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A Designer’s Sublime Text Setup

Before I switched to a Mac a few years ago, I had been using the Notepad++ text editor for all the coding I did. I never really did like Dreamweaver. For me it was too complicated by trying to be everything.

I truly believe in and appreciate simplicity. I like simple tools that allow customisation for power users. On a Windows PC, Notepad++ somehow provided that. To be honest, I wasn’t even a power user back then, so customisation wasn’t a priority. I just needed a very simple text editor.

In Search for a New Text Editor

As I mentioned before, I switched to a Mac a few years ago. After doing so, I realised that Notepad++ is not available on OSX. That was the reason to start searching for a new text editor that would be somehow similar to what I was used to. If you are looking for web design for your company check Vivid Designs

A quick Google search provided me with options like Brackets, Coda, TextMate, TextWrangler, BBEdit 10, Aquamacs, Espresso and Sublime Text. There’s a wide range of these and I tried most of them. In the end, I decided to give Brackets a proper try. It’s free and has live reload on document change already built-in. That was something I really appreciated.

I started using Brackets when it was still in beta. And it was obvious. It had some disturbing bugs but what really bothered me was the performance. Sometimes it got to a point when even scrolling through an HTML document would produce lag. I had none of it and decided to give another text editor a try. For some reason, Sublime Text looked the most promising.

The Text Editor You’ll Fall in Love With

Once you install Sublime Text you get something that looks very simple in both UI and functionalities. At first, it doesn’t look that special actually. Why would someone pay $70 for this? But once again, Google has all the answers you need. After taking some time to really get the essence of Sublime Text, I fell in love with it. Here’s my setup.

Upgrade to Sublime Text 3

If you haven’t already, you should update to the Sublime Text 3. It’s still in beta but works very well, and package support is also very good. There’s no major difference between the two. At least not on the first sight. But because of numerous updates under the hood, the performance is much better.

If you’re not sure whether to upgrade or not, give this tool a try. It will tell you if you’re ready to upgrade, determined by the support for the packages that you’re using.

In my case, I had all green, so I was ready to go.

Install Package Control

First of all, I install the Package Control. Without it, it would be much harder and time-consuming to customise Sublime Text. Installation is very simple and quick. Check the instructions here.

After you have that installed, you’re able to install all the expansion packages right from Sublime Text so you don’t have to manually download and install them. It’s a timesaver. If you are looking for website development in Bangalore for your company visit Vivid Designs

Theme & Color Scheme

After a successful upgrade, I immediately started looking for a cool theme. I need my text editor to look slick and minimalistic. And I really wanted to get rid of that old, Windows Vista like look that Sublime Text comes with by default. To get rid of it, you have to change the theme.

Theme is not the same as colour scheme. The former defines the looks of Sublime text window, sidebar, tabs and modal windows and the latter defines the background and syntax highlight colours.

There’s a particular theme I really like, called Space Gray. I found it after searching for quite some time. I narrowed my options to this and Centurion. Both look very good, both very close to what I like. In the end, I decided to go with Space Gray and I’m sticking with it for now.

There’s even more colour schemes than themes for Sublime Text. There’s a cool website with a lot of them: Colorsublime. I like the base16-ocean so I just stick with it. It gives me just the right amount of contrast so my eyes don’t suffer too much.

I event went further and removed the arrows that are meant for navigation through the tabs. This might come handy when you have a gazillion of tabs open. But I got used to switching between them with the Alt + Cmd + left/right arrows shortcut. So for me, those arrows were just visual clutter and I removed them. To do so you have to add this line into your user settings.

“enable_tab_scrolling”: false

Personalisation

As I mentioned before, I was using Brackets for some time. Not long, but long enough to get used to some keyboard shortcuts. The two I used the most that had different key bindings from Sublime were delete line and duplicate line.

After switching to Sublime Text, I noticed that the duplicate line shortcut from Brackets had the opposite effect in Sublime: it deleted the line. So I decided to add my own custom keyboard shortcuts. And in Sublime that’s very easy. These can be added/edited in Preferences > Key Bindings — User. Whatever custom shortcut you add there will overwrite the default one. In my case they were these two:

{ “keys”: [“super+d”], “command”: “duplicate_line” },

{ “keys”: [“super+shift+d”], “command”: “run_macro_file”, “args”: {“file”: “Packages/Default/Delete Line.sublime-macro”} }

I hate scrolling horizontally, so I wanted Word wrap to be enabled by default. Another search on Google, gave me an answer in less than a minute. I just had to add this line to my Preferences > Settings — User.

“word_wrap”: true

Now, every time I create/open a new document, the word wrap will be enabled by default.

