Prateek Jose

Nicknamed after the nickname of his favourite car from the '90s (convoluted, I know), Prateek is a disgruntled Engineering student by day, vigilante by night, and fabricator of dubious bios in the interim.

Car Buyer’s Guide – Negotiating with a Dealer

car deals

While most of us readily haggle over the price of vegetables or the cost of an auto ride, we’re convinced a car dealership demands too suave a temperament to bicker over prices. It may come as a surprise to some that most fertile opportunities to save a pretty penny present themselves at the dealership. It’s hard to pin it down to a science but the ability to drive a hard bargain comes down to  beating car sales executives at their own game, which is no mean feat. Buyers can derive comfort from remembering that a salesman can’t talk you into a deal without your express consent.

In order to be able to confidently parley over the price of your dream machine, begin the process of studying the negotiation beforehand. This allows for making an informed decision exactly how good a deal you’re getting on the car and how much further you can push to drop the prices. Thus may start with things such as surfing around the internet to get information on the prevalent market prices, loan rates, and potential seasonal discounts. Once that’s out of the way, it’s all down to how well you’re able to wrangle with your car salesman.

car deals

Here are few tips to keep in mind when negotiating with a car dealer:

1. Scour the internet for data such as the invoice price paid by the dealer to the manufacturer. Also check out any rebid information and hidden incentives with the dealer. Keep in mind that the minimum dealer profit is usually 3 to 5 percent. Make a calculation of a fair price for the car based on the information you gather. Doing your homework helps you be more convincing since you’re convinced yourself exactly how much you think the cost should be.

2. Do not get carried away with everything the dealer tells you. He might present you with a work sheet when you sit down with him to negotiate. This work sheet would constitute of purchase price, down payment, monthly payment and trading value. But by now we know better than to be hoodwinked by a bunch of numbers arranged to make it look like the car is being sold at close to no profit. This is where you recollect all the hard work you put in earlier and talk the numbers you’re interested in.

negotiating with a car dealer

3. Resist negotiating solely based on the monthly payment without contemplating swelling interest rates or stretched out terms. Monthly payment results from the down payment, long term and interest rate.

4. Remember to always have your game face on in order to throw salesmen off their own game. React with sarcasm and surprise to initial pricing estimates in order to show from the outset that you’ve got a plan . Dealers try to create a pressure cooker sort of situation for buyers in order to force the impulse buy.  Stave off any attempt to get you to close the deal in a short span. The longer you keep at it, the better chances you walk away with a good deal.

5. Another important think to remember is not tell one dealer about another dealer’s quote. This may seem like a good tactic but it’s the oldest play in the book and nobody’s falling for it. There’s also the fact that bringing up another dealer is only going to make the one you’re interacting with think about his own results in the light of another dealership, which is not what you want. Though you may be at loggerheads with each other for a while, make sure to keep the conversation amiable.

Nissan_Car_Dealership

6. Don’t forget to mention you’re prepared to discuss an acceptable trading price for your old car. Even if there isn’t an official exchange program, it’s worth a shot. But first, be sure you have a satisfactory price on the new car. Exchanges tend to take the biggest chunk off the price of a new model.

7. Be prepared to walk out if the dealer makes the price non-negotiable or if there’s too much acrimony for the bargaining process to continue. Doing your due diligence will help you be sure when exactly it isn’t too dramatic to leave as a result of getting a raw deal. But before you storm out, make sure to pose a yes/no question with the price you have in mind. This can often lead to a sudden relenting on the dealer’s part. Secretly pat yourself on the back once the dealer walks away to get your paper’s ready.

buying new car

8. Expect an on spot of fees and extras just when you think you’re done. Although having to remit some amount might be unavoidable, most such fees can be dodged. Most times the extras are unnecessary and overpriced. In order to be sure exactly what fees are obligatory, make sure to talk to someone who’s made a similar purchase before or fall back on research off the good ‘ole internet.

If you have missed the Part 1 of this article click here: Car Buyers Guide

Car Buyer’s Guide – Choosing the Right Model

The car market has burgeoned over the years and though fluctuations in the economy tend to affect the rate at which they move, new cars are being inducted into the market at an unprecedented pace. This process of choosing one out of a veritable smorgasbord of models is an uphill task. The immensity of the task is amplified in the case of those buying a car for the first time. For those confused on how to choose the right model your first time buying a car, here are a few tips to consider in order to narrow down the field.

Buying a car can be cakewalk, but choosing the right model is an essential first step in the process. First-time buyers need to be all the more cautious since your first car sets the tone for the choices you make in the future. So here are the following tips which you must take care of.

car-for-sale

1. WHAT KIND OF CAR YOU NEED

You must be very clear as to what class of car it is that will best service your requirements. Think for a moment about the purpose of your car, the kind of driving you intend to do with it (long or short), and the number of people you need to transport on a regular basis. Here are few other things which you need to take into account:

– Manual or automatic transmission car

– The amount of boot space you require

– How much style or cosmetic factors matter

– Big or small car to fit in your garage

hyundai grand i10

2. WHAT IS YOUR BUDGET?

The cost of a car can make or break a deal. In a cost-conscious country such as ours, manufacturers are always selling on price and queue up discounts during the festive season. You’ll have to think about financing your purchase or leasing it if you cannot afford to fund the purchase yourself. Going by the rules, not more than 20 percent of your monthly pay is to be allocated to towards your car payment every month. Both leasing and buying have their own advantages.

If you buy a car, you can sell it whenever you want. It is more beneficial to own a car when interest rates are low and to not have to switch cars. In a case that is less frequent, if you decide to lease a car you can drive home an expensive car at a lower cost. This means slightly higher costs over the long run but also offers to leverage to try different models.

