Piaggio Vespa LX125 – Review
Vespa, the iconic Italian brand, the heartthrob of millions across the world for decades makes a dashing come back to India sure to rekindle nostalgic memories as well as to create a classic style statement in our roads. Sporting a fresh, new chic look with oodles of sex appeal yet retaining the vintage charm, Vespa’s unique retro shape, classic design is a sure shot head turner. Vespa has evolved with time and spells refinement and excitement over it and has a premium vintage wine feel about it.
Everything about Vespa is a fashion statement be it the round head lamp, the signature chrome grille, cute looking vespa logo splashed at many places, chrome handle bar ends, chrome mud guard garnish (there is enough chrome all over that gives it a very up-market, jazzy feel yet not over done) or even the pillion grab rails or the tail lights that juts out to match with the overall retro styling and craftsmanship. Everything is so well put together like a piece of art making it a class apart from other scooters in the market.
The vespa is compact in size and is made of a monocoque full steel body frame, a signature Vespa feature since 1946. Don’t let the words ‘steel’ make you think of ‘heaviness’ , trust me its extremely light to handle and this can be felt the moment you take it off the stand. The handle bar is well positioned and easy on you while riding and sports a chrome rim to accentuate the style quotient.
The rear follows the retro styling with clear lights and with a dash of chrome again and the signature vespa logo…
Come to the sides, you cannot miss the cute looking Vespa logo. Seems like one will never get bored of seeing this logo that the scooter proudly splashes all over it …
The form factor has a smooth flow all over it even in the step-in areas. Check out out the compact glove box seamlessly integrated and the black foot board strips on the floor.
The instrument cluster is clear andd white faced with a chrome boundary line. It’s well laid out and sports a speedometer, odometerm fuel guage and a digital clock along with the turn and light indicators.
If I had one complaint about Vespa it is the quality of plastic used in these controls. It just looks odd and pretty cheap.
A neat looking glove compartment that looks fluently insync with the design. Its functional via the ignition lock.
Down the seat where the body flows to the floor is a small compartment that can be screwed open for you to check on the spark plug.
Again you are treated with bright chrome in exhaust can that in itself looks good and ‘cute’ (Did anyone count how many times, I used the word ‘cute’ ? Well, sorry I can’t stop myself!)
Yet again a dash of chrome and signature logo and a 3 spoke, alloy combination wheels. The nylogrip tyres comes with a tech specification of 90/100-10 53J if you are interested about the numbers
Pop the seat up and you get an under seat storage good enough to fit in your helmet and may be few odd things. The fuel in-let is also tucked in here.
Engine, tech specfications and ride quality of Vespa LX 125
The hallow storage box can be removed and it exposes the engine and other stuffs…
What lies hidden is a 4 Stroke, 3 Valve, Single Cylinder, Air Cooled 125 cc engine which pounds out a max power of 10.06 PS @ 7500 RPM and max torque of 10.6 Nm@6000 RPM, making it the fastest scooter on Indian roads in this segment. A 8 liter fuel tank means fill it, shut it and forget it coz of the impressive 60 kmpl mileage the company claims which means expect a range of 400 – 450 kms on a realistic mixed riding conditions. Impressive for a scooter!
Thumb the starter button and the Vespa LX 125 settles into a mild idle buzz, wrench the throttle and it surges forward smoothly without any stress. It feels light and easy over negotiating city traffic and it cruises very well on open stretches. The extra power adds a dash of sportiness and peppiness. The riding position and the posture feels very comfortable and never tired you down. Though the compact nature of the scooter offers a compact pillion seat, so I am not sure how many of those heavy-butted ones might complain about it. This machine performs superbly better than most of the modern looking ones out there.
The front and back coil spring and dual effect shock absorber are decent enough to give you a well balanced ride, comparable with most other scooters. After all no scooters can give you a butter smooth ride on our potholed roads. Vespa LX 125 has a good turning radius with a decent ground clearance with no problems in negotiating the ‘ups and downs’ of our roads.
Colors of Vespa LX 125
Vespa LX 125 is available in 6 colours to suit your style quotient – Nero Volcano (black), Monte Bianco (white), Rosso Dragon (Red), Giallo Lime (Yellow), Midnight blue, Rosso Chianti (brown). The yellow and red are sure to grab the attention instantly and and along with the white makes my pick out of the six colors.
Pricing of Vespa LX 125
Ok there is a price to pay for all good things in life and coming up with a iconic character, history and a classic style Vespa is a premium scooter. At around Rs 73,000 in Mumbai and Rs. 80,525 on-road price, Bangalore , its not a scooter for masses but it would definitely find its own league of proud owners who would be flaunting it and make a style statement. Let the colleges re-open, you will be finding lot many youngsters zipping across and not to forget young working professionals.