Packages

I don’t want to repeat myself so this is a list of additional packages to the ones I mention in other parts of this article (themes and Package Syncing later on).

Alignment is one of the Top 25 packages for Sublime. It provides easy alignment of multiple selections and multi-line selections.

Autoprefixer is also a very popular package. When you run it, it adds the vendor prefixes to you CSS. Ain’t nobody got time for messing with that.

BracketHighlighter marks the opening and the closing bracket of the current line of code. Sometimes, this comes very handy.

Can I Use adds a shortcut to your key bindings with which you can quickly check how well is a CSS property supported by browsers. This one goes online to check for that. There’s also a package that provides this offline — caniuse_local.

CSScomb makes your code beautiful. Now you can do it very quickly with this package.

Emmet is like magic for your coding. Once you get the hang of it, you will save time. A lot of time. Just write an “equation” of your code, press tab, and there it is.

Emmet Css Snippets the same as Emmet but this time for CSS (including LESS and SASS).

LiveReload refreshes the website you’re working on when you make a change to the source code. I got used to this behaviour when I was using Brackets and really liked it. Another time saver.

SCSS adds syntax highlight for the .scss files. I recently decided to learn to use CSS preprocessing, so I need this.

SideBarEnhancements makes the sidebar in Sublime more useful. It adds some basic functions: new file/folder, edit, open/run, reveal, find in selected/parent/project, cut, copy, paste, paste in parent, rename, move, delete, refresh…. and also some advanced features.

TrailingSpaces highlights all the trailing spaces in your code. It can also remove all trailing spaces with one action. What’s wrong with having trailing spaces?

Package Syncing

I have Sublime Text installed on two machines: my personal MacBook and my iMac at work. No matter which machine I’m working on, I need my personal Sublime Text setup. I need it to look exactly the same with all the packages on both machines.

Keeping both installations in sync manually is time-consuming. I did it for some time but got tired of it. After a while my two Sublime Text installations grew apart. I thought to myself: can’t there be a way to automatically sync the two installations of Sublime Text?

There is! Or, there are, because there’s a bunch of them. The most popular would be to sync your installation with a little help from Dropbox (I don’t really like Dropbox so I used MEGA instead). And there’s a package you can install that makes it very easy to set this up — Package Syncing.

So now, when I install a new package on one of my machines, it will be automatically synced to the other. This also applies for all my settings and personalisations of Sublime Text. Neat, right?

Icon

For some reason, nobody likes the default Sublime Text icon. That’s why there’s so many alternatives available on Dribbble. I honestly never really had any problems with the default icon. I kinda liked it. But since the Yosemite UI switch to a flatter look, the default Icon didn’t match anymore. Yes, that’s the only reason I decided to change the icon. Designers, eh? ☺

I really like this icon. It keeps the original design of the Sublime Text icon but also looks great on latest OSX. You can get it here.

Source

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Ford Figo Hatchback Overview

Ford Figo Overview

The facelift of the Figo will be launched by the end of the year. The company has just launched the Ecosport S and Signature editions, with new features. This will be followed by the introduction of the facelifted Ford Aspire, possibly in July. The company may then take a break for a few months and launched the new Figo by around October / November, which is the festive season. The changes to the Ford Figo 2019 will not be much. It will be a minor facelift. The interior will be updated. A new infotainment system on offer this time and will be the same as the Ford Freestyle. It is a touchscreen system, which is a welcome feature on this hatchback. A new 1.2-litre Dragon petrol engine will also be offered. An automatic transmission will be mated to this engine. It is expected to be more fuel efficient than the earlier engine. Check Ford cars Price & Specifications at CarzPrice

Ford Figo Exterior

As can be seen in the Ford Figo pictures of the exteriors, Figo hatchback and Aspire sedan are indistinguishable except for the additional boot fixed at the rear of Aspire. Leave that apart and you can very well confuse Figo hatchback to the sedan version. Similar modish radiator grille in the front with multiple chrome bars boosts the overall outer look. Again the identical swooping head lights flank front grille, trickle to the lower bumper and you will notice the petite lower grille and fog lamps in higher variants. Side profile is simple yet impressive, it gets body

colour matching outside rear view mirrors, body painted outside door handles, multiple spoke alloy wheels, indicators and subtle character lines. The outside rear view mirrors get integrated turn indicators along with power adjustable and foldable functions. At the back, wrap around tail lights are present, an integrated roof spoiler, fog lights and body coloured bumper pretty much define the rear styling. Check for Figo Car Model Price in CarzPrice