Nissan_Car_Dealership

3. PURPOSE OF BUYING THE CAR

This is a crucial factor as to why are you buying a car- depending on whether it’s intended for a family, commercial purposes or for personal use. If it’s for family use, buyers should opt for a spacious car with an intensive interior package such as comfortable seats, sufficient leg and head room and with good safety controls. For commercial purpose a car which offers good mileage, powerful engine to resist heavy workload and ease of maintenance is the way to go.

Finally, when it comes to a car that is for personal use, you can let yourself go. A wide range of cars with elegant looks, stylish exteriors and a powerful engine exist in the market and it comes down to which one captured your fancy.

4. GO FOR A TEST DRIVE

Getting a feel for the car is imperative before taking a call on it. Intimate the dealer by phone or e-mail before meeting him in person. Ask them whether the  specific model that you are searching for is currently present in stock. Make sure to mention that the intention of the test drive is to simply put the car through its paces and see for yourself if it caters to all your requirements. Make sure to set an appointment with a manager rather a salesperson to avoid lengthy negotiations in order to save both money and time.

maruti celerio red

5. CONSIDER ALL VEHICLES IN THE CLASS

You might have set your mind on a particular car but in today’s world of competition, new cars are hitting showrooms rapidly. The cars which you may not consider, may turn out to be the one that were best suited for you. Keep favorites at the top of your list but give the other contenders in the class more than a cursory glance. Once you feel that you have found a perfect match for yourself, check the detailed information regarding factors such as pricing, features, specifications and on road tests.

If you have missed the Part 1 of this article click here: Car Buyers Guide

Car Buyer’s Guide – An Overview

parking lot

“Kitna deti hain?” is probably the most common question car dealers hear. While mileage is an important point to factor in while buying a car, it isn’t the only one. Whether you’re a first time car buyer or a seasoned car-hopper, choosing the right car to buy is never easy. The challenge is heightened by the fact that there has been a heavy inward flux of international car makers in the Indian car market off late, many of whom have chosen to set up local assembly or manufacturing facilities. The result is that the average Indian car buyer is served up a veritable smorgasbord of options, with parameters to differentiate between models ranging from the number of seats to the number of airbags.

car showroom buying guide

For those of us who’ve made the choice to buy our first car, it’s imperative we choose the right model in order to kick off our driving careers on the right foot. A botched first attempt can lead to unnecessary heartache and possible scarring for life. Most times, buyers end up being tunnel-visioned regarding the factors that they need to keep in mind while picking their first car. This could lead to regret in the future as a result of overlooking some key details. That said, the process needn’t be all gloom and doom as you could very well end up with a trusty workhorse you share many miles and moments with.

Here’s an overview of the things to keep in mind when purchasing your first car:

Choosing the right model

parking lot

The importance of this first step can’t be stressed enough. It may seem obvious enough that picking the appropriate model based on your set of requirements is key, but what trips up most novice buyers is how to arrive at exactly what their most pressing needs are.

One of the major factors to bear in mind is your own ability. There are some who’ve put in a considerable number of hours behind the wheel before getting their own car while others may be cutting their teeth after making the purchase. Thus while the former cohort has the leverage to choose more capable models, it is wise for the latter group to dream modestly for the moment.

Another factor which is paramount is the purpose that the car is going to serve. While some may view their car as a way to put long, sweaty bus rides behind them, for others it is a window to explore the world, akin to how Columbus felt about the Santa Maria. The shape your future car takes will depend heavily on the consideration.

Negotiating with the Dealer

A good haggler always gets the best deal. What may come as a surprise to many is that crossing swords with your local dealer isn’t the only way to walk away feeling like you landed a sweet deal. There’s about seven different kinds of discounts that buyers can take advantage of in order to get the market price of a car slashed. This includes dealer discounts, loyalty bonuses, corporate discounts, and finance and insurance discounts. Not everyone is eligible for some of these and the extent to which the price is lowered also depends on the car model and market conditions. Being able to make use of three to four kinds of the aforementioned deductions can lead to a considerable amount of money being saved.

"Tata Bolt 2015"
Image Source: www.autoevolution.com

Arranging a Loan

For those who may be saving for a rainy day or have had too many rainy days to have anything saved, there’s always the good ‘ole loan. There’s a chance a first time car buyer isn’t able to swing the entire amount on their own in which case a loan is the way to go. The challenge, however, is that choosing a loan provider can be as much of an uphill task as choosing a car itself. The relationship between buyer and loan provider lasts until the loan has been cleared so choosing wisely is of the essence. It makes sense to go with a bank you’ve been affiliated with if your experience with their other services has been a pleasant one. Buyers should also make sure not to gloss over the terms and conditions (as loaded with legalese as they may be) in order to avoid hiccups once the deal has been made.

Resale Value

So you’ve followed the car buyer’s guide and ended up with the car of your dreams. As much as you’ve enjoyed the machine and the miles it’s given you, there’s a good chance it’s time to give it up for an upgrade. Depreciation is possibly the biggest cost car owners incur and needs to be accounted for before purchasing the car. Factors that drive the drop in a car’s value include the company’s reputation, model supply strategy, maintenance costs, and accessories. Even factors such as the region where the car was used factors in. In coastal areas corrosion may result in depreciation while areas with good roads tend to mean a better faring car in the long run.

