Volvo S60

Stylish, Sporty, Safe, Spacious, Sleek….. I really could go on about the S-Mode from Sweden.

Swedish car manufacturer Volvo has maintained a low profile in the Indian auto industry as far as the number of their offerings is concerned. This could be due to many reasons least of which revolve around the fact that Volvo makes vehicles that don’t generally fall in the economy bracket when it comes to price. Do not get me wrong, I am not saying that the Indian market is cheap, but rather the frugal nature of Indians, coupled with the relatively higher price of Volvo as compared to its rivals, as well as lower fuel efficiency ratings all point to reduced sales. It is rather Volvo that has had to tailor its vehicle to suit the Indian market and this says a lot for about India as a global automotive player.

Volvo is not looking to increase its car offerings in India and has resorted to some aggressive methods to achieve this. How you ask? Well, Volvo India are planning on introducing up to three new models which will namely be the – XC60, S60 and V60 models. The XC60 and S60 are to be launched soon in India and will be quickly followed by the very impressive V60, which should pave the way for a new type of car in India. The XC60 is already doing very well in Europe as it is an awesome product but it is the S60 that should prove to be the most exciting of the lot.

Volvo is all geared up to change the rules with the introduction of the S60 as it is a completely new developed vehicle. You may wonder what being a new vehicle has to do with changing the game but one look at the S60 and all doubts will vanish. The S60 is totally new in terms of design and technology and you will only need the slightest glimpse to realize that this new Volvo is unlike anything they have offered before. The front end gets a daring, aggressive fascia with newer bolder headlights as well as a stylish, sleek grille that has the traditional diagonal strip symbolizing Volvo’s badging. These give the front end a very striking image and coupled with the newly designed bumper makes the S60 very attractive. Only the tail lights are reminiscent of previous Volvo models with the same cut and integration into the boot lid.

The interior of the Volvo S60 has also come a long way from the previous version. With the dashboard, centre console, gear shift, climate control knobs and other switches now getting a more tech-savvy, modern and most critically an uncluttered look. The front seats are low-slung and give the front occupants a snug feel while providing all the necessary cushioning and support. The low nature of the seats also gives the front cabin an added sporty look. Rear space is what Volvo hopes will give it the edge when it comes to its competitors and rear passengers will be very happy with the head room and leg room the rear cabin affords.

If you were to think that the revamped interiors and exteriors are the only things that make us gush about the new Volvo S60 you will have to think again. The way the new Volvo drives is up there with the attributes making it one of the most eagerly awaited Volvo’s ever. For the first time Volvo has taken into consideration the dynamics, sportiness and driving pleasure of a vehicle and focused on delivering on all counts.

The S60 definitely feels sporty to drive and hugs corners like a cat on a carpet. Although it may still fall short of its other German brother the BMW, in terms of sporty character, you can bet your house on the balance that Volvo have achieved between comfort and agility (although I spotted some youtube videos that proved it could actually compete with the BMW).

On a long drive in the countryside where there were lots of curvy corners and hilly sections there were minimal problems with the S60 when it came to traversing the bends and the car handles these with minimum of fuss.  The Steering wheel feels nice and weighty and also very responsive and sharp. It is not as precise as a point and shoot type but is a huge improvement over previous Volvo models.

The Volvo S60 will be offered in two engine types one being the T6, which is a 3.0 liter petrol and D5, which is a 2.4 liter diesel engine. The T6 is for those drivers who are very enthusiastic about their driving and the six cylinder, turbocharged motor belts out a maximum power of 308 PS and a maximum torque of 440 Nm. The power of the engine ensures that the car moves in a smooth straight line giving good linear acceleration. The Volvo S60 Petrol also comes mated to a six-speed automatic transmission along with a sequential manual shifter although there is no paddle shift option in the car. The Volvo S60 also comes with an all-wheel drive setup and this improves grip on the road and handling by quite an extent.

The D5 engine is the cleaner option offered by Volvo but this one is much slower than the T6 petrol. Being a diesel engine the torque output is similar to that of the T6 unit and this one give an impressive 420 Nm of maximum torque. The massive quantity of torque on tap allows for an enjoyable drive in the city but after a drive in the very impressive T6 fitted vehicle it is hard not to feel a tad bit disappointed with the slightly more sluggish performance of the Volvo S60 Diesel D5 installed car.

Volvo has always been synonymous with safety and their cars have always had some of the most innovative and modern safety technologies incorporated into them. The Volvo S60 does not disappoint on this front as well and comes with a few new gadgets in it that would put even the most distrust passenger at ease. Volvo intends to set an unprecedented safety benchmark in the segment with the introduction of the Volvo S60. It features new systems like the Pedestrian detection with full auto brakes and Queue assist to help the driver prevent accidents.

The Pedestrian detection with Collision Warning and Full Auto Brake system is of great use as it uses radar incorporated in the front of the car near the grille and a camera fixed near the outside rear view mirror. The radar helps to detect any obstructions in the cars path and the camera is used to identify if that is a human being. Once the object has been detected the car sends out a warning to the driver in the form of red flashing light that appears near the instrumentation panel. If this has been ignored by the driver the car then sends out a beep and if there is again no response in the form of braking from the driver, then the cars Full Auto Brake takes control bringing the car to a complete stop if the speed is below 35 km/hr. Any speed above 35 km/hr and the car will manage to slow itself down to the maximum extent possible to ensure the minimum of collision impact with the object be it a pedestrian or other.

The Volvo S60 comes across as a total package and has none of the traditional styling cues of Volvo vehicles. It is extremely stylish, powerful, spacious and technologically advanced. It also goes without saying that the Volvo S60 is equipped with some of the most technologically advanced safety features that will make it an attractive option for many buyers.

Expect the Volvo S60 to hit Indian markets by March of next year and the only thing that is going to stand in the way of it making good sales is its price tag. Initial estimates put the Volvo S60 at around Rs. 30 lakhs and this should be a good value for the vehicle to beat out any competition as the car has all the other requisites that would make it the most viable option to Indian buyers.

Volvo S60 Specifications

Vehicle Category: Sedan
Engines (petrol): 3.0 L, 6 cylinder, 304 HP, 440 Nm torque
Engine (Diesel): 2.4 L, 6 cylinder, 204 HP, 420 Nm torque
Drivetrain: Front engine, 5 passenger, 4-door sedan, AWD
Transmissions (standard): 6-speed auto with sequential shifter
Curb Weight:
1789 kg
0-100 kph: 5.2 secs (est.)
Mileage city/hwy: 9 / 13 kmpl
Price of Volvo S60: Rs30 Lakh (est)

Volvo S60

Tata Indica Vista Safire90


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Tata Motors India has the ability to churn out newer variations of its existing model. Check out the Indigo Manza’s for example. The earlier generation ones would have some uneven panel gaps and even some iffy quality bits however post the launch of the Tata Aria, every new Indigo Manza has even panel gaps and no bad quality bits in the cabin. This is the result of striving for excellence in its field. Note must be made that this quality revolution started as early as from the Indica Vista days. Speaking of Tata Indica Vista and coming precisely to the point, the Tata Indigo Manza’s 90 Hp engine has been now shoe-horned into the Indica Vista and christened the Tata Indica Vista Safire90 in lines with the Fiat Punto 90Hp.

