Datsun GO Plus MPV Test Drive And Review In India

Datsun’s entry was meant to show Indians a new line of options in the already clustered yet confused market of masses’ cars. The promise was delivered quite for a few notches. Earlier, the proper hatchback, dubbed as “GO”, sold at the price of a compact car and even the so called MPV “GO+” lined up at the sales floor is about to depict the same story once again.

A chance behind the steering wheel of GO+ made the vision clearer of how that partly called MPV in the skin of ‘estate’ feels when pulled out on the road.

Design

Honestly, GO hatchback hadn’t disappointed for that given price tag. The challenge before engineers was to make the similar promise more acceptable when added with the sheet of metal over rear pillar in GO+, and turn into a spacious model without harnessing price point very distantly. As a whole, the outcome is genius. GO+ looks a complete new car, instead not a stretched version of the hatchback. Lowering end of roof and the length compressed less than 4 meters with the raising beltline successfully cut chunk of masses. It appears pretty sizeable and adorable both with that same GO front grille inclusive of other fixtures. The flick at front bumper is appreciable to make that appearance more eye-soothing.

Datsun GO Plus MPV

Interiors

Model given was the top-end but still it felt like the basic trim. An only good gimmick that happened to be there was AUX connectivity.

Other than that, the plastic and numerous cost-cutting efforts can be seen in abundance. Even the company had given manually adjustable seat belts, whereas they should have not dropped out on that which is really a concern for safety. Seats lack good thigh support and paltry padding at the back makes it to go a bit uncomfortable for long runs. Must admit, the rest of cabin is crafted to suit the price for which it is going to be offered for, and nothing exceptional.

Datsun GO Plus MPV Interiors

Drivability

Despite the added weight, engine still feel that punchy to take on the roads with eagerness. The revs are pretty confident to roll on any of the given road condition in India. Even when packed to the core with all the passengers, power doesn’t feel less than the appropriate. Talking about suspensions, they are stiffened and able to handle the bumps (even when the car is packed to the fullest). Corners and other undulations are soaked up but due to improper insulations the noise filter inside the cabin. Gearshifts are savored for the light response whereas the tyres don’t offer that much of grip. Otherwise, the light steering and well-grim brakes makes the job easy further.

Datsun GO Plus MPV Test Drive And Review In India

Overview

The drive of car isn’t there to complain of. Every bit falls easy on the hand. In fact, shortcomings can be experienced at the cosmetic side of cabin. To make that very brief, it is rather not to expect a plush interior. Well, the third row is a total impractical effort for anyone to sit there. Only kids can go well with it that of the age below 5 years, otherwise one has to duck down upto the seat. It’s better to fold down the third row and use that space for the luggage, like it used to be in ‘estate’ kind of cars. Datsun GO Plus is a proper five-seater. No complaint looking down to its price tag.

Datsun GO Plus MPV Test Drive And Review In India

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2014 Skoda Rapid Test Drive And Review

Going fast is old, but going Rapid is all new, and here’s what he hope the Skoda had envision before getting the 2014 Rapid to market.

This new entry level saloon of Skoda is almost similar to the outgoing version, but Skoda performed some remarkable changes to make it a better competitor against the new Honda City, all new Ford Fiesta, Sunny facelift and more.

Exteriors/Styling & Design:

Firstly, the major change starts from the front itself, and that’s none other than the projector headlamps. It is projected to give a better visual appeal to the car. And apart from that, this Skoda also has the all new logo of the company earmarked everywhere from front to rear.

Sides and rear remains the same, except for the new logos. Changes apart, the car also gets fifteen-inch wheels on the Elegance trim, where the lower trims are shoed with the fourteen-inches.

2014 Skoda Rapid Test Drive And Review

Interiors:

Time for interiors, the steering is all new with three spokes, and the controls mounted on it pose to be late entrants in the market. USB, aux, MP3, Bluetooth connectivity and SD card compatibility enhances the package further. All variants except the base one gets airbags and ABS. The Elegance trim followed by Ambition Plus gets airbag for the passenger too.

Thoughtfully, Skoda also makes available the leather package with the 2014 Rapid, which gets the leather on steering, gear knob and seats. The automatic climate control on the top-end is the last addition to pinnacle.

Skoda Rapid Interiors

Engine and Technicalities:

On the technical front, the new updated Skoda Rapid derives the same engine of 1.6-liter petrol and 1.6-liter diesel powering the output of 105bhp. The difference in the engine bay of both the fuel trims occurs with the number of torque, as only 153 Newton Meter is delivered from the petrol motor, whereas the diesel churns out a hefty 250 Newton Meter. Paired to it are the 5-speed manual gearboxes, where the 6-speed automatic is only made available for the petrol buyers.

The engine is ultimately refined amongst its category, which brilliantly revs upto 5,500 rpm and the 0-100 kmph is jolted in a jiff of something near to 10 and 11 seconds.

2014 Skoda Rapid

Drive and Handling:

Likewise, the other Skodas available in India, this car on the drivability is a total frolic. The ticker swiftly moves to the north, and toward redline too is not a hectic at all. Every time the pedal is hit in each of the gears raw power of the car can be felt desirably. Sharp turns and dive into corners tendered smiles to our faces every time. Complementing to it is the astonishing fuel-efficiency. Our car clocked notches-near-to 14 and 15 kilometer per liter overall, which was also bound to go up to till 18-19 kmpl if run solely on highways. The braking to pull out the fun in time before its gets too late is sufficient which locks the wheels in over almost no time.

New Skoda Rapid

Conclusion:

The 2014 Skoda Rapid poses as a great buy for the money value, and also never turns down the enthusiasts with its dashing performance. Competition in the market is already risen a notch above. The new features added on 2014 Rapid are going to help this entry-level Skoda sedan for some more time. But, we guess, the all new Rapid must be there in the works that shall definitely make the Skoda to mark a return to this segment with “Vengeance”!

Skoda Rapid Test Drive And Review

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Edition C: Test Drive and Review

Mercedes-Benz Class is been in existence on this planet from 1982. But when the German based carmaker sold 1million units of it globally, it then decided to give Indians a gift of exclusivity for the same, which is dubbed as “Edition C”. However, the Edition C is nothing but the cosmetic change of Mercedes-Benz C220 Cdi (diesel variant). However, the carmaker has said to be rolling it out only in 500 units for India.

Hence, the above said were the trivias about the vehicle, but is the Edition C is really worth buying a one for the price of Rs. 39.16 lakh ex-showroom Mumbai. With a difference of Rs 3.36 lakh between the regular C-Class and the Edition C, it remains a question popping against the rivals like BMW and Audi whether the new Merc should be bought or not. We solved the myth by driving the vehicle, given just for a short distance at the launch venue. Hope so our experience mentioned below may clear all the queries related to it.

Mercedes Benz C-Class Edition C

Exteriors:

For aesthetics Mercedes-Benz looks promising with next-to zero naggings paid to the Edition C. The AMG body kit on the outers, and slightly smoked headlamps pose as major changes. The starching lines and rest of them remained unchanged. Marking the exclusivity, an “Edition C” metal stag is stamped on the sides. The said Edition C badges are not so big in stance conveying the limited edition, but those AMG style kit on the front is enough to snob all of the rest for the new assorted C-Class looks. Chromed exhaust tips at rear dips the last call of Edition C.

Overall for the Edition C exteriors, we found it more lucrative and engaging than the conventional C-Class. In fact the 220Cdi dopes out all the sophistication, and fizzes in the racing aspiration. It seems the designers at Merc backend may have paid their effort in the form of enormous time as well as creativity.

