Gujarat To Rajasthan – A D’ZIRABLE travelogue !

Jaunty companions, 2400+ kilometers and my trust on wheels, the Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire Vdi. Well, that was the prelude to an exciting journey of skillful driving and exploration.

Date: 23 July 2014- 31st July 2014

Distance:  Approx 2400 kilometers

Starting Point: Ahmedabad (GJ)

Ending Point: Although my journeys don’t have any ending, this journey was to Jodhpur and back (covering all possible towns in and around Rajasthan)

It had always been a part of my bucket list to go on a road trip from Gujarat to Rajasthan (my ancestral place) and when I had the opportunity, I couldn’t resist. My bags were packed and my mind was ready to soak in the experience. Here is my trip advisor or travelogue

Kem Cho, Gujarat(India)

23rd July 2014 (3.30 pm) Ahmedabad greeted me quite well even during the afternoon (surprisingly my expectation was put down by the pleasant climate) with a slight drizzle and of course a positive sign to keep cruising. I’ve got to say, Gujarat has very smooth roads. They feel like stroking a baby’s cheek.

Introducing to you, a companion (rented out for 8 days) that would be put to test through challenging and smooth roads to check the reliability and stability. The Swift DzireVdi 2008 Model (Silver)

Swift DzireVdi 2008 travelogue
Shimmering in Silver.

I was sure enough that Ahmedabad isn’t going to let me get away that easy, especially with an empty stomach. You could just bask in the delicious flavors and the mouth watering delights Gujarati food has to offer.

I couldn’t resist, and before getting the taste of the Gujju roads, I did a little “Tummy Puja” 😛

After a scrumptious Sneck (the way Gujarati’s pronounce it J) it was time to decide if I wanted to move on or spend the night in Gujarat. Time was definitely of the essence. Covering an average of 250-300 kms a day isn’t a walk in the park. And with the clock ticking faster than the accelerator, I had to put a pedal on the metal. But, leaving in the evening wasn’t the best of ideas and so I decided to stay back and enjoy my evening in Ahmedabad. If you are visiting Gujarat anytime soon, I would definitely recommend Kathiwadi Food, its just too tempting to say no to.

Travelogue Gujarat  Ahmedabad
Ain’t the road a Beauty?

Although the roads are impeccable, the ones using them make their own lanes whenever, wherever. Left was right, right was a u turn and all the roads led to some place I did not want to be (it wasn’t too bad though)

Travelogue Gujarat  Ahmadabad traffic
Traffic on a Normal Day. Sigh!!

 

The Journey:

The rains had worked their miracle on the swift the previous night. I did not really have the time to saunter over and so, post breakfast; it was a start to an amazing trip. To elaborate my 8-day journey that started from the 24th of July and went on till the 31st July,the diesel tank was full and the roads seemed welcoming, and that’s when my Journey began. I would like to mull over a few facts about the transition in the roads of Gujarat and Rajasthan, India. Both the states have intermingling roads and you might notice that while your tyres might caress a few roads in Gujarat, Rajasthan would make your tyres hate you 😛  (I am not trying to endorse Gujarat roads. A few roads in Gujarat are equally bad too)

Swift Dzire Vdi travelogue

Gujarat

While in Gujarat (High way included) you are certain to witness the culture bustling around in all corners.

For instance:

Living in a place where rickshaws are a source of traveling, this was a more exciting and an innovative concept. The bullet rickshaw (named Chagda) is quite popular among the locals in Gujarat. This is definitely worth traveling in.

Travelogue Chagdi :)
Chagda 🙂

 

Travelogue - Fully Loaded ;)
Fully Loaded 😉

Oh yeah ! The good ol’ Tractor. We might have come across our favorite celebs ride a tractor across a field. But, this was certainly more rejoicing than seeing anything on screen.
Travelogue Tractor

Gujarat and Rajasthani roads have a deep connection of some kind with our four legged friends. Looks like a few of them enjoy taking sunbath on the busy streets of both the cities. The irony lies in the confidence that these mammals have, no vehicle can ever make them move unless the mammal really wants to 😛

Travelogue animals on road

While my journey that was going on pretty smooth, the only hindrance was either the Toll Booth (Gujarat and Rajasthan have plenty of toll booths) or Gas stations.

Puns apart, my journey had started off on a very bright note, with clear skies and smooth roads, rains did manage to cope up with me and they managed their way in occasionally.

Khamma Ghani – Rajasthan

Travelogue - Toll booth Rajasthan

You know when you are in Rajasthan when you come across “DesiDaru” Shops J Gujarat apparently adheres to strict norms when it comes to alcohol. Jokes apart, Rajasthan was partially humid and the service of my car’s A/C was of urgent priority.

Travelogue Rajasthan humid

It did not seem like Rajasthan was going to experience torrential rains. However, while entering Jodhpur, my presumption was wrong. The roads in Jodhpur were flooded with water. Although, the sight was quite eye pleasing, it did seem a bit concerning too. With no proper water drainage channels, puddles were being formed, making it very difficult for various two wheelers and a few hatchback cars to cross.

Travelogue Jodhpur roads with rain

July Might not seem like the best of times during the year to visit Rajasthan, But then again what’s life if you live it by the rules right? 😉

Covering up places like Pali, Phalodi, Jaisalmer, and experiencing the Joy of Mount Abu, Driving to Rajasthan was worth the miles.

The Experience:

While leaving for Rajasthan, Ahmedabad had a very different approach as opposed to Rajasthan. Driving conditions were quite variable. One moment you are on the highway and there is no sign of traffic and rains and the next moment, all you have is a lot of traffic and your vehicle literally floating on the road.

Travelogue Rajathan roads

My return journey from Jodhpur had pretty much given me an indication of the road conditions ahead. While I was nearing Gujarat, I had to take a detour from Mehsana owing to the worsening climate condition.

Travelogue Gujarat  climate

Ahmedabad was around 30 Kms away, and unbelievably it took me around 5 hours to reach Ahmedabad. You can pretty much see the road conditions in the pics that we managed to click.

Thankfully, the skill of driving in such conditions came in handy. Dzire was definitely supportive and did not give up on me during these few hours of turmoil. Although, I have to say, water somehow found its way into the car and our feet were getting the taste of the murky rain water that was conveniently stagnant across the entire street.

Travelogue Gujarat  Ahmedabad

The thrill of driving in such conditions definitely adds a page to my memorabilia. It felt like we were on a Boat trip (well without the paddles, fishing rods and such)

DZIRE Connection:

The Swift DzireVdi comes with a 1248 cc  Multijet DDis/DOHC diesel engine, producing 190 Nm of torque @ 2000 RPM.

It gave me 15 kmpl mileage on the highway (with A/C) and on the busy streets.

I definitely felt the 75 PS power when the vehicle was tested on the highway.

Being spacious enough for 5 people (we were just 3) the Dzire’s Trunk had no problem accommodating our luggage too.

The BridgeStone 14” Tires worked their miracles on the roads. Even after crossing the 120kmph speed at the highway, the Dzire wouldn’t wobble, it was quite smooth.

The only drawback that I feel about the Dzire is the identical look it shares with Swift and the ground clearance (170mm)

Summing Up My Trip:

Travelogue Gujarat  to Rajasthan
Actual View @ Mount Abu.. Worth the Visit!!

After surviving such road and weather conditions, taking us a step closer to fear. The Swift Dzire Vdi has certainly connected Gujarat and Rajasthan like never before. The rains had caused a little hindrance and I couldn’t cover up a few places during the end. But, having said that, the journey was indeed a special one. I am waiting and planning my next big trip soon.

Wanna Join?

