Ford EcoSport And Figo Gets Extended Warranty Of Five Years

Sometimes the ad doesn’t sells, but an extended warranty does. Automotive industry has turned responsive to such add-ons, where the marketing perception connects audience with a mode of saving ownership cost. The warranty period is an important tool which these automakers keep hammering the nail with to penetrate deeper. And the max period of five years sounds like a delight in India when it is offered with the star product of Ford, EcoSport.

Ford officially announced its two cars, Figo and EcoSport, will now remain available on sales floor with 100,000kms or five years of extended warranty. Earlier, the deal was of 100,000kms or four years whichever is earlier.

Ford covers mechanical, electrical and labour loss under the warranty, whereas the regular service, worn and torn and accidental damages aren’t paid under this.

Ford EcoSport And Figo Gets Extended Warranty Of Five Years

As standard, customers of a Ford are offered two-years or 100,000kms warranty, which they should extend before it runs out for further two years. The extended warranty is also transferrable, which will benefit the other party if the vehicle is sold.

Ford EcoSport And Figo Gets Extended Warranty Of Five Years

Other cars available at Ford showrooms across India are Classic, Fiesta and Endeavour that comes only four years of extended warranty or 100,000kms.

List Of New Cars Offered Under End Of The Year Discounts: 2014

Year is about to end and the automakers vying to sell as much as possible in order to reach the sales target, and also to clear the inventory of current’s year production, which will be then left idle soon when the 2015 would commence.

Followed down are the discounts made available on cars in India that are needed to be cleared up from the stockyard as soon as possible.

Ford Figo

Ford’s hatchback is about to get a new version in the coming year. Rolling benefit for buyers, it became affirmed the company is offering exchange bonus worth of Rs 20,000, free insurance of Rs 29,000 and loyalty bonus worth of Rs 5,000, which totals up to Rs 54,000.

Ford Figo

Chevrolet Beat

Chevrolet has launched the Beat facelift in India this year, but it seem there is some lackluster in selling them. The discounts worth of RS 65,000 can be bifurcated as: free insurance up to Rs 20,000 (from Bajaj Allianz), loyalty bonus of Rs 20,000 and an exchange bonus of Rs 25,000.

Chevrolet Beat

Hyundai Eon

Hyundai offered up to Rs 30,000 discount on Eon. The additional cash benefit from insurance of Rs 12,000 depends upon the trim bought.

Hyundai Eon

Mercedes-Benz A-Class and B-Class

Mercedes-Benz A-and B-Class had diminutively sold numerous examples on the Indian roads, adding more them would be disappointing either. Approving discounts up to Rs 2 lakh is just a cool strategic move.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class and B-Class

Hyundai Santa Fe

Facelift of Hyundai Sante Fe was bound to gain impressive results from the marker, and it seems the maker is successfully doing so. Discounts of a mere Rs 2 lakh on its huge price tag convey the selling point of Hyundai behind this model is still going strong.

Hyundai Santa Fe

BMW X1

BMW X1 facelift with the negligible nip and tucks is one of the biggest and longest compact SUV in its category, but despite being the rear-wheel drive that too with a powerful diesel engine still hadn’t managed to go without this huge discount of Rs 6 lakh. Must say, the cut-throat retails competition is streaking hard in this segment.

BMW X1

BMW X3

The mid-size SUV of BMW, X3, can now be availed at the price lesser by Rs 2 lakh due to the discount offered.

BMW X3

Audi Q3

The immediate rival to BMW X1, Audi Q3 with coupe-type egress seating arrangement at rear and a powerful all-wheel drive Quattro has kept the magic alive, the reason why only a discount of Rs 2 lakh is provided in comparison to the others.

Audi Q3

Audi Q5

Once again, the mid-size SUV rival of BMW X3, Audi Q5 too is offered after a nominal deduction of Rs 3 lakh.

Audi Q5

BMW 7-Series

BMW 7-Series, flagship sedan of the automaker, had chopped off a million from the price tag. Offered for a hefty discount of Rs 10 lakh, the price tag seems to have become very interesting, but it doesn’t matters very distinctly to the king-types pf customers who are its typical buyers.

BMW 7-Series

BMW 5-Series

Categorized as the mid-size sedan, the 5-Series that appears to be a flagship but it isn’t, too gained a discounted price label lesser by up to Rs 6 lakh.

BMW 5-Series

BMW 3-Series

This entry-level sedan of BMW now became more tempting to buy as the company has cropped the prices by up to Rs 4 lakh.

BMW 3-Series

Audi A8.

The biggest Audi sedan in India, A8, begs to differ from the rest in a number of ways. The discount of up to Rs 6 lakh leads the buyers to opt for a number of features that it holds in optional list where rival follows them as standard. It too straps number of engine options to suit the driving fetish of owners at times.

Audi A8

Audi A4

The smallest Audi sedan and also the most affordable until the A3 is launched, A4 still finding many homes and when offered for a discount of up to Rs 5 lakh it becomes attractive than before.

Audi A4

Mercedes-Benz E-Class

The new E-Class is the most distinct car of its repertoire. Design speaking of the aura itself and toppled by a discount of up to Rs 4 lakh it becomes the only car from the automaker of this body-type to get listed here.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Ford Figo crosses milestone of 3 lakh units in just three years of launch

‘Ford EcoSport’, the word seem carrying heavy weightage in market these days, but the Ford says its Figo who had made them achieve some conclave numbers during years. After the three years of launch, Figo still manages to sell 1 lakh units per annum, which means approximately the American carmaker had rolled out 300,000 lakh Figos in India till date. Without declining the fact, Ford had mentioned to expand its success of hatchback via network building and also rationing the newly launched compact SUV EcoSport on that same.

