Premier Padmini- A Full-fledged Indian Car

As a part of writing about some of the India’s best cars ever made, I came up with some old cars which were once considered as main stream of the Indian Automobile Industry. From Mitsubishi Lancer to Maruti Esteem these cars were once unbeatable in India. But none of these cars had a full-fledged Indian signature on it as Lancer is from Mitsubishi which is a Japan based company and Esteem is from Suzuki which is also another country company made.

Now I am going to tell you about a car which is considered as a “Full-Fledged Indian Car” and “A true Indian Pride”. I call this car so, because it was produced and manufactured right in India and it had very less involvement of other foreign companies. If you are a true Indian, you should know about this car as this is the only car then & until now, that is fully owned by India. There is no company like this until now.  Can you guess it? Yeah it’s our very own Premier which was called by a second name “Padmini”.

premier padmini deluxe

Image Source: productioncars.com

History:

Premier Padmini was actually manufactured in India during 1964-2000 by premier under license of the Italian automobile legend “Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino”. Have you heard it ever before? Of course you heard it. It’s Fiat’s full name. Premier was produced under the vision of Fiat. Premier only used the license of Fiat and obtained some inspiration from Fiat’s 1100 deign, except for that Premier was fully produced in India itself. I will tell you some interesting facts about how Padmini actually arrived. The arrival of Padmini has a link with Hindustan Motors.

In terms of history, before Padmini was produced, Fiat had released its 500 model in India and while getting good success, Hindustan motors suddenly unveiled the ambassador to the market and due to this the sales of Fiat’s 500 dropped. To overcome this competition Fiat made an ally with Premier (a new company) and then they both built a new car based on Fiat’s 1100 model in order to reduce the monopoly of Ambassador. That’s how Padmini was born. After Padmini’s arrival, Premier had an instant success (even more successful than Ambassador) as Padmini had sleek, compact, more streamlined look than ambassador. In the Initial day’s people called this car as Fiat, but later on the name has changed and people started calling the car with its own identity “Padmini”.

Premier Padmini review

Downfall:

Although Ambassador and Padmini came into the market as rivals, they have some serious similarities- they launched in similar time, they conquered the market by giving a tough competition to each other, and even they exited at the same time too. Like ambassador the downfall of this car occurred due to the state liberalization act which allowed foreign cars advent to Indian market. At some time, being a fully loaded Indian car, these two cars faced rivalry from a single opponent Maruti Suzuki.

Technical Specs:

These are some technical specifications of Premier Padmini.

Premier Padmini tech specs

Exteriors:

The exteriors of this car was pretty astonishing as it had a shape that was very unique. We can find this type of iconic shapes in some cars only. The most stunning part of this car’s exteriors was its grille design. The black grille design with horizontal and vertical chrome plated fitting at the center with the studded PAL logo looked dramatic.

There are many famous peoples who particularly loved its design. Actor Rajnikanth was one among them. Actually it was one of his first cars which he bought with the remuneration and until now this car is present in his collection. This shows the fact that he was deliberately in love with this car. These are some of the know parts of the Padmini’s exteriors which makes this car look absolute classy.

  • Windows with tint glassing
  • Black grille with horizontal and vertical chrome finishing
  • Standard Tires
  • Chrome plated Stream-lining
  • Bumpers with rubber coated shock absorbers on front and back.

Interiors:

The interiors were also very classy and offered great luxury at back then. If you look at the first advertisement of Premier Padmini, the car was actually unveiled with a slogan” Symbol of luxury”. If you look at the image of that advertisement, an Italian woman feels very luxurious on seeing the car. This conveys that the car was an absolute luxury kind. After all, it had an Italian hand meld (Fiat) in it, that is well known for the luxurious makeovers and of course no one knows luxury better than the Italians. The interiors of the present cars are like an airplane’s cockpit and are flooded with different buttons for different actions. Unlike the present cars, this car had a neat and clean design and Knobs were used instead of buttons. The car could accommodate 5 people easily, but in fact it had a capacity where 6 people could sit comfortably. Bucket seats, foam leather stitching on seats and as well as steering wheel, Analog speedometer, Flat benches at the back, Safe Locker with locks, Different type of Hood design ranges such as wooden design, foam leather fittings with different colors etc. are some of the luxurious aspects of this car. At the  back of the car, it had a total 308-litre of boot space available in order to accommodate luggage.

Premier Padmini advertisement

Engine and Performance:

During the initial days, this car was powered by a Fiat 103 1089cc, Four Cylinder engine and it produced a torque range up to 71 Nm @ 3000 RPM and released a maximum power up to 40 BHP @ 4800 RPM. The top speed of the car was 115mph. After sometime the engine gets a little tweak which decreased the power up to 44 BHP. In late 2000’s when the advent of foreign cars begun, to match this competition premier changed the engine to a more modern, powerful and fuel-efficient variant (S1) from Nissan which had a petrol and diesel variant too. But this step didn’t helped premier from defeat.

Where we can find it now:

This car can now be found high in number in Mumbai as the taxi drivers in Mumbai still use this car. Do you know why they are still using this car? Because the car performance is still the same and it has very less maintenance. Some of those drivers say that “the car is a last-long performer” and it is quite right. But now there is a chance of extinction of this car in Mumbai too, due to new regulations enacted in 2014 by BMMC disallowing the cars which are over 20 year old and all those cars which are present were more than 20 years old. So, this can be the full extinction path of our very own Indian vehicle.

Premier Padmini Taxis Parked in Mumbai

I am sure, we will miss the Indian Automobile Queen for sure. As a true Indian, here I am paying the tribute to “Premier Padmini- The Automobile Queen Of India”.

2015 NISSAN MAXIMA-Playfully Quaint!

"Making a Grand Debut at the NY Auto Show"

Looks like Nissan is going to Maxima-ise its profits with the all new Nissan maxima that is going to roll out fresh out of the Nissan’s production unit in USA. Making a debut at the New York auto show in 2014, the maxima has raised bars for the sporty sedan car segment. Maxima did not glide down glory road; Nissan motors had their shares of bumps and bruises. Let’s delve into the history of the Maxima.

[caption id="attachment_2635" align="aligncenter" width="1600"]Nissan Maxima review Image Source: http://lh3.ggpht.com/[/caption] HISTORY: The Nissan Maxima has been a stunning performer since 1977, formerly named Datsun 810 it was a smashing hit in the midsize sedan segment. The car wasn’t known only for its performance, the price and comfort won the hearts of skeptics and critics. During 1981, the second generation Maxima’s made their grand entrance, luxury was of utmost priority. However, there were insipid off beat features that messed things up a bit for Nissan. Albeit the awkward features, genuine buyers did not seem concerned about the premium price of the Maxima. Datsun started becoming Nissan in 1982 and the 810 was given the name “maxima” the car did not undergo too many changes initially, except for a few cosmetic touch-ups, installation of new headlights, while the 2.4 liter V6 engine that produced 120 Hp, remained the same. The Maxima had a 5 speed manual transmission and an optional 3-speed configuration with auto transmission and rear wheel drive. Not too many changes were found in the maxima, but the year 1985 graced the second generation Maxima (Datsun was out) had front wheel drive and a gamut of noticeable upgrades for the sedan as well as the wagons. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-SgwBfT9gY The all-new 3-liter V6 engine was introduced to the new Maxima that were powered by 154 ponies. The sedans and wagons that had the GL label had various improvements done to the comfort, capacity, braking, suspension as well as the overall driving dynamics. Maxima had accelerated away to glory. Another upgrade was the Facelift that the Maxima went through, thereby gaining a new baseline (GXE) allowing a choice of another automatic variant in the sportier SE. The new and smart suspensions installed in the Maxima could detect the road conditions and could adjust it accordingly. During 1989, a new 4-door sports car was born under the maxima nameplate. Nissan had completely opted out of the wagon segment and ventured into making the maxima sportier than ever. The sporty SE had a 3-liter V6 engine and powered up 190 horses under its hood, which could reach 0-60 in just 7 seconds. A few successful years later, Nissan bought out the fourth generation maxima cars that lasted from 1995-1999. The new GLE trim Maxima’s had more rear legroom space and a longer wheelbase. The redesigned Maxima were constructed of aluminum and it had a new engine. Not only was the weight of the car lesser than its predecessors, it also managed to power up its race all the way to a record breaking sales achievement. Owing to a good performance, not many changes were evident in this generation of Maxima cars. The fifth generation Maxima’s lasted from 2000 to 2003. The engine was upgraded to a 3.5 liter V6 that had 255 hp with an optional CVT that improved the fuel economy of the car. Although, this was quite a powerful Maxima and we might believe that this car would have performed well on the sales sheets, it sadly did not. The main reason were the cheap looking interiors that gave the Nissan Maxima a struggle to survive. Following the footsteps of the leading car manufacturer (Toyota), Nissan had shifted the Maxima car production to its U.S based plant. The 6thgeneration Maxima was all American. Nissan had introduced the sporty SE and SL models. The SE model had 18 inch wheels, 8 speakers, CD stereo, Keyless entry and power accessories where as the SL was built for a softer ride, with 17 inch wheels, heated leather seats, 320-watt Bose stereo, wooden finish interiors and the look and feel of a luxury car (at least from the inside) The maxima cars remained untouched till the succeeding generation took over.   The Maxima went through major upgrades in 2009 and was available in a base variant (S) and a luxurious variant (SV). The powerful engine had 290 wild horses that were tamed by a CVT with an impressive performance. The new maxima could do 0-60 mph in 6.5 seconds.  Technology was just flourishing and the car kept getting better. The techno friendly Nissan maxima had hard-drive navigation system, voice recognition, real time traffic, rear view camera, digital music storage capability and an iPod interface. There was a premium package too that offered Heated power tilt-telescoping steering wheel, driver memory functions, heated front seats, rear bucket seats as well as Bluetooth support. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVkIMcELk2o THE NEW 2015 MAXIMA… WHAT’S NEW?
[caption id="attachment_2634" align="aligncenter" width="1600"]New 2015 Nissan Maxima Image Source: http://reviewallcars.com/[/caption] The new Maxima-2015 made its debut at the New York Auto Show, Nissan North America Chairman Jose Munoz said that, “The difference between the concept car and the production car will be very small." The new Maxima will look similar to the “Sport Sedan Concept” The car will feature a new “V-Motion” front fascia with a prominent grille;the new headlights look quite impressive too. It is anticipated that the new model could be powered by a 3.5 liter 24-valve DOHC V6 engine that would produce at least 290 bhp and the enhanced variant should deliver 300 hp and above with a lot of focus on fuel economy.
[caption id="attachment_2633" align="aligncenter" width="2048"]2015 Nissan Maxima Interiors Image Source: www.motortrend.com[/caption] The baseline S model would come equipped with 18 inch alloy wheels, auto headlights, cruise control, sunroof, keyless entry / ignition as well as dual-zone auto climate control, tilt and telescopic steering column, power front seats, with leather finish, auto dimming rear view mirror as well as a 6-CD changer and auxiliary audio jack. The SV would have a luxurious touch of technology with integrated mirror turn signals, fog-lamps, driver seat comforts, full leather upholstery as well as a 9-speaker Bose Stereo upgrade. Additional upgrades such as heated steering wheel, seats, mirrors, driver memory functions etc would be made available for an extra price. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkEPme_RaVs Seemingly enough, the mileage and expected fuel economy is going to be 19mpg in the city and 26 on the highway. The CVT upgrade would help curb the additional expenses on fuel. PRICE: The new 2015 Maxima should be available in 2014 (autumn) and the expected price range is $ 31,000 - $ 40,000, which isn’t too bad considering the features and technology. BOTTOM LINE: A sheer marvel and a techno-loaded car, it is going to give its competitors a run for their dollars. It is difficult to keep your eyes off this beauty. Judging by rumors and news, the Maxima doesn’t seem to have any niggles. Lets hope it performs the same way on roads.

Fiat Punto Evo – Test Drive Review

Fiat Punto Evo – Detailed Test Drive Review

Over the years in India many companies and cars have come and gone. Some came and found their place in the market and stayed while others who couldn’t find their feet left. One company who did manage to stay through the years is FIAT. Fiat has always been accompany which brought some of the best driving cars in India and over the years they have been in India they never did any less. However in recent years the company’s image faded as did their popularity in the Indian Market. Some of the main reasons for this decline were due to their poor after sales and service quality and availability of spares due to the company being coupled with TATA.

Fiat needed to branch out by itself in order to grow and it did exactly that. Last year the company ended its relationship with TATA to venture out by itself. From that time to now the company has done nothing but grow. From establishing a large network of showrooms and service centre’s across India (there are more to come as well), to improving its customer relationships and experience. FIAT is on the fast track to improving its company image and popularity in India. The final piece in that puzzle however was revamping its lineup. They set about doing that at the start of this year with the launch of the face lifted FIAT LINEA which was much improved in the places that needed improving and refreshed in many others. The launch of the Linea saw its place among its competitors rise and make it one of cars too look at.

Now Fiat has decided to change things once again. This time however in a different segment. Fiat other car in their current lineup is the FIAT GRANDE PUNTO. It too was quite old now and suffered from more or less the same issues as the old Linea did. So without anymore delay let me introduce Fiats solution. The FIAT PUNTO EVO. The Punto Evo couldn’t have come any sooner. With its competitors as well launching new cars (Hyundai with the i20 and Volkswagen with the Polo, there are rumor the Skoda is going to release a new Fabia as well) the Punto Evo now puts Fiat as a firm contender in the Indian Market (few more launches of new cars and fiat will most defiantly be a top contender). With this new car Fiat looked to improve the car wherever its predecessor faltered. So now let’s see if they actually succeeded.

Exterior:

The old Punto was one of the most beautiful cars in its segment. Yes I did say beautiful if you were wondering. It wasn’t aggressively or didn’t have any bold/sharp lines. All it had was smooth lines and a very curvy shape. Classic Italian Design. This is what made the car so damn attractive to look at. It had a very subtle presence and would defiantly catch your eye and somehow even if you didn’t find it that appealing. In my opinion the exterior was something that didn’t need to altered that much but FIAT felt the need too so they did. At first glance the new Punto Evo comes across as extensively modified on the outside especially at the front. But on closer inspection you will find the besides the front end of the car most of the car is relatively the same. I say relatively because although the car retains is lovely shape and curves along the side and at the back most of the components like the rear tail lights and bumper have been updated.

The New Punto Evo
The New Punto Evo

So let’s start from the front. This is the part of the car which has gone through most changes. There are new swept headlights, a new grille, new bonnet design, and also new bumper design. The whole design approach at the front now gives off a more Modern Italian Design feel rather than the Classic Italian Design the old Punto radiated with but none the less it still quite attractive to look at. Due to this change in philosophy the front now looks more aggressive and slightly more muscular. The subtly of the old car is lost a bit with the new front end but its not lost all together and Fiat has to be given credit for that. Sometimes when car goes through a revamp on the exterior there is chance that some of the things that made the old car very attractive are lost but in this case FIAT decided not to meddle too much. The bulges on the hood of the car give it that muscular feel.

Rear View of the Punto Evo
Rear View of the Punto Evo

As you move along the car you will find that the side and rear of the car is relatively untouched in terms of shape of the car. It still retains the smooth curves and lines along the car and also the curvy roof line. The high ground clearance of the car is very much seen from the side. Fiat boasts of the highest ground clearance of 195mm (only on Active Variant, others get 185mm). The 15” diamond cut alloy wheels look good and suit the car well although the 16” Sporty Alloys which come with the 90HP Sport Punto suit the car better. As you move along to the rear there are a few more updates you will notice. There are new tail lights which retain the same shape as the old but are updated in terms of their looks. When the lights are switched on there is a strip which looks like a fiber optic strip you find on much higher end cars but on closer inspection you will find it to be an LED one. None the less it looks very good and makes the car looks modern. There are chrome stripes which surround the rear fog lights and reverse lights. Speaking of Chrome this car actually has a lot of it. Both on the front and back of the car you will find chrome strip after chrome strip. With certain colours like black it goes really well but some people may find it a bit much.

