June 2013 | Car Rate

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Saturday, 29 June 2013

  • 2014 Mercedes-Benz S Class

    The Basics :

    The Mercedes-Benz S Class has long stood at the top of the full-size luxury sedan segment, known for its comfort, style, and technological innovation. All-new for 2014, the S Class seeks not just to retain that reputation, but to raise the bar.

    Unveiled in an elaborate ceremony at the assembly site of the Airbus A380 in Hamburg, Germany, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S Class wears a new look to complement its new equipment. While it's not a dramatic departure from the previous S Class, the shape, as well as the details, will mark it clearly as the newest interpretation of Mercedes' full-size form factor.

    At the front, sleek and conservative lines dominate, though large lower air intakes give a touch of aggression. Complex headlights show two nearly trapezoidal lights topped with an LED arch, while the grille is a simple affair of chrome and crossbars. The hood is sculpted for airflow, moving smoothing toward the cabin. Along the side, the 2014 S Class is almost plain, but the arching roofline gives a hint of coupe-like shape, sloping to the rear. That rear end has something of the flavor of the defunct Maybach brand, the trunk lid sloping to meet the fiber optic tail lights and small diffuser-like protrusion around the rectangular exhausts.

    Inside, a pair of 12.3-inch high-resolution displays make up the instrument panel and center display, riding in a single pod. Horizontal curves wrap around the doors, meeting almost seamlessly with the dash, giving a feeling of continuity to the cabin. Round vent openings are the main detail in the center, with only a small strip of buttons. The new two-spoke steering wheel holds most of the controls. Ambient lighting filters from beneath the wood trim and central display unit. In the rear seat, the same design and materials are carried over, enhancing the executive limo look of the S Class.

    From high-tech safety assists to business-themed optional extras, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S Class is comprehensively equipped. A First Class Rear option adds a "business center," with a telephone handset, folding table, and additional compartments. Updated mbrace2 infotainment supplies the audio/visual component, and Burmester audio resolves music into crystal-clear tones.

    On the safety front, the 2014 S Class offers Collision Prevention Assist, Magic Vision Control, Distronic Plus with Steering Assist, Cross-Traffic Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, and Pre-Safe brake assist with pedestrian detection. Optional add-ons include a Surround View Camera, Active Parking Assist, Night View Assist Plus, and rear seatbelt airbags.

    Under the hood, the new S Class will offer a twin-turbocharged 4.6-liter V-8 engine in S550 trim, enabling the car to hit 60 mph in about 4.6 seconds. Available in both rear-wheel drive and 4MATIC all-wheel drive, the 2014 S550 will be the first model launched to the U.S. this September, though all-wheel drive models will wait until November, arriving alongside the S63 AMG model. A plug-in hybrid version is also due in the third quarter of 2014. Mercedes-Benz hasn't yet released details on the AMG or hybrid models.

    U.S. specifications for gas mileage, acceleration, and pricing haven't yet been decided for any of the models as yet, either, though we do know we'll only get the long-wheelbase version of the car this time around. A slightly wider track and more shoulder, head, and elbow room should make for a slightly more spacious cabin than the last generation.

    We haven't yet driven the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S Class, but we will soon. Expect full driving details and U.S.-market specifications closer to the car's launch this fall.

  • Wednesday, 26 June 2013

  • Hyundai Equus 2014

    The rear-wheel-drive Equus and Genesis premium sedans at the top of Hyundai's lineup have, without a separate luxury badge, already put the brand within striking distance of Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Lexus, and Jaguar—if you don't need the cachet of those luxury badges, that is. And if that's the case, it's definitely worth taking a look at the 2014 Hyundai Equus, which otherwise looks and feels every bit like a luxury vehicle.
    The Equus has been refreshed this year with a more cohesive design, new materials, new active-safety features, and even more high-end luxury features.

    With a new grille design and front bumper fascia, as well as standard LED front fog lamps and new turbine-blade wheels (plus new side mirrors and rear graphics), the 2014 Equus gets a new look that's not only sharper but looks like an upmarket relation to the roomy Azera sedan introduced last year. Inside, the instrument panel and center stack have been completely redesigned, with a softer yet more upright look, shedding the 'executive car' layout of last year's model and taking on a look also in line with Hyundai's latest, sleekest models. Complementing that are a new shift-lever design, new premium real wood trim, and redesigned rear-seat controls.

    The powertrain carries over; which is a good thing. The 429-horsepower 'Tau' V-8, fitted with an eight-speed automatic transmission that you can shift manually when desired. The V-8 has all the latest technologies, such as direct injection, dual continuously variable valve timing, and tuned variable induction, and the combination can hustle this sedan to 60 mph in about six seconds—accompanied by, as we've found in previous model years, by an atypical (for a luxury sedan) brawny burble and ripple. Fuel economy ratings are 15 mpg city, 23 highway.

