Maruti Suzuki Swift Hatchback Overview

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 for Swift price in Hyderabad

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.

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.

 

Ford Figo Aspire Engine & Gearbox

OVERVIEW

The Indian market saw a big shake up in 1990s when foreign car makers were invited with open doors to the country. Ford was among the first few to enter in 1997 and although the Blue Oval has been in the country since almost two decades now, they haven’t been able to dominate with a significant market share. This is set to change as the company brought in the Figo, got a terrific response and decided to invest more money in India. Then the EcoSport came, an even bigger success and more and more Indians brought home their first Ford. Now the American automaker is set to launch the Figo Aspire, a car which will further boost Ford’s sales numbers in India as it sits in the highly competitive yet volume churning compact sedan space. Has Ford nailed it yet again? A drive around Udaipur helps us get our answer. Check Ex Showroom Price of Figo Aspire

STYLING AND DESIGN

The compact sedan segment generally has cars which look like more of a compromise. Good looks takes a back seat here. Thats not the cars with the Ford Figo Aspire, though. This one is a very good looking car. The Ford Figo Aspire is based on Ford’s Kinetic Design 2.0. The bonnet or boot are neither too long nor short. The front design is similar to other new Fords like the Fiesta and Mondeo. There is a prominent swag line that runs across the car. The glass area is small so the car looks larger. This also makes it look well balanced and not too tall. The boot design too is good with a chrome strip that is well proportionate. Its not too flashy not too thin. The car looks premium ever from the rear. Request test drive for Figo Aspire in Cazprice

COMFORT AND CABIN

The interior of the Aspire definitely looks neat while the dashboard design is almost identical to the Ecosport or the recently launches Fiesta’s dash including the steering wheel, part of the central dash and also the information screen placed on top. The interior has been finished in duel colors which include Black and Beige while the higher variants also get some silver inserts to them. The instrument cluster gets the same blue backlit treatment which looks good at night. The rest of the dashboard looks premium while the round air vents towards the side of the dash looks good what makes them so are the chrome detailing.

What is good about the interior is the fact that there are plenty of storage spaces inside the car which comes in handy especially during long journeys. The seats too look comfortable while the top end Titanium+ trim also features leather upholstery which also is segment first. Obviously what is disappointing is the fact that the rear seat passengers might feel uncomfortable because of the transmission tunnel that runs through the middle but the rear seat offers a arm rest which is a good thing. Ford has also provided Ford’s SYNC infotainment system with the top end trim, while the mid trim features My Ford Dock and also steering mounted controls along with USB and Bluetooth connectivity.

Ford Figo Aspire also offers about 359 Litres of boot space which is comparatively less than its rivals but still that is enough for a weekend trip

ENGINE AND GEARBOX

The Ford Figo Aspire will be available with two petrol and one diesel engine options. The 1.2-litre four cylinder petrol and the 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel will come mated to the five-speed manual gearbox, while the 1.5-litre petrol will be available with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The 1.5-litreTDCi diesel is tuned to produce 99bhp and 215Nm of torque making it the most powerful car in the segment, marginally higher than the Honda Amaze. At standstill and low speeds, the engine is harsh and there is prominent clatter in the cabin, also a light buzz can be felt on the steering wheel and pedals. The harshness goes down as the rpm increases and engine feels pretty smooth over 2,000 rpm. We are however willing to live with it for the kind of performance it has to offer. The car is quick, getting to 100kph is easy and cruising in triple digits even more so. There is no turbo lag and the healthy bottom-end torque helps quickly getting from 60kph to 100kph without downshifting to the fourth gear. The clutch is light and easy to use even in the city traffic, though the gear shifts require a little extra effort. The ARAI efficiency of the diesel car is rated at 25.83kpl and we managed to get 15.5kpl in our test drive.

The petrol car on the other hand feels relatively underpowered. The Ti-CVT is good to deliver 87bhp and 112Nm, though the tuning, as expected, has been for efficiency. The engine refinement is top notch and driving around in the city is going to be comfortable. The performance isn’t too bad, it can get off-the-line quickly and there is decent midrange to get to 100kph in respectable time, but going past 120kph requires some efforts. The engine needs to be put under lot of stress, though we didn’t mind doing that since it sounds incredible at high rpms. While the ARAI efficiency of the petrol is decent as well at 18.16kpl, we expect the real time efficiency to be much lower at around 12kpl.

The 1.5-litre petrol was not part of the first drive, though we are looking forward to driving it soon. Our experience with the Fiesta AT tells us that the dual-clutch PowerShift transmission is fantastic and the 110bhp and 136Nm will feel even better in the smaller, lighter car.

RIDE AND HANDLING

When it comes to ride and handling, comfort is clearly a focus area with the Aspire. The suspension is quite plush and absorbent and bumps are ridden over so well that you stop paying attention to every pimple on the road and makes driving a bit more relaxed. On really bad sections of road, the ride does get a bit jiggly and bouncy, which is when you detect a hint of stiffness, but that’s only to be expected. What makes ride quality even nicer is that the suspension works quite silently for the most part.

