Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Hyundai Verna NS Test Drive

Wow! what a huge difference in experience and ambience inside the car. Its simply spot on. I now feel a lot of things wrong in the Ciaz that is well done in the Verna. Let me explain..

I was able to reach the pedals with ease. For your reference, I am 5.6 and I did not have any difficulty reaching the pedals, but the clutch did feel a little harder than in Ciaz (same with the gear handle). 

The dashboard is well designed. There is a good view from the driver's seat. In Ciaz, I felt like the dashboard was too high and a tad bulky.

Finish and quality is premium. In Ciaz, you will see cheap plastic being used that is prone to scratches and damage.

Boot space is awesome! This is an important criteria for me, and for some reason it seemed a little more than the Ciaz.. could be because of lesser wheel intrusion???

Engine is super responsive. I don't think I have to add more to this. The cabin is silent and the suspension feels a little stiff. The rear space is descent too.

Overall a good value for money though it costs about 1.5 lacs more than the Ciaz.  I finally feel like I have arrived at a decision. Verna is the car I would opt for. Many would argue that the City is better, but I have not had the chance to test drive it yet. Also, having a Hyundai i10 means I will hopefully end up saving a lot more on Verna than the City. It just makes perfect sense.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Maruti Suzuki CIAZ - Full load test drive experience

I finally got to test drive the Ciaz, Petrol. Having watched so many reviews, the one thing that concerned me was performance. So, I had three of my colleagues accompanying me and the test drive was basically on full load - i.e five of us in the car including the representative from Maruti Suzuki.

Started the engine and pushed the pedal all the way down.. and as I had expected the output was very linear. It was not thrilling to drive and for obvious reasons; a 1400 cc engine and a big car.. what do you expect? But, it is not very boring either. I did not experience any lag, the gear shifts were super smooth and the clutch was light too. Overall, very good for city commute. And yes, we were wowed looking at the boot capacity. Ciaz definitely has loads of space. 

Few other things concerned me. I am 5.6 ft and I had to pull the seat all the way to the front to be able to reach the pedal. Due to this, my head was almost touching the roof and the driver armrest goes way back and out of reach. On the flip-side, the passenger behind me gets ample room and a comfortable ride. In fact, my colleague was shocked to see so much space in the back of the car. Finally, the finish of the dashboard in the centre that leads to the gear handle and the rear vents is prone to damage and scratches. 

I like the car and might go for it. But.. let me test drive the Jazz, City and Verna first. Will update you shortly.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Three Sedans and a Hatchback

Ok, its been a daunting task but I have finally narrowed down to three sedans and a hatchback. The reviews from AutoPortal and AutoCar took a toll on me. Honestly though, I think I am loving the reviews of AutoPortal more than AutoCar as I feel it is more elaborate and covers most aspects of a car. Maybe it is also because most reviews on AutoPortal starts with the boot space; one of the most important criteria for me in a car ;-).

Anyways, my list stands at the new Honda Jazz 2015, Hyundai Verna NS, Honda City and Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, all petrol versions. I mainly considered Jazz and Ciaz for the CVT option. The other two cars offer automatic transmission as well, but way out of my budget. I am ok with a manual on Ciaz too. If its Jazz, then its got to be automatic for sure. Honda claims a better mileage in the automatic version, so it does not hurt to spend those extra bucks.  Lets get to the cars.

Ciaz:


Ciaz is definitely loaded with a tonne of features. In fact it is one of the best of all the sedans and at an unmatchable price. Maruti Suzuki has ticked all the right boxes here. However, it disappoints in performance. 1.4 L petrol cannot be compared to the likes of Vento, Rapid or City. It might not be that bad if your primary need is for a city commute but will be less thrilling on the highway and might struggle on full load. I have not read or watched any reviews of its performance on full load. The last thing I need is a sedan that performs like a hatchback. This car needs more horses for sure. But, with the features that it has, it is definitely worth the money. For an average car enthusiast like me, maybe this car will do just fine, but I will know more only after a test drive.

Good: 
Very spacious and packed with features including projector head lamps. Good airy cabin, attractive dashboard and an awesome boot (510 litres). If power is not a concern, definitely a good value for money. Good ground clearance too. Engine is padded and therefore has very minimal noise intrusion into the cabin. Overall a very relaxed and comfortable drive for normal city cruising.
Bad
Underpowered. Turbo lag.