Continental’s Head-up display technologies is a boon for drivers

During driving, in order to read information available on the dashboard the driver takes it eyes off the road. In situations of rush hour traffic, this causes an anxiety, overload and finally he compromises for safety. Thus all the information should be available in the line of sight of the driver. This method of display is known as “Head-up display“(HUD).

WINDSHIELD HEAD-UP DISPLAY:

Head-up display comfort
WINDSHIELD HEAD-UP DISPLAY

 

In windshield head up display, a floating image over the hood is seen. HUD helps avoiding driver distraction and makes driving safe.  Drivers get the necessary information like indicator signals, speed without looking on the dashboard display. The driver feels in control of the vehicle and can respond to critical situations faster. Few examples like speed limit can be displayed on HUD and the driver can be warned for crossing it, adaptive cruise control will allow the driver to see on HUD, the distance from the car ahead and in case of violation warning can be shown on HUD. Also the display can be customized in terms of brightness, contrast, configuration of required information and thus provides flexibility to the driver. Navigation can be coupled with HUD and will provide a convenient way of following the directions. All these information on HUD results in a safe driving environment. HUD’s are available in Audi A6/A7 series, BMW 3 series and Mercedes Benz C-class and are manufactured in a precise environment in Germany.

Head-up display
HUD FOR AUDI A6 and A7

 

AUGMENTED(Virtual) HEAD-UP DISPLAY:

Continental has come up with a prototype of its evolutionary Head-up Display technology named “Augmented reality head-up display”. The motto of this technology is: Seeing is Understanding ie. whatever the driver sees from the display can be directly converted into functionality. The Augmented Head-up vehicles will be seen in vehicles from 2017.It is much more advanced and driver friendly when compared to the windshield HUD. In this, all the information  are displayed in such a way that it makes itself a part of driving. During driving, the information gets reflected on the exterior traffic view. For example when Adaptive cruise control(ACC) is active, the vehicle detected for safer distance can be detected on HUD. Thus all of the information is self- explanatory and makes the driver much more comfortable, relaxed and even tackling critical situations in a better manner. Initially HUD was made for better human ergonomics and now with this technology it has come to a new level of human interaction.

The technology involves insertions of color graphics on to the real road view at 130 cm and 60 cm high section of the driver’s vision. It is due to the use of digital micro-mirror device technology ( which is also found in a digital movie projector ). In the continental demo vehicle three major things were considered. First, the AR-HUD helps the driver to come out of danger in case of getting out of lanes. It supports Adaptive cruise control (ACC) and a crescent shape marking is observed on the road view over the detected vehicle for safe distance. The navigation information helps driver to know which turn needs to be taken without looking for the real world. All the mentioned methods develop trust in the driver for its vehicle and goes to a new level of human interaction with the vehicle.

CONTINENTAL AR-HUD
AUGMENTED REALITY HEAD-UP DISPLAY

It is not at all easy to show all the required information on the road view display. It requires knowledge in various automotive domains. After all data collection from vehicle dynamics, camera images and sensors, the control unit models the real road view display for the driver, thus it basically shows the complexity of the system and would be of great help in modelling of such systems for driver less cars.

COMBINER HEAD-UP DISPLAY:

combiner hud
COMBINER HEAD-UP DISPLAY

It refers to a HUD system similar to windshield HUD but requires less space for installation. It has a small disc shaped device called the combiner which is used as a mirror for displaying the information. This is advantageous for sport vehicles where the cockpit is smaller. The distance of display from the driver is slightly shorter and is around 1.5 m-2 m and thus the driver needs to adjust himself for better view. The optical path can be passed through the combiner itself by changing its optical properties.

BOTTOM LINE:

The need for all these technologies is because of the safety issues during driving due to the driver distractions while checking the dashboard displays. HUD has the potential of reducing the accidents caused due to driver distractions. The role of sensors and other units involved in the system needs to be precise  and accurate in order to give proper informative data . Since the driver understands things based on what he sees. More research in this field, might also come up with cost effective systems and thus making them available for every range of vehicles.

Face Off: Chevrolet Cruze Vs Toyota Corolla Altis

Toyota is a world leader in the global automobile industry but it hasn’t quite been able to reproduce similar levels of dominance in the Indian market of late. Domestic manufacturers have upped their game, thanks to international brands showing greater levels of immersion in the country’s potential for consuming motoring machines. Additionally, erstwhile outside players such as Hyundai and Honda have taken the game by the scruff of its neck and pulled off amazing sales figures. The result is that Toyota has been forced to pull up its socks and come up with a product that would hold prospective buyers’ fleeting attention.

Toyota Corolla Altis compare review

GM’s Chevrolet has been having a rather uneventful run in the Indian market in the recent past. Fading consumer interest and intense competition has meant plummeting sales and last-ditch revival efforts. Earlier this year it was the Beat that the company attempted to resuscitate, and the facelift helped its cause to a certain extent. With the hatchback segment out of the way, Chevrolet turned its focus to the sedans. The Cruze has always been considered a good performer but popular design tastes change every so often and specs are rendered obsolete in the blink of an eye.

Chevrolet Cruze compare review

The Chevrolet Cruze face-lift and new Toyota Corolla were launched more than half a year apart but they both played very similar roles for their respective makers. The D segment is far from being among the most popular in the country and within it there were names such as the Volkswagen Jetta and Skoda Octavia to contend with. Which one comes away looking better in the design and performance departments? Let’s take a look.

Overall:

Toyota Corolla

The 2014 Toyota Corolla is not just the next generation in a long line of cars. It is something of a mutation, an outlier, thanks to the changing paradigms at the company. The eleventh generation was born unlike any of its predecessors. Toyota loyalists may have had to look twice to ensure the car they were looking at was really the Corolla, thanks to the edgier visual profile of the car. Bigger brothers Camry and Avalon acted as prototypes for a lot of the details that can be observed on the car’s exterior. The muscular front end of the car gives way to swelte lines on the sides leading up to an appealing back end. Being lower, wider, and longer than its predecessor, the proportions of the Corolla seem to have been modified in just the right way.

Chevrolet Cruze

Chevrolet’s latest update to the Cruze was a lot more reactive than reflective. Skoda had upped the ante by launching the new Octavia in India. The season was such that most manufacturers were going in with all their chips, in the hope of cashing in on the festive spirit. The Chevrolet Cruze face-lift seems looks forced and heavy-handed. In other markets the face-lift coincided with the launch of a new engine configuration for the Cruze. In India, however, Chevrolet chose to make the update in installments. In 2012 a new 2.0 liter engine was plonked in the car and now a few changes have been made to its design. A new bumper, spoilers, and additional lamps don’t quite do enough to make the car seem like an enticing prospect. On the design front, the Corolla is the runaway winner.

Performance:

Toyota Corolla

Toyota has chosen to retain the 1.4 and 1.8-liter capacity diesel mills that did duties on the previous iteration of the car. The output of these engines has been increased marginally. More excitingly, there’s the new 2.0 liter engine, which is effortless in both city and highway conditions. McPherson struts positioned in the front suspensions make for a more rigid drive experience. A torsion-beam organization supports the rear end of the car. Toyota has given up the old hydraulic system for a whole new electric power-steering. The EPS is weighted well but does tend come short when drivers search for that extra bit of oomph.

Chevrolet Cruze

The term “all new” was bandied about quite a bit during the promotion of the Cruze but that’s far from the truth, especially under the hood. The Cruze face-lift houses a 2 liter diesel mill capable of churning out 166PS peak power and torque of 380Nm. This makes the Cruze one of the most powerful cars in the segment. A 6-speed gearbox relays power to the wheels. GM vastly improved the driving dynamics of the car, but that was back in 2012, too long back to even be considered a factor now. The car has an ARAI mileage of 17.3km/l.

