Archives February 2021

Mumbai Falcons rise high in the final race to take 3rd in championship

February 22, 2021 / 0 Comments / 147 / MOTORSPORTS

The All-Indian Mumbai Falcons team ended their first Formula 3 Asia campaign with an impressive third place in the constructor’s championship. The team piloted by two of India’s high hopes for a representation in Formula 1, Jehan Daruvala and Kush Maini, managed to secure 3 podiums in the final round of the championship held at Yas Marina International circuit.

 

Highlights of the championship –

  • China’s Guanyu Zhou and the Abu Dhabi Racing Team backed by Prema won the drivers and constructors championships respectively
  • The father daughter duo of Khaled Al Qubaisi and Amna Al Qubaisi became the first ever to compete in the same race together
  • Pierre Louis Chovet, who led the championship after the impressive performances at Dubai conceded the lead having to manoeuvre through tough times on track in dealing with Roy Nissany
  • China’s Guanyu Zhou managed to snatch the lead of the championship by the penultimate race of the championship and then won the final race to stamp his authority as the Formula 3 Asia champion
  • India’s Jehan Daruvala secured 2 podiums in the final round of races and managed to hang on to his third position in the championship.
  • India’s Kush Maini had a strong end to the championship he struggled throughout by claiming his first podium of the season
  • Patrick Pasma of Finland showed great pace and ended up fourth in the championship.
  • Isack Hadjar and Dino Beganovic, who missed the last 2 rounds of the championship ended up 6th and 7th respectively due to their impressive performances in the first 3 rounds.

 

  • Mumbai Falcons finished the championship in third position overall
  • Jehan Daruvala finished with 192 points, 65 points away from Guanyu Zhou.
  • Kush Maini finished 11th with 55 points to his name
  • Ayumu Iwasa of Japan won the Rookie Cup by 8 points with the E-sports turned real racer Cem Bolukbasi finishing second

 

Post the success in F3 Asian Championship, Jehan Daruvala is going to continue for a second year with Carlin in FIA Formula 2 championship and Kush Maini is expected to land up a drive in the Formula 3 championship.

2021 Tata Safari Launched

February 22, 2021 / 0 Comments / 160 / Car News

Tata Motors today launched its premium flagship SUV branded as the Safari. The all-new  Tata  Safari is based on the Land Rovers D8 platform, plush and comfortable interiors. The powerhouse of the Safari is derived from the Harrier named the Kryotech engine, churning 170bhp of power.

Colours:

 The Tata Safari is now available in total 4 colors namely Orcus White, Royale Blue, Daytona Grey, and a special edition for customers who are inclined towards adventurous weekends called the Adventure’ persona of the Safari with an expressive and rugged look offering more options for customers to select the SUV that best matches their personality. The Adventure persona will be available in a distinct Tropical Mist color, inspired by the rich and diverse flora present across the vibrant landscapes of our country.

 

Interior and Safety:

Safari is available in both 6 and 7 seater segments by providing captain or bench seats in the 2nd row. The Tata Safari is extremely versatile, delivering great comfort and assurance, be it intracity commute,expressway cruising or the un-explored paths in the hinterland. The Tata Safari will come with signature Oyster White Interiors paired with the Ashwood finish dashboard, a majestic panoramic sunroof, along with 6 and 7-seater options, which will come with an 8.8-inch floating island infotainment system.As with all Tata Motors products, the Safari consists of a variety of safety features such as all-disc brakes,an electronic parking brake, and an advanced ESP with 14 functionalities. Coupled with the Boss Mode,providing enhanced ride comfort, the Safari sure does give the executive customers a living room style ride experience.(Interior shown in the picture below belongs to Adventure edition of Safari.)

Special edition major changes:

Taking the style quotient a little higher, the newly introduced ‘Adventure’ persona will come with R18 black tinted charcoal grey machined alloys and an all piano black finish in its grille, roof rails inserts, outer door handles along with a Safari mascot placement on the bonnet. On the interiors, the ‘Adventure’ persona looks plush with signature earthy brown interiors, dark chrome interior accents on air vents, knob, switches,inner door handle and instrument cluster along with a piano black interior pack on steering wheel, grab handles, floor console frame, and IP mid pad finisher. The all-new Safari will be available in nine variants,starting from XE and going up to the XZA+. 

Pricing of all 9 varients available for the safari  *All prices in INR lakh.Ex Showroom Delhi.

 

SAFARI PRICE LIST

VARIENTS MANUAL AUTOMATIC
XE 14.69
XM 16.00 17.25
XT 17.45
XT+ 18.25
XZ 19.15 20.40
XZ+ ( 6/7 SEATER) 19.99 21.25

ADVENTURE PERSONA

XZ+ 20.20 21.45

Click here for first impressions of the all-new Tata Safari video.

Audi Q2 – Pocket Rocket

February 21, 2021 / 0 Comments / 148 / ROAD TEST REVIEWS

The Audi Q2 Is Globally positioned below the Q3, Q5 and Q7.  It was the easiest entry ticket to The Lord of the Rings club until recently when the A4 made its debut on Indian shores. The Q2 is based on the VW Group’s scalable MQB platform that’s shared across VW group cars such as Octavia, Polo, Karoq to name a few. The Audi q2 that we have here was launched way back in 2016 in the international markets but it took 4 years to reach Indian shores. that said,  the facelift of which is already on the international cards.

Pros

+ Looks really Sporty, with barely any usage of chrome on its exteriors, this beautiful shade of Red enhances the sporty quotient
+ Top-notch quality of materials used – soft-touch panels, flat-bottom steering wheel and the buttons are built to withstand an apocalypse
+ Ride – Slot it into the comfort mode and it absorbs most of the craters thrown at it easily
+ Drivability – responsive 2L engine churns 188 bhp and 320 Nm. This bundled with customised driving modes and paddle shifters ticks all the boxes for an enthusiast, the steering is responsive too
+ Quattro –  delivers power to the wheels with the most grip, maximising traction in wet-weather conditions or rather any weather conditions with the all-wheel-drive system
+ The boot is easily accessible, the absence of a deeper boot lip ensures it’s very easy to load and unload the luggage
+ 7-speed S-Tronic is slick! Not the best but it’s beautifully paired with the motor, negligible turbo lag in fairly-spirited driving
Wind-tone Horn is LOUD. Enough to scare away a 64 wheel trailer on an expressway

Cons

– Expensive, at 62 lakhs, on-road BLR for the flagship trim, this is targeted for deep pockets
– Outdated Tech – No touchscreen, you would have to do navigate using the rotary knob
– Rear seating – The seat has the most upright angle we have seen, a large tunnel means the 3rd passenger at the centre will be disappointed. The small rear window makes you feel claustrophobic in the longer run, Absence of rear AC vents are a let down in our tropical summers
 -Lacks Features – No electric seats, manual sunroof cover (Harrier gets an electric release), no 360 deg cam, ventilated seats etc
– Horn Pad is hard. Blessing in disguise is it should prevent unnecessary honking
– The international facelift of the Q2 is almost on cards, making the current-gen Q2 feel aged

Exterior

The design elements in the Q2 works towards giving it the look of a bigger SUV but in reality, it is not that big. Honestly, it’s more of a generously sized hatchback than a proper SUV but then again, that’s not that bad because what you get is a sporty-looking package with good enough ground clearance to tackle anything that comes your way and a car for which finding a parking spot will not be a cumbersome process. Although, do keep in mind that while the height of the Q2 isn’t all that tall, the width is quite a lot. The roofline drops down almost like an SUV coupe along with thick C pillars and there’s distinctive chiselled bodywork along with the doors. The large but stylishly rounded wheel arches also compliment the side profile although these are not unique to this particular product. The windows are decently sized and there’s adequate ground clearance to make the Q2 stand relatively tall.

