Mahindra KUV100 Facelift Review & Test Drive

OVERVIEW

Mahindra launched the KUV100 exactly a year ago in India; the auto manufacturer pitched it as a small SUV and their entry level offering for the Indian market. Basically this is actually a beefed up hatchback and gets both petrol and diesel engine under the hood. Although the KUV100 made a fiery start in terms of sales when it was launched initially but slowly the sales number declined and in the month of December 2016 only 1953 units of the vehicle was sold which is actually its lowest numbers since its launch. Check for KUV100 price in Hyderabad

Like you all know that the Mahindra KUV100 is definitely not a compact SUV and is also priced lower than most of the other compact SUV offerings. This car now competes directly in the B+ segment hatchbacks and locks horns directly with the recently introduced Maruti Suzuki Ignis which too is actually a beefed up Cross hatchback.

EXTERIOR AND LOOKS

The KUV100 might be marketed as an SUV, but it is essentially a pumped up hatchback; one that will compete against the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Swift, the Hyundai Grand i10 and the newly launched Ford Figo. So, it has a monocoque chassis, a transverse mounted engine and front wheel drive. But, because it must be referenced as an SUV, the KUV100 naturally has high ground clearance too; 170mm of it. It isn’t very large though. At 3675mm in length, it is the shortest in its class. And its 2385mm wheelbase is the least as well. But the KUV100 stands tall at 1655mm (with roof rails) making it the tallest. Get deals on KUV100

As far as styling goes, the front of this pumped-up hatchback has a sleek front grille, a buff bumper, and large pulled back headlamps with LEDs KUV100 embossing. The side profile looks aggressive thanks to the shallow greenhouse area. It also has its rear door handles integrated into the rear window panel aka Chevrolet Beat. The rear meanwhile is less aggressive, looks palatable and decently modern. The KUV100 is available in seven colours, Pearl White, Aquamarine, Dazzling Silver, Flamboyant Red, Fiery Orange, Designer Grey and Midnight Black.

INTERIOR AND SPACE

If you don’t already know, your friendly salesperson will go to great lengths to point out that the KUV cabin’s USP is the advantage of six seats, just like on the Datsun Go. This has been made possible by positioning the gear lever and handbrake lever on the centre console, freeing up floor space for the additional seat up front. But what distinguishes the car from the Datsun Go is that the KUV is certified as a six-seater. Though three adults can squeeze in up front, the middle passenger legroom is limited, making it more suitable for a child. Question is, would you want your most precious cargo seated within striking distance of the centre console and gear lever? Also, folding down the middle seat backrest turns it into a large armrest and that is the best way to use (or rather, not use) the sixth perch. However, the flat bench type front seat doesn’t offer the kind of back or side support the standard version’s shapelier individual chairs do.

High-set seats and flat floors, front and back, mean getting in and out of the KUV’s cabin is easy. What’s also a relief is that unlike the exteriors, the KUV’s cabin is smart and restrained in design. The ‘bowed’ dashboard that rises towards the middle is the centrepiece and comes finished in nice, textured plastics on the top, though quality lower down is not great. Boring monochrome display for the audio player apart, we didn’t have much else to complain about with the well laid-out centre console. Drivers will also like the three-spoke steering wheel that’s good to hold, though the inconvenient pull-type handbrake is unlikely to find many fans. On our test car, the handbrake lever malfunctioned, making hill starts quite tricky.

Those seated on the KUV’s rear seat will be surprised by the space and comfort on offer. There’s generous leg, head and shoulder room, the backrest position is just right and there’s even a foldable centre armrest. And all three rear passengers get adjustable headrests, which enhances their overall comfort levels. The spoiler though is the blanked-out space after the rear windows (there to accommodate the exterior door handle) that cuts outside visibility. Form unfortunately followed function here. .

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION

The Mahindra KUV100 comes with the newly-developed mFalcon range of engines. The petrol engine is a 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder G80 unit churning out 82 HP of power at 5500 RPM and 114 Nm of torque from 3500-3600 RPM. The motor is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission and it reaches 100 km/hr in third gear. The engine needs to be revved but does go freely to its 6000 RPM redline. After 4500 RPM, it has a tendency to get vocal though. The mid-range isn’t satisfactory and in-gear acceleration isn’t much to talk about either, one needing to downshift to get going. On the whole, it is a refined engine and the KUV100 cruises at 100 km/hr in 5th gear at 3200 RPM. While the vehicle is standing still, the engine doesn’t rev above 4000 RPM. The car maxes out at 150 km/hr when the speed warning buzzes, a feature also present on the XUV500.

The diesel engine is also a 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder D75 unit belting out 77 HP of power at 3750 RPM and 190 Nm of torque between 1750-2250 RPM. The oil-burner also gets a 5-speed manual transmission. The D75 unit does 100 km/hr in 4th gear and power is delivered in a very linear manner. It redlines at 4750 RPM and touches 100 km/hr in 5th gear at 2750 RPM. The turbo lag is very well-contained and this motor feels much better to drive than the petrol unit which feels underpowered on the highway. Still, one needs to keep the throttle floored to get the vehicle going quick. Vibrations are felt on the console but not much on the pedals in the diesel model while on the petrol, there is some harshness felt at multiple places when nearing the redline.

There is also a lot of wind noise creeping inside the car post 100 km/hr, coming from near the A-pillar. The 5-speed gearbox is very smooth and the clutch is also extremely light on both the petrol and diesel models, thus allowing the driver to have a stress-free driving experience. The claimed fuel efficiency for the petrol engine is 18.15 km/l while the diesel engine extracts 25.32 km/l. Mahindra will offer an AMT unit with the KUV100 later this year. There is a MicroHybrid technology on offer just like the Scorpio and XUV500 while Mahindra also offers Power and ECO modes on the diesel, which boosts fuel efficiency by restricting fuel supply and thereby keeping max RPM to around 3500 RPM. The default mode is Power and it is best to drive the KUV in that mode as the 3-pot oil burner needs to be worked to get going quickly. Both the petrol and diesel engines are average at best, they are very refined for three-cylinder motors but lack excitement and aren’t urgent either.

