Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 Price & Performance

OVERVIEW ;

The current leader in car sales in India is the Maruti Suzuki Alto and fortunately for buyers, there isn’t just one engine on offer but a performance K10 option too. There was a time I really admired the Alto, I remember it being launched in India in 2000 but it was only in 2001 that I really started liking the small car. It was when I was in my teenage years and had gone to get the family’s Esteem serviced. It was then that I first sat in an Alto VXi. Now I mention VXi because the difference between LX and VX wasn’t just features (the latter also had a tacho) but also engine. The VXi was also called as the Alto 1.1 as it was equipped with a 1061cc F10D, 4-pot motor (the Wagon R too used this engine but the Zen didn’t as it was powered by a 1000cc motor, the same that was in the Maruti 1000). This was good enough for 64 PS and 80 Nm, what a rocket that was. Fast forward to 2015 and we have the Alto K10 which has been given a thorough revision and an AMT gearbox (Auto Gear Shift in Maruti speak), does it connect me to those days? Check Ex Showroom Price of Alto K10

EXTERIORS ;

The new Alto K10 sports a completely new look. It still shares it doors and roof with the 800 version but the rest of the panels – the bonnet, the front fenders, the tail gate and even the bumpers are unique to the K10. It has larger, more contemporary looking head lamps; a more aggressive air dam design; and it sits on larger 13 inch wheels. Overall, the new K10 still looks like an Alto as we know it, but it has a younger, sportier aura to it now. And in this top of the line VXI option trim, it also gets body coloured outside review view mirrors and body side moulding to give it a plusher feel. Exchange your old car for Alto K10

INTERIORS ;

The interior of the Maruti Alto K10 is totally fresh when compared to its 800cc sibling. The console and the dash has a black and beige tone with the instrument cluster having features like the USB option and aux input and a mp3 player. The buttons are big and clear and hence easy and convenient to use. This new centre console is a welcome after the old Alto 800 styling, which does look outdated.

The Maruti Alto K10 gets new rich beige fabric seats to add a pinch of richness in the cabin. The cabin space is sufficient and feels airy. The front row seats are comfortable for even long drives. In the second row there is sufficient kneeroom even for tall people and there is enough head room as well, but the thigh support could have been better.

ENGINE ;

The Alto K10 AMT has the same engine and transmission pair as the Celerio, but thanks to a lower weight, the Alto K10 feels a wee bit quicker. It is very sprightly off the line and it’s only when you reach speeds north of 70-80 km/h that the engine starts feeling a bit strained. The biggest talking point here, however, is the 5-speed AMT. This unit feels smooth and the jerks at lower rpms are well contained. When driven with a light foot the gear changes are relaxed and happen at a relatively low rpm

DRIVING ;

On the short 70 kilometre drive the Alto showcased just how brilliant its ride quality is especially in urban areas over some rough roads. The gas-charged shock absorbers on a MacPherson strut assembly at the front and a 3-link rigid axle at the rear give it superb low speed absorption qualities. However, as the speed builds up and the corners get tighter or the surface undulating, you realise just how woefully inadequate this suspension is. There is a lot of body roll and you need to be able to react quickly enough to offset the suspension getting upset at being pushed hard around corners. The Maruti Suzuki Alto therefore is best experienced between the speeds of 60-80kmph and anything beyond is just asking it to perform over and above its station.

The steering too is reasonably precise at lower speeds with enough weight to give you a well connected feel but as you go faster it gets vague and the communication between steering wheel and tyres a bit disconnected.

CONCLUSION ;

The Alto K10 is a move in the right direction by Maruti Suzuki. It has a lot of short comings, but the major flaw of the Alto has been answered, it is no more sluggish and never feels out of breath, something which the 800cc Alto could never boast about. It is the fastest car you can get at that price point and is economical too. The performance of the K10 motor very well makes up for all its short comings and if some one wants a pocket rocket, this is it. Add some good rubber and a few short comings of the Alto K10 will be resolved. There is truly no alternative to the Alto K10 and Maruti Suzuki have opened a new segment, the econo-hot hatch one.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Engine & Gearbox

QVERVVIEW ;

The Baleno RS has arrived as a landmark offering for Maruti Suzuki since it is also a debut of the brand’s first turbocharged petrol motor – a 1-litre, three cylinder unit which shows a lot of promise. For a brand so deeply rooted in diesel power and efficiency, this is a big deal. However, some would say Maruti is simply playing catch-up to the Germans and the Italians (Read: VW Polo GT TSI and Fiat Punto Abarth) in the still-nascent field of affordable hot hatchbacks. Find best offers on Baleno RS

It isn’t common for a mainstream hatch to deliver on speed, practicality and efficiency in equal measure, but the Baleno RS has that specific brief nailed. More on that later though. Coming back to the heart of the matter, in a few years this new turbocharged engine will certainly replace the existing 1.2-litre K Series NA motor. We got acquainted with it earlier this year when we drove the Baleno RS at the BIC, coming away impressed overall. However, now it’s time to gauge the car’s real-world credentials and limitations through a full road test treatment.

EXTERIORS ;

The Baleno RS is the textbook definition of ‘understated’ as far as the exterior design goes. In terms of cosmetic add-ons or upgrades over the standard car, there’s nothing major to report – upfront there’s a slightly different grille and at the back you will find a racier-looking rear bumper and the RS emblem. The alloy wheels, too, come from the standard car but are finished in gloss black for a meaner stance. Lastly, there’s the tastefully executed body kit (including the front lip, side and rear skirts) which goes great with the dark blue paint on our test car

INTERIORS ;

Inside the Baleno RS cabin, there is no change compared to the standard car. We were fairly impressed with the interior of the Baleno, and that is not simply restricted to the way the dashboard or the instrument cluster looks. The all-black look continues to charm, while the materials used and the fit & finish are good for the segment it will play in. The only doubt we have here is whether the consumers would expect some sporty elements in the interiors to go with the RS badge

PERFORMANCE ;

Under the hood, the Baleno RS gets a 1 litre, 3-cylinder, turbocharged petrol engine. Now since Maruti Suzuki has never done forced induction petrol engines in the past, the Baleno Boosterjet engine is completely new technology for it. The engine makes a substantial 101 bhp and 150 Nm. Despite being turbocharged, the max power and peak torque output is well spread out across the rev range and the engine almost feels like it is naturally aspirated, with very little turbo lag. Of course what everyone really wants to know is how the car’s outright performance is! And on that front too, the Baleno RS does not disappoint

Power delivery is very linear and the RS accelerates well on its way to three digit speeds. On the back straight at the BIC, we hit speeds of just over 160 kmph in fourth gear with the car still eager to accelerate more. Another point to note is that Maruti has not gone for an automatic gearbox like some of its competition and stuck to a 5-speed manual gearbox only. The gearbox isn’t as short and slick as that on the Swift but still feels very rewarding when shifting extremely quickly. Now if you are wondering why the Indian spec Baleno RS is almost 10 bhp down on power as compared to its global counterpart – blame it on the quality of fuel that our country has to offer. When BS VI fuel comes in, the Baleno RS will have the potential to match its international counterpart’s output at 110 bhp.

