Hyundai is evaluating a micro SUV for India, Y.K. Koo, managing director and CEO, Hyundai Motor India has disclosed to Autocar India. The model in question will be positioned under Hyundai’s upcoming Carlino concept-based sub-4m SUV (code: QXI).
"Maybe later, we can introduce a micro SUV that is smaller than the QXI. This would enable us to have a strong SUV line-up comprising of the micro SUV, the sub-4 metre QXI and the Creta and then maybe the Tucson," Koo told Autocar India in an interview.
Hyundai is conducting surveys and studies to ascertain the possible market for the micro SUV, which is not part of its plan to launch eight new products in India by 2020. The new model is said to be a good three-four years away from production, subject to the project getting a green light. Also, a mass volume product like an affordable micro SUV will require additional production capacity as the current plant is running beyond its installed capacity of 700,000 units a year on a three-shift basis. Additional capacity is unlikely to be added before 2020.
Sources at Hyundai hint the carmaker's decision to go ahead with the micro SUV could be based on the response to Maruti Suzuki's own micro SUV - the production version of the Future-S Concept from Auto Expo 2018. Currently under development, this new body style from Maruti (codename: Y1K) will launch in 2020. Rivals for the potential micro SUV from Hyundai will also include the Renault Kwid that can be credited with pioneering the SUV-inspired look in the small car space.
Hyundai has met with tremendous success in the mass market SUV space, with the Creta consistently being a top 10 seller in India right from launch in 2015. A well-received micro SUV could just enhance sales exponentially.
For now, Hyundai has its hands full as it gears up to launch its new small car this festive season. [...]
If you tend to travel frequently with your helmet as hand luggage you’ll want to invest in something safer and more convenient to carry it around in than the standard cloth bag that most helmets ship with. This is where the Viaterra helmet bag comes in. It is essentially a helmet-shaped bag with a flat bottom and a decent level of padding all around to protect the helmet from small bumps and impacts. It is quite large and can hold nearly all full-face helmets. It will take an MX helmet, too, if you dismantle the peak. The top of the bag folds down when not in use, making it fairly compact to stow away.
The bag is constructed out of a durable 300D ripstop material and triple-stitching at stress points adds to the toughness quotient. The inside around the visor area is lined with a soft material to avoid scratches and there’s also a mesh pocket at the bottom to store a balaclava or any small items like spare ear plugs, etc. Overall, the materials used are of a high quality and the bag feels reassuringly durable.
The bag closes using a long YKK zipper with dual sliders, extending nearly all the way around the diameter of the helmet, making it easy to get it in and out. You can either carry the bag by a rubberised grab handle at the front or by using the removable shoulder strap. Both feel strong and sturdy, but I’d have liked to see a dual grab handle, one on either side of the zipper, as this will help prevent disaster in the unlikely event of a zipper failure or the more likely case of forgetting to close the zipper in the first place.
At about Rs 2,000, this bag is a little expensive, but I’m happy with the level of protection it offers my helmet. It feels worth the money.
Price: Rs 1,999 [...]
The 2018 edition of the Gumball 3000 rally is expected to see 100 exclusively selected cars participate in the annual celebrity rally, scheduled to take place from August 4 to August 12. The cars will traverse a 3,000-mile (4,828km) route on public roads, starting in London and goes all the way to Tokyo.
Going beyond the luxury automotive tour, the rally stops at famous landmarks in each city, where some of the rarest and most exclusive cars are displayed, along with stunts and performances by petrolheads and music artists. Having morphed into a week-long festival of sorts, the Gumball 3000 sees live music concerts, action sports and spectacular car shows hosted in capital cities. Celebrity attendees include the likes of David Hasselhoff, Snoop Dogg, EVE, Travis Barker, Xzibit, Adrien Brody, Tyson Beckford, David Guetta, deadmau5, Michael Madsen, Daryl Hannah, Steve Aoki, Tony Hawk and Dennis Rodman.
This year, Pradeep Jolly, and his wife Sugandh Jolly, will participate in this year’s edition of the Gumball 3000 in a Nissan GT-R. [...]
Sahara Force India Academy racer Jehan Daruvala claimed his first victory of the 2018 FIA Formula 3 European Championship, winning Race 1 at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. Daruvala started the race from pole position and consolidated his win with a fastest lap as well.
After a poor getaway from pole position in Race 1, Daruvala found himself in third place at the exit of Eau Rouge on lap one. He managed to climb up to second place before a safety car period came into effect, owing to an incident further down the field.
Once racing resumed, Daruvala passed Alex Palou for the lead, and then pulled away to achieve a comfortable win with a 3.2sec gap. Estonian driver Ralf Aron rounded out the podium in third, finishing 11.9sec behind Daruvala.
“The start was not ideal, but I kept my cool as I knew we were quick. Once I was ahead, I just had to make sure I made no mistakes. A lot of credit goes to the team for all the effort that they have put in,” commented Daruvala.
The Carlin racer then backed up his race win with another strong showing in Race 2, climbing from his 12th place starting position to finish on the podium, in third place. He crossed the line just behind Fabio Scherer, while Dan Ticktum stormed from 10th on the grid to win the race.
Daruvala’s third place finish in Race 2 marks his fifth appearance on the podium this season, and he now sits fifth in the drivers’ championship. The 19-year-old is enjoying his strongest weekend in the class so far, and will be starting Race 3 from fourth on the grid. [...]
Hyundai will reveal the name of its new small car on October 4, 2018, ahead of the model’s market launch in the last week of the same month.
Autocar India had broken the news of Hyundai toying with the idea of bringing back the Santro name for the budget hatchback, and it is now expected the new small car will be called the Santro, albeit with a suffix.
The 'Santro' name is understood to get a suffix, in the same way ‘Xing’ followed the moniker on the facelifted version of the original car. Hyundai will launch a contest on August 16 inviting suggestions for the model’s full name. Interestingly, Hyundai’s Korean compatriot Kia also ran a campaign inviting names for the production version of the SP concept that will go on sale in 2019.
The Santro is the car that established Hyundai in India and, even today, the name enjoys strong brand equity and recall. Christening the new model Santro has financial implications as well as it could save Hyundai big money that would have been spent on establishing an all-new nameplate. Autocar India has learnt Hyundai is planning a big bang launch for the new model and has earmarked a massive budget for its marketing campaign.
The new Hyundai will come in as a replacement for the Eon. Spy pics of the car spotted on test point to a high roof or tall boy design ( a la the original Santro). In true Hyundai fashion, the car is expected to boast a premium cabin in its materials and fit-finish. The model will be powered by an updated version of the Santro Xing’s 1.1-litre petrol engine and will also be the first Hyundai to be offered with the option of an automated manual transmission based on a five-speed gearbox.
The small car will be a new offering in the budget segment that’s not seen much action of late. Rivals for the new model will include the Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 and the Tata Tiago. [...]
A year ago, our sister publication, Autocar UK, was told that Jaguar Land Rover was using 'Road Rover' merely as an internal codename for a new model line. Today, JLR has applied for the trademark to the Road Rover moniker.
Brands often apply for name trademarks to ensure that the brand name – or names similar to their other products – can’t be used by rivals as a means to protect potential future branding. However, aside for the name 'Road Rover' being used in internal communications, it had also been touted as a potential name for a number of the carmaker's previous prototypes.
The name could still be used for Land Rover’s first production EV – a premium electric model aimed primarily at markets such as the US and China – which is due before 2020.
Road Rover is, like Velar, the name of an experimental model from the company's history. It was first proposed at the beginning of the 1950s as a concept to bridge the gap between Rover cars and the original Land Rover. It was then revived in the 1960s as a three-door estate idea and provided the intellectual basis for the concept that became the original Range Rover.
The first modern Road Rover is understood to be a Mercedes-Benz S-Class rival in terms of outright luxury and interior craftsmanship, albeit with some all-terrain capability. The car will also be tuned for impressive on-road dynamic performance, taking advantage of the potential delivered by electric motors. Over time, the Road Rover line-up is expected to evolve into a series of more car-like and road-friendly vehicles that maintain their generations-old rugged build.
The car is expected to make its public debut at the Los Angeles motor show in late-2019. We still have no idea if the company has intentions of an India launch. [...]
It got a fair amount of attention at the Auto Expo 2018, but American motorcycle outfit Cleveland CycleWerks has taken a slow and cautious approach to formulating its Indian operations. Now, as confirmed to us by official sources, Cleveland has finally inaugurated its assembly facility on the outskirts of Pune, Maharashtra.
Cleveland will enter the Indian market with a range of two models – the Misfit and the Ace. The latter being available in three variants – Cafe, Deluxe and Scrambler. These motorcycles will be imported as CKD kits from China and locally assembled in Pune. Both motorcycles and all its variants share a 229cc, OHV, single-cylinder, air-cooled motor which produces 15.4hp at 7,000 rpm and 16Nm of torque at 6,000 rpm mated to a five-speed gearbox.
The Misfit employs a tubular, steel backbone-type dual-cradle chassis while the Ace gets a square-section single-downtube frame. A USD fork is standard fitment on both motorcycles along with dual shock-absorbers with five-step preload adjustability. The Misfit weighs 144kg, has a 15-litre fuel tank, offers 150mm of ground clearance and gets steel rims with wire spokes. In addition, the bike gets a 320mm disc with a four-piston radial-mount calliper at the front and a 220mm disc at the rear.
The Ace weighs 133kg, features a 14-litre fuel tank and boasts a ground clearance of between 150-180mm (for the Scrambler). It gets a 298mm disc with a twin-piston calliper at the front, a 210mm disc with a single-piston calliper at the rear and aluminium wire-spoke rims. Both models should offer at least single-channel ABS as standard, as required by the current norms.
The American brand has partnered with Hyderabad-based Laish-Madison Motor Werks for production and distribution in India. At the time of launch, Cleveland will have nine sales and service outlets in place, with a plan to hike that number to a sizeable 30 before the end of the year.
With indicative prices of between Rs 2-2.5 lakh, Cleveland Cyclewerks may have an uphill task ahead, given how competitive that price band is. Considering its motorcycles boast specifications (in terms of powertrain) that are more in tune with the 150cc motorcycles on sale in India right now, Cleveland’s probable highlight will be its choice of cycle parts and the brand’s exclusivity factor. [...]
Mercedes-Benz has released a first set of images and details of the standard version of its new A-class sedan.
The latest-gen A-class range has already been seen in hatchback and China-only long-wheelbase sedan form. The global sedan with a conventional wheelbase length, designed to rival the Audi A3 sedan and upcoming BMW 2-series Gran Coupé, will make its public debut at the Paris motor show in October.
As it slots into Mercedes' line-up under the C-class sedan, it will become the German carmaker’s most affordable four-door model; in a move that mirrors the 1982 launch of the original 190, which sat beneath the E-class and was subsequently rebadged as the C-class.
Mercedes has confirmed that the A-class sedan will be offered with just two engines initially, although further units are planned once production is ramped up.
The enigne options at launch are a turbocharged 1.3-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine with 163hp and 250Nm (badged as the A 200) and a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder diesel with 116hp and 260Nm (badged as the A 180d). Both come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, although, as with the hatchback, a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic 'box with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles is an option.
Together with standard front-wheel-drive versions of the A-class sedan, Mercedes also plans to offer a limited number of four-wheel-drive 4Matic variants, including the A 35 4Matic and A 45 4Matic models from its AMG performance division. The A-class sedan adopts the same front-end styling treatment as the A-class hatchback, with a prominent grille and angular headights that taper into the leading edge of the front fenders.
It’s only behind the B-pillars that the sedan differs from the hatchback, with a longer roof, longer rear doors and a longer rear overhang to accommodate a short, separate boot. At 4,549mm long, 1,796mm wide and 1,446mm tall, the sedan is 130mm longer, has the same width and is 6mm taller than the hatchback, with an identical wheelbase of 2,729mm. In comparison, the Audi A3 sedan measures 4,458mm long, 1,796mm wide and 1,415mm tall, with a 2,637mm wheelbase.
Mercedes says a relatively small frontal area and the extended rear overhang of the sedan make it highly aerodynamically efficient. It has a Cd of 0.22, beating the 0.23 Cd of the firm’s previous aerodynamic production champion, the first-gen CLA four-door coupe.
Inside, the A-class sedan features the same dashboard and advanced infotainment functions as the new hatchback, including Mercedes' new MBUX infotainment system with touchscreen control and speech recognition. Mercedes claims the sedan offers above-average shoulder, elbow and headroom for front seat occupants and class-leading headroom for those in the rear. Its 420-litre boot capacity, however, doesn’t quite match the 425 litres of the smaller A3 sedan.
The A-class sedan is built on Mercedes-Benz’s MFA II platform and, as with the hatch, utilises two rear suspension layouts - a torsion beam arrangement on cheaper models and a multi-link system on higher-end variants. The model will be initially built at Mercedes' Rastatt plant in Germany and in Aguascalientes, Mexico, at a new joint venture factory run in co-operation with Renault-Nissan. The long-wheelbase version for the Chinese market is built at Beijing Benz Automotive in China.
The A-class sedan is the sixth member of Mercedes-Benz’s small car line-up, joining the A-class hatchback, B-class MPV, CLA coupé, CLA Shooting Brake and GLA crossover in an expanded line-up that will also include an Audi Q3 and BMW X1-rivalling SUV called the GLB, by the end of 2019.
2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class sedan image gallery
All-new Mercedes A-class sedan could be India-bound
2018 Mercedes-Benz A-class L sedan image gallery [...]
On the company’s new pricing strategy for Datsun and Nissan, upcoming products and dealer support.
After Skoda, what’s it like at Nissan, and what brought about the move?
I’ve learnt a lot with Skoda in India and also in my time with the VW Group, and it was a difficult decision to leave. But Nissan is a Japanese company, customer centric and this is something that I admired and was always focused on. What I really like is their innovation, because Nissan was the front runner for electric cars. With the Leaf, we are number one worldwide, and for me the future of mobility was something that I was focusing on.
Things at Nissan have been challenging on the dealer, sales and product front. So what are your immediate priorities?
With Nissan, I have to say, the setup is excellent, but for a challenger brand, we are not where we should be. We have two brands catering to the right segments at the moment but we have some life cycle management issues. From a network point of view, I think it is strong, but we have to do more. We are very good when it comes to Tier-III and Tier-IV but we are lacking in Tier-I and Tier-II cities, and that has something to do with life cycle management.
There are rumours that dealers are leaving. Is streamlining and sorting out the dealer network your priority?
Yes, we are conducting many coaching programmes and preparing them for all the future launches. At the moment, we don’t have a strong product portfolio, so we are trying to fix that. We have changed the margin system to make sure that dealers have a very fair opportunity to be profitable. Because when the dealer is doing the right things, he will be profitable and he will always do the right thing for the customers.
With both Nissan and Datsun, there aren’t enough products, but what you are doing now is life cycle management. Aren’t new products the need of the hour?
Yes, they are. For every car manufacturer, it is essential to have new products. Yes, our life cycle management is not the best at the moment, but you will see that we will have a major event every six months from this festival season onwards. It will begin with a major change for the Go and the Go+, and we will also have new products for new segments.
What about sales? Is that also a major concern?
I am not satisfied with the sales because I think both, the products and brands, deserve more. That also has something to do with the limited reach that we have. But there are good bits too, like when it comes to the Redigo, we are the only ones to have stabilised sales in a segment that is shrinking. And we still have more plans with the Redigo. We have a special version coming in during the festival time. It’s a fantastic product and I am proud to say, being the president of Nissan, for nine months I am driving the Redigo. Many say I am a little crazy and that I should drive a Patrol but I think our entry model is more important. I’m very positive that, with the things we are doing with the Redigo and the successor model, we will have a major impact in the segment.
What about Nissan? There are huge gaps and older products. What’s the plan there? Could we see an SUV below the Kicks, for example, or sedans perhaps?
So, with our two brands, our strategy is to have Datsun cater to the sub-Rs 10 lakh mark, and you will see an SUV there. I can’t say more but I promise you it will be a killer in the market. With Nissan, you will see SUVs and sedans that will be competitive, but they will not come tomorrow but will be here soon. Then, there is also the Leaf, which we will launch. It won’t be a volume product but more of a halo product, and we will work with the government and various agencies.
You were looking at the Note as well. Is there any possibility of that making it here?
The Note is a success story in Japan, and we obviously want to bring it here. We have been test driving it and everyone who drives it says wow, because it’s an electric car powered by a small but very efficient 1.0-litre petrol engine. It’s really fantastic and you don’t have to have to plug-in for electricity. Also what no one is aware of is, we are really trying to make the Note in India too. We want to localise it and do some engineering here, too. After all, we have more than 7,000 engineers working here in the alliance.
Nissan reinforces two-brand strategy with Datsun
Datsun SUV for India confirmed
Nissan Note e-Power under evaluation for localisation [...]
If you’re on the hunt for a performance motorcycle between Rs 10-15 lakh, you will be spoilt for choice. The purchase part is, however, only a small part of the big-bike experience, as the real joy is in riding these machines. The quickest and fastest options are supersport motorcycles, their performance can knock your socks off, but they are also the least practical motorcycles you can buy.
Next up are the cruisers, which remain among the most aspirational genre for big-bike owners. They have visual appeal, and the low seat height makes them accessible for wider audience. However, they aren’t the most agile of motorcycles and riding them in the city can be tedious. This is where street bikes make a strong case for themselves, as they are amongst the most versatile and usable performance bikes you can buy.
However, none of the above motorcycles can match the go-anywhere nature and comfort offered by an adventure tourer. And when it comes to ADVs in India, the Triumph Tiger is the undisputed king of the segment. Earlier this year, Rishaad had ridden the 2018 Tiger range in Morocco, and he came back impressed. Now, it was my chance to ride and test the new Tiger 800 XRx. As Mumbai drowned (again) after heavy rains lashed the city, I set out on the new Tiger 800 XRx on a ride to Lavasa.
Same yet different
Triumph says it has made over 200 changes on the new Tiger 800. Yet, when you see the 800 XRx at a glance, you’d be hard-pressed to find the differences between the old and the new. However, look closely and the subtle differences emerge – it gets LED DRLs, redesigned body panels and aero deflectors. In fact, apart from the fuel tank, all the panels have been reworked to make the new Tiger 800 look more compact. The Tiger 800 XRx also features a TFT all-digital console, replacing the semi-digital unit as seen on its predecessor. It displays tonnes of information and adjusting the various parameters is an easy affair with the five-way joystick. The new windscreen is also manually adjustable, and like the Multistrada 950, it can be adjusted on the go. Standard seat height is 830mm, but the seat can be adjusted to drop by 20mm.
Power figures from the 800cc, liquid-cooled motor remain identical, as the triple-cylinder mill churns out 93.7hp at 9,500rpm and 79Nm of torque at 8,050rpm. However, Triumph has worked hard to improve smoothness and refinement (which are excellent) and the engine does feel a little more free-revving now. Triumph engineers have also shortened the first-gear and added a new crankshaft. To top it off, the stock exhaust system is lighter and more compact than the older model, but our bike was breathing through an optional and sweet-sounding Arrow exhaust that will set you back by Rs 42,167 (excluding taxes).
On the go
Throttle response from the ride-by-wire system is crisp and precise. Having ridden the older Tiger 800, the new engine felt even more tractable and a bit smoother too. Making my way out of the city and through the typical traffic snarls, the tractability of the engine helped, but a slip and assist clutch would have been welcome.
Once on the highway, the Tiger 800 XRx felt more comfortable as it was munching miles at a brisk pace. Cruising speeds lie between 5,000 and 6,000rpm in sixth gear, and overtakes require just a slight opening of the throttle. The new Tiger 800 is a quick motