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Tata Tigor Engine & Gearbox

OVERVIEW ;

After numerous sightings, great expectations and a long wait, the Tata Tigor is finally out of the bag. For those of you who just tuned in, the Tigor serves as a sedan version of the Tiago, and will sit below the Tata Zest. This is a compact ‘under four meter’ sedan for those buyers who need the convenience and practicality from such a vehicle but with an unmistakeable dash of style. It is for this same reason that Tata calls the Tigor a ‘Styleback’, thanks to the unique fastback-like design of the rear portion.While the Tiago was the first well-rounded product from the Tata portfolio, a lot now rests on the shoulders of the Tigor to build upon that reputation. Let’s dig deeper to find out what makes Tata’s new Tigor tick. Check for review & price of Tata Cars

EXTERIORS ;

Study photos of the Tigor and Tiago’s front ends and you’ll find only a few subtle differences. The Tigor’s headlights get a smoked-effect and also use projector lenses. New chrome lining for the lower portion of the glasshouse adds a bit of richness to the Tigor’s look. However, it’s from the B-pillar onwards that the Tigor takes on a whole different identity. The sedan sits on a 50mm longer wheelbase, uses different rear doors and even has a unique window line with a Skoda-like upward kink at the rear quarter glass. Visually though what really makes the Tigor stand out is the coupé-like manner the roof flows into the tail; inspiration for the ‘Styleback’ name. The swooping roof and distinctive tail section make the Tigor look far removed from all other compact sedans that are, more often than not, hatchbacks with a boot tacked on. Certain angles aren’t quite as flattering to the Tigor’s derriére (especially on the diesel version that gets only 14-inch rims) but, on the whole, the car’s shape is attractive and sure to be a big draw. Check Ex Showroom Price of Tigor

Styling at the rear is neat, helped by the smart tail-lamps, chunky bar of chrome above the number plate and a black plastic strip low down on the bumper to balance visual mass. There are also some nifty details elsewhere on the body. See the blacked-out lip (home to a strip of LEDs) above the rear windscreen? Aside from being a design element in its own right, it’s also the end point for a neatly hidden hump in the roof that’s been incorporated to free up headroom in the rear section of the cabin. Care has been taken to ensure maximum boot space too. How? Tata has ditched the traditional gooseneck hinges for the boot opening and opted for a significantly more expensive multi-hinge and damper arrangement. The setup is less intrusive and helps make the most of the luggage area, which, by the way, is a sizeable 419 litres. Another point to note is that only petrol Tigors will be available with the attractive ‘diamond cut’ 15-inch alloy rims. As mentioned, diesel Tigors make use of smaller 14-inchers. Tata engineers we spoke to told us the heavier diesel required the added cushioning of thicker sidewall tyres to keep ride comfort at the desired level. In all, the Tigor weighs 50kg more than a comparable Tiago.

INTERIORS ;

Although there are plenty of changes on the exterior Tata Motors decided not to mess too much with the cabin inside for the Tigor. You can clearly notice that the steering wheel, dashboard, instrument cluster and everything else that you see shared with the Tigor hatchback. However, the changes do come in the form of a new 5.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system which housed in the middle of the dash.

What else is also new is the rear seat design. Tata Motors calls it a sofa because the back seat stretched to the both the edge of the door opening; the rear seat also gets a foldable rear armrest with two additional cupholders exclusive to Tigor. There are also plenty of cubby holes inside the cabin as well Tata says that there are as much as 17 cubby holes inside the cabin which is quite practical. The extended wheelbase has not only helped in extracting the maximum amount of knee room for the rear passengers but boot space as well. The Tigor gets an impressive 419 Litres of boot space at the back of this compact car which definitely will come in handy for the customers of this segment.

Overall the interior looks spacious (credit goes to the extended wheelbase), well-equipped thanks to the new touchscreen infotainment screen, automatic climate control (available on the top end variant) and JBL speakers. The seats too look comfortable because it is slightly more reclined and can comfortably accommodate 3 average side adults. Furthermore, the cabin also gets plenty of cubby holes as well which really comes in handy during long tours.

PERFORMANCE ;

We drove both the petrol and diesel versions, and the engines and transmissions are the same 1.2-litre 3-cylinder Revotron and 1.05-litre 3-cylinder Revotorq from the Tiago mated to five speed manual gearboxes. Power and torque figures are the same as the Tiago’s, at 85PS and 114Nm. The diesel remains unchanged too, offering 70PS of power and 140Nm of torque. However, as the Tigor is heavier by 40 – 50 kgs, the gearing has been tweaked to offer the right kind of drivability.On the road, the engine feels smooth and is quiet at idle but gets a bit noisy as you rev it. The petrol engine is the better pick in this lineup as it feels livelier even at low speeds. Throttle response is quicker at part throttle, which should make the petrol easier and more comfortable to drive in city. However, the petrol uses gear ratios that are aimed at getting good fuel efficiency and that saps some of the engine’s peppiness. For instance, you can almost hit a speedo-indicated 140kph in third gear alone!

Being more powerful, it also felt quicker to accelerate, and also has a better torque curve since its power does not taper off as sharply as the diesel’s. It also feels quite at ease while cruising on the highway.The diesel feels quite dull to drive. It is at its peppiest best in a very narrow window. Turbo lag is apparent below 2000rpm and you feel some of the turbo’s effect at around 2200rpm, but it tapers off just after 3500rpm. Any time you want to go faster, whether in the city or on open roads, you will have to work the gearbox. Gearshift quality in the diesel is also not as good as in the petrol, especially when shifting from second to third gear.Petrol and diesel both get Eco and City driving modes, like the Tiago, and Tata says the modes have been tweaked for a better experience.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

The ride quality has to be one of the Tigor’s biggest highlights. The suspension offers a very good combination of ride and handling, especially the diesel, which runs on 14-inch wheels. It soaked bumps and potholes extremely well, and while both versions do not lose their composure over bad roads, the diesel offers a better ride with lesser up-and-down or side-to-side movements. The petrol uses 15-inch wheels and tends to cause more movement on broken roads, though ride quality is very good.The Tigor is impressive in terms of handling too. The suspension offers confidence when driving sportily or going fast around corners. The steering has a nice weighted feel, and it is not too sharp in terms of responses, but the suspension adds to the confidence. The petrol feels more confident with its bigger wheels and a slightly more responsive steering, as it is lighter than the diesel by about 70kg. Brakes feel good, though we would have liked some more initial bite. Stability under hard braking is better in the petrol.

SAFETY ;

Tata Motors is offering the new Tigor with dual front airbags, ABS, EBD with cornering stability control. The Tigor hasn’t been crash tested yet but the body panels and the sheet metal feels quite solid and well built, specially when you open/close the doors. Tata has a wide network across the country and with the success of the Tiago, their after sales have become much better. The Tigor is expected to offer low maintenance with reasonably priced servicing and spare parts.

VERDICT ;

The Tata Tigor styleback surely was able to impress the crowd with its styling and also with its features both inside as well as outside. The smoked projector headlamps, stylish alloy wheels, coupe-like roofline all contributes to the unique looks of this compact sedan. The interior too gets plenty of updates as well in the form of better legroom for the rear passengers, redesigned rear seats a new touchscreen infotainment screen and JBL speakers. The car uses the same drivetrains from the Tigor hatchback which might affect the performance a bit because the compact sedan is slightly heavier than the hatchback. What the owners will also miss is an AMT transmission as well which makes driving a lot more stress-free especially in bumper to bumper City traffic. But Tata might introduce the AMT at a later stage for sure with the Tigor.

 

 

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Audi S5 Engine & Gearbox

OVERVIEW ;

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

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

EXTERIORS ‘

The Audi S5 doesn’t look vastly different from the A4 but it’s this yellow colour which instantly stands out and makes people stare with admiration. As the A4 isn’t available in this paint shade, the S5 does come across as either a specially painted A4 or something different. The rearview mirrors are finished in silver and the right side mirror is too zoomed for easy rear visibility. For keen eyed viewers, recognising this as the S5 isn’t very difficult as compared to the A4, this model is naturally longer, wider and of course lower (much to our disappointment, more on that later). The difference over the A4 might not be striking but they are in line with the S4 with the changes to the bumpers and grille.

Where the Audi S5 is clearly visible as something different is the coupe design that’s evident at the rear. The roof flows all the way back till the boot as the tail gate is a one piece (both the boot and windshield open in one piece). This also results in the window line being lower and curvier, giving the S5 a striking visual identity. There is of course the S5 badging on the front grille and the boot while the V6T badge sits on the front fender.

INTERIORS ;

The S5 Sportback is something that blends the sporty design with lavishness to offer an experience like no other. It is extremely spacious from inside furnished with comfortable sports seats. However, buyers can opt for ‘S’ Sports seats, which are available as optional. Both seats in the cockpit have electrical adjustment facility along with 4-way lumbar support. Nappa seating upholstery is available as standard, but individuals can choose it from four different color schemes. Also comes as standard is the contrasting stitching and S5 embossing on seats. It indeed has a driver oriented cockpit with commanding driving position and ergonomically positioned control switches. It has a smooth dashboard featuring an attractive center fascia loaded with all the advanced equipment. The attractive factor of the insides is the instrument cluster that has two analogue gauges along with an LCD display integrated to it. The steering wheel has conventional three-spoke design featuring metallic inserts and S5 emblem. Also there are illuminated control switches for operating the audio system as well as calls. Another highlight of the cabin is the floor console that houses gearshift selector along with engine start-stop switch and other functions.

