Ferrari FF launched with a starting price of Rs 3.42 crores

The Indian roads would soon see glimpses of the Ferrari FF’s rump. Ferrari today, launched their latest offering in the super car market with the Ferrari FF. This is a first of sorts for the manufacturer with a 4 wheel drive platform and also 4 seats. The Ferrari FF is priced at an exorbitant Rs 3.42 crores. This is its ex-show room price, Delhi.

By launching this car, Ferrari aims to capture a part of their customer base from those who are not only looking at exclusivity but also the practicality aspect as well. Legendary Italian design house Pininfarina have designed the Ferrari FF, which by the way stands for both 4 seats and 4 wheel drive. Most of the times, the FF would be rear wheel driven, however, detection of any wheel slip or loss of traction would immediately trigger the 4 wheel drive mode. A dual clutch 7 speed transmission and 650 Bhp producing engine is what comprises of the drivetrain for this Ferrari. 335 kmph is the restricted top speed of this beast. Not only is the FF a 4 seater supercar but it can also quite comfortably carry their luggage what with its 450 liters of boot space. In a bid to make its customers appreciate the practicality bit that comes with the FF, Ferrari have also made the rear seats to be pushed down completely to liberate about 800 liters of space. Keeping in mind the Indian customers obsession with fuel efficiency, the FF also has a 10 percent more fuel economy than the other Ferrari cars.

Ferrari FF launched with a starting price of Rs 3.42 crores

Renault unveils its new small car – Pulse


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True to their promise, Renault unveiled their small car for the Indian market, the Pulse on 29th October 2011. Renault totally surprised everyone by showcasing a car which was eerily similar to the Micra and not an all new thing. We had predicted that Renault’s small car would be the Modus, however, based on the V platform, the Pulse seems to be a mirror image of the Nissan Micra.

This new Renault Pulse would be built at Renault-Nissan’ Oragadam facility in Chennai. Coming off similar assembly lines mean that the costs would be on the lower side and Renault can price it very competitively. The Renault Pulse seems to be an evil twin of the Micra. Where the Micra looked all bubbly and cheerful, the grille of the Pulse shows that it has got some evil intent. A blacked out grille and wider apron ensures that the Pulse would look like a SEMA refugee of the Micra. Different alloy wheels design, though we aren’t sure if they would be present in the production version; ensure that the SEMA intentions are kept alive. The interiors also follow the Micra’s way and the prevalent circular theme makes it presence felt.

Renault Pulse

Not only this, the Pulse would also share the engine components as also the entire drivetrain. However, Renault would initially be bringing in the 1.5 liter diesel engine and then the 1.2 liter petrol one. As it is, majority of the sales of cars in India happen to be skewed towards diesel. Renault plans to price the Pulse between the Micra and Swift. Not only this, Renault also plan to cash in on their racing DNA and build up a souped up Pulse complete with body kit and the stuff. The Pulse would be officially available for sale post the 2012 Auto Expo in India.

Renault Pulse Renault Pulse

Additional deals for the month of October 2011

We know it’s too late for bringing in the additional deals for the month of October 2011, however, due to the holiday(s) in between and the festive moods, there has been a delay. Nevertheless, the saving grace is that these deals would be carried forward till the mid of November 2011 and hence there is no point in worrying over it.

Nissan:

The Japanese manufacturer is pulling a plug on all stops and ensuring that its models sell well in the Indian market. Nearly all variants of its petrol engined Nissan Micra are being offered with a Rs 50k discount.

2011 Nissan Micra

Maruti:

The Eon as also resurgent strikes in its plants have ensured that Maruti stays out of the sales focus. The best seller Alto is being offered with a combined discount of upto Rs 43k, making it almost tip toe onto the Nano’s foot steps. If one is a corporate customer, then Maruti dealers are ready to throw in an additional Rs 3k discount.

Maruti Alto

Skoda:

Skoda is still offering huge discounts on its 160 Bhp TSI engined Laura. However, this discounts don’t apply to the recently launched vRS model. As much as Rs 1.50 lakhs is being offered as a discount. Not only this, the 1.2 as also 1.6 liter Skoda Fabia is also being offered with a discount. These discounts range from Rs 62k for the 1.6 liter Fabia and Rs 54k for the 1.2 motor. No discounts are being offered on the diesel though.

Skoda Fabia

Honda:

Apart from the current discounts going on the Jazz and City, Honda dealers are also throwing in freebies with the slow selling Accord. Rs 63k worth of free insurance as also Rs 56k worth free navigation system is up for grabs with the stylish Accord. The City in the meanwhile gets nearly a lakh rupees off its lofty price tag.

