Cars


Honda has launched the Honda Amaze which looks like a good alternative to Maruti Swift Dzire. Here is what looks interesting:

  • First, it is designed as a Sedan unlike the Dzire. The Dzire looks like a hatch-back with a boot, while the Amaze is a proper Sedan.
  • Best mileage. Honda has worked hard to provide the best mileage since that is such a big thing for Indians.
  • Diesel option, Honda’s first Diesel car in India offers a choice of both Diesel and Petrol.
  • Automatic option (only in petrol). In heavy traffic condition, Automatic is a pleasure to drive and this is a good option if you prefer to drive on your own.
  • It also has a bigger boot than the Dsire but smaller than the Etios.

More when I get to test drive, until then drool.

After successfully launching the Hyundai i10, the team at Hyundai is busy putting their final touches to the i20. Like the i10, the i20 will be manufactured in India and exported globally.

The i20 be positioned in the premium hatchback segment (B sgement), just as the Getz.

This car with replace the Getz worldwide except in India. Hyundai plans to sell both Getz and i20 in India. Perhaps they will reduce the price of Getz further to capture the lower segment of the market.

Like the i10, the i20 is developed in India and if successful, would be one more feather in the cap for Hyundai India, making India a global hub for small cars.

Lets wait and watch to see how this stacks up with this already crowded segment. With competition from Maruti Swift,Chevrolet UVA, Skoda Fabia and Hyundai’s own Getz the customer will have a lot of cars to choose from. Also Honda plans to launch the Jazz in February and Volkswagen Golf is also expected.

Hyundai i20 features:

1.2 Litre petrol engine or 1.1 CRDi Desel. This will be to get the tax breaks but may be under powered.  Expect higher capacity engines as options. In Australia for example the i20 has been announced with a 1.4 litre CRDi engine.

Expected Pricing: 5.5 Lakhs.

How the i20 compares to the Getz.

  • This will be slighter bigger.
  • Similar looks but smoother curves.
  • Lots of new features.
  • and ofcourse more expensive.

Now first thank you Hyundai for launching the i10 first in India. In fact the car is also completely designed in India and manufactured too. What this means is that the customer in India gets a world class product.

Whats good:

Looks good, better than most hatchbacks in the same category.

Its a 1.1 engine which it shares with the Santro and the Getz Prime 1.1.

It has tubeless tyres. Now its easy to get tubeless types repaired and they are convenient so you don’t get stuck in the middle of the highway with a flat tyre.

Option of sunroof, not much use when its hot, but some people fancy it.

Motor Driven Power Steering, better than Santros Hydraulic Power Steering.

Tilt Steering: You can adjust the steering wheel. A boon for tall/well built people.

Good driver legroom.

High scores on safety:

Option for ABS and airbags.

Whats Not good:
Front seat headrests are not adjustable.

No high seating like the Santro, which is a boon to people with knee problems.

Safety features: Airbags and ABS are optional, why not make them standard?

Now the car didn’t take away all the awards just like that? It was the Car of the Year of most of the Auto magazines in India. Its likely to replace the Santro at some point of time but Santro buyers/users need not worry. From what I have heard, the sales of Santro is very good today and is not likely to be discontinued anytime soon.

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Maruti Suzuki Swift Vs. Hyundai Getz

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Tata has gone where no other car company has gone before. They have release the cheapest car in the World.

This car has huge potential to provide basic automobile to the 3rd world countries at an affordable cost.

Vital Stats:

Engine: The three cylinder 624 cc four stroke petrol to develop 33 bhp.

Mileage: 50 miles to the gallon or 20 kilometres to the litre.

Some pics..

See more.

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Hyundai i10

Hyundai Verna – First Look

Maruti Suzuki Swift Vs. Hyundai Getz

Honda Jazz coming to India

Hyundai Santro Vs. Maruti Suzuki Wagon-R

I had the opportunity to test drive a Verna, Hyundai was kind enough to organise a car for the day. Lets looks at what I liked about the car.

