Drifting as a sport in INDIA ?? Really?

Before we start, lets recollect the conversation between Sean and Twinkie (Tokyo Drift) when Twinkie accompanies Sean to the floor where Sean is supposed to race Takashi . Here is how it goes-

Sean: Can he drive?
Twinkie: Can he drive? You know what DK stands for?
Sean: Donkey Kong?
Twinkie: Drift King.
Sean: Drift? What do you mean drift?
[Cars drift in front of Sean]
Twinkie: Still need a dictionary?

Remember Sean’s reaction after watching the 2 cars moving sideways?? Well that was the reaction which even we had on our face after looking at those cars. Until Fast and the Furious Tokyo Drift, all that happened in the F&F movies was racing fast cars, robberies, cop evasion, turf wars. With Tokyo Drift things changed(however next F&F movie again had the former ingredients). This movie was not about fast cars, it wasn’t about any 9 sec car now, no cops, no car showoff.

It introduced us to the world of Drifting. Now many people believe that Tokyo Drift led to the origin of Drifting. Well, the fact is that the exact origin is not known but it said to have Japanese roots; the same place where the movie was based. Drifting is an art which was the result of creativity of Mr Kunimitsu Takahashi. (Bow down to you Sir) The first time he drifted was on a motorcycle and he undoubtedly is called the Father of Drifting. He was known for using his drifting skills in non-drifting racing events. Further development in Drifting were led by Mr Keiichi Tsuchiya (Drift King)(Much respect to you Sir).

Mr Keiichi Tsuchiya A.K.A Drift King
Mr Keiichi Tsuchiya A.K.A Drift King

He became interested in Kunimitsu Takahashi’s drifting techniques and himself started practising it and in no time he had mastered them . He used to drift on the Japanese mountains and soon became famous for it . Well there is a lot more to drifting and its roots and its development till the present date. However our interest lies in the actual art itself rather than its history right ? :P. So lets get started.

Drifting

Drifting is a technique or more precisely – An Art of driving your car sideways while taking down corners .Suppose you are on curvy road in the mountains or on a road where you don’t expect much traffic or say its empty all the time. And you see a corner coming your way. You have 2 choices then . Either you could slow down on the corner, shift a gear down (if required ) and then drive at an optimum speed where your rear tires won’t start sliding sideways or rather you can just DRIFT! If you decide to go with the 2nd choice, you would pull the handbrakes or E-Brake(well not in India atleast :P), shift down the gear and then go optimum on the gas to keep your car’s rear running shoes spinning and at the same time counter steer the sliding so as to take down the corner in a badass way ;). Sounds amazing right??

Over the years drifting has gained much popularity just like other forms of Motorsports racing. Various competitions and events have been taking place to promote the sport. General types of racing events decide the winner based on the fastest time or the finishing position in the race. Ever wondered how winners are decided in a drifting event. There are many factors that are considered while deciding the winner. These include – the line, angle of drifting, showmanship and speed.

Line- It is the race line on the track which the drivers are supposed to follow to score more points. These are decided by the judges before the race.

Angle- Angle is the angle which the car makes with the track while drifting. Basically it’s the angle to which the front wheels are turned while drifting which ultimately decides the turning angle of the car.

Showmanship – It consists of many other factors such as – the amount of smoke, the distance between the car and the wall(if present on the corners) and the crowds reaction.

Speed- It is the speed at which the car enters the corner and speed at which drifts and most importantly the speed at which it exits the corner. Faster speeds get more points.

Instead of circuit racing events which take place on the entire racing track, drifting events take place on considerably smaller circuits. Generally they tweak these circuits to smaller ones or race on other smaller circuits. Racers enter the track turn by turn and take laps. Scoring is done on some parts of the track on. Generally these are the turns that have clear view from the judges and audience. Other parts of the track are not scored. Those parts are generally for the drivers to get their cars to to the optimum temperature and also to warm up their tyres for increased traction. Cars that can drift are generally RWD (Rear Wheel Drive) and some times AWD (All Wheel Drive) changed to RWD. The top favourites include –Nissan Silvia, Toyota Levin, Nissan Skyline, Toyota Supra (2JZ) and god mode drifter Toyota AE86 also known as “Hachi Roku” and used by Drift King. 😉

Drift King's ride - AE86 AKA Hachi Roku in action
Drift King’s ride – AE86 AKA Hachi Roku in action

If you noticed (in case you did not; google it :P) among’st the above cars there are no FWD because they are not used for drifting or just say they don’t drift. This is sad for us because FWD can’t drift and in India buying a RWD is way too heavy for your pockets. Also incase if the RWD did not cost a bomb, in India where Motorsports is not promoted and as much as it should be and is being celebrated around the world, promotion of Drifting as a sport seems almost like an impossible dream. Because in India , even straight line racing is yet to be evolved ( 😛 ) , going sideways will have to wait a bit longer.