Boot Of the Punto Evo
Boot Of the Punto Evo

The overall build quality of the exterior is one of the best in its class. Although you will find a few panel gaps here and there the panels feel very solidly put together and feel like they can take some impact as well. Although it is a known fact that FIAT cars are prone to a bit of rust as time goes on it is left to see how well this car fairs in that respect but as of now this car feels like one which will last a while. Overall is a really good looking car with a lot if not more of the Italian flair the old car had and in areas surpasses the old one in terms of build quality.


Interior:

Take a look inside and you will be in for a bit of a treat. The interior is of the Punto Evo is all new compared to the old car. It shares the same design as the new Linea and frankly I don’t see it as a bad thing. The interior is a step above from the old one and that you can tell just by looking at it. The plastic quality of the dash is much improved over the old car and the general fit and finish of the interior is improved. The washable fabric section of the dashboard also adds a nice feel to the interior as a whole and is also very nice too touch but it is susceptible to pen marks so try to keep your pens and other ink products as far away as possible else you might be facing a tough time getting the ink out. Most of the models follow a black and beige interior scheme but the Punto Evo Sport gets an all black interior which looks very attractive.

There’s an all new music system in place which goes with the all new interior. It’s been given a shiny piano black finish which looks quite up market. The system itself is easy to use in some ways but not that much in others. It’s easy to switch between modes but the intricate sound settings take a bit getting used to adjust. The buttons on the system however are nice soft touch ones which feel very nice when you press them. I prefer this over all the touch sensitive screens coming nowadays in the new cars like in the Honda City and such. These buttons allow the user/driver to know what their pressing without them having to take their eyes of the road and hence I feel is much more user friendly. The music system now comes with AUX capabilities as well and also allows you to play songs via Bluetooth making life quite easy. The Air conditioning controls are located below the music system. The climate control system is easy to use and the screen is clear and precise. The air conditioning itself is quite powerful and matches up well with its competitors.

Interiors Of the Punto Evo
Interiors Of the Punto Evo

The instrument Cluster of the New Punto Evo isn’t exactly the same as the one on the Linea. There are a few differences in trip display and font sharpness as well as well as in the analogue dial fonts. None the less the instrument cluster looks very nice and is quite easy to read. The steering can be adjusted only in rake and not reach which is a bit of a letdown considering some of its competitors like the new i20 allow the driver to adjust it in reach as well. That said Fiat have still placed the steering very well but then again it depends on each individual. The steering also contains the controls for the audio system as well as the Blue&Me Bluetooth system which is more advanced and easy to use than the Bluetooth systems in the competitors. The buttons themselves are well integrated into the steering wheel and feel nice to use. The front seats are very supportive and hug the occupant very well. The side bolsters of the seat are quite large and can give a sensation of sinking into the seat. Although for broad shouldered people it can be a bit uncomfortable. The driver seat is height adjustable as well. The head room is ample both at the front and the rear even with the sloping and curved roof line however legroom at the rear isn’t as good as some of its rivals. The seats at the rear are quite comfortable and supportive which lend to fewer stops to stretch and adjust on long drives.

There are sadly a few areas which are to be noted. The plastic on the door panels are still quite hard and as well as on the sides of the centre console. Also it would have been nice to have an central arm rest for the driver its makes life much more comfortable and this is another feature which is slowly appearing in this cars competitors.

Overall the interior of the Punto Evo are much improved in almost every way and is quite a lovely place to be in. It may not be the most modern or well equipped but its put together much better than before, feels much higher quality and boasts enough features to keep most people happy.

Engine & Driving Dynamics:

As everyone knows everything said till now about this car is something which can be done with the car just standing still. So lets get to the main reason for taking this car out for a spin and seeing what its like on the road.  We drove the top of the line petrol as well as the regular and sport diesel variants.

So lets begin with engine specs what do these cars have under the hood. Both variants of the diesel Punto Evo come with FIAT’s world renowned MULTIJET engine, more specifically a 1.3litre Multijet engine. The engine is turbo charged and is a 4 cylinder motor. The main reason for the 2 different power outputs is because the 92hp engine makes use of VGT (Variable Geometry Turbocharger). This allows more efficient operation of the turbo and hence the greater power output. The lesser powerful engine puts out [email protected] RPM and 197NM of torque @ 1750 RPM. The more powerful engine has had a bit of a tune up from the old one but it’s a very minimal one. There is now 92bhp to play with and this comes in @ 4000RPM and 207NM of [email protected]. The differences don’t stop with just the power ratings. They behave quite differently on the road. The 75bhp engine delivers both torque and power more linearly and there is slightly less turbo lag than the 92bhp.But the engine lacks some serious punch. There’s nothing about the 75bhp variant which will get you excited and make you want to push the throttle down just that little more. In that respect the 92bhp engine which is only available with the Punto Evo Sport variant is much more exciting. There is more turbo lag which is a bit disappointing because you are left waiting a while for the revs to build past 2000RPM and in truth all though the specs say Max Torque come at 2000RPM from the driver seat you can feel that surge of torque around about 2300-2500RPM. But no mistaking once the torque comes in the car does get a move on quite nicely. Personally I would prefer a bit more power say around 100bhp but for our Indian cities 92bhp does quite well. However on the highways it does feel a tad underpowered. One thing this engine excels in is the throttle response. I’ve so far haven’t driven a diesel car with the sharp a throttle response. It responds to even the slightest of movements.

The petrol engine is Fiat’s FIRE engine. Its a 1.4 litre naturally aspirated 4 cylinder motor which puts out 89Bhp@ 6000RPM and 115Nm of torque @ 4500 RPM. This engine is lots of fun and refined at the same time. Its like to rev and has a good punchy mid range which helps when overtaking on the highways. The idle is quite silent and you don’t feel much vibrations in the car however once you pass 2500RPM the engine does become very vocal but the noise is nice and exciting. You will find yourself having to down shift 2 gears instead of 1 on the highways but in the city the engine is nice to use. If  I had to pick an engine I would first look at my daily use. If my daily use covered anything up to 35KM a day I would pick the petrol anymore the diesel would be my pick. However if it took me on the highways as well I would still pick the petrol as it is the more predictable of the engines.

The gearbox is a 5-speed manual. The throw of the gear leaver is a bit long but each gear change is very smooth and it is a joy to use. There is a bit of engine noise which comes through to the cabin but it’s not up to a level where you would call it loud or noisy its actually quite silent for a diesel from the inside. As for the overall refinement of the car its quite well insulated. There’s isn’t much road noise which comes into the car and the sound of the car going over bumps was minimal.

Engine Bay Of the Punto Evo
Engine Bay Of the Punto Evo

When it comes to ride and handling of their cars FIAT has in eyes been tops in this category for quite some time. The Punto is by far the best handling premium hatchback available right now. Even with its high ground clearance body roll is minimal and the just hugs whatever corner comes your way but don’t expect it to corner flat like a supercar! This superb handling is also one of the reasons I feel this car would be better with more power. It has the capability to handle it with aplomb. The suspension has been tuned near perfect for Indian roads. It rides the bumps well and soaks it all up. There was a rare occasion or two where the suspension felt a bit stiff but those moments are forgivable. One more reason for the great levels of grip are the perfectly sized tires. The Standard Emotion variant gets 195/60 section tires on 15” Alloys and the Sport Variant gets 195/55 section tires on 16” Alloys. They offer great stability at high speeds and allow the Punto Evo to be top of its class when it comes to handling. The brakes are another area where the Punto Evo is really good. The brake pedal feel is really superb and the brakes themselves are quite powerful.

Another area where the Punto Evo is better than any of its competitors is the steering. The Punto Evo makes use of a Hydraulic Power Steering which in my eyes makes a world of difference. Yes the electric power steering systems in some more expensive cars are really nice as well but the sheer driving pleasure the hydraulic system gives is really another level. The steering is defiantly not one of the lightest but that may not be such a bad thing. The weighting in the steering allows the driver to judge how much input he is giving and on the highways this is something which really helps. The main area where the steering excels over the others is the feedback. The sheer amount of feedback from the tires through the steering wheel is tremendous and you get to know exactly what the front wheels are doing. The steering is also very precise and allows you to place the car exactly where you want it. This car is a real driver’s car. This car really inspires confidence in the driver and that what a car should do. With all this grip and handling capabilities it does make you feel that this car can handle a lot more power and leaves you wondering what would that be like?

