Fiat Family: Upcoming Fiat cars in India

Here are a couple of Fiat cars that are going to say hello to Indian roads…

Fiat Tipo:

Fiat India is looking to reinstate the existing Linea Sedan by remodeling it and introducing a new and attractive machine named Tipo or Egea. This new machine is going to be launched as a C-Segment sedan that was showcased as the Aegea Concept car. The production version of this car is going to be launched in 2016 by November. Here are some more details that should help you decide better:

Fiat Tipo

Exteriors:

Featuring a classy looking front façade, the Tipo features a dominative and angry looking muzzle grille that sports Fiat Insignia look in the middle and comes with angled headlamps. The side profile of this vehicle adds up similar Fiat sedan lines because of the strong shoulder lines. The rear side features elegantly designed tail lamps as well as a chrome strip above the number plate.  As far as the dimensions go, the Tipo will measure 4500mm in length, 1780mm in width and 1480mm in height.

Interiors:

The interiors look quite attractive. It features an instrument cluster, Uconnect infotainment system with 5-inch touchscreen display and automatic climate control. Tipo gets a sporty look, which will feature dual tone interiors as well as sporty seats. The new Tipo will be incorporated with features such as AUX and USB ports, Bluetooth connectivity and a navigation system along with a reversing camera. With the wheelbase of 2640mm, Tipo will offers quite a spacious cabin with ample of sitting and storage space.

Engine:
Under the hood, Fiat Tipo sedan is likely to be offered in both petrol and diesel engine options for the Indian market. The 1.4-litre TJet petrol and 1.5-litre MultiJet diesel engines will be mated to a 6-speed manual transmission gearbox and 6-speed automatic gearbox for the automatic variant. However, globally Fiat Tipo is offered in four engine options – 1.4L and 1.6L petrol engine, 1.3L and 1.6L diesel engine.

Further details:

The new Tipo sedan is likely to be priced in the range of INR 8 lakh to INR 11 lakh for the Indian market and will compete against the likes of Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, Honda City, Volkswagen Vento, Hyundai Verna, Nissan Sunny, Skoda Rapid and Renault Scala.

 

 

Fiat Viaggio:

Seen at the 2012 Beijing Motor Show, the Fiat Viaggio will be positioned in the executive sedan segment. Here are further details on the Viaggio:

Fiat Viaggio

Viaggio Interiors and Exterior looks:

The Viaggio is essentially a Fiat-badged Dart, except for few nips and tucks here and there. For instance, the Viaggio sports redesigned front and rear bumpers, taillights, badges and trunk lids. Fiat also promises that the Viaggio has the handling dynamics to match its Italian styling. That said, the interiors are going to be just as promising as the interiors.

Engine:

Under the hood, expect to see a 1.4-litre T-Jet petrol unit that is rated at 120PS and 150PS. A diesel powerplant could also be thrown in the mix. The engines could come mated to either a 5-Speed manual gearbox or a 6-Speed Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT).

Further Details:

The Viaggio is expected to launch in India by the end of 2016. Expect the price of this vehicle ranging from 8-12 lakh.

 

 

Fiat Panda:

With Punto and Linea mulling to expand its portfolio with more products. The Fiat Panda, which has been the best-selling supermini in the European markets is one such product that the Italian automaker could introduce in the Indian market very soon. However, supermini is a segment that is not very popular in the country.

That said, the Fiat Panda, which is now entering its third-generation has been modified to become to bigger, roomier and safer, making it a more practical and viable product for Indian customers.

Fiat Panda

Exteriors:

Dimensional, the new Panda is 66mm wider that the out-going model, which means that the hatchback can easily accommodate up to 3 passengers on the rear bench.
Interiors:

In terms of pricing, the Fiat Panda is most likely going to feature the same design language as the Fiat Punto.

Engine:
Under the hood, expect to see a 1.2-litre petrol engine and a 1.3-litre Multi-jet diesel engine.

Further Details:

In the international markets, the Fiat Panda is offered in three trim levels: Pop, Easy and Lounge. If the Panda arrives in India, it will go head to head with the Maruti Suzuki Swift, Hyundai Grand i10, Volkswagen Polo, Honda Brio, etc.

Bottom Line:

Fiat is really working on increasing its competency and by the looks of it, the company might progress with the upcoming launches.

Top 5 Hybrid/Electric Cars in India

India is heading on to take upon the electric and hybrid car segment. The catch is that the cars are not only pricey but their maintenance is expensive too. And when it comes to alternate fuels, we have relied more on LPG and CNG instead of electric energy. That has however not dampened the car manufacturers’ hopes in India as they have gone ahead and introduced clean and green vehicles. Not all the cars are expensive, some of them might befriend your price while some might seem shockingly expensive. Either ways, if you’re planning on buying a hybrid, you’d not be disappointed considering the focus some manufacturers are paying towards the price. Here is a list entailing 5 of the most popular hybrids/electric cars available in India:

5. Mahindra e2o:

Portrayed as a concept car back in the 2012 Delhi Auto Expo, the e20 from Mahindra found its way to the Indian market. Manufactured at its facility in Bengaluru, the Mahindra e20 rolls out as the first all-electric in India. The e20 from Mahindra comes powered by a 48V maintenance-free Lithium-ion battery that helps churn out around 25 bhp and 53Nm of torque. Speed is out of the question on this car but if you’re willing to go slow and safe, this ride tops a speed of 81 km/hr. Though a full charge takes 5 hours, Mahindra also has Quick Charge that helps charge the car in just about an hour. Once fully charged, it can cover a distance of 120Km, which is sufficient for city travel. The interiors on the e20 get s a large touch-screen interface as well as a monochrome digital speed information pod. The price expectancy of this vehicle ranges from 4.79 lakhs to 5.34 lakhs.