But nevertheless, among’st all this some Indian guy promoting drifting would seem like a joke right? But its true. To believe it better Google about Mr Gautam Hari Singhania- Chairman and Managing Director of the Raymond group A.K.A Indian Businessman Tycoon cum Hardcore Petrol-head who has pursued his hobby in the truest and meanest sense. Realizing that there is a mass of people in the country who share a common interest with him, he has been humble enough to give a chance to people like us to witness it and live it.

He has been successful to set two events in every(probably) India petrol-head’s calendar. In January when the year starts he organizes a super car rally known as SCC of India – a Super car club of India which unites the super car owners around the country to a one of its kind car meet where people like us get a chance to hear these beauties ( super cars) in action . And in November end / December he organizes a drifting event in Mumbai – Maharashtra at his company backyard where he has set up his own drifting circuit. You all must be wondering ; how far can a Petrol-head person go in pursuit of his hobbies that he himself gets a PERSONAL racing track . To add to this craziness , he owns a fleet of Japanese Imports (The Japanese have been dominating the Drifting scene in the world from the start itself) – BMW e46 with the Corvette engine, Nissan Silvia S13, Nissan 240SX Nissan R33 Skyline, Honda S2000. You attend the event and you’ll not return disappointed.

He makes sure he takes lap in all the above beasts . No entry fee for the event and drinks are on him ( His own branded KS Energy drink 😛 ) . All this is what he does for himself. What he does for the sport then ? Well, he keeps the event open for people like us who do not own a RWD nor do we have our own backyard racing track 😛 . Mostly FWD cars participate in this 2 day event wherein the first day only participants are allowed on the track with no spectators. It is the practice day and the second day is the event day which in which cars like Honda Civic, Honda City, Maruti Suzuki Swift,Zen, Mitsubishi Lancer and more FWD. With people like him promoting motor sports in India, we hope that the motor sports scene in India gets a boost and it gets its recognition . Do check out the videos below –

HOW FUEL EFFICIENT IS YOUR CAR?

Most of us dream of owning super-cars and driving them around places. The trouble however, begins when the fuel runs out faster than the speed of the car and you might miss the old fuel efficient car that gave you the feeling of being a budget price 😉

Let’s cruise through reality and take a look at some of the most fuel efficient cars India has to offer ( at-least, you can gladly NOT spend all your salary on just fuel)

10)  TOYOTA ETIOS LIVA (DIESEL)

Considering the current Diesel Price hike in India, Rating in at number 10 on the list of fuel efficient cars -the Toyota Etios Liva (diesel) which gets its 68PS power @ 3800 RPM, from a 1363 cc, 1.3 Liter diesel engine that produces 170 Nm Torque. Toyota has certainly given the ETIOS a diesel saving mantra; the Etios Liva (D) gives you a 20.32 kmpl mileage in the city and a 23.59 kmpl mileage on the highway. Etios LIVA (D) is available in diesel variants such as Liva JD, Liva GD, Liva SP, Liva VD and Liva TRD Sportivo.

Fuel efficient cars - Etios Liva
Image Source: www.cardekho.com

PRICE:

As on 31st July 2014, the Etios Liva comes with a price tag of Rs. 4.40 lakh- 6.91 Lakh.

 

9) HYUNDAI GRAND I 10 (DIESEL)

With better mileage, comes another competitor.

Joining in the mileage war comes the Hyundai Grand I 10 Diesel that has the same 1.1 liter (3 cylinder) diesel engine mated to it, produces 72 PS power and 184 Nm torque.  The Grand i10 comes in 5 diesel variants such as CRDi Era (1120 cc Diesel), CRDi Magna (1120 cc Diesel) CRDi Sportz (1120 cc Diesel), CRDi Asta (1120 cc Diesel) and the CRDi Asta Option (1120 cc Diesel)

The Hyundai hatchback offers a smooth 24 kmpl mileage that puts more smiles on Indian roads and hence it can be considered as a real good fit among fuel efficient cars in India.

Fuel efficient cars - Hyundai Grand i10
Image Source: www.ibnlive.in.com

PRICE:

The Grand i10 ranges from Rs. 5.32 lakhs to Rs. 6.47 Lakhs.

 

8) HYUNDAI XCENT (DIESEL)

Based completely on the Grand I 10, the Hyundai Xcent is just the elongated version (well with a different look) of the i10, the Xcent is a recent sedan addition to the Hyundai family and also a favorite among fuel efficient cars. It is powered by the same 1.1 liter engine which discharges 72 PS power and produces 184 Nm torque. The Xcent is classy by looks and with an ARAI rating, boasts a great mileage of 24.4 kmpl. (Not bad eh??)

The diesel versions available are; 1.1 CRDi Base (1120 cc), CRDi S (1120 cc) , 1.1 CRDi S option (1120 cc), 1.1 CRDi SX (1120 cc) and 1.1 DRSi SX Option (1120 cc)

Fuel efficient cars - Hyundai Xcent
Image Source: www.autoportal.com

PRICE:

The Hyundai Xcent ranges from Rs.  5.64 Lakhs to 7.49 Lakhs.