Yes, it does mildly enjoy being driven hard and responds better the more you load up the suspension. But, that effortless grip, unimpeachable confidence and precise steering you get on Fords like the Fiesta is missing here. There’s a strange looseness in the steering around the straight ahead position it doesn’t have the same agility as other Fords and body roll is ever-present. The petrol version is the better of the two Aspires in the corners with a touch more on-centre steering feel and correspondingly a greater feeling of connection with the car. The brakes on both petrol and diesel Aspires, however, inspire tremendous confidence; stopping power was impressive as well and that lends a lot to the overall driving experience.

SAFETY FEATURES

Every car from this segment offers something unique. Ford has taken its time to enter the segment and has thus made sure the Figo Aspire offers a long list if features and equipment. The car will be available in four trim levels namely – Ambiente, Trend, Titanium and Titanium+. The Ambiente trim offers a dual tone interior, adjustable front and rear headrests, front power windows, tilt adjust steering, multi information display, keyless entry, electric boot release and driver and passenger airbags.

The Trend adds front fog lamps, gloss black elements, rear armrest, steering mounted controls, rear power windows, mobile phone dock and a Bluetooth stereo with four speakers. The Titanium trim also gets auto climate control, power fold mirrors, ABS with EBD and an adjustable driver seat. The Titanium+ is the fully loaded variant and it also gets segment first leather seats, the 4.2-inch information screen with the Sync feature, CD player, side and passenger airbags (very impressive and first in segment but passengers don’t get grab handles), Ford MyKey (a programmable key that when used can limit speed and stereo volume level).

All trims will be available in seven different shades – Ruby Red, Sparkling Gold, Oxford White, Tuxedo Black, Deep Impact Blue, Ingot Silver and Smoke Grey. Optional accessories like illuminated scuff plates, rear parking sensors (should have been offered as standard), mirror mounted reverse camera and GPS, ambient lighting and shark fin antenna will also be available at Ford dealerships.

CONCLUSSION

The Aspire is a very impressive package which is arguably the best to drive in the segment and is incredibly spacious for a car in the sub-four-meter category. There are plenty of smart storage spaces around the cabin and they have created a smart docking station for devices at the top of the centre console to make it user-friendly for today’s consumers, with an easy to use charging port

 

 

Nissan Micra Features & Specifications

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 Ex Showroom 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.

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. Request test drive Micra in Cazprice

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.

Mahindra Verito Price & Performance

OVERVIEW ;

The newest offering from Mahindra called the Verito is a rebadged model of company’s proven workhorse Logan. With the divorce of Mahindra from Renault, the car has gone under the styling knife of Mahindra and gets a new front grille, less boxy headlamps, revised front and rear bumper, new boot lid design, clear lens tail lamps and new alloy wheels. Apart from new features, the sedan offers a value for money prospective which is a fundamental feature of Mahindra vehicles. Check Ex Showroom Price of Verito

EXTERIOR AND STYLE ;

The entire picture of this machine is just amazing to look at and can only dream of owning one. The great uniform look it possesses is contributed by the body colored bumpers, the body side molding, and the body colored door handles. The Executive Edition is available in exclusive pearl white color and a badging to it, while the other variants are offered in eight stunning shades. Furthermore, the side view mirrors too are in the same body shade. There is a side cladding that adds to the style quotient as well as to the safety aspect in restraining any collision occurred from the side. There are stylish set of roof rails fitted on the top. When coming to the rear end, there lies the rear appliqué that boasts the model name. And there is a high mount stop lamp fixed, which alerts other vehicles in announcing its presence. The reverse light works its way to help in the parking or shifting job. The front fascia has got attention by fitting a set of front fog lamps with clear lens that gives a greater vision. And the front windshield has a wiper with 2 speed plus 1 speed intermittent function. The wheels that bear this beautiful baby has been offered with wheel covers, while it has got alloy wheels as an add-on to boost its side facet. Request test drive for Verito in Cazprice

INTERIOR AND COMFORT ;

Mahindra Verito’s interior dimensions are generous and you get a practical and roomy cabin. The Verito is 4247 mm long, 1740 mm wide and has a height of 1540 mm. Interior space is it’s strength and the rear seats have plenty of leg and head room and can accommodate comfortably 3 adult passengers. The road visibility is very good and the broad mirrors allow you to see in every direction.Like the exteriors the interior styling too can be best described as modest. Just like the Logan the Verito too features a lot of storage places and you also get a lot of cheap plastics. The use of cheap plastic however does manage to keep the price of the car low.You don’t get an exorbitant feature list with the Verito but it has everything it needs to be practical. For the rear seats you get triple headrests, gradual dim cabin lights, air conditioner, power steering, power windows, driver information system and a rear defogger. At 510 litres the Verito’s boot is good for a big family. On the Verito you also get ABS with EBD and Driver Airbag.