The Chevrolet Cruze and Toyota Corolla are on a more level footing when compared with performance characteristics in mind. The Cruze tends to be underrated in the Indian market, though few of its competitors can match its performance. However, once again, the Corolla takes the cake, mainly because the updates seem more recent and relevant

Verdict:

Though the Corolla and Cruze will draw comparison due to the fact that they operate in the same segment, it’s almost unfair to the Cruze to do that. The Chevrolet car enters the game looking unprepared. Toyota’s Corolla, on the other hand, is sure footed, and lays one punch after another with conviction. While it will take some time to see how the Corolla stacks up against some of the top performers in its segment, Toyota Corolla is the clear winner against the Chevrolet Cruze face-lift.

2014 C7 Chevrolet Stingray-An Overview

If  you have checked out my other reviews on Scion FR-S, M4 and i8, these three cars have the same rival in common and today I am going to review about that car which is considered as the toughest rival for all new cars that are released and going to be released soon. The car which was considered as an “Old man’s car “is nowdrifting its way towards the young and the car which at present is considered to be the most Productive and has the highest bookings all over the world.

It’s the new 2014 Corvette Stingray made by none other than Chevrolet under the vision of General motors. This new C7 had been in development since 2007. GM originally targeted 2011 to release this car, but due to some problems it was delayed and after many speculation, spy shots, leaked 3D images this car was unveiled officially in 2014. After its release, this car has totally changed the allegations on Corvette’s line-up from “Old people’s car “to “Young men’s pride”.

2014 Corvette Stingray review

Image Source: fastestlaps.com

History & Facts:

Before releasing of C7, corvette’s line-up (C1-C6) was called as “Old People’s car” as some researches showed that about 46 percent of Corvette buyers in 2012, through October, were 55 (aged folks ). Hence Corvette have got its name. Now GM wants to change it form C7.

2014 Corvette Stingray C7 review

Image Source: zerotohundred.com

Review: Technical specs

These are some of the technical specifications of this car. Check it out

2014 C7 Corvette Stingray specs

Review: Styling

Exterior:

Unlike the other corvettes, C7 is designed from scratch. It has a whole new look. If we compare it with the previous release C6 – C7 has lot many changes. The front looks of the car will embrace us for sure as the front grille and headlights shape combine to give an evil smile like look. The headlights are made up of Daytime LED’s and the car body is designed to give an aggressive appeal. The front look in some angles resemble the SRT viper, and while the rare end is in resemblance with Camaro. Coming to the rear end of the vehicle,the car looks absolute gorgeous and is designed to complement the front looks. From every angle the car looks amazing and the Carbon-fiber reinforced body and removable roof panel adds beauty to the car. The 5 aluminum spokes which are painted in silver in front and back wheels also look damn hot and sexy.

2014 C7 Corvette Stingray Exterior

Interior:

The interiors of the previous Corvette lineup was considered as one of the worst interior which was ever built. The previous Corvette C6 interior was dominated with cheap plastic and the seats are bland in shape. But this is going to be changed with the new 2014 C7 Corvette Stingray as corvette is targeting younger audience, the C7 interiors is designed to look smart and eye-catching. The interiors of the 2014 C7 Corvette Stingray is filled with Luxurious leather work and has given the finest detailing to the new interiors in terms of themes such as sport theme, track theme, tachometer halo etc. In this the tachometer halo looks trendy as this theme comes live once the speed mode is activated, a ring around the tachometer turns from yellow to amber to red showing the gradual increase of speed. Not only this, the car is also equipped with many add-on features along with standard features such as Keyless entry, Infotainment systems, Push-button start, Power tilt/telescope steering wheel, audio system power by BOSE and satellite link radio system. Along with these, new Performance data and video recorder is added to set a point to test the maximum limits of the car on our own.

C7 Corvette Stingray interior

Review: Engine & Performance

Under the hood, the new C7 is powered by the new direct-injection 6.2-liter small-block V-8 engine which is also called as LT1. This engine is also present in the new Camaro. It produces power ranging up to 460 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 465 pound-feet of torque at 4,600 rpm. It also has an Active fuel management system for lower carbon emission rate and decrease of fuel consumption. It is equipped with a 7-speed manual transmission in order to deliver better performance. When it comes to car modes, the car has three modes : Eco, Tour, & Comfort. The car delivers a mileage of 28mpg on highway when the Tour mode is activated, and when the Eco mode is activated the mileage reaches to around 30mpg. The car performance is increased drastically due to the decrease in car weight and thanks to its new Carbon fiber hood and new chassis. This car can reach 0-60 in just 4 seconds. Many videos of C7 Corvette Stingray are already rolling over the internet as the car performance looks amazing.

C7 Corvette Stingray engine

Image Source: motortrend.com

Review: Brakes and Suspension

The biggest advantage of this car is handling. In terms of handling this car is compared to Porsche’s Legacy 911 Carrera. The reason behind this kind of handling is the suspension and brake system present in this car. The suspension system in front and rear are powered by Short/long arm (SLA) double wishbone and lower control arms. The Brembo braking helps to stabilize the car and helps the car during cornering.

2014 C7 Corvette Stingray brakes and control

Image Source: corvsport.com

Review: Safety

I have already stated that this is the most wanted car at present. This is due its performance, elegance and safety. Coming to safety, the car has major safety features such as

  • Stability control system.
  • Traction control system.
  • Brembo brakes.
  • Advanced Airbag System.
  • Vehicle information system right on the deck.
  • Advanced Suspension range
  • Magnetic Ride Control

Pros & Cons:

Pros:

  • Trendy design
  • Luxurious appearance and interiors
  • Powerful engine
  • Performance

Cons:

  • Add-ons are very costly
  • Design elements looks identical to its rival cars

Rivalry:

This car faces rivalry from released cars and also from the cars which are going launch soon. The major rivals of this car are:

  • SRT Viper.
  • BMW-M4.
  • Jaguar F-Type Coupe.
  • BMW-i8.
  • Porsche 911.
  • Ferrari 458 Italia.
  • Scion FR-S.
  • Audi R8

C7 Corvette Stingray compare

Image Source: racingflix.com

Bottom Line:

From a trendy, sexy design to power packed performance, this car has all the aspects in order to call it a best buy. Priced at $51,995 (Base Price), this car is worth the shot. If you are a “Need for speed guy” you will love this as it has a wide range of customization options, but the Add-ons which are taught to increase the performance of the car are priced at higher rates( which should also be taken into consideration before buying this car )

Overall this car has a good rating in all the aspects such as price, performance & safety.

Face Off: Fiat Linea vs Skoda Rapid

Italian car maker Fiat has been struggling in the Indian market for years now. Fiat’s first outing in the Indian car market proved disastrous for the company. While the company’s range was impressive, expensive spare parts, poor after sales services and lack of service centers quickly proved to be the Italian manufacturer’s downfall. This time around, Fiat is back with a refreshed range and an all new dealer and service center network to keep fans of the brand happy as well as to attract new ones. To keep pace in the heavily contended C2 segment, Fiat has recently updated its Fiat Linea sedan. We take a look at what the new car has to offer against the impressive albeit often overlooked Skoda alternative, the Skoda Rapid.

Design:

Fiat Linea:

The 2014 Linea doesn’t see too many changes save for a few chrome embellishments and slightly reworked bumpers. While the changes do not drastically change the sedan’s looks, they do add a bit of upmarket feel to the car. Sadly however, the Linea’s design is quite dated and fails to stand out from the crowd of zesty Fords, futuristic Hyundai’s and timeless Skoda’s. However, a Fiat’s true selling point isn’t its exterior, it’s driving dynamic. Sadly, this does not excuse the Italian manufacturer’s lack of inspiring design for what is currently one of three models on sale here in India.