The headlights are full-LED and have ‘T’ shaped LED DRLs that look extremely nice.

The car gets a projector unit for the low beam and a reflector for the high and the cornering lights. Sadly the SUV does not get a set of fog lights, which we think is a fairly important parameter to consider for India but the overall visibility from the headlight cluster is good. Moving to the side, the car gets 17-inch multispoke alloy wheels that look pretty nice and go well with the overall proportions of the car. The car also gets an ‘S-Line’ badge on the side fender, along with blacked out ORVMs. The ORVMs get integrated LED indicators as well.

Interior

Q2’s interior quality is impressive. Once you step in you will be greeted by a simple dashboard layout, the design of which looks outdated compared to its rivals but the quality of materials used screams of luxury and the build quality is top-notch. It’s a well-built solid car. The glove box is pretty deep and does a good job of holding on to a lot of stuff. the design of AC vents seems to have been borrowed from the Audi A3 and we honestly felt it goes very well with the sporty characteristics of the car. Even the doors do a good job of holding the water bottles and some utility stuff. The Armrest has a dual purpose to support your arm and beneath it, you will find the wireless charging pad. You get a fully digital instrument cluster that can double up for many things like the entire screen can basically become an entire map for navigation and that is a feature that I absolutely love.

Q2’s cabin also gets funky looking backlit trims that help uplift the cabin’s ambience and go well with the overall youthful, sporty appeal of the crossover. While features wise you largely get everything you’d expect from a luxury car in this segment including wireless charging, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support, a large sunroof, two-zone climate control, reverse parking camera, front and rear parking sensors to name a few, the lack of powered front seats does seem like a shocking omission especially considering the asking price. 

Front seats have loads of adjustment, so drivers will be able to get comfortable, especially with a steering wheel that adjusts up and down, as well as in and out. Headroom is good, too, even in the rear where Audi’s designers have worked hard to keep the roofline low for a sportier look – there’s a distinct hollowing out of the roofline at the back but a six-foot passenger can sit behind a six-foot driver in reasonable comfort. Your knees will just about be brushing the back of the front seats, but you won’t have to splay your legs out.

Black interiors will make you feel slightly claustrophobic. The back seats aren’t comfortable as one would expect it to be; thanks to their upright design that makes it difficult for tall passengers to relax on long trips. Rear seats are upright and feel a bit of a squeeze for full-sized adults and are best only for shorter journeys. The height of the transmission tunnel is quite evident. There isn’t quite enough room for three adults to sit side-by-side either and it’s good only for two adults. Headroom is decent, there’s some surplus knee room, and since you can put your feet under the front seats, you can even stretch out a bit. The seat base is short. Also, while there are USB sockets in the rear, both are Type C units. The larger side windows and light headlining help create an airier atmosphere, but the Audi suffers from small door openings, making access to the rear bench a little tricky. 

The dashboard-mounted 8-inch Multi-Media Interface (MMI) comes with apple car play and android auto.  The infotainment screen is not a touch screen and feels so outdated that you will have to use the rotary click wheel MMI controller just behind the gear lever to operate it. You can use this to swipe through menus, and also for writing in letters of an address into the satellite navigation and this system is very good at recognizing letters-no matter how scrawled and distorted they may be.

Drivability

The Audi Q2 is fun to drive, easy to squeeze through traffic, comfortable to park. It’s very smooth, linear and pairs well with the 7-speed S Tronic DSG gearbox it comes with. Shifts aren’t super-quick, but they’re acceptable. Driving modes are available that quicken responses and putting the gearbox into ‘S’ mode ignite the spark in the cabin.

The view from the driver’s seat is commanding but unfortunately, it’s a manual seat. The absence of electronically adjustable seats, in spite of paying half a crore, is a big letdown and will drive away a lot of potential Audi customers to its rivals. Even cars costing a million have electronically adjustable seats. No ventilated seats either.

The Audi Q2’s engine feels very refined at idle. There is no discernable turbo lag and while it feels strong enough lower down after around 2,000rpm is when this four-cylinder turbo really gets into its groove. The 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox is quick to respond and doesn’t really give any reason to complain. There are occasions, albeit few and far between, when the transmission can get caught out and might not live up to your expectations by not downshifting quickly enough, but you can always take control via the paddle shifters at your disposal. You also get multiple driving modes including efficiency, comfort, auto, dynamic and individual that alter engine, gearbox and steering response. 

What’s worth mentioning is that It stands at a kerb weight of just 1205 kg! That’s a whole 200 kgs lighter than the Octavia 1.8 TSI. Considering it makes 10 more hp and a whole 70 Nm torque more than the Octavia 1.8 TSI and also has the 7 speed DSG. This beast gives a serious attempt to fly! Real-world 0-100 figure stands at 6.7 sec making it as fast as a VRS and that too with Quattro AWD! A perfect contender for the track days at BIC.

Ride and Handling

The ride is firm at low speeds with sharp-edged bumps filtering in, but it improves by leaps and bounds as speeds build up with the Q2 display great composure at higher speeds.

The steering of Audi Q2 comes from the hot Audi S3 model and it feels meaty enough to put a smile on your face. It’s not too heavy, making it an easy car to drive around town – especially thanks to the raised driving position. And in spite of the car’s short wheelbase and high centre of gravity, there’s not too much body roll when you go around corners – helped by the car’s wide track.

Verdict

The Audi Q2 is an attractive proposition for its stand-apart looks, practical dimensions, superb drive dynamics and the fact that it is coming from a brand that many aspire to own. For those looking to break into the luxury SUV segment, the Q2 makes a solid case. Yes, its cabin space and feature list leaves a lot to be desired and takes some of the charms away but it still has the right ingredients to be a potential star in not just the Q family but in its segment as well. In Fact, Q2 has the advantage of not having a direct competitor. 

Prices start from around Rs 35 lakh (ex-showroom) for the base variant. The top of the line Audi Q2 we drove retails at 62 lakhs on-road Bangalore and that is a high asking price for a car this size. Plus, entry-level crossovers like the BMW X1 and Volvo XC40 are bigger and cheaper with low sticker price considerably lower asking price which makes the Audi Q2 a very hard sell indeed. It has a slight edge over rivals being the only one available with all-wheel drive. The Audi Q2 is worth considering if you want a compact luxury car with good looks and a high-quality cabin and one that is genuinely exciting to drive.