RIDE AND HANDLING

The levelled surface of the test track was barely any gauge for the KUV100’s ride, but expect it to be comfortable given the soft suspension setup. The KUV100 sits on an all-new platform developed from a clean sheet of paper using a monocoque chassis that offers a car like feel, and those used to driving hatchbacks will feel at home. There’s a fair bit of body roll around corners though thanks to the soft suspension and higher centre of gravity, which takes away some confidence when cornering at speeds. The soft suspension also made for some bit of weaving under hard braking but things were pretty much in control at all times, and KUV100 even felt stable being pushed around the banked corners of the track. Brakes have a progressive feel, though some more bite would be welcome.

BRAKING AND SAFETY

Braking system is formed by the ventilated disc brakes in the front and drum brakes in the rear. Other vital braking features inset to support the brakes affixed in front and back comprise of anti-lock-braking system along with electronic brake force distribution, which is standard across all variants.

Standard safety features on board are automatic door lock, central door locking, and door open indicator. Other safety features available on the SUV are child safety locks on rear doors, anti-slip clips for driver side door mats, ISOFIX child seat mount on rear seat, engine immobiliser, anti-theft security alarm, and dual airbags are available is available on all the plus variants along with the range topping variant.

CONCLUSSION

Now we come to the hardest part of any review – the tester’s final impressions of the Mahindra KUV100.

The Mahindra KUV100 is a one-of-a-kind hatchback that aspires to be an SUV. If you’re looking to turn heads (in the quirky manner), the KUV100’s design is apt as it incites curiosity and attention. The seat comfort could’ve been better, while rear visibility and boot volume aren’t satisfactory.

However what we have here is one of the most refined Mahindras ever built. It’s got an impressive diesel engine, slick gearbox, well-trimmed and spacious interior, and a commanding view over its rivals. The cherry on the top is its competitive pricing, which is slightly lower than the competition.

Posted in Auto | Leave a comment

Tata Nexon Facelift Review

OVERVIEW ;

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

EXTERIOR AND LOOKS ;

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

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

INTERIOR AND COMFORT ;

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

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

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

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;

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

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

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

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

SAFETY ;

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

CONCLUSSION ;

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

 

 

Posted in Auto | Leave a comment

Hyundai Xcent Facelift Review & Test Drive

OVERVIEW ;

Introducing a mid-cycle update for the subcompact sedan, Hyundai India has launched the 2017 Hyundai Xcent facelift in the country with prices starting at Rs 5.38 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). 2017 Xcent gets a comprehensively reworked front design. The overall silhouette remains the same, but the grille is all-new and in-line with Hyundai’s bigger sedans while the headlamps have been re-profiled and get new black inserts as well. The front bumper has also been redesigned adding a fresh look and now gets boomerang-shaped LED DRLs as part of the changes. Not only does the Xcent look fresh, but also distinctly different from the Grand i10. The side remains the same, save for the revised alloy wheels, while the rear gets the more upmarket wide taillights, revised bumper and tweaks to the boot-lid. Check Ex Showroom Price of Xcent

EXTERIOR AND LOOK ;

Initial spy shots left a lot of people saying, “Oh god, why?”, but much like the Mahindra TUV300, this is a car that looks better in person than in pictures. Additionally, it’s now more distinctive, not only from its predecessor, but the Grand i10 as well.The two-part grille is no more and is replaced by a plus-sized hexagonal unit, generously lined with chrome. It’s got a new front bumper too with a sleeker set of fog lamps, and, not to mention, daytime running LEDs. The side profile remains the same, save for the engine badge on the front fender that reads ‘1.2D’ instead of ‘CRDi’, highlighting the uprated engine size. Up top, the radio antenna is a shark-fin unit instead of the old antenna on the higher variants. Apply car loan for Xcent at Carzprice

The rear end looks as if it were inspired by the Kia Rio. Some may even draw parallels with the Toyota Camry. Gone are the tiny old tail lamps and instead, you get a wider set of lights that occupy more real estate at the rear. The lights even get some internal detailing to make them look more distinctive. The boot-lid itself has been redesigned and sports a chunky chrome bar that connects the rear lamps. The bumper gets some aggressive contouring too, and while it will take a while for the new look to grow on many, the new Xcent does look more mature. Importantly, it still looks well-proportioned for a sub-4 metre sedan.

INTERIOR AND COMFORT ;

Much like the Grand i10, the Xcent will impress you the moment you set foot inside. Modern Hyundai cabins are high on quality and here too you’ll find the general level of fit and finish to be of a very good standard. Those behind the wheel, in particular, will love how the chunky steering and smartly detailed gear lever feel as good to hold as they are to look at. It’s a well laid out cabin too. The two-tone dashboard, identical to the one in the Grand i10, places all audio and air-con controls within easy reach. A welcome inclusion on the Xcent is an automatic climate control system that works well enough to maintain a cool temperature in the cabin. What’s also nice is that each of the round vents up front can be individually opened or closed to direct air flow as per your liking. However, the rear air-con vent (a first in this segment) isn’t particularly effective and in our view is a bit of a waste as it unnecessarily robs space from the middle passenger.The Xcent offers a fair amount of adjustability for the driver, so long as you opt for the middle or top-spec versions. Steering rake and seat height adjustment make it easy to find a comfortable driving position. The front seats, though slightly narrow and a tad on the firm side, are supportive enough. However, a cause for concern is that the fixed headrests are too short and unlikely to provide adequate protection from whiplash in the event of a rear collision.

Rear occupants, on the other hand, will appreciate the safety and comfort the adjustable headrests come with, but might find the seat base a tad short. Also, compared to the Grand i10, the Xcent’s rear seat back has been reclined a few degrees too far to compensate for the loss in headroom owing to the angle of the rear windscreen. The cabin’s average width also means the Xcent’s rear seat is best suited to two passengers. On the plus side, there is a good deal of legroom and the foldable centre armrest is well positioned too. Incidentally, the centre armrest comes with two cupholders, in addition to the two cupholders up front, one-litre bottle holders on each of the doors and the large (and cooled) glovebox. Even luggage space is very impressive, with the well-shaped 407-litre boot taking in large suitcases with great ease.

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION ;

The Hyundai Xcent is offered with both petrol and diesel engines. Talking about the petrol engine first, no changes have been made to the 1.2-litre Kappa VTVT unit. It is mated to either a 5-speed manual gearbox or a dated 4-speed automatic transmission and produces 83 PS of power at 6000 RPM and 114 Nm of torque at 4000 RPM. Throttle response is good and power delivery is linear. The top-end performance isn’t the best but the low-end and mid-range are very good. The NVH levels are also fantastic. The ARAI-claimed fuel efficiency is 20.14 km/l and 17.36 km/l for MT and AT respectively but in real world conditions, you can expect 10-14 km/l from the MT and 9-13 km/l from the AT.