2014 fiat linea review
The All New Fiat Linea

Skoda Rapid:

Skoda, as always, has done an impressive job on the Rapid. Although the car may not turn heads wherever it goes, the understated elegance coupled with the classic Skoda touch is a match made in heaven. While the car may be more than three years old now, the Skoda Rapid is still as fresh as it was when it first made its debut here in India.

skoda rapid compare
The Skoda Rapid

Round 1 Winner: Skoda Rapid !

Interiors:

Fiat Linea:

The interiors of the new Linea are quite impressive. A combination of beige and black gives the cabin a premium and sporty feel lacking in most cars in its range. The updated dashboard features a black center console with a secondary unit for climate control. The impressive ambient lighting bathes the Linea’s cabin in a beautiful amber. Steering mounted controls give the driver access to the infotainment system. Rear legroom is sufficient, headroom on the other hand is quite less and tall passengers may feel a bit cramped at the back.

 Dashboard of the 2014 Fiat Linea
The Dashboard of the 2014 Fiat Linea

Skoda Rapid:

The Skoda Rapid is almost four years old now and its age is now beginning to show, predominantly with its interiors. The dull grey and beige interiors are quite lackluster. Although the Rapid comes with automatic climate control and a fully loaded infotainment system, the lack of steering mounted controls and dated green backlight of the instrument cluster and the infotainment system gives the Rapid a rather unattractive cabin.

interiors of skoda rapid
Interiors of the Skoda Rapid

Round 2 Winner: Fiat Linea !

Engine:

Fiat Linea:

The Linea is offered with two engine options. The first being the 1.4 L T-Jet petrol engine that produces 112 HP at 5000 RPM and 207 Nm of torque at 2200 RPM. Fiat’s diesel Linea is powered by a 1.3 L MultiJet unit that produces 92 HP @ 4000 RPM and 209 Nm of torque @ 2000 RPM.

Unlike the Skoda Rapid, the Linea is offered only with a 5 speed manual gearbox.

Skoda Rapid:

Skoda offers both petrol and diesel options for the Rapid. The petrol powered variant houses a 1.6 L unit that produces 104 HP and 153 Nm of torque. It comes equipped with both a 5 speed manual as well as a 6 speed automatic gearbox that gives a respectable but not class leading mileage of 15 km/l and 14.3 km/l respectively.

The 1.6 L turbocharged diesel mill powering the Rapid produces 104 HP and 250 Nm of torque. While the power figures may be approximately the same as its petrol counterpart, the diesel offers peak power and torque figures at a lower point of the rev range allowing for better movement is slow traffic conditions. The diesel too is offered with both a 5 speed manual as well as a 5 speed automatic.

Although Skoda Rapid may offer better gearbox options, Fiat’s mechanical engineering prowess is unrivaled. The company’s T-Jet and MultiJet systems are one of the best in the business.

Round 3 Winner: Fiat Linea !

The Drive:

Fiat Linea:

Fiat is renowned for their extreme focus on driving dynamics. While other manufacturers are moving with the times by adopting technologies such as electric steering systems, Fiat has stuck with the classics to create an unadulterated driving experience. A risky move, but a move that works. The Linea is an absolute joy to drive and provides a familiar driving experience.

Skoda Rapid:

The Skoda Rapid exhibits extremely similar driving dynamics as well. Despite this however, the Fiat Linea feels like the more well balanced of the two. The Czech car maker stated that the Skoda Rapid will act as the brand’s experimental platform here in India. This means that we may be seeing an array of new variants with all new equipment inside the cabin as well as under the hood.

Round 4 Winner: Draw !

Verdict:

The Fiat Linea is an extremely well balanced car in almost every aspect. Save for the nearly ordinary exteriors, the Linea offers superb engines and beautiful interiors. With an improved service center network and updated lineup, the Italian manufacturer may soon make a sizable dent in the Indian car market.

With the huge success of the Octavia and Superb, Skoda has honestly ignored a car that could have easily become No. 1 in its segment. This time hopefully, we might see a new and improved Rapid to take on cars such as the Linea, Verna and City. With Skoda’s design finesse coupled with VolksWagen’s engineering capability, the Rapid has the potential to become an icon of the masses, similar to what the original Octavia did for the company. Until then however, Fiat Linea is the clear winner.

 

Cars, Lightning Mcqueen and Pals!!!

We’ve all been inspired, moved and thrilled by movies. Some movies have left a really deep impact on our lives while some have definitely changed our mood swings in a jiffy. We would love to talk about cars in real world,for a change how about talking cars in the reel world. It is fun, isn’t it?

We’ve all loved animated movies for umpteenth reasons at some point of our lives. A few of us however, haven’t grown over that stage (like me) and still enjoy the simplicity’s of enjoying good old animated movies. Being a hardcore car enthusiast, my motivation is driven by the Disney movie “Cars” (animated yet inspiring)

Cars movie models
Image Source: www.hdwallpapers.in

Released in the year 2006, the Pixar animation production was certain to get kids and the adults (well just by age) for a joyous ride involving thrills, turns and lastly the endearing friendship that would last for miles. The movie had captivated me from the very beginning and well, the movie buff in me wouldn’t let the joy wither away that easy.

Let’s look at the protagonist who kept us captivated from the very beginning:

LIGHTNING MCQUEEN

In a world driven by anthropomorphic characters playing various roles (big and small) the main theme of the movie is based on race cars competing against each other to claim their victory over the Piston Cup. His name got inspired after an animator and not after the Mcqueen Actor (Steve Mcqueen).

He is red, He looks Mean, Meet Lightning Mcqueen.

 Lightning Mcqueen car
Image Source: www.glogster.com

Our Protagonist, Lightning Mcqueen is a hybrid between a stock car and a curvaceous Le Mans endurance race car. He’s just the most fun loving race car that initially seems a bit snobbish (due to all the fame he gets) is on his way on the race track revving up to be the winner of the Piston Race Cup. But, An unsettling 3-way tie breaker between Strip Weathers, Chick Hicks and Lightning Mcqueen, leads towards a tie breaking race that is scheduled a week later at the animated L.A International Speedway.

The ever excited Mcqueen takes on the challenge and journeys on to the LA Speedway at California with his pal and travel partner, MACK. Adding to twists and turns (infused with some humor) sleepy Mcqueen Ends up on the road with no sign of his pal.

 Lightning Mcqueen model
Image Source: www.hebus.org

Mcqueen’s rough Journey begins at Radiator Springs. Mcqueen rips apart most of the pavement of the main road and is later imprisoned. As it turns out, nobody in radiator springs is quite aware of Mcqueen’s fame. He is just a mere prisoner. Mcqueen tries his best to escape from the “somewhat deserted town” but his attempts are unsuccessful.

As the story progresses,  Lightning Mcqueen is manifested with the subtleties of simplicity and racing ethics. He also befriends various vehicles from the town and finds his lady love on wheels.  In due course, Mcqueen Gains racing motivation form a former racing legend Hudson Hornet, the winner of 3 piston cups, completely vanishes (post an accident in 1954) from the real world and chooses to live a very secretive life.

What I really love about Mcqueen was the complete overhaul and “Ca-Ching” looks adding to his augmented fame. Mcqueen is finally traced by the outside world and is drawn back into the race circuit, but the racers heart lies in radiator springs. To support him, the entire town goes to the LA speedway circuit and Hudson hornet takes charge as Mcqueen’s manager and race coach.

THE NEW MCQUEEN:

Well, I cannot let this one go. Mcqueen’s new look is just ravishing. Mcqueen undergoes a new Paint Job, New and improved white tyres, the lightning logo, and touches of perfection. The below makeover has resemblance with the Chevrolet Corvette.

