Renault Pulse – Review
Identical twins. That’s what one may call Nissan Micra and the latest Renault on Indian road, Renault Pulse. Brushing aside few half-hearted minor cosmetic changes, there is hardly any worthwhile differentiation between both the cars who share the same platform. For those who might wonder how this is possible? It is due to the fact both the companies have cross-share holdings ad share the platforms.
I don’t quiet understand what could have been the basis on which Renault decided to bring out a car that has no identity of its own and almost a mirror reflection of Micra. Let me make the pictures speak about the twin cars.
Spot the seven difference!
So can you spot the differences? Well, the “radical makeover” (pun intended) of Pulse could be seen best in the front. The grille, the head lamp gets a small a bit of “correction” and then a couple of bold lines make the front of Micra into Pulse and ofcourse not to forget the Renault logo. Though the large front grille tries to give an masculine look to stay clear off Micra’s “cute” looks.
Now let’s look at the rear…
Not much of a change here except a slightly modified tail light, a sharp lines that merge near the Renault logo and then the bumber got little cosmetic correction.
And a peep into the dashboard of both the cars …
Same pinch! Except for the badge and the interior colors. So if you have any strong opinion on Nissan’s Micra, it might very well hold onto Pulse too.
Anyways, lets check out the pulse of Renault’s Micra ooops Pulse!
So about the visual appearance, it has enough said with comparisons above. The few changes Renault design team had done over Micra is rather forced than compliment.
Pulse comes in two variants: RxL and RxZ and there is only diesel engine available.
You have seen the dashboard in the above pics, all the controls and design are similar to the one in Micra and so like its counterpart they are well laid and ergonomically done and frees lots of legroom and headroom. The quality of plastics is decent enough though not exceptional. Overall Pulse got quiet good liveable interiors, expected as it is glaringly similar to the Micra’s interiors with no change whatsoever.
Pulse comes equipped with engine start/stop button with illuminated push buttons, smart key access for 5 doors, electrically adjustable external rear view mirrors with auto fold, automatic climate control, alloy wheels, fog lamps though all this features are available only with the top end version, RxZ. Should I say again what it reminds? Ah you very well know it by now.
Under the hood is a 8 valve SOHC four-cylinder, 1,5 L turbo diesel engine that delivers 63 bhp at 4,000 rpm and 16.3 kg of torque at 2,000 rpm. The engine is bit noisy outside though better insulation minimizes the vibrations and noise inside though still a better ear would catch a mild noise.
Thanks to a good kerb weight ratio of the car, the engine behaves smoothly and effortlessly especially driving in city is a joy. Overall, Pulse is a decent city car to ride and performs good. Come into highways and on high speed, you will feel the car looses a bit of steam and scrampling for power. So don’t ever attempt to compare it with Maruti Swift on the higher pedals. The ride quality is good thanks to a very absorbing suspension that cushions the bumpy road very well.
With Ac on you can expect 12-13 Kmpl under city conditions which is again decent enough.
Pulse comes in 6 colors.
Pulse sports a price tag of Rs. 5,77,00 for the base RxL and Rs.6,25,000 for RxZ variant. (both Ex-showroom price, Bangalore)
Auto Expo 2012: Our Top 10 picks
The recently concluded Auto-expo 2012, New Delhi saw quiet a good number of machines right from hot and ready for launch to concept cars that dazzled the visitors. From big daddies to fringe players every one got something to show and here is our top pick amongst the cars. Yes, we have omitted the big daddies like BMW and Audi but narrowed our picks to those that has a wider general appeal in the market.
Maruti Suzuki Ertiga
With Ertiga, country’s biggest automobile manufacturer re-enters the multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) segment. The 7 seater will be powered by next generation K-series 1.4litre V V T engine, Ertiga will offer a mileage of 16.02 kmpl while the diesel variant will sport 1.3L DDiS engine and promises to deliver an impressive 20.7 Kmpl.
This UV from Maruti is sure to give a tough competition to Innova and Xylo, since it would be sporting a competitive price tag.
Expected date of launch: Around march-April, 2012.
Ford has set high targets on Indian automobile pie and is all set to unleash its new urban SUV, the sophisticated looking EcoSport. The car definitely looks a charmer with its modern and upmarket look. Don’t understimate the one-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine thanks to the EcoBoost technology, the company claims it would match the performance of 1.6L engine.
Scheduled to arrive the later half of the year, Chevy’s new hatchback is sporty and trendy. This spacious car sports GM India’s latest Smartech engines and would be available both in petrol and diesel engine.
Looks familiar? Well, Pulse shares the same platform that Nissan’s Micra sits upon, the reason being both the companies are partners in
crime share holdings. So the Pulse is strikingly similar to Micra except for face lifts.
This yet to be named MPV from chevy is slated to arrive in mid-2012 and sports a 94.6bhp, 1.4-litre petrol engine and a diesel engine would be unveiled later.
Seems like Renault is very serious about Indian market what with 5 cars lined up for 2012. With 5 variants and the base price of approximately 7 lakhs, this SUV might be one of the hottest to look out for from the Renault staples.
Maruti Suzuki XA Alpha
This concept SUV from Suzuki looks beasty and macho. In XA Alpha, the ‘Alpha’ represents trendiness and newness that the youth connect to. The ‘A’ signifies that this compact, 4 metre long concept, is designed for customers wishing to enter the utility vehicle segment and the ‘X’ denotes cross-over category.