 

7)  TATA NANO

If you are a price conscious, the Tata Nano is a good buy & also a fine one among fuel efficient cars. The 624 cc twin cylinder engine provides the driver an economical 25 kmpl (rated by ARAI) the missing power steering might be a bummer (but well considering the price you pay for the car you wouldn’t drive unsatisfied)

Most fuel efficient cars - Tata Nano
Image Source: www.motorbash.com

PRICE:

The Tata Nano is priced between Rs.2.00 lakhs and 2.5 lakhs.

 

6) TATA INDICA CR- 4

Yet another TATA motors offering in line with the fuel efficient cars in India. The TATA Indica CR4 is powered by a 1396 cc CR4 diesel engine that produces 140 Nm torque that produces 70 PS power too. Not a bad car to consider if you are mileage conscious. The Indica CR4 delivers a 25 kmpl mileage. The car is available in versions such as the DLS BSIII (1405 cc Diesel that provides 17.88 kmpl) the eV2 eLS (1396 cc diesel, 25 kmpl), the DLX BSIII (1405 cc Diesel provides 17.88 kmpl) and the eV2 eLX (1396 cc Diesel, 25 kmpl)

Fuel efficient cars in India - Tata Indica CR-4
Image Source: www.indiandrives.com

PRICE:

The Indica V2 Cr-4 is priced between Rs. 4.05 lakhs to Rs. 4.72 Lakhs.

 

5) FORD FIESTA (FACE LIFT)

Sure you can afford a ford & yeah it is one of the most stylish fuel efficient cars.

The all new 2014 Ford Fiesta Face Lift that was launched in 2014 is a proud Ford offering that accentuated a 25.01 kmpl mileage.  Being offered only in a diesel version, the 1.5 liter diesel engine would produce 89 BHP @ 204 Nm torque. The diesel versions, available are Ambiente (basic), Style, and the Titanim + version.

Fuel efficient cars in India - Ford Fiesta
Image Source: www.autocarindia.com

PRICE:

The price of the Ford Fiesta would range between Rs. 7.59 lakh and Rs. 9.29 Lakh.

 

4) TATA NANO TWIST (PETROL)

TATA NANO comes with TWIST; this new version comes with a 624 cc Engine with a 4 speed manual transmission. The twist lies in the F-Tronic that has a 5 – speed automated manual transmission (AMT) that makes it quite a fuel efficient car. Mated with a 0.6 litre 37.4 BHP 4V Petrol Engine that produces a torque of 51 Nm. The mileage produced is 22.2 kmpl (city) and the highway mileage of 25.4 kmpl.

Indian fuel efficient cars - Tata Nano Twist
Image Source: www.ibnlive.in.com

PRICE:

The Nano Twist costs Rs. 2.32 Lakhs only.

 

3) CHEVROLET BEAT (DIESEL)

Mated with a 936 cc three cylinder Diesel engine, Beat is the best among fuel efficient cars from Chevrolet that is supposedly a fuel efficient car that provides a 25.11 kmpl mileage.  Built in with 58.5 PS power and an ability to produce 150 Nm torque, the new Beat is a small compact mileage car for Indians. The Beat is available in various variants such as, Diesel PS (936 cc, 25.44 Kmpl), Diesel LS (936 cc 22.5- 25.44 Kmpl), Beat Diesel LT (936 cc, 22.5-25.44 Kmpl), Diesel Manchester UK Edition and the Diesel LT Option variants.

Most fuel efficient cars - Chevy Beat
Image Source: www.techthebest.com

PRICE:

The Chevrolet Beat (Diesel) ranges from Rs. 4.86 lakhsRs. 6.04 Lakhs.

 

2) HONDA AMAZE (DIESEL)

Honda is all paced up to give India a fuel friendly solution. Honda has superseded other rivals with the most fuel efficient cars.

Rating at number 2 is the Honda Amaze (DIESEL) that rates in at 25.8 kmpl (ARAI rating) mileage. Being the first Honda Diesel car introduced to India, the 1.5 Liter i-DTEC engine, the Amaze looks like the extended version of Brio.

The Amaze Diesel comes in different Variants such as; Honda Amaze E I DTEC (1498 cc, 25.8 kmpl), Amaze EX I DTEC (1498 cc, 25.8 kmpl), Amaze SX I DTEC (1498 cc, 25.8 kmpl), Amaze VX I DTEC (1498 cc, 25.8 kmpl) and the Anniversary Edition (1498 cc, 25.8 kmpl)

Most fuel efficient cars - Honda Amaze
Image Source: www.cardekho.com

PRICE:

The Diesel variants are priced between Rs. 6.13 LakhsRs. 8. 21 Lakhs.

 

1. HONDA CITY (DIESEL)

Regarded the best sedan offering from Honda, the City (diesel) 2014 has won the Mileage war taking the lead with 26 Kmpl. Apart from the classy look and an I DTec Engine, the City is the talk of the City & can be the best one among fuel efficient cars. The powerful engine produces 98.6 BHP @ 3600 RPM.

