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.


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.


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.


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

Ford Focus Preview

Ford India has been on a roll since the launch of their small car Figo. The Figo has got off to a tremendous start and is now one of the top ten selling cars in India. The last time Ford featured in the top 10 list was when they had launched the iconic Ikon and then the Fiesta. Riding on this success, Ford launched the 2WD Ford Endeavor automatic. This too was welcomed with open arms by the SUV lovers.

The good news for Ford fans is that the internationally acclaimed Ford Focus is coming to India. Yes, we know you must have been hearing of this for the umpteenth time but its too true to be dismissed as a rumor. Ford Focus, internationally, is sold in 4 body styles namely a 2-door cabriolet, sedan, coupe and hatch. However the one for our interest would be the sedan. This would be a sedan which would compete with the likes of the Hyundai Verna, Fiat Linea, Honda City and the Volkswagen Vento.

The New Ford Focus would be the biggest of all the aforementioned cars. It would slot in between the Ford Fiesta and the upcoming Ford Mondeo. The Focus will most likely have the 1.8 L Duratec petrol  which pumps out 140 Bhp at 6,000 rpm and 140 Nm of torque at 4350 rpm. It will have the regular five speed manual tranny and a four speed automatic as an option. There would also be a diesel which would have a 1.6 litre Duratorq engine churning out 119 Bhp at 4500 rpm with about 156 Nm of peak torque at 3,800 rpm. As with all Ford cars, the Focus would have the most advanced suspension in its class. The front features Independent McPherson with an anti-roll bar and the rear has the Blade type independent Control Multi-Link suspension. ABS and traction control would be standard also all wheel disc brakes.

Ford Focus Photo Gallery

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The Ford Focus in India is presented across as an upmarket sporty vehicle and this can be seen from the flared wheel arches and side skirts that it comes with as standard. The front resembles that of the Ford family with its “Kinetic Design” theory. It has a big chrome strip running across its grill. The head lamps are Bi-Xenon lamps with indicators embedded in them.

The interiors follow the same theme as the recently launched Figo. They have the coral hue, now standard across the range and have a pleasing to the eye arrangement for everything. Standard audio and Bluetooth controls are present in the steering wheel. The Fiesta’s gripe has been ironed out in the Focus, with the Focus having ample space for the chauffer driven at the rear. The handling would be for given on any Ford, so it wouldn’t be a problem on this one as well. The instrument panel would be more like the Fiesta S with its blood red needles and all the jazz.

Ford have been testing prototypes across India in heavy camouflage. Spy shots indicate them to be the Focus as the Mondeo is a bit larger than the Focus and the shots reveal dimensions similar to that of the Focus. Now, the launch of the Focus would be around February 2011 as informed by one of our sources in Ford Focus Price would start from around Rs.7,70000 for the base model to Rs. 9,50000 for the top one. Mileage is said to hover around the 13kmpl mark in city and about 19kmpl on the highway. This is at par with what the segment rivals offer now.

Technical Specifications

Length (mm): 4550
Width (mm): 1483
Height (mm): 1465
Engine Type: 1.8 litre Duratec-HE engine and 1.6 litre Duratorq engine
Configuration: DOHC
Maximum Power (kw): 140 bhp from Petrol Engine and 119 bhp from Diesel Engine

New Volvo S60 Preview

Volvo started their Indian operations by running their much lauded buses. They also demonstrated a lot about the safety of even buses which been basic people movers, were still ignored widely as far as safety was concerned. Volvo’s foray into the passenger car section started in India with the S80. This was an Mercedes E-class, BMW 5 series and the Audi A6’s competitor. It didn’t fare too well due to its brand image and sort of staid and all to familiar Volvo looks. Its 4.4 liter twin turbo, Yamaha derived engine was a stonker though and gives a seat of the pants feel the moment you step on the accelerator. Then came the XC90 which was once again a competitor of the aforementioned companies but only exception was that this time it competed with their SUV range. The XC90 was also largely ignored not because it wasn’t a capable machine but because it suffered the same problem of brand image. It got a second breath of life when “3 Idiots” movie featured it. Now Volvo have launched their 3 series competitor, the New Volvo S60.


The S60 moves a bit away from the Scandivian design theme and now mixes conservative and stylish looks in the same plate. The front features a prominent snout like look with about two creases on the bonnet. This merges into the small but purposeful grill and the Volvo logo proudly sits across it. The head lamps are tear drop shape and they are of the bi-xenon types. The strangest design element is that the fog lamp is placed just next to the head lamp. The head lamp washers are heated ones and sit just below the headlamps in a slot of their own.