Hyundai Hexa Space
Love the new MPV from Hyundai? You might have to wait for some 3-4 years before you could own it. This 8 seater is just a concept car in display and let’s wait and watch.
I must admit , I hate the lousy looks but all is not just is about looks right? Let’s see what Nissan has packed into Evalia, right now they are tight lipped about the specifications.
Enough of jokes have floated around after Bajaj revealed its first 4 wheeler. Is this a car? metal bodied 4 wheel auto? or a pulsar with 4 wheels? Ouch, am i joking too here? No. When the country’s second largest two wheeler and the largest three wheeler manufacturer decides to come up with a product like this that too when we have the cute looking Nano dotting our city roads, definitely Rajiv Bajaj might have done some homework. So for time being, let’s enjoy some jokes and watch the game plan of Bajaj.
Skoda Rapid – review
You cannot fault Skoda Rapid if it has some identical design aspects to Volkswagen Vento, after all Skoda comes under Volkswagen group so somewhere the lines of R&D are likely to be blurred. And also it has borrowed liberally from its own Fabia. So you got a mishmash car here but let’s see if it stands ground on its own.
For trivia lovers here is a short history of Skoda Rapid. The first generation of Skoda Rapid was launched in mid 80′s and though Skoda sedans had a not so pleasant history those days, Rapid managed to change the opinion and also was termed “poor man’s porsche” and then was phased out in 1990. The brand name was brought back to life with the launch of all-new Rapid in late 2011, though this time heavily influenced by VW Vento and Fabia.
First let’s see where Rapid is inspired by Vento and Fabia:
Fabia influence: On a quick glance the front of Rapid looks literally borrowed from Fabia – A similar looking bonnet along with headlamps, grill and fog lamps.
Vento influence: Move to the sides, the Rapid looks all similar to Vento , though in rear Skoda has done a bit to make the similarities at bay with a new tail lamp and bumper. Even you notice a design change to the boot.
Don’t mistake it to Fabia, it is Rapid’s front close-up!
A Fabia lifted front headlamp but Rapid sports its own new tail lamp that fits well into its design parameters.
The side profile of Rapid is nothing but VW Vento for you.
Though Skoda has done its part to the rear. A new tail lamp. Did you notice the diagonal lines near the number plates that gives a prism effect? A small design aspect that actually gives life to the rear design. Also, Rapid sports a new bumper design.
Overall the looks of Skoda Rapid is conservative at the same time commanding. It would appeal to a large section of people for its understated but still a very corporate no-nonsense feel and presence it imbibes. Rapid is not flamboyant in design but very grounded and assuring.
Now let’s step in. You feel a familiar air inside. Yes, the Vento similarity is carried forward. Rapid sports a dual tone interior with a shade of brown and ivory brightening the inside. The dashboard and the instrument cluster are conventional in design and placement yet practical.
The top variant comes with the music bay and sports a digital display and also front and rear speakers. Unfortunately for gadget freaks, the music system would be quiet a disappointment with no USB input nor steering mounted controls.
A/c is a standard fixture in all the variants though only the top variant comes with a automatic air conditioning with electronic climate control and the other two has do with manual adjustment.
The top variant has electrically adjustable external mirrors while the other two has internal manual adjustments.
Front and rear power windows are standard fixture in all the variants.
The 4 spoke steering wheel is a direct lift from Fabia. It is easy on hands, soft and comfortable. Surprisingly, the steering mounted controls are missing even in the top end variant. Gladly all the variants comes with complete steering adjustments for both height and length.
Coming to the instrument cluster sports a dual pod with a small digital display in the middle. Not a flamboyant design though. The multi-function display offers Travelling time, Distance travelled, Average speed, Immediate consumption, Average consumption, Travel distance before refuelling, Service Interval, Outside temperature, Clock and sports a green glow.
You get a spacious glove box. Check out the ivory color that gives the Rapid’s interior quiet a bright and vibrant feel. There are bottle holders in the front doors and storage compartment in the front and rear doors. Also the front and rear holds a cup holder with flip. The front and rear also has a storage compartment in their respective central console and central armrest.
You get a 460 litres boot space which is decent enough.
The top variant sports a 15″ alloy wheel while you got to settle with 14″ regular wheels with full wheel cover.
Rapid comes in Petrol and Diesel engine and in 3 variants – Active, Ambition and Elegance. Active being the base variant and Elegance the top variant. And also the top two variants of the Petrol version comes with automatic transmission.
It comes in5 colors: Brilliant Silver, Candy white, Cappuccino beige, Deep black pearl and Flash Red.
No surprises, the Rapid shares the same engine that VW Vento enjoys.
Powering the Rapid (petrol) is a liquid cooled, DOHC 1.6 L petrol engine delivering 105 Bhp @ 5250 rpm and max torque of 153 npm @ 3800 rpm.
And the diesel engine is again a liquid cooled turbo charged 1.6 L engine that delivers 105 bhp @ 4400 rpm and 250 Nm torque @ 2500 rpm.
Going by the figures, it is quiet evident the diesel Rapid is peppier and fun to ride and also if I have to put my bucks, the diesel variant it would be!
Having said this, both the cars handles well and gives a good performance, though the diesel scores more brownies. Between both thanks to the weight ratio and the torque ratio diesel also scores well on the suspension and it handles the bad roads butter smooth. In short both the petrol and diesel instills a sense of confidence and assurance thanks to good handling and road performance with the diesel nipping ahead of the petrol variant on the rating scale.