Honda Accord

Fiat:

Fiat have started the price of their Punto from as low as Rs 3.7 lakhs while the Linea has got some solid discounts going for it. The discounts amount upto Rs 1.30 lakhs for all the petrol variants except the T-jet.

Fiat Punto

Ford:

The petrol model of the all new 2011 Fiesta is a bummer as far as sales are concerned and Ford are offering discount boosts to up the sales. Approximately Rs 50k is being offered through various channels on this car.

Ford Fiesta

Mercedes:

The big daddy of luxury, Mercedes is also offering festival incentives what with the new GL350 CDI receiving a knock of Rs 7 lakhs off its price tag. This is certain to entice the ML350 buyers, allowing them to opt for a much more capable and spacious SUV.

Mercedes GL350 CDI

These are some of the deals associated with the automotive industry and we are sure to keep them rolling for the next month.

Are diesel engines becoming more reliable, an Indiandrives debate

One doesn’t have to be an astrologer or philanthropist to say that diesel is or would rule the roost in the near future. With rising prices of crude, more and more people are taking a liking to diesel engines. It seems that F1 would also be a part of the diesel brigade very soon. Even premium sports car manufacturers like Lamborghini are thinking of taking the diesel route. However, the question is whether these new age diesel engines as reliable as say a less technologically advanced petrol engine. Even now, first time buyers opt for a petrol engine thinking that a diesel one would put strain on their pockets in the long run. So, here is a debate on whether the modern day diesel motor matches upto its petrol counterpart or not? We have kept the comments section alive so that you can post in your valuable comments.

Diesel engine

Today, most of the diesel engines available even in the cheapest of hatchbacks happen to be CRDI. CRDI stands for Common Rail Direct Injection. The Hyundai Accent CRDI was the first car which came with the CRDI engine in India. Earlier diesel engine cars included the likes of the diesel Zen, diesel Esteem, Bolero, Sumo, Spacio, Ford Ikon D, Fiat Petra, Palio 1.9d and the ilk. Of all these cars, the Ford Ikon D was notorious for failing engine internals and stuff. Of course, it did amass a lot of kms before this particular problem was noticed. Maintenance issues were also very prominent in those days with owners refusing to take their vehicles for a complete service or stuff. Even oil changes were delayed to a great extent and it was only after the vehicle started showing signs of loss in power that the owner thinks of taking it to a nearby service station.

Hyundai Accent CRDI

Modern day petrol and diesel engines are engineered with an high amount of tolerance and this makes them one heck of a reliable machines. However, the regular servicing part is the one which is most often neglected and this leads to notions that diesels are more expensive to maintain than regular petrol vehicles. More often than not, the myth of a diesel engine being more expensive stems from the fact that diesels are more on the expensive side from the initial point of procurement. Modern day diesels come with a Diesel Particulate Filter which needs to be cleaned in stipulated service intervals. Diesel engines don’t like to be revved, however, once in a blue moon, a diesel engine needs to be revved so that it can actually get rid of all those soot accumulated in the exhaust pipe. It is also said that the bare bones diesel engines were much more reliable than the ones with all the modern widgetries in them. Fuel injectors in a diesel car and especially the likes of the Accent CRDI were much more sensitive to the quality of fuel in India than the likes of other cars. This inspite of the fact that in India, the diesel glow plugs, fuel pumps and even turbos run at higher ratios than elsewhere in the world.

Petrol enginesPetrol engines on the other hand face lubrication problems since petrol as a fuel acts as a corrosive agent while diesel on the other hand is non-corrosive. Petrol engines have a longer service interval depending on the fact that there are fewer moving components involved in them than in a diesel. Earlier diesel cars needed to be run quite frequently so that they don’t encounter problems during cold starts and stuff, however modern day diesel engines don’t follow the same pattern.

In short, current diesel engines are equivalent to their petrol counterparts and its only their slightly expensive feature as regards to the parts and servicing which would tilt the favor towards the petrol engines. The bottom line is that which ever choice of engine one makes, it ultimately boils down to the kind of maintenance one keeps with their automobile and not otherwise. All the modern engines have been engineered with a precision that belies their usage and also age.

New cars for the year 2012 – Part 2

Here is a continuation of the series of the new cars for the year 2012. The last time, we had uploaded some fantastic cars which are lined up for the year 2012. Here are some more additions to the list.