The Tata Indica Vista Safire90 has some changes visually to give it a separate stance from the regular Indica. The car gets a new body paint and eight spoke alloy wheels now. The alloy wheels are the same ones as were found on the Indica Vista anniversary edition. It also gets fog lamps as standard. The side indicators have been moved from their position just above the wheel arches now to in the same plane as the outside rear view mirrors. Such a positioning puzzles us as it renders the turn indicators useless. The tail gets a 90 Hp badging along with the variant name. This is for all the visual differences between the regular Tata Indica Vista and the Tata Indica Vista Safire90. Safire stands for the name of the engines derived from Fiat Motors.

Inside one would certainly notice the new black and beige them treatment for the dashboard. The speedometer console as with the rest of the readings are centrally located and present a nice look. There is seat height adjust for the driver now and you would be hard pressed to notice any panel gaps in the Tata Indica Vista Safire90. Quality has really gone up and is at par if not above rest of the competition. There are no steering mounted controls though and we didn’t miss them as well since they would tamper with the operation of the steering wheel. Traditional Tata Indica Vista virtues like spacious cabin and good all round visibility remain the same. Getting into a comfortable driving position is also quite easy now with the rake and reach adjustable steering column. There is a fully integrated 2-DIN stereo system with Blue&Me and USB port to enhance the entertainment as well as communication part. Safety aspect for which Tata Motors have been always criticized has been taken care of in the Tata Indica Vista Safire90 with ABS, EBD as well as 2 SRS airbags in the top end version. This should put to rest the tongues wagging about Tata Motors India not too keen on safety aspects in the Indica.

The major change has happened under the hood. The Tata Indica Vista Safire90 now gets the 1368cc, 16 Valve, DOHC, FIRE engine putting out 90 Bhp of power @ 6000 rpm and 115 Nm @ 1600 rpm. Performance on the lighter Tata Indica Vista Safire90 was much improved than the earlier version. The 0-100 kmph mark was breached in 13.8 seconds. Sound insulation could have been better as anything above 5000 rpm was audible inside the cabin. The gearbox has been also changed from the previous Indica Vista and has made way for a Drivetech4 unit which feels good to grip and also offers smooth gear shifts. Overtaking maneouvre doesn’t require any planning now on the new car and it is just a zip and tuck affair. The Tata Indica Vista Safire90 feels at home both in the city as well as on the highway. The braking is also upto the mark with the ABS factor playing a major role and safely hauls the car to a stop without any drama. That saying, the performance isn’t a patch on the much smaller 1.2 liter K series engine of the Suzuki Swift as the 1.4 motor in the Indica isn’t too keen to be revved.

Fuel efficiency hasn’t taken a major dip with the bigger engine and the Tata Indica Vista Safire90 returns 10.6 kmpl in the city and 14.8 kmpl on the highway.

Overall, the Tata Indica Vista Safire90 is for those looking for a fuel efficiency yet fun to drive spacious hatch and one available at a low price. Combine it with a segment first 24 months or 75,000 km warranty, whichever comes earlier. For this, Tata Motors India have fulfilled their promise of delivering more car per car. The car is now priced from Rs 4,50,000 {ex-showroom, Mumbai} for the base model and Rs. 6,00,000 {ex-showroom, Mumbai} for the top variant making it fantastic value for money.

Technical Specifications of the Tata Indica Vista Safire90

Displacement: 1368cc, 16 Valve, FIRE DOHC
Engine Type: Petrol
Maximum Power: 90 Bhp @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 115 Nm @ 1600 rpm
Gears: 5 Manual
Length: 3794 mm
Width: 1698 mm
Height: 1552 mm
Tyre Size: 175/65 R14 alloys
Steering: Hydraulic Power assisted
Brakes: Front Disc, Rear Drum with ABS and EBD
Ground Clearance: 165.00 mm
Suspension: Independent McPherson Strut/Semi independent coil
Kerb Weight: 1247.00 kgs
Fuel Tank: 38.00
Seating Capacity: 5

Nissan Micra Begins to Export


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Nissan to also introduce diesel hatch in the next few months.

Nissan Motors has a good history with their supermini offering the Nissan Micra and India is one of three new countries that Nissan Motors has chosen to manufacture the new fourth generation vehicle. Starting production in 1982 from its plant in Japan, the Nissan Micra (or should I say Nissan March) has come a long way to reach its present form. The second and third generation Micra was also manufactured in Sunderland in England and after an association of 18 years came to an end in July 2010. The Sunderland plant will be used to manufacture Nissan’s new offering in the market segment as the Micra.

The manufacturing of the Micra in England was made deciding that Nissan would shift operations to five new locations but so far there are only three in India, Thailand and China. The operations at India were meant to serve the European, Middle Eastern and African markets, Thailand meant to serve South East Asian, Japanese and Australian markets and China meant to serve Chinese and Mexican markets.

Nissan Motors India have every reason to be happy with the response it has received in the country for its compact hatch the Micra and the manufacturing plant in Chennai began operation in July 2010. The main expectations of Nissan when it chose India as one of its manufacturing locations was for the Indian market to firstly respond well to car and secondly to begin exports to Europe, Middle East and Africa. In a short span of four months Nissan Motor India has achieved sales of around 4500 cars and is on its way to achieving a lot more.

The first consignment of 3,866 cars has already been sent to Europe and this breaks new ground for the newest Made-in-India Nissan hatch. In the 2010-2011 year Nissan Motors India hopes to export around 1.10 lakh units to more than 100 countries across Europe, Middle East and Africa. Nissan plans to make their manufacturing plant at Chennai a key figure in their global growth plan and the initial export figures should make for good reading. The plant is to be the strategic hub not only for domestic manufacturing but for exports as well and will serve to showcase the high standard of Indian build quality and engineering of Nissan products on a global scale.

The success of the Nissan Micra in India has been well received in all circles connected to Nissan Motors and it was but natural in a country obsessed with mileage that a diesel variant would be necessary. Taking into account customer feedback and the chance to further boost sales, Nissan Motors India was soon on the job to get the diesel version of compact hatchback into the Indian market.

According to the CEO and Managing Director of Nissan Motor India, Mr. Kiminobu Tokuyama, “The success of petrol variant of Micra in the domestic market has given us huge confidence to introduce Diesel variant within six months from the launch of petrol version. We are aware that this is a very important phase of our journey and we standby our commitment to provide Indian customers with a full range of products and services. We are confident that Diesel-powered Micra would fulfill the discerning needs of Indian Customers.”