Currently, Audi India is betting big on after-sales revenue. Sooner or later, old cars might stop coming. They can easily launch some limited numbers at no profits and get the people back to their showrooms. Once you have a crowd, it’s possible to convert some of these leads to higher models. But with this kind of launches where Audi is getting ambitious with the pricing, they would have to reshuffle their portfolio for it, thankfully the A4 should be the game-changer, but how good is it? Stay tuned for our road-test review coming shortly.

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911 GT3, Porsche’s New Family Member For 911’s Lineup.

February 19, 2021 / 0 Comments / 143 / Car News

The Porsche 911 GT3 is a high-performance endorsement model of the Porsche 911 sports car. It is a line of high-speed-performance models, which began with the 1973 911 CARRERA RS . The GT3 was introduced in 1999 as part of the first generation of the Porsche 996 model range (commonly known as 996.1). The seventh edition of the high-performance Porsche 911 GT3 was developed in close collaboration with Porsche Motorsport.

Car launch and booking date?

Customers can order the new 911 GT3 as of 31st of March 2021

What is PDK? Purpose of PDK?

Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) in simple terms it can also be called PorscheDual Clutch. It is a combination of two gearboxes as one, it also consists of two driveshafts and two wet clutches. The whole purpose of PDK is to reduce the loss of power and provide efficient gear shifting and increase shift efficiency. Example:- when we shift from (N) NEUTRAL TO 1ST Gear, 2nd gear stays in the ready position which will be engaged further. The new 911 gt3 comes as optional with the PDK unit. This is added advantage as it’s faster than the 911 GT3 RS with a top speed of 318 km/h and accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 3.4 seconds.

Good news for Old School car enthusiast:

Porsche also offers the new model with a six-speed manual transmission. The aerodynamics benefit from the brand’s vast Motorsport experience and generate significantly more down force without noticeably affecting the drag coefficient. In the Performance drive mode, the manually set wing and diffuser elements increase the aerodynamic pressure for high cornering speeds. During final testing, the new 911 GT 3 lapped the Nuerburgring-Nordschleife, traditionally the ultimate proving ground for all sports cars developed by Porsche, over 17 seconds quicker than its predecessor. ( Porsche 911 Carrera RSR).

Technical advancement:

It transfers pure racing technology into a production model: the double wishbone front axle layout and sophisticated aerodynamics with a swan neck rear wing and a striking diffuser originate from the successful GT race car 911 RS R. Tried and tested in endurance racing, the 510 PS (375 kW) four-litre six-cylinder boxer engine is based on the drive train of the 911 GT3 R. The acoustically impressive, high-revving engine is also used in the new 911 GT3 Cup. The result is a state-of-the-art sports car, perfect for the track and suitable for everyday use.

Weight and consumption of Fuel:

Lightweight components included are the front bonnet made of Carbon Fibre-Reinforced Plastic (CFRP), lightweight glass windows, light-alloy wheels and a sports exhaust system which reduces the weight by no less than ten kilograms. The combined consumption of the Porsche 911 GT 3 with PDK transmission is 12.4 litres/100 km.

GEAR BOX

PDK

WEIGHT

MANUAL GEARBOX

N/A 1,418 kilograms
AUTOMATIC YES

1,435 kilograms

Inside the cockpit:

Its racing genes are expressed in every detail of the new 911 GT 3. The cockpit features a new track screen. It can reduce the digital displays to the left and right of the rev counter to essential information needed for track driving, such as tire and oil pressure, fuel level, and water temperature. It also includes a visual shift assistant with colored bars to the left and right of the rev counter and a shift light derived from Motorsport.

Make your own Porsche:

To meet the growing demand for individualization options, Porsche Exclusive Manufacture offers a wide range of customized equipment for the new 911 GT 3. Highlights include a lightweight roof made of exposed carbon fiber, exterior mirror tops made of carbon, darkened LED matrix main headlights, and matching Exclusive design rear lights. Guards Red or Shark Blue painted wheel rims enhance the black alloy wheels. The colored ring of the dial can be customized in the exterior paint of the owner’s car.

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Drive safe.

Kabira Mobility the new EV motorcycles in the market

February 19, 2021 / 0 Comments / 110 / Upcoming Bikes

Electric Vehicles (EV) are growing in Indian Automotive Industry, with every new innovation there is a lot of ground to improve. The major drawbacks of EV these days are they lack design and sporty stance. To overcome this barrier Kabira Mobility has launched new series of EV motorcycles which are KM 3000 and KM 4000 respectively. No they are not Kawasaki Ninja 300 or Yamaha FZ 150 but they look same and its natural to misinterpret as their spare parts look similar.

KM 3000 ( Sports look)

These high-speed electric warriors are completely ‘Made in India,’ a homage to the whole nation’s electric bike enthusiasts that have been eagerly clutching on to their gears to ride into a better, sustainable & eco-friendly tomorrow.

KM 4000 (Street Fighter)

Equipped with Combi-brakes, best in class range, fast charging on board, roadside assistance these electric bikes are as appealing as compared to ICE motorbikes in terms of style and performance. These Electric Warriors sport modern design with a sleek aerodynamic profile, fireproof battery, geo-fencing, park assist, and many more exciting features.

All the best for the Kabira Mobility. (EV)

Click here to read more about Upcoming Motorcycles.

 

Maruti Suzuki S Cross – Jack of All Trades

February 19, 2021 / 0 Comments / 134 / ROAD TEST REVIEWS

The Maruti Suzuki S-Cross made its debut in the Indian market in 2015. Back then, it was offered two engine options – both types of diesel. The first being the tried and tested 1.3-litre DDiS unit and the second was the more powerful and fun-to-drive 1.6-litre DDiS unit enthusiasts to date. The 1.6-litre version found few takers over the years and became extinct soon enough owing to lukewarm market response, the S-Cross has only managed mixed responses over the course of these several years and still remains under-rated as the segment truly lacks a potent premium crossover. If there’s something that ticks most of the boxes right, it’s the robust-service network. 

Pros:

  • Solid build & good quality, inside out. Panel gaps are minimum especially in the sensitive areas where the metal meets the plastic cladding
  • Punchy 1.5L petrol offers great driveability in terms of responsiveness & Efficiency
  • Mature ride & handling package.  Feels extremely planted at triple-digit speeds
  • Practical interiors, spacious cabin and supportive seats,  loads of space in the first row
  • Features such as LED headlamps, cruise control, auto headlamps & wipers etc.
  • Maruti’s excellent after-sales support network,  massive coverage in the tier-2 and tier 3 cities

Cons:

  • No diesel option! Maruti’s BS6 1.5L diesel engine is still some time away
  • Unappealing styling. Looks like a big hatchback (not a crossover / SUV). Is quite old too, Maruti will have to up the game of S cross to stay competitive in the segment
  • Sunroof, wireless charger and other features like air purifier (which the competition offers) are sorely missed
  •  Although the boot is satisfactory it’s not big enough for a car of this size
  • Steering feedback is mediocre, could have weighed up better with speed

Exterior

The front end on the SCross comes with the bold looking 10 vertical slats engulfed in chrome. The headlights have received an update in the facelift. The sharp-looking crystalline headlights get a lot of busy elements and come with projector beams and DRL’s as well. The front bumpers come with nice blending black portions that run across the lower half of the bumper and on the air dam. The bumpers also get a faux skid plate in the silver-grey finish along with round fog lamps that add essence to the SUV-like front fascia.The side profile also remains the same with blacked-out window frames and door-mounted wing mirrors with LED turn lights.