“The Figo continues to be a game-changer for Ford in India and has helped position Ford as a significant player,” said Ford India President and Managing Director Joginder Singh in a statement.

Besides, Ford also exports Figo to 37 countries worldwide. Talking that network development, carmaker had decided to add up five new dealerships in its list, which will be a step further to the target spot of 500 dealerships till 2015.

The above new dealerships will be but obviously in tier III cities — Solan, Sri Ganganagar, Gaya, Anand and Sikar, where nowadays most of the automaker’s expansion rests heavily.

Ford Figo

“These additions to our dealer footprint are part of our aggressive expansion plans of reaching closer to customers in India,” Singh added.

It is said, there are dealerships slotted to be inaugurated in Faridabad and Kochi too.

Ford received 30,000 bookings for its new most admirable buff called ‘EcoSport’ within 17 days of the launch; we expect the momentum of Figo may also go the same aggressive way further.

Toyota Liva vs Hyundai i10 vs Skoda Fabia vs Ford Figo vs Maruti Swift vs Tata Vista – Hatchwar

Its being too long that we have done a comparison test. The time is just right what with the newer launches making their way into the Indian car market. There has been so much happening in the small car segment with the likes of the Toyota Liva being launched as also the new Swift coming in at almost the same time. This segment would see more warfare what with the likes of the Honda Brio coming in and also the Liva making its diesel engine debut this month. For the time being, its petrol bastion and to keep the things fair, we have included the cars from the different countries with the likes of Japan, Korea, Czech, American, pseudo India and Indian taking over. Here is a comparison between some of the most shopped entry level “premium” hatches.

Looks

After the Chevy Beat made its debut, there has been a dearth of interesting designs in the hatch market. The Toyota Liva is the newest design here, even with its sedan derived styling playing in one’s mind. Also, the 2011 Swift would be easily dismissed for the older model here. The Figo also looks way too much like its discontinued cousin, the Fusion. Moreover, Hyundai i10 is the one with a significant design change post its face-lift and also the Tata Vista which looks too close to the Manza now. The Fabia’s facelift is also a blink it and you miss it types. If you must have noticed, almost all the cars here have a sedan derived out of them. The Fluidic Verna looks quite close to the i10, the Liva to the Etios, Swift to the upcoming 2011 Swift Dzire, the Fabia to the upcoming Lauretta and the Tata Vista to the Tata Manza. Its only the Figo which doesn’t have a hatch based on it. The older Fiesta as also the newer ones don’t even look like from the same family.

Toyota LivaIf only for all those side skirts and sporty elements protruding out from its each pore, it’s the Liva which wins our vote.

Interiors

Is space is the priority on a shoppers list, they shouldn’t look beyond the Tata Vista or even the Toyota Liva. Both these cars have the maximum space in this comparison. Infact, the Tata one scores with better equipment levels as well. The Liva can easily seat three passengers in the rear seat with reasonable comfort while the Vista would seat them with considerable ease. The new Swift, even though, its bigger and better than the competition, doesn’t offer more space than any of this cars. Infact, even the smaller i10 beats it hollow with the space it offers. The more modern Ford Figo can also seat three but the passengers would be rubbing shoulders quite too often. Of all the cars offered here, the Liva’s dash feels the most simplistic followed by the Vista’s. Both these dashes have a centrally mounted instrument cluster and hence the driver involvement is not too much. However, the Liva with its flat bottomed steering wheel definitely tries to be on the sportier side, though the quality of materials used is anything but good. Infact, the new 2011 Vista has got a much better interior quality. The goodies in the Vista involve the Bluetooth stereo as also the steering mounted controls. The new Swift takes up the Maruti quality levels to an all new high. Many elements seem to be borrowed from the Kizashi and now, there is also a multi information display coming up. The Hyundai i10 also has good quality materials and the same Bluetooth enabled stereo system going for it. Moreover, i10 boasts of good space inspite of its compact dimensions. The Ford Figo has also got the best of all worlds though quality is still doubtful, it is pretty much up with the rest. The features at hand are also quite useful with Bluetooth voice dialing interfaced with the stereo system. The Skoda Fabia can boast of having the best interiors in its class, the German build quality coming to forth. It has also got the most pleasant cabin going for it. As for the boot space, it is the best in Figo followed by the Liva, Fabia, Vista and then the i10.

Ford Figo

Ride and Handling

The Skoda Fabia and the Maruti Swift play truant here. Both the cars come with an accommodating chassis and also are very capable. The Fabia has the better ride quality than the new Swift while the latter goes up a notch while going around corners with the Skoda’s steering wheel being not too linear. The Swift’s electrical steering column still works out to be the best here. The i10 has got a heavy steering, which is a surprise considering that most of the Hyundai steering wheels are lighter to use. Also, the i10 does roll around a fair bit. Its ride quality is strictly okay. The Liva has got a light steering feel and the ride quality is very good. However, the handling is not upto the mark and the Liva does feel kind of uncomfortable on the highways. Add to it  the fact that the Toyota engineers concentrated more on the ride quality. As for the Tata Vista, Tata engineers have dialed in some feedback in the steering wheel which means that placing the wheels of this car in the exact direction where one wants to take it is for given. Also, the ride quality which is a Tata forte is still very much there and the handling is better than the i10. However, the Ford Figo with its Ford DNA is the best of the lot. It has got a supple ride quality along with the handling to complement it with. The steering wheel is also the most direct unit in this lot.

