Watch out for the Toyota Etios sedan in December

Toyota Kirloskar Motors, inspite of parent company Toyota Motors Limited been the world number 1 manufacturer, hasn’t got a big market share from India. This is primarily due to the fact that Toyota Kirloskar Motors don’t have a small car, which is usually the bread and butter model for most manufacturers. Internationally Toyota Motors Limited have many small cars however for the Indian market, they are building up an all new grounds up model. The first one to be launched would be the Toyota Etios sedan. It is the booted version of the Toyota Etios hatchback.

The main competitors for the Toyota Etios sedan would be the Mahindra Logan, Maruti Swift Dzire, Ford Ikon, Chevrolet Aveo and the Tata Indigo CS. From the view of the car shown at the Delhi Auto Expo, it looks quite similar to the not so low cost car from Renault, the Mahindra Logan. However Toyota Kirloskar Motors don’t want to go the Mahindra way and have invested heavily in vendor development and to also increase localization of components to keep the costs down. In this way, they can price the car at a competitive pricing than the others in this segment.

Well the things going the Toyota Etios sedan’s way are first and foremost, its Toyota badge and then the subsequent promise of excellent quality as well as reliability. Toyota Kirloskar Motors has ensured that they have the bragging rights for the Toyota Etios sedan by signing on the music maestro, A R Rahman as its brand ambassador. Now, we aren’t quite sure if this would spruce up the public interest in the Toyota Etios sedan and only time would tell it. A R Rahman is expected to be endorsing the car both in electronic as well as print media.

When asked the reason for saying yes to been Toyota Etios sedan’s brand ambassador, A R Rahman said that he believes in quality which is created when skill meets dedication, passion meets perfection and insight meets inspiration and Toyota Kirloskar Motors represents all this. He also commented that these are the same values which drive the Toyota Etios sedan and hence he is delighted to be a part of this enterprise.

Bookings for the Toyota Etios sedan start from December 1, 2010 and initially only the 1.5 petrol version of the car would be rolled out. This engine produces 102 Bhp, a segment first. Factor in the Toyota Etios sedan’s kerb weight of 958 kg and you can be rest assured that this would be one fast small sedan. Fuel efficiency would also be class defining though Toyota Kirloskar Motors haven’t given any official figures on the same. There would also be good amount of options as well as safety features on offer. A diesel engine is to may its way much later based on demand. It wouldn’t be a new diesel engine and would be the same one doing duties on the Toyota Corolla Altis diesel. The 1.4 liter unit puts out 77 Bhp and going by the performance on the former, it would be smoking on the much lighter Toyota Etios sedan model.

Prices would start from Rs. 5.28 lakhs {ex-show room, Delhi} for the base variant to Rs. 6.02 lakhs {ex-show room, Delhi}for the fully loaded variant. There would be at least 3 variants on offer.

Technical specifications of the Toyota Etios sedan

Engine Displacement: 1498 cc 16 valve DOHC with VVT-I producing 102 Bhp
Overall Length: 4200 mm
Overall Width Length: 1795 mm
Overall Height Length: 1590 mm
Gears: 5 speed Manual
Ground Clearance: 176.00 mm
Front Brakes: Disc
Rear Brakes: Drum
Seating Capacity: 5 persons
Rear Wiper and wheel covers would be standard

Volkswagen Vento Tdi test drive

')">Volkswagen group have a lofty ambition of becoming the  number1 car manufacturer across the world by 2016. This might seem a bit too ambitious for the rest of the world however people at Ingolstadt are more than determined to make it happen. Topmost on their list is the fact that they have to capture at least 16% of the burgeoning and second to China, the Indian market. Now, any manufacturer worth its salt would bet that making a brand image is a pre-requisite and thereafter the road is somewhat smooth towards the road to progress. Volkswagen Group did just that by sending their sister concern, Skoda Auto to India first. After Skoda Auto established base, it was the turn of the more up market Volkswagen Auto dubbed Volkswagen India to make their entry. Apart from the launch of the luxurious Volkswagen Jetta, they launched several other models. However they plan on capturing the upper C segment which is currently dominated by Honda City and for this, they have launched the booted version of the Polo called, the Volkswagen Vento Tdi.