The wheel arches come with protector inserts and the wheels are wrapped in 16 inches of rubber. The roof also comes with real metal roof rails giving that much-needed Crossover look. The rear profile also remains unchanged with the crisp looking LED tail lamps and the rear bumper with the integrated silver faux skid plate completing the rugged look at the rear. The boot lid comes with the Smart HYBRID badging on it, which IMO looks louder than what it does. The S cross certainly looks very butchy and shouts masculine. Sadly, the competition has got fierce with time and this is only something to worry about for the homegrown manufacturer. A bit of splash on the exteriors is the need of the hour.

Interior

The best part about getting into the S-Cross is that you can just walk into it. It’s neither as high as SUVs nor as low sedans or hatchbacks. The seats are comfortable and the low dash means very good visibility. The fit and finish are quite good, the cabin is one of the roomiest in the segment  If you’re familiar with the S-Cross, you’ll notice there aren’t too many changes on the inside. The S-Cross petrol gets the updated SmartPlay screen interface, with its improved user experience. The dashboard, dials and everything else in the cabin is just the way it has been since its inception. If there’s something the Millenials might crib about, is the absence of a sunroof. While the segment is upping the game with a panoramic sunroof, Maruti should have given a serious thought in plonking a conventional sunroof at least. 

While it’s a clean dashboard layout with the big 7-inch screen, the design layout looks a little dated. What also does not help is the all-black layout with no dual-tone colours. The plenty of chrome surround touches across the dash help in breaking the monotony of the design. Quality of plastics is acceptable and nothing to complain about. The S-Cross also has one of the most comfortable rear seats in its class. There’s plenty of legroom, The under-thigh support is good and what makes sitting in the rear even better is that the backrest is nicely angled and can even be reclined by a small amount. The rear passengers, adults or kids should not complain much about long-distance journeys. However, you don’t have AC vents in the rear, and there are no USB or 12-volt sockets to help you charge your devices. While we could still live with the absence of USB charging ports, our tropical summers will crave AC vents. The reason being the glasshouse of the car is quite big and it actually takes quite some time for the cool air to traverse all the way to the rear of the cabin. 

Drive

The K15 naturally-aspirated petrol engine is quite a versatile unit. Along with other chief cars from the Maruti Suzuki stable in our country,  including the widely-popular Brezza in our markets, it can now be found under the hood of the new S-Cross. In terms of power, the 1.5L NA engine develops 105bhp and 138Nm of peak torque. It’s mated to either a 5-speed manual or the easy-going 4-speed automatic torque converter.  While the power figure is higher, it is of no match to some of the modern turbo-petrol in the segment – like the segment-leader Kicks or the South Korean brothers! Customers will also have to forget that characteristic mid-range punch and excellent fuel efficiency of the old S-Cross diesel. The engine fires up with very little noise and without transmitting any vibrations to the cabin, there’s a neatly tucked in start-stop button that should help you in this case. At idle, it is silent. Press the clutch and you’ll find that it is not as light as that of the Ciaz, but is still friendly enough. Thankfully, the travel of the clutch is fairly limited and it’s nothing much to complain about. The gear shifter is light & smooth to use as well. The throws are short and crisp, something that bought a grin on our face every single time. Release the clutch gradually and the car moves forward without any throttle input. You can even pull away from a standstill in 2nd gear if you plan to get ambitious with the throttle input. Throttle response is quite satisfactory. Power comes in smooth & seamless. Out on the open road, the car feels adequately quick, but far from being really f-a-s-t. Simply no comparison to the turbo-petrol of the competition. Power delivery is linear and there is enough performance The S-Cross is more suited to a sedate driving style. Drive it around the town and you would accept that it’s not tailored for an enthusiast, rather meant for someone aspiring to have an extremely spacious crossover in their garage. Maruti appears to have shortened the gearing for the heavier S-Cross. Coming to NVH levels, the engine is silent while idling and acceptably refined at low revs. However, it is audible above 2,500 rpm. You can always hear the motor when you are accelerating. It starts getting loud post 3,500 rpm, and a lot more so after 4,500 rpm. The S cross is definitely not the car that will push you back seat.

Ride and Handling

The ride quality feels premium with good suspension tuning, we drove the car on bad roads of Bangalore and some real bad potholes but the S-Cross just glided through them with a broad smile. Also, the ground clearance of 180mm helps matters on driving on bad roads or big speed breakers to a large extent. As mentioned the Smart Hybrid system works flawlessly and so does the Auto Start-Stop function. The in-cabin comfort level is very good for the front and rear passengers both. The driver getting the best and most commanding view of the road ahead. The ride quality is very good with a premium drive to feel. The S-cross would definitely be one of the strongest contenders for our cross-country drives in twists and turns of one of the infinite ghats of Karnataka, not because it is the most spirited cars to drive there, but the car feels extremely planted with negligible body roll when it is being driven at triple-digit speeds in the hairpin bends. 

Smart hybrid

To make up for the outgoing diesel engine’s higher fuel efficiency and torque, the Maruti Suzuki S Cross petrol gets a technology called the Smart Hybrid. It has various fuel-saving features, such as the engine stops automatically when idling, and has a lithium-ion battery that assists engine power. Maruti tries to pay a lot of attention to this by opting-in for a dedicated badge at the rear of the car. The smart hybrid also assists in increasing the torque when needed.  

Safety kit

The Maruti Suzuki S Cross comes loaded with a long list of safety equipment which includes standard front dual airbags, ABS with EBD, ISOFIX child seat anchorages, pedestrian protection compliance, full-frontal, front offset and side-impact compliance, auto headlamps, auto wipers, Hill hold (AT trim), auto-dimming IRVM to name a few. Glad to see manufacturers paying extra heed to prioritise safety in the era which is dominated by endless feature list which falls prey to the limited usability, practicality and convenience. 

Verdict

The S-Cross not only gets a new compliant engine but also gets a lot of features included on the list. It’s the car that craves for the allrounder tag. It’s The car has always been a great option in its class in terms of performance, safety and looks and now gets better. The S-Cross 1.5L Petrol is super fun to drive and delivers an excellent overall drive feel too. Starting at Rs. 8.39 Lakh for the Sigma MT trims this becomes a very good option if you are out there looking for a sturdy and proven Crossover also making it an attractive proposition for the price-conscious buyer and those looking at a practical buy for daily commutes can keep it high on the list of cars to consider.

What truly impressed us was the sturdy built quality which takes a break from the stereotypes of Maruti’s association with the average built quality. Backed by Nexa, the post-sales service is also excellent. But if you are looking for an engaging drive with features aplenty, the Maruti Suzuki S-Cross is likely to fall short. Especially when you expect the driving experience to be in sync with some of the latest offerings from Europe. That said, the S-cross still remains one of the most under-rated cars in the country, especially when you realise the real estate you get in return for every single penny invested in it. 