Coming to the automatic transmission, which is limited to the Ambition and Elegance versions of ONLY the petrol variant, it comes with a 6-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. You got 3 driving modes: Normal driving mode, Sporty driving mode and tiptronic which enables manually changing gear mode.
The main differences between the Rapid variants:
Pricing of Skoda Rapid:
On a final note, Skoda has delivered a promising car that behaves well, well grounded and looks conventional yet gives an assuring stance. Though not loaded with top of the notch features, it compensates it with good riding, handling and performance. In Rapid, Skoda has a car that might help it make rapid strides on Indian market.
Hero Impulse – Review
Single again after the mutually agreed divorce with its long time partner Honda and with the new name as “Hero Moto Corp”, Hero has taken a bold step in launching its first model as a singleton, the Hero Impulse. Known for its commuter bike and establishing itself as the market leader of masses, Hero has rather chartered into a brave new waters with this on/off roader.
Impulse looks very different and unique from what ever you have seen before on Indian roads apart from a bike called Enduro from the staples of Bajaj which was launched ages back but faded out without any impact. For Indian bikers, the choice so far is between commuter bike or sports bikes but never an adventurous dirt bike with real on road/off road capabilities. Impulse is aimed to satisfy the best of both worlds on tarmac or on dirt.
On look front, Impulse is an unique design proposition amidst the crowds of Indian models that fight for space on Indian roads. It sports an attitude of can-go-anywhere-bike.
Impulse opens up a new category and a chance for raring adventurer in you to mount on a dual-sport bike. It exudes strong street presence with a big black front mudguard sticking out like a street fighter.
So you got a typical big and raised protruding out black fender like a bird’s beak, typical of dirt bikes.
A long motorcross seat that wraps up all the way the fuel tank. The seat is thoughtfully bolted so that it is firm in place. Also the extra length of the seat all the way up also adds to your safety on bumpy, adventure rides.
Impulse holds a sporty fuel tank which is lean and with minimalistic fenders and a 11 liter capacity.
The head is lean and mean. It has a small head and a minimalistic fairings.
The handle bars are wide and also you get a knuckle guard. (not shown in the pics here )
The instrument cluster is not a flamboyant one. It is a digital-analog combo meter console with ‘service due’ indicator but not entirely a put off too.
A sporty high mount muffler catches the eye. Also the high rise means you have one worry less while navigating through water at unfortunate times.
The mean chiseled look is largely due to the tyres and the suspension. Impulse comes with a 19-inch front/17-inch rear on-off road tyres.
Also what set aside the Impulse from the rest of the Indian bikes you see on roads is the long travel front suspension with a large telescopic hydraulic front disc brake. The rear sports a nitrox gas-filled swing arm mono shock suspension.
With 245 mm ground clearance, the bike is set to sail through easily any rough stretch. And also gives the bike an unique stance. Yes, the bike is tall but not that tall to scare you or off-balance you.
On a closer look, you will notice that the sporty exhaust pipe does not go down like your regular bikes but loops around the engine before exiting besides the pillion seat and the advantage of this is it aids in the higher ground clearance which is a must for an on/off roader and also to effortlessly wade through low rivers or our water clogged city roads during monsoon.
Also note the curious looking brake lever!
Did you notice the white solid plate in the rear sprocket ? Ok I agree it is unsightly but then it helps in securing the chain while you rough the bike on a rough road-less territories.
Powering the Impulse is an 149.2 cc air cooled, 4- stroke single cylinder that delivers 13.2 Ps @ 7500 rpm and a commendable torque of 13.4 N-m @ 5000 rpm mid range. Though the 13.2 bhp may not be an impressive figures for a bike of this category, it still manages to deliver the best of the engine capabilities thanks to the mean, lean design. It makes a quiet a difference when you drive it.
As I get on the bike and saddle up, riding posture is upright and spot on, the bike height feels decent and comfortable. It is taller than your average bike but then not discomfort while you are mounted thanks to bike’s posture. As you throttle, the bike packs in a lot of punch, response is crisp. With a soft clutch and precise gear change the biking is trouble free even in peak city traffic, though you might initially take a little time to adjust to the bike posture, suspension and handling.
Thanks to the wide handle bar which allows you to flick the bike from corner to corner with minimal effort. Keep the throttle open and glide over the pot holes with comfort, courtesy great front suspension and lovely monoshock at the rear. It is also a great bike for adventurous off-road trails, it gives you the confidence to ride it hard even on hilly or rocky terrains.
Impulse comes in 5 colors:
Impulse comes with a sticker price of 69,963 (ex-showroom, Mumbai) With Impulse, Hero has opened up a new bike segment in India and with no competition in near sight, Impulse is for the adventurer within you. It is a refreshing new bike segment and it would impress the targeted enthusiast.
Mahindra XUV 500 – review
There is a Scorpio, Innovo and then there is the likes of Toyota Fortuner, Ford Endeavour, Chevrolet Captiva, Mitsubishi Pajero. Mahindra very intelligently has positioned XUV500 in between the two far ends to bridge the wide price gap and for buyers who want something better than your now common Scorpio or Innovo but can’t loosen their purse to the likes of Fortuner etc. Smart move indeed! Going by the bumper opening bookings, Mahindra has indeed hit a jackpot!
If looks can kill, XUV500 is a killer in designer attire – muscular, intimidating yet sophisticated. The design is inspired by Cheetah and gives a menacing stance ready to pounce on roads.