Looks

Now, for the world, the Volkswagen Vento Tdi may be just a Polo slapped on with a boot however Volkswagen India claims that the Vento is an all-new grounds up car and introduced for the first time across the world in India. Looking heads on, the Volkswagen India group’s claims are entirely wrong. You would be hard pressed to notice the difference between its donor cousin and the Volkswagen Vento Tdi. The eagle eyed would notice that the bigger Volkswagen has a different fog lamp arrangement as well as a lower air dam. Volkswagen India has stuck to the adage that “if it ain’t broken, why fix it”.


The Teutonic looks of the VW Vento Tdi reminds one of the something solid as well as long lasting. The sides show the extended length of the Volkswagen Vento Tdi and riding on 15 inch alloy wheels, the topmost variant, the Highline looks quite stately. To distinguish it from the Polo, they could have tapped on the side indicators into the ORVMs. The wheel base of the Polo has been stretched to 96mm to accommodate the length of the Vento.

The rear end looks typically German and especially one from the Volkswagen India group. The tail lamps have been re-arranged a bit from those on the Polo’s. A first for Volkswagen India, the Volkswagen Vento Tdi features the entire Volkswagen name as a badge. The shut lines are even and you cannot tell that this is a Polo with a boot. The boot is spacious at 485 liters and loading or unloading heavy articles isn’t a problem. There is minimum suspension strut intrusion. The inside of the boot area is lined evenly with velvet and such small touches makes the Volkswagen Vento Tdi a special car than the others in its competition. However there are some gray areas noticeably that there is no remote boot release and one has to open the boot hatch with a key. I sorely missed the Polo’s feature where you can easily depress the big Volkswagen logo and the boot opens. This quirk becomes all the more apparent when you are hands are full of shopping bags and you have to fish for the keys somewhere deep down. A tad inconvenient.

Interiors

Open the doors{they have those tank like shut sound} and you would notice a cabin made of beige and one similar to the Polo’s. Gosh!how many times do I have to mention the word Polo? Did you notice it? Obviously, you must have. The reason for it is because the Volkswagen Vento Tdi is a built for price car and thus has to share many of its components with the smaller car{no, I am not taking any more of the Polo’s name}.The dashboard materials are made of the same durable materials as found in other Volkswagen India cars. As with any other Volkswagen group cars, fit and finish is top notch. A special variety of cloth called as Livon has been used to design the Volkswagen Vento Tdi’s seats. The purposefulness of this is that it makes one comfortable and doesn’t give you a sore bump over long rides. The front seats are very supportive and adjust to the contours of the body well.

The steering wheel is the same unit as from its smaller sibling{see, I am not taking any more of that name}. However Volkswagen India could have done well to give the Volkswagen Vento Tdi steering mounted audio controls. Speaking of audio controls reminds me that the lower specced Volkswagen Vento Trendline makes do without one. The Volkswagen Vento Highline is the one that gets all the bells and whistles. There is a arm rest for the driver which doubles up as a storage space, should you not feel the need for resting your arm.The glove box in the Volkswagen Vento Tdi was one of the biggest that we noticed. It has double compartments and should store many of your things in it. One thing, I noticed was that the aircon at full blow is very noisy much like the ones on an Indigo Manza.

There is no central locking in the Volkswagen Vento Tdi nor do the doors automatically lock once the car is in excess of speeds above 20 kmph. The driver or the chauffer is left to do the chores of locking the car through a rotary knob on his side. Conspicuous by its absence is the door open warning. The Multi Information Display {MID} has a variety of information like the usual odometer reading, distance traveled, instant mileage, time and outside temperature and a gear shift indicator. The gear shifter unit is a straight lift from the smaller car and now has chrome inserts in it. There are cup holders as well as many storage spaces all around.

The rear seats have more space than the platform car and this shows. 6 footers would be quite comfortable in the Volkswagen Vento Tdi’s rear seats. A convenient feature is that the front seats can be pushed ahead by the rear passenger with the help of a lever. The Volkswagen Vento Tdi offers rear AC vents{the Fiat Linea is the other one in this segment to offer those}. The rear seats could do more with a bit of a recline though. Overall, the cabin is a good place to be, airy because of the big windows etc.