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;

The Mahindra Verito is powered by a 3-phase 72V induction motor that promises 30.5kW of power and 91Nm torque. A single-speed transmission transfers all this power to the front wheels. The 200Ah Li-ion battery in the car powers all the ancillary functions, including the music system, AC and headlamps. It also charges the 12V battery which is used for the start up. Starting the car is also an art in itself. You turn the key, but it doesn’t go all the way like in your conventional fuelled car. 15 seconds after turning the key, you hear a slight noise –– a subtle ding from the rear of the car, signalling that the car is ready now. After this audible cue, you have to press the drive button located on the lower right side of the dashboard. At this point, the car starts to creep forward. For further progress, select F on the gear lever and you start to move ahead at a reasonable pace. For an additional boost, shift to the B mode which is the phase that I preferred to be in for the entire duration of my drive. In this mode, you get a slight boost. That being said, even in B mode, the driving experience is quite sedate and I wouldn’t really call it an electrifying.

The Mahindra Verito takes a fair bit of time to climb to 40kmph from naught, not ideal for quick getaways…or if you plan on robbing a bank. Mahesh Babu, the CTO of Mahindra Electric, claims that the 0-40kmph as well as 0-60kmph sprints are much faster than what one can achieve in the e2o. The maximum speed I managed to see was 56kmph and it took some time getting there. Achieving Mahindra’s claimed top speed of 86kmph will take both a long time and a long stretch of road.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

The ride is pretty firm when compared to its competitors. But it also means the Verito can take the bad roads well. The car is sturdy and keeps the rattles and vibrations in control. The rear seat comfort is the USP among its rivals. It offers good legroom and headroom than the near competitor Dzire. The third passenger in the rear is welcome in the Verito. The cabin is pretty well silent till 100 kmph. After that the engine becomes noisy and harsh. The steering gives a positive feeling and gives great control at speeds. The typical diesel characteristics like the gear lever vibration are absent which is a good thing.

SAFETY FEATURES ;

Primary safety provisions including driver side airbag and ABS with EBD are standard on the top-spec variant. Other safety equipment armed in the sedan are-adjustable head rests in front and rear, immobilizer and electrical rear window child lock. Face sports chrome finished grille and clear lens fog lamps. Side panels get alloy wheels and side moulding. Inside, it gets tachometer, LCD display on instrument cluster, fabric upholstery, mobile holder and bottle holder etc.

CONCLUSSION ;

Mahindra Verito is a perfect option for those looking for a sedan that gives high performance along with appreciable mileage. The car looks pretty good in terms of design, style, and features though may seem a step back as compared to its close rivals. This Verito is aimed to the people who want the sedan experience for a hatch like price. The Verito is well priced that ensures true value for money. The top variant gets all the bells and whistles a premium car can get including the ABS & EBD. The wider wheelbase of the car offers ample space within the car cabin which has been used in quite an economical way. The front as well as rear seats offer plenty of leg, elbow, and shoulder room and carry a grand ability to accommodate five adults without a hitch. Apart from space, comfort features are in ample number and help giving an upmarket look but keeps cabin cozy and comfortable

 

Nissan Micra Active Hatchback Overview

INTRODUCTION ;

This company is reputed for its diverse models in four wheelers, which happens to be one of the best vehicles available in the automobile market. It has a smart way to combine the features of different proportions in varied models, so that the particular unit which is released, always will appeal to the targeted customer category. Nissan Micra Active too falls in that line, where it has been bestowed with a right combination of all the sections including safety, more convenience and performance as well included within it. The company has equipped this model series with a reliable 1198cc petrol mill, which has three cylinders and 12 valves in total. This mill can generate 67.06bhp in combination with 104Nm toque and is mated with a manual transmission gear box. The company claims that this hatchback series has the ability to generate a peak mileage in the range of 19-20 Kmpl, when driven under standard conditions. It has a modest top speed and is quite zippy even with all five passengers seated inside. Check Price of Micra Active

DESIGN AND STYLING ;

The 2017 Nissan Micra Active now comes in new sunshine orange shade that was previously seen in the regular model. In terms of design, the 2017 Micra Active largely retains most of its traits in the front and side profiles. The only addition is the ‘follow me headlamps’ that remain on for a certain duration. The rear profile gets an update in the form of new combination lamps and sportier bumper, making it look comparatively better than the previous iteration. Also, it borrows heavily from the Renault Pulse hatchback. The 2017 Micra doesn’t get any substantial updates in the exterior design. Exchange your old car for Micra Active

CABIN ;

Interior styling is similar to the pre-facelift version of Micra armed with basic features found in other hatchbacks in the segment Cabin is equipped with power tilt steering, manual AC, power windows in front & rear, remote keyless entry, internally adjustable ORVM, adjustable headrest, 2 bottle holders, 3 cup holders, gear shift indicator and 12V power outlet.

Safety equipment on the Micra Active include driver airbag standard across line-up. Other features like passenger airbag, ABS with EBD & brake assist and driver seat belt warning indicator are available only on the top-spec variant. Centre door locking, speed sensing auto door locking, speed sensing auto door lock etc.

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;

The Nissan Micra Active comes with an 1,198 cc petrol engine which produces 65 hp of power at 5,000 rpm along with 104 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. The engine’s performance is acceptable for its segment.

The Nissan Micra Active comes with a 5 speed manual transmission. Gear changes are smooth, however, no variant is offered with an automatic gearbox.