As far as NVH is concerned, it’s the Tata engine which delivers the most amount of noise followed by the Liva, Fabia, Swift and the i10.

Tata Vista

Engine, Performance and Fuel Efficiency

The engines of all these cars are in the 1.2 liter category. The most technologically advanced engines are from Korea and also pseudo India. Since most of the times, the power as also torque figures for these cars has been done to death, it would be a waste to dedicate this section to them and instead, we would be concentrating more on the driveability aspect as also the fuel efficiency which each delivers. On the driveability front, nothing comes close to the new Swift. It has got the best in-gear acceleration amongst the lot and now, the top speed has also increased a bit. In this regard, the smaller i10 with its big engine is also a good thing. While the gear changes in the new Swift have improved by a big margin over the older one, the new i10 also makes do with a better gear shifting mechanism. The dashboard mounted gear lever means that owners would be at ease shifting gears without fouling with the arm rest. The Skoda Fabia has got an engine which sometimes struggles to take off coupled with the body weight that the car carries. The gear shift is as slick as the one in the i10. The performance borders on just enough to not good, depending on the number of people in the car at that time. As for the Vista, its engine is also not much better than the Fabia in terms of the acceleration, however in-gear acceleration is where the company has concentrated on and makes do with this. The gearshift, though not in the league of the i10, definitely has improved over the previous versions and now slots in really well. As for the Liva, the reduced engine block means that this hatchback has not got much going for it. The gear shift is smooth, however, the engine lags somewhere and is more of a sedate performer than rip roaring. The Figo’s engine definitely seems underpowered with a full complement of passengers. Infact, it feels all the more underpowered in face of competition. The gearshift action is smooth and so is the clutch. However, with engine isn’t perfectly in sync with the gearbox and the car struggles to climb up inclines.

Hyundai i10Brake feel is the best in the Fabia followed by Swift, i10, Vista and the Liva. All the cars come with twin airbags and ABS.

For the fuel efficiency ranks, it is the Hyundai i10 with its 20.3 kmpl, followed by the Maruti Swift at 18.3 kmpl, Toyota Liva at 18.13 kmpl, Ford Figo with 15.6 kmpl, Skoda Fabia with 15.6 kmpl and the Tata Vista with 14.2 kmpl.

Maruti Swift

As for the prices, we have considered the top end versions of these cars and hence cheapest top end petrol version of the Tata Vista rates in at Rs 5.10 lakhs with the Figo Titanium coming in at Rs 5.16 lakhs, Hyundai i10 Asta at Rs 5.74 lakhs, Maruti Swift ZXI at Rs 6.10 lakhs, Skoda Fabia Elegance at Rs 6.44 lakhs and the Toyota Liva at Rs 6.76 lakhs. All these prices are on-road for Mumbai and may vary according to regions.

Skoda Fabia

Some of the most comfortable cars available in India upto Rs 25 lakhs

Most of the cars in India are brought on a strict budget and those which are brought without thinking of one have got to be with the wealthy lot. But what does an average Indian, one having a CTC of Rs 3-4 lakhs prefer to buy. Especially so if his family is also the one who has to travel around with him. Well, that’s a god question, however, what if he was on a budget of Rs 25 lakhs. There he has got many options. For an average guy, the looks wouldn’t matter more and he would be more interested in the comfort factor which the car would provide for. Like discussed earlier, even his parents would be part of the many journeys that he would undertaking. Needless to say, if he is married or going to get married soon, then the question of his wife and later on children also come in. To ease his dilemma, we have conjured up the list of cars which are available for within Rs 25 lakhs and harp more on the comfort factor rather than anything else. No driving pleasure, dynamics or fuel efficiency involved. If at all, any of these things are duly mentioned somewhere in the article, then it is all due to the Indian mentality of bringing in “Average kya hain?” question to the equation.

Under Rs 3 lakhs category :

Well, this one is a no-brainer and the top honors go out for the Maruti Eeco. This is mainly due to its extra set of seats and the overall comfort factor. Giving it a tough fight out here are the Tata Indica Xeta and also the Hyundai Santro. Moreover, the Eeco boasts of a better boot space. It is easier to maneuver thanks to the visibility thing working for it and also has a short bonnet and high seating position. The Xeta beats the Hyundai Santro even though the seating position in the Santro is elevated as compared to the one in the Indica. Even in terms of boot space, the Santro is outclassed by the Xeta. If you take the quality levels in this car into factor, then the Santro zips ahead. Only for the ingress/egress thing, it is the Hyundai that fares better, being a tall boy design and all. Another Tata, this time the Nano beats its other entry level participants namely the Alto and also the Spark. The Nano’s brilliant space utilization comes to the fore here. Though the Nano may appear to be on the smaller side, the interiors are definitely roomier. So, in the entry level segment, it is the Eeco followed by the Indica Xeta and Santro.

Under the Rs 4 lakhs category :

In this category, Ford’s small wonder car, the Figo comes into picture. It is not only a driver’s car but also a comfortable one at that. The Figo has a good ride quality going for it and inside the cabin, the car is very quiet as well. The controls on the Figo also work very nicely and plastics are also better than competition. The Beat is also a worthy competitor here with its tall boy proportions but then its rear seat dimensions don’t let it claim the top honors. Build quality is also very good and compared to the Figo is definitely better. The Maruti Swift in its base avatar has the best front seats in this price bracket. Its only the rear seats which disappoint a bit. Even gizmos in a car add to the overall comfort factor and in this case, the Swift isn’t that loaded as compared to the base Figo. Hyundai’s best seller, the i10 is also in the contention for being a tall boy design and having goodies as also good interior space. Then there is the entry level Vista which just goes one up on the legacy of the old Indica and if it wasn’t for the bad quality of the plastics, it would definitely have been on the top. The Wagon R is also a good buy here coz of its space and value for money proposition. However, like the Vista, the unexciting plastics spoil the party and hence the Wagon R doesn’t lay a claim for the top honors.

