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Dakar 2018 Stage 13: Pedrero inches closer to top 10
The penultimate stage of the 2018 Dakar Rally saw riders cover 907km – from San Juan to Cordoba – including a 424km, timed section. It was a successful day for Sherco TVS’ sole remaining rider, Juan Pedrero, who completed the stage at an impressive fifth. The strong result has helped catapult the Spanish rider from 14th to 11th in the general classifications, with just one stage left to go. “Joan Pedrero raced an excellent stage and now ranks 11th, overall. He is only 26sec from 10th place and 50sec from ninth. Tomorrow, the 14th and last leg of this Dakar – will be a short stage; and anything can happen,” said David Casteu, Team Manager, Sherco TVS Factory Rally Team. Hero MotoSports continued to make steady progress, both riders tackling the stage carefully to avoid any incidents just a day before the final stage. Oriol Mena has gained two places and now stands 8th, overall, after completing the stage in 8th place. Meanwhile, CS Santosh’s 33rd place stage finish has helped him gain a spot. He is now 34th, in the overall standings. Also see: Dakar 2018 Stage 11: Hero MotoSports gains ground Dakar 2018 Stage 10: Mena breaks into top 15 Indian contingent continues 2018 Dakar Rally charge [...]
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Tata reveals Impact Design 2.0 highlights
Tata Motors has revealed details of its latest design language – the Impact Design 2.0. A new premium hatchback (codename X451) and new SUV (codename H5) will be the first models to be designed on Impact Design 2.0, and both will get their very first showing at Tata’s expansive Auto Expo 2018 display.  The new design language will be an evolution of ‘Impact Design’ which has guided the look of all new Tata models since the Zest in 2014. However, Impact Design 2.0 promises to mark a shift to bolder designs. As per details shared by the carmaker, upcoming models will get ‘segment-leading wheel sizes’ and ‘strong fenders’ for enhanced road presence. The defining styling element on the newer models, however, will be a more prominent, three-dimensional ‘humanity line’ that is Tata speak for the styling element that underlines the grille and headlights. Also, body surfacing will be uncluttered and there will be a greater attention to detail with a mention of a ‘Tri-arrow’ pattern. There’s also word on new colours chosen specially to bring out the models’ lines. Tata’s release on Impact Design 2.0 also suggests a greater focus on practicality and general ambience on the inside of upcoming models. Again, ‘clutter-free’ is a term Tata has used to describe the new cabin design philosophy, with all functions and controls positioned to be within arm’s reach. Storage spaces will be aplenty, and that would address a complaint on many of Tata cars. The carmaker was among the first to address the need for in-car connectivity and you can expect the new models to take things to the next level. While no details have been revealed of the tech as yet, Tata has said the new car’s HMI (human-machine interface) screens will be segment-leading and will boast a ‘clear and intuitive’ user interface. Details revealed also suggest the new models from the carmaker will use higher-quality materials and will make clever use of colour combinations to enhance the cabin environment further. Interestingly, there will be scope for customisation too, with a mention of multiple accessory options that would allow ‘customers to shape and configure their driving environment’.   Tata Motors also revealed an almost cryptic teaser image of the upcoming hatchback today and will release another teaser image of the SUV on January 21, 2018. As always, stay tuned for the update.         Also see: Tata Nexon AMT to debut at Auto Expo 2018 Tata teases its Auto Expo 2018 line-up Auto Expo 2018 preview: Cars and SUVs [...]
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Dakar 2018 Stage 11: Hero MotoSports gains ground
With the 2018 Dakar Rally nearing an end, Stage 11 marked the first leg of the Marathon stage for the bikes. Running from Belen to Fiambala, the stage consisted of a 205km liaison followed by a 280km timed section. After a strong stage the previous day, Stage 11 proved to be yet another fruitful stage for Hero MotoSports. Oriol Mena continued his top form to finish the stage in ninth place, helping him make his way up to 10th place in the overall standings. Meanwhile, his teammate CS Santosh completed the stage 33rd, gaining four spots in the general classifications for an overall 35th place. Sherco TVS also had reason to cheer, with Joan Pedrero delivering a strong performance to finish the stage in eighth place – his best stage result in the 2018 Dakar Rally yet. The result has helped him inch closer to the top 10, with a 14th place overall ranking. Stage 12 of the rally was set to see competitors traverse 723km to San Juan. However, organisers have decided to cancel the stage for the bikes and quads categories due to safety concerns because of the weather. The stage will continue as planned for the cars and trucks categories, though, since their route is different.  Also see: Dakar 2018 Stage 10: Mena breaks into top 15 Indian contingent continues 2018 Dakar Rally charge Dakar 2018 Stage 5 brings an end to Aravind KP’s campaign Dakar 2018 Stage 3: TVS on solid ground; bittersweet day for Hero [...]
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Datsun Go Cross leaked before debut
Before its official debut, the brochure for the Datsun Go Cross has leaked online. The Japanese brand intends to unveil its new Go Cross cross-hatch in Indonesia on January 18. The leaked brochure confirms that the Go Cross is a seven-seater based on the Go+ MPV, and that it comes with significant changes inside and outside. The exterior features typical SUV-esque body cladding, projector headlamps, front fog lamps, LED position lamps, faux skid plates on the front bumper, sides and rear, a roof spoiler, a rear wiper and roof rails that can carry up to 30kg loads. The new 15-inch alloy wheels, shod with 175/65 R15 tyres, complete its rugged look. On the inside, the Go Cross’ interiors are shared with the Go+, but see the infotainment system replaced by a 6.75-inch touchscreen unit, with AM/FM, MP3, USB, Aux-in, Bluetooth and smartphone connectivity; the two-speaker set-up continues. In terms of equipment, Datsun has endowed the Go Cross with automatic headlamps with a follow-me-home function, front and rear power windows, electrically adjustable rear view mirrors and a power outlet. On the safety front, dual front airbags, ABS, stability control, rear parking sensors and seatbelts for all three rows are standard. Power comes from the same 1.2-litre, three-cylinder naturally-aspirated engine that makes 68hp and 104Nm of torque and is found on the Go and Go+. The mechanical highlight is that the cross-hatch also gets a CVT automatic option, along with the five-speed manual gearbox. Braking duties are carried out by discs in the front and drums at the rear. Datsun has not revealed exactly when the Go Cross will come to India. However, if it arrives, it will lock horns with cross-hatches like the Mahindra KUV100 NXT and Maruti CelerioX as well as compact SUVs such as the Maruti Vitara Brezza, Tata’s Nexon and the refreshed Ford EcoSport. Also see: Datsun Redigo 1.0 AMT bookings open New cars for 2018: Upcoming MPVs IMAGE SOURCE [...]