Baleno RS does get a slightly retuned suspension as compared to the standard car as it is slightly heavier. But a lower ride height and stiffer suspension setup should have been standard given the car’s sporty claim. That would have definitely differentiated the RS from its competition – and also more substantially from the regular Baleno too. So unfortunately the RS has a lot of body roll, especially when we took it to its limit on the track. The RS does get disc brakes all around – which is a good thing – 14 inch up front and 13 inch at the rear. As a result, the braking on the car has improved by leaps and bounds. On the safety side, ABS and two airbags come as standard – in keeping with Nexa portfolio products.

SAFETY ;

The Baleno RS has been launched as a single variant (Alpha). It is equipped with dual airbags, seatbelts with pre-tensioners and force limiters, disc brakes in all wheels, ABS with EBD, and has ISOFIX child-seat restrain anchorages. Driver seatbelt reminder buzzer with lamp and rear parking sensors with camera are among the other safety features

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

The Baleno RS has gained 60 kgs over the regular model and the carmaker has retuned the suspension making it a tad stiffer. The steering weighs up beautifully and the handling is much better than the regular Baleno. It now feels more eager to turn in and that inspires confidence at high speeds. To keep up with the performance, Maruti has got rear disc brakes to improve stopping power and the brakes really feel more effectiv

BOTTOM LINE ;

The Baleno RS’s ride quality is very similar to the regular Baleno. The front suspension has been tweaked a bit with stiffer coils to handle the slight increase in weight. But the track isn’t the best place to test ride quality.

What the Baleno Rs. lacks in is drama. I would have liked to have seen more visual differentiators at least. More so, because there is nothing aurally different about the new engine. But, the bottomline is that the Baleno Rs. is still firmly in the premium small car segment; it is just a level sportier than its regular variant. And that is a perfectly good position to be in. At least, it is a start for Maruti Suzuki to plan real RSs in the future. Next, can we get a true blue Rs. on the Swift please?

Renault Duster Price & Performance

OVERVIEW ;

It was the Renault Duster that had kicked off a storm in the affordable SUV segment in India. Before the Duster arrived, the Mahindra Scorpio and Tata Safari were ruling the roost but Renault clearly knew what the Indian buyer wanted. The Duster became quite a success story and it also established the Renault brand in India. However, it’s been almost 4 years since this SUV was launched and it started feeling very outdated, what with rivals coming up with far more polished vehicles. Renault has now given the Duster a new lease of life so let’s see what we’ve got here.

EXTERIORS ;

For starters, the Duster facelift isn’t much different to begin with from the original Duster. You do get blacked out and upgraded headlights that look quite futuristic with it’s distinct cuts and details and a set of new tail lights with a very unique LED lighting pattern. What you also get is a new grille that is better styled than the older one. And then there are the new wheels. Now although some like this blacked out design, we think Renault could have given us a far sportier and slightly larger set of wheels on this new Duster. Find best offers on Duster

You also get a set of silver skid plates on the front and the rear bumper and a chrome exhaust tip that adds to the look. The overall SUV look of the Duster combined with the wide stance are still very much as they are and all these smaller updates actually help accentuate it. Although a little late to the party, the upgrades on the Duster make it look quite nice and modern and personally I prefer the simplistic lines on this car as compared to the over the top design of some other SUVs in its segment. As a final note on the design, we personally love this new and bold orange shade that the Duster now comes in.

INTERIORS ;

The cabin is quintessentially Renault, from the odd-numbered speedometer, the large steering wheel, sub-par plastics to the quirky layout overall. When the Duster was introduced in 2012, poor interior surface feel was one of its main shortcomings. Now, though, Renault has improved the quality of the surfaces, there is still a low-rent feel to the doors and centre console surrounds… more on this later.

Coming to the design and layout, the previous model’s old-school design has made way for a somewhat modern look. The combination of black and brown upholstery and silver highlights across the centre console and the door panels do a good job of hiding the cabin’s age. The centre console’s layout is pretty minimalistic with the central fascia dominated by a touchscreen infotainment system responsible for almost all the functions on board. Rounding out the major changes to the dash are the revised air-conditioning controls which are set painfully low. Mind you, this isn’t the only quirk in here. The driver’s seat height adjuster still requires bit of an effort to operate and having separately placed buttons on the steering wheel and the centre console for the cruise control isn’t the brightest of ideas either. Thankfully, the rear-view mirror controls are no longer underneath the handbrake and are now on the driver’s side panel.

As for space and comfort, the Duster remains unchanged and in no way that’s a bad thing. The front seats are just about the right size and offer enough back and knee support. They also helped us to limit fatigue over a full day of full-on driving. More importantly, the rear-seat space is also plentiful with better thigh support than the competition. What’s noticeably changed, though, is the amount of standard equipment; Renault is finally offering climate control for top-spec variants while other highlighting features include rear-view camera with guidelines and an updated touchscreen infotainment system. All in all, the Duster’s cabin still doesn’t feel as premium as the competition, but there’s no denying that it’s more appealing than before. If anything, it’s certainly more luxurious than its badge-engineered sibling, the Nissan Terrano.

PERFORMANCE ;

The Renault Duster comes with the same 1.5-litre dCi diesel powerplant in two states of tune – 84bhp and 109bhp. There’s also a 1.6-litre petrol engine mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. The biggest addition though is of the automated manual transmission (AMT) on the more powerful diesel version. Renault also claims to have improved the packaging of the engine bay and have strengthened it in key areas to improve safety.

The AMT gearbox is available in the top RxL and RxZ variants and comes only in front-wheel-drive guise. Let’s start with the positives. This is by far the best iteration of the AMT we have experienced till date, across makes. This ZF-sourced system works well on the highway and part throttle gearshifts are relatively smooth. You also get a creep function which is a boon in stop-start traffic

But as soon as you put your foot down you get that typical AMT pause as the hydraulic actuators struggle to downshift quickly enough to keep up the momentum. Even in stop-start traffic, power delivery can be jerky and upshifts at lower speeds feel painstakingly slow. It’s in the manual mode that this gearbox feels the best and there is a way of getting around this drawback by just lifting off before every shift. Unfortunately, this defeats the whole purpose of having an automatic in the first place.

Despite the slow gearbox, performance figures are quite impressive with 100kmph coming up in 13.61 seconds. But it’s in the drivability test where the Duster AMT suffers as it takes 8.08 seconds for the 20-80kmph dash and 10.46 seconds in the 40-100kmph kickdown. This makes it nearly two seconds slower than the Hyundai Creta automatic on both drivability runs.

We also sampled the AWD version of the Duster and as before we came away really impressed. The AWD variant uses shorter gearing as compared to the 4X2 variant and this helps its drivability considerably. There is loads of pulling power from the word go and even at speeds as low as 20kmph you can easily pull away in third gear. Renault seems to have made the clutch lighter too which makes town driving a hassle free affair.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

The New Renault Duster AMT is surprisingly a delight to drive. What came to notice instantly is that it responds well to throttle inputs. Drive with a heavy foot and the upshifts get delayed, thereby providing adequate power. The AMT is very easy to drive in the city. The good part is that the usual lag during shifts, that AMTs have, is reduced and is hardly felt while driving in a relaxed manner. Its only when you push the New Renault Duster AMT hard that the lag is evident.