Available in versions such as; i DTec E (1498 cc with 23-26 kmpl), i DTec S ( 1498 cc with 23-26 kmpl), I DTec SV ( 1498 cc with 23-26 kmpl), I DTec V ( 1498 cc with 23-26 kmpl) and the i DTec VX ( 1498 cc with 22-25.1 kmpl)

Best fuel efficient cars - Honda city
Image Source: www.rediff.com

PRICE:

The Honda City 2014 is priced between Rs. 8.52 Lakhs –Rs.  11.25 lakhs.

BOTTOM LINE:

After enlisting the top mileage cars, the Honda City Diesel has been awarded the best fuel efficient car in India. The newly launched Toyota Corolla has the same engine as the Honda City; the mileage war is going to keep major car manufacturers always on the mileage run. Let’s hope India gets more Fuel Efficient cars.

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

Lamborghini Huracan – HURRICANE ON THE ROADS!

Lamborghini is probably the first  “L” word that comes out of super car lovers (me included) when asked about their favorite super car brand.  I am pretty sure many hearts must have been broken post the “Delhi Valet Parking incident”

The respectable brand that is owned by Audi is known for its legendary super cars. We might have had the chance to drive one of these cars in a game and yes definitely in our dream. Some of us might have heard a Lamborghini roar away to glory and a few of us might have even had a chance to sit behind the wheels and take this mighty bull for a spin.

Lamborghini Commercial:

Headquartered at Sant Agata, Lamborghini is known to always accentuate its luxury on wheels. Some cars that have been rolled out include: Gallardo, Murcielago, Diablo, Miura, Countach etc. Each and every name that has been engraved in Lamborghini’s history has always exuded sheer flamboyance. Simply revving the engine reinforces raw brutal power prepared to conquer roads.

Indian’s have greeted Lamborghini and Murcielago with pride. If you have deep pockets and you’re looking for something cutting edge. There is certainly good news for you.

August 2014 is going to be a happy month for Indian Lamborghini fans. The newly designed car “Huracan” is all set to storm the Indian roads. India is becoming a super-car hub with ever increasing enthusiasts burning their pockets deep just to get the taste of speed.

Lamborghini Huracan
Image Source: www.caricos.com

According to Stephan Wilkelmann (global CEO Lamborghini), Lamborghini sales was quite good during 2013. A total of 22 cars were sold in India [We’ve all seen one in Delhi ;)] and the global sales was quite lucrative too. A total of 2121 cars were sold globally in the year 2013.

Gallardo has set a benchmark in Indian super car history after being labeled the most successful super car. Now it’s time for its successor Huracan to rage the roads.

Although the Indian sales aren’t a big achievement, India (out of four destinations) is on Lamborghini’s production radar. (Let’s hope that happens)

Lamborghini Huracan review
Image Source: www.telegraph.co.uk

Making its first appearance at the Geneva Motor Show, the Huracan has had various love struck eyes glued on to its unique design and more so, its raging power. The Gallardo has been quite successful all over the world, the Lamborghini Huracan carried on the legacy with 1000 pre-orders globally even before the car’s official debut.

THE HURRICANE ON WHEELS:

The Lamborghini Hurracan is definitely a speed demon covering 0-100km/h in a mere 3.2 seconds with the help of its smart 7-speed automatic gearbox riveted to its 5.2 liter V10 engine that is hand built.

Lamborghini Huracan engine
Lamborghini Huracan
Image Source: www.forwallpapers.com

Power comes in 2 versions with the Lamborghini Aventador taking the lead with massive raging bulls under its hood followed by the Huracan (a worthy replacement of the Gallardo)

WHAT’S NEW:

The Lamborghini Huracan is nimble, and comfortable than the previous members of the Lamborghini family. The Huracan is all about being modish. The chassis in the Huracan is about 10% lighter than the Gallardo. The materials used such as Carbon-fibre, Light weight aluminum, and reinforced plastic make the hybrid chassis a stunner. At the heart of the Huracan is a massive 5204cc engine waiting to prance.

Lamborghini  Huracan Colors
Huracan Colors
Image Source: www.95octane.com

Being a smaller member of the Lamborghini family, the Huracan has a 10-cylinder unit, which is smaller than 12 cylinders on the Aventador.  The Huracan’s full name is Huracan LP 610-4 – meaning the 620 Bhp beast has the power on all the four wheels but, the rear wheels get more power. The Huracan produces 560 Nm torque at 6500 RPM. The beast gets thirsty for fuel every 5.68 km (approx 5.68 km per litre)

The Lamborghini Huracan is thus your everyday car. It is built for your everyday dose of fun. Be it a racetrack or your friend’s residence. Be it your business or a driving to be at the life of a party. The Huracan is always your companion on the go. It is definitely a Lamborghini, but it is unlike any Lamborghini that has ever rolled out.