 

Areas of Improvement:

–         There still are a few areas in the interior which can be improved. There still are hard plastics used in the door panels and along the side of the center console.

–         There is no issue with the engines themselves but at times they do leave you craving for a bit more power.

–         It isn’t the most feature full package available on the market right now but it does have a few standouts in that department which make you appreciate the car all the more.

Bottom Line:

Firstly, We here at Turbozens would like extended a special thanks to the staff at RDC Fiat Chennai for allowing us to test drive the car and being very communicative, supportive and welcoming.

Overall the New Fiat Punto Evo is a very desirable car. Its oozes that Italian flair that most fiat cars are known for and it’s got the capabilities, features and much improved interiors to make it one of the top contenders in its class. There is no doubting Fiat is on the up and up and this car proves just that. The Punto Evo is a must look at in my eyes if you are searching for an amazing drivers car for that price.

SKODA FABIA 1.4 TDI PD – OWNERSHIP REVIEW

Skoda Fabia was launched in the Indian market in 2007. It is a lot roomier than its predecessor Skoda Felicia. Taking a sneak peek into the history, The Skoda Felicia was introduced in the United Kingdom in 1994 and was discontinued in 2001. After the great success of the Skoda Octavia in India, (Skoda Octavia was Skoda’s first car launched in India) Felicia wasn’t launched in the Indian market because it was a little obsolete then.

Now coming back to the Skoda Fabia, it was launched in India with two power-train variants- The 1.2 litre HTP (high torque performance) petrol engine and 1.4 litre TDI PD (Pumpe-Düse) diesel engine. It came in three variants – Ambiente, sport and elegance. Now let’s see how the 1.4 litre TDI PD diesel car serves the owner.

Skoda fabia ownership review  Fabia front Fabia interior.jpg IMG_8516

EXTERIOR

It is a five door sedan with the typical Skoda features. The larger and clearer integrated front grille gives the car the typical face of Skoda. The overall design of the car is modern yet not very sophisticated giving it the youthful, cheerful and fresh look which favoured the youngsters. When compared to the other competitive cars, the Skoda Fabia has a very impressive built quality.

Skoda has also used good quality paint for the Fabia which doesn’t degrade in time and you can be free of tension if you have a minor abrasion. The front headlamps that extend to the front wings provide the car with larger surface area of lighting which adds to safety and style as well. Now coming to the rear lights, they are built in such a way that they look sporty and make Fabia more visible in traffic during bad weather. The windows are larger than its predecessor making it look way larger and classy. The Fabia is 3992 mm longer and 1498 mm taller making it one of the largest cars among the premium hatches.

INTERIORS

The interiors of the Fabia is very roomy and offers a very impressive leg space and head space. It has a close connection with the Skoda roomster with respect to the design and built of the car. The interior designs are very eye pleasing and are very well made. Skoda has used high quality materials for its interiors which are very soft to touch. But some minute things put me down, for example the stereo system doesn’t have a remote and every time the rear passengers have to move forward in order to change a song, which I found very inconvenient. However I was very happy with the interiors of the car when I got in for the first time.

What I liked even more was the boot space. It surely has a boot space which is the best among all the premium hatches. When the seats are upright, a total of 300 litres of luggage can be taken, whereas when the rear seats are folded down, Fabia provides a boot space of 1,163 litres. The four spoke adjustable telescopic steering is very light to touch and easy to handle. The gear box too is very smooth. Now speaking about the seats of Fabia, they are easily adjustable to the drivers need, making the driving experience a very wonderful one. There are many storage spaces available in the Skoda Fabia (apart from the boot space) like the dash storage, bottle holders in the door, a bottle holder in the centre console and seat pockets on the rear side of the front seats.

ENGINE

The 1.4 litre TDI PD Engine gives an output of 51 Kilowatt at 4000rpm. It gives a decent torque of 155 Nm at 1600-2800 rpm. This vehicle is equipped with 3 cylinder engine of 1422 CC. Because the engine is 3 cylinders, city driving leaves me a little tedious, however highway driving is gratifying. The fuel efficiency of the vehicle is decent enough. It gives 18 km/litre in the highways and 16/litre in the city. The engine is smooth even at a speed of 160 kmph without any feel of vibration. Also, this TDI PD engine is a little noisy when compared to Skoda second generation CR engine which comes in the new Skoda fabia, which was launched in 2011.

SAFETY

The Skoda Fabia 1.4 litres TDI comes with good safety for its passengers like the ABS and front Airbags. Again I’m unhappy with the fact that The Skoda Fabia doesn’t have the side Airbags making its passenger’s safety at stake. But I don’t think it’s something that I should complain for because with this price that is 8 lakhs on road; Skoda Fabia offers enough features that score a 10 on 10 for its quality. The central locking system of the Fabia is something worth commenting. Unlike other vehicles, the central locking system of the Skoda Fabia doesn’t lock automatically when the engine is on. For example if a person turns the ignition switch on and go out of the car for some reason with the key inside, the car wouldn’t be automatically locked. I admit this is a big advantage for a careless user.

MAINTENANCE AND RESALE VALUE

Maintenance charges are on the high side and are done every 1 year or when the vehicle has reached a distance of 15,000 km, now because of this one year gap between services, the owner might forget to take care of the tyres. This can lead to premature wearing and tearing of tyres, so one should be vigilant and should know the condition of their vehicle. Now coming to the resale value, well the resale value of the Skoda Fabia is quite low because the spare parts of the vehicle are very costly.

BOTTOM LINE

With four years of ownership and 40,000 km travelled, my Skoda Fabia doesn’t seem to have aged much. On an overall, Skoda Fabia 1.4 litre TDI PD is a very classy and impressive car which has its own elegance and charm. Owning one does make you feel proud!

MOST WANTED, A gaming Revolution that changed Lives- Part 3

CAYMAN -S 

The Cayman S was a Porsche offering till the year 2009. Being a mid-engined sports car, the Cayman S carried a 3.4 Litre Flax-Six Engine that produced 295 BHP @ 7000 RPM, The 6 speed manual transmission conveniently raced at 274 kmph. However, the Cayman S was a light weight car and a slight tap on the rear could give the racer a toss for his money, the acceleration on the Cayman S was impeccable. It went as fast as desired (after upgrading) The cayman came with a price tag of 94 Lakh INR while in the game it costs around $ 60,000 (half the price. Sigh!! what naa insaafi man!!)

PORSCHE CARRERA GT

Another mid engined supercar by Porsche took gamer’s by surprise. It was incredibly fast and very easy to drive. Well, being powered by a V10 engine does have a different awe altogether.

Being priced between 1.28-2.68 crores in the real world, it was much better getting it for $ 2,80,000 in the game (at least that way, we could just think about racing the car and not worrying about the other expenses :P)

Produced between 2004 to 2007, the 5.7 Litre V10 engine did wonders to the car. It produced 612 BHP @ 8000 RPM and a 6 speed manual transmission goes real easy on the roads (at least in the game it did)

PORSCHE 911 TURBO S (996)

Introduced to the Porsche family in the year 2004, the 996 Turbo S is a powerful beast that possesses more power than the 996 Turbo. All the power comes through a K24 Turbocharge fitting and the new intercoolers along with a higher manifold pressure of 0.9 bar. The 911 Turbo was replaced by the Porsche 997 Turbo S model in the year 2010.

In reality this car costs anywhere between 1.28 crores- 2.66 crore INR. While, the game offers the 996 Turbo for $ 1,05,000. Built on the heavier side, the turbo can catch great speeds and comes handy in drag races. However, it faces difficulty at corners.

The 3.6 Litre Turbo Flat 6 engine produces 444 BHP @ 6000 RPM, taking your ride at an impressive 307 kmph.

PORSCHE 911 CARRERA S (997)

Produced between 2004-2008, the 911 Carrera S (997) succeeded the previous 996 version. Built with a 3.8 Litre flat 6 Engine, it produced 350 BHP @ 6000 RPM. Being a rear wheel drive car, it could touch 293kmph in a jiffy.  It is certainly a high performance car that was newly introduced to the PASM (Porsche Active Management System) and came with two different driving modes built for different driving conditions. The car touches the 1.4 crore price margin.

