Renault to launch it small car in 2013

French green car pioneer Renault is mulling to launch 5 models in India between 2011 and 2013. This will include a premium hatchback. Officials at Renault observed, although there is a lot of scope in the Indian market for small cars, it would introduce one which would be considerably costlier that the Bajaj ULC, developed for JV partner Nissan. Renault have made up its plans to initially launch the MUV Koleos and the sedan Fluence.

The proposed small car is projected to be launched in India after 2013 and would be positioned and marketed above Bajaj’s ultra low-cost car which is scheduled for a 2012 launch.

The company in its earlier statement has said it has designed the small car to meet the Indian requirements, and the option to export it to similar markets globally is up for discussion. Renault has identified Indian market amongst the top 3 important markets along with Russia and Brazil. By 2020, the Indian market for small cars is projected at 6 million plus and hence the potential is very high which the French auto maker wants to capitalize on by opening its shop in India.

Mitsubishi’s Cheapest Car in 2012 for India

‘Mum’s’ the word for the Mitsubishi Motors for their all new small hatchback car  but we already know that the inauguration of Mitsubishi manufacturing plant in Thailand has one more thing in store for the Mitsubishi aficionados. Since the sketches of the all new small car from Mitsubishi is floating everywhere on internet we are sure that this car is going to come to the Indian shores very soon.  For your information it is supposed to be the cheapest car internationally. This volume segment contender will compete straight against the Maruti Swift and the Honda Brio.

Though much is not disclosed about the car not even the name of the car (I hope now you don’t mind us saying the all new hatch back car) but one thing that’s been (officially) said about this car is that this car will be available in two engine types the 1.0 Litre and 1.2 Litre petrol engine. Rest of the details are still well hidden under the shade of this manufacturing plant and which will be known until the company makes an official announcement. This car is expected to come by the next one year, which is by the mid 2012. This car will be exported right from the manufacturing plant. Though, the jet fighter grille will be sorely missed but then its good riddance from the brands current image and ethos.

Porsche 911 Turbo in India Test Drive

Like the Volkswagen Beetle, another iconic car always looming at the back of my head is the Porsche 911. When it was announced in 2007, that Porsche are coming down to India, I thought that they would really be setting up a factory here and would be giving out all those cars at a Mercedes E-class or BMW 5 series price. I was only half right. The starting price of the only one or two car would be similar to the aforementioned cars. The rest all are stratospherically priced for their lack of utility. But then who would mention sports car and utility in the same breath. These cars are meant to be enjoyed and not used as work horses. Cut to the chase, the bottom line is that I wanted to have a go at at the Porsche 911 Turbo in India and my boss was all the more happy to provide that to me.

Looks

The iconic shape of some of the cars is best left untouched and the Porsche 911 Turbo in India is no different. In all these years, it has got a more streamlined body. Those circular head lamps remind one of the Volkswagen Beetle. More or so, over the years, this car hasn’t changed much. Its long smooth bonnet coupled with the short overhangs from the windscreen and those big air dams make this car look like nirvana. The outline of the bonnet looks like someone has plastered this car. The 19 inch Pzero wheels ensure that the car looks very much sinister when viewed from the sides. The aerodynamic wing mirrors are also a thoughtful feature since they help reduce aerodynamic drag. The shark fin like slits at the end of the door shows the rear engined nature of the car. The rear in the meanwhile is a lot compact than one would believe. Unlike a Lambo, one cannot see the engine nestled in its bay. It has got a big diffuser spoiler. The tail lamps are claw shaped and there are two fat tail pipes.

Interiors

Strictly a two seater, this car can only seat two individuals and carry some of their luggage in the bonnet, may  be a suitcase or two(mind you, they have to be small ones, didn’t I tell you that utility and sports cars don’t go hand in hand?). The 3 spoke steering wheel is devoid of any audio or Bluetooth controls because this car is a true sports car and wants its driver to concentrate on driving duties rather than fidget with audio controls. The big white faced dials are standard across the board for all Porsche models. You get auto climate control, good bolstered seats and high quality materials all around. Two golf bags can be fitted at the small rear space and other than that, there aren’t too many cubby holes.

Handling and ride quality

The reason why the Porsche 911 Turbo is a legend is due to its handling and its Indian counterpart isn’t different. The tyre size is 30 for the rear and 35 for the front ones. The suspension setup, as expected is more on the stiffer side but then for everyday driving conditions, it isn’t as uncomfortable say as a Lambo. The handling is first class and few sports car can touch the handling finesse of a Porsche 911 Turbo in India. Be it in a straight road or around twisties, this car wouldn’t disappoint you. You cannot expect a supple ride quality from a sports car but then it isn’t disappointing either with only the bigger of the bumps upsetting its composure somewhat. The steering is the best part. It actually lets you know what  it is doing and at all times.