The diesel engine has been upgraded from the older 1.1-litre unit to a larger 1.2-litre U2 CRDI unit which now produces 75 PS of power at 4000 RPM and 190 Nm of torque from 1750-2250 RPM. The engine has been tuned very nicely and turbo lag has been negated effectively. The engine has a good surge of power right from 1600-1700 RPM and continues till 3500-4000 RPM and the oil-burner feels very peppy. The engine is quite noisy though. The 5-speed gearbox is a charm and gearshifts are smooth. The ARAI-claimed efficiency is 25.4 km/l and you can easily expect 17-22 km/l in real world conditions.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;’

The Xcent’s suspension setup remains unchanged and is still comfort-set as before. At low speeds, it’s very comfortable and offers great bad road ability as well. Additionally, it rides quite flat and is very stable over undulations/bridge joints even beyond 120kmph. However, there is a noticeable amount of vertical movement and through fast corners, body roll is perceptible. There’s a good amount of stopping power on offer too with the car dropping from 100-0kmph in 45.89 metres, while feeling a little more surefooted than the Grand i10 during the test.

The steering doesn’t offer much feedback, but is light enough for city usage, weighs up well with speed and is responsive too. In everyday conditions, there’s no guesswork involved. It won’t please any driving enthusiasts, but that’s hardly what the Xcent has been designed for. Overall, the handling mannerisms are predictable and novice-friendly.

SAFETY FEATURES ;

On the features front, the top-of-the-line Xcent in SX trim with option pack we have driven gets driver and front passenger airbags, ABS, keyless entry with push button start/stop, rear AC vents, multi function steering wheel, driver seat height adjustment, a 2-din audio system with Bluetooth, USB and aux-in ports, power outlets for the front and rear, chrome door handles on the inside and out and rear parking sensors and parking camera with display in the rear view mirror. On the outside, the Xcent gets integrated turn indicators in the electrically adjustable auto-folding outside rear view mirrors and 15-inch alloy wheels (it’s part of the option pack – 14-inch wheels on SX trim). There isn’t much you will need besides leather seats, which should be available as a dealer option.

CONCLUSSION ;

2017 Hyundai Xcent seems to be better than the preceding model in terms of exterior appearance, interior features, and driving dynamics. A special mention goes to the new diesel engine, which is more powerful and fuel efficient than before. The automatic variant is also available for added convenience. In all, it is a decent offering with more bells and whistles than before.

Posted in Auto | Leave a comment

Toyota Innova Crysta Performance

OVERVIEW ;

Toyota Innova Crysta 2016 is the latest edition of the famous Innova model with a facelift in exterior styling and luxurious interior features. The Innova Crysta variants are available in manual and automatic transmission versions, widening the options for customers. Currently, Innova Crysta variants are available as GX, GX Automatic, VX, ZX and ZX Automatic, with ZX as the top-end variant. Check On Road Price of Crysta

EXTERIORS AND STYLE ;

Like we said, the Crysta is a complete departure from the older Innova. Everything has been reworked extensively in order to give it that premium appeal. The design is fresh that ditches the slender proportions for a wider, more muscular stance. It is safe to say that the older generation was long in the tooth in terms of design, despite multiple facelifts. Toyota couldn’t have timed the update better. The front now features a prominent hexagonal grille that gets two massive chrome slats that flow into the projector headlamps. Most of the real estate at the front is taken up by the large bumper. We particularly like the detailing in the smoked-out headlamps and the placement of the LED pilot lamps. The lower half of the grille is glossy black, which helps break the bulk at the front. Request test drive for Crysta in Cazprice

Over to the side, the Crysta’s van-like proportions come to the fore. While there’s nothing interesting to speak of other than the large 17-inch wheels, we like how Toyota has managed to keep things simple and uncluttered. Little dabs of chrome on the door handles and the outside rear-view mirror add a touch of class to the profile.The rear ditches the triangular tail lamps for a much more aggressive, sabertooth inspired design.The rear profile is nearly slab-sided, with a large glasshouse that takes up most of the space. Subtle touches like the spoiler and the shark-fin antenna add some spice to an otherwise boring rear profile.

INTERIOR AND COMFORT ;

Arguably the biggest transformation has happened on the inside and the cabin feels spacious, open and crisply styled. The modern dashboard looks fresh, is well detailed and the swooping dash top looks really great without being overdone. Details like the single piece of metal strip which runs across the top of the dashboard looks premium and classy. Visibility from the high front seats is good and this makes it easy to drive especially in traffic.Despite the swooping dash, ergonomics are spot-on and everything from the touchscreen to the Air-con controls are tilted upwards for ease of use. The blue backlit instrument cluster looks modern and the digital centre screen hosts a comprehensive trip computer. USB and aux-in ports are cleverly placed in the middle for an easy access for front and rear passengers. As an observation we would have preferred more USB ports especially considering it’s a premium seven seater. The touchscreen is intuitive to use and it host various information like satellite navigation, eco display (which shows how efficiently you are driving), Bluetooth telephony and music system controls. On the downside I would have preferred the volume control to be a knob for easier access while driving.

As far as upholstery is concerned the top of the line ZX variant gets leather seats. But while in the manual transmission variant you get an all-black cabin which looks sporty, the automatic features a more classy brown upholstery. Overall quality especially on the upper portion of the dashboard is quite good and Toyota has added some elements to justify the high asking price. The touch points like the armrest on the doorpad is covered in soft velvety fabric, the chunky leather wrapped steering with large control button is great to hold, the gloss black finish on the front doorpads look classy (weirdly the rear doorpad gets wood finish) and even the control stalks are of high order. But considering it’s an expensive car we expected better consistency especially lower down in the cabin.The sea of black hard plastics around the glovebox, cupholders and doorpads look shiny and the graining could have been better too. Even the air-con buttons are too small and the chrome finish doesn’t look very convincing. We also felt that although the old Innova didn’t have the premium leather dash top and modern design, it had better quality consistency across the cabin.

