sgiitk

Power Expectations have changed

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I was just thinking how our expectations in terms of engine power have evolved.

 

In 1996 when I bought my Esteem (carburettor Euro 0) 65bhp looked like plenty. I quite enjoyed the improvement from my 118NE. For the first time I was able to do sustained 100+kph in India. Today when the Jazz comes with 80+ bhp we crib that it is underpowered.

 

To put things in perspective my old Esteem had about the same power as the current 4/3*M800 from Maruti as found in the WagonR and Estilo! The Carb Zen had all of 50 bhp!

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it's an insatiable hunger which will grow with the coming of more powerful engines....7 years back when in my teens i started driving i used to think that my zen with 1 litre and 58 bhp is quiet a peppy and fast car and the today the same car feels so under-powered to me !!!!

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Well power expectation have change and consumers are matured . I am scared to go beyond 100 in my zen as handling is numb and skinny tyres never allow me to full throttle in city traffic is peppy . New cars are more heavier due to rigid structure to meet safety norms and thus need more power to go . THe most powerful car I have driven till date is octiva VRs which is too powerful for city traffic .

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It's a matter of personal feelings and relative terms. My neighbour still owns a 1940s Buick, and he says that the 40 bhp is more than enough for him. I too thought that way for my i10 iRDE 2 years ago, but after driving my friend's Accord V6 (221 bhp), I started feeling that it's woefully slow!

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Ditto here, I fell in to the "Power" game with the advent of Honda City/Lancer in 98/99, before that Esteem was the power champ but things got a boost with Honda City 100bhp. After that BHP mattered the most & I would scout for the car with max power in my decided budget range.

Now, ~ 10yrs down the lane, things have moved forward & thank God, I've moved away from the power game, its more towards "Economy" specially "fuel" these days!

The biggest & the only factor responsible for this move has been constant hiking of fuel prices & the fear of further hikes takes away the charm of power.

 

On a diff. plane, cars today are offering more power but with added weight. If we consider their 0-100 acceleration timings, there isn't much change. Eg. 1st gen. Honda City did 0-100 in ~ 10 sec. & the latsest gen. also does it in about the same time. Same goes for Corolla/Civic or othe cars.

 

Actually, Diesel + Power is the name of the game today, Petrol + Power would burr a deep hole in one's pocket, Im too afraid!

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When the Sierra was launched it had all of 68 bhp and now the Sumo grande has 118 bhp. I didn't ever, in my wildest dreams some 10 years ago, think I'd ever own a car with 127 bhp. Yeah, the power hunger has increased, but the roads have only kept up somewhat. Now the tax sops have somewhat put a damper on that power craziness, by restricting the engine capacity to 1.2 for gasoline and 1.5 for diesel. That is sure to change when the direct injection gasoline engines become commonplace, what with a 1.8 TSI engine develops 160 bhp with 25.5 kgm torque<Skoda Laura and Superb>, thus blowing away the figures of 2.4 iVTEC. Eagerly waiting for the 1.2 TSI Polo to make it here.

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our everlasting search for power will always go on. Wether it be power in our cars, or in our hands...its human psyche!!

My outlook about the power in the car is a little differentt hough. I like th way the power is delivered. I would rather drive a car that gives me 50 Horse power and great power delivery than drive a 150 HP car which is sluggish!!

 

That is exactly why i love driving my fiats!! The Power delivery is amazing!!

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@DD: Exactly my thoughts. Today we do have the roads to take advantage of some of the additional horses. I am also keep to see the 1.2TSi - maybe in the New Octavia (sorry Laura). It may even put the Skoda back on my radar (I hope they improve the service as well as do something about spare pricing). How about the 1.2TSi in the Fabia. Unlike speed I am not too keen on the diesels - not enough driving to justify the diesel.

I am not too sure as to how long will this last,before they put a multiplier on the capacity for Turbo Engines for taxation calculations.