The Nissan Micra Active has an ARAI rated fuel efficiency of 16.5 kmpl in city along with 19.5 kmpl on the highway. For its segment, these fuel efficiency figures are reasonable.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

The power steering of Micra Active is deft and manoeuvrable and this makes it an ideal car for congested areas. The turning radius of 4.65 m is one of the smallest in this segment. Ventilated disc brakes are fitted in the front while the rear end gets drum brakes for efficient braking. An advanced Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) makes it a safe hatchback. The staunch suspension is a McPherson Strut for the front wheels and a torsion beam system for the rear ones.

SAFETY AND FEATURES ;

Micra Active has ABS and driver-plus-front passenger airbags as a top-model feature.Nissan has astutely focused on the safety parameters. Central door locking with keyless entry, driver side power window with auto down and anti pinch features, child safety locks for the rear doors, powerful halogen headlamps for enhanced visibility for the driver, side and front impact beams, an electrical power steering with tilt adjustment, seat belts for added safety of the passengers, front wash and wiper for the windscreen are practical features. Driver seat belt warning notification, a door ajar warning indicator, a low fuel warning lamp, a head lamp on warning notification and a key remove warning indicator underscore the safety features. Nissan has also given this hatchback the highly advanced ABS + EBD + BA system and speed sensing automatic door locks, prevent your wheels from locking.

CONCLUSSION ;

Nissan’s Micra Active has superior all-round visibility that is slightly marred by the thick C-pillar. It has bulbous outcrops flanking the bonnet and this makes it a rarity among modern cars where the bonnet is almost never visible and this makes parking in tight spots extremely easy. Micra Active lives up to its tagline ‘drive easy, live better’

 

Merecedes Benz AMG GLE 43 Coupe Performance

OVERVIEW ;

Mercedes’ mid-size luxury SUV, the GLE-Class, started life in 1997 as the Mercedes-Benz M-Class. The five-door crossover received two generational updates since its initial debut, the first of which was issued in 2005. The third gen arrived in 2011, and four years later, Mercedes gave it a facelift, revealing the update in January at the North American International Auto Show. With the facelift came a name change, with the M-Class badge retired in favor of GLE-Class, per Mercedes’ revamped naming strategy. Now, for the 2017 model year, Mercedes is replacing the GLE400 and GLE450 AMG with the new AMG GLE43. Essentially the same five-passenger performance SUV as the outgoing GLE450 AMG, the AMG GLE43 is framed as a stylish, high-tech, relatively quick SUV, with a dollop of family-oriented practicality and autonomous safety features spread on top.

The AMG GLE43 joins its slightly slimmer sibling, the GLE43 coupe, in Mercedes’ ever-expanding AMG lineup. In case you were unaware, AMG is essentially Mercedes’ in-house tuning division, similar in purpose to BMW’s M division.For 2017, AMG will be celebrating 50 years of making fast Mercedes vehicles even faster, with plans of offering no less than 34 different AMG-branded models for the new model year. Included in the list is a host or performance SUVs, including the GLE43 featured here.

EXTERIOR AND LOOK ;

The front area has been mildly revised in its look, making for only a loose resemblance of the other variants. The conventional Mercedes-Benz grille stretches all across the front section, and the large star at the centre sends out an aggressive effect. The company seems to have a good understanding of the love of chrome among us Indians, and this shows in the shimmering highlights placed on many regions of the front and the side. The headlamps on either side are sharper than the conventional version, and they are intricately detailed for a more powerful visual effect when driving. It is quite stunning the way the polished metallic skin slides down and forms the bumper. We found the slender layout of the air dams to fit into the layout of the front with utmost perfection. Coming to the sides, the large fenders instantly grab your attention, while the stylish wheels are factors that further reinforce this effect. There are serene design lines around the door sides, creating a more ambient effect which further enhances the vehicle’s look. Perhaps the most sensational element of the car’s exterior, in our opinion, is the well sculpted rear portion. The car’s roof tapers down towards the rear, blending right into the image with a dab of sportiness.

INTERIOR AND COMFORT ;

Just like the exterior, the AMG GLE43 is basically the same as the outgoing GLE400 on the inside. In fact, the cabin is even more of a copy/paste than the styling outside. Drivers grip a three-spoke steering wheel with a flat bottom and numerous buttons placed at thumb’s length on the sides. The wheel is wrapped in leather and trimmed in brushed metal. Behind the wheel is a gauge cluster with a left-mounted speedometer and right-mounted tachometer, which sandwich a center-mounted digital driver’s information display. More brushed metal trim is found around the gauges, not to mention the center console and vents, while in the foot well, there are drilled metal pedals with rubber inserts for greater grip.Mounted high on the dash is an 8-inch color screen. Below the screen is an array of hard buttons and switches that look pretty dated on something for the 2017 model year. On the central tunnel, you’ll find the standard touchpad controller and other infotainment system navigation tools. Other anticipated features include Bluetooth connectivity, voice control, and app support.