 

MERCEDES-BENZ SLR Mc LAREN:

Looks like a glorious achievement, the SLR Mc Laren is the trendy looking two seating, Mercedes Benz sports car that was definitely among my pic (especially the black colored merc) I’ve tried burnouts too (in the game)

Just the sound motivates you into going faster, thanks to the 5.4 litre S/C V8 (M115 ML55) Engine mated on this Chick Magnet. The SLR produces 617 BHP @ 6500 RPM. The 5 speed automatic transmission allows a gamer to reach 335 kmph in no time.

The SLR on the Merc means “Sport Leicht Rennsport” in more comprehensive terms, it means Sport Light Racing. This expensive Merc has carbon ceramic brake disks to put all that raging power to a hold.

In the game, the Merc SLR comes with a price tag of $ 3,00,000 whereas in real life, it costs around 2.37 Crore INR +.

 MERCEDES BENZ SL 500 (R230)

Yet another Luxury addition to the Merc family as well as the NFS Most wanted, the SL 500 (RD 230) was produced post 2001 and lasted till the year 2011, the R 231 had taken over the R230 in 2012 including a few changes like a face lift, new bumpers, cooling intakes, new lamps (fog and rear), new alloy wheels and a more stylish V shape.

Available at a price tag of $ 75,000 in the game, the SL 500 costs and upwards of 1.15 crore Inr. The 302 BHP Producing machine @ 5600 RPM delivers an easy 250 kmph with its 5 speed Auto Transmission.

MERCEDES BENZ CLK  500

Considered one of the top performing model between 2002 and 2009 mated with a 5.08 L V8 engine that produced 302 BHP @ 6000 RPM which was replaced by the E 500 Coupe.

Priced at $ 75,000 the CLK 500 was a decent ride, I wouldn’t deem it perfect to command all sorts of races even after being completely upgraded with the junk man parts. Trouble lies in the corners, when the CLK 500 starts playing spoil sport with the gamer. The CLK 500 is the heavier cousin of the other Merc’s in the game, you can use this car to ram in to opponent cars or cops or if you are too bored, you can also bang into random gas stations or enter buildings and perform insane stunts. The rear wheel drive  and 7 speed auto transmission,certainly comes in handy for such situations.

GAMER’S WORD:

Most Wanted was definitely one of the most wanted racing game that partially fulfilled our racing fantasies. While, the other games under the NFS(Need For Speed) series have been a smashing success too, Most Wanted will always be known to start it all.

Most of the vehicle customization ideas flowed in from the game. I have come across real life modified versions of Indian Cars that look just like the ones in Most wanted. After sharing my opinion, its time for me to play the most wanted again.

UNTIL NEXT TIME 🙂

ROLLS ROYCE GHOST FAMILY

Would you believe that the world’s best luxury car was made on 1907? and yeah obviously it came from the luxury car manufacturer ROLLS ROYCE. Rolls Royce contains seven ghost cars in its bag getting updated every year as they launch them on road.

Rolls Royce Ghost

ROLLS ROYCE GHOST MODEL 2009

First the car named was RR04 during its production, and on March 2009 it was revealed as the ghost. It was purely made of steel having high tensile strength and the chassis was made thinner and provided with air spring suspension around its four corners to stabilize the vehicle at ultimate conditions. The GHOST concedes BMW share (i.e. parent company) with about 20% of the parts which are common for BMW-7 series & ghosts – such as climate control systems, the electrical architecture parts of the floor pan & twin turbo charged V-12S engine and in combination it uses BMW I Drive user interface. The Spirit of Ecstasy is a special statue used by Rolls Royce to reflect their class when the engine starts.

ROLLS ROYCE GHOST 2010

Leaving the main features aside, it made some attractive changes in 2010, when presenting at the 2010 Paris motor show. A creme light color coach line and black line stained ash veneer & contrast stitching and spirit of ecstasy inlay to door capping.

2011 Rolls-Royce Ghost

ROLLS ROYCE GHOST 2011

In 2011 the Rolls Royce reached China with its LIMITED EDITION segment of ghost for the Chinese. It was available in three colors’ with extended wheelbase and having red interior & gold plated spirit of ecstasy.

ROLLS-ROYCE GHOST BESPOKE Gold color

ROLLS ROYCE GHOST 2012

This time the two brother’s: Ghost and Phantom were built in their own factory at the Good wood plant. During the manufacturing paint, wood and leather were shared between the two brothers. In this segment engine performance of ghost was increased and accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in 4.7sec and reached a speed of 155mph.

A two-tone color concept was first offered by Rolls Royce to their cars at this time.

Rolls Royce ghost

ROLLS ROYCE GHOST 2013

At the end of 2012 the ghost started getting updated with interior and colors’ that included a Carree white body color, forged alloy wheels,brown oak cross band and offering 44,000 exterior paint options.In 2013 R-R released several version of ghosts with small elementary changes and this collection had Alpine Trail centenary collection, Art Deco collection, Art Deco extended wheel base, one thousand and one night, Bespoke ghost collection, Six sense ghost concept and Chengdu ghost golden sun bird collection. These different collections made R-R Ghost an entrepreneur!

 

ROLLS ROYCE GHOST SERIES -2

When it comes to series-2 it had all gears in hand to play a game of class on roads.

Rolls Royce v-specification 2014

Ghost V-specification 2014

The car had alloys with part polished alloy wheels and v- motifs engraved in to the tread plates. The 44,000 body colors options and extended wheel base, clock with black crown and visible chrome exhaust rear armrests, and the multimedia cover lid. You also get an exclusive clock in laid into the dashboard and Spirit of Ecstasy remains matched with the alloy wheels tone.

GHOST MAJESTIC HORSE EDITION 2014

In this comes the ghost’s iconic design. Design was world class due to all changes made on it such as re-sculptured LED lights, tapered wake channels on bonnet, re-sculpturing of the ghost bumper with extra width and height. For the first time in 50 years the interior wood comes with inbuilt horse embossing and offers V-12 engine with 563 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque having 6592 c.c.

Rolls Royce gold 2014 majestic horse ghost model

The devil model looks hot on its tail having a combination of luxury, technology and comfort and it has a perfect entrepreneur look to this world. The new ghost called the Ghost-2 has SATELLITE AIDED TRANSMISSION (SAT) while traveling in unknown places. The most exhaustive engineered and finest audio system is fixed in R-R. Frosted white dials, chromed eye balls vents, organ stop pulls, violin key switches, wrapped in leather, doors’ opening to 83 degrees and serves about 44,000 color palettes for body. This tells the inbuilt class of R-R.

Competitors: Bentley Mulsanne, Bentley continental flying spur , Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Porsche Panamera, Maserati Quattroporte and Aston Martin Rapide

BOTTOM LINE: Luxury seeking people who are looking forward for a heritage built car can adapt this. The elegance, Large, stylish, powerful and immensely capable and driving experience makes us feel like sitting on a thrown as it is handmade with costly brands. The Ghost segment is obviously costly, compared to its competitors and offers less features then we expect.

Image source: caranddriver.com

2015 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG Coupe – The Epitome of Automotive Luxury and Sport

Mercedes Coupe AMG front
Mercedes Coupe AMG front
Mercedes S65 AMG Coupe

Mercedes’ flag ship S class has served as a beacon of inspiration for the entire auto industry. The new S65 AMG keeps up this long standing tradition and stays true to its ‘ The best or nothing ‘ motto.
Defined as the epitome of luxury, this luxury coupe is truly automotive luxury at its finest. One cannot help but keep repeating the word luxury while describing this car but I will try to minimize its usage as much as possible. Now if you are one of those people who do not understand why the ‘S class’ and ‘Luxury’ go together so well in a sentence then keep reading and you will.

sports benz front seats
Exquisite Interiors

Exclusivity, luxury and sporty define the interiors. The cabin is built with the finest materials that the Germans could lay their hands on. The exclusive Nappa leather being one of them which covers most of the cabin from the seats to the dashboard, door panels and the steering wheel. The AMG sports seats have a diamond pattern layout with the AMG badges displayed on the backrests.