In this segment, it is the Figo, followed by the i10 and then the Beat which would win our vote.

In the Rs 4-6 lakhs :

The previous category definitely belonged to the Ford Figo and this one seems to be dominated by the Tata Manza. There is more legroom here in the front and rear than even what some of the cars above the Rs 30 lakhs category have to offer. The boot space is also stellar. The ride quality is also supreme. However, giving it a close fight is the Hyundai i20. Not only does it offer good space all around, it also goes one up by offering a smaller footprint. The Manza, however, has better ingress and egress qualities. The i20 in the meanwhile has a better equipment list and one which contends well with the Manza. Next up is the Toyota Etios, which is only let down by the lack of features and also quality of plastics. Ingress and egress both is a tad tighter than the i20 and Manza. The seats are flat at the rear. But then there is good support. The Mahindra Verito scores a tad better than the Etios but then it loses out on the safety front and also the boot space which the Etios has in better proportions. The Skoda Fabia is also a very good option here considering that it has got European sturdiness to it and also in a smaller footprint, better space utilization. The seats are comfortable and ingress egress is a wee bit better than in the Etios and Verito. The high seating position also ensures better view of the road. The quality of plastics is definitely on the better side and though the features list wouldn’t bother the i20, it is still very nice. Its cousin, the Polo is out of contention due to the not so good space at the rear and remember, this is all about having comfort as the first thing.

In this segment, nothing comes close to the Manza. The Hyundai i20 puts itself in second place while the Skoda Fabia comes in third. Rest follow these leaders.

In the Rs 6-8 lakhs category :

It seems that Tata as a manufacturer places emphasis on comfort more than anything else and even in this category, a Tata wins. It is the Tata Safari. Be it the space, comfort, ride quality or anything else, the Safari triumphs for sure. The Safari also has a big boot to accommodate all those luggage and stuff. Higher payload is also very easy with the Safari. The Safari’s arch nemesis, the Mahindra Scorpio also is a very good performer but then it comes up behind the Safari as far as comfort is concerned. Though the ride quality may not be that great, the build quality and bigger more usable boot of the Scorpio do come into the picture. Visibility is also better due to the shorter snout and as a result the car is more easy to drive.

From the sedans, it is the SX4 which comes up in triumph here. At this price point, the SX4 offers climate control system and stuff. Tata’s other reworked work horse, the Sumo Grande, though is very good as far as space is concerned, just doesn’t cut the mustard as far as interior quality is concerned. Moreover, there are not many goodies also associated with this car.

So, here it is the Safari followed by the Scorpio and then the SX4. Ain’t it strange that while the first two are SUVs, the third does masquerade as an SUV.

In the Rs 8-12 lakhs :

In this category, there is the Innova and there is nothing that can touch the Innova by a fair margin. Be it space in the front or rear and even the middle seats, the Innova has them the best. The Xylo also gives it a tough fight here with the space quotient and its only in the third row that the Xylo is a wee bit better than the Innova. However, quality of materials used is far better in the Innova. Ride quality in both the cars is also similar and there is nothing much to argue about that. The Toyota Corolla Altis also features in this list with its good rear seating comfort and even for the front seat. The ergonomics front is also amply handled by the Toyota. Its only the ingress egress thing which is lacking than the crop of SUVs. Another car, the Chevrolet Optra has got the ride quality, seating comfort, ease of ingress and egress, in-cabin noise as also the handling is well taken care of with this car. The newly launched Hyundai Verna has got everything in its stride including the features list. Barring the rear seat which is more or less a little low on the under thigh support, this is the car to have in this segment. The Honda City has got a better ingress egress thing than its predecessor. The quality of materials used may not be that great but it definitely does seem good and it is only when one touches it that the cheap vibes come. Ride quality is good but nothing to write home about.

In this category, the Innova wins this round and followed closely by the Mahindra Xylo and then the Chevy Optra and the likes.

In the Rs 12-18 lakhs :

The Skoda Laura has always being our favourite and after this comparison, more and more details about the Laura are coming out. Earlier on, the TSI model was billed as a driver’s car and also best buy that we would happily recommend to anyone, however, it has now turned out to be a comfortable one even. There is no dearth of even goodies in this cabin and not only does the Laura promise luxury but also driving  pleasure and reasonable fuel efficiency. The Jetta, the Laura’s cousin is also upto the task and scores highly in the comfort region. That a new Jetta is on the anvil is another story, but the current one acquits itself very well. There is a SUV actually two, the Endeavor and the Captiva and both fall short of the benchmarks created by the Safari and also the Scorpio. Not that they are cramped or stuff but lack of the feel good factor in both as also the relatively low attention to detail makes them sick in the ergonomics department. The newly launched Renault Fluence as also the Cruze are disasters as far as the rear seat comfort is concerned. The Skoda Yeti in the meanwhile is a reasonable crossover and it does make a nice case for itself here. The unlike SUV interior trim quality enables the Yeti to zoom ahead of its other 4 wheel drive competitors. The Tata Aria also competes in this price bracket and after the recent price cuts with the introduction of the 4×2 variant, it inches closer to the value for money tag. It is indeed comfortable and the construction entirely is leap years ahead of the Safari.

In this price bracket, it is the Laura followed by the Jetta and then the Yeti which grab the top honors.

