Yamaha YZF R15 Version 2.0 – review
Yamilicious! Here come’s the track blazer and city slicker, which got graduated, got revamped and relaunched in the new avatar and it is the hot Yamaha YZF R15 version 2.0
Now let’s do a quick rewind of the earlier version of R15, version 1.0 of R15 marked the new beginning for the skilled riders who wanted to upgrade to an urban sport bike and it helped push the amateur bikers fall in love with the sporty looks and track worthy riding with comforts of a ever day use sports bike. There were few glitches and scope for improvement and thankfully Yamaha was quick to respond and unleashed version 2.0 with a perfection mantra.
There were quiet a few letdown’s the earlier version faced and aesthetically speaking the rear of the bike lacked a proportion when compared to the overall good styling of this city sleek racer bike. Now with the version 2.0, Yamaha has almost solved all the nagging issues and has gone ahead and packed few more goodies too.
So what is the thumps up in the version 2.o on visual note? Yamaha truly has created an urban super sport bike in version 2.0, a class apart its competitors in speed, style and design. On a quick glance, the first few visually noticeable changes in the new R15 are a much sharper tail with impressive LED tail lamp which compliments the bike’s sporty look, a single piece seat of the earlier version is now replaced by a more sportier, trendier split seating and the rear number plate hanger which borrows styling cues from the bigger brother YZF R1. Slight changes have been made in the front fairings also which gives the bike a degree of cosmetic freshness.
The slight design tweaks in the middle cowl means improved aerodynamic performance at higher speeds.
R15 sports a fatter rear tyre which is 130 mm wide and also gives an extra shot of masculinity and sportiness to the bike.
And the upward angled silencer adds to the high performance bike image plus the fresh design element of the silencer protector adds value to the sleekness of the bike.
And visual sore note? The rear tyre hugger is a put off as well as the awefull looking saree guard. And the lack of grab rails at the rear end counts too.
But overall R15 design is youthful, sleek, trendy and sporty.
The heart of the bike: Firing the bike is a liquid cooled engine, a first of its kind in Indian made models. So we got a 149.8 cc liquid cooled, 4 stroke, SOHC, 4 valve engine type delivering 17 PS @ 8,500 rpm and max torque of 15 Nm @ 7,500 rpm. What it serves is a stable performance, reduce vibrations, and offer a high quality ride.
Ride & feel of the 2.0:
As I saddle up all is forgotten, the seating position is impressive like mounting on a fine bred race horse. The R15 now looks and feels more of a sure-shot sports bike, the handle bar and foot peg positions remains the same and this gives a better hold on the bike with improved straight line stability.
Brakes too have got noticeable upgradation for better performance along with an aluminum swing arm that gives good stability and feel on high speeds thanks to its long swing arm design.
Plus now R15 sports a 130 mm wide radial rear tyre and a large 220 mm diameter rear disc to match the tyre brake which immensely helps in the grip, stability and holds much better road support than before. YZF-R15 version 2.0 is equipped with a linked type monocross suspension that delivers a comfortable ride and a cushioning performance.
R15 comes in 3 colors – racing blue, sunset red and midnight black.
Click here to check out the new 2013 color variants
The R15 now sports a lethal combination of comfort,maneuverability and stability on virtually all types of situations, it provides a sporty ride on city roads and is fun to race on long isolated stretches and tracks with its obedient handling, decent acceleration, good top speed, great handling around bends and sharp turns. Infact R15 easily smokes every other bike out of track in 150 cc segment and stamps itself as the sport bike’s enthusiasts choice in this category. Yes, you cannot compare it with the likes of CBR or a Ninja for that matter but R15 surely never lets you down and a total value for money bike in that category and for the price tag of Rs.1,11,500/ (On road price, Bangalore)
Ford Fiesta – review
As Fiesta celebrates its 35th birthday and having successfully sold more than 15 million Fiestas worldwide since inception, the 6th generation of Fiesta is launched in India – a market which is growing fast and furious. The new Fiesta was first launched in Europe in 2008 and since then been dotting the roads across the globe as per Ford’s new “One Ford” strategy to sell the same models with minor changes across their global markets.
In Indian market, Ford hit the bull’s eye with Figo and would love to replicate the success with its launch of all new Fiesta but then the segment is not an easy battle ground. With Hyundai’s Verna Fluidic storming the segment and dethroning the erstwhile king of the segment Honda City, and VW Vento revving behind, let’s see if the all-new-Fiesta has in it to take on the mighty competitors.
This 6th generation Fiesta is based on Ford’s new global B2E platform and it got a complete makeover, which is an eye-catcher if not a show stopper.