When talked about comfort, this company certainly offers the best of facilities. It is installed with a three zone, deluxe air conditioning system that creates a pleasant ambiance. This has separate controls for front and rear along with adjustable temperature and air distribution settings. Meanwhile, the air vents spread air in the whole cabin thus, adding to their convenience. The cruise control system is useful to maintain a steady speed as set by the driver. The Bang and Olufsen sound system is a plus point. It comes with high quality loudspeakers that gives brilliant listening experience. The driver information system with a high resolution color display screen provides other useful updates. There are electrically adjustable front seats with lumbar support and the rear one gets folding facility. It has a storage package that includes cup holder in the rear center armrest, lockable glove box, and space under front seats. Besides these, the Audi drive select aids in adjusting various characteristics of the vehicle. It comes in different modes like auto, comfort, dynamic and efficiency. There are sunvisors available at front, while the heated outside mirrors are electrically foldable, adjustable and has automatically dimming with memory functions. The slide and tilt glass sunroof with a tinted safety glass, welcomes cool air and sunlight inside. In addition to all these, it also has a multi functional steering wheel, bottle holders, Bluetooth interface, front intermittent wipers, power windows, and a few others.

PERFORMANCE ;

The 3.0-litre supercharged V6 from the S4 is brilliant in its ability to go from smooth and refined daily driver to savage beast depending on how firmly you flex your right foot. Even the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox does a great job in traffic, scooting you around with minimal intrusion. In fact, leave the Drive Select switch in ‘Efficiency’ mode and don’t go too hard on the gas, and it can even be quite frugal – so yes, it can conceivably be used every day.

However, it is a performance car at the end of the day, so you’ll want to know how it feels to unleash all of that 328bhp and 44.86kgm, right? Well, because it’s supercharged rather than turbocharged, there’s no lag before all that torque comes in. In Dynamic mode particularly, it’s always raring to go, and the gearbox will lock you into the heart of the powerband, shifting down quickly and intuitively to do so. The paddles work really well too, but honestly, the gearbox does a good enough job all on its own. It feels properly quick too, and Audi’s 5.1-second claimed time for 0-100kph is perfectly believable. That sense of speed is also helped by the nice little purr this motor emits – again, not a raucous growl like you’d get from an RS5, but just enough to let you know it means business.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

The Audi S5 doesn’t get adaptive suspension so the Drive Select doesn’t alter the suspension which shouldn’t be the case considering this is a fully imported car. The ride quality is very good and the S5 is properly usable as a daily driver. The suspension being on the stiffer side works quite well and also ensures high speed stability is excellent. Since the S5 is a CBU model, no changes have been made to the ride height and one has to be extremely careful over bumps as it does tend to touch on big speed-breakers.

The handling of the Audi S5 is quite good, the chassis is old and that can be felt as it’s not razor sharp and the steering feels a bit lacking in feel, it’s just not as communicative as you would expect a S badged car to be. Power is channeled to all wheels via the quattro AWD system and the ESP isn’t intrusive in Sports mode, so you can do aggressive launches and also slide around a bit, in control of course. The brakes are strong and help shed speeds quickly

SAFETY AND SECURITY ;

This automaker has offered all its models with some advanced and vital security aspects and this one, is no exception. It comes with anti-slip regulation that increases traction and minimizes spinning of wheels. There are full size dual front, side and head airbag system available to safeguard occupants in case of an impact. The electronic stabilization control helps the vehicle to remain steady even when driving at high speed. Meanwhile, the electronic differential lock functions by braking automatically on surfaces that are slippery. There are three point inertial reel seat belts for all occupants with belt force limiters and tensioners at front. Also, it has the advanced anti lock braking system along with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist. This is helpful to prevent skidding besides improving braking performance in any road condition. The parking system plus with reversing camera is another aspect that aids in easy and safe parking. It is an acoustic and visual parking system that displays the image of area behind this machine. Apart from all these, the list also includes rear defogger, high mount stop lamp, crumple zones, door ajar warning, seat belt reminder and many others that gives enhanced protection.

VERDICT ;

It’s about time Audi updated the A5 and S5 lineup, and it did a fair job bringing together new technology, better comfort and luxury, and a more aggressive front end. But the S5 still looks way too much like the lesser A5 for my taste. Sure, there are minor differences in the front and rear exterior, and there’s a fine list of standard features for the S5, but I still think Audi could differentiate the models a little more. That said, the new S5 should soldier on for the next six or seven years before Audi drops a new-gen model, and a facelift won’t be in the cards until the turn of the decade. Even if the S5 is quite similar to the A5, I’ll still take the S5 over the A5 any day – that 354 horsepower is enough to sell me on the more expensive model.

 

 

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Audi RS7 Sport Back Performance

OVERVIEW ;

American performance is usually served with unmistakable flamboyance. For example, both the shark-nosed Corvette Z06 and Terminator-esque Shelby GT350 Mustang offer unambiguous speed cues front to back. But that’s a good thing; it’s an essential facet of their character. However, some people prefer the straight-to-jail speed in a package that flies comfortably under the radar. Folks looking for a combination like that usually turn to Europe, birthplace of cars like the Audi RS7 Sportback Performance. To the uninitiated, it’s just another AWD luxury sedan. But to those who know, it’s over 600 horsepower and a top speed of 190 mph.

Audi already offers U.S. customers the venerable RS 7, but now, according to a recent report from the fine folks at Autoblog, we’ll get the new Performance version as well. That means even more power, slightly tweaked styling, and all the refinement and comfort you’d expect from a range-topper with four rings on the grille.So then – a high-output variant of an already overpowered luxury sedan. Sounds tempting. We won’t know exactly what the U.S.-spec RS 7 Sportback Performance will bring to the table until Audi provides us with the details, but for now, read on for the Euro-spec iteration and cross your fingers it’s unaltered by the time it hits our shores.

EXTERIORS ;

Luxury in Audi RS 7 is complemented by a very elegant and attractive exterior look. Not only it has an elegant appeal but also has been engineered in a fashion so as to ensure proper and sophisticated ergonomics. The overall exterior design has been carved out considering the extra edge or lead that every less gram of it provides. The exterior is dynamic, self-assured and sporty with an extraordinary snob appeal. The beauty of this automobile Marvel is mesmerizing and deals in unconditional athleticism that too with elegance.

This elegance is at its peak with the most powerful trademark, of being an Audi Singleframe that features a matte aluminium look frame. The strength in exterior design is at par with ahigh-gloss black honeycomb grid. The RS model supports bumpers that come with large side air intakes and integrated flaps. The uniqueness of RS 7 model is outlined by dark-tinted surrounds that back optional LED headlights. Dynamic and self-assured appearance is furthermore emphasized by tornado line sets that come with distinctive widened sills.

RS 7 Sportback supports dual-branch design trims for better acoustic experience with its exhaust system. Mirror housings and slide-and-tilt glass sunroofadd to some RS specific touches. Some additional features include Matrix LED headlight, ambient lighting and light/rain sensor. The wheels are of cast aluminium that come in 5-spoke blade design; which sports high-gloss, matte titanium look.

INTERIORS ;

The company’s obsession to be perfect reflects in the interiors that were given a lot of attention to every little detail. The seats are cushy and covered with alcantara leather with diamond stitching and also has the RS7 logo. The heads up display spreads on the windshield and gives all the possible assistance for navigating. A rear view camera helps in cornering and adjusting the vehicle while parking. An alert notification by Audi side assist system helps in acknowledging the unnoticed vehicles. Furthermore, The whole interior looks stunning and feels luxurious with sharp and custom designed parts. Starting with the fabrications, there is a multifunctional sports steering wheel, which is enabled with gears that can be changed manually and is covered with leather. The multimedia interface has touch screen capacity that makes the functions to be handled effortlessly. The inside rear view mirror is provided with an automatically dimming mechanism. There is ample lighting in the cabin along with a package of multiple light functions. To compliment the look, even the pedals are layered in aluminum. The door openers are in a double-bar design and the inlays are a mix of carbon and fibre. The rear seats are provided as two separate seats that could stand as a like factor for those who are specifically expecting such a feature.