XUV500 is build on monocoque technology and the company’s first. The construct technology integrates body and chassis into single unit and is applied in most modern SUV’s around the world. So this helps in lower structural weight and in turn better power to weight ratio as well as gives a stable ride and performance.
The jaw like front grille is loud in design and matches the size of the SUV and at its menacing best giving it a beastly look. I very much fell in love with the spread of honeycomb grille giving it loads of character and uniqueness.
Check out the bold lines… two strong lines marking the sides and the accentuated curves highlighting the wheel arches giving a muscular yet polished looks…
When compared the front and side, the rear is not very dramatic…
The lights both front and rear compliment XUV500′s looks with projector headlamps, LED day-time running lights and also headlamps with their “bending” ability is very useful and practical while cornering. The vertical rear light sits pretty and there is even a curious looking motif engraved on it.
The exteriors gives a promising and an overwhelming presence and the trait is carried inside too. You have lots of surprising elements inside. XUV500 is quiet spacious with plenty of leg room and head room in the front as well as between the front and middle seats. The dashboard is well laid in dual tone.
The steering looks sturdy, meaty and hold well on your hands. It has bigger control switches and rotary knobs and side stalks on both ends and all are quiet easy and accessible to fiddle around while on a ride. So you can controls to toggle audio, controls to activate voice commands, controls for phone calls and control for activating the cruise mode. There is a large central pad on the steering sporting the mahindra logo giving a sense of muscular character as well as sportiness. The steering has tilt and telescopic adjustments.
The seats are spacious, comfortable and well laid with leather upholstery on the top variant and fabric seats for the base variant.
The instrument console had loads of tell-all signs. The twin circular pad has the speedo, fuel guage and rev counter and also the temperature and oil indicators. While the central screen between the two pads gives you a plethora of information that might just dazzle you.
The music console looks classy in waterfall central bezel that flows all the way down right to the first row. On top of the music console is a touch screen infotainment.
I am a sucker of touchscreen gadgets and it was delight to fiddle around it. As the screen would say, you got music, video, phone, car info and a navigation system. Navigation system is quiet hand
There quiet many handy boxes – glove box with laptop holder and a box above the glove box and also on dashboard above the touchscreen. There is a large cool box between the two seats in the front row.
The Air-condition vents are neatly done and is quiet good. Even the third row has a/c vents on the sides along with side holders and mobile charging points.
The top version comes with a sporty alloy wheels…
XUV500 comes in 7 colors: Dolphin grey, Opulent purple, Tuscan red, Moondust silver, Amazon green, Valcono black and Satin white.
Now coming to the heart of the matter. It’s here Mahindra proves that the company has come of age. Though the engine under the hood is the same that Scorpio sports, it comes with some noticeable tweaks. Neatly packed inside is a 2.2 litre mHawk engine delivering 140 bhp and an impressive torque of 330 Nm. Mated to this engine is a six-speed manual gearbox (I heard it is the first by an completely Indian made vehicle and build in-house by Mahindra) which gives the extra thrush to the car taking it 0-60 km in just 5.4 seconds.
As far the riding and performance, it is a delight to ride. It behaves like a cheetah indeed – ready to pounce, very agile in the movement, in control of the roads and yet gives you a commanding position and pleasure to ride. With 200 mm of ground clearance, you can be well assured of riding in even the worst of Indian roads and road humps
ARAI certifies a healthy 15.1 kmpl mileage which is quiet good for this segment.
The car comes in two variants : w6 and w8 and with w8 coming with front wheel drive and an All wheel drive option. Unlike the regular four wheel drive, the AWD in XUV500 sports an interactive torque management system which automatically monitors the road condition and shifts from 2 wheel drive to all wheel drive whenever necessary.
The key differences between the two variants:
The coup de grace comes in the pricing. It is where Mahindra had won the battle with a launch prize of 10.91 L for the base model (w6) and 12.07L and 13.02L for 2 Wheel drive and All wheel drive of W8 variants. (All prices are ex-showroom, Bangalore) With the impressive array of features and a brilliantly crafted vehicle both in terms of looks and performance, no wonder the vehicle has clocked 8000 bookings within the first 10 days and Mahindra has to stop taking fresh bookings. I was told bookings will restart in the first week of November.
A very appealing and wonderfully crafted SUV that is a sure value for money with a killer looks and a pleasure to ride. Cheers to Mahindra for coming of age with this world-class vehicle.
Hyundai Eon – review
Eon is launched and you can even spot it on roads. After the very successful Fluidic Verna, Hyundai is on a song with Eon to shake up the entry level subcompact car. With the King of small car, Maruti Suzuki battling labor problems, Hyundai drives the wheels right into its competitors forte.
To begin with numbers, Alto clocks more than 20K units every month. Its a way huge number and a pie every car maker would dream to eat into. With Hyundai setting a target of 1.5 L units in first year, there is no guessing where their eyes are set upon.
First look at Eon, it would make feel Alto a car back from a time machine. Eon whips a drastically refreshing feel, soul and flavor for a small car. The car specifically made for India and might do rounds in other markets after tasting success here shows the Hyundai’s commitment and involvement in the Indian market where even the likes of Toyota are going bit conservative in their design approach. The fact that they are the country’s second largest car maker with a good distribution network already set up would help Hyundai take the initiative and the risk that comes along, since they have already the customer’s faith.