– Guide to choosing the right model… check HERE

– Tactics to negotiate with the car dealer for the best offer… check HERE

Faceoff: Volkswagen Polo vs Hyundai Elite i20

2013 volkswagen polo

The Volkswagen Polo is a model that has cut its teeth in a cut-throat segment for years now. The car has proved its mettle and lived up to the reputation of the stable it comes from. With the latest facelift, the Polo has proved that even small tweaks can make a car a whole lot more of  luring prospect.

But what happens when the segment is overtaken by a callow competitor making its entry for the first time? The Hyundai Elite i20 may be new but it has managed to validate itself in a very short time by garnering a whopping 15,000 bookings in a month following its launch. So how do these two rivals fare when put head-to-head? Let’s find out.

2014 red Hyundai Elite i20
The 2014 Hyundai Elite i20 Seen Here in Red

EXTERIOR

The Hyundai Elite i20’s new “Fluidic 2.0” design looks very smart. The wide swept back headlamps, alloy wheels, and chrome finish door handles lend the car a bold and elegant appearance. One also gets to see electrically adjustable outside rear view mirrors which come with integrated turn indicators in front. The beautifully designed tail lamp combination gives the Hyundai Elite an aggressive look from the side profile.

Although the Volkswagen Polo does not come with much transformation in its latest form, it still holds a strong command over its visual appeal, which makes it a very strong contender in its segment. Few distinctive changes which can be seen are- artistic dual beam headlights covered with a posh black layer, 16inch alloy wheels, a beautifully designed front grille and tail lights. The rear hasn’t been tampered with much and it’s quite a task to tell the new Polo apart from its predecessors on this aspect.

But at the end of the day, the Elite i20 is a model that comes of looking better thanks to a fresh design which dares to defy what’s worked for it in the past.

Hyundai Elite i20: 4.5

Volkswagen Polo: 3.5

Interiors of the Hyundai Elite i20
Interiors of the Hyundai Elite i20

INTERIORS

The Volkswagen Polo’s interior changes are next to nil. The minor modifications that have been made include the additional SD card reader, silver trimmed dashboard, and the newly designed steering wheel, which contributes to the ambiance of the cabin. The major drawback of the Polo is the lack of space in the rear seat due to scooped off front seats as it comes with a 13 mm longer wheel base. There is also insufficient room for knee and shoulder at the rear .

The new Hyundai Elite i20 simply seems to be unbeatable in this segment in terms of the features and equipment it packs in. A chilled glove box, two 12V power outlets, telescope adjusted steering, 1GB inbuilt memory and a rear view parking camera are just some of the many entries on the model’s list of features. It also screams ahead in terms of rear seat comfort, as it is more spacious and provides more comfort than the Polo.

Once again, it is the youthful Elite i20 that edges past. Its interiors are welcoming and comfortable. For those who like to have a lot of bells and whistles to play with as part of the drive experience, the Elite i20 offers features up in spades.

Hyundai Elite i20: 4.5

Volkswagen Polo: 4

2014 Volkswagen polo

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE

The major change to be seen in the new Volkswagen Polo is their upgraded engine. It now comes with a 1.5 litre diesel powerplant that puts out 90PS of power and 230Nm of torque. It comes with a 5-speed manual gearbox.  It attains a three digit speed with an ease and tends to be very smooth. The tactile feedback is intuitive and reactions measured and brisk. It also turns out to be an absolute comfort to push to higher speeds on open roads.

On the other hand, the Hyundai Elite i20 comes with a 1.4 liter CRDi engine as the previous versions. It also puts out 90PS of power but offers a torque of 220Nm, slightly less compared to the Polo. But this one comes with a 6-speed manual gearbox, which makes it a slight challenge for the driver to maintain rectilinear motion when pushing the car.

While the Elite i20 may have a slight edge in the cosmetic departments, it is the Polo that impresses with its reliable performance and ability to ride the torque curve. Add to this its well sprung suspension and comfortable cockpit, and the Polo trumps the Elite i20 in this department.

Hyundai Elite i20: 4

Volkswagen Polo: 4.5

 Volkswagen polo signal light left

FUEL EFFICIENCY AND PRICE

When it comes to one of the most essential parameters of comparison, that is the mileage, the Elite i20 is slightly ahead. The new Volkswagen Polo offers a mileage of 20.1 kmpl.  The new Elite i20 is slightly more economical in its use of fuel, yielding a mileage of 21.9 kilometers per liter.

The new Hyundai Elite i20 diesel variant starts at 7.66 lakhs, while Volkswagen Polo diesel variant is around Rs.30,000 rupees cheaper.

Hyundai Elite i20: 4.5

Volkswagen Polo: 4.5

VERDICT

This face-off has proved to be an interesting one given that these cars each have their individual strengths and weaknesses in different departments. With the Polo, Volkswagen has managed to stick to their trend ie. manufacturing powerful engines. The Hyundai Elite i20 has a done a phenomenal job in its styling, space and equipment. If you want to enjoy your drive, Volkswagen’s Polo best suits you. But if you tend to hunt for a value package which best suits you and your family standards, then the Hyundai Elite i20 is the way to go.

Faceoff: Hyundai Grand i10 vs Maruti Suzuki Celerio

grand i10 interiors

The Maruti Suzuki Celerio is a car that amassed a huge following even before it had been launched or was even officially unveiled. India’s first Automated Manual Transmission-  this tag was enough to make the Celerio talk of the town. A manual gearbox which behaves like an automatic; everyone wanted to know what sorcery was behind this ingenuous technology. There were many car makers of international renown showcasing some of the swankiest cars in the industry at the 2014 India Auto Expo, but it was the Celerio that drew the largest, most raucous crowd.