Ford:

As a manufacturer, Ford have got all the things right what with the Figo amassing huge numbers and to complement it, they have also launched the all new Ford Fiesta. Come 2012 and Ford have got some more vehicles lined up.

2012 Ford Fiesta hatch:

Ford may have gone wrong with the 2011 Ford Fiesta, however the hatchback is something wherein the manufacturer is pinning all its hopes. The internet is abuzz with the photos of the Fiesta hatchback captured around Ford’s Marimalai Nagar plant. It is said that the hatch would get the same engine options as its sedan sibling. It would compete with the i20 and hence pricing would be a critical factor given that the i20 has an auto variant as well. Anything above Rs 6 lakhs and the Honda Jazz’s failure would look to be mirrored.

2012 Ford Fiesta hatch

2012 Ford Endeavor:

There is an all new Endeavor headed to India come 2012. Ford’s global design philosophy is something that would be etched on the face of this SUV. Better interior materials as also a new revised engine is the one that Ford is hoping to bank upon. An all new 2.2 liter motor producing 150 Bhp would be the trump card for Ford India. The transmission would also be a 6 speed unit both in auto and manual guise. Feature laden would be the other name for this new vehicle.

2012 Ford Endeavor

Honda:

The Japanese manufacturer has had quite ups and downs as regards to its products and sales figures in 2011, however for the year 2012, Honda would be bringing in some new models.

2012 Honda CR-V:

Honda have been teasing the automotive world with an image of their 2012 Honda CR-V. However, knowing Honda, this thing would soon be a reality. Aggression is written large on this soft-roader’s face and an all new platform would also be used for this vehicle. Moreover, there are big chances that Honda would be assembling this vehicle in India. But 2012 wouldn’t see this Honda having a diesel engine under its hood for sure. We would have to wait until 2013 for this.

2012 Honda CR-V

2012 Honda Civic:

Honda has been long talking about bringing in an all new Civic and the one that we got here was a mild refresh as far as the exteriors were concerned and lest we forget a sunroof as well. However the 2012 Civic that would be coming our way would be a far tamer beast as far as the looks are concerned. However, in the interiors department, the Civic still retains its essence and that means the interiors would be awe inspiring. A power bump is expected on the cards with talks of 140 Bhp floating around. The same diesel engine which would be used in the Honda CR-V would be making its debut in here as well. The best part is that Honda has learnt its lessons and the pricing for the Civic would be killer.

2012 Honda Civic

Hyundai:

The Korean has been the mainstay of many a launches in India in 2011 and 2012 would be a relatively tamer season for it.

2012 Hyundai Elantra:

Hyundai would be bringing back its Civic challenger, the Elantra and this one would be making a strong come-back. Modern Hyundai design cues is what it would be all about. Not to mention that the interiors would also be a class apart. Space provided inside the car would also be in the leagues of the Civic or even one step ahead. However, Hyundai’s philosophy of bringing in both petrol and diesel motors at the same time would earn them dividends and rumors are there that a 1.8 liter petrol and 1.8 liter diesel would be there from the onset. Value for money is what all Hyundai cars promise and this one wouldn’t be too far off the mark either.

2012 Hyundai Elantra

2012 Hyundai Sonata:

The 2010 or even the 2011 Hyundai Sonata didn’t catch the luxury car buyers fantasy just because it didn’t have the eye catching looks or even the features to offer. The 2012 model would be a radical change as far as the looks are concerned. The interiors would be no different as well. They would be all radical and feature rich. A choice of both diesel and petrol motors as also auto and manual transmission would be offered on this executive car.

2012 Hyundai Sonata

Swift faces nearly 4 percent cancellations due to the strikes

Even though the strike by Maruti’s workers has ended, Maruti is still feeling the pinch. The reason for this pinch is not the losses due to the incapacitation of the produce each day but due to the fact that customers have now started canceling their orders for the Swift and are moving towards its rivals. Based on the variant selected and also the region from where the order has been placed, the Swift commands a good 4-14 months waiting period.

As of now Maruti Suzuki have got more than lakh bookings of the Swift undelivered and further reports of sabotage by the company workers during the strikes have ensured that customers are now not only staying away from the Swift but also canceling bookings of the same. One company official even stated that as of now, Maruti haven’t delivered even one Swift model to its show rooms, from the last 2 months. It also happened that many of Maruti’s bookings for the Swift getting cancelled is a boon for the company’s other car in the same price bracket, the Ritz. However, Mayank Pareek, the Managing Executive Officer for Maruti Suzuki, said that the company is overall happy with the fact that only a small fraction of prospective customers have cancelled their bookings while the majority has still stuck with their decision of owning a Maruti.