The Nissan Micra diesel should be available to Indian audiences by December of this year and is most likely to use the motor that currently does the job on the Mahindra Renault Logan. This will be the 1.5 liter, four cylinder unit that is currently produced by Nissan’s strategic alliance partner Renault in a number of variants. For the diesel Micra though this should be the motor that produces 70 horsepower and a maximum torque of 160 Nm. Seeing that the Nissan Micra is a light weight vehicle, the engine should prove to be very powerful and it aims to make the Nissan Micra diesel the benchmark for fuel efficiency in its segment.

Nissan has already started taking pre-order booking for the Nissan Micra diesel version across its 20 dealerships and Abhijeet Pandit, Marketing and After Sales, Vice-President says that, “Ever since we launched the petrol variant in July, we have been flooded with enquiries for Micra Diesel. I am confident that the Diesel-powered Micra, is a good value proposition and a desirable option to choose from, for the Indian customers during this festival season. We are elated with the overwhelming response received for the petrol variant across all our dealerships and keenly look forward to copy this success. We are also aggressively ramping our sales and service network.”

The Nissan Micra diesel should be available for a bit more than the petrol and customers should expect to pay around Rs.25,000 to Rs. 30,000 more depending on trim levels and options. Nissan seems to have hit the nail on the head by introducing its operations to India and i am sure even the folks at Nissan have been amazed with how well the company is doing in the country. Top managers are just keeping their fingers crossed and hoping that the initial success they have achieved will continue. The same can be said for some Indian car manufacturers as the success of any Indian made car will only serve to boost the image of Indian made cars globally.

Nissan Micra Specifications

Body & Engine Specifications

Body Type – Hatchback
Engine Type – Petrol / Diesel
Displacement – 1198cc, HR12, 3 cylinder / diesel not confirmed yet
Maximum Power (Petrol / diesel) – 75 hp / 70 hp
Maximum Torque (Petrol / diesel) – 104 Nm / 160 Nm
Seating Capacity – 5 persons
Suspension (Front / Rear) – McPherson Strut, Torsion Beam
Brakes – Front Disc / Rear Drum
Transmission – 5-speed manual
Weight – 970 kgs
Mileage (city / hwy) – 14 km/l / 18 km/l
Price of Nissan Micra– 3.9 lakhs – 5.25 lakhs

Comfort & Convenience

Power Windows: Front and Rear
Power Steering
Central Door Lock
Steering Tilt Adjustment
Remote Keyless with Push Button Ignition
Driver Side Front Window with Auto down & Anti-Pinch Function

Safety Features

Driver Airbag
Engine Immobilizer
Front Passenger Airbag
Front Fog Lamps
ABS + EBD + BA

Chevrolet Volt in India

Chevrolet Volt Review

The Chevrolet Volt is General Motor’s answer to hybrid technology vehicles and is probably the most fuel efficient vehicle presently available in the market. The Chevrolet Volt is the new plug-in battery cum gasoline powered hybrid hatchback and the battery is a lithium-ion pack that powers the 149 horsepower electric engine independently for up to 40 miles of city driving.

The gas powered part of the engine also known as the E85 is an inline 4 cylinder and can supply power to the motor for an additional 300 miles. The Chevrolet Volt might just be the most fuel efficient car that one can buy today. The reason for the speculation surrounding the Volt as the most fuel efficient car around is due to the fact that its actual fuel efficiency cannot be measured in a normal way. Fuel efficiency is relative to how the car is driven.

The Chevrolet Volt is expected to hit the Indian market by the beginning of 2011 and should be priced around the 35 lakh mark making it quite steep. The fact that it is possible to never have to fill the car could play a role in its pricing as the Chevrolet Volt is the perfect vehicle for short trips in the city. Highway driving will require you to fill up accordingly as per distances traveled.

Performance – Chevrolet Volt in India

The Chevrolet Volt is front-wheel drive vehicle that is powered by a dual technology engine. It uses a battery that is used to power the electric motor and delivers good power of 149 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. The electric motor gains its power totally from the lithium-ion pack until there is 30 percent charge left. At this time it switches to the internal combustion engine which is a 1.4 liter four cylinder and runs on either petrol or E85 and when the battery charge is down this can run the car for up to 100 miles.

The Lithium-ion battery can only be charged with a 120 volt socket or a 240 volt power point. Charging the battery takes a maximum of three hours and enabled the Volt to travel up to 40 miles. Driving the car helps to replenish the battery charge to an extent and regenerative braking also allows the battery to recharge although not completely but more as a back-up.

Another cool fact about the Chevrolet Volt is the fact that it does not have a typical transmission relay. The Chevrolet Volt uses a single reduction gear which sends the power from the electric motor to the front wheels and performance and acceleration depend on the level to which the battery has been charged. Engineers at General Motors predict that the Volt will get from 0-100 km/hr in about 8.5 seconds with a fully charged battery pack.

The Chevrolet Volt is a five-door hatchback with seating capacity for four occupants. Standard features in the vehicle include automatic headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, remote ignition, six-way manual front seats, cruise control, automatic climate control, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, auto-dimming rearview mirror, OnStar – a navigation system with touchscreen, voice controls and real-time traffic, Bluetooth connectivity, cloth upholstery, and a six-speaker Bose stereo with CD/DVD player, auxiliary audio jack, iPod/USB interface and 30GB of digital music storage.

There is also a premium package trim available which puts on leather upholstery, heated front seats and leather wrapped steering wheel. In order to get front and rear parking sensors buyers will have to avail of the option of the Rear Camera and Park Assist package.

2011 Chevrolet Volt Photo Gallery

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2011 Chevrolet Volt Styling

The 2011 Chevrolet Volt is a very unique car in terms of its interior as well as exterior design. The center stack is very distinctive and appears to draw its inspiration from something out of Star Trek as it has an almost unnecessary array of buttons and touchscreen activations. This should make owners happy as they will feel that the novel configuration of the center stack is one of the few features that may merit a premium price.

The Chevrolet Volt is loaded with all kinds of technological innovations and these include a colour display with built-in 30 GB hard-disk. The Chevrolet Volt is also very functional and the controls are intuitive. The futuristic looking dash and gauges are easy to read and will ensure the driver gets all necessary information with having to take his eyes off the road. There is also a meter to help the driver drive within the most optimum range for fuel efficiency and this id depicted by an almost floating sort of bubble. This stays green when fuel efficiency is at its optimum and turns deeper red when the car is not being driven for maximum fuel economy.

The downside to the Chevrolet Volt is the fact the buyers will feel that they have not got their money’s worth as some equipment expected in a car that costs 35 lakhs is missing like electrically powered driver’s seat and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Interior space though is good in the Volt and the front and rear cabins both provide ample space for all four occupants. The seats are also very supportive and ensure the driver is comfortable at all times. The rear of the Volt again is very spacious and has decent head room and leg room. The missing center seat should not prove to be a big problem although some families might actually miss it. A final production Volt has still not hit the roads so reports in interior build quality and design are imcomplete at best and we will only get a clearer idea in the months to come.