 Lightning Mcqueen car model
Image Source: artmasters.serdar-hizli-art.com

 

MEET MCQUEEN FRIENDS:

MATER THE TOW TRUCK:

Mcqueen Best friend and his Sidekick, Based on the International Harvester Boom Truck that used to lift equipments from mine shafts, Mater was given an animated life. Although, Mater was originally a Baby Blue Colored Truck, the rust all over his body implies the age and he hence proudly carries a orange-ish light brown color with a very small hint of blue. Mater is the goofy character and the life of the movie. He contributes all laughs and giggles in the movie. At times he gets a tad annoying and the next moment he wins your heart back.

Mater and Mc Queen cars movie
Mater and Mcqueen Image Source: www.goodfon.su

In the movie, Mater is seen missing his hood that he claims, he hasn’t seen over 20 years, and his left headlight that is quite loose and falls off when mater trembles, these intricate details are essential and keep the fun constant. When it comes to driving, Mater claims to be the best backwards driver in the world (which he truly is)

The name mater originates from a diehard NASCAR fan Doughlas “Mater” Keever. What’s cute is the way mater introduces himself, “My name is Mater. Like tuh-mater, but with out the tuh”

 Lightning Mcqueen cars movie
Image Source: http://hqdesktop.net/

The irony here is that Doughlas Mater keever was raised on his maternal grandparents’ tomato farm and hence the nick name (and the reference in the movie)

DOC HUDSON HORNET:

The DoC is a local physician at Radiator springs. His license plate reads 51HHMD, which refers to his year (51), His Model (Hudson Hornet) and his profession (MD) (pretty cool right?)

DOC HUDSON HORNET cars movie
Image Source: www.pixar.wikia.com

The Doc has a history of being one of the most reputed race cars during his time. He had won 3 Piston cups and was a record holder for most wins in a single season. But, a crash that had caused havoc during the last lap had left Hudson Hornet out of the tracks for good, thereby putting an end to his racing career. (ironically this story resembles that of Herb Thomas who was NASCAR’s champion during 1951 and 1953).

Prostrated by the mishap, Hudson had apparently devoted his time to study medicine. He is seen to play the role of a doctor at Radiator Springs and has a clinic where he deals with internal combustion. The town’s folks respected the doctor but, did not know about his past. He is the main reason for Lightning Mcqueen’s control over abrupt turnings and skids.

SALLY CARRERA:

Sally is a 2002 996 Series Porsche 911 Carrera (looks girly but packs up a great fight in real life)

Cars Porsche movie models
Image Source: www.porsche.com

Sally and Lightning seem to hit it off pretty well. The love bubble seems quite obvious between the two.

LUIGI

An interesting Character, Luigi is a 1959 Fiat 500, with an interesting Italian accent and a passion for supercars and tyres. Luigi owns a tyre shop at Radiator Springs.

Luigi cars movie Fiat 500
Image Source: www.pixar.wikia.com

GUIDO:

Tiny by looks, but quite fast when it comes to work. He certainly adds excitement during the final race.

GUIDO Cars movie
Image Source: www.disney.wikia.com

MACK:

Mack is a 1985 Mack Super-Liner in charge of taking Lightning Mcqueen Places. He is also Lightning’s friend and plays a small but effective role in the movie.

MACK cars movie
Image Source: www.takefiveaday.com

RAMONE:

Ramone is a 1959 Chevrolet Impala Lowrider who carries a very cool image and he seems like the easy going type.

Ramone Cars movie
Image Source: www.pixar.wikia.com

SHERIFF:

Just like any sheriff, this 1949 Mercury Club Coupe does his job quite earnestly.

SHERIFF cars movie
Image Source: www.pixar.wikia.com

FILL MORE:

A promoter of Green gas and peaceful living, the 1960 Volkswagen Bus carries out a hipster image that runs a very discrete bio fuel unit at Radiator Springs. He is the go green mascot that might make you go green too 🙂

FILL MORE Volkswagen Cars movie
Image Source: www.pixar.wikia.com

SARGE:

Sarge is tough as he sounds, a 1941 Willy’s Jeep just like the ones used by the US Military.

SARGE Jeep Cars movie
Image Source: www.wallpapersweb.com

FLO:

Flo is a 1957 Motorama Show car.

Flo Cars movie
Image Source: www.pixar.wikia.com

STRIP “THE KING” WEATHERS:

Strip “The King” weathers, carries a true sportsman spirit. He is a good contender, according to Pixar the King, is a generic 1980 stock car that shares resemblance with the GM G-Body (Buick regal or Chevy Monte Carlo)

Strip The King cars movie
Image Source: www.pixar.wikia.com

 

CHICK HICKS:

Filled with attitude under the hood and the confidence to rule the world, Chick hicks is a car design that was based on Rishard Petty’s 1970 Plymouth Superbird model. He is one tough rival that challenges and mocks Lightning Mc Queen

Chick hicks Cars movie
Image Source: www.pixar.wikia.com

LIZZIE:

Lizzie is a 1923 Ford Model T.

Apparently Lizzie was married to a steamer named Stanley who was a Radiator Cap sales man. He founded Radiator Springs.

LIZZIE Ford Cars movie
Image Source: www.pixar.wikia.com

RED:

RED is a 1960 Style Fire Truck that shared similarities with Lightning’s friend MACK.

RED Fire Truck Cars movie
Image Source: www.simplywallpaper.net

OPINION:

We can call this anyway we like — Good Movies, Comedy Movies, Top Movies, Movie Cars, Disney Cars, Cars 1, Kids Car, Film Cars, Cars movie etc. Totally it’s all about fun and teamwork. The movie was very captivating and truly inspiring. It combines the fun and seriousness of racing and brings out the valuable lesson of cruising together as friends.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evo-lution and the revolution

Let’s talk about a car which was well-known throughout the world with its performance in its class. Can you guess it? Ok, here’s the clue, the car which was featured in “Two fast, two furious” and Jackie Chan’s “Who Am I”. Yes the car which had a glorious history in the past and probably the best car that Mitsubishi felt proud of building – It’s the Mitsubishi Lancer. Lancer is a compact car produced by the Japanese manufacturer Mitsubishi Motors since 1973.

Until 1992, Lancer was developed with a linked name under it and Mitsubishi used this car only for races such WRC and Dakar rally only, but at the beginning of 1992 Mitsubishi has introduced Lancer independently. So it has around 4 decades of history embedded in it. This is the car which made Mitsubishi flag waving around all the 7 continents in the world with different names in different continents. From 1973 to 2008, over six million units had been sold throughout the world. So let’s look into the history of this car and find out the amazing stuff which made this car a master piece.

Mitsubishi Lancer review

The Path:

According to Mitsubishi motors, Lancer has total 9 generations of cars starting from 1992-2014

Mitsubishi Lancer cars varients

Image Source: pinterest.com

First generation (1992-1994):

This was the first generation car from lancer. It is powered by a 2.0 DOHC engine. This sports mechanical plate type LSD’s whereas the successive Lancer models have rear mechanical plate type LSD’s. Performance wise this is a great model as it has a top speed of 228 KMPH, but safety features like ABS, power windows and seats are absent.

Mitsubishi Lancer old model

Second Generation (1994-1995):

Introduced with enhancements such as wheelbase adjustments, front sway bar gets lighter and handling improvements. It also has the same GSR as the RS model.

Mitsubishi Lancer second generation

Third Generation (1995-1996):

Had many improvements including redesigned grill, bumper and improved air supply to radiators. It also featured new turbocharged compressors.