Another impressive thing about the New Renault Duster AMT was that while driving in the manual mode, rev-limiter comes in to play only beyond 5000 rpm. This gives ample room to the driver for maneuvering the SUV as desired and is especially useful while driving in hilly areas and ghats. I would’ve preferred a slightly taller gear selector lever in the AMT. The lever in the New Renault Duster AMT feels a tad short and hence one needs to stretch out a bit more than normal, while driving in manual mode.

SAFETY ;

Talking about safety, the 2016 Renault Duster comes with dual front airbags and ABS. The AMT transmission also gets features like Hill Hold and ESP. There is also a traction control system on offer which does its job pretty well should you decide to have some fun around the twisties. In terms of after-sales service, Renault does have a not-so-good network and it just doesn’t match the quality levels of Hyundai for that matter.

VERDICT ;

Despite the automobile scenario being a bit dull overall, the Duster has still come in at just the right time for Renault India. While it is still going to be a tough task to keep the tempo going for the Duster, it is quite clear that it is not without reason that prospective buyers are queuing up for test drives and causing traffic jams outside Renault showrooms around the country.

Fiat Linea Classic Facelift Review

OVERVIEW ;

The Fiat Linea Classic is a beautiful car, make no mistake about it. The Linea has been sold for quite a few years in the Indian market though it has not really set the charts on fire in terms of sales. However, there’s no denying that it is a beautiful car. However, the expensive price tag of the regular Linea has put it out of reach of the masses. Fiat has now taken a cue from Ford and has launched a version of the Linea at a more affordable price point. The company has chopped prices by removing some features instead of developing a whole new sub 4m Linea. Check Ex Showroom Price of Linea Classic

EXTERIORS ;

Its image is well designed with plenty of aesthetics that make it look very elegant. Its front fascia consists of a bumper which is in body color. This is available to all the variants as a standard feature. While the front radiator grille in the top end is in silver, rest have it in black. Whereas, grille has chrome over its surround. On its either sides, there are dual parabola headlamps integrated. Outside door handles as well as the outside rear view mirrors are painted in body tone. There are steel wheels integrated to all the trims, while the top end is offered with wheel covers. The rear end has a sleek boot lid with a pair of radiant tail lamps surrounding it. This also has a company emblem in the center along with the other standard variant badging as well. Request test drive for Linea Classic in Cazprice

INTERIORS ;

The Linea Classic comes with a grey dashboard with beige seats and accent pieces. The dashboard is quite similar to the Linea T-Jet though several features of the regular car are missing here. The Classic has a conventional knob-type air conditioning system in comparison to climate control offered in higher spec vehicles. The Classic Plus does get a climate control air conditioning option though. The infotainment system also seems to be dated. The Blue and Me Bluetooth setup is missing along with USB and Aux input.The car also gets manually adjusted rear view mirrors instead of electronically adjusted ones. There are no steering mounted controls and the instrument binnacle has been revamped. The seats have also been revamped and are definitely not as comfortable as the regular sedan. However, there is ample space as compared to several vehicles at a similar price point. There is a supersized boot in place as well.

PERFORMANCE ;

When Fiat launched the Linea Classic, we all were skeptical about how it would perform as the 1.3-litre Multijet diesel engine only outputs 75 BHP of power and 190 Nm of torque, which is down on the regular Linea’s 90 HP and 209 Nm. Considering the regular Linea isn’t quick and the Linea Classic also weighs as much, we were expecting disappointing performance. However the Linea Classic has surprised us with the way it moves. The engine lacks VGT which has somehow become a blessing for the car in city conditions. Unlike the VGT equipped Linea diesel, this lower output motor has turbolag well contained which gives it slick performance in the city.

The Linea Classic’s mill is very tractable and power delivery is linear. You will never feel the lack of ponies in city conditions. Want to amble around town at 20 km/hr, sure you can do that in third gear without a hitch. 100 km/hr comes up in third gear near the redline while cruising on the highways in top gear at 100 km/hr will make the tacho needle tick at around 2500 RPM. What further complements the Linea Classic’s drivability is the light clutch with a dead pedal although the gearbox is a bit resistant and isn’t a fast shifting unit. One can expect a mileage of 14 km/l in the city and 16 km/l on the highway with 100% AC usage.

The meat of the performance comes between 2000-3500 RPM and post that the Linea Classic’ powerplant really starts to lose breath. NVH levels are good in the lower part of the powerband but once past 3000 RPM, the oil burner starts becoming audible and is very loud post 4000 RPM. The motor itself is very lethargic in the higher end of the power band and redline comes in at 5100 RPM. This isn’t a car you would want to rev hard as there is no top end power. Thus the Linea Classic doesn’t far well in outright acceleration and 0-100 km/hr takes around 18 seconds. You need to downshift on the highways to get going while overtaking.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

With regards to the braking mechanism of this sedan, front wheels are equipped with ventilated disc brakes whereas, the rear ones have a pair of standard drum brakes. It is further integrated with an anti-lock braking system with an electronic brake-force distribution. This will allow the driver to have stronger control over the vehicle over all kinds of roads. In case of suspension, the front axle has an independent wheel whereas, the rear axle is mated with a torsion beam type suspension. These axles are integrated with helical coil springs with double acting telescopic dampers along with a stabilizer bar. A hydraulic based power assisted steering is bestowed for much efficient handling along with tilt adjustment facility. About 5.4 meters of its minimum turning radius is very useful, particularly on narrow roads.

SAFETY ;

The Fiat Linea Classic feature anti-lock braking system in Classic plus and Classic plus alloy wheel variant of Multijet diesel version. The safety features such as engine immobilizer, double crank prevention system, fire prevention system are available in all Linea Classic variants.

VERDICT ;

The Linea Classic is definitely one of the most beautiful, spacious and comfortable sedans out there and the price point is particularly attractive as well. If you can make do with the lack of some features, this is the car for you. To know more about Fiat Cars in India, visit here for more details.

 

Skoda Superb Features & Specifications

OVERVIEW ;

That name was also met with wry amusement when the previous Superb was launched in 2001. But Skoda had the last laugh, for that Superb, based on the previous Passat with its wheelbase stretched for space, was a better car than the VW and rode British roads much more serenely. Check Price of Superb

Still, if Skoda’s hefty new car is to gain credibility, then it needs a USP. That’ll be the Twindoor, in which the bootlid either hinges open conventionally or can stay rigidly attached to the rear window as the whole assembly opens to reveal a vast load bay. A conventional estate version is also available. This Twindoor boot, together with enormous rear legroom, make the Superb unique in its sector, if indeed it occupies any known sector.

EXTERIORS ;

The exterior design remains the same across all variants and is impossible to judge from the outside about the variant of the car since none of the variants carry any badge. The long face comes with a large Skoda logo and the classic Fabia like grill along with the chrome inserts across and the lower on the air dam giving that nose a bold smart look. This fairly imposing front look makes you forget its enormous length of this car. Request test drive Superb in Cazprice

The Halogen Projector headlamps replace the Bi-Xenon headlights head lamp. The headlights retain the auto On/Off feature. The front fog lamps also remains along with the cornering feature (Turn Lights) on them. The exteriors rear view mirrors auto foldsand have the turn lights integrated in them. Thesemirrors also have the auto dimming feature which useful while driving at nights.