Fully loaded with comfort features, this Sportback has been generous in providing all that one could ask for in a cabin on wheels. The cruise control with speed limit function helps immensely in giving a better drive control, while its display can be seen on the instrument cluster. The 4-way lumbar support to the seating is a blessing for the occupants. The driver information system is offered in a color display. Then, there is the 4-zone automatic air conditioning unit that gives an advanced regulation to the cabin temperature. The radio remote control adds to the list of automated functions. The parking job is made flawless by aiding with a rear view camera and a parking brake auto release function. The handling is made better by offering a responsive power steering wheel that can be adjusted. The infotainment section consists of an MMI that supports advanced navigation system as well. The Audi music interface along with Bose surround sound distributes the audio evenly and has a fantastic deliverance of sound. There is Bluetooth connectivity available and also a heads up display, which shows up on the windscreen. As a standard feature, there is an Audi pre sense display that helps in alerting or adjusting to all the calculated possible risks.

PERFORMANCE ;

The RS7 is limited by default to a top speed of 250kph, and you can have that raised to 280kph or a ridiculous 305kph with a performance pack. Since exercising these limits would require the main straight of the Buddh International Circuit (which we don’t have with us today), let’s focus on what it’s like in more everyday conditions. There are no mechanical changes on this facelift, so you still get the same ferocious 4.0-litre, twin-turbocharged, direct-injection V8 that produces 553bhp and 71.38kgm and will haul two tonnes worth of Audi to 100kph in just 3.9 seconds. The power delivery is pleasingly urgent for a turbocharged engine, at least in Dynamic mode – there’s barely a hint of hesitation before it launches you at the horizon. Part of that, of course, is down to the quick-shifting ZF eight-speed gearbox.

In fact, it’s this gearbox that sets the tone for the RS7’s dual, luxury-sportscar personality. While most performance cars have switched over to dual-clutch setups (Audi’s own R8 included), this car sticks with a good old fashioned, eight-speed torque converter that’s related to the one in the A8 limo. So, while it’s quick to react and swap cogs (it only starts to falter slightly when you’re really hammering it), it’s perfectly civilised in Comfort mode. It’s the same for the ride, despite those optional 21-inch wheels and low-profile tyres (never thought we’d recommend 20-inch wheels as the sensible option). Yes, it’s firm and a little skittish over bumps, especially in Dynamic, but so far from what you’d call uncomfortable.The engine too, in Dynamic with the gearbox in ‘S’, likes to keep the revs high for the best responses, but here too, it’s not as if it’s undriveable at low speeds. Of course, the correct thing to do at low speeds is use Comfort mode, in which case it’s downright docile at part throttle. And with the combination of engine stop-start and cylinder deactivation, you could probably manage some pretty conventional fuel economy figures – provided you’re very gentle with the throttle, of course.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

Being equipped with quattro, power is channeled smoothly at all times, no wheelspins, no drama and even if you are very aggressive on the throttle, the Audi RS7 behaves itself. The massive 275/35/20 sized tyres offer leech like grip and you can enter corners at insane speeds and come out on the other side without wetting your pants. But the massive rims also mean you have to be supremely careful on Indian roads which throw out a big bump or two unannounced.

Ride quality is very good by the low profile tyres standard. Ground clearance is low but we did not face any issues with the underbelly although to be brutally honest, we were super careful over speed bumps. The RS7 has good body control but it isn’t a sharp handler due to the heavy two tonnes of weight it carries. The steering has good feedback but isn’t the sharpest and lacks a bit of feel. Understeer kicks in when you corner very hard and the RS7 doesn’t wag its tail out. The carbon ceramic brakes result in stupendous stopping power.

SAFETY FEATURES ;

Efficient safety measures such as full-size airbags and effective start-stop system have been incorporated. There is Electronic Stabilisation Control (ESC) which networks the ABD, EBD, ASR and EDL. Also, there is tyre pressure monitor display.The car comes equipped with a Bang and Olufsen audio system, start/stop function, a heads-up display, night vision assistance and and adaptive cruise control. In addition, it has rear dual-zone air conditioner, a sunroof, power assisted door closing (in case any door remains half open) and an automatically opening boot lid. In terms of safety, the car comes equipped with eight airbags, ABS with EBD and ASR (Anti-Slip Regulation)

VERDICT ;

This is a segment that promises everything. The practicality of four doors combine with the good looks of sweptback rooflines, while high technology and world-class comfort pair up with breathtaking speed. Anyone willing to spend this kind of coin on a car is simply unwilling to compromise, no matter the situation.With that in mind, how does the RS 7 Sportback Performance stack up? With over 600 horsepower on tap, the Audi has the muscle, while the adjustable suspension finds a happy balance between refinement and cornering prowess. You’ll also find options like ceramic brakes to gain an edge come Sunday. Inside, Audi brings top-shelf materials and the latest techno gadgetry.All in all, things are as they should be. So why would you pick the Audi over the BMW or Mercedes?

In a word – maturity. While the BMW and Mercedes announce their presence with showy styling and faster-than-you attitude, the Audi brings a uniquely restrained confidence. On most days, it’ll easily cruise to your destination with discretion. But dig into the loud pedal, and it’s all sound and fury.

 

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Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 Test Drive

OVERVIEW ;

The current leader in car sales in India is the Maruti Suzuki Alto and fortunately for buyers, there isn’t just one engine on offer but a performance K10 option too. There was a time I really admired the Alto, I remember it being launched in India in 2000 but it was only in 2001 that I really started liking the small car. It was when I was in my teenage years and had gone to get the family’s Esteem serviced. It was then that I first sat in an Alto VXi. Now I mention VXi because the difference between LX and VX wasn’t just features (the latter also had a tacho) but also engine. The VXi was also called as the Alto 1.1 as it was equipped with a 1061cc F10D, 4-pot motor (the Wagon R too used this engine but the Zen didn’t as it was powered by a 1000cc motor, the same that was in the Maruti 1000). This was good enough for 64 PS and 80 Nm, what a rocket that was. Fast forward to 2015 and we have the Alto K10 which has been given a thorough revision and an AMT gearbox (Auto Gear Shift in Maruti speak), does it connect me to those days? Check On Road Price of  Alto K10

EXTERIORS ;

The new Alto K10 sports a completely new look. It still shares it doors and roof with the 800 version but the rest of the panels – the bonnet, the front fenders, the tail gate and even the bumpers are unique to the K10. It has larger, more contemporary looking head lamps; a more aggressive air dam design; and it sits on larger 13 inch wheels. Overall, the new K10 still looks like an Alto as we know it, but it has a younger, sportier aura to it now. And in this top of the line VXI option trim, it also gets body coloured outside review view mirrors and body side moulding to give it a plusher feel

INTERIORS ;

The interior of the Maruti Alto K10 is totally fresh when compared to its 800cc sibling. The console and the dash has a black and beige tone with the instrument cluster having features like the USB option and aux input and a mp3 player. The buttons are big and clear and hence easy and convenient to use. This new centre console is a welcome after the old Alto 800 styling, which does look outdated. Find best offers on Alto K10

The Maruti Alto K10 gets new rich beige fabric seats to add a pinch of richness in the cabin. The cabin space is sufficient and feels airy. The front row seats are comfortable for even long drives. In the second row there is sufficient kneeroom even for tall people and there is enough head room as well, but the thigh support could have been better.

ENGINE ;

The Alto K10 AMT has the same engine and transmission pair as the Celerio, but thanks to a lower weight, the Alto K10 feels a wee bit quicker. It is very sprightly off the line and it’s only when you reach speeds north of 70-80 km/h that the engine starts feeling a bit strained. The biggest talking point here, however, is the 5-speed AMT. This unit feels smooth and the jerks at lower rpms are well contained. When driven with a light foot the gear changes are relaxed and happen at a relatively low rpm

DRIVING ;

On the short 70 kilometre drive the Alto showcased just how brilliant its ride quality is especially in urban areas over some rough roads. The gas-charged shock absorbers on a MacPherson strut assembly at the front and a 3-link rigid axle at the rear give it superb low speed absorption qualities. However, as the speed builds up and the corners get tighter or the surface undulating, you realise just how woefully inadequate this suspension is. There is a lot of body roll and you need to be able to react quickly enough to offset the suspension getting upset at being pushed hard around corners. The Maruti Suzuki Alto therefore is best experienced between the speeds of 60-80kmph and anything beyond is just asking it to perform over and above its station.

The steering too is reasonably precise at lower speeds with enough weight to give you a well connected feel but as you go faster it gets vague and the communication between steering wheel and tyres a bit disconnected.

CONCLUSION ;

The Alto K10 is a move in the right direction by Maruti Suzuki. It has a lot of short comings, but the major flaw of the Alto has been answered, it is no more sluggish and never feels out of breath, something which the 800cc Alto could never boast about. It is the fastest car you can get at that price point and is economical too. The performance of the K10 motor very well makes up for all its short comings and if some one wants a pocket rocket, this is it. Add some good rubber and a few short comings of the Alto K10 will be resolved. There is truly no alternative to the Alto K10 and Maruti Suzuki have opened a new segment, the econo-hot hatch one.

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Maruti Suzuki Dzire Facelift Review

OVERVIEW ;.

The New Maruti DZire 2017 is launched. Yes you read that right, Maruti Dzire and not Swift Dzire. The Swift moniker has been done away with and the Dzire is now positioned as an all new model. The Dzire has been a runaway success for the company since the time it was launched. From a proper sedan, it later transformed into a compact sedan. This time, it comes in an all new avatar.

