Archives September 2020

Honda Roars in with H’Ness – CB350

September 30, 2020 / 1 Comments / 192 / Bike News
Honda H'Ness

Making a grand entry in the mid-size 350-500cc motorcycle segment, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd. today announced its global unveiling of the brand new Honda H’ness – CB350. Built with 9 new patent applications, H’ness – CB350 is the 3rd BSVI model in the Honda’s BigWing portfolio – its exclusive Premium Bike vertical.

  • Classic style meets modern aesthetics: Honda’s originality with a timeless sense of design
  • Power at heart: Big powerful 350cc, 4 stroke OHC single-cylinder engine with PGM-FI technology
  • Rich thumping exhaust note creates a distinct statement on the roads
  • Segment First Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) maintains rear wheel traction
  • Segment First Honda Smartphone Voice Control system (HSVCS)* – convenient connectivity
  • Segment First Assist & Slipper Clutch ensures less fatigue and more comfort
  • Segment First Advanced Digital- Analogue Speedometer displays real-time advanced information
  • Segment First Full LED Setup (front & back) for extra visibility
  • Comfort & convenience: Wide section rear tyre, dual disc brakes with dual-channel ABS, Engine Start/Stop Switch, Hazard Switch, 15-litre fuel tank
  • Bookings open at Honda’s BigWing dealerships and website from today

Honda H'Ness

 

Also marking their Digital presence on this global unveiling of H’ness – CB350 were Mr. Noriaki Abe (Managing Officer, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. & Chief Officer, Motorcycle Operations, Honda Motor Co., Ltd.) and Mr. Masayuki Igarashi (Operating Officer, Honda Motor Co., Ltd., Chief Officer, Regional Operations (Asia & Oceania), Honda Motor Co., Ltd. President and CEO, Asian Honda Motor Co., Ltd) from Japan.

Speaking on this occasion, Mr. Atsushi Ogata, Managing Director, President & CEO, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd. said, “Globally, CB series of motorcycles symbolize Honda’s history of challenges. For more than 60 years, Honda has consistently given the prefix “CB” to models representing on-road sports. Also, the riders have always been the focus in the evolution of the CB. It was once again the Indian riders who motivated the development of H’ness – CB350. To this end, the latest technologies are generously reflected in its 9 new patent applications. Today, we are proud to usher in a new motorcycling culture in the mid-size segment with this global unveiling of H’ness – CB350.”

 

Elaborating on Honda H’ness, Mr. Yadvinder Singh Guleria, Director – Sales & Marketing, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd. said, “The basic value of H’ness is in its majesty which enriches rider’s motorcycling experience to “go further with free spirit”, encounter new roads and landscapes with Honda’s unrivalled reliability. With its authentic roar, upright road presence & a wide range of new values, H’ness – CB350 delivers an unmatched riding performance. H’ness – CB350, proudly takes forward the rich legacy of Honda’s CB DNA and provides the joy of riding through a wide range of situations like daily use in the city or long road trips. Get ready for a true companion that radiates royalty & evokes emotion.”

CLASSIC STYLE MEETS MODERN AESTHETICS

Honda H'Ness

With an eye on the future and respect for the past, H’ness – CB350 blends Honda’s originality with a timeless sense of design and substantial character. The style resonates with the new age motorcyclists’ sense of self-expression and uniqueness.

From the dominating front facia with handlebars, suspension and large wheels H’ness – CB350 looks confident and commanding.

Dual-tone fuel tank* with bold Honda mark provides a heritage inspired look that attracts every eye on the road. Further highlighting this bold and classic outlook is the big powerful 350cc engine with machined fins.

Stunning 7-Y Shaped spoke alloy wheels compliment the dimension of H’ness – CB350 and announce a distinctive modern roadster look. Chrome plated parts (exhaust, mirrors and fenders) and wider rear section tyre define a bold macho look with retro yet modern appeal.

POWER AT THE HEART

At the heart of Honda H’ness is the big powerful 350cc, air cooled 4 stroke OHC single-cylinder engine equipped with PGM-FI technology. It delivers a category leading max torque of 30 Nm@3000 rpm which make it an easy going versatile motorcycle be it for daily city commute or longer weekend rides.  The evolved sensors, developed through computer simulations, makes it a machine that fully respects the riders wish delivering them an ultimate sense of comfort and controllability.

Main shaft coaxial balancer placed on the cylinder eliminates both primary & secondary vibrations, making H’ness – CB350 a perfect companion for longer rides, offering a highly attractive engine feel that transmits throbs from the long-stroke engine.

H’ness – CB350 comes with a large tailpipe of 45mm that optimizes balance with the muffler capacity, producing a bold low-pitched sound. A single one-chamber structure in the expansion chamber helps deliver a rich thumping exhaust note when you wind on the throttle. Exhaust pipes are double skinned to prevent heat discoloration and intact the visual appeal for long.

The engine uses offset cylinder position that reduces the sliding friction and asymmetrical connecting rod ensures minimum energy loss while combustion. It uses closed crankcase with a wall between crankcase and transmission reducing energy loss due to internal friction.

The air cooling system maintains highly dense air intake to improve efficiency and ensures favorable combustion in all rpm ranges by keeping the engine temperature within ideal range. The piston cooling jet improves engines thermal efficiency, leading to an improved fuel efficiency.

AHEAD OF THE CURVE

Exhibiting Honda’s finest craftsmanship that ‘Excites the World’, are 5 segment first features:

Segment First Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) helps in maintaining rear wheel traction by detecting difference between front and rear wheel speeds, calculating the slip ratio and further controlling engine torque via the fuel injection. HSTC can be turned ON/OFF using a switch on the left side of meter. A ‘T’ indicator in the digital display flickers when the system is engaging.

Segment First Honda Smartphone Voice Control system (HSVCS)* allows riders to remain in touch with the world while enjoying the exciting riding experience on H’ness – CB350. To deepen connect of the riders, DLX Pro variant is equipped with the world’s first-ever Honda Smartphone Voice Control system (HSVCS) developed in-house. Rider can connect his smartphone with the motorcycle via Bluetooth through HSVCS application. Once connected, rider can operate the system with controls on the left side of the handle bar to use distinct features such as phone calls, navigation, music playback and incoming messages. To facilitate complete concentration on riding the information accessed will be communicated from the helmet headset speaker**.

Segment First Assist and Slipper Clutch makes the gear shifts smoother while reducing clutch lever operation load ensuring less fatigue and more comfort during a rides that involve frequent shifting.

The heritage inspired Segment First Advanced Digital – Analogue Speedometer presents intelligent information on the go. It integrates details like HSTC, ABS, side stand indicator with engine inhibitor, ECO indicator, mileage features, HSVCS, gear position indicator and battery voltage meter. The ride experience is further enriched with fuel efficiency details displayed in 3 modes – real time mileage, average mileage and distance to empty.

Segment First Full LED Setup (both front & back) allows rider to banish the darkness and light up the darkest of paths also adding an oomph to the style quotient.

COMFORT & CONVENIENCE

Honda H’ness gets Dual channel ABS prevents wheels from locking when brakes are applied in emergency or when operated on slippery roads ensuring a greater sense of confidence. Anchoring the motorcycle is a large 310mm disc brake up front and 240mm rear disc providing adequate braking performance.