Mitsubishi Lancer 3rd generation cars

Fourth Generation (1996-1998):

In this generation of Lancer it received major exterior and as well as interior changes. The same RS and GSR models were continued in which the RS model was given a limited-slip front differential and a friction type LSD at the rear and GSX seats. The active yaw control first appeared in this generation GSR model as an option. Both GSR and RS models get a new twin scroll turbocharger and fog light enhancements.  The design aspects resulted in better performance.

Mitsubishi Lancer 4th generation cars

Fifth Generation (1998-1999):

In this generation the Mitsubishi Lancer received improvements such as interior upgrades and new body kits which made it even more sporty!

Mitsubishi Lancer 5th generation cars

Sixth generation (1999 -2001):

This generation of Mitsubishi Lancer received upgrades such as Larger inter-cooling apparatus & new pistons were introduced in the car. New body works with new bumper enhancements were introduced. A new model called RS2 was introduced in GSR and RS platforms. In 1999 a special edition called the Tommi Mäkinen Edition was launched. It was named after the legendary sports car rally driver Tommi Mäkinen and it won WRC rally championship for that year.

Mitsubishi Lancer 6th generation cars

Seventh Generation (2001-2003):

In this generation Mitsubishi Lancer cars major changes were applied on the car Chassis and Drive Trans. Automatic Drive Tran and Chassis Tweaks were introduced in to the car. A new model GT-A (gentlemen express edition) was added in the Line-up excluding GSR, RS, and RS-2. This model was introduced and discontinued in the same year 2002 and did not appear in any generations after the 7th generation. But the same GT-A gear box was used in the 9th generation model. The major enhancements include spoiler enhancements, light improvements, deluxe interior and exterior specs are introduced. After 4th generation this model is the total improved one.

Mitsubishi Lancer 7th generation cars

Eighth Generation (2003-2005):

In this generation 6 speed manual gear box was introduced along with the 5 speed manual, super active yaw control was also introduced. In this generation another two variants were introduced along with GSR and RS, those models are MR RS and MR GSR. The GSR and RS were having the 5-speed gear box and while the new MR GSR and MR RS were having 6-speed gear box. Enkei wheels, Brembo Brakes and Bilstein shocks were introduced to enhance the performance aspects of the car. It is one of the most successful models in the whole Mitsubishi Lancer series and is taught to be one of the first lancer car introduced in US and gained huge popularity.

Mitsubishi Lancer 8th generation cars

Ninth Generation (2005-2007):

This generation was first exhibited in Geneva Motor Showto market it in both Japan and Europe. In this along with those 4 variants 2 other variants were introduced GT and MR Tuned by RALLIART.  The MR Tuned by RALLIART was based on Tommi Mäkinen Edition which was released during 1999. The GT version is a blend of both RS and some aspects of GSR model with a revised 5 gear box. This generation was also introduced in U.K with the names FQ-300, 320, 340, FQ-360 and MR FQ-360. Along with UK the car was introduced in Philippines too. So with this generation Mitsubishi Lancer gained Europe and as well as some parts of Asian markets too.

Mitsubishi Lancer 9th generation cars

Tenth Generation (2007-Present):

This is the present generation of Mitsubishi Lancer cars and this generation begins in 2007 and continuing until now with the new Lancer Evolution. As previous generations faced tremendous success, this generation Lancer cars concentrates on reaching worldwide production. Hence it released the tenth generation model all over the world starting with Asiatic countries such as Japan, China, India, Philippines, Malaysia and Europe and as well as United States, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. Mitsubishi Lancer faced a great success with this generation of cars.

This generation has two cars which are very popular in the lancer series.

  • Mitsubishi Racing Lancer: MRX09 is a racing variant from the lancer series. It is a cross country rally car for Dakar rally.
  • Mitsubishi lancer EVOLUTION: This is the present 2014 model and look more in detail about this car now to find some interesting aspects about the car. Through this Mitsubishi wants to compete against the new bees and want’s to gain the lost glory through this.

Mitsubishi Lancer 2014Generation of Lancer (Image Source): wikipedia.org

Review: Styling

Exterior:

The exterior of this car looks amazing and the body of the car looks very aggressive, and thanks to its muscular body line. Mitsubishi states that “This body is a mix match of all lancers which were released from the beginning”, so this car is carrying the legacy of lancer design. The best thing when it comes to the exterior of this car is the bumper. If we observe the lancer history, bumpers always get major changes. They are getting stronger and act as a signature element of the Mitsubishi Lancer. The 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer also have same two variants as always : The MR and GSR. These are some differences in between these two models.

Mitsubishi Lancer 2014 Exterior specs

Mitsubishi Lancer 2014 exterior

Interior:

This is one of the very few cars people buy almost exclusively for the performance that the car produces rather than the luxury. But this model has the luxury item too. In terms of interiors, the car looks very neat and clean. In its range it offers some great interior features such as Sportive Recaro Seating, Three spoke steering wheel with audio, cruise and central controlling systems embedded on it. The biggest difference when we compare the interiors of GSR and MR models is the narrow central console and leather fittings as MR gets a premium aluminum and leather-trimmed. Both of these models gets the same interior features such as Cruise Control, Power windows and side mirrors, Color LCD multi-information display, Automatic climate control, 6.1 inch touch screen audio display. But the GSR model gets something more such as the Powerful audio system, Sports Fabric Interior, Sirius XM Satellite Radio, Remote keyless entry, Glossy back trim, FUSE Hands-free Link System with USB port etc.

Mitsubishi Lancer 2014 interior

Review: Engine and performance

This car (both GSR and RS) is powered by 2.0-liter Turbocharged 16-valve I-4 with DOHC and MIVEC which generates peak torque range up to 300 @ 4000 RPM and the horsepower generates up to 291. The engines are same in both GSR and RS model, the major difference between them is GSR has 6-speed gear box while RS has 5-speed gear box. The top speeds of both are same and ranges at 146mph and while GSR model can reach 0-60 at 4.5secs, for RS it was 4.9secs. The fuel economy for GSR model is 17 in city and 23 in highway, while for RS model 17 in city and 22 in highway.

Mitsubishi Lancer 2014 engine

Image Source: motortrend.com

Review: Safety

Wide range of safety features such as Electronic engine immobilizer, Child safety locks, shock protection body, Active stability and traction control, Anti-theft security alarm, 7 airbags, Sportive ABS+EBD, trunk entrapment release handle, Brembo braking system and it has 5 star rated ancap rating.

Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • Aggressive body looks.
  • Speed and Handling around corners
  • Smart interiors
  • High performance

Cons:

  • Need some extra horse power
  • Maintenance. ( Lancer’s major drawback)

Rivalry:

A car with a glorious history also has some big fat rivals too.Taking into account the pricing, performance and luxury Mitsubishi Lancer competes with :

  • BMW 135i.
  • Subaru WRX STi.
  • Mazda 3 sedan.
  • Subaru impreza.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Commercial:

Bottom-Line:

This car has a glorious history and is considered as one of the finest performer ever. This car has all the features including good interiors, aggressive exteriors, and is one of the most successful compact sedans in the market. If you have enough money this car would be a great choice .This car has always been the darling car enthusiasts, car racers, ralliart champions and anyone who love to customize their car with a wide range of new accessories. Lancer Evolution has made Revolution in the automobile world!

Face Off: Nissan Micra vs Renault Pulse

The Renault Nissan Alliance has given birth to a vast array of cars for the Indian market. With an impressive (and almost identical) lineup of cars from both sides, one can be forgiven for his indecisiveness in choosing between the two brands. We take a look at the Nissan Micra and Renault Pulse to see which car is the better bet.