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Mercedes-Benz A Class

February 18, 2021 / 0 Comments / 120 / Upcoming Cars

German luxury manufacturer, Mercedes-Benz showcased the A-Class sedan for India at the Auto Expo 2020. At the time of launch, the A-Class sedan is expected to be introduced under the CLA brand and is coincidental, the most affordable Mercedes-Benz model in India.

Visually, the A-Class facelift features diamond-studded grille design along with the sharp-looking LED headlamps with eyebrow-like LED DRLs. As for sides, the vehicle gets blackened B-pillar, a sloping roofline and twin-spoke alloy wheels. Under the hood, the vehicle will get BS6 compliant 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engine options.

As for the interior, it gets a fully-digital instrument cluster which is paired with a fully-digital infotainment system. Additionally, the dashboard gets the signature rotor-like chrome air-con vents, a multi-functional new steering wheel, and a smart-looking centre console in piano black finish. At the time of its launch, the vehicle is expected to get the latest MBUX multimedia system.

Mercedes-Benz has commenced bookings of the A-Class Limousine in India at a token amount of Rs 2 lakh. It is expected to be priced from Rs 40 lakh (ex-showroom) and will be available in petrol, diesel, and AMG variants.

Renault Kiger Makes it’s Global Debut

February 18, 2021 / 0 Comments / 145 / Car News

The  Renault kwid was one of the best competitors for the Maruti Suzuki in the entry-level hatchback. Then came the Duster one of the best SUVs in the segment.  The latest offering by Renault was the Triber with 7 seats one of the most affordable MPV in this segment. There was a slight perforation between the prices of these vehicles and Renault lacked a premium hatchback. Renault India and Renault France designed a car in collaboration to overcome this segment gap. As a result, RENAULT KIGER sitting perfectly in the segment of compact SUV. It is developed and produced in India, for Indian customers first, before it is taken globally.

Launch date? Price?

Mumbai, February 15, 2021: Taking ahead of its promise of disruptive innovation, Renault today announced the pricing of the all-new KIGER starting at an introductory price of INR 5.45 lakhs (ex-showroom, PAN India). With this outstanding pricing, Renault KIGER is surely set to radically alter the dynamics in the B-SUV segment.

Customers can book Renault KIGER at dealerships or on the website –https://www.renault.co.in/ by paying a token amount of INR 11, 000/-

 Announcing the attractive pricing, Venkatram Mamillapalle, Country CEO; Managing Director, Renault India Operations, shared, “Renault KIGER is a modern SUV that is a perfect fit for the Indian market. It brings to the fore our proven expertise of innovation, creativity, customer understanding, and above all, our focus on making cars that offer an unmatched value proposition.

Renault KIGER will demonstrate the competence of India’s design, engineering and manufacturing capabilities and highlights Renault’s strong commitment to the ‘Make in India’ mission. With a vision of fulfilling the growing SUV aspirations of a wide set of customers, we have ensured that Renault KIGER is attractively priced, and we look forward to strengthening our SUV legacy with this new game-changer.”Renault KIGER has established itself as a Stunning, Smart, and Sporty B-SUV. The Stunning design is exemplified by a host of sporty and muscular elements that make Renault KIGER stand out as a true SUV. On the inside, Renault KIGER’s Smart cabin combines technology, functionality, and roominess.

Renault has introduced innovative ways of reaching out to customers. The Renault Virtual Assistant (RVA) will enable Renault to reach out to customers across all geographies. RVA is available at the finger-tips on Whatsapp and the website. It provides all information and details, along with the option of booking test drives, and even facilitates bookings. The Renault KIGER Virtual Studio is a state-of-the-art virtual studio that seamlessly enables 360-degree views and allows the customers to configure, accessorize and make online bookings. It is an overall customized consumer journey that allows complete access to information and customization on Renault KIGER.

Variants and price?

 

Renault Kiger will be offered in two engine options 1.0L Energy and 1.0L Turbo with 2 pedal offerings on each of the engines. Customers can choose from four available trims – RXE, RXL, RXT & RXZ. Each version is built keeping in view the customer requirements and needs in the segment and has been attractively priced across all trims. Customers will have a valuable advantage at every level and also have the choice of opting for the stylish dual tone combinations which is available across the range.

Version name

Energy

MT

Energy EasyR AMT Turbo

MT

Turbo

Xtronic CVT

RXE

5,45,000

RXL

6,14,000

6,59,000 7,14,000

RXT

6,60,000

7,05,000 7,60,000

8,60,000

RXZ

7,55,000

8,00,000 8,55,000

9,55,000

 

Stunning design and USPS:

 

With its distinct, athletic design that is bursting with energy, the KIGER SUV combines urban modernity with agility, whichever road it takes. With its muscular bodywork that exudes sturdiness and dynamism, the KIGER is a real invitation to escape the urban jungle and experience a new kind of driving.

 

Road presence: A sculpted bonnet that enhances the car’s personality sits at the front, above an impressive bumper. The wings boost the design with their pronounced shoulder lines, while the black sills and wheel arches provide further protection. The high ground clearance (205 mm) and functional roof bars heighten the vehicle’s silhouette and complete its bold SUV look. Renault designers have equipped the KIGER with several features to give the car a sporty look. The front grille’s 3D graphic finish with honeycomb-shaped chromed effects is a perfect example, while the Aluminium Finish skid plate further enhances the rear bumper.

 

Road grip: At higher trim levels, the KIGER’S 40.64 cm alloy wheels have a black diamond-cut finish for a sporty and stylish look. The protective wheel arch cladding makes the bodywork look bolder and sturdier. The 2,500 mm long wheelbase places the wheels at the four corners of the vehicle, offering increased stability on any type of road while optimizing the space inside the car, providing optimum comfort for each passenger and boot volume of 405 Litres that is unrivalled in the segment.

 

LED setup: The LED daytime running lights positioned at both ends give the car an elevated

stance. The highly recognizable lower part divides the bumper into two areas, each large corner featuring three LED headlights separately encased in a chrome octagonal unit with PURE VISION and a chrome reflector. The tail lamp units with glossy black inserts are resolutely modern and distinctive within the segment, outlining the KIGER’S rear double C-shaped lighting signature. They are featured at each end of the bodywork and extend out over the wings providing Kiger a distinctly unique personality.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS:

Length 3,991 mm
Width 1,750 mm (without mirrors)
Height 1,600 mm (with Roof Bars)
Wheelbase 2,500 mm
Engine Type 3-cylinder 1.0 L Turbocharged Petrol Engine 3-cylinder 1.0 L Turbocharged

Petrol Engine

ENERGY 3-cyc 1.0 L

Petrol Engine

Displacement 999 cc 999 cc 999 cc
Power 100 Ps @ 5000 rpm 100 Ps @ 5000 rpm 72 Ps @ 6250 rpm
Torque 160 Nm @ 2800-3600rpm 152 Nm @ 2200-4400 96 Nm @ 3500 rpm
Gearbox 5 Speed Manual Transmission X-TRONIC-CVT 5 Speed Manual Transmission

5 Speed EASY-R AMT

Configuration 3 cylinders
Tyre size 195/60 R16
Front suspension McPherson strut with lower triangle; coil spring, anti-roll bar; traverse arm
Rear suspension Torsion beam axle
Boot volume 405 Liters
Ground Clearance 205 mm
Fuel tank volume 40 L

Colour scheme:

The KIGER comes in six exciting body colors: . All trim-levels include a two-tone option

  • Ice Cool White,
  • Planet Grey,
  • Moonlight Grey,
  • Mahogany Brown,
  • Caspian Blue,
  • Radiant Red with Mystery Black Roof.