4. Toyota Prius

India was first introduced to hybrids when Toyota launched the Prius in 2012. It can run on both, petrol and electricity, so the customers get the best of both worlds.

Fun fact: The Prius is the world’s first mass production hybrid car.

Powering the Prius is a 1.8-litre 2ZR-FXE, 4-cylinder, inline, twin-cam petrol engine that puts out 97bhp and 142Nm of torque. It also gets a sealed Ni-MH (Nickel-Metal Hydride) battery, which increases the total power output to 134bhp. The Prius gets 3 modes, namely, EV (Electric Vehicle), Eco, and Power.

As green as the Prius may sound, it does come along with a hefty price tag. There are 2 variants on offer in India – the Z5 and Z6 – and even in city conditions; combined fuel economy stands at 23.91Km/l. The price of the Prius ranges from 38.10 lakhs to 39.80 lakhs.

 

3. Toyota Camry Hybrid

Toyota has another green car up its sleeve – the Camry hybrid. However, if you think you’ve driven the Prius, and this one will be something similar, you couldn’t be more wrong.

Just like the standard Camry, this one gets Toyota’s DOHC VVT-i 2.5-litre petrol unit, but it’s tweaked to accommodate the electric motor. The output tally of the hybrid system stands at 202bhp; 158bhp from the petrol motor, and 44bhp from the electric motor. The power-split device helps deliver seamless power to the wheels, and also to the generator that keeps on charging the battery. The battery is nickel metal hydride, unlike the usual lithium-ion, and is placed under a plastic cover inside the boot.

There are three driving modes to choose from – EV, Eco and Normal. The e-CVT (electronically continuously variable transmission) takes a bit of time to push itself off the starting line, but eventually offers utter smoothness and refinement.

Toyota has generously provided features that make it an ideal chauffeur-driven car. The 3-zone climate control for the driver, front passenger, and rear passengers, cooled front seats, cruise control, powered rear seats that recline, and a rear armrest that houses the controls for the recline functions, all find their way inside the car.

Toyota claims that the Camry Hybrid delivers 19.6Km/l (ARAI figure), which is truly impressive for a car of this size. The Camry hybrid carries a price tag of Rs. 31.19 lakhs.

 

2. Maruti Suzuki Ciaz Hybrid

Known commonly as the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz (Smart Hybrid Vehicle), the vehicle is priced in the range of Rs. 8.23 lakh – Rs. 10.17 lakh. Interestingly, the company the Ciaz’s old diesel range has been replaced by the SHVS-equipped variants.

The Maruti Suzuki Ciaz SHVS gets an integrated starter generator, a larger capacity battery, and start-stop technology that help the vehicle return better mileage. While the old Maruti Ciaz diesel had an ARAI certified mileage of 26.21Km/l, the Ciaz SHVS returns an outstanding 28.09Km/l. This effectively makes the Ciaz SHVS hybrid India’s most fuel-efficient car.

Incorporated with an ISG (Integrated Starter Generator), Suzuki’s new mild hybrid system – SHVS – offers engine power assistance using the motor, and thus achieves efficient power generation. With the help of ISG, the system also provides assistance to the engine start-stop technology that automatically stops the engine during traffic light, and starts when the clutch is released.

 

1. BMW i8

This beauty is just too good to be true. From the time when it was launched in India till date, the i8 holds its ground as one of the most thrilling car to be designed in a futuristic manner.

Under the hood, the i8 comes with a 1.5-litre, inline 3 petrol unit and a 7.1kWh lithium-ion battery. Power from the gasoline engine stands at 228bhp, while the electric motor punches out 129bhp, thus taking the combined tally to a massive 357bhp. In all-electric mode, the BMW i8 boasts of a top-speed of 120Km/h. In Sport mode, the i8 delivers a mid-range acceleration from 80 – 120Km/h in 2.6 seconds. The electronically controlled top-speed stands at 250Km/h.

BMW started the car’s deliveries in August, 2014, and had already managed to sell 1,741 units by December, 2014. Furthermore, the first batch of BMW i8 to arrive in India has already been sold. The car carries a whooping price tag of 2.29 crores.

Nissan Teatro for Dayz, or nightmare?

"Nissan Teatro"

It swings across once every two years or so but, the Tokyo Motor Show is one of the finest consortiums of carmakers from all across the world. This is a huge platform for all the companies to portray their best jaw dropping, eye gluing machines. In my opinion, Love at first sight really takes place here.

Japanese carmakers eagerly await such opportunities to show to the world that nobody designs cars better than they do. Hence, the carmakers often do their best to stand out amid the outlandish designs. Then again, there is a little chance of Nissan’s latest concept getting lost in the crowd for bizarre reasons. The company introduced a rather bizarre looking vehicle that can transform according to your whim,” says the company.

Also, it’s called “Teatro for Dayz.” So, yeah!

Teatro? Say What?

So named Teatro for Dayz, the Nissan vehicle is the “first car designed specifically for the generation known as ‘digital natives,’ or “share natives.”

It’s hard to stake a claim to the silliest appearing concept car at a show like the Tokyo Motor Show, But Nissan seems like it has the word Bizzare written all over. There are some cars with gaudy interiors with seats (even the steering wheel) spruced up with grass, leopard skin or even abstract patterns that seem just too much for your brain to take in. Then, there’s Teatro for Dayz, a free-spirited step-sister of Nissan’s serious, buttoned-down self-driving EV, and it’s Nissan’s hope that it’ll convince non-auto fans to, well, take an interest.

