Toyota Innova Crysta Engine & Performance

OVERVIEW ;

If there has been any MUV that has won the hearts of Indian customers, it has been the Toyota Innova. The Innova has been the japanese manufacturer’s best seller in India. Though being priced at a premium to its competiton, the Innova took not time in becoming a favourite and a preferred people mover. Comfort, space, reliability and many more factors helped it become a best seller. New Toyota Innova Crysta 2017. This vehicle is now better on performance, features, fit and finish and also space.

Toyota has once again set a benchmark with the Innova Crysta. Now it is upto the competition to catch up. It has once again started to sell in large number despite the hike in price. That shows the level of confidence that people have in the Toyota Innova brand. We review the Toyota Innova Crysta in detail and tell you whether it is worth buying. Read on further. Check for Innova Crysta price in Pune

DESIGN AND STYLE ;

The new Innova Crysta like we already mentioned looks sharper and edgier than before and if you ask me this people mover is also previewing Toyota’s new designs language which can also be seen in some of their recent products as well. Talk about swize and the new generation Inoova Crysta is wider as well as longer than its predecessor which in turn has created more room inside the cabin.Towards the front the Innova gets wraparound headlamps which gets integrated projector and LED units . Apart from the new headlamp unit the front profile also gets massive grille with chrome laden slats. The long front hood also gets some edgy character lines as well.

The side profile however looks simple but the new ORVM’s gets integrated side indicators and the huge glass area towards the side profile helps even the third row passengers to get proper view of their surroundings. The highlight of the side profile however is the diagonally cut D pillars.Walk towards the rear profile and you will greeted with the double layered completely new wrap around taillamps.The rear profile also gets an integrated rear spoiler as well which gives this massive vehicle some sporty appearance. There is even a shark fin antenna towards the rear roof area. Lastly the rear deep opening tailgate completes the overall look of the new Innova Crysta. The rear tailgate also gets the Smart Close back door system which automatically locks the door once it has been released.Overall Toyota has gone for the grand tourer type styling on the new generation Innova and it definitely looks impressive and much more modern than its predecessor.

INTERIOR AND COMFORT ;

Arguably the biggest transformation has happened on the inside and the cabin feels spacious, open and crisply styled. The modern dashboard looks fresh, is well detailed and the swooping dash top looks really great without being overdone. Details like the single piece of metal strip which runs across the top of the dashboard looks premium and classy. Visibility from the high front seats is good and this makes it easy to drive especially in traffic.Despite the swooping dash, ergonomics are spot-on and everything from the touchscreen to the Air-con controls are tilted upwards for ease of use. The blue backlit instrument cluster looks modern and the digital centre screen hosts a comprehensive trip computer. USB and aux-in ports are cleverly placed in the middle for an easy access for front and rear passengers. As an observation we would have preferred more USB ports especially considering it’s a premium seven seater. The touchscreen is intuitive to use and it host various information like satellite navigation, eco display (which shows how efficiently you are driving), Bluetooth telephony and music system controls. On the downside I would have preferred the volume control to be a knob for easier access while driving.

As far as upholstery is concerned the top of the line ZX variant gets leather seats. But while in the manual transmission variant you get an all-black cabin which looks sporty, the automatic features a more classy brown upholstery. Overall quality especially on the upper portion of the dashboard is quite good and Toyota has added some elements to justify the high asking price. The touch points like the armrest on the doorpad is covered in soft velvety fabric, the chunky leather wrapped steering with large control button is great to hold, the gloss black finish on the front doorpads look classy (weirdly the rear doorpad gets wood finish) and even the control stalks are of high order. But considering it’s an expensive car we expected better consistency especially lower down in the cabin.The sea of black hard plastics around the glovebox, cupholders and doorpads look shiny and the graining could have been better too. Even the air-con buttons are too small and the chrome finish doesn’t look very convincing. We also felt that although the old Innova didn’t have the premium leather dash top and modern design, it had better quality consistency across the cabin.

Thanks to the larger dimensions the cabin feels wider and is more spacious than before. Seat comfort is first rate and the contoured front buckets are very comfortable. The driver seat in this top Z variant is powered too, and combined with the telescopic steering adjust, finding an ideal driving position is extremely easy. The middle row sees the biggest improvement and the extra cabin width has allowed Toyota engineers to give larger and more accommodating captain seats.The middle-row buckets are supportive, underthigh support is really good and the reclining backrest makes this a great chauffer-driven car. The ceiling mounted blue ambient lighting and the large glass area makes this a great place to be in.Even the front passenger seat can be adjusted using a well designed lever from the back. If you love working on the go, the foldable trays in the back are placed at an ideal height and their 7 kg weight capacity make them perfect to place your laptops on.

The third row though is not a huge improvement over the old car and the combination of the high floor and low seat makes it comfy only for short stints. You also get a removable headrest for the middle passenger (how will he fit in the narrow seat is a different matter) and all three occupants get three point seatbelts.Visibility from the third row though is hampered by the stylish triangular quarter glass. With all three rows up, boot space is reasonable and can be extended by folding the last row when not in use.

ENGINE AND GEARBOX ;

So the updates to the exterior and interior are both huge improvements, but there’s even more good news in store. The Innova Crysta comes with two entirely new diesel engines, a 2.4-litre with a five-speed manual gearbox, and a 2.8-litre with a six-speed automatic gearbox. The 2.4 manual first, and when compared to the old 2.5-litre engine, there are some similarities. This one too is not very refined, sounding a bit gravelly at start-up and then again at higher revs, and it also doesn’t enjoy being revved a lot, making you want to shift up well before the redline. However, both these aspects are slightly improved from the old car. The Crysta settles into a smooth and relatively silent hum at low to medium revs, and though you’ll still want to shift up early, you get more out of each gear now. The rest is all positive. For one, there’s more power – 150hp is a significant jump in power over the old 102hp, and at 13.1sec, the Crysta is a full 4.4sec faster from 0-100kph than the previous car! It even feels much stronger when you’re overtaking, which is essential when you’re out on the highway with a fully loaded-up car; this is helped by its solid 343Nm of pulling power that’s made as low as 1,400rpm. The old Innova was geared very short, so cruising in fifth on the highway was a noisy affair and the engine sounded strained. The newer car has a much broader torque spread and relatively taller gearing, so it feels a lot more comfortable loping along at high speeds, although we feel a sixth ratio would have made it more effortless still. So it’s a great highway cruiser, but if you find yourself in traffic, you will notice the clutch pedal is on the heavy side and that the short gear lever needs a little more effort. It’s also got three drive modes – Eco, Normal and Power. Eco is best for when you’re in town and want to stretch every last litre of diesel, while Power yields the quickest responses to accelerator inputs. But Normal mode is the best for everyday driving, delivering a good mix of power and efficiency.

What really tells you that the Innova is now a seriously premium car is the availability of an automatic gearbox. The six-speed unit also comes with a larger, even more powerful diesel engine – 2.8 litres with 174hp at 3,400rpm and 360Nm at 1,200-3,400rpm. This car is properly quick, being able to cross 100kph in just 11.5sec, and this is despite the fact it weighs almost 1.9 tonnes! The automatic gear shifts themselves are smooth, but we feel the system is too eager to change gears sometimes, even when not necessary. And while there are no paddle shifters for manual gear control, you can change gears manually with the gear lever itself.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

The Toyota Innova has grown in size and gets a new frame but is also heavier now. In the early days of the Innova, people worried about the dimensions of the car as it was called too big for the city. The new one is even bigger and thus less maneuverable. Still underpinned by a body-on-frame platform with the steering still being a hydraulic unit, the Innova feels heavier to drive than before as the steering is on the heavier side and requires effort at low speeds, taking u-turns can be taxing. It does weigh up decently at high speeds but there is still a lot of slack in the straight-ahead position.

There is very good stability as you cross triple digit speeds, the Toyota Innova Crysta holding its line well on our not so perfect roads. The car also gets what Toyota likes to call ‘aero stabilising fins’. Without doubt, the biggest improvement has come to the ride quality of the vehicle. The work on the suspension is immediately apparent as this MPV rides beautifully even on bad roads. Bumps are absorbed very well and that’s inspite of the firmness at low speeds. Vertical movements are very well controlled and as you up the speed, the flatter ride only becomes better. There is quite a lot of body roll though but the Innova handles quite well for its weight and size. The brakes have good stopping power.