Merc nappa leather coupe interior
AMG Sports seats with Nappa Leather Upholstery

Long rides are no more a worry because these seats are designed for exactly that and to make your journey a really comfortable one. How is that? You might ask. Well, with drive-dynamic seats, electric adjustment, memory function, seat heating, and active ventilation as standard features who wouldn’t be? Going to the Spa for a massage? Why waste time?  With seats that have massage controls including hot stone massage programs, the drive to the spa might as well be more comfortable. A luxurious ride indeed.

Benz Coupe Side alloy wheels
High sheen chrome and 20″ forged alloy wheels

As the car glides past you with its engines purring and putting you under its distinct charm, you can’t help but notice the bold and exquisite look the car has. The first thing that catches your eye is the chrome grille which proudly hosts the beautiful 3 spoke Mercedes Badge. The profile of this S-class is greatly complimented by the high sheen chrome which it sports on the front, side and the back working in combination with the 20″ forged alloy wheels. When it has been
driven past you and the rear is the last thing that you see, it will surely not disappoint. The contours merge gracefully at the back, which then, work in unison with the chromed twin tail pipes and the beautifully designed tail lights. Its sure to leave you staring in the distance even as it disappears over the horizon, leaving you with a longing for another glimpse and your ears ringing in anticipation to hear it go by again.

benz S65 chrome twin exhaust
Chrome twin exhausts

If you take a peak under the hood, you can certainly tell that this car is a beast in the skin of a car. The AMG 6.0 liter V12 bi-turbo engine provides a peak output of 463 Kilo Watt and a maximum torque of 1000 Newton meters. This beast hence accelerates from a stand still to a 100 Km/h in 4.1 seconds and has a top speed of 250 Km/h which is electronically limited.

Mercedes Benz S65 Engine
Beast under the Hood

According to Mercedes the S65 AMG Coupe beats its rivals by also being highly economical with a fuel consumption of 11.9 liters per 100 Km. The rear axle receives power from a 7 speed automatic transmission which offers three individual modes: Controlled Efficiency, Sport and Manual which can be controlled by pushing a button on the console.

 S65 coupe trispoke steering wheel console
Sports steering wheel in three-spoke design

The pleasure one derives by driving this car might be unexplainable. One can imagine sitting behind the three spoke sports steering wheel with perforated leather in the grip area which allows perfect vehicle control, but imagination only goes so far as your experience has and hence I can neither comment nor elaborate on the driving experience that this car provides. What I can do, is to explain the features, that the Engineers at Mercedes have put in it, to make sure your driving experience is delightfully exquisite.
This coupe has a heads up display which projects key information such as vehicle speed, speed limit, navigation directions and traffic signs. The touch-pad integrated into the hand-rest makes it really easy to operate the telephone, radio and the navigation system.

Curve Tilting function which actually leans the body of the car into corners is listed as a comfort feature to enhance your driving experience and comfort. Magic Body Control adjusts the suspension to minimize the chassis movement due to bad roads by scanning the road ahead as detected by the Road Surface Scan with the help of a stereoscopic camera.
A 360 degree camera, Active Parking Assist, Driving Assistance package Plus, Cross-Traffic Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Burmester 3D surround system, and Keyless-Go package, comes as standard equipment in the S65 AMG Coupe.

Bottom-line:

A drive in this car either in the passenger or in the driver’s seat is definitely engineered to spoil you for all the other cars out there or until a newer, better S class is released.
If you are one of those people who have the moola to own this exquisite beast of a car then awesome, go ahead and book one. For the rest of you who don’t, then you are probably planning on mortgaging your property and belongings to own this, and you probably might not regret it. Besides who wouldn’t want to drive around in the S65 AMG Coupe?

To enjoy the combination of sport and Luxury, and to drive by in it, just so that you and the car can mock the puny scraps of metal that are just lame excuses for a car when compared to it.

2015 Honda Jazz: What’s New?

rear 2015 Honda Jazz

The Honda name will forever hold a special place in the hearts of Indians. Thanks to iconic cars such as the original City and Civic, the Japanese moniker rose from the primal broth of the first names to ever enter the Indian car market and became a brand Indians aspire to own. Sadly, thanks to the heart stopping petrol rates and the SUV craze sweeping our nation, Honda slowly stepped out of the limelight.

2015 Honda Jazz
The 2015 Honda Jazz

With the development of the brand’s i-DTEC Earth Dreams series of diesel engines, Honda is back to take its rightful place among the leaders of the Indian car market. The latest cars to sport Honda’s diesel engines are the City, Amaze and Mobilio, all of which are registering massive bookings since the time of their launch. The next car to be launched by the Japanese manufacturer will be the next gen Honda Jazz hatchback.

Although the original Jazz was a recipe for success, its unbelievably high price tag sent buyers scurrying to other manufacturers. Hopefully, this time around the Japanese marque will release the hatch in a more competitive price bracket. The 2014 Honda Jazz aka Fit has already been on sale in markets abroad for quite sometime now. Honda India however, has taken its time with its launch here. The new Jazz is a complete revamp from its 2009 predecessor. With the most likely inclusion of an oil burner in its range, the new Jazz will surely hit up some good sales figures in the hatchback segment.

Looks:

The next gen Jazz is an impressive looking machine. Although the hatch may not have the same aggressive road presence as some of its other rivals, the Jazz’s styling hints at what it truly is, a fun driver’s car. The front end features all new headlights and reworked grille while the front bumpers now feature large, aggressively styled fog lamp enclosures.

2015 honda jazz front look
Front View

At the side we see a sharp crease that runs along the length of the car and integrates into the reworked taillights. The new Jazz also comes with redesigned alloys as well. The back sees a pair of impressively styled tail-lamps and a thick chrome line running across the boot lid.

 

rear 2015 Honda Jazz
Rear View of the Honda Jazz

Interiors:

The interiors have also been thoroughly reworked with the new Jazz. Now featuring the same piano black center console as the 2014 Honda City, the new interiors have a more zesty styling about them. Similar to the City, the new Jazz’s air con controls are now feature touch sensitive controls. However, unlike the exterior, Honda has not worked too much on the design for the Jazz’s interiors. The exposed plastics and odd layout of the dashboard takes some of the charm from the Jazz’s character. Despite this, the all black cabin and blue backlit instrument cluster imbue a feeling of sportiness lacking in most cars in this segment. With an increased length from the previous generation and a massive 390 L boot space, the Jazz promises to offer the best in class cabin space.

2015 Honda Jazz cabin
Dashboard of the Honda Jazz Face-lift

Under the Hood:

Mechanically the Japanese hatch is unlikely to feature any new engine options for its India release save for the 1.5 L diesel mill. Internationally, the petrol variant is powered by a 1.5 L four cylinder engine that produces 130 HP at 6600 RPM and 114 lb-ft of torque @ 4600 RPM. Sadly, we may not see such a zesty petrol mill for the Indian market. Honda will most likely introduce the Jazz with the 1.2 L i-VTEC engine that churns out 87 HP @ 6000 RPM and 109 Nm of torque @ 4500 RPM.

Honda will also unveil its first diesel hatch in India in the form of the Jazz. Powering the diesel variant of the hatchback will be the company’s 1.5 L i-DTEC motor that delivers a whopping 100 HP. If the Jazz is released with the 1.5 L oil burner, it may well become one of the most powerful hatchbacks of the industry.

instrument panel 2015 Honda Jazz
Instrument Panel of the New Jazz

The 2015 Jazz’s biggest rivals will be the new Hyundai Elite i20, facelifted VW Polo and the Fiat Punto Evo. While its rivals strive to reinvent itself to be far more aggressive and dominating, the Jazz takes a different route. One of the best looking cars out there, the Jazz looks a lot peppier and promises to be incredibly fun to drive as well. With the unveiling of the diesel mill, Honda is slowly regaining its lost momentum and may very well be the next leader of the Indian auto industry.