Large section front suspension not only enhances the massive imposing image but also provides immense comfort on rough roads. Pressurized nitrogen charged rear suspension provides highly responsive rear damping performance.

Engine Start/Stop Switch gives the convenience of turning-off the engine on brief stops with flick of a switch. Ensuring safety of riders in low visibility conditions is the Hazard Switch feature.

Chrome plated dual horn* not only add to rider’s convenience but also amplify the premium look.

19-inch front tyre exhibits a distinctive modern roadster style along with an increased stability in different road conditions. Giving a comfortable lower stance is 18-inch 130 section rear tyre for an enhanced ride quality and improved overall road grip.

The half – duplex cradle frame in steel pipe is used for a soft steering feel. Load allocated to the front is optimized by mounting the engine at low position to lower the center of gravity, which immensely impacts the overall riding feel and maneuverability of the motorcycle.

A highly rigid box-section steel tube is used for the swing arm to effectively reduce distortion and transmit torque of the driving force to road surface improving overall comfortable riding feel.

Tailored for complete control, the riding position features a closely set handlebar and a positional relationship between seat and footrest has been designed to allow the rider to hold on firmly in any riding condition.

Dual seat with superior cushioning is provided to make your daily and highways rides immensely comfortable. Fuel tank capacity of 15 liters gives a sense of freedom from frequent pit-stops during long rides.

VARIANT & COLORS

Starting today, Honda has opened the bookings for H’ness – CB350 at its premium BigWing dealerships.

H’ness – CB350
Variant DLX DLX Pro
Colour Precious Red Metallic Athletic Blue Metallic &
Virtuous White
Pearl Night Star Black Pearl Night Star Black & Spear Silver Metallic
Mat Marshal Green Metallic Mat Steel Black Metallic & Mat Massive Grey Metallic

 

Honda will also be offering a special 6-year warranty package (3 years standard + 3 years optional extended warranty) on H’ness-CB350.

Click here for more information on Bike News.

A Dramatic Race Day at Sochi, Russia

September 27, 2020 / 0 Comments / 125 / MOTORSPORTS

Formula 2 Sprint Race

The Sprint race turned out dramatic but was brought to an abrupt end by a huge crash involving Luca Ghiotto and Jack Aitken on lap 8. The race was red flagged and not restarted post that. The biggest loser was Jehan Daruvala who had to serve a 5-second penalty for track limit infringement at Turn 2 and dropped out of points as a result, despite running fifth at the time of stoppage.

China’s Guanyu Zhou took his first ever Formula 2 victory followed by home hero Nikita Mazepin who would be disappointed as he seemed to have a very good chance of taking the victory. Championship leader Mick Schumacher came home third to further extend his lead. Jack Aitken and Luca Ghiotto were classified fourth and fifth despite crashing out which brought out the red flag as the classification was back tracked to lap 5 order. Yuki Tsunoda, Callum Illot and Dan Ticktum took home the final points as only the top 8 are awarded points in the sprint race as compared to the feature race.

With the Russia round done, Formula 2 now takes a 2 month break to be back for the final 2 rounds at Bahrain in November.

Formula 1 Race

Lewis Hamilton’s quest for his record equalling 91st race win did not get off a start as expected as he was under investigation for doing practice starts at the fast lane of the pit lane. Invariably which got his two 5 second penalties which he had to serve during his pitstop. Hamilton held the lead at the end of the long straight to Turn 2 but it was carnage at the back. Carlos Sainz couldn’t clearly make through the runoff area and ended up crashing into the barriers and the Racing Point of Lance Stroll got hit by Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari taking the Racing point out of the race. A safety car was deployed to clear the cars and the likes of Lando Norris, Alex Albon and George Russell pitted for hard tires.

It was a clean restart from Lewis Hamilton and maintained the lead till he pitted and thus taking his 10 seconds penalty and falling way back to P11. It was a superb start from Estaben Ocon who got into P4 till his first round of pitstops. Valterri Bottas and Max Verstappen kept on piling laps on the mediums they had started the race with unlike the softs of many who were trailing them. Hamilton and Bottas fought for the fastest lap but in the end, it was Valterri Bottas who went home with a maximum available of 26 points taken. Max Verstappen came home second and Hamilton third, thus making it the 6th time of 10 races in 2020 that these 3 had shared the podium. Sergio Perez had a fighting race to come home fourth and Daniel Ricciardo came home fifth despite being handing a 5 second penalty for leaving the track and not joining as per steward’s directions at Turn 2. Charles Leclerc ended at a fine sixth place for Scuderia Ferrari who are struggling for pace this year. Estaben Ocon had a lot of defending to do to come to seventh, just ahead of the home hero Danill Kvyat. Pierre Gasly made it a double point finish for Alpha Tauri, and the Red bull of Alex Albon took out the final point available. The tussle between the three good friends off the track and regular twitch streamers Russell, Albon and Norris put up a nice show with a 3-way scrap at the back of the field.

At the end of the 10th round of F1 2020 season, Lewis Hamilton leads the championship with a 44-point lead over Bottas and also looking for his 91st race win which will equal him with Michael Schumacher. Among the constructors, Mercedes lead the way with 366 points followed by Redbull at 192 points. The fight for the 3rd position is between McLaren, Racing Point and Renault all separated by just 7 points.

The next round of F1 2020 season is scheduled to take place at the brilliant track of Nürburgring on the 11th of October.

A Fiery Saturday at Sochi Autodrom

September 26, 2020 / 0 Comments / 119 / MOTORSPORTS

Formula 2 Feature race

The long run to Turn 2 at Sochi Autodrom often provides first lap carnages with many missing the braking points with the cold tires. A first lap crash today eliminated Christian Lundgaard who is 3rd in the championship currently. Jehan Daruvala, who started from P2, lost one position right at the start to Mick Schumacher and one more during the pitstops, pitting 2 laps earlier than his fellow competitors. He ended up P5 and will be starting from P4 for tomorrow’s sprint race.

The Ferrari backed Mick Schumacher – son of 7th time Formula 1 World Champion, Michael Schumacher extended his lead in the Formula2 2020 world championship by winning the feature race. He was followed by Honda backed driver, Yuki Tsunoda, who made an incredible move on the other Ferrari backed driver Callum Ilott to take 2nd position. The podium was completed by Callum Illot but not before we had a photo finish with Luca Ghiotto crossing the line just 0.025 seconds behind Illot. Jehan Daruvala who started in P2 finished P5 adding 10 more points to his tally. The top 10 was rounded out by Jack Aitken – who put his mighty defensive driving on display, fellow Russian Nikita Mazepin, Guanyu Zhou, Marcus Armstrong and Dan Ticktum.

With the sprint race being a reverse grid race for the top 8. Zhou starts on pole position followed by Mazepin and Aitken. Jehan Daruvala would be starting from P4 and holds a chance to show another strong outing.