There’s so much fun to be had with a concept car with fancy looks. Nissan has proven that it has enjoyed this truism to the fullest with this car. This all-electric minivan has a little bit of normalcy; its suicide doors. This vehicle, just like the IDS concept is a vision of an autonomous, electric future, the Teatro for Dayz is one extreme way to connect your smart phone and your vehicle. Nissan calls is, “an innovative concept that signals a new direction in mobile technology.” It’s certainly a new direction in distracting the driver.

 

"Teatro for Dayz"
Image Source: www.littlegatepublishing.com

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn says that the Teatro for Dayz was specially designed for “Share Natives”. Carlos Ghosn says that this generation of young Japanese people like the efficiency of an electric vehicle and the functionality of a Kei car. “These young people are now getting their drivers licenses,” he said. “They have never known a world without the Internet, email or social media. They are always connected and eager to share their experiences.” With a car like the TfD, they can gather in person and virtually in a car that’s a vehicle for self-expression and connecting with friends as much as it is for getting to the next hot spot in Harajuku.

 

On the Outside:

The LED screen in action is overwhelming. Yes, LED screen. Like I said, there is plenty of craziness with the Teatro.

 

"Nissan Teatro"
Image Source: www.autoblog.com

Designing a car to appeal to the generation we call ‘share natives’ required us to intentionally not use knowledge and tried-and-true approaches we had amassed,” Nissan’s executive design director Satoshi Tai said. “For example, through design we typically try to convey a sense of acceleration, power, or supreme quality. But these values do not resonate with share natives. If anything, such car traits just call to mind old-fashioned technology that bears little relevance to their lives.”

Share natives feel that time spent in a car should be time for connecting and sharing experiences with friends,” agrees product planning general manager Hidemi Sasaki. “We can no longer attract their attention with the same old values.” The idea is that Teatro for Dayz can be a “clean canvas” for people to create and share their own designs.

The vehicle’s seats and steering wheel is made of LED screens. Pretty amazing right? This car also has LED screen as rear bumper that will display the vehicle’s status updates that show how crazy the driver can get with this car.

Inside:

The car’s interior is completely decked out in display surfaces.

"Nissan Teatro"
Image Source: hypebeast.com

The dashboard, seats, headrest-well, pretty much everything has display surfaces. Since conventional knobs and switches would limit display arrangement and expression, the change is pretty mind-boggling.

"Nissan Teatro"
Image Source: www.slashgear.com

The functionality works like air conditioning and audio is controlled by voice while important meters appear on the flat dashboard when the car is in drive mode. The exterior has LED panels that can display patterns or things like the car’s battery charge.

Bottom Line:

This concept is pretty futuristic. The certainty of this car working and being commercially produced is pretty doubtful. Let’s wait and watch what 2016 has in store for us. 🙂

 

Connecting customers and cars with APPS

The time for Digital revolution has taken a new turn.  Smart phones are gaining popularity and simultaneously smart cars are being developed. Car Manufacturers are finding newer and better ways of connecting with customers. People are gaining more credibility and finding easier ways of connecting with their favorite automobile brand. Here is an article that highlights on the apps launched by various automobile manufacturers that help them understand the customers better and provide them what they need:

These days, carmakers are loath to giving up their key information and entertainment links in their vehicles with hopes to turn dashboard technology into a reason for buying their vehicle and potentially to earn revenue by selling information and mobile connectivity. This makes car manufacturers spend big money working on their own systems even as they increasingly offer links to Apple or Google’s systems alongside their own.

Car Play:

Manufacturers like Honda and GM recently started installing CarPlay as an option in their new vehicles and both say the software is well received. The Android Auto is coming for new models.

Jay Guzowski, a senior product manager at American Honda, said the company can’t give up on its own system, called HondaLink. “Not everybody has an Apple or Android phone or they aren’t interested in using that environment,” .

Toyota Motor Corp is largely avoiding Silicon Valley’s tech giants and relies exclusively on their own systems to maintain the most direct link with customers. Toyota and others say Apple and Google systems aren’t the right fit for every buyer. Not everyone owns a smart phone capable of linking to CarPlay or Android Auto, and the third-party systems can’t be used in every market.

"Car Play Apple"
Image Source: www.redmondpie.com

In countries including China, the modified Android operating systems used in phones won’t work with Android Auto and Apple’s iPhone isn’t as widely used as it is in Europe and the U.S. In addition, the Apple and Android systems don’t typically link to the buttons on a car’s steering wheel, or function well in areas with poor mobile phone reception. The systems also don’t connect to the auto’s heating and air-conditioning.

Potentially handing troves of driver and driving-data to Apple or Google also presents red flags, and has ignited debate among auto executives.

We are competing for mind-share inside the vehicle,” said Don Butler, Ford Motor’s director of connected vehicles. The Dearborn, Mich., company first released its Sync system, which runs apps, sends texts and receives messages through voice activation, in its 2008 model year cars.

Maruti Care:

Maruti has also taken a stride towards customer service. The Maruti Care Service mobile app comes in handy no matter where the customer is. Some of the more interesting features with the Maruti Care app are:

"Maruti Care App"
Image Source: www.rushlane.com

Maruti Suzuki Connect:

–       Service Appointment enables you to book your car’s service appointment at any of the Maruti Dealer outlets with a simple touch.

–       Enables you locate a dealer workshop with the help of Google maps from your current location just by entering City/Workshop/Pin Code and also gets the address and contact information.

–       Checking service records and the history of your vehicle based on dealer workshop visits.

–       Keeping track of the cost of maintenance of the car on yearly basis for Scheduled / Unscheduled Services and even for Body Repairs.

–       Sharing your service experience to help improve services.

–       Getting an estimated cost of the next scheduled service and other demand jobs.

