Sunday, 10 July 2011

Mahindra Thar

Mahindra seems to have noticed something go wrong with the Indian man. With the males of the world going from beer guzzling macho monsters to sensitive pink loving sissies, the guys at M&M must have though “Burp, we need the real men back..!!” and that is exactly what Mahindra have done. Powered by a 2498cc common rail diesel this agile rhino pumps out 105bhp at 3800rpm and an impressive torque of nearly 250nm. Mahindra has made one thing very clear with this car. The amount you pay is not for the car itself but for what the car says about you. The designers intended this to be a car not for attention seeking teens, but for hardcore off-roading enthusiasts. The car is available only with a 4X4 transmission, which means the car begs you to not let its biggest tests be potholes although they might be the ultimate off-roading challenge. The car is a modern version of the good old fashioned jeep. Most modernization projects lead to the removal of character that eventually have a bad effect on the overall appeal. Not the Thar, the car has been given just the right amount of technology so that you still feel like you’ve entered an old school off-roader. Still, there are a few things that Mahindra needs to look into. A traction control system {TCS} while a helpful feature on any regular vehicle is expected on a car such as the Thar. I would also be happier if the car were equipped with a limited slip differential that could give me more safety especially during the turns. One of the best features of the Thar is that the company offers much more than a spoiler as a customization option. Jeeps have always been known to be modified to the owner’s personality which is why this will prove to be a great move by the company. The price of the Thar ranges from 4.5-7.5 lacs. The price also varies on which city you live in as the Thar has been introduced in accordance to both BS iii and BS iv norms. BS iv cities will have to pay up a little more. All in all the Thar is a good buy especially due to the fact that the pricing enables you to get a juicy 2500cc diesel in the price bracket of most 1200cc hatch backs. The features on the hatchbacks may be more but they can never offer you thrill that will make you feel like you’re 10 years old again. 

Nissan Micra

A fresh piece of meat in the middle of a pride of lions. No this isn’t an animal planet reference, but the spot in which Nissan has launched their new “little” car the Nissan micra. Entering a segment that forms a major part of the Indian car market, the micra has got some fierce competition both from cars that have already established themselves as benchmarks as well as new-comers such as the ford fiesta and the Volkswagen polo. The micra small car as it may be isn’t low on performance. Powered by a 1200cc 3 cylinder in-line DOHC engine this wolf in a sheepskin pumps out a decent 75 bhp at 6000rpm and an impressive torque of 104nm. One of the most impressive abilities of the micra is its stingy turning radius which is the lowest in the segment making it an absolute joy for in-city driving. It’s looks are deceiving as they hide the 226 litres of boot space that it has. The micra has unique features such as the push-button start seen on a car of a higher segment the Chevy cruze and the car also has the key-less entry feature. The interiors have some wacky designs as well right from the door handle to its panels. Ride quality of the car is good but could be better. Now its crunch time. Is the car a good buy? Well that would be a judgment call. The car in itself would be a decent purchase but you would face problems in the follow up after you actually bought the car. Nissan has a lack of showrooms and since the company hasn’t really sold many cars in the sub-continent service backup is dangerously weak and yes spare parts will be more expensive than cars like the i10 or the swift. So if you’re looking for a car that has a decent performance, good styling, handling, new refreshing look and of course good fuel economy the micra is a good buy. But you would have to be ready to go through a small amount of problems to have it serviced especially if you took the car to a town where only maruti Suzuki would have a service center. The car has been priced competitively at Rs.3, 98,000{ex-showroom Delhi} making it real value for money. A well-engineered car that Nissan has made in recognition of the new Indian car buyer’s market the micra has a long way to go before it can challenge the swift or the i10 but if Nissan markets this car well enough it may well be on its way to making sales records since the car’s design shows that the brand is trying to start a trend of its own.