Engine, performance and fuel efficiency

The engine for the Porsche 911 Turbo in India is the 3.6 liter boxer with 6 cylinders. This engine makes 487 Ps @ 6,000 rpm whereas the torque figure reads as 63.22 kgm @ 5,000 rpm. It is mated with a 7 speed robotized automatic transmission. In launch mode, one has to press the brake pedal fully and when the on screen display shows launch control activated, then release the brake pedal. This would propel the car from 0-100 kmph in only 3.6 seconds. The top speed estimated is 240 kmph.Looking at the way, the engine makes power, this figure seems very realistic. In city speeds, the gearbox, when left in D mode, allows the driver to take over the car’s transmission and fight the turbo lag generated. That is the flip side of this supercar that it isn’t as easy to drive in town as compared to say a Audi R8.

Braking is achieved via carbon ceramic disc brakes at the front and rear. They are aided by a Limited Slip Differential system, Porsche Stability Management (PSM), Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake (PCCB) safety system and the usual, ABS, EBD and traction control. Safety is also well tended for adaptive Bi-xenon head lamps, 4 air bags, seat belts with pretensioners and crumple zones.

Fuel efficiency is to be least expected in a sportscar however the Porsche still manages to impress with its 6 kmpl in the city whereas the highway figure of 9.6 kmpl is also good for such a performance.

Verdict

The Porsche 911 Turbo price in India is Rs 1,24,64,000 (ex-show room, Delhi). This would be enough to put off most of the prospective buyers since they can get far more comfortable and every day cars for this price. But then, that steals the charm away from a Porsche. It is meant to be used as a sports car and behaves like one. If you want exclusivity and all those looks in a car, then the Porsche 911 Turbo is the car for you.

Technical Specifications Of Porsche 911 Turbo in India

Engine details: 3.6L 480bhp 6 cyl. Boxer engine
No. of Cylinders: 6
Maximum Power:
486.72 @ 6,000 (PS@rpm)
Maximum Torque: 63.22 @ 5,000 (kgm@rpm)
Fuel Supply System: SEFI
Valves Per Cylinder: 4
Compression Ratio: 9.0:1
Turbo Charger:
Yes
Manual Transmission details: 7 speed robotized manual
Drive Type: AWD
Front Suspension: McPherson type coil-over struts with longitudinal and transverse links
Rear Suspension: Multi-link LSA (Lightweight, Stable, Agile) subframe-based
Steering Type: Hydraulic Power Assisted Rack & Pinion
Turning Radius (wheel base): 5.45 m
Front Brake Type: Ventilated Discs
Rear Brake Type:
Solid Discs
Top Speed: 240 kmph
Acceleration (0-100 kmph): 3.6 seconds
Fuel Tank Capacity (litres): 67
Emission Norm Compliance: Euro IV
Tyre Size: 235/35(F), 305/30(R) R 19
Wheel Size: 19 x 8.5J(F), 19 x 11J(R)
Alloy Wheel Size:
19 inches
Seating Capacity: 4
No of Doors:
2

Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X in India, evolution in the true sense

The other day, I happened to check out an ad in one of the leading news daily in India and there was a beautiful car staring out of it. Every boy racer’s dream, the Mitsubishi Lancer EVO, forget the Roman ranking of it. The Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X has been launched in India however except for the automobile scribes, no one is making any fuss over it. It is a supposed competitor of the Mercedes Benz E class, BMW 5 series and also the Audi A6. Now all of the Germans have a certain ambience around them but then the Lancer EVO is known more for its sideways action thing. But then following our policy at Indiandrives, we are sure to bring the latest action happening on the Indian car scene to all of you. So here comes the review of the “rally car”, the Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X straight from the roads of Mumbai. Check on Road Price

Looks

As the title would suggest, one wouldn’t even think that this is the same Lancer in its most advanced form that is India currently. The Audi like front grille has been inspired from Japanese fighter planes but then here in India, the Mitsubishi diamond logo wouldn’t command a second glance as say the Audi one. There is a gray color moulding which holds the diamond logo in place. Beneath it, the radiator is prominently displayed. Wherever you go, this car is bound to grab eyeballs like anything. However most of the ignorant types would think this is just a mod job and not an original car, that it is. The head lamps though remind one of its Mitsubishi Lancer roots. Weird as it may seem, this car lacks the fog lamps and the meshed air dam grille looks bare due to it. The bonnet features an aggressive air intake with two smaller meshes in the front.

