Saturday, April 28, 2012

Staring at the tail lamps...

On my way to work I did not realize how fast the time flew wondering about the intricate details and R&D that goes into design these clever aesthetic elements in a vehicle. Its like the icing on a cake and it just needs to be appealing. The design plays a crucial element in the value of a vehicle. Yes! I am talking about the head and tail lamps.

So lets start with the classic Ambassador from Hindustan Motors. The lamps are very blunt, yet simple in design. The front lamps are circular in design, The tail lamps are simple and small. HM continues with the classic design like the Vespa and never wants to do anything different. Its heritage and its the Harley Davidson of the Indian auto industry. For almost three decades it has been having the same design elements and have not upgraded drastically.

The Maruthi Swift has experimented from its predecessor. The latest design is different but the tail lamps are a let down. They dont gel well with the design in the rear and for some reason I find the rear lacking something. Its liks Maruthi was in a hurry to release it and they said - "Its ok! lets go with what we have and then see...". However there is no doubt that the Swift is one of the best and successful hatchbacks in the country.

 And then my current favourite the Hyundai Verna Fludic.  Hyundai scored a home run on this one. They simply nailed it in the design. Its probably one of the best sedans currently in the country in its price range when it comes to fresh exterior design, interiors and the features. Its fails in handling and suspension but would I be bothered? Well its got something and hence it would not be that bad. So no problem. Anyways.. have a look at the design. Its creative, different and fresh.

And finally the ultimate in design of the lamps. The winner for me is the Jaguar. What a design. Its out of the world and beats the Audi, BMW and the Merc easily. Simply classy. This one is the XJ.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Piaggio Vespa

The Italian automaker is back again with the Vespa. Unlike the existing scooters we have in the market currently the Vespa is very old school and classic in its design and presentation which I believe would kindle the taste buds of passionate bikers in the country. Think of it being something like the Volkswagen Beetle or the Mini-Coupe with two wheels. It truly an Italian icon and blends with the spirit of the country. You can feel the Italian in it. It brings along with it the old memories of riding around with your parents in the 70s and 80s.
The automaker claims that the Vespa would give a mileage of about 60 kmpl.  Its got a 4 stroke, air cooled 125cc engine. This is good power for a scooter. Everything else is what you see in any other scooter. What makes this scooter distinct is its design. It definitely stands apart from the rest. It is said that the designer of the Vespa had a lot of hatred for motorcycles as he found them to be heavy and unreliable. Thus the tradition of continuing with the concept of a scooter every since it was first invented in 1945.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Honda Aviator

The new Honda Aviator has a disk brake in the front. This means its more stable and has a better control. It also looks good. Its a 110 cc though and the disc brakes come only in the deluxe version. The standard version has the drum brakes. Other than that it has the same goodies as the honda dio.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Facelift for Honda Dio.

I own a Honda Dio and this vehicle is a classic. After about 2 years of using it the engine still sounds very refined and smooth. The one thing you can bank on always with Honda is the engine. I believe all their vehicles have this top class with the engines.

Anyways, so my favorite gearless bike now has a facelift. The new Honda Dio is bigger, better and sexier. Its sports an 18 liter storage space, all new exterior design, a wider and longer seat, 15% more mileage(they claim so) and a new feature for safety where the rear and front brakes are applied the same time when the rear brake lever is pressed.

So... Get Noticed.

Monday, April 16, 2012

KTM - 200 Duke - Simply Awesome.

I got to see a KTM on road yesterday and I must say its impressive. The 200 duke is the only bike currently available in India. The shape of the bike makes it easy to commute around off/on-road with ease. The elevated handle bars seem to be the liking of most bike riders as they find it comfortable while cornering. I believe this also makes for a better posture for riding.

I have always been a fan of the mono-shock since the time Honda Unicorn came into market. It makes the vehicle less heavy and yet give a smooth ride. It sports disc brakes in the front and the rear and a broad 150mm rear tyre is a delight. What is striking about this bike is where the silencer is positioned. Its right at the center of the vehicle. Its a three chamber silencer positioned intentionally at the center of gravity to provide better handling. 