Thanks to the larger dimensions the cabin feels wider and is more spacious than before. Seat comfort is first rate and the contoured front buckets are very comfortable. The driver seat in this top Z variant is powered too, and combined with the telescopic steering adjust, finding an ideal driving position is extremely easy. The middle row sees the biggest improvement and the extra cabin width has allowed Toyota engineers to give larger and more accommodating captain seats.The middle-row buckets are supportive, underthigh support is really good and the reclining backrest makes this a great chauffer-driven car. The ceiling mounted blue ambient lighting and the large glass area makes this a great place to be in.Even the front passenger seat can be adjusted using a well designed lever from the back. If you love working on the go, the foldable trays in the back are placed at an ideal height and their 7 kg weight capacity make them perfect to place your laptops on.

The third row though is not a huge improvement over the old car and the combination of the high floor and low seat makes it comfy only for short stints. You also get a removable headrest for the middle passenger (how will he fit in the narrow seat is a different matter) and all three occupants get three point seatbelts.Visibility from the third row though is hampered by the stylish triangular quarter glass. With all three rows up, boot space is reasonable and can be extended by folding the last row when not in use.

ENGINE AND GEARBOX ;

So the updates to the exterior and interior are both huge improvements, but there’s even more good news in store. The Innova Crysta comes with two entirely new diesel engines, a 2.4-litre with a five-speed manual gearbox, and a 2.8-litre with a six-speed automatic gearbox. The 2.4 manual first, and when compared to the old 2.5-litre engine, there are some similarities. This one too is not very refined, sounding a bit gravelly at start-up and then again at higher revs, and it also doesn’t enjoy being revved a lot, making you want to shift up well before the redline. However, both these aspects are slightly improved from the old car. The Crysta settles into a smooth and relatively silent hum at low to medium revs, and though you’ll still want to shift up early, you get more out of each gear now. The rest is all positive. For one, there’s more power – 150hp is a significant jump in power over the old 102hp, and at 13.1sec, the Crysta is a full 4.4sec faster from 0-100kph than the previous car! It even feels much stronger when you’re overtaking, which is essential when you’re out on the highway with a fully loaded-up car; this is helped by its solid 343Nm of pulling power that’s made as low as 1,400rpm. The old Innova was geared very short, so cruising in fifth on the highway was a noisy affair and the engine sounded strained. The newer car has a much broader torque spread and relatively taller gearing, so it feels a lot more comfortable loping along at high speeds, although we feel a sixth ratio would have made it more effortless still. So it’s a great highway cruiser, but if you find yourself in traffic, you will notice the clutch pedal is on the heavy side and that the short gear lever needs a little more effort. It’s also got three drive modes – Eco, Normal and Power. Eco is best for when you’re in town and want to stretch every last litre of diesel, while Power yields the quickest responses to accelerator inputs. But Normal mode is the best for everyday driving, delivering a good mix of power and efficiency.

What really tells you that the Innova is now a seriously premium car is the availability of an automatic gearbox. The six-speed unit also comes with a larger, even more powerful diesel engine – 2.8 litres with 174hp at 3,400rpm and 360Nm at 1,200-3,400rpm. This car is properly quick, being able to cross 100kph in just 11.5sec, and this is despite the fact it weighs almost 1.9 tonnes! The automatic gear shifts themselves are smooth, but we feel the system is too eager to change gears sometimes, even when not necessary. And while there are no paddle shifters for manual gear control, you can change gears manually with the gear lever itself.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

The premium feel of the Innova Crysta is also in the way it drives. Though this vehicle has a ladder frame (subframe) chassis, it feels very comfortable. The ride remains composed and passes on minimal undulations of the road. The new chassis is even more stronger now. An improved suspension sees the ride quality improve a lot over the earlier vehicle, there is much less pitching and rolling now. Hence it is ideal for long distance travel.

At slow speed you can feel some thuds inside, but higher speeds its good. The steering wheel feel a bit heavy at parking speed. But as speeds rise, it gets better and a joy to hold and drive. The brakes are also very good and a progressive. The all round visibility of the New Toyota Innova Crysta 2017 is excellent and one drives in a commanding portion. The Innova Crysta is also a great vehicle to drive within the city. It has a tight turning radius hence taking sharp U-turns is a breeze. Even parking poses no problem.

SAFETY ;

Toyota has upped the game in the safety department as well. The Japanese automaker is providing seven airbags with the new Innova including a driver-side knee airbag for the range topping ZX variant. Dual front airbags and ABS is standard across all the variants. There is Vehicle Stability Control and Hill-Start Assist Control on offer as well. Toyota is providing 3-point seatbelts with adjustable headrests for all the passengers including third row seats. The Toyota badge is known to offer hassle-free after sales in India with a wide reach and network spread across the country. Longevity is tried and tested while the resale value of Toyota cars is up there as well. We expect low maintenance and spare parts cost due to high localisation (the diesel engines will soon be made in India).

CONCLUSSION ;

The confidence Toyota has in its MPV product is quite similar to how the buyer perceives the vehicle to be; simply commendable. We saw it when Toyota pulled the plug on the Qualis when it was absolutely flourishing in our market. Then came the Innova and it ultimately caught up and even outsold its predecessor. Buyers still swear over its bullet-proof reliability and they’re ready to part with even Rs 18 lakh (ex-showroom Mumbai) for the top-end versions. While in the latest iteration, the Innova Crysta, is a substantial improvement over the old Innova’s strengths, it will come at a premium. Especially, as it now ticks all the boxes to contend in the higher end of the MPV segment. And we believe that buyers will just carry on and pile on the bookings.