Design:

Nissan Micra:

The Micra was never the most appealing hatch in the Indian market. Its cute-sy design failed to impress and with cars such as the Fluidic i20 and Volkswagen Polo entering the market, the Micra was in need for a major revamp. That revamp came in the form of a makeover last year to improve its image among buyers.

blue 2013 nissan micra
The Nissan Micra Facelift Improves The Aesthetics of the Rather Uninspiring Predecessor

Although the latest facelift does improve the Micra’s looks, the car’s proportions still look out of place. However, with its aggressively styled headlamps and revamped rear end, the new Micra is a drastic improvement over the previous gen model. The Nissan hatch also comes with a new chrome grille and LED taillights that build on the car’s premium appeal.

white 2013 nissan micra rear
Rear View of the Nissan Micra

Renault Pulse:

Unlike Nissan, the French car maker has retained the original design of the hatchback. However, with subtle structural changes such as the re-sizing of the grille, altered contours and its large Renault badge, Renault has endowed the Pulse with a more masculine character.

Renault pulse review
The Pulse’s Altered Dimensions Add a Bit of Masculinity To The Hatch’s Appearance

However, with its dated design, the Pulse loses out to the more recent Micra facelift.

red renault pulse
The Pulse Is Quite Dated In Terms of Design and Equipment

Round 1 Winner: Nissan Micra !

Interior:

Nissan Micra:

Much of the new Micra’s facelift manifests itself with its interiors. The piano black center console and Nissan’s dual display system are the two most eye catching design elements of the Micra’s cabin. While the larger display is used by the infotainment system, the secondary screen displays the AC settings.

nissan micra interior
The Interiors of the Nissan Micra Facelift Look Far Better and More Upmarket Than the Pulse’s

The cabin is far more upmarket with updated plastics and aluminum finishes all over.

Renault Pulse:

The Pulse’s interiors are relatively rather dull and drab. The company’s choice of colors of beige and grey all over makes the Pulse’s cabin look quite cheap. The choice of plastics and fabric are not up to the mark as well.

nissan micra interior
The Interiors of the Nissan Micra Facelift Look Far Better and More Upmarket Than the Pulse’s

Since the Pulse and Micra share the same platform, the interiors of the Renault hatch are almost identical to the first generation Micra.

Round 2 Winner: Nissan Micra !

Engine:

Nissan Micra:

The Micra is powered by both petrol and diesel engines. The petrol variant make use of a 1.2 L three cylinder engine that produces 76 HP at 6000 RPM and 104 Nm of torque @ 4000 RPM. Although the 1.2 L petrol unit produces a respectable amount of power, the engine could do with some remapping for better accessibility of peak power and torque. Power is sent to the front wheels via a 5 speed manual with a CVT gearbox also available.

The diesel engine is a 1.5 DCi unit that produces 65 HP @ 4000 RPM and a peak torque of 160 Nm @ 2000 RPM. The diesel Micra is equipped with a 5 speed manual only.

Renault Pulse:

The Pulse uses the very same engines except for slight changes to the performance numbers. The 1.2 L petrol mill produces 74 HP @6000 RPM and 104 Nm of torque at 4000 RPM. The 1.5 L diesel mill outputs a peak power figure of 63 HP at 4000 RPM and 160 Nm of torque at 2000 RPM.

Although the Pulse produces slightly lesser numbers, the difference in power is almost negligible with no tangible differences in top speeds or acceleration rates.

Round 3 Winner: Draw !

The Drive:

Nissan Micra:

One major issue with any Nissan developed car is the stiff clutch. Although the clutch pedal and clutch movement feels sturdy, the Japanese automaker could have added a lighter movement to allow ease of use under heavy traffic conditions. The Nissan Micra’s compact structure means that the 1.2 L petrol is relatively quite powerful and the Micra that works well under heavy stress.

The inclusion of ABS across a majority of the models and the choice of two or four air bags means the Micra is also one of the safest hatches as well.

Renault Pulse:

The Pulse, although identical to the Micra improves on the Nissan hatchback’s driving dynamics. The clutch pedal had just enough pressure to not be a nuisance in city traffic but offered enough feel for accurate clutch movements. The engine was extremely responsive and just as much fun as the Micra. However, the brakes left much to be desired. The Spongy and vague feel greatly depreciates driver confidence.

Unlike the Micra, the Pulse slightly skimps on safety features such as ABS and airbags along a number of variants. Hopefully the French automaker will understand that safety is the need of the hour and introduce a better set of options in the Pulse’s next iteration.

Round 4 Winner: Nissan Micra !

Verdict:

Although both cars are almost identical, the results speak for themselves. The Nissan Micra is a newer offering that adds better safety options across a larger number of variants and its updated interiors are far more appealing than the Pulse’s dated beige cabin. The inclusion of an automatic gearbox also means that the Nissan Micra is an option to an increasingly automatic inclined audience.

Image Source: Internet

2014 Ford Fiesta: First Impressions

American auto giant Ford recently released the next gen Fiesta also called as 2014 Ford Fiesta for the Indian market. First unveiled back in 1999 as the Ikon, the Ford sedan fast became one of the biggest success stories of the Indian automotive industry and cemented the American automaker’s reputation here in India.

Although the Ikon was an impressive car to drive, stricter emission norms led to Ford discontinuing the product, to introduce a more fuel efficient and budget friendly model in the form of the Fiesta. Although the sedan’s successive iterations did not make as big an impact as the original Ikon, the Fiesta was praised for its impeccable driving dynamics and value for money. Ford has now released the next generation Fiesta, now fully loaded to compete with the likes of the Hyundai Verna and Honda City.

2014 Ford Fiesta Facelift
The 2014 Ford Fiesta

Exterior:

Many criticized the outgoing model for its overly stylized headlamps and disproportionate body. This time however, Ford has drastically improved in the design segment. While keeping the large, swept back headlamps, the Fiesta now sports the hexagonal split grille first seen on the Ford EcoSport adding a touch of class to the car. The power lines running along the bonnet and angular styling of the front bumper add to the Fiesta’s sporty charm that was lacking in previous models. The pushed back fog lamp cluster design and flared wheel arches make the front end of the Ford a looker from any angle.

2014 Ford Fiesta Facelift front
Ford’s Kinetic Design 2.0 Endows The Fiesta With An Aggressive Front Profile

Sadly the rear leaves much to be improved upon. While the front end of the sedan is all sharp creases and angles, the rear makes use of blunt curves and rounded edges. The radical transition from the front end’s design methodology does leave a lackluster impression of the back. Although the Fiesta makes use of stylish elements such the raised boot lip and chrome lined lower bumper, the overall design is quite unsatisfactory if the Fiesta seeks to take on segment leaders City and Verna.

2014 Ford Fiesta Facelift rear
Rear View of the 2014 Fiesta Facelift

Interior:

The cabin layout has been carried over from the previous generation Fiesta. However, the 2014 Facelift makes use of better quality materials to improve the upmarket appeal of the sedan. The futuristic center console is now sports a gloss black finish that further improves on the aesthetic appeal of the interiors. The three spoke steering wheel comes with steering mounted controls for the infotainment system. One of the Fiesta’s major selling points is the manufacturer’s AppLink system that adds Voice Control to the list of options. Although Voice Recognition systems of the past did not seem to favor Indian accents all too much, the new system has been claimed to work seamlessly with almost any accent.

The AppLink system also promotes developers to create apps for the Ford Fiesta. The American car maker officially promotes the development of apps for the car’s system. This means that over the course of the next few years, AppLink will have its own ecosystem of apps not unlike that of Android or iOS. Although possibilities are quite limited right now, with the inclusion of a larger screen with more options, we can certainly hope to see an advanced Ford EcoSystem complete with a multitude of apps created by indie developers.