To grab the eyeballs more, the wheels are 18 x 8.5 in. 5JJ size. If the face didn’t intimidate any one, then the wheels would definitely do that job. The tyre size is P245/40 R18 93Y. The rear profile looks more like a jacked up Mitsubishi Cedia rear end with a plastic moulding holding the twin tail pipes. The keyless boot entry system coupled with those split tail lamps jazz up the affairs all the more. Ohh, there is a huge spoiler wing at the rear to show its racing intent.

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Overall, it feels like any one’s (atleast mine) dream car and one that everyone feels that they should have built with, if they had to do a modification job.

Interiors

The moment you enter the cabin, the first thing that you would notice are those Recaro bucket seats. With their massively supportive sides as well as the  carbon fibre trimmings, this would fit most of the sizes. The bad part is the none adjustable steering wheel, which I had to wrestle with to get into the driver’s seat. Now, this car is all about grey interiors and all. It has a 3 spoke steering wheel(wonder why after seeing three spoke units, I am always reminded of the Honda Civic) which has the audio controls as well as Bluetooth for the uninitiated. The plastic quality for a car which would compete against the likes of Mercedes, Audi and BMW leaves something to be desired. There are cubby holes in galore along with bottle holders. Auto climate control is another feature which ensures for the comfort of passengers however the main thing is that the cabin is slightly tilted towards the driver. The Rockford Fosgate music system as always is wonderful and brings out the Jawaani in Sheila.

The rear seats are also comfortable but then who would buy a Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X and be chauffer driven. You buy this car because you love driving and that is the point that the company is harping on. But then since the car has been launched in India, there are chances that some of the buyers may prefer to be chauffer driven. But then, in its race spec, the car is totally bland in the interiors. Boot space is also decent at 465 liters but then, the loading lip is higher than the competition.

Handling and ride quality

The Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X in India would have Multi-link type suspension with Eibach springs, rear Stabilizer Bar, forged aluminum control arms and Bilstein shock absorbers whereas the front features Eibach springs with Bilstein shock absorbers, McPherson type strut (inverted strut) with forged aluminum control arms along with front stabilizer bar. Such a complicated setup is tuned more for handling rather than ride comfort. However this doesn’t take away the ride quality bit from this sedan. Agreed that it is tuned a bit hard and those bumps are evident once you are city speeds however load the car fully(Europeans better close your eyes at this sight) and the ride quality is very pliant. It doesn’t bottom out when fully loaded.

The handling of this car is par excellence and doesn’t deserve any special mention. The tyres do a fantastic job of controlling this car as do the mechanics. It is more like that go karting car which you have. The more and more you chuck it, the more you feel that it can handle some more. At times, I was actually trying to get this car on its back like a turtle but all my attempts at the same were brought to nil with the car settling into a nice understeer. Tested the very limits of my driving, I would say. Fast and Furious , any one?

Engine, performance and fuel efficiency

The Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X in India is offered with a single engine option. Needless to say, Mitsubishi Motors have gone in for a petrol motor. The 2.0 liter engine is very high tech and made up of aluminium. It gets twin cam, 16 valves and 4 cylinders. It gets Mitsubishi’s patented Mitsubishi Innovative Valve-timing Electronic Control System or MIVEC as we all know it. It also gets the most advanced turbo charger in its competition. It is mated with a 6 speed triptronic gearbox. The engine does seem to suffer some sort of turbo lag below 1500 rpm but then nudge it past the 3,800 rpm mark, with the turbo on spool, there is maniac action going all the way. While I was tempted to slot it into manual mode, the automatic, with its responses made me think otherwise. The 0-100 kmph was dispatched only in 5.6 seconds. By the way, this motor makes 291 bhp at 6500 rpm whereas the torque figure reads as 491 Nm at 4000 rpm. The top speed that I attained out of this car is 208 kmph with the motor spinning at around the 8,500 rpm redline.

The turbo whistle from this motor would entice any one to downshift and go through the aural delight time and again. Truly enjoyable performance. This car however requires 97 Octance petrol for optimum use of its performance.

To reign all this performance under control, Mitsubishi Motors have offered the Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X in India with 4 caliper piston Ventilated disc brakes in the front whereas the rear wheels are fitted with Solid disc brakes featuring 2 calipers. Assisting them in retarding the motion are ESP, ABS and EBD. There is Active Stability Control (ASC) working overtime in this car.

As far as safety is concerned, the car gets 6 air bags, and a Refined Impact Safety Evolution (RISE) body chassis. This along with the child safety locks, three-point seat belts, head restraints and also the seat belt pretensioners make for a safe car.

