Thursday, 26 September 2013

Hyundai To Enter Hot-Hatch Segment With An i 20 GT?

A car brand’s involvement in motorsport is always a reflection on what may be offered on its road legal vehicles and Hyundai is no different. The Korean car maker has drawn upon its recent announcement to enter the World Rally Championship (WRC) and plans are on to produce an i 20 GT! WRC being the ideal cross-over of performance and punishment seems to have encouraged the designers to develop a passenger vehicle that shares its DNA with the performance bred rally cars. Hopefully, the production car will be an amalgamation of performance and rigidity to make it suitable for tough roads. 

Volkswagen has already capitalized on the lack of a complete hot-hatch segment through the Polo GT TSI and recently launched GT TDI. Skoda on the other hand is unlikely to introduce a vRS version on the temporarily discontinued Skoda Fabia, citing issues of feasibility. The next generation Fabia is likely to have a model with cosmetic alterations to make it look like the vRS. The market demand for a small car with big performance is serving as the ideal opportunity for brands to offer a more enjoyable driving experience without  making buyers shell out ludicrous amounts of money. However, what remains to be seen is if India will see a toned down version of the i 20 GT in order to keep prices competitive. With Hyundai not only manufacturing cars in India, but also exporting them, the car maker can afford to be ambitious.

At the moment the i 20 is on offer in petrol and diesel variants, the petrol available with a 1.4-litre, 4-speed automatic as well. Details on the GT are limited as the car is unlikely to make an appearance in India before 2015 and the international launch is expected only in the last quarter of 2014. The i 20 made its arrival in 2009 and in the following years has only seen one facelift without any major non-cosmetic changes. The sales of the i 20 may dip, with the Grand i 10 bridging the gap between the i 10 and its older sibling. The Indian hot-hatch segment is likely to see more new entrants with the market trend reflecting the need for a performance vehicle with practicality.

Mazda Contemplates India Return

In India, the name Mazda was limited to bringing back memories of the Swaraj Mazda commercial vehicles or Vin Diesel’s RX-7 in “The Fast and The Furious”. The Japanese giant that was ranked 19th in the top 25 world car makers 2013, could make a full-fledged return to India! This move has come in after Mazda analyzed the subcontinent’s growing demand for passenger vehicles and hunger for private sector foreign investment. Masamichi Kogai, president and CEO of Mazda Motor Corp, has also hinted at using India as an export hub for the brand. If Mazda does decide to begin production and sales operations in India it will have models that would go head to head with multiple segment dominators.

Currently Mazda’s model range includes hatchbacks, sedans, estates, pick-up trucks, MPVs, SUVs and sports cars, aside from their commercial vehicle range. The models that could be making their way here initially would ideally be the Mazda-2 hatchback, the Mazda-3 hatchback and compact sedan which could be priced from Rs. 4-6 lakh and Rs. 7-10 lakh respectively. They could also bring in the Mazda-6 that would go head to head other D-segment vehicles and may cost anywhere from Rs. 14-16 lakh. Mazda has made an impact globally, especially after their design cues turned radical and distinctive.

Mazda currently manages 80% of its exports from Japan itself and plans to open a new plant near Mexico City, Mexico. The new plant will help improve the brands supply to North America i.e. its biggest market and will focus on the Mazda-2 and Mazda-3 which are currently its best sellers. Mazda’s previous venture with Swaraj to produce trucks had seen a dismal reaction and ended in March 2007, as it lacked extensive marketing and brands like Tata enjoyed more loyalty. India being the world’s 6th largest automotive production hub could see Mazda making a comeback. An ever expanding economic base would hopefully push Mazda to bring its passenger and commercial vehicle range to our shores as well.     

Renault Arrives In Indonesia

French car maker Renault made its entry into the Indonesian car market. The company has decided to make its entry with none other than the Duster. Renault’s entry into the Indonesian market is a partnership with multi-brand car importer Indomobil that currently deals in passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles and even Suzuki two-wheelers. Renault hopes to replicate the success the Duster had in India and plans to have the crossover locally assembled in Indonesia. The Duster has been launched with a 1.5-litre dCi engine that produced 83 HP. Renault plans to build its market reputation by offering more powerful variants, including the petrol editions.