The crease from the bonnet again extends from the grill to the lower bumper artistically. It sort of resembles the Hyundai Verna Transform in this regard, though the Verna’s nose job seems like a bad afterthought. The lower air dam is of the honey comb mesh grill type and is flanked by two smaller ones which are outlined by a strip of chrome.

The turn indicators are embedded in the head lamp cluster as well as on the outside rear view mirrors. A side skirt adorns the side profiles. The wheels are the 17 inch alloy types. The rear window has a quarter glass to it. The door handles are of the tug type. While at the door handles, it must be mentioned that in an event of a fire, they can be opened by flame resistant gloves. The roof-line slopes like that of a coupe and this merges neatly into the stubby boot. The rear looks more like the BMW 5 series GT. The tail lamps are horizontally stacked and the reversing lights are split by the boot. The bumper is covered by an aluminium skid plate and houses twin tail pipes. These are coated in chrome.


The interiors are even more interesting than the exteriors. The floating central console looks awesome and feels a class above than the competition. The multi spoked and contoured steering wheel feels great to hold and steer. It also houses solid looking controld for the Bluetooth, audio and cruise control. The dashboard feels premium to feel and touch with all those brushed aluminium around.

The flexibility of the interiors is in the fact that for a Volvo S60, you can specify the interior trim completely according to you wish. This makes each Volvo S60 exclusive to its owner. In other words, you design the interiors and Volvo makes it for you. The seats are of high quality perforated leather. Storage spaces abound with the double glove box, map pockets and even space beneath the seats.

The rear seats are also comfortable to seat three upright because of the flat floor. The front seat head rests feature video screens. A touch screen navigation system on the dashboard completes the list of standard gizmos other than the usual knip knacks.

Handling and ride quality

The Volvo S60 is going to have the dynamic chassis as standard for the US market however for India, Volvo would be offering only comfort chassis in India with some emphasis on sportiness as an option. It can be expected that the Volvo would be a combination of the good ride quality like the Mercedes C class and the handling pleasure of the BMW 3 series. The boot space is also a huge 557 liters compounded by the fact that the loading lip is also low.

Engine,Performance and fuel efficiency

For starters, Volvo would bring in the 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol having 4 cylinders with 200 bhp and the other one would be the 3.0-litre petrol V6 producing 304 bhp. There would be diesels on offer as well. The twin turbo diesel straight six 2.4-litre giving 214 bhp and the 2.0-litre four-cylinder  turbo-diesel with 163 bhp would complete the line up. This puts it bang in the territory of the BMW engines and it would be a competition worth watching.

Power would be put via the front wheels or an optional 4 wheel drive system. The gearbox would be a standard 6 speed manual on all the variants plus a 6 speed automatic with triptronic function as an option. Both these should be super slick shifting units as experienced on the previous Volvos.

Performance for the turbo petrol would be in the league of the BMW 335i however we would reserve our comments until we get our hands on one of the cars.

Fuel efficiency would be at par with the competition if not less than them.

Braking would be handled by advanced disc brakes on all 4 wheels. It would be assisted by a 4th generation ABS as well as traction control perfected by Volvo. It would also have EBD and ESP. Safety would be of paramount importance as with all the Volvos. It features an S-class rivalling safety features at the price of a C-class. There is the second generation pedestrian detecting safety system, 3 point ELR seat belts, ample crumple zones, 8 airbags, auto brake, lane veneer alert and many more driver aids.

Without even conducting a crash safety test on this one, we can say that the occupants would come out unscathed out of this Volvo or for that matter any Volvo.


The Volvo S60 in India is one of the most awaited cars. It has been giving a tough fight to the German trio everywhere across the world. It is a rock solid car and would even drive or brake by itself. It has also got the performance on the papers to boot for. The only thing lacking may be in the price point that Volvo intends to price it at. The estimated pricing for the base version starts at Rs.33 lakhs. This is something that seems pricier than the competition and Volvo would have to remedy it, if it wants to gain a chunk of the market share from the Indian market. It is expected to be launched in January 2011 with some famous celebrity endorsing it. We hope this works for Volvo India.

Volvo S60 Price would range from Rs.33-41 lakhs.