Handling and ride quality

The Volkswagen Vento Tdi uses the traditional set up found in Volkswagen cars. The front has McPherson strut layout whereas the rear uses semi-independent trailing arm. The ride is slightly on the firmer side but not entirely sports car like. The Volkswagen Vento Tdi exhibits the same poise as its smaller brethren. It means that you don’t slow down for pot holes or speed breakers. You just glide over them. It can be safely said that the suspension takes every obstacle in its stride. The 185/60 – R15 tyres section tyres also contribute immensely for the road grip of the Volkswagen.

The handling is where the Volkswagen Vento Tdi excels in. It grips and then grips some more on those chunky wheels. The Vento likes curvy roads. You are informed of its limits well in advance and there are no tail sliding antics that would unsettle you. The steering is a hydraulic power assisted one. However it is the only let down in this excellent ride and handling package. It feels overservoed. In the city, it is good news because there is not much effort required to navigate through traffic. On the highway, the steering feels vague and intent on doing its own jig. That saying, the Volkswagen Vento Tdi is quite stable at speeds of over 150 kmph. The maximum, I could whip this car was upto a speedometer claimed 185 kmp before we ran out of road. Even at this high speeds, there was next to none road or wind noise.

Engine,Performance and fuel efficiency

Volkswagen India have nicely weighed their options before launching the Volkswagen Vento car in India. They have both a petrol as well as diesel unit on offer. Plus both automatic as well as manual gear box options. Since I have driven the Volkswagen Vento Tdi, I would concentrate more on the diesel motor and leave the petrol for some other day. Now, this is a grounds up new motor from the Volkswagen India group. The 1.6 liter motor makes 104 BHP (@ 4,300 rpm and makes 250 NM of torque between 1,500 – 2,600 rpm. This figures mated with a slick shifting 5 speed unit{you know where it came from} allows the Volkswagen Vento Tdi to race from 0-100 in a scant 11.3 seconds. This means that it eats both the Fiat Line multijet as well as Hyundai Verna Crdi motor for lunch. Wheel spinning antics in first gear are quite common on the Volkswagen Vento Tdi. Who says that you cannot have fun with diesels, need to sample modern day diesel cars.

Heavy use of sound deadening materials means that the Volkswagen Vento Tdi is quite silent in its operation. The well spaced out gear ratios ensure optimum torque throughout the rev range. This is one eager diesel motor and revs quite smoothly to its rev limiter. The MID informs you when to shift gears to be in the correct rev range and to eke maximum fuel efficiency as well as performance from the motor. Alas, there is no automatic transmission on offer for the diesel motor. The 6 speed automatic is only for the petrol engine. Volkswagen India may bring the automatic tranny into the diesel later on depending on the demand for the same.

Reversing chores are pretty much hard with the high set head rests{they are non adjustable} and unavailability of auto dimming inside rear view mirror. Volkswagen group could have done well to offer reverse camera as an option. The electrically adjustable outside rear view mirrors do help in the reversing chores immensely. Disc brakes at the front and drums for the rear do duties on the braking front. This work perfect on the Volkswagen Vento Tdi and bring the car to a halt safely. Pedal modulation is also good however I did notice some nose diving from the heavy diesel motor upfront during hard braking manouevers. The brakes are assisted by 4 channel ABS and EBD. These are only available in the VW Vento Tdi highline that I tested.

Safety is another important aspect that Volkswagen India Group seem to have left out on in the name of cost cutting.There are 3 point ELR seat belts for all 5 passengers, a collapsible steering wheel and two air bags on our Highline variant. The Trendline makes do with 3 point ELR seat belts for all 5 passengers and a collapsible steering wheel.

Fuel efficiency of the Volkswagen Vento Tdi was paramount for Volkswagen India if they were to compete in this segment. The new Volkswagen Vento Tdi Highline gives 14.48 kmpl in the city and a highish 20.4 kmpl on the highway. An overall figure of 17.44 kmpl is astonishing in this segment and couple this with the low running cost for the diesel and you would be a happy person at the fuel filling station.

Verdict

Volkswagen Vento Tdi is good actually the best competition for the upper C segment diesel cars. It has good traditional German looks, sturdy body and chassis, nice interiors as well as good choice of engine and fuel efficiency to boot for. It is a hoot to drive as well. There are some quirks present like the missing steering mounted audio controls, absence of 60:40 split rear seats, some essential safety features and transmission tunnel intrusion for the rear seat passenger in middle.However these are some things which can be over looked looking at the qualities of the Volkswagen Vento Tdi. Couple this with its starting price of Rs.7.99 lakhs {ex-Delhi showroom} for the VW Vento Tdi Trendline and going upto Rs 9.23 lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi) for the Volkswagen Vento Tdi Highline and you have a pretty value for money car with the VW badge.