Tunes are provided by a standard Harman Kardon Logic7 sound system, but audiophiles can opt into the high-end Bang & Olufsen BeoSound system if desired. The AMG GLE43 also gets the latest lineup of safety and driver-assist tech. See the Safety And Convenience section for more information.Further features include the standard AMG paddle shifters on the steering column, random AMG trim pieces scattered here and there, and if you’re feeling frisky, optional sports seats. Premium materials pervade throughout, including wood trim and leather upholstery.On its own, the AMG GLE43’s interior doesn’t look too bad. However, once you prop it up against the competition, it starts to look a little… less good.I mean, look at the Porsche. Sure there are copious hard buttons and the layout could use some simplification (okay, a lot of simplification), but the way the central tunnel sits above the seat line gives it a sort of fighter jet cockpit feel. And that’s cool.

Now look at the Bimmer. The dash swoops through the cabin in a futuristic curve, and the various controls are set at an angle to provide maximum benefit to the driver.Now look at the Mercedes. It looks like something from 2010, but with a slightly bigger screen. Gripes over the layout aside, you do get some pretty decent kit for your money. A power sunroof and heated front seats come as standard, while extra outlay will land you ventilated front seats with three levels of heating or cooling. There’s also an available heated steering wheel.

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION ;

Most of the AMG cars are powered by Bi-Turbo V8s with insane amounts of power. However, the GLE 450 not being a full blown AMG is powered by a 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine which produces 364 BHP and 520 Nm of torque. The power figures translate into a 0-100 km/hr time of just under 6 seconds which is very impressive considering it isn’t a light car by any stretch of imagination. The exhaust note of the car is very addictive too and keeps one well entertained.

The engine is paired to a 9-speed automatic transmission which makes cruising at highway speeds very relaxing with the engine spinning at very low RPMs. At 100 km/hr, the RPM needle hovers around 1400 RPM and a slight dab on the accelerator is all that is needed for a quick overtake. When you pin down the accelerator, the acceleration is linear and in no time you are at triple digit speeds. The power delivery is very linear and the engine redlines at 6500 RPM.

Holding the brake and pressing the accelerator completely makes the car launch perfectly (two thumbs up for launch control) and gear shifts happen smoothly instead of the slight jerkiness in Sport+ mode. Speaking of Sport+ mode, the GLE 450 AMG does a kickback from the exhaust when upshifting and that adds to the drama. No, it doesn’t mean anything is broken, it is just to add that bit of character. The most surprising part is despite the engine not having too many ponnies, you feel that it is accelerating faster than it actually is. And the exhaust note adds to the whole experience. Full marks to the blokes at Mercedes for getting the setup right.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

Being an AMG Sport badged car, let us talk about the handling and braking aspects of the GLE450 AMG sport first. In normal comfort mode, the GLE450 behaves like most normal SUVs would around a bend, but just like with the engine, the Sport and Sport+ modes turn it into a different animal. The GLE450 AMG Sport corners well for something this large and this heavy and is certainly a lot more poised than the likes of the previous generation ML63 AMG. The large tyres and big wheels of course help but on the whole, the GLE450 coupe certainly feels really sorted for an SUV. Of course, the fact that it doesn’t make astronomical amounts of power also makes it a lot more usable around the tight and twisty roads that we tested it on. That said, as a balancer, chucking the GLE450 coupe into a corner, even with the great suspension setup working overtime still cannot mask the fact that this is a heavy SUV an not a nimble sportscar.

If you want to use the likes of the GLE450 AMG on a daily basis, here is a word of caution. It is not comfortable. Not by a long shot. In comfort mode, the firm suspension makes it extremely jittery over undulated roads that we here in India are ‘blessed’ with. Surprisingly, the moment you stiffen the GLE450 up by putting it into Sport, the car becomes a lot more comfortable and usable. We are guessing the ‘Sport’ part on the AMG sport series is a very subtle hint then! The GLE450 also gets a huge set of brakes and although they are pretty much on point, use them hard over extended periods of time and they do start to show signs of fade. Again, this is not because of the way the brakes are constructed, it is just about the fact that the GLE450 weighs as much as a moon and this puts a lot more stress on them.

SAFETY ;

Safety and German cars go hand in hand and same is the case with the Mercedes GLE 450 AMG Coupe. It carries over all the safety technology from the standard GLE SUV. When it comes to after sales service, Mercedes is one of the best in the game in today’s time. Mercedes offers service packs for a time period of upto three years. Extended warranty is also available which protects the owner from unpredictable failures. The sales reach of the three pointed star is also very good with showrooms in most major cities.

CONCLUSSION ;

If you are looking at the GLE Coupe as a practical buy then it scores a big zero. The luggage area is tiny and despite the massive size the rear bench is not the most comfortable. This being an import, its price of Rs 86.40 lakh comes as a pleasant surprise and makes it quite of decent value. So this luxury crossover is for people who are looking for a sports car performance without compromising on everyday usability thanks to its great ground clearance. With its unique styling, buying the GLE coupe is more like self-indulgence but then for the enthusiast, car buying is not a rational decision anyway.