Maruti Suzuki Swift

October 2011 will see Caterham in India

The very famous British sportscar maker, Caterham is all set to enter the Indian market as early as October 2011. Coinciding with the start of the F1 race weekend in India, this launch would be quite significant since apart from Jaguar, there aren’t many sportscar makers of British origin in India. Ansar Ali, the CEO of Caterham mentioned that two people would be handling the Indian operations and those would be a personnel of Dabur Group named as Gaurav Burman while the second one would be British commercial airline pilot, Matt Cummings. There would also be a 3rd person involved, however since talks with him are still going on, Ansar refused to comment.

Not only would be the unveiling of the Caterham car be done, there would also be announcement of opening up a Caterham Academy which would be akin to the one that Caterham has back home in UK. This Academy would be built with the intent of giving probable owners a chance to race their machines against pros or each other. It may be recalled that Caterham were recently brought by Team Lotus and the latter’s boss is thinking of renaming Team Lotus to Team Caterham. Currently Caterham has two models in its portfolio namely the SP/300R and Seven. It is most likely that both these models would make it to India soon.

October 2011 will see Caterham in India

18K X-type models recalled by Jaguar in UK

Identifying a potential in their cruise control system, Jaguar Land Rover have recalled about 18000 vehicles in UK of the X-type. It is also said that some of the cars are from the global market as well. The problem has been identified for models manufactured between 2006 – 2010 and Jaguar are saying that these cruise control units don’t respond to the usual inputs by their owners and hence need to be rectified.

Jaguar have been proactive in sending out emails and letters to owners of the X-type models and asking them to visit their nearest service stations to carry out the repairs free of cost. The company has also proclaimed in the letter that cruise control can be deactivated by just turning off the engine. This problem is prominent with the 2.2 liter diesel engine of the X-type. Jaguar was quick to dismiss the issue by saying that none of the customers of the X-type were actually affected by this thing and it was a pre-emptive measure by the company keeping in mind safety standards. A minor software upgrade is what would be required to sort out this problem.

18K X-type models recalled by Jaguar in UK

Honda Brio in India test drive

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Honda and affordable cars? Did I make a mistake here? Yes, a few months back, you could literally term me as mad for saying that Honda cars in India are affordable. Infact, even used Honda cars in India are very costly. The trend has changed now with the recent spate of rise in petrol prices plus the fact that even diesel variants are being doled out by other manufacturers at the price of Honda’s petrol engined cars. The Honda City, the company’s proud unabashed proclaimer of success in India, was thrown from its podium position by diesel engined competitors. Wisely enough, Honda resorted to huge price cuts to bring the City back to number one spot plus they also made the Jazz a lot more affordable, so much so that the price difference between the City and Jazz now stands at a cool Rs 3 lakhs. The company’s new baby, the Honda Brio was launched last night with a killer price tag. Now, this would stand to be the new bread and butter model of the company and hence is a very important model in Honda’s Indian lineup. This is before they actually get down to launching a diesel engine in their portfolio, somewhere down the line in 2013. Here is a test drive/review report of the Honda Brio and how actually Honda’s built to price car should fare in the Indian automobile market. Check on Road Price

Honda Brio In India

I had already discussed the looks of the Brio in the Honda Brio In India Preview article and there isn’t much deviation from it for the looks department. Mention must be made of the paint schemes that Honda has chosen for this car. I was never a fan of the Civic or either the City’s paint schemes; however the Brio’s paint scheme is a definite attraction. As with most of the Honda cars, the cab forward design, which was first introduced in the second generation City, is prevalent here. The new Honda wing type grille makes its presence here. From the sides, from a distance, the Honda Brio in India looks similar to the Maruti A-Star. The rear is the most sensational part of the Brio’s design. Why, even this one outdoes the Chevy Beat by offering a complete glass door pane. Too impractical is what my first reaction was. After all, who would want their luggage as also personal belongings to be seen by others? To add insult to injury, there is no rear wiper or even defogger, even for the top of the line variant. Owners would have to be beware of kids playing in their building compounds, lest the cricket ball hits the back pane and it is shattered. The top end variant gets 175/65 R14 tyres that go well with the unique 10 spoke alloy wheel design.