The car looks long and wide from the side.The doors come with chrome strip that givesthe car rich a look. The windows boarders also get the chrome detailing around them while the pillars are blacked out identical to that on the Skoda Superb Elegance. The rear door is huge so you know inside the car leg and head room is not an issue. From the back it looks a bit different it feels plain and a bit disconnected from the front. The tail lamps have a soft glow and run a bit on to the booth lid. Unlike other cars the way the model name is written this is something new, in most car the badge is on one side. The little bit of chrome on the booth lid is subtle and comes with an integrated little lip making a statement with being in your face

INTERIORS ;

Once seated in the driver’s seat, you will be delighted with the brilliant visibility over the bonnet that is on offer. The dual tone shades for the cabin really light up the ambience. However, Skoda could have imparted a better design for the dashboard. Areas around the centre console and door pads imparted a bland unexciting feel. That said, little details like the silver accents around the vents, touchscreen and gear shifter do add a nice touch to the overall appearance. All the buttons are spread out in an accessible manner and finding a function should not be a chore.

While the front electric seats have nice contours to hold you in place and also offer appropriate support for the back, it lacked enough under thigh support. Well, the Superb’s rear was always the talk of the town and this will rightly continue. Occupants can enjoy even more legroom thanks to the overall increase in dimensions. There is no denying that it is the rear portion of the cabin that will make it stand clear of its opponents. The rear can seat three passengers easily and there is enough head and shoulder room too. However, the lack of proper under thigh support was again sighted. 625 litres of luggage can be swallowed by the boot whose lid opens like a hatchback, unlike the earlier double opening boot lid design that has been canned.

Highlights of the equipment list on the Style variant are keyless entry, a 6.5-inch colour touch screen infotainment system, leather seats, electric driver seat and bi-xenon headlamps with curve light assistant. Buyers also get eight airbags, multi collision brake, parking sensors with camera and dual-zone climate control. Unique additions to the L&K variant are the three-zone climate control, electric boot lid, boss button (front passenger seat position electrically controlled from rear seat), cooled front seats, fatigue detection and a virtual pedal (contact free access for the boot).

PERFORMANCE ;

Powering the Skoda Superb are two engine options – 2.0-litre diesel and 1.8 litre petrol. The 2.0-litre TDI produces 177 PS of power at 3600 RPM and 350 Nm of peak torque at 1500-3500 RPM. We only got the 1.8 TSI DSG variant to test at the drive which makes 180 PS of power at 5100 RPM and 250 Nm of torque at 1250-5000 RPM. There is no hint of turbolag in this motor and it goes off the mark quite briskly. As you rev up the motor, the progress gets more stronger. The entire rev range is silky smooth and never does the engine feels strained or overworked. Redlining this engine is a bliss, which comes up around 7000 RPM. It sounds very sporty as you rev higher but no vibrations filter through the cabin. NVH levels are supreme and the cabin is very well insulated.

Mated to the 1.8 TSI is a 7-speed automatic DSG gearbox. The dual-clutch transmission is famous for its lightning quick shifts and is mated very well to the Superb. It changes cogs in milliseconds and with the manual pedal shifts it is super fun to drive. However, it upshifts automatically after hitting the redline. In the regular D mode it changes gears early, which is best for city driving. Put it in the S mode and it pulls strongly at higher revs holding the gear longer. We also drove Octavia TSI back to back and the younger sibling feels more sprightly with the same engine at the lower end of the rev range because of its lighter weight. Skoda claims 14.67 km/l of fuel efficiency but in real world conditions you may get around 10 km/l.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

The ride of the new Superb is pliant. One of the best ride qualities in this segment. The previous Superb was stiff but this one has the perfect ride quality. The handling too is agile. Despite the length, it doesn’t feel very large and does well around bends. The Superb even has sufficient grunt with the more powerful engine options. The steering wheel is lively and it weighs up nicely too. What else we liked on the Superb is the ground clearance. Despite the long wheelbase, it didn’t touch even once on badly designed speed bumps.

SAFETY ;

Skoda has done no compromise in terms of safety as you get top notch equipment with the new Superb. The list is long and here it is – 8 airbags, ABS, EBD, Hill Hold Control, multi-collision brake, anti-slip regulation, electronic differential lock, traction control system, electronic stability control and more. Skoda after sales service has been controversial in India but according to the carmaker, they have improved a lot in terms of turn around time, spare part costs, customer satisfaction after the launch of the new Octavia. The Czech carmaker says customer satisfaction level has gone up in the recent past and they are working hard to get everything right when it comes to after sales.

VERDICT ;

With the mechanicals being the same, the facelifted Skoda Superb drives very much like the outgoing version.

There is enough power on tap for most Indian roads and more. One advantage is that you don’t feel the car’s size when in the driver’s seat. The suspension is fairly pliant and our only complaint will be the 16-inch wheel size. Overall ride quality is focused on the rear seat occupant, who has enough legroom to sit stretched out.

Honda Jazz Engine & Gearbox

OVERVIEW ;

It looks like Honda has been readying the facelift Jazz hatchback in Japan. This is the mid-life facelift that the new generation hatchback will receive. Some Reports states that the facelift Jazz hatchback which is popularly known as Honda Fit will be launching within the next few months in the markets of Japan. Now the popularity of the premium hatchback from Honda has risen to a great extent in the recent year’s credit goes to the Indian consumers who are now getting their hands on the premium hatchbacks as well. Find best offers on Jazz

The upcoming Jazz hatchbacks according to the leaked reports on the internet are getting plenty of exterior as well interior changes. These changes will make the hatchback a far better competitive rival to the Hyundai Elite i20, Maruti Baleno.

EXTERIORS ;

The Honda Jazz has a strong design identity of its own and thus all three generations of this hatchback show an evolutionary direction. One might be tempted to call this car a compact MPV as certain angles does make it look like a shrunk down MPV. There are certainly some nice design elements which make the Jazz look premium like the headlights which are similar to the City (they are single barrel while the City gets dual barrel), they merge into the grille that gets a piano black finishing and a chrome line below. Honda’s angular design does make the Jazz look attractive at the front while at the side, the Jazz come across as big which is largely due to the glass area, the vehicle getting both front and rear quarter-glass for added green house.

The B and C pillars are blackened which will certainly look good on light colours like white while a strong belt line runs from the door, merging with the rear tail light at the top and flowing through the rear bumper on the bottom. The tyres look small on the car and bigger wheels (at least on the top spec trims) would have made the car look more balanced. The rear is nicely done with reflectors right next to the windscreen while a large chrome bar is right below, featuring the Honda logo. The reflector and rear LED tail lights together make the rear portion look a bit like the Volvo V40. There is also a rear spoiler (the VX trim gets a bigger one) with stop lamp while the bumper has a black rectangle mesh finish on either side to reduce the visual bulk. Just like all other Hondas, the design of the Jazz isn’t outright exciting or eye catchy but it does have subtle appeal.