Maruti Assist:

–       Maximize car’s life through some intelligent driving and maintenance tips.

–       Helps you know live traffic conditions between your destination and location you’re headed to.

–       GPS Trip meter trips from one destination to another that can be recorded and saved for future references.

–       Makes when your car is due for next scheduled service and set reminder accordingly.

–       Saves GPS enabled location and images of your car while parking in vast crowded places and finds the route shown by the app.

My Maruti:

–       Enables you to fetch personal information as registered with Maruti Suzuki.

–       Fetches car’s information as registered with Maruti Suzuki. This can be modified from the nearest Maruti Dealer.

–       Saves personal and car documents like PAN card, Driving License, RC Book and also sets the date of expiry with reminder so that it can be renewed on time.

–       Sends all types of notifications like reminders for document renewal, service appointment date and time.

Maruti Suzuki:

–       Gets contact information of Maruti Suzuki Regional offices for any concern/feedback.

 

Honda Connect:

With plans of digitizing the vehicle experience in India, Honda Cars India has launched Honda Connect; a smartphone application bundled with a device that offers a variety of functions controllable through a smartphone. This app was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show and has a total of 21 functions that come in handy in day to day life.

"Honda app"
Image Source: www.honda.co.uk

Some of the features:
· Detailed trip analysis such as speed, duration with pit stops details
· Service alert with calendar function and spending
· Information about nearest petrol station and Honda service stations with in-app navigation system
· Impact alert with SOS feature to connect with Honda dealers and service stations
· Location sharing with family and friends
· Option to locate your Honda vehicle in a crowded area
· Notification alerts on your smartphone about your vehicle’s health
· Option to connect directly to a customer service executive.

Hope you are installing the apps in your mobile right now 😉

BlackBerry Joins Self-Driving Car

"Blackberry"

Blackberry Ltd., a smart phone manufacturer is recognized worldwide thanks to the introduction of its famous Blackberry messenger app. This was one of the reasons for the downfall of the company. The company is strategizing on its comeback owing to the downfall of its share prices. With the announce of its plan for building an autonomous car software jumping into a race with the likes of Apple Inc., Google and Tesla motors Inc to capture a piece of the ballooning industry.

"Blackberry"
Image Source: www.themalaymailonline.com

Google’s self-driving car was the stepping-stone for the inception of this idea to take flight. The company’s QNX software division takes care of the newly formed vehicle division. The company’s QNX software division showed off demo cars that can scan for obstacles, keep from straying from a highway lane and communicate wirelessly with nearby vehicles to avoid accidents, using tools developed by other software and hardware companies on the QNX operating system.

QNX has already been used by plenty of automakers like Ford Motor Co. to build in-car entertainment systems. Blackberry, based in Waterloo, Ontario, wants to extend that model to self-driving car technology by providing a central platform that other companies can use to build their own features.

We are not doing the algorithms that make decisions on driving,” Derek Kuhn, senior vice president of Internet of Things at BlackBerry, said in an interview at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. “We’re providing the building blocks on which the electronics and automotive companies can make those decisions.”

The developing technology may offer an alternative for carmakers that are considering building their own self-driving software or partnering with Apple and Google. Still, those companies have been pouring resources into autonomous cars. Google’s vehicles have driven more than two million miles on their own and Tesla sells some cars pre-loaded with the ability to stay in a certain lane on their own. The market is still wide open and BlackBerry shouldn’t be counted out, according to Jeremy Carlson, an automotive technology analyst at IHS. There are a lot of intermediate steps that need to happen before fully autonomous cars hit the roads, he said.

There’s plenty of opportunity for everyone,” Carlson said.

The software for in-car navigation and entertainment systems is used in more than 60 million vehicles, including as part of Ford’s Sync infotainment system. Apple and Google also have developed their own systems. The foothold means that the company has solid relationships with car manufacturers that it can build on to help them develop self-driving vehicles, Carlson said. BlackBerry announced its plans to try to gain a piece of the autonomous car market at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, a technology industry gathering that has morphed into the venue for auto companies to introduce their newest innovations.

"QNX"
Image Source: autstory.com

Handing over your driving duties to a software-driven vehicle is a pretty futuristic idea. If the latest surveys are any indication, the market for self-driving (aka autonomous) vehicles is getting ready to explode — and smart people are paying close attention.

Consumers are looking on with great interest and with a lot of questions. Many people are worried about the safety of riding in a car driven by sensors and software, but accident data from Google’s self-driving car project indicates that all of the self-driving cars’ accidents to date were caused by human drivers.

Experts believe that self-driving cars are usually safer than error-prone human drivers, who are responsible for 90% of accidents. They also say autonomous vehicles can reduce traffic jams and increase highway capacity because sensors allow the vehicles to drive closer together.

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS):

ADAS has primed the pump for even more auto automation. Safety features, such as automated emergency braking, automated lighting and adaptive cruise control, and convenience features that connect the car to your smart phone for navigation, communication or entertainment, are all but expected by today’s auto buyers.

Software will drive most of the innovation around autonomous vehicles, and an upcoming webinar with Kerry Johnson, Product Manager for QNX Software Systems, will talk about writing software for self-driving vehicles. Specifically, he and Kris Keach, Contributing Editor for Tech Online, will explore:

– The emergence of high performance embedded system on chips (SoCs) targeting ADAS and autonomous vehicle applications.

– The impact of increasing system integration and autonomous technology on embedded software.

– The need for safety standards such as IS 26262, which specifies the functional safety of electrical and electronic systems in road vehicles.

– The emergence of pre-certified products as part of the solution to address safety challenges.

– The role of a software platform to support evolution from ADAS to autonomous driving.