BRAKING AND SAFETY ;

The braking system of the Innova Crysta has front disc and rear drum brakes with anti-lock braking system as a standard in all variants. The Innova Crysta models have three airbags, one for the driver, one for the co-passenger and the third one for the knee of the driver. The top-end variant ZX has a front side and curtain airbags as additional safety features for the occupants

VERDICT ;

The Innova Crysta has gone on sale at a price range of Rs 13.84-20.78 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai). Yes, that puts it out of the realm of conventional MPVs from Maruti, Honda, Chevrolet, Mahindra and Renault and almost into the territory of seven-seat SUVs and even executive sedans. When you’re paying this much money, you have certain expectations of space, quality, luxury and comfort, and the good news is the Innova Crysta delivers on just about all of them. Sure, refinement is still not the greatest, and the steering, clutch and gearbox can get a bit tiresome in traffic, but these are minor setbacks in the scheme of things. The Crysta takes all the old Innova’s strengths that customers just love, and amplifies them. Yes, you will have to pay a premium for it, but as most owners of the previous car will tell you, it will be worth it.

 

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Audi S5 Engine & Gearbox

OVERVIEW ;

Being in the fold since 2007, it was about time for the Audi S5 to usher in a new generation, and it will do just that for the 2017 model year. With the new generation comes a new, wider front grille, larger corner air inlets on the front fascia, a more muscular hood, and new, thinner taillight units. Inside, the car has gone through a major revamp, sporting an updated instrument cluster, a new infotainment display that sits above the center stack, a new center console, and redesigned door panels. The S5 still sports a 3.0-liter, gasoline-powered engine, but for 2017 it’s been updated to deliver 354 horsepower – a 21-horsepower increase over the previous generation.

As always, the S5 shares a strong amount of its DNA with the Audi A5, but offers up significantly more power in an overall sportier package. As a model that competes with the likes of the BMW M4 and the Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe, Audi had to put in the wrench time to make sure the S5 is more competitive than ever. Part of that time was dedicated to developing an all-new chassis, revised aerodynamics, and shedding a little weight despite having a longer wheelbase than the outgoing model.

DESIGN AND STYLE ;

Elegant! First thing that came to my mind as soon as I saw the car in flesh. It’s the low and long front hood that has this menacing look, almost grinning straight at you with its low prowl. The hood looks strong and imposing with its lines and complementing it are the LED headlamps that look evil in their own way. The grille is designed to look sharp in its Titan black colour with horizontally-placed chrome inlays and the Audi logo at the centre of the headlamps. The car doesn’t come with fog lamps, not that it needs them but instead comes with some chrome trim and very aerodynamically purposeful looking vents for cooling the brakes.

Moving to the side of the car, there is a side vent with a short chrome inlay and a strong shoulder line running all the way from the headlamp to the tail-light. The door handles open upwards instead of the usual outwards making it a lot easier to open. The frameless doors are beautiful and just give this car a very unique look and surrounding them is you guessed it, more chrome. Although I have to admit, the use of chrome is minimal and doesn’t put me off one bit. The car also gets 17-inch twin 5-spoke wheels that look good. Coming to the rear of the car, it has a really sleek coupe-like roofline that’s so attractive with it curving slightly off the edge of the boot. The tail-lights are simple yet sharp LED units with dynamic indicators that are smoked, which add to that extra appeal. The car also gets chrome-finished twin exhaust pipes. On the outside, the S5 has the same shape and dimensions as the A5, but gets an S5 logo and a more aggressive looking front, with an optional titanium black grill with horizontally slatted matte aluminium inlays. The side mirrors are finished in brushed aluminium with the indicators integrated into them. The car even gets more aggressive S-Line side skirts finished in black. The S5 too gets 5-spoke 18-inch wheels which are a lot sharper in design compared to the A5 and look so much better too, with the brake callipers finished in red and the S5 logo on them. It has a much sportier rear diffuser in matte aluminium silver housing the quad chrome-plated exhaust system. The S5 is definitely the most attractive car in its segment.

CABIN AND COMFORT ;

The small joy of a frameless window sliding out of its slot each time you pull at the door handle is one of those small but special things about owning a coupé or Sportback. Less so is the fact that this car is largely restricted to being a four seater; you could get a fifth person in there, but he’d be very cramped. Still, headroom in the back is not as bad as you’d think for a car with a sloping roof, partly because it’s scooped out at just the right place, and partly because the roof extends further back than in a conventional coupé. Legroom is more than sufficient though, and the other advantage of this being a Sportback with a Skoda-Octavia-like liftback tailgate, is that the boot is massive enough to hold weekend luggage for four with ease.

At the front, since the S5 is based on the A4, you get the same dashboard that car, albeit with some sporty flourishes like carbon fibre on the centre console. However, it is starting to show its age now – the A4 is now the oldest model in Audi’s range (save for the soon-to-be-replaced Q7), and though the quality as always is top drawer, the design doesn’t feel as sharp as in newer Audis. It’s a similar story with the equipment – the MMI system has all the functionality you want, including satellite navigation, but the interface isn’t as slick as the latest version, and that applies to the trip computer screen between the dials. The optional sports seats on this car, upholstered here in a tasteful brown and black, are really good even for long distances though, and the flat-bottomed steering wheel feels great to hold.

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION ;

The new Audi S5 Sportback runs the familiar 3.0-litre turbo-ed V6 petrol engine from the previous S5. However, it now makes more power 356PS/500Nm, up from the 333PS/440Nm of the outgoing car. The performance is just electric and right from the word go, there is so much of available torque. This is what I love in a sportscar – accessible performance while still looking a million bucks. Audi claims she can punch 100kmph in just 4.7s. The top speed is 250kmph. Dial in the Dynamic or Individual mode and the Audi S5 Sportback ditches her heels and heads straight for the horizon. The pull is apparent right till the 5,500rpm range. Use the paddle shifters and the car goes into a whole new zone – shifting at her 6,500rpm redline. Fast, she is stealthily fast. A boost pressure gauge shows how much more torque is in reserve. At it, the Audi S5 Sportback also sounds wicked (you should check our Facebook video). In the Dynamic mode, the quad exhausts sing in symphony with high pitched notes with equal measures of pops and crackles thrown in!

What I didn’t like was that while in Dynamic mode, if you let go of the throttle and get a bit lazy, the gearbox upshifts even at low rpms, similar to when you opt for Economy mode. One quick jab at the accelerator and the qualities of the Dynamic mode are back. Unfortunately, the India-spec cars don’t get adaptive damping and so there is no difference in the way the suspension behaves over roads when the driving modes change.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

When it comes to driving, however, the two cars are as different as a warm, soothing mocha and a charged-up double espresso. Both the A5 and the S5 have the same hero ingredient. But, while the former with its quiet and refined diesel is all about ease of driving and wafting in luxury, the S5 with its V6 turbocharged petrol is a wake-up call.With the driving mode set to Dynamic and the gearbox in S mode, the S5 cannot help but go charging into the horizon. The throttle response is crisp and alert. The engine is in a tearing hurry to hit the redline and it makes all the right noises too. All of this makes it very difficult to keep one’s foot off the gas pedal. The drive can get a little jerky in this setting, especially if you aren’t paying too much attention to your right foot. But, the overall outcome is well worth it.

SAFETY FEATURES ;

Various effective safety measures have been incorporated in the S5. The basics are Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with assistance from Electronic Stabilisation Control (ESC). Then there are multiple airbags. Head airbags with side airbags with security measures include the reverse parking camera and parking sensors (front + rear), crash sensor, brake assist, engine immobilizer impact beams, etc.Being a S, it has good acceleration and an equally good braking system too. The S5’s brakes have a progressive bit and this makes it easy to brake and even the pedal feel id good enough. The parking brake is electronic like all the other Audis.

BOTTOMLINE ;

The S5 is a likeable car for someone wanting more than just a luxury sedan, especially with the sportback design and brilliant V6 petrol motor. It feels sporty outside and luxurious inside, even if familiar looking. Add to that brilliant handling manners and well-appointed interiors and you have a car that’s truly irresistible. That’s of course if you don’t mind the fuel bills that is – claimed efficiency is an impressive 12.2kmpl but expect it to drop down deep into single digits should you choose to put the 333 ponies to task. The sportback styling also means rear headroom isn’t great, so it isn’t a car you’d want to be chauffeur-driven in, rather one you would love to drive yourself. And at Rs 62.95 lakh ex-showroom Mumbai it is not too expensive either, when you think of it as a fast luxury sedan cloaked in sportier clothes, and one that has a soul too.