Honda Brio In India

The first time, I had a look around in the Toyota Liva, it was more like I am seated in a Tata car. For the Brio, however, there were no such feelings. Honda has achieved the low cost of this car by localizing about 80 percent of the components including some of the engine components. The ECU is imported directly from Japan. There aren’t too many distractions on the dashboard by the name of features. The top end variant has got audio mounted controls on the steering wheel. The AC controls look very basic, however they work well. The seats are nicely textured and contoured. Me being tall, there was no reason to check out the driver seat adjustment, however, my colleague was not happy with the seating arrangement and add to it that Honda haven’t put the seat height adjustment for the driver. The dashboard is a scooped out unit and hence my knees didn’t hit it. There is a general perception about airiness inside the cabin and a vast part of this has been achieved due to the huge glass area at the rear. For the rear passengers, fitting in a third passenger in the middle would be a squeeze, however the third one wouldn’t have to complain about the lack of leg space. It would mostly be the shoulder room which would be a problem. This car also gets a fair share of cubby holes in the cabin. The boot space is just about okay for this class with 175 liters of deep space. Unfortunately no split seats are available in here; however, the seats fold completely.

Honda Brio In India

Don’t expect Liva like ride quality here, this small Honda carries forward a typical Honda trait. For the front suspension, there are the regular McPherson struts while for the rear suspension, there is a torsion beam in the shape of a H. This Honda is stiffly sprung and in this very state of tune, it doesn’t manage to scrape the speed-brakers either. The steering wheel is light, just like all Hondas; however it also has a sufficient feedback dialed into it. The ride quality is nothing home to talk about and this hatchback just about rides okay. For the handling, this Honda is right up there with the rest of its clan. In cabin noise is also minimum and unlike the other built to a cost options in the market, the engine is also fairly a quiet unit. Highway stability is also fantastic in this car.

Honda Brio In India

The Brio sports the same petrol engine of 1.2 liter capacity. It also gets variable valve timing or iVTEC in Honda’s language. However, unlike the Jazz, this one doesn’t get the 90 Ps configuration and instead comes in at 87 Bhp and 109 Nm of torque. The 5 speed manual gearbox is similar to the one in the Jazz and even the gear knob is an identical thing. Readers would remember me commenting on the Jazz’s weak bottom end. The good news is that the Brio has got reworked gear ratios which ensure that the Brio is er, swift off the line. It can easily touch 145 kmph, what with the iVTEC engine being utter refined. The clutch action, typical of Honda cars, is very smooth. The brakes are also fantastic units. The top two variants get ABS as also EBD along with twin air bags. The base version of the Brio weighs in only at 920 kgs and this in hatchback parlance can be termed as porky. The ARAI fuel efficiency of 18.4 kmpl is also not class leading for a hatchback sporting a 1.2 liter engine. Nevertheless, it should keep the fuel efficiency minded customers sort of happy. Honda has said that they have no intentions of bringing in an automatic version of the Brio, since the market conditions simply don’t demand it.

Honda Brio In India interior Honda Brio In India interior

The Honda Brio has got 4 variants in its fold. The base or primary version would be called as E and it would come with steel wheels and front power windows. The middle line S variant would get the AC and heater, steel wheels with caps and also some other goodies. The one version above it, the S option would have ABS, EBD and airbags as an addition to it. The top of the line V variant would get steering mounted audio controls, keyless entry, alloy wheels and a music system. The Honda Brio price in India is Rs 3.95 lakhs for the base E variant and it would go upto Rs 5.10 for the V variant.

Honda Brio wheel

Honda Brio technical specifications, price and variants.

The Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya 13th edition concludes

One of the toughest motorsport events, the Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya’s 13th edition has finally concluded and this event encompassed 2k kms and 6 days of grueling climes. More than 200 people participated in this event. Not only this, there were teams from Germany, Italy and also Belgium participating in this event. The X-treme 4WD class saw the likes of Ashwin Naik and Suresh Rana clinching a victory for the 6th time and that too in a Maruti Gypsy. Their top rankings were substantiated with the fact that they had top billings in the 6 days that they were competing.

Finishing second was the team of Virendra Kashyap and Harpreet Singh Bawa whereas the team from Shakti Bajaj comprising of BN Prakash and group managed a third position. The Raheja brothers dominated the Adventure Trial category with them driving a Grand Vitara. M K Mustafa and Amol Satoskar claimed the second spot while the third place was graced with the likes of K Prasad and Sreedhar Urs. Both the Xtreme as also the Adventure category were placed on two different terrains but both were equally challenging and needless to say, treacherous.

The Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya 13th edition concludes

13th Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya 13th Maruti Suzuki Raid-de-Himalaya