Volkswagen Golf – Preview

Volkswagen have been trying to gain an upper hand in India. Though their attempts have been met with moderate success, the car buying public have always appreciated the Volkswagen group’s attention to detail and quality mindedness. Even though sister concern Skoda are more popular in India, Volkswagen instead of learning a thing or two from them, are in direct competition with them. They first launched the Jetta in comparison with the Laura, then the Passat to compete with the Skoda Superb and now they are launching the world acclaimed Volkswagen Golf in India to go head on with the Skoda’s revamped 1.6 liter Fabia{which has the Polo’s engine shoe-horned into it}. Seems interesting, eh?


The face of the Golf is similar to the one found on the old generation Jetta. Actually the Jetta is based on the Golf platform. A slight head lamp design differentiates both. The Jetta has a more mature design. The high and low beam lamps are separated by different circular housings. The grille is the corporate one worn by all the cars in the Volkswagen family. The air dam is a wider affair and houses the crystal effect diamond shaped fog lamps.

The side profile sports Polo type looks and you wouldn’t be able to tell a Polo and Golf from the side profile. The wheels are the understated 17 inch alloy wheels and the alloy wheel design is borrowed from the 2011 US Jetta model. The rear is different from the Polo and has a wide rear screen wiper and has elliptical tail lamps. It has a chrome strip inside the tail lamp cluster. There is a prominent wedge for the boot. The exhaust system is of the twin type- a segment first.


The Golf has revolutionary interiors. It will make you go wow the moment you step into the cabin. It uses dark color expansively but that somehow enhances the richness of the materials used. The Skoda Fabia’s interiors pale in comparison to those on the Golf. Its 3 spoke steering wheel is a revolution in itself. It has got the cruise controls and audio controls on it. Driver and the front seat passengers get all the power goodies upfront. The seats themselves are adjustable to reach, height and even lumbar support. Its multi function display shows you instant average, the range of the fuel tank, average speed over the trip and gear change indicator for optimized fuel economy on the manual versions.

The dashboard has titanium inserts put into it. It also sports ambient lighting near the footwells, 4 reading lamps, heated and tinted insulated glass. The good news is that many of these are standard and the bad news is that there are not many customizable options.

Handling and ride quality

The Golf is renowned world over for its renowned ride and handling package however for India, it would be leaning more so towards the ride quality. The usual car buying public buy a car for their daily commute and not for taking it to a race track. The ride should be more pliant than its European and North American counterparts. Considering that Europe and US have far more razor smooth roads whereas in India, it is a rarity, the ride height would be jacked up.

As regards handling, expect it to handle like the Skoda Fabia but not anything less than it. The suspension would be the sophisticated McPherson Strut type with helical springs and telescopic dampers upfront while the rear suspension is of the multi-link type.

The car comfortably seats 5 however three at the rear would seem like a crowd but not so as in the Fabia. The seats completely flip over revealing about 700 liters of space whereas with the seats up, the Golf has 300 liters of usable boot space. Only the middle passenger seat can also flip down to make way for long objects. There is an individual AC vent at the rear to keep the rear occupants cool.

Engine,Performance and fuel efficiency

As of now, the only engine option available in the Golf is said to be the the stonking 2.0 litre, 1968cc, common rail diesel engine producing a whooping 170 hp at 4200 rpm and with a peak torque of 350 Nm produced between 1700-2500 rpm. This would be India’s hottest hatchback till now. The transmission is a 6 speed manual while a 6 speed automatic is also on the options list.

This same engine in Europe is the cleanest in its class plus also is the most fuel efficient in its class and delivers quite a punch in everyday driving. Even though it is only a four cylinder unit, it packs in power similar to that of straight six from BMW. The dual clutch used helps in lightning fast shifts in the manual and triptronic function in the automatics.

Expect 0-100 lap times in 8.3 seconds. This should make it one of the fastest diesels in India. The fuel economy is pegged at 14 kmpl in the city and 21 kmpl on the highway. This are stellar figures for a hot hatch. The top speed is an electronically limited 220 kmph.

Braking is handled by vented discs brakes at the front and solid discs at the rear. Aiding them is a whole plethora of driver aids like advanced 4 channel ABS, Stability control program, traction control etc.

The safety aspect is covered by 4 airbags which come in as standard, three point seat belts with pre-tensioner, anti-whiplash restraining head rests, ample crumple zones, collapsible steering wheel and so on.