Let’s move around the car and have a look at it. To begin with, your immediate line of focus would be on the impressive large black hued headlamp – a three barrel, scimitar shaped that wraps neatly to the sides. Definitely an impressive sight.
A wide trapezoidal grill adds character to the front and together with the lights has a fairly good style and sporty design. The roof line swoops to the rear like one single stroke of artistic brush and it did reminded vaguely of the recently launched Fluidic design, though the swoop down was more fluidic and prominent in the Hyundai Verna. The two strong lines on the sides adds a dash of masculinity. Coming to rear, it’s heavy with a large rear overhang not an impressive first sight and add to that a not so inspiring tail lights docked high, though it is clean and wraps the rear and sides with chrome trimming in the centre. But overall, the rear does let down the front design elements.
Ok, so now let’s movie inside the cars. While opening the doors, you won’t miss the heaviness of the doors. It’s solid and slams gently with a smooth thud. I was told it shows the heavy gauge of the steel used and the impact resistance of the car. Well, might be true but my friend was bit annoyed by the heaviness but then his reaction can be dismissed.
If you are a gadget lover, Fiesta’s dashboard will brighten you up. There is lot many things to fiddle around as well as to track in glowing red back lit and LED screen. Though, I found too much of red on the screen a bit distracting.
Very prominent in the center of the dashboard is a mobile phone inspired console.
The picture is self-explanatory in itself. Apart from the music system menus, you can also connect your mobile phone and dial it. The small screen decked up the dashboard throws up numerous informations like outside temperature, odometer, 1 trip-meter, distance to empty (DTE), real-time fuel (liters/Hour at idle & liters/100 kms when moving), average fuel consumption (liters/100 kms) and average speed. The display can be switched on and off using a button on the console or the left stalk. The music station comes with audio controls on steering wheels and with 6 speakers. The top variant comes with blue-tooth and voice controls for A/c and music system.
Nested infront of the steering is the instrument control – digital tripmeter, tachometer, low fuel warning, driver seat belt warning and head lamp on warning. Incase you are awed by the metallic finish of the consoles, let me tell you except for the top titanium variant, the rest comes only in moulded black.
The seating kind of literally hugs you in, thanks to the extra side wings that wraps you tight. For the average Indian size, it should be a welcome addition unless you are on the above average larger drivers. I found it quiet comfortable. The cabin is roomy enough unlike the outgoing Fiesta. The road view from inside is good too.
All the variants comes with front and rear power windows with one-touch control on driver side. The glove box comes with a lamp. The rear seats are 100% foldable plus with adjustable head rests. the driver seat is height adjustable. And you also get a rear arm rest with cup-holder plus front and rear door trims with cup holder and magazine holders plus a cup holder in floor. All this I just mentioned is available in all variants.
The top variant comes with bluetooth and cruise control for a relaxed driving plus voice control to command the audio console, A/c and the cruise control. Also the reverse parking sensor is parked for the top variant i.e, the Titanium. Better things comes in fatter price tag!
The colors… Fiesta comes in 7 colors.
The heart matters …
Fiesta comes in both Petrol and Diesel engine. Both comes in four versions – Style (the base variant), Trend, Titanium and Titanium plus.
Lets talk about the Petrol engine first. Its a 1499 cc, 4 cylinder In-line 16V DOHC, all aluminum alloy engine delivering a max power output of 109 BHP @ 6045 rpm and max. torque of 140 @ 4500 rpm. Fire the engine, you hardly hear any sound inside. The drive is peppy and navigating around the corners are fun. At times, you tend to get a feeling it is under-powered, but neverthless its a decent drive around the city. If you had been regular on the steering of Honda City, you might feel slightly disappointed riding this one.
Now coming to the Diesel engine, which is a 1.5 liter, 4 cylinder In-line 8V SOHC engine, again like the petrol counterpart, its scaled down from the 1.6 liters that sported the outgoing Fiesta and the existing Fiesta classic, largely to take advantage of the excise duty advantages and also better mileage. The engine delivers 90 BHP @ 3750 rpm and a max torque of 204 Nm @ 2000-2750 rpm. Like the petrol engine, it does feel refined and quiet silent too except for the muted hum. As you drive, you realize the diesel engine is comparatively better than the petrol variant. Though the engine behavior is not very enticing but it is nevertheless good especially on highways.
The mileage …
As per ARAI certificates, the petrol delivers 17 Kmpl and the diesel engine delivers 23.5 Kmpl. On a realistic note, cut 2-3 kmps from the numbers.
Ford got the mathematics right for Figo, the sensible pricing meant a value for money which helped in selling 1 Lakh cars within a year but they seem to have lost the plot with the new Fiesta. Yes, they might be offering few goodies thrown across the variants but then the car is NOT at all cheap when compared to its hot competitors.