Technical Specifications of the Volkswagen Vento Tdi Highline

  • Engine Description: 1.6L CR TDI In-line
  • Engine Type: In-Line Engine 4 cylinder
  • Engine Displacement: 1,598 cc
  • Valves per Cylinder: 4
  • Valve Configuration: DOHC
  • Fuel Supply System: CRDI
  • Maximum Power: 105 Bhp @ 4,300 rpm
  • Maximum Torque: 25@ 1,500-2,500 (kgm@rpm)
  • Transmission Type: Manual
  • Gearbox: 5 Speed
  • Front Suspension: McPherson strut with stabiliser bar
  • Rear Suspension: Stabiliser bar with Semi-independent trailing arm
  • SteeringType: Hydraulic Power
  • Steering Column: Rack and pinion, Tilt & Telescopic
  • Turning Radius (wheel base): 5.3 m
  • Front Brake Type: Disc
  • Rear Brake Type: Drum
  • Top Speed: 185 kmph
  • Fuel Type: Diesel
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 57 litres
  • Tyre Size: 185/60 R 15
  • Alloy Wheel Size
  • Tyre Type: Tubeless Radial
  • Length: 4,384 mm
  • Width: 1,698 mm
  • Height: 1,467 mm
  • Ground Clearance: 168 mm
  • Wheelbase: 2,553 mm
  • Kerb Weight: 1,230 kg

Paris Motor Show Review

The recently concluded Paris Motor Show premieres a whole host of innovative cars

The 2010 Paris Motor Show set a number of records the least being that it premiered over a 100 new cars either in concept or production form and also included the most number of participating countries. Most interestingly was the fact that there were 12 million plus people that attended it and for those of us that were unlucky enough to miss it, we have the most interesting snippets from the show from amazing concept vehicles to futuristic green automobiles.

Volkswagen Passat

Volkswagen made a very quite but ultimately important debut at the French show by unveiling their new Passat which is expected to hit markets by the beginning of 2011. It is built on the same underpinnings and specs as the outgoing model, but this new version is completely reworked with aggressive styling. There are new headlights and taillights, front façade made up of a bold, chrome-accented grille and trendy fog lights. The interiors have also been redesigned and don a fresh, modern look.

Available in the new Passat will be the 1.4 liter TSI, 1.8 liter TSI and 2.0 liter TSI petrol engines as well as a 1.6 liter BlueMotion motor and 2.0 liter TDI diesel engine. Transmission and gearbox will include the six-speed manual and six and seven-speed dual clutch DSG automatic.

Lamborghini Sesto Elemento

Lamborghini was aptly represented at the show having one of the most stunning display stands where they showcased their latest model the Sesto Elemento. Literally translated ‘Sesto Elemento’ stands for ‘sixth element’ referring to ‘carbon’, which is the sixth element in the periodic table. The car uses ample amount of carbon fibre making it very light weight and the intention of Lamborghini has been to get power-to-weight ratio comparable to that of a bike.

The Sesto Elemento is powered by the same engine from the Gallardo Superleggera, which is the 570 horsepower behemoth. The weight of the car is down to 999 kgs and is lighter than the lightest Gallardo by a full 341 kgs. Astonishing 0-100 time of just 2.5 seconds should scare the bejeebers out of anyone. Be afraid…Be very Afraid!!!!

BMW X3

BMW was able to showcase two of its more interesting offerings – the 6-series concept and more importantly the new X3. The new X3 has grown in size and has become like a little brother to the X5 getting a smarter, larger feel to it. The front end is also slightly more boxy with a few more aggressive lines and creases. The inside of the new X3 also affords more space than the outgoing model with some better styling as well. An exciting addition to the new X3 is the inclusion of a variable damper control, which allows the driver to tweak the steering response, suspension, throttle response, etc. These features should excite buyers looking forward to owning the Baby Bimmer.