The Volkswagen Golf is what India always wanted. A high performance diesel coupled to a hatch body with enough of space for 5 and their luggage. A tight turning circle and diesel economy make living easier. Plus good ratings across the world for its safety features and also reputation for reliability make it a winner. If only Volkswagen India price it within the 6 lakhs range, it has a win-win situation at hand. It is expected to be launched in January 2011.

The Volkswagen Golf price is expected from Rs.6,53000- Rs.7,80000.

Technical Specifications of the Golf GTD
Volkswagen Golf specifications:

Engine: 2.0 litre, common rail diesel engine
Displacement: 1968cc
Maximum Power: 170 hp @ 4200 rpm
Maximum Torque: 350 Nm @ 1700-2500 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual/6 speed automatic with manual override
Top speed: 220 kmph
Acceleration, 0-100kmph: 8.3 seconds

Special Features:
  • Body coloured electrically adjustable side mirrors including turning indicators.
  • Fog lamps
  • Body coloured door handles.
  • Halogen headlights with daytime running lights.
  • Rain sensors.
  • Parking sensors with rear view camera.
  • Tilt and telescopic steering column.
  • Twin exhaust tailpipe.
  • Climatic semi-automatic air conditioning system.
  • Multi function steering wheel.
  • Leather wrapped electro- mechanical steering wheel.
  • Titan black upholstery.
  • Radio/mp3 compatible CD player with 6 speakers.
  • Electric power windows with front one touch up/down control.
  • 17” multi spoke alloy wheels
  • Multifunction computer.
  • Rear spoiler.
  • Electronic Stabilisation Programme (ESP) including Electronic differential lock (EDL), Traction control and Countersteer support.
  • Tinted glass.
  • Anti-lock braking system with Electronic brake-pressure distribution.
  • Front suspension through coil springs with telescopic shock absorbers.
  • Rear suspension with gas pressure shock absorbers and separate springs.
  • Front and rear anti-roll bar.
  • Electronic engine immobiliser.
  • Dual clutch gearbox.

Tata Indica Vista Electric Car

Tata is one of the indigenous car manufacturers across the world. From the first home-grown car in the form of the Indica to the ultra-low cost car in the world- the Nano, they have come a long way. A few days back, Tata launched its much awaited cross-over the Tata Aria. Now Tata is looking out to be environmentally conscious. That the manufacturer already has an electric car in the form of the first generation Indica in faraway Norway is testimony of the fact how Tata wants to percolate its know how all across the world. Tata winning and subsequently annexing the Jaguar-Land Rover deal was an icing on the cake which helped them get access to world-class technology.

The Maini and now Mahindra Reva was always an electric only car with a limited range of about 50 Km. Any chances of increasing the range were met by stiff resistance in the form of no government concessions for reducing the price of the car and battery ineffectiveness. Tata thought of a novel way for this. The new Tata Indica Vista Electric car is an all electric car like the Nissan leaf. It uses a special Prem Magnet Motor which was made in Norway by TM4 and gives 55kw of power and the peak torque of 160 Nm. It is made up of super polymer lithium ion batteries and not of the lead acid types that the Reva uses. In addition to their been light in weight, the batteries have a greater storage capacity and life. They are maintenance free and highly capable.

Been an all electric car means zero emissions and also less of expenditure on petrol or diesel. Regenerative braking takes care of maintaining the battery level. Been an all electric car means zero emissions and also less of expenditure on petrol or diesel. Regenerative braking takes care of the battery charging however before embarking on a journey, you have to ensure that you charge the car for about 8 hours by a plug-in. When you start the car, you would be shocked by the absence of NVH and even when the car is in motion, you would barely notice it.

The car’s instrument panel is a vast change from the normal Indica Vista. The dials have been moved from the center position to the line of the driver now. Instead of a fuel gauge, you get a battery reserve pod. The interiors of the car are now two tone and externally there is not much except the electric badge and body colored alloys to distinguish it from the normal Indica Vista. The range mentioned for this car is an unrealistic 200 Kms on a single charge.

Tata Indica Vista Electric price might range from Rs 5-7 lakhs and launch it around May 2011. This would be a viable transportation option without having to worry about polluting the environment.

2010 Nissan Micra diesel – Preview


Nissan India started their operations in India just 5 years back in 2005. The first vehicle they launched was the X-trail which was a CBU and still is unabashedly so. Their second launch was the luxury yacht type car, the Teana. The third one is bread and butter, a volumes seller- the Micra. Having Ranbir Kapoor to convince you to buy the car was a good ploy as Nissan Micra cars are just flying off the shelf. It has been reported that about 2200 bookings were already done when Nissan dealers couldn’t even let you know the pricing for this car.