Posted in Auto | Leave a comment

Hyundai Verna Hatchback Review

OVERVIEW

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

EXTERIOR AND LOOK

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

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

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

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

INTERIOR AND COMFORT

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

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

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

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION

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

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

RIDE AND HANDLING

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

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

BRAKING AND SAFETY

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

CONCLUSSION

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

 

Posted in Auto | Leave a comment

Mahindra Verito Vibe Engine & Safety Features

OVERVIEW ;

Majority of car sales in the Indian market comes form compact cars, which are small in size, fuel efficient and are the least taxed too. The quest for evading higher excise duties for automobiles means that companies will have to trim their products to place them under the 4-metre length. With many automakers already doing compact engineering very well, it was Mahindra’s turn to use their scissors on the Verito’s derriere. The objective has been achieved for Mahindra designers and engineers with the Verito Vibe successfully becoming a compact vehicle (Mahindra likes to call it a sporty compact sedan), thereby attracting small car excise duties. However as a product, does the Mahindra Verito Vibe offer something significant in the sub 4-metre space? Check Ex Showroom Price of Verito Vibe

EXTERIOR AND LOOK ;

The first impression that you will get from the new compact car from Mahindra is that it is the exact Verito with few minor tweaks at the front but when you will walk towards the rear of the car there you will find the real change. So let’s start with the front of the car the new Verito Vibe has the same boxy design at the front but the new grille has given some uniqueness to the front, it now looks more sportier than before, the headlamp clusters also gets a little smoky appearance which once again looks new on the old Verito’s front. The front lower bumper also gets little plastic elements to it which again is a welcome change to the front facial of the car. Now coming to the side profile of the car things start to get a little different here, the Verito Vibe gets a new 14 inch stylish set of wheels which is painted in Champagne color, some of you might dislike the color but Mahindra thinks differently, the side profile of the car also has a bold line which runs all the way to the rear of the compact car, the most significant changes that you will find in the car starts from its C pillars. The first thing that will catch your eye are the huge tail lamps which runs parallel with the rear windscreen, the top of the tail lamps has a little roof rails which once again gives it the sporty look and you will find a little bulging area just under the rear tail lamps (it cannot be called a rear spoiler exactly) just below that area is where you will find the rear boot door, the interesting fact about the rear boot of the Mahindra Verito Vibe is that you don’t have access to the boot from inside the cabin like you do on a hatch rather you will have to step outside the car and access the boot just like any other saloon. The massive rear boot has 330 litre of boot space but the only problem is that there is no lock to operate the boot door from outside the car, there is a switch inside the cabin of the car and once you press the switch then only you can open the rear boot door.Overall the new Mahindra Verito Vibe looks different from the rest of the compact car you will find in the Indian market, the unique looking rear and crossover style of the car will surely grab everyone’s attention. Apply car loan for Verito Vibe at Carzpric

INTERIOR AND COMFOR T ;

The interiors are done up very elegantly with well placed features, which makes it look like a complete package of comfortableness. The seating is very well designed to provide a cushiony feel by the plush fabric upholstery fitted to it. The Executive Edition is pampered with Italian leather based upholstery, which is far more luxurious and also the steering wheel is leather wrapped in it. Furthermore, it has floor mats as well as matching vinyl door trims that adds to the overall posh look. The rear door trim is layered with fabric that has a smoother holding. Moreover, there is a gear shift knob in leather covering. The parcel shelf is offered behind the rear bench seat for storing a few handy things. There is a central console storage space along with a bottle and mobile holder as well. The AC vent outer ring is in a silver finish that enlightens the interior elements altogether. The extra amenities are the cigarette lighter as well as an ashtray too. The luggage compartment has been layered with a full carpet and below that there is a spare wheel with its tool kit. There are sun visors to both the driver and the co-passenger as well. The center fascia has been given different designs for each of its variants. The instrument panel has a pad that shades it from the sunlight coming through the windscreen and makes visibility better. Additionally, for the front passenger side sun visor, a vanity mirror is also fitted.

The insides are well furnished with an air conditioner unit that also has a heater, which are offered to regulate the temperature. All the seats have been fitted with head restraints for additional convenience to the occupants. The front door has a map pocket that is an added storage space. There are theater dimming interior lights that has the facility with courtesy delay. The trunk room is provided with lighting as well. There is a remote operated fuel tank lid lever on the driver side for added convenience. When it comes to the automated elements, the outside rear view mirrors can be adjusted from inside. The power steering makes the drive much easier and keeps the driver in control of the vehicle at all times. All four doors have power windows, which further adds to the comfort quotient of the passengers. There is a central remote door locking system as well that boosts its security aspect. The music system that is decked into this car is a 2 DIN unit that can support a CD and MP3 player. The USB slot, Aux-In port and an FM tuner function can be enjoyed by four well placed speakers. The rear windscreen is fitted with a defogger that is helpful in foggy climate.

ENGINE AND GEARBOX ;

The Verito Vibe uses the same engine as on Verito. Vibe is offered only in a diesel engine trim as Mahindras don’t have a smaller petrol unit to haul this car and at the same time avail the tax benefits of a sub 4 metre car.The Verito Vibe comes across as a decent commuter with no excitement. It can be a weekday solution from home to office kinds. This one is powered by a 4 cylinder 1461cc dCi CRDi Diesel engine. This unit produces a peak power of 65PS at 4000 rpm and a torque of 160Nm at 2000 rpm.This not just any sedan cut into a hatchback project by excusing the extreme third box. In the Verito Vibe, the third box has been reduced to the maximum limit. The overall length of the Verito has been brought down from 4277mm to 3991mm but the wheelbase stays intact at 2630mm. The Kerb weight of the Vibe has shot up too by 15 kgs.

Some issues which were seen in the Verito have been repeated in this smaller version too like the cabin is still not insulated and the growl of the diesel engine is evidently audible inside. Even the functioning of wiper or the power windows appears very crude and basic.The diesel unit however scores well in terms of power delivery. It displays very minimal lag and performs very well in stop go traffic. The gear shifts are not as smooth as the one in Swift DZire but then even the one on Amaze appears notchy. The notchy gears are well complimented by the smooth clutch which comes handy in traffic flooded areas.On highways, the Vibe lacks the punch especially at higher engine speeds. It cruises very well till about 130 kmph but then after crossing it the engine begins panting hard and the efforts taken by the diesel unit get evident. Overtaking is not difficult. The steering is not very smooth and thus maneuvering can be a bit of an issue.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

The Vibe’s suspension settings remain unchanged from the sedan’s, so it exhibits all the same characteristics. It has a very pliant ride, which leads you to believe that it will not handle well, and when you tiptoe through a corner, you discover that beyond the body roll lies quite a lot of grip. And beyond that grip lies very progressive understeer. Even the steering contributes to this feeling – it is a little vague when pointing straight and feels unreasonably heavy sometimes at parking speeds, but push the car through a corner and it weighs up really well, communicating exactly what is happening under the front wheels and elevating driver confidence to the point where you can find the understeer at the limit. It isn’t the best driver’s car in its segment, but it certainly gets our vote for the best balance between ride and handling.