The Hyundai Grand i10 is a car which entered the Indian market with an illustrious short history of being a hit in the European market and being the recipient of many awards behind it. It is so rich in features and high on performance that very few can compete with it on paper. However, real-world conditions bring a different side to every car. So here’s a look at how the Maruti Celerio stacks up against the Hyundai Grand i10.

hyundai grand i10

DESIGN

The Hyundai Grand i10 is clearly much larger than the Celerio in almost every aspect, except for the height. The Grand i10 possesses a very classy and modern appearance and is the more appealing of the two cars. The Celerio  takes after the likes of the Alto, Estilo and A-Star, and seems to combine the various design elements these cars sport. There isn’t much to differentiate the Celerio from the rest of the company’s portfolio in the design department. When compared with the Grand i10, it seems to be outdated given the manner in which it is reminiscent of the Maruti models of yesteryear.

Hyundai Grand i10: 4

Maruti Suzuki Celerio: 3

 Hyundai grand i10 interiors

INTERIOR

The Celerio comes with an attractive interior design which is more or less similar to what is offered on other Maruti models. Despite being above average on the interiors front, the Celerio simply doesn’t stand a chance against the Grand i10. The Hyundai Grand i10 comes with a fully loaded interior package which includes a 1 GB storage for multimedia, push button start, rear AC vents, electrically adjusted rear view mirror, rear parking sensors and much more.The Hyundai also trumps the Maruti Celerio in terms of quality of its interior and the impact it has on the drive experience. The Celerio being a bit taller than the Hyundai Grand offers a good amount of head room. However, due to  its improper rear spacing there is insufficient leg room for passengers at the back.

Hyundai Grand i10: 4.5

Maruti Celerio: 3.5

maruti celerio red

ENGINE & PERFORMANCE

It isn’t just on features and equipment that the Grand i10 is way ahead. Hyundai’s premium hatch also takes the cake when it comes to performance parameters. The Celerio works on a 998cc engine called K-Next by Maruti. The grand is powered by a 1.2 L engine with VTT. Their engines are simply incomparable. The Hyundai Grand has a peak power output of of 83 PS and offers a torque of 119Nm. On the other hand, the Maruti Celerio produces 67 PS and 90 Nm torque. Another major drawback of the Celerio is its light weight. Due to this it produces a lot of vibration in its gear handle, steering wheel and the seats. The auto gear shift version in the New Maruti Celerio is the only advantage which the Celerio poses over Hyundai Grand i10. The Hyundai hatchback uses a 4-speed automatic gearbox compared to Celerio’s 5-speed manual one.

Hyundai Grand i10: 4.5

Maruti Celerio: 3.5

side Maruti Celerio

FUEL EFFICIENCY AND PRICING

Finally a point under which Maruti has an opportunity to come off looking the better of the two cars . Maruti claims a mileage of 23.1 kmpl on the Celerio, even for its automatic manual gearbox version. This is where the Celerio grabs an edge over the Hyundai Grand i10. The Hyundai Grand has a mileage of 18.9kmpl, considerably below what is offered by the Celerio.

The Hyundai Grand i10 is set at a price of Rs 4.29 lakh to Rs 6.4 Lakhs. The Celerio is much better suited to the budget minded and its price ranges from Rs. 3.76 to 4.79 Lakhs.

Hyundai Grand i10: 3.5

Maruti Celerio: 4

VERDICT

After going through all the specifications of both the cars, it is easily understood that the Maruti Celerio fails to pose a serious threat to the new Hyundai Grand i10. Maruti has focused a lot of its energy on the AMT and the other facets of the car that seem to have been neglected in the process. A smaller budget is the only thing that is going to keep buyers in the segment from choosing the Celerio over the Grand i10. For those looking to make a purchase in the segment, it is advisable to wait and save up for the Grand i10. Be it features or handling and performance, the Hyundai hatch offers a superior experience.

Faceoff: Maruti Ciaz vs Honda City

At the India Auto Expo 2014, there was one car at the Maruti stall which looked like it didn’t quite belong there. Maruti has come to symbolize efficiency and practicality, but design daring isn’t something we’d associate with the King of the Indian automobile industry. However, the Maruti Ciaz concept was such a striking model that it elicited at least a double take from those who happened to catch a glimpse of it. But of course, in the transition from flamboyant concept to road-going car, some of the flare has been lost. Be that as it may, the Ciaz is a combination of Maruti’s perennial mastery of efficiency in a shell that is a product of their newfangled absorption with design.

Understandably, with the launch of new Ciaz in the market, Maruti has very high hopes over its success. But, the battle’s not going to be easy as it has to compete with the Honda City, a car that has made a comeback and how. For a manufacturer that has conventionally rode the success wave with small cars, Maruti is treading relatively new ground with the launch of the Ciaz. Whether the Maruti Ciaz is ready to take on the 2014 Honda City comes down to a number of factors. Let’s look at how these two models stack up.

2014 city red

EXTERIOR

The latest Honda City has been fully carved with a new design from the bumpers to the rear of the car. The large chrome grille, razor sharp lines all over its body, and the outstretched tail lamps gives it a more edgy appearance than we’ve seen from its successors. But surprisingly, Maruti doesn’t trail too far behind. The Ciaz is not City but it does have a lot going for it in the looks department. The widened chrome grille, smart projector headlamps, and its curves are different compared to the other big cars. The features are a lot more rounded as compared to the angular relations in the City. It also has a sleek side profile, and a crease line which is a lot straighter when compared to the one the City sports.

The Ciaz is the best-looking car to ever come from the Maruti stable. The Honda City has always been known for its cosmetic capabilities. It does come as a surprise to see how well the Ciaz performs against the City in terms of its exteriors.

