it hard and it surely sounds unhappy. Datsun also has plans to introduce an automatic transmission in the near future and a diesel engine which will power both the Go hatch and the Go+ MPV.Beside all this the tiny 13 inch thin tyres and the overall lightweight of the vehicle will contribute towards returning an impressive fuel economy which will definitely impress many in the Indian market specially keeping the soaring petrol prices in mind.

RIDE AND HANDLING

The Datsun GO+ has a really good ride quality and the suspension managed to absorb most bumps very well. The driver as well as the passengers remained quite comfortable on most bad patches of road and the vehicle too remained very composed. At speeds above the ton, the GO+ remains fairly stable but while taking corners or driving a bit quickly through twisties, we did encounter a fair amount of body-roll. In all of these situations, the vehicle did not lose form and never did we feel that it will go out of control. The MPV gets a speed-sensitive electric power steering. The steering is very light and it is devoid of feedback. The lightness comes in useful while driving on crowded roads or while parking and at higher speeds it does weigh up a bit. Handling is quite crisp and this is actually a fun-to-drive car, just let down by a poor choice of tyres. The puny 13-inch Strada tyres offer just average grip and they disappoint big time. It is clear that Nissan is using them just to save costs. An upgrade to 14-inch wheels will really add to the vehicle’s handling characteristics.

SAFETY

Safety is one of the biggest concerns with the Go +. When its younger sibling, the Datsun Go, was put through the Global NCAP crash test, the results were dismal. It scored zero stars and the testing authority claimed that even if the Go were to be tested with airbags, the results would bear no difference. The car’s structure was just so bad. The Go + is similar to the Go in terms of structure and this is where our concerns lie. Datsun had to trade off a features to keep the costs in check and safety seems to have taken the biggest brunt. While the Go + is sold with an optional driver airbag, we highly recommend looking for a safer alternative.

CONCLUSSION

The Datsun GO+ is a compact vehicle with a good engine, great ride and handling and decent fuel economy. It lacks on the safety front and in case of an unfortunate breakdown, it could be hard to locate a Nissan-Datsun service centre. But it is going to be a really cheap 7-seater and could be a great choice for someone who actually wants all those seats and is on a tight budget. For others, who really do not require a 7-seater, there are better options like the Maruti Wagon R and Hyundai i10 available in the market or the Maruti Ertiga and Honda Mobilio if buyers can stretch their budgets. Still, as far as value for money goes, this Datsun is hard to beat.

 

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Hyundai Elite i20 Price & Gearbox

OVERVIEW ;;

Hyundai has refreshed the popular i20 premium entry-level hatchback for 2017. The Hyundai i20 Elite now gets some exterior and interior upgrades along with even more added features that make it an even more compelling package. The updated i20 on the exterior front now gets a two-tone paint job option i.e. red or white with a gloss black roof option. Although the two-tone trend was popularised by the Vitara Brezza and then is available in the Ignis too, many i20 owners in the past have chosen to paint or wrap their cars in the same way that Hyundai is now offering straight out of the factory. Hyundai has also added yet another shade of blue for the 2017 model year. Blue incidentally has been an extremely popular colour for the premium entry level hatchback. Check On Road Price of Elite i20

EXTERIOR AND DESIGN ;

It would be a pretty bold statement to say that this is the best looking vehicle in its class, but we’re sure many others would agree with us. The designers have fortunately veered away from excessive cuts and slashes for the sake of making it look attractive and instead, the Elite gets an understated layout which grabs attention rather than begging for it. Overall, it has a clean and sharp profile that injects a sliver of sportiness into its image. Admittedly, if you removed the Hyundai emblem, we would’ve easily mistaken it for something made by a European manufacturer. The face is aggressive thanks to the sleek, swept-back headlamps, with muscular lines down the bonnet complementing the chiseled fascia. The chrome outline on the grille adds just the right amount of flash to the front. The Elite i20 is a handsome car thanks to the sharply styled front bumper, which also slims down the car’s front. Even the indicator lights hide in plain sight and are well-integrated into the headlamp cluster. The chrome door handles are a bit much, but then again, Indians do love their chrome. The 16-inch alloy wheels that are nothing short of droolworthy and are a design highlight. You won’t feel the need to forage through aftermarket options. Unlike the Baleno or Jazz, the Elite i20 doesn’t have any MPV-like overtones. The blackened C-pillar slims down the side profile, as does the shoulder-line and door cladding. It’s also interesting to see how the shoulder-line connects the tips of the head and tail lamps.The rear doesn’t get the same slimming elements as the front, but it isn’t bulbous like the Baleno either. The LED-look tail lights look particularly good at night and perhaps a little black cladding in the rear bumper would improve the look from the back. Request test drive for Elite I20 in Cazprice