F1 Qualifying

The start of 1st part of qualifying was greeted by a huge set of dark clouds hovering over the Sochi Autodrom. Valterri Bottas set the pace early on and was followed by his teammate Lewis Hamilton – 0.3seconds down. A bunch of drivers had their lap time deleted for exceeding track limits at Turn 2. The 1st part of qualifying ended with 5 slowest cars being eliminated which were both the Alfa Romeo’s of Antonio Giovinazzi (P17) & Kimi Raikkonen (P20) – who made a mistake in his final run, both Hass F1 drivers – Romain Grosjean (P16) and Kevin Magnussen (P18) and the Williams of Nicolas Latifi (P19). George Russell continued his superb run on Saturday’s qualifying with a mega lap to get into Q2 by going almost a second quicker than his teammate Nicolas Latifi. The top 15 drivers moved to the 2nd part of qualifying.

The start of 2nd part of qualifying started with both the Mercedes cars and the Redbull of Max Verstappen going out on mediums as opposed to softs by the rest. Lewis Hamilton had his lap time deleted for track-limits and Daniel Ricciardo of Renault put in a mega lap on softs to go P1. The session was interrupted by a huge crash for the 4-time world champion, Sebastian Vettel, who lost the rear end of his car during a timed lap. The session was red flagged with 2:15 minutes left and with fast cars like Alex Albon, Lance Stroll and Lewis Hamilton still languishing in the bottom 5 – elimination zone. Hamilton made a dash to the line after the session resumed with Albon and Hamilton improving their times and the 5 cars to be eliminated where the two Scuderia Ferraris of Charles Leclerc (P11) and Sebastian Vettel (P15), the Alpha Tauri of Danill Kvyat (P12), Racing point of Lance Stroll (P13) and the Williams of George Russell (P14).

The final part of qualifying which is a shootout for pole position and determining the order of top 10 on the grid for the race tomorrow started with all cars out immediately for their first runs. Lewis Hamilton maintained a comfortable lead over his teammate Bottas throughout the session. Lewis Hamilton bettered his fast lap his final run to claim pole position and the Mercedes cars were separated by the Red bull of Max Verstappen who pipped Valterri Bottas for P2 by 0.1s. Sergio Perez continued his good run with posting the 4th quickest time. The two Renaults of Daniel Ricciardo and Estaben Ocon were separated by the McLaren of Carlon Sainz Jr. Lando Norris, Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon rounded off the top 10.

Volkswagen launches its fully electrically driven compact SUV – ID.4

September 26, 2020 / 0 Comments / 105 / Car News
  • ID.4 launches into the world’s largest market segment, the compact SUV
    class
  • Electric motor with 150 kW (204 PS), achieving a range of up to 520 km
  • Powerful design, large vehicle interior, pioneering operating concept
  • View the video clip of the ID.4’s world premiere here

 

Wolfsburg (Germany) – Presenting the ID.4, which is celebrating its digital world
premiere. This is Volkswagen’s first fully electrically driven SUV generating zero local
emissions and is produced with a carbon-neutral balance. It will be launching into the
world’s largest market segment, the compact SUV class.
“The ID.4 is an emotional all-rounder which will impress many customers with its
efficient electric drive, generous amount of space, modern assist systems and powerful
design,” says Ralf Brandstätter, Chief Executive Officer of Volkswagen brand. “As the
first global electric car, this model will roll out our modular electric drive matrix platform
that has been developed specifically for electric mobility the world over. Volkswagen is
thus once again demonstrating its leading role in innovation, technology and quality on
the high-volume market.”
SUVs are very popular with an increasing number of customers. They are the most
popular vehicle segment in the USA and China as they offer good levels of visibility,
safety and comfort. In Europe and Germany market shares are also continuously on the
up and especially compact models are booming. With the ID.4, Volkswagen is offering
a fully electrically driven SUV for the very first time. It offers the space, flexibility and
all benefits customers appreciate about SUVs.
The ID.4 is an all-round talent that can be driven in a sporty, yet also easy and
comfortable way. The battery stores up to 77 kWh of energy (net) and enables ranges
of up to 520 km (WLTP). It is installed below the passenger compartment which
guarantees a low centre of gravity. The electric drive motor, positioned at the rear axle,
generates 150 kW (204 PS) – enough to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 8.5 seconds
and deliver a top speed of 160 km/h. Thanks to the rear-wheel drive’s strong grip and
its 21 centimetres of ground clearance, the E-SUV also performs well in gentle offroad terrain.

Dynamic appearance – The ID.4’s exterior has athletic proportions for an ultra-modern
appearance. Its clear, flowing design is inspired by nature and guarantees very good
aerodynamics with a drag coefficient of 0.28. Its basic version already features
headlights that are almost completely equipped with light-emitting diodes while its
tail light clusters have been fully equipped with this technology. As the top-of-therange version, interactive IQ.Light LED matrix headlights are even more progressive:
they welcome drivers with swivelling lens modules and generate an intelligently
controlled main beam. These headlights have been paired with the new 3D LED tail
light clusters. Their tail light is particularly homogeneous and lights up in an intensive
red. The large wheels with a diameter of up to 21 inches underline the vehicle’s
character.

Spacious concept: long wheelbase, plenty of room for passengers and luggage
The ID.4 with a length of 4.58 metres uses Volkswagen’s modular electric drive matrix
(MEB) architecture. It divides the space for occupants and technology in a completely
new way in favour of passengers. The room available in the vehicle interior is at the
level of conventional SUVs in the next category up. Colours and materials are
contemporary while also being homely. Depending on the rear seat backrest’s position,
the luggage compartment boasts a capacity from 543 to 1,575 litres. The equipment
range of the ID.4 includes an electrically driven boot lid, roof railing and a towing
bracket.
The E-SUV’s operating concept does not depend on physical buttons and switches. It is
based on two displays – one of which diagonally measures up to 12 inches and
features touch functionality – as well as “Hello ID.” natural voice control.

The new ID.Light – a narrow light strip under the windscreen – intuitively supports drivers. An
augmented reality head-up display is optionally available to blend a host of displays
with reality – for instance, navigation arrows telling drivers to turn off are projected
onto the road surface in exactly the right lane. The Discover Pro navigation system
brings We Connect Start online services on board. IQ.Drive assist systems make driving
an even more relaxed experience and this particularly applies to Travel Assist. Software
and hardware in the ID.4 have been designed as part of a completely new architecture,
making it possible for customers to download updates to the car after the purchase.

We Charge: charge at home, when out and about and on long journeys
Together with the ID. models, Volkswagen is launching on the market a complete
package for convenient, connected and sustainable charging of electric cars under the
name We Charge. This offers the ideal solution for any situation – whether you are at
home, out and about or on a long journey. The ID.4 can be recharged with direct
current to cover the next 320 km (as per WLTP, at 125 kW) at a DC quick-charging
station in around 30 minutes.
In parallel, Volkswagen is establishing an ecosystem of sustainable electric mobility
surrounding ID. models. ID.4 customers will receive a vehicle that has been produced
with a carbon-neutral balance. And if it is charged using sustainably produced
electricity – like Volkswagen Naturstrom – it will remain carbon-neutral on the road
too.