New Honda City : 4 Maruti Ciaz: 4

interiors-honda-city INTERIORS AND EQUIPMENT Both the cars share certain features in them such as the push button start/stop, climate control, rear AC vents, and multimedia controls incorporated over the steering wheel with Bluetooth telephony. The  510 litre boot is also something the two have in common. The beige interiors finish in the Maruti Ciaz lend it a light an airy feel. At the dashboard, it is incorporated with a touch screen infotainment system with satellite navigation. It also has rear parking sensors, and a sun-blind for rear windscreen. Meanwhile, the new Honda City also gets upgraded interior in its latest iteration, with a new gloss black finish with fine quality and texture. It is the best in its class, and is best known for its interior designing in the upcoming years. It also offers a sunroof as an additive feature over the Maruti Ciaz on its top variant. Unlike the exteriors, the competition isn’t as close on the interiors front. The Ciaz gets a lot right but simply cannot match the extravagant City. New Honda City : 4.5 Maruti Ciaz: 4  
2015 maruti suzuki ciaz ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE The new Honda City comes with a 1.5 litre i-VTEC engine compared to the 1.4 litre K-series Ciaz's engine. The Ciaz develops 92 PS, whereas, the new Honda City develops peak power of 119 PS, which is a whopping 27 PS greater than that of the Ciaz. Clearly, the City comes off better on paper, and continues to maintain a powerful engine as it has since previous generations. The Maruti Ciaz offers better a good suspension setup and a fair amount of on the drive. However, when it comes to the pickup, the new Honda City leaves the Ciaz far behind. The 27 PS greater power output begins to reveal itself in the form of more power on tap and better lift off the blocks. But the Ciaz does provide better grip with its huge 195 section tyres as compared to the City's 175 section tyres. Thus the City under-steers a bit on corners but does do pretty well when the brakes are required to kick in. New Honda City : 4 Maruti Ciaz: 3.5
 rear view maruti suzuki ciaz MILEAGE AND PRICING The manufacturers of the Maruti Ciaz claim that this product provides the best mileage in its segment. The petrol variant of the Ciaz is said to have a mileage of 20.7kmpl, and the diesel variant offers 26kmpl. According to the ARAI figures, the new Honda City offers a mileage of 17.8kmpl in the petrol variant and 25kmpl is the diesel variant. The new Honda City ranges between 7.20 to11.06 lakhs. Maruti’s Ciaz comes in with a price that starts 20,000 below the City. The Ciaz’s price ranges from 6.99 lakhs to 9.80 lakhs. New Honda City: 3.5 Maruti Ciaz: 4 VERDICT For a newcomer, the Maruti Ciaz does extremely well against the New Honda City. On most parameters  that matter in the Indian market, the Ciaz matches up to or even outperforms the City. It eventually comes down to how a buyer perceives a car. For those who need a dependable commuter, the Ciaz is the way to go. For the enthusiasts and those who like to focus on the nuances, the City is a great choice.

Faceoff: Fiat Punto Evo vs Volkswagen Polo

fiat punto evo

There used to be a time when the hatchback was viewed as a cheap and practical option for most Indians. Whether it be fuel efficiency you’re finicky about or the ability to find a parking spot with ease, the humble hatchback came forward and unobtrusively stood up to the challenge. With pockets getting deeper and manufacturers setting up local manufacturing units, hatchbacks have taken on a more flamboyant air. They’re still city-friendly, capable of making it through traffic without much hassle, and able to fit the average family. But it achieves looking a lot better and performing unlike before as well.

The competition in the hatchback segment is fierce, understandably. The most recent rivalry is that between the new Fiat Punto Evo and the Volkswagen Polo. Each of these are worthy competitors and how things turn out in the market is interesting to watch. The Fiat Punto Evo is easily the smartest car in its class, but others have woken up to the reality that this doesn’t mean it is a car to be trifled with. Here’s how the the new Fiat Punto Evo performs when pitted against the seasoned Volkswagen Polo.

2014 Volkswagen polo

EXTERIOR

Both the cars have evolved a lot when it comes to their exterior designing. It seems like these manufacturers have worked a lot on ensuring that the appeal begins with a first look at the car. The Fiat Punto Evo may be diminutive but it is a very good-looking compact car. The high tensile steel body assures high end safety for the vehicle. The Volkswagen Polo is beautifully designed with a sophisticated and stylish front grille, artistic dual beam headlights covered with posh black layer, distinctive design of its company logo on the trunk, 15 inch alloy wheels and inventively styled tail lights. The Punto Evo comes off looking like the better car overall.

Fiat Punto Evo     : 4.5

Volkswagen Polo: 4

 interiors new Fiat punto evo

INTERIORS

Both the cars share many similar features inside the cabin. This includes a 2-DIN music system, climate control and also audio and multimedia controls which have been mounted on the steering wheel in both cars. However, the Fiat Punto Evo goes a step further, adding certain crucial features such as Rear AC Vents, SMS read out and ambient lighting. The other big advantage which the Punto Evo has over Volkswagen Polo is in terms of interior space. The rear seat in Volkswagen Polo lacks sufficient leg room and the seat does not have flip fold facility as on the Fiat Punto Evo. The luggage space on both cars is almost the same.