 PRICE

The most essential model by Lamborghini is the Huracan. Lamborghini is trying to crunch some serious numbers by rolling as many Huracans as possible. Although, in comparison it is cheaper and less powerful than the Aventador.

Lamborghini Huracan price
Image Source: http://www.gtspirit.com/

The Huracan will be made available in India from a price ranging from 3-3.50 Crores (only 🙂 )

COMPETITORS:

The friendly bull might face competition from Aston Martin V12 Vantage Coupe (2013) ferrari 458 Italia (2013) or the new Mc Laren 12C (2014)

BOTTOM LINE:

Lamborghini Huracan is allegedly the least pricey of all Lamborghini’s.  India might host the production of these mini bulls. Let’s hope we see them on our streets soon  🙂

2014 Hyundai Santa Fe: An Overview

Hyundai has finally released the new generation Hyundai Santa Fe. It was the third generation car in Santa Fe line-up as the first was released way back in 2011 and it has gained many automobile experts appreciations, and then awarded with the Best SUV in 2011. From then the release of Santa Fe was considered as one of the most anticipated releases and after 3 years Hyundai has finally released the new Hyundai Santa Fe to public.  It was first showcased in 2013 Detroit Auto Show and then followed by the first day of 2014 Indian Auto Expo.

2014 Hyundai Santa Fe review

The car looks great and gets appreciations from many automobile experts from both shows. For compact SUV car lovers Santa Fe is considered to be one of the best choices to go for. The new Santa Fe looks stunning with dynamic looking exteriors and a truly classy design. Not only exteriors, the car looks even more luxurious inside than the old Santa Fe. In this article we bring you some of the great Santa Fe features and help you to decide whether this car is a power packed performer or it’s just another ordinary release following the line-up.

Before going straight to the review of this car, these are some of the technical specifications of the new Hyundai Santa Fe. The technical specifications look good enough to get some high performance.

Technical-Specifications:

Capture

Review: Engine & Performance

The car comes with a 2.2-litre DOHC CRDi diesel engine which is quite enough to generate high qualified power to the compact SUV. It produces an excellent amount of torque ranging up to 420 Nm which is quite impressive and comes handy in order to increase the power and performance of the car, besides being large this power helps the car to move at rapid speeds. The mileage of the car ranges from a 9-13 Kmpl which depends upon the road condition and gear transmission as well. It can reach 0-100kms mark within 9-10 sec at a ranging speed of 193Kmph. The 6-speed auto H-matic gearbox is able to give a precise amount of power to the engine and helps to increase the performance of the car. The Eco-pro mode is introduced in Santa Fe, and it can balance the power aspects and the car and reduce fuel consumption.

2015 hyundai santa fe engine

Image Source: peoplelikecars.com

Review: Driving and Handling

The new Santa Fe is equipped with a new technology known as the flexi-steer technology. The new Santa Fe is the first model to get this technology from Hyundai. It allows the user to change steering to three profiles such as Comfort, Normal and Sport. While driving in city roads you can set the driving mode to normal or comfort mode and while on highway you can change it to sport mode for a convenient steering at higher speeds. Santa Fe suits for both on and off road conditions. The hill hold function can help you to drive in hill slope conditions too.

Review: Styling

Exterior:

The exterior of this car is followed by the same Hyundai fluidic design principle which gives the car an awesome feel from outside. Unlike traditional SUV’s Santa Fe doesn’t have a boxy design. The aerodynamic design makes the car look more interesting and adds an elegant look to this car. The design off this car was done with compromising the aesthetic appeal and the front grille with chrome plated finish with a Hyundai logo studded at the center, that looks amazing. The projection headlamp at front and ravishing red lights mounted at the rear end of the car adds beauty to this car. The fog lamps come with clear lens that make the road more visible during high fog conditions. The side looks of the car is decent and the 18-inch alloy wheels with metallic flares that match’s the car color looks very pleasing. The chrome tipped twin exhaust outlets add a sporty feel to this car.

Hyundai Santa FE review

Interior:

The interior of the car certainly offers a good comfort feel to this car as the interior is more luxurious than its previous releases. The bucket seats are very comfortable and feels very at home, even in hectic traffic. The front two seats are adjustable up to 12 different ways electrically and the high quality leather touches on seats gives the car interiors an elegant feel. Like the seats as I said the steering can be adjusted according to our comfort, which adds more comfort during long drives. The car controls are neatly placed on the console with LED touching makes the car look more fashionable and trendy. The dash board is engraved with urbane carbon black trim that looks stunning and stylish too. The car is basically a seven seater and looks very spacious from inside and the comfort quotient is good. The other instruments in the interiors such as the tachometer, speedometer, and trip meter and the basic feature such as AC-Vents, Cruise Controlling, and Central lock look great and well placed.

Hyundai Santa FE interiors

Review: Safety

For a high performer like this, safety should be considered as one of the peak factors in order to increase the sales. Hence Hyundai has offered many safety measure in this car. The safety factors includes ABS+EBD, 6 airbags, Electronic Stability Program, Brake assist, Hill hold function, Curtain airbags at the top and the Roll Over sensor adds a great safety support to this car. It is awarded with 5 star NCAP Rating.