Image Source: Internet

Face Off: Fiat Punto Evo vs Hyundai Elite i20

2014 fiat punto rear

The hatchback wars have begun. 2014 sees the launch of a dizzying array of cars in India’s most popular segment. Although Hyundai has kept the lead for many years now, the launch of impressive newbies and face-lifts in the heavily populated segment just might displace the South Korean manufacturer from its top spot. Some of the main contenders vying for the i20’s crown are the new Polo, the upcoming Honda Jazz and the Fiat Punto Evo, the underdog of the lot. To stay ahead of the game, Hyundai has unveiled another iteration of the successful i20 hatch. Dubbed the Hyundai Elite i20, the new car builds on the previous model’s impressive features and adds a touch of refinement to its design.

Italian manufacturer Fiat is yet to break into the Indian market. Despite being in the market on and off for over a decade, the car maker has failed to stand its own against the likes of VolksWagen, Hyundai, Honda and Ford. Adamant on turning its fortunes around, the Italian car maker has launched a Punto Face-lift specifically tailored for the wants and needs of the Indian car buyer. We take a look at the recently launched Fiat and its Hyundai rival, the Elite i20 and see if the underdogs can pull off a Rocky Balboa.

Design:

Fiat Punto Evo:

Unlike the previous generation and models sold overseas, the new Punto Evo is a lot flashier and stands out in a crowd. While Fiat’s design philosophy has always been more about subtlety and harmony of curves, Indian car buyers look for a bit more. As a result, though the Punto Evo looks striking, it doesn’t feel like something the Italian automaker would create.

2014 fiat punto facelift
The All New Fiat Punto Evo

Nevertheless, the new “reindeer” headlights and power lines running along the bonnet of the car give the hatchback the much sought after aggressive outline. Fiat has also added a new chrome lined grille and fog lamp enclosures that build on its premium look. Out back we see more chrome lining the lower end of the bumper and all new clear lens headlights. The Italian company has also provided chrome on the sides in the form of chrome plated door handles.

All in all, the Punto Evo may be the in its most appealing iteration ever. Yet, it is quite saddening to see a bit of the Italian charm taken away from the Evo to keep fickle buyers’ minds happy.

Hyundai Elite i20:

The Elite i20 debuts with a refined touch of the South Korean car maker’s critically acclaimed Fluidic Design methodology. Much of the car has been thoroughly reworked to introduce a more restrained exterior for the hatch. Sadly, the new Hyundai i20 fails to impress as much as the previous generation. The boxy dimensions and disproportionately long bonnet give the new i20 a rather awkward stance.

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

However, the rear end of the car is one of the most beautiful and refreshingly new designs seen in a car from this segment in recent years. The stylish tail lamps and stunning light cluster within, give the Elite i20 a far more impressive back end. So while the 2014 i20 is not an ugly car, it isn’t much of a looker either.

Round 1 Winner: Draw !

 

Interiors:

Fiat Punto Evo:

The Punto Evo’s cabin is quite lackluster. Although the new hatch features a brand new piano black center console and an updated color scheme, the quality of plastics is not upto par with the likes of the Hyundai and Fiat could have gone for a little more polish for its new face-lift. However, the amber ambient lighting, though ceremonial, is definitely a nice touch.

2014 fiat punto evo interiors
Interiors of the Punto Evo

Hyundai Elite i20:

As always, the South Korean car maker has done a phenomenally good job with the interiors of the new i20. Although not being a fan of beige myself, the car maker has made use of beige and black in all the right places create the right mix of sporty and airy. Buttons for the air con and music system are now located slightly higher than the outgoing model and the infotainment system’s display re-located, Hyundai has provided a far more ergonomically sound cabin.

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

Round 2 Winner: Hyundai Elite i20 !

 

Under The Hood:

Fiat Punto:

Powering the new Punto Evo is a range of in-house developed petrol and diesel engines carried over from the previous generation. Petrol enthusiasts have an option of a 1.2 L 4 cylinder engine that produces 68 HP and 96 Nm of torque or the more powerful 1.4 L unit that churns out 90 HP and 115 Nm of torque.

2014 fiat punto evo cabin
The Sports Variant (90 HP) of the Punto Offers An All Black Cabin

The more fuel conscious of us have an option of choosing between a 1.3 L oil burner that puts out 76 HP and 197 Nm of torque or 93 HP and 209 Nm of peak torque depending on the buyer’s choice of tune.

Hyundai Elite i20:

Hyundai too has gone for the old generation’s engine options for the new i20. The South Korean car maker offers the 1.2 L petrol engine that produces 82 HP 114 Nm of torque and the diesel mill that puts out 89 HP and 215 Nm of torque. While the new is heavier, Hyundai has opted for averagely powered engines which may not appeal to many.

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

Round 3 Winner: Fiat Punto Evo !

 

Verdict:

The Punto Evo is a radical departure from what the Italian marque generally create. That being said, the chrome and aggressive front headlights is sure to attract many a buyer. Although the interiors could use a more reworked design, its engine options trumps most other cars in this segment.

2014 fiat punto rear
Engine Options Remain The Same in The New Punto

The Hyundai Elite i20 on the other hand focuses solely on comfort and features. The superb interiors and feature loaded infotainment system ensures that every trip to be a pleasantly comfortable. However, the driver may not be so happy with what could be called, an underpowered engine.

rear view Hyundai Elite i20
The New i20 Maybe The Safer Bet Here in India

While there is no clear winner here, the Hyundai seems like the better bet for those who prefer comfort over and out power. While one may enjoy the experience of driving, the roads of India thoroughly disallow such unacceptable behavior.  The only solace from the frustration of unruly motorists, panicky pedestrians and pot hole ridden roads maybe some good music and good suspension and for that, the Elite i20 maybe the only choice.

2015 Toyota Camry – an expert review

"2014 Honda Accord"

The Japanese sensation, Toyota has its scrupulous dose of sensational automobiles ranging for generations, out of the globally launched automobiles; there is one particular vehicle from Toyota that still creates awe.

The Toyota “Kan Muri” (pronounced Camry) which means little crown or Beyond Compare, has been adding successful miles to Toyota since 1982. The naming tradition behind the Camry was primarily because of the models that rolled out Toyota’s production workshop during 1950’s. The Toyota Crown, Corona and Corolla have similar meanings (crown, small crown) they were built to bestow a crown upon the customer (Customer felt like a crowned king, literally!!)

Recent news about the upcoming 2015 Toyota Camry sounds fun and the features make it just too exciting to ignore.  The initial Camry bodies were narrow and compact in size, however the new models have grown bigger and wider. During the early 1980’s, the Camry was an un-embellished 4 door sedan that carried the Celica Camry name plate.  Post 1982, the Camry was an independent model backed with a V10. A few years later, Toyota rolled out the Camry V20 series that made its debut in 1986, and four years later came the V30 sedan & hardtop, a model that was exclusively built for Japan.

Owing to an increasing demand for a commodious Camry, the wide-bodied XV 10 Sedan/Station wagon was introduced in 1991. The Camry had built quite a reputation by then, and Toyota kept the production and design meter rolling. The year was 1994 when the V30 was replaced by V40 and the XV10 was replaced in the year 1996, but the name was changed to Camry Gracia (gracias Toyota for this beauty) in Japan.

Post 1998, Vista had ended the Camry calibration and rolled out independent models with the V50 nameplate, however this too had a shortcoming, it was withdrawn in the year 2003. With an increasing popularity for wide-bodied cars, the XV 30 was launched in 2001; this car was quite spacious inside out. Toyota did not end the production just yet. The XV40 was launched in 2006, which was taken over by the XV50 models since 2011. The Camry looks camri-er than ever. The current models look trendy and fun loving.

Let’s look at how Toyota has been steering the family sedans in America.

 

The V10 – V50 ( a long story short) [1979-present]

Toyota Camry history
Image Source: http://assets1.dealeron.com/

It started in the year 1982, post the Toyota Celica (Celica Camry) roll out, the Toyota Vista had been assembled at the Tsunami plant in Japan and was ready to be introduced to various roads.  The 4-door sedans and 5 door lift back’s were introduced with transverse front engines and front wheel drive. The versions that had rolled out during that period had gasoline and diesel engines such as (1.8 L gasoline, 2.0 L gasoline, 1.8 L diesel turbo and 2.0 L diesel turbo variants) the vehicles were available in 4 and 5 speed transmissions

The next generation Camry sedans were produced soon after; they were named (S-series) SV10, SV11 and SV 12 along with (C-series) the CV 10 and CV 11. The V10 series bearing vehicles were 4 door notch back sedans. At the same time, Toyota had started exporting the Camry to Australia, Europe an North America.