Fiat Punto Evo     :4

Volkswagen Polo: 4

 

2013 volkswagen polo
Current Gen Polo Used As Reference

ENGINE & PERFORMANCE

The most noticeable change in the new Volkswagen Polo is the upgraded engine. It now comes with a 1.5 liter diesel mill, which delivers 90PS and a peak torque of 230Nm. The new Fiat Punto Evo puts out 93PS of power and 209 Nm of torque. These cars are pretty much on even keel on the power front. The Punto Evo has an edge given its higher ground clearance at 185mm, while it is only 165mm on the Polo. It also has bigger 16 inch wheels, hydraulic power steering, and a much better driving field. Despite this, when it comes to real-world handling, there is no beating the Polo. It may be underpowered on paper, but the smooth power delivery and easy to handle gearbox render it a joy to drive.

Fiat Punto Evo     : 3.5

Volkswagen Polo: 4.5

 

2014 fiat punto facelift
The All New Fiat Punto Evo

FUEL EFFICIENCY AND VALUE FOR MONEY

Talking in terms of the fuel efficiency the Fiat Punto Evo again stands slightly ahead of the Volkswagen Polo as it gives a mileage of 20.5kmpl, as opposed to the 20.1kmpl in Volkswagen Polo. When it comes to the value for money proposition, it isn’t so simple which car comes off the better. The fully loaded and spacious Fiat Punto Evo with the 90HP engine is priced at Rs. 7.20lakhs. The stylish and suave Volkswagen Polo is priced at Rs. 7.37 lakhs. The price difference is minimal and isn’t a sufficient parameter to tell which car offers the better overall package.

Fiat Punto Evo     : 4

Volkswagen Polo: 4

VERDICT

It’s going to be a tough call between the two as they both are distinctively designed, have unbeatable and world class features in terms of quality. But the Punto Evo not just offers a value for money, but it’s also much more spacious and offers features too. Simultaneously it’s also evident that the Polo has a considerable edge over the Punto Evo in terms of engine power and looks.

As with most other decisions, this one comes down to preference. The Punto Evo has the creature comforts but not so much the performance. It does seem to offer slightly better interiors. However, for those who want a car that is a looker and the ability to experience the famed goodness of German engineering, the Volkswagen Polo is the way to go.

Faceoff: Honda Mobilio Vs Maruti Suzuki Ertiga

honda mobilio

MPVs are a class of car that are slowly gaining acceptance in India. On the other hand, Indonesia has always been a market with a strong affinity for seven-seaters, but the trend has taken a while to reach Indian shores. Manufacturers have now realized the importance of MPVs in the Indian market and many are planning to launch them in India soon. Honda’s most awaited and anticipated car of the year, the Honda Mobilio, is finally out. It serves as Honda’s first Multi Purpose Vehicle in the country. But it will have to compete with the current segment favourite- the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga. To gain a better understanding about these MPVs and allay your doubts,  here is a head to head between the Ertiga and Mobilio.

Honda mobilio compare

EXTERIOR

Both the Honda Mobilio and Maruti Ertiga come with above average looks. But of the two the one that has the ability to elicit a second look is the Honda Mobilio. Some of the noticeable features of the Mobilio are the chrome lining on its grille, headlights, drawn out rear end and power antenna, which unifies higher level of mechanical security. Maruti’s Ertiga returns serve with adjustable headlights, but differs in the well-engineered fog lamp, finely designed tail lamp, alloy wheels and ORVM. The Ertiga is slightly wider and taller than the Mobilio. But, the Japanese designed Mobilio, despite being a tad smaller in terms of dimensions, makes up as it offers more space and comfort for occupants. This brings us to the interiors.

This round score:

Honda Mobilio: 4.5

Maruti Ertiga: 3.5

Maruti Ertiga interiors

INTERIORS

Both the cars comprise of seven seats and they almost share similar inner facilities such as the incorporated air conditioner in their cabins, adjustable steering columns, heater, and fabric upholstery. The very compact dash of the Mobilio has been carried over from the Brio and Amaze to cut down costs and the Mobilio gets the same slim front seats with the fixed headrests as well. The Honda MPV is also integrated with few additional features such as digital odometer and tachometer.

This round score:

Honda Mobilio: 4           

Maruti Ertiga: 3.5

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE

The Honda Mobilio is designed with dual engine options both for petrol and diesel. The Mobilio petrol houses a 1.5 litre iVTEC which manufactures  maximum power of 117 bhp and 146 Nm of peak torque. The diesel powered edition houses a 1.5 litre lDTEC which produces the maximum output of 98 bhp and torque of 200 Nm at 1750 rpm. The Maruti Ertiga also comes with dual engine variants. The 1.4 litre K series aboard the petrol version gives the highest power of 95 bhp with peak torque of 132 Nm. The Ertiga MPV in its diesel form offers 1.3 litre Ddis and creates the max output of 90 bhp with 204 Nm of torque at 200 rpm. Both engines give manual type gearboxes. The Indonesian version of the Mobilio is propelled with a version of the 1.5-litre i-VTEC mill from the City, which belts out 116bhp and a torque of 14.6kgm. These numbers reveal that the Mobilio gains an edge over the Maruti Ertiga in terms of power.

Of the two MPVs in this race, it is the Mobilio that offers the more enjoyable drive. This is owed to the fact that the car handles amazingly well and feels more stable when pushed a bit. The Ertiga does well for its size but simply doesn’t offer the pleasing drive the Mobilio does.

This round score:

Honda Mobilio: 4.5        

Maruti Ertiga: 4

Maruti Ertiga blue

MILEAGE

Before buying an MPV, mileage in one of the important factors kept in to considerations, so that an entire family or group of members can travel together in less fuel. The Honda Mobilio’s petrol engine offers a mileage of 13.38kmpl in normal condition, and 17.3kmpl on highway. The diesel engine produces minimum mileage of 15-17kmpl in traffic conditions and a superb fuel efficiency of 22-24kmpl in  highway conditions. The Maruti Ertiga’s petrol version renders a mileage of 12.1kmpl in the city whereas an energetic mileage of16kmpl on highway. On the other hand, the diesel version gives an average mileage of 19-21kmpl.