2014 Ford Fiesta Facelift push start
The New Fiesta Seeks To Provide a Far More Handsfree Experience With Features Such as AppLink, Voive Control and Keyless Entry and Go

As with the EcoSport, the Fiesta comes with an boundless number of cubby holes and bottle holders to keep any miscellaneous items. The cabin offers ample space, both at the front as well as the back. Knee room and leg room are more than sufficient to seat four adults and one child. The American car maker has also improved the noise and vibration levels to keep the cabin as insulated as possible. However, the choice of colours for the seats could have been a tad bit better.

2014 Ford Fiesta Facelift interiors
Interiors of the 2014 Fiesta

The blue backlit instrument cluster is large and uncluttered and offers good visibility, engine temperature, outside temperature and trip meters are all integrated into one digital console located between the speedometer and rev counter.

2014 Ford Fiesta Facelift instrument cluster
Instrument Cluster of the New Fiesta

Engine:

The 2014 Fiesta Face-lift will only be offered with a diesel engine. With the ever increasing fuel prices, the dropping of the petrol engine does make sense; However the Fiesta is now left inaccessible to an audience that enjoys the pleasure of driving. Hopefully we may see the company’s critically acclaimed 1.0 L EcoBoost engine on its way later in the Fiesta’s lifetime.

The traditional 1.5 L TDCi engine puts out 90 HP and 203 Nm of torque. Although these may be segment leading numbers, the power is more than ample and allows the Fiesta to achieve a mileage of 25.01 km/L.

The Drive:

The Ford nameplate ensures a well rounded driving dynamic and the Fiesta is no exception. Although the engine is a bit down on power, steering is accurate and clutch pedal is easy to use. However, the design of the rear wind shield has not been made with too much thought and reversing may be a hassle as it provides low visibility.

2014 Ford Fiesta Facelift  rear prodile
The Rear Does Not Offer Optimal Visibility

Despite this however, a Ford Fiesta will always be a good buy regardless of how little features it packs solely for its unbeatable driving dynamics. Although the Honda City may have similar characteristics, the Fiesta packs more for less. And that will be the sedan’s true selling point.

2014 Ford Fiesta Facelift headlights
Although the New Styling Does Look Good, The Unstable Design Philosophy May Not Age Well

Image Source: Ford India

RE Thunderbird 350 -Truly Royal !

Going Down Memory Lane A Bit:

I don’t remember a lot from my childhood but I do remember one little thing my father told me this one rainy afternoon. We were standing at this store and I saw this massive, majestic machine standing there in the distance, little rain drops were trickling down its elegant metal body as it stood there in one corner in dead silence. It had a different sense of attraction to it.  My father seeing my interest quietly leaned down and said in my ear – “Beta, two things never go out of style, a neatly trimmed mustache and a Royal Enfield. One I have, the other’s for you to buy”. 15 years and 8 girlfriends later I still can’t just not get attracted to a Royal Enfield Motorcycle or famously called as bullet motorcycle. The sheer thud it produces has this sense of masculinity that is incomparable.

RE Thunderbird 350 ownership review

A British manufacturer actually, Royal Enfield motorcycle has been one of the greats in the Indian motorcycle market. The company was called as Enfield India earlier. The Production unit is in Madras (Currently Chennai). Bullet Motorcycle or Bullet Royal was everywhere in the 80’s. From the Doodhwala(Milk Seller) who used to hang his cans on either side of the motorcycle to the big mustached uncle who you always were too scared of, the Policeman who caught the thief that night to the neighbor who had been serving in the Indian Army throughout his glorified carrier, everyone had a Royal Enfield. The history of Royal Enfield’s Motorcycle has been a long and unparalleled one. The Thunderbird wasn’t always there though, until in 2000 when Royal Enfield brought this marvel of a cruiser in the Indian market, the first of its kind. It had a great response and has been a people’s favorite since then.

The Thunderbird 350 (2014 Edition):

Cruisers are an evergreen symbol of style, responsibility and sheer power. Everyone wants a piece of the action these days but generally it’s tough to get a hold of those V-Twin engine Harley Davidson for the average Indian. Royal Enfield had long back fulfilled this gap between the common man and his desires with the almost affordable 500 cc. Thunderbird at the beginning of the new millennium. In 2013 it came up with a tuned down and highly anticipated smaller brother to the legacy, the Twinspark Thunderbird 350. It had a 350 cc. engine (well the name pretty much ends the suspense) and produces roundabout 19.8 Bhp of pure power. It wasn’t that loved by the R.E enthusiasts because of some engine enhancements that made them feel a lack in its purity. But it did manage to bring in a whole array of new buyers who were new to the whole idea of cruisers.

And now in 2014, Royal Enfield has come up with a slightly upgraded version of the 350 cc. monster, and it looks better than ever.

The 2014 Thunderbird Royal 350 comes with a similar carbureted 350 cc Single cylinder engine that produces 19.8 Bhp and 28 Nm and looks pretty good for the price it comes at – Rs 1,49,000 (Ex- showroom Kolkata).  Enfield prices are very competitive comparing with other motorcycles. It sports a projector headlight which by far is the best feature of this motorcycle that I have come across personally. Also the hazard lights seemed like a smart addition to the motorcycle. The five bar LED tail light in the back also does its job more than just well. The Chrome finish dual meters were also a looker which included analog RPM and Speedometer along with a pretty handy digital meter with some quirky features like a clock and average speed. The 20 litre Teardrop tank and the Chrome finish exhaust outlet also add a sense of class to the motorcycle. It comes in three colors for now – Stone, Lightning and Marine.

Its five speed gear box has high ratios so that it consumes lesser fuel in traffic within the city going upto 35 kmpl in the city and 43 on the highway. The higher ratios also come in handy during highway riding which makes riding the motorcycle feel like a breeze. Even though it hums like a lunatic, still the motorcycle doesn’t vibrate much and the engine doesn’t feel like it’s being put stress on. It isn’t as powerful as it’s 500 cc Fuel Injected older sibling but it has a great feel to it. Riding at speeds near about 70kmph gives you a feel of relaxation but it can go well upto almost 125kmph if you push the throttle further enough. The whole body looks elegant and even though it doesn’t have the same humming to it like the earlier ones, it sure looks like a motorcycle worth its value. The braking has been improved with the inclusion of a rear disc break in comparison to the older drum brakes it used to come with.

Why Buy A 2014 Thunderbird 350?

 Simple, because you want to 🙂  A Thunderbird dawns the elegant classic cruiser look which you’ve been attracted to since when you first looked at it. It literally beckons you to own it, ride it. The ride itself is worth buying it. The feeling you get while riding it is something that can’t be explained. While riding you feel a sense of responsibility and maturity that you don’t remember feeling a lot of times in your life. The comfortable ergonomics of the bike make it an instant favorite among riders everywhere. Plus you haven’t ever had such a smooth and balanced ride ever in a motorcycle that weighs near about 190 kilograms, unless you own Harley Davidson or custom choppers in which case you haven’t probably have read up until now. Simply put, it is the motorcycle that turns the boy inside of you into a man, in a good sense though. It’s not like you want this motorcycle, it’s rather more like you need it. Royal Enfield Accessories are widely available in the market. The bike is available in global markets as Royal Enfield USA and Royal Enfield UK.

Bottom Line:

I bought myself one last month and I am pretty happy with its performance yet. Haven’t faced any problems yet except some noise coming from the tappet, which also seemed to be the problem among a lot of other R.E owners I met at the showroom. Personally I also felt that the front telescopic suspensions could be a bit better since it sometimes leads to maneuvering problems during traffic congestion.

But otherwise it has been a great experience thus far and I feel it’s going to stay that way like it always has been through its long history of success. A Truly Royal motorbike!