The basic variant of petrol starts @ Rs. 8,34,480 and goes up to Rs. 9.54,763 for the top variant while the diesel version starts at Rs. 9,39,563 and goes up to Rs. 10,56,096 for the top variant.
Compared to Honda City and the current hot seller Hyundai Verna Fluidic, the pricing is quiet steep and this should put brakes on the sales numbers of the Fiesta in my opinion. Considering the fact that a small cut of around Rs.60,000 did help Honda City to push their sagging numbers after the launch of Hyundai’s Fluidic, it speaks of the market pulse and that should prove to be a decisive factor in the final numbers game.
Chevrolet Beat Diesel – review
With the petrol prices giving nightmares to average Indian drivers, the general interest in diesel cars are raising and the diesel sales figures are shooting up. So, Chevrolet launch of its diesel variant of Beat has comes at right time and is all set to rev up the diesel segment. Powered by a 1 liter diesel engine under a youthful, sporty skin and boasting innovative technology with a GM Chevrolet badge and with market condition favorable for diesel, Chevy’s Beat has the momentum on its side.
The look of beat is boldly unconventional – sporty, futuristic and trendy yet muscular. One might love it or hate it but Chevy’s petrol version of Beat has had good outing so far and is one among the best small cars on roads. Chevy has not made much change into the looks and features of the Diesel variant; it retains the same skin and features of its Petrol sibling. There are only basic minor changes that are largely necessitated by the introduction of the Diesel engine. More about it later in the article.
So we have the same flamboyant macho design and tall body characterized by bold lines … …
Neat looking large twin barrel head lamps and rear tail lights …
A very sporty, futuristic and appealing dashboard …
Chevy has added one more color to the color card we have seen in the Petrol variant. So we have in total 8 colors to choose:
Going by the sales figures of Petrol and the customer feedback, the Beat has a good performance report and the design is youthful and still stays fresh inspite of the growing number of competitive models.
So the main talk-point of Beat Diesel lies in its heart – the 1 liter diesel engine it nests under its hood. GM has quiet seriously taken the matter to its heart and its Indian wing has developed an exclusive engine tailor-made for Indian conditions. The end product is a 936cc XSDE Smartech turbocharged 3 cylinder diesel engine. On paper, it would seem much smaller than the competing models like Figo, Ritz and Swift. But don’t underestimate. It is capable of delivering 59 PS@ 4000 rpm and a commendable 15o Nm of torque @ 1750 rpm. So we have here quiet a capable, lean and mean but well engineered engine to take on the segment.
The Aluminum alloy cylinder head with fixed geometry turbo charger provides a smooth, peppy drive while delivering a remarkable fuel efficiency. Inside the car, it is surprisingly very quiet for a diesel engine and the car does not show any signs of engine vibrations. Thanks to low engine RPM and low gear ratios, city driving is a delight, the car sprints with a zest. The turbocharger also comes effective on highways as the car has within to cruise effortlessly and smoothly.
To accommodate and soak in the increase in engine weight when compared to the Petrol engine, Beat Diesel comes with an improved gas filled suspension with McPherson Strut type with Anti-roll Bar in the front. Also Beat Diesel sports a 165/65 R14 Tubeless wider tyres. These small changes provides the extra suspension and stability to the car and gives you a smoother ride plus a confidant, tough road presence and navigation.
Beat delivers an impressive mileage. As per ARAI, it gives a 24 kilometers to the liter. Even if you cut down 2-3 numbers from that, you got an irresistible figures here.
Beat Diesel comes in three variants: PS, LS and LT. Even the base model comes with power steering and A/c.
If this rings sweet for you, Chevy has sweetened the deal more with its price tag of the car. At ex-showroom of Rs.4,35,217 (Bangalore) for its base model, it is a very attractive package to Beat that!
Toyota Liva – review
After a fairly successful outing with its entry-level sedan, Toyota Etios, the world’s largest automobile manufacturer drives into our Indian roads Liva, Toyota’s small car made-for-India. The small car segment is quiet populated and each car maker, unleashing an array of models. It’s a tough market to crack where volume matters, let’s see if Liva can as their tag line goes “Liv Tmrrw 2day”
The first look…
When you look at the front, Liva looks familiar. It looks identical to its bigger sibling, Etios. So like the sedan, Liva too has a conservative styling and devoid of any radical lines and flamboyant designing. It’s a plain-Jane design and Toyota has kept it clean, simple and neat.
Though Liva is not a stunner and a head turner, it sports a pleasant smiling grille with chrome ornamental finishing that gleefully meets the crystal clear wrap -up headlamps with indicator, parking lights integrated within. The bonnet sports two neat lines giving a slight mid-rise that adds to the subdued understated and a dash of sporty styling. (The basic model of course comes with a Black matte front grille). The bumper is neat too with fog lamps and skirting and again let me remind, don’t expect them in base version.