The fluidic design that one saw in the new Verna flows into Eon. Do note the almost artistic fluid stroke of lines that flow in the side profile of the car and the flow of the car from the front to rear. It is smooth, free flowing presenting the Hyundai’s new design charm.
The front sports a hexagonal face with Hyundai logo and a chrome strip wings, chrome tipped radiator grille and sporting a curiously large headlamp for a small car sweeping all the way back to the A-pillar. A look at the cute little fog lamps (unfortunately available only in the top most model, more about this later) talks a lot about Hyundai’s eye for detail.
The tail light is equally a intriguing design element. While Hyundai calls it a half-moon shape, on a lighter note, a closer perspective reminds me a pointed shoe design, the power of imagination is the key for innovation. So call it crescent moon or pointed shoe, the fact is the large tail lamp sits pretty going all the way up almost kissing the edges of the integrated spoiler. So that brings us to highlight the next nice touch – the integrated spoiler that is standard in all the variants. It adds the extra bit of charm for the rear.
So external look wise – Eon is a stunner that pales Alto into an antique design. Period.
When the exteriors speaks volumes, Interiors naturally have to speak the same language else would be a disappointment. Eon does not let you down.
A dual tone in small car is something worth mentioning. The cockpit is quiet modern, neatly arranged and again wakes up the entry level small car segment to new possibilities.
The instrument cluster gives a warm neon green glow. You need to check it out while the engine is on and moving and in night it glows with quiet a bit of greens and few oranges in a warm glow. All the variants sports the same instrument cluster that has a dual tripmeter, low fuel warning, graphic band fuel gauge, gear shift indicator.
The top most variant sports a trendy metallic finish 3 spoke steering wheel while the rest sports a 2 spoke non-metalic steering wheel.
Check that small spoiler type protrusion on the dashboard above the A/c vent, I like that small cobra hood effect that it brings. Except for the base variant, rest comes with A/c fitted. While you have to burn the pockets if you want to go for the music console since it is available only in the top 2 variants. Again, the metallic finish would go hiding in the starting two variants…
The glove box in beige color and deep enough and also a neat looking dashboard storage on top serves the practical needs…
side pockets …. and then you got couple of cup holders too…
The front seating is quiet comfortable with enough leg room and head room and the bucket type single unit front seats soaks you well into a riding position. While the rear can comfortably sit two adults. If you complain if the leg room is bit cramped, don’t get carried away with the exterior and interior look and feel, we are still driving a small car. So three adult means you would be stuffed with not much room to turn around.
For a small car, Eon comes surprisingly with a larger boot space. 215 L space is larger than even what Honda Brio sports. I wondered if few inches of the boot space could have been released to give the rear leg room a bit more.
So that is about the interiors and exteriors – which are uber ocol and striking for the segment.
Hyundai comes in 6 colors: Coral white, Sleek Silver, Mushroom, Dark Grey Metallic, Pristine Blue and Maharajah Red.
Now lets claw into the heart of the car…
Under the hood of the small wonder baby is a 814 cc , 3 cylinder engine that delivers 56 PS @ 5,500 rpm and 75 Nm torque @ 4,000 rpm. If you want to compare it with Alto, again Eon is notch up with Alto having the figures of 47PS and 62Nm.
So far irresistibly good but how it rides and performs?
So I revved up and went into the roads, Eon engine is fairly refined well. It’s a smooth rush forward and comfortable to ride in city condition. The steering feels good on your palms and responds well and it is easy to navigate through the chaos of the Indian roads. Eon has a good turning radius and turning, parking all is a pleasant affair. For a small car, the suspension is decent enough. A few complaining note would be gear shift is not very smooth and there is a vibration in the gear knob vibrates a bit. Also a dash of chrome on the gear knob would have added an extra zing to the look. It looks bit antiquated. The road view is clear and great from riding position. For a small car, I think Hyundai has done extremely well both look wise and performance wise.
Eon comes in 6 variants: D-Lite (the starting variant) , D-Lite(o), ERA, Magna, Magna(o), Sportz. Personally, I hate digging into information of so many variants, it just confuses a customer. One has to sit and analyze, ponder and figure out his best buy pouring into various spec sheets.
As far as mileage is concerned, Eon boasts of ARAI certified mileage of 21.1 kmpl, again a best in the class.
GingerChai Verdict: It’s all about Money, honey! Why Alto sells? It is perceived to give a good value for money. After the demise of 800, Alto fulfilled the motor dreams of vast majority of middle class households who wanted a budget car that would be their first car. So with Eon eyeing at the share of Alto pie, it has to got the pricing right and the value for money factor. Looking at the spec and price chart, obviously Eon is pricey entry level small car. The top two variant (you can include the middle fourth variant too) are too pricey that If you relax your purse strings a little bit more you get the likes of Beat, Figo etc who sports a better engine and other specs. So Hyundai is actually placing their bets on carving a new segment on the entry level small car with its premium offering. Definitely, the car has is futuristic, no doubt it has turned the notion of entry level small car with its out of box offering but then it also comes for the extra price. Being a price sensitive market, how far it would rattle the Maruti Suzuki’s Alto cart, we need to wait and watch. One thing, Eon will sell. It will bring numbers to Hyundai.
Honda Brio – review
Honda has unveiled their new baby called “Brio”. Brio means vigor, vivacity – full of life. True to its name, Brio has an infectious appeal and character that let you fall in love with it and also as the Honda tag line goes “Brio Loves You Back”, definitely the car has a life in it that would love you back. Do I sound smitten by love? I am and you will know why, read ahead.