Pricing and Recommendations

The Chevrolet Volt is a completely fuel efficient vehicle. Chevrolet Volt price is expected to be around 35 lakhs and this could be the decisive factor for its sales in the Indian car market. It features a whole range of technological innovations, although a few standard trimmings would not have hurt and would also increase the aesthetic value of the vehicle.

The fact that it is a four-door hatch that seats only four people might be a further deterrent to potential buyers. Performance-wise though it has a very fuel efficient and clean engine that provides good acceleration even from a standing start. The cabin of the Chevrolet Volt is also quite and the ride is totally comfortable and matches to other electric vehicles in its class like the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius.

Handling in the Volt is also good although it seems to have a bit of a heavy front end that makes it slide around when entering corners. The brakes are also flawless and the pedals respond instinctively and accurately to driver inputs. From the ride quality to its weight ratio as well as the response of the steering, the Chevrolet Volt drives better and feels more accomplished than the usual suspects – The Toyota Prius and the Honda Insight.

2011 Chevrolet Volt India Specifications and Price

Vehicle Category: Electric Vehicle
Engines (combination): 1.4 L, 4-cyl inline, petrol, E85 / lithium-ion battery, 149 HP, 273 lb-ft torque
Drivetrain: Front engine, 4 passenger, 4-door hatch, FWD
Transmissions (standard): Single reduction gear
Curb Weight: 1346 kg
0-100 kph: 8 – 9 secs (est.)
Mileage city/hwy: Unlimited depending on distance driven
Chevrolet Volt price: Rs.35 Lakh (est)

Skoda Fabia Test Drive

The days of Skoda being an unknown car manufacturer in India, are long gone and presently the brand of Skoda has not only become popular in India but also across the world. Skoda gained its popularity and notoriety in the Indian car industry with two of its flagship vehicles in their respective classes the Skoda Laura and Skoda Octavia. Both cars were the benchmark when it came to safety and quality in their segments. Even today both models are considered to be some of the best cars to handle the Indian roads along with their reputations of being built like tanks.

The Skoda Fabia was launched in 2008 along with another new offering from Skoda the Superb. The Superb has also become a best seller in its segment since then and Skoda has conquered the Indian market in leaps and bounds. As opposed to the other cars introduced by Skoda into the Indian market the Skoda Fabia was not an instant success in its small car segment and this was due to the fact that the segment is probably the most competitive in the country. Being Skoda’s first try at a hatchback, the Fabia did not get the desired sales and was considered the most expensive hatch at the time.

With the introduction of a number of competitive cars in the same small car segment like the Hyundai i20, VW Polo, Fiat Punto, Tata Indica, the Skoda Fabia appeared to be a rather expensive car for Indian buyers. Skoda took notice of this and decided to increase the localization level to 40 percent to bring down cost price as well as after sales service price and duration. With the introduction of the production plant at Chakan, which is used to manufacture the VW Vento, Polo and the Fabia, Skoda has taken advantage of the common platforms used by the Polo and the Fabia. The new Skoda Fabia now has the heart of the Polo and comes in 1.2 Petrol, 1.2 Diesel and 1.6 Petrol versions and is a much improved version of the one that was first introduced in 2008. Skoda Fabia test drive will be done on the 1.2 diesel as this is most likely to be the best selling model of the Fabia in the Indian market.

Engine & Performance

The New Skoda Fabia is a true all-rounder and by this I mean it ticks all the right boxes that Indian buyers are looking out for. It has very good pull from low, mid and even higher engine speeds. The Skoda Fabia comes in three engine trims the 1.2 Petrol Double overhead Camshaft which produces 75 horsepower and 110 Nm of torque, 1.2 TDi Diesel engine that produces 75 horsepower but a much better 180 Nm of torque and a 1.6 liter, 4 cylinder petrol version that generates 105 horsepower and 153 Nm of torque.

Skoda is a fully owned subsidiary of VW group and for this reason the engines employed in the Skoda are the same ones used in the Volkswagen Polo and Vento. This is also due to the fact that all three cars are manufactured at the same plant in Chakan. The performance of the 1.2 Diesel, which is our test car, is very commendable and the turbo charger is the piece de resistance in the vehicle.

Start the car and the sweet purr of the engine and smooth idling will soon make you forget that it is a 3 cylinder diesel engine under the hood. Revving the throttle allows the driver to feel the power beneath him without the unnecessary sound permeating the cabin. Shifting in to first gear is smooth and ensures the car moves forward easily with minimum of fuss neither surprising nor disappointing the driver. But hold it in gear for a couple more seconds allowing the turbo charger to kick in and feel the difference. The turbo kicks in at 1800 rpm and once the power has been delivered the Skoda Fabia does not feel like a 3 cylinder car anymore.

The TDI engine is a registered trademark of Volkswagen Group and is the engine used on all passenger cars in the Volkswagen range as well as its subsidiaries like Skoda. The TDI engine allows better engine efficiency and greater power output as it has a more complete combustion process. The engine also gives a better fuel economy, lesser emissions and provides more torque that the petrol version.

Coming back to the Fabia, the torque is delivered quickly in both second and third gears and driving in these is loads of fun, albeit keeping the turbo in the power band to gain maximum torque. Keeping the car in the optimum turbo band makes the Fabia feel like a quick, zippy racer. The gear ratios are also well balanced and very precise giving you the feel of driving a much bigger car.

Interiors & Exteriors

The new Skoda Fabia does not have major changes in the styling and design over the old model but those subtle changes that have been made give the car a better more desirable character. The front fascia gets the most improvements and now features a grille that is common on both the Superb and Laura and the hood gets some sleek lines and crisp creases to better define it. The Skoda badge embedded in the grille further accentuates the Fabia as a mini Laura / Superb adding to its mature looks. The front also incorporates a new headlight design that curves around the sides of the bonnet and slopes slightly upwards.

The front fender is larger as well and also houses the newly quad shaped fog lamps which again remind of the Superb. Thankfully the small round fog lamps from the old Fabia have been binned and the larger, chunkier, clearer headlights and fog lights also give the Fabia a more mature impression. Looking at the Fabia from the side profile one would be forgiven for not noticing the new model as there are no changes to the roofline or C-pillar and even the exterior door trim remains the same. The rear of the Fabia follows the same styling as the older model with no major changes except for the slightly broader taillights.

New Skoda Fabia in India got appreciated in India for its interior space and looks and the new Fabia again exceeds expectations. Once inside you are greeted with the familiar two-tone look which provides a good contrast and this is made up of a soft rubber material on the top of the dashboard and a harder more durable plastic at the bottom. The Steering wheel is a large 4 spoke and fits in with the Skoda family feel and has a rake and reach adjustment feature. The instrumentation cluster is exactly like the VW Polo’s save for the color of the backlight.