Volkswagen’s strategy: the future of mobility is electric
As of late, Volkswagen has been supplementing the brand’s traditional product
portfolio with the ID. family: a new, independent product range. Following the
compact ID.32, the ID.4 SUV is the second fully electric model. In the future,
Volkswagen will be competing in the globally booming compact SUV segment with the
ID.4. The ID.4 will be gradually turned into an electrically driven, global car with plans
to produce and sell the E-SUV not only in Europe, but also in China and later in the
USA. On a whole, Volkswagen brand will be investing eleven billion euros in electric
mobility by 2024 as part of the Transform 2025+ strategy.

Sneak-peak into the 2020 Formula 1 and Formula 2 championships

September 25, 2020 / 0 Comments / 111 / MOTORSPORTS

 

2020!! This year was a surprise package, brought places to stand still, confined people to their homes with absolutely nothing apart from essential activities taking place over the past few months. These unprecedented times also dented the sports activities everywhere and Motorsport racing was no different from that. The 70th year of Formula 1 racing, Formula 1 2020 season was all set to be kickstarted in Melbourne, Australia on 15th March 2020 only to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. What followed was a few months on uncertainty along with some tremendous work put forth by FIA and all the management teams involved to get the races to start by July 5th, 2020.

 

FORMULA 1

 

 

A total of 17 races were finalized in parts to make the season get along and get a decent number of races being organized. This included double races at Austria (Styrian GP), Silverstone (70th Anniversary GP), and Bahrain outer track (Sakhir GP). The new tracks compared to 2019 were Mugello (Tuscan GP), Nürburgring (Eifel GP), Portimao (Portuguese GP), and Imola (Emilia Romagna GP). This was done to minimize the travel and therefore it meant that continents like Asia, Australia, North and South America were bound to cancel their races. 2020 was the first time Formula 1 was not racing at the iconic but one of the slowest Formula 1 circuit – Monaco.

In the 9 races completed so far, Mercedes leads the way with 325 points which include 7 race wins and 14 podiums. Redbull is a distant second with a 3-way battle between McLaren, Racing Point, and Renault for 3rd place. Scuderia Ferrari has had a miserable outing in this season so far and is currently languishing in 6th position and well off the place of their main rivals.

Among the drivers, Lewis Hamilton leads with 190 points which include 6 race wins and brings him just one short of the record of Michael Schumacher who had 91 wins throughout his star-studded career. Hamilton’s teammate Valterri Bottas and Redbull’s Max Verstappen pose to be Hamilton’s closest rivals. Pierre Gasly managed to win an incredible race at Monza and it was for the first time in a half a decade that we had a podium which had neither of the top 3 teams – Mercedes, Redbull and Ferrari.

 

FORMULA 2

 

 

This series is often considered as the steppingstone to Formula 1. It takes place with a difference in the schedules though, a weekend has 2 races run in Formula 2 as compared to one in Formula 1. The 2 races are called the feature race and the sprint races. The feature race is the longer duration race where every driver must mandatorily pit once and use 2 compounds of tires available for the race. The sprint race does not have any such mandatory pit stop and the drivers can choose to race with any of the available sets of tires. Formula 2 is a spec series as opposed to Formula 1 which initially means that every car on the grid is the same. Though there are teams involved in Formula 2 as well that is only for managing the race. Each team has 2 drivers racing for them.

 

 

A very important point to note here is Formula 2 has Indian participation this year in the form of Jehan Daruvala. The young driver was under the Sahara Force India Academy until Force India was sold to Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll. Jehan Daruvala is currently under the Red Bull Academy and racing for Carlin Motorsport in the 2020 Formula 2 championship. He consistently maintained the second position in the Formula 3 championship until the last round where he was pipped by Robert Schwartzman and hence finished 3rd. He has had the 4th position as his best performance during the 70th anniversary weekend.

And as we write this, Jehan Daruvala qualifies in 2nd position for the Russian GP feature race. He was 0.006 seconds off his team-mate Yuki Tsunoda in what transpired to be an extraordinary session for the Carlin team. We wish Jehan all the best for the feature race tomorrow.

Mercedes-Benz launches the all-new AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+ Coupé

September 25, 2020 / 0 Comments / 93 / Car News

Mercedes-Benz has launched its AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+ Coupé to further strengthen its mark as India’s leading luxury car manufacturer.

 

The Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+ Coupé expands GLE’s successful portfolio | The more powerful AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+ Coupé is now the spiritual successor to the AMG GLE 43 in India

  • Formidable six-cylinder performance and race-bred driving dynamics are the cornerstones of the AMG 53 range
  • The AMG six-cylinder in-line engine with twin-scroll turbocharging and F1 inspired 48 V EQ-Boost achieves 435 HP and an additional temporary 22 HP and 250 NM of electric output |0 – 100 km/h in 5.3 seconds
  • AMG DYNAMIC SELECT with seven drive programs: Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Individual, Trail and Sand
  • Selectable AMG performance exhaust system | AMG ACTIVE RIDE CONTROL+ with active roll stabilization system based on 48 V Technology configured to the hallmark AMG performance
  • It is motorized by the renowned AMG SPEEDSHIFT TCT 9G transmission
  • Mercedes-Benz offers the most comprehensive SUV portfolio in the luxury car segment with 7 SUVs and SUV Coupés
  • The AMG GLE 53 Coupé is equipped with Mercedes me connect that offers multiple convenient connect features like remote engine start, remote lock/unlock, car locator, speed monitor, emergency e-Call which are accessible from the customer’s smartphone/tablet
  • Features swanky new generation telematics, Mercedes-Benz User Experience (NTG 6.0) | Capable of ‘Over the Air’ updates
  • MBUX: The most intuitive in-car virtual assistant and infotainment system based on AI and ML in the luxury car segment; takes the ‘always on’ experience to a whole new level | The AMG GLE 53 Coupé is the first AMG with MBUX in India
  • The all-new GLE is now available in 300d, 400d, 450 and AMG GLE 53 Coupé variants
  • STAR EASE service packages for the new GLE 53 4MATIC+ Coupé starts @ 92,000 for 2 years/unlimited kilometres
  • The new Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+ Coupé is priced at INR 1.2 Crore (all prices are ex-showroom, India)

 

Pune: India’s largest luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz today further strengthened its AMG portfolio with the introduction of an all-new stylish performance SUV Coupé – the AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+ Coupé. The launch of the AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+ is a significant and strategic decision for Mercedes-Benz as it introduces for the first time in India, the much awaited ‘AMG 53 series’. The new AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+ Coupé that offers more power and performance dynamics also replaces the AMG 43 Coupé in India, and further builds on to the strength of the popular GLE SUV portfolio.

The vehicle combines sporty elegance and powerful performance with good off-road capabilities, innovative and intuitive technologies and intelligent driving assistance systems. The performance Coupé combines the advantages of a Mercedes SUV, through luxurious appointments, ample space for passengers and luggage, and is laden with technology and extensive safety features apart from its performance aspects.

Santosh Iyer, Vice-President, Sales & Marketing, Mercedes-Benz India launched the AMG GLE 53 Coupé in India at Mercedes-Benz India’s exclusive AMG Performance Centre in Mumbai following the new normal and through a physidigital event. The AMG GLE 53 Coupé will be available across all Mercedes-Benz dealerships in India from today.