 

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BMW 3 Series Features & Performance

OVERVIEW ;

The F30 generation 3 Series was introduced in 2012 in India and continued BMW’s tradition of outstanding performance and great dynamics. But with an impressive new Mercedes-Benz C-Class to fight off, an all-new Audi A4 arriving later this year and a fresh and desirable newcomer on the scene which goes by the name of Jaguar XE, the 3 Series needs to stay fresh in order to overcome its rivals.

BMW has taken the cue and has given the 3 Series a mild facelift and updated interiors. The 3 Series just went under the knife and, along with subtle changes to the exteriors, the 320d now is also available in an M Sport package. The changes however, aren’t just skin deep, and BMW has also plonked a brand new engine under the hood. For now the 3 Series is just available in the diesel guise. So are the changes comprehensive enough to make it significantly better than its predecessor? Read our full-blown Road Test to find answers.

DESIGN ;

The exteriors of BMW 3 Series are one of the best things to look forward. Not just the designing elements, but chrome finishing and character lines all over give the car a magnificent look. Its side profile gets highlighted owing to the set of attractive multi-spoke alloy wheels. At the rear end, the car got chrome painted exhaust pipe and an aggressive boot lid, which features the auto maker’s moniker embedded neatly at the centre. At the front fascia, the kidney bean-shaped radiator grille features eleven slats painted in chrome. Another key highlight of the car is its headlight cluster, which now has bi-xenon headlights and LED DRLs.

CABIN ;

There’s a familiar feel to the insides of the car, especially the centre console, though there are a lot of changes. The car gets paddle shift levers, a welcome addition for the sportier kinds like me, along with different materials and finishes for the M Sport trim. The low set cabin adds to the sporty ambience inside, though it is surprisingly spacious while the seats, finished in tan brown leather are very comfortable. There’s a lot of unlacquered carbon fibre like panels on the centre console and doors which give the insides a raw, sportscar like feel, along with the matte finish of the Alcantara-like material on the dashboard.

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION ;

The 2016 BMW 3-Series comes with a 2.0-litre diesel engine and the oil-burner is the new B47 unit that also made its way to the X3 recently. It belts out 187 HP of power and 400 Nm of torque which is slightly more than the older unit’s output. The engine is an absolute blast to drive and it starts pulling with great urgency right from low RPMs. The mid-range feels very strong while the engine is a gem even at higher RPMs. Acceleration is just marginally quicker than the older unit and we clocked a 0-100 km/hr time of 7.55 seconds.

The 320d’s engine is a good performer and the 8-speed gearbox is also smooth The power delivery feels very linear and due to this the engine feels very peppy. The 4-cylinder unit is fun right up to the redline of 4500 RPM for automatic and slightly more in manual mode. It also cruises happily at 100 km/hr in 8th gear at a touch below 1500 RPM. The engine is mated to the same 8-speed ZF gearbox but the ratios now seem to be better tuned than the pre-LCI model. The gear shifts are quick and the transmission is smart enough to understand the driver’s requirements

The new engine feels much more refined than the older model. It comes with an assortment of driving modes like Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport and Sport+. Comfort is best chosen when you plan to cruise while Eco Pro results in the car losing some of its steam for a marginally better fuel efficiency figure. The Sport mode makes sure the car stays right in the punchiest band of revs and it responds quickly to throttle dabs. In Sport+ mode, the car switches off the DTC so you better not try this mode on public roads. Talking about fuel efficiency, the 320d will keep your wallet happy with figures hovering around 12-13 km/l under normal driving conditions.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

What made BMW into a BMW has been the outright performance and agile handling. The BMWs did have a harsh ride back in the older days. However, with time the ride quality kept on improving. The new 3 Series 2016 offers good quality of ride. It is pliant as the suspension does soak up most of the road shocks. The handling too of the new 3 is good. We liked the manner in which it behaves around bends. This is what makes the 3 Series a special vehicle in its segme The 3 Series gets a new electronic power steering. This makes it light and easy to drive in the city. However, we sorely miss out on the heavy steering wheel in the hydraulic version. This is what we loved the most about BMWs. With the current one, you will need some getting used too.

SAFETY FEATURES ;

The M Sport Package we drove focuses on sportiness above everything else, and does a really good job of it. The M gear lever reminded me of the M3, and the driver’s seat is a fantastic place to be in if you like driving and enjoy motorsport. That’s also because unique to this trim are a head-up display, sports front seats that grip you perfectly, 3-spoke steering wheel from the M cars and sportier, aluminium pedals. The navigation system does its job well, and I had barely any trouble punching in destinations in the NCR region where we drove the car. A sunroof and high resolution 8.7 inch screen are standard on the Sport, Luxury and M Sport trims whereas the Prestige makes do with a smaller 6.5 inch screen.

BOTTOMLINE ;

Introduction of the BMW 3 Series 320i will surely enhance the appeal of the model with the new petrol variant. The customers who want to buy a luxury car at a lower price range, will surely get attracted to this car.

 

 

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Mercedes Benz B Class Performance

OVERVIEW ;

Marketed as a compact sports tourer, the first generation Mercedes-Benz B-Class was introduced way back in 2012 for just Rs 21.49 lakh. An amount unheard of, while talking about new Mercedes cars. And this move not only brought the premium German marque within the reach for many, but pretty much kicked the hornet’s nest, resulting in a blitzkrieg of compact luxury cars in India from every other luxury car makers present in India.

The hatchback, after receiving a few nips and tucks, is back as the 2015 Mercedes-Benz B-Class and is offered with the same reliable 120PS, 1.6-litre petrol engine and an upgraded diesel engine. We get behind the wheels of the C200 CDI powered with a new 2.1-litre motor, straddled with 26 horses more than the outgoing engine.

EXTERIORS AND DESIGN ;

The B-Class is instantly recognisable as a Mercedes. Its face is similar to what you see in the new C-Class. There are projectors with LED rings around them, lending a premium note to the B. Move over on to the side and you can see the B-Class facelift is a tad longer than the older one. This is because the new car really is 34mm longer than the outgoing version. We would have preferred to have Mercedes give it sportier alloys than the ones you see here, especially they look a bit disappointing on this bright red sample we drove. Move over to the rear and you’ll find that the bumper is new and has a chrome strip which hides the tail pipe.

INTERIOR AND CABIN ;

The cabin of the B-Class looks more upmarket now, thanks largely to the designers picking up some stuff from the new C-Class’ parts bin. Things like the new steering wheel and sporty instrument cluster come from the entry-level rear-wheel drive Merc while the infotainment screen is a new 7-inch unit with a higher resolution display, it also gets navigation and runs on the latest OS. The finish of the cabin is top notch, exuding a feel of luxury and the vehicle also gets front parking sensors and a reverse parking camera. Other equipment includes 7 airbags, panoramic sunroof and the usual safety systems we have come to expect from Mercedes-Benz. There are no changes to the interior dimensions and as has been the case with the B, there is ample amount of room inside the cabin to seat four people in comfort. The boot space is massive but hindered by the position of the spare wheel.

ENGINE AND GEARBOX ;

Mercedes-Benz B-Class comes with both petrol and diesel engines. The petrol engine of B-Class 180 Sport has a displacement of 1595 cc that produces a maximum power of 90 kW with a peak torque of 200 Nm. The B200 CDI Sports engine that runs on diesel has a displacement of 2143 cc and produces maximum power of 100 kW and maximum torque of 300 Nm. Both the variants come with a 7G Dual Clutch Transmission system that has two sub-transmission systems. The manual gearshift feature comes with steering wheel shift pedals giving an easy and smooth gear shift options to the driver. But for the traditional drivers who like their one hand on the transmission panel, there will be a difficulty in the starting to understand the gears.

The performance of Mercedes Benz B Class is as good as the other Mercedes cars. The top speed of Petrol variant is 200 km/h and for diesel variant it is 210 km/h that is acceptable for a small compact car. The mileage of the Petrol variant is 11.9 kmpl on highway and 7.9 kmpl in the city. The diesel variant gives a mileage of 15 kmpl on highway and 11.5 kmpl in the city. Well, the mileage is not as good as it should be but considering the other luxurious interiors a customer gets, it is quite acceptable.