Royal enfield bullet 350 UCE review

Royal Enfield is a brand that needs absolutely no introduction. One of the oldest bike brands both in India as well as the world, the company has made a reputation of producing loud, mean & seriously butch masterpieces that command the respect and envy of all non-owners. The most iconic Bullet of them all was and remains the Bullet Standard 350. Some would say that Royal Enfield refuses to leave the past and is a brand that is aloof to modernization. NOT ANY MORE. The Unit Construction Engine {UCE} is a “move towards the future” modification that has been introduced to the entire Enfield line-up. Fortunately the designers have successfully protected the “old school” essence which the brand is built upon and haven’t let the engineers steal their Thunderbird..Oops I mean Thunder!
The Bullet 350 UCE is mostly based on the old Bullet 350 standard. The most significant change noticed would have to be the engine, after all it is the engine that has created a different identity for the bike altogether. Shiny, large and with playful and enticing grooves the Unit Construction Engine makes the rider enter a whole new realm of Bullets. The stroke is a lot more refined and the throttle response is magnificent and as always the kick-start is strong enough to let you feel the bike come to life. The displacement remains the same 346cc that has been tuned beautifully to deliver a peak power of 19.8 bhp at 5250rpm & 28nm of torque. Fuel economy stands at around 30 kmpl which isn’t impressive but an Enfield was never a bike to be bought with your head but with your heart. Another major alteration is the gear-pedal. Instead of being on the right side like the original Enfield, the Bullet 350 UCE has followed its sisters and the pedal is now on the left and has sacrificed the neutral-finder. It was an ingenious lever that saved the rider from the hassle of having to down-shift at a red signal simply by pushing it down. Royal Enfield enthusiasts were on the verge of depression when the company announced the retirement of the legendary Bullet Standard 350 with the good old fashioned cast-iron engine but then with the introduction of the new 350 they won back a few hearts. Why I say a “few” hearts is although the look is the very retro one that we all fell in love with right down to the “Royal Enfield” badge that embraced both sides of the fuel-tank , the Trademark resonant thump was lost. It is this thump that even today can be easily heard dominating all other sounds no matter how bad traffic may be. The loss of this rumble is arguably a stain on the Enfield name. The dials are the same as the one on the previous model i.e. the speedometer in the middle and the amp-meter on the right with the ignition on the left. Contrary to its imposing looks the beast is as nimble and graceful as a ballet-dancer. Overall the bike is good but is as example of incomplete modernization. The shock-absorbers still are rough enough to put you at the risk of getting a slip-disk and are a constant reminder of how bad India’s roads are and for a bike that is capable of entering the early triple-digit speeds the lack of a disk-brake at least on the front wheel is ludicrous. The fact is there are better options from within the Enfield family. At a price tag of Rs.84.700/- (Ex-showroom, Delhi) and Rs.96000/- (Ex-showroom, Pune) the bike is overpriced as compared to the other bikes available. Even though the Electra or classic 350 would cost more they offer better value for money as well. This bike is meant for those who truly love the “original” appeal of the standard 350. However if having a retro look is the criteria the classic 350 seems like the more desirable Bullet. A decent effort by Royal Enfield to please its followers and cult-members alike the Bullet 350 UCE’s sales will be heavily dependent on its enthusiasts.

Skoda Fabia review

Skoda’s baby car is back in an all new rendition. The Czechs entered the Indian car market during its growing stages and had made it big with the Octavia. The Fabia’s sales were decent at best simply because the japs and Koreans seemed to have won Indian hearts. I’m talking of course about the swift and the I 20. But with this latest edition of the hatch, Skoda is destined to be a pain in Maruti’s exhaust. At first the car doesn’t seem a whole lot different from its predecessor except the slight increase in ground clearance and headlamp cluster that is more appealing. But the second you enter this car it’s an all new dimension which will make you forget about maruti Suzuki’s reliability and service back-up. I stepped into the top end elegance model with beige interiors, unbelievably beautiful wooden finish and an overall feel that convinces you that the cars price is so much lesser than what it is truly worth.
The brand is keen on offering the superb’s royal experience for the customer who can’t afford one. The car has abs with ebd, airbags and is available in 3 engine options, 1.2 petrol, a 1.2 diesel and 1.6 petrol for the highway lovers. For a small car the Fabia has boot space to put luxury sedans to shame. The car beats its competitors hands down in terms of owners pleasure. The I 20 and swift though fantastic cars did not manage to welcome me as splendidly as the Fabia did and in terms of features to price ratio the Skoda is better. The drive of the car is typically Skoda. Even the petrol engine is rather noisy but isn’t really a bother, the diesel however needs to be given a better hum. The space is decent but if you are tall this car is very difficult to manage. I am 6.4 ft. tall and found it very hard to get into the car despite the seat being pulled back to the last notch. The steering wheel is adjustable and that seemed to compliment my issues. Every time I got in or out of the car my knee would keep hitting the adjusting lever and I would be afraid that I damaged something. Even the rear space was not very assuring. It was almost like the boot space had eaten out of the rear seat room. My thighs were well supported and the seats were very comfortable but if had to sit either in the drivers seat or in rear my legs would feel suffocated. My advice would be to check the car’s space yourself as the car at least seemed to be adequate for the average Indian family and it could be a case of me being big and it wasn’t the car that was small. One problem you will face with car is the same problem as any other Skoda, the spare parts will be expensive and the resale value will be lesser than that of the I 20 or swift. These glitches can be ignored because this car is a very good purchase and is truly value for money whether it’s the price, the looks or the features. The car starts of at Rs. 4,40,212 {ex-showroom Mumbai} for the 1.2 petrol mpi classic and Rs 5,49,713 for the Tdi classic and additional options such as in-car entertainment are available if you wish to have them factory fitted

Evening all

Hey there just in case you managed to wander onto this blog,i am a wannabe vehicle reviewer. My name is Tushar Kamath, i'm a mass media student and aspire to someday write for a leading motor mag. My reviews are pretty much only based on test drives,personal opinion,overview of mag reviews and a general idea of what consumers think about the car/bike.
I am a addicted biker and have had a few trips both off-road and on the highway and am always looking to expand my "mileage" whenever time and what little pocket change i have permits me. Hope to write all about the motoring world,my travelling escapades and always happy to converse with like-minded people.
So do follow me if you like what you see will upload a few of my first reviews soon.!!