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2018 Bajaj Avenger 220 prices revealed
Bajaj’s popular Avenger bike was showcased just a few days ago with a host of new features and it has been priced at Rs 93,466 (ex-showroom, Delhi; both variants). For 2018, Bajaj has updated only the 220, given that it is the higher-selling model in the Avenger range. Continuing with the Street and Cruise platforms, the 220 now gets a host of value additions. Prominent amongst its updated features are the new headlights (with each variant getting a distinct unit) with LED DRLs. Both variants also get a digital backlit instrument pod – backlit blue on the Cruise; orange on the Street – with a tall shroud to shield the display from direct sunlight. The new instrument pod looks well-finished and funky, and features a speedometer, two trip meters, a fuel gauge and a service reminder. The new Avengers get a new Moon White paint scheme – and it looks great, particularly on the classic-styled Cruise variant. Completing the cruiser imagery is the revised, tall windscreen mounted on a chromed bracket and the ape-hanger handlebar. The Cruise gets wire-spoke wheels (17-inch at the front, 15-inch at the rear) and a backrest with the Avenger insignia. The Street, meanwhile, sticks to the blacked-out theme and features alloy wheels, a smaller cowl that sits neatly atop its new headlight, a matte black exhaust with an aluminium-finish heat shield and tip, as well as a new grab rail. Both Avengers also feature revised seat textures, aimed at improving long-distance riding comfort. Mechanically, the Avenger 220 remains unchanged for 2018 update. Mated to a five-speed gearbox, the 220cc, single-cylinder engine produces 18.8hp and 17.5Nm of torque. Even though we'd expected to see it on this update, ABS has still not been introduced. Meanwhile, we do expect the Avenger 150 to get most of these updates as well, in due course of time. Interestingly, despite the slight price hike, the 2018 Avengers still impressively undercut the similarly feature-packed Suzuki Intruder which, however, is powered by a Gixxer-sourced 150cc motor. Also see: 2018 Bajaj Avenger Cruise 220 image gallery 2018 Bajaj V12, V15 unveiled with updates 2018 Bajaj Platina ComforTec showcased 2018 Bajaj Discover 110 and 125 launched [...]
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Tata teases its Auto Expo 2018 line-up
Tata has released a teaser video in which it provides hints of the models that it will bring to the Auto Expo 2018. In the video, three cars are visible under wraps, though which models will be exhibited have not yet been revealed. However, as we had reported earlier, the Indian carmaker is expected to bring its new Baleno and i20 rival, codenamed X451, and its five- and seven-seat rival to the Creta and Compass, codenamed the H5. Along with these two near-production models, Tata is also expected to showcase its capabilities and mobility solutions aimed at smart cities. While many manufacturers are staying away from the Expo, Tata seems to be pulling out all stops to maximise their participation. Here’s what you can expected at Tata’s stall in the 2018 Auto Expo: Tata X451 Based on Tata Motors’ new Advanced Modular Platform (AMP), the X451 will slot in above the Tiago in the carmaker’s line-up. Tata’s new design language, called Impact Design 2.0, will feature on the model, along with uprated versions of the Tiago’s 1.2-litre petrol engine and 1.05-litre diesel motor. The Nexon’s 1.2-litre turbo-petrol engine may also feature at a later date. Expect a launch date for the model sometime in 2019. Tata H5 Underpinned by the Land Rover Discovery Sport’s L550 platform, the production-spec H5 will be available as a five- and seven-seater. Powered by FCA’s 2.0-litre, four-cylinder MultiJet II diesel engine, the five-seater will have it in a 140hp state of tune, while the seven-seater will get it in a 170hp tune. Expect the pricing to undercut the Jeep Compass and even Hyundai’s Creta. Mobility solutions Tata’s display at the Auto Expo will include 26 smart mobility solutions across its passenger and commercial vehicles. The brand’s Smart Mobility pavilion will be split into interactive zones like Residential zone, Sports zone, Smart Energy zone, and Inter and Intracity zones. Each zone, with its digital engagements around the product exhibits, is expected to provide Auto Expo audiences an engaging experience across the pavilion. H5 IMAGE SOURCE Also see: Auto Expo 2018 preview: Cars and SUVs Auto Expo 2018 preview: Scooters and bikes   [...]
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Mahindra Mojo UT300 bookings open
Dealers in southern parts of the country have begun taking bookings for the upcoming Mojo UT300. While it retains the styling of the standard Mojo, the UT300 loses out considerably, in terms of equipment in order to make it more affordable. The UT300 will be sold alongside the standard Mojo and be priced between Rs 1.4-1.5 lakh (ex-showroom). The booking amount for the motorcycle starts at Rs 5,000. The prototype of this stripped-down Mojo was first spotted testing close to 1.5 years ago – and it revealed almost everything about this bike. Powering the UT300 is the same 292cc single-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine. This time around, though, it uses a carburettor instead of fuel-injection. This is likely to imply a small dip in performance figures. Another big mechanical change on the motorcycle is the conventional front fork instead of premium USD ones seen on the standard Mojo. The UT300 also loses out on Mojo’s famous twin exhausts for a single-sided setup; the bike will probably be lighter thanks to this. Mahindra has also switched from the Pirelli Diablo Rosso II to MRF tyres on this bike – which doesn’t come as a surprise, considering all the cost-cutting. Other noticeable changes are the missing LED DRLs which sat above the twin-pod headlights and the lack of gold-coloured accents. With the standard Mojo priced at Rs 1.7 lakh and this one being priced between 1.4-1.5 lakh, the buyer will save around Rs 20,000-30,000 (all prices, ex-showroom). The motorcycle will reach dealerships as early as tomorrow, in parts of southern India. We can expect it to reach dealerships across the country, in a few days. Also see: Bajaj Dominar 400 vs Mojo vs Himalayan comparison Mahindra Mojo review, test ride [...]
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TVS Racing training school begins on January 27
Ahead of the racing season that begins in June 2018, TVS Racing is organising a training school at the Madras Motor Race Track (MMRT) in Chennai. Since it is an FMSCI-affiliated training school, the participants, upon completion, will be able to compete in the TVS One Make Series in 2018.  The training will be conducted by TVS racers K. Jagan, Harry Silvester, Ahamed, S. Kannan and Aishwarya Pissay. The first batch starts on January 27, 2018, and will be open to all. TVS Racing is also planning to conduct three additional sessions later this year.  The registration fee for each participant per batch is Rs 6,000 and includes on-track and classroom training, a TVS Apache RTR 200 for training purpose and riding gear. However, riders are expected to carry their own helmets. Each batch will comprise of 50 riders, who, upon completion of the programme, can apply for the Novice category of TVS One Make Championship. To register, head here. Also see: Lessons from bike racing: What they never tell you [...]