In the Rs 18-25 lakhs price bracket :

No SUVs dominate here and it is the sedans which again have a saying. In the first place, it is the Skoda Superb with its wide welcoming seats, ride quality, good ride quality and handling, good boot space and also the overall appeal of the goodies inside the cabin. Its recently launched cousin, the VW Passat also has all these things except for the fact that the rear seat space is a tad tight as compared with the Superb. The Passat has just a wee bit more features as compared with the Superb. Now, here is a real surprise. The Hyundai Santa Fe has got a wide variety of virtues starting from space, equipment, comfortable seats and also nice ride quality. It is a veritable option for these German sedans. The Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord are also in contention but then their overall lack of features pushes them back in the comfort department or even the back of the pack. Ohh, did we forget the Nissan Teana. It has got all the features that even the more costly Hondas and Toyotas don’t have and then the back seat comfort is nothing short of a sofa. The ride quality is also on the pliant end.

In this section, it would be the Skoda Superb followed by the VW Passat, Hyundai Santa Fe and the Nissan Teana.

Though overall, we have listed out only the cars that would be the most comfortable in their particular brackets, there may be some cars which may have slipped our minds and if possible, do remind us of those via the comments section.

Best driver’s car in each and every segment – Part 2

Here we are back with the best driver’s car in each and every segment comparison. Whilst last time around in the budget segment, it was the Santro which clearly whipped the competition, here we have the next bunch of cars ready to undergo evaluation. These are the cars from the Rs 3-5 lakhs category.

One thing that we have consistently maintained is that one of the best cars in this category for a driver happens to be the Maruti Swift. However, it seems that its days have been numbered here, that is until the newer variant comes in and blows the competition away. There is the Nissan Micra which has a good steering feel and almost in the same ballpark as the Swift’s. However, while the Micra may not feel as grounded as the Swift, it is more easily maneuverable. Moreover, there is a certain wallowy as also rolling action which is more pronounced on the Micra. The best part is that braking for this car is way ahead of the Swift’s. The Swift claws its way back with a driver focused cabin along with a superb K series engine. This engine gives it class leading acceleration figures and also top speed. The 5 speed manual gearbox also makes it a delight to drive. Then there is its stablemate, the Maruti A-star which again thanks to better feel and steering response, just about nudges ahead of the Swift. It has got a lesser turning radius than the Swift and is more maneuverable. It is also much of a point and shoot machine than the Swift. However, it loses out on the ride quality and stability factor.

Ford is known to make cars with good dynamics and proof enough of that is the Ford Figo. The Figo has got much better dynamics on hand plus the steering response is also awesome. It is also rock solid at high speeds. Then there is the Maruti Ritz, which though built on the same platform as the Swift has different characteristics to boot for. The Ritz is also nimble like the A-star or even the Micra for that matter. It however, suffers a bit from stability issues on the highway. The steering response is also on the lighter side for most part of the drive. For the not so hot selling U-VA, top speed stability is similar to the Figo and while the car would have some issues going around corners or making quick lane change maneuvers, with a better engine and gearbox, the car would definitely give the Swift a run for its money. The Maruti Estilo also falls in this category and there is a lot of difference is from the engine and gearbox change from the previous model. Though, the tall boy design doesn’t allow it to go as smoothly around corners, it nevertheless is a stable machine on the highway. But then the gearbox still doesn’t encourage enthusiastic driving and the soft suspension makes things mucky.

The General has got one more from his arsenal here and it is the Beat. Now, the Beat is an okay corner tool and its stability is also not questionable. However, its engine and gearbox simply aren’t upto the task and cant make up for the entire package. Moreover, the tyres of the Beat are also more on the lean side and they are only there for enhanced fuel economy, which the Beat just about manages to deliver. Now, there is the Fiat Palio Stile which is under the scanner and though its dynamics can never be questioned, it’s the engine which simply doesn’t excite enough. The 1.1 liter Fire engine just about manages to take the Palio from 0-100 kmph in under 22 seconds. Not at all impressive.

Of all the cars mentioned here, it is the Nissan Micra which comes out on tops with the best driver’s car tag followed by the Ford Figo which happens to be the best handling one. The bottom of the heap is of course the Fiat Palio Stile. All the other cars make their presence felt in the middle of the table.

Following Figo’s Success Ford to Launch More Cars in Mass Car Segment

Following the success launch of their first small car, the Figo in the Indian auto market, Ford said that they would be launching more mid-sized hatchbacks for the mass car market in India.

These cars will most probably be part of the company’s 8 new planned launches in this market by 2015. This market is accountable for more than 70% of the overall car sales, and witnesses heavy competition from more than 20 models from over 11 car makers.

The company’s head and MD, Michael Boneham, said that as they move along, more products will be released in the hatchback market, though he cannot give further details about these models. This segment has a huge base that justifies the need for more products.

The first of their new range, the Ford Fiesta was launched yesterday for a price ranging between INR 8.3 lakhs to 9.51 lakhs for the diesel powered variant. The compact Fiesta is offered in four different trim variants, with an option to choose from 7 colours.

The new Fiesta is quipped with diesel and petrol engines, and will be manufactured at their Chennai plant that has a production capacity of 2 lakhs per annum. Other features of the car include Bluetooth Voice Control for the music system and cruise control, along with front airbags and an anti-locking brake system that are offered as standard. According to Ford, the new Fiesta has a fuel economy of 23.5kmpl with the diesel variant, and 17kmpl with the petrol variant.