Mercedes Benz Back View

Interiors:

Complementing the exteriors, interiors too is dignified with number of assortment. Once inside, the black suavely-fitted Alacantra leather is one of the delegated things to talk of. Blue contrast stitches running across seats makes the experience more adrenaline packed. Microfiber dashboard is now delved with silver trim instead of woods, with contrasting stitches running across. The best that we had experienced was the ‘sunroof’, and those adjacent AC vents thatched very next to it. The engineering part of German has come to an ultimate experience when we saw the inching gap between second row AC vents and sunroof, and also the vent’s positioning in alignment with rear passenger seats. Tailing the notch further, SAT-NAV comes as a standard feature for Edition C. The number of buttons remains the same on central console, to confuse for every bit of second, but will be getting used to if driven for hours.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Interiors Mercedes-Benz C-Class Interiors View

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Exteriors

Technical & Ride Experience:

Just as said above, engine specification remained intact to what it was been on the conventional 220Cdi. The 2143cc turbodiesel engine of 167bhp mated with 7-speed automatic gearbox is enough to give a nice bump over the others. To an extent, we fled the scene with punch of gushing powers. That’s when we realized it was the Sports mode which swooped us the way said. Eco Mode is also referred here for the Indian-settled fuel conscious buyers. The mileage was good enough to tempt its audience. Engine starts stroking in all the force post 2000rpm, but those numbers feels enough to outdo the elder sibling 250Cdi in the performance and handling experience. Only the bit that was worrying us was low-profile 225/45 R17 tyres fitted on the 17-inch 5 spoke wheels. It kept us slightly on the edge when cutting the curves, but great thanks to the automatic changeable suspension as per to the mode. In the Sports (mode) it lead us to the spoofing needed, and ultimately we grasped the kilometers swiftly on those under-estimated pieces of rubbers. However, there weren’t any differences in the performance of the existing C-Class 220Cdi and the one of Edition C.

Mercedes Benz C-Class Engine

Mercedes Benz C-Class Back View Mercedes Benz C-Class

Mercedes Benz B Class B180 Petrol Test Drive in India

Experimenting new things in India, sometimes gets a one better result than anywhere else. Hope so keeping in mind the said testimonial, Mercedes Benz launched most affordable Merc last year in India. However, we now had the A Class in the start of line, but last year when this car was launched, the media was most hyped by the Germans’ new affordable horse in our country, which was seems sounding like a bliss to us. At present, there are tonnes of metals available for the most efficient price tags, but we decided to take a shot at a compact MPV type vehicle of Mercedes Benz this season.

Though, the car itself needs no introduction for being a Merc. The dual slat front grille, embarking big logo on the front, SLS AMG styled bonnet, (which is only a cue from said and not the whole), new generation LED headlamps, crispy lines flowing from front to end on sides, wraparound tail lamps, metal guard on the boot sill, and much more. Cosmetically, the B Class has better ergonomics as per the competitors in the respective price tag, and that partly hatchback partly MPV type stance makes it to stand apart from others. One could say here, we got a mixed feelings looking at the vehicle, either it’s a hatchback or a MPV, we decided not to dig that excuses very deeply and concentrate on the numbers of values that Germans had driven to lure the masses here with this vehicle. Hopefully, it will not be wrong to say that the B Class is for those who love to drive their own car to office, and also to some gateways on the weekends. Hence, the chauffeur driven audience may make a nag here at this car. Apparently, the thing that does matter for B Class here is the drivetrain then, which had mention further in this post, but confirming more details about the platform skinned underneath its body is the W245 front wheel drive architecture. We guess, the B Class is the first car in India to possess this platform, later on the further coming siblings will also dwell the same sort. A Class is the one to name right now, and the upcoming GLA is also meant to don the said.

Mercedes Benz B180 Petrol

The B Class has a very tall height, of 1557mm if said precisely, and 16-inch alloys as standard, making it to gasp something between two of the segments. Hence, no need for the disappointment, buyers can upgrade their wheel size to 17 and 18 inch as choosing the different packages available with Mercedes.

Interiors:

Moving inside, the interiors feel quite up to date, and sophisticated at its best. There aren’t nags found in it claiming the B-Class not to be part of the Mercedes stable. We in fact were pampered in the SLS AM Style by the looks of air-con vents and central console. Interiors feel well propositioned dating as per the ongoing requirement of Indian market, which are most probably termed as spacious, airy, comfortable, sophisticated, futuristic, and build to last. Unfailingly, even the minute details were also given the brief precision. None of the trials and erros typos be felt inside ‘B’. There is one more thing we would like to add, no offensive, sometimes the C Class may also lessons from this vehicle to learn pampering the passengers at a sight. The legroom is quite sufficient, on front as well as rear. The rear seats also feel spacious like expected. However, one of the things has kept us hovering throughout the test, and that is the lack of thigh support on rear. Given the upright sitting position along, that discomfort gets eased to a lot extent.

The engineers at the backend has plugged off the gear from the central console and shifted it behind the steering wheel, so the whole cluster in between becomes free of sort, and there those genius planted cubbyholes for storage and else. It feels of great use and advantage. Very importantly, the COMMAND system of the vehicle is fixed just above the AC vents on the dash, and peels up the feeling of ‘like it or hate it.’ Though, the size of it looks quite large, and user interface is also not interesting, but talking the fact we loved that oozed out component of the interiors. It in fact, gives that tech-fi feel to the car, and is also clearly visible from outside, in overall impacting a nice impression on some aspiring onlookers.

Tactfully as we said, the B-Class is partly a MPV, there arises the question of boot space as well. Need not to be disappointed, the Germans had bestowed this newbie a massive 486 litres of boot space, which is quite generous for any of the sorts road trip in India. for those who always carry some extra luggage with them, even they too will be satisfies when fold down the second row seats. Flipping down the second row, 1545 litres of boot space can be achieved, which is magnificently immense for the long-road travelers. Adjustable front seats, climate control, USB and aux-in ports, leather upholstery are some of the features to name for now. we bet, the safety is also not even compromised while keeping the costs low. Seven airbags, hill-start assist, ABS, ESP, brake assist, traction control and a tyre pressure warning system are mentioned in the feature list of B-Class.

Lastly, on the interior note, we would like to make a point; there is also a panoramic sunroof inside the car, which is enough to make a one feel of the convertible types. Thoughtfully, there weren’t expected this type of assortment on the petrol based ‘B’, but as per the time of writing this blog, diesel variant of B Class is not bestowed with the sunroof, which sounds as a major turn down for the buyers.

Performance:

The Mercedes Benz B Class is dwelled out in the petrol version till this year, where some months back the carmaker then finally launched the diesel one to comply the rising demand of oil burners. Formerly, the B180 which we were driving was lugged with the 1.6-litre turbocharged, direct-injection petrol engine, that was made of complete aluminum. Finally, a lot of weight is saved and the car feels light in driving. Enthusiastic prompt, the steering has some gut feeling somewhere in the centre portion. With that blasphemy of engineering, it made the drive behind its wheel just peppier than expectations. The nose is not as sharp as the A Class, we comparatively had a bit negative experience on this clause to the B180. Adding to its woes, the jarred design ergonomics of it was mending to do some body rolls in crossing the lanes. The B starts in the Eco mode first, and then one can switch it off ‘Sports’ to ravel the creamy layer of German mechanism. Now the Sports mode is where the drivers can drive the pulse out of their heart, but though it still has some of its own limitations, where we can name it as ‘fuel-economy’. That is but obvious the car the fuel has to be burnt in the wide opened funnel for gaining performance figures. Eco mode is recommended for the thrusts driving in the city, mostly in traffics. 0-100kmph is touched somewhere more or less to the 11 seconds; we guess there was as usual enough power in the mid range as well. Top whack that we touched was nearly to 150kmph, but reports on other portals have claimed more number than ours. The seven-speed, twin-clutch gearbox works seamlessly without any hassle. No complaints from them, which we guess also an addition to the Germans’ magnificent engineering, which sometimes this type of assimilation doesn’t mean getting good responses. However, verifying all the ticks to be right in the boxes, the Merc has planted a ‘Manual’ mode too in the drivetrain. Though, manies may not like it at all , but trust us makes us feels its significance when being driven on highways for controlling the speed at a jiff.