INTERIOR AND COMFORT ;

As for the cabin, there’s really little to complain about. Overall quality is impressive (though still a notch down on the VW Polo), detailing is impressive (the column stalks feel very rich) and the layered dashboard looks suitably upmarket. If there’s a negative it’s that the screen for the audio system is a tad too small. Some might also find the knobs for the music system small and fiddly, but drivers do get their own set of controls on the well-finished, three-spoke steering wheel. Drivers will also like the good visibility and ability to adjust the steering for rake and reach. The supportive seats and general feeling of space enhance the front seat experience further. Access to the rear seat is nice thanks to the wide door aperture, and once inside you’ll be quite amazed by the space on offer. Legroom and headroom are particularly good and there is sufficient width to seat three. The rear seat also scores well for good back and leg support. However, the backrest is a bit too reclined and the bolstering on its outer edges hurts comfort when seated three abreast. Shorter occupants may also find the windows a little too high for their liking. If there’s a consolation, rear seat occupants do get a dedicated air-con vent in all but the base version of the i20.

And that brings us to features. The top-spec Asta trim we’ve featured comes with lots of equipment as standard. The list includes automatic headlamps, push button start, automatic climate control, an audio player with 1 GB of onboard music storage, Bluetooth telephone function and a reverse camera. Even the mid-spec Sportz trim comes well loaded, but frustratingly essentials such as a rear wash/wipe and a passenger-side airbag are only offered on the top-spec car.

ENGINE AND GEARBOX ;

The new i20 gets the same petrol and diesel powertrain configurations as before though minor tweaks for efficiency and better load management have been employed. I have driven the 1.4-litre 16-valve 4-cylinder CRDI. You get 90PS at 4,000rpm with a superb 222Nm of max torque between 1,500 – 2,750rpm from this engine. Max engine rpm cuts off at 4,750rpm. The power and torque ratings in the new i20 diesel are adequate for every situation though I do feel Hyundai should have tuned it for better bottom end characteristics. The turbocharger kicks in at 1,400rpm and the boost improves acceleration past that point however, under that mark it feels a bit sluggish. Dense traffic as a result will see you shifting through first and second gears constantly, moreover since it comes coupled to a 6-speed manual transmission which is a fuel efficiency enhancer. Hyundai claims an ARAI certified fuel efficiency of 22kmpl for the diesel, with 19kmpl for the petrol. Interestingly the petrol engine gets a 5-speed manual. There is no automatic at the time of launch but expect one in the future.

The new i20 gets the same petrol and diesel power train configurations as before The new i20 gets the same petrol and diesel powertrain configurations as beforeThe diesel engine then, as I mentioned, has got a strong mid-range and you only feel the punch once the turbo kicks in. Acceleration after that is brisk and makes this an effortless highway cruiser. Though having said that it’s no slouch in city traffic either, the responses are sharp and you can get going pretty quickly when the need arises to get past slower moving traffic in urban areas. The diesel is also superbly refined and thanks to immense sound deadening, there is barely any engine clatter audible inside the cabin.The highlight of the Elite i20’s diesel drivetrain is the slick shift leverThe highlight of the Elite i20’s diesel drivetrain is the slick shift lever

The highlight of this drivetrain though is the slick shift lever which has short precise throws. I do like the way you can just give it a light nudge to slot into the required gear. Reverse gear on this can be found in the same place as first gear but engaging it requires you to raise the lever and then slot it into reverse. It’s a safer move unlike what you get in the VW Polo.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

Hyundai has worked towards improving the ride and handling on the Elite i20 and it shows on the move. Though the suspension has been carried over from the older car in theory, the geometry as well as the damping characterisers have been revised significantly. The setup is slightly firmer than the older i20. Surprisingly, it hasn’t affected the ride and the i20 still rides quite well; it feels pliant, absorbent and well judged.

The improvement in handling on the other hand is more than obvious. The body roll, the pitch and the waywardness under quick direction changes have all been tied down tightly giving the i20 a more confident, stable and exploitable handling character. We would have liked a less artificial steering response though; the current setup fails to connect the driver with the happenings. Braking on the other hand, even though Hyundai has ditched rear disc brake in favour of a drum setup, is stable and strong.

SAFETY ;

The Hyundai Elite i20 hasn’t been tested by Global NCAP yet but the first generation Euro-spec i20 got a full 5-star crash test rating at Euro NCAP. The sad thing is that Hyundai India doesn’t offer 6 airbags anymore and the Elite i20 now comes with only dual front airbags, that too on the Asta variant, while only Sportz and Sportz (O) get driver side airbag. ABS is also offered only with Sportz, Sportz (O) and Asta variants while the Era and Magna don’t get any safety features. The Elite i20 comes with Smart Pedal that overrides the accelerator pedal during simultaneous operation of brake and accelerator during panic braking. It also comes with impact sensing door unlock feature that unlocks the doors automatically incase of collision.