One other point - most modern engines are high revving with peak torque also at high revs, How many people are willing to adapt their driving style to this. I still see a lot of folk moving along at all of 1000-1200rpm and then expecting the car to respond.

PS: Cyrus was hinting at this. Our posts crossed.sgiitk2009-07-06 11:43:58

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@Sqiitk

Another point to look at is how often do we use this Power. Talking about the time of 1996 when you had esteem The traffic on the roads was not that much as we have it today.

 

I am from Delhi and the Average speed I get on my car for a daily travel of about 90 km is just about 20 kms.

 

Though we have a hunger for more and more power we hardly find roads in the city now to use that Power. Its only when someone goes on a highway and enjoy the drive.

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And Even if we find a good road to test power. Out well wishers, Traffic police cops are hiding behind trees and bushes, waiting for us to cross 55 km/hr speed limit and hand over a Overspeeding challan of Rs 400/-smiley1.gif.

 

 

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Actually demand these days is for sufficiently powered cars ie. without much turbo lag & high speed stability. More focus is on features, with consumers having a long list in their minds. Sadly, safety is on few minds but the situation is changing.

There isn't much demand for high powered petrol cars as they are branded gas guzzers. The proof for this is the low sales of Octy. RS & Accord V6.

For some economy is not a concern, maybe due to less running or more funds! For them, Laura petrol is the obvious choice.

Point to noted here is that even after much mud slinging on some forum about Skoda, it still continues to enjoy good sales. Which emplies, the effect of undue hoopla was well understood by the people at large!

When it comes to outright performance/power, I can't think of any other car except the new Laura petrol this side of 20L.

 

Providing more power with greater FE is a challenge & lot of money goes into research/developement, companies are happy providing models with average power & high FE. That ways consumer is also kept happy.

 

While a performance diesel immediately catches fancy. Catch here is that performance diesels have FE equal or more to efficient petrol motors.

With this I mean, a powerful Diesel Laura will give more FE than a stock Honda City petrol.

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I test drove the Laura 1.8TSI recently. What a gem of an engine that is!

It accelerated effortlessly and the engine never felt stressed even till the redline.

Even before I realised the car was doing 185kmph.

Immediately after that I test drove the civic. Even with 132ps of power it didnt compare with the TSI.

 

So I guess the more power we get, the more we want.

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@nicesachin: Yes that's a problem with the radar gun's I have been stopped twice at the very same spot by the cops, on East Coast road, it's the favorite haunt of the cops especially on Sundays. I was just ambling along at 70 kmph in 5th gear. I had to reluctantly cough up Rs.300 each time.

@heymulls: I have been salivating over the Laura 1.8TSI for some time, now you have made me salivate more than a German Sheperd, with that post of yours. It's probably a very VFM Skoda with rollicking performance to boot.

@sgiitk: I hold you responsible for increasing the itch for a 'change' in me, with this topic of yours.

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@DD: mea culpa

 

@nicesachin: Surprisingly you need the power more often in the city.You have to accelerate so often in stop-go traffic, overtake into small gaps, etc. It is here the diesels excel with their torque. On the highway having a slower pickup is annoying more than anything else.

 

Again reverting to my post about the Indian Driving Style of dawdling at sub 1500 rpm levels. I wonder how many people ever take advantage of the Honda power. It is high up in the rev range. Ditto for the Kappa from Hyundai and many other modern engines. Things are even worse with diesels. The turbo hardly ever comes on song in town.

 

The old habits of the Amby/Fiat days linger.

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We always want more power than we already have, like Cyrus puts it, its human nature. Though its a little extra in me when it comes to 4 wheel power smiley4.gif! But when it comes to majority of the Indians, power takes a distant back seat when compared to the mileage of their cars. And power expectations will change as the times change. Though nowadays with technology smaller engines make as much power as the bigger one's of yesteryear's.