Come to the rear and it is where Liva comes on its own. Etios rear design has been chopped of and given a wonderful treatment. Shedding the big boot, Liva sports a well-proportioned silhouette. Thanks to the rounded hatch, it looks more appealing and cute. Overall, the rear of Liva compliments with the front design, unlike the Etios rear. The mounted tail light makes the difference to the Liva. The slight bulge and the mounted tail light gives a sporty and charming character to the car. It blends well with the hatchback and also adds to the characteristics of the car.
Measuring 2460 mm, Liva has a huge wheelbase and good ground clearance.
The top two versions sports a 12 spoke alloy wheels.
The inside story…
Liva carries the Etios’s touch inside…
The dashboard is plucked straight from Etios.
cool glove box
So you have the same central instrument control, vertically mounted central air conditioning vents and the chilled glove box. There are plenty of bottle and cup holders (I think I counted 7 of them) and the 13 litre glove box with the air-conditioning vents is a cool thought.
If you thought the centrally placed instrument console would be not practical, you are wrong. It is not only easy to read but also gives the car an interesting perspective and a cool quotient. The console is pretty well stacked though the two of the starting base versions does not come with tachometer.
The top two variants come with a dual tone fabric upholstery – black and red in the top most variant and the other one in black and grey while the starting two variants comes in a single tone black upholstery which was quiet a boring sight. Again only the top two variants comes with fabric insert door trim. The front and rear door comes with pockets, which was quiet convenient to stuff papers, files etc.
Liva is quiet spacious. It provides good legroom and headroom both in the front and rear, sitting inside is quiet a lively experience.
Open the hatch and you get a decent 251 litres of b00t space. The rear seat can be folded but there is no split option.
The engine,the heart and the ride…
To take advantage of the excise duty concessions that the government provides for the small cars, Toyota Liva is powered by a 1.2 Litre, four cylinder engine that fires 89PS @ 5600 rpm and 104 Nm @ 3100 rpm. The brief given to the Toyota engineers is concentrate more on the engine efficiency rather than firing on all cylinders. The car is a delight to drive in city roads. It is peppy and behaves well in low revs and accelerates smoothly further. But come to highways, you will be slightly disappointed but then Toyota has strived at giving a good city car rather than a speedster.
As per ARAI, the car delivers 18.3 kmpl. But on a realistic note, expect 14 kmpl in city conditions and 16 kmpl in highways. This is the fine balance the Toyota engineers had worked on balancing the engine efficiency, acceleration and max power.
If you are looking for a diesel engine, sorry to say Liva comes with only a petrol version.
Liva comes in 7 colors, apart from the 6 colors that was seen in Etios range, Liva has one added blue color which looks cool too.
The variants and pricing…
Liva comes in 4 variants – J, G, V and the fully loaded VX . The basic version is heavily stripped down and without even power steering, which we find is hugely disappointing and ridiculous. The base model starts at Rs. 4,21,47 and it goes up to Rs. 6,08,684 for the top model (Prices are ex-showroom price, Bangalore)
GingerChai verdict: Liva is a good city car spacious and with decent looks, good ride quality and delivering a good mileage and more importantly its an affordable Toyota. It might not impress the speed demon within you but its a practical, no-nonsense, city car that is what Toyota has aimed and made for India.
Hyundai Verna Fluidic – review
With over 20K booking within two months since its mid-may launch, Verna Fluidic is here to stay and give a tough fight to its competitors.
So what makes Verna drive into the hearts of people? A quick analysis:
- It looks futuristic.
- The fluidic design is visually appealing.
- It’s well packaged – look wise, tech wise and price wise.
- It comes in both petrol and diesel and in many variants to suit different buyer requirements and needs.
- It comes loaded with many segment-first features like reversing camera, keyless entry & go, electric folding mirrors.
- And … the ride quality is good.
The earliest Verna launched in India was not a great looking car. Though it continued to clock regular numbers, Verna was outdone by its rivals especially Honda City.
Then, Hyundai tried giving a facelift to Verna in an attempt to gain the market. Verna Transform was launched. It still was way behind Honda City and did not appeal much…
But now with Verna Fluidic, it finally managed a product that made Honda sit back and notice and even cut their Honda City price. A Sign that Verna Fluidic finally has in it to take on the mighty City.
When I walked around the car, it was almost a love at first sight. I loved the free flowing fluidic design. Verna Fluidic carries forward the Hyundai’s new found success in design that they showcased in i10, i20. It’s fresh and very appealing; moreover it has got clean, flowy aerodynamic lines. Fluidic is designed upon Hyundai’s RB concept unveiled at the 2010 Moscow International Motor Show and on a platform started from the scratch.