Mercedes Benz B class braking system aims at stopping the car safely and quickly to provide driving comfort. The anti-lock braking system is present in the car with other features like Brake Assist (BAS). The rear wheels of the B-Class have disc brakes while the front wheels have internally ventilated disc brakes.

The 2143 cc Diesel – powered variant delivers a fuel economy of 19 kmpl in city and 21 kmpl on highways, while the Petrol variant offers a mileage of 13 kmpl on urban roads and 15 kmpl and freeways, respectively.

RIDE AND HANDKING ;

Praise be – this is a B-Class that proves perfectly nice to drive. OK, it’s still not that keen on being pushed beyond its comfort zone, despite a centre of gravity that’s lower than before. But the comfort zone itself is now much more habitable, courtesy of a ride that proves sweet even on some of the larger wheels that come with Sport suspension. Road and wind noise are well isolated too.

The all-new engine range includes direct injection turbo petrols and diesels, of which the diesels are preferable due to their fatter torque profiles. A six-speed manual is standard, but the optional auto is preferable.

SAFETY

Safety is something that Mercedes does very well, and the B-Class shows why. There are no less than seven airbags provided as standard, plus stability control that’ll help prevent you needing them. Standard kit also includes a driver drowsiness detector, and a system that warn of an impending collision.

BOTTOMLINE ;

The new engine makes a world of a difference to the overall performance of the Mercedes-Benz B-Class and the power figures are now at least on par with our minimum expectations from the premium cars. The B-Class was always a practical everyday car, but now it also has enough fire power to be a sensible option for the long distance travel.

The B-Class is not the kind of stunner one has gotten used to from Mercedes-Benz lately, it is a simple car, but at Rs 30.45 lakh (ex-Delhi) it is certainly one of the most practical and budget all-rounders from a luxury marque.

 

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Mercedes Benz AMG GT Class Transmission

OVERVIEW ;

Think of it as the facelifted AMG GT. Three years have passed since Mercedes-AMG first showed off its two-seater hot rod and now the guys and girls at Affalterbach have given it a mid-life nip and tuck. The distinctive ‘Panamericana’ grille with its wide-spaced vertical slats is the giveaway; pre-facelift cars have a single horizontal spar across a wide open snout.

The GT range is now nine-strong, if you count all variants across Coupe and Roadster body styles, plus the GT3 and GT4 racing cars. The GT Coupe sits at the foot of the line-up, its £98,760 asking price the only one to dip below six-figures. Next is the GT Roadster, costing £110,160.

DESIGN AND STYLE ;

Although smaller than the SLS AMG, the GT can be considered the former’s spiritual successor from a design point of view. The sports car’s lines are muscular and dramatic, two features that are more noticeable now that the veils have been lifted. Much like the SLS AMG and the iconic 300SL Gullwing, the GT is highlighted by its long hood, a short boot and a greenhouse that has been moved farther toward the rear.

Needless to say, the front fascia also reminds me of the SLS AMG. A wide grille fitted with Mercedes’ new diamond pattern dominates the landscape, with beautifully shaped headlamps extending onto the fenders. Down below, a thin air dam makes up most of the apron, while large intakes are mounted on each side to help cool those large front brakes. The resemblance continues around back, but, much like its front end, the Mercedes-AMG GT’s rear fascia brings new styling cues into the equation. The thin taillights provide a great contrast to the beefy bumper and large exhaust tips. More importantly, the regular trunk lid of the SLS has been replaced by a larger lid that now incorporates the rear glass.

Overall, the AMG GT is shorter than the SLS AMG, but at the same time it kept the latter’s wide and low stance. The design is not overly dramatic and it certainly doesn’t represent a significant departure from the SLS, but the AMG GT boasts that pure sports car emotion we expect from vehicles that can perform on the street as well as on the track.

CABIN AND COMFORT ;

However, getting inside the Mercedes AMG GT-S was more or less similar, because the way the dashboard and centre console are laid out, it is no less than the cockpit of a plane. The steering wheel is similar to the one that we saw on the C63 AMG S. The instrument cluster is also similar to other AMGs and it is clear and easy to read.The centre console is large and comes with an array of buttons. At the front, you get a thin strip of small buttons which are used for the AC and climate control system. Behind them, you get the knob for the COMAND infotainment system and at the very back is a small but chunky gear selector that is shared with the G63 AMG. You don’t get Mercedes’ traditional steering-mounted gear selector on the AMG GT-S. The centre console gets 4 buttons on either side and they are used to select driving modes, toggle the engine on and off, tweak the suspension settings, toggle the traction control, etc.

The seats are very snug and provide good support all around. Frontal visibility is excellent and you also get a good view of the long bonnet. The ORVMs offer a good field of view while the tiny rear windscreen is pretty much useless in tight situations. We didn’t get a chance to check out the Burmester audio system of the car though, since we were quite immersed in getting a eargasm from the exhaust note. The AMG GT-S is definitely very long and it takes some time getting used to the sheer size. Cargo carrying capacity isn’t much and the boot should be able to hold just a couple of bags with 280-litres of space.

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION ;

The GT gets a 4-litre, V8, direct injection, twin turbo, and all aluminum motor. As you can tell by the previous sentence, this one is one high tech car. And I still haven’t mentioned the 7-speed Directshift DCT rear mounted transaxle which connects to the engine via a carbon fibre driveshaft. Phew, this is intensive. Not to forget, this drivetrain also gets four driving modes – Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Race. And for those who are choosier still, there’s an Individual mode wherein one can choose various setups from the stock modes and create an all-new one.On the road, the best way to enjoy the AMG GT is to select the Individual mode. Turn the drivetrain and exhaust to Sport+, the dampers to Comfort, and do leave the ESP ON! Then, it’s just a matter of how much gas you give. Floor it in a straight line and the AMG GT shocks you with the amount of grip it possess. It catapults off the line and just goes on building momentum relentlessly, gear after gear, revving effortlessly to 7,000rpm, and sounding great all the while.Floor it around bends, and again, a little twitch later, the GT is back doing what it does best – chasing the horizon with utmost ferocity. It is here that one appreciates leaving the ESP on because the engine’s grunt easily overwhelms the rear tyres. Leave it off and if you have a lead right foot and a hand-eye co-ordination of a baby – like me – you will scare yourself silly every corner.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

Driving this car quickly on the road means peeling your eyelids back and dialling your concentration levels up to 11. That hyper-responsive wheel offers just enough feedback at the straight-ahead to keep the car from feeling nervous on the road, although it doesn’t escape by much.And yet both off and on-centre, the steering is in serious need of greater confidence-inspiring weight and feedback. The firm springing makes the helm react to every medium-sized bump that the front wheels cross, and this, on a really testing B-road, can challenge your capacity to guide the car smoothly and with total precision. Want exciting? You’ve found it all right.The ride is short and staccato. It’s slightly less aggressive when the softer damping modes are selected, but no less busy. Long-wave undulations hardly disturb the level of the body at all, but when the road’s topography turns particularly savage, the suspension often becomes skittish, as tyres part company with the road surface and impacts thump through that spaceframe chassis.

SAFETY AND SECURITY ;

The body structure of this sports car itself is a representation of next level safety in the auto world. It has a precise structure featuring crumple zones at critical locations and impact beams for added strength. This enables to create a protective shell for the occupants inside and safeguards them from impact. Besides these, airbags and three point seatbelt are already present to minimize injury risks. Like other Mercedes models, this GT S too gets an Attention Assist function that analyzes the driving data and detects signs of inattentiveness of driver towards driving. There are other advanced features like adaptive brake lights, electric parking brake, automatic child seat recognition, tyre pressure monitoring system and a few other security functions.