Launching the latest AMG in India, Santosh Iyer, Vice-President, Sales & Marketing, Mercedes-Benz India commented, “The launch of the AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+ Coupé is a strategic decision aimed at strengthening our AMG portfolio by introducing the much-awaited ‘AMG 53 series’ in India. The AMG portfolio is one of the fastest-growing segments for us and the addition of the ’53 series’ will further popularize the segment. The AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+ Coupé offers more power and enhanced driving experience for the customers and it is the successor of the outgoing AMG GLE 43 in India. This new performance SUV Coupé will also diversify our successful GLE portfolio by catering to those AMG customers aspiring for a practical and stylish performance SUV Coupé from the all-new GLE range.”

“The new GLE 53 4MATIC+ Coupé is a very special vehicle, which combines style and elegance with the sporty characteristics of an AMG. Expression of performance luxury, we are confident it will deliver an engaging driving experience synonymous with an AMG. With its hallmark AMG features combined with the latest generation telematics supported by ‘Mercedes me’, the bold new addition to our GLE SUV portfolio will further cement our leadership position in the luxury performance car segment.” elaborated Mr. Iyer. 

Technical specifications of the Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+ Coupé:

Performance Data Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+ Coupé
Engine arrangement/cylinders BS-VI  6/in-line
Displacement (cc) 2999
Combustion engine output (kW/hp) @ rpm 320/435 @ 5500 – 6100 rpm
The output from EQ Boost (kW/hp) 16/22
Torque (Nm @ rpm) 520 @ 1800-5800
Acceleration (0-100 km/h) 5.3 seconds
Drive system 4MATIC+ with variable torque distribution
Transmission AMG SPEEDSHIFT TCT 9G

 

MG Motor India unveils Gloster, India’s First Autonomous Premium SUV

September 24, 2020 / 0 Comments / 87 / Car News

MG India has unveiled one of the most anticipated vehicles for the automobile enthusiasts, MG Gloster. Once launched, it is expected to rival against Toyota Fortuner, Ford Endeavour and Mahindra Alturas G4.

Pre-bookings for the Premium SUV have now commenced with a price of Rs. 100,000

New Delhi, September 24, 2020: MG Motor India has today introduced India’s first Autonomous (Level 1) Premium SUV, MG Gloster. The much-awaited Gloster comes as the carmaker’s third product in India after the Hector, India’s first Internet car and ZS EV, India’s first internet electric SUV.

The MG Gloster comes with first-in-segment Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS)*. Some of its pioneering features include Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) and Automatic Parking Assist amongst others like Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Blind Spot Detection (BSD).

MG has further come up with an on-demand Four-Wheel Drive that extends multiple driving modes in the Gloster. It is an Intelligent All Terrain System that provides enhanced control during vehicle off-roading with a dedicated rear differential and BorgWarner transfer case, a state-of-the-art electronic shift-on-the-fly technology. It comes with seven different drive modes, namely ‘Snow’, ‘Mud’, ‘Sand’, ‘Eco’, ‘Sport’, ‘Normal’ and ‘Rock’.

The pre-booking of the luxurious four-wheel drive MG Gloster is now live on the MG Motor India website as well as its 200+ centers across India. Customers can book their much-awaited Premium SUV for a booking price of Rs. 100,000. As part of its commitment to its customers, the marquee automaker also extends a contactless suite of services including MG VPHY (voice-guided demonstration of vehicles at retail touchpoints).

Speaking on the unveil of the luxurious off-roader, Rajeev Chaba, President and MD, MG Motor India, said, “At MG, technology disruption has always been the key priority. We pioneered the first internet car in India – HECTOR, followed by the ZS EV, the first pure electric internet SUV. We are beginning a new chapter in India’s auto sector today with the launch of its First Autonomous (Level 1) premium SUV. There are multiple scenarios wherein Gloster can sense and make decisions to improve your overall driving experience with ADAS technology. In other words, Gloster is not just another car – it is a high-tech assistant that only thinks about you, your safety, and your comfort all the time. With best-in-class features, a towering road presence, powerful capability, and luxurious interiors, the all-new MG Gloster is designed to set new benchmarks.”

MG Gloster further features MG i-SMART technology that considerably adds to the vehicle’s overall experience. It includes several industry-firsts including Critical Tyre Pressure Voice Alert, Shortpedia App that gives short news summaries, and Anti-Theft Immobilization via Smartphone that remotely halts the engine ignition. It comes with 3D maps from MapMyIndia which includes COVID testing centre locations in maps apart from various alerts like potholes and speed alerts. In addition to these, Gloster customers will also get Apple Watch Connectivity and can operate their Gaana app with voice control, alongside personalized welcome and greeting messages.

ACC helps in maintaining a safe distance with other vehicles by adjusting speed and APA ensures automated parking, FCW alerts a driver about a possible collision via visual and acoustic signatures. Similarly, AEB activates braking intervention to prevent a collision with any four-wheeler or to decrease the speed of the same and LDW raises an alert upon departing from lanes. Besides powering Gloster with AI technology and Computer Vision, MG has also integrated 360o cameras and sensors to eliminate all blind spots with Blind Spot Detection. It further comes with PM 2.5 filter to help occupants breathe clean air.

Higher variants of the MG Gloster will be powered by the globally acclaimed 2.0 Diesel Twin Turbo engine at 218 PS Power and 480 Nm Torque, making it the most powerful SUV in its category. It will also come with a segment-leading 12.3 inch’ HD touchscreen along with segment-first captain seats, 64 color ambient lighting and panoramic sunroof. The SUV will come in four colours – Agate Red, Metal Black, Metal Ash and Warm White.

MG Motor India is also set to soon unveil the industry-first ‘Shield’ – an innovative ownership package for Gloster customers.

*Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) is not a substitute for human eye and driver vigilance. It is a driver assist system that enhances driving experience and safety. The driver shall remain responsible for safe, vigilant, and attentive driving.

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 – The Best RE!

September 22, 2020 / 0 Comments / 181 / ROAD TEST REVIEWS

Pros:
  1. Undoubtedly, the best Royal Enfield you can buy in India. Period.
  2. It’s one of the most Value for a money cruiser bike. You could drive all day long on the good tarmac and still not get tired
  3. Top-notch quality for a bike of this price bracket has come a long way from the days of the bullet which mark its territory while leaking oil
  4. The gearshift is butter-smooth. Thanks to the light clutch which makes the city riding really effortless
  5. The high-speed stability is fantastic. There was not a single moment of nervousness when pushing the bike around the corners at high speeds
Cons:
  1. The pillion will feel uncomfortable on long rides due to the straight seat
  2. The ride quality could have been significantly better especially at the rear when driven over potholes and broken roads
  3. A small fuel tank of 13 L and a mileage of 21 km/L on an average means you would have to stop frequently for refuel
  4. The instrument cluster feels bare-born. A small multi-information display with at least a clock would have greatly helped
  5. The headlamps could’ve been even better especially the high beam has inconsistent throw at night which isn’t the best for highways