Front cabin space is best in its class and the seats provide ample cushioning and support for both occupants. The front also has dual airbags that provide all the safety for the front occupants along with ergonomically placed knobs and dials. The dashboard at the passengers’ side is divided into two with a one glove box in the upper part of the dash and one glove box in the lower part. The twin glove box is very handy and allows for storage of larger stuff like the car manuals as well as smaller stuff like mobile phone, sunglasses, etc. There is also storage space in the door handles as well as in the centre console between the seats for soda cans, etc.

The rear cabin of the Skoda Fabia is also a best in its class and offers ample legroom as well as headroom. The rear seats also offer sufficient support and are well contoured to restrict movement while driving. The boot of the Skoda Fabia is also large and provides 315 liters of space with more generated by folding down the rear seats. The boot lid has a specially designed handle that is inconspicuously placed behind the logo and offers a good position even for those not gifted with lots of height.

Skoda Fabia Photo Gallery

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Final Verdict

The all New Skoda Fabia does well to compete in the ultra competitive small call segment in India. Skoda has taken into account the requirements of buyers as well as the fact that other competitors are better priced offering more amenities and has done something about it. This shows that Skoda considers the Indian market to be very important and it shows with consumers giving the Skoda brand the recognition it deserves.

The Skoda Fabia 1.2 Diesel is a powerful, safe and reliable vehicle with good design and styling. The TDI engine is very efficient being sourced from Volkswagen’s stable and offers maximum performance combined with great fuel efficiency. The interiors are very spacious and are well designed keeping in mind driver and passenger requirements and the Skoda Fabia now has the best head and leg room in its class. The best feature of the Fabia is now its Price and it is available from a starting price of around 6 lakhs and should be very enticing at that price. Giving a fuel economy of 15 kmpl in the city and 18.5 kmpl on the highway Skoda seems to have got things right this time with its hatch offering.

Skoda Fabia 1.2 Diesel Specifications

Vehicle Category: Small car
Engines (diesel): 1.2 L, 3-cyl, TDI, 75 HP, 185 Nm torque
Drive train: Front engine, 5 passenger, 4-door hatch, FWD
Transmissions (standard): 5-speed manual
0-100 kph: 11.9 sec (est.)
Mileage city/hwy (diesel): 15 / 18.5 kmpl
New Skoda Fabia Price: Rs.5.5 – 6.5 lakhs (est.)

BMW X5 xDrive

BMW India are on a roll with the launch of new models and also with updating their existing range of vehicles. They have received tremendous success with their BMW 3,5 and 7 series. Adding to the success quotient is the BMW X5, X6 and the 7 series. The X5 range has received the botox treatment this time around and it is all set to storm the Indian markets with its quirky looks, fuel efficiency and performance.

BMW have launched the refreshed X5 and it is available in India in 2 variants. One is the X5 xDrive30d and the other is the X5 xDrive50i. The BMW X5 xDrive30d has a 3.0-litre, straight six-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine that pumps out 245PS and a gut wrenching torque of 540 Nm. It dashes from 0-100 in 7.5 seconds. The second variant, the BMW X5 xDrive50i has a twin turbo V8 petrol belting out 407PS and a shattering 600Nm of torque. This has a sports car rivaling times of 5.4 seconds for the dash from 0-100 kmph. Both the cars feature BMW Efficient Dynamics package which is similar to Mercedes Benz Blue EFFICIENCY. The grille of the car is now more deeply set and the twin kidney grilles seem like nostrils of a giant hippo.

The fog lamps are set rather high for a premium SUV. The head lamps also have a quirky design theme. The bonnet is full of creases much unlike the earlier BMW X5s. The air dams have a slightly reworked design theme to them and there are separate slots as well, which ideally should have been for the fog lamps, but in this case are empty. The outside rear view mirrors are not huge but they are placed at quite a distance from the edge of the car and hence provide for good rear view visibility. They are mounted on black stalks but the mirrors casings are in body color.

The interiors have been refreshed as well. They seem more like from the 7 series.Two interior trims are possible one is the cinnamon and the other oyster. We would prefer the cinnamon one as it looks good and goes with the sporty theme of the SUV. It is said that the optional as well as innovative Heads-Up Display shows all the important data like speed of the car, current fuel efficiency in the driver’s field of vision. The height and brightness of the display can be individually adjusted, so that the driver isn’t distracted and can pilot the car around with ease.

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BMW India, unfortunately still persists with the run flats for the BMW X5. Elsewhere in Europe, the car is offered in standard tubeless tyre options. BMW India could do well to offer the car in this tyre option considering the Indian road conditions. The fuel efficiency though not paramount to the buyers of this vehicle is pegged at an overall of 12.15 kmpl for the diesel and 8.1 kmpl for the petrol motor. This is sufficient considering the performance on tap. The new BMW X5 xDrive in India carries on the traditional BMW values like perfect handling, rush of power and much more. The transmission is the 8 speed automatic with manual override. It is said to be one of the smoothest automatic transmissions in India. The BMW X5 in both the trims offers plenty of equipment like the armrests, front and rear, CD changer for 6 discs, automatic air conditioning with 4 zone control, cruise control with brake function, HiFi loudspeaker system with 12 loudspeakers, Park Distance Control (PDC), Xenon lights with headlight washers front and rear, on board 6.5 inch monitor plus 3r generation IDRIVE controller on center console and X Drive all wheel drive comprise some of the extensive features list for the BMW X5 with more goodies in the options bin. Safety is also taken care of in good measure with 5 airbags having seat occupant detector facility, Automatic Differential Brake (ADB-X), advanced ABS system, Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), Dynamic Brake control (DBC),Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) Hill Descent Control (HDC), front and rear bumpers with interchangeable crumple zones which absorb impacts at speeds upto 15 kmph and Integrated side impact protection as some of the standard safety features.The new BMW X5 is been offered in as many as 8 exterior color options like alpine white, platinum grey, titanum silver, platinum bronze, deep sea blue, black sapphire, sparkling bronze and space grey.

The BMW X5 xDrive 30d is priced at Rs 52.99 lakh, ex-showroom, Delhi whereas the BMW X5 xDrive 50i retails for Rs 69.5 lakh ex-showroom, Delhi.

Technical specifications of the BMW X5 xDrive30d

Ex-showroom Price (Delhi Rs.): 52,99,000
Transmission Type: 8 speed Automatic with manual override
Engine Description: 3.0L,2993cc, 245 bhp, 540 Nm, BMW six-cylinder in-line diesel engine
Engine Displacement(cc): 2995
Maximum Power: 245 bhp at 4000rpm
Maximum Torque: 540 Nm at 1750 – 3000 rpm
Mileage-City(kmpl): 10.4
Mileage-Highway(kmpl): 13.9
Fuel Type: Diesel
Fuel Tank Capacity(litres): 85
Seating Capacity: 5

Technical specifications of the BMW X5 xDrive50i

Ex-showroom Price (Delhi Rs.): 69,50,000
Transmission Type: 8 speed Automatic with manual override
Engine Description: 4.4L, 4395cc 407bhp, 600 Nm, BMW Twin Power V8 Petrol Engine
Engine Displacement(cc): 4395
Maximum Power: 407 bhp at 5500-6400 rpm
Maximum Torque: 600 Nm at 1750-4500 rpm
Mileage-City(kmpl)/: 5.9
Mileage-Highway(kmpl): 10.3
Fuel Type: Petrol
Fuel Tank Capacity(litres): 86
Seating Capacity: 5

2011 Chevrolet Corvette in India

Chevrolet Corvette Review

The Chevrolet Corvette was first introduced in 1953 and this all-American sports vehicle was supposed to be America’s answer to European sports models that were capturing the majority share of the American car market. The Chevrolet Corvette accomplished what it set out to do and has been an integral part of the American car industry ever since.