This is an all new sedan and is built on the Heartect platform of Suzuki. It continues to be a compact sedan but now has new dimensions. it is bigger than before and has changes in height, width and length. What is visually evident is the new width. The car also is lower in height, which makes it looks more proportionate. The new Maruti Dzire looks much wider than before. Even the weight of the car has reduced due to the new chassis and the car is about 100 kilograms lighter. The New Dzire also sees the introduction of a new variant in its lineup, which is the ZDi +

The same engines power the 2017 Maruti Dzire. These are the 1.2-litre K-Series petrol and the 1.3-litre DDiS diesel engines. The engine and power ratings remain the same, but the the car performs better as it is lighter. With engines are offered with a five-speed manual transmission and both engines also get AMT options. So there is a choice for automatic in both petrol and diesel and this is a big advantage over competition. Check Ex Showroom Price of Dzire

EXTERIORS ;

The new Maruti Suzuki Dzire is based on the next generation Swift that should come to India by the end of FY 2017-18. However it’s only the front that it borrows from the hatchback, and of course, the platform as well. Unlike the previous generations, the new Dzire is a completely different car from the new Swift A-pillar onwards. Also Read – Maruti Suzuki Dzire vs Baleno vs Brezza

The countenance is purposeful with muscle at the right places on the bonnet and the wheel arches. The hexagonal front grille is also short and wide, and it all adds to make the Dzire look broad. Chrome work is generous on the front grille, below the fog lamp housing and even in the headlamp unit, but it doesn’t look overdone. In fact, the quality of chrome is so good that it would match the finish on cars twice its price. Unfortunately, Maruti Suzuki offers LED projectors and DRLs on the top ZXi+ variant only, so the lower variants get reflector headlamp units that tone down the aggression a bit

The muscle on the bonnet is carried on to the front fender and a sharp shoulder line weaves through from the front to the rear. A pinched character line at the lower end breaks the monotony of what would otherwise be a plain design. The A-pillar onwards, the Dzire looks more sedan-like in profile with the roof flowing from the A-pillar to the C-pillar smoothly. The proportions are better too, as Maruti Suzuki has increased the width by 40mm and reduced the roof height by 40mm. However, the ground clearance is reduced only by by 7mm, down to 163mm now. So, while the Dzire will tackle the speed breakers of different sizes with ease, sharp gradient changes may require you to double check the front overhang before committing to them. Also Read – Maruti Dzire Vs Sub-Four Metre Rivals – Spec

Unlike the front design that imparts the Dzire a big-car appeal, the rear is usual business as far as compact car designs go. Nonetheless, it is a step forward as the boot is now better integrated into the C-pillar and doesn’t look like an afterthought. It’s stubby with the bumper hardly extending any mass beyond the boot lid. The arc-shaped lip is Ciaz-like now. Importantly, the Dzire now not only looks proportionate but is also pleasing to the eye

INTERIORS ;

Coming to the interiors, here’s where a lot of major revisions lie. The dashboard gets an all-new design and even though some elements are derived from the new Swift, Maruti has again made a lot of changes to things like the instrument cluster, AC vents, steering wheel, inlays on the dashboard, etc. There is a dual tone black and beige colour theme and the top variants come with wood inserts on the dashboard and steering wheel. The wooden inserts are provided with an intent of making the car feel premium but honestly, it could have been done in a better way and the quality also feels a bit inferior. However, the overall fit and finish of the insides feel much better than the second generation Dzire

Due to the rear doors being wider, ingress and egress have become easier. The seats are large and comfortable and the cushioning is also soft but under thigh support felt a bit lacking. The driver’s seat gets height adjustment while the steering gets tilt adjustment and hence you can find yourself a good driving position with decent visibility all around. Space at the rear is decent but at the front, the footwell eats into space slightly. The roofline limits the headroom at the rear a bit. The boot is nicely shaped and has good cargo carrying capacity, it is larger by 60-litres now.

The third generation Maruti Dzire gets a good equipment list. You get automatic climate control and the cooling performance from the AC is very good and the rear AC vents are a big plus. The ORVMs are electrically adjustable and folding. The audio system is the same one that is also offered on the Baleno. The 7-inch touchscreen has a good response and it gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto too. Connectivity is seamless and the sound quality from the speakers is very good. Apart from that, the Dzire also gets keyless go with push button start and unlock sensors on the door

PERFORMANCE ;

Underpinned by the HEARTECT platform, the Dzire is lighter than its predecessor by 85 kg for the petrol version and 105 kg for the diesel version. This makes a considerable difference to the performance and efficiency of the vehicle. Despite the usage of the same 1.2-litre petrol and 1.3-litre diesel engines, the lighter Dzire now feels a bit more zippier to drive. Fuel-efficiency has gone up by 6.8% to 28.4 kmpl, making it the country’s most fuel-efficient car. The petrol version’s figures too have improved by 5.5% to 22 kmpl. Power output for the petrol engine is 81 hp with 113 Nm of torque, while the diesel mill develops 73 hp and 190 Nm of torque. The extra torque of the diesel motor makes it more fun to drive and there is a hint of lag that disappears once the tacho needle swings past about 1,600 rpm. The petrol motor, on the other hand, becomes lively past 2,500 rpm but drivability in both engines is good and doesn’t call for frequent gear shifts.

Talking of gear shifts, the Dzire comes with a five-speed manual and a five-speed AMT (Automated Manual Transmission) or the AGS as the company calls it. The best part is that AMT is available with both petrol and diesel engines and is available in middle and top variants. The manual transmissions offer smooth shifts and the well-tuned ratios complement the engine’s easy-to-drive nature. The AMT on the Dzire turned out to be quite a surprise as it shifted quicker than expected. Even the diesel AMT shifts at a reasonably well speed and the petrol is a tad quicker with a kickdown response being good for both. One can also take control of the gears manually, in case a quicker shift is required in case of overtaking on highways. NVH (Noise, Vibration & Harshness) level is significantly lower in the new Dzire compared to the older model. This is a result of the new platform that improves NVH efficiency and the pendulum joints further help the cause. Overall, the Dzire offers good performance, easy drivability, class-leading fuel efficiency and the option of an automatic in both diesel and petrol versions, taking it a step ahead of the competition.

SAFETY ;

The 2017 Maruti Dzire now comes with dual front airbags, ABS and ISOFIX mounts on all variants which is a very positive move. The car is lighter than before since it is based on the new HEARTACT platform. Talking about service, Maruti Suzuki has the best sales and after-sales network in India and the Dzire can be serviced in any nook and corner of the country since the company has a service centre almost everywhere.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

Maruit Dzire has softened this car a bit and ride quality is noticeably better than the outgoing car. There are fewer body movements over bad sections of road and aren’t as jarring any more. It soaks up road imperfections in a very mature manner and feels nice and absorbent. The petrol’s steering is light and, with a tight 4.8m turning radius, it’s effortless to twirl around in the city. The return to centre is weak though, like many modern Marutis, and with all that lightness, it doesn’t feel as well connected to the road as before; there’s a bit of vagueness here. However, the diesel feels a bit heavier and more connected in compaBOTTOMLINE ;

BOTTOMLINE ;

Well, if you can spend that average of about Rs 50,000 on the automatic (AMT) or as Maruti Suzuki calls it, AGS – Auto Gear Shift, you should most certainly consider it. The good thing about the new Dzire is the fact that you can get the AMT option in the top of the line Z+ variant too which in turn means you can get a fully loaded car with the AMT option. The Ignis, which also has the AMT gearbox never offered that option. This means that you get the likes of the LED daytime running lights and LED headlamps along with the large touchscreen infotainment system while still enjoying the ease of the AMT gearbox. If I had to choose then, my pick would be the diesel engine with the AMT gearbox simply because of a combination of being a fun to drive car and yet offering phenomenal fuel economy.

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Maruti Suzuki Ertiga Facelift First Drive

OVERVIEW

It’s easy to see why the MPV (Multi Purpose Vehicle) segment is one of the most successful here in India. With large families predominant here, the average sedan is just not enough. The MPV, however, not only seats 5 or 7 in comfort but also carries everyone’s luggage with room to spare. And to top it all, it drives just as well as your everyday sedan. The Toyota Innova has been leading this scene ever since its inception, and Maruti Suzuki’s all-new Ertiga, though not the same size, aims to offer almost the same at a lot less. Apply car loan for Ertiga at Carzprice

EXTERIORS

The Ertiga’s wheelbase, at 2740mm, is a considerable 310mm longer than the Swift’s and the kerb weight has increased by around 155kg. But this is impressive considering it’s a seven-seater. Suzuki has kept the Ertiga’s weight in check with extensive use of lightweight high-tensile steel in its construction.

With a length of 4265mm, the Ertiga is a fair bit shorter than the other MPVs in the market, namely the Toyota Innova, Mahindra Xylo and Tata Aria. The Ertiga employs an independent, MacPherson-strut, coil-spring suspension at the front and a non-independent torsion beam setup at the rear. The brakes are also a conventional front disc and rear drum setup.