Along with the X3 was the concept 6-series which gets all new look. BMW has decide to finally stick to what it knows and have done away with the ugly looks of the present 6-series replacing it with a much better, elegant and more sharper styling. Though the showcase vehicle at the show was only a concept, BMW chief design supervisor, Adrian van Hooydonk, who is taking BMW design and styling to new directions, says that the final production vehicle is not going to be very different.

Hyundai ix20

Hyundai decided to use the Paris Motor Show to debut its latest version of the i20 the ix20. This car is supposed to play the role of the MPV for the Korean car manufacturer. It has the look of a beefier i20 and its target market is a niche segment, which is why the ‘x’ tag is used. Hyundai has come up with a concept for their niche market cars and will give them an ‘x’ tag. The ix20 will be able to seat 5 people comfortably and will be available in 1.4 liter petrol and diesel versions. There is also news floating that a 1.6 liter petrol engine will be available but this will only come with an automatic transmission.

There was also a very interesting little car at the Hyundai stand – the i20 Sport. This should be a car that excites quite a few people especially those in India and the car is fitted with a very sporty body kit. The i20 Sport Edition gets a body kit courtesy of Brabus, the independent car maker for Mercedes. It also has smoked-out windows, 17-inch Brabus wheels and a super sporty interior complete with bucket seats and racing steering wheel. There was no information regarding engine specs though and that was in all honesty quite a drag.

Suzuki Swift

Most exciting to see was the buzz at the Suzuki stand where the new Suzuki Swift was showcased. The new Swift is expected to be on sale in the early part of next year in Europe quickly followed by India. The new Suzuki Swift has is longer than the outgoing model is 90 mm longer overall having a 50 mm longer wheelbase. Suzuki claims that the handling and ride quality are better than the current model with better overall dynamics.

The slightly increased wheelbase allows for a slight increase in rear space and to be quite honest every little bit is important in a car being sold in one of the most competitive segments. Saying that don’t expect the performance of the car to go up greatly with the main evolution restricted to aesthetic modifications like newer headlights, etc. The inside of the car also gets a few upgrades but it is not a major leap forward. Suzuki has basically stuck to the adage that ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’

The Suzuki Kizashi was also on show and will be eagerly awaited in India, having been debuted internationally earlier this year.

Chevrolet Aveo, Captiva, Cruze

The Chevrolet exhibition stand was one of the busiest ones around at the Paris Motor Show as the American car manufacturer choose to debut up to four new (or should I say newish) cars. These included the Aveo, Cruze hatchback, Captiva and Orlando models. The Aveo was the most impressive as it featured the most upgrades and styling improvements from the current model. The car is now much longer, wider and has more interior space. The front fascia get a sweet uplift in the form of twin headlights, lower front bumper, rear door handles integrated into the C-pillar and an overall much more aggressive styling.

Engine offerings are expected to be 1.2 liter and 1.4 liter petrol engines along with a 1.3 liter diesel motor. There were also pleasant facelifts for the Captiva and a new hatchback model of the Cruze. This should come as an exciting piece of news to the Indian market and hopefully we will get to see this version of the Cruze in the country soon.     The new Captiva and Orlando are to be seen in the Indian market sometime next year.

Volvo V60 R-Design

Volvo already showcased the V60 and S60 models and it took the opportunity of the Paris Motor Show to showcase the new upgraded R-Design version of the V60. The R-Design version gets an overall makeover with new exterior and interior design giving the vehicle a much more sportier look. The car comes with sports alloy wheels and also features a damper system which is new and provides sharper handling characteristics. The V60 and S60 models will come with all the engines currently offered by Volvo and should prove to be a decent success in the market.

Mercedes-Benz CLS and S250 CDI

Mercedes-Benz was one of the more surprising exhibition stands this year at the motor show as they had three new production cars displayed but more surprisingly not a single concept vehicle. The new production cars included the CLS and S250 CDI models. The new CLS that was unveiled had all the new design styling and elements that Mercedes is moving towards in terms of its design concepts and we will soon see most Mercedes cars adopt the same styling and be applied to the entire range of vehicles from the German automaker. The front end of the CLS has an unmistakable SLS look to it with the chrome grille neatly accentuating the three-pointed star. The car should be available in V6 and V8 petrol engine options and the diesel versions should include a 3.0 liter V6 and 2.1 liter 4 cylinder unit.

