Jithesh

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Everything posted by Jithesh

  1. The best suv under 25 lakhs

    If I could blindly suggest one car for your price bracket, it is clearly the Toyota Innova, a car you will certainly not go wrong with. There is no other car in India which can match what the Innova can offer, in terms of premium feel, build quality, solid reliability and utmost comfort like no other car.
  2. New car buying decision

    Volvos are known for their tank-like build and reliability and if you could get the car for around 25 lacs, that could be a sweet deal. Your car buying decision basically depends on what type of car you are looking for. If you are considering buying SUVs in that price bracket, the new Endeavour and Fortuner are definitely worth checking out. If fuel economy is not an issue, you could even try out the Honda CRV, which is considered way more premium than its price suggests, not only in India but even globally. Hope you have zeroed in on your ideal car by now, all the best for the same.
  3. Renderings: Next gen Volkswagen Polo

    This cross over is a good proposition if Volkswagen doesn't go overboard with its pricing. I think it could do well if priced in the Creta territory. The New Polo rendering looks good as a Polo should, the current design has stood the test of time and is a reason for its success. So the new design would be evolutionary and that would be in Volkswagen's favour. People like the understated yet classy looks of the Polo and hope the new design wouldn't compromise on this design language.
  4. Pics: Taxis from around the world

    Dubai has got to have some of the craziest car collection, be it personal cars, taxis or even crazy police cars like the Lambo. But its quite an eerie feeling to just get into one of these drones all by yourself, punch in your destination and hope that it knows its way! Who's flying!!!
  5. Rendering: Ford Ecosport facelift

    The new design looks more butch and grown-up, but has lost the concept-car look that the Ecosport got so famous for. I do not understand why designers chicken out and bring out more sedate versions of their already hot designs! And Ford is not just to blame, even Hyundai seems lost, seeing their new i30, can't believe that they had such a beautiful version earlier. Come on guys, give us more of your hot designs, be liberal with your pen and don't be so afraid of your bosses! More often than not, it is the designer's pen that does the trick, as can be evident from the Scorpio, XUV500, Kwid, Ciaz, etc. Its a formula that works, so please, do not give us anymore bread boxes like the S-Cross!
  6. Very cool renderings and also eagerly awaiting the Climber version. Looks simply awesome, brings back the "k(w)id" in us. The Renault Kwid is an inspiring success story, how a low-volume manufacturer can shake-up the market so well. When the formula is right, it just clicks, and kudos to Renault for understanding the pulse of the market, what we really want. Heavy weight Maruti is also taking it seriously, as evident from their latest concept small cross over. Ya, right, its high time they ditched their hand drawings they call designs, as can be seen from the Alto 800 and the like. The Kwid has taught them a good lesson.
  7. Lancer ready to hit India -- preview