INTERIORS ;

The Jazz shares the dashboard with the City and it has a really funky design with a flurry of asymmetric cues. It is well thought-out, with nice touches, including multiple cubby-holes and the touch controls for the air-con. There are as many as nine cupholders and quite a few cubbyholes too, so you won’t find yourself short on storage spaces for small items. Quality is quite decent, but it still can’t match the Hyundai as far as fit and finish is concerned. Also, overall plastic quality, though largely good, is still a notch down on the class best.The top-of-the-line Jazz comes with an all-black cabin which looks quite sporty. Apart from the top VX, all other variants get beige fabric, which makes the cabin feel even more airy, but gets soiled easily.

Like the old car, the brilliance of the Jazz lies in its unbelievable space efficiency. Entry into the massive cabin is made easy by large doors which open wide. Outward visibility is good, thanks to the generous glass area, but the front quarter-windows near the slim A-pillars obstruct view. The front seats have a tall seating position and are pretty broad with generous bolstering, comfortable over long journeys. In the rear, the seat squab is a touch short, so under-thigh support is not as good as we would have liked. Other than that, it’s hard to fault the back seat. The adjustable back rest, terrific head and legroom, plus generous width, make the Jazz’s bench comfortable. The flexible manner in which the rear seats function is also outstanding. But unlike the old car, only top-spec Jazz models will get the ‘magic seats’ at the back. These seats split, fold flat and flip upwards to make space for all shapes and sizes of cargo – that’s if the massive 354-litre boot won’t meet your needs anyway. These seats now also allow you to form a recliner by pushing the front seat backrests fully till they meet the rear seat base.

The top Jazz VX trim comes equipped with a 6.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system. There’s also satellite navigation, a reclining back seat, automatic climate control with feather-touch operation, steering-mounted audio and Bluetooth controls, height adjustable driver’s seat, a rake and reach adjustable steering wheel and auto folding rear-view mirrors. On the safety front, it comes equipped with two airbags and ABS with EBD. Surprisingly, although it gets a reversing camera, there are no parking sensors.

PERFORMANCE ;

The engines on offer on the Jazz are the 1.2-litre petrol with a five-speed manual transmission and the other is a CVT (continuously variable transmission). This will be the engine is higher demand as the price between petrol and diesel have narrowed and there is a higher demand for petrol cars now. This petrol engine has sufficient grunt to drive in the city, however you need to work your way up to extract the best possible performance. The Honda Jazz 2016 is more powerful than its competition not just on paper but even in real world. The Jazz petrol has a fuel efficiency of about 12-14 km/l in the city, while on the highway it will be between 14-16km/l.

The second engine in the Honda Jazz 2016 is the 1.5-litre diesel that churns out 98bhp of power and 200Nm of peak torque. This comes mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. This engine has sufficient grunt to be driven in the city or on the highway. There is sufficient pull available from the engine at almost any rev range. The diesel is a lot more powerful than the petrol and even its competition. Its ease of driving gives it an edge over the competition. The diesel is a lot more fuel-efficient than its current competitors. In the city, it will return about 15-17km/l, while on the highway it will be between 18-23km/l depending on your driving.

RIDE AND HANDLING

The ride quality of Honda Jazz 2016 is good and is also an improvement over earlier Hondas. It does a good job of absorbing the bumps. The Michelin Energy Saving tyres help to increase the fuel efficiency of the Honda Jazz 2016, however, they aren’t that sticky on the road. The handling of the Jazz is good. This along with the peppiness of the diesel, is a great combination. The steering feedback is excellent and it weighs up well. This is indeed one of the much better electronic power steerings in the market.

SAFETY ;

The front passengers are shielded with the presence of dual airbags. An anti-lock braking system (ABS) and electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD) are offered as well. Along with this, you also get a rear parking camera, front fog lamps, driver seatbelt reminder, rear windshield defogger and an immobiliser.

VERDICT ;

We Indians are hatchback crazy. It’s no secret that we simply cannot get enough of their practicality, ease of use or the low running costs and a few other distinct advantages that they have over sedans or SUVs. Needless to say, carmakers are well-versed with this trend and have actively introduced new and improved products over the years. And although a similar movement is taking place in the flourishing compact crossover space, it’s the hatchbacks that continue to demand a lot of time and effort from established carmakers. Honda, for one, is making all the right noises with the Jazz. The new Jazz certainly looks the part, has a versatile cabin with loads of space and for the first time – the efficiency of a diesel motor. It’s still not an enthusiast’s choice but that’s passable because it’s not what Honda was looking to make here. The Jazz is all about practicality and you get plenty of it.

 

 

Toyota Etios Liva Engine & Safety Features

OVERVIEW ;

Toyota is one of the most celebrated badges in automotive industry. The Japanese automaker is headquartered in the city of Toyota in Japan and is the largest listed company in Japan in terms of market capitalization. Etios literally means Spirit and Principle, and it has been a Toyota principle to put in a lot of spirit in all its cars. Keeping that up, the Bangaluru-based Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt. Ltd. unveiled the sedan at the 2010 Auto Expo in Delhi. The stunner captured hearts in a moment and the spree continues. To keep the price of the sedan in the affordable bracket, Toyota has used only domestic parts in Etios. It is opulence and functionality in the guise of an automobile, and is pretty light on the wallet. Priced between 5.54 L and 8.30 L, Etios comes in six colours – Classic Grey, White, Symphony Silver, Harmony Beige, Celestial Black and Vermilion Red. Toyota Platinum Etios was originally called the Entry Family Car (EFC). Check On Road Price of Etios Liva

EXTERIORS ;

The dimensions of the Etios Liva are similar to those of the Etios in terms of width, height, ground clearance, and fuel tank capacity. The variations are obviously is with respect of the length and wheel base, due to its hatchback shape. The car’s exterior design is on par with other cars like Hyundai i20, Skoda Fabia, VW Polo and yet to be launched Maruti new Swift, Though there have not been many impressive changes or innovations in styling, the boosting factor for the Etios Liva are the colour options, brand and quality image of Toyota.

At the front of the Liva, the head lights on the wide front bumper and the chrome lined Toyota emblem give the confidence of Toyota brand. However, the head light size seems on the large size, and though positioned well, it certainly feels that it could have been improved. The positioning of the windshield is in par with aerodynamics and adds to the aesthetics of the front portion. Black radiator grill and fog lamp add to a good impression of the car.  Request test drive for Etios Liva in Cazprice

Toyota has used a good quality of body panels which is indicated by the sturdy feel of the front fender, front door, rear door and quarter panel.Compared to sedan version Etios, a lot of curves have been introduced in the Etios Liva to make it impressive in styling. The rear side of the Etios Liva is also quite attractive. It looks quite big and the newly designed Tail lamps help in boosting the image of rear side of car,

INTERIORS ;

Let’s be honest about the fact that not many of us like the interior styling of the instrument panel. The circular air-con vents might be highly effective, but they miss out on the appeal bit and even the central instrument cluster isn’t something one will appreciate. The quality of the Etios Liva for the price is acceptable, however not its design. The central instrument cluster has always been no-no for all recently launched cars. In terms of features, the Liva is a well-loaded product.