Ride and Handling:

Talking Ride of B Class is a bit different thing here. Let us make clear that those who are highly addicted to the driving style of Merc sedans are but obviously going to get disappointed in this vehicle. We knew that we are not writing a ‘comparison’ here, but its driving experience clearly divides two sects when one takes the charge of steering and pedal, one of them is the existing Mercedes owners, while the second one is the new group of audience who are just introduced to the three pointed star just for being its owner because of the pocket-friendly price tag.

Mercedes-Benz B180 Test Drive in India

The car which we were driving was of standard version and was having the 16-inch wheels, it was found doing its job perfectly. As we sais before, the architecture of B Class is monocoque, hence a large amount of bumps gets filtered inside the cabin, which the Merc-sedans doesn’t provides it so even at the entry level model plate. As the wheelbase is of generous in nature, and added with the front wheel mechanism, the timings on turns gets sharper, speedy and accurate. It enters and exits the corners rightly; we didn’t felt any forcing complement from our side to navigate the car in right direction when on curves. For the butting note, B 180 starts in Eco mode, so the drivers needs to switch it off to Manual or Sports when he wanted to melt out the pastry layer from it on roads. But there is problem in usage of pedal shifter while downshifting. The speed control on the shifting process is not so definite on the pedal. We guess, the engineers need to addres this issue for India, because we don’t have those past swooping European roads here, where an obstacle can be observed from fat itself and hence braking procedure would start from there itself. More crap for it, the brakes aren’t so effective in handling the downshifting situation of pedal. Commenting steering, it is the most fabulous part we observed about the vehicles’ drivetrain in our test, ample of power and the right trigger to shoot it from, is what we can describe the steering of 2012 B 180 Petrol.

Added lastly, the gear shift on the right side of steering column will mostly make the most users to shift the car in neutral shift, obsessed with the habit of switching the lights from the right corner of steering.

Verdict:

Finally, the temp of Mercedes has dropped down and the B Class is the suitable option to drive out from the expensive German repertoire.  At the time of writing we have the A Class as well the B Class diesel launched in India, but looking at the price tag of B180 it feels suitable to buy the petrol version with its triumph over the diesel one justified with ‘sunroof’ and some ‘additional features’. Cleverly, the fuel efficiency of approximately “10.2kmpl” with mix of highways it feels well composed and propositioned for the driving comfort provided in the petrol variants of Mercedes Benz. And cosmetically, it looks better than the hatchback, giving the whips of MPV and not anything lesser than that. Hope so that answers all the questions regarding 2012 B180 Petrol.

Our Rating: 7/10

One can follow the technical specifications in the table below:

Engine

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Transmission

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Dimensions

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Mercedes-Benz B180 Back View

Chassis & Body

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Suspension

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Steering

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Brakes

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Nissan Terrano in India Test Drive

Nissan Terrano and Renault Duster are the two prominent names being tremendously christened in the auto fraternity nowadays.

Hence, the Renault Duster is been there in the market since long back, and had claimed some international titles too. Now it is the time for Nissan to invade the compact SUV segment and mark its prominence. Taking the strategic advantage by the means of agreement between the French automaker, Japanese showed up its aggressiveness and it finally resulted in the form of “Nissan Terrano”.

Though, we had already reported the Nissan Terrano in detail at our review section, where we claimed the Terrnao of having 1.5-litre dCi diesel and 1.6-litre petrol engines. Diesel engine tuned in two state of tunes – 84bhp and 109bhp, while the petrol one is done only with 103bhp. However, the 109bhp diesel is thrown with the six-speed manual gearbox, while the petrol one and 84bhp diesel are given with five-speed manual. For your information we had test driven two of the vehicles in Udaipur, where the Nissan had arranged a special media test drive session for all the leading publication houses, we now will reveal the experiences of all the said vehicles step by step.

Nissan Terrano Test Drive

1.5-litre dCi diesel of 109bhp

Firstly, we decided to put out the note on the most desirable 1.5-litre dCi diesel of 109bhp, which transacts all the power from a stick of 5-speed manual transmission. Hence, need not to say the power given to this Terrano is mouth watering and is a better option than that of the petrol fuel trim, sounding like bliss in the times of skyrocketing petrol prices. We took this vehicle for an approximately 80-90kms, drove in between winding roads and some off-roads. Need not to say, the Japanese (Nissan) has provoked the mechanism of best Japanese automotive engineering by giving us the Terrano. Well, over here one may say that, the Terrano is originally a French translation into a Japanese, but truly the car that the Nissan had developed is quite amazing than the Duster. It performs all the tasks that are thrown in front of it. No need of adjusting oneself to the devotions of car, but here we had experienced none of the naggings from vehicle at all. It pulls up the power from 2500RPM and leaves the genre uninterrupted to the 4000RPM. The 248Nm of torque comes active at around 2500RPM only, but due to the aggressive gear distribution ratio, excitement start notching the steering from 2000RPM itself. Though we don’t deny that clutch on this vehicle is a bit on the harder side, making feels a bit tad while climbing uphill, and in city traffics. Overall view from the driver’s seat gives a plenty of needed outlook. The ground clearance of 205mm makes Terrano to reach wherever needed.

New Nissan Terrano Test Drive

The above said was all about the ergonomics mostly, but now when the ghats and winding roads on our drive ended, highway started following us. Unbelievably, 0-100kmph is reached in some astonishing amount of time, and when we recorded the reciprocal of same, i.e. from 100kmph-0kmph we touched down the line in a slight more than 3 seconds. The mentioned figures are not knitted with the help of some advanced equipments, but are carried out with the bare-basics only. Hopefully, the Terrano delivered us uninterrupted power throughout the whole range of throttle, never disappointed at any of point. It finally landed us on the top whack of 120kmph during the test. No doubt that it was having a fair amount of additional horses being stored under the bonnet even at that time (i.e. at 120kmph) too. To sound safe in a new city and on the new roads, we didn’t pedal the accelerator more than that. Hence, if we could have done that, then reaching the 135-140kmph mark didn’t seem tough for the 109bhp 1.5-litre DCi engine of Terrano.

Nissan Terrano in India Test Drive

Talking suspension and control, there aren’t any bits which claim the Terrano is not bounded for the roads in India. Potholes and the open stretches are galled by it in tons and tons, without even beating a sweat. Push it harder, the harshest it gets. It not mussing even the king sized potholes inside the cabin, all thanks to the softly tuned suspension. In fact, that same soft suspension goes for a rough time when the car is being slided into some tight corners. Body rolls and understeer to an extent can be experienced at the steep turns. But that’s understood when given at this much of so desired comfort. Steering feels quite light, directs the car sharply in the reclined direction. No negative feedbacks even at high speeds. It weighs up along with the rising speed, and gives in confidence to make the most of it at its top notches.

We must say, Nissan Terrano is a good highway cruiser, and is boon for the city slicker too. We have no complaints from the high powered diesel variant of Nissan Terrano, but instead we would say the Japanese trapped the misfielded balls which the French had dropped while trimming it as per the low-costing profile.