BOTTOMLINE ;

The AMG GT now comes in three flavours in India – S coupé, Roadster and R coupé – and the best part is that they all fall within a pretty tidy price band that’s just Rs 14 lakh across. So it’s simple, right? Ignore the base S model and go for the R, the loudest, most powerful and most visually dramatic. Not quite, and although a full evaluation on the road will have to confirm this, we suspect that some might find the R a little too much for everyday use, be it the noise, the ride, the sharp throttle or even the added width. The GT S has plenty of drama as is. But as ever, there will inevitably be plenty of takers for the top dog of the range, even though most will never take the R to a racetrack. So just where on the sportscar spectrum does the AMG GT R fit? Like all rear-drive AMGs, it’s still a shouty, tail-happy animal if provoked, but this time there’s more to it than just that, provided you drive it right. The lap records are proof of that. It serves as the quickest-accelerating, most powerful version of the AMG GT range, while simultaneously being the sharpest-handling and most track-focused. Think of the Porsche 911 Turbo and GT3 RS rolled into one, and you get the picture. It’s equal parts GT and R, and at an almost reasonable Rs 2.23 crore (ex-showroom), we hope to see a number of ‘Beasts of the Green Hell’ on Indian roads.

 

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Mahindra Scorpio Features & Specifications

OVERVIEW ;

Mahindra Scorpio was the first passenger vehicle to be introduced by the automaker and has made a lasting presence in the Indian utility market, ever since it first arrived in 2002. The SUV commands a strong demand in rural as well as urban markets and the Mahindra has consistently updated its highly popular offering with new features, more powerful engines and improved off-road capability. The Scorpio’s wide and lasting appeal as the authentic off-road SUV can be traced to its commanding and aggressive design, the powerful2.2 litre turbocharged mHawk engine that propels it ahead of others and true all-terrain capability with its tough body-on-chassis construction and shift-on-fly 4WD. Coupled with its elevated seating position, the Scorpio imparts that unique ‘King of the Road’ feeling to the driver. In its latest avatar, the new generation Scorpio is built on an all-new platform with Cushion Suspension and Anti-Roll Technologies. It comes with advanced technology features and exterior styling that’s more contemporary but reflects Scorpio’s signature aggression and muscularity. Always the trendsetter in technology, the Scorpio is India’s 1st mild hybrid SUV with Intelli-Hybrid technology. The Scorpio is also available with the frugal 2.5 litre turbocharged m2DICR diesel engine in the entry-level S2 variant. Check for Scorpio price in Pune

DESIGN AND STYLING ;

Let’s start with the front end. The faceis now more aggressive than the Scorpiowe’ve been used to so far. Instead of tryingto fit in the new family grille onto an olderdesign (as seen in the older Scorpio), thedesigners have finally got an opportunityto start afresh. The grille, headlampsand bumper are all new. The hexagonalgrille is unique and, instead of the usualseparations in the form of slats, featuressmaller inserts finished in chrome. Theheadlamps go well with the grille, are edgy,and feature projector lighting and parkinglamps in the form of LED eyebrows thatadd to the macho character. The hood isredesigned and the functional scoop thatsits on it uses the same grille pattern.

The sides? Well, apart from the frontfender, everything else is exactly the sameand is disappointing, after all, this vehicle issupposed to be the next-gen Scorpio. Theheadlamps now wrap around the fenderthat also features a mock vent like bezel, theside cladding is exactly the same, and onlythe front section has been redesigned sinceit is part of the new face. Larger 17-inchwheels (16-inch in the previous model) lookgood but are more car like than SUV. Thewheels however fill up the arches well.Move to the rear and you know it is aScorpio even though the design is a lotbusier than before. A black applique runsacross the upper part of the tailgate. Itlooks better on a darker shade like the blueScorpio you see here, but the silver numberplate garnish is boxy and loud. The basemodel is in fact easier on the eyes since itdoesn’t feature any contrasting garnish.The window is now smaller and the visiblearea even less. But it doesn’t affect visibilitysince the outgoing model’s rear windowwas unnecessarily large. The windowshape is unique and complex, even therear defogger grids aren’t straight lines butangular. The clear lens tail lamps are newand feature bright LED lighting but thechrome insides look aftermarket especiallyduring the day. However, the verticalpillar-mounted reflectors have now beenditched for non-reflective black inserts.

The bumper however is exactly the sameas before. Overall, the exterior is still verymuch like the current Scorpio’s except forthe more aggressive face

COMFORT AND SPACE ;

The interiors on the new Mahindra Scorpio have been heavily reworked too. And for the better. The dashboard is all new, as is the steering, the door trim and the seats. The dash with its layered design looks more upmarket now and the choice of materials, colours and the attention to fit and finish is a huge improvement over the outgoing Scorpio. The instrumentation is more in line with the new Scorpio’s youthful aura while it remains easy to read and throws up a decent amount of info including gear indication.

The operability of controls – dials, buttons, stalks et al – is crisper and better dampened too on the new Mahindra Scorpio. Mahindra has paid attention towards improving the ergonomics as well. The aircon vents are not only better shaped, their effectiveness has improved as well. Also, the power window switches have now moved to the doors from the central console as on the previous Scorpio. Though this is thoughtful change, it has negatively affected how one works the driver side seat height adjustment; it leaves no space between the seat and the door to put your arm in. We would have also liked the front armrest to have more adjustability; currently, it moves along with the seat back, which is quite pointless.

As for space, there isn’t a big improvement over the older Scorpio. Having said that, apart from lack of elbow room upfront, there’s nothing to complain about; there’s more than adequate room all round be it for head, knee or shoulder. And the boot with the jump seats folded offers good luggage room.

Mahindra has garnered a reputation of delivering an exhaustive features list on its products. The new Scorpio is no different. It is comfortably the best equipped SUV in its class, at least in this top of the line S10 trim. The new Mahindra Scorpio S10 gets a touchscreen multimedia system with Satnav and bluetooth. There’s reversing aid, climate control, cruise control, a multi-functional steering wheel, rear AC vents, power ORVMs, automatic headlamps and rain sensing wipers. The new Scorpio also gets a strut operated bonnet and this is important because it tells us Mahindra’s intent of moving up the premium ladder by offering convenience related bits the lack of which aren’t exactly deal breakers in this class.

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;

A key reason for the Scorpio’s success, right from the time it was first launched has been its strong engines. The 2.2-litre 118bhp mHawk is carried over from the previous car, has been further refined, mildly retuned and mated to a new gearbox (the same five-speed 5MT320 unit from the Xylo). Performance is even better than before and the new Scorpio lumbers past the 100kph mark from rest in 13.4 seconds, which is 1.4 seconds quicker than the previous model; pretty impressive for a 1.8-tonne vehicle. In-gear acceleration too is a shade quicker than before, especially in third and fourth gears.

But it’s not the outright performance, but rather the manner in which the engine delivers its power that is at the heart of the Scorpio’s appeal. The torqueymHawk motor is so responsive that it makes the heavy Scorpio feel light on its feet and faster than the VBOX numbers suggest. The engine pulls without fuss from as low as 1,500rpm and there’s a strong surge after 1,800rpm. The mid-range punch of this motor is superb and you feel there’s a surplus of power. Overtaking is effortless and the Scorpio can be wafted past slow-moving vehicles quite easily. It’s not an engine that likes to be revved though and it’s best to shift up before 4,000rpm to land back in the meat of the powerband.

The engine is amazingly refined as well and at cruising speeds it’s impossible to tell it’s a diesel. The new gearbox is better than before but still feels quite notchy and the clutch could have been more progressive and lighter.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

The Scorpio remains a ladder frame chassis with a live axle at the rear. In the face of the monocoque, front-drive competition will be a disadvantage for on-road dynamics. Mahindra claims that the torsional rigidity of the chassis has been increased significantly, and that it is now a modular platform that will give birth to more vehicles. Judging from the way the front and rear of the Scorpio feel connected while going around a corner, I believe them. The Scorpio rides almost as well as the Duster, with no discernible difference most of the time. Where the Scorpio lags behind the Renault is in steering feel – it weighs up well, but there is no clear message sent to your fingertips when the wheels are losing grip. The Duster delivers the message better. Another thing that works in the Duster’s favour is the front-drive architecture – it will always understeer. The Scorpio’s rear drive means that it can get unpredictable on the limit, so if you’re going to drive around corners quickly, the Scorpio isn’t for you. However, if you’re going to use your SUV off-road, the Scorpio becomes the automatic choice because the very things that make it not as good a road car as the Duster will have it scampering out of sight of the Renault when the going gets tough. It would also be my choice for cross-country trips thanks to Mahindra’s widespread service network.