India has never been a market big on American or European super cars and this may have to do with a couple of thing. Firstly the state of Indian roads would not entirely suitable to drive around in a super car and secondly the fuel consumption of these cars is so high that it would be advisable for owners to own a petrol station along with it. But trends are now changing and these factors that hampered the sale of super cars in the Indian market before are no longer a hindrance.

The Chevrolet Corvette is expected to be launched in the Indian market sometime in 2011 but an exact date has yet to be decided. The 2011 Chevrolet Corvette that will be introduced in India will be based on the upgraded model from 2008, where improvements were made to the exterior styling, interior design and engine specifications. Expected to be sold for an estimated price of 50 lakhs, the Corvette is one of those cars that will be noticed no matter what Indian road it is on. The Corvette is an eagerly awaited car for those sports car enthusiasts and continues the new trend of sports cars now being introduced in India like the Bugatti Veyron, Chevrolet Camaro, Nissan GTR, and the Porsche.

Performance – Chevrolet Corvette in India

The 2011 Chevrolet Corvette is one of the fastest sports cars around and packs a mammoth 6.2 liter, V8 engine under its hood. The V8 powertrain uses some of the most advanced technologies in an engine that allows it to produce a maximum power of 430 horsepower and impressive 424 Nm torque. The Chevrolet Corvette is mated to a 6-speed manual and also comes with the option of a 6-speed automatic gearbox that does all the work of the driver and in my opinion is the less fun version to drive. There is a dual exhaust system available with the Chevrolet Corvette that gives it an increased power of 436 horsepower as well as improved torque of 428 Nm.

The Chevrolet Corvette uses disc brakes as well as ABS to ensure the car stops promptly even at high speeds. The Chevrolet Corvette incorporates the sports transverse leaf spring type suspension that allows the car to glide effortlessly over rough as well as potholed surfaces. The Chevrolet Corvette is also available in with 18 inches or19 inch five-spoke wheels and makes the car easy to handle whether in the city or the highway.

Chevrolet has used an ultra-light body shell, upgraded exhaust system, true glass for the rear panel as well as light aluminum wheels to keep the weight of the Corvette down. The main reason for reduction in the weight of the car is so that it gives a better fuel efficiency.

The Chevrolet Corvette as I mentioned earlier is a really fast car and has some crazy times on the track. It has a top speed of 300 kmph and flies from 0-100 in an amazing 4.2 seconds.

2011 Chevrolet Corvette Styling

The exterior of the Chevrolet Corvette is shaped like a jet-fighter and the low-roofline, arched rear panel, low slung front portion all contribute to the car looking like a fighter jet. Even the side profile of the Chevrolet Corvette makes it look like a bullet. The Chevrolet Corvette has a compact front nose and also features a step down boot. The headlights of the Chevrolet Corvette are long, smooth sloping and almost have a human eye shape. The front bumper incorporates the fog lights as well.

The headlight cluster actually houses the Xenon headlights, High Intensity Discharge (HID) with high beam halogen and low beam tungsten also featuring automatic outside light control. The front bumper also houses the broad upward curved air intake with the fog lights flanking it on either side. The front and rear bumpers match the body colour of the car and give the car its distinctive look.

The smooth lines and curves that adorn the hood, roof, bumpers and doors provide the Corvette with a stunning aerodynamic shape allowing it to cut through the air like a hot knife through butter. The rear of the car has the typically styled four round taillights and the lip of the boot also features a small spoiler. The dual aluminum exhaust tips that the Corvette comes with are designed with a silver finish and pop out from just below the rear bumper give the rear of the car a meaner more aggressive look. Adding to this aggressive stance of the Chevrolet Corvette are the wide 18 inch or 19 inch five-spoke wheels.

The two seater sports coupe has a stylishly designed interior as well and the cockpit is dominated by the centre console which houses the advanced media controls, climate controls, navigation screen and display. The interior of the Corvette is luxurious and the cockpit is very spacious and provides both occupants with superb support and cushioning and the steering wheel incorporates audio and information buttons in it.

Chevrolet Corvette price and Recommendations

The Chevrolet Corvette is one of few sports cars to be hitting the Indian market in the upcoming months and although only a few will be made available in the Indian market every year they should be the envy of any onlooker.

Being one of the fastest cars in the world the Chevrolet Corvette no doubt has all the safety features that are necessary in a modern sports car. It features super power disc brakes, four-wheel independent suspension system, rigid forks to reduce body roll, traction control, dual front and side impact airbags, Automatic crash response (ACR), tire pressure monitor system and voice activated dialing.

Obviously those owners looking to buy this monster of a vehicle are not concerned about the mileage it gives but will no doubt be impressed by the 7.2 km/l that it gives in the city and 10.5 km/l that it gives on the highway.

2011 Chevrolet Corvette in India Specifications and Price

Vehicle Category: Sports coupe
Engines (standard): 6.2 L, V 8-cyl, OHV, 430 HP, 424 Nm torque
Drivetrain: Front engine, 2 passenger, 2-door coupe, RWD
Transmissions (standard): 6-speed manual / 6-speed automatic
Curb Weight: 1143 kg
0-100 kph: 4.2 sec
Mileage city/hwy: 7.2 / 10.5 kmpl
Base Price: Rs.50 Lakh (est)

Honda City 1.5 V MT Exclusive Review

')">Honda Siel Cars India Limited is a collaboration between Japanese automotive manufacturer Honda and Siel India limited. It was set up in 1996 but it wasn’t before 1998 that Honda launched their first car in India- the Honda City 1.5. It was a runaway success and one which brings back memories of the launch of the first Maruti 800. The first generation Honda City was fast like what its hyper 16 engine name suggested but not at the expense of fuel economy. It soon became a favorite on the racing circuit as well as for tuners. The second generation Honda City was nothing like the first generation and featured the first cab forward design in India. It was one of the most fuel efficient sedans in its class however lacked the fun to drive character of the old Honda City. Its design was something which was openly criticized by many. Honda tried to salvage the damage by introducing a Vtec version as a special edition but the car buying public still demanded more.