Hyundai Santa FE safety test

Rivalry:

The new Santa Fe can face rivalry from these cars in its class

  • Renault Koleos
  • Honda CR-V
  • Chevrolet Captiva
  • Mitsubishi Pajero Sport
  • Nissan X-Trail
  • Ssangyong RX7

Pros & Cons:

Pros:

  • New looks
  • Comfort aspects
  • Good Wheelbase
  • Improved engine specs
  • Good Safety Measures
  • Nice Handling

Cons:

  • Decrease of comfort quotient from third row.
  • Cost
  • Fuel efficiency can be improved

Verdict:

This car has all the features to be served as a family car and it can also serve as an enjoyable one to go with your friends for a long ride. If you can afford some good amount of money, this car can be a great choice – as it has multiple features equipped in it

Mercedes Benz CLA45 AMG: First Impressions

German car maker Mercedes Benz has been launching a barrage of cars for India in a bid to reclaim the title of no.1 luxury car manufacturer. One of the first luxury marques to enter the Indian market, Mercedes Benz’s popularity has steadily declined with the arrival of Audi and BMW. This was partly due to the image of the brand’s lineup. While BMW and Audi’s lineup appeal to the youth, Mercedes Benz has always been a bit of an “old man’s” car.

In the hopes to destroy that brand image, Mercedes Benz abandoned Bruno Sacco’s school of design for a more youthful, zealous design philosophy. With the latest design methodology, Mercedes Benz soon garnered quick attention. Cars such as the new A-Class, B-Class and E-Class soon became best sellers. However, the fight to get to the top is a fierce one and Benz will need all the models it can bring in to fight off its German rivals.

Mercedes benz cla 45 amg front
The CLA 45 AMG Serves As An Entry Level Model For AMG Enthusiasts

One such area of the market, still untouched by luxury car makers is the entry level sports car segment. While Audi, BMW and Mercedes Benz all have cars such as the RS7, M6 Gran Coupe and the E63 AMG in their lineup of sports saloons, the number of manufacturers catering to the entry level sports car segment is almost zero. Benz has taken advantage of the situation and will soon release the CLA45 AMG sports sedan for the Indian market. Set for a July 22nd launch date, the CLA45 AMG will have no direct competition and will surely be one of the most popular sports cars till date.

Engine:

The CLA45 AMG serves as an entry point into the mad world of Benz’s skunkworks division, AMG. Despite being a mere entry level model, the CLA45 AMG is powered by the most powerful four cylinder engine in the world. The 2.0 L four cylinder turbocharged petrol engine produces 355 HP and a tarmac shredding  450Nm of torque. Although the very same engine is used on the smaller A45 AMG hatch, the CLA 45 AMG is light enough to still make potent use of the incredible engine. Power is sent to all four wheels via a 7 speed DCT gearbox, similar to the one found on the SLS AMG. Needless to say, Mercedes Benz has not skimped on its baby AMG.

mercedes benz cla 45 amg engine
The 2.0 L turbocharged mill is the most powerful four cylinder engine ever made

Exteriors:

The CLA 45 AMG is undoubtedly one of the best looking cars from the Three Pointed Star yet. Following the new design methodology, the CLA 45 is one of the most aggressive looking cars Mercedes has ever made. The front end features a silver air dam above which sit two massive air intakes on either side. The aggressive body work from the CLA sedan has been further reworked to provide adequate cooling for its souped up 2.0 L engine.

mercedes benz cla 45 amg front
Front View

 

Despite being a four door coupe, the sloping roofline will not allow tall passengers to sit back in adequate comfort. One of the most interesting bits of the CLA 45 AMG are its frameless doors. The five spoke alloys sit on run flat tyres and its red brake calipers add to the overall sporty look of the CLA 45.

side of mercedes benz cla 45 amg
Side View

The rear features a large, beautifully styled wing shaped tail lamps along with a silver diffuser. The chrome tipped quad exhausts, two mounted on either side of the rear bumper integrate perfectly with the overall silhouette of the car.

mercedes benz cla 45 amg rear
Rear View of CLA45 AMG, The Latest Car To Enter The Indian Luxury Sports Car Segment

Interiors:

The interiors are as expected of a Mercedes. The entire cabin is finished in black, maintaining the sporty theme inside as well. The center console features a host of controls for the music system, air conditioning and other drive settings. The infotainment system’s main screen is located atop the dash, just above the three central air vents. While this may simply look sporty, the ergonomically placed display also aids better visibility for the driver. The three spoke steering wheel is wrapped in premium leather and finished with silver accents. As with all upmarket cars, the CLA 45 AMG also comes with a host of steering mounted controls for the infotainment system.