    The new Lancer is looking good, but off late Mitsubishi has become an unexciting brand globally as well as in India. I remember the days when I used to be awestruck looking at the early generation Pajero (the original imported one, way before it was made in India). Recently I had a drive in one of the Indian made examples and was really irritated, to say the least. It felt so utilitarian and crude like the old Tata Sumo, and was really glad to hand over the keys back. I realised that it really had seen better days, and gone is the aura surrounding it. Even our XUV 500 feels so much more modern and sophisticated. Of course it has good off-road credentials, but so does our bare-bones Mahindra Thar! Its successor the Montero is also hardly seen on our roads. The WRC Lancer Evo models were a boy racer's dream always. The Lancer in India was hugely popular, even today the old ones command some respect. Sadly that popularity was not cashed in properly and it died a slow death. Now the sedan market as a whole is threatened, when people are opting for cross-overs and mini-SUVs. In today's cut-throat competition, I doubt whether Mitsubishi can find firm ground in India.
  8. After a lot of R & D for a mid-size saloon, trying out everything out there and also the used car market, the decision was finally made to go for the VW Vento petrol. Buying the diesel didn't make much sense to us, as our daily running is as little as 3 km, although the diesel Vento is the default choice when you look at Volkswagen. Popular word-of-mouth and also the sales charts defined a no-brainer decision to go for the Honda City, but I personally think that there is too much hype around this car. Firstly its no Audi or BMW, to give your eye and teeth for. And in Mumbai its so common on the road, and there are in fact four Citys just around my parking space in my society. For some, its comforting and re-assuring to buy such a car, which is so popular, efficient, stylish, and which commands good re-sale value (which is also a myth). I'm a true petrolhead, so it takes some more convincing than that to lure me. During test drive and I really liked the planted and stable feel of the Vento. That was the older diesel model, which in fact is fabulous. Honda City in contrast was coming off as too eager and in-your-face. I like the understated and classy looks of the Vento, the well finished interiors (although dated compared to the flashy counterparts) and the solid build quality. As I always think and would advise anyone looking to buy a car: a car is also a reflection of your personality, something that you can be comfortable living with. The Vento did put a smile on my face, ultimately that's what a car should do to you. You may have the best car in the world, but still not like it. Car enthusiasts will agree to that, but someone who wants a car just for the sake of it, wouldn't care. I have always looked after my cars very well and get emotionally attached to them, and I care about them. So I did sign the dotted line for the manual petrol Highline version, which was perfectly suited to my needs. As a driving enthusiast, I never really favoured the auto box. My only compromise would be a dual-clutch system with paddle shifts, if I ever did. The Vento Auto doesn't have paddle shifts (sorely missed with such a lovely DSG unit), so that didn't excite me much then. But after some careful after-thought I decided to take a test drive of the auto version, which in fact altered my buying decision. I was impressed by the utter smoothness of the car and how stress-free it was, a boon in Mumbai's chaotic traffic. I knew that this lady could dance if required, with soul of the Polo TSi and the brilliant Sport mode. That was everything in one box, understated and classy on one side, and a raging bull when called for. So I changed my mind and upgraded to the 1.2 DSG Highline model. I'm glad I made that decision, because I absolutely love the car now, the seven speed DSG unit is a breeze and the highlight of the car. Frankly the popular grouse about the car, that the gearbox is jerky, was never a concern for me, and it rarely felt so, that too only during abrupt braking. If you drive normally and brake smoothly (which is the way you should, unlike many road users), the gears fall into place without any fuss. And the talking point of the DSG unit is the engine braking it provides, sometimes you can revel at the way the car slows down with negligible use of the brake, if you plan your braking in advance. Another notable feature is that the reserve power that is always on tap, just floor the throttle and the car responds beautifully at almost any road speed. I think that kind of response is not really possible with a manual gearbox, unless you are clever in its use. And I rarely found the need to use the sport mode, the engine is powerful enough in normal mode, at least in Mumbai's chock-a-block traffic. I had a brief stint with the Vento on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, but sadly it didn't impress me there as much as it did in the city, especially on the curves. I have read that the traction control system is the culprit, which makes the car under-steer a lot. In fact it was recommended to turn it off to enjoy the drive better... got to try that one sometime, obviously when its dry and safe to do so. But let's face it, how many cars we drive have traction control, on this side of the luxury cars?? How much traction control and ABS did the Ambassador have, that I grew up with... :-) So I'll worry less about that one, and I'm not a lunatic when it comes to driving. As far as fuel efficiency is concerned, the car is doing ok for its class. In city with bumper-to-bumper traffic, it gives me about 10 kpl. Can't really blame the car for that, how can it return any fuel economy when its hardly moving!! The fuel economy greatly improves on the highway to about 16 to 18 kmpl, which is quite respectable. On the whole it has been a good ownership experience, the car's quality outweighs Volkswagen's pathetic after sales service. The good part is that the car rarely visits the service center! The buying experience at the dealership was terrifying to say the least, and its best not spoken about. And the best part about the dealer too is that they stay out of your way once you buy your car! I notice now that the sales of the Vento have dwindled, and I reason that Ameo is eating into the sales of the Vento. If you want a Polo with a boot, the Ameo is there for you, unless you want a larger boot in the Vento... which doesn't make much sense really, unless you really know what you are looking for. The Ameo cannot match the Vento in terms of rear space, ride comfort, and classiness. But that's about it, and there will only be few who would be bold enough to actually overlook the Ameo to buy the Vento. Cannibalised by its own sibling. The new Vento/Polo is round the corner, and I will be glad to wait for that for an upgrade. But that's when I'm totally fed up with this one, which would be a long time away... :-)
  9. Many thanks for your reply, yes as you said, you should love your ride, rather than buy one car and think that "oh, I should've bought that one". Honda City is no doubt a great car, with fabulous engines in terms of performance and efficiency. One good thing about the cars from different manufacturers is that they have very distinct personalities, which gives an opportunity to really choose the one which you like. Off late Honda is losing its favour in the market, and cars like the Ciaz and Baleno are giving it a run for its money.
  10. Purchased a new CIAZ