Styling is typically Suzuki, with swept-back headlights like the new Swift’s, and a grille and bonnet that resemble the Ritz. The overall design is pleasing, but not what you would call eye-catching. In fact, the van-like look, which clearly doesn’t exude the status and image of a saloon, is possibly the Ertiga’s biggest weakness.

INTERIORS

A new variant, Z+ is introduced in the New Maruti Ertiga. This variant gets additional features like keyless entry, push start and stop, touchscreen system with navigation and reverse parking camera. The New Maruti Ertiga gets the same beige interiors and the upholstery is also the same. In terms of other features, it gets single airbags and ABS as a standard feature. Dual airbags is available on all variants as an optional feature

The New Maruti Ertiga has an identical dashboard with the Swift, however it is beige in colour. The quality of the materials is not that premium. The front row of seats are quite comfortable and even large. On long journeys this helps quite a bit. The rear seat space too on the New Maruti Ertiga is good enough. These seats slide and recline too. The third row is quite cramped, but it gets some knee room when the second row seats are moved a bit ahead. The boot becomes small when all the seats are raised. One needs a carrier for luggage especially with seven passengers

PERFORMANCE AND HANDLING

The choice of engines for the Ertiga is the new 1.4-litre K14BVVT petrol engine and the D13A DDiS super turbo diesel carried forward from the SX4. Given the additional weight of the new vehicle the two engines manage to offer a fair balance of power and torque.

The new, larger K series petrol engine reflects the same characteristics of its existing siblings. Quiet and almost vibe-free in idling mode, the engine comes across as refined and quick under hard acceleration. With variable valve timing to optimise performance and with low friction components, the new 1,373cc, 4-cylinder, 16-valve engine delivers a peak power of 95PS at 6,000 rpm and a peak torque of 130Nm at 4,000 rpm.

The diesel engine is combined with an intercooled variable geometry turbocharger and this is same basic mill from the SX4. This 1,248cc engine with common rail diesel injection is almost free of any turbolag and delivers a peak power of 90PS at 4,000 rpm and a peak torque of 200Nm from as low as 1,750 rpm. The diesel engine makes its presence felt audibly despite the use of an extended dash silencer and other sound deadening components.

But, that is only when you accelerate hard, during idling and cruising conditions the familiar diesel engine is just the same as in the SX4. On the road, the Ertiga feels very much like the Swift and DZire. Though the Ertiga is no where near as big as the other utility vehicles like the Innova and the Tavera, you still get to feel its extra length compared to the Swift.

The engines have been mated to the five-speed gearbox already in the family cars, only the gear ratios have been optimised for the Ertiga’s expected driving cycle. Gear shifts are crisp and quick. The rated fuel efficiency for the petrol engine is 16.02 kmpl and the diesel is 20.77 kmpl.

The Ertiga handles quiet well too – almost, but not entirely, like a sedan. The suspension is also a carry forward in terms of its configuration – MacPherson strut at the front and torsion beam at the rear. The ratings for the springs have been increased and the dampers have been stiffened to handle the higher loads.

DRIVING

The Ertiga’s driving dynamics are largely influenced by its long wheelbase – the 2.74-metre gap between the front and rear axles give this MPV good poise and straight-line stability for most situations. The flipside is that it isn’t happy darting through corners and prefers a more relaxed driving style. The soft suspension means the low-speed ride is pretty absorbent, and even as speeds increase, the Ertiga handles bumps with aplomb and feels pretty solid. The Ertiga’s suspension works silently too and it’s just over sharp bumps that there is a mild thud from the suspension.

There is a bit of up-and-down motion over undulating surfaces and the diesel pitches a bit more in the front. However, at moderate speeds, this never gets uncomfortable and it’s only when you begin to push really hard that you long for a tauter setup. Considering its MPV proportions, the Ertiga doesn’t roll excessively and the steering is fairly accurate too. What you do miss is a tighter turning circle and the ability to wiggle into tight parking spots as with a hatchback. However, this doesn’t take away from the fact that the Ertiga is by far the most urban-friendly MPV in the market today.

SAFETY

Servicing the Ertiga won’t be an issue because Maruti has a service centre in almost every nook and corner of India. Talking about safety, the Ertiga comes equipped with dual front airbags and ABS on almost every variant. The LXi and LDi variants miss out on these safety features but Maruti offers them on the LXi (O) and LDi (O) trims. Apart from that, all the other V and Z trims come with these features. The same goes for front seat belt pretensioners too.

CONCLUSION

The Maruti Ertiga is a very good people’s carrier and it offers a good amount of features and practicality is also top notch. With the facelift, the car looks better, gets more equipment and even boasts of better efficiency. At the price it is offered for, the Ertiga does provide you with a lot of value and Maruti has got a strong contender on their hands in the 7-seater MPV segment.

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Skoda Superb Hatchback Overview

OVERVIEW ;

That name was also met with wry amusement when the previous Superb was launched in 2001. But Skoda had the last laugh, for that Superb, based on the previous Passat with its wheelbase stretched for space, was a better car than the VW and rode British roads much more serenely. Check Price of Superb

Still, if Skoda’s hefty new car is to gain credibility, then it needs a USP. That’ll be the Twindoor, in which the bootlid either hinges open conventionally or can stay rigidly attached to the rear window as the whole assembly opens to reveal a vast load bay. A conventional estate version is also available. This Twindoor boot, together with enormous rear legroom, make the Superb unique in its sector, if indeed it occupies any known sector.

EXTERIORS ;

The exterior design remains the same across all variants and is impossible to judge from the outside about the variant of the car since none of the variants carry any badge. The long face comes with a large Skoda logo and the classic Fabia like grill along with the chrome inserts across and the lower on the air dam giving that nose a bold smart look. This fairly imposing front look makes you forget its enormous length of this car. Exchange your old car for Superb

The Halogen Projector headlamps replace the Bi-Xenon headlights head lamp. The headlights retain the auto On/Off feature. The front fog lamps also remains along with the cornering feature (Turn Lights) on them. The exteriors rear view mirrors auto foldsand have the turn lights integrated in them. Thesemirrors also have the auto dimming feature which useful while driving at nights.

The car looks long and wide from the side.The doors come with chrome strip that givesthe car rich a look. The windows boarders also get the chrome detailing around them while the pillars are blacked out identical to that on the Skoda Superb Elegance. The rear door is huge so you know inside the car leg and head room is not an issue. From the back it looks a bit different it feels plain and a bit disconnected from the front. The tail lamps have a soft glow and run a bit on to the booth lid. Unlike other cars the way the model name is written this is something new, in most car the badge is on one side. The little bit of chrome on the booth lid is subtle and comes with an integrated little lip making a statement with being in your face

INTERIORS ;

Once seated in the driver’s seat, you will be delighted with the brilliant visibility over the bonnet that is on offer. The dual tone shades for the cabin really light up the ambience. However, Skoda could have imparted a better design for the dashboard. Areas around the centre console and door pads imparted a bland unexciting feel. That said, little details like the silver accents around the vents, touchscreen and gear shifter do add a nice touch to the overall appearance. All the buttons are spread out in an accessible manner and finding a function should not be a chore.

While the front electric seats have nice contours to hold you in place and also offer appropriate support for the back, it lacked enough under thigh support. Well, the Superb’s rear was always the talk of the town and this will rightly continue. Occupants can enjoy even more legroom thanks to the overall increase in dimensions. There is no denying that it is the rear portion of the cabin that will make it stand clear of its opponents. The rear can seat three passengers easily and there is enough head and shoulder room too. However, the lack of proper under thigh support was again sighted. 625 litres of luggage can be swallowed by the boot whose lid opens like a hatchback, unlike the earlier double opening boot lid design that has been canned.

Highlights of the equipment list on the Style variant are keyless entry, a 6.5-inch colour touch screen infotainment system, leather seats, electric driver seat and bi-xenon headlamps with curve light assistant. Buyers also get eight airbags, multi collision brake, parking sensors with camera and dual-zone climate control. Unique additions to the L&K variant are the three-zone climate control, electric boot lid, boss button (front passenger seat position electrically controlled from rear seat), cooled front seats, fatigue detection and a virtual pedal (contact free access for the boot).

PERFORMANCE ;

Powering the Skoda Superb are two engine options – 2.0-litre diesel and 1.8 litre petrol. The 2.0-litre TDI produces 177 PS of power at 3600 RPM and 350 Nm of peak torque at 1500-3500 RPM. We only got the 1.8 TSI DSG variant to test at the drive which makes 180 PS of power at 5100 RPM and 250 Nm of torque at 1250-5000 RPM. There is no hint of turbolag in this motor and it goes off the mark quite briskly. As you rev up the motor, the progress gets more stronger. The entire rev range is silky smooth and never does the engine feels strained or overworked. Redlining this engine is a bliss, which comes up around 7000 RPM. It sounds very sporty as you rev higher but no vibrations filter through the cabin. NVH levels are supreme and the cabin is very well insulated.