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Marrakech ePrix: Rosenqvist takes another win for Mahindra
Felix Rosenqvist jumped into the lead of the Formula E points by beating Sebastien Buemi in a straight fight in Marrakech. Rosenqvist was only third until just before the mid-race car swaps, but took advantage of a slowing Sam Bird to grab second and then caught and overtook Buemi in the second stint. Bird faded in the second half of the race and only just beat Nelson Piquet Jr's Jaguar to the final podium place. Buemi led from pole in the early stages but never really looked like shaking off DS Virgin Racing driver Bird. He was given a break when Bird slowed briefly on lap 16, one lap before the car swaps, which allowed Mahindra's Rosenqvist to jump into second. A full-course yellow was deployed a lap later with the leaders, minus Jaguar's Mitch Evans who had just stopped from sixth and therefore plummeted down the order, still on track. When the frontrunners finally stopped Buemi rejoined with a 1.6-second lead, which Rosenqvist quickly halved before easing off slightly and dropping to about a second behind the Renault e.dams. Rosenqvist did not hesitate when he renewed his attack, nailing Buemi with a fine move under braking for the tricky Turn 7 left-hander at the end of the long back straight with just a few laps remaining. He eased clear to take a comfortable victory with Buemi second and erstwhile championship leader Bird a distant third as he struggled with a gearbox problem. Piquet struggled in the opening stint and fell behind Jose Maria Lopez, but jumped the Dragon Racing replacement driver in the car swaps and flew in the second half of the race to ease clear of Jean-Eric Vergne. Techeetah's Vergne ended up a lonely fifth after a fine charge from 13th, with Lopez completing the top six on his FE comeback and scoring Dragon's first points of the season in the process. Maro Engel finished seventh on the road but got slapped with the time equivalent of a drivethrough penalty post-race for causing a collision and dropped to 13th. That promoted Nick Heidfeld to seventh, with Andretti's debutant Tom Blomqvist scoring points in eighth and Nico Prost and Alex Lynn recovering from being punted into separate spins to complete the top 10. Engel clattered Heidfeld late on while disputing seventh, but the Venturi driver appeared to be hit by team-mate Edoardo Mortara, who was charging through from the back of the grid. That meant Mortara failed to finish, joining Oliver Turvey - who only had one usable car after getting wheeled off the grid - Andre Lotterer and Lucas di Grassi in retirement. Reigning FE champion di Grassi was part of the lead fight early on but slowed from fourth with what he called a "battery management system error" over the radio. His Audi Sport Abt team-mate Daniel Abt also failed to score points after receiving a drivethrough penalty early on for spinning Lynn. Result - 33 laps POS DRIVER TEAM CAR GAP 1 Felix Rosenqvist Mahindra Mahindra 48m04.751s 2 Sebastien Buemi e.dams Renault 0.945s 3 Sam Bird Virgin DS Virgin 5.762s 4 Nelson Piquet Jr. Jaguar Jaguar 6.554s 5 Jean-Eric Vergne Techeetah Renault 12.238s 6 Jose Maria Lopez Dragon Penske 16.491s 7 Nick Heidfeld Mahindra Mahindra 28.381s 8 Tom Blomqvist Andretti Andretti 32.380s 9 Alex Lynn Virgin DS Virgin 33.520s 10 Daniel Abt Audi Audi 40.951s 11 Mitch Evans Jaguar Jaguar 46.278s 12 Maro Engel Venturi Venturi 46.915s 13 Nicolas Prost e.dams Renault 53.099s 14 Antonio Felix da Costa Andretti Andretti 1m01.116s 15 Jerom [...]
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Tata H5 SUV to be unveiled at Auto Expo 2018
Tata will bring a near-production version of its new Jeep Compass rival, codenamed H5, to the 2018 Auto Expo. The new Tata SUV, which has been spied testing in the country, is expected to be offered in five-seat and seven-seat configurations. While both versions will be based on the Land Rover Discovery Sport’s L550 platform, the SUVs are said to be completely different in terms of design and feel. The versions will also share FCA’s 2.0-litre, four-cylinder MultiJet II diesel engine, but in different states of tune – 140hp for the five-seater and 170hp for the seven-seater. Two-wheel and four-wheel-drive variants are expected to be on offer as well. In terms of pricing, Tata is likely to peg the five-seat SUV at a price close to Rs 13 lakh, while the seven-seater is expected to have a base ex-showroom price tag of about Rs 15 lakh, thus targeting the Jeep Compass as well as the Hyundai Creta.  Besides the H5 SUV, Tata will also have its new Hyundai i20 and Maruti Baleno rival, codenamed X451, in near-production form at the 2018 Auto Expo. Also see: New car launches around the corner Maruti Future S compact SUV concept to make global debut at Auto Expo 2018 SCOOP! Hyundai i20 1.2 petrol CVT to debut at Auto Expo 2018 New cars for 2018: Upcoming hatchbacks   Spy pic source [...]
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BMW to launch new bikes at Auto Expo 2018
BMW Motorrad will launch its new middleweight adventure motorcycles, the F 750 GS and the F 850 GS, at the Auto Expo 2018. These two bikes will take BMW Motorrad’s total to 15 offerings in the country, most of which will likely be displayed at their stand as well. Other models on display will be the G 310 R and the G 310 GS, both of which have been launched internationally and are expected to make their way to India this year. BMW F 750 GS, F 850 GS The BMW F 750 GS and the F 850 GS were unveiled at the EICMA motorcycle show last year in Italy. These new models feature sharper styling, new technology, a monocoque frame and a bigger 853cc engine – an upgrade to their 798cc predecessors, the F 700 GS and F 800 GS. The new 853cc parallel-twin engine is tuned to make different power figures in both bikes – 77hp and 83Nm of torque in the F750, and 85hp and 92Nm of torque in the F850. BMW suggests that the engine’s new 270-degree firing order makes it produce a ‘powerful’ sound. Another big change comes in the form of a new monocoque frame with new suspension geometry and fuel tank position, which has moved from the previous under-seat position to a conventional location behind the bars. The F 750 GS and F 850 GS get a new fork (an upside-down 43mm one in the case of the F 850 and a 41mm telescopic unit for the F 750). Rear suspension duties are handled by an aluminium double-sided swing-arm and a monoshock. BMW’s electronic suspension adjustment (ESA) is optional. Both come with ABS, ASC, and ‘Rain’ and ‘Road’ riding modes, as standard. Other optional equipment includes full-LED lighting and a multi-functional instrument cluster. Both bikes will come to India via the CBU route but they will be the most affordable bikes in the German manufacturer’s current line-up for India and should be priced competitively against the Triumph Tiger 800 range. BMW G 310 R BMW has played it safe with the styling of the G 310 R and stayed away from the slight quirkiness that can be seen on its bigger displacement models. The G 310 R will come armed with a 313cc, single-cylinder engine with twin-overhead camshafts that puts down 33.6hp and 28Nm of torque, and weighs 158kg. Like the TVS Apache RR 310, the G 310 R will come with a reversed-cylinder design that slopes towards the rear wheel, instead of the conventional engine layout. This would allow for a more compact motorcycle with more evenly distributed weight and a lower centre of gravity. The upside of this layout is that it creates space for a longer rear swing-arm, while keeping the wheelbase relatively short to make it a more manoeuvrable motorcycle. The G 310 R is expected to hit the market sometime in the fourth quarter of this year and is expected to be priced between Rs 2.25-2.4 lakh (ex-showroom). BMW G 310 GS BMW took the wraps off the adventure-touring version of the naked G 310 R at EICMA 2016. Like its naked sibling, the G 310 GS has been developed by BMW Motorrad in Germany and built at TVS' plant in Hosur, India. The baby GS inherits its family styling with the stubby front beak, radiator shrouds, headlamp cowl and tank design. It gets a tubular steel frame, and five-spoke alloy wheels. It is powered by a 313cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder engine, with four valves and a reversed DOHC cylinder head. It gets a six-speed manual transmission that will be tweaked to suit its adventure-touring nature. The engine will churn out 34hp of power and 28Nm of torque. It gets an upside-down 41mm fork, which has 49mm more travel than the G 310 R’s. However, it is non-adjustable, while the rear monoshock does boast an adjustable preload. ABS will come as standard on this 169.5kg bike, as well as a decently-equipped LCD dash. In addition to all this, it will also have a host of official accessories to choose from, including 12-volt power sockets, heated grips, two seat-height options (820mm and 850mm), luggage kits, a centre stand, satellite navigation and smartphone solutions. The G 310 GS, like the G 310 R, is also expected to hit the Indian market in the fourth quarter of this year and will be expected to be priced from Rs 2.6-2.8 lakh (ex-showroom). BMW K 1600 B, R nine T Racer and more BMW Motorrad’s most recent launches in India, the K 1600 B and R nineT Racer, are expected to be present at the company’s stand. Along with these two bikes, we can expect the German marque to display most of its Indian offerings, which includes the S 1000 RR, S 1000 R, S 1000 XR, R 1200 R, R 1200 RS, R nineT, R nineT Scrambler, R 1200 GS, R 1200 GS Adventure, R 1200 RT and the K 1600 GTL. Also see: BMW K 1600 B, R nineT Racer image gallery [...]