 

 

Audi Q5 Facelift Review & Test Drive

OVERVIEW ;

Positioned between the smallish Audi Q3 and the huge Audi Q7, the Q5 promises to be a great urban SUV. It can handle bad terrain, and won’t be too cumbersome to drive in traffic either. Also, given that it looks good too, Audi hasn’t had a problem with the competition either. Back on tarmac, it’s docile and boasts car-like dynamics.??While Porsche is readying the Macan (it will be priced higher than the Q5) and BMW has the X3 already, the Q5 enjoys its position, because of its capability as a product, and Audi’s well deserved value in the market. Check Price of Q5

EXTERIOR AND LOOK ;

The Audi Q5 comes up as a very subtle looking SUV. The overall design of it looks more coupe inspired than a typical SUV. The sloping roof lines, mild flares on the side with a longish bonnet make the Q5 look very suave in nature. The Q5 does not look like a typical in-your-face kind of a SUV but then it still has a bold look and looks contemporary.Having a family face, this one too has a single frame radiator grille which has been finished in gloss chrome. The vertical chrome struts look very neat. The three dimensionally finished bonnet flows very elegantly between the single frame grille to the front windshield making the design look very aerodynamic. The Xenon plus trapezoidal headlamps sweep back to the side. Request  test drive for Q5 in Cazprice

The side profile is humble. The window lines have been done in chrome. The Audi Q5 measures 4629mm in length. That also translated to good interior space. This one gets a 10 spoke V shaped lightweight forged aluminum wheels and 235/60 R18 tyres. The combination of these two make the car look dynamic. The roof line drops very subtly and the lip of the roofline ends with a spoiler which makes it look sporty.The rear has wide spread tail lamps. The tail gate indeed gives it a distinct look and one can easily it’s an Audi you are following. The tail gate is indeed very practical and makes it very practical to load and unload. Hidden under the massive chunk of a rear bumper are the exhaust diffusers which have been done in brush Aluminum.

So, the new Q5 which recently got its dose of updates is a good looking SUV. It looks more like a big hatch and less of a SUV. The fact that the Q5 is selling in good numbers also assures that India has matured as a market in terms of taste and choice. So, the Q5 packs in cues from Big-Bro Q7 and still manages its own character. The daytime running LED lights of the Q5 are just an icing and looks simply awesome.

INTERIOR AND COMFORT ;

Perhaps even more vast a change than the exterior, the 2017 Q5’s interior gets huge update. It takes after Audi’s current design styling and features a low-hung, thin dashboard with its Virtual Cockpit gauge cluster, minimalist HVAC controls, and (oddly) tacked on infotainment screen. The center console also sports a new design that includes a new electronic gear shifter and track pad. The steering wheel takes after other Audi models, as well, and features a thin yet sculpted design. The hexagonal grille design is mirrored on the airbag cover, too.

In-dash technology includes Audi’s Virtual Cockpit with its 12.3-inch TFT screen and configurable digital gauges. The MMI infotainment screen perched above the center console offers 8.3-inches of viewing screen and is controlled by both touch and the large track pad just ahead of the shifter. The pad offers smartphone-like controls, with pinch-to-zoom and finger-writing to text capability. The system also features Audi’s Personal Route Assist, which learns your driving habits and can suggest alternate routs should traffic have your usual route blocked. Onboard LTE Wi-Fi allows the Q5 to be an online hotspot and there’s even a Qi wireless phone charger and integrated phone antenna to keep smartphone powered and connected. Audiophiles will appreciate the Bang & Olufsen Sound System with 3D sound.

Rear seats offer a good amount of legroom matched with lightly bolstered outboard seats and decent headroom. HVAC vents keep rear passengers happy on hot or cold days, and an optional rear seat entertainment package features two huge screens.The seats also fold flat, offering an impressive amount of cargo room. Audi says there’s 54.7 cubic feet of space with the seats stowed. With the second row in place, cargo room is cut down to 21.5 cubic feet of space. That’s does represent an improvement of 0.4 cubic feet of the last Q5.

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;

We have already witnessed the 3.0-litre, V6 TDI diesel engine in the Audi A6 and Audi A7 earlier, but this motor just doesn’t cease to amaze us every single time. In the Q5, Audi has boosted the output by 5 BHP and 78 Nm, which is quite significant considering the added twist on offer. However the addition in power hasn’t come at the cost of economy and Audi claims that the new Q5 is up to 15 percent more efficient than its predecessor. Power delivery is instant and rewarding and NVH levels are very good with very little diesel grunt audible inside the luxurious cabin.

This engine is mated to a 7-speed S tronic transmission which is at the forefront ensuring smooth cog swapping. There are no paddle shifts even on the top-end variant which comes as a disappointment, however one can take control of things by using the tiptronic function on the gear lever. Performance, as you would expect, is nothing short of explosive with every dab on the accelerator pedal resulting in an instantaneous surge ahead with plenty of reserve still left. Power delivery although linear, is still addictive and there is a definite shove in your knickers when you bury your right foot in the floor.

We can go endlessly with praise about the 3.0-litre TDI engine, it’s that darn good. The motor feels at home at all speeds, whether its ambling around the city, sprinting on open roads or simply cruising on the highways. This mill does a splendid job in hauling the 1.8 tonne Q5 with urgency and blurred scenery. The Audi drive select system offers various modes which control the accelerator pedal characteristics, automatic transmission shift points and amount of steering assist as well. How has Audi managed to boost performance and efficiency at the same time? The German car maker has reduced weight with the use of aluminum on the engine hood and tail gate. Whoever said ‘you can’t have your cake and eat it too’ was wrong, very wrong!