BRAKING AND SAFETY ;

Mahindra Scorpio is comprised with caliper type ventilated disc brakes at the front while at the rear, drum brakes are present. In addition to this primary braking system, there comes Anti-lock Braking system as secondary braking system for immediate and emergency braking purposes. Although, ABS ain’t a standard safety feature across the entire variant range but it is available S6+ trim onward on this SUV. The company has offered dual front airbags as safety feature, albeit with top-of-the-trims – S8 and S10. However, the S6+ trim comes loaded with a front driver side airbag as standard feature. In addition, there are side intrusions beams for added safety; but, what irony, the entry-level S2 variant is even deprived of them. A special mention goes to Mahindra’s Voice assist system which timely keeps reminding the driver regarding the door ajar, seat belt warning, low brake fluid, and fuel on reserve. It is on offer with S6 grade onward as standard feature. Also, one gets to see the Tyre-tronics system with the Scorpio which is an indispensable safety feature as it keeps on updating the driver about the exact air pressure and temperature in each tyre. Apart from the aforementioned features, there are a few more features which ensure the safety of the occupants as well as vehicle, directly or indirectly. These features are Digital immobilizer, Anti theft warning, Seat belt reminder lamp, Speed alert, and Auto door lock while driving.

BOTTOMLINE ;

The Mahindra Scorpio is a great value for money. Honestly this would be my pick over their own XUV5oo as the Scorpio is more true to its roots to being a SUV rather than just looks like the XUV. The New Generation Mahindra Scorpio is not just next level in terms of design but also in terms of features and equipment. Let’s see if it still holds its on as new SUV’s keep entering the market.

 

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Land Rover Discovery Sport Facelift Review

INTRODUCTION ;

While the success of the Freelander 2 was overshadowed by the stylish Range Rover Evoque, there is no denying that the car offered a comfortable drive experience and was accompanied by great off-road capability. However, before Land Rover introduced the mildly refreshed Freelander 2, they had already started work on its replacement -the Land Rover Discovery Sport. And now that it is finally here, can it up the ante and set a new benchmark for the brand? Check for Discovery Sport price in Hyderabad

EXTERIOR AND DESIGN ;

The Discovery Sport has a lot of similarity in styling to an Evoque. Many onlookers even asked if this is the new Evoque and we realised that in colours like white and silver, one could mistake the Discovery Sport as a Range Rover Evoque. Once, the new model year Evoque makes its way into India, we shall note that there is a major difference between the two. To speak of the styling, it has a sleek front grille with pulled back headlamps and DISCOVERY embossed above the grille stating that this is a part of the Discovery family. Land Rover has discontinued the Freelander2 and this is its replacement. There will three families under the Land Rover brand, Range Rover, Discovery and Defender.

The Discovery Sport is the newest member of the Discovery family and it is based on a new platform, which will be used for more Discovery products in the near future. The side profile of the Discovery Sport has a sloping roof, a design that is similar to that of new-generation Land Rovers. The Land Rover design DNA has been retained the clamshell bonnet and the floating roof. The Discovery Sport is certainly a looker. Find best offers on Discovery Sport

INTERIOR AND SPACE ;

On the inside, the Discovery Sport is straight and simple. Purposeful, yet classy. It cannot be termed very premium but the build quality is solid and built to last. The finish in some areas does feel ordinary. The instrument cluster has twin dials and is lit in white, having a simplistic design. A new centre console comes in place and houses the gear dial which rises for use only when the ignition switch is activated. A new touchscreen infotainment system is seen in this SUV which is easy to operate even while driving, however, it takes time getting used to the interface .The driving position is not very tall but near perfect, and offers good visibility. The seats are firm, well contoured and comfortable. The seats also have electric adjustments. The vehicle over all is pretty spacious and has air vents for all rows. The huge panoramic glass roof further makes it feel spacious. The unique thing here is that every passenger gets a USB charging point which makes it a total of seven USB ports.

The Discovery Sport is slightly longer than the Freelander 2 and hence it also comes as a seven-seater option. Hence it makes this compact SUV a good option for a larger family. But its only the kids who can occupy the third row comfortably . The seven-seat version gets a space saving spare tyre instead of the full-size spare which is found on the standard five-seat version.

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION ;

There is only two engine options on the Discovery Sport – both use the same 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel unit, producing two outputs – 148bhp and 177bhp.

However, our test car used Ford-derived 2.2-litre diesel and the Sport’s most noticeable connection to the past is unmistakably that engine, which currently shadows everything the car does with the clatter and gunsmoke odour of yesteryear. Denying the car the new four-cylinder Ingenium oil-burner from launch was clearly the model’s on-paper Achilles heel and, to a greater or lesser extent, that’s the way it plays out on the road.

However, although the direct-injected 2.2-litre motor is not a paragon of refinement or efficiency, its later-life development has at least ensured that it produces the unmistakable surge expected of a modern blower-equipped diesel.

On stream, its 310lb ft of torque is a plentiful amount, and it feels that way. For a car that tipped the scales on the wrong side of two tonnes when we weighed it, a sub-9.0sec 0-60mph time is very decent. So is the 9.0sec it takes to get from 30mph to 70mph, very slightly bettering the time we recorded for the much-admired 2.2-litre engine in the Mazda CX-5 a couple of years ago.

In fact, the soft underbelly of the package is at times evident less in the 20th century motor and more in the 21st century gearbox to which it has been shackled.

Rather inevitably, the nine-speed automatic transmission’s keenness to keep the engine spinning at its productive mid-range pitch means that you’re going to have to live with a lot of downshifting – particularly on the motorway, where the never-ending 47.5mph per 1000rpm final ratio cannot be trusted with even modest acceleration.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

The Discovery Sport deals with speed bumps well and rides smoothly at higher speeds, especially on the motorway. Clever adaptive dampers (called Adaptive Dynamics) are available as an option, but there’s really no need to bother spending the extra.

Things can get a touch bumpy around town in the Discovery Sport, though. Expansion joints and worn surfaces unsettle the suspension a little, a problem that is exacerbated by fitting alloys larger than the 18in rims that come as standard with SE and SE Tech trims. 20in wheels are certainly best avoided.

There is a fair amount of body lean when cornering in the Land Rover Discovery Sport. As a result, it feels a bit sloppy along twisting, country roads compared with an Audi Q5 or a Jaguar F-Pace. Fortunately, though, the Sport holds the road well and has reassuringly precise steering, so you always feel confident and in control.

All models come with Terrain Response, a system that allows the driver to select from a variety of four-wheel drive modes tailored to different surfaces, such as grass, mud and sand. It means the Sport is better off-road than just about anything else in this price bracket.

SAFETY FEATURES ;

The Land Rover Discovery Sport comes loaded with features like seven airbags (driver and front passenger, driver knee, side airbags for first two rows). It also gets features like ABS with EBD, Electronic Traction Control, Hill Start Assist, Roll Stability Control, Dynamic Stability Control, TPMS, Emergency Brake Assist and Trailer Stability Assist. In terms of after sales service, Land Rover still has a long way to go before it can match the service quality levels as well as the network spread of Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi.

BOTTOMLINE ;

Land Rover has enhanced its product against the German rivals and there is no denying that the Discovery Sport is far more superior product. The company has invested more on the underpinnings and this what makes the Discovery Sport a better buy for those who need capable off-roaders. If you only want luxury, then pick the Range Rover Evoque.This is more luxurious and is at par worth competition, but not an capable off-roader as the Discovery Sport. Our personal pick is the Discovery Sport, as we like to love to go off the road very often.

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Volkswagen Polo GT Hatchback Overview

OVERVIEW ;

The hatchback market in India has always been a popular one, especially among the middle class people, who form a large section of the crowd. Volkswagen Polo GT is one of the popular hatchbacks in the country. There are lots of Volkswagen Polo GT variants to choose from that offer different sets of features and are available at different prices.

DESIGN AND STYLE ;

The exterior styling of the Polo GT TSi isn’t very different from that of regular Polo. The changes are very minor and the easiest way to determine the difference is by spotting the GT and GT TSi badges around the car. The other difference on the GT TSi are the new alloy wheels, black-colours wing matters and the black-coloured spoiler. The Polo GT comes in multiple colours, though the best one is the red that has been retained from the first-launched Polo. That is the best colour we will recommend to get the Polo in. The Polo GT looks a lot more sporty than the regular Polo. Check On Road Price of Polo GT

The Polo still looks fresh in design and with its new chrome additions, it still looks upmarket. The German automaker’s paint quality just makes the Polo look so good and adds to the premium-ness. The red colour that our GT TDI came in, is not available on the regular Polo. The Polo doesn’t fail to appeal to us. The regular Polo looks premium in styling, and looks best in the blue colour. The alloy wheels add some more styling to the Polo.

CABIN AND COMFORT ;

The interiors of the German car are also similar in design to that of the regular Polo. But now the car gets an all-black dashboard with a piano black finish centre console, instead of the dual-tone dashboard in the regular Polo. The car comes with dual-tone seats. The GT gets a flat bottomed steering wheel with audio Bluetooth and voice command controls integrated in them. The car gets GT doorstep garnish as well.

The new Polo GT TDI comes with ambient lighting, aluminium pedals, automatic air-conditioning, a Monochrome Multi-Function Display, a music player with USB, AUX-in, CD and SD card inputs and 4 speakers. Bluetooth Connectivity and Voice Command are also available.

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;

Volkswagen is betting big on downsizing the world over and the Polo GT TSI uses one of those engines which are part of this strategy. The 1.2-litre TSI mill is insanely awesome and needs little introduction, we had a gala of a time with our long term Vento TSI. The turbocharged mill thrusts out 105 PS at 5000 RPM and 175 Nm between 1500-4100 RPM, with those kind of torque numbers, the GT TSI puts even bigger petrol engines to shame. Start the engine and you will be spellbound by the NVH or rather the lack of it. The powerplant is so refined, there is absolutely nothing to be heard. In spite of that, the motor is very quick to make progress, it has a fantastic punch in all parts of the powerband – low, mid and top although top-end rush could have been better.

Driving the car in the city is a relaxing ordeal, the motor is quick to respond when you need it and the 7-speed DSG automatic transmission works its magic to keep the vehicle in the right cog at all times. When driven sedately, there is no hint of the forced induced beast which powers the Polo GT but give it the beans and the world transforms. The GT TSI takes off with urgency and hits triple digit speeds in a jiffy. While VW claims a 0-100 km/hr time of 9.7 seconds, the best we could record on our VBOX was 10.09 seconds, putting the GT TSI on par with the GT TDI in terms of outright acceleration. The problem with the GT is that the gearbox won’t let it rev more than 1200 RPM at standstill. Thus when you launch the car, there is some bit of lag which robs crucial milli seconds from the 0-100 km/hr time.

As the above table shows, the GT TSI is faster at the top-end thanks to it having a good punch near the redline which comes in quite early at just under 6000 RPM. Although the tachometer shows redline at 6500 RPM, the GT seldom crosses the 6000 RPM mark with only first gear seeing the motor rev till 6200 RPM. There are three driving modes, D for drive, S for Sports and tiptronic function which let’s you shift gears on your own (there are no paddles!). In D mode the gearbox takes it easy, shifting early and as per throttle inputs, on full throttle it swaps gears at around 5500 RPM while in S mode the motor pulls to around 6000 RPM. In manual mode the gearbox remains in the lowest gear and won’t upshift till redline but if you don’t give full throttle, it won’t downshift. Gears will automatically change in manual mode if you fail to do so.

The 7-speed DSG unit offers slick shifts and shows the urgency you would want from a performance car. The Turbocharged Stratified Injection is itself fast revving and becomes audible post 3000 RPM, creating an addictive note post 4500 RPM. 100 km/hr comes up in third gear and you can comfortably cruise in top gear at 100 km/hr with the tachometer ticking in at just 2100 RPM. The vehicle pulls very quickly to 140 km/hr (it does 150 km/hr in fourth gear) and post that progress is a bit tamed although given the road, the GT TSI will easily top out at 190 km/hr. When you turn on the car, the cluster reminds you to put your foot on the brake to engage gear, in spite of that one can change between N, D and tiptronic without touching the button on the lever. With our heavy foot and redlining day and night, the GT TSI returned a respectable mileage of 9 km/l. Driven sedately, this car will easily give double digit numbers.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

Jokes apart, driving the GT TSi is great. It behaves well when you want it to and even returns a good fuel mileage. That does depend on your driving style as well. The more you push it, the more visits you gotta make to the gas station. Yes, you will have fun pushing it, but that can be quite pricey on the pocket. The brakes can be quite touchy. Press the pedal and there is a definitive lag in the bite. At speeds you may be coming up on a car pretty quick and you may ease on the brakes to slow down the GT TSi but it doesn’t till you press quite hard on the pedal, and instead of gradually bringing the car to a halt kind does it with an unwanted jerk.

One aspect that I was quite disappointed with was the way the GT TSi corners. Though I was at 90km/hr, the car seemed very wallowy while taking a corner. There is a certain confidence level on gets when throwing a car around a corner; I guess the GT TSi has a different learning curve. Cornering in the VW does feel quite soft and nowhere close to sharp. Nonetheless, if you do have a long straight stretch and barely any traffic, be sure to put the car in manual, ride every gear to the red-line before you shift and watch the speedometer hit 190kmph! Now that is something fun to do in a car that has a badge saying GT TSI.

SAFETY ;

Last year when it was reported that some of the most popular compact cars sold in India failed crash tests done by Global NCAP, almost immediately Volkswagen announced dual front airbags as standard fitment on all variants of the Polo. That says something about the company’s commitment to safety. The GT TSI gets ample safety features such as dual front airbags as standard, anti-lock braking system, rear-parking sensors, electronic stabilisation programme and hill-hold function. However, we believe that in addition to rear-parking sensors there should have been a rear-parking camera too.

BOTTOMLINE ;

The price tag of Rs 8.08 lakh is slightly on the higher side, considering the fact that the only major change is the bigger engine. But then it is actually not Volkswagen’s fault – the 1.6-litre engine means it does not qualify as a small car as per the Indian tax regime and you have plenty of options that are bigger and yet fit the bill at the price point. The top-end Maruti Suzuki Dzire and Honda Amaze with extra boot space are available for a lower price tag, but neither would match the GT TDI in performance and handling. And that is the reason why it has been launched as a sort of a limited edition model. This is not for those looking for the biggest car their money can buy, but for those looking at a quick, convenient hatchback with benefits of a diesel

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Volkswagen Ameo Price & Performance

OVERVIEW ;

Volkswagen has been present in India since a few years now but it was just this year that they launched a made for India product with the Ameo. Within no time, the Ameo became Volkswagen’s best selling car in India, with its sales being more than all other VW cars combined. This was only with a petrol version on sale and now the Ameo’s popularity is set to increase further as the diesel model has been launched, available with both manual and DSG automatic transmission. We drive the car from Mumbai to Nashik and back to analyse how the updated diesel motor fares in the compact German sedan. Check for Ameo price in Hyderabad

The Ameo is the first Volkswagen car tailor made for India and it competes in a segment where there is a lot of demand, hence pricing and value proposition remain important.

DESIGN AND STYLING ;

From the front the Volkswagen Ameo looks identical to the Polo. The bumper’s length has been reduced by 35mm to make space for the boot. Upto the C-pillar things remain the same. Then comes a new boot. From the rear, the Ameo looks more like the Skoda Rapid. The German automaker is looking at enhancing its reach with this new compact sedan. The wheelbase is the same as the Polo and there is no other difference, expect for a new boot and different colour options.

CABIN ;

The superbly appointed interior is back too, with VW’s typically restrained-looking dashboard and exceptional fit and finish. The long equipment list on this Highline trim returns, replete with a touchscreen, rear-view camera, automatic wipers, cornering lamps, cruise control, two airbags and ABS. In fact, those last two safety features are standard across the range. The DSG auto version additionally gets ESC and a hill hold function. Finally, the rear seat – it isn’t the most spacious, especially on knee room, but if your use is only occasional, it might be good enough.

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;

The new Ameo TDI is offered with the same 1.5-litre turbocharged diesel engine as is the Polo and Vento. Only difference is in the larger turbocharger which has enabled the engine to deliver a tuned-up 81kW or about 110PS of peak power and a peak torque of 250Nm – that is quite impressive for a small car that weighs just over 1,150kgs. With the idling engine rpm level being about 800rpm and the redline starting at about 5,200rpm, the delivery of power and torque is perfectly tuned within the mid-range for power, and low-rpm range for torque. Peak torque kicks in as early as 1,500rpm and turbo-lag is quite minimal. The result is an eager performer for a car in the CS segment. The Ameo’s gear ratios have been spaced just right and from when you slip into first gear, there is enough room to work the gearbox through either a passive city driving cycle or an aggressive mix of cruising and over-taking on the highway.