Now, people in this segment don’t go about asking for fuel efficiency but then this car returns 8 kmpl in the city whereas on the highways this figure rises to 12 kmpl. Sufficient for all that performance which would make one feel like driving a sports car.

Verdict

The Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X in India is an effort by Mitsubishi Motors to bring in their world best to India. This car does have a very capable chassis which is used for rallying. Since the time the company has entered rallying, their chassis has been the same albeit modified over the years. This car has got the looks(no doubts about it), interior space(comparable to BMW 5 series), stonker of an engine and all the performance to go with the show. The things lacking are the interior quality, features offered and only a single engine trim. The other thing, the Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X price in India is Rs 49,95,000 (ex-show room, Delhi). Since it is a CBU and Mitsubishi Motors intend to keep it this way for some time to come, there are very less chances of this car been affordable. However for those having the moolah, this is a very good car.

Technical Specifications Of Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X in India

Engine details: 2.0L, MIVEC turbocharged Petrol Engine
No. of Cylinders: 4
Maximum Power: 291 bhp at 6500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 491 Nm at 4000 rpm
Fuel Supply System: MPI
Valves Per Cylinder: 4
Bore x Stroke: 86.0 x 86.0
Compression Ratio: 9.0:1
Turbo Charger: Yes
Transmission details: 6 speed triptronic
Front Suspension: MacPherson type strut(inverted strut) with forged aluminum control arms
Rear Suspension: Multi-link type suspension with forged aluminum control arms
Steering Type: Hydraulic Power assisted with Rack-and-pinion
Turning Radius (wheel base): 5.8 Meter
Front Brake Type: Ventilated Discs
Rear Brake Type: Solid Discs
Acceleration (0-100 kmph): 5.6 Seconds
Mileage-City (kmpl): 8.0
Mileage-Highway (kmpl): 12.0
Fuel Type: Petrol
Fuel Tank Capacity (litres): 55
Tyre Type: Yokohama ADVAN asymmetrical performance
Alloy Wheel Size: 18 x 8.5 in. JJ

This republic day Maruti’s gift for every citizen in India

Indian automaker Maruti Suzuki India ltd is celebrating this Republic day in style. The showering of gifts on festivals has held reverence in India since time immemorial. Maruti by this gesture wants to send a loud and clear message to its entire rivals at the market place, “when it comes to understanding and satisfying Indian customers, we do it best”. This has been a running theme in all of Maruti’s media campaign with good effect. Certainly Maruti is looking to get the momentum going in the New Year, as each passing month all major auto makers are expected to turn the heat on. This may be seen in the light of a pre-emptive measure taken by Maruti Suzuki India ltd to retain its cost and market leadership. Maruti’s true value showroom, which has received tremendous response from the market, will also play a good part of its own in pushing up the sale figures. With this message Maruti will launch its extravagant bonanza by giving huge discounts on selected models. Except for the Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara and the Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire all other models benefits from this magnamity by Maruti Suzuki India ltd. This will be the prelude to the launch of Maruti Suzuki’s Kizashi in India by February 2011. So what are we waiting for, it’s raining goodies this Republic, go for it.

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Second hand cars in Mumbai sales- will Nano be a boon or a bane?

On the heels of the launch of the small car from auto major Tata Motors, the Nano, used cars for sale in Mumbai are bearing the brunt, which led dealers to reduce their prices of second hand cars in Mumbai by a whopping 25-35 percent. To compete with the Nano, industry experts noted that, dealers are slashing their model rates to close in on the 1 lakh mark.

A negative of 25 and 20 percent is witnessed in the price, of a used car in Mumbai, of mid-sized and small car respectively. For a cost of around Rs 1 lakh, dealers are offering half-a-decade old Opel Corsa, Maruti esteem, Ford Ikon or say a Fiat Sienna.

The value of the small car segment definitely saw a correction when the Tata Nano was launched. In the used car segment of small cars, the erosion of value is comparatively far from other categories. To clear inventories, car makers have resorted to offering discounts and have reduced the prices of their new cars. This is having a direct proportional effect on the prices of the used cars for sale. Customers are now seen to be developing a keen eye for detail pertaining to this development in the second hand cars market.

The question that begs an answer is, why any buyer would shell out Rs 1 lakh for the base variant of the Nano, when he can feast on 4-5 year old mid-sized car plus all the features for almost the same price.

The demand pressure has decreased for used cars for sale in Mumbai in recent months. Bearish market trends coupled with lesser and lesser finance options are keeping the buyers at bay. Major Banks, in addition to PSU and Co-operative banks, have stopped funding for purchases of used cars.