  • The car has excellent suspensions, ideal for Indian road conditions. We drove through bad Mumbai roads and in the monsoons the roads can have some really big pot holes. Ideal situation to test any car’s suspensions and the Verna did well in our test drive. We hardly felt any of the bumps.

  • The Gear is smooth and easy to change. Reverse gear is not as easy to figure out for people moving up from a small car. Once you know this, its easy. So before you take you new darling for a spin, make sure you know how to switch to reverse.

  • The car also has a clutch lock and the car doesn’t start unless the clutch is pressed. This is a safety feature.

  • RPM meter on a dashboard is nice to have, although the dashboard could be a tad better considering all the fancy new dashboards. The Honda Civic has the best dashboards and had a set a new standard for other cars to follow, although Civic falls in a completely different category.

  • Lots of space inside and well designed interiors, It has space for small things, bottles, sun glasses, cellphones, coins and more. There is also a nice storage tray right under the steering wheel which is useful to keep things like maps.

  • Adjustable seats have two levels of adjustment which is nice but its not as easy to quickly switch to two different setting. This may be useful if two different people of different height drive the car and want to adjust the seat height.

  • The diesel car that we test drove had a good pickup. It was also very quite while inside the car and didn’t feel like some of the other diesel cars that I have driven before. In fact it doesn’t feel like a diesel car at all, thanks to the CRDi technology. This is a 1500CC engine.

  • The petrol engine is 1600 CC all aluminum, which make the engine lighter and hence better pickup and mileage.

  • The car is a pleasure to drive and unlike a small car, you also don’t realise when you touch 100kmh as you don’t realise you are driving fast inside the car.

  • The headlights are adjustable so you can point it on the road correctly and can be adjusted depending on if more people are in the car or if the car is loaded.

  • The AC is very powerful and effective too.

  • ABS option: I would personally highly recommend taking this option, cause safety shouldn’t be an option. Hyundai should seriously consider making this as a part of standard accessory.

What I didn’t like.

The gear ratio requires frequent changing between 2nd and 3rd gear in city driving. This is a problem I face with the Santro as well which I own and find this a pain especially if you are driving often in Mumbai traffic.

Final Verdict

Overall an excellent car and very good value for money, the diesel may be better for some who do lots of driving and want to save on running costs.

Hyundai Verna web site

Note: The site works best only with IE and I couldn’t get some of the pages to open in Firefox or Konqueror.

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Both Maruti and Hyundai have cars in the hatch back segment. The hatch back segment has been an interesting one in India, because compact cars are more suited to our city driving. They are easy to drive/park around and the government too offer tax break in this now to encourage users to buy cars in this segment.

After the success in this segment, to offer a upgraded car in this segment, both Maruti and Hyundai launched a premium hatch car. Lets look at how they both stack up.

Both costs more or less the same, seat 5 people and are new designs.
Maruti Suzuki Swift Advantage

  • Better mileage. Although not significantly better mileage but gives higher than the Getz due to the Aluminum engine.
  • Swift also has a better pickup.
  • Maruti has a wider service network, so people in the small towns may be better off.
  • Looks better. Well this is subjective but the general consensus is Swift looks better. Swift is more stylist and Getz is more elegant.

Hyundai Getz Advantage

  • Newer engine technology, Swift is said to have a re-engineered esteem engine.
  • More leg space and the back seats can be folded to give more space. The back seat is split in 60:40 ratio, so you can fold/drop a part of the seat as needed. No need to fold the entire seat.
  • Allows you to adjust the steering wheel. Not a must have feature but useful if you find your steering wheel position odd.
  • Gas filled shock absorbers at the rear give better comfort.
  • Better interiors, although not great but better looking than the Swift.

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Hyundai Santro Vs. Maruti Suzuki Wagon-R

Honda is going to launch the Jazz in the premium hatchback segment. This would directly compete with Suzuki Swift and the Hyundai Getz.

An international car magazine Top Gear rated Jazz as Number 1 while the Swift was rated at Number 3.

The Jazz is also expected to provide a better mileages than both the Getz and the Swift and will be priced slightly higher.