1.6-litre petrol of 103bhp

However, it may make someone feels irk that petrol is driven on less number of horses comparatively to the 109bhp diesel. Let us tell you, the Duster is world’s cheapest SUV, so its sibling shall copy some of its traits. Hence, counting the major of its audience to be more cost-conscious regarding the mileage, it may be an issue for the carmaker to yield the stunning return on kilometers-per-litre-of-fuel, where the solution is being chalked out at the cost of deleting some horses underneath the bonnet. Well, gasoline wakes up the power of 103bhp at an early 2000RPM and keeps revving smoothly till 4000RPM. Disappointingly, the motor makes aggressive move till 4000RPM, later than it starts falling short of power. However, making the motor to reach near to maximum 4800RPM gets a one teddy to drive. One has to punch the feet harder on pedal on take on the paths at ease on gasoline. Though, we are not disappointed about its feel in the city. 103bhp of petrol maneuvers easily in the slicken lanes of towns. Five-speed manual does its job brilliantly. Taking the same on highway makes us to be under-confident when overtaking the heavy vehicles. However, other of the bits like suspension and body control are of the same what we had said about the diesel above, but drivetrain faces serious nags, which Nissan should do something about if it wanted to sell the petrol trim of Terrano successfully.

Final Verdict:

Nissan Terrano of 1.5-litre dCi diesel of 109bhp is awesome, and hefts the job to powertrain at a compelling need. All the effort of engineers at Japanese workshop seems to deserve a success party. However, they may have the cues from Renault Duster too; but personally, a lot of efforts had gone in making the Japanese compact SUV a better option in present times than the French version. Petrol one is sufficient for the city slick, but may pose serious lacks on the highway, as per to our experience. On overall (including interiors), the Terrano is a deserving option to get for a money value like this. Even French may not have tided this better when they could have tried drawing a notch above than their Duster. Contemporarily, the Japanese seems successful!

Nissan Terrano 2013 Test Drive

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Mercedes Benz A Class (Petrol): Review and Test Drive

Race the ‘SLS AMG’ and then compare it with hatchbacks – sounds insane, and this is what the Mercedes Benz had proportioned to cater new segment of audience in India. Those stunning long boots, and end number ponies running out from the engine just at a dab is what the AMG is proportioned for, but despite those allegations the newly launched ‘A Class’ is still compared with the elder racing sibling. Need to be anxious, the hatchback A Class has only drag to interiors and cues of the SLS badge and not anything else, that’s what the Mercedes Benz had said at the launch of their new entry level car in India. Let us tell you first, Mercedes Benz India is keen to go subtlety with the top-to-bottom strategy and they had no issues for stepping in down the line segment being a niche player for years, as more the mass sales lies there itself.

The new product A Class had been worked a lot on everything regarding that same. Technicalities at the final stage were depended on the marketing department to decide its fate in Indian context. To be true the premium hatchback is a complete new segment in India, and except the Mercedes Benz no one had tasted this sort of blood galloping plethora themselves which goes against the tax benefit structure of Indian government. Made the debut with 4292mm as overall length of the car, A Class doesn’t falls suitably in the line of sub four meter arena and nor the engine benefits of under 1.5L, being powered by a 1595cc four cylinder direct-injection turbo-petrol. And when being priced for Rs 22.73 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai) the petrol (Sport trim) is definitely a bet see whether the MB had planted it right in the slot or not.

Mercedes Benz A Class

Exteriors:

The media vehicle that was given to us comes with the diamond encrypted front grille, whilst the one that most probably stands in the warehouse/sales floor of carmaker are all wearing the different one. As said by one of the sources in industry, the 302 diamonds embedded radiator grille needs to be fitted on the vehicle for an additional cost of approximately Rs. 72,000 – 75,000. Hopefully, it isn’t that big deal when you are looking to buy the new Mercedes Benz directly from the showroom. Coming to the main, good on 4292mm of length, the 1433mm height of vehicle makes the car a bit snubbed on the aesthetics part, but though it is excellent when perceived form the “performance” point of view.  Crispy line flowing all over the body and the sweptback stance in overall fixture makes it to be swoop past the every robusty posture with maximum possible speed. And very importantly, the 302 diamonds on the front grille are also making the looks worth watching again and again. Another dimension of boot-less rear is also not so called that odd. Daytime running headlamps, 17” smoked alloys, and the beefy C-pillars gives one the appearance of a fully fledged sedan, as what it is if looked by its overall length in Indian context.

No doubt that designing department had did their best to yield this sporty sort of tavern on the hatchback. Now it was the toughest part for interior designers to work out those Merc impressions on inside too.

Mercedes Benz A Class Exteriors

Interiors:

Open the doors and settle yourself in the driving seat, yet for moments it will give a feel of the SLS AMG, as what the top brass of Mercedes Benz had though to drive while designing it – being as a core value-marketing quotient for the mass customer segment of A Class. Ranging from the chromed AC vent rings to the Mercedes branded door sill, from the sporty driving wheel to crystal speedometer, and finally dragging the nag from leather covered dashboard to Mercedes quality components, it is a true German made MB from inside too. The quality is superb and like as always, seems build to last forever. The erected 14.7 cm infotainment TFT and the pedal shift make one to be in the real sports bug, complemented by the leather dash too. Music quality that’s made heard via six speakers is impressive, and the local radio channels also tend to enjoy the best output ever.

Front seat are snug enough to be felt in the lap of AMG temperament. Both separated front seats are provided enough to bear the stretched legs of tall driver and passenger. Hopefully, this Merc is meant for the self-driven personnel, so the terms ‘driving position’ and the ‘co-passenger position’ are quite comfortable. But given with the low slung roof the headroom becomes cramped for the rear passengers. Small rear windows also add woes on the backseat. An ample of commanding buttons on the steering wheel, and if not enough then more of them on music player too, which are upped for matching the impressive Merc quality.  Number of storage compartments for the driver’s aide adds bits of convenience when self driving the A Class. Boot space is quite decent with 341 liters, but the spare wheel snatches off its convenient haziness in all the allure. One cannot lug much of the cargo in it despite the spare wheel has settled itself in its best possible compact form yet. The panoramic sunroof as a standard adds more value to the money.

Mercedes Benz A Class Interiors

On contrary, the only things that we had not felt had been planted as per the Mercedes Benz quality are manual adjustment of seat, and inferior quality insulation. The sounds enter the cabin so easily that at times we had not felt it is a Mercedes that is tentatively famous for the ‘cut-off from the world when sat inside’ quotient.

For the conclusion, we say interiors speak a lot about the driver’s position itself, and not much of the other passengers. And being a self-driven car, A Class is the least concentrated on the rear seating arrangement too.

Rating: 5/10.

Performance:

Performance for the A180 CGI comes from 1595cc, 4-cylinder petrol motor that sends out 122 HP @ 5000 RPM and 200 Nm @ 1250-4000 RPM. It is clearly visible when you the dab the paddle with your foot. And the icing on the cake for ‘performance section’ is the 7-speed DCT automatic transmission which is operated via pedal shifter, so no need to keep your left hand busy at all the time. This makes the city driving more comfortable than before. The short throw of gear also leaves you on the 100kmph very shortly, and easily too. It is all effortless to drive in slow city traffic, ample of acceleration and the car moves forward desirably. But to move past the other vehicles on highways, one needs to keep his car above the 3500RPM, that’s exactly where the turbo works in favour. Even if the pointer is directed down the 3.5K rpm, then down pedal shift is the answer to jazz up the car quickly. However, pedal shift is the one which has taken us luring around its bay very spontaneously and more to it the gearbox is also user friendly with smooth and slick transmission.