 

"Blackberry QNX"
Image Source: pockethacks.com

Bottom Line:

If this technology hits it off, Blackberry is going to regain its popularity and get more credibility that it was losing. This could be quite revolutionary for the company and would certainly give Google a run for its miles.

Pioneers of Autonomous Cars

The field of driverless cars has been developing at an incredibly fast pace. Up until the early 2010’s, Google remained the sole proponent for fully autonomous cars. However, come CES 2014, BMW soon showcased their advancements in the field as well. As a result, other mainstream manufacturers soon jumped the bandwagon and have begun their in-house development of autonomous cars. We take a look at the current players playing an active role in bringing driverless cars to the general public.

Google

One of the earliest advocates for autonomous driving technology, tech giant Google has been tweaking and testing its driverless car for a few years now. Prior to its current in-house developed super mini, Google made use of existing cars such as Toyota Prius and the Lexus RX450h and retrofitted each of them with sensors, cameras and specialized hardware to allow for autonomous capabilities.

The Google driverless car
The Google driverless car

Soon after, Google developed its very own bespoke car to continue with its experiments and showcase what its fully production ready car might look like. The Google car is a small hatch with a neutral color paint job. Unlike other manufacturers that provide a manual override in the form of a steering wheel and conventional pedals, Google’s driverless car features nothing of the sort. A sign of complete confidence from the maker in its abilities. The car features no distinct features save for two ‘eyes’ and a ‘nose’. The main purpose of the car’s “cutesy” design is to disarm the general public.

The car make’s use of a dizzying array of sensors and cameras to map the road ahead. The on-board computer then processes this information with pre-existing map data to create an inch perfect replica of its immediate surroundings. Some computation is even performed on remote server locations. Each Google car is fitted with sensor equipment worth over $150,000.

BMW

Although Google may have been one of the first endorsers of driverless vehicles, recent reports suggest that the tech supergiant is not leading horse of this race. Mainstream manufacturers such as BMW may have a higher probability of launching a fully autonomous car for commercial purposes. Unlike the Google car that focused primary on city driving, BMW’s initiative proved a bit more entertaining. The self-driving car in its most advanced avatar was showcased at CES 2014 in the form of a live demo. The Bavarian car maker managed to develop a system that mapped a certain race track and “learnt” the quickest possible routes. Similar to Google’s self-driving car, BMW’s autonomous 2 Series and 6 Series were fitted with a host of sensors that generate a 3D map of the car’s surroundings.

BMW's ultimate "drifting" machine
BMW’s ultimate “drifting” machine

Tesla

Tesla’s entry into the autonomous vehicle industry was rather unexpected. Unlike other manufacturers that advertised the upcoming technology, Elon Musk quietly added an autopilot mode for the Model S in a recent update that allowed near complete autonomous driving. However, human intervention is required from time to time. However, with the addition of the feature, Tesla has officially joined the race.

Tesla Model S P85D
The new Tesla Model S models come with auto pilot

Ford

Ford has had a late start in the autonomous vehicle segment. Ford and one other South Korean car maker are the only two manufacturers on this list that cater to a wider spectrum of car buyers. With Ford’s entry this year, we may see small instances of autonomous driving technologies such as fully driverless parking and retrieval in budget cars such as the Fiesta or Taurus.

Ford has only recently jumped into the driverless car band wagon
Ford has only recently jumped into the driverless car band wagon

Kia

South Korean car maker Kia is the other budget manufacturer to begin testing its autonomous vehicular technology. Although Ford’s and Kia’s development phases have only just begun, 2016 provides far more resources and information regarding autonomous driving technology than all the previous years. As such, the manufacturers are now able to work with more than what most car makers began with.

Kia is a South Korean car maker under Hyundai's ownership
Kia is a South Korean car maker under Hyundai’s ownership

Audi

Audi is one of the only manufacturers on this list to have actually released its autonomous fleet to the media. As part of an event, a few journalists were offered a ride from Las Vegas to CES 2015. An interesting feature of Audi’s system is the inclusion of two cameras that constantly monitor the driver’s eyes. Should the driver close his eyes, the car begins beeping loudly and comes to a complete halt following which the car switches its hazard lights on.

Audi's fleet of autonomous cars ferried journalists from Las Vegas to CES
Audi’s fleet of autonomous cars ferried journalists from Las Vegas to CES

As with most new technologies, the latent complications and ethical dilemmas of various scenarios are yet to be fully explored. Similar to the internet, Einstein’s mass-energy equation and programming, autonomous vehicles are also susceptible to misuse. As such, fears of the public are not unfounded. However, one must progress and the only direction is forwards.

HONDA BR-V – The New Ride To be In Town

"Honda BR-V"

Japanese automobile maker Honda was working on the next version of the SUV that was named CR-V. Now, the company is going to introduce a new SUV with the model name BR-V. The company has also disclosed the official sketch of the upcoming SUV. Now, the company has formally pulled off the covers over the production version at the Gaikindo Indonesian International Auto Show 2015.

The firm has also opened bookings for this Utility Vehicle and its deliveries are estimated to start at early 2016. Even before its disclosure, its images have been leaked online, which created a buzz across the automobile industry. The Indian bound model is most likely to get a twist and it will carry a new appeal. The images are out online and some auto portals have also posted the images of its interiors, which explains that this BR-V is going to be a seven seating car. It is highly unlikely that this four-wheeler will be launched in the sub 4-meter segment. Hence, it is going to compete with the likes of Renault Duster, Nissan Terrano, Mahindra Scorpio and Tata Safari Storme. Its launch in India is slated in 2016, meanwhile here is a review on this SUV:

EXTERIORS

Based on the available images online, the car looks pretty attractive. At the front of this car, it has a chrome-designed grille along with Honda’s emblem placed in the center. There are sleek headlamp clusters with great improvements and they have chrome. It also seems to have projector beams on the front lamps that have improved visibility. The front side of the body is colored and it is integrated into the overall look. It also has a wide air intake section allowing vehicle’s engine cooling. The lower side of the bumper has matte silver faux skid plate.