Boneham also added that they had already received some pre-orders for it. The company, also incidentally halted production of their entry level Ikon sedan, however the older Fiesta is now sold as Fiesta Classic. This version is priced lower in comparison to the new Fiesta by about INR 3 lakhs at INR 5.49 lakhs. The diesel powered Fiesta Classic is available for INR 6.48 lakhs.

Following the unprecedented demand for diesel powered variants, Ford is faced with production constraints of diesel engines for which they plan to increase production capacity. This demand has also managed to dampen sales of their Figo car.

The company’s executive director of sales, services and marketing, Nigel Wark, said there has been a constraint in production of diesel engines, especially as their suppliers are not able to keep up production capacity with the demand. They are expanding their diesel engine capacity, but it would take time. Once they are done with this, they will a rise in sales of their Figo car once again.

Deals for the month of July 2011

While we bring you the deals very early on in each month, this time, it has been delayed a fair bit. However, putting things into perspective, here are the deals for the month of July 2011. The particular last two months were very taxing for car manufacturers, since the petrol prices were hiked nearly twice during this period and people are skeptical of buying new cars due to this very reason. The recent spurt in petrol prices has resulted in a trend where customers are preferring diesel powered cars even if they don’t actually need diesel economy or the stuff. Customers are more in favor of putting in a one time extra price for the diesel cars rather than paying for the hike in petrol price each time they visit the fuel station. Many dealers that we visited were of the opinion that earlier on, customers coming in to the show room used to be undecided about which fuel type they want to go for. Now its mostly a unanimous decision that every buyer walking into the show room would have diesel in his mind. Dealers or rather the sales staff now have to tell people that buying a diesel engined car depends on the miles that they would log into it each month or every year. If they don’t clock more miles than 15k kms every year, then it is better to go for a petrol engined car.

Fiat :

The Italian company is struggling hard to keep its head over the water and thankfully enough, it has wonderful diesel engines as buoys. However, its petrol engines are not upto the mark and hence, in this trying times, Fiat is offering a discount on their very desirable Linea model. Upto Rs 36k is being given as a discount on the price of the petrol Linea. Moreover, customers going in for the extended warranty, roadside assistance and insurance get a deal which makes the transaction all the more sweeter.

Ford :

The American company has been witnessing a boom since the time its small car, the Ford Figo came to India. The Figo has been consistently raking in the numbers for Ford India. Figos were earlier not offered with much discounts, but now, the company is offering freebies on its petrol engined Figo. The extent of freebies depends from dealer to dealer and how one can actually haggle with them on this count.

Maruti :

Even if there is a recession going on, Maruti products usually have takers. The company is offering upto Rs 35k off on its petrol engined Ritz model. Plus thrown in the goodies coming in from the dealer’s part and you have a very desirable package.

Chevrolet :

One more American company which has finally managed to find a foothold in India, General Motors, are offering discounts on their petrol and LPG powered Beat model. This small funky car now comes with a cash discount of upto Rs 25k. This may be the prelude to the launch of the diesel Beat. Unfortunately, the General is not so kind enough to offer any exchange bonuses on this car.

Skoda :

Skoda cars are usually not offered with a discount but there is one big discount in the market right now and its for the very desirable and capable Skoda Laura car. However, as is the case here, it is being offered only on the petrol engined Laura. The 1.8 liter TSI petrol motored Laura is offered with a whopping Rs 96k off its price tag. This is for the Classic variant, which is the entry point in the Laura family. The much higher specced Ambiente version is offered with an even more prospecting allure and the figures rate it at Rs 1.25 lakhs. All these discounts eventually tally upto about 10 percent off from the car’s sticker tag. This seems to be Skoda’s take on the new Renault Fluence car, which is priced dangerously close to the Laura. Well, this deal isn’t for a lifetime and it would change very soon. So, if you were in love with the Laura petrol but couldn’t afford it earlier, now is the right time to buy one.

Tata :

The Indian car giant, Tata Motors is offering a discount on its newly launched Indica eV2 model. The company is offering discounts of upto Rs 20k on this car. Moreover, an additional discount in the name of exchange bonus is being offered for Rs 10k. If you can bargain hard enough, the dealer would be ready to throw in some freebies as well.

Toyota :

The once world’s leading car maker has just launched the facelifted Altis and already there are discounts running on it. The petrol engined Altis is available with an offer wherein the customer only has to pay 50 percent of the first year’s insurance amount and the rest would be paid up by the dealer. This works out to be a Rs 28k savings for the buyer, that is only if the buyer goes in for the top end variant of this car.

Ford Figo begins 100 day Roadshow to Celebrate 1 Lakh Wholesale Sales

Ford India has set out on a roadshow across 1,000 Indian cities as it celebrates its 1 lakh Figo hatchback wholesale sales, i.e. deliveries made to dealer. The company’s executive director of sales, service and marketing, Nigel Wark, said that through their Figo Bharat Yatra, they will introduce this vehicle to more drives, enabling them to get a first hand view of why this model has been so popular.

The roadshow began on Wednesday from Kolkata, and will reach many destinations including Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Assam and West Bengal. Starting next week onwards, two more convoys will leave from Bangalore and Pune.

The 3 convoys of Ford Figo’s will visit 18 different states. The car’s Bharat Yatra route has been planned meticulously for ensuring that the Figo also makes it to remote towns like Korba, Hinganhat and Gadchiroli.