New Mercedes Benz A Class

Another surprise to the A Class is the gearbox again. Mercedes Benz had planted it with three modes namely Economy (E), Sport (S) and Manual (M). All these modes can be flickered at any given point of time using the pedal shift. Sports mode is made for the aspiring generation who wants to stay on redline “always”, while the economy mode is given to derive the fuel efficiency at its best.

Ride and Handling:

As we said a lot about the ride in above stanza, to specifically pin-point again, city driving was pleasurable, and the highway too wasn’t disappointing. Based on the MFA platform, A Class is one of the best vehicles to drive out on those wide arrays of roads. The steering is sharp and accurate. It takes one exactly wherever one directs it. The lightweight body and responsive steering wheel is enough cruise at highway on high speeds for all day long. And push hard, A Class doesn’t tend to bent you with the ‘understeer’ very easily. And as we had said the designers had made a lot of efforts to make A Class what it standing now, driving the same gives a feels for it too. At times when the engine shortcomings start entering the driving bay then the robust design of car takes in the shape and drives out the dwindling confidence with powerful brakes. They are on the best disc and caliper assembly that we had seen on this type of car anytime back.

Handling is also excellent too. Power to weight ratio also contributes a bit to yell out the lump on cornering but at times in high speed it hadn’t responded the way it was desired. One can swiftly finishes up the turning patches with better maneuverability and can end up eating miles due to beefy straight line acceleration. There is one more disturbance to the car, and that is the thick A pillar which obstructs the view for all of us. It is the only negative in ergonomics of driver which hadn’t fared well on our list, lest was up to the mark to derive further course of action, i.e. suspension check.

2013 Mercedes Benz A Class

Mercedes Benz A Class in India A Class

Suspension dominatingly had taken away all the brownie points that the A Class had garnered in the previous stanzas. Due to the short complexion, it can easily eat up the small bumps, but when it comes to the larger ones, the result is worst ever in case for being a Mercedes. It also filters a lot of thud in the cabin that one gets fed up while driving continuously on it for longer than usual. Even we suggest look for the larger speed breakers too. Sitting very shortly in the height, it can crash its belly against the tumbled bump if driven carelessly over it.

Meanwhile, the negative that we had faced in the ride and handling is the less powered engine; it is needed to be beefed up than what it is now. And suspension quality was also extremely poor when compared to other of the three pointed star models.

Conclusion:

Mercedes Benz A Class 180 CGI is ‘not’ even an average on driving side, instead it is more of features. Being a buff of the cosmetic load, this first of its kind premium hatchback is not that true Mercedes Benz in driving sense. We were hoping the astonishing number of ponies garnering our drive under the hood, but disappointingly we had got to say those expectations had been shattered on the floor.

2013 Mercedes-Benz A Class Back View

Except the driver’s seat nothing else was concluded to proportionate passengers appropriately on the board there. Rear seat was disastrously cramped to step inside. We recommend this vehicle to those who had a lot of money to splurge, and needs to drive alone, or sometime with just one more person, and very overtly love the German made ‘Mercedes Benz’. Lest other can choose from the other badges which are powerful enough and gives ample of spaces too. Whilst, the ongoing trend of Indian automotive industry is of the compact SUV, where one can make a choice from end number choices available there in market now. This Mercedes Benz hatchback looks like that of old school, unless the German carmaker doesn’t intends it to roll out in AMG version, which for now it is not in the mood yet.

Chevrolet Enjoy: Test Drive and Review

Meant to be for everyone, Chevrolet designers at the backend are working a lot hard to give us the best in possible Indian lines. And to be honest, we all know what it takes to make a new product launch in India. It isn’t that easy here to roll out a newbie. The Indians are more demanding, they want the entire upward nothing package at the ground touching price. And we hope that is the reason why Chevrolet couldn’t manage to make most of it in the early days of its tenure in India. Hopefully, we are not wrong to say that, with previous couple of launches (like with Sail sedan and Enjoy MPV) they are targeting the audience who stays most probably in the Tier II and Tier III cities of India. And yet they are successful in luring those audiences with following the trait of fewer prices, and more advanced product. It means the value of money is delivered by applying the basic standard in all the stances inside. But the outer crisps of product to be most luring of all and that should not compromised in factors like quality and others. Like recently they launched the Enjoy MPV for India, it was basically taken from the market of China and then shifted here with minute tweaks carried to make it specific with regards to Indian mentality.

Enjoy is basically designed by the GM’s Chinese partner Wuling, and that is the reason for it to be a bit different than other of the Chevy’s sibling like Captiva, Tavera who falls in larger-than-sedan class. When talking about the roundabouts of Enjoy we came to know, the core idea of the American carmaker is to gain brownie points over others in terms of day by day growing MP MPV segment, where the famous Toyota Innova, Maruti Ertiga Mahindra Xylo and its in-house Tavera are standing successfully in the line for quite long years. On contradiction, while looking at the price tag of Enjoy we can say that Maruti Ertiga seems the only competitor to it in the respective segment. Both of them (i.e. Ertiga and Enjoy) are targeted towards the private ownership of automobile society whilst the others are famous with tour operators bagged by yellow number plates. And looking at it one, may also comment it for a direct competitor to Nissan Evalia too, which is not false et al. To know what the Enjoy had stored for all of us, we had jolted down the notations below that we had experienced during our test drive.

Chevrolet Enjoy

Exteriors:

For the looks, Chevy had always scored 10 on 10 in our test book. All thanks to its bowtie logo, which makes the designers to work out those stances that goes perfect with the golden American badge. Not even making an exception, bowtie logo had always catered to all the Chevrolet metals around the world, and in India too there is no one who can match up to this point of Detroit based carmaker for exterior looks. Coming back to the Enjoy we learnt that, there is a lot of difference between the Evalia and Enjoy. Nissan Evalia is however like it the same way, but Chevy had done oodles of its signature on it to make a standing out statement than others in the competition. The crispy creases on bonnet, three slat front grille, chromed encircled air dam with mesh type inner lining, and hopefully the swiftly placed bowtie logo on the face, made us to drool over it.

The bulge cutting line transfusing from the headlamp to the rear is adding a new twist to the car, and accompanying him is the line travelling from the one end of wheelbase to the other one. Proportionally contoured chrome along with these lines on exteriors makes it to look a slightly niche class than the rivals. For some it maybe a kiddish comment, but truly we had found it some glimpses similar to that of luxury Limousines being seen in the cities of Europe and others. However, it is true as well, Chevrolet had designed it concluding those gossips itself, but that we will discuss later in this article, now it is to talk about the headlamps. Headlights of Enjoy are fitted in the wraparound manner and when one look at it, it gives them the feel of crowned jewel on the Chevy MPV. Those leaf shaped fog lamps are enhancing it to some additional notches. However, the length of it is not cribbed under four meter context, the carmaker should have given it with more bigger wheels than the 14inch. It looks pretty small when one would look at the car; it seems Enjoy is wearing the boxers of younger brother at the time when it could not found its own for the roll out to happen. The so huge body line and this so cramped wheel is making us to go uneasy for the exteriors at last, and then we decided to take out eyes off it, now let’s move inside to view what the surprise being stored there for us to know.