Mercedes benz cla 45 amg interiors
Interiors of the CLA 45 AMG

Despite being released in a highly conservative market such as India, the CLA 45 AMG retains the recaro seats, red seat belts and contrasting red stitching throughout further establishing its AMG DNA. One of the most striking bits of the interiors is the gear lever. Unlike traditional knob shaped gear sticks, the CLA45 makes use of an interesting design.

Mercedes benz cla 45 amg gear knob
The Gear Knob Is One of The Unique Aspects of The Car’s Interiors

Bottom Line:

With an expect price point of around Rs. 50 – 60 lakhs (ex-showroom), the CLA 45 is an ample mix of pedestrian and track ready beast for an unbeatable price!

Image Courtesy: Car and Driver

Face Off : Hyundai i20 vs Maruti Suzuki Swift

The Hatchback segment is a heavily contended area of the Indian market. Although a multitude of cars from various manufacturers have entered the fray over the past five years, two names have managed to always stay on top:  Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai. The Swift and i20 have been clashing against each other for years now and with both offering a host of features and space at a reasonable price point, the battle in this segment eventually became a two horse race between the Suzuki Swift and Hyundai i20.

Lets take a look at what makes both these hatchbacks so successful and what may be the better choice for you as a buyer.

Exterior:

Swift:

The current gen Swift is more of an evolution from the previous generation than a full blown facelift. As a result merely the dimensions of the headlights and taillights have been changed. While many consider the new look to be more contemporary, the Swift falls a little behind the competition in this department. However, the finish and choice of colours have greatly improved over the first model and the car makes for a far more premium offering.

Verdict: 7/10

i20:

Hyundai’s latest fluidic design philosophy greatly aided the ailing company’s fortunes around the world. With the launch of the Fluidic Verna, the company revived its sales figures to even displace Indian heavyweight Maruti from the top spot in multiple segments. Following the phenomenal success of the Verna, Hyundai applied the very same design methodology to the i20. While the previous generation i20 was criticized for its plane Jane looks, the new i20 is far more edgy in terms of design. Free flowing lines emanating from the hexagonal grille run across the body of the hatchback add to the hatchback’s “fluidic” nature.

Verdict: 7.5/10

Interior:

Swift:

Maruti has made tremendous strides with the interior of the Swift. Replacing the conventional beige and grey colours with an all-black cabin vastly improved the car’s upmarket feel. The dashboard has been thoroughly redone with high grade plastics and quality buttons. However, we do find some evidence of cost cutting with some areas where fit and finish isn’t entirely perfect.

The integrated music system is far more appealing and features steering mounted controls. Although the peak volume is quite impressive, cabin acoustics could have been fairly better. Though this can be fixed with after-market speakers.

Cabin space is good but not exceptional with even tall passengers sitting at the back in adequate comfort.

Verdict: 7/10

i20:

The i20’s interiors are one of the best around. The premium plastics and chrome touches across the dash improve on the premium feel of the car. The blue ambient lighting is quite pretty when compared to the rather low key white light of the Swift. The music system features the conventional USB, iPod, AUX In inputs, however, the car’s acoustics are excellent and give the passengers an immersive experience.

One major flaw of the i20’s infotainment system is the positioning of the rather small monochrome screen. The size, position and control units for the display is simply not ergonomically sound.

Verdict: 7/10

Under The Hood:

The Swift and i20 are powered by both petrol and diesel units. For the purposes of the comparo, we will be considering the petrol variants of both cars.

Swift:

The Swift is powered by an updated 1.2 L engine that features variable valve timing that improves performance and fuel efficiency. The new chassis has improved weight reduction, which means the power to weight ratio of the current gen Swift is one of the best in its class. The petrol mill churns out 85 HP @ 6000 RPM with a peak torque of 114 Nm hitting at 4000 RPM. Although the claimed mileage is 18.6 km/L, the Swift gives about 14 – 16 km/L in the real world. Still a commendable job from the little hatch.

Verdict: 8/10

i20:

The i20 is powered by a similar specked engine and also offers the latest in tech wizardry to ensure maximum fuel efficiency and performance. The 1.2 L four cylinder engine puts out 82.8 HP @ 6000 RPM and 113 Nm of torque @ 4000 RPM. However, the Hyundai hatch is much larger and heavier and as a result performance takes a big hit. Although claimed mileage is 18 km/L, the i20 gives about 12/13 km/L in city traffic conditions. Despite the lack of power, the engine is extremely refined and quiet even beyond 4000 revs. Hyundai has done an impressive job with cabin noise insulation as well.

Verdict: 7/10

Performance:

Swift:

One can argue that the Swift does not posses the refinement of the i20 or the features, however despite its shortcomings in build quality and the like, the Swift runs circles ’round the i20 when it comes to the drive. The Swift has always been a tuner’s favorite and for a good reason, with a superb rev happy engine and good power to weight ratio, the Swift is an absolute blast to drive. Brakes are strong and responsive and react well when put under test. Gear shifts are smooth and the gearbox works with minimal fuss. The turning radius is better than the i20 and the car also offers good rear visibility. Given that it is a Maruti, spare parts are also easily accessible and cheap.