Toyota Liva in India compared to its competitors


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With the Toyota Liva in India just beginning its innings, it would be but natural to pit it against its competition. The competition is in the form of hatches which are Japanese conceived, German, Korean as also Indian. With so many options available in the over crowded hatchback segment, it becomes very confusing for the discerning buyer to select a car for himself. We have listed out the pros and cons of Toyota Liva compared to its hatchback competitors. As many as 7 competitors have been considered here. Here is a neutral view (as always) not favoring any car particularly or not even proclaiming a winner out of the 8 cars. Instead, we leave it upto the readers to decide which car they want to be in their driveway or garage.

Main contender : Toyota Liva : The Toyota Liva in India is the newest offering by the Japanese car maker and it is billed as the volume driver for the company. That the Etios has set the pace for it is another thing and that the Liva would fully exploit the situation is for given. It comes with an exterior which wouldn’t offend anyone and at the same time feels similar to its bigger sibling, the Etios. Just like the Etios, the Liva also can be had with side skirts and an added on spoiler. Inside, the story is no different from the Etios with the hatch sharing the same instrumentation and some dashboard plastics. Interior space is the forte of the Liva and its interior space is almost similar to that of the Etios. User friendly controls are present while the top of the line variant is stacked with goodies, though not class leading. Currently the engine in the Liva is a 1.2 one, which is tuned to be more fuel efficient rather than being an outright drag strip racer. The engine produces 79 Bhp of power and 10.6 kgm of torque. A 5 speed transmission handles the transmission duties. Overall fuel efficiency is quoted as 18.3 kmpl, as per ARAI. Ride and handling characteristics are similar to what the Etios has to offer and this means a neutral behavior. EBD, ABS and airbags are present in the top end variant. Price start from Rs 3.99 lakhs.

Thumbs up : Space, fuel efficiency, Toyota badge

Thumbs down : Quality of plastics, no diesel (as of now), lackluster driving dynamics

Tata Indica Vista : It is more than 10 years since the Tata Indica was launched in India, however Tata Motors have kept the public interest alive this hatch by bringing in regular upgrades. The best one was when Tata Motors gave it an all new character and christened it as the Indica Vista. The looks were entirely different than the earlier Indica and so also were the driving dynamics. Inside the cabin, the story is still very different than what the earlier Indica had. Soft touch plastic has been used extensively in the cabin and this adds to the feeling of upmarketness. What hasn’t changed and infact has been improvised on is the space inside the cabin. Comfort levels also have been taken to an all new level with the Vista boasting of a space which even some C segment sedans cannot provide. Equipment levels have also increased with Bluetooth equipped audio system being offered amongst other goodies. The earlier Indica also had a good ride quality and the new one just about adds one more layer to it, making it the most pliant car in its category. Handling also has been improved, however, it is still not a patch on its competition. Tata Motors have launched the Vista initially with 4 engines, however, as of now, speaking of metros, it is available with only 3 engine options. A 1.2 liter petrol motor, a 1.3 liter Fiat derived multijet engine and a 1.4 liter Fiat derived petrol motor. 16.7 is the fuel efficiency quoted for the base petrol while the diesel gives 19.2 kmpl. The 1.4 motor’s fuel efficiency is 15.6 kmpl. All these figures are ARAI quoted. Prices start from Rs 3.87 lakhs.


Thumbs up : Space, Tata service, features

Thumbs down : Feels flimsily built, handling and fuel efficiency to some extent

Fiat Punto : The Fiat Punto may not have exactly set the sales chart on fire but it definitely does elicit some kind of emotion when one sees it. Needless to say, one cannot ignore the Maserati inspired nose of this car plus those gorgeous alloys. However, its long proportions don’t mean that it would also have immense space inside. On the contrary, the Punto is just a tad bit roomier than the Palio. But then the features list that it offers would even shame some of the bigger C and even D segment sedans. It has got a steering wheel who’s look is to die for plus steering mounted audio and Bluetooth controls. The meter dials though look retro but their attention to detail is fantastic. Up in the front, there is plenty of legroom and also head room. However, both these terms vanish to thin air when it comes to the rear. The Punto is a nice handling car, that is only if one can adjust with the big turning circle that the car offers. Its ride quality is also on the superlative side. There are 4 engine options on offer. One is the 1.2 liter engine as seen on the Vista. The second is the famous multijet one. Third and 4th engines are termed as hot since they both produce 90 Bhp in petrol and diesel guises. Surprisingly while the 1.2 liter petrol can deliver only an ARAI claimed 15.2 kmpl, the 90 Bhp snorting diesel can deliver 20 kmpl as per ARAI. Prices start from Rs 4.4 lakhs.


Thumbs up : Looks, features, ride and quality

Thumbs down : Anemic engine, fuel efficiency, space, aftersales

Ford Figo : This small car from Ford single handedly changed the company’s fortunes. People who, earlier, never considered a Ford car are now turning to the Figo as their choice of wheels. It has become the volumes player that Ford wanted it to be. A good looking car coupled with decent interiors and space is what the doctor just ordered. No wonder that this car has raked up most of the awards last year. Ford’s built for India cars speak of Ford’s commitment towards the car buying populace from India. The equipment list, while not a patch on the Punto, is definitely more user friendly. There is lots of space inside the cabin both in the front and back. What makes it stand out is the ride and handling package. Ford India have been known to make cars which are certainly superior to their rivals in terms of the handling and the Figo doesn’t disappoint either. Steering wheel is also the best in its category with lots of feel and preciseness associated with it. Ride quality however can be termed as being a bit on the stiffer side. There are two engine options on offer and those are a new 1.2 liter petrol motor pushing 70 Bhp while the diesel motor is from the Fiesta Classic turning out 68 Bhp. Both are mated with 5 speed transmission units which feel slick to operate. ABS as also airbags are offered on the top end variants. 15.6 kmpl is the ARAI certified fuel efficiency of the petrol while the diesel claims 20.0 kmpl. Prices start from Rs 3.63 lakhs.