Chevrolet Enjoy Exteriors

Interiors:

Open the doors and step inside, it sits just next to one of the Limousines in Europe. Ample of spaces for everyone, two captain seats in the top end variant, the cheesy third row seat is the inclination that there is enough for every role that you play daily in your life. Whether it maybe a professional life or the family, no chances that this car would bite you back in the doom of space. Despite of any given trim level, the second row passengers are bestowed with the blowers on their head. No complaining about the chilling comfort even in summer. The AC works steamily enough to keep you cool in all the alluring Indian season but minus the “climate control” feature on this Chevy for the cost-cutting sake. Front seat are also not bad at all. They are quite comfortable in the place. The actual delight is captain seats on second row. Those couple of goose had good amount of thigh support, back support and beefy back support, but they pose disappointing results when you need to comfort yourself in the movement on twist and turns. Even the leg room is nice to fit in the tall guys. Moreover, Enjoy enjoys ‘taller headroom’ than other and easy moving space from the ‘doors to seats’. This is all because of the monocoque chassis on which the Enjoy is build. Avoidance of ladder on frame (chassis) for this one gives the ample of inches inside. Passengers can easily move in and out of it by the wide array of doors given. And as the floor is also placed lower than conventional, placing the luggage at rear and the in-out movement doesn’t find any clichés. Talking about the third row, it is a bit cramped. More to it, Chevrolet hadn’t given the option of foldable seat for second row so the last benchers have to go by crouching in between the two pilot seats of second row. However, the third row is not as spacious as the second one, but it is as par than its rivals available in the market. Sometimes, even the adults too can spend the time there, creating more legroom by moving forward the second row seats with the function given of sliding second row (seats) back and forth.

Chevrolet Enjoy Interiors

All that was about the functionality, now comes the ambience of cabin. Enjoy uses two tone dashboard which is quite simple, and at the same time boring too. The all beige color interiors gives in the feel of airy and cool cabin, but it doesn’t matches the desired quantum of quality. Plastic used of anywhere inside the car is not satisfying at all. It feels nasty and old school like the one is sitting in those Force badged and other such typical rural Indian driven vehicles. There are ample of cubbyholes on inside but most of them can’t be used due to their narrow measurements yet creepy. There is a couple of holder too on the front seat, but is capable of holding the cans, instead of ferrying the 1liter water bottles in it. We must not say this, but the plastic covered on the gear lever is also giving a nasty feel, being pitched of very cheap quality plastic. Surprisingly after this long quench of cosmetic arena, now comes the driving portion, and it all starts with the driver seat. The pilot seat is slotted in the very right manner. No fatigue at all, even going long distances. The height adjustment feature is also there to adjust you in the position you desire. Large windscreen and (relatively) slimmer A pillar spreads the road view evenly on our eyes. The simple yet bold looking dials on the speedo is not disappointing at all.

Just once again, the music player is now done with the single din and no Bluetooth at all. Complementing this lacking, the Chevy then had embellished Enjoy with a multipurpose 12V accessory charging outlet in the third row seating area. Lest, being an MPV we hadn’t mentioned about the boot space yet. Not to disappointment again, the foldable third row seat makes a way for the luggage upto 630 liters. We hope no one now had complains about it. Going on a long journey, it can swallow a kid’s small sized bicycle too in the belly, whilst more of palate would be still there to stuff in more of the cargos inside.

Drivetrain:

The fuel type what we are driving for this version is 1.3L Fiat Multijet diesel engine. Going back to original roots, GM did not have an oil burner in China for the Enjoy, and specifically for India they had made a one. If the organization would have minus the diesel from the list of MPV here, then there is not a single point cranked for launching the vehicle here on Indian roads. Hence, as an outcome, someone at the backend must have stormed his brains very strongly and may have sorted out this brilliant engineering idea to let the Chevrolet had his own piece of cake and eat it too. There is no better option than the Fiat’s 1.3L Multijet if one is considering mileage and power for an India specific diesel vehicle. The boffins at Chevrolet had taken the 1.3L Multijet, flipped it for 90degrees, and then placed it longitudinally in the engine bay. It is connected to the rear wheels, and marries a 5speed manual Wuling gearbox.

Chevrolet Enjoy Engine

Start the engine, and it settles to the idle very swiftly. There is not a ‘lot’ of vibrations coming, lest those some of them who sneak peeks through the floor. Though the engine is spongy and responsive, after getting started it vies to get the vehicle in motion as soon as possible. Starting to turbo from the 1600rpm, all the excitement goes up to the mark of 4000rpm, and then after that it dies, means that driving in city is quite effortless. No shifting the lower gears in traffic to move up the jerk of acceleration. Weighing around 1345kg, the 73bhp engine finds a lot tough to nag it around so quickly. Comparing Ertiga and Enjoy in the 0-100kmph run, the former was very quick than the latter one. In spite of getting defeated by the Maruti at early in none-to-ton sprint, Chevy is cool to fiddle the city rides. As we just said, one need not to dangle the hassle of cordoned upshift, vehicle quirks up very quickly and lean the way forward in same gear itself. It doesn’t put a lot of strain on the driver’s end while doing the rounds of urban jungle. In spite of having the swift shifting gear slots, the long throw at gear lever is deriving the loosely feel to car. While it is a diesel engine, the rev at 1200rpm produces a vibe-ful trauma in the cabin, specifically when it is being driven in start-stop city traffic. We hope that GM may bring in a solution to this problem soon.

Ride and Handling:

Enjoy uses the MacPherson struts on front and Multi Link Coil Spring on rear. Both of them are tuned in towards more of the softer note, in return they optimize this value addition to give the maximum possible comfort on potholes. Without jerking a lot, you are easily crossed the broken Indian roads, even the larger tramps also does not blow up the passenger from his seat. Meanwhile crossing the potholes, the sharp edges over rear axle tends to wade a bit more and can be felt easily on the steering when it swoops past the breakers and other ruckus of our tarmacs. Tight corners and twists are also not a serious concern for the Enjoy to steer into. It does its job perfectly, and sweeps out the dirt of it lying there inside. Sometimes, it needs to be sipped in with more nudge than the actual at these sorts of actions, because of the relatively boxy designs it tends to move outside the lane sometime. Braking too is sufficient enough.

2013 Chevrolet Enjoy

At times it too fixes you in the confusion regarding the amount of brake applied from one situation to another. So we had found a way to it, and that is give your 100% on the brake pedal to make the car stop, and don’t go for the second thought while applying those. And apart from the braking extravaganza nothing is there to point out negative in this car for ride and handling section. Steering is also light and comfortable enough. It is light for most of the time. Even feeling stiffened at places it will take you easily through the city roads very easily. There is a loose feel being observed on the open highways, but that is not so possessive when you are the behind of such a massive MPV.

Conclusion:

First of all, we are very impressed with the logic that GM had introduced to us in the form of using the Fiat’s 1.3L Multijet diesel engine that was not present in the originally rooted Chinese version. They thought of it this way, seems challenging for the engineers there at the backend. But hopefully apart from the ‘cheap quality plastic’ laded interiors, and the ‘not so refined gearbox’, there is not much for us to explain negativities about this car. The performance is good, and it also yields the mileage of 18kmpl, concluding the mixed drive of city as well as highway. Ample of spaces inside, and the more of practicality done in the seating arrangement, is capable enough of locking horns with the India famous Maruti Ertiga very aggressively. Chevy had also planted the most efficient price tag of Rs. 6.69 lakh for diesel version of Enjoy, so it comprises a lot of span in the industry like Ford EcoSport and other such. Truly, a value for money product.

Chevrolet Enjoy Back View

Image Courtesy – AutocarIndia.

Audi Q3 2.0L TFSI Petrol: Test Drive, Review

When the whole world is flowing forward, Audi is going backward, as already launched Q3 in diesel version last year and doing well with the same too, the German carmaker now rolled out the petrol avatar of that compact SUV in the spec of 2.0L TFSI petrol motor. Though whatever the things maybe on technical board, German cars always make headlines when they are being launched, and Audi Q3 TFSI is not an exception. Making the head turns due to the looks of charming aerodynamics since June last year, this newbie also sport the same things expect the difference of TFSI badge, and nothing else. To be true, there is no cosmetic change either on front or on rear, hence sometime, the not so well informed person may drag it to the same old (diesel) Q3 itself. As we all know, talking about the looks, it seems trimmed down version of Q5, but in actual it has the platform of Volkswagen Tiguan being pinned underneath. Here the question can be raised that this is not an “original Audi”, which we too accept the things, but when opening the door and settling into the seats it would not really make you feel the same. So let’s get started, dabbing the paddle and just vroom.