The Koleos and Megane will also be launched soon giving the indication that Renault intends to cover both the premium and regular passenger vehicles segment. Currently Renault offers both the Duster and Koleos in India. The Duster has seen an overwhelming response from buyers as its price point struck a positive chord. The Koleos hasn’t seen a similar response as it is available only in one trim (2.0-litre automatic diesel) and is overshadowed by competitors like the Toyota Fortuner and SsangYong Rexton. However, Renault’s decision to launch the Megane in Indonesia may be a reason for Indian buyers to smile, as it could make its way here as well depending on the reaction it receives in Indonesia.

The middle class in Indonesia has expanded, resulting in a rise in demand and growth in the automotive sector. A gradually widening economic base has made it a target for several car makers and Renault seems to be the first of many. The Duster is available at a price of 239 million Indonesian Rupiah (approximately INR 13 lakh). With more models on the way from Renault in Indonesia, there is more good news for India as there will be higher exports from its plant in Chennai. The partnership with automotive giant Indomobil will enable Renault to expand rapidly and use its network extensively. 

Suzuki To Make India The Swift Hub

One of Japan’s largest car makers has decided to shift production of the internationally popular Swift to India. Maruti Suzuki’s manufacturing plant in Haryana is currently producing 14,000 units of the Swift every month while it has a capacity of producing 17,000 units. With the domestic demand restricting the scale of production, the remaining capacity will be dedicated towards exports to International markets. The Manesar plant has begun manufacturing units that are dedicated to the Latin American, West Asian and African markets. All these markets received their supply from the domestic plants in Japan as they are all LHD nations.

However, now that the plant in India has acquired the necessary facilities to manufacture both left and right hand drive vehicles, Suzuki Motor Corporation has decided to begin expanding operations in India. Aside from the plant’s capability to cater to multiple nationalities, the decision is supported by the fact that India had proved to be an outsourcing hub. The fact that manufacturing in India is cost effective has led Suzuki to look at India as both a buyer and a producer. Plans are also on to shift from CKDs to CBUs for markets like Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia in order to improve profitability.

The operations moving to Manesar provides good news on multiple levels. The shift will generate more employment at the plant and also assist the brand in the European market. The only LHD Swift producing plants were the ones in Japan and Hungary and with this move, Suzuki could improve its expansion plans in the region. Currently the Swift is powered by a 1.2-litre petrol and a 1.3-litre diesel in India while the larger 1.4-litre petrol is made in Japan. What’s more is that if Suzuki adds to its existing operations in India we could see more models being not only produced, but also sold here.  

Isuzu Launches The 2013 D-max In The Philippines:

Japanese commercial and SUV maker Isuzu has launched the much awaited 2013 Isuzu D-Max in the Philippines. The pickup truck that has been in production since 2002 has been launched in the island nation with the promise of offering a vehicle that adheres to global standards of excellence. The tough truck shares its platform with pickups from Chevrolet and GMC and the latest edition promises to not only be larger, but also of a tougher and sleeker build that has even undergone wind tunnel testing at the same centre as Japan’s bullet trains i.e. the Japan Railway Research Institute.

The company claims the D-Max has one of the lowest drag coefficients in its segment enabling it to deliver higher fuel efficiency. The truck is available in both 4X4 and 4X2 powertrains and 5-speed automatic and manual transmissions. It is offered with two engine trims. A 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel that pumps out a peak power of 146Ps and 294Nm of torque. The base LT 4X2 variant comes with a 2.5-litre turbocharged Common Rail Diesel Injection (CRDi) engine that produces a peak power of 109Ps and 280Nm of torque. The D-Max also offers a Terrain Command Dial that can make the car switch from 4X4 to 4X2 and vice-versa at speeds as high as 100 kmh.

Prices start at P 697,000 (approximately INR 10 lakh) for the base single cab 4X2 and go up to P 1,457,000 (approximately INR 21 lakh) for the top end LS 4X4 automatic. Isuzu offers a range of safety features such as side impact beams, 2 front airbags, Emergency Locking Retractors, ABS, EBD and BA. With a new audio system that features a 2-DIN CD/MP3/USB/AUX/Tuner with Bluetooth connectivity and a six way speaker system, Isuzu hopes to market the D-Max as a tough commercial off-roader and an everyday car. The car is available from September 18th, 2013 and will be locally assembled at Isuzu Philippines Corporations plant in Laguna Technopark, Binan.