    Congrats on your purchase! I'm having more and more respect for the Ciaz day by day, it makes total sense to the head and is also pleasing to the eye. Maruti certainly has done a stellar job, and also by pricing it right, although it is larger than the Honda City. The light weight of modern cars is more due to the use of high tensile steel in the construction, which enables the engineers to lower the weight substantially while retaining the strength. And don't worry, crash tests are becoming ever more stringent and light weight doesn't necessarily mean that they are weak or dangerous. Think of the Amby, which was quite heavy and "strong", but a 100+ crash on it would certainly mean fatal! On the other hand, you are more likely to survive such a crash in a modern car which has crumple zones and the passenger "safety cell" coupled with seat belts and air bags. The only omission in Indian cars may be the avoidance of side impact protection beams, as there are no stringent requirements for that here.
  11. Maruti Suzuki Baleno caught enroute Gurgaon

    Reading the spec sheet of the Baleno is rather disappointing as it is using the same drivetrain as the Swift. They are not even giving it a six-speed transmission, which is kind of expected in a segment, presumably higher than the Swift. They should introduce the European 1.0 Litre Turbo Petrol engine to make it worthy of a higher price tag. Half-hearted approach and inadequate market survey would lead to disasters, the way the S-Cross is heading. Just putting the cars in a swanky new showroom may not be enough. Well, can't blame Maruti Suzuki entirely, most manufacturers are taking advantage of the fact that our market is not mature as say, European markets. But some manufacturers like Hyundai have put their heart and soul into India, and they are surely reaping the benefits!
  12. Although I am not fond of Hindustan Motors for not updating the Amby with the times, I'm in absolute love with the car! We had grown up with the Amby, it was always there... sadly even the red-light babus had ditched it and now it lies in the grave. If HM would consider resurrecting the car with modern mechanicals and a new ground-up design (being loyal to the original curves), I'm sure there would be many takers for that! They could look at DC's "Ambie-Rod" for inspiration! The M800 was the real game changer in India, in many ways than one. Maruti (or Suzuki rather) took real pains to maintain quality standards through regular audits in their authorised service centers and through "Maruti Genuine Parts". It all seems too normal now, when you walk into a showroom or garage, these "normal" service standards were unheard of when Maruti came in. I still admire the 800, its a very friendly car to drive, own and live with. People still don't recognise the Tata Nano as a proper car, because of its quirky engine at the back and the earlier non-opening hatch. But the 800 was a proper car, 4 doors, proper hatch, all-so familiar engine at the front, all of which made owning it a very satisfying experience. Not to mention the technology and transverse engine layout, which really did feel like "rocket science" at the time!
  13. why are CrossOvers Becoming popular ?

    Cross-overs give a much needed feel-good factor in a car. The high-set seating position gives a better visibility on the road and a sense of security. When you are sitting low on a low-slung sedan like the Honda Civic in crowded city traffic like in Mumbai, you get a rather intimidating feeling! Another reason is that cross-overs are relatively affordable than the larger SUVs, and also benefit from the "SUV" tag. Might is certainly right in India, and being in a cross over is much better than being in a tiny hatch or a sedan!
  14. Maruti Suzuki Baleno caught enroute Gurgaon