The flowing bonnet with two lines in the middle swoops down the front and with a light bulge in sides of the bonnet. The fantastic looking two-piece black bezel design eagle-eye headlamps is flamboyant, sharp and wraps and melts into the sides and the new boomerang shaped fog lamps is quirky and adds up the car’s style statement along with its hexagonal grille. The door trims in the side panels flow in harmony along with a beautiful rear mirror with integrated indicator. The body line is also exciting with the raised waist line and with a wide glass area. With a horizontally shaped turn indicator and reverse light, the tail lamps are also refreshing with large stop light. The twin exhaust tip and the 8-spoke 16” alloy wheels give a sportier look and blends well. Over all, the car has a coupe like styling with a sporty and premium look and is very enticing.
The inside story…
If you are planning the top variant, the car treats you with a smart key. What does that mean? Well, it makes life lot simpler with keyless entry, push button start/stop and remote boot opening.
The appealing Y-shaped dashboard holds an instrument cluster with a pleasant white and blue lighting and two large dials, one for tachometer and another for speedo. In between them sits the driver information system, the onboard computer that gives you useful information like journey time, distance to empty and other titbits like average fuel mileage, average speed, engine running time and couple of others. The feather soft steering with easy access control buttons says you are ready to cruise.
On the comfort side, Verna is impressive too with automatic air conditioner, beige leather upholstery (in the top end, while the other variants come with full clothe upholstery), height-adjustable seat belts and head rests, front and rear seat centre armrest, cooled glove box, sunglass holder, cup holder and more. Rear has an arm rest also has a utility box to store your small goodies. The leg room and head room are decent enough and with ample thigh support, the seating soaks you comfortably for a longer drive. The boot space is quiet sufficient too.
The engine and the heart…
As mentioned earlier, Verna comes in both petrol and diesel engines. Within them, you are spoilt for choice too with many variants. With four engine options and ten variants, it beats its competitors hands down. Both the petrol and diesel engines comes in two options – 1.4 L and 1.6 L and both the engines come with an automatic variant too. While both the petrol options come with a 5 speed manual gear box, the diesel options come with a 6 speed manual gear box!
Like the previous generation Verna, the diesel engine outperforms the petrol in Verna Fluidic too especially the 1.6 variant. Upon switching the engine, you are treated with a nice thrum and the silent cabin inside gives you the initial satisfaction. Within city limits, the car has a decent handling but it is in highways, the real performance is felt. The engine is relaxed and cruise effortlessly.
The McPherson struts with coil spring in the front and Couple torsion with beam axle to the rear and gas type shock absorbers provide comfortable driving and handle the pot holes of Indian roads with ease.
The new Hyundai Verna Fluidic comes in six exciting colours – Sleek Silver, Carbon Grey, Stone Beige, Phantom Black, Crystal White and Purple Fantasia.
According to ARAI, the 1.4 L petrol engine boasts of a 17.43 kmpl and the 1.4 L diesel engine delivers a mileage of 23.5 kmpl and with this data, the Verna is more efficient and impressive.
The Rupee factor…
The petrol version starts from Rs.6.99 lakh and goes up to Rs.9.64 lakh for the top-end variant and its diesel counterpart starts from Rs.8.09 lakh rising to Rs.10.74 lakh to the top.
GingerChai Verdict: The new Hyundai Verna Fluidic has the right character, attitude to appeal and also matches with good performance and pricing. With many variants to choose from and petrol and diesel option, no wonder it has got tremendous booking in short duration. With Fluidic, Hyundai finally has a car to match its rival and even over take them in this segment.
Mahindra Verito – Old Wine in New Label
Old wine in a new label – this is the apt description for Mahindra Verito which is nothing but the erstwhile Logan in new branding. Barring minor cosmetic changes, Logan is here as it is but with Mahindra badge.
Even after its divorce with Renault, Mahindra managed to sustain a decent sales figure to its entry level sedan, Logan. Now with Renault charting its own path, Mahindra inevitably has to rebrand the Logan and so we have the new label Verito. The name is derived from the Latin word ‘Veritas’, meaning truth.
- As you see, the Verito comes with the prominent Mahindra badge replacing the Renault badge
- Verito sports a new fog lamp now.
- Verito sports a rail rack for a trendier look.
- It also sports side cladding now.
- A prominent rear chrome strip gives a style quotient to the car unlike the bland read of the logan.
With small but visible cosmetic changes, Veritos now looks sportier and more stylized when compared to the dull looking old Logan. Along with the new welcome change, it also retains the rugged feel that it infuses.