Skoda says goodbye to the Fabia vRS

Skoda recently discontinued its premium hatchback, the Skoda Fabia owing to poor sales figures. Now it has announced that the vRS Fabia will be discontinued as well. The decision came in as the hot hatch was suffering the same fate globally as the regular Fabia did in India. The next generation of the Skoda Fabia is due to come out in 2014 and the Czech car maker has confirmed that the next generation will no longer feature a vRS edition. The current model is powered by a 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine that pumps out an impressive 176 bhp and 250nm of torque.

Skoda CEO Winfried Vahland stated that the reason behind this decision is a lack of market penetration by the Fabia vRS. “With the Octavia vRS we made around an eight percent penetration into the market. With the Fabia vRS, it was less than one percent.” Essentially people wanted the looks of the vRS with the practicality of a normal hatch. This was where the Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo was introduced and it saw production numbers of twenty thousand units when Skoda had estimated the demand to be a little over than three thousand units.

The hot hatch market includes big players like the Fiat Punto Abarth, Suzuki Swift Sport and the Ford Fiesta Ecoboost. The Fabia vRS despite being a major player in the segment could not bring in the numbers in its sales the way it did on the spec sheet. Skoda has no plans for a replacement, but plans to introduce a larger SUV to its range. Currently, Skoda only offers the Yeti in the SUV segment, but at a length of 422cms it isn’t a lot larger than a hatchback although it has surprising off-roading abilities. Sadly Skoda must bid adieu to the Fabia Vrs, but existing drivers will continue to reap the benefits of owning a brilliant performance hatchback.

Read the article on MotorBeam:

Wednesday, 25 September 2013


Hindustan motors can pride itself in being the oldest and one of the most iconic car brands in India, the most iconic car of which is the Ambassador. The machine that is still called the “Indian Hummer” has become a car that is associated with taxis or ministry vehicles. Recently they launched the Ambassador Encore and it has many people wondering if the company should have even bothered making new car. It’s one thing to make the car look the exact same with the exception of a curve here and a cut there, but it’s a step back for the old chugger to have nothing that would appeal to a reasonable buyer today.

 Image Source:

First off let’s have a look at the price. The Encore costs Rs 4.98 lakh ex-showroom which will amount to an average of nearly Rs 5.50 lakh on road. At that price you could have anything from a Hyundai i10 to a Tata Indigo eCS. All cars that are just as easy to maintain, better to look at, are lighter and would outperform the HM legend. The Ambassador Encore is powered by a 1489cc, 4-cylinder, diesel engine which is BS4 compliant. The peak power output is an embarrassing 49 BHP and 112.5 Nm of torque. The BS3 model is even worse with a power output of 35.5 BHP and 73 Nm of torque. Granted that the target audience doesn't care about performance, but would it really cost the company so much more to make a well engineered car?

Performance like this was great during Fred Flintstones days, but in 2013 it is an abomination. For a brand that also sells Mitsubishi, it seems that HM has learnt nothing in terms of performance or features. Power windows and power steering are among the “best” features that the car offers and the brochure actually includes the mobile charger as a feature. Hindustan Motors calls the Ambassador simple, authentic and timeless, but if this is the way they plan to continue they may run out of time. If you do want the legendary Ambassador, why not look out for the original one? Retro does not mean that a car should offer only old day amenities and if the brand does not open its mind it may have to close its shutters.

-- A DC design concept for the Ambassador.
 Mini-Cooper much?

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Ferraris Will Go Turbo With Future Models

F 12 Berlinetta, 458 Italia, FF, California. All Ferraris, all incredibly expensive, all incredibly fast and all naturally aspirated. Despite not having a turbo to give their cars a hefty boost, Ferrari has managed to bring out some of the most amazing performers that money can buy today. However, tightening emission norms, high gas prices and tax on fuel guzzling vehicles has made Ferrari join the engine downsizing bandwagon. All future Ferraris could be made with smaller turbo-charged engines. Several exotic car makers are not only downsizing their engines, but are also making high speed hybrids in order to make them greener.

Due to the recent alternations in norms, even F1 cars require 1.6-litre turbocharged engines much to the annoyance of many petrol-heads who believe the 2.4-litre V8 was small enough. Ferrari engine characteristic was molded greatly by the fact that the engines were naturally aspirated. Anyone who has driven a Ferrari or even seen a video of one being driven from the inside would know how much the Italian speed demon loves the red-line. The introduction of a turbo could mean that V12 engines are moving closer towards their demise. With large, raw and more crude engines making way for well refined and more frugal engines, many are asking if supercars will start losing out on their individualistic character.