In India, Honda has always been identified with premium cars with their lineup of Jazz, City, Civic, Accord and CR-V. While City was a run-away hit and market leader in its segment, Jazz was a promising car but Honda bungled in its pricing. Recently Honda dropped prices to began an aggressive retailing phase for the company in the Indian market and the company pins a lot of hopes on its new model, Brio which could add the numbers and the bottom line profits.
Honda has done lot of homework into the making of Brio (pronounced: Br-ee-oo) considering the fact that the car is designed from scratch especially for India and Thailand market to begin with. The entry level hatchback segment is over-crowded with well established models plus new entrants rolling in. This is also a segment where one successful model means a huge volume for the company but the problem is cracking the segment which is demanding as well as price-sensitive. So what Honda did? It patiently went about doing surveys and collecting facts, understand the customer demands and mindset and then collaborated with European designers along side taking inputs and involving the engineers from the targeted segment countries and arrived at what Honda calls double triangle form for Brio. The below picture explains it. (For more interesting aspects on Honda’s design talk, read HERE)
pic courtesy: Honda.com
So finally Honda Brio is here. Brio has a large-cylinder-design halogen headlights, a front grille that spells character and class of Honda’s styling. The bumper is flanked with wide lip like lines that give a wide stance. The two bold lines that draws up the front grille gives a strong presence and masculine nature to the car. Am I impressed by the front stance? Definitely yes.
A bold front…
The rear is interesting and Honda has taken a risk with the large glass hatch. You might like it or hate it or some of you might be slightly paranoid over the naked glass hatch. But trust Honda, the glass are really sturdy and fits very well. Its a hard reinforced glass hatch door and it isn’t definitely fragile at all, you can slam it shut as hard as a normal one. Personally, I liked this and it keeps the Brio stand apart from the rest since not many uses this design form factor these days.
The rear lights are interesting as well. Large, round red eye of the tail lamp and stop lights at the edges of the body accentuates the wider stance and protrudes and wraps up neatly to the sides and neatly slices the glass hatch diagonally.
In short, Brio has a pointy leaping forward wide stance, bold lines on the side that sprints upwards to the rear and a well sliced hatch with large glass and a curious tail lights all put together gives a contemporary, stable look to the car which is aerodynamic as well as boasts a terrific individual character and a strong presence.
Sit inside the car and you will smile at the tagline. Yes, Brio loves you back with one of the best in class interior quality. Inspite of the obvious pressure to keep the costs minimal, Honda has surprised as with a rich interior in the form of high quality plastic, fit and good upholstery. The dual tone beige upholstery brightens up the interiors as well as very comfortable and gives a uber cool rich feel to the car.
The dashboard is not as steep as in Jazz inspite of the forward design. A dual tone dashboard that nests the instrument console and other controls. Not overly glamorous, functional, pleasant and decent.
The 3 spoke design steering with a dash of smoky silver finish is compact and wonderful to hold and soft on your hands. Except for the start variant, all the other variants has steering mounted audio controls. The three pod analog 3D meter cluster with a soft orange illumination sits pretty. The MID display is basic and indicates trip distance info and average fuel consumption. The good part is the amber illumination stays even during the day light and is easy on eyes and to read. There is an Eco lamp function, when it is glowing green, it indicates you are driving economically. A green thought indeed!
Curiously, the music system controls are positioned slightly away from the driver but then the audio console is part of all the variants except for the basic variant. And one sore note, the audio console does not have a CD support. So you got to do with the USB sticks and other aux-in. Understood, a 4 GB USB costs very little now and can transport music in a pocket but then we still have a large population that are comfortable on CDs even now.
A long view from the rear…
The front door with side pockets. Note the blue color? well, its the lining pocket and strangely Honda decides to leave it bare showing the metal color of the car and not lining it with fabric. Yes, it adds a color but then I feel a fabric lining would have been a better idea.
The front sports a very comfortable riding stance with good legroom and headroom. The rear is decent enough not exceptionally roomy but average size to fit in easily the average Indian sizes.
The 175 liter boot space is well, small. The rear seats can be folded but no split folding. Don’t fret over the large glass hatch that might make your baggage visible in case you are paranoid about it, you might want the glass tinted dark or better grab a parcel tray. Personally, I found the glass hatch pretty and would not complain about it.
The heart, ride and performance of Brio:
The Brio is powered by the same 1.2 Liter SOHC i-VTEC petrol engine that is tucked inside the bigger sibling, Jazz. Though it is tuned marginally lower. The 4 cylinder engine delivers 88 BHP @ 6000 rpm and 109 Nm @ 4600 rpm.
Inspite of sharing the same engine as Jazz, being a lighter sibling Brio’s power to weight ratio is superior providing a peppier drive. City driving is a delight on Brio and feels very agile and willing. Handling is surefooted and reassuring in city traffic. It corners amazingly well thanks to a very responsive electric power steering. Drive it into highway, the car is more delight to ride, thanks to the characteristic refined engine of Honda staple.
ARAI certifies a 18.4 Km/litre fuel efficiency. Even if it is couple of notches below on realistic note, it is still a good score. Since it is Honda, it is only petrol engine as of now but Honda is believed to be working on a diesel engine but then it might take couple of years more for them to actually bring it to production level.