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Royal Enfield Himalayan Sleet launched at Rs 2.12 lakh
Royal Enfield has launched the Himalayan Sleet limited edition with the ‘Explorer’ kit at an introductory price of Rs 2.12 lakh (on-road, Chennai). The motorcycle is limited to 500 units and will only be sold online. Registrations are open online from January 12-30, after which the sale will go live on January 30. The first 500 registered users who pay the booking amount of Rs 5,000 on January 30 will be able to purchase the motorcycle. The new colour scheme features an angular camouflage pattern on matte-grey panels and looks to be inspired from the rocky snow-covered Himalayan terrain. The new Himalayan Sleet will come pre-fitted with the Explorer kit which consists of aluminium panniers, pannier-mounting rails and aluminium handlebar with a cross brace. The Explorer kit will go on sale after January 30, which is when Royal Enfield will announce its prices.  The company has also recently updated its Himalayan to correct the previous bike’s reputation for low reliability. The biggest change on the updated Himalayan is that it now uses a fuel-injection system instead of a carburettor; the company has done this in order to meet BS-IV norms. The bike has also undergone other small changes, like the addition of a small metal guard on the oil cooler and matte-black powder coating for the fuel tank cap, and bar-end weights and luggage mounts below the rear seat. Royal Enfield had re-introduced the updated Himalayan last year for Rs 1.65 lakh, which has now been revised to Rs 1.67 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). With a price of Rs 2.12 lakh (on-road, Chennai), the Sleet is priced at Rs 28,000 higher than the standard Himalayan which costs Rs 1.84 lakh (on-road, Chennai). Also see: Royal Enfield discontinues GT 535; GT 650 to be its new flagship model Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350X in the works New Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500X spied [...]
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SIAM: PV sales to end 2018 fiscal with flat growth rate
The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers has forecasted growth in passenger vehicle sales at 9 percent in the fiscal year ending March 2018, flat from the 9.2 percent growth witnessed in 2017 fiscal. However, apex automotive industry body sees growth at the higher end of the earlier projected 7-9 percent due to the fading demonetisation effect and improvement in investment outlook in the coming future, along with improvement in demand as buyers put uncertainty caused due to GST behind them. Additionally, SIAM sees reduction in interest rates on car loans – from 11.25 percent in October 2016 to 10.75 percent, at present – as a boost for the PV segment. So far, this year the auto industry has witnessed an upbeat growth in passenger vehicle sales. Volumes stood at 2.4 million units in April-December 2017 – up 8 percent, year-on-year. UVs continue to drive growth Utility vehicles are set to lead the passenger vehicle growth charge, this fiscal, just like the previous year. SIAM projects UVs to grow at 20 percent and passenger cars at 7 percent. According to Puneet Anand, head of marketing, Hyundai Motors India, most car buyers will continue to favor UVs, as the aggressive segmentation of the UV category has improved affordability. “After various segmentation, the price difference between UVs, traditional sedans and hatchbacks has narrowed, making them more affordable,” said Anand. “Now customers with a budget from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 30 lakh and more have the option of choosing an SUV; which was not the case, earlier.” Indian automakers have responded to the rising preference for SUVs among consumers by ramping up their model line-up with such vehicles; and meeting with considerable success. Models like the Brezza, Creta, EcoSport and Duster have already posted upbeat volumes and have taken over traditional ladder-on-frame UVs, in terms of sales. For instance, Maruti Suzuki has outpaced the country’s UV major, Mahindra & Mahindra, to become India’s largest UV maker. Riding the back of its most popular SUV – the Vitara Brezza – Maruti grabbed 28.60 percent of the UV market share in April-December 2017, as against 25.76 percent in the previous year. In the same timeframe, market share of Mahindra dropped to 25.01 percent from 28.76 percent. [...]
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Honda launches special-edition City, Amaze and WR-V
Honda has launched special editions of its Amaze compact sedan, City sedan and WR-V compact crossover in India. The special-edition model for the City will come with a ‘20th Anniversary Edition’ emblem (to commemorate its 20th anniversary in India), while the Amaze (due for a replacement soon) and the WR-V wear ‘Pride Edition’ and ‘Edge Edition’ monikers, respectively. Honda City 20th Anniversary Edition The 20th Anniversary Edition of the City gets a chrome garnish on the side and centre of the front bumper, on the lower edge of the doors and on the boot lid. With this special-edition model, Honda is also providing a one-month free subscription to its Connect app. This model is based on the top-spec ZX variant and is available at a price of Rs 13.75 lakh for the petrol-CVT variant and Rs 13.82 lakh for the diesel-manual variant. Honda Amaze Pride Edition On the outside, the Amaze Pride Edition gets door protectors on the outside. Honda, however, has added a handful of features on the inside, which adds a tad more value to the existing model. The interior package borrows the DIGIPAD infotainment system from the City, which is a 7.0-inch touchscreen system with navigation. The package also includes leather seat covers with ‘Pride Edition’ embedded on them, a front centre armrest and a new steering wheel cover. Honda has also added rear parking sensors. The ‘Pride Edition’ is based on the Amaze S(O) variant, and is priced at Rs 6.30 lakh for the petrol variant, and Rs 7.83 lakh for the diesel. Honda WR-V Edge Edition The WR-V, launched in 2017, is Honda’s first compact crossover in the country and for a few months had outpaced the City in terms of sales to become a bestseller for the carmaker. The WR-V Edge Edition comes with the same 16-inch alloy wheels but with a gunmetal finish, a rear camera with a display on the inside rear-view mirror, rear parking sensors and the Honda Connect app with a one-month free subscription. The base S variant has been used as the base for the WR-V Edge Edition and is available at Rs 8.01 lakh for the petrol and Rs 9.05 lakh for the diesel. (All prices ex-showroom, Delhi).  Also see: India-bound Honda HR-V facelift spied Honda FCV Clarity review, test drive Honda India sees future for diesels beyond 2020 [...]