The Ferrari F40 that was at one point the fastest and most expensive Ferrari sold in the late 1980’s, featured a 3.0-litre twin turbo. However, the 4.7-litre V12 F50 had better emotional appeal to Ferrari loyalists who were also hooked by the fact that less than 350 were produced,. Rest assured it is a guarantee that the Italian stallion will continue to make the most reputable cars to ply the roads. What remains to be seen is, if the introduction of the turbo will have an impact on the driving experience that the future models will offer and if Ferrari will just make fast cars or fast cars with character.

Big German Trio Win With Small Cars

The big German three have eaten into the sales of mass market brands by introducing more small cars with their insignia. For the first time ever BMW surpassed Fiat in its European sales. The emerging trend of buying small cars from premium brands has seen luxury car makers experiencing a boost in demand. In the six year European auto sales downturn brands like Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz saw 0.5-2% growth in sales while mass market car makers like Ford and Peugeot saw a market share loss of 2 percentage points.

A larger number of buyers are now ready to shell out over 4000 Euros more to buy a small car from the German big three, instead of a mass market brand. For instance, Mercedes Benz offers its cheapest and smallest car, the A-class for nearly 25,000 Euros while the Volkswagen Golf is available for just under 17,000 euros. It is evident that buyers are looking to splurge a little bit more if they can get the right logo on their car. Attractive leasing schemes have baited buyers towards luxury brands and have made premium brands more accessible to prospective customers. A motorist could lease a BMW 1-series for 330 Euros, a mere 15 Euros more than the lease rate for an Opel Astra.   

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche even stated that despite adding a new production line in Hungary, Mercedes continues to struggle keeping up with the demand for its small cars. The reflection of this growth can be seen in India as well, with Mercedes already having launched its A-Class and B-Class hatch-backs, with the CLA on its way here soon. BMW also recently launched the 1-series and Audi could bring in the A1 hatch-back and A3 compact saloon which has already been spied testing on Indian roads. With road congestion reaching new levels across the globe, people are looking to spend sedan money on premium brand hatches and compact saloons.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Ford EcoSport European Debut Delayed

The only Ford in India that shook the market like the Ikon is expected to stay away from Europe for a little bit longer. In March 2013, Ford declared that the EcoSport would be available across Europe by the end of the year. However, it seems the American car maker will be going with a very conservative approach at first. Ford plan to offer only 500 units in Q1-2014, 120 of which have been allocated to Britain. They will supply the small SUV in entirety, around Q2-2014. The EcoSport has worked wonders for Ford in the Indian market and seeing how European nations pose a good market for compact cars, Ford is hoping to see a similar response.

With great demand comes a great need for added productivity. Due to the overwhelming reaction the EcoSport received, Ford is working hard to keep up with the demand as its plant in Chennai has been struggling to lower waiting periods. In August, bookings for the car had been temporarily put on hold as the backlog had resulted in customers having to wait for as much as eight months with variant availability differing from dealership to dealership. Ford showrooms have since resumed regular bookings, but demand for the Renault Duster’s arch rival continues to be optimistic. This positive response could be the cause for the EcoSport’s delayed debut in Europe.

Both LHD and RHD EcoSports will be sourced from Ford’s plant in Chennai. Currently the car is manufactured in China, Brazil, Russia, and India, is expected to begin local production in Thailand before 2014. The EcoSport will most likely be offered with a 1.0-litre petrol Ecoboost, 1.5-litre diesel and petrol engines as well in the European Union. The 500 limited edition EcoSports that will be sold in the first quarter of 2014 could serve as a “beta testing” exercise for Ford, although with the response it has received thus far it might be safe to say Ford will be pleasantly un-surprised.  

Car Price And The Government’s Slice

Unless you have been living in a cave for the last decade or so, you know that buying a car in India is an expensive affair. The expense associated with the running our cars is in a league of its own as fuel prices climb faster than a Mustang’s rpm gauge. What’s astounding to know is the actual amount you’re paying the government alone when you buy a car. In the last budget it was announced that luxury imported vehicles, SUVs and motorcycles above the 800cc engine displacement mark would face heavier taxation among others. What most car buyers don’t know is the existing amount paid by them is already serving as a major revenue source for the government.

The tax levied on the ex-showroom price of a small diesel car is 63% while it is 58% for a small petrol car. Enter higher segments and 86% of a diesel sedan’s price is tax alone! The general market vibe was one of more relaxed government involvement, but the reality is that buyers pay more now than they did in the 90’s when the taxation was up to 60% of the base price. The fact that a customer can buy a Mercedes C-Class for the price of a Honda Civic in the middle-east, illustrates just how much money is being directed to the government treasury from the automotive industry.