The new Honda Jazz 2015:

The new Honda Jazz wows a lot. This hatchback has everything you need. The CVT version would cost about 8.6 lacs on road which is pretty descent. The only issue here is, I already have a hatchback, do I need another?  A boot of 354 litres is pretty damn good for a hatchback.  Honda is known for it awesome drivability and it would be a delight to drive this car in city traffic. I have read reviews of this car taking time to amble around when pushed hard, but I believe that is true for any hatchback and also depends on the gear you are in. So yeah, an awesome car, very spacious, has a good boot, different combinations with the magic seats (no CVT though) and looks attractive.

Good: 
Spacious, awesome exterior design (front and rear), biggest boot in the hatchback segment. LED tail lamps. Good driving mechanics.
Bad: 
Will require frequent gear shifts, unless you opt for CVT which is pretty linear with some lag.

Verna and City:

Both the cars tie in my opinion. City has good driving mechanics but Verna's engine is more refined and tuned. City also looks a little more appealing to me than the Verna NS. Somehow I feel like the Verna NS had a nose job that turned out bad. I liked the old design and I am sure a lot of people would still prefer the old styling. The one thing that puts me off in the City is the bulky chrome in the front... why??? why Honda.. why? Also, the boot lid in the city is naked exposing all the wiring and Verna has all the padding needed. What is also disappointing is that Verna does not offer a touch screen in any of its variants.

Verna
Good: Loaded with features. Value for money. Smooth performing engine.
Bad: A flattened front design, looks more like the Ciaz. Nothing much has changed in the rear. No touch screen display. No rear AC vents.

City:
Good: Perfect all rounder. Big boot - 510 litres, matches the Ciaz. One of the best in the sedan segment. Has rear AC vents.
Bad:  Honda has cut costs by not providing the touch screen in the base version and removing padding in the boot lid.

I am confused and the only way I can come out of it is to test drive all the four cars. I shall be doing it shortly in few weeks. Will give you folks an update very soon.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Honda Jazz 2015

Should I buy this? I am getting confused... I need something that is automatic, small and comfortable. I like the Jazz for its looks, space and descent interior. The only thing that puts be off is the Turbo Lag, is it that bad...?

More info on the working of CVT.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Suzuki S-Cross - Definitely a big cross

It looks like S-Cross might be failure. To start with, it looks horrible. Ok, let me put it softly... it does not stand out with its design in this segment. Overall exterior design is definitely a let down. Please go back to the drawing board Suzuki. You give us an awesome sedan like the Ciaz and then go back several years in your design on the S-Cross. It does not make any sense.


More review from Autoportal above.

Monday, July 27, 2015

JackOfAllThreads - First Attempts

Sorry.. I am going a little off topic here.. but I could not resist marketing the campaign of my first design on JackOfAllThreads.


Like it? You can buy it by clicking on the link below...

http://jackofallthreads.co/Look-at-me

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Hyundai Creta - Smaller Santa Fe.

Creta looks like a smaller version of the Sante Fe and was first launched in China as ix25. In other words, if you like the design of the Sante Fe, you will like Creta too. It falls in the segment of compact SUVs. Yup, another fancy term for marketing. I guess people like it when they know it is big.

Anyways, basic specs below

Engines - 1.6 litre Petrol, 1.4 litre / 1.6 litre Diesel (from Verna)
Mileage - 15 to 17 - Petrol, 19 to 21 - Diesel
Variants - 10
Transmission - 6 Speed Automatic and Manual
Seating capacity - 5
Price - 9 to 12 lacs

A review from CarDekho.com below


And one more from Autocar India



Thursday, July 23, 2015

Jazz it up with the new Honda Jazz.

It is evident that one of the reasons for the Jazz to have failed in the Indian market is its price tag. Wasn't it close to 8-10 lacs range? You could buy a Duster or Ecosport or maybe even a high end i20 for that price. Striking the right note with the price seems to be the key criteria for manufacturers selling their models in the Indian market.


Honda has now ticked all the right boxes with the new Jazz 2015; it is all jazzed up and more importantly Honda has made the price very competitive. It now challenges the Duster, Ecosport, Ertiga and other mid-sized vehicles in the segment. The exterior and interior design is refreshing with the sporty headlamps, chrome finish in the rear, LED rear tail lamp, lots of utility space, Aerodynamic design and a very spacious boot / back row seating. And finally, it starts at 5.3 lac ex-showroom price.