Mated to the 1.8 TSI is a 7-speed automatic DSG gearbox. The dual-clutch transmission is famous for its lightning quick shifts and is mated very well to the Superb. It changes cogs in milliseconds and with the manual pedal shifts it is super fun to drive. However, it upshifts automatically after hitting the redline. In the regular D mode it changes gears early, which is best for city driving. Put it in the S mode and it pulls strongly at higher revs holding the gear longer. We also drove Octavia TSI back to back and the younger sibling feels more sprightly with the same engine at the lower end of the rev range because of its lighter weight. Skoda claims 14.67 km/l of fuel efficiency but in real world conditions you may get around 10 km/l.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

The ride of the new Superb is pliant. One of the best ride qualities in this segment. The previous Superb was stiff but this one has the perfect ride quality. The handling too is agile. Despite the length, it doesn’t feel very large and does well around bends. The Superb even has sufficient grunt with the more powerful engine options. The steering wheel is lively and it weighs up nicely too. What else we liked on the Superb is the ground clearance. Despite the long wheelbase, it didn’t touch even once on badly designed speed bumps.

SAFETY ;

Skoda has done no compromise in terms of safety as you get top notch equipment with the new Superb. The list is long and here it is – 8 airbags, ABS, EBD, Hill Hold Control, multi-collision brake, anti-slip regulation, electronic differential lock, traction control system, electronic stability control and more. Skoda after sales service has been controversial in India but according to the carmaker, they have improved a lot in terms of turn around time, spare part costs, customer satisfaction after the launch of the new Octavia. The Czech carmaker says customer satisfaction level has gone up in the recent past and they are working hard to get everything right when it comes to after sales.

VERDICT ;

With the mechanicals being the same, the facelifted Skoda Superb drives very much like the outgoing version.

There is enough power on tap for most Indian roads and more. One advantage is that you don’t feel the car’s size when in the driver’s seat. The suspension is fairly pliant and our only complaint will be the 16-inch wheel size. Overall ride quality is focused on the rear seat occupant, who has enough legroom to sit stretched out.

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Tata Tiago Hatchback Overview

OVERVIEW ;

Tata Motors tasted success in the private car segment with the Indica when it was launched in 1998. The vehicle continues to be sold today but there was no replacement for it in spite of the Vista and later the Bolt coming along. This is solely because the Indica is largely sold to the commercial segment like fleet operators and thus isn’t appealing to private car buyers anymore. To fill this void, the company has developed an all new car which sits between the Nano and Bolt. Its most ambitious project of late, the Tata Tiago has been developed from scratch in just 3 years. After seeing it camouflaged since months and referring it to as Kite (codename), we finally get behind the wheel of what could be a game changer for the Indian auto giant. Check On Road Price of Tiago

EXTERIORS ;

Tata Motors has designed the Tiago with utmost diligence and have kept in mind that it is distinctly different than the Indica, but has even retained the essence and utility. It is not too sane (like the Indica was) nor too curvy (something like the Hyundai Eon is). In fact, it is the right mix of simpleness and boldness and this is where the Impact design language comes into the picture. Right from the time the Tata Tiago images have surfaced (much before the launch), there has been a great anticipation with the hatch. It has a wide mesh grille in the front section that flows into the swept back headlamps on either side. The lip spoiler holds the circular-shaped fog lamps. The side section of the car gets body-coloured door handles and ORVMs with turn indicators installed on them. There are a couple of defining character lines on both the sides, with one of them passing across through the door handles. The car rides on 13-inch alloy wheels. The rear portion is modern and houses wraparound but small tail light clusters and roof spoiler. The registration number plate is attached to the lower bumper and not at the tailgate. A total of six colour options are available. But out of all the Tata Tiago colours, the Peppy Orange may be the best.

INTERIORS ;

The interior theme of the Tiago mimics that of its elder siblings, the Zest and the Bolt. Tata has spent a lot of time maximising cabin space and improving the quality — it does show.Amongst the first things you notice when you enter the cabin is the soothing black-grey theme that envelopes the dash. Tata tells us they have bid goodbye to beige for good, and we’re glad! The colour combo not only looks pleasing, but is easier to keep clean as well.The quality of plastics used in the interiors, especially on the top half of the dash is very, very good. There’s a dab of piano black on the centre console and on the surrounds of the side AC vents amongst other places. Tata says the side AC vents can be colour coordinated to the exteriors, which we think is a pretty cool touchA familiar Tata steering greets you as you get into the driver’s seat. The unit is chunky, feels good to hold, and gets controls for the audio and telephony. The wheel is fairly thick at the 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock position that lets one get a firm grip. The steering can be adjusted for tilt.The two-pod instrument cluster looks like a downsized version of the one on the Bolt. A multi-information display (MID) sits in the centre with the pods housing the tachometer and the speedometer respectively. The MID can be used to cycle through information like time, trip distance, instantaneous fuel consumption, average fuel consumption and distance-to-empty. The tachometer has a cool trick up its sleeve — the needle turns red as you reach the redline!

The hexagonal theme continues on the inside too with the centre console. It houses a pair of AC vents and the Harman developed music system. The music system is coupled to 8-speakers and the output is fantastic, to say the least. The music system is easily the best we’ve heard in a budget hatch. The system can also double up as navigation when paired with a smartphone. By downloading the ‘Turn by Turn Navigation’ app, the system shows driving directions on the LCD screen. Another cool addition is the Juke car app, that creates a WiFi hotspot to which 10 phones can connect simultaneously. This can be used to stream music. Both the apps are unheard of in this segment.The controls for the air-conditioner sit below the centre console. There’s no automatic climate control, but, to be fair, none of its rivals has it either. Unlike the Grand i10, there are no rear AC vents. That said, performance from the AC is acceptable.The front seats are well contoured and offer a decent amount of support. Headrests aren’t the integrated kind thankfully, like in the Celerio or the Grand i10. People with larger builds might have a small issue with under thigh support, and find the footwell to be a tad cramped. This apart, the front bench is a nice place to be. The driver’s seat gets a healthy range for height adjustment too, which, coupled with the rake-adjustable steering makes it easy to get into a comfortable driving position.

The rear bench is best suited for two people. Accommodating three people, although possible, isn’t recommended. Shoulder room is just about enough with two and non-existent with three. The leg space is generous by small car standards and the Tiago comes a close second to the Grand i10. The backs of the front seats are scooped out to liberate some more space for the knees.You’ll find a total of 22 cubbyholes around the cabin. There’s plenty of storage space around the gear lever and it gets pockets on all four doors to store water bottles. The glovebox is deep and gets a chilling function too, just like the Grand i10. There are also little thoughtful touches like a small hook on the lower half of the dashboard, that can hold up to 2 kilos of groceries.The Tiago features one of the best-appointed interiors in the segment. The fit, finish and build quality is now in the league of the segment leader, the Grand i10. Segment firsts such as the 8-speaker Harman sound system and the associated apps round the package off nicely. Overall, it has a well-packaged interior with just the right amount of features one expects at this price point.

PERFORMANCE ;

Tata Tiago is likely to come available with the same powertrain options like its regular sibling, which include a 1.2 litre Revotron petrol engine paired with a 5 speed manual transmission and churns out 85 PS of peak power at 6000 rpm and 114 Nm of peak torque at 3500 rpm, while the 1.05 litre Revotorq engine does the duty under the hood of the diesel variant, which mated to a 5 speed manual gearbox generates 70 PS of peak power at 4000 rpm and 139 Nm of peak torque between 1800 rpm to 3000 rpm. The petrol and the diesel engine deliver the fuel economy of 23.84 kmpl and 27.28 kmpl of fuel efficiency respectively.Chevrolet Beat Activ is available in both petrol and diesel engine options, and it draws power from 1.2 litre SMARTECH petrol and 1.0 litre SMARTECH diesel engine, both of which gets mated to a 5 speed manual transmission and churns out 78 PS and 57 PS of peak power respectively, while the torque output stand at 106.5 Nm and 142.5 Nm respectively.

The 2016 Volkswagen Cross Polo comes with 1.2 litre MPI engine mated to a 5 speed manual gearbox which generates 74 bhp of peak power and 110 Nm of peak torque, while the 1.5 litre TDI diesel engine is paired with a 5 speed manual transmission and kicks out 88.73 bhp of peak power and 230 Nm of peak torque.The Toyota Etios Cross is powered by a range of engines which include 1.2 litre petrol engine generating 80 PS of peak power and 104 Nm of peak torque, a larger 1.5 litre petrol unit churning out 90 SP of peak power and 132 Nm of peak torque, and a 1.4 litre diesel engine which pumps out 68 SP of peak power and 170 Nm of peak torque.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

Tata Motors has always found a good balance of ride and handling for its cars and the Tiago is no different. The suspension set-up is on the stiffer side (more so on the diesel with the extra weight) but the dual-path suspension and the tuning of the shock-ups is just right, ensuring even the worst of roads are dealt without ruffling a feather. Potholes or even jumping speed-breakers doesn’t affect the Tiago much and the ride quality is better on the petrol model but not by a mile. Straight line stability is good too and the vehicle remains composed at triple digit speeds, the Goodyear Assurance tyres offering surefooted grip levels.