Central government tax, excise duty, education cess, national calamity contingency duty, road tax, VAT and octroi are seen as mere formalities that one has to pay up for in order to purchase a car. However, when you put them all together the amount paid to the government can be up to 90% of the car’s base price. The government has often defended taxation on vehicles as a tactic to deter private transport, but there is a question that most motorists will ask. Why is that tax money not being used to improve the standards of the roads?

Monday, 16 September 2013

Forgotten Factors

Selling cars these days has become like a morning routine for salesmen. You see a customer tell him about the price, fuel economy, take him for a test drive that lasts as long a 4 year olds attention span and then floor him with the amazing gifts, “free” insurance and “limited period” discounts.

Buyers need a car that will get them and their family from point A to B while consuming as little fuel as possible. You would be surprised at the number of high end cars that have CNG kits hidden away like pimples. One fact that most salespersons will agree upon is that safety rarely features as a priority to a prospect. There’s a reason why every billboard and spec sheet has fuel economy figure printed like a badge of honor and the word “best in class” tossed around like salad, but none ever says “best in class safety” as that is seen as more of a luxury than a necessity. 

Which is what brings me to the issue at hand. This is a piece about the factors that people turn a blind eye towards while buying a car. The factors that you only consider when it’s too late.

1. Build Quality:

Before I go on to explain how important it is to consider this, have a look at the images below:

The Volkswagen Polo was travelling at an average speed when a bad patch of road caused the tyre burst resulting in the car toppling over multiple times. Looking at the damage sustained it’s hard to imagine that both passengers got away with nothing but a few scratches. Analyzing the damage closely will show you that thanks to Volkswagen’s international standard build quality the damage was veered away from the main passenger cabin keeping them safe. This is where terms like “crumple zone” come into play.

Now have a look at this crash test of the Maruti Suzuki Alto K10, one of the highest selling cars in the country today.

Evidently the king of efficiency wouldn’t save its people if it crashed. The entire body caved in like someone crushed a piece of paper to throw into the dust-bin while bored at work. Not so much fun when you’re the thing being thrown. This lack of build quality is what puts the lives of its passengers is serious danger. Just imagine if the people who were in the Polo were in the Alto. The outcome would be a lot worse than having to worry about an insurance claim.

2. Safety features:

ABS, EBD, ESP are seen as just a bunch of abbreviations that make you pay more. It's high time to recognize the importance of safety features in the car you buy. A bare minimum of ABS and airbags go a long way in ensuring a sensible purchase, in fact in many countries they are mandatory by law for manufacturers.  Indian road conditions and driving standards are at an all-time low and dropping, while the number of motorists is climbing. Since the country’s focus is on getting people cars rather than getting them into safe ones it’s up to the buyers themselves to take the right decision.

An accident doesn’t have to be your fault. All it takes is one rash youngster trying to impress his friends, a drunk driver or even an innocent motorist who instinctively swerved to avoid a crater on the road, but didn’t see a car in the lane next to him. You can expect your car to do 0-60 in 7 seconds, you can expect it deliver 15 kilometers to the litre, but accidents are something you can never see coming and don’t come with an ARAI certification.

This is why your build quality and safety features are like pants you wore when you were fat. You hope you never have to use them again, but you’re glad to know they’re there.
3. Ground Clearance:

Let’s face it. Unless you’re in a purpose built sports car your undercarriage doesn’t need to flirt with the road like Pepe Le Pew, no matter how sporty it may make the car look. Try and look out for a car that has enough ground clearance depending on the locality that you drive in. This is one factor where your type of driving must be reflected in your test drive.

If you plan to have your family or friends along often make sure you take them along to see how the car handles when packed. This is how you can know how hard or soft your suspension is, if the car struggles or strives when put under a heavy pay-load and if the car rides high enough. It’s not a deal breaker, but can save you a lot of grief. The sound of your bumper giving a high-five to a speed bump is quite heartbreaking.

4. Post- Sale Follow up:

Researching on your treatment after you’ve bought the car matters a great deal. People have often sold their vehicles after being given sub-standard service repeatedly. Have a look online at different forums to see if customers are getting their money’s worth. Better yet, go on to the brand’s Facebook page.