After having tasted success with the petrol only model Micra, Nissan plans to expand its reign by introducing a 2010 Nissan Micra diesel. Now, it is for sure that Indians have a fixation for diesel cars, take for example the fact that the Swift diesel, Indica Vista diesel and even the Linea diesel outsell their petrol counterparts from the time of their launch.

The motor Nissan plans to introduce is the 1461cc, 4 cylinder in-line from their international line-up of cars. It will produce a puny 64 Bhp and 155 Nm of torque. All this torque would be available from as low as 1,800 rpm to 3,200 rpm. One thing is for sure, the diesel has got to be the most refined in its class and apart from that offer stellar fuel economy figures, but all that would have to wait till it is launched. Alongwith the new diesel engine, the car will get some revisions, not so notably on the styling front but with some interior features as standard. The New Nissan Micra diesel interior left some desiring for more especially at this price point and the diesel hopes to remedy those. The wheels are still of steel types and there may not be the alloys even on the options list.

The diesel would be competitively priced from Rs.5,30000 or so. This would put it straight in the swift territory. Nissan has already increased its dealerships to about 20 across India and has plans of adding 3 dealers every month.


Displacement: 1461cc, 4 cylinder in-line DOHC

Engine Type: Diesel

Maximum Power: 64 Bhp @ 4000 rpm

Maximum Torque: 155 Nm @ 2000 rpm


Length: 3790 mm

Width: 1565 mm

Height: 1540 mm


Seating Capacity: 5

Tyre Size: R13 steel wheels

Suspension: McPherson Struts

Turning Circle: 4.1 metres

Steering: Electronic Power

Brakes: Front Disk, Rear Drum

Gears: 5 speed Manual

Kerb Weight: 1020.00 kgs.

Fuel Tank: 44.00

Maruti Suzuki Cervo Preview

The country’s largest automaker, Maruti Suzuki Limited is set to launch another small car from its stable{how many more to come, considering that there are about 3 Marutis to any other manufacturer’s cars on-road}. This is to ensure that sales which have been affected in the bad way by the launch of the Tata Nano could be regained, making Maruti the choice when it comes to opting for a small car. For this, the new car will sport a lower tag than the best selling car in India, the Maruti Suzuki Alto.

The new car in question is the New Maruti Suzuki Cervo. Don’t ask us, but this is the name by which the car is known in Japan and it is estimated that this name would be carried across to India. It is already making the headlines in Japan and all for the right reasons. It is low cost, the most fuel efficient petrol and quite reliable. These are usually all the values that endorse every Maruti in India as well. But the difference is the killer price here. Maruti Suzuki Cervo price is estimated to be range from Rs.1.3 lakhs to Rs.2.20 for the highest variant. In contrast the Nano starts at Rs.1.10 lakhs going upto Rs.1.75 for the top variant. But been a Maruti, you get the peace of mind associated with it.

The engine would be a 660cc petrol engine similar to the Nano’s but producing a whooping 60 Bhp power. This is more than the Tata Nano’s 33 Bhp. It would have a mono volume design like the Nano and looks very similar to the Estilo. Its cabin forward design wouldn’t win it any crash safety awards but liberates lots of space on the inside plus couple that to the tall boy design and it works wonders. Four people can sit at ease inside but then the Nano has better space utilization.

There would be cubby holes in abundance which the Nano lacks in. Plus a usable boot of approximately 200 liters to the Nano’s next to none. The car would be a lot more livelier to drive than the Nano because of a much better power to weight ratio. It will weigh in at about 800 kg. The steering is also power assisted and the ride and handling is supposedly better than the Nano’s. The meters would be bare basic though and even the interior trim would be more Nano-like. But what else would you expect at this price point. Navigation system, anyone?

The fuel efficiency is slated to be about the best in any car in the country-24 kmpl in the city conditions and about 28 kmpl on the highway. This is all thanks to the VVT technology been used in the new engine. It ensures that the engine run leans all the time. Startling is the fact that Maruti is targeting first-time buyers with a 4 speed automatic transmission. There is no manual version slated however a diesel may make its appearance later on. With the arrival of the diesel, the price tag would certainly increase.