This round score:

Honda Mobilio: 4

Maruti Ertiga: 4

honda mobilio engine

PRICE

The Honda Mobilio range starts from Rs 6.5 lakhs for the base petrol variant and the diesel variants are priced starting at at INR 7.89 Lakhs. The Maruti Ertiga variants retail for a starting price of Rs 5.80 to 7.35 lakhs for the base LXi petrol while the top diesel ZDi variant is priced at Rs. 7.2 to 8.24 lakhs.

This round score:

Honda Mobilio:  4

Maruti Ertiga: 3.5

VERDICT:

Honda’s excellent package with aggressive styling, excellent characterstics, and a number of great features powered by an economical diesel engine might give some sleepless nights to Maruti’s Ertiga. The Mobilio is under-girded by the same platform as the Brio and Amaze and is available at a very reasonable cost when compared with the Ertiga. Honda Mobilio may be lacking in size when viewed externally, but with class-defining performance,  eye-catching exteriors and three rows of seats, it certainly has the chops to take the fight to the best of its competition.

Eagerly Anticipated Best sports motorcycles of 2015

There are a number of sports motorcycles that are eagerly anticipated in the US market for the year 2015. Here’s a look at some of the best & most exciting ones.

2015 KAWASAKI NINJA H2R
kawasaki ninja h2r: Best sports motorcycles 2015

“Built beyond belief” are the words used by Kawasaki to describe the new 2015 Kawasaki Ninja H2R. The excitement among enthusiasts has aroused drastically after hearing the news of its arrival. The 2015 supercharged Kawasaki Ninja H2R is no ordinary machine. The game-changing Kawasaki has clocked in this super bike at 300HP. This makes the H2R the most powerful bike ever produced in its category. The engine is a 998cc, liquid cooled, inline four cylinder engine boosted with a centrifugal supercharger. The H2R also ensures a high speed stability of upto 320km/hr mark. This is thanks in no small part due to its carbon-fiber upper and lower wings designed by the Engineers of Kawasaki Aerospace division. Kawasaki has put in a great effort of research and synergy for the creation of this Hunky H2R, which the world will get to see it in the flesh soon & will definitely be one of the best sports motorcycles of 2015!

2015 Yamaha FZ-07
yamaha mt 07: Best sports motorcycles of 2015!

Yamaha is all set to redefine the rules of the road with the launch of 2015 Yamaha FZ-07. It will be its own particular monster- agile yet solid, with a snarl in its high-ductile steel . The heart of the 07 is a 689cc parallel twin engine, providing the most linear torque delivery we’ve seen in a Yamaha . At less than 400lbs weight, the FZ-07 is almost as light as a big dual-purpose machine. This Yamaha inherits cross plan concept with its 270 degree wrench trickling down from its M1 GP roots. Also to keep in mind that one should not be tricked by its humble disposition. Its power delivery amounts  of 74HP at 9000 rpm and 50.2 ft-lb torque at 6500rpm. The Yamaha FZ-07 constitutes products which can get the adrenaline gushing in your body only at an opening cost of $6,990 & will for sure be one of the best sports motorcycles of 2015

DUCATI DIAVEL 2015
2015 best sports motorcycle: Ducati diavel

Ducati recently unveiled their latest model 2015 Diavel, which is going to be offered by the company in three versions based on their colour- Carbon Red, Carbon Dark and Carbon White. This iteration implements marginal changes to the appearance, by giving more aggressive look with a generous amount of muscular elegance. However, the real changes are the new engine from the latest generation Testastretta 11° Dual Spark, the exhaust system, and a new package of ABS. Ducati Traction Adjust System and Riding Modules lend the pure Ducati experience for real motorcycle passionist’s. It claims a horsepower rating of 162HP, same as the previous versions. The major upgrade to the bike is the LED headlamp and it also incorporates LED into tail lights giving it a mean streak in the rear.The Testastertta engine constituting two spark plugs in each cylinder leads to better combustion of the fuel. Ducati’s Diavel appears in the market at a price of 17.995$ for Diavel Dark to 20.995$ for Carbon Red and Carbon White. Just looking at this monster of a bike, one can definitely say it will climb up the list of Best sports motorcycles in 2015

 

2015 HONDA CBR300R
Honda cbr300r 2015: Sports motorcycles

The Honda CBR 300R will hit the States in the month of December, as a rival to the Kawasaki Ninja 300. The 2015 CBR300R will be available in retail for $4399, with an ABS version for $4899. The Honda CBR300R will be available in two models: Standard -non-ABS- in Black or Red. Powering it is a 286cc mill producing 30.8PS at 8,500rpm and a torque rating of 27Nm at 7,250rpm.Building on the platform of the CBR250R, a wildly popular quarter liter, for the CBR300R, the highly efficient , single-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine has been given an increased stroke to boost the capacity to 286cc. Acceleration is greatly enhanced thanks to this larger capacity and the six-speed gearbox’s final drive ratio has been lengthened for more efficient highway speed cruising.For the inexperienced, it’s a great platform from which to hone riding skills and a lot easier on the pocket in every respect- purchase, fuel, and  insurance. The cost factor gives this automobile an advantage over other sports motorcycles, thus making it one of the best in 2015!

