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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Hyundai Xcent Price & Performance

OVERVIEW ;

Hyundai has finally launched their sub-4 meter compact sedan in India Xcent which is based on their popular hatchback the Grand i10. The compact sedan rests on a longer wheelbase. Although it did attract a lot of attention during the time of its launch slowly began to lose composure mostly because of its underpowered diesel engine. However, the facelift Xcent promises to have improved itself and worked on what its predecessor lacked.The facelift sedan not only has received a new and more powerful diesel engine but also has received both exterior and interior cosmetic as well as feature updates as well. Check Price of XCent

DESIGN AND STYLE ;

While the Grand i10 facelift got minor changes to the exteriors, the Xcent gets pretty big changes. The most obvious change here is the new hexagonal grille which intends to make the Xcent look like a mini version of the Elantra. You also get a new bumper. The updated front fascia is a hit or miss design and it looks quirky at best. The side profile remains unchanged save for the new diamond cut alloys while at the rear you get a tweaked bumper and a more mature looking set of tail lamps. All in all, the Xcent looks fresher now and much different than the outgoing model.

CABIN AND COMFORT ;

The New Hyundai XCent 2017 comes with a touchscreen system this time. This touchscreen has MirrorLink and voice recognitions with Navigation. The XCent gets some more updates on the inside in terms of features, as it will get cooled glovebox too. The New Hyundai XCent 2017 will continue to be offered with black and beige interior trim and the seats will have integrated head rests too. It offers bluetooth connectivity, keyless entry, push start and stop, memory storage of 1GB in the music system, reverse parking camera, dual airbags and even ABS. A new seat fabric will be seen here. The steering wheel and the gear knob remain the same. The top end variant comes with leather steering.The space in the XCent has been good. The front row seats offer good amount of knee room for the front passengers and the rear seat knee room too is good on the XCent. There is a rear AC vent too that comes on the XCent and it gets a rear charging socket too. As the competition of the XCent is increasing their features, Hyundai will update New Hyundai XCent 2017 with more features. Find best offers on Xcent

ENGINE AND GEARBOX ;

With 75PS of power and 190Nm of torque at its disposal, the Xcent is now more potent than before. It’s the same 1.2-litre diesel engine offered in the updated Grand i10 and feels very similar to use. Hit the push button starter and the motor announces its awakening with a noticeable amount of vibrations that only smoothen out once you’re on the move.Once you get going, though, in mere seconds you understand that this powertrain is ideal for the city. The clutch is light and bites early, and you can crawl ahead without actually needing to use the accelerator pedal. Dab the A-pedal and progress is quick. The Xcent is, of course, heavier than the Grand i10 and the gearing does seem to have been tweaked a bit too. So while the Grand had no perceptible turbo-lag, it is noticeable in the Xcent. Understandably, it isn’t as quick as the Grand i10 with a tested 0-100kmph time of 16.20 seconds (nearly 3 seconds slower than the G10). Even the in-gear acceleration isn’t as rapid with the rise from 30-80kmph taking 9.82 seconds (1.89 seconds more than the Grand i10), but then again the Xcent is the bigger car, so the performance difference is reasonable.

However, by no means is it under served as there’s enough grunt below 2,000rpm to make smooth headway. City speeds of 40-60kmph can be hit without much throttle input, since the peak torque is delivered from as low as 1,750rpm. Thanks to the healthy low-rev performance, it’s also easy to get a good fuel efficiency figure, with our tests getting us 19.04kmpl in the city and 23.87kmpl on the highway.The best way to pick up the pace is to shift up around 2,800-3,000rpm. Revving the motor further makes it feel strained and get louder, but power tapers off quickly. There’s no use of teasing the redline with this engine and while rivals like the Aspire and Ameo offer exhilarating performance, the Xcent gives you exactly how much you need – nothing more, nothing less.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

To give you an idea of the progress Hyundai has made in the ride and handling department over the years, here’s a fact. The Xcent tackles the bumps better and generally feels more surefooted than the more expensive Verna did at launch back in 2011. No, the Xcent still doesn’t ace this section of the test,Potholes and the like are dispatched with some firmness from the suspension, but still, it’s never to the point of being uncomfortable. In most scenarios, the ride feels like an improvement over the Grand i10. Perhaps that’s down to the stiffer rear setup on the Xcent, or possibly the switch to larger 15-inch wheels and tyres. However, suspension travel is quite limited and the car does tend to thud on big bumps. Excellent sound insulation helps maintain the calm in the cabin, with the workings of the suspension never intrusively audible.

Out on the highway, the Xcent feels adequately planted, but the overall ride isn’t as flat as we’d have liked. The vertical motion is more pronounced at the back especially when the car is not loaded up.As for the electrically assisted steering, it isn’t what you’d call lifeless and weighs up enough to give you confidence at high speeds. But venture out on to a twisty course and you’ll be able to tell that the Xcent’s basic underpinnings are nice and stiff, and that it’s the inconsistent steering feel which is the weak link. Within the confines of a city, though, you’ll be more than happy with the minimal effort required to twirl the light steering and ease the Xcent into, say, a tight parking spot. The small turning circle and hatchback-like dimensions help here in a big way.

BRAKING AND SAFETY ;

2017 Hyundai Xcent comes with disc brakes at the front and drum brakes at the rear. The company has offered dual front airbags as standard fitment across the entire variant line-up of the new sedan. In addition, several premium features such as Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Impact Sensing Auto Door Unlock, Keyless entry with Smart Key, Rear Parking Sensors, Rear Camera with display on audio, Central Locking, etc. are available with the top-end variants. Though, it looks bleaker than the preceding model, which had ABS as standard safety feature. Also, the other sedans in the segment come equipped with more safety features than Xcent.

BOTTOMLINE ;

All said and done, the updates do make the Xcent better as a package. On the whole, it does seem better equipped to take on the competition. More importantly, the facelift comes just in time as Tata is dialling up the heat in the form of the Tigor and Maruti Suzuki has the all-new DZire on the horizon. With prices starting at Rs 5.38 lakh for the base-spec petrol and going all the way up to Rs 8.42 lakh for the top-spec diesel, the little sedan from Hyundai does seem like a no-nonsense choice if you need nothing more than a comfortable sedan for commuting within the city.

 

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