"Honda BR-V"
Image Source: paultan.org

The side section of this vehicle resembles many MPV models. It has rear roof lines raise towards the car’s rear. This beast presents a strong ground clearance of more than 200 mm. It also has 16-inch diamond cut alloy wheels that add to its charm. It has LED incorporated tail lamp sections that are interconnected in a thin strip. Overall, it is a beast of a ride.

INTERIORS

Inside the BR-V, the vehicle has a sound ergonomic design. This is similar to the designs found on the Honda Jazz and City. This 7-seating capacity car has a 3 row seating system for optimized space usage. The upholstery on this car gives out a beautiful experience. It has a 50:50 third row seat that allows the passengers to conveniently store items. There are AC vents for all the rows that enable good circulation for the occupants. The seats are sure to be covered in fine upholstery. At the front, the driver gets the benefit of a stylish steering wheel with the company’s emblem at the center. The vehicle may also house a touch screen AV system for the entertainment requirements of its passengers. It also has an advanced infotainment system. It may also have a USB port and Aux-in option that allow occupants to integrate their devices with the system.

"Honda BR-V"
Image Source: www.honda2017.com

 

POWER TRAIN:

This vehicle will most likely house a 1.5-litre i-VTEC petrol engine that comprises of 4 cylinders. A 1.5-litre i-DTEC diesel engine is also expected, since there is a huge demand for these power plants. These engines are popular in most brands but they might undergo some modifications for improved power output. They are supposed to come along with a six speed manual transmission, and some sources claim that a CVT gearbox is also available. The vehicle’s mileage is expected to carry around 18 to 25 kmpl depending on the engine type. The i-VTEC petrol motor expected to power the machine gives a power of 119bhp at 6600rpm, along with a torque of 145Nm at 4600rpm. Coming to the 1.5-litre i-DTEC mill, it is expected to produce a power of 99bhp at 3600rpm, along with a torque of 200Nm at 1750Nm.

BOTTOM LINE:

The Honda BR-V is an ultimate machine that has beautiful specs and features. If the aforementioned is true, it is sure to boost sales of the brand. The vehicle has a great exterior format and its looks are mind blowing. The vehicle has a reasonably good fuel economy and is expected to carry a modest price tag. The vehicle seems to have plenty of space inside and is spacious enough for 7 passengers. On the downside, this vehicle, based on its size, might have performance issues. The vehicle has a little chrome on the outside, but it would be great if there were more chrome.

Toyota Corolla Altis Limited Edition: A Silent Entrant

"Toyota Corolla Altis"

Toyota has fabricated a beautiful picture in India. With the launch of some of the most promising cars, the company takes a shot at launching a limited edition. Known for making simple quality and reliable cars, it has introduced a no nonsense limited edition called the Toyota Corolla Altis Limited Edition. Yes, that’s right no fancy names either, such simplicity.

Limited Edition Altis comes with a host of upgrades inside but outside changes are bare minimum. When it comes to interiors, the highlight is the smart link infotainment system which gets air and hand gesture controls. Bluetooth and smart phone connectivity are also available with this system. Illuminated scuff plates on the doorsills, puddle lamp with Toyota name on it is also there on the Toyota Corolla Altis Limited edition.

 

"Toyota Corolla Altis"
Image Source: http://www.ibtimes.co.in/

Exterior:

 The new Limited edition Corolla Altis Limited edition happens to be a beauty. Although it might be a little difficult to differentiate from the regular Altis, the limited edition version has a little more up its sleeves. This car has been derived from the Furia design philosophy. It has an aggressive appearance, stylish design and a lot of promise. This car has a square design in front with sharp lines for bumpers, grille and the hood. The blacked-out headlamps are LED enabled and flow upward into the sloping bonnet, which has prominent creases on its sides.

This vehicle has limited edition badges on C-pillar and on the right side of the boot. These are the obvious differentiating changes in this vehicle. All the four wheels on this car have extremely flared arches and the doors slope forward on the side. At the back, Toyota has retained some of the aggressiveness from the American-spec car due to the wrap-around tail lamps. The rest of the rear looks like it has been designed based on the current Camry sedan and features a large number of bulging lines. This car surely seems like a limited edition if you look close. The changes might not be so prominent from afar.

"Toyota Corolla Altis Limited Edition"
Image Source: http://indianautosblog.com

Interior:

The Corolla Altis Limited Edition gets some of the high-end features suited best to be called a limited edition. This car has illuminated scuff plates and puddle lamps with Toyota written on it. This looks pretty prominent in the dark and seems pretty cool. The interiors of this car feature leather seats with “Limited” emblems embossed on them and faux wood inserts on the door pads, armrest panels, and gear lever boot bezel. Additionally, this car also has wood finish trim on doors that add much flair to its interiors and it also has a Smart Link Infotainment system with air and hand gesture controls, voice function, Bluetooth and Smartphone enabled navigation.

This vehicle also has a wood finish armrest panel around the power window switches. Leather seats on top trims are visible and have limited edition badges on them at the rear. There is also wood finish around the knob, which makes the black beige and wood combination look slick for luxury car buyers. Standard features across variants include driver and passenger airbags, ABS with EBD, rear AC vents, parking sensors and electronically internally adjustable OVRMs. On the higher specs, there is a front parking sensors, Xenon lamps, touch screen infotainment system as well as electronically adjustable seats.