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We always want more power than we already have' date=' like Cyrus puts it, its human nature. Though its a little extra in me when it comes to 4 wheel power smiley4.gif! But when it comes to majority of the Indians, power takes a distant back seat when compared to the mileage of their cars. And power expectations will change as the times change. Though nowadays with technology smaller engines make as much power as the bigger one's of yesteryear's.

[/quote']

 

Very True.

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What most of us want is a vehicle with Ferrari performance, Merc reliability, Nano price and Logan Diesel consumption - namely the moon. It is funny to see people owning a car costing the better part of a crore worried about 'Kitn Mileage degi'.

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smiley1.gif Well put - although the Merc reliability bit is misplaced in todays context.

India's obsession with FE is legendary (As for power - 70% car buyers couldn't tell you what unit it's measured in).

I'm watching the petrol i20 1.4 A/T closely - now there's a hatch with a powerfully heart (and better value than the jazz). I hope it doesn't go down the same road that the Palio 1.6 did.

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I'm watching the petrol i20 1.4 A/T closely - now there's a hatch with a powerfully heart (and better value than the jazz). I hope it doesn't go down the same road that the Palio 1.6 did.

I have a strange fear that it is the same unit as does duty in the Santro, i10 and Verna. While a bit improvement on the 3-speed Maruti AT (in the Esteem, Zen, WagonR at various times) but is still a rudimentary transmission with no torque converter lock up, and essentially a 3-speed box converted into a 4-speed.

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I also fear that about the 1.4lt auto in i20 it has 30mpg under test conditions which equates to 12.5kpl and in India it will be far more less. Lets see arai's figures.

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The i20 1.4 petrol must have a manual option. I feel the auto box will blunt performance and fuel efficiency. It's prohibitively expensive. It comes well kitted out, but will there be any takers? I think in the Indian driving cycle, if you get 9kpl in the city with the i20 AT one can be happy. I heard the kerb weight of the 1.4 crdi is something like 1.2 tons <close to the civic/altis>.

 

@mehul_bhp: I think your dad's doing the right thing. No point wringing the engine out in city traffic. A clear stretch of highway would be the best place to hear the sound of the engine revving. Don't worry, you'll do the same at your dad's age.Durango Dude2009-07-08 12:48:59

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I have a strange fear that it is the same unit as does duty in the Santro' date=' i10 and Verna. While a bit improvement on the 3-speed Maruti AT (in the Esteem, Zen, WagonR at various times) but is still a rudimentary transmission with no torque converter lock up, and essentially a 3-speed box converted into a 4-speed.[/quote']

I was thinking about the same thing. To quote the i20 website - "The 6 drive modes and the cutting-edge variable line pressure system in automatic transmission ensure a smooth drive"

The "cutting edge" technology better not be another gearbox without torque converter lock up.

Its sales are going to be something to watch since the i20 is one of those cars where the more powerful engine doesn't come with a M/T option.

The enthusiasts would prefer a M/T and the average buyer doesn't care for the extra power (or do they ?). Time will tell.

PS: Honda did the same thing with their V6.

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As of now the market for performance "petrol" sedans is negligible.

FE may be the visible reason but resale is also a big bearing.

 

Overall market has grown & consumer is maturing, but the infrastructure, etc. are at a standstill or rather declining due to the population spurt. Therefore, this scenario leaves very little scope to stretch out the legs!

 

A strong eg. is the 2nd gen. ANHC, for which Honda shed horses in lieu of FE. In the newer one they have given some power back,  but the 1st gen was the sportiest of the lot.

 

Diesel + Performance + Auto is the most lethal combination. Imagine a petrol with above 3 ingredients, well we do have an Accord V6 & its considered as a gas guzzler & so the lack of market!

 

Trends in the future are also going to be governed by Economy, be it petrol, diesel or alternative/electric. Afterall commute is all Indians look for!

 

By enlarge, India missed out completely on the performance part, when its turn came, oil was on a boil & the ones who have enjoyed it are trying to revert back.

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