Summer has set in and it is unusually hot. Blame it on the global warming thing but then eventually one has to bear it over. Even with the AC on full clip, I have seen many people sweating and this isn’t limited to the home AC but also to a car AC. This actually gave me a thought as to which car AC within the Rs 12 lakhs bracket would be the best. For this gargantuan task, we compiled a list of the cars which are scorching the sales chart according to their respective manufacturers. Not only this, we had to check out the standard procedure of rating the car’s AC. For this one of our staffers came up with an idea. Why not preheat the interiors of the cars by making them stand in the scorching sun and then start the AC and the drive the car for a fixed distance of 15 kms? Yes, this idea should do it. Next, we had to select the route and it was finally decided that it would be a mix of highway and city driving. The area near Majiwada junction connecting the Kalyan Bhiwandi bypass was selected along with Ghodbunder road to add to the city highway mix. So what we have got here is that once the cars are started after being baked in the sun, the AC would be kept on full blast. Electronic thermometers made their way inside the cars to check for the heat quotient. Though the cooling performance of a car depends vastly on its greenhouse, it also shows as to what manufacturers can do to ensure that their products reign supreme in this competitive world.
Fiat Grande Punto : While the Fiat Grande Punto may be a capable hatch and one which has done the job of reviving Fiat’s fortunes in India, it is still not the first choice amongst many car buyers. For the overall distance, the Fiat Grande Punto’s AC could only chill the cabin to 32.9 degree Celsius.
Fiat Palio : The Fiat Palio is Fiat’s oldest warhorse in India. It shares some of its components with the Grande Punto and hence recorded an almost similar temperature of 33 degree Celsius.
Maruti Alto K10 : The Alto K10 is the recent upgraded version which has seen an engine change and also some styling revisions. The Alto’s managed just to be just better than that of the Fiat twins by recording a temperature of 30.8 degree Celsius.
Hyundai Santro Xing : The smallest offering from the Korean company had impressed us in its real world AC performance however with the statistics coming into play, it managed to cool down the cabin temperature to 31.2 degree Celsius. Seems that the time has come now for Hyundai to give it a salute and retire it. But then recently I saw an ad on the telly showing Hyundai coming up with a new variant with some goodies thrown in. Must salute their “Never Say Die” attitude.
Chevrolet Spark : This small car offering from Chevrolet certainly wasn’t much of a performer in the AC stakes even when we had compared it recently and with the statistics thrown in, it cooled down the cabin to 30.4 degree Celsius. Just about average.
Maruti Ritz : The Maruti Ritz has always impressed us with its all round abilities and now it was the time of its AC to impress us all. The Ritz’s AC cooled the cabin down to 28.2 degree Celsius from the scorching 50 degrees that it was in. Awesome for a small car is what we can say on this one.
Hyundai i10 : The recently face lifted Hyundai i10 displayed good performance from its engine and its light cheery interiors seem to be a good place to be in. Now, you would have one more reason for buying this Korean and that is its AC. The AC brought down the temperature to 28.6 degree Celsius.
Tata Nano : The smallest car in this comparison, the Tata Nano was the dark horse amongst the lot. It recorded better figures than all the aforementioned cars with its final reading standing at 27.8 degree Celsius. This inspite of an engine which almost intrudes inside the cabin. Impressive car with wide variety of talents.
Tata Indica Vista : The Vista with a larger greenhouse than the Tata Nano also was one of the better hatchbacks in this category with the temperatures plummeting to 29 degree Celsius in the designated route.
Maruti A-star : The Maruti A-star may not have set the sales chart on fire however its air conditioner’s capacity to reduce the heat inside the cabin is tremendous. The AC reduced the temperature to 27.6 degree Celsius from 50 degree Celsius.
Chevrolet Beat : The funky new Beat has everything going for it including its climate control system which cooled the cabin to 27.5 degree Celsius. The Beat’s AC coil and condenser system is definitely uprated than that of the Spark.
Nissan Micra : The Nissan Micra is the bread and butter model of the Nissan lineup. The Micra went one step up above that of the Beat by cooling the cabin to 27.3 seconds. The compact looking Micra is small in dimensions but best on features and interior space. Now even the AC works in its favor.
VW Polo : The Volkswagen Polo is the premium hatch which has been bringing in good business to the VW brand. However its AC doesn’t seem to be as powerful as its exterior looks suggest. The cabin temperature came down to 28.7 degree Celsius during the course of our test route.
Hyundai I20 : Hyundai cars have always performed well in AC tests however this time around, the tables were turned for the small big hatch, the i20. The i20’s cabin was cooled only to 29.6 degree Celsius from the 50 degree standard.