Design 

Not many automotive manufacturers have been successful in maintaining the classic retro look into their modern motorcycles. Fortunately, Royal Enfield is one among them. One look at the interceptor 650 and you know it belongs to the legacy of the renowned Indian motorcycle manufacturer. Although looks are subjective, I would leave it to you To decide if this is the most striking design or anything or did it just fall short of it. Once you look into the eyes of the interceptor 650, You are greeted by the old school halogen headlight when other manufacturers are moving towards fancier LED headlights which would have made it look much smarter. The indicators are neatly placed and for some reason, we felt that the front mud-guard fell short of a length. Moving to the side of it, you are greeted with a large chrome painted fuel tank which instantly grabs the attention. If that’s not enough the black thick strip running across the petrol tank with the Golden strips surrounding it uplifts the premium appeal.  The fuel lid is thoughtfully designed but there were some instances where it did not operate as expected.  Well, some of the enthusiasts would be left craving for a stylish rear, Royal Enfield decided to play safe with the subtle design. You get the conventional tail lamps which are surrounded by indicators which slightly feel old-school, but we aren’t complaining much about it. Blink and you still won’t miss the loud Royal Enfield badging on the petrol tank and the Interceptor tag is placed on the right side, just like every other RE. while the debate would be endless if this is the best looking Royal Enfield, the Indigenous motorcycle manufacturer deserves applause for not going too close to the territory of modernistic motorcycles especially in the design department. Something that they have been known for.

Drivability:

The Royal Enfield Interceptor is a very simple motorcycle. The engine is an all-new 649cc twin-cylinder unit and 270-degree firing order for a lovely twin-cylinder thrum. It has fuel injection and is oil-cooled. At 47PS and 53Nm, it isn’t an outrageously powerful motor that’s stress-free and the engine feels stunning in the feel, sound and the melancholy. Royal Enfield also has a new six-speed gearbox with a slip-assist clutch. Once you start the interception 650 you will be immensely happy with the acceleration provided.  Slot the gear into first And you could feel the brisk acceleration kicking back. The handling is not something to write home about but it’s not disappointing either. The heavyweight of 200+ kilograms makes it Challenging to tackle the obstacles on tough tarmac such as larger potholes. The magic starts when you hit the triple-digit speeds the bike feels very stable. The best part is the bike feels less weighed when you’re cruising on the highway. The low end is fine mid-range is brilliant and punchy. Shutterdrives does not recommend over-speeding, we pushed the bike all the way up to 150 km/h to checks high-speed stability and we were mightily impressed with the behaviour of the bike. It’s not the bike that’s going to drop your jaws When you push it around the corners. Once you slot into the sixth gear that’s when you realise the true potential of this cruiser bike. It shows absolutely no signs of nervousness. We found that the bike did emit warm air when it was taken through the Bangalore’s traffic but its nowhere close to being unbearable.

Braking

Unlike the MRF tires on the other RE’s, the Pirellis on the interceptor do a stupendous job of stopping the 200 kg motorcycle in a very short span of time. But thanks for the hefty kerb weight of the motorcycle, it feels like the bike is having some extra momentum before it completely comes to a standstill. The effort from the engineering team is something to be really appreciated. Really wish, to see the other Royal Enfield motorcycles Being equipped with breaking abilities like this.

Mileage

Having said that, I really wish the efficiency was slightly on an optimistic side or at least a slightly larger fuel tank would have done justice to the cruising segment it belongs to. The circuitous drive of 600 km from Bangalore to Chikmagalur returned an average fuel efficiency of 22 kmpl. The bike was still in the running-in period and we expect the figures to marginally increase post that.

Quality

It’s been 13 years of owning a Royal Enfield Electra 5-speed. It’s incredible to see the way this motorcycle manufacturer has transformed in the last one and a half-decade. The quality of the bike ranging from the switches to the cables to the leavers is very commendable. The front riding position especially the seat is something that looks like time travel back to the era of Rajdoot 350. One thing that we found that was acting finicky was the fuel lid which was a task to open sometimes. The foot-pegs especially in the rear could have been bigger. We loved the Royal Enfield branding on them though.

Ride & Handling:

While this is certainly the best engine that Royal Enfield has produced in its over a century-old history, the overall experience would have been even better if the seating was up to the mark in terms of the overall comfort. This would make long journeys very comfortable for them. On the contrary, it slides down a bit in the rear which makes it uncomfortable for the pillion on long drives. The cushioning is decent enough but having an outright flat design leads to discomfort in terms of thigh and hip support on longer rides. That said, you will need to take a break at least every 150 km. We would love to reiterate the fact that this is one of the most effortless motorcycles in terms of manoeuvring.

The suspension is basic too – right-side-up forks and twin gas-charged rear shocks. Disc brakes at both ends handle the braking and dual-channel ABS is standard. The wheels are aluminium spoked rims running tubed Pirelli SportComp tyres. The biggest let down for us with the Interceptor has been the below-average ride quality on bad roads for the rear passenger, specifically. It’s not as bad as the first-gen Toyota Fortuner, oops, no apple to orange comparisons, but just to give you a vague estimation, it will certainly displace you off the seat and you would certainly be craving for better grip from the seat at least.

Who should buy one?

Buy the Interceptor if:
  • You plan to ride for long hours, ALONE
  • Fuel efficiency isn’t a priority for you but performance is
  • You are okay with occasional niggles creeping up uninvited
  • Don’t intend to ride in claustrophobic traffic for long hours
  • You plan to ride at triple-digit speeds on our wide network of National Highways

We wholeheartedly thank Royal Enfield for bundling a well-engineered package of style, performance and practicality in the form of Interceptor 650. With the asking price of its competitors skyrocketing, the Interceptor feels more value for money than ever before.  If you are still confused whether to bring this lad home, toss the coin. It’s not that the coin will help you to arrive at a conclusive decision, but when the coin’s in the air, you would know what your heart is beating for. Most likely, it would be thumping for you to add it to your garage. If not, Orange is the new black!

Shutterdrives Rating: A well deserved 8/10. 

Hyundai Creta – The Ultimate SUV?

September 19, 2020 / 0 Comments / 263 / ROAD TEST REVIEWS

India loves SUVs. So much that every kid once dreamt of having the Tata Safari in his garage. As that kid grew, he realised that SUVs are an expensive affair. After all, they have an imposing stance and are very practical. Probably, he also realised that he doesn’t need a full size 7-seater SUV that would be challenging to manoeuvre in the city. Hyundai wanted to leverage this and bought the Creta in 2015. Since then it has been a blockbuster success for the Korean car maker. But with the rising competition and panoramic sunroofs being the talk of the town, Hyundai decided to give it a much-needed facelift. Unlike Volkswagen, this facelift is not all about sticker jobs, we have an all-new car.

Will this continue to carry the legacy of the previous Creta or the polarised design will make you head to the nearest KIA showroom? Let’s find out!