"Toyota Corolla Altus Limited Edition"
Image Source: http://indianautosblog.com

 

Engine:

Inside the hood, the Corolla Altis Limited Edition has no mechanical changes. The engine remains the same just like any other Corolla. The engine line-up is the same as before- a 1.8-litre petrol unit and a 1.4-litre diesel engine. The former produces 138bhp and 173Nm of torque while the latter produces 87bhp and 205Nm of torque.

  • 1,798cc, 4-cylinder petrol, 138 BHP @ 6,400 rpm, 173 Nm @ 4,000 rpm, 6-speed manual transmission
  • 1,364cc, 4-cylinder diesel, 87 BHP @ 3,800 rpm, 205 Nm @ 1,800-2,800 rpm, 6-speed manual transmission

The diesel has a six-speed manual while the petrol can also be had with a seven-speed automatic gearbox.

 

Competition and price:

The Toyota Corolla Altis competes with Skoda Octavia, Chevrolet Cruze, VW Jetta and the Hyundai Elantra. This car, being a limited edition is expected to get more likes and more bookings than the normal ones.

Prices for the Toyota Corolla Altis Limited edition petrol starts at Rs. 14,68,324 and diesel starts at Rs. 16,00,324 (ex-showroom Delhi)

"Toyota Corolla Limited Edition Altis"
Image Source: http://gaadiwaadi.com/

 

Bottom Line:

This vehicle definitely came as a surprise and its launch was kept in the dark and this strategy might not have been the best by Toyota. That said, there should have been more offerings with the Corolla Altis than just focusing on the interiors. The company should have added a more sportier look, and a couple of freebies to make this one tough vehicle to book and one tough competitor to beat.

Honda Civic Coupe 2016

"Civic Coupe"

Here’s a look at the 10th generation Honda Civic that is expected to hit the streets during the fall of 2015. The 2015 LA Auto show set the stage for this new production model. The Coupe version is slotted to arrive at dealers in March 2016 thereby giving the coupe-crazy customers a completely revised contender to consider while deciding.

Although this isn’t a revolutionary redesign as compared to the 2015 Civic Coupe, it happens to be an excellent improvement. The much-awaited improvement is something that the Civic badly needed. Its more aggressive styling and slew of interesting exterior and interior details should help the Civic Coupe compete with plenty of rivals.

Here’s a look at the 2016 Civic Coupe:

Exterior:

The all-new 2016 Honda Civic Coupe version has some awesome features that resemble the ones spotted on its prototype. It has a classy grille, multi-layered rear end and sloping roofline. The Grille resembles the one found on the Civic Sedan. In fact, the A-pillars have also been unchanged. That said, the front design of the car goes inline with the rest of the body. The Coupe has a 2.9 inch longer wheelbase, the body is 1.9 inches wider, and the front overhand is 1.4 inches shorter.

The wheels have been moved to the corners, giving the car a wide footprint, which should lead to greater stability. The sloping roof is an inch lower than the Civic Sedan’s, contributing to the car’s overall, low-slung look. And despite the longer wheelbase, the Civic Coupe is actually 5.5 inches shorter than before. The rear end of this car is styled to attract the eye of a youngster, It has a C-Shaped LED Taillight that stretches across the entire rear end. The dynamic shape of the lights not only gives the rear more attitude, but helps in reducing drag, thanks to the crisp lines. A modest spoiler tops the trunk, helping with aerodynamics and styling.

"Civic Coupe"
Image Source: forum.cardekho.com

Its LED treatment continues up front, with LED daytime running lights. LED headlights are optional as well. The headlights, regardless of lighting source, are now automatic, meaning no more worrying about turning your lights on and off. It also houses rain-sensing wipers as an option.

Interior:

The interiors have been completely overhauled to give this car a very sporty look. This car makes the two-tiered dashboards look like history. It has borrowed its dash from its four-door brother, and in doing so, becomes far more grown up without looking its fun factor. Clean lines, well-placed screens and gauges, and stylish cues make bring the interior into modern days. The Civic Coupe uses digital gauges that have been retained for quite sometime. The higher the trims, the more features you’d find.

For variants starting from EX and higher, there is a center-mounted TFT screen that digitally shows engine and ground speed via an analog style tachometer and a fully digital speedometer. The familiar blue hue emanates from the cluster, matching the blue color coming from the center-muted infotainment screen. This is a massive seven-inch unit that fully supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, runs the Pandora app, and has SiriusXM and HD Radio. Additional features include, an electronic parking brake with an electronic Brake Hold function that assists in hill starts. EX and higher trims have leather door panel inserts with real stitching, the cabin is lit by an overhead LED lamp, and the shifter sports a leather boot.

 

"Honda Civic Coupe Interior"
Image Source: topcarsreleasedates.com

Engine:

The Civic Coupe borrows its engine from the Civic Sedan and thrusts out the same horsepower and torque. Base Civic receives a 2.0-liter DOHC i-VTEC four-cylinder that makes 158 horsepower and 138 pound-feet of torque. The engine can be had with either a CVT or six-speed manual transmission. Like the previous generations, the manual is relegated to the lowest LX trim. The 2.0-liter is estimated to deliver 31 mpg city, 41 mpg highway, and 35 mpg combined, when mated with the CVT. It also comes in a 1.5 liter version that is more exciting than the normal version.

 

"Honda Civic Coupe"
Image Source: http://hondaautoreviews.com/

Performance and Safety:

Safety has been paid close attention to and Honda has added every available safety system in its parts bin on the Civic Coupe. First off, the car is built using Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Structure, also known as ACE that helps redistribute an impact’s force around the passenger compartment, keeping occupants safe. Multiple airbags and seatbelts are standard equipment, as part of the Honda Sensing suite of technologies.