Ride and Handling:

As we are always hungry for the power and those high doses of octane, it is preferable to start with the ride and handling side of vehicle. Settled under the hoods with 2.0L TFSI motor Q3 feels anytime ready for the forces to be revealed from the motor. The thing is, just need to dab the accelerator and see the responses in front of you on the speedometer screens. It takes only 8.2 seconds to cross the mark of 100kmph from standstill, and moreover the three digits figures are just a few notches away from the point every time you hit 60kmph mark. We mean a quite lesser quotient than any other bug in this range when compared. Maximum, we had touched only 175kmph during our turn but we assure more of the things were there inside the funnel to come out of from the rebelling grunts of exhaust notes. Though as we all know, in India roads are insufficient for a car to test, hence we stopped at that bespoken particular point only. When rolled on an open space better results tend to fall on the counterpart of negativities, though which we hadn’t seen yet.

New Audi Q3 2.0L TFSI

Taking the gearshifts, 7 speed DCT gearbox is easy in shifting whichever the direction you want, and in any of the mode thrown at it. We liked the manual shifting very much, there were some of the cliches in between but those can be understood when the one in India will be driven by a chauffeur, and if most probably the times happen owners may drive himself too, that basically would be getting home back after the long party, it will not be point to include it in the list of don’ts for such a beauty. As per to our experience, driving it in the manual had yielded better results in terms of “efficiency” and as well as the “outputs”, meant to be cared a lot because we were (sitting) on the petrol driven motor, not the conventional diesel ones. Overall ride quality was good enough to fill in the hungry stomach of adrenaline rush. At some points, that too mentioned above as well, we were craving for more of the tarmacs to be strapped on our stride but it wasn’t, hence the were more power lying inside it, was to be revealed out as quick as possible. 7000 RPMs was the final limit that we had stroked in.

Taking the corners hadn’t felt a tough task; it was carried with ease even at high speeds. The coupe like structure at rear and front swooping aerodynamics had made everything to fall comfortably in place. When driving in sport mode, the suspension setup sometime disappointed us on the lower RPMs, but as soon as the vehicle crosses near to mid range mark, the plight of softness was its damn standard stint. Even the aluminum structured body being assimilated with the light weight hoods and tail gate, had overall enhanced the air penetrating power of Q3 by various notches. And if said, those things would be replaced with some heavy clad metal sheets then these much excitement would not be extracted from the petrol version’s list of Q3. Wait, that’s not all, we have even tried and tested it on the rough terrain, no need to blink the eyelid to get out of the dusting fuss. Q3 is a badge of luxurious compact SUV hence, no negative feedbacks from the suspensions and gear shifts as well. Gear ratios are also well planned in the petrol avatar than the diesel, so no compromise on the sort of things that you throw at it. Sand guzzling power and the near to perfect setup of McPherson struts with aluminum lower wishbones on front gropes in harsh bristles very softly.

Audi Q3 2.0 TFSI petrol

Ratings: 18/20.

Interiors:

Interiors, are no doubt of 100% Audi quality, made to last longer than the vehicle, with bits of chrome placed efficiently here and there, and also the pining of everything done very efficiently without leaving even a millimeter to escape for dust letting in. Front seats are comfortable enough, ample of leg and head room, enough thigh support and a lot more of comfort for travelling long journey. Whereas, the rear also has good amount of legroom but the headroom doesn’t fit perfect for the tall riders like me. Seating at rear had given us a clove of coupe like tendency due to the reclining roof line, but had taken headroom in its marginal trade-offs.

Audi Q3 2.0 TFSI Interiors

Ratings:  8/10.

Conclusion:

Being priced in the band of Rs 27.37 – 32.66 lakh (ex-showroom, Maharashtra) Q3 TFSI is a bit expensive in the range and also on the list of features that is putted on board for customers. Though one can say, the drive quality is good enough to put the Audi mettle at positive point but taking leaf out of the whole book we learnt, petrol is now another segment itself in the automotive industry, meant for the upright big-shots who does not care about the fuel prices and such. We did not suggest it for the switchers i.e. from diesel to petrol, who were actually waiting for this moment by the whole long year since launch, because they are addicted to those astonishing figures on the mileage clock, which they will tremendously miss out here for the sake of only a mere petrol driven comfort.

Overall Ratings: 26/30.

Audi Q3 2.0 TFSI Engine

Technical Details:

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Audi Q3 2.0 TFSI Back View

Renault Scala CVT: Test Drive

Renault is the French by nature and we expect the French wine to flow from its automobiles, to an extent it had happened with the carmaker’s famous model plate Duster in India, which had grabbed the eyeballs due to its practicality and efficient pricing too, but the rest of them wasn’t boasting a good amount of sales figure on board; and as an outcome the organization screeches to roll out different variants in the market, which now in the latest Indians are bestowed with X-Tronic CVT transmission of Scala under the 1.5L Nissan sourced petrol head.

Before dabbing our foot on the accelerator, we want to inform you that Nissan and Renault are tied together on an inked paper which leads them to share various tweaks in between, and therefore the Sunny is also rolled out in the same avatar recently. Over here in the horizon, it is learnt, except the offerings from French-Japanese alliance there are other competitors in the market, namely Honda City and Volkswagen Vento both with CVT transmissions itself, are closely eyeing these duos striding with their different lucrative strokes being offered underneath their top notching brand names.

Renault Scala CVT

Get started, pressing the accelerator had leaded us to the claimed driving force of 134 Nm torque, swift driving traction delivered between 1000-1500 RPM ratio, gaining a comfortable drive within city limits, but when the same pedal is bulked off with full efforts then the engine power is returned on the very aggressive note, must say the 80% of extract had reached only at a 50% of throttling dab, and that too with an increased engine noise, which then had jolted us to relax down our excitement in sober strata – driving the vehicle in which it is suited better. City ride was satisfying on the core and even highway too hadn’t disappointed on the results.

Renault Scala CVT inters

On inside, interiors are cool and airy flaring the sophisticated factors, with ample of legroom on back and, a decent upholstery on front. Not much of the changes appeared from that of manual guise but those bits which flicked to be the ‘new’ are fine with the overall statement. Practically the boot space is sufficient enough to store most of the luggage, not tempting to refuse for any of the trips, and instantly the cosmetic exterior appeal is also similar to its conventional sibling.

New Renault Scala CVT

Conclusion:  Scala CVT had proven the complete test worth a drive but the thing that had fussed us was ‘engine noise’ and ‘dragging-type characteristic on high revs’. Speaking technically, the reason behind this may be the steel belt drive which is good for the durability, but it is also a turn off for compromise on the minute driving tricks.

Renault Scala CVT Back View

Fuel efficiency, as per the ARAI test it is termed at 17.97 kmpl, and to be true the CVT mechanism assimilates with engine when the accelerator knob is held down, but when we release the foot from the throttle board then it gets disconnected very instantly, leaving with less strain on the drivetrain and hence more return on fuel economy per litre, even better than the conventional gearbox makes.

Rating: 6.5/10.