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Jeep Compass, TVS Apache RR 310 clinch top honours at Autocar Awards 2018
Jeep and TVS won big at the Autocar Awards 2018, with the Compass being crowned the Car of the Year, and the Apache RR 310 winning the Bike of the Year title. The jury's picks mirrored the sentiments of the viewers, as the Compass and Apache also won the Viewers' Choice Car and Bike of the Year awards, respectively. Victory was sweeter still for the Compass, which also picked up the Premium SUV of the Year award. The evening was a memorable one for Maruti Suzuki. Apart from winning the Manufacturer of the Year award, it picked up three more honours: the Dzire secured the Compact Sedan of the Year award, the Baleno RS bagged the Variant of the Year accolade and the Autocar Professional Man of the Year title went to Kenichi Ayukawa, MD and CEO, Maruti Suzuki India Limited. In other important categories, the Ford EcoSport lay claim to the Compact SUV of the Year title, and the Hyundai Verna was adjudged Sedan of the Year. The Tata Nexon sealed the Best Design & Styling and Value for Money Car of the Year awards, while the Skoda Octavia RS was declared the Best Driver's Car.  In the performance division, the Audi S5 won Performance Car of the Year and the Triumph Street Triple RS was chosen as the Performance Bike of the Year. As for awards in the luxury category, it was the Mercedes-Benz E-class that snapped up the Luxury Car of the Year, and the Volvo XC60 took home the Luxury SUV of the Year title. Mahindra Racing picked up the Motorsport award for the success it tasted last year in Formula E. 1. Car of the Year – Jeep Compass 2. Bike of the Year – TVS Apache RR 310 3. Viewers' Choice Car of the Year – Jeep Compass 4. Viewers' Choice Bike of the Year – TVS Apache RR 310 5. Best Design & Styling – Tata Nexon 6. Best Value for Money Car of the Year – Tata Nexon 7. Variant of the Year – Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS 8. Manufacturer of the Year – Maruti Suzuki India Ltd 9. Performance Car of the Year – Audi S5 10. Performance Bike of the Year – Triumph Street Triple RS 11. Compact sedan of the Year – Maruti Suzuki Dzire 12. Sedan of the Year – Hyundai Verna 13. Compact SUV of the Year – Ford EcoSport 14. Premium SUV of the Year – Jeep Compass 15. Luxury SUV of the Year – Volvo XC60 16. Scooter of the Year – Honda Grazia 17. Premium Bike of the Year – Honda Africa Twin AT 18. Import Bike of the Year – Kawasaki Z900 19. Motorsport Award – Mahindra Racing 20. Autocar Professional Man of the Year – Kenichi Ayukawa – MD & CEO, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd 21. Technology and Innovation Award of the Year – BMW 5-series 22. Engine of the Year – Ford ‘Dragon’ 1.5 petrol 23. Luxury Car of the Year – Mercedes- Benz E-class 24. Best Driver's Car of the Year – Skoda Octavia RS [...]
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Datsun Redigo 1.0 AMT bookings open
Datsun has opened its new Redigo 1.0 AMT for pre-bookings at an amount of Rs 10,000. Expected to launch in the coming days, the five-speed AMT will only be offered on the 68hp, 1.0-litre engine option. The delivery of the hatchback will begin from January 23, 2018. This engine and transmission combination is, unsurprisingly, shared with the Renault Kwid AMT. However, it’s not yet known whether the Redigo AMT will get a conventional gear lever or a rotary controller for the gearbox (seen on the Kwid). The Kwid’s AMT doesn’t allow for a sequential-like manual gear shift, putting it at somewhat of a disadvantage compared to rivals like the Maruti Alto K10 AMT. Expect exterior and interior design, and kit levels to be shared with the manual Redigo, albeit with the addition of AMT badges. Prices for the Datsun Redigo AMT are expected to be approximately Rs 30,000 over the standard manual Redigo. Expect a price tag in the range of Rs 3.9 lakh to Rs 4.1 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), depending on the variant. Also see: 2017 Datsun Redigo 1.0 video review  Datsun Redigo review, road test Datsun rolls out 100,000th car in India [...]
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Volkswagen Ameo Cup 2018 registrations open
Volkswagen Motorsport India has opened registrations for the 2018 season of its Ameo Cup series. Applicants will be put through a special Drivers’ Selection round that will be held at the IndiKarting Track in Kharadi, Pune, on January 27-28, 2018. The format of the Volkswagen Ameo Cup 2018 will be the same as last year’s, with a grid of 20 equally prepared cars battling it out over 10 races scheduled across the year. The series will have rounds conducted at multiple racetracks in India, including the Madras Motor Race Track near Chennai, Kari Motor Speedway near Coimbatore and the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida. Last year’s Ameo Cup title was won by Karminder Singh. “Volkswagen Ameo Cup is a one of a kind professional track racing series for amateurs and aspiring racing drivers. Currently in its ninth year, Volkswagen has stayed committed in its efforts to promote Motorsport in India and will continue to do so going forward. The last eight years have seen remarkable progress in terms of infrastructure, development and technology, and this progress will help make the Volkswagen Ameo Cup 2018 a season to remember,” commented Sirish Vissa, Head of Volkswagen Motorsport India. Those interested can fill the online registration form here. The last date to register is January 21, 2018. [...]
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Hyundai’s fuel cell-based Nexo SUV revealed at CES
Hyundai has revealed the Nexo hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The 161hp SUV has a fuel cell capacity of 95kW and a range of 805km. Its torque rating stands at 395Nm and it does 0-100kph in 9.5sec. The Nexo will serve as the technological flagship of the brand's range of electrified cars. Hyundai claims that the powertrain is as durable as internal combustion engine-powered cars, and can be refuelled in as little as five minutes, compared with the several hours of the latest electric vehicles on the market. It is 4,671mm in length, 1859mm in width and 1,630mm in height. The SUV will come with a host of Hyundai's fully autonomous systems and includes a next-generation Blind Spot Monitor, which demonstrates to the driver their position in relation to other road users. It also gets Lane Following Assist (LFA) and Highway Driving Assist; while the former can steer, accelerate and brake the car at speeds, the latter uses map data and builds on LFA to control the car's speed according to the speed limit of the road, as well as using sensors to detect environmental conditions. The Nexo is also fitted with a remote parking system, enabling the car to park itself with or without a driver aboard. The design of the car draws heavily from the FE Fuel Cell Concept shown at the Geneva motor show last year.  [...]
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2018 Hyundai Verna 1.4 petrol priced from Rs 7.99 lakh
Hyundai has added a 1.4-litre petrol engine option to its Verna line-up. The 1,368cc motor, mated to a five-speed manual gearbox, is expected to make 98.6hp and 134Nm of torque, and is the second petrol unit in the mid-size sedan's line-up, with the other one being the more powerful 1.6-litre option.  The starting price (ex-showroom, Mumbai) for the Verna 1.4 E variant is Rs 7.29 lakh. Hyundai has not revealed prices for the better-equipped Verna 1.4 EX trim as of now. The cheaper and less-powerful Verna 1.4 undercuts the 1.6-litre base variant by around Rs 70,000; the 1.6 E MT costs Rs 7.99 lakh.  The 1.4-litre engine in the Verna is the same unit seen in the i20 automatic.  Hyundai, however, will soon discontinue this engine in the hatchback. The feature list for the Verna 1.4 is similar to that of the 1.6-litre version. The base Verna 1.4 E comes with 15-inch steel wheels, dual airbags, ABS, tilt steering, power mirrors, a trip computer, a cooled glovebox, and a rear centre armrest. The Verna 1.4 EX additionally gets keyless entry, rear parking sensors, projector fog lamps, a front armrest, a 5.0-inch touchscreen system with four speakers, cruise control, rear AC vents and a driver’s seat height adjust as well. [...]