Honda finally satiated our demands with an all-new Honda City 1.5 which was dubbed as an arrow-shot form design. It was priced exclusively like its erstwhile brethren but that didn’t deter the Honda City fans and it still ranks fourth amongst sales chart for the top 10 selling cars in India. The new Honda City in India is sold in two forms and two variants of each. One was the manual and the other automatic transmission with paddle shifts on it. The versions were the Honda City Manual S, Honda City Manual V, Honda City Automatic S and Honda City Automatic V. These variants however missed some of the key features offered at this price point by the competition. So Honda Siel Cars India Limited set to redeem it by offering an Exclusive variant of both keeping in mind the festive season. This is only for the top of the line V versions of both the automatic and the manual.

The looks of the new Honda City 1.5 V MT/AT Exclusive version doesn’t differ much from the current variant on sale. In fact, you would be hard pressed to notice the changes. It has got chrome scuff plates, body colored mud flaps, a strip of chrome on the boot lid, new color of gray and a new alloy wheel design. Both the cars feature an Exclusive badge. The cars would be sold till stocks are available for the same and probably after December 2010, the Exclusive variants may not be available any longer.

Most of the changes are on the inside with the Honda City 1.5 V MT Exclusive getting a leather covered gear knob and leather seats, both a welcome addition. For the Honda City 1.5 V AT Exclusive, there is only addition of leather seats. All this subtle changes actually make the Honda City Exclusive plusher and feature rich than what it already was.

Honda calls the new color of the car, the “Urban Titanium”. This is in addition to the regular colors offered on the Honda City 1.5 V MT/AT like the Habanero Red, Alabaster Silve,Bold Beige Metallic, Crystal Black Pearl and Taffeta White.

The Honda City 1.5  V MT Exclusive version is priced at Rs. 9.53 lakh(ex-showrrom Delhi)and the Honda City 1.5 V AT Exclusive version is offered at Rs. 10.25 lakh (ex-showrrom Delhi).

Technical specifications of Honda City V MT/AT Exclusive version

Dimensions & Weights

Overall Length: 4430 mm
Overall Width: 1685 mm
Overall Height: 1490 mm
Wheel Base: 2560 mm
Ground Clearance: 163 mm
Boot Space: 506 liters
Kerb Weight: 1120 Kg

Engine

Displacement: 1497 cc SOHC inline 4 cylinder I-vtec
Power: 118PS @6600rpm
Torque: 146Nm @4600rpm

Steering

Steering Type: Rack and Pinion electronically assisted speed sensitive

Minimum Turning Radius: 5.1

Capacity

Seating Capacity: 5
Fuel Tank Capacity:
43

Fuel Efficiency

Mileage (Highway): 17.2 km/liter
Mileage (City):
14.6 km/liter
Mileage (Overall): 15.9 km/liter

Performance

Maximum Speed: 183 kmph

Transmission

Transmission Type: Manual/CVT with paddle shifters
Gears/Speeds: 5/5

Suspensions

Front Suspension: McPherson Strut with Stabilizer, Coil Spring
Rear Suspension: Torsion Beam Axle with Stabilizer, Coil Spring

Brakes

Front Brakes: Discs
Rear Brakes: Drums

Wheels & Tyres

Wheel Type: Alloy Wheels
Wheel Size: 15×5.5J
Tyres: 175 / 65 R15

Honda City 1.5 V MT/AT Exclusive- Review

Volkswagen Up Preview

Volkswagen India have launched a slew of vehicles and they aren’t done yet. Going with the thought that they want to be the world’s largest car manufacturer by 2016, they are planning to tap into the 3 million cars a year Indian market. So far, they have introduced only premium cars and now they have launched the B segment hatch back, Polo and the c segment sedan based on the Polo, the Vento. However they still want more pie from the Indian market and hence they would be launching a small car and that would be the Up. Yes, you read it right and don’t look up. We meant that the name of the car is Up.

The Volkswagen Up was presented as a concept car by Volkswagen in 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show. Now, we know how much concept cars change from showcase point to production and the Up is no different. It has lost some of its cool cutesy looks but most importantly retains the silhouette of the concept car. It means that the 4 wheels are the 4 corners of the chassis. This gives it a wide track and would certainly aid in the handling and ride department.

Crucially more so, the Volkswagen Up price in India would be starting at Rs.3.30 lakhs. Imaging a Volkswagen car that would compete with the likes of the Hyundai i10 and the Maruti A-star. It would be using the same chassis as the Skoda Fabia and hence sourcing components shouldn’t be a problem. It may be mated with a 1.2 liter TFSI petrol motor pumping out 90 Bhp or a 3 cylinder 1.1 liter engine pumping out 63 bhp. This should be at par with the competition. The TFSI would provide for some scorching numbers as well stellar fuel economy however how Volkswagen would be able to price it within the designated price range remains to be seen.

It is said that the interiors and especially the dials would be a first in this segment. You get two monitors with screens on the dashboard. One would be a 8 inch one which would display the car’s speed, fuel level, the current average reading and even how much you are polluting the environment, that is by reading the CO2 emissions. The second inch monitor is a touch screen one which displays your audio or video and their associated controls, climate control details and even your Bluetooth enabled phone contact details.

The wheels of the car are also a first in the segment, 16 inch alloy wheels. The alloy rims are made from some recyclable materials and look quite good on this car. It actually looks like the suspension has been jacked up and looks more like a modified car from the likes of Dilip Chabbria. The seats themselves are quite comfy upfront but getting three into the rear would be a chore. Four people can be quite comfortable in the car though.

Its ride and handling would also be class leading as per a source from Volkswagen. Looking at the stance of the car, it does seem to be more of a good handler, but looks can be deceptive. Fuel efficiency for the 1.1 liter would be around 18 kmpl and for the TFSI, it would be 16 kmpl. Actually a small price to pay for the performance which is guaranteed by the TFSI. The car would sport a manual 5 speed gearbox from the Polo however a CVT is on the anvil later to compete with the likes of automatics from other manufacturers.

As per the last report from a Volkswagen official, they would be putting the car under the 4 meters mark to qualify for excise concessions and the engine under 1.2 liters. This would also be one of the least polluting cars from Volkswagen in India. The car would be built in the Chakan plant of Volkswagen and would go off the same assembly line as the Skoda Fabia. Even if Volkswagen prices it between Rs 3-5 lakhs, they have a winner in their hands. Expect this car to be in the market by June 2011 if not earlier.

Technical Specifications
Volkswagen UP! Engine Specification

Displacement: 1100cc, 3 Cylinder or 1200cc, 4 cylinder TFSI
Engine Type: Petrol
Maximum Power: 64 Bhp/90 Bhp
Length: 3549 mm
Width: 1731 mm
Brakes: Front Disc, Rear Drum
Gears: 5 Manual
Seating Capacity: 5

The Volkswagen UP! Top version will Feature:-
  • Tachometer
  • Body Color Bumpers
  • Dual Trip Meter
  • Alloys Wheels
  • Both Side Electric Door Mirror
  • MP3 CD Player Music System
  • AC with Climate Control
  • Remote Central Locking
  • Remote Boot
  • Remote Fuel Filler
  • Fog Lamp
  • Power Windows{all 4}
  • Rear Wiper
  • Rear Defogger
  • Leather Seats
  • Parking Sensors

Nissan Murano Preview

Nissan India have been on a roll since their success with the bread and butter Micra model. They are to shoe-horn a diesel version into it shortly to increase the sales. Coming on the heels of the Micra Diesel would be a slew of SUVs. First amongst them would be the widely acclaimed Nissan Murano. Now, we aren’t sure if they would retain the same name for the SUV in India since their Altima was changed to Teana in India whereas the March was named as Micra. Nissan India is desperate to taste success in India like their more successful endeavors elsewhere. The Murano is one of them.