BRAKING AND SAFETY ;

A part of the excellent driving experience offered by Mahindra Verito Vibe can be contributed to its sound braking system that does its job perfectly. While the front portion of the car is equipped with disc brakes the rear portion braking is supported by drum brakes. Apart from these, the braking system of the car gets aided by advanced systems like Anti-lock Braking System and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) system that help maintaining control over the car during sudden braking and fast deceleration of car whenever required. These two systems play a major role in strengthening the security and safety system of car. The safety front of the car is also strengthened with other standard measures such as a strong built, a fine tuned suspension system, driver airbag, steering wheel frame made up of magnesium which reduces impact of collision, central lock, day/night inside rear view mirror, anti-theft alarm, halogen headlights, collapsible steering, door ajar warning, electrical rear window child lock, fog lamps, a laminated windshield, adjustable front seats belts, adjustable head restraints over front and rear seats, remote door locking, and a few others. The safety as well as braking system of this car are one of its biggest USPs and make it one of the most reliable cars

CONCLUSSION ;

The Mahindra Verito Vibe is a sub 4-metre Verito in the true sense. It is identical to the Verito in every aspect except the rear end design and boot capacity. While the hinged boot isn’t much practical, it has helped Mahindra in saving costs of development and production. So does the Verito Vibe make sense? When you factor in the Verito Vibe costs a good Rs. 80,000/- less than the regular Verito, things start making to the mind. If you can live with the rather unconventional rear and boot, the Verito Vibe makes a good case for those who want a practical hatchback which can carry five in reasonable comfort while delivering exceptional fuel efficiency at this price point.

Posted in Auto | Leave a comment

Hyundai Creta Facelift Review & Test Drive

OVERVIEW ;

As the Renault Captur launch is closing in, Hyundai has quietly made a few changes to the Creta. The new French SUV will be up against the Creta. It is stylish, looks premium and is built on the same Duster platform. There will not be diesel automatic in the start though. First is the addition of an all new colour, Earth Brown. This is made available with single and dual tone options. The Red Passion colour does offer the dual-tone roof option. The Pearl Beige colour has been discontinued. There will be a change in the colours on offer. This is a new change on the Hyundai Creta 2017.Moving on to the interiors, the SX+ dual tone variant comes with Luxure Brown interiors. This means addition of black and brown fabric seats with contrast stitching. The steering wheel and even the gear knob get brown stitches on it.Check Ex Showroom Price of Creta

EXTERIOR AND DESIGN ;

There are no significant changes made to the exterior of the SUV however it does get a new SX+ Dual tone trim which offers Piano Black Finish Roof Top & Sporty Black Spoiler. This new dual tone trim will be provided with two body colour combinations in the form of two colour combinations White & Black and Red & Black. This trim also gets a 17-inch diamond cut alloy rims which were only available with SX+ Auto and SX(O) until now.Apart from the changes mentioned above, there are no other changes made to the exterior of the SUV. The SUV is offered with a total of 9 exterior body colour options.  Apply car loan for Creta at Carzprice

INTERIOR AND COMFORT ;

A long wheelbase of 2590 mm implies an opulent cabin, which translates into good head room, leg room and shoulder room. That said, the front offers impressive space and the rear has ample room, allowing to seat three adults comfortably. A high window line at the rear enables restricted view from the back. The dual-tone dashboard is perfectly styled and appears chic. The central console does not look cluttered. Use of beige and silver accent renders an elegant look to the cabin. The range-topping grade gets a 7-inch touchscreen, just beneath which are climate control buttons. Leather-upholstered seats are exclusively available on the range-topping variants while rest of the trims feature fabric-upholstered seats. Leather covering can be seen on the gear knob in the SX+ automatic variant only. Comfort goodies on offing include adjustable front head rests, keyless entry, power windows, height adjuster for the driver’s seat, adjustable rear seat head restraints, 7-inch infotainment system with steering-mounted controls for audio system and bluetooth, audio-video navigation, and smart key with push button, among few others.

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;

Hyundai always gives multiple powertrain options on its cars and same is the case with the Creta too. The compact SUV comes with two diesel engines and one petrol unit. Starting with the petrol mill, the 1.6-litre Dual VTVT engine generates 123 PS and 151 Nm, being matched to a 6-speed manual gearbox. The NVH levels on the vehicle are terrific, the petrol motor being barely audible even when you are driving at triple digit speeds, it does get vocal once you get past the mid-range. Low-end performance is where the petrol-powered Creta shines as the mid-range isn’t very strong while the top-end is quite lacking, it’s best to short shift using the smooth shifting gearbox and the light clutch. The ARAI claimed mileage is 15.29 km/l so real world mileage will be lesser.

Diesel is the more popular choice in this segment and Hyundai has 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre oil burners on offer. Both these engines also do duty on the Verna with the smaller diesel belting out 90 PS and 220 Nm. The 1.6 diesel is considerably more powerful with 128 PS and 260 Nm. Both the powerplants are matched to a 6-speed manual gearbox and Hyundai has managed to tune the transmission for butter smooth shifts, aided by a very light clutch. The 1.6 diesel has quite a lot of lag in the low-end so one does have to give it the beans in stop-go traffic as the turbo spools up in all its glory past 1900 RPM. The mid-range is the strong point of the motor while the power fades off quickly post 3800 RPM. When ambling in the city, downshifts are needed to get going quickly.

The 1.6 diesel mill is also matched to a 6-speed automatic gearbox. Although a single-clutch unit, it’s very responsive to throttle inputs and there is a tiptronic function on the lever so as to let one take care of shifts. When driven in D mode, performance from the motor is slick with the turbo lag not being very apparent. The 1.6 motor feels more linear in the automatic version but you miss the punchiness of the manual as the latter has the silence before the storm. The engine up shifts at around 4000 RPM and won’t stretch the motor all the way to the 5000 RPM redline which is encountered on the manual. 100 km/hr in sixth gear sees the tacho ticking in a shade above the 2000 RPM mark while the ton comes in third gear. The ARAI mileage for the 1.4 diesel is 21.38 km/l while the 1.6 diesel returns 19.67 km/l in manual guise and 17.01 km/l in automatic avatar.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

The Creta also has an absorbent ride. The suspension works silently even on heavily rutted sections of road, and bump absorption too is right up there with some of the best riding cars in its class. It may not ride as flat as the Renault Duster, and there may be a bit more movement of the body over bad roads, but the Hyundai comes close enough. Yes, sharp bumps filter through, and then the suspension does feel a bit fragile, but for the most part, especially at lower speeds, ride quality is excellent and Indian car buyers will like that.