KTM review by Autocar India:

Basic Specification - 4 Stroke single cylinder, 200 cc, 25 hp, electric start, 6 speed transmission,  125kg in weight. Its truly a bike with difference and thats what makes it interesting. For years we have been seeing the same old technology in different shapes and sizes, but this one is promising. With loads of features and stunning looks an investement on this maybe satisfactory.

And finally be responsible and ride safe.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Maruthi Ertiga - Love me? Love me not?

An attempt by Maruthi to try out something different. The launch of the LUV - the Ertiga. From the looks it is obvious that maruthi tried really hard to try and blend in all design elements of most of the car out there in the market right now. The length of the vehicle reminds me of Honda Jazz and the protruded wheels guards in the body from Ford.
There are some features that this car boasts about. Glove box, rear seat pockets, chrome handles, cup holders, arm rest, fog lamps etc. Yeah! the same old thing we find in most basic cars. So as you see there isn't anything new or special in this car that is worth mentioning excepting for the space. Its a LUV - a life utility vehicle, whatever that means. Maybe this means you can accomodate upto 7 people in this car as it has three rows and that is like life in heaven. Thats the only plus I can see in this car. Otherwise the interiors are cheap and so are the features. Its priced between 6 to 9 lacs and you can rather opt for a Omni or the Eeco. It is no different.

Vento or Verna?

On my way to work I there is this white vento going past us and I notice the driver simply ignore the speed braker ahead and just driving through. What made me probe more into this car was how superbly the suspension worked. If it was my i10, I am sure my car would be thrown up in the air and it would literally shake things up inside it for a while, but the vento handled it really well and the reason I say this is because the car had a passenger in the back seat drinking her coffee and it was like she felt nothing.

Verna on the other hand has a very soft suspension until the vento which is a little solid, but in comparison to the vento the verna is better in mileage, looks and a fanstastic interior. It is costlier than the vento but its worth the package. So will I choose a verna over vento? Yes! I would.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Vento or SX4?

A close comparison on the build and design of these two cars would make you realize how badly designed the SX4 is on the outside. Its bulky, the rear and front do not sync, the cuts and edges are very un-symmetric and the gaps between panels seems like marthi just built it out of hurry. In comparison the vento is superbly designed. Its very even, clean, neat and sensible. Its like the lego blocks fitting in together very nicely. The gaps are less, the design is complete and it makes a lot of sense. So if its the design you are looking for then Vento is the car and the Germans have done a fantastic job by just working on simplicity.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Figo Or i10

I have been pondering over this for a very long time now and I feel now that Figo has an edge over the i10. Damn! when I purchased the i10 figo was not available in the market. The reasons why I like Figo is the boot space, the length of the car, and the cost. With ABS and other cools features in the Titanium version and at a price lesser that the i10 it seems like a good deal. The downside of this car is the noise inside the cabin, no rear power windows, low height and poor response of the engine. I recently figured out that Ford intentionally decided not to invest on a rear power window as they felt the window was too small to have one. They decided to invest on something else instead. Its a good thing but when my son wants the window to be open I can just do it sitting in the driver seat and yet prevent it from being opened fully. Nevertheless, I have been using my i10 for 3 years now and I have not had any issues. Its still smooth, power packed and lovely.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

And then there is Hyundai i40 too...

The new i20 - Uber (High Ranking) for sure...

The new i20 has the Gamma version which sports a 1400cc engine. Atleast its now not as same as the i10 and the gamma version also comes with a VTVT technology.

It comes loaded with automatic rain sensing wipers, auto start, rear parking assist with reverse parking camera, 6 air bags, clutch lock to prevent the car from starting when in a gear, auto headlamps that switch on based on the visibility outside and lot more. Its surprising that the clutch lock feature too a long time to be implemented when its one of the basic problem we have most of the time.

Anyways, all looks good with the revamp but what about the price?? The high end model is estimated to be over 7.5 lacs ex showroom. So for that price you can also get a sedan nowadays.