    Good one! Maruti is slowly opening up a new segment for premium hatchbacks, which had flopped earlier in India. This would hopefully pave the way for some great European large hatches like the Ford Focus, Hyundai i30, etc. As our market grows, customers will be more open to the idea of a large hatch, which is ideal as it gives the comfort of a sedan and the convenience of a large boot, rather than cling on to the idea that only a sedan can bring class or status. The Indian road scene is a sea of hatchbacks, and someone would certainly think that "my car needs to be bigger and than the others"! I'm sure manufacturers are taking a serious note of the recent developments!
  15. After the tussle between the designers and engineers, its usually the tire size that takes a blow for the sake of fuel economy. And that is disastrous to the overall look of the car. And what were they thinking, of squarish wheel arches, looks like a kid's drawing. Can't believe that this is coming from the same company who brings out the XUV 500. Weirdly though, the old Bolero still has its own charm with its good proportions and clean lines. Designers are sadlly taking a yawn these days, give us more, you guys!
  16. Suggestion about new car purchase

    Car buying decision is very personal, although there could be some generalizations and professional advice. Please test-drive the cars and try to feel which car suits you best, the one you are most comfortable with. The best car in the world might not suit your budget or your personality. What seems normal for one could seem absurd to another. i20 Elite and the Swift are more closely matched now than ever before, and frankly you could not go wrong with either one. Hyundai is the only "other" manufacturer in India which can give good after sales support like Maruti. You should also consider factors like re-sale value and ease of ownership (proximity of service centres to your home), when considering a new car. Although more expensive than the Swift, the i20 is a great car, with more space inside, especially with a larger boot than the Swift. Also you would get the novelty factor and a definite premium feel and comfort, along with a long list of gadgetry. I would personally prefer the Elite i20, but again its a personal choice and you might not find it suitable enough. The best way would be to wait for a professional comparison by ACI mag (guess that would be available soon), they wouldn't fail you. I have taken their honest reviews seriously many times in the past, and I'm glad to say that I was never let down.
  17. Rendering: 2016 Skoda Superb

    I think the VW group is taking the "family look" of its cars a bit too seriously! I would say that the current VW Jetta is a design disaster, which lost its identity altogether. It works in markets where the Vento is non-existent, but certainly not in places like India. I still find it hard to tell the difference between them at first look. The current Superb is very good as it has its own identity, not to mention the cavernous space and top class comfort. A real bargain, considering its rivals and even high priced cars like the E-Class. Superb customers would want a car that is distinct and not one that looks like an Octavia. While the family look works on certain high end brands like Mercedes and BMW, I wonder if VW and Skoda, that were essentially budget brands could command such a premium status.
  18. Maruti Suzuki Project YL1,EDIT: Its the Ciaz

    The design is very safe and doesn't offend anyone, if not excite everyone. It is sure to cater to a wide audience. The looks are elegant and the car looks spacious. Maruti should do some careful marketing and be aware that its cars are not seen as status symbols, and not get over-excited with the pricing. I think this should do well if priced in the region of 8-10 lacs. The SX4 sedan was a great car, but amazingly didn't do well as Maruti would have liked it to. This was in spite of it being loaded with features and having decent performance/economy. Hopefully Maruti has done their home work well on this one, and give us a good deal with specification and variants.
  19. I live in Kerala and off late the police here have done a remarkable job of catching speed offenders. They have installed speed cameras in many areas and police have been regularly doing their speed checks with their hand-held Radars. Since then, quite many had their pockets drained, and its evident that reckless wannabe F1 drivers are a rare sight these days. Countries like the UK can keep a good check on speeding motorists, due to their infrastructure and well-equipped Police department. Only enforcement, along with modern infrastructure and technology, can bring out much needed discipline on our roads. Where there is a will, there is a way, once the government takes the lead, we will follow, whether we like it or not. Present speed limits are really absurd, and often not suited to that stretch of road. The single system of one common speed limit (for a certain class) will not work always. Speed limits should be varied as per the suitability of the road and traffic density. The West is moving towards Smart Motorways, hope we have at least have some motorways (if not really smart!) by the end of this decade!
  20. Killing KOLEOS