Pros:

+ Excellent engine-gearbox combination. Revs beautifully all the way, turbocharger plays a significant role in enhancing the driving experience, the turbo-lag is negligible

+ Feature loaded! Panoramic sunroof, wireless charging, 6 airbags, ventilated seats, LED headlamps, connected car features and everything else you want at 20 lakhs and more

+ Excellent, Theatrical music system is a treat to the ears. Trust me, it beats the Meridian system of the most of the entry-level JLRs which cost 3x which is supposed to be really good

+ Interiors ‘design’ is fantastic. Flat bottom steering wheel, superb speedometer, sporty AC vents loads of cubby holes & storage spaces

+ Extra Length, width and wheelbase than the previous gen means more space inside. Good legroom, under-thigh support and headroom too, wish the rear windows were bigger

+ Ride quality is really good, can’t match the Duster but a lot better than its Mahindra counterpart

+ The 10.25 inch touchscreen system has brilliant responsiveness.It’s also tilted towards the left so that the driver can easily operate. Simply clever. Extremely easy to navigate

Cons:

– Ofcourse, the design. Love it or hate it there is no in between. In our Instagram poll, 44% of them said that the design won’t grow on them over time. It’s a big number for a mass-market car. Also, the alloy wheel in this variant seems more like a wheel cap

– No manual gearbox in turbocharged petrol. A HUGE opportunity missed, a 6 speed MT with a better calibrated steering would have been the perfect small SUV to drive. Why this kolaveri Dii?

– The steering feedback. It’s super light at parking speed, weighs up slightly with speed only in sport mode but even then it’s not precise or direct

– The least you expect after paying 21 lakhs is that all 4 power window switches glow at night, unfortunately only 1 is illuminated. Loads of cost-cutting measures like Hard dashboard plastics, smaller, non-alloy spare tyre, only-driver side request sensor, not a good sign

Exterior:

The new Creta is longer and wider than the previous gen but slightly shorter.

 This has been one of the most controversial design of recent time, love it or you hate it, but you can’t ignore this ferocious design. The front design seems to align with the growing trend of placing the headlamps below and the DRLs on top. The headlamps are LEDs which offer good throw at night, we tested them out in the real-world condition and came out pretty impressed. The turn indicators are integrated with the fog lamps next to the beautifully crafted skid plate. However, the massive grille dominates the real estate in the front.

Moving to the side of the Creta, the thick C pillars finished in silver grabs your attention instantly followed by the alloy wheels which feel slightly out of place for a car of this price bracket. Just as you expect, the mirrors have turn indicators on them. However, I really wished the rear window could have been bigger so that you don’t feel claustrophobic when the turbocharger is taking you places.  Also, only the driver side door gets the request sensor.

 Its not the front that’s polarising, it would eventually grow on you. But things get slightly complicated when you move to the rear. Although looks are subjective, I wouldn’t shy away from calling it an imperfect design. I am not a big fan of the way the LED tail lamps are split. When was the last time you saw the rear stop lamp integrated into the boot of an SUV?

 The cargo space is abundant at 433 litres, but the spare tyre is a non-alloy. That’s totally okay as spare tyres are supposed to be used in an emergency situation only. But what’s surprising is that it’s one inch smaller than the other 4 tyres. Unfortunately, this is the first victim of cost cutting.

 Interior:

When you buy a car, you spend more time inside it than outside. Hyundai knows this and they have been consistently making cars with really good interiors. Unlike the polarising exterior, the interiors are going to be loved by most of us. You definitely feel that you are sitting in a car worth 2 million when you step inside. The all-black cabin in this variant looks premium. But your happiness is short lived when you actually touch and feel the plastics because they are hard, and it steals the luxury feeling from this pocket rocket. This is the second victim of cost cutting.

The quality of switches on the door is good but the problem is only the driver side is backlit. It difficult to spot the other switches when you are driving at night. This is the third victim of cost cutting. The best part about the cabin is the superb steering wheel that feels really good to hold. There are buttons to access the music system controls, cruise controls etc. What makes it special is the paddle shifters on offer. Unfortunately, the steering is adjustable for tilt and not for reach. Thankfully, the speedometer is designed in a beautiful way, just that the tachometer is struggling to accommodate itself in the instrument cluster. Once you turn on the ignition, you are greeted by graphics making you feel like a part of interstellar.

 The quality of interiors is typical European, the plastics used get a soft touch to them and the chrome ascents give it a very premium look. Small yet significant things like addition of red colours make the cabin look sportier than expected. The gear lever seems to be inspired from a Boeing. The practicality of the Creta is taken further with multiple USB ports and a 12v charging socket. You also get the wireless charging option, a feature which was prominent only in luxury cars until recent times. The pedals in this variant are given an aluminium treatment to add a sporty touch to the car. Not to forget, the Creta comes with the start/stop button which is neatly tucked away next to the steering wheel.

 However, One of the super cool feature is the air purifier which displays the quality of air outside and purifies the air in the cabin at the same time. I really wish many more car makers use this in their cars. If they plan to incorporate this in their cars, I hope they position it in the front and not in an awkward place like the arm rest. The dashboard is dominated by a massive 10.25 inch touchscreen infotainment system that comes with android auto and apple car play. You get an inbuilt SIM within the car and that means this is a fully connected vehicle that allows you to do a lot of things, including starting the car, tracking your vehicle’s, location, geo-fencing and pairing it with your smart watch. The touchscreen is sensitive enough so that you don’t have to struggle in navigating through it while driving the car. An interesting bit it that the touchscreen is slightly tilted towards the driver side so that its convenient to operate on the move. Simply clever.

The seats offer great support and the best part is they are ventilated, which means you don’t have to worry about sweating in the scorching Indian summers.

I can read your mind and the anticipation to see the panoramic sunroof, I won’t let you wait further

Hello Blue link, open the sunroof.

The sunroof is absolutely massive. Its electrically retractable and makes the cabin really airy. You would have to fiddle with the controls for a while before getting used to opening it the way you want.

Moving to the rear of the car, it feels kind of claustrophobic, but the sunroof really helps. The legroom is good but scooped out seats would have definitely been better. The headroom is good for a car of this size, the seats offer pretty good under thigh support too. You get the AC vents which here. A large parcel tray means an ample space to store your goodie bags. You also get the rear centre arm rest which has 2 cupholders in it. The rear seats can be split into 60:40 to give you additional boot space for your airport runs.

 

Drive

The test car here is the 1.4 GDI petrol mated to 7 speed DCT. The engine churns out 140 horses and 242 nm of torque. Apart from this you get 13 other permutation and combinations to choose from. But, cars are not smartphones that you could judge them by these numbers on the paper. What’s more important is how does the Crete drive. This is the answer to this lies in this key of happiness. It’s not that I am stereotyping Hyundai’s, but they are known to impress the 80% of the common buyers while leaving the other 20% of enthusiasts gasping for better driving dynamics and that’s the reason, I set my expectations accordingly before I stepped into this car.

The turbocharged motor is eager to be pushed around, especially in the sport mode. The engine feels full of life, there is abundant power available. The best part is you don’t have to wait a lot to extract the maximum torque as its available just at 1500 rpm all the until 3200 rpm.

 The 7 speed DCT gearbox is really quick. Although you have to pay a premium of 1.3 lakhs for the turbocharger, what’s more important is you get this DCT gearbox unlike the old school CVT in the non-turbocharged auto variant. The turbo lag is negligible but there seems to be some sort of miscommunication between the engine and the gearbox as the gears shift earlier than expected. Ironically there is a bit of a jerk when shifting at lower speeds.