Ford Figo Interior

Just like exteriors, interiors are also akin to Aspire with the only difference of an all black colour theme unlike the dual tone colour scheme available on Aspire. Space on offer is generous for passengers in front implying comfortable legroom, head space and shoulder room. Rear is a snug place too for passengers in terms of space; moreover the rear seat can be folded flat for creating additional storage space at the back. An armrest is also placed at the centre of the rear seat. For driver’s convenience, height adjuster is provided on the seat so as to adjust height accordingly. Various styling similarities can be spotted inside like the centre console, instrument cluster and three spoke steering wheel with tilt-adjust feature among others. There are

several cubbyholes inside providing enough space for storage. A bettered Figo hatchback is rich when it comes to features, some of the notable features loaded inside include equipments such as steering mounted audio & phone controls, front/rear power windows with one touch up-down driver window, AM/FM radio with Aux input, USB port, Bluetooth, tachometer, boot lamp, electric boot release, climate control and a 12 V power outlet among several others. High end variants get leather seat covers while rest of the range comes with fabric upholstery. Other than the above mentioned features, the top-spec trim highlights additional goodies like CD/MP3 player, FordMy Key, MyFord Dock, multi-function display and voice activated SYNC Applink. Further information on the accessories available can be retrieved from Ford Figo dealers in your locality

Ford Figo Specifications & Mileage

The new Ford Figo 2019 will be powered by a new 1.2-litre Dragon petrol engine. This engine will also power the Aspire. It also does duty in the Freestyle. This engine will have a five-speed manual and also a six-speed automatic. The diesel will be the same 1.5-litre unit that will churn about 98bhp of power and 200Nm of maximum torque. This will be mated to a five-speed manual transmission only.

Both engines are powerful and the diesel especially has been the talk of the town. The 1.2-litre has good enough power for city usage. The major update is the petrol engine. The diesel will see some tweaking to have better driveability. The Figo will have to wrestle with some strong competition in the form of the new upcoming Honda Jazz, the Swift and the Hyundai i20.The fuel-efficiency for the petrol manual is about 12km/l in the city and 16km/l on the highway. The automatic will return about 11km/l in the city and 14km/l on the highway. The diesel is more efficient at 17km/l in the city and about 20km/l on the highway.

Ford Figo Performance and Handling

Ford has tweaked the suspension of the Figo for this edition. It comes with a stiffer setting now and the ride height has been lowered. You also get meatier 195/55/15 tyres which offer better grip than the tyres on the regular Figo. Thanks to the revised suspension settings, the Figo feels more composed and stable on straights as well as corners. It feels eager to dive in corners too. The ride is also very pliant. The steering is sharp and offers decent feel, it is also light at city speeds. The brakes also do a very good job and the Figo is definitely an engaging car to drive.

Ford Figo Braking and Safety

Braking duties are performed by disc brakes in front and drum brakes at rear. On the safety front, Figo hatchback gets a number of equipments such as six airbags, anti-lock-braking system with electronic brakeforce distribution, among the prominent ones. Besides the aforementioned safety features, the hatchback also feature engine immobilizer and driver seatbelt reminder. Some features are exclusive to automatic version like electronic stability control; traction control and hill start assist.

Ford Figo Price

Ford Figo Ex-Showroom Price in ranges from 4,79,105/- (Figo 1.2P Base MT) to 7,78,633/- (Figo 1.5P Titanium AT). Get best offers for Ford Figo from Ford Dealers

Ford Figo Conclussion

The changes on the Figo Sports Edition are mainly to the interiors and exteriors while the suspension changes have made the car more fun. We have always stated that the Figo is a fun to drive car offered as a value for money proposition and there is no denying to this fact. But, the Sports Edition loses out on some features that are offered in the regular Figo in the Titanium Plus trim, so there’s a trade-off between a higher variant with more features or a lower variant with sporty additions and that’s what the buyer needs to think and decide, since the Sports Edition and the Titanium Plus cost almost the same on the road.

 

 

 

 

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What Does The Virtual Receptionist Actually Do ?

Answering calls while you manage your business can be time consuming and could drain your energy. Traditionally, hiring a receptionist to answer all your customers’ inquiries on the phone and taking some personal calls for you could be the best thing to do. And as we become more accustomed to digital and virtual technologies, Virtual Receptionists were introduced to the market and is now on the test run whether it could be the latest trend.Why not? People had accepted and embraced Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry today so why not Virtual Receptionists? Nevertheless, there is a difference between a Virtual Receptionist and a call center agent (as what we usually call people who works in BPO industries). A call center agent merely takes calls and answer queries while Virtual Receptionists, acts in the name of your company’s name

He or she will take a message if necessary, but also gives you a way of having a single public number covering everyone in the business

A virtual receptionist should be more than an answering service. Sure, the basic idea is that you have a real person answering calls instead of letting them go to voicemail, but that’s just the start.

Depending on whose statistics you believe, as many as three-quarters of first time callers to a business will hang up if they reach voicemail rather than a person. We don’t know how old that figure is, and we suspect people are more comfortable with voicemail now than they were a decade ago.

An answering service is basically just a human being pretending to be an answering machine, though at one time we would have put that the other way round. Someone phones, you don’t answer, the service picks up the call, takes a message and forwards it to you, typically by SMS or email.

A virtual receptionist goes beyond that. He or she will take a message if necessary, but also gives you a way of having a single public number covering everyone in the business. Calls are answered just as a ‘real’ receptionist would, and then directed to the appropriate person’s landline or mobile. The illusion of being a larger business can be encouraged if the service ensures the same agent answers your calls whenever possible.

Virtual receptionists should also be able to provide answers to basic questions such as “what are your opening hours?”, “what is your address?” and “do you deliver flowers to Mater Mothers’ Hospital?”

Even if your business is at the stage where it needs a real receptionist, it may be worth adding a virtual receptionist so you know you are covered if you’re flooded with calls, during breaks, or the occasional sickie.

Some of these services also offer call screening, so you can avoid being interrupted by routine inquiries that can safely be left until it’s convenient for you to return the call, while making sure that important clients and family members can reach you at any time if it is at all urgent.

Or you may want to go even further. Virtual receptionist services may be able to take orders (“a large bunch of gladioli to Mrs Jane Doe at Calvary North Adelaide Hospital by noon tomorrow, please”) or book appointments (“I’d like a perm on Friday, please, what time can Adele fit me in?” or “I’d like a quote for cutting down a tree in my garden”).

Other add-ons may include out-of-hours answering, fax-to-email, and even a virtual postal address.

All this comes at a price, of course. While the costs vary, providers typically charge a monthly fee that includes a certain number of calls, with an additional charge for every call after that. Services that simply pass on messages are normally cheaper than those that can connect calls (screened or otherwise) to one or more people, and some providers charge per minute rather than per call. And be prepared to pay extra if the nature of your business is such that you really need someone with local knowledge to answer calls – some services only use offshore workers.

 

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BMW X6 Hatchback Overview

OVERVIEW ;

Sports Activity Coupe (SAC) is a vehicle type which not many are familiar with, after all there is only one such car in the SAC segment. The BMW X6 or in other words an SUV coupe is an interesting body type, which the German automaker kick started in 2008 and plans to continue by launching more SACs like the soon to be introduced X4. The company agrees the body style is quite unusual but the demand is high with more than 1.5 lakh units sold globally till date. Just last year the vehicle was given a minor facelift and was launched in India in November 2012. The BMW X6 has been suprisingly very successful which has prompted other automakers to consider entry in the segment as well. Audi is working on the Q6 while Mercedes-Benz is already in advanced stages of developing the MLC (ML-Coupe). The X6 has had a free run till now with no competition whatsoever. So what makes this X5 based vehicle tick? Check for review & price of BMW Cars

EXTERIORS ;

Few might find the overall design of the X6 to be a bit odd. While the coupe roofline gives it a nice curvy silhouette, some might think it doesn’t sync too well with the large SUV body. I personally love the way the roofline blends into the integrated spoiler but it kind of eludes practicality; more on that later. But then design is entirely a matter of perspective. That aside, look closely and you simply can’t ignore certain details of the car. To ensure that the front-end looks aggressive and proportionate, BMW has widened and stretched the trademark kidney grille. The sleek twin headlights flanked by the eyebrow LED Daytime Running lights make the 2015 X6 look menacing.

We particularly liked the air-dams incorporated in the front bumper. They channel the wind towards the wheel such that it exits from the vent near the front doors, thereby reducing aerodynamic drag. The rear, although equally sculpted doesn’t look as butch as the front. Discount the badge and you might just mistake it for a beefier version of the 5 Series Gran Turismo. Check for X6 price in Mumbai

INTERIORS ;

he insides are quite refined as every inch inside the cabin reflects richness and craftsmanship of skilled designers. The manufacturer has used a great amount of leather and superior grade plastic for designing the cabin. It gets a completely redesigned dashboard with fine-wood accents with glossy finish along with a few metallic inserts. The steering wheel has a signature three-spoke design along with the company’s logo embedded on it. This leather wrapped steering wheel is mounted with several illuminated control switches related to audio, calls and cruise control. Right behind this, there is a large instrument cluster that houses analogue gauges along with a color display. The seating arrangement is luxurious that can host at least five occupants. These seats are covered with premium grade leather upholstery that renders an opulent look to the cabin. While the seats have electrical adjustment facility along with lumbar support for added comfort. The company has given a lot of importance to the driver orientation to enhance convenience and driving experience. For this, its floor and the center console in the cockpit are equipped with an array of equipments, which are easy to reach and operate.

As for comfort features, this model series is equipped with several advanced comfort features unlike rest of the SUVs in this company’s portfolio. It has a powerful 4-zone automatic air conditioning system with rear air vents, which takes care of cabin temperature in all weather conditions. It also has rain and light sensors, which automatically switches on the wipers and lights when necessary. This model is integrated with features like electrically operated windows, power adjustable windows, a multi-functional M Sport leather wrapped steering wheel, front center armrest with storage compartment and electric steering column adjustment. Furthermore, it also has power adjustable front seats including memory function, leather upholstery for seats, smokers package, inside and outside rear view mirrors with automatic anti-dazzling function, roller sun blinds for rear side windows 60:40 split foldable rear bench seat. Along with these, the manufacturer has also equipped it with an electric glass sunroof and parking distance control feature for front and rear.

PERFORMANCE ;

The 2016 BMW X6 is available with 2 Petrol engine and 3 diesel engine options. The Petrol engine options include a newly introduced xDrive35i which produces 306 hp of peak power beside the existing V8 on the xDrive50i which now produces 450 Hp of peak power.The diesel drivetrain of the X6 consists of the xDrive40d which produces 313 hp of peak power and this diesel engine has been introduced recently to the lineup. You can also choose from the existing diesel engine lineup which consists of the six-cylinder in-line diesel engine which produces 258 hp of peak power available with the xDrive30d. You can also choose from the powerful straight-six diesel with three turbochargers available with the M50d which generates 381 Hp of peak power.

All the above mentioned engines are mated with a eight-speed Steptronic sport transmission which enhances the overall driving experience. The X6 also comes equipped with an intelligent all-wheel-drive system that comes as a standard feature. This drive system ensures directional stability and cornering dynamics and also optimizes traction. Still if you are not satisfied with all these you can further opt for an optional link up with adaptive suspension packages, including Dynamic Performance Control.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

Hit the road in the 2017 BMW X6 and the first thing you’ll notice is the authoritative acceleration provided by the 35i’s 300-horsepower six-cylinder engine. This engine also feels refined throughout its rev range and is nicely complemented by the smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission.If it’s more thrust you’re after, the xDrive50i model’s 445-hp V8 should prove sufficiently satisfying, although it comes at a hefty price premium. This engine provides all the performance most people could ever want, along with an exhilarating exhaust note when pushed hard. Best of all, its prodigious power output is balanced with a level of refinement that the hyperactive high-performance BMW X6 M sorely lacks.

The X6’s standard suspension produces an unruffled ride quality even over bad pavement. Dialing up the Comfort mode with the adjustable suspension produces a similar result. Switching the adjustable suspension to the firmer Sport mode improves handling thanks to firmer body control, though there’s no escaping the fact that this is a large, heavy vehicle with a higher center of gravity than your average sport sedan. The steering feels precise but doesn’t offer as much feedback as in competitors such as the Porsche Cayenne.

SAFETY FEATURES ;

The 2017 X6 comes heavily loaded with features. From Head-Up Display, night vision with dynamic light spot, 360 degree camera to parking assist, the X6 has it all. In terms of safety, the X6 gets 6 airbags, ABS, EBD and all other abbreviations you can think of. It also gets Lane departure warning and pedestrian alert. For the passengers at the back there are two separate HD 9.2-inch monitors with separate DVD drives to view different films on. Talking about movies and sound, the 2015 BMW X6 also comes with a 16 speaker Bang and Olufsen high end surround sound system.The centre console gets a 10.25-inch screen below which is the dual zone climate control and the controls for the integrated Bang and Olufsen infotainment system. Aside from the media and navigation, the screen also displays vehicle information and settings too. All the buttons are soft touch and well within reach. And then there is the automatic tailgate operation. If you hands are full after a shopping spree, a quick wave of the foot under the rear bumper opens up the tailgate.

VERDICT ;

The BMW X6 might loose out on headroom and boot space against the X5, but it offers an unparalleled level of desirability. While it sure is expensive, it’s a very different and unique body style which is attracting many people to the vehicle. The X6 has carved out such a niche that others are now following with their own offerings (Mercedes and Audi). If you want an SUV which drives well, performs brilliantly and looks out of this world, then the BMW X6 is your only choice today.

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Renault Duster Price & Specifications

OVERVIEW ;

It was the Renault Duster that had kicked off a storm in the affordable SUV segment in India. Before the Duster arrived, the Mahindra Scorpio and Tata Safari were ruling the roost but Renault clearly knew what the Indian buyer wanted. The Duster became quite a success story and it also established the Renault brand in India. However, it’s been almost 4 years since this SUV was launched and it started feeling very outdated, what with rivals coming up with far more polished vehicles. Renault has now given the Duster a new lease of life so let’s see what we’ve got here. Check for Duster price in Gurgaon

EXTERIORS ;

For starters, the Duster facelift isn’t much different to begin with from the original Duster. You do get blacked out and upgraded headlights that look quite futuristic with it’s distinct cuts and details and a set of new tail lights with a very unique LED lighting pattern. What you also get is a new grille that is better styled than the older one. And then there are the new wheels. Now although some like this blacked out design, we think Renault could have given us a far sportier and slightly larger set of wheels on this new Duster.

You also get a set of silver skid plates on the front and the rear bumper and a chrome exhaust tip that adds to the look. The overall SUV look of the Duster combined with the wide stance are still very much as they are and all these smaller updates actually help accentuate it. Although a little late to the party, the upgrades on the Duster make it look quite nice and modern and personally I prefer the simplistic lines on this car as compared to the over the top design of some other SUVs in its segment. As a final note on the design, we personally love this new and bold orange shade that the Duster now comes in.

INTERIORS ;

The cabin is quintessentially Renault, from the odd-numbered speedometer, the large steering wheel, sub-par plastics to the quirky layout overall. When the Duster was introduced in 2012, poor interior surface feel was one of its main shortcomings. Now, though, Renault has improved the quality of the surfaces, there is still a low-rent feel to the doors and centre console surrounds… more on this later.

Coming to the design and layout, the previous model’s old-school design has made way for a somewhat modern look. The combination of black and brown upholstery and silver highlights across the centre console and the door panels do a good job of hiding the cabin’s age. The centre console’s layout is pretty minimalistic with the central fascia dominated by a touchscreen infotainment system responsible for almost all the functions on board. Rounding out the major changes to the dash are the revised air-conditioning controls which are set painfully low. Mind you, this isn’t the only quirk in here. The driver’s seat height adjuster still requires bit of an effort to operate and having separately placed buttons on the steering wheel and the centre console for the cruise control isn’t the brightest of ideas either. Thankfully, the rear-view mirror controls are no longer underneath the handbrake and are now on the driver’s side panel.

As for space and comfort, the Duster remains unchanged and in no way that’s a bad thing. The front seats are just about the right size and offer enough back and knee support. They also helped us to limit fatigue over a full day of full-on driving. More importantly, the rear-seat space is also plentiful with better thigh support than the competition. What’s noticeably changed, though, is the amount of standard equipment; Renault is finally offering climate control for top-spec variants while other highlighting features include rear-view camera with guidelines and an updated touchscreen infotainment system. All in all, the Duster’s cabin still doesn’t feel as premium as the competition, but there’s no denying that it’s more appealing than before. If anything, it’s certainly more luxurious than its badge-engineered sibling, the Nissan Terrano.

PERFORMANCE ;

The Renault Duster comes with the same 1.5-litre dCi diesel powerplant in two states of tune – 84bhp and 109bhp. There’s also a 1.6-litre petrol engine mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. The biggest addition though is of the automated manual transmission (AMT) on the more powerful diesel version. Renault also claims to have improved the packaging of the engine bay and have strengthened it in key areas to improve safety.

The AMT gearbox is available in the top RxL and RxZ variants and comes only in front-wheel-drive guise. Let’s start with the positives. This is by far the best iteration of the AMT we have experienced till date, across makes. This ZF-sourced system works well on the highway and part throttle gearshifts are relatively smooth. You also get a creep function which is a boon in stop-start traffic

But as soon as you put your foot down you get that typical AMT pause as the hydraulic actuators struggle to downshift quickly enough to keep up the momentum. Even in stop-start traffic, power delivery can be jerky and upshifts at lower speeds feel painstakingly slow. It’s in the manual mode that this gearbox feels the best and there is a way of getting around this drawback by just lifting off before every shift. Unfortunately, this defeats the whole purpose of having an automatic in the first place.

Despite the slow gearbox, performance figures are quite impressive with 100kmph coming up in 13.61 seconds. But it’s in the drivability test where the Duster AMT suffers as it takes 8.08 seconds for the 20-80kmph dash and 10.46 seconds in the 40-100kmph kickdown. This makes it nearly two seconds slower than the Hyundai Creta automatic on both drivability runs.

We also sampled the AWD version of the Duster and as before we came away really impressed. The AWD variant uses shorter gearing as compared to the 4X2 variant and this helps its drivability considerably. There is loads of pulling power from the word go and even at speeds as low as 20kmph you can easily pull away in third gear. Renault seems to have made the clutch lighter too which makes town driving a hassle free affair.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

The New Renault Duster AMT is surprisingly a delight to drive. What came to notice instantly is that it responds well to throttle inputs. Drive with a heavy foot and the upshifts get delayed, thereby providing adequate power. The AMT is very easy to drive in the city. The good part is that the usual lag during shifts, that AMTs have, is reduced and is hardly felt while driving in a relaxed manner. Its only when you push the New Renault Duster AMT hard that the lag is evident.

Another impressive thing about the New Renault Duster AMT was that while driving in the manual mode, rev-limiter comes in to play only beyond 5000 rpm. This gives ample room to the driver for maneuvering the SUV as desired and is especially useful while driving in hilly areas and ghats. I would’ve preferred a slightly taller gear selector lever in the AMT. The lever in the New Renault Duster AMT feels a tad short and hence one needs to stretch out a bit more than normal, while driving in manual mode.

SAFETY ;

Talking about safety, the 2016 Renault Duster comes with dual front airbags and ABS. The AMT transmission also gets features like Hill Hold and ESP. There is also a traction control system on offer which does its job pretty well should you decide to have some fun around the twisties. In terms of after-sales service, Renault does have a not-so-good network and it just doesn’t match the quality levels of Hyundai for that matter.

VERDICT ;

Despite the automobile scenario being a bit dull overall, the Duster has still come in at just the right time for Renault India. While it is still going to be a tough task to keep the tempo going for the Duster, it is quite clear that it is not without reason that prospective buyers are queuing up for test drives and causing traffic jams outside Renault showrooms around the country.

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Mercedes Benz GLA Engine & Transmission

OVERVIEW ;

The Mercedes-Benz GLA is a compact crossover available by the German carmaker in India. It is powered by two petrol and one diesel engine that are mated to their respective automatic transmissions. The GLA is offered in three variants, 200 Diesel Style, 200 Sport, 200 D Activity Edition. The petrol engine generates 180 hp of power at 5,500 rpm and 300 Nm of torque from 1,200 rpm while the diesel engine produces 133 hp of power from 3,600 rpm to 4,400 rpm and 300 Nm of torque between 1,600 rpm. The GLA also has cruise control, auto start/stop, power windows and an air conditioning system with a dust filter. In terms of safety, the crossover is offered with ABS (Anti lock Braking System) with EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution), 6 airbags, Electronic Stability Programme and more such active and passive safety features. Check for GLA price in Mumbai

EXTERIORS ;

Easily one of the best looking compact SUVs today, Mercedes GLA Class carries the same new design language, which is now seen on all new cars from Mercedes Benz – the S Class, CLA Class, A Class, C Class and now the B Class.Mercedes GLA SUV 23 TailGLA’s front highlights include large grille with two beefy silver coloured slats which have chrome finish at its exterior lip, bi-xenon headlights with LED DRLs and LED indicators, air intakes on the sides, aluminium guard at the bottom, aggressive lines on the bonnet, and the large three pointed star in the centre of them all.Mercedes GLA SUV 15 Non StopMoving on to its side, you see a dropping line, running from headlamps to the the rear axle, giving Mercedes GLA an aerodynamic look. Then there is 18 inch alloys wrapped in 235/55 Continental tyres, plastic cladding for wheel arches, blackened B pillar, body coloured door handles, chrome strip on the window line, and silver roof rails. Roof gets a panaromic sunroof (which has rain sensor, closes automatically when it rains), and a bucket-tooth rear roof design. Get deals on GLA

Mercedes GLA SUV 7 OffroadRear design is equally attractive, if not more as compared to other sides. It is from the rear where the GLA Class looks more like an SUV, the tall boy design, protruding LED tail lights, silver skid plates with twin exhausts, thick chrome strip across, arched roof spoiler, and rear windscreen wiper.Mercedes GLA SUV 27 TaillightJust above the chrome strip, you see name of the car on the left, while centre carries three pointed star logo. You will be surprised to know, that the load compartment width of the GLA Class is same as the ML Class.Mercedes GLA SUV 1 ReviewOverall, the car demands notice. During our test drive, we noticed many onlookers getting out of their comfort zone just to get a second glance at this beauty. Some of them so excited, who were ready to book the car right away.

INTERIORS ;

From the outside, it looks like a compact vehicle, but step inside, the cabin design will tell you a different tale with its huge space. With this SUV, customers will get an option to customized its interiors with three different color schemes. Furthermore, they can be highlighted by either metallic or wooden veneers. Its interiors are done up with extensive use of ARTICO leather upholstery and highlighted with chrome accents. Its dashboard has star-shaped AC vents garnished with silver accents. The dashboard in the cockpit looks quite sleeker than other company models and is equipped with an array of features. Some of those include a music system, an AC unit along with an instrument cluster and a multi-information display. Also, there is an attractive 3-spoke steering wheel with leather cover and is mounted with multi-functional switches. But the most important factor of the cabin is that it is furnished with comfortable seats, which redefines the ergonomics. The rear cabin seat has a split folding facility in 60:40 ratio, which is helpful for extending the boot volume. Its internal cabin is fitted with an array of utility features including storage boxes, drink holders, sun visors, accessory power sockets and digital clock.

This model series is packed with a range of sophisticated features that eventually offers an unmatched driving experience. Currently, it is available in two trim levels like Style and Sport. Among these, ‘Style’ is the base trim, which has all the standard features including an automatic air conditioning system, rear adjustable AC vents, dust along with pollen filter. This trim also comprises of information based features like a speedometer, fuel gauge, tachometer, outside temperature, digital clock, and gearshift position notifier. Beside these, it also has ECO start/stop function, 4-way lumber support for front seats, large glove box unit, adjustable power steering column, memory function for driver’s seat, power windows with one touch operation, electrically adjustable outside mirrors, multi-functional steering wheel and remote operation for boot opening center armrest for front and rear. On the other hand, its high end ‘Sport’ variant has features like panoramic sliding sunroof with automatic rain sensing function, adjustable armrest, trip computer in multi-functional display and illuminated glove compartment. The manufacturer has also blessed this variant with a sophisticated PARKTRONIC parking assist function featuring rear sensors and camera, which offers acoustic and visual parking aid on infotainment screen.

PERFORMANCE ;

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 208 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque matched to a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission (with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles). In Edmunds track testing, the GLA250 4Matic outdid Mercedes’ estimated 0-60 time of 7.1 seconds by hitting the milestone in 6.8 seconds, a good showing for this segment.

The AMG GLA 45 pumps out an outstanding 375 hp and 350 lb-ft from the same 2.0-liter engine. A quicker-shifting version of the seven-speed transmission sends power to all four wheels. The AMG GLA 45 also features a three-mode stability control system that allows drivers to tailor the level of intervention and offers available launch control. Mercedes says the GLA 45 can rocket from zero to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds.

Both the GLA250 and the AMG GLA 45 feature an automatic stop-start function that, if engaged, turns off the engine when the car stops to save fuel. Fuel economy figures are quite good: the front-wheel-drive GLA250 achieves 27 mpg combined (24 city/33 highway), while the GLA250 4Matic earns 26 mpg combined (23 city/31 highway). The high-octane AMG GLA 45 isn’t much worse at 25 mpg combined (22 city/28 highway)

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

It’s a lot softer-riding than the A-Class. The suppleness helps in the suburban grind, and it eases away the harshness of many motorway surfaces, too. Factor in the well-arranged driving position and it’s relaxing transport, marred only by noisy engines (both petrol and diesel) and a bit of wind noise. The handling is roly-poly but you’re always aware of what’s going on and the reactions and responses are accurate and prompt enough that it doesn’t loll about the place too badly. The 2.1-litre diesel comes in two outputs, the upper 170bhp version being exclusively 4WD (and quite capable off-road), and there’s also GLA 250 turbo petrol, but it isn’t a very charismatic engine.

For charisma you’ll be needing the range-topping AMG GLA 45, a slightly bonkers 4WD device that hits 62mph in 4.8secs – genuinely, a tarmac rally car in kid gloves. The fully AMG-developed engine is an absolute blast and the whole thing works much better than you’d ever expect.

SAFETY ;

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class comes standard with stability and traction control, antilock brakes with automatic drying, front knee airbags, front side airbags and side curtain airbags (rear side airbags are optional). Standard technology features include Active Brake Assist, which uses radar to identify potential front-collision situations and intervenes with braking as necessary, and Attention Assist, which monitors the driver for signs of drowsiness or inattention. Mercedes’ Mbrace2 telematics system is also standard and includes automatic collision notification, an emergency response button, stolen vehicle location, remote car alarm notification to your phone and remote door lock/unlock.

Other safety-oriented options include a rearview camera, parking sensors bundled with an automated parking system, blind-spot monitoring and the Driver Assistance package, which adds adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning.

VERDICT ;

Mercedes-Benz has finally filled the void in their SUV lineup with a capable product. The GLA will win many hearts with its styling alone and is a perfect product considering buyer preferences and our road conditions. The GLA is not the quickest car in its segment nor is it the sharpest but it does come out to be a practical one with great balance between performance and fuel efficiency with respectable ride and handling. While the performance buff can wait for the soon to be launched GLA 45 AMG, for everything else the GLA fits the bill perfectly. We reckon the GLA will attract quite a crowd, the only challenge for Mercedes will be to cater to the overwhelming demand.