There are in total 4 variants of Brio and the top two variants come with front driver i-SRS and passenger SRS Airbags and also sports ABS with EBD. All the variants sports electric power steering and air conditioner with heater and also front power windows and central locking. The rear power windows is in all models except the starter one. Except the basic variant, all the variants also has keyless entry.
Brio comes in 6 colors – Energetic blue, Rallye Red, Urban Titanium, Alabaster Silver, Taffeta white and Crystal Black pearl.
Now, this is where Honda has got it all right, learning their bitter lesson from their Jazz experience. The base variant starts @ Rs. 3,95,000 and the top variants has a sticker price of Rs. 5,10,000.
(Prices Ex-showroom, New Delhi)
It is quiet a competitive and aggressive pricing considering the styling, performance , quality and goodies that come along with the car.
A compact car that carries the Honda’s engineering and quality mantra. At a very aggressive sticker price, it is definitely a value for money and a owner’s pride. Brio definitely loves you back. Fall in love, well I have. Brio has in it to be the car of the year in its segment.
Bajaj Boxer 150 – In the Ring
At ex-showroom price(Bangalore) of Rs. 43,000, Bajaj’s new offering Boxer 150 touted as “Bharat bike” is all set to change the dynamics of the market as at this price and with electric start to boast of, it is cheaper than some of the 100 cc bikes. Call it a knockout punch!
While on one hand we have heavy weights like Harley Davidson, Ducati testing waters in Indian roads and Pulsars, Karizmas, RTRs and R1 blazing the trail on the popular style and power segment, a huge pie of Indian motorcycle market is captured by likes of Splendors that share the larger pie of rural market as well as a city commuter bikes for middle classes. The real numbers are in this commuter biking segment which is ruled by Hero’s Splendor model. Bajaj has it’s share of the pie with the models like Platina and Discover as well as had a good run with Boxer CT.
Bajaj has a tendency to stretch their Brands into various spec sheets. They did it earlier with Pulsar, Platina and Discover series and now it does a trick with its well established Boxer brand, upping the scale of engine power with the same ruggedness that is associated with the Boxer brand combined with an irresistible sticker price. Bajaj makes no pretensions here on the style statement. The bike is styled to provide a best practical, functional and very affordable two wheeler which can handle the rugged rural terrain with ease as well as sport the magic 150 cc tag and at a very attractive and aggressive pricing. To its credit, Bajaj has delivered a promising vehicle that packs a punch to wean the splendor stricken rural masses. And ya, it also rings a heavy warning bell to all other 100 cc kids on the market.
One has to know the pulse of the segment Boxer 150 is aimed at to understand the style quotient of the bike. No, style does not dictate terms here but rather efficiency in terms of practical usage, ruggedness and value for money. So obviously it is an entirely different design engineering involved here. Boxer 150 sports a bold and round head lamp that looks neat and solid. The tail light and the indicators are simple but yet neatly laid out. Over all, practical, no frills but assuring and neat.
For a bike that comes with a sticker price of 43K ex-showroom price, one can only expect a basic instrument panel and Boxer 150 delivers exactly that. A speedometer and a fuel guage nested in the twin-pod plus the basic lights is what you get.
The fuel tank is prominent and bulbous, with a loud Boxer sticker on it.
Wide MRF tyres on the 17-inch spoke wheels is assuring while driving offering a good road grip…
While the front suspension works are taken care by 125mm travel telescopic forks, Bajaj-patented SNS suspension takes care of the rear end… Thanks to the no-frills design that does away with unwanted additions and add-ons, the bike weighs just 123 Kgs and this helps the suspension handle the ruggedness of the bad roads pretty decently.
Just because it is 150 cc , don’t expect disc brakes, Boxer 150 sports 130mm drum brakes on both ends, so it makes the obvious strain while braking…
The heart of the Boxer is a single spark plug head unit. The 144.8cc is borrowed from its sibling Discover 150 though the discover head sports a twin spark plug. The engine delivers a 12 PS of power at 7,500 rpm and an impressive torque of 12.26 Nm at 5,000 rpm. All this is sure to get Boxer 150 race ahead of its weaker 100 cc rivals in the segment by a huge distance and also keep it distinctly ahead and attractive for buyers.
Boxer 150 comes in only one color – Black.
Riding and Performance: The bike sports a good sitting comfort thanks to the wider seats. In rural roads, it gives a good riding stance for a longer trip. Thanks to the light weight body which again is due to the no-frills minimal design concept helps in giving a better fuel efficiency and decent pickup. The bike has a fairly good handling on bad roads. Though the braking is bit hard thanks to the drum brakes.
The commuter bike gives a decent mileage around 55 Kmpl, which is a decent enough for 150 cc bike.
Boxer 150 tries to pull the carpets under the wheels of 100 cc bikes that hitherto ruled the rural markets. With very practical, functional design and performance elements, aggressive pricing and a 150 cc engine to lure the target segments, Bajaj has come up with a very smart bike that has a potential to clock huge numbers for India’s second biggest motorcycle company. How big the success can be? Will it finally manage to erode the undisputed dominance of Splendor in the rural and small town segments, well only time can tell but Boxer 150 does has the potential and is promising.
All you want to know about New Maruti Swift
The wait is over and the all-new Swift is here. But most of you might wonder what is new about the car? It looks almost similar to the outgoing old Swift. For a casual on-looker, it might be a game of spot the 7 differences but on a closer observation, the minute changes will unravel to give a more refined and definite design elements yet retaining the iconic Swift style statement.