There is not much change in the interiors except for the new plush fabric upholstery. It retains the same roomy feel of Logan and as it is the most spacious car in its segment. The dashboard is the same from Logan and the instrument cluster with LCD display includes a tachometer, digital clock, mileage both total and partial and temp guages and intelligent panel that informs you the trip meter, average fuel consumption, distance to empty (ofcourse , don’t expect the intelligent reports in the base model)
Verito comes in both Petrol and Diesel engine. The 4 cylinder, 8 valve 1390 cc petrol engine revs a 75 PS max power while the 1461 cc diesel engine revs up a 65 PS max power. Though the numbers are not impressive when compared to its peers, the Verito scores over its competitors when it comes to one factor that is all important for average car and bike users – the mileage. The petrol version boasts a 16 kmpl and the diesel version boasts an impressive 21 kmpl. Remarkable numbers considering the concern in most minds with the fuel prices shooting up and up.
Verito comes in 7 colors.
Mahindra has sensibly prices the Verito. With the starting price tag of Rs. 4,82,100 for petrol variant and Rs. 5,61,800 for diesel variant (ex-showroom price, Chennai) it is a car over all decently packaged.
GingerChai verdict: With a refreshing facelift though not very drastic but still making it more sporty and stylized than the erstwhile Logan and with the same old Renault engine giving a great mileage and with a sensible pricing Verito is a value for money in its segment.
Toyota Etios – Review
I know it was long over-due but then due to various reasons, I was able to keep my eyes, hands and feet on Etios just now. But then as the age old cliché goes better late than never right? One parallel I could draw from this long pending review and Etios is even the car was much over-due from Toyota, ideally speaking the world’s largest car maker and seller should have launched the car in India couple of years back but then sometimes delay happens for various reasons. If it happens for a good reason and a better product, the delay can be forgiven. Like almost in this case with Etios. Read again, I stressed on almost.
My friends were betting on the car to give Maruti Suzuki’s D’zire a Hosni Mubarak fate. But does Etios have in it to take on the number one Sedan of the segment and topple it from its position? Before answering this, let’s figure out the car and what it is all about.
So after setting up my date with the car. I arrived before it and went around it. Well, I wound not say Etios is a heart racing stunning beauty. It has an understated elegance that also gives a commanding, soothing presence. The front is classic Toyota-istic with crystal clear wrap-up of headlamps with indicator, parking lights integrated within to add to more clear looks with chrome ornamental finish of the grills and moulded fog lamps on bumper plus the Bonnet with neat lines that adds to the subdued style. (The basic model of course comes with a Black matte font grille). The side profile holds in it a side protection moulding with classic chrome insert (the basic model does away with it) giving a visual aerodynamic appeal apart from the safety feature. The rear of the car continues with the understated elegance without going over-board with interestingly good looking clear red tail lamps. Overall Etios has a sensible, not-over-the-board, subdued styling.
Ok after Nano does any other car come with single wiper these days? I can’t recollect immediately but you have Etios. Though the broad sweep is aimed at maximum coverage, I doubt practically how it efficiently it will handle the Indian rainy season.
Etios comes in 6 colors: Symphony Silver, Harmony Beige, Serene Bluish Silver, Vermilion Red, Celestial Black, White.
So far, so good. Even if the exteriors where not flamboyant, it scored better than D’Zire, its main number game rival. Understated, not loud, it had a strong, conservative but pleasant look.
What caught my eyes, when I stepped in was the central instrumental console. A smart design element by Toyota in an otherwise conservatively designed car. The tachometer, digital trip meter, the audio console and all the buttons and knobs sits pretty well over there. But then my eyes also caught hold of the poor dashboard plastic quality. Yes, cost is a factor but then from Toyota our expectations are always high. So one cannot deny a dip in the excitement.
You stretch your legs, turn around, peep into the rear and you smile again coz the car stacks in a plenty of head room, leg room, shoulder room, knee room and amble real estate both in from and rear. It also packs in smart placements like vertically stacked air-vents, seven 1 litre bottle holders, a spacious 13 litre cooled glove box etc.
With 595 litres of luggage space, the boot space is definitely something to boast of.
The top two versions of the car comes with dual tone fabric upholstery (Black & grey, Black & red) and the basic two versions in a single tone (black).
Finally a good report card banks upon the performance. Sporting a 1496 cc, 16-valve 4 cylinder DOHC engine delivering 90 PS of power at 5600 rpm, riding on a kerb weight of 930 Kg helps Etios to surge very quick off the line. Thanks to the light weight, the drive is sprightly and sporty to drive. So Toyota does not leave any room for disappointment in the engineering front. Truly an uncompromising Toyota offering.