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

Apart from the engines, the other thing that Audi did not have to do much to was the quattro all-wheel-drive system, which has widely grown to be accepted as one of the best traction aids in the market. The bit of fine-tuning they’ve done has resulted in smoother transitioning from the efficient front-wheel-drive set-up to the all-wheel drive, but can you and I tell the difference? Probably not. What you will notice, however, is the new multi-link suspension set-up with the optional air suspension which has made the ride quality and transfer of weight noticeably more pliant. You can feel the suspension complying with the quattro system more amicably when you chuck the car into corners, pretending it’s a low-slung sportscar. It’ll play pretend along with you, keeping things tidy and under control. What also helps is that the new chassis takes away 90kg from the Q5’s kerb which helps it behave on the road the way it does.

SAFETY AND SECURITY ;

It has a list of safety aspects including a central locking system, heat insulating glass, a windscreen cleaning system, movable sun visors, sun blinds, roof-edge spoiler and anti-theft alarm. It has an advanced immobilizer system, first aid kit with warning triangle, tyre pressure monitoring system, a collapsible spare wheel and ISOFIX child seat mounting.

CONCLUSSION ;

There are a lot of products in the market that shout for attention, displaying a probable lack of substance. The Audi Q5 is the exact opposite. It is quite capable but doesn’t give a clue about it, until you get behind the wheel.The simple but effective styling, the range of good engines, and a wide array of options makes the Audi Q5 so special. The 2.0TDI is the choice of the lot. It has a good amount of power, and doesn’t drink too much of fuel either. ?It’s comfortable and spacious inside as well, which means if you are going to be chauffeured around in one of these, you won’t have any problems either. Add the good amount of stability and safety options the vehicle offers, and you have a winner in your hands.

 

 

Hyundai Elite i20 Facelift Review

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 for review & price of Hyundai cars

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. Check On Road Price of Elite i20

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.

 

Nissan Terrano Facelift Review

OVERVIEW

The Nissan Terrano is the third model in the Renault-Nissan India line-up to receive the badge-engineering treatment. However, this time, it’s Nissan that is tweaking a Renault product rather than the other way around. Unlike the other two badge-engineered models in the Renault-Nissan stable – the Scala and the Pulse – both of which have got mild tweaks to their exteriors to differentiate them from their Nissan equivalents; Nissan has gone a step further with the Terrano and made significant styling changes, including heavy alterations to the sheet metal. These include redesigned bumpers and lights and a new grille, all of which help the Nissan Terrano look like a proper Nissan. And there’s no doubt that the company has got a winner in the looks department. The Nissan Terrano’s revised V-shaped bonnet integrates nicely with the new Nissan-family grille. The grille itself looks inspired by the larger Nissan Pathfinder SUV sold internationally. The front bumper and lights are new, and the detailed styling around the fog lamps gives the Nissan Terrano a striking look when viewed head on. check EX Showroom Price of  Terrano

EXTERIORS AND STYLING

Dimensionally, Nissan Terrano measures 4.33m in length with a width of 1.83m. Its overall height with the fixed roof rail is 1.67m. The wheelbase of 2.67m adds more to the interior spacing which is already abundant given its incredible height. Nissan Terrano has a ground clearance of 205mm, which is similar to that of Renault Duster, but is an add-on advantage that will keep this SUV going easily on any terrain. Exchange your old car for Terrano

The side profile of Nissan Terrano has angular bold lines which are different from Duster’s curvy lines. The flared wheel-arches make the Terrano look aggressive, distinguishing it from most of Nissan’s models in India. The doors have two horizontal creases in them that enhance the butch look, but it isn’t enough to alleviate the organic lines of the rest of the car. The rear end bears no similarity to any of the Nissan SUVs and it is evident that Nissan has developed a new tail lamp cluster without fiddling too much with the Duster lamps. It gets a chrome garnish to add a premium feel, but the overall appearance is rugged with roof rails and silver skid plates. The flared up wheel arches of this SUV are endowed with a set of diamond-cut 16” machined light -weight alloy wheels in the top end variants, while the base as well as the mid variants are fitted with similar sized robust steel wheels, which certainly make the SUV look sportier. These classy rims have been further equipped with tubeless radial tyres of size 215/65 R16, which have a superior road grip on any terrain.

INTERIORS AND SPACE

The Nissan Terrano has comfortable ingress and egress. Once you enter the cabin, the beige treatment of interiors gives a good sense of space. Nissan has spruced up the dashboard layout, which feels slightly more premium than the Duster. The storage space on top of the dashboard has been covered now with a lid and the centre AC vents get rectangular in shape with chrome outlining. The instrument cluster covering has a rounded panel and the steering wheel remains the same that gets a rebadged horn pad with silver accents. The centre console is restyled with vertical silver panels running on the sides and piano black panels surrounding the new multimedia system.