 

2015 Kawasaki KX450F
kawasaki motocross bike 2015 : Best sports motorcycles

Kawasaki advances in the motocross motorcycles with the announcement of new 2015 Kawasaki KX450F 450cc. The biggest news for 2015 is the new Showa SFF-Air TAC (Triple Air Chamber) fork where the right fork acts as a spring and the left does the damping. The front fork carries out three functions: Spring, Damper and Air system . Replacing the SFF-AIR metal spring is an Air Spring Cartridge (internal chamber) in the right fork leg that is set to a pressure of 145psi. The fork on the right also has an outer air chamber that is pressurized to 7 psi and third lower (balance) chamber that gets charged to 130psi. The KX450F also includes a digital air pump, for checking and adjusting air forks with a great deal of accuracy. The Uni-Trak suspension with Showa Shock gets a revised valve code for improved high-speed handling and stability. Kawasaki also claims a decrease in 0.9 pounds compared to 2014 model- hence making it one of the most desired & best sports motorcycles of 2015.

Faceoff: Hyundai Elite i20 vs Fiat Punto Evo

punto flyout new

Hatchbacks are undeniably India’s favorite class of cars. While the demand for them is revelatory of this fact, manufacturers’ preoccupation with keeping the hatchbacks in their portfolio fresh also shows how important they are in the market. In 2014, the competition has heated up with the launch of two updated models- Hyundai Elite i20 and Fiat Punto Evo. Let’s take a spin showing you all the features and specifications of these newly launched Hyundai and Fiat hatches.

elite i20 red review

EXTERIOR

The new Hyundai Elite i20 comes with bold and aggressive front, sleek swept back headlamps, sporty alloy wheels on the side and dynamic signs running along the sides, which gives the side profile of the car an interesting appearance. The outside door handles are finished in chrome while the electrically-adjustable rear-view mirrors come  with integrated turn indicators. The side swept tail lamps visible from the side profile are quite chunky. The classy looking tail lamp combination gives a very attractive look to the rear of the car. On the other hand, the new Fiat Punto Evo bears a very elegant look due to the rounded elements which comply with its Italian roots. The side profile of the Evo has not changed much and bears similar appearance to previous models. They have retained the flaring wheel arches, one of the more edgy features of the car’s exterior. The rear of the car has completely redesigned tail lamps and also a newly designed bumper.

This round score:

Fiat Punto Evo        : 4

Hyundai Elite i20  : 4

 Fiat Punto Evo review compare

INTERIORS

The Hyundai Elite i20 and Fiat Punto Evo share many attributes in terms of features on the interiors- with climate control, 2-DIN music system (BT+USB+AUX) and steering mounted audio and multimedia controls being common between the two. You also find rear air conditioning vents in top of the line variants in both the cars. But it seems like the Hyundai Elite i20 grabs the edge in the interiors as it holds some exclusive features like- chilled glove box, two 12V power outlets, telescope adjustment for the steering, 1GB internal memory, and rear view parking camera. These are some niceties that the Punto Evo does not boast.  In terms of upholstery, the Fiat Punto Evo gets a complete black nourishment in its interiors whereas the Hyundai Elite i20 uses dual tone beige and black interiors. the new Punto Evo is spacious enough to accommodate five passengers comfortably. However, the Elite i20 takes the cake as being one of the most premium-looking cars in terms of how the cabin feels.

This round score:

Fiat Punto Evo        : 4

Hyundai Elite i20: 4.5

interiors new punto evo

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE

The Elite i20 continues to gain power from the 1.2 litre Kappa VTVT petrol engine. The diesel version of the car houses a 1.4 litre U2CRDi engine. The 1.2 litre Kappa mill  delivers  a peak power of 82bhp at 6000 rpm and an upper torque figure of 115 Nm at 4000rpm. The 1.4 litre diesel unit develops 89bhp at 4000rpm and 220Nm of torque at 2750rpm.The hatchback is available in two petrol and one diesel engine variants. The 1.2 litre petrol engine pumps out peak output of 67bhp, and the 1.4 litre diesel unit churns out  90bhp. Fiat’s 1.3 litre Multi-jet diesel engine comes with two power output options – 75bhp and 92bhp. The 92bhp version of the Punto Evo is the most powerful engine in its league.

Performance is where the Punto Evo tends to lose ground against the Hyundai Elite i20. It is more powerful on paper but the drive is quite sluggish and the car feels slow out of the blocks. The engine aboard the Elite i20 feels a lot more refined. The electronically-controlled throttle control ensures that the power-delivery is consistent with the amount of load that is being placed on the car.

This round score:

Fiat Punto Evo       : 3.5

Hyundai Elite i20 : 4

 New Hyundai i20 review

PRICE

Hyundai Elite i20: 6.09-7.66 lakhs

Fiat Punto Evo : 5.27-7.2 lakhs

In terms of value for money, the Punto Evo tends to take a hit for its slightly lesser fuel efficiency. This has to do with the fact that the car has a mileage of 20.5kmpl, which falls short of the approximately 22.5 liters to the kilometer that diesel variants of the Elite i20 deliver . The higher pricing of the Hyundai hatch can be explained by the fact that it offers a lot more feature and better comfort. These factors even out playing field in terms of price and value for money.

This round score:

Fiat Punto Evo       : 4

Hyundai Elite i20  : 4

 fiat punto evo review compare

VERDICT

After looking at the specifications of both the cars it can be said that Hyundai Motor India Limited has best of the package in the form of Elite i20. It delivers well on accounts of power, torque and wheel base. But the only department where the Fiat Punto Evo has an edge over Elite i20 is in the availability of more engine options. But in comparison with Fiat, Hyundai has a larger service network, by which the parts can be obtained faster and cheaper, which certainly favours the South Korean manufacturer.