The Liva’s recent upgrade to adjustable headrest was a very good option. This makes the car feel a lot more premium on the inside. The Japanese car maker has changed a lot of things in the Etios family after a delayed customer feedback. The space in the front row is good and even the seats are large enough, however the second row is a bit tight for knee room. There is a lot of stowage space. One can store seven litres of bottles in the Liva alone, which is humongous. Then there is a decent size boot as well. Seating comfort, driving position, access to controls, these are some elements that Toyota well has taken care of.

When you sit in the driving position, it is easy to get comfortable and adjust the steering wheel and the seat. There is height adjustable in the top-of-the-line VX trim. The A-pillars (side pillar) are thin and the visibility is good. However, the mirrors could have been bigger for better visibility of the rear. The large headrests at the rear, somewhat block the rear visibility.

PERFORMANCE ;

Toyota has not made much of a change under the hood of this hatchback and thus it gets the same 1.2 Litre, 4 cylinder, 16V DOGC motor which is capable of producing about 80 Ps of peak power at 5, 600 rpm and 104 Nm of peak torque at 3, 100 rpm. The engine is paired to a 5 speed manual gearbox. The petrol unit promises to return around a claimed mileage figure of 18.16 kmpl.

Like we already mentioned above the Etios Liva hatchback is also offered with a diesel variant as well. The 1.5 Liter, 4 cylinder 8V, D-4D unit is capable of producing about 68 ps of peak power at 3, 800 rpm and 170 Nm of peak torque 1800- 2400 rpm. As you all know the the only transmission option available with both the engine is a 5 speed manual unit. This diesel unit promises to deliver around 23. 59 kmpl.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

What impresses most is the steering. We realized a turning circle radius of 4.8M, which means taking the car out from narrow spaces will never be a problem. Changing gears is very smooth and one can easily change gears while driving. The car’s ride is very smooth and comfortable. The Toyota Etios Liva’s AC is good and powerful and one could feel the effectiveness of the same quickly after turning it on. One more point here is that the glove box is also provided with blower inputs and hence cooling takes place in glove box, making it a good storage for things like chocolates, cool drink bottles etc. Also cup holders have been provided in each door and near the dash which adds to comfort as expected from a premium hatch.

Major humps in the road are overcome with comfort thanks to the high quality suspension. There was no discomfort after the front wheels crossed hump, and there was enough ground clearance to clear the humps without scraping the ground.The car’s pick up is good and we could reach 60 to 80KMPH easily and smoothly in city traffic. While we pushed the car, we were able to touch 150 on the highways. The positioning of Instrument cluster in the middle though innovative, makes it difficult to gauge the speed of the car.Parking of the Etios Liva was easy and we could confidently park the car with minimum space for turning the car.

SAFETY FEATURES ;

Toyota has taken care of the safety of the passengers inside and a s a result they actually have loaded the LIva hatchback with ABS and EBD which comes as standard across all its grades. Furthermore the hatch also gets duel front SRS airbags as well. There is also an optional rear parking sensors as well with the car.

VERDICT ;

Let us get this straight, making affordable cars in India is a tough task and so far Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai have been successful. The Etios Liva is a good hatchback to buy and for the price you can expect a little better quality. However, the interior styling could have been better. The biggest USP of this hatchback is the Toyota badge and bullet proof reliability of this Japanese manufacturer. The top-of-the-line variant of the Liva diesel costs about Rs 8 lakhs, there are cars with more features available at this price, but most of them lack the refinement and experience of that Toyota promises. You can’t expect the same high Lindt standards for that price, which the Swiss company has set with its other range of chocolates. However, the company will deliver better product than a Cadbury and so is Toyota. They have made a lot of changes in the Etios family, we expect them to sort out the remaining ones too.

Audi Q5 Features & Specifications

OVERVIEW ;

Success is often followed by dalliance. Not always, often. The Q5 wasn’t just one of Audi’s most successful products of all time, it also dominated the luxury SUV space, not just in India but in just about every market since its inception in 2008. At the time it was an incredibly spacious and capable on-road SUV that could do sufficiently well on untarred terrain. It married that performance very well with technology that made life inside the Q5 extremely comfy. Since then, a plethora of able alternatives have cropped up like the Land Rover Discovery Sport and the Jaguar F-Pace, not to mention its traditional German rivals in the BMW X3 and the Mercedes GLC. The rivals have enjoyed a free rein and caught up with the Q5 but now Audi has had enough. It wants its pie back and it wants it now. Enter the all-new second-generation Q5. But how does it earn back the kind of dominance it enjoyed once upon a time – let’s face it – this time around its competitors are very very capable.

EXTERIORS ;

The new Audi Q5 will be based on the MLB platform that does duty in the new A4. The crossover is lighter than its predecessor by about 90 kilograms. Following the new design language, the new Q5 does resemble the current Q3’s fascia. There are subtle differences between the two, however these aren’t major ones. The front grille is made of a sculpturally flared Singleframe grille with a solid frame. In this one, the side profile looks again more crossover like and it seems to be lower than the outgoing version in visuals. The rear is again made up of the same LED tail lamp cluster, which we have noticed in other Audi Q vehicles. The tail lights are also available with optional dynamic indicators. The tailgate wraps around the C-pillars – a typical feature of the Q models from Audi. A diffuser insert integrates the exhaust tailpipes.

INTERIORS ;

High quality black colored leather upholstery and walnut dark brown inlays on dashboard, central console and door panels give a plush look to the cabin compartment. Its cockpit is furnished with ‘Sports’ seats, which have electrical adjustment for height, seat angle, fore/aft and backrest angle. They also feature 4-way lumbar support, which further enhances the comfort. Apart from the entry level trim, its other trims have electrically adjustable front seats, wherein the driver’s seat has a memory function. The leather wrapped steering wheel has 4-spokes and is mounted with control switches for audio, Bluetooth and cruise control function. The instrument cluster has an integrated color screen along with two round shaped meters, which displays informatics like speedometer, fuel consumption, tachometer, external temperature, trip-meter, date several other notification lamps for keeping the driver up to date. The rear seat has split foldable function that helps in increasing the boot volume of car. Its front door panels have armrests featuring illuminated control switches for adjustment of all four power windows. While the central console is integrated with ergonomically positioned switches for various comfort functions of this sports utility vehicle including Drive select, there are a lot of chrome inserts given inside, which adds to its elegance. The company has also given it a number of utility based aspects, which are storage package including glove box, front seat back pockets, front and rear center armrest with storage compartment, storage box under driver’s seat and a sun glass holder, cup and bottle holders, a rear parcel shelf, door map pockets, remote fuel lid opener and many other such aspects.