As of now, Maruti hasn’t announced any launch date for the Maruti Suzuki Cervo in India but we estimate it to be around November 2010, come the festive season or latest by December 2010.

Technical Specifications for the Maruti Cervo
  • Fuel Type: Petrol
  • Mileage-Highway(kmpl): 28
  • Mileage-City(kmpl): 24
  • Engine Description: K6A DOHC engine with VVT
  • Engine Displacement(cc): 660
  • Fuel Supply System: Fuel Injection
  • Number Of Cylinders: 4
  • Transmission Type: 4 speed automatic
  • Maximum Power: 60 bhp
  • Maximum Torque: 64 Nm
  • Fuel Tank Capacity(litres): 38
  • Number Of Doors: 5
  • Top Speed: 115 kmph approximately
  • Brakes: disc upfront and drums at the rear
  • Seating Capacity: 5

2010 Hyundai I10 diesel Preview


India’s second largest car manufacturer, Hyundai Motors, has aspirations to be the number 1 manufacturer in India. Overthrowing Maruti from the top position means a herculean task. Hyundai has been recently giving face-lifts to all of its existing model. Starting with the flagship Sonata to the Verna and now even the best seller I10. It gave it an upgrade in engine technology and slight exterior changes. The interiors were also revamped. The queues outside Hyundai’s showrooms means all these changes have been welcome with the Indian customers.

Now to make the I10 more value for money and to take the fight to Maruti’s camp, Hyundai are planning to launch a New Hyundai I10 diesel. It would be a 1.1 liter CRDi engine. Judging by the success of diesel powered automobiles, we can say that Hyundai already has a winner in the pits. The 1.1 liter will give out 64 bhp and 133Nm of torque. It is been touted as the most efficient small diesel in the country, even overshadowing the famous 1.3 liter multi jet from the Fiat stables and been used in across 10 cars in the Indian scene now.

Hyundai I10 diesel

Changes would be made to the front shock absorbers to accommodate for the diesel engine’s weight. Also NVH would be of prime importance and expect the diesel car to have the same NVH as the petrol powered one.

The 1.1 liter CRDI motor would be a marvel in itself. It would have 4 valves per cylinder however we are awaiting more details from Hyundai on this one. Hyundai will use their Chennai facility to make these diesels however reports have also filtered though that Hyundai would be directly importing the engines from Korea. The diesel variants would differ from their petrol counterparts in the vein that they would sport a CRDi badge at the rear and also a particular color scheme available only for the diesel.

How Hyundai India prices the car is to be seen. Going by Hyundai’s past records, they would definitely price the car bang in the Ford Figo price range. This should be a tough fight in the small car diesel car segment and the one to watch out for. The Hyundai I10 diesel India launch will be probably by May 2011.

Toyota India Etios models preview

Toyota’s brand image as the number one in reliability may have been eroded big time with the recalls regarding the sudden acceleration reports, world-wide. However in India, the case has been so very different. People still perceive quality with Toyota. This has boosted the manufacturer’s ego and they are planning to launch a slew of automobiles in India within the next 2 years. Of prime importance is the fact, that they would officially bring in the full Lexus as well as their Daihatsu sourced small cars.

Of prime importance would be the small cars for which the demand is very high in India. They would be built on an all new platform for India, however these platforms as well as cars are been sold elsewhere in the middle east as well as North America under different names.

Toyota is currently the world’s largest manufacturer however in India, the scene is far from true. Toyota sell only premium cars and hence to gain a good market share of the booming Indian market, Toyota have taken a plunge into the small car market. From the look of the cars at the Delhi Auto Expo 2010, it was evident that Toyota have already won half the battle.


Both the cars bring a welcome refreshment to their segments as far as looks are concerned. The front end looks imposing yet  has the subtle Toyota corporate image. This is evident from the two tiered chrome grill. The headlamps are of the pear shape and feature multi reflector lights. They also incorporate the same headlamp assembly as the new Corolla Altis, which means they would have legal HID kits. The air dams are a big deal by Indian cars standards. As opposed to the segment norm of having fog lamps fitted into the air dams, the Etios differs by having them on the front bumper. There is also a prominent front spoiler which gives it the look of a tuned Japanese car. Unfortunately the sedan doesn’t feature the spoiler but has the same looks of the hatchback viewed from the front. The bonnet is also a long affair in both the sedan and hatchback in India.