With the spiralling petrol price, the good news is the car gives 13.2 kmpl in city ride which is definitely not disappointing for a sedan.
Ex-show room price Bangalore: Rs. 4,92,530 for the very basic version to 6, 84,315 for the fully loaded version.
GingerChai verdict: Etios has every ingredient in it to conquer the Indian roads. They have taken time to understand the Indian market demand and have come up with a product that offers a no-nonsense car with remarkable Toyota engineering plus a bit of cost saving to grab the market. Currently there is a waiting period of 6-8 months and if it is fine with you, go ahead for a test ride and take a call and chances are you might just like it.
Alto K10 – review
When the going gets tough, the tough gets thinking. Well, the going is definitely a rat-race in the Rs. 3.5 – 4.5 Lakhs car segment with Beats, Figos, i10s, Sparks, A-stars among others vying for the road space. Bring more range of cars and grab a big slice of the pie is what Maruti’s mantra appears to be. Already, Alto is the largest selling car in India and Maruti has spruced up its flagship model to bring out a new variant to carve a new segment in the entry level hatchback. They have given a new wardrobe and a heart to the 10 year old Alto and christened it Alto K10. Let’s get into the body and soul of the new baby in the road.
No one can question the brand value of Alto, it has numbers on its side. So Maruti decides to smartly ride on the brand success instead of bringing out a new car with a new name. The design team has added some 125 mm to the front of the car to nest the 1000 cc K-series engine. The front sports an eagle eye shaped head lamp with an amber colored turn indicators. The body colored bumper with a large air dam that also holds a fog lamp in the top end model. K10 also is treated with an all new grill that adds to the cosmetic change in the front.
The rear now sports a new tail lamp that blends well with the body. Overall, the cosmetic changes is bit refreshing and gives k10 a bigger stylized image than the previous version.
Get into the K10, the seemingly bigger Alto could not hide the small car that actually is. What came into notice immediately is the plastic quality of the dashboard which could have been better, considering the rival carmakers are raising the standard in their offerings. Same is with the instrument cluster which is not very inspiring in design terms. The head room is the same as the previous alto and the rear leg room is still tight inspite of few extra mm released.
The main selling point of the K10 of course is the 998 cc K-series engine which gives a max power of 68 PS @ 6200 rpm. Up the ignition, the three cylinder engine comes alive a bit more refined and lively than the 800cc older sibling. Step up the pedal and K-series engine shows why Maruti thinks it is a smart move to bring this Alto variant. The car is peppy and quicker and hits the century mark in 13.3 seconds, much quicker than the Alto you have driven so far. The drive in bad roads is quiet bouncy , as we hit further into open roads, the car feels well balanced with a decent ride quality in high speeds. One commendable thing is the Air-conditioning, which I would rate is one of the best in the class. The heavy accelerators and the break pedals are the sore points along with slight engine vibrations. Overall the driveability and the decent handling makes it a good city car.
The car comes in two variants: LXi and VXi. Both the versions comes with power steering and body colored bumpers while the VXi boasts of power windows, fog lamps, tachometer and manual central locking.
K10 comes in 6 colors: Superior white, Midnight black, Fire brick red, Sunlight copper, Ecru beige, Silky silver.
ARAI has certified a 20.2kmpl fuel economy which is quiet impressive.
The ex-show room price of the LXi and VXi models in Bangalore are Rs. 3, 11207 and Rs. 3,24323 respectively.
GingerChai verdict: The cosmetic changes have added minor refreshing changes and few mms to the K10 but inside it is still the same old small car, which is cramped slightly. Considering that with few thousands more we have a better competition from various car makers, the established brand image of Alto, Maruti’s goodwill and service factors should be the only reason to steer the K10 into Indian roads.
Nissan Micra – Review
After selling ultra-premium segment cars for over 6 years in India, Nissan has jumped into the mass popular segment where the numbers decide the game. So they begin their innings in already crowded B- segment with Micra.
As you cast your eyes on Micra you are certain to be transfixed over it. Micra is neither petite nor skinny but a little voluptuous, healthy and buxom car. It does not portray the regular, common car-next-door image but a classic beauty with a confidence redefined. The retro yet modern feel and look of the car wins your thousand smiles. The front of the car begins with retro lines with sleek integrated huge bug headlamps with integrated indicators and parking light. The bonnet flows smooth into the Nissan logo, with a single line grill. Gaze little lower towards the bumper, the black meshed grill adds a sporty look along with the fog lamps. The grills give a Mini feel to the car. All this and the retro curves give the car a very classy yet sporty appearance.
Move to the sides, the aerodynamic body lines flows gently wrapping the rear view mirror and giving a solid feel. The smooth roof lines gives a wind-tunnel feel good to cruise on highways.