These additional embellishments make the interior styling a bit more attractive than the Duster. Quality of the materials used and the fit and finish is exactly the same again, which is much better than the competition but doesn’t feel as premium as a car in this price bracket should feel. The base XE trim comes with black interior, while the rest get beige interior. Colour combination used in the Terrano gels nicely and looks tastefully done, thanks to the piano black finishing. The air conditioning is effective and the vents provide thick flow of air. Everything falls under reach and most of the controls are convenient to use apart from the mirror adjustment control that is placed under the handbrake lever. You will also miss the dead pedal to rest your foot on long drives. Nissan should have addressed the minor ergonomic issues which customers of the Duster have been complaining about since quite some time now.

The door pockets are deep enough to accommodate 1-litre bottles and there is enough spread of cup holders and small storage elements to keep knick knacks. Cabin space needs a special mention here, as there is ample space in both the rows as well as the boot. The seats are sufficiently supportive but lacking a bit of under-thigh support. The 475-litre boot space is practical with a convenient loading lip that can accommodate a good load of luggage. Some of the safety and convenience features offered in the Terrano include dual airbags, ABS, EBD, BA, fog lamps, reverse parking sensors, rear AC, double-din audio system with CD/MP3, USB, AUX and Bluetooth connectivity. Shockingly the steering mounted audio controls found on the Duster are not offered on the Terrano.

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE

The Terrano comes in three different engine trims which include one petrol and two diesel. The specifications remain identical to that of the Duster. The 1598cc petrol engine churns out 104PS at 5850 rpm and a torque of 145 Nm at 3750 rpm. It has a 5 speed manual transmission and Nissan claims a mileage of 13.2 Kmpl.The petrol engine is smooth and not very audible. The 1.6L petrol engine seems perfect for city commute as it does not offer any kick as such but then in traffic conditions it is at its best. The gear shifts feel a bit notchy and can be bettered with a smoother shift movement.

This is not a typical rev friendly petrol engine as it feels underpowered at lower engine speeds. As the engine speed is raised, it gets more audible but then the lag in the delivery also gets very evident. Also, the petrol version gets Hydraulic power assisted steering. It delivered a mileage of 9.5 kmpl.The 1.5L lower spec diesel engine produces 85PS at 3750 rpm and a torque of 200 Nm at 1900 rpm. This engine is also equipped with a 5 speed manual transmission. The prime reason for having a lower spec diesel engine is for the mileage friendly consumers. This one being a diesel feels nice on torque.

This engine too has a lag but then it being a diesel unit tries to overcome it. It takes serious effort to make the vehicle reach higher speeds. The steering is very active in giving feedback and sometimes it gets a little too aggressive. Overtaking in a fully loaded condition is a stress as the notchy gears and the lag in the engine make it very difficult. This one scored more on mileage compared to the other two at 15 Kmpl After trying both the underpowered variants, it was finally time for me to drive the 110PS version. This remains my favorite with its superb power delivery. It produces a power of 110PS at 3900 rpm and a torque of 248 Nm at 2250 rpm. It also comes with a 6 speed manual transmission.

Crank it up and it feels the same until you shift it to the first gear. Cross 1700 rpm and the engine feels very much in control. The torque delivery is fantastic when it comes to the 110 PS model. In fact, I find this engine more athletic compared to that of the EcoSport in terms of sheer drive feel.

RIDE AND HANDLING

In terms of ride, unsurprisingly, the Terrano does brilliantly. It smothers even the biggest of potholes with ease and you don’t have to slow down for rough roads. In fact, the faster you go over rough surfaces, the better the ride.As for handling, the Terrano feels very stable at high speeds and rarely gets out of shape. Even in normal driving, the handling is pretty impressive for a high-riding SUV. There is a bit of body roll due to the soft suspension setup, but it is never too much. And you always feel in control of the car. Also, when you want to have fun, the car’s direct steering is quite rewarding. It’s light enough when you want it to be and weighs up at speed, and this adds to the overall fun.

BRAKING AND SAFETY

Disc units in front and drum units at rear provide stopping power, anti-lock-brakes with EBD and brake assist are available across variants save for the base trim. Safety features on board include front airbags, front fog lamps, engine immobilizer, central locking, driver seat belt reminder, door ajar warning, rear defogger, reverse parking sensor, three point seat belt with retractor in front and rear, speed sensing auto door lock and impact sensing auto door lock

CONCLUSSION

The Terrano is a genuinely nice car, and I do want to like it. However, it is missing some essential features that have been mentioned already. With the new Micra I thought that Nissan India had learned that the market will respond well to value – but according to the Renault-Nissan agreement, the donor car will always cost less than its twin. This means that the Duster will cost less than the Terrano, and this puts the top-spec Terrano between Rs 1-1.5 lakh over the top-spec Duster. That’s a staggering Rs 16.5-17 lakh on-road for great engineering but an incomplete feature set. The Duster filled in a gap in the Indian marketplace and it sold well as long as there weren’t options. The Terrano will enter the market with competition like the Duster itself and the Ford EcoSport. Will Nissan have a surprise in store for us like they did with the pricing of the new Micra? I certainly hope they do.

Toyota Innova Crysta Engine & Gearbox

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 EX Showroom 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. Exchange your old car for Crysta

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.