The sedan features side indicators embedded into them whereas the hatch back makes do without them. The wheels were the 15 inch types on both the body types. A flowing crease runs from wheel to wheel. The roof of the hatchback blends smoothly into the Hyundai I10-like rear end. The tail lamps are of the elongated types. The less said the better about the rear end of the sedan though. It looks like the cross of the Indigo Manza and that of the Renault Logan. The tail lamp structure for both the sedan and hatchback are different. Both the cars have a thick strip of chrome at the rear. A rear roof-line spoiler on the hatch back makes it one of the best looking rear for an Indian car. The tail pipes are conspicuous by their absence in both though.

The alloys on both the cars are different. The one on the Toyota India Etios sedan were of the subtle 6 spoke alloys, first seen on the first generation Corolla whereas the ones on the 5 door variant looked jazzy.

Overall, both the hatchback and sedan, from a distance, look like the Volkswagen Polo and Vento respectively.


The interiors of both are as different chalk and cheese. For the hatchback, the steering wheel is a two tone affair, one sporting red on the sides and ivory on the straights. It also features audio controls on one side. The upper side of the dash is black and the lower end is ivory. The music system looks space age and probably has navigation controls as well. The instrument cluster is centrally placed and has a Yamaha FZ-like instrument cluster. Though not totally digital, it has that look for sure. The ac vents are of the circular type and one which is adept at directing air flow towards rear passengers as well.

The Toyota India Etios sedan has a more conservative cabin. It looks sort of built to a price thing and the hatchback’s high quality interiors are totally absent in the sedan. The sedan like the outside, also on the inside looks like the Mahindra-Renault Logan, bare basic. It is even devoid of steering audio controls.

Whichever body style you choose, the Toyota wouldn’t disappoint you with its interior space. The sedan has a humongous boot pegged at 450 liters and the hatchback at an impressive 370 liters.

The flat floor at the rear helps in getting a 3rd passenger stuffed easier.

Handling and ride quality

Though we couldn’t take the Toyota India Etios sedan or hatchback for a spin, we can judge by the GOA chassis that both would be safe handlers as also give a good ride. The sedan with its wider foot print would shine more in the ride department than the handling part. Toyota India’s cars aren’t known for their handling but for their ride quality.

As of now, both body types would be offered with a 5 speed manual with an auto tranny on the periphery later.

The 75/65 R14 and 185/60 R15 tyre sizes are at par with the competition and give the car a planted feel.

Engine,Performance and fuel efficiency

The engine for the hatchback is a segment comparable 1.2 liters but one producing 80bhp. It is a 16 valve petrol without the VVT-I technology. Toyota has assured us that the Etios wouldn’t feel out of place without this technology as they have made internal revisions to the engine components to compensate it. The sedan boasts of a 1.5 liter petrol which churns out 102 bhp. Couple this with the 800kg for the hatchback and 920 for the sedan, it should spell some potent performance from both the engines.

The braking for both, would be discs upfront and drums at the rear. However for the higher variants, you can specify discs at the rear as well. Safety features would be at segment par, with two airbags, ABS and traction control. Toyota may offer parking aids as well on the sedan.

Fuel efficiency for the hatchback should be around 13-14 kmpl in city and 18-20 kmpl on the highway. For the sedan, it would be 11-13 in city and 16-18 on the highway. This would be at par with competition. Toyota could do well to shoe-horn the 1.4 liter diesel from its Corolla sedan into both the Etios hatchback and sedan.


Toyota Kirloskar India has been long synonymous in India for high quality, highly engineered and good resale value cars. Their car designs may not be the best in the world but they do give you a sense of solidity like none other. The Etios hatchback and sedans are bound to change the feeling of the staid designs, the hatchback noticeably so more than the sedan. Couple that with the expected at par with competition fuel efficiency and probably a killer pricing considering the use of local components to a high level, you cannot go wrong with this sedan-hatchback twins.

Expect the hatchback to start from Rs.4,50000 to Rs.5,90000 for the top end version. The sedan should start from Rs.6,10000 to Rs.7,20000 for the higher variants.

Toyota India Etios specifications

Displacement: 1200cc 16 valve DOHC
Overall Length: 3995 mm
Rear Wiper and alloy wheels
Overall Width Length: 1695 mm
Overall Height Length: 1490 mm
Gears: 5 speed Manual
Ground Clearance: 173.00 mm
Seating Capacity: 5 persons
Front Brakes: Disc
Rear Brakes: Drum