Murano name is derived from Venice, Italy. This particular place was known for production of hand blown glass and the expertise with which it was conducted. Now, we don’t know the connection as to why it hand blown glass and name of an SUV should coincide.

The New Nissan Murano is one of the crossover SUVs that was brought to the showrooms world-wide by Nissan in 2002. Surprisingly, it uses the same platform as the Nissan Teana in India. After the Murano, Nissan went onto introduce the X-trail and the Rogue. For India, the X-trail has been launched with moderate success whereas you would be hard pressed to see a Teana in the Indian streets.

Looks

No other SUV in India looks like the Murano. Not until the Lexus range is introduced. Butch looks alongwith a typical robustness missing from even the Audi Q7 justifies the front end. The point is that we aren’t sure if it’s the newly launched 2011 model or the older 2010 model that would be coming to India. If it’s the former, the aforementioned looks are apt whereas if it’s the 2011 model, then those looks have been entirely changed. Nissan have been known to alter the Murano’s face and interiors every production year.

Assuming it is the 2010 model that would be launched in India, you get a flaring bumper with a 3D grille job. The grilles as stacked vertically with a slant and they make way for the Nissan corporate logo. Behind the logo, you will find a honey combe grille. Besides the grille are the wrap around head lamps which house bi-xenon and LED lined head lamps. The bumper is neatly integrated with the grill and houses a low profile air dam. You will find two powerful tear drop shaped fog lamps embedded in the bumper. A lower skid plate completes the picture.

The long hood as well as big glass area look good on this crossover. The wing mirrors are huge and are in the Landcruiser territory. The side profile is bland save for a running footboard and a huge crease running from wheel to wheel. Speaking of wheels, they are of the standard 20 inch types. The alloy wheels design is also quite tasteful to look at and they do the job of filling the wheel arches well. The door handles are of the pull type variety and imbibe a sense of heaviness when you tug them. The roof rails are of the chrome type and have a centrally placed radio antenna. As with any crossover, there is a rear quarter glass and the tail lamps extend all the way to the side profile.

Cut to the rear profile and the Murano looks totally revolutionary. It has got to have the best rear in any Indian car across segments, so far. The tail lamps cluster is of the LED type and have a sort of lightning streak design to them. The reverse lights are split by the tastefully done bootlid. The rear glass has a single wiper stalk and the glass area is big as compared to the side ones. The stop lamp is mounted high on the roof. The bumper is protected by an aluminium skid plate and houses two tail pipes, one on each side.

Interiors

As we have seen with X-trail,Altima nee the Teana, Nissan have first rate interiors for their cars. The Murano is no different and actually sports a higher trim level than the aforementioned. The steering wheel is a four spoke affair and houses prominent buttons for the navigation, cruise controls and audio. The dashboard is of the flowing types and it has a centrally mounted touch screen navigation system which even doubles up as audio system. It even features Idrive like rotary knob alongwith a slew of side buttons. The good thing is that the dash doesn’t look cluttered and everything seems at the beck and call of the driver.

As with the X-trail and Teana, you get perforated leather seats, ambient lighting in the footwells and cubby holes, audio and climate controls swathed in chrome. The seats are comfortable and have a 8 way adjustment alongwith memory functions. The steering as is the norm is adjustable for tilt, rake and reach. Dual zone climate controls also pamper the rear passengers with separate AC controls and vents for them. The Bose audio system is of a high quality and has 11 speakers attached to it. It is very hard to find fault with the Murano’s cabin and the saying that “tough outside but soft inside” fits the Murano to the T.

The rear can seat three in quite comfort and has good leg room. However head room may be an issue for tall passengers because of the coupe like sloping roof line. The seats can be split 60:40 accomodating for more of the luggage if the 550 liters boot space wasn’t enough.

Handling and ride quality

Since we haven’t test driven it, we wouldn’t be able to comment much about it however the international spec Murano’s have an all independent wheel suspension which should pretty much sort out the ride and handling stakes. The front fork is of the independent strut type and multi-link independent comprises the rear one.

This combination has worked well on the butter smooth roads of Europe as well as the pot-holed ones of Japan and so should work well in India as well where finding more of the former is a rarity.

Engine,Performance and fuel efficiency

Indian bound Murano’s would have the 3.5 litre, 3498cc, V6 petrol engine. This is the same engine which is there even on the European and North American markets. Its peak power is 252 hp at 6,000 rpm and the maximum torque churned out is 334 Nm at 4400 rpm. Now, we would have to wait and see if they detune the engine in regards with Indian fuel. A diesel would do more of the trick and Nissan would in all likely start with a diesel model in India.

Performance figures for the European Muranos read as 0-100 kmph in 8.0 seconds. If the similar specced Murano comes to India, it would be a scorcher SUV as far as performance goes. The fuel efficiency for the petrol would be ideally 8 kmpl in the city and 14 on the highway.

The transmission is a 6 speed CVT with manual override functions and if at a diesel is launched, it would have the 6 speed manual. The Murano would have a electronically limited top speed of 236 kmph.

Braking would be handled by Disc brakes on all the four wheels. It is supported by 4 channel ABS, Brake assist, Electronic stability program and EBD.

On the safety front, the SUV would feature 6 airbags, seatbelts with load pre-tensioners, a lane change assist, active front head restraints and a crashworthy body.

Verdict

The Nissan Murano in India is one of those few awaited SUVs. It would be a tough competitor to the likes of Audi Q7, BMW X5 and Mitsubishi Montero. However the things not going Nissan’s way are its lack of dealerships and service center, general awareness about Nissan’s products in the car buying public’s minds and brand image. But, if you buy a Nissan, you would be buying refinement at its best, performance that would blow you away and an interior that would pamper you no matter in which mood you are.

Nissan Murano Price is expected to be around Rs.37,00000 –Rs.49,00000 and would be launched around May 2011.

Technical specifications

Engine: 3498cc, DOHC, V6 Petrol
Gears: 6 speed CVT with manual override
Maximum Power: 252 Bhp @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 334 Nm @ 4400 rpm
Width: 1882 mm
Length: 4787 mm
Height: 1729 mm
Steering: Tilt and telescopic
Seating Capacity: 5
Tyre Size: P235/65 R20
Suspension: Independent strut, Multi-link independent
Brakes: Front Ventilated, Rear Disc