People love to bring their issues under the spotlight as there is no better revenge against a brand than making their flaws public. Don’t let it brainwash you. If there is a real problem, a pattern will emerge. Use your judgment to see who pointed out a genuine issue and who is just a customer who had a fight with his wife and needed an outlet.

5. Upcoming launches/updates:

Always, ALWAYS! Keep an eye out for launches that are soon to arrive. Follow car magazine pages and websites to know if there’s a better option coming out later. Salesmen function on the basis of monthly targets. So if they want to make a sale they will push you to book a car immediately so as to fill up their quota.

Keep yourself updated to see if the car you’re looking at has a new upgrade or version coming out. Bear in mind the fact that an upgrade doesn't have to mean higher prices, even though the guy selling the car may say otherwise. Especially around December, salespersons use the “prices will go up” tactic, when in fact the prices may even drop. The period of January to April sees a flood of discounts and offers as everyone is trying to close the books with the big numbers. This is the ideal time to strike as dealers get desperate and their arms can be twisted to a certain extent.

Festive season offers are a dime a dozen thanks to the sheer number of festivals throughout the year, but don’t let the offers get in the way of trying to strike a bargain. The free gifts you get for your purchase are never free. Everything has been added to the final price of your car so make sure you get what you paid for.

Be smart while buying a car. While some of these factors should be long term considerations, some are just about getting the most bang for your buck. Shelling out a little more money to get a safer car and taking a little more time and effort to do your homework and get a great buy is worth it when the car you buy looks after you and not just your wallet.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Honda Jazz: New Dud, Used Stud

The Honda Jazz was a peppy, compact yet large hatchback offered by Honda. It was the only hatch Honda offered before the Brio. Created with headroom, leg and boot space that would put sedans into therapy and a robust 90 bhp engine that hit 160kmph with as much ease as it chugged at 40kmph in the city. The “why so serious?” car was a brilliant city hatch mixing the best of the sedan and hatch worlds.

All this praise however, draws one question. Why didn’t the Jazz take the segment by storm the way the Swift or i 20 did? Any owner would tell you that this was great whether you drove it yourself or had a chauffeur. The primal reason was its price which just happens to be the biggest deal-breaker in India as you look at your budget and adjust the car rather than vice-versa. With all those similarities with sedans, came an almost similar price. Towards its final years in production it cost around and above Rs 8 lakh on-road {Mumbai}. At that price if your car didn’t come with a boot that you could make your kid sit on, you didn’t have a buyer.

So was the Jazz worth the price it came for? Well, it had the space for it and it was definitely backed up by the finest in Honda’s refinement. I mean the 1.2 i-vtec was so silent, you would be forgiven for thinking it ran only on lithium ion batteries. Power steering, power windows, abs, two front air-bags, music system and an aux port came in standard, but then again for the price you had to pay it was the least Honda could do.

That is where the problems for Honda began. The space in the car made it a mini-innova which wasn’t what a buyer wanted while buying a hatchback. Unless you wanted a city car for a family of 6 footers you had more reasonable options if not better. Hyundai and Maruti met the main needs of enough space, enough power, enough features, good service back up and resale value. Skoda and Volkswagen had the premium feel and European design, while the Jazz had something of an identity crisis. There were more issues that it down, like the fact that there was no diesel option while competitors offered diesels at the same price as the petrol powered Jazz. The ground clearance meant speed bumps and the under-carriage became bed-fellows not to mention the hard suspension that was on some level necessary. Owing to its large size the 90bhp engine felt inadequate and the front engine, front wheel drive car under-steered quite evidently when you decided to floor it.

Eventually Honda discontinued the jazz in mid-2013, which is sad because this car really is great. However, this has allowed it to become a king in the used car market. You can pick one up for around Rs. 4 lakh! That’s around half the price and since it’s a Honda the engine is most likely to be in great condition. The Jazz is one of the best in terms of value for money in the used car market. Even the addition of a cng kit leaves you with an ample amount of boot space. The car fits a family of 5 with ease and is excellent for the weekend road trip as well. While cars like the Swift become benchmarks they command a higher resale value. The jazz however offers more than you could need and while it loses out on rebate for its sellers it has become a juicy deal for buyers.

The Jazz was discontinued temporarily to make way for its latest edition that will be offered with a 1.5 litre i-dtec engine. Which means 2014 will see the big hatch returning with a vengeance and could well replicate the dominance its big brother the Honda City showed. Till then, hit those used car lots and buy ‘em before they’re sold out.