It is integrated with a 3-Zone deluxe automatic AC unit with sunlight-dependent control system. It electronically regulates the air temperature, rate of air flow and distribution to keep the ambiance pleasant. It also has separate temperature control for driver and front co-passenger and its controls are given on digital display. The company has given it an advanced music interface surround sound along with 14-speakers including center speaker in the dashboard and sub-woofer in rear parcel shelf. It also has voice control technology and an additional arrow display in the driver information system with 8 passive speakers, total output 80 watts, radio with triple tuner. It is equipped with phase diversity, hard drive, MP3 player and compatible for WMA, AAC and MPEG-4. This is also integrated with an advanced cruise control with brake intervention system that maintains the set speed constant, while dealing with obstructions ahead. This series is also incorporated with parking system plus, which provides excellent assistance while parking. It features a rear view camera with display provided on MMI screen. It also offers acoustic warning signals for both front and rear, which adds to the convenience. The most important feature of this saloon is its Drive Select function featuring five different modes like efficiency, auto, dynamic, comfort and individual. Its pre-sense basic helps in networking the different vehicle systems that enables driving situations to be categorized and actions to be implemented for preventing occupants. It has features like auto release function, front center armrest, electromechanical power steering with tilt and telescopic adjustment, electrical sun blind for rear windscreen and storage package.

PERFORMANCE ;

Initially, India is likely to get two engine options – a 2l diesel and a 2l TFSI turbo-petrol, not new engines, but as Audi promises much better than before in terms of performance and efficiency. But that much you’d expect even with a facelift, let alone a generation change. Engines usually outlive cars and both these engines have quite a bit of life left in them. Our test car was propelled by the 2-litre, 4-cylinder TFSI engine that now produces 252PS of max power and 370Nm of max torque. It comes mated to the VW family’s 7-speed dual-clutch automatic which helps put down power in conjunction with the on-demand quattro all-wheel-drive system. Power is up by 27PS from the outgoing version but this gets spread out in the ratios, so you won’t immediately notice it.

The alternative fuel-efficient diesel option is good for 190PS, and I’m told it is sufficient for almost every requirement thanks largely to that 7-speed DSG gearbox. Of course, if Audi really wants to befriend the growing population of enthusiasts in India, we should see them introduce the SQ5 which brings the big daddy of the TFSI family to the party – the 3-litre turbo V6 that churns out 354PS – and the new 8-speed tiptronic transmission. But that’s for later, both engine options offered at first are expected to be more fuel-efficient and perform better – as you’d expect from the timely engine tweaks. But again, these aren’t enough of a knockout punch; they’re more technical jabs that will earn the Q5 some technical points.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

Audi has tuned the Q5’s underpinnings to offer more balanced dynamics. The new Q5 rides extremely well, taking bad roads in its stride with improved confidence. The vehicle glides over bumps with authority and never gets disturbed on even the worst of tarmac. The improved ride is reassuring considering the Q5 will also be subjected to off-road conditions. The new electromechanical steering system is light and responsive although it doesn’t convey much and is not thoroughly involving. The improvements to the ride quality come at the cost of handling, which is still very good considering the bulk of the vehicle.

The rear biased power delivery from the Quattro system ensures good levels of grip at most times. High speed stability is excellent too and the Audi Q5 remains glued to the road without giving a hint of the speeds to the occupants. There are four adjustable settings for the dampers – Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual. In Dynamic mode, the Audi Q5 is quite agile and offers good feedback from the steering wheel. Body roll is well contained and the Q5 has decent off-road abilities too, which is further aided by Hill Descent control. Braking performance is good and the speed shedding ability from this beast is thoroughly impressive.

SAFETY ;

All 2017 Audi Q5 models come with stability and traction control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. Rear side airbags are a stand-alone option, while the Technology package includes parking sensors, a rearview camera and a blind-spot warning system. There are no collision avoidance or lane departure technologies available.In Edmunds brake testing, a Q5 2.0T with 18-inch wheels and summer tires came to a stop from 60 mph in 114 feet, an average distance for this class. A 3.0T Prestige with 19s and summer tires stopped in a praiseworthy 109 feet.

VERDICT ;

The 2017 Audi Q5 has quite the laundry list of improvements. From is larger size, new platform, lighter weight, more powerful engine, new quattro AWD system, and sharp new interior, the second-generation Q5 represents a huge leap forward in design and execution.Crossovers are only becoming more popular these days, so Audi should be well set up for success. We foresee sales increasing over the previous Q5 – less of course Audi does indeed jack the price up $10,000. We’ll definitely keep you posted on what transpires.

 

 

Volkswagen Ameo Price & Performance

OVERVIEW ;

If you are out looking for a practical compact sedan, there’s a new entry heading your way from the land of the hyper speed autobahns and beer gardens or ‘Biergarten’, as the locals would say.

The Volkswagen Ameo, which will be delivered to customers starting next month, is the long overdue result of VW attempting to crack the escalating compact sedan segment. Essentially a boot-ed version of the Polo, the Ameo is the first ever VW model to be designed purely for the Indian market and the brand has made no bones about the fact that it’s betting big on this car .Check Ex Showroom Price of  Ameo

On paper the Ameo checks most of the right boxes and it certainly looks and feels the part. But going beyond what’s apparent, how well does it behave out on the road and more importantly, is it a worthy alternative to the current crop of compact sedans? A brief drive across the scenic route towards Wai suggests it just might be

EXTERIORS ;

The design of the Ameo. On the outside and for the most part inside the cabin too, the design and layout remains identical to the petrol version. Like is the case also with almost all the other compact sedans, the Ameo looks a bit gawky when viewed from the side. The stubby boot is disproportionate with the front of the car, and the impression that the third box has been slapped on to the rear of the hatchback is inescapable. But, the design doesn’t hurt the eye and in fact, viewed straight-on from the rear, the Ameo’s design actually seems to have a unique character which still ties in well with other VW cars.

All the familiar design elements of the Polo are there in the Ameo TDI diesel too, as also some of the distinguishing tweaks to the design of the airdam, front fender, the new tail-lamps and boot lid

INTERIORS ;

The Volkswagen Ameo diesel has the same interiors as the petrol model and there is nothing to differentiate between the two models except the tachometer which is marked till 6000 RPM on the oil burner. The dual-tone black and beige interiors look very nice and this is nothing but a Polo cabin with slight improvements to the rear headroom due to the re-designed C-pillar. But the rear seat lacks in legroom, knee room and under-thigh support so this isn’t a car you would want to sit behind, specially if you are tall.

The Volkswagen Ameo is equipped with a ton of features, many of them are segment first like rain-sensing wipers, cruise control, window opening and closing using key remote, one-touch up/down for all windows and anti-pinch windows. There are decent amount of storage spaces but the boot is far from being the biggest in the segment. Where the Ameo can’t be matched is the build quality, it feels very solidly put-together and is made like a tank.

ENGINE ;

The Volkswagen Ameo is available with a 1.2-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel engine. The petrol is available with a five-speed manual and the diesel even has an option of a seven-speed DSG. The NVH levels on both the engines are a bit off. There is more than sufficient power in the petrol and the diesel is certainly a lot more powerful. The petrol engine is noisy and the diesel engine has a lot of clatter noise. Overtaking is a breeze with the diesel engine, however the petrol needs a downshift. The automatic version of the diesel is a lot more comfortable to drive and convenient to use.