Overall a very good package. For more info on specifications and features check out the Honda Jazz website. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Bajaj RS 200 - A sports bike finally

It is very clear with the RS 200 that Bajaj is thinking a level above most bike manufacturers in the Indian market. I must admit now after being a fan of the TVS apache and owning one myself that TVS has a long way to go in terms of technology, design and performance of their bikes. I was impressed with the Apache and even more when they started marketing the RTR, but now... it is a totally different story. Compare the Apache with the RS 200 and suddenly you feel like a kid. I mean, has TVS done anything different in the past year or two since the Apache was launched?

So, I had the chance to experience the Bajaj RS 200 my colleague had recently purchased and here is what I think. Firstly, it is the looks; smart pillion handle neatly tucked in with the design of the rear, eye-catching tail lamps, chunky exhaust, and the awesome projector head lamps to name a few. To me, the lamps is the highlight in this bike; everything else is fancy.. a little overdone.. I think.

The ride was not bad either. While it felt very heavy, it was quiet responsive and always eager to burst into action. Changing gears was a tad difficult for me as I could not reach it easily, maybe I needed some practice, but overall a very good and responsive engine. It boasts three spark plugs and fuel injectors. Few images below..






Here is a more detailed overview on the bike from Autocar India




Friday, July 17, 2015

Toyota i-Road - Awesomeness!

I have always dreamt of a bike but like a car, but how do I prevent the vehicle from toppling at turns? Toyota has the solution.. absolutely brilliant.




Wednesday, May 27, 2015

BMW concept cars

From BBC

"BMW lists many milestones throughout its near-100-year history, though one stands tall amongst the rest: the rescue of the entire company by a short bubble car.
You see, though BMW was very good at making aircraft engines during WW1 and WW2, and produced some iconic cars including the stunning 507, by the end of the 1950s it was facing financial ruin, teetering on the brink of being sold...."

Check out the concept cars :
BMW concept cars

Hyundai and Google Android

There is no doubt that Sonata is an exceptional car.  Boasting a stunning design and lots of features it is definitely miles ahead of its predecessors in all aspects. And now, Hyundai becomes the first car maker to offer Google's Android Auto System and exclusively in its Sonata model. Basically, a smartphone inside the car.

Google and Apple compete with each other to offer smartphone services with leading automakers in the world. Apple has signed deals with BMW and Honda to promote its system called CarPlay.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

KTM, Harley Davidson, KTM, Harley Davidson, KTM Harley Davidson....

It was a thing in the past that only the rich could afford exotic bikes like Harley or Yamaha VMAX and you would expect some class in the person riding these bikes. Basically, when you got lucky to see one on road, you had this 'wow' factor looking at both the bike and the rider. They are a perfect match, amazingly symmetric and appealing to the eye; a burst of excitement like you fell in love for the first time.

And now, all of a sudden everyone is having one. I mean, how often do you get to see three Harley's (two street 750, one V-Rod) on a single stretch of road? I have no issues with the bike, but the sight of a someone with a bag, silly pair of shoes and formals riding a Harley just blows my mind. I think a 'wow' sight these days is a glimpse of suzuki 'Shogun', suzuki 'Samurai' or perhaps even the classic 'Yezdi'. Do you agree?


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Friday, April 24, 2015

Renault Lodgy - Dodgy?

Yawn!!! Lodgy is a contender to the Ertiga and Honda Mobilio, but you will be disappointed with the looks. The vehicle is boxy and does not have the ergonomic design of the Ertiga or Mobilio. This is because most of its design is derived from its sibling, Duster, which was is not great in looks either. However, there are few good points inside the car.

1) Space. Lots of it. Lodgy gives you the option to disassemble the third row seats if needed. The second row has tumble option.
2) Seating in the second row is good, but not the case on the third row. There is no option to slide the seats.
3) Dashboard layout is similar to the Duster but feels a little premium than the Duster.

For some reason their website gallery does not an image of the rear side of the car. Wonder why??
Everything else is as usual. It is priced at 8.1 lacs ex-showroom Delhi. It's going to be tough for Renault to sell this.. but who knows. I have seen few Nissan Evalia's on road :-)





Saturday, April 4, 2015

Bajaj CS 400 - Wowowowowo!

The baddest and meanest bike from Bajaj! Stunning!!! Here is the first look from PowerDrift.


One more from Overdrive