Providing an opportunity to customers to choose from the wide range of single or dual-tone color options, Radiant Red which is an exclusive color will only be available as a top variant under a two-tone color scheme.

Safety: 

  • Onboard, the two front seats and the two rear side seats are fitted with three-point seatbelts, while the rear middle passenger seat features a two-point seatbelt.
  • The two front airbags for the driver and front-seat passenger along with the two side airbags round out the safety suite.
  • Both front seats get a seat belt reminder alert for enhanced safety.

Smart cabin:

KIGER interiors are called the smart cabin as it combines technology, functionality, and roominess. KIGER is just under four meters long and falls into the compact SUV category, yet thanks to the CMFA+ platform DNA, just like Triber it offers segment-leading roominess, cabin storage, and cargo space.

Styling :

The chiseled curves that play with light and shade give the impression of a floating cockpit, accentuated by piano-style control dials, suspended air conditioning controls, and a pedestal that is easily accessible from the center console. The console features a 20.32 cm floating touch screen, giving the passenger compartment a modern look, and so does a 17.78 cm Multi-Skin Reconfigurable TFT color cluster.

Comfort and space:

The KIGER provides record levels of roominess with space onboard that you can feel. At the front, the KIGER offers a 710-mm Couple Distance between seats – the best in its segment. At the rear, KIGER provides best in segment second-row legroom (222 mm) and elbow room (1431 mm). The seat height provides a commanding driving position accentuating driving comfort. The Kiger sets a very high standard when it comes to loading capacity, offering the best boot capacity in the segment (405 litres which extend to 879 liters with the second row folded).

Addition features: 

Another new feature available at higher trim levels is the white ambient lighting in the passenger compartment. It lights up the storage compartment at the front of the centre console and the back of the front door grip handles. The cockpit features back-lit steering wheel controls. These have a whole host of settings such as access to the onboard computer menu, speaker volume, phone and radio features, and voice recognition.  KIGER will also feature a first-in-segment PM2.5 Clean Air Filter. This advanced atmospheric filter fitted into the ventilation system ensures good air quality inside the vehicle.

The KIGER uses technology to ensure safety with radar sensors and a reverse camera with guiding lines. The driver can enjoy greater visibility and precision when reversing or manoeuvring for parking. The turning radius is 5.02 meters.

Interior :

Infotainment system comprises The KIGER’S high, wide centre console is focused around a large 20.32 cm floating touch screen that features wireless smartphone replication for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto at higher trims. Wireless smartphone replication allows passengers to connect their smartphones seamlessly and access the special driving and multimedia apps. Passengers can select five permanent shortcuts for faster access to apps and features. The system not only offers voice recognition through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto but also Bluetooth connectivity that can pair with up to five devices, a USB socket for faster charging, and a built-in MP4 video player.

MULTI-SENSE driving experience and ambience lighting:

At higher trim levels, the driver has access to MULTI-SENSE settings to select different driving modes. Engine mapping, gear changes (for automatic transmissions), the responsive steering column, and the digital speedometer are reset when changing driving modes, for an optimum driving experience.

  • Multi-Skin 17.78 cm Reconfigurable TFT cluster changes its color and widget configuration according to the mode selected, displaying useful information relevant to selected driving mode:
  • Normal mode: Provides an optimum driving parameter of the engine apt for city driving conditions. It also provides handy information like real-time; average fuel consumption all in a blue colour look.
  • Eco-mode: Provides a drive that is inclined towards economic driving practices. Changing the overall appearance of the TFT into green, the indicators, like an animated leaf, provide real-time feedback to maximize economic driving.
  • Sports Mode: Provides a driving environment that is full of fun and sportiness, with crisper engine response and faster shifting. The overall TFT screen appearance turns red with quick information of acceleration gauge, torque/power ratios, etc providing drivers to have all the fun!

Premium sound system

The KIGER boasts a brand new, well-tuned quality sound system: The Auditorium 3D Sound system by Arkamys, with a technology that diffuses 3D sound tailor-made to suit the materials and shape of the passenger compartment. All in all, there are eight on-board speakers (four boomers, four tweeters). The system also automatically adjusts the sound volume according to the speed of the vehicle at higher trim levels. Hands-free smart access card. For everyday convenience, doors can be opened and closed automatically, and the engine started without a key. The sensors in the card allow drivers to lock and unlock the doors without having to take the card out of their pocket or press a button. They can also start the vehicle without having to insert the card. The hands-free system also includes a door auto-lock function when drivers walk away from the vehicle. This feature is real-time-saver and incredibly convenient.

Thank you for reading, Drive safe.

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Honda CB350 RS launched in India

February 17, 2021 / 0 Comments / 154 / Bike News

We had recently come across the Honda H’ness ( Highness) by October 2020 it was the first offering in the CB family.  Now here comes the latest addition to the CB family the new CB350RS. This motorcycle shares the same motor as the CB350 H’ness and comes with added bells and whistles such as the RS badge, slipper clutch to name just a few. What does the RS  mean? Road Sailing Concept – RS.

Speaking on the rich legacy of CB Brand, Mr. Atsushi Ogata, Managing Director, President & CEO, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd. said, “Brand CB stands for realizing dreams of a true motorcycle enthusiast. Since the launch of the CB92 in 1959, it has pushed the boundaries of technology. Itis a beautiful overlap of performance, comfort, style, technology, and reliability. Last year, Indian riders got a chance to experience the ‘made in India’ CB brand and elevate their pride of fun riding. Today, we are excited to add another chapter to the CB series. Exhibiting the true legacy of CB Brand, the CB350RS will add value for the Indian customer by providing contemporary style and superior stance, further enhancing the fun biking culture.”Elaborating on CB350RS, Mr. Yadvinder Singh Guleria, Director – Sales & Marketing, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd. said, “Carrying forward the legacy of CB brand, the all-new CB350RS is based on “Road Sailing Concept – RS”. It defines the character of the bike’s smooth performance on the road with a sailing feel & comfort for the rider. The CB350RS is crafted to suit the rider’s lifestyle with its sophisticated urban style and a powerful advanced 350cc engine. It’s a call to all the riders to gear up and live Your Story’

Launch date? Price?

As most of the motorcycle manufacturing companies are gearing up to the 350-500 cc segment Honda motorcycles & scooter India pvt, are no different. As Royal Enfield has been ruling this segment for past many decades, it was time to target this range of motorcycles.

New Delhi, February 16, 2021: the advanced design and sporty design of the Honda CB350 RS is the second offering in the CB (City Bike) family which is made in India for the World’. This beauty can be yours at an attractively priced, starting at INR 1, 96,000(ex-showroom PAN India).