The Tata Tiago has good handling with body roll being well contained but just like other Tata cars (UVs not included), understeer kicks in sharply once you up the speed through a corner. The understeer mostly comes up when you are driving fast around sharp bends with 75-degree plus turns, otherwise the car can be quite fun as the steering offers good feedback although it lacks some feel at the centre. The EPAS does centre quickly, thereby reducing effort when taking u-turns or parking. The brakes perform well to stop the car in its stride, no locking up thanks to Bosch’s 9th generation ABS with EBD, there is Corner Stability Control too.

BRAKING AND SAFETY ;

In terms of the braking, the Tata Tiago comes with disc brakes on the front wheels and drum units at the rear and this fitting is standard across all the variants. However, only the top-end variants – XZ (both petrol and diesel) and XZA, get the addition of ABS along with EBD and corner stability control. Moreover, dual airbags are added as a standard feature across all the variants, including the base XB trims.

VERDICT ;

Tata has clearly put its heart and soul into the Tiago and the result is very impressive. The Tiago looks attractive, comes with plenty of equipment and has a cabin that could very well belong to a more expensive car. The Tiago is also designed to tackle our imperfect roads with ease and is an easy car to handle. Unfortunately, the lacklustre engines take much away from what is otherwise a well-rounded package. However, Indian buyers might be willing to make a compromise on the driving experience in return for good fuel efficiency. The petrol Tiago (in Eco mode) gives an impressive 23.5kpl and the diesel is even more fuel-efficient. What these figures translate to in the real world remains to be seen.

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BMW X3 Engine & Transmission

OVERVIEW ;

A seven-year life cycle is an eternity in car years, especially when the vehicle in question is a member of the very popular luxury compact crossover class. But even with a new version arriving for 2018, the 2017 BMW X3 still holds its own against newer rivals. Much of that is because of a comprehensive refresh in 2015, which updated the X3’s exterior and interior styling, among other enhancements. This year’s revisions to the iDrive infotainment system and new standard features to the xDrive35i trim only add to its appeal.

We’ve always considered the X3 one of the top choices in the segment, and the 2017 model is no different. In terms of the rear seat and cargo area, the X3 boasts one of the roomiest interiors in the class. That’s massively important if you have visions of taking your friends camping for the weekend and don’t want to upgrade to the larger (and more expensive) X5. That recent refresh also means all the latest and greatest tech and safety toys are on the options list, from a 360-degree camera to adaptive cruise control and a head-up display.

EXTERIORS ;

The X3, however, isn’t much larger on the outside. Its 4,708mm length, and also its width, are similar to that of the outgoing car. Where BMW engineers and designers have made more space, is between the wheels. So this all-new X3 gets an approximately 50mm-longer wheelbase for more space on the inside.What BMW has also done, to sort of compensate for the car not being much larger on the outside, is give it a larger and more prominent ‘kidney’ grille. It is taller, wider and more three-dimensional in nature now. The variable geometry slats protrude out ahead of the frame. And it’s not just the grille, the entire cowl or nose has been made larger. The double-barrelled headlights are placed higher, the bonnet is wider and the chin has been designed as if to allow air to flow through the engine bay in a controlled manner.

The glass house or cabin of the X3 actually looks similar to that of the second-generation car and while the very attractive tail-lights and hatch are very different, and the wheel arches are larger, the impression that the rest of the new X3 delivers is that of car that’s gently evolved rather than taken a big step ahead.Today, we have two versions at our disposal. The first is the 265hp 30d, BMW’s sublime three-litre diesel that seems to just get better and better every time we drive it. And then there’s the new 360hp M40i M Performance – a car BMW could get to India to take on the Mercedes GLC 43 AMG.

INTERIORS ;

The Interior design of this SUV looks quite attractive wherein, each variant has its own package that distinguishes them from the others. However, all these variants have one thing in common is that they have pearl chrome accents and instrument cluster with high gloss black finish. The Expedition variant gets the Sensatec beige colored upholstery, while the mid range xLine trim gets leather Nevada upholstery, which is available in different color schemes. On the other hand, the newly introduced M Sport version is blessed with premium upholstery that comes with a combination of cloth leather. The space inside the cabin is exceptionally good, as it can provide comfortable seating for five occupants. The cockpit section has individual seats with electrical adjustable function. While the second row gets bench seats featuring adjustable head restraints. They can be folded for improving the boot storage capacity further.

The company has bestowed this vehicle with a lot of sophisticated features, which gives the occupants a comfortable driving experience. Both these variants have been incorporated with a 2-Zone automatic air conditioning system including active carbon microfilter and rear air con vents, which keeps the ambiance pleasant. It is blessed with an advanced features, which is known as ConnectDrive. It is equipped with a lot of advanced features. The list includes apps, Bluetooth with handsfree and USB interface, extended Bluetooth with audio streaming, voice control, office functions and contact photo display. It also supports HiFi loudspeaker system with nine speaker that enhances the ambiance of its cabin. Then it also has an iDrive with 16.5cm touchscreen display, which supports DVD player, integrated hard drive for maps and audio files. It has a rear view camera along with display on central console, which makes the parking quite easy. It has an advanced cruise control system along with braking function, which maintains a steady speed on the highways as set by the driver. Not to forget, its Driving Experience control is the most advanced feature that provides desired driving style with the help of ECOPRO, Comfort and Sport modes. In addition to these, it is equipped with a lots of features including adjustable steering column, all four power windows with one touch operation, electrically adjustable outside mirrors featuring anti dazzling function along with memory and automatic headlamps. Furthermore, it has rear center armrest with two cup holders, inside rear view mirror with automatic anti-dazzling function, storage compartment package and push button engine start and stop function. Apart from these, it also has sophisticated feature like a panoramic glass roof, which adds to the plushness of its interiors.

PERFORMANCE ;

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, there’s plenty of models to choose from when the new X3 hits showrooms in November 2017. Like the current model, the new X3 will be offered with a 2.0-liter or 3.0-liter engine, but those can be had with a thirst for petrol or diesel. On the diesel side, you can choose from the xDrive20d and the xDrive 30d – that’s right; AWD is standard for the oil burners. The 20d comes with a 2.0-liter that’s good for 190 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque with the latter being available between 1,750 and 2,500 rpm. Fuel economy is rated at 52.3 to 56.5 mph on the imperial scale. It can hit the 62-mph sprint in eight seconds flat and will top 132 mph before she says no more. But, maybe that’s not enough. If so, you can jump up to the xDrive30d and get yourself an impressive 258 horsepower to go with 457 pound-feet of gut-wrenching, trailer-hauling torque. The later is available between 2,000 and 2,500 rpm and represents an improvement of 59 pound-feet over the outgoing model. Not bad, huh? AS it turns out, the xDrive30d will get you to 62 mph in 5.8 seconds on the way to a top speed of 149 mph. Fuel economy, however, is where the sacrifice comes in, as the 30d is only good for 49.6 mpg on the imperial scale.

Well, the xDrive30i comes correct with an extra 7 ponies on tap from the 2.0-liter, bringing output up to 252 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque that comes into play at a relatively low 1,450 rpm and holds steady through 4,800 rpm. 62 mph comes in as fast as 6.3 seconds with the right tires and motivation while top speed comes in at just 149 mph. You’ll manage to travel 38.2 miles per gallon on the imperial scale with this model. Finally, for those of you who crave that M goodness and desire BMW’s famed inline-six, you’ll want to check out the M40i. It comes with xDrive AWD as standard equipment and delivers a cool 360 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. And, that’s where the gains really come in for this generation. See, those figures account for an improvement of 54 ponies and 74 pound-feet over the outgoing model. That’s pretty huge for the range-topping model. These credentials are good for a 4.8-second sprint to 62 mph and a top cruising speed of 155 mph. And, according to Bimmer, this extra power doesn’t affect fuel economy, with the M40i achieving 34.4 mpg on the imperial scale.

Shifting duties for every model and engine happen smoothly and efficiently thanks to BMW’s eight-speed Steptronic gearbox. And, while BMW didn’t go into details, the transmission has been updated to for each engine for increased reliability while also being more efficient to help combat emissions and fuel consumption woes. At the time of launch, you’ll only be able to get your hands on xDrive models, the sDrive20i will come shortly thereafter, but if you live in Europe, don’t get your hopes up as it’s not ging to be offered in your market. BMW has gone to extreme lengths to refine the X3, and that includes a lighter rear differential and a revised transfer case – the same one that’s found in the current 7 Series – that helps to combat fuel efficiency as well.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

The X3 is only available with BMW’s xDrive 4-wheel drive system, which is now in its third generation. This system channels 40% torque to the front and the remaining 60% to the rear axles. The multi-disc clutch can vary power delivery to the front and rear depending on road conditions. This system ensures optimum grip in all conditions and works flawlessly to enable moderate off-roading. The X3 stays true to BMW principles and handles very well. It is surefooted at all speeds and changes lanes quickly with body roll being minimal. High speed stability of this SUV is truly awe inspiring and the Bimmer stays firmly planted to the road at all speeds.