The newest offering in the S-class, the S250 CDI was also on show and comes fitted with a more efficient and green 2.1 liter diesel engine and AMG has provided a facelift. The S250 CDI BlueEfficiency is touted as being the most fuel efficient luxury production car by Mercedes and it is claimed to give up to 17 km/l.

Volkswagen Passat – Latest News

The Next Level has been Reached

The new Volkswagen Passat is already here and according to engineers at Volkswagen the company did not set out to make a new car but rather their ambition was to make a new Passat. The Passat was first launched in 1973 and since then there have been approximately 15 million Passat’s sold world wide – that is right I said 15 million. This roughly translates to around 1000 Passat’s sold globally everyday since then. That is an amazing figure and speaks volumes of the way the car has been perceived and received worldwide.

It hardly comes as a surprise then the German car manufacturer was looking to revamp the Passat. Volkswagen’s philosophy dealing with the Passat is to make it more attractive to buyers of higher end cars. Volkswagen has added a host of distinctive features that will no doubt make it more up market and there are unmistakable styling cues inspired by the higher segment Phaeton. Choosing to style it based on the Phaeton is a deliberate effort to make a connection with buyers looking to emulate riding in more expensive, upper segment cars.

Although Volkswagen have intended to move the seventh generation Passat up a notch they have very much kept the value proposition the car is famous for offering. The new Passat will come with Lane Assist, which is a system that prevents the car from moving out of its lane when the driver is fatigued. It also has adjustable suspension, adaptive headlights and a new feature called Easy Open, which is something of a novelty actually. If you have your hands full of luggage or baggage and you walk towards the rear of the car, a sensor placed in the rear bumper connects with your smart key and automatically opens the boot.

There is also Park Assist offered in the new Passat, which enables the car to automatically park itself. The new Volkswagen Passat also has a Dynamic Light Assist System which uses a camera to sense the light from approaching traffic and automatically adjusts the bi-xenon headlamps. There is a more simple Light Assist option available on lower trims, which also uses a camera but only changes from high beams to low beam when facing oncoming traffic.

The fatigue detection system is calibrated in such a way to notice when the driver if tired and sounds a buzzer in the cabin to alert the driver, and the instrumentation panel also flashes a visual graphic suggesting that the driver take a break. The VW Passat will also feature a collision avoidance system that detects any object traveling at a speeds below 30 km/hr and automatically makes the car brake. Then there is also the tyre pressure monitoring system, which can detect the tyre pressure of each individual type and relays the information back to the driver alerting him if there is any problem.

Volkswagen fits the new Passat with the AG range of engines which are the TSI petrol and TDI diesel versions. For us in India, Volkswagen is likely to introduce the Volkswagen Passat Petrol with the 1.8 litre TSI Petrol engine that delivers 160 horsepower and the other one is Volkswagen Passat Diesel with 2.0 litre TDI Diesel engine that delivers 140 horsepower. Both these engines are either mated to the six-speed manual gearbox or the DSG transmission. The car also comes with stop-start technology as well as battery regeneration technology as standard.

Volkswagen hopes to release the new Passat in multiple trim levels and should offers the Trendline, Comfortline and Highline levels, although it is yet to be decided is India will see all three trims or just a single specification vehicle. The New Passat should be on sale internationally by the first month of 2011 and should hit Indian shores by April 2011. Since Volkswagen does not manufacture any of the parts for the Passat in India, localization is absent and the fully imported Passat should be available for a price between Rs 25 lakhs to 30 lakhs.

2011 Volkswagen Passat Specifications

Vehicle Category: Sedan
Engines (petrol): 1.8 L, 4 cylinder, TSI, 118 kW / 160 PS
Engines (petrol): 1.4 L, 4 cylinder, TSI, 90 kW / 122 PS
Engines (diesel): 2.0 L, 4 cylinder, TDI,  103 kW / 140 PS
Engines (diesel): 1.6 L, 4 cylinder, TDI,  77 kW / 105 PS
Drivetrain: Front engine, 5 passenger, 5-door
Transmissions (standard): 6-speed manual / six –speed DSG automatic / seven-speed DSG automatic
0-60 mph: 5.5 sec
EPA city/hwy mpg: 10.5/14.5 kmpl
Base Price: Rs. 25 – 30 lakhs (est)

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


')">

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


')">

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

[nggallery id=5]

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

[nggallery id=4]

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.

[nggallery id=3]

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