So what is prominently new in the new release?
Let’s take a quick glance at the vital changes:
- So we got now a slightly longer body: 3850mm (+90mm)
- A longer wheelbase: 2430mm (+50mm)and
- the car got marginally fatter in width by 5 mm.
- Bigger and bolder headlight and tail light
- A new grille
- Accentuated strong and fluid lines
- Improved interiors in terms of space and quality of materials
- A new dashboard and a central console
New Swift Variants & their main differences
New Swift comes in Petrol and Diesel engine and both of them comes in three variants.
Three variants of the Petrol Swift: LX , VXi, ZXi
Three variants of the Diesel Swift: LDi, VDi, ZDi
Now let’s find out the main substantial differences between the three variants.
So you can see here some of the changes …I would say the new Swift got a new cosmetic and botox job done to stay ahead in the race…
The dashboard is inspired by the one sported by bigger luxury sedan Kisashi.
Swift comes in following colors:
The Engine details:
How much it would bite into your bank balance?
The price list:
Lxi – 4.22 lakhs
Vxi - 4.76 lakhs
Zxi – 5.53 lakhs
Ldi – 5.17 lakhs
Vdi - 5.61 lakhs
Zdi - 6.38 lakhs
* All prices are ex-showroom Delhi.
Honda CBR 250R – To know the unknown
When Honda CBR 250R was launched during march, 2011, we could not review it for some reasons. Later with the new car launches grabbing our attention our focus shifted to the four wheelers and the CBR faded from our timeline. But then some bikes are not to be brushed off. We got couple of mails from our readers asking us to review the machine for them. When readers demand, we cannot say no. So we called the Honda guys and they gladly arranged our test vehicle.
Honda comes with its famed engineering reputation and Honda CBR 250R too promises that.
So here is the quarter liter mini-monster machine before us.
Yes, It has got an impressive standing. Let’s first visually gauge upon the bike.
Be it car or bike, the first thing I notice is the head especially the headlamps. So we have a Y-headlamp holding the main beam lights and flanked by the pilot lights and distinctly marked by black outlines. Neat.
The instrument panel is sportier with silver finish and blue LCD back-lit. It displays all the desired readings that you would look for.
The piece de resistance of the machine however is the twin sporty cowling giving the look and feel of the famed VFR 1200F (the comparison ends here as this is a baby when compared to the VFR monster) Still, the faring does not look odd on CBR unlike the many bikes that we see oflate in Indian roads with a mismatched fairing design.
Another notable sight is the bulky exhaust made in stainless steel and black coated.
Honestly, I was not too impressed by the honeycomb tail light. Surely, it could have been better designed for the overall design balance of the bike.
CBR250R sports a wide tubeless tyre in the front and rear. Can you see the ABS fitting in the bike? Much about it later.
The rear wheel.. 5 spoke mag wheels.
It has got a twin seating arrangement that not only adds to the style quotient but also adds an utility value. Did I hear you ask what utility? Check the next to next picture.
So you can store your bike documents in this small utility space down here..
CBR comes in three colors:
Ultimately the CBR250R impresses us with its bold yet strikingly good looks.
Now lets come to the heart of the matter – the engine, that beats the machine. The liquid cooled, 4 stroke DOHC single cylinder quarter liter engine (249.6 cc for the number lovers) delivers 25 bhp @ 8500 rpm and 22.9 Nm @ 7000 rpm. It has a 6 speed gear transmission and 1 down, 5 up gear shift pattern.
CBR250R is a wonderful sports tourer currently on Indian roads. For the uninitiated, to quote Wiki:
A Sport touring motorcycle is a type of motorcycle that blends the performance of a sport bike with the long-distance capabilities of a touring motorcycle, while providing comfort and relative safety to the rider.
When you soak into the saddle and clock a long distance on highways, you will agree to it. The bike is ergonomically well designed that you get a fatigue free long-ride and a refreshing cruise. The handle bar is relaxed and easy on your shoulders while seated on the comfortable seating. The engine responds effortlessly, it revs pretty easily through the low and mid ranges, that makes it good for city traffic as well. If you expect a loud knocking racer noise, you are on for a surprisingly silent and smooth engine. The CBR250 R can glide your way at top speed of 150 km/h. CBR 250R also gives you a headstart with 0-100km/h time at 8.6seconds.
The die hard daredevil racers might roll their eyes to the needs of combined Anti-lock Brake System but for an occasional racer in you and more importantly for regular riders with all the adrenalin minus the daredevilry, it works wonderfully well to stabilize the vehicle on sudden braking at rough conditions.
And thanks to PRGM-FI technology and intelligent design that ensured light weight as well as a mean form factor ensures a good mileage in its segment and you can expect 27-29 kmpl.
CBR 250R retails at Rs.168758 for the Standard model and at Rs. 197751 for the ABS version (both on-road prices, bangalore)
So our verdict? So who are the nearest competitors? Well, Bajaj has Pulsar 220, Hero motor corp has Karizma but strictly speaking on terms of class and performance the real challenger in this segment on Indian roads for CBR250R is Ninja 250R. We are not indulging on a shoot-off between both the vehicles now in this article but with Ninja 250R’s sticker price commanding up-north at 3L , for those looking for a sporty bike as well as a city bike, not to forget majority Indians look for a value for money package, Honda got everything right in CBR250R and no wonder, it has got good sales too so far.