Sky-rocketing interest rates for second hand cars in Mumbai and choosiness of the banks are other culprits in this downturn of events. The pressures on margin have led to organized used car dealers to accumulate a huge inventory of cars, which they are not in a position to liquidate.

But all is not so gloomy in these circumstances, few dealers are optimistic that the launch of Tata Nano will actually create a momentum for the second cars in Mumbai.

Used cars for sale in Bangalore- give it a second thought

It seems like everything is expensive to the hilt in the Silicon city of India, Bangalore. Right from the prices to essential food stuff like Onion to the statutory road tax to be paid for while buying a car. From the highest congestion on the roads to the costliest rates of car accessories…and the list goes on and on. And therefore it is no wonder that the prices of a second hand cars in Bangalore are also expensive. The scenario for used cars for sale in Bangalore is completely de-tuned from other metropolis like Delhi and Mumbai. It is a Herculean task to find a car at a reasonable cost and in good condition at the same time in Bangalore. With exceptions of the Opels, Fords and Fiats at throw away prices and that too for obvious reasons.

The price demanded for a Korean or a Japanese car is such that it becomes a natural choice to buy a new car than to think about owning used cars for sale in Bangalore.  Second hand cars for sale in Bangalore are ridiculously priced. Least to say, good deals are few and far between. You make get lucky by landing up something which can be said as reasonable, but it’s just plain luck. It’s beyond doubt that the city is in pits when it comes to the pricing of a second hand cars in Bangalore, courtesy to the higher prices attributed to such cars by the dealers, which is among the highest of all cities. The true value insignia of Maruti is not unaffected by this menace.

Few reasons that the Banglorian attribute to this phenomenon are:

  • Higher on the road price due to the highest tax levied compared to any other state.
  • The people from the IT fraternity, due to lack of time, pay anything that a person demands and hence, the rates sky rocketed after the IT revolution.

Higher rate of interest charged by the bank on used cars should also not be discounted. The general perception among many here is, the car dealers are the real culprit who are unintentionally helped by the IT fraternity. This leads to leeching of the general public at the hands of these dealers.

Lease or buy luxury car- you decide

Beyond doubt, the question of leasing or buying a car is a tough nut to crack. The question seems to be too daunting and the answer might not be as clear as the sky on a full-moon. But it is all-dependant on the situation and the specification of the situation. No method is a sure-shot winner, each one of them has certain strings attached to it.

In the event of buying a car on loan, one has to pay the entire monetary value of the vehicle, not considering the number of kilometers you have embarked upon it. You must do a registration, make a down payment and get insurance or bundle the same along with the loan amount, and figure out the EMIs you need to pay accordingly. Once you have repaid your debt and used the car for a desired period of time, it’s on your prerogative to either exchange it for a new one, if the dealership allows, or to sell it off. At the same time you are also worried constantly about the yearly maintenance cost, insurance cost, servicing cost and other expenses which may arise time to time.

On the other hand if you tend to lease a car, you are not required to make a down payment; all that you need to pay is a monthly EMI. This myopically seems higher than an EMI on loan but has certain benefits of its own. You don’t need to lose your sleep over repair and maintenance cost, insurance cost and cost arising due to accidental damage. A replacement is promptly provided in an unwanted event like a accident or when the car is undergoing its quarterly servicing.

Tax benefits also arise for corporate leasing of vehicles over a purchase.

Mahindra finance backs the green car, the Reva-i in India

A unique value proposition is being offered by Mahindra finance to Reva-i customers. An interest-free deposit of Rs 1 lakh that has to be supplemented by equal monthly installments (EMI) of Rs 7,999 for 3 years has to be paid by the customer. After the maturity period, the company on its side gives a unique option to Reva-i users to either return the car and redeem the deposit, or keep the car and forfeit the deposit.

JV partner sells stake to Volvo

The Azad group, partner in the joint venture with Volvo, has sold off its 30 percent share to Volvo buses India. The Swedish bus maker is planning to increase the production level to two fold by 2012. Exports which are at present a miniscule 5 percent are pegged to swallow a chunk of almost 325-30 percent. More manpower will be hired to increase the production capacity coupled with the doubling of the facility at Bangalore.

In another development the bus maker announced that it is planning to downsize engines that will cut-across the model lines from 2013. Key among the downgrades will be the diesel mill that displaces less than 2 liters. All the range offered in India is operating on a single diesel engine, namely the 2.4 litre-5 cylinder D5. With the launching of the S60 sedan, the strategy of downgrading might just be around the corner to make the XC60 and the sedan more affordable.