Skoda Superb Ambition in India: Full Review

Launched back in 2009, the Skoda Superb is one of our favorite cars in the premium sedan segment. With subtle Czech’s appeal, clever engineering and premium class interiors, you will be surprised to know that it is not a Beemer or Merc. Following rise on excise duty implied by Union Budget, several automotive brands were compelled to compensate by offering a revised price tag. Others offered stripped down variants of high-end models at a cheaper rate.

For Skoda, it is the Skoda Superb Ambition trim, the cheaper variant of the marvelous Superb sedan. We know that most of us have this picture of a cut price variant to be stripped down, low quality machine with just the essentials. Don’t mistake the same for the Skoda’s new Superb Ambition. While holding on to the same styling as top-of-the-range model, Elegance; the new Ambition trim does not compromise in terms of safety or comfort of the occupants.

Skoda Superb Ambition in India

As per the revised prices, the Skoda Superb Ambition loses the bi-xenon headlamps and panoramic sunroof, but we can live with that if asked to keep Rs 1.5 lacs on its price and get rest of the car. We cannot deny that the steering mounted controls and Bluetooth are some of the features that we’d love to have, but that aside, the model is pretty much luxurious as the higher variants.

Design:

When you look at the Superb, the first thing that cannot go unnoticed is the beastly appeal of the car. Growing in dimensions from its predecessor, the Superb measures 4838 mm in length and 1817 mm in width, while standing at 1482 mm from the ground. In cities, the Superb has great road dominance with the 2761 mm limousine like wheelbase. If you know the previous models, then you are probably very familiar with the traditional Skoda look on the exterior. Well, the Skoda Superb Ambition trim is pretty much the same, with no ‘Ambition’ tag stickering on the body panel.

On the front is the familiar Skoda grille that retains itself in the Ambition trim. Moreover, the chrome inserts across the grille and the lower on the air dam are also not sacrificed for the cut-price variant.

Skoda Superb Ambition in India

Halogen projector headlamps will now do duty instead of the Bi-xenon lamps. On the minor end, the headlight washers are also shown the door for the Ambitions variant, while it retains the auto On/Off as featured on the Elegance trim. Other noticeable retains are the fog lamps with auto bend feature and the auto folding RVM with auto-dim function and integrated indicator lights. The wing mirrors come with defogger function.

Some of the features that boats class in the Superb are the chrome door strips, and gladly, this feature still hangs on to the Ambition model. The chrome finished window frame and blackened pillars trickle down the Ambition model from the top-line Elegance trim. There is no change in the tyre specs, however, the Ambition sports a redesigned 5-spoke Spectrum alloy wheel.

Moving on the rear profile, the soft glow look tail lamps along with the chrome tipped twin exhausts seen in the Elegance are also featured in the Skoda Superb Ambition trim. The fishtail radio antenna is now replaced by a printed antenna, while the Panoramic sunroof will be missed in the new Superb. However, the iconic twin-opening boot lid of the Superb are retained in the Ambition trim. On opening the boot, you will see a strip running across the edge with the SUPERB inscribed over it along with the large Skoda brand logo.

Skoda Superb Ambition in India

Speaking of underpinnings, the Superb sports the same McPherson strut with lower triangular links and torsion stabilizer upfront, and Multi-element axle with one longitudinal and three transverse links doing duty on the rear. There is very less roll in the Superb and it drives rather effortlessly on bad roads. Skoda offers all four discs to bring to halt the beefed up machine.

Although there are certain features missing, the quality and styling of the Superb Ambition wouldn’t let you complain. In fact, you cannot make out the difference between the Ambition trim and the top-end Elegance model from the exterior features.

Features and Safety:

In terms of cabin comfort and quality, the Superb has class-defining features and the sedan is also packed with features to keep you busy on the go. Our Superb Ambition also stands by those terms and features light beige Nappa Leather upholstery. Catching up with the features of the Elegance model, the Ambition features electrically adjustable driver and front passenger seat, along with fully adjustable back lumbar support. Unlike the VW cars, the Skoda is built around the driver for improved driving comfort.

Having said that, the driver seat features programmable pre-set seating positions, for three memory settings. Sadly, the steering mounted controls will be missed out in the Ambition trim, while it retains leather finish. The steering is also fully adjustable for tilt and depth. Upfront, the speedometer is same as the one seen on the Elegance trim.

Skoda Superb Ambition interior

Competing against big-fat German rivals, the car features several chrome inserts throughout the interior of the car. The black-beige dash with wood inserts makes it way on the Ambition model form the higher variant Elegance. Other features include plastic finish dash, black-beige door pads, chunky switchgear, auto headlamps and single CD/Radio system.

However, the top-range model plays the system on eight speakers all together with 6-CD changer. Climate control with dual vents at B-pillar will do service for the rear seat passengers. The front and rear parking sensors of the Elegance are replaced for single front parking sensor in the Skoda Superb Ambition.

As we said, seating was never a problem in the Skoda, and the car is completely built around the driver. Skoda has not compromised in terms of size and quality of the Ambition trim and there is ample legroom at the rear seat despite the large boot space.

While the traction control system is stripped off the Ambition trim, the automatic rain sensing wiper still comes as standard. Though the sunroof is missing, the dark interior elegance is maintained thanks to the incabin lighting package that includes the Cat Vision (under dash, seats) lights, footwell lights, door pad warning lights, reading lamps, vanity mirror lamp, glove box light and the boot light.

Skoda Superb Ambition interior

Despite the large legroom that the rear passengers enjoy, the Superb Ambition gets ridiculously large boot space with 565 liters capacity, extendable to 1700 liters with the rear seats folded. The Superb Ambition does lose a bit on the interior package, but it is a lot more in terms of quality and styling.

Although the Ambition is a cut price variant, Skoda has not compromised in terms of safety. The Superb Ambition comes with front dual airbags and side curtain airbags for front & rear. Also standard is the height adjustable seatbelts and active front head restraints. ABS and EBD continue to do duty in the Ambition, though the Cruise control option is left out.

We can say that there was room for more design features in the Superb, but it looks classy as any German luxury limo. It is the right car for a corporate associate who demands luxury without pulling the attention of the crowd.

Performance:

Skoda offers some hot diesel and petrol options for the Skoda Superb Ambition trim. For the petrol trim, there is a 1.8-litre TSI engine that pumps out a staggering 160 bhp peak power together with 250 Nm torque. The DOHC inline-four cylinder engine gives a fuel-economy of 11.5 kmpl. There is ample power under the hood waiting for you to step on the pedal. It comes with a six-speed manual gearbox with intelligent gear ratios to give improved drivability. In traffic, it does have an extra edge with the enormous torque, but then it won’t win you any signal light drag races.

Skoda Superb Ambition in India

For the diesel option, Skoda offers a 2.0-litre Turbocharged diesel engine that is good for 140 bhp output and 320 Nm of torque. Though it isn’t as powerful as the petrol version, it is the better option over the petrol motor with the remarkable toque figure. Fuel economy figures stands at 10.1 kmpl. The cabin is silent at low revs and you won’t feel the massive 2.0-litre turbo under the hood. But as you step on the pedal, the engine just roars and the 140 bhp monster unleashes. Mated to the CR TDi diesel motor is a 6-speed DSG automatic gearbox with Tip-Tronic pedal shifts for manual shifting.

The DSG transmission comes with intelligent dual clutch, which operates the 1,3,5 gears on one clutch and 2,4,6 on the other, giving max torque at all engine rpm. Paddle shifting is also fun on the go, which is possible with the Tip-Tronic option. The steering is surprisingly light unlike VW cars, and it just cruises through the traffic effortlessly.

Prices (ex-showroom):

  • Skoda Superb Ambition 1.8 TSI MT :    Rs 18,32,000
  • Skoda Superb Ambition 2.0 TDI CR AT :     Rs 22,90,000