Skoda Fabia : The VW Polo’s cousin, the Skoda Fabia, also had similar performance like the VW car, standing at an overall 29 degree Celsius. Both the Polo and the Fabia have larger greenhouses to cool and this may be taking a toll in cooling the cabin effectively.
Honda Jazz : The biggest of the hatchbacks, the Honda Jazz has wide talents and cooling the cabin effectively can be called as one of its talents. Our thermometer showed the temperature as 27.2 degree Celsius after the test run. Impressive enough for a car with such a large greenhouse.
Ford Figo : The small car which ran away with all the accolades for the year 2010,m the Ford Figo, amazed us with its cooling speed, which cooled the baked cabin to 26.4 degree Celsius, in our test run. Not only is the car highly capable but it can now be also called as one of the coolest cars one can own with a strict budget on hand.
Chevrolet U-VA : The long forgotten spacious hatch from GM, the Chevrolet U-VA can teach a trick or two to the new breed of hatches. It cooled the cabin down by almost half the temperature at which it started at, with the final result reading as 25.4 degree Celsius.
Maruti Estilo : The recently revamped Estilo, which shares its mechanical bits with the rest of the Marutis attained a cabin temperature of 25.8 degree Celsius during the course of our test route.
Maruti Swift : The 5 year old car from Maruti still has a lot of life left in it with its climate control system cooling down the cabin to 26.4 degree Celsius on the route of our test.
Maruti Wagon R : Not only does the Wagon R share its engine with the Estilo but it also shares its AC components. However it bettered the figures of the Maruti Estilo by cooling the cabin temperature to 24.5 degree Celsius.
Toyota Etios : The Toyota Etios is Toyota’s newest baby in the Indian sedan segment. It is Toyota’s cheapest offering as well in the Indian car market. However the AC cooling wasn’t at its best with the cabin temperature dropping to 33.7 degree Celsius during the course of the test.
Tata Indigo Manza : The Manza Elan showed why Tata cars are much better in the AC stakes than the other cars in its comparison. The cabin temperature reached 28.7 degree Celsius from where it started at.
Fiat Linea : The Fiat Linea is one Italian beauty which will mesmerize everyone with its looks however inside the cabin, things really seem hot as this beauty doesn’t cool the cabin temperature as effectively as the others in its segment. The cabin temperature read as 36.7 degree Celsius.
Chevrolet Aveo : The Aveo, the long forgotten cousin of the U-VA hatchback makes its presence felt in the cooling department with the cabin reaching temperatures of 29.4 degree Celsius during our tests.
Maruti SX4 : The SX4, though having an automatic climate control system still doesn’t manage to cool the cabin as effectively as its competitors. The cabin temperature reached only 29.9 degree Celsius after all the heavy blowing that the vents were doing.
Mahindra Verito : The newly christened Mahindra Verito sedan has got some equipment to boast of as also some design elements to stray away from the boxy earlier design. Like, we must have experienced in Meru cabs, the AC of this car performs extremely well and even in the Verito, it managed to cool the cabin to 27.8 degree Celsius.
Ford Fiesta Classic : Like its smaller sibling, the Figo, the Ford Fiesta also impressed us with its all round abilities with the Fiesta Classic’s AC cooling the cabin to 28.6 degree Celsius. The 2011 variant which is just around the corner will definitely better this performance by the AC.
Maruti Dzire : Like the others from its stable, apart from the SX4, the Maruti Dzire cooled our sun burnt backs to an impressive 24.2 degree Celsius. This inspite of using the small 1.2 liter K series petrol engine from the Ritz.
Hyundai Accent : The recently refreshed Hyundai Accent has long gone past its prime however it still soldiers on in India. Like the others of its ilk, a strong AC is one of its prime attractions. This Korean work horse recorded 26.8 degrees Celsius, which belying its size is a real impressive figure.
Hyundai Verna : The Hyundai Verna that we tested isn’t the 2011 model, which would be launched shortly however if the 2010 model can cool the cabin to 27.5 degree Celsius, then the 2011 version would definitely go one up and best this figure.
And now comes the best one out of all these cars and not surprisingly, it’s a German, the Volkswagen Vento
Volkswagen Vento : The Vento is Volkswagen’s newest success story and such a story that it has given the Honda City’s established script sleepless nights. Not only did the VW Vento reach a chilling temperature of 24.1 degree Celsius, it also managed to have an equally cool temperature of 8.4 degree Celsius at its vents.
Thus comes to an end, the exhausting closure of the topic as to which car has the best AC amongst cars within the Rs 10 lakhs mark. Above the Rs 10 lakh mark, there are many cars which would definitely have a strong go and maybe sometimes later, we would conduct one more test wherein we can just go on about the best AC in the above Rs 10 lakhs category. Watch out for it folks.