And my final verdict…
Ultimately it is a premium lifestyle product in scooter segment. ‘It touched my heart‘ and ‘left a mark‘, ‘Eighteen till I die‘ and then its Vespa that never ages.
Suzuki Swish 125 – Review
No doubt that Suzuki Access 125 is a competent scooter in terms of performance but then a combination of factors like bland designing, poor marketing and a lack of overall buzz around it put brakes on the sales figures. Suzuki aims to go for an image makeover for its scooter portfolio with Swish 125 which looks youthful, trendy and more visually appealing.
On first impression:
It has a very desirable, trendy design.
Since it shares the same engine and almost other tech specifications of its elder sibling, Access performance should not be a worrying factor.
When parked next to each other Swish looks like an young, stylish kid in the block and Access a matured, mid aged. It would definitely appeal to the younger generation.
Swish is wrapped with ABS plastic/ fibre body panels which is not just light weight but also adds to the ‘cool’ quotient. And yes, they also would be a cheaper to replace, if need arises. The flowing lines of Swish along with the V-shaped front silhouette oozes youthfulness with a you-can-love-me-at-first-sight appeal. Multi-reflector light nested in an arched wide design adds a sporty character to the scooter.
The integrated turn indicators on either side of the front panel with a V-shaped groove in the front adds to the trendiness of the scooter.
The rear of the scooter blends well with the body. The wavy stretched tail gate is nested pretty well and wraps around the rear.
A blue-backlit instrument cluster is practical, easy to read and the blue color adds to the bright auro.
The ignition point also unlocks the under-seat storage. It also sports a cap for the key opening.
The under seat storage is decent enough to hold your helmet and odd things. The fuel lid is also nested over here.
Suzuki Swish colours
Swish is available in 5 colours – Triton blue, flint grey, pearl mirage white,pearl mira red, sparkle black.
Engine, Performance of Suzuki Swish
Under the skin of Swish is a 124 cc, 4 stroke, single cylinder OHC engine plucked from Access 125. So not surprisingly, it delivers 8.5 bhp @ 7,000 rpm and a max torque of 9.8 Nm @ 5,000 rpm very similar again to Access 125. The CVT auto gearbox is also the same shared by the earlier sibling. Though it shares the same heart of Access 125, thanks to its slightly lower body weight it is very peppy to ride. It handles well on road and sprightly. It gives a decent 40-42 Kmpl. Seating is pretty good with upright riding position.
The final word
Swish 125 is stylish, trendy and with a dash of youthful auro around it. Add to it a good performance and handling, Suzuki definitely now has a product to march ahead in the scooter segment but then it all depends now how good they would be at marketing the Swish into the customer’s mindset. Priced at Rs 46,000 to Rs 50,000 (ex-showroom price) depends on whichever city you live, it is worth giving a test drive if you are planning to buy one.
KTM Duke 200 – Ready to Race on Indian roads
The urban naked legend from Austria has hit the Indian roads and the credit goes to Bajaj and its global aspirations. Not many know that behind the arrival of KTM is yet another Indian company going global. Since 2009, Bajaj auto has been making footholds into the KTM parental company and now holds 47 % of the shareholdings in the KTM. The marriage between both the companies has been strategically successfull for both the companies, with Bajaj getting access to KTM technology for its home-grown Pulsar series and future products and KTM making leverage of cost effective development and production in India environment. KTM is already enjoying huge sales of its KTM Duke 125 and 200 motorcycles made in India and sold in Europe at a very attractive sticker price. Its win-win partnership!
Now lets talk about KTM Duke 200 that is all set to race the gut out of you because it comes from a company with years of racing reputation that proudly declares “Ready to Race”. A look at the Duke 200 is menancing, masculine and ready to knock you down with its naked look.
The styling boasts of pure KTM DNA complete with its impressive and eye-catching orange on black color that forms KTM line of motorbikes proudly blaze both in tracks and roads. Everything seems to be in perfect harmony and in right proportions – lean, mean and stunning. The chiselled looks, masculine, well toned body all gives it a looks like a greek God on wheels.
The big orange tank is chunky yet very muscular with a 11 litre fuel capacity and sporting a stylish, funky and very loud Duke 200 sticker.
The headlight spells out aggression with its unique frontal look, vertically stacked up and with minimal plastic gear around. The handle bar which is pretty wide and sportygives a good riding posture and a comfortable saddle position. The machine is very compact devoid of any unnecessary fats, giving it a quirky, sturdy looks, differentiating instantly from any other Indian made bikes on roads.
The Instrument console looks sporty and extremely compact but don’t undermine the small multifunction panel. It displays all the important data ranging from digital rev counter, gear indicator, total kilometers travelled, journey time, two trip displays, a fuel guage and an indicator of fuel consumption and also distance to the next service and even there is a clock! There is also a text display for warning messages such as when the side-stand is down etc. All in all, the multi-function console is surely a notch ahead of what we have seen in any other Indian made bikes.