Drivability is good on both. The sudden boost after 1800rpm is reveling. There is always the joy of driving the diesel engine. Also, the clutch is a tad deeper than the petrol engine. The diesel clutch is heavy, which makes it difficult to drive in city traffic.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

Don’t let the sporty looking flat-bottom steering wheel fool you. The Ameo is a compact sedan, after all, and it handles exactly like it’s supposed to. Like all other cars in its class, the Ameo’s suspension set up has been oriented towards comfort. That said, it has got the second best balance between ride and handling, after the Honda Amaze. The steering on the Ameo feels vague around the straight-ahead position and is slow to turn in. It’s initially light but becomes gradually heavier as more lock is applied. All in all, it lacks the consistency in feel that’s to be found in rivals like the Ford Figo Aspire.

The production-spec Ameo rides on 15-inch wheels as opposed to the bigger 16-inchers seen on the show car at the Auto Expo. Nevertheless, the Ameo’s ride quality is quite good – we sampled it across both pothole-ridden city streets and wide open tarmac on the highway. It deals with undulated surfaces rather well despite transmitting some sharp bumps from on the road into the cabin. So what’s not to like in terms of dynamics? Well, the Ameo, like all other compact sedans, has that inherent floatiness to its high speed ride. One has to make constant steering corrections to keep the thing true to its line.

VERDICT ;

The Volkswagen Ameo diesel is a very good package since it comes with great build quality, loaded equipment list, a power packed engine and two really nice gearboxes. The compact sedan does look a bit quirky from certain angles but looks are always subjective. Overall, Volkswagen has got a really fine product on their hands with the Ameo TDI and we really wish it fetches more sales now because the numbers of the petrol Ameo have been far from satisfying.

Ford Ecosport Price & Performance

OVERVIEW ;

Most cars go through a process of design development from the exaggerated sketch on the drawing board to clay mock-up model to a much more watered down final production prototype. However, the EcoSport looks like it just went straight from being a futuristic sketch on the drawing board to its final form. Check Price of Ecosport

Its design is unconventional, but not uncomfortable. It has urban chic written all over it, but it is certainly not metro-sexual. The best part though is that its design works, in an odd sort of way. It brings in a lot of freshness to the compact sports utility segment and it had better, after all, there is a lot riding on its tall shoulders.

To be fair, the EcoSport is an honest attempt at building a relevant urban SUV for the new-age automotive markets of the world like Brazil and India. But it also makes you wonder if it is deception on four wheels.

EXTERIORS ;

The Ford EcoSport is a smart looking vehicle and this updated model that we have over here is no different. There are hardly any changes to the outsides and the SUV continues to flaunt its muscular and aggressive front fascia. The alloy wheels remain unchanged on the Indian model and we would have appreciated if Ford could have provided a different design with this update. It is also good to see that the spare wheel is still mounted on the tail-gate unlike the overseas model. The fog lamps get integrated DRLs while the headlights get light guides which are basically thin strips of white light. The EcoSport now gets a new brown colour which looks pretty attractive. The boot opening button is moved underneath the chrome handle unlike the previous model. Request test drive for Ecosport in Cazprice

INTERIORS ;

The interiors are on the same page as those in the current Fiesta. The seats are comfortable and the red stitching on the black leather seats add a bit of premiumness to the EcoSport. The EcoSport comes well equipped with standard features like climate control; 16″ alloy wheels, steering-mounted controls, six airbags and of course SYNC multimedia system which makes the controlling of the the audio system, phone and other features very simple

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;

There are three engines – the now-familiar 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost petrol, a 1.5-litre turbodiesel with 90bhp, and a 110bhp 1.5-litre petrol four. We’ve yet to test the naturally aspirated 1.5-litre petrol but have driven the other variants offered in the range.

Equipped with the 1.0-litre EcoBoost the Ford is hardly fast, taking 12.7sec to complete the 0-62mph benchmark, but it is smooth. The engine’s now-familiar three-pot note is prominent, but not intrusive, during acceleration – and at motorway speeds it remains audible. As in the Fiesta, it’s a likeable powerplant.

It was also 30 per cent more economical, according to our touring test, and quieter than the EcoSport both at idle and at 30mph. Gaps that size – to an undistinguished mid-class performer, remember – aren’t what we expect from Ford, and they aren’t what its customers are used to accepting, either.

The EcoSport’s 1.5-litre turbodiesel is rattly and coarse at idle, and it only gets noisier and less civil with revs. It responds to the accelerator reasonably well and is mated to a transmission that has a decent shift quality and a pleasant clutch, but it feels short on torque through the mid-range (because it is compared with most small diesels) and both harsh and asthmatic above 3000rpm.

At slower crank speeds and under a gentler throttle, the intrusion is tolerable, but even here there are vibrations through the seat and controls that you won’t find in most small crossovers. Consequently, despite some potential economy and CO2 benefits, it would be hard to recommend the diesel.

The EcoSport’s Goodyear Assurance tyres (a type with which we’re unfamiliar) and disc front/drum rear brakes don’t make for particularly good stopping power, either. There’s no reason why a 1300kg supermini shouldn’t stop from 70mph in less than 50 metres in the dry, or need more than 55 metres to stop from the same speed in our wet surface test.

The EcoSport missed both markers – not just because of a general lack of pure grip, but also because of an anti-lock braking set-up that lacked delicacy and sophistication.

DRIVING ;

Dynamics and Ford cars go hand in hand. The EcoSport boasts of excellent handling capabilities and it is actually a very fun car to drive around. The steering is very precise and it offers excellent feedback and feel. It is moderately weighed, neither too heavy nor too light while it also gains weight significantly as the vehicle’s speed increases. High speed stability is good on the EcoSport and it is fun around the corners but only upto a certain limit. You can never push an SUV as much as a sedan but the EcoSport does feel car-like to drive. There is some body roll too but not as much as other compact SUVs. It is somewhat comparable to what small cars have.

The ride quality on the Ford EcoSport is also very good and the suspension does an impressive job of ironing out all the potholes and craters that Indian roads have to offer. The SUV comes with MRF tyres which have satisfactory levels of grip if you don’t intend to push the vehicle very hard and the brakes also perform in a positive manner, making the vehicle shed speeds without any sort of unnecessary drama.

SAFETY AND FEATURES ;

To begin with, our press demonstrator was the Brown. The Mars Red colour might appeal to several, but I prefer the Kinetic Blue on the Ecosport. This in my opinion looks more upmarket and carries a hint of sophistication. The variant we drove was the Titanium Option. It comes with keyless entry, push start and stop, artificial leather, in-dash music system with Bluetooth, auxiliary and USB connection, reclining rear seats, 60:40 split, six airbags and ABS. In our long-term report, we share the fuel efficiency, performance and the pros and the niggles that we faced with the Ford Ecosport in our daily running.

VERDICT ;

It’s a long time since a new Ford was as bad as the EcoSport. It may not be a European-hailing car and it may be due an early revision to address its failings, but customers won’t care and neither should we.

Its perceived quality is regrettable, its diesel powertrain is rough and flat, and its chassis is so rudimentary that it could even damage Ford’s prized reputation for dynamic excellence.

Anyone who has test driven a rival or two will instantly be aware that the EcoSport just isn’t worthy. Neither is it cheap enough to be unworthy.

Ford’s repost will be that this has already proven a successful car for developing markets, but on tougher roads and catering to different tastes from ours

There have been plenty of great Fords like that over the years – from Mustangs to Broncos to Falcons – but none has cut the mustard in Europe. Neither will this.