What’s also surprisingly good is the steering of the car. To begin with, it is light and easy to twirl, and what makes it better is the fact that it feels direct, with not as great a sense of vagueness around the straight-ahead as you find in most Hyundai cars. Straight-line stability is good, and the steering weighs up nicely as you speed up too, but that weight does feel a bit artificial. We also found the Creta surprisingly willing to turn into corners. It does roll a bit on its tall suspension and does not grip the road with the confidence of the Renault Duster, but all things considered, the Creta is quite accomplished in corners too, which makes it a good all-rounder.

SAFETY FEATURES ;

The Hyundai Creta is jammed pack with all the possible gadgetry one can possibly ask for in a car of this price range. Touch screen infotainment – Check. GPS navigation – Check. Climate control – Check. Keyless entry with a start stop button – Check. Rear AC vents – Check. Quite simple, the Creta negate the need to go to an aftermarket accessories dealer to fit a bunch of tacky addons that may or may not work in the long term.On the safety front, you also get a set of airbags and more importantly, traction control. And while the latter may not send the hordes into a frenzy, considering most western countries require traction control as a standard fitment, having an extra layer of protection isn’t exactly a bad thing afterall.

CONCLUSSION ;

Hyundai has recently launched updated Elite i20 and now they have also decided to upgrade their Creta SUV as well. Unfortunately the 2017 model year SUV does not get any mechanical changes under the hood, but it does get a new infotainment system, a whole new trim and along with a new dual tone exterior shade.

 

Posted in Auto | Leave a comment

Tata Hexa Features & Test Drive

OVERVIEW ;

Once upon a time, Indian roads were all about Maruti 800, Ambassador and Fiat Padmini. The occasional change in the landscape was brought about by Tata Motors’ comparatively larger offering – Sierra. The ‘original Indian sports utility vehicle’ had quite the towering road presence and the 1.9-litre turbo charged engine provided a drive like no other.

The march of time affected markets. It is no secret that Tata Motors found the going increasingly tough in the passenger vehicle segment by the late 90s. Indica was its only passenger vehicle doing decent numbers. Check Ex Showroom Price of Hexa

Times changed and, thankfully, so did Tata Motors. In one of its strongest ever attempts to reclaim lost glory, the company in recent years took the covers off of a number of promising vehicles. And none may have as much potential as the Hexa. Here is a vehicle that seeks to be an all-rounder and (mostly) manages to pull it off effortlessly.

EXTERIORS ;

The Tata Hexa might be based on the Aria platform and possibly have similar lines but it’s a completely new vehicle. Where the Aria was curvy and a bit round, the Hexa is muscular, and in-your-face. It achieves this thanks to the chrome laced grille and gold coloured bumper. Complementing this is a modern looking lighting package comprising big headlamps and LED DRLs. The side reveals the MPV silhouette of the vehicle. However, it does get sharply raked A-pillars and really nice looking 19 inch wheels which increase the sporty quotient. The rear, despite having so many elements, looks too square but this is not such a bad thing as the boxy rear-end has been a defining trait of Tata’s SUVs over the ages. Trade in Your used car for Hexa

INTERORS ;

The dashboard layout of the Hexa looks premium thanks to the new design additions and controls made of fresh-looking materials like chrome trim used with glossy black and soft grain plastic. The instrument cluster is easy to read and except for the low-set air-con controls, all functions are easily accessible on the dash.

We however noticed that the centre console was devoid of storage spaces barring the cup holder behind the gear shifter and the centre armrest. The seats are draped in a leather look-alike upholstery with contrast stitching that feels rich. In fact the front seats offer a comfortable drive thanks to the ample contours with lumbar, good back and appropriate thigh suppo

Similarly, the middle row seats have identical contours and offer good support, headroom and lots of legroom for the occupants. Entry to the third row of seats is by tumbling the second row, and while the seats offer hardly any support, headroom and space for adults is also confined. With the last row up, the boot can only take a few soft bags and a thin suitcase at the most. To stuff anything more, the last row needs to be folded but it doesn’t fold flat either.

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;

The Tata Hexa has a 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine. This comes with two options – a 148bhp engine and 154bhp. The first one comes with a five-speed manual and the more powerful one has two options: six-speed manual or six-speed automatic. The NVH levels on the engine are fairly low. The torque of this engine is more than sufficient for daily driving. One doesn’t require too many gear shifts in the city or highway driving.

The six-speed manual feels a bit notchy. It does take some getting used too. The manual comes with four driving modes in the 4×4. These are Auto, Rough Road, Comfort and Dynamic. The Auto and Rough Road are 4×4, while the other two work on 4×2. On the other hand, the automatic transmission is fabulous. The shifts are smooth even downshifts. Put it in the Sport mode and you shall be amazed in the manner it performs. There is also the tiptronic mode that responds well.

In terms of fuel efficiency, the Tata Hexa scores 10 km/l with the automatic in city and about 14 km/l on the highway. The manual version of the Tata Hexa will return an efficiency of 11 km/l in city and about 14.5 km/l on the highway. We haven’t driven the five-speed manual engine but the range will be between the six-speed manual and automatic.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

On the face of it, the Hexa has a number of things that could work against it on the dynamics front – its immense weight, ladder-frame chassis, long wheelbase, robust 4×4 system, 19-inch wheels – and those things considered, it really pulls off something impressive. The ride quality first; it is really good. You will get quite a bit of steering shock (although not the worst we’ve seen in this sort of car) that’s typical of ladder-frame SUVs when you hit a sharp bump. There’s an underlying firmness that you’re constantly aware of, but at very few points could you call it harsh or uncomfortable. The truth is, the Hexa’s variable-rate dampers do a phenomenal job of tackling various road conditions and keep things comfy in the cabin no matter what. It’s at its best out on the highway, with a supremely flat ride and very little movement. What you’ll also be impressed by is how silently it goes about its business; very little suspension, tyre and road noise makes it to the cabin.