Thumbs up : Looks, space, fuel efficiency and pricing

Thumbs down : Some iffy plastics, lack of power windows at the rear, aftersales

Hyundai i20 : This big Korean hatch sells in reasonable numbers every month and the numbers keep on increasing each month. Its appealing look and the spacious interior would put many sedans to shame. Apart from the Punto, the i20 is the only other hatch which offers so many features in its class. The interiors have a bespoke value to them with great fit and finish. Space is also readily available and 5 people would be able to sit inside the car quite comfortably. But then taking the car out for a spin reveals that its soft sprung suspension and overall chassis aren’t comfortable taking fast corners. Infact sedate pace is the word for the big Hyundai. Hyundai’s biggest focus was delivering the ride quality as perfect it can be and hence the explanation for the suspension softness. Steering wheel feel is very light and the same feeling carries forward on the highway as well. What Hyundai has done is that they have launched the i20 with 3 engine options as also 3 transmission options. The 1.2 petrol makes 79 Bhp of power and the bigger and more powerful 1.4 liter petrol puts out 99 Bhp. While the former is mated with a 5 speed unit, the latter comes in only a 4 speed auto option. The third is a 1.4 liter diesel motor which like the diesel turbocharged Punto, puts out 90 Bhp of power. It gets a 6 speed manual gearbox. ARAI figures for the 3 engines in the aforementioned order are 18.15, 15.03 and 22.1 kmpl. Prices start from Rs 4.8 lakhs.


Thumbs up : Looks, features, space, dealer network, auto option

Thumbs down : Costly aftersales, soggy handling, fuel efficiency of the petrol motors

VW Polo : A large car by VW India but still called as a small hatchback, the VW Polo is a worthy competitor in its class. Its looks are to die for and much in the same league as the Punto. But then just like the Punto, space is at a premium inside. It has good fit and finish but then lacks in equipment levels, which show the corner cutting for what is touted as the cheapest VW on sale in India. Steering mounted controls are absent and so are some other essential features. The front seat passengers get to enjoy the space while the rear ones are left with dashing knees. Inspite of being a German car, it is setup to be on the softer side, as far as the suspension setup goes. This translates to a superlative ride quality but with good dollops of handling incorporated into it. Precise engineering is what is the backbone of the Polo. VW offers a choice of 3 engine options in the Polo. The 1.2 liter petrol unit produces 74 Bhp of power, the 1.2 liter diesel makes 74 Bhp while the 1.6 liter petrol produces 102 Bhp of power. All the three engines make do with a 5 speed manual transmission. ARAI fuel efficiencies are quoted as 17.2 kmpl, 22.1 kmpl and 15.2 kmpl respectively. Safety features are also at par with industry standards. Prices start from Rs 4.6 lakhs.


Thumbs up : Looks, premium feel, ride and handling, build quality

Thumbs down : Lack of features, space at the rear and VW’s aftersales

Nissan Micra : Nissan India’s small steps in the Indian automobile market have resulted in the birth of the Nissan Micra in India. This small cute car is an instant eye ball grabber, not because of its design cues, but because of the fact that not many abound in the streets. It may look small from outside, however, it is big on space inside, actually much better than some other cars featured here. It also has some very new features like electrically powered mirrors and engine push button. Unfortunately the Nissan build quality is not upto the usual standards and some panel gaps here and there do seem inconsistent. As far as the ride quality goes, the Micra feels exactly like the i20, but a bit more accommodating as far as high speed stability goes. It is the nimblest car in its category thanks to the small turning radius and its overall size. The steering wheel delivers sufficient feedback on the go and is a very agile unit. Corner carving is what the Micra ain’t built for and it amply tells the driver not to chuck it around corners. There are two engine options available. One is a 1.2 liter petrol unit which has a peak output of 75 Bhp whereas the 1.5 liter diesel engine makes 65 Bhp. Both the engines are mated to 5 speed units which have apt gear ratios. ARAI claimed fuel efficiency figures of 18.06 kmpl and 23.08 kmpl feel impressive enough. Prices start from Rs 4.15 lakhs.


Thumbs up : Cheerful interiors, features, space, ease of handling, fuel efficiency

Thumbs down : Nissan dealer and service network, build quality

Maruti Swift 2011 :
Though its launch date is yet uncertain, it is most likely that the Maruti Swift 2011 model would retain its numero uno position in the hatchback market. Maruti don’t think of attempting to fix something which isn’t broken and hence the new Swift looks like the old one, but with some subtle changes. A bit more of length to the Swift’s overall dimensions also help very much. Since it is still not launched, not much details are available about it. However expect to have a bit more of the interior room liberated. A start stop button just like the Micra would also be present. About the ride and handling, the earlier Swift was the benchmark as far as the handling stakes for hatches go and the new Swift shouldn’t be too much off the mark. The same 1.2 liter and 1.3 liter engines are expected to be continued. The 1.2 liter K series motor puts out 85 Bhp currently however there are heavy chances that Maruti may bring in the VVT tech to India and power may go upto as high as 93 Bhp. As for the diesel, it would still continue to give 75 Bhp of power. It is said that the new car would have better fuel efficiency and less polluting characteristics than the outgoing model. However, the prices of this model are yet to be revealed and so no comments can be made about it.


Thumbs up : Cheerful handling, looks, features

Thumbs down : Build quality, less interior space

We have piled up the list of the competitors of the Toyota Liva in India and now, its upto the readers to choose their set of wheels.