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Living with an e-Scooter
 I was pushing the Okinawa Ridge up a flyover on the very first day I got it. I’ll be honest: I was mighty annoyed. A bunch of scooter riders stopped to ask me if I had run out of fuel; “I wish,” I mumbled to myself. Two days later, the agony of that first experience had all but vanished. You see, the Ridge came to me with just one bar worth of charge, and that remnant juice wasn’t enough to pull the scooter and its rider up an incline. Once I had a full charge though, things were very different. But let’s start from the basics. The Ridge is a typical electric scooter – batteries under the seat and an electric motor housed in the rear wheel hub. Charging is through a regular three-pin AC socket. Unfortunately, the battery isn’t a removable unit like in some smaller e-scooters, so one needs a socket in the parking area, or an extension cord to wherever the scooter is parked. Okinawa claims a full charge can be achieved in 4-6 hours, though in my experience, you aren’t looking at anything less than seven hours. While the whole charging shebang might be novel for you, the actual riding experience won’t, which is the great thing about the Ridge. Most other e-scooters feel awkward to ride, especially in terms of ergonomics, but the Ridge is almost natural. It’s the same size as most petrol-powered scooters, adequately comfortable and decently peppy for city riding. It’ll carry two people easily (unless you’re on one bar of charge) and cruise at a heady 55kph with the throttle fully rolled open. Cruising at 55, however, comes at a cost – charge. Okinawa claims a lofty range of 80-90km for the Ridge, but keep it in Sport mode (needed to touch 55kph) and the battery runs out in around 50km. In Eco mode (speed limited to 35kph with dulled throttle responses), though, you can get nearly 70km out. Fair warning, the charge indicator isn’t particularly accurate; it was not uncommon for the number of bars to fluctuate between one and three at their own whim. There are a handful of other issues with the Ridge. The front and rear drum brakes are woefully ineffective and the silence of the electric operation is countered by the rattling noises from loose plastic panels. Furthermore, the Ridge didn’t have a trip meter that would allow me to easily know the distance covered since full charge. Storage space is sparse; the tiny underseat storage wouldn’t take a full-face helmet, and squeezing in a half-face one would also be tricky on account of having to stash the charger there too. And finally, there’s the ergonomics of the switchgear; my fingers wouldn’t reach the turn signal switches or the horn unless I took my hand off the grips. But these problems are mere inconveniences. Living with the Ridge is actually quite pleasant. I have to travel a relatively short distance to work – a 6km round trip – which meant that a full charge lasted me a week’s worth of office commutes. Ownership costs are laudably low, as due to the relatively fewer number of moving parts, maintenance is inexpensive. Okinawa offers three free services, after which paid services are recommended at 2,000km intervals. The battery has a limited lifespan – two years as per Okinawa’s claim – though the actual life is determined by the number of charge cycles and usage patterns. Replacement costs around Rs 10,000, which isn’t too bad when you consider the running costs. A full charge consumes about three units of electricity, which costs a negligible amount, depending on the structure of your electricity bill. The Okinawa Ridge is a fairly amicable e-scooter to live with, but that statement comes with some caveats: your everyday mileage needs to be low and you need to have a convenient place to park and charge your scooter (constantly ‘borrowing’ power from your neighbourhood grocery store, like I did, isn’t a sustainable solution). If you can work around this, the Ridge is a realistic alternative to a standard petrol-powered scooter. [...]
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Audi considering two-door BMW 8-series rival
Audi's design boss Marc Lichte is keen on developing a luxury coupé to rival the upcoming BMW 8-series, but he does not believe that market demand is currently strong enough to justify such a model. When asked about Audi’s lack of presence in the segment, Lichte said: “I love the shape of a two-door coupé, but it is also true that the [sales] volumes [for them] are much lower than for four-doors. In the future, who knows? We have many ideas in this direction.” The luxury coupés sector has enjoyed a resurgence with the forthcoming 8-series which will take on the Mercedes-Benz S-class Coupe, as well as the new Polestar 1 – the first model from Volvo’s new performance arm. In the recent years, Audi has shifted its attention away from two-doors, but the Prologue concept car revealed at the Los Angeles motor show in 2014, hinted at how a range-topping coupé from Ingolstadt might look. The Prologue, one of Lichte’s first designs for the company, was ostensibly a car to preview Audi’s then-new design language, but could yet be the inspiration for the oft-mooted A9 two-door flagship. The Prologue concept was pitched as a potential sister car to the current A8, which was still in development at the time. At 5,100mm in length, 1,950mm in width and 1,390mm in height, the show car is 35mm shorter, 1mm narrower and 70mm lower than the A8. Despite the growing number of luxury coupé offerings from rival manufacturers, a two-door is unlikely to arrive before 2019, because Audi’s current model schedule has four new launches lined up. About the coupé's launch, Lichte said: “First we must launch the A6, then we have the Q8 next year, A1 and Q3. We won’t do anything before this. It’s step by step.”     [...]
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2018 Ford Ranger facelift spied
Ford is readying a mid-cycle facelift for its popular Ranger pickup truck. The Ranger shares its underpinnings with the Endeavour SUV which is also sold in India. The updated Ranger will make its debut in Thailand first, followed by other international markets. A North American debut is on the cards as well. New spy shots have emerged of a minor facelift for the T6 generation Ranger, which has been on sale in the ASEAN markets since 2015.  This facelift, in comparison to the current Ranger, is a not a major one. Most noticeable of all changes is with the grille, which is now smaller and less in-your-face than before. The chrome borders are slimmer and the chunky chrome bar on which the Blue Oval badge is mounted has been split into two longer bars. The front bumper, too, has been reworked, LED DRLs have been added and the facelift wears 'Limited' badging, which could be a new top-spec variant slotting in above the XLT. All changes accounted for, the Ranger now looks more premium and more like the SUV it shares its underpinnings with – the Everest (or the Endeavour, as we know it). That said, the Endeavour is due for a midlife refresh of its own and has been spied testing internationally. For the international markets, the Ford Ranger is offered with a 2.2-litre Duratorq diesel engine with outputs ranging from 125 to 160hp and 320 to 385Nm of torque. Also available is a 3.2-litre, five-cylinder turbo-diesel with 200hp and 470Nm of torque. Gearbox options for the Ranger include a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic. There's no word on whether Ford plans to introduce the Ranger in India, but if it does, it'll have competition in the form of the Isuzu D-Max V-Cross. [...]