Verdict: 8.5/10

i20:

The i20 is a bit of a disappointment here. With a hatchback this large, you would think that Hyundai would put a more powerful engine under the bonnet. Sadly however, the 1.2 L petrol mill provides poor low end torque and as a result the car fails to pull away when you need it the most. Although noise insulation is impressive, Hyundai has skimped on the engine to provide more features. While many may consider a feature loaded car as a value for money product, the i20 fails to impress as a driver’s car. The brakes, despite providing adequate braking capability, feel spongy and lack the bite that the Swift offers.

Verdict: 7.5/10

Verdict:

While both cars are placed in the same segment and cost about the same, the Swift and i20 belong to totally different worlds. While one tugs and pulls at your heart, the other makes a whole lot more sense. One is meant to be driven while the other is meant to be driven in.

maruti suzuki swift
The Maruti Suzuki Swift

So for the better driver’s car, it has and will always be the Maruti Suzuki Swift. However, for the more feature loaded and spacious of the two, our pick would definitely be the Hyundai i20.

2012 hyundai i20
The Hyundai i20

Image Sources: Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai

Visit Maruti Suzuki India Website: http://www.marutisuzuki.com

Visit Hyundai India Website: www.hyundai.com/in

2015 Volkswagen Passat Unveiled!

The Volkswagen Passat has always been a bit of an odd ball for the Indian market. With a price tag that rivals entry level cars from luxury car makers, the Passat was always be part of one of the toughest segments in the market. While the current gen Volkswagen Passat does offer a slew of features and oodles of space and comfort, the sedan lacked the brand image to take it to the top. With the first generation’s lackluster organic design, the car failed to look the part; A condition most buyers look for in a car this pricey. All this improved with the current generation.

Despite this However, Volkswagen is slowly building on its reputation as a company that produces more than just quality C segment cars. With the growing popularity of the Jetta and Polo GT, the German manufacturer is slowly climbing the ladder in the pricier segments of the market.

2015 volkswagen passat
The Next Gen VW Passat Has Been Unveiled for the Europe Market

The 2015 Volkswagen Passat was unveiled earlier this week for the European market. Building on the previous generation’s focus on build quality and features the new Passat seeks to be more of a premium offering than the outgoing model. With Volkswagen’s aggressive model release campaign still going strong, it is highly likely that the new sedan will make to Indian shores sooner rather than later.

vw passat front view
The Headlights Are Far More Striking To Look At in The Latest Passat

While the current gen model followed a rather understated design philosophy, the new Passat seeks to be a far more dominating character on the roads. As with most Volkswagen’s , the 2015 Passat is a sharply designed sedan that exudes an aura of class rivaling that of the Skoda Superb. The chunky headlights have given way to a far more sleeker set and the LED daytime running lights integrate perfectly with the thin strips of chrome along the front grille. The fog lamp enclosures have been spruced up with a chrome line that runs along the length of the lower bumper.

2015 volkswagen passat rear
Rear Two Third of the Next Generation Passat

The roofline takes a gentle dip to merge with the largely unchanged rear end. However, the plunging roofline may be a hindrance to tall passengers at the back. VW has more or less retained the overall shape of the current gen Passat’s tail lamps with minor tweaks made to the rear lamps’ dimensions. One of the most striking bits of the rear end are the integrated dual exhaust tips. Located on either side, the chrome lined exhausts bring to mind a sportier coupe which comes as no surprise considering the fact that the earliest Passat sketches indicated that a coupe version was in the works.

interior of 2015 passat
Interior of the Next Gen Passat

Interiors are typical of a Volkswagen with form following function. While one might argue that the interiors are quite dull, the interiors are one of the most ergonomic in its class. The combination of white and beige gives the new Passat an airy feel to it. With the dashboard and center console finished in black, the new interiors improve on the upmarket feel of the car’s exteriors. The center console features a fully loaded infotainment system that comes with a touchscreen display. The analogue clock that sits dead center of the dashboard is an excellent touch. One of the most interesting parts of the 2015 Passat’s interior are the A/C vents. The front A/C vents are directly integrated along the dash of the car so much so that the vents are almost indistinguishable. the premium quality plastics and leather finish is deserving of a car at this segment.

dashboard of volkswagen passat
Dashboard of the 2015 VW Passat

The new Passat will be offered in both petrol and diesel options. However, India might see only the  diesel variant arriving on the market. The range topping diesel unit is a 2.0 L four cylinder engine that produces a whopping 240 HP while the top of the line petrol mill is a 2.0 L TSI unit that churns out a massive 280 HP. While these specs are impressive, the India bound Passat is highly unlikely to sport such power under the hood. Volkswagen will most likely bring in the Passat with a detuned variant of the 2.0 L turbo diesel mill. While deliveries of the new Passat begin later this year for the European market, the German car maker is yet to make a call on the tentative launch dates for the Indian market.

Source: Images via Volkswagen

Visit Volkswagen India Website: www.volkswagen.co.in