The splendid dynamics don’t come at the cost of ride quality, which is very pliant and comfortable. The X3 absorbs bumps with confidence and the chassis is so well engineered, it doesn’t transmit much to the inside. In Normal mode with the dampers softened, the X3 is simply flawless in the way it goes about conquering the worst of terrains. Surprisingly the vehicle rides decently in Sport and Sport+ modes when the dampers stiffen up and the steering weighs up heavily too. The electric steering doesn’t feel as direct and involving though but makes it much easier to navigate in low speed conditions. Brakes have very good progressive feel to them and have some serious stopping power.

BRAKING AND SAFETY ;

As is the case with most German manufacturers, safety is a prerogative with BMW too. This is evident from the crumple zones, energy-absorbing bumpers and restraint systems. The X3 has upto 8 airbags for maximum safety. All technologies like anti-lock braking (ABS), Cornering Brake Control (CBC), advance Electronic Stability Programmes (ESP) are standard features in the car. It’s no wonder then that BMWs are considered some of the safest cars on Indian roads today.

VERDICT ;

The BMW X3 excels in areas which an India SUV buyer will rate high on their agenda. Not only does the X3 offer splendid performance, it is quite frugal too and offers good dynamics. The ride quality is well suited to our roads and the interiors are well laid out with plenty of passenger room and luggage space. It may not be the most striking BMW vehicle, but as a package, the BMW X3 is very appealing, offering loads of practicality and technology, making it a strong contender in its segment.

 

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BMW Z4 Transmission

OVERVIEW ;

BMW essentially struck gold in the compact, two-seater market when it released the Z4 back in 2003. It featured a sporty exterior, with potent, naturally aspired engines, and could be had as a soft-top convertible or in coupe form. That first generation lasted until 2009, but before the first-gen made its exit BMW was able to introduce a Z4 M in both forms with performance credentials good enough to get the little car that could up to 60 mph in as little as 4.8 seconds if you knew how to shift it right. The second-gen came to be in 2009 and, while most of the engine choices were naturally aspirated, one was offered with turbocharged goodness. Within a couple of years, the entire drivetrain lineup went turbo, and BMW hasn’t looked back since. The second-generation model lasted from 2009 to 2016 and, ever since its discontinuance, fans and purists everywhere have begged for the third-gen model – an all-new roadster that’s due for the 2018 model year and has been caught many times testing out in public over the last two years. At the kickoff of Monterey Car Week, BMW decided to release the Concept Z4, a wild interpretation of the upcoming roadster and something that at least gives us a little hint as to where BMW is going with the third-gen model.

EXTERIORS ;

It has neatly sculptured exteriors with modernistic cosmetics all over. To start with the front profile, it has a radiant headlight cluster with high intensity bi-xenon headlamps and indicators. It has four LED day time running light rings for giving it a distinct appeal. In the center, it has a signature kidney bean shaped radiator grille treated with chrome. Just below this, it has a body colored bumper featuring a pair of air ducts and a wide air dam. Its air ducts have a thin chrome strip, which makes it look more classy. It is flanked by a couple of fog lamps that gives out bright light. The slanted forward bonnet has a total of four expressive lines and these compliment the iconic logo embedded on the hood. Coming to its side profile, it is extremely stylish thanks to the masculine wheel arches for giving it a distinct look. They are fitted with a set of stylish 18-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels with logo embedded on it. These rims are covered with tubeless radial tyres that gives a superior grip. Its front wheel arches have an air vent with chrome strip and integrated with LED blinkers. The door handles and the ORVM caps have been treated in body color. These outside mirrors are electrically adjustable and integrated with side turn LED indicator. It also has heating as well as memory function for increasing their convenience. It has a curvy rear profile and yet it has a sporty appeal. Its small tailgate has a spoiler and LED third brake lights. It is decorated with its name lettering and insignia to emphasize its exclusiveness. Surrounding this is the aggressive taillight cluster with LED turn indicators and signature brake lighting pattern. The bumper houses a pair of round shaped exhaust pipes, which are treated in chrome. All these put together makes it one of the best in this segment.

INTERIORS ;

Inside the 2016 BMW Z4 you’ll find a classy interior done up in high-quality materials, though the standard “SensaTec” vinyl upholstery strikes a discordant note in such a luxury model. If it were us, we’d definitely opt for the sun-reflective “Kansas” leather. Customization possibilities abound, including two-tone color schemes and unique trim that give the cabin a noticeably more eye-catching look. There are some practical details here too, including a handy cargo shelf behind the seats.Speaking of practicality, the Z4’s passenger compartment has an edge on many other two-seat cars by virtue of above-average legroom that gives taller drivers and passengers a chance to stretch out. Another advantage includes the rear quarter windows that go a long way toward eliminating the blind spots commonly found in traditional soft-top convertibles.Out back, the Z4 offers a decent-sized cargo hold that provides 8 cubic feet of stowage with the roof raised. With it lowered, the two roof panels take up a good bit of that space, but there’s still more room here than you’ll find on most other retractable-hardtop convertibles. An available trunk pass-through between the seats also makes it possible to transport longer items.

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION ;

BMW Z4 is available in India with a sole 3L TwinPower petrol engine option. The six-cylinder engine comes fitted with twin turbochargers for better throttle reflexes and minimum turbo lag. Further, the double-Vanos system alters the valve timing and injection system outputs as per desired driving mode.Engine churns out a massive 306HP of pure power at 5800 rpm and max torque of 400Nm starting at as low as 1300rpm further continuing up to 5000rpm. The power delivery is simply brilliant with almost no lag whatsoever. Power is generated linearly and neatly all the way up to the very redline. Moreover, the best bit of the 2979cc gem is the near-perfect exhaust note. A sweet whining burble at every downshifts and a mechanical crackle whenever floored down. This symphony of mechanical and electrical trickily defines the soul of Z4 as a true roadster. A seven-speed sport automatic double-clutch transmission (yeah, that long) is mated to the engine for effortless gear variation and better fuel-economy. One clutch each for even and odd gear trains shifts the cog with minimum time-lag and almost no interruption in traction. For sportier feel, paddle shifters are mounted onto the steering column. This manual form of shifting enhances the driving ecstasy in the BMW Z4 roadster. Regenerative braking system along with BMW EfficientDynamics elements builds up a very respectable amount of fuel-economy of 10.37kmpl for the Z4. However, being a rev-happy product, an average enthusiastic drive with bring the real figures to about 7.5-8kmpl.

Handling and ride quality is outstanding, especially on fast chicanes and switchback roads. Massive tyres provides tons of grip and control even at high speeds. However, the electric nanny is still the party spoiler as it restricts almost any tyre smoking and rubber shredding action. Steering is razor sharp with quick and conforming feedbacks. A great mix of comfort, agility and stability is what defines the attributes of the Z4’s chassis. Near perfect 50-50 weight distribution aids too to deliver a well-planted ride. However, the only grouse is the spooky wobbliness of cabin under high load due to the convertible platform. DSC and CBC tightens the cornering lines effectively and therefore making high-speed maneuverers a piece of cake for the Z4.

DRIVING DYNAMICS ;

A BMW car is always expected to be the ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’ and the Z4 does impress with its handling prowess. It darts into corners with eagerness, devoid of much body roll with the steering giving close to razor sharp precision but lacking a bit in feel. There is quite a lot of torque firing up the rear wheels and going a bit aggressive into a corner (with the traction controlled turned on), you can slide around this Bimmer, so it’s not really the most well behaved although it remains glued to the road in a straight line. The big grouse though is the ride quality. It’s far from cosseting as almost every irregularity on the road can be felt through. The low profile rubber makes you become extremely cautious over bad tarmac while speed-breakers can catch the Z4’s underbelly off guard. This is simply not the car you would want to drive over bad roads, because as much as it unsettles the occupant, it also tends to rattle a bit (with the roof down as the roof is lying folded in the boot). Braking performance is good, as expected from a BMW car.

SAFETY ;

The BMW Z4 hasn’t been tested by Euro NCAP although the old model (first generation) was given a 4-star rating. Considering the advancement of the vehicle, we expect the current model to get a 5-star rating. The Z4 comes loaded with a lot of safety kit, including front and side airbags for the driver and co-passenger along with active safety features like ABS, CBC, DSC and DTC. The sports convertible also gets roll-over protection system, side-impact protection, three point seat belts with pyrotechnic belt tensioners and belt force limiters.

VERDICT ;

The Z4 is more of an experience than anything and cars like it don’t exist to add numbers to annual sales but wow people, enhancing the brand’s value.As a machine in solitude, the Z4 does have its drawbacks in the form of an almost unusable boot with the roof down and the lack of a softer suspension mode to soften things in the urban jungle. Anything beyond would actually be nit picking, unless making a direct comparison with its rivals, which we haven’t done yet. The BMW Z4 is a capable drop top and for almost Rs 69 lakh, ex-showroom, Delhi, it’s good value too, provided hedonism is a belief you side with.