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Review: 2018 Audi Q5 diesel India review, test drive
Pictures don’t lie. Not most of the time, anyway, but I have to admit, when I first saw pictures of the new Audi Q5, I kind of wished that they were at least hiding something. At the front, it was hard to tell apart from the Q7 – the big hexagonal grille with a matte chrome surround, signature LED headlamps, and crease after Teutonic crease. Moreover, from there backward, it looked the same as the last Q5, and though their LED pattern was all new, the tail-lamps were almost the same shape. Had the Audi design team finally taken the ‘family look’ a bit too far? Well, it’s a frigid morning on an empty stretch of highway in Jaipur and my breakfast is a nice, heavy helping of my own words. Yes, it’s only a little bit larger than the last Q5, but there’s a nuance to the design that makes this brand-new, second-generation Q5 look altogether more athletic and, visually, a little more compact. That Q7-like grille and headlamp combination are more raked back and angular and the daytime running lamp signature is quite different. Even around the sides, there’s a thick crease that curves over the wheel arches and to the tail, and a more pronounced ‘dimple’ in the doors. Yes, the rear is still reminiscent of the last car, but the LED pattern in the lamps is all new and there’s a small rear undertray with faux exhaust tips that adds a bit of character. In classic Audi fashion, it’s a design that will probably grow on you in time. The 18-inch alloys, though, do look a bit too ordinary – I wish they’d opted for a more dramatic-looking set. SAME, BUT DIFFERENT It’s on this deserted desert highway that I’m getting my first glimpse of this car, the orange glow of the dawn bringing those new lines to life. And also glinting in that light is the badge – 35 TDI. Now I’ve learned enough about Audi’s new badging scheme over the last few years to know that this isn’t the V6 model, but instead the 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel. But what I’m happy to find (after a little digging) is that it’s the brand-new 190hp, 400Nm engine that’s in the A4. And because this new Q5 is built on the same new MLB Evo platform as the Q7, it’s as much as 90kg lighter, in some variants, than the old car. That bodes well for fuel economy and performance, and though I won’t get a proper chance to test the former today, I certainly can tell you about the latter. It feels deceptively quick. Not in an electrifying way like, say, a larger six-cylinder engine, but rather in the smooth, silent swell of torque that we’ve now come to expect from newer VW Group diesel engines. This version of Audi’s seven-speed ‘S-Tronic’ dual-clutch gearbox feels quick as ever with its shifts and is really good at sensing what you want from it almost before you’ve provided an input. The difference is, this time it feels a lot smoother and more refined than what we’re used to, to the point that it almost feels like a torque-converter automatic. The Q5 for India, of course, has Quattro all-wheel drive and that allows it to put power down really effectively. Not that any customer realistically would, but it’s really easy to launch this car quickly – it simply lunges off the line with very little drama. Audi claims a 7.9sec 0-100kph time, and for a 1.9-tonne SUV with a four-cylinder engine that’s really not too shabby at all, and perfectly believable. We will, of course, need to strap our testing equipment to it soon to verify that for you. It then proceeds to pull strongly to the redline, with an especially healthy mid-range, as it hurtles me down the Rajasthani national highway, quickly reaching three-digit speeds and holding me there with a confident ease. It’s smoother and more linear than the older versions of the 2.0 TDI, but it still delivers a nice kick. Still, this is not a performance car, and what owners are likely going to appreciate more is the refinement, and that’s something the new Q5 does exceptionally well. There’s a welcome hush on the move at just about any speed, and it’s not just the engine; even road  and wind noise are locked firmly out of the cabin. Part-throttle driving, likely what a Q5 will spend a lot of time doing in city traffic, is also an easy and relaxed affair. The gearbox works around any turbo lag there might be, and even when it does shift, it’s a small and barely-felt interruption to the flow of power. JUST DESERT This is a highway in Rajasthan, and that means, search as relentlessly as I do, there isn’t a corner in sight. Some wide, meandering bends, sure, but nothing to really put the chassis under duress. Again, this is not a sportscar, so perhaps that isn’t critical here, but there’s a very interesting new addition to the specification that makes me want to get a better se [...]
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SCOOP! 2018 Bajaj Discover 110 to be priced at Rs 50,500
The new Bajaj Discover 110 is ready to be re-introduced. Spy shots of the motorcycle at dealerships have emerged and the 110 will be the second Discover model to be offered by Bajaj – and the sixth commuter, in the range. The other commuters Bajaj currently has on sale are the CT100B, Platina 100, Discover 125, V12 and V15. To be slotted between the Platina 100 and Discover 125, the Discover 110 aims to offer the styling of the Discover in a more economical package. For 2018, both Discover iterations get five-spoke (or ten-spoke, depending on how you assess the wheel design) alloys in matte black – replacing the silver five-spoke alloys on the existing 125 – and new graphics, as well. The Discover 110 is not expected to be a feature-heavy motorcycle – although it does get a digi-analogue instrument cluster, an electric starter, a blacked-out lower half (all cycle parts, essentially), handlebar-end weights and dual shock absorbers with a piggyback reservoir. However, the 110 will not be offered with a disc brake as standard. The DTS-i motor isn’t exactly an all-new unit but boasts substantial updates to make it efficient, as well as a relatively involving motorcycle to ride. We expect this motor to produce 9.5hp and 9.5Nm of torque and it's likely to be paired to a 4-speed gearbox with an all-down shift pattern.  The Discover 110 will compete with the likes of the Hero MotoCorp Passion Pro/XPro and the TVS Victor 110. It will be priced at Rs 50,500 (ex-showroom, Pune), at which point it will undercut its two primary rivals by Rs 3,000-4,000. That aside, the Discover also has the pricing advantage because it isn’t equipped with a disc brake. The Discover 110 will be launched alongside other updated Bajaj motorcycles in the first half of January 2018 – stay tuned for more updates! [...]
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Maruti dealers begin to accept new Swift bookings
The new Maruti Swift will launch in the Indian market in the coming weeks. Slated to be one of the biggest launches this year, the India-spec Swift was seen for the first time, recently. A quick check with multiple dealers reveals that some of them have unofficially begun accepting bookings for the new model. Maruti is yet to announce the details for the new Swift for India. Dealers tell us that customers whose bookings have been accepted for the outgoing car will get the new model automatically if stocks of the older car are depleted – which is the case at most locations. A handful of dealers have also begun to accept fresh bookings for the car. Booking amounts vary between locations since there is no official announcement. Deliveries for the new Swift in India are being promised by the end-February or early in March, according to our sources. The new Swift will continue to be powered by the current crop of engines, a 1.2-litre petrol and the 1.3-litre diesel. However, Maruti will offer automatic gearbox variants too – like with the new Dzire. The new model is built on the same platform as Baleno, albeit around 10-15 percent lighter. The new Swift’s cabin is likely to continue with all-black theme, like the outgoing model. The new model is likely to retain the international-spec car’s minimalistic dashboard with a new, upmarket steering wheel and sporty, two-pod instrument cluster. We expect fully-loaded variants to also get more equipment – such as a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink. Key rivals to the new Swift include the Hyundai Grand i10 and the Ford Figo. The latter is also expected to get a mid-cycle update in the coming months. Image source [...]