    As a luxury sedan, but one with a little more of a performance emphasis than some, the Equus treads a line between crisp handling response and a comfortable, isolated ride. An air suspension on all Equus models includes Sport and Normal modes, which have been recalibrated this year for more separation (better handling and more comfort, respectively), and front suspension bushings have been upgraded. Supplementing that is a Continuous Damping Control system, and staggered-width tires help maintain handling balance on this rear-drive model.

    The Equus was named an IIHS Top Safety Pick, and for 2014 some important active-safety features have been added. A Blind-Spot Detection system is now standard, and on the Ultimate model there's a head-up display. Ultimate models also include a multi-view camera system. Both models include a Rear Cross-traffic Alert system, and a lane departure warning system is available, with audible and visual warnings and even a haptic seatbelt warning. Smart cruise control is also available. Nine airbags (including a driver's knee bag), active front-seat head restraints, and Brake Assist are included across the lineup.
    Even the Equus Signature comes as an extremely well equipped luxury car, with more standard features than many models from prestige marques. HID headlamps, LED front fog lights and exterior lamps, rain-sensing wipers, water-repelling front glass, heated power-folding mirrors, and a heated windshield are all standard; and inside the Signature includes leather upholstery, heated-and-cooled front seats, a 12-way memory driver's seat, full steering-wheel controls, a sunroof, tri-zone automatic climate control, real wood leather accents, smart cruise control, a power rear sunshade, proximity entry, push-button start, HomeLink, and a 17-speaker Lexicon surround sound system. A navigation system with XM traffic and weather data, Gracenote, and 30GB storage is also included.

    Limousine-like Equus Ultimate models on top of all that add a rear entertainment system with dual 9.2-inch screens, rear-seat audio and climate controls, upgraded instrument-cluster displays, power door closures, a power rear seat, cooled rear seats, a cornering camera, power side sunshades, and a head-up display.

  • Friday, 21 June 2013

  • Toyota Corolla 2014

    It's no secret we've found the current Toyota Corolla to be a boring appliance. While it has fit the transportation needs for those who simply want a very cost-effective vehicle with long-term dependability, the competition has passed it by with stylish vehicles with complex features and technology.
    For 2014, Toyota's launching an all-new eleventh-generation Corolla with updated powertrains, new styling, better packaging, and new technology. With all these changes on tap, Toyota's hoping to reposition the Corolla in the compact-car segment from its current white bread status.

    Up front, a gaping lower grille and angular headlights do their best to give the Corolla a shot of adrenalin, while a defined character line runs the length of the vehicle meeting the wrap-around taillights, which attempt to give the Corolla visual width. An available spoiler is an option for those who wish to give their Corolla an extra dash of sportiness.

    Inside the Corolla takes a step forward with improved materials and two-tier design. The dashboard is now a soft-touch material with fake stitching, while pinstriped accents are strewn about the cabin on the dashboard and door panels. All models have a new three-dial gauge cluster with chrome trim except the S model, which features a two-gauge gauge cluster containing a 3.5-inch black-and-white TFT display with trip computer functions. Passengers in the rear seat should be more comfortable, thanks to new interior packaging allowed by the 3.9-inch wheelbase increase and rear seat hip point that is about three inches farther back. There's also more legroom in the backseat thanks to a new slim front seat back. Rear seat passengers aren't the only ones getting upgrades, as the front seats are longer and have a more supportive lower cushion with new bolster design.

    Under the hood of the Corolla you'll find one of two 1.8-liter four-cylinder engines. The L, LE, and S trim Corolla's are powered by a base 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 132 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque. Those seeking maximum fuel efficiency will want the LE Eco trim with its 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine featuring Valvematic, which has a broader range of continuously variable valve timing and increases fuel economy and engine output by more than five percent to 140-horsepower. Toyota's expecting the LE Eco model to achieve a 40 mpg or better EPA highway rating.

    While the base Corolla soldiers on with either a six-speed manual transmission or an optional four-speed automatic transmission, the LE, S, and LE Eco models all use a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with seven simulated gear ratios, and S models are equipped with paddle shifters. Toyota says they've tuned the transmission to reduce the rubber band sensation associated with many CVTs. If you want the most exciting Corolla you'll be ordering the S trim with the available six-speed manual transmission.

    On the safety front, the 2014 Corolla has eight standard airbags along with Toyota's Star Safety system, which includes vehicle stability control, traction control, anti-lock braking system, electronic brake-force distribution, and brake assist. There's also Toyota's standard Smart Stop Technology brake-override system.

    Feature-wise, the big news is that Toyota is stepping up its infotainment game the Corolla, and bringing it out of the dark ages with the availability of Toyota's latest Entune infotainment system, featuring navigation and apps in some models.

    The Corolla will be available in four trim levels: L, LE, S, and a new LE Eco model. The base L model features standard LED low-beam headlights with LED daytime running lights, in-glass AM/FM antenna, color-keyed outside door handles, color-keyed outside mirrors, 60/40 split fold-down rear seat, power locks, doors, and mirrors, along with air conditioning, Bluetooth, and eight airbags. Depending on the trim level, available options include a smart key system with push button start, automatic climate control, leather-trimmed tilt and telescopic three-spoke steering wheel with paddle shifters and audio controls, multi-information display, Bluetooth hands-free phone voice-command controls, and SofTex-trimmed heated front seats.

    Pricing and further model details will be released closer to the 2014 Corolla's launch this fall.

  • Tuesday, 18 June 2013

  • Ford Explorer 2014

    The Ford Explorer is one of the best-known on the planet. Yet the latest version of the Explorer has taken a step away from truck influences and reeled in its trail image. It shares much of its running gear with Ford's large sedans, as well as the Ford Flex--and while that might not be the right stuff for the Rubicon it's just right for all-weather family transit.
    Simply put, for almost everything that a family would throw at the Explorer, it does it better than before, and it does what the wide majority of us want to do in a crossover. It makes plenty of room for lots of people, or lots of stuff, and it does it much more efficiently than it ever did in the past. It holds on to those mud-running bona fides too--even if they probably were only ever weekend ambitions for most of their suburban owners.
    In style, the Explorer doesn't turn away too abruptly from the past. Inside it does its best impression of a Taurus sedan in look and feel, albeit a little more upright.

    The 3.5-liter V-6 that's offered through most of the lineup is plenty quick, while the front-wheel-drive Explorer with an EcoBoost four is best kept for those who seldom if ever take advantage of this vehicles spacious seating. The Explorer Sport is a different personality--very quick, taut, and faster than any V-8 Explorer of the past; it's a crossover extension of the Taurus SHO, essentially.
    Those carlike underpinnings mean that the 2014 Explorer can't quite hit the trails with the likes of the Grand Cherokee. But on-the-road handling is its forte, and it has quick, well-weighted steering plus terrific ride control, thanks to its substantial curb weight and an independent suspension. Highway miles truly are its friend.
    That doesn't preclude it from getting dirty now and then. A Terrain Management system controls stability and other systems to limit wheelspin while maintaining a 5,000-pound towing capacity. It's definitely Explorer Lite compared to the distant past, but it's still quite capable, in the wider view.
    The 2014 Ford Explorer has one of the most spacious interiors on the market--especially if you judge it by passenger space. Up to seven passengers can fit, and five adults will be fine in the front two rows. Getting into the third row is a little tougher than it is for the Ford Flex, as the Explorer sits taller. Every inch of this interior seems to be designed with family use in mind, and a power tailgate and power-folding seats are there to make it more convenient.
    Going by safety, the Explorer is one of the safest vehicles Ford builds, with inflatable rear seat belts and rearview cameras and blind-spot detectors. It also woos gearheads of another kind with MyFord Touch, the convoluted but promising system that uses voice, button or touchscreen control to govern infotainment and other vehicle functions. For 2014, second-row heated seats and adaptive cruise control are newly available on the Limited, and automatic headlamps have been made standard.

    Interior / Exterior »
    The high-performance Explorer Sport makes the most of the car-like side of its persona, with glossy black trim, 20-inch wheels, and mesh grille inserts. It has more in common with a Taurus SHO than with a big Expedition SUV, down to winged taillamps and a perforated grille, but the Explorer still avoids looking like a sedan or a minivan.
    Inside, the current Explorer makes no attempt to give nod to the past--and that's perfectly fine. Early Explorers had miserable, plasticky interiors, which got better as it was groomed upmarket. Nevermind the ungainly dashes in the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander. It's up there with the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango in tailored good looks, with maybe a half-degree more of the contemporary in its win column, thanks to those exclamation points of metallic plastic on the center stack.
    Audi and BMW are in its crosshairs, Ford says, and the Explorer delivers, in almost the same way the Flex and F-150 do. The cabin's a knockout, smoothing off transitions between dissimilar plastics and putting the curvy goodness into an interior that could have been confused for a shoe-store stockroom, in the past.

    Performance »
    The standard engine on the Explorer is a 3.5-liter V-6, shared with many Ford vehicles, from the Edge to the Flex. With 290 horsepower, it's good for mid-eight-second 60-mph acceleration through a six-speed automatic transmission. If it sounds pedestrian, it's good to recognize that the six-cylinder's far more powerful on paper than the the V-8 in the prior edition. Acceleration from a stop is strong, and most models have a sport-shift mode for quicker throttle and shift responses, but these Explorers don't get shift paddles to go with the automatic. The transmission will hold lower gears when told, though, and that alone makes it more responsive than almost any competitive crossover.

    In the name of gas mileage, there's another option. A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque actually has more torque than the 255 lb-ft available with the V-6, yet it's a little less certain if you plan to haul a heavy load of passengers around on a regular basis. If you're the solo-commuter type, it's a $1,000 option that will actually pay off for itself pretty quickly, as it's rated at 20/28 mpg. Overall, this engine makes some grouching, flapping turbocharger noises that upset the Explorer's more refined demeanor. Paddle-shifters would have made this combination more drivable than it is, but they're not included; and keep in mind that towing capacity slides to 2,000 pounds.
    Last year Ford introduced a new 350-horsepower, twin-turbo-V-6 Explorer Sport model; it's offered only with all-wheel drive and gets a raft of changes to go with its exceptional power (Ford says it's two seconds quicker to 60 mph than the standard six-cylinder model). Consider this a utility-vehicle version of the Taurus SHO; it gets quicker steering, 20-inch wheels and tires, upgraded brakes, and a stiffer front body structure. The Sport is far more fired up than the old Explorer V-8; just don't expect it to chase a Grand Cherokee SRT8.

    In its basic front-drive versions, the Explorer's electric power steering and terrifically settled ride give it a nimble feel that's more like that of the smaller Edge. The Explorer carves into corners with zeal, and the steering unwinds with a feel that's closer to natural than some hydraulic-steer vehicles. The electric steering also means the Explorer can park itself--with the Active Park Assist options, which uses cameras to maneuver the steering while the driver keeps tabs on things with the brake pedal.

    The 2014 Explorer can slosh through enough mud and ruts to get a family of seven to any ski resort or any bed and breakfast that doesn't require an overnight National Park Service permit. If you're arguing over the lack of a low-gear ratio and frame rails and skid plates, you're less likely to have been shopping an Explorer in the first place. There's a multi-traction drive system that spins from Normal to Mud and Ruts, Sand, and Snow modes, tailoring power and braking to suit the conditions.

    In esoteric instances, those electronics can't quite match a really well-trained off-road driver, since they require a little slip in the system to start working. For the remaining 95 percent of us, it's welcome relief to worry less about descending a hill with brake and engine modulation instead of simply flicking a switch.

    PRICE »»
    BASE INVOICE» $27,000
    BASE MSRP» $29,600

  • Saturday, 15 June 2013

  • Hyundai Sonata

    It may have entered as a dark horse in the mid-size sedan segment two years ago, but now the Hyundai Sonata has earned a reputation for its swoopy, attractive styling. Its current mission is to become one the best family sedans on the market today, and while it hasn't quite hit the mark on handling or refinement, it's a solid choice if you're looking for features and fuel economy, even in its base model.
    The Sonata had been a wallflower, but the rakish design makeover it received for 2011 still turns heads. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the 2013 Sonata has a lot going for it, as we see elements of its trend-setting 'fluidic design' emerging in rival models. The dramatic shapes continue into the cabin, almost to finer effect--the Sonata's functionality doesn't get tripped up by the swoopy lines formed into its center stack or door panels.

    Interior / Exterior:-
    In the not-so-distant past, the idea of a flamboyantly styled, charismatically designed Hyundai was a nonstarter, and the Sonata was a stodgy also-ran from a design standpoint. But with the introduction of an all-new Sonata and its 'fluidic design' theme for the 2011 model year, that all abruptly changed. And even two model years later, the 2013 Hyundai Sonata remains radically different than most other mid-size sedans, with an intriguing blend of crests and curves that set it far apart from the rather bland look of the Passat and Camry.
    While fluidic sculpture is used throughout Hyundai's model line, it's at its best in Hyundai's sedans, where there's lots of movement implied in the side view and the upkick of the prominent side crease. In the grille we can see some of the “wave” look of the latest Infinitis, while at the rear of the roofline and across the tail, it's clearly an homage to the Audi A6. The point at the side mirrors where five different panels join up is a noticeable wart—Hyundai did better here in applying its design ethic to the smaller Elantra—and to some people there will be a few too many pieces of glimmering chrome brightwork.
    Inside, the design is either cutting-edge or a little out there, depending on how you see it. There's dramatic sculpturing across the dash and even on the steering wheel, and just as in pretty much every other new Hyundai there are angled vents that flank a big LCD screen atop the dash. But it's functional; you'll find an iconographic representation of a person for the climate controls and door trim that flows in well-coordinated fashion into the dash—all aspects we appreciate. We prefer the metallic trim to the woodgrain on beige-interior cars, which looks out of place in the swoopy Sonata.

    The 2013 Hyundai Sonata offers a full roster of direct-injection four-cylinder powertrains that altogether are powerful yet fuel-efficient. There's no V-6 option, but odds are you won't miss it.
    On base-model Sonatas—and on most of the model line, really—is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, making up to 200 horsepower. That's mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The manual-gearbox version has been dropped for 2013; luckily, the automatic is perfectly appropriate for the class, and is a responsive, seamless gearchanger. The front-wheel-drive Sonata feels very perky with this engine, and stronger than most other mid-size sedans in base guise. It's a few hundred pounds lighter than several of its rival models, which adds to that impression, and its 35-mpg EPA highway rating stands to sweeten the impression.
    Step up to the 2.0T model and you get a somewhat smaller 2.0-liter engine with a twin-scroll turbocharger, providing 274 horsepower. Its 269 lb-ft arrives low in the power band, which thankfully helps this engine work very well with the automatic transmission (the only way to get it) and largely skips the turbo lag completely; although it doesn't feel as instantly responsive as a V-6, it beats some V-6 models in flat-out acceleration. This model comes with shift paddles, too, and is intended as the more economical parallel to upscale V-6 models.
    The third powertrain option comes in the 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. With it you get a 2.4-liter four with electric motors and a lithium-polymer battery pack, plus a high threshold that lets the Sonata Hybrid run on battery power alone at highway speeds. Hyundai says this version will hit 60 mph in 9.2 seconds, well within the acceptable range for a family sedan, while delivering gas mileage of 36/40 mpg. Unlike most full hybrids, like the Ford Fusion Hybrid or Toyota Camry Hybrid, the Sonata Hybrid uses a conventional automatic transmission to change gears. Over a few driving experiences now we've found the pre-2013 Sonata Hybrid's powertrain to lack the smooth transitions of these rivals, though, with some lumpy transitions between gas-electric and electric-only modes. We'll update this review once we've been able to obtain a 2013 Sonata Hybrid and to evaluate its updated drivetrain.
    Overall, ride and handling in the 2013 Sonata are unremarkable—and adequate for most family needs. Driving enthusiasts are bound to be a little let down by the steering response, which could use some more feedback and tends to wander and need frequent adjustments on some highway surfaces. Most of the model line is damped rather firmly but sprung softly—for crisp response in the parking lot, but not at the ragged edge, on a mountain road. Also, beware that the Sonata SE gets monotube shocks and 19-inch wheels that don't enhance handling all that much but can contribute to ride harshness.

    4-Door Sedan 2.0T Automatic Limited Turbocharged Gas I4, 2.0L
    $ 25,790 $27,595
    4-Door Sedan 2.0T Automatic Limited w/Wine Int Turbocharged Gas I4, 2.0L
    $ 25,790 $27,595
    4-Door Sedan 2.0T Automatic SE Turbocharged Gas I4, 2.0L
    $ 23,727 $25,095
    4-Door Sedan 2.4L Automatic GLS Gas I4, 2.4L
    $ 20,010 $20,895
    4-Door Sedan 2.4L Automatic GLS PZEV Gas I4, 2.4L
    $ 20,010 $20,895
    4-Door Sedan 2.4L Automatic Limited Gas I4, 2.4L
    $ 24,170 $ 5,845
    4-Door Sedan 2.4L Automatic Limited PZEV Gas I4, 2.4L
    $ 24,170 $25,845
    4-Door Sedan 2.4L Automatic Limited PZEV w/Wine Int Gas I4, 2.4L
    $ 24,170 $25,845
    4-Door Sedan 2.4L Automatic Limited w/Wine Int Gas I4, 2.4L
    $ 24,170 $25,845
    4-Door Sedan 2.4L Automatic SE Gas I4, 2.4L
    $ 22,277 $23,545

  • Wednesday, 12 June 2013

  • Volkswagen Polo

    After the success with the Polo GT TSI, Volkswagen now plans to launch a new performance diesel version of the hatchback. The Polo with red number plates and GT TDI badging has been spotted a few times and is expected to be launched in the third quarter of 2013.

    Although there is no confirmation from VW regarding the new model, looking at the specs of the petrol GT model we can speculate a bit about the oil burner. The Polo GT TDI will most probably be powered by the 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine from the Vento, developing 103bhp and 250Nm of torque.

    With marginal weight reduction, the diesel Polo GT will have better fuel efficiency and performance than the Vento sedan. It is also expected to be made available only in the top-spec version with features from the standard Polo Highline diesel.

    There are a few things that might not work in the favour of Polo GT TDI. The diesel version is expected to get a five-speed manual gearbox, unlike the seven-speed dual-clutch DSG automatic of the TSI. Also the prices of this model will be a bit higher with the bigger engine, as the car will not classify as a hatchback under the current tax regime and will be taxed at higher rate.
    The Polo GT TDI is expected to be priced around Rs 8.5 lakh, creating a niche for itself above rest of the performance diesel hatchbacks like the Tata Vista D90 and the Fiat Punto Sport.

    Expected Launch: July 2013
    Expected Price: Rs. 8-9 lakhs


  • Nissan Micra

    The Nissan Micra has been in the Indian market for about three years now and sells in decent numbers.  However, things are now changing – major of their competitors have got facelifts or have been given major updates and the Micra sales have dropped to three digits in the last two months. Nissan will also launch a facelifted version of the hatchback soon; they have recently launched the refreshed version in the Thai market recently. 

    The facelifted Nissan Micra has mostly got cosmetic changes both on the Inside and outside. While maintaining the same overall design, Nissan has managed to remove a lot of the rounded edges that defined the previous car and according to many gave it a slightly feminine look.

    On the front Nissan has revised the grille – it now has a honeycomb design and features a Nissan logo surrounded a V-shaped trough. This is similar to the grille and logo found on the Juke crossover. The bumper has also been revised and now features new fog lamps as well as a redesigned air dam.
    At the back, the hatchback has refreshed the bumper as well as the tail light cluster which now features LEDs. The Micra also gets a rear spoiler as well as a new design for the alloy-wheels.

    Inside, the new Micra gets a refreshed centre console which has now been finished in a glossy black colour and has complementing silver accents.  The bulby Nissan interiors are missing. The central AC vents have now been given a rectangular shape and the graphics for the multifunction display have also been changed.  The car that has been featured on Nissan’s official Thai website also gets new set of plastics on the dashboard as well some new shades for the upholstery.  

    The underpinnings and engine line up remain exactly the same as that of the current Micra.  This means a 1.2-litre petrol engine producing between 56 and 76bhp and 104Nm of torque or the 1.5-litre diesel mill producing 64bhp and 160Nm of torque will do the duty for the car. Power is transmitted to the front wheels via five-speed manual gearbox. 

    However, the car that has been featured on the official website is the AT variant with Nissans very own X-Tronic CVT gearbox that made its Indian debut with Scala Automatic.  Nissan has confirmed that the Micra automatic will make its Indian debut within the next few months. There is a possibility that Nissan will introduce the AT variants of the Micra with the facelift
    Since the Japanese automaker’s Chennai plant is one of the facilities around the world where the Micra is manufactured, we can expect that Nissan will bring the facelifted Micra here within the next few months with a slight change in prices. 

    It is also likely that the older model will continue in a low cost watered down version in a bid to make the Micra appealing to a wider range of buyers. This low cost variant has been spotted testing near the Chennai facility and should make its debut around the same time as the facelifted version.

    Expected Launch: June 2013
    Expected Price: Rs. 4-6.50 lakhs

  • Tuesday, 11 June 2013

  • Toyota Rush

    Onelook at, Toyota’s latest product, the Toyota Rush, is all it takes to understand that the car is certain to take the automobile market by storm. To begin with the car has a trendy and sophisticated appearance that helps it in becoming a true treat for the eyes. The exterior is equipped with a host of features which not only help in serving an important purpose but also add a new dimension to the car’s appearance. Fog lamps help in improving visibility during foggy conditions and gel well with the car’s look. Wing mirrors help the drivers in judging traffic conditions better and also impart a hi-tech feel to the car. Rear spoiler, reverse sensor, turn indicator, headlamps and a spare tyre cover are some of the other features that breathe new life into the car’s exterior. The interior of the car is almost as impressive as its exterior. To start off, the seats have a comfortable and soft feel about them. An effective AC helps in diminishing the challenges associated with driving in summer. The steering wheel of the car is equipped with an audio controller that makes it easier to maneuver the steering and results in a smoother driving experience. Power windows simplify the handling of windows by making it possible to operate all windows via a central console. A sun visor, sunglass holder, leather gear knob and an audio system are some other features found in the interior. The presence of a host of safety features indicates that the makers of the car consider safety to be one of their prime responsibilities. An Anti- Braking System (ABS) prevents the brakes from jamming in case braking is done at high speeds. A Supplementary Resistant System (SRS) airbag inflates during collisions and protects passengers from damage. Safety locks are provided to prevent accidental opening of the doors while the car is in motion. An Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), collapsible steering column and a Global Outstanding Assessment (GOA) body are some of the other safety features possessed by the car. The car is a sure shot winner when it comes to technical aspects. It is equipped with a powerful 3SZ-VE, 4 cylinder, 1495 cc DHOC  engine  that offers a peak torque of 141 Nm at 4400 rpm and a peak power of 80 Kw per 6,000 rpm. The availability of a host of color variants, such as white, grey metallic, silver mica metallic, and black metallic, endears the car to the, highly metrosexual youth. On the whole the host of brilliant features present in the car will help it in becoming an instant classic.

    Toyota Rush Mileage:

    In today’s expensive and competitive world a good fuel economy/mileage is a must for any car as it helps in improving the car’s economic viability. The car offers an impressive mileage of 14.8 Km/l which helps it in staying heads and shoulders above its competition.


    Power of Toyota Rush:             

    Toyota Rush PhotosThe power and torque offered by a car plays a big role in determining its viability. The car is equipped with a strong engine3SZ-VE, 4 cylinder, 1495 cc DHOC engine  that offers a peak torque of 141 Nm at 4400 rpm and a peak power of 80 Kw per 6,000 rpm. These impressive figures help the car in getting a decisive edge over other cars in the same genre.


    Toyota Rush Engine and Performance:

    Toyota Rush Engine

     All the variants, of the car, are equipped with a 3SZ-VE, 4 cylinder, 1495 cc DHOC  engine that has been designed using the VVT-I technology. This technology helps, through the frequent opening and closing of valves (in 1/1000th of a second) helps the car in meeting emission guidelines and providing a good fuel economy simultaneously.

     Price:Rs 8,00,000*




  • Toyota Fortuner

    Toyota Fortuner is an impressive power machine with muscular body and its sporty looks can take anyone’s fancy. Toyota Fortuner facelift was displayed at Indonesian Motor Show in 2011. The mighty SUV is launched in various markets across the globe like Malaysia, Thailand, Oman, etc before coming to India. Toyota launched its very successful urban SUV-Toyota Fortuner in Indian market with only one diesel variant back in 2009. This mid-sized SUV, also known as Toyota SW4 in global market, is actually based on Toyota Hilux’s platform (It is a pick-up truck not present in India). The vehicle was originally designed by Toyota Technical Centre in Australia. It is assembled in India from CKD kits by Toyota Kirloskar Motors Pvt. Ltd.

    Toyota Fortuner is an elegantly functional car, with its king size interiors and stylish exteriors. Even with one variant equipped with Toyota's most popular 3.0L diesel engine mated to five speed manual transmission gearbox and with 4WD (Four Wheel Drive) option, the SUV was capable of finding place in large garages of many Indian homes. Such is the craze for Fortuner SUV that many a times the company has not been able to meet the overwhelming demand for this vehicle and had to stop the bookings. With the launch of Toyota Fortuner, Toyota planned to make its position strong in the premium SUV segment dominated by Honda CRV, Chevrolet Captiva and Ford Endeavour. The company has placed Toyota Fortuner in the highly competitive price range of Rs 18 to 20 lakhs in its segment. However, in the Auto 2012, Fortuner lovers were pleased to welcome the facelift version of this much adorable SUV at the Pragati Maidan in Delhi.

    Toyota Fortuner was initially launched only with a 3.0L diesel engine with 4WD (4 - Wheel Drive) that produces 168 bhp power and 343 Nm of torque, the engine mated to a 5 speed manual transmission. However in 2012, Toyota also launched 2WD (2- Wheel drive) models of Fortuner. Two more variants are added to the fleet-a 4 speed automatic and a 5-speed manual version. Same D4-D 3.0 lire diesel engine powers these two variants. Experts reveal that gearshifts are smooth and new Toyota Fortuner is perfect for City driving.

    Looks are the most important part of any vehicle that falls in SUV segment and this Japanese auto manufacturer does not disappoint in this regard. While those who own a Fortuner, drive it in pride and those who wishes to buy it stare at it as their dream SUV. Toyota Fortuner front appears aggressive and sheds dynamic look with strong bonnet lines and large head lamps that are placed next to the grille. The 2012 Toyota Fortuner grille is quite wider than the predecessor and the head lamps are angular now. Toyota Motors have dressed the front face of 2012 Fortuner SUV with new bumpers and a wider intake on bonnet for intercooler plus new alloy wheels have been added to change the side profile of the SUV. Ultimate comforts are bang on and the interior are extremely pleasing. Toyota has combined boldness and refinement in this model to present sporty and stylish looks.

    Its menacing front grille, black sporty side step with sporty roof rails and its 17" alloy wheels give it a killer look. The elegant interiors of Toyota Fortuner take inspiration from Land Cruiser styling. 2012 Toyota Fortuner comes with newly designed centre console which is now equipped with a six-inch touch-screen which has also been added by Toyota in the new Innova. This so called infotainment system controls the audio system, the DVD player and reverse camera. A new Bluetooth telephony function has been added in the car and the new lighter steering wheel now comes with controls for the same. The driver seat gets six-way power adjustments and the instrument control is viewed better by Optitron dials which are revised for better visibility. The dual air conditioning system of Toyota Fortuner with automatic climate control system offers weather as per the needs of drivers and passengers during journey.

    The new 2WD Toyota Fortuner is equipped with double wishbone coil springs front suspension and non-independent rear suspension while the 4WD model has 4-link with lateral rod rear suspension that reduces the jerks and enhances the handling capacity which makes the driving more comfortable. Active safety features that you will find in Toyota Fortuner are Dual Front Airbags, ABS with EBD and ESP etc. Overall, Toyota Fortuner is a stunner is terms of performance and off-road handling.

    Acceleration & Pick-Up  

    The original Toyota Fortuner was launched in four wheel drive version. This 4 WD (Four Wheel Drive) option is equipped with a 3.0L, 2982cc diesel engine mated to five speed manual transmission that also offers good acceleration and this model can also achieve the 100 kmph mark in just 9.61 seconds and can touch top speed mark of 176 kmph.

    However, Toyota has also added two brand new Two Wheel drive models, both packed with same 3 litre diesel engine. One of the 2WD models is manual, while the other is automatic version. While the top speed mark of these variants is same as 4WD, the acceleration comes to about 14.5 seconds (0-100 kmph).

    New Toyota Fortuner Engine and Performance

    Toyota Fortuner is availablein Indian market only with the diesel engine option which is powered by the high capacity longitudinally placed 3.0L, 2982cc, diesel engine that produces maximum power of 168 bhp at 3600 rpm and 343 Nm torque at 1400-3400 rpm. The turbocharged engine delivers high engine performance with excellent acceleration and fuel efficiency so that Toyota Fortuner never vibrates even after the speed of 130kmph. The turbo charger with intercooler keeps the performance level of this SUV at ace by cooling the compressed air that comes from the turbocharger before it enters the engine. Since, cooled air carries more oxygen, it results in better combustion. Earlier only 4 wheel drive version was present but in 2012 company will launch the two wheel drive versions, one of them has 4 speed automatic transmission.  Power transfer will be done by the rear wheels as the automatic version is not available as a four-wheel drive model.

    Handling & Safety

    Toyota Fortuner offers lots of safety features for both driver and pedestrians. The active safety features that are available with Toyota Fortuner includes Dual Front SRS Airbags that greatly reduces the chance of injury in case of front collision, ABS with EBD that enables the driver to maneuver the vehicle even during hard braking, 15” Front Disc Brakes that de-accelerate the vehicle instantly. The other passive safety features that are available with Toyota Fortuner are Multi-Reflector Quad Headlamps, LED High Mount Tail Lamps, and GOA (Global Outstanding Assessment) body provides the highest level of safe body in its segment.

    Price: Rs 22,36,868* - Rs 23,98,098*

  • Saturday, 1 June 2013

  • Skoda-Octavia 2013

    Skoda will launched his new car model Octavia in the market of india.It will be launch in the month of july 2013.The new design of Skoda Octavia  looks more aggressive and classy design philosopy and i think  it will be the best looking model in its class.

     The 2013 Octavia is bigger, all round and looks like a more expensive car.Compared to its previous model, the new Octavia has grown significantly in length and width and It is 90 mm longer and 45 mm wider than the second-generation Octavia.

    Skoda has again taken a notch higher this time. Inside the new look philosophy continues as there is more interior length , more knee room  and more headroom at the back .The wheelbase has grown by 108 mm which means there is more space now.

    • The new Octavia comes with lots of engine options, there is a 1.4 TSI, 1.8 TSI, 1.6 TDI, 2.0 TDI and a mental vRS version too.

    • For India we expect the 1.8 TSI to come along with the diesels.

    • The 1.6 TDI could be a popular option with 103 bhp while higher specific variants can have the powerful 150 bhp 2.0 diesel.

    • There will be manual and an automatic DSG transmission on offer with an all-wheel-drive version too.

    Its price is likely to be expected between 14 lakhs to 22 lakhs.

    Expected Ratings:-

    Interior/exterior-- 8 outof 10

    Performance-- 8 outof 10

    Quality-- 9 outof 10

    Safety-- 9 outof 10

    Features-- 9 outof 10

    Its overall rating is 9 outof 10

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