While idling and when you are outside the Ameo, this four-cylinder still has the trademark diesel clatter, but step into the cabin and the good insulation package manages to cut out a lot of the noise. You can still hear the engine at cold start and at high revs. The manual gearbox is a clean shifting 5-speeder and can easily be your choice especially with so much low-end torque available to exploit. The 7-speed, dual clutch DSG automatic is another USP altogether in the Ameo. With so many buyers now preferring automatics, it is a good call to go with the DSG. But then this is not just another auto transmission, this is VW’s popular dual clutch gearbox. Shifts are quick and the gearbox is equally adept at offering shifts for economical, slow-paced driving as it is for aggressive, dynamic driving. You don’t get steering mounted paddles, though manual gear selection with the stick is possible. There is a sports mode too.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

The ride on the Ameo is on the stiffer side and the setup is able to absorb most bumps and imperfections without sending much back into the cabin. However, when you do hit a really deep pothole or bad imperfection the audibility of the suspension taking a beating is quite loud in the cabin. The slightly stiffer suspension setup provides decent stability at high speeds though the car tends to get flighty when encountering undulations at high speed and there is body roll when you go through the corners. However, one thing that Volkswagen has managed get right is the steering. It is precise, weighs up correctly and is an excellent tool for the ‘point and shoot’ style of driving.

BOTTOMLINE ;

The Ameo on the whole is a pretty nice car, especially when you consider the equipment you get for the money you pay along with the fact that it is a Volkswagen, and is thus a very well-engineered car. Volkswagen has learnt from its previous mistakes and is offering a bucket load features this time which adds to the Ameo’s value for money quotient.

Build quality and quality of materials used is pretty good, which gives the Ameo a more premium feel. What’s more, it is a familiar looking car though that’s something which works in its favour but could also be a bit of a turn off for some. Not a deal breaker though, especially since it drives well, has a good balance of ride and handling, and of course the fact that this car has been made specifically for India. A little thing to be proud of, no?

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Renault Captur Safety Features & Performance

OVERVIEW ;

Renault Captur is the new SUV from the French manufacturer which will be launched in India. The Captur looks radically different from the Duster, though it is based on the same platform and also shares the same engine. The launch of the Captur is expected to happen this mont Renault has discontinued the Scala and the Pulse. It is focussing on new products now. The cross-badging of vehicles with Nissan has also stopped. The Fluence and the Koleos also have been discontinued. The Captur is the new global product from Renault.This SUV is built on the B0 platform. This means it shares its underpinnings with the current Duster. The Captur sold in Europe is built on a different platform. There is no similarity between the two. The B0 platform has been highly localised already, hence it brings a price benefit to the Captur. Renault India wants to get a stylish and modern SUV that will appeal to young and trendy car buyers. It reckons, this will be that SUV for them. Check for Captur price in Hyderabad

EXTERIOR AND STYLE ;

The biggest USP of the Captur is in the styling. Renault has rendered it more crossover styling than a traditional boxy SUV. However, the SUV elements are still very much there like flared wheel arches, cladding, faux skid plates and segment best ground clearance of 210 mm. And those 17-inch alloy wheels also scream SUV. Renault has equipped the Captur with LED headlamps and tail-lamps. You also get fog lamps with cornering function and the best in all are the LED DRLs and dynamic swipe indicators (at the front) which Renault likes to call floating indicators.

The Captur is also the widest and longest car in its segment but that is more due to redesigned bumpers as the track and wheelbase is identical to that of the Duster. The side profile is highlighted by distinct proportions. The shoulder line rises up as it goes backwards and adds to the style quotient. The rear quarter bears a little similarity to the Kwid but that’s ok since it is part of the same family. Chrome has been generously used all around and Renault will be offering a lot of customisation options on the Captur at the dealership level, something similar to what they are already doing with the Kwid.

INTERIOR AND COMFORT ;

When it comes to Renault Captur interiors, there is a lot to talk about. It is one of the most attractive and premium-looking car from inside as well. The dashboard layout and design is much better than what is found on the Duster. It looks fresh, decent yet dynamic with butterfly-shaped instrument cluster, large digital speedometer with tachometer and a fuel gauge. The cabin is lighted with ambient LED lights that look really cool and premium. The plastics used are of decent quality.

The top-end variant of Renault Captur features a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system with Bluetooth, Aux-in and USB connectivity options. It also supports voice command, navigation and acts as a rear camera display, when needed. However, it misses Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. Other features on the inside include steering mounted controls, cruise control, electrically operated wing mirrors and automatic climate control, which is a standard feature acoss all variants. 2017 Renault Captur is quite a comfortable car. The two-tone white-and-black leatherette seats are very comfortable and they look good too. It offers good under-thigh support, knee room, back support and shoulder room, which makes Captur a perfect car for long journeys. Even three average adults on the rear won’t have any complaints regarding space and comfort. The rear gets its own set of AC vents too.

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;

Renault offers the tried-and-tested 1.5-litre H4K petrol mated to a five-speed manual and a 1.5-litre K9K diesel motor with a six-speed manual on the Captur in India for now. On our first drive, we got the diesel version and we were quite impressed with it. This DCi motor makes 110hp and 240Nm like in the more powerful version of the Duster, but refinement levels have really hit a new high. On the Captur, this engine is the quietest it’s ever been.

This 1.5 DCi motor has always had a bit of turbo lag and it’s the same story with the Captur. However, once spooled up, power delivery is punchy and the motor pulls strong and smooth almost all the way up to 4,700-4,800rpm. Power doesn’t trail off rapidly like a typical diesel and this makes the Captur rather fun to drive. Of course, if it had delivered 20-30hp more, it would’ve been absolutely perfect. But it’s not that the Captur feels underpowered at speed. With a wide powerband like this, overtaking manoeuvres are a breeze. And combined with the car’s solid stability on wide open roads and fairly high speeds, it has all the makings of a great highway cruiser.

DRIVING AND HANDLING ;

Driving the Captur calmly inside the city is something you learn to do. The heavy clutch bites in quite late, and when it does – there’s not much progress from the engine. You will have to go heavy on the throttle, and get the engine ticking over 2000rpm if you want to get anywhere quickly. Below the 2k mark, the Captur feels a bit lacklustre. This means that a quick overtake inside the city, will most definitely require a downshift. When the turbo kicks in, it kicks in with all its might. So, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed trying to ‘control’ the surge. But, drive it around for a while and you’d learn to work around it, and time your overtakes to make use of this wave of torque. Roll on times are quite strong – the Captur does 30-80kmph (in third) in 7.77 seconds, and 40-100kmph (in fourth) takes 11.56 seconds. For reference, an all-out 0-100kmph sprint is dealt with in 13.24 seconds. It could be a lot faster, if the ESP wasn’t as obtrusiveOut on the highway, the Captur is at absolute ease. It’d make for a fantastic road-tripper. Getting to triple digit speeds is a fuss-free affair, and maintaining it easier still. Slot it into sixth, set the cruise control and let it take over. The open highways seem like the Captur’s natural home. It sips consciously here too – the big Renault returned a respectable 21.09kmpl, whereas the figure was a healthy 15.50kmpl inside the city.

SAFETY ;

In terms of kit, the top-of-the-line Platine variant comes well equipped. The infotainment system comes with a touchscreen interface, sat nav and can play music through USB, aux-in or Bluetooth. You also get rain sensing wipers, LED auto headlamps with dynamic turn indicators, climate control, rear parking sensors with reverse camera, keyless-go, leather upholstery and rear AC vents. In terms of safety, we feel Renault should have offered more than two airbags as its rivals offer as many as six in their top variants.

CONCLUSSION ;

In a crowded compact SUV segment, the Captur really stands out for its styling and level of customization. But it’s much more than just a pretty face. A spacious and very practical cabin and boot make it the ideal choice for a family car. And it’s great to drive too. Renault has omitted some of the key features such as the sliding rear bench split seats and automatic transmission that are offered globally. However, the Captur is a well-rounded car and will find a lot of love from those who like to stand apart in the crowd.

 

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