During 1983-1986 Toyota Camry started tasting the sourness of competition, the Honda Accord was accredited the leading competitor of the Camry. Honda was really making the competition intense for Toyota. Owing to competition pressure and the need for innovation, the Camry cars had a 2.0 liter four cylinder engine that produced 92 horse power and was more powerful than the 86 hp (1.86 litre) accord, the wheelbase was longer than that of the Accord and there was more space for passengers and less room for competition.

It was time for the Second generation Camry, 1987 welcomed the new Camry that had many improved features and looks, the engine remained the same (2 litre; 4 cylinder) but the horse power increased to 115hp, it was pretty modern (then) and it was more aggressive than Honda Accord, Having said that, the Camry was preferred by the smooth and quiet transportation lovers whereas the Accord was pro interaction and feedback. During 1988, the Camry was launched with a V6 engine with an all wheel drive option, it had a 2.5 liter V6 DOHC (double overhead cams) that had 4 valves per cylinder and was as powerful as 153 ponies. This was the same time when these Japanese charms started making their appearance on American roads, Honda wasn’t prepared for the Japanese dominion on American roads but US customers were ready to welcome the Japanese technology in their garage.

In 1989,Toyota had the “All-Trac” technology with an automatic gearbox fitted into the Camry. The years that followed were glorious for Toyota. The brand was one among the finest brands to offer great cars with an excellent build quality and the cars topped the sales charts.

Toyota Camry in America
Image Source: sandyspringstoyota.wordpress.com

Many Camries were produced at the Kentucky Plant (Reminds me of KFC!!) to produce quality family cars. Camry was the fifth best selling car in America. During 1991, the Camry LE V6 Sedan and Wagon and the All Trac LE sedans were the popular cars being sold. During the same year, Toyota added knock sensors into the V6 cars that ensured smooth operations on roads.

America started becoming fond of large cars and so, in 1992 Toyota felt magnanimous and decided to increase the dimensions of the Camry, a notch. The larger Camry was a pleasant addition to the Toyota family. Not only was the space increased, Toyota also tried to broaden the smiles on the customers faces by adding smooth and round aerodynamics to the car, the body underwent various visual changes and improvements. The engine was smoother; the car was less noisier and started competing with luxury car rivals. Safety was given priority and Airbags were introduced, so were the three-point belts and ABS was introduced to Camry. Toyota did not stop there; the engines were bigger (2.2 liters) and flaunted 130 Horsepower. The V6 was upgraded to 3 liter and boosted 185 Hp. The new Camry was not only muscular, it learnt the new language of speed; it could do 0-60 in under 8 seconds. It was just about the right time to introduce sports Camry Sedans for the enthusiasts. This was a class apart from the regular Camry sedans, the sports car was bred differently, it had racing dynamics, sporty seats, rear spoiler and black tinted windows, there was a door handle and mirror trim.During 1996, the fifth generation Camry was introduced, there weren’t any prominent changes since the ’95 Camry, there were new seats, the interiors felt different and there were 2 new versions LE and LE Wagon introduced.

New and improved Camry was introduced in 1997, with a new body style and more curves, Toyota decided to drop the two door sedans and stick on to the four door sedans. There were three trim levels available namely; CE (base version) LE and the fully loaded XLE, the sporty Camry had to leave the production track of Toyota.

Toyota added more powerful engines to the Camry, the 2.2 liter inline four engine had 133 HP, whereas the V6 Toyota Camry had anti lock brakes added to them, ABS was also standard on all the 1997 Camries (except four cylinder models)

American consumers had a liking towards this new Camry, and evidently the Camry was the best selling car in the US during 1997.

There were safety-enhanced features incorporated in the 1998 Camrys, there were anti-theft systems improved via engine immobilizers in the cars and this just increased the reputation for Camrys. During 1999, Toyota had launched a Camry coupe named Camry Solara, this car had a look of its own and was creased in a very unique manner. The Solara models were available with either 4 cylinders or V6 variants and automatic and manual transmissions.

The same design lasted for around five years and the Toyota Camry that was launched in 2002 had a very unique body that looked far better than previous models. Elegance was the prime focus and Toyota worked completely towards giving the new Camry a whole new make over. Owing to minor changes in the previous years, in the year 2007, Toyota Camry had received major changes. The new design was radical and it did seem like the perfect Sedan apart from its luxury oriented features.

Toyota had released 4 trim models of the new Toyota Camry, the CE (base model), LE, SE and XLE.

Since 2011, the Camry XV50 is being sold in the US. The car has received various visual changes. But it still remains one of the most desired Family Sedans.

 

THE ALL-NEW Toyota CAMRY 2015

After along ride that lasted for generations, Toyota has geared up to say “Konnichiwa” to the all-new Camry 2015. Toyota has infused all sorts of changes in all Camrys ever produced. But, one such thing that it lacked was the “Fun Factor”

And so, Toyota has gracefully refreshed the look and feel of the new Toyota Camry. The new Camry is going to make driving an exciting task, it is going to be really quiet (not quiet an advantage to those who are married J) and it certainly has stunning looks. The new interiors spell sophistication and there are world-class features that would definitely spoil you. Toyota is trying to add the Camry to an up market sedan segment. The car feels quite fresh and ready to hit the roads.

The all new Toyota Camry - review
Image Source: www.kbb.com

ENGINE:

Apart from the now, the Toyota Camry gets a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder model that has 178 Horsepower and a 3.5-literV6 model powered by 268 ponies. Both the models are paired with a six-speed auto transmission. Toyota has also introduced a Hybrid model with 2.5 liter Atkinson-Cycle four-cylinder engine with electric motor and nickel-metal hydride battery pack, which has an output of 200 hp. You can be assured that all the (3) engines are quality performers and go easy on your fuel. These cars make perfect Family Sedans.

The Toyota Camry V6 Engine
Image Source: www.pipecar.com

PERFORMANCE:

Accused of being a boring car on roads, Toyota has added zingy features to the 2015 Camry to make it peppier than ever. A sporty XSE trim level model will be available to groove things up.

EXTERIOR DESIGN

Toyota has surprised the world with its revolutionary transformation from boring to bang on!!

New and Sporty looks of the 2015 Toyota Camry
Image Source: www.autoblog.com

The Camry gets its style elements from Avalon and Corolla and a few adaptations from Lexus. Toyota has given entertainment and design a lot of priority.

Making a Debut at the 2014 NY Auto Show - Toyota Camry
Image Source: www.indianautosblog.com

 

INTERIOR

The interiors are plush and sporty, there is a 4.2 inch TFT display placed between the Optitron gauges; there is also a wireless smart phone charging provision placed in the center console.

 

Plush Toyota Camry Interiors
Image Source: yourautocar.blogspot.com

COMPETITION:

Directly competing with the 2015 Camry is the Honda Accord, both the cars share a lot of resemblance but, the 2014 Accord is a bit pricier than the 2014 Camry. Considering a “supposed” fun factor in the all-new Toyota Camry, the price is also going to loot the customer funny 🙂

2014 Honda Accord Vs Toyota Camry
Image Source: www.wallstcheatsheet.com

PRICE:

The price of the 2015 Toyota Camry is a mystery. However, judging by the price of the 2014 base model Camry L (US $ 23,235) and the top end V6 XLE model (US $ 31,515) whereas the 2014 Hybrid Model costs between US $ 27,140 to US $ 28,755. The 2015 Camry might cost tad more than the 2014 models.

BOTTOMLINE:

The Toyota Camry is the epitome of sheer performance. It carries generations of thought and technology that have been tactically placed in the Family Sedan.

With the best sales record for selling the best Family sedan, Toyota retains the 12 years pride and the 2015 Camry is definitely going to carry on the successful legacy.

Let’s hope Toyota gets rid of the “boring” label from its cars 🙂