Price:

Although the prices are yet to be revealed, you can expect this car to be around the $ 20,000 ballpark for the base model.

Conclusion:

The Civic Coupe is definitely a stunner of a car and has adequate features to gouge upon. The car carries a new 1.5-liter engine option that is sure to stir up some action. It is a pretty reliable car and promotes Honda’s name quite well. However, you might have an issue with this car if you’re tall. Also, there is no manual transmission option in the upper trims that might upset a few. Overall, this is one beauty waiting to rule 2016.

 

 

Chevrolet Trailblazer

"Chevrolet Trailblazer"

Chevrolet, as expected launched the Trailblazer in India. This vehicle is a hard-core off-road SUV that comes with plenty of performance capabilities and a lot of muscle.

Sadly, this is a performance-oriented vehicle and has a rear wheel drive mechanism instead of a 4WD system as we all expected. However, the company claims that this vehicle isn’t just about performance, since it represents a new benchmark with regards to safety and driving experience in its class. Another fact is that the vehicle is being brought as a CBU unit, imported from Thailand. Since a long time, this car maker is conducting several test runs for this SUV across India.

Now, it has officially arrived, it will be interesting to see how the competitors like Toyota and Ford would face this threat. Both these automobile firms have already unveiled their SUVs for India and Ford is already on its way to roll out the 2015 Endeavour soon, maybe very shortly. This newly launched Trailblazer may gain the upper hand over the others for several factors. One of the reason is its classy SUV appeal. It may not look like a modern vehicle, but the perfect body structure and its expressively crafted cosmetics does leave you mesmerized.

If you’re all into performance, this vehicle is the perfect choice for you. Here’s a review on this car:

 

Exterior:

 At first look, this SUV looks similar to its cousin the Captiva. This car looks a tad up sculpted and appears quite bold and classy. The Trailblazer takes the company’s signature design language ahead and features a dual port grille up-front with perforated mesh and sleek chrome surround. Adorned with this is the golden bowtie badge that sits in the middle of the grille. The bold headlight cluster loaded with projector lamps and turn blinkers surround the badge.

"Chevrolet Trailblazer"
Image Source: auto.ndtv.com

There are LED DRL’s also that further amplify the facet. Its front bumper is sleek yet muscular and assembled with a black colored lower cladding. It also has fog lights with chrome-plated strips that enhance the classiness of the car’s facet. It’s mirror caps as well as the door handles have been garnished in chrome rendering it a premium look. The car’s fenders are coupled with alloy wheels that look attractive. The car also has a chrome waistline that compliments its SUV appeal and has roof rails. The rear side of the car looks pretty bold and it hosts dynamic brake light clusters with chrome wraps. Overall, it carries a pretty stern and rugged design that looks pretty appealing.

"Chevrolet Trailblazer"
Image Source: www.motoroids.com

 

Interiors:

The beast has a comfortable cabin. You are certainly going to love driving with such a cabin. The interiors on the Trailblazer have a great look but, they lack a modernistic appeal. The ergonomics on this car with all the bolsters and support for the body are wicked cool. They are dressed up with leather upholstery that adds regal stance to the insides. These seats can offer comfortable accommodation for a maximum of seven passengers. For added convenience, all three rows of the cabin are provided with AC vents. This really helps the third row occupants to experience chilled ambiance all through the journey. The manufacturer has managed to achieve an up-market look to the cabin by adorning it with glossy-black accents. These inserts can be found on door panels, steering wheel and on center fascia as well. The instrument cluster on the other hand has a distinctive design with separate consoles for each gauge.

The door panels have a bigger armrest ensuring relaxed traveling experience. The shift selector on floor console has chrome as well as leather inserts adding to the sophistication of interiors. Not to forget that the steering wheel has a very attractive three spoke design featuring gold plated bowtie and high-gloss black inserts. Besides, there are multi-functional switches on this rim that eases the operation of audio system. The center console on this vehicle comes packed with a touch enabled infotainment system featuring MYLINK.

It is one of the kind features that helps you to sync your smart phone with the infotainment and allows you to access various radio stations across the globe. Perhaps Trailblazer is the first vehicle from GM to get this feature and later it will be offered to other vehicles in its portfolio. The leather wrapped steering wheel has a conventional design, but glossy-black accents and a golden bowtie renders it an up-market appeal. Placed in the league of luxury SUVs, this latest model is loaded with all the essentials like features like automatic climate control unit, electrically adjustable seats with memory, cruise control and parking assistance with reversing camera.

"Chevy Trailblazer"
Image Source: www.business-standard.com

Power Train:

Under the belly of the beast is Chevy’s 2.8 litre diesel engine comprising of a latest generation common rail direct fuel injection technology. It is a 4-cylindered mill featuring 16-valves altogether, making a total displacement capacity of 2776cc. This turbocharged oil-burner has the ability to unleash a maximum power of 197bhp at 3600rpm that results in a hammering torque of 500Nm at 2000rpm. Being mated with a six speed automatic gearbox, it distributes the output to the rear wheels and enables it to deliver good performance, even on rugged roads.

Bottom Line:

The Trailblazer is a phenomenal car to own. It’s appearance is astounding. This vehicle comes with traction control and it has a braking program that ensures stability. It has one of the highest ground clearances found in any off-roader. This vehicle also has MYLINK technology that is quite amazing. On the downside, this vehicle is expected to bag a hefty pricetag. The cabin on this car seems outdated and the comfort features on this SUV are somehow lacking. Lastly, the fuel economy on this SUV is a big drawback. Overall, you’d love this SUV if you’re an off-roader.