Handling expectedly is not in the same league as an SUV with a monocoque chassis. The Hexa rolls around a lot, although, it has to be said that there is a lot of grip, especially in the 4×4 version. The bigger issue, however, is that it just feels too large and heavy for you to ever dream of pushing it even remotely hard around a corner. The hydraulic steering has a bit of slack at the centre position, and is really heavy at low speeds, making parking this big hulk quite a task. This is slightly less pronounced in the 4×2 version, likely because of the lack of front driveshafts. Also, the lack of reach adjustment for the steering is a bit annoying, and you do feel like the wheel is canted slightly forward on the whole.

SAFETY ;

Tata Motors haven’t compromised on safety this time and the Hexa is loaded with safety equipment. It comes with 6 airbags including dual front, curtain and side airbags. There is a 4 channel, 4 sensor ABS offered as standard along with Cornering Stability Control function. Other safety features include Traction Control System, Electronic Stability Program, Hill Hold Control and Hill Descent Control. The Hexa’s long term durability and cost of ownership is yet to be seen and Tata Motors needs to ensure stress-free ownership of the Hexa considering the unreliable nature of the Safari faced by some owners in the past.

CONCLUSSION ;

The Aria’s quite a capable machine and Tata has done well to build on its strengths while making up for its shortcomings. The Hexa’s spacious cabin with three rows of seats, its ability to shrug off bad roads, commanding driving position and easy driving manners make for a great machine to cover long distances in. Yes, it will be a bit cumbersome to steer in the city and fit-finish of the interiors could be better. Nonetheless Tata look to tackle the Mahindra XUV500 head on with the Hexa and if priced right, the Hexa has not just the manners, but the look and the appeal to make it happen this time around. Quite simply, the Hexa is SUV enough, rich enough and fresh enough to deliver an overall experience that feels quite welcome for those looking for a rugged three-row SUV.

Posted in Auto | Leave a comment

Nissan Micra Design & Style

OVERVIEW ;

Value. It is what the Indian consumer is looking for. Whether it is the world’s cheapest car or the best car in the world, we want the most bang for our buck, and this is most apparent in our market’s fast-growing hatchback segment. There are two ways to approach the concept of ‘value’ – one, to offer a low price. Sure, there will be compromises on quality, but you essentially get more car for your money. The other is to provide extra features at the same price as the competition. Nissan had tried the former with the original India-spec Micra, but with the imminent launch of budget sub-brand Datsun, they’re taking the Micra brand to the place it usually occupies in the markets it is present in: the premium end of the hatchback segment.Check Price of Micra

DESIGN AND STYLING ;

With substantial exterior updates, the new model of the hatchback looks completely different from the old one. The front fascia sports radiator grille with a thick chrome bar, new headlights, fog lights with chrome surround and modified bumper. The side profile, however, remains largely similar to the old mode, except for the new alloy wheels. The rear end gets new LED tail lights, revised bumper with bold creases and longer tail gate. Exchange your old car for Micra

CABIN ;

The bulbous theme follow suite on the inside as well. Nissan’s ‘twin bubble theme’ dashboard in multi-grain plastic looks very modern and breaks away from the conventional dashboard layouts. The nice roomy interiors remain and the Micra is definitely one of the most cozy cars to be in. While we already mentioned about the lack of storage places in our earlier review Nissan probably read wrong and as a result the second glovebox has now been omitted. Other than skimping on storage places, there is not much to fault with and everything feels pretty well put together.

ENGINE AND PERFORMACE ;

Due to tax benefits most manufacturers are tuning into 1.2 ltr engines and since fuel efficiency is more of a concern to the Indian buyer, a 3 cylinder engine is the ideal compromise between power and efficiency. The Micra is powered by a 1.2 ltr DOHC 3 cylinder petrol engine which churns out 75 BHP @ 6000 rpm and 104 NM Torque @ 4000 rpm. Low end grunt is not the best but the acceleration is good above 2000 rpm. The Micra gives 18.06 kmpl as per ARAI but practically speaking we expect the Micra to deliver 14 – 15 kmpl in regular city driving, which is pretty good. Floor the engine and the Micra hits 120 comfortably, keep it floored and it accelerated towards 140 but then you back off as the tires don’t give you enough confidence to push beyond. Thanks to the Renault – Nissan alliance, a diesel engine is just around the corner and the diesel Micra will be powered by a 1.5 ltr diesel which is currently serving the Logan.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

It covers the low-speed stuff well enough, offering a smooth urban ride that is unaffected by lumps and bumps like most things in the class. Its electrically assisted steering is light, as most buyers will demand, and although it lacks the oily slickness and response of the better electric racks, it proves accurate enough.

Raise the speed and you challenge a few of the Micra’s facets. The first is noise – the Micra isn’t an overly refined car – and the second is its driving dynamics. We wouldn’t expect the Micra to be any kind of driver’s car, but there are superminis out there, even inexpensive ones like the Suzuki Swift and Skoda Fabia, which maintain a broader level of capability at all speeds than the Micra, whose primary interest is at the slower end of the scale.

SAFETY AND FEATURES ;

The base model on the Micra has a new steering wheel and even centre arm-rest. As the demand for automatics is on the rise, this will help Nissan to capture more buyers especially those who need an automatic and aren’t willing to spend a lot more on the features. The other features include push start and stop, keyless entry, in-dash music system with steering mounted controls. There is even ABS on offer as well. The company had earlier even introduced dual airbags as a standard feature for all variants. Now, the base model is offered with a single driver airbag.

CONCLUSSION ;

There are three variants (trim levels, including one CVT variant) of the petrol engine, and four variants of the diesel engine to choose from.

The facelift has improved the overall appeal of the Micra. Standard equipment levels including some safety and comfort features will certainly boost the value proposition too. Hopefully, Nissan will keep any price increase on the new versions to a minimum. Currently the prices for the Micra range from Rs. 4.3 lakh to Rs. 6.5 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). The 2014 Micra will be available at Nissan showrooms by the end of this month.

Posted in Auto | Leave a comment

Maruti Suzuki Dzire Price In Hyderabad

OVERVIEW ;

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

EXTERIORS AND INTERIORS ;

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

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

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

PERFORMANCE ;

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

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

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

SAFETY ;

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

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

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

DRIVING ;

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

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

VERDICT ;

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

Posted in Auto | Leave a comment