    Off late car desingers have chickened out and are resorting to "safe" designs like the Maruti Celerio and the new SX4 (yawn!). Can't believe that Suzuki had actually brought out such an iconic design like the Swift! The Koleos is another victim, the front, side profile and the rear look like they are from three different cars! As they say, don't blame the designers, blame the senior management who signs them off saying "yes, this is fine"! The new versions of some cars are actually much boring than their predecessors, I don't know whether boring is the new trend! The latest Honda City is bordering on style, compared to the previous one. Cars abroad are the same, with latest face-lifts/models looking very tame and dull. All hope is not lost, they still "have it in'em", as evident on the latest Lamborghini, the Huracan. French car maker Citroen is bringing out some really cool designs, although sometimes going a little overboard.
  21. Spy pics: Next gen Hyundai i20 EDIT Now in India too

    Looks very smart and sophisticated. Just what the doc ordered!
  22. Spy pics: Hyundai ix25 Compact SUV EDIT: Its the Creta

    Hyundai is on a mission and this really shows. We purchased an i30 abroad and were absolutely bowled over by the exterior looks, fab interiors, countless gadgetry, amazing driveability, economy and superior comfort! What more could you ask from a car! I'm sure this is going to be a head turner if launched in India, and we are going to make a bee line for this stunner.
  23. Save Cash on Spares!

    I came across an incident involving a blown turbo of a Skoda Superb. The turbo was damaged and the garage also recommended to change the inter-cooler, and quoted a total price of around 1.80 lacs for both! They claimed that these parts are German and are not available in India, so have to be imported. The owner took photographs of the blown turbo and inter-cooler, taking note of the maker and part numbers and did some simple searching on Google. He was amazed to find that there are two genuine authorised vendors in India, in Mumbai and Kolkata. And he was pleasantly surprised to know that both would cost only less than Rs. 40,000! He promptly did the payment and the parts were delivered to him within two days. The parts were installed and the car is running fine now. We should note how the garages dupe us on spares and service, especially on premium cars, where one would be compelled to believe that the prices of parts of such expensive cars are exorbitant. If we do a bit of homework and cross checking, we could save some serious cash!
  24. Save Cash on Spares!

    Thanks to the availability of the internet literally on our fingertips, its better to do some background search ourselves before taking the word of the dealer/workshop. A good old trusted mechanic could give us a better viewpoint, whether the part really needs to be replaced or are we being taken for a ride. A second opinion always helps. A common mindset is that we are reluctant to take the car off authorised workshops as we fear that the latest sophisticated machinery cannot be repaired by just about anyone. While that is also partly true, we should also be aware that garages and dealers are taking advantage of our fear.
  25. The Indian consumer is now really spoilt for choice, with a series of global brands to choose from. And there is a general craze for "phoren" products in India, a legacy that has been carried over from previous generations. But do these brands really deliver? Are we really getting our money's worth? And why do we still hesitate to choose a Tata or Mahindra over other brands? Let's take the case of the Renault Duster/Nissan Terrano. These cars are based on the Dacia Logan's platform, which means that it can be built to prices very similar to that of a Logan. We remember that the Renault Logan was launched in India for about 5-7 lacs, and so the Duster or Terrano should be priced close to that. But as we know, they are way overpriced, and the top-end "premium" models are costing about 13-14 lacs! Comparing it to the XUV 500, which is a truly modern car with modern architecture and loaded to the teeth with goodies, the Duster/Terrano looks pale. But we are willing to pay undue premium for a car which has a Logan's platform and engine over a car which delivers a lot for its price tag. I agree that the service and quality standards are not upto speed with Indian carmakers, but no brand is perfect in this regard. People who have bought premium brands like Audi and BMW also have felt the pinch of bad service. My uncle has the previous generation Merc C-class and that has a problem of frequently breaking down on the road due to various reasons. But we don't seem to complain a lot about such brands, but Indian carmakers really get a bashing for some bad plastics and inferior service. The comments on the web about the XUV500 for its faulty electronics were very harsh and unforgiving. I think we should give our manufacturers a fair chance and appreciate them for where they are now, even being able to acquire global heavy weights like Jaguar-Land Rover. The Tata Indica Vista and the Manza are among the most comfortable cars I have ridden in India, with their lavish interior space, fabulous ride quality and good cabin insulation. But Tata is struggling on the sales charts. I hope the new Tata Zest and the yet-to-come models from Mahindra do well, because I feel they should do better than what they are doing now. And let's be more open-minded to our own brands, and be able to look "beyond the windscreen".