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Passenger vehicle sales mixed in December
India's passenger vehicle sales were a mixed bag in December. Carmakers such as Maruti, Tata Motors and Honda registered strong growth while Mahindra, Ford and Toyota witnessed a decline in sales. The country's second-largest carmaker, Hyundai, posted nearly flat volume growth. Some automakers' volumes were high, on account of a low base, as demonetization had affected demand during the same month, last year. However, annual factory maintenance hurt volumes for some companies. Furthermore, most dealers typically maintain low inventory levels during the last month of the year.  Maruti Suzuki The company that sells every second car sold in India has continued to post double-digit growth in December. Maruti sold 1,18,560 units in December as compared to 1,06,388 units in the same period last year – an uptick of 11.4 percent. The compact car, utility vehicle and van segment continued to post double-digit growth with 23.2 percent, 19.9 percent and 23.8 percent respectively. The top sellers for Maruti – the Alto and Wagon R – sold 32,146 units combined; up 2 percent. However, volumes of the company’s mid-size sedan, the Ciaz, fell significantly by 35.8 percent, to 2,382 units. Hyundai India’s second-largest carmaker registered a flat sales growth (0.3 percent). Volumes stood at 40,158 units – up from 40,057 units in December 2016. Mahindra & Mahindra Domestic utility vehicle major Mahindra & Mahindra reported sales of 15,543 units – a decline of 7 percent, when compared to the 16,799 units in December 2016. The automaker has lost its leadership position among utility vehicles to Maruti, amidst rising competition. Its market share has reduced to 25.39 percent in Apr-Nov 2017, from 28.93 percent in the previous year. In December, it sold 14,514 utility vehicles, down 9 percent.  Tata Motors Backed by new launches, Tata Motors is on the growth trajectory. Last year the company had just the Tiago hatchback as a consistent performer; but this year the company has added three more products – Tigor, Hexa and Nexon – in its line-up, thereby boosting volumes. The company sold 14,180 units in December as against 10,827 units last year, up 31 percent. Toyota Kirloskar Toyota registered a significant decline in sales as volumes slipped to 10,793 units, compared to 12,747 units in the previous year, down 15.32 percent. The automaker said sales of the Camry Hybrid received a negatively impact, due to the steep hike in price, following higher taxation on hybrid vehicles under GST. Honda Cars Japanese automaker Honda is among the gainers, this month. The company posted a 26 percent growth in December 2017 at 12,642 units against 10,071 units in December 2016. Company’s previous best-seller, the City, has regained top-spot this month with sales of 4,365 units followed by WR-V at 3,760 units. Ford India American automaker Ford witnessed de-growth of 8.6 percent in volumes at 5,087 units, compared to 5,566 units last year. However, Ford’s export volumes are on the upswing as it exported 24,708 units compared to 17,904 units last year, up 38 percent. Company December 2016 December 2017 Percentage Change Maruti Suzuki 106,388 118,560 11.4% Hyundai Motor 40,057 40,158 0.3 % Mahindra 16,799 15,543 -7 % Tata Motors 10,827 14,180 31 % Toyota Kirloskar 12,747  10,793 -15.32 % Honda Cars 10,071 12,642 26 % Ford India 5566 5087 -8.60 %   [...]
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2017 Volvo XC60: 5 things to know
The Volvo XC60 looks like a shrunken XC90, and, in many ways, that parallel is not wrong; after all, it gets a whole lot of tech and features borrowed from its big brother. Available in only one fully loaded variant, with just one powertrain on offer for now, the XC60 is a tempting package as far as mid-size luxury SUVs go. Get yourself up to date on Sweden’s latest with our comprehensive 5-things-to-know list: 1. It has much in common with the larger XC90: The XC60 has much in common with its accomplished elder sibling, the XC90. First up, they are both built on the same Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform. Both come powered by the same 2.0-litre bi-turbo Diesel engine that makes a strong 235hp; and both come with eight-speed auto gearboxes and all-wheel drive. Visually, the XC60 follows Volvo's new look that debuted on the XC90, and like all new Volvo's features, gets the distinctive Thor’s Hammer LED daytime running lights. However, the XC60 is no clone of the XC90. It's smaller, offers two rows of seating only and is different in profile too courtesy a lower roof and a distinctly raked D-pillar that immediately links this model to its predecessor. 2. There’s just one powertrain option...for now: The XC60 has been launched with a single powertrain option – the aforementioned 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine that produces 235hp and 480Nm of torque. The engine stands out for its use of compressed air to minimise turbo lag at low revs.  Interesting as the tech is and strong as the engine is, it won't be the only powertrain on offer. Volvo will expand the line up with a petrol engine, or perhaps a hybrid, further down the line. 3. There’s going to be a Tech Pack: The XC60 comes loaded with a host of tech and features as standard – there’ll be a 15-speaker Bowers and Wilkins audio system, 9.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, 12.3-inch instrument cluster, heated front and rear seats, a panoramic sunroof and a powered boot-lid. The launch version, however, features something called the Tech Pack, which adds features such as air suspension, Nappa leather upholstery, ventilated front seats with a massage function, a heads-up display, 360-degree parking system and the BLIS Cross-Traffic alert system. The regular version that will go on sale after the launch version has run out and will offer the Tech Pack as an optional add-on. 4. The XC60, as expected, is big on safety: All Volvos are big on safety and the XC90 is no exception. Apart from the usual bevy of electronic nannies and airbags, the XC60 also features radar-based driver assistance systems such as the BLIS Cross-Traffic alert system with steering assist and city safety, oncoming traffic mitigation, adaptive cruise control, pilot assist, lane assist, blind spot detection, pedestrian, cyclist and large animal detection and a whole lot more. 5. The price tag reads Rs 55.9 lakh: The XC60’s single variant is priced at Rs 55.9 lakh (ex-showroom, India), putting it in competition with the top-end variants of the BMW X3 (Rs 54 lakh), Mercedes GLC (Rs 51.73 lakh) and Land Rover Discovery Sport (Rs 55.47 lakh) (all prices, ex-showroom). Also see: 2017 Volvo XC60 India video review 2017 Volvo XC60 India review, test drive 2017 Volvo XC60 launched at Rs 55.90 lakh [...]
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Audi to adopt a new approach to design
Audi will do away with the ‘Russian doll’ design philosophy it has become synonymous with, in order to give upcoming models more defined looks.   Like its German rivals Mercedes and BMW, the Ingolstadt carmaker’s designers, in the recent years, have employed a technique of consistency across the bulk of its line-up. However, since the launch of the Q2, model designs have become more varied. “This [repetition] design process was used to make Audis more recognisable in newer and emerging markets like China,” explained the company’s chief executive, Rupert Stadler. “Now since we are well known in China, we can begin to change this philosophy and give each car its own look.” Design boss Marc Lichte added: “We recognise that there is a place for more differentiation now. Since our cars are in production for a minimum of six years, in today’s world, I think each model should have its own design to be attractive for this long time.” Lichte believes the biggest step forward for design at Audi will come when the marque launches more electric cars after the E-tron Quattro SUV, which is due internationally next year. He stated that the more compact dimensions of electric powertrains mean “proportions can change” for the better. “Design will go in a very different way,” Lichte continued. “[Designers] will have more material space to play with, so we’ll be able to produce [vehicles with] shorter overhangs and lower bonnets. It makes for a more attractive design overall.”   [...]
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