CONCLUSSION ;

The Hyundai Elite i20 with all these changes surely can compete easily with some of its potential rivals like the Maruti Baleno and the Ford Figo and Volkswagen Polo in the Indian market. The changes to the exterior and interior are limited to cosmetics, but that does not take the light away from the fact that the i20 is considered as one of the bestsellers of the Indian auto market.

 

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Tata Tiago Hatchback Overview

OVERVIEW ;

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

EXTERIORS AND STYLE ;

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

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

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

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

INTERIOR AND COMFORT ;

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

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

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

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

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;

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

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

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

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

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

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

SAFETY FEATURES ;

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

CONCLUSSION ;

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

 

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Audi R8 Engine & Transmission

OVERVIEW ;

There are cars and there is Audi R8. The entire review can be summarized in this single sentence because there is nothing like R8 in the world at this very moment. Are there cars capable of competing with Audi R8? Probably yes. Does that mean they are better than Audi R8? Certainly no. There might be multiple winners but Audi R8 can never, at least for now, come even as a runner up. Audi R8 is as great it is due to a few reasons. Intelligent engineering, use of lightweight materials and stupendous aerodynamic design. All of these collectively created a legend named R8. The fact that internationally several critics touted this to be the best handling road car to date speaks volumes. Designed as a two door coupe, the vehicle is created as a sports car using the Audi’s trademark Quattro with all wheel drive system, the car is considered the base to none other than the Lamborghini Gallardo. Using aluminium monocoque and designed by the coveted Quattro GmbH division of Audi, the car is destined to greatness in the history of automobiles. With two engine options defined by the number of cylinders, the high rev concept makes both the cylinders function outstandingly on the roads. The very fact that such a car can be on Indian roads, all be it on limited roads, is a matter of celebration.

EXTERIOR AND LOOK ;

Ah, the [ahem] “all-new” Audi R8 is upon us, and this seems to me more like a refresh than a redesign. Yes, I understand Audi not wanting to mess around too much with the R8’s style mojo, but c’mon guys…Up front the changes include a larger hexagonal grille with a bolder outline and a mesh insert, while the air intakes on the edges of the bumpers are shrunken and now have vertical slats. The headlights also got a mild tweak, as their edges are now straight instead of having the subtle curve that the 2015 model had. Additionally, the European market gets the new laser high-beam headlights that use a camera system to detect oncoming traffic and adjust the beam for ideal distribution. Unfortunately, the NHTSA has yet to approve them for use in the U.S.Another key change is the elimination of the vertical contrast stripe just above the rear air intake. This is one change that I am all for, but it’s not revolutionary.

Around back, the 2017 R8 gets lightly revised taillights with new graphics underlined by new rear grilles with mesh inserts. The tailpipes also gain a trapezoidal shape in place of the old circular units, and the diffuser spanning the gap between the tailpipes is revised.On the R8 V10 Plus, there is an added carbon-fiber-reinforced (CFRP) wing.Where there are some pretty significant changes are in the numbers, specifically curb weight. The 2017 R8 V10 Plus checks in at just 3,428 pounds, which is up to 110 pounds less than the 2015 model. This weight loss is thanks to a new multi-material lightweight construction that includes an Audi space frame that weighs only 441 pounds. The body is made up of CFRP B-pillars, central tunnel, and rear wall. The R8’s front end is made of aluminum, as is the roof arch and the rear section of the frame. Despite the weight loss, the new R8 is approximately 40 percent more rigid than the 2015 model. There is no mention of the weight savings in the base R8 V10, but I assume it is roughly the same.

The 2017 R8 is 174 inches long, 76.4 inches wide and 48.8 inches tall, which makes it 0.6 inch shorter, 0.4 inch wider and 0.5 inch lower. The 2017 model’s wheelbase is the same as the previous model’s at 104.3 inches.Though the aesthetic changes are quite minor, and would require a close inspection to notice, I do like the fairly drastic weight loss. I guess I need to give Audi credit for that at least.For 2017, Audi will also improve the R8 e-tron, giving it the same multi-material space frame as the standard model, and also giving it a CFRP rear section. The e-tron’s body also gets a handful of special modifications to drop its drag to 0.28 Cd.

INTERIOR AND COMFORT ;

While the exteriors are quite different, the cabin is a huge step forward from the earlier car. The insides look fresh, new and very original; no regular Audi fare here. And there’s a real sporty element to the cabin. The attractive new bits include floating, chromed-over air-con controls that have mini screens in them; sure to be carried over to Audi sedans and SUVs. And then there’s the big, high-def screen that takes the place of the instrument panel, as on the Audi TT. Known as ‘virtual cockpit’, you can toggle between several modes and screens, the best of which happens to be a large rev counter; redlined at a crazy 8,600rpm. Then there’s the aircraft throttle-like gear selector, and the bit I like the best, the metal steering wheel with the chrome-lined buttons. On the left of the steering boss, there’s one for Audi’s Drive Select (Comfort, Performance, etc) and below that, you have the adjuster for the diff.

There are also some nice touches like the specially created rubberised mat ahead of the gear lever where you are meant to place your phone, and a bottle holder, stowed away under the elbow rest. The new R8 also has a fair-sized glovebox; but compared to something like a Porsche 911, the cabin is a bit impractical. The optional, race car-like seats on this car though, aren’t really focused on driver comfort. They look like nothing more than fixed racing buckets that are there to hold you in place. They only have a thin layer of foam and leather covering them. There’s no 127-way adjust, you can’t recline the backrest and the fore and aft control is manual. You can lift the seat up, and that is powered, but that’s about it. So, initially, finding a comfortable driving position is a bit tough.

ENGINE AND GEARBOX ;

Finally! Now to give you an idea, the Audi R8 LMS gets 50 per cent of its parts from this R8 V10 Coupe. Namely the Space Frame and the V10 engine. Being light is exigent, and Audi’s Space Frame has high strength aluminium that incorporates carbon for 14 per cent of the construction. And then there’s this sweet 5.2-litre direct injection V10 engine strapped on to the hump of this lightweight frame. Believe it or not, this motor meets EU6 exhaust emission standards! With 602bhp on a tight leash, 60bhp more than the outgoing version, I’m sure you’re getting the picture. Hit the conspicuous red button, and the V10 coughs to life with a maniac rev that could wring motoring spirits back from the dead.

It feels nothing short of what JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratories) could build for Nasa. I mean you literally take off while the mind struggles to comprehend and focus the eyes on the road. All this while your soul screams nirvana! 0-100kmph is despatched in a mind numbing 3.56sec, 150kph in 6.73 seconds and before you know it, 200kmph comes up in just over 11sec. This is partially possible due to the S tronic seven-speed dual clutch transmission whose shifts are brutally quick. In hundredths of a second with no pause in power, the thrust is so fierce that you can sense your brain-ware working backwards to deal with the speed. Not to mention the ballistic exhaust note that’s unleashed while you’re at it. In fact, the decibel drama is so wild that we had cars, visibly farther ahead, shift off our lane.

When you’re not in the mood for performance (are you joking?), Audi has gone to the extent of altering the settings in partial load operations. This means that the injection and ignition are switched off at a cylinder bank and only five cylinders, instead of ten, are active. When needed the inactive cylinders switch on for the engine to deploy its full power within milliseconds. Audi’s deep installation position of the V10 along with a 90 degrees cylinder angle lends the R8 a low centre of gravity. What also aids the package is the double wishbone axle used on both ends of the suspension. Originating from motorsport, it offers precise steering and excellent agility. At the wheel, it didn’t take me more than a bend to figure that out. The electromechanical power steering is super quick to react to whatever is thrown at it. There’s also an aggressive eagerness to change direction which helps velocity and the line be maintained around corners.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

The stiff suspension and the super low profile tyres means the ride quality is extremely stiff. You need to go really, really slow on even small bumps if you want to save your back. However, the stiff setup makes the R8 feel extremely composed and taut on straights as well as corners. The way in which the R8 enters corners and comes out shining makes you fall in love with the car. The steering is very direct and the car maintains its line well, thanks to quattro too. The huge carbon fibre ceramic disc brakes do a very fine job and speeds are shed as quickly as they are gained. The grippy tyres let you have proper fun with the car.

SAFETY ;

With a top speed of 330kmph and a acceleration rate of 3.2 seconds, the vehicle’s most pivotal factor is its safety facilities. We were satisfied with the safety layout, although we did think it could have gone a notch or two up. Drive stability is reinforced with some sound aid programs, including the Anti-lock braking system, Electronic differential lock system, Anti slip regulation and Electronic stabilisation control. Aside from this, you’re sure to have your fill of peace with an all encompassing airbag arrangement, an integrated head restraint system, seatbelts that come with a reminder for the front occupants and ISOFIX child seating anchors.

CONCLUSSION ;

When I first saw the exterior changes – or lack thereof – I was instantly put off by the 2017 R8 and considered storming Audi’s HQ bearing a pitchfork and torch. However, once I dug deeper, I found that there was a hell of a lot of thought and engineering that went into this model. Between the loss of weight, the more ergonomic cabin, and the more powerful engines, Audi went far to make the R8 a better supercar. No too bad Audi, not bad at all…

 

 

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