The rear of the bike goes super stylish with sharp lean LED indicators, LED tail light and LED illumination for licence plate. The rear wheel sports a mandatory wheel hugger and a sari-guard and if you wonder sari-guard for this lean machine? They don’t look odd on this bike.
The pillion seat is wee bit small but then for the bikes belonging to this category, this is acceptable. There is a small rear under seat storage where you can slip in the bike papers etc..
Considerable thought has been put into making the machine as light as possible shedding unwanted flabs and making use of sensible engineering. The beautifully carved swing-arm with the cross patern on it and the rear wheel rim not just adds the killer racer looks but also the extremely stable die-cast aluminium make sure the beast is light weight while delivering the heavy weight punch.
The Duke is built on a lightweight trellis frame and sports a 199.5 cc DOHC, liquid cooled, four valve single engine which produces a whooping 25 PS of power at 10,000 rpm and 19 Nm of torque unleashed at 8,000 rpm. Comes equipped with WP suspension both at front and rear, upside down forks in the front and monoshocks at the rear – neither too soft nor too hard making it ideal for Indian conditions. Plus the braking system of Duke 200 is extremely potent and very precise, not surprising as it is sourced from Brembo, the leading and widely acclaimed brake makers. But the brand name apart, the braking system is very effective at handling the bike.
If you are searching for the exhaust canister on either side of the Duke 200, you will be surprised to find it not existing. Well, here is the another highlight of the bike the underfloor exhaust system you find between the rear wheel and engine with a low center of gravity. It not just adds to the visual appeal but also the way the bike behaves and handles when you are ready to race.
Ride quality, handling and performance of KTM Duke 200
Swing the leg, mount the saddle and turn on the ignition, the engine feels full of life with a mild grunt, something much quieter than I had thought but that feeling goes away the minute you open up the throttle. The mild grunt kicks in to a sporty thump. Once the bike takes off, it was all talking to winds and you start enjoying the mounted beast. It attacks the corners with no hint of nervousness and has good flickability. Its rev-happy, lively and joy to ride.
So wondering how much could be KTM Duke 200 top speed ? It can hit a top speed of 136 Km per hour in the top gear after which it hits the limiter. Neverthless the way the bike attains that top speed is phenomenal. To top it, it delivers an impressive mileage of 35 Km/litre in city conditions and on a highway cruise it impresses you more. With all the technological prowess it is bestowed with and crafted with fine attention backed up by KTM’s decades of racing DNA and Bajaj’s understanding of Indian market, Duke 200 with a sticker price of of Rs 1.17 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) is a bike to put your money at, if you have even the slightest racing inclinations. At this stage, there is no other Indian bike to match its prowess, technology and looks in this segment and at this attractive price range.
Ginger Chai Exclusive KTM pictures shot by Dipesh H Premdoss
All about new Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire
March 26, 2008 when Maruti launched Swift Dzire no one believed, the sedan which was ridiculed to be swift-slammed-with-a-big-booty would become the numero uno in its segment but Maruti had their last laugh with Swift Dzire selling like hot cakes. After almost 4 years, Maruti launched the second generation of the popular sedan and claimed to have made more than 150 changes. Wait, don’t go round the car counting the changes.
Exterior design of new Swift Dzire
First word is compact. Maruti has chopped down 165 mm in its length to make it just under 4 meter. So what it means is the new Swift Dzire becomes the second car to fall under sub 4 -meter sedan next only to Indigo CS and there by it also gains to enjoy the excise benefits. A cool 10% dollops that Government of India offers to compact small sized cars and by its definition those that fall under sub 4-meter bracket and with engine capacity less than 1.2 L for petrol versions and 1.5 L for diesel cars. India being a price sensitive market, the benefits makes sense for Swift Dzire.
Its just not about 165 mm short in length but the new Dzire has added mass in other areas. At 1555 mm, it has grown up by 25 mm when compared to the outgoing model and gained 5 mm on width and 40 mm longer wheel base.
Enough of dimensions. Lets look at the gloss and the stock.
Front looks good. What is new? A larger headlamp, pleasant looking radiator grille, redone bumber.
The rear compliments the front and sits pretty well. The all smiling wide chrome strip adds to the glamour quotient. The tail lamp is refreshing.
The rear side profile is a big let down. It just does not stimulate your visual senses.