Honda worldwide carries a reputation of reliability, they are one of the top car manufacturers. The Hondy City has also been very popular in India and people have to wait 2-3 months to get delivery. Their service levels are top notch and the mileage is hard to beat.

Suzuki which was earlier capitalising on the popularity of Swift with a waiting of 6 months is now finally increasing their production. Guess they had to do this once Honda saw an opportunity in this segement.

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I saw the Reva-NXG concept electric car. Looks very impressive and can do 200 Kms on a charge. This is a two Seater, designed by the famous automobile designer – Dilip Chabbria.

Reva NXG

Maruti has recently launched Suzuki Swift in India, I have seen the car, haven’t had a chance to test drive it yet but here are my first impressions of the Car.

After a long time Maruti has had a Model which has a good response. Most of the other models that they launched hasn’t done so well. Versa, Baleno and Grand Vitara hasn’t created any significant dent in the market and didn’t do so well as the Swift. In fact Maruti has already increased the price of the Swift to take advance of the high demand.

Pros:
Looks good: This is of course a personal choice, some people like the new design while others find it odd.
Latest Model: Maruti has launched a latest model in India. The latest models are seldom launched in India by Automobile companies .
The car is selling well and likely to be successful.
The car has a good pickup.
It uses the esteem engine. Even though this an old engine, it is a well tested engine and is revamped.
Service network of Maruti is well established.

Cons:
Boot space is very limited and the inside space isn’t too great either.
Interiors look very simple.
There is long waiting period to get delivery which could take 5-6 months.
Still a new car, may slow down later or face competition. GM, Honda and Toyota have plans to launch cars in the same segment.

Some more inputs:

I was reading a UK based car magazine – Test Drive. They reviewed 12 cars one of which was Swift. The Swift was rated 3rd. 1st was Honda Jass and 2nd was Mitsubushi Colt.

Both Honda & Mitsubushi had a better mileage as per the review. Mitsubushi still isn’t an established player in India, so may not be a strong competition if the Colt was launched in India. But if Honda launches the Jazz then Swift could have some good competition.

Until then you could settle for Swift, provided you are willing to wait for 6 months for the delivery!

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Hyundai Santro Vs. Maruti Suzuki Wagon-R

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Find more details here.

When I bought my car, I did a comparison of the available choices. Many friends have been asking me my views on the Hyundai Santro Vs. Maruti Suzuki Wagon-R since these are the most sought after. Both are very popular hatchbacks sold in India. Here are some of my thoughts.

Hyundai being the underdogs is always the first to offer better features such as MPFI engine and ABS. They also tend to be more aggressive and Maruti dealers have the take it or leave it attitude.

Maruti has a bigger service network and the cost of spares it cheaper.

Both cars are tall boy model and have high seating. This add to driving/seating comfort and makes it easy for people to get in and get out.

Here is the comparison.

Santro Pros:

  • Better Looks (as compared to Wagon-R).
  • More comfortable to Drive.
  • Better Service.
  • Better Pickup.
  • Provision for 4 speakers, Wagon-R has provision for only 2.
  • Perceived to be more expensive.
  • Air conditioning more effective hence cooling is better.
  • Ability to adjust the side view mirrors from inside.
  • Seat belts for 5 passengers, Wagon-R has only 4. Santro is also approved for 5 people and Wagon-R has got approval for only 4 passengers. Not that anyone ever checks but still.

Wagon-R Pros:

  • Better resale value.
  • Cheaper cost of spares.
  • Bigger service network than Hyundai.
  • Slightly more fuel efficient. Although now Santro has new eRLX engine which is suppose to have improved mileage.
  • Better Engine and electronic power steering.
  • Cheaper.
  • Option for Airbags (only available in the top of the line model).
  • Slightly more leg space and better comfort for tall people.
  • The seats can be dropped completed to create a bed or even a double bed. Useful while traveling and someone can sleep.

I also suggest that irrespective of which car you decide to buy, don’t compromise on safety. Pay that extra for ABS and Airbags (only in Wagon-R).

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