If you thought the manual mode or paddle shifters are here to rescue you, probably not. Because after a certain rpm the car upshifts even if you don’t want it to. I am still ok with that because you would buy an automatic to drive it like an automatic but what let me down big time is the steering feedback as it feels feather light.

You get 3 driving modes to choose from. There is a choice between Eco, Comfort and Sport. Eco is for the kitna deti hai where the throttle response is slower apart from reducing the effectiveness of the air conditioner. Sport is the one you want to be in when you want to have fun and enjoy the performance because the gearbox upshifts at a higher rpm. Comfort is a good balance between both these modes. 

 

Ride and Handling

The car is driven on 17-inch alloy wheels. However, the Lower variants get the 16 inch wheels. The ride quality is phenomenal, and the suspension is on the softer side. This also means you really don’t have to crawl in smaller potholes because it absorbs them very well. A light steering and body roll means that it’s not very confidence inspiring to push it around the corners but having said that the straight-line stability at higher speeds is really solid and it effortlessly reaches the ton in just over 10 seconds.

 All 4 wheels are equipped with disc brakes and they do an excellent job of stopping the vehicle from decent speeds to a sand still. I really wish someone from Mahindra drives one someday.

 The fuel tank capacity is 50 litres and you should be able to drive it for 800 km before you need a refill. That said, it would return a fuel efficiency of 16 kmpl in mixed driving conditions.

 

With over 5 lakh Creta’s on road, let’s find out what has been the success mantra for Hyundai Creta in India:

1. TIMING – #hyundai is aggressive in launching cars in India. As soon as they realised that the 5 seater ‘SUV’ market is growing significantly, they left no stone unturned to launch the #creta ASAP

2 BRAND & SERVICE – Hyundai is loved by us since the days of Santro. With an extensive dealer network spread across the country, the 2nd largest car maker has a major advantage over it’s rivals like Kia. They’ve also received the top spot for customer satisfaction in JD power study in 2018 with a score of 848/1000. 55% of them also revealed they would get their car serviced at the dealership after warranty expires

3. STYLING (Old Creta) – Code named as #ix25 the car was ruling hearts in the spy shots across the Globe. It looked more mature than any other ‘SUV’ in that price bracket. A very proportionate design unlike the new model which is polarizing

4. ENGINE-GEARBOX OPTIONS – Manual, Automatic, Petrol and Diesel, it had it all. Also the availability of diesel automatic was a boon. Brands like Jeep who got in the diesel automatic in Compass way too late have lost significant customers to others

5. RESALE VALUE – Creta is pretty dominant in the used car market. Some buyers also consider resale value as one of the parameters while making a purchase. A car with better resale value also means relatively higher ROI

6. SAFETY FEATURES – All variants came with rear parking sensors, dual Airbags and ABS. Period. The higher variants offered rear camera, hill-assist, electronic stability control, static bending lights etc.

7. WONDER WARRANTY – The recently launched flexible warranty of 3 yrs/unlimited km or 4 yrs/60k km or 5 yrs/50k km lets buyers choose it according to thier usage pattern

8. NEW CRETA – Although approx 10% of the sales are from the new model, Hyundai offered (almost) everything the buyer wants. The Panoramic sunroof is enough to play the trump card for most of them. Also, the new model is improved in every possible way, especially in the driving dynamics.

Quick comparision of Creta Vs Seltos:

Advantages of #kiaseltos over #hyundaicreta:

  1. A much proportionately designed car with finer details unlike the love-it-or-hate-it design of the new Creta
  2. Seltos offers the 1.4-litre petrol engine with both a manual and a DCT, whereas the Creta only offers that particular engine with a DCT
  3. Seltos loves to be pushed around the corners(although the steering is still not perfect), the body roll is slightly lesser than Creta. Looses its marks to the ride quality though
  4. No ‘evident’ cost-cutting unlike the hard plastics of the Creta. There is a bit of soft-touch on the interiors of Creta. Both the cars neither get a full size spare tyre nor hydraulic struts for bonnet. Sad.
  5. Some fancy equipments like the heads-up display, front parking sensors and 360 degree camera which actually offer utility. Also, the Seltos gets tilt & telescopic adjustment for the steering while the creta gets the adjustment for tilt only
  6. Neatly laid out instrument cluster. Although the Creta too has a pretty good looking speedometer, it really falls short in the race of tachometer’s unconventional design
  7. one of the best features of the Seltos is its blind spot assist, which uses cameras mounted in the outside rear-view mirrors to project the blind spot on the screen in front of the driver
  8. Seltos gets dual-tone beige interiors which look slightly more plush and premium than the all-black ‘sporty’ interiors of the Creta which probably make slightly more sense for a hot hatch like the Polo, Mini Cooper or Abarth Punto
  9. Much better looking GT line alloy wheels and LED DRLs merging into the grille. On the contrary, the alloys of the Creta Petrol 7 DCT can be mistaken for wheel caps.
  10. Although the OEM for tyres tends to change periodically, the test car of Seltos came with the much grippier set of Michellins than the JK tyres on the Creta

 

Advantages of #hyundaicreta over #kiaseltos:

  1. Firstly, a much larger network of dealership and service centres. For every Kia service centre in India, there are approximately 9 from Hyundai
  2. The middle variants trims of Creta are safer than the respective variants of Seltos with 6 airbags vs 2. Seltos misses out on Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Vehicle Stability Management (VSM). All variants of Creta get TPMS
  3. Additional equipment level with a massive panoramic sunroof, electronic parking brake with an auto-hold function and of course the paddle-shifters
  4. Negligible turbo lag from the Creta turbo petrol 7 DCT triumphs the slightly noticible lag in the seltos. You can cruise at 100 kmph at 2000rpm vs the 2200rpm in Seltos
  5. Although both are equipped with the same OEM music system vendor, Bose, the sound quality in Creta is miles ahead than the Seltos
  6. For the same engine-gearbox combination, Creta will return 10% more mileage than the Seltos. For sure.
  7. The ride quality offered is definitely better, thanks to the softer suspension but the handling is slightly compromised
  8. Although the touchscreen infotainment system is of same size it is much more user friendly and the responsiveness is amazing
  9. The Creta gets a better driving position, thanks to its higher seat height. You would have complete visibility of the bonnet’s front end

 

Verdict

 Hyundai is one of those manufacturers that does a lot of homework before launching a new product in India. They know what the consumer wants when he is shopping for a car in every segment. The Creta is feature loaded to the brim and more.

 If God asked me what are the 3 features that I aspire for in a 20 lakh car, It would be the panoramic sunroof, wireless charging and a safer car with 6 airbags. The Creta gets all of them. Having said that, I really wish Hyundai had worked on a better steering feedback and not opted for cost cutting measures because at 20 lakhs, it’s not cheap in any way.

 Going back to the question that we started off with – Would you be happy with the polarised design of the Creta or head to the nearest KIA showroom? I would leave that to you because designs are subjective. But if I were you, I would probably wait hoping that the turbo charged variant is also offered with the manual gearbox. Because, replacement for Manual gearbox shall never be found. 

 

 

 

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