The large head lamps and a dashing tail lamp is an attractive sight
The OVRM comes only in the top two variant thought…
The bulges are unsightly in the rear side profile…
Unfortunatley only the top variant comes with alloy wheels if you are eyeing at the wheel at the left …
Interiors of new Swift Dzire
Inside of the new Dzire is where pleases you most. Lavish with soothing beige color that guaranteedly would brighten up your mood, a dual tone dash with black on top and a continuing beige below and faux wood trimmings, the interiors treat you to a lively ambience. And the quality of plastics used are notch better than the outgoing Dzire. Yet another area where the new Dzire scores over the old one is the quality of seating both interms of seating positions and the furnishing used, especially the rear. The leg room real estate in the rear is though not very spacious, considering the compact nature of the car but still decent enough for Indian average sizes. The Dzire R&D team has bettered the driver seat positioning with a right height that gives a good riding visibility and seating, this is a good news considering only the top variant has a seat height adjustment.
The dashboard again has a refreshing feel painted over it. The dual tone black and warm beige adds a classic feel to the car sporting an all new instrument cluster and the center console where in nests audio console in black tone and the climate control panel in beige tone, though the bottom variant comes with manual controls for air-conditioning.
Very thoughtfully added pop out can holder under the side air-con vent is not only adds to utility value but also is an attractive feature that the front passenger would love. Add to this, the car stocks in ample side pockets on all doors, cubby holes and a decent sized glove box.
Predominant beige colour tone
Seating and furnishings used are better, soaking you gently into it. Rear seat is remarkably better for a relaxed ride.
The drive position and visibility are better.
Dual tone dash in stark black and warm beige
All new instrument cluster
Ample pockets, holders and decent glove box. The pop out can holder under the side air-con vent in the front is an attractive feature.
The space is little premium in the rear for 3 people compared to few other cars in this segment.
Boot space which is now reduced to 316 liters
Non-foldable rear seat, which adds to the woes of the already reduced bootspace.
The center console in black and beige tone looks neat. (Though do have our chart on the variants to see what you might get or miss out on various variants)
The all new instrument cluster is a welcome addition to the new Dzire to make the owner’s happy. It looks classic and the silver trim around the dial is a small design addition that brings a volume of visual goodness. The multi functional display with amber glowing characters throws you informations on real-time and average fuel consumption, range on remaining fuel, odometer, tripmeter, outside temperature and time.
A decent glove box and the pop out can holder nested above it
The 3 spoke steering is decent enough, not very soft but I won’t complaint either.
The steering comes with mounted controls.
The gear shift is smooth and well placed and also the warm beige shades around it adds a character to the car ….
The impact of the sub 4-meter compact nature of the new Dzire hits more on the boot space. While the old Dzire sported a 464 liters boot, the new Dzire has to live up with a paltry 316 liters. Considering the fact there is no foldable rear seat option, it remains a big disappointment and the impact would be felt when you are on a long tour with family with heavy baggages.
Variants of new Swift Dzire
Available both in petrol and diesel engines, the new Swift Dzire comes in total 7 variants. 3 variants in petrol and diesel respectively and an automatic transmission that is available only on VXi petrol variant.
Dzire AT also boasts of being the cheapest AT sedan in India.
Check the chart for the features available in various variants.
P.S Features and variants mentioned in the image are directly sourced from Maruti
New Swift Dzire Colours
New Dzire is available in 7 colors – pacific blue, midnight black, silky silver, clear beige, bright red, arctic white, glistening grey.
Engine and Driving performance of new Swift Dzire
As mentioned earlier Dzire comes in both petrol and diesel models.
The new K-12 series 4 cylinder, 16 valve, 1197 cc petrol engine with VVT (variable valve technology) delivers a maximum power of 87 BHP @ 6000 rpm and a max torque of 114 Nm @ 4000 rpm. According to Maruti, VVT helps in a significant improvement in fuel efficiency.
The DDiS 4 cylinder, 16 valve diesel engine with 1248 cc displacement delivers 75 BHP @ 4000 rpm and a maximum torque of 190 Nm @ 2000 rpm.
The company claims an impressive fuel efficiency of 19.1 kpl (petrol) and 23.4 kpl (diesel)
The ride quality of the new Dzire feels more peppy, zippy and very rev happy.
Though due to the engine tuning for maximum fuel efficiency, in petrol drive you do find the engine lacking a bit on low rpm
Cabin is noiseless even with A/c on, though under heavy acceleration noise level does go up
Suspension feels stiff and more rigid
A well planted engine and handling, which the average Indian car buyer will not complaint about.
Pricing of new Swift Dzire
|NEW DZIRE LDI
|NEW DZIRE LXI
|NEW DZIRE VDI
|NEW DZIRE VXI
|NEW DZIRE VXI AT
|NEW DZIRE ZDI
|NEW DZIRE ZXI
P.S Prices ex-showroom, Bangalore. Do note price over here is costlier than most other cities.
Maruti has a history of princing its cars sensibily and cleaverly guaging the market dynamics, Dzire comes at a very attractive price levels and this would be one factor that would keep the Dzire juggernaut keep going in this segment.
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.
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)