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.
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.