The rear is wrapped up with integrated retro lights with roof mounted brake lights. The slight bulge curves and the screen give a vintage grace.
Click the button and Micra greets you in thanks to the intelligent key system and if that is not enough pamper yourself with the push button system to start the engine, all this while you are soaked in a comfortable seating. But this luxury comes only in the top variant, so prepare to shell out a bit more. Infact, the start stop engine button is a first of its kind offering by any car makers in this segment.
Look around, stretch your legs you find the car spacious. The dashboard is neat with a decent plastic job. The view from the car is comfortable to ride and pleasure to gaze around.
The tilt steering and airbag is standard in all the variants and also explains why your Micra cost a tad more than its fellow models. Nissan thinks safety and beauty should go hand in hand but of course the lower variant comes with only one airbag. The 226 litre boot space is fair enough for you to stuff your things on a road trip.
Micra comes in 6 colors: Sunlight Orange, Blade Silver, Storm White, Pacific Blue, Onyx Black, Brick Red.
Now step the pedal or push the button, Micra comes alive with the 1198 cc, 3 cylinder petrol engine that claims a 76PS @ 6000rpm and 104Nm @ 4000rpm. The ride is smooth and peppy. Criss-crossing in city roads amidst traffic, turns and potholes, the car was a pleasure to ride. The car is sturdy during while taking turns and gives you an extra confidence to the driver. In short the smooth, refined engine and the ride handling gives Micra a big thumps up.
Micra comes in 3 variants: XE (the base model), XL and XV (the top model)
The realistic mileage one can expect in our city roads with A/c on could be 15-16 Kmph, though the company claims 18.06 Km/litre.
Ex-showroom price as on July 15, 2010 checked in Bangalore showrooms are 4.01 Lakhs for the base model going upto 5.33 Lakkhs for the fully loaded version.
GingerChai Verdict: Micra is a small car with a big attitude. It is classic and yet loaded with modern features. Good ride quality and handling makes it a good city car as well as for a highway trip. Ofcourse the final on-road price is tad costlier than some of its comparative models but then the car is refreshing and has a confident personality. Only drawback is when it comes to service, one has to drive miles to reach a service centre. I hope Nissan works on this front soon. Otherwise, a good looking car, feature rich and wonderful to ride.
TVS Wego – review
Couple of days back, I was discussing with my friends about gearless scooters. Many of my friends or their family members own Honda Activa. After the demise of Bajaj scooters, Honda has stolen the market of gearless scooters mainly with their successful Activa model. There was once popular kinetic scooters now taken over by Mahindra but then they could not match the onslaught of Activa. Then we have yet another popular model scooty but which is stuck in a teen image. So is there any real rival to Activa? As we discussed this, someone suggested TVS Wego and we immediately tried to test drive it.
WEGO “We Go!” – The name is quiet attractive in itself. Did anyone say “what is in a name?” Well, atleast for me there is something in the name. The name should appeal and be inviting. The makers of TVS scores high in the name. But all is not in the name but in the looks and performance of the machine.
As we stepped into the showroom, we were greeted by a beauty! Should I say a mean beauty? Yes, Wego looks striking, mean, bold and beautiful and carries lots of attitude in styling. The long oval indicators gives a very modern look to WEGO and the headlamp design is quiet aggressive in styling that goes well with the front that sports two nostrils flanking the indicators. The side panels are clean not trying to bank on sticker tricks to accentuate the look and feel. The rear is sharp with LED tail lamps. The speedo is large and clean with twin dials.
One interesting fact that WEGO has in it is the fuel cap. It is strategically placed outside behind the seat. The under seat storage and the fuel cap shares a single key. Click right and the storage opens and left the fuel cap opens.
So Wego grabs your attention in the looks department, now let’s look into the all important engine and performance. Wego holds in it a 109.7 cc, 4-stroke, single cylinder engine that gives a max power of 8 PS @ 7500 rpm, while peak torque is 8 NM at 5500 rpm. The engine is smooth, almost vibration free and gives a very peppy ride. What gave me a pleasant feel is the riding quality. The suspension felt great riding through bumpy roads and the gas-charged rear shock absorbers provides a good cushioning even with two people saying we-go together! Combined with this the 12” wheels give a good grip and stability and the telescopic front fork adds to the road confidence of the machine.
So seems like am going gaga over wego, isn’t there anything to say negative about it? Well, I think the under seat storage could have been little more spacious but then still it would fulfill our daily needs.
GingerChai Verdict: So overall, I would say Wego is a great scooter to ride and own and for all those fans of automatic gearless scooters here is one that is well packaged on all fronts. Say lets’ go in wego !