Aesthetic changes:

  • Massive tank.
  • Fork boots.
  • Round LED headlamp with unique ring design.
  • Eye-shaped LED winkers.
  • Under seat sleek LED tail lamp.
  • Sporty grab rail.

 

What’s different from the CB350 H’ness?

-Technological advancement:

  • Assist slipper clutch
  • Advanced digital-analogue meter
  • Honda selectable torque control (HSTC)

 

-Performance:

Strong & powerful 350cc engine, 4 stroke OHC (Over Head Camshaft) with PGM-FI (Programmed Fuel Injection)

 

-Grip and convenience:BY

Wide pattern tyres, ‘tuck and roll’ seat design, skid plate underneath.

 

Technical advancement:

With the new cb350rs Honda has given the rider to flaunt more, by introducing more smart features in this segment.

  • Slipper clutch:- Shifting gears without pressing the clutch, thus reducing clutch lever operation and reducing fatigue of the rider in stop and go traffic conditions. Increasing comfort in rides that involve frequent gear shifting.

 

  • Advanced digital-analogue meter:-When the whole world is shifting to digital Honda made sure it offers the riders with few inputs of digital and analogue to suit the retro sporty look of the Honda CB350 RS.The new speedometer involves details like the torque control, side stand indicator with engine inhibiter (mandatory these days) ,ABS, gear position indicator, and battery voltage. The rider is further enhanced with fuel efficiency details which is further divided into three modes

Real-time mileage: Gives out the live fuel efficiency

Average mileage:  According to the riding pattern & condition it displays the average.

Distance to empty:  Displays how much the motorcycle can travel before the tank is empty.

 

  • Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC):-

A torque control system helps in maintaining the same speed on the rear wheel. It detects the speed of the front wheel and the rear wheel calculating the slip ratio and further controlling the engine torque by increasing or decreasing the quantity of fuel in the FI( Fuel Injection) system.

Performance: 

ENGINE CC 350cc, 4 stroke OHC single cyclinder
Max Power 15.5 KW @5500rpm
Max Torque 30 Nm@3000rpm
Cooling System Air Cooled
Bharat Stage 6
Fuel PGM-fi

The CB350RS is powered by a 350cc, air-cooled 4-stroke OHC single-cylinder engine, which produces max power of 15.5 kW@5500 rpm. The advanced PGM-FI system using on-board sensors constantly ensures optimum fuel delivery to the engine as per the riding conditions allowing efficient combustion and lesser emissions. It delivers a category-leading max torque of 30 Nm@3000 rpm, which makes it an easy-going versatile motorcycle for an urban daily city commute. The engine uses an offset cylinder position that reduces the sliding friction and an asymmetrical connecting rod ensures minimum energy loss while combustion. It uses a closed crankcase with a wall between the crankcase and transmission reducing energy loss due to internal friction.

The air cooling system maintains highly dense air intake to improve efficiency and ensures favourable combustion in all rpm ranges by keeping the engine temperature within an ideal range. The piston cooling jet improves the engine’s thermal efficiency, leading to improved fuel efficiency. The main shaft coaxial balancer placed on the cylinder eliminates both primary & secondary vibrations making CB350RS a perfect riding companion.

CB350RS 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 a long.

Style and looks:

The beautiful blend of retro-modern converts the cb350rs into more of a scrambler type of motorcycle. The chrome shining beautifully on the tank gives more of a heritage look and difficult to miss out. The smart design of 7-y shaped alloy wheels improves handling as the weight reduces and maneuverability is better than the spokes on the classic 350. It gives a modern roadster aesthetic appearance. CB350RS is styled to stand out from every direction. Round-shaped LED Headlamp with a unique ring design accentuates the retro-modern look. The new eyes-shaped LED blinkers are bright enough. The tail light is redesigned and placed under the seat which gives a complete look to the motorcycle. The muffler on the side gets a smoky-black finish accentuated with the use of chrome. Front forks are offered with boots to give rugged look and avoiding dust & increasing the life of fork seals. The grab rail is intelligently placed and goes unnoticed as the color is the same as the rear fender.

 

 

Comfort and safety:

ABS (Antilock Brake System) one of the safety system which avoids the wheels from locking when brakes are applied in an emergency, this allows the rider to maneuver the motorcycle more easily. The Honda CB350 RScomes with dual-channel ABS meaning, both the wheels have ABS.

The front caliper sits on a brake rotor with 310mm while the rear gets a 240cc providing sufficient braking performance in most situations. The rider maintains grip with a road by using wide pattern tires (front- 100/90, rear – 150/70) to increase stability in different riding conditions. The 19-inch front wheel gives a distinctive modern look coupled with a 17-inch wheel at the rear providing a lower rear stance. 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 the low position to lower the center of gravity, which affects 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 a torque of the driving force to the road surface improving the overall comfortable riding experience. The skid plate underneath provides extra protection for the engine so you can take on streets and offroad effortlessly. The ‘tuck and roll’ design of the seat gives superior cushioning providing a relaxed ride for daily commuting as well as during long-distance rides. Honda CB350 RSoffers a forward-leaning riding position to match the sporty riding stance. Large section front suspension not only enhances the massive imposing image but also provides immense comfort on rough roads. The pressurized nitrogen-charged rear suspension provides a highly responsive rear damping performance.

Go on a smarter ride using Eco Indicator that uses sensors to measure the riding speed and injected fuel volume to determine the economical riding. Engine Start/Stop Switch gives the convenience of turning off the engine on brief stops with the flick of a switch. Ensuring the safety of riders in low visibility conditions is the Hazard Switch feature. A bolder and muscular 15-liter fuel tank and top-class mileage ensure an unstoppable longer ride.

 

Colours available:

 

Honda CB350 RS will be available in two colour options – Radiant Red Metallic and Black with Pearl Sports Yellow. Starting today, Honda has opened the bookings for Honda CB350 RS at its premium dealerships –Bigwig Top line & Bigwig across India. For further information, customers can visit Bigwig website www.hondabigwing.in

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Hero Optima HX Review

February 13, 2021 / 0 Comments / 139 / Bike News

Road-test review of the Hero Optima HX 

Pros:

  • The beautiful design feels very close to a conventional scooter unlike some e-scooters which feel too unconventional
  • Extremely silent, just like the way e-scooter should be
  • Surprisingly, 2 full-sized adults can easily commute without any melodrama
  • LED headlight offers good illumination at night
  • Storage compartment in the front was quite useful and the USB charger adds to the convenience
  • Removable battery increases the portability by a significant margin, very helpful
  • Anti-theft feature – Alarm is loud. We can immobilise the scooter completely and can’t be mobilised even by pushing it 
  • Very competitively priced at 65k on road, Bangalore

Cons: 

  • The short-range of 80 km is a deal-breaker
  • Poor braking ability is a letdown
  • Top speed limited to 40 kmph cripples rideability
  • Quality of materials is average, significant room for improvement
  • Charge meter is very complex to understand in volts and acts finicky. A simple % display would have made a lot more sense
  • Not possible to store a full-size helmet under the seat
  • There is a minute lag between throttle input and the bike moving, bigger pain on steep inclines 
  • The limited dealer-service network has to lead to long waiting time for some of the customers even for essential spares

 

Technical Specifications:

Range: 110 km/ch.(claimed)

Battery Type: Advanced Lithium-Ion

Numbers of Battery: Single Battery

Battery Capacity/Rating : @c5 48V / 28Ah x 2

Battery Charging Time: 4-5 Hours

Max. Speed : 42 km/hr.

Motor Type: BLDC Motor

Motor Power: 550 W (Peak Power: 1200 W)

Charger: 6A with voltage and temperature protection”

Wheel Size/Tyre Size (F&R) : 90 x 90 x 12 TL CEAT/Continental

Kerb Weight 83 kg

Ground Clearance: 140 mm

Front & Rear Brake: Drum Brake

Chassis/Frame: Reinforced High Strength Steel Chassis

Key Features

Bag Hook, Round Charging Point, Glove Box, USB Port, Bold Styling, Maximum Comfort, Aerodynamic Body Design, Large & Comfortable Seat, Stylish Wheels, Reinforced High Strength Steel Chassis, front and rear suspension both are telescopic suspensions

The Optima HX is the city-speed variant of Hero Electric’s Optima range of electric scooters. It is capable of providing a realistic range of 80 km on a single charge if we take away the specs sheet for a moment. Its top speed is 42 km/h. It comes with the quick-charge feature which reduces the charging time by a good margin. Hero Electric says that the Optima HX will be a perfect option for customers who are looking for a reliable electric two-wheeler for city commutes that can offer good performance and comfort. Not just that, the removable battery is going to be a trump card for the blue lad as it bound to offer a lot of conveniences. 

Styling

The best part of the design of the Optima HX is it looks very similar to a conventional scooter. Optimistically, quite surprisingly considering EVs are known for the step-treatment by the design department. Kudos to the team for plonking in an LED headlamp that illuminates the road beautifully at night. More than adequate for the city ride. The lovely shade was surprisingly a head turner and 10/10 people loved the shade. There are 2 small dams housed below the headlamp which complements the modern theme of the electric scooter. The alloys complement the chic styling of the HX. The front storage space is a big plus considering that it will widely be used in the city for grocery runabout.  Moving to the rear of the Optima HX, the design language follows the conventional philosophy. The clear lens tail lamps are nothing home to write about. The rear grab handle provides extra support when needed, the. quality of which could be better. There is a decent storage space for a full-face helmet and the battery is removable by unplugging the main wire, however, we urge you to exercise extreme caution while doing so. The charging time for which should be around 6 hours in a conventional home charging. Once the battery is fully charged, the electric supply is cut off to prevent overcharging. This should be helpful as in most of the cases, the charging would pan overnight. 

LED Headlamps

Decent under-seat storage

The battery is removable

The battery is displayed in volts:

Drums for the front and rear:

Ride

Once you gently tap the throttle of the Optima HX, you realise that there’s a bit of lag, probably half a second to the time it starts to sprint, if you have experienced turbo lag in some of the cars, this should be familiar. Honestly, it was a concern when we were starting off the HX from steep inclines, say a flyover. A couple of seconds into the sprint, you realise the true essence of this electric scooter, thanks to the pin-drop silent electric motor. Probably, this is the best bit we found in the HX. It behaves exactly how an electric scooter is supposed to. In Fact, we were impressed with the dynamics on broken roads, something where the Ather 450x miserably failed at. It would be a crime to expect brisk acceleration from a mere electric scooter which has a threshold of 40 km. The Optima HX does most of the job well for the grocery rounds and daily errands, throw a couple of flyovers to it and it won’t complain much but we sincerely urge you not to get ambitious with its driveability, just like the way you would from an Anther after paying twitch the moolah! The blessing in disguise of the limited top speed is the brakes are mediocre, in fact, we were puzzled by the lack of bite from them. While we do understand that you would be doing minimal double-digit speeds with it, the braking ability should have at least been acceptable if not being ambitious with the brake pedal.  The handling of the Optima HX is just perfect, it’s neither an ardent task nor the handle is feather-light, this should be a boon to riders who are new to the world of riding scooters. The quality of the horn too was acceptable.  

Hero Electric has also partnered with Autovert Technologies to offer what is described as ‘alternative ownership models’ for Hero Electric’s new customers. Under the partnership, Autovert, a fintech start-up, will allow new customers of Hero Electric to opt for subscription-based plans for an all-inclusive price at the time of purchasing a new Hero Electric two-wheeler. The all-inclusive subscription plans will start for as low as ₹ 2,999 per month and will allow Hero Electric customers to avail of the electric two-wheeler, along with bundled services such as comprehensive insurance, service and maintenance, loyalty bonuses and upgrade options like every product under the Hero Electric umbrella, this too comes with a 3-year warranty.

Verdict 

In a nutshell, Hero Electric has managed to offer a bundled package of driveability, practicality, an extremely silent motor at a very affordable price. Honestly, we really think electric vehicles make more sense at this price range for their limited usability coupled with limited charging infrastructure. Of course, someone with deeper pockets can opt for the Ather 450x which offers a much more plush experience with its intuitive features but it’s not the most optimum bang for your buck. The hero does everything that the Ather can to fulfil your city touring needs, albeit in silence. Given a choice, we would pick the Optima HX over the Ather 450x 10/10 times. After all, the EV space is screaming for value for money proposition and the Optima HX is a very strong answer to it. 

One of the most untapped areas of doubts would be if you could ride in water because flooding is common in low slung and suburban areas, also will there be loss of warranty if the electric motor fails due to water entering the vehicle. Yes, we can drive in water but not in the flooded area. It’s alright if the water level is up to 6-8 inches from ground but anything beyond that would be ambitious.

After a long stint with the Hero Optima HX, we were fortunate enough to get our hands on the Ather 450X and the Ampere Magnus Pro, which completed our electric-trio experience. With many kilometres on the odo in all the 3 electric scooters, this is how it fared vs its arch-rivals.

Advantages of Hero Optima HX Vs Ather 450X:

  • Extremely silent motor aligns with the core characteristics of an EV
  • Lightweight, making it easy to manoeuvre in city 
  • Cheaper costs 65,000 on-road Bangalore which is less than half the price of Ather
  • Looks like a conventional scooter unlike the polarising design of Ather 450x
  • The battery is removable which makes it a very convenient proposition
  • Front storage  space will be very helpful in carrying bags for daily errands

Advantages of  Hero Optima HX Vs Ampere Magnus pro:

  • Cheaper at 65,000 INR Vs 90,000 INR of Ampere
  • Has a storage space in the front
  • Much better handling than the feather-light handle of the Ampere
  • Has a slightly higher top speed at 42 kmph vs the 35 kmph of Ampere Magnus in the low mode

 

With its relatively affordable cost compared to its rivals. the Hero Optima HX would be the electric scooter we would prefer to live with, just that the brakes could be improved, making it a stellar proposition for the experimental crowd who are ranting about the exorbitant fuel prices, of course helping to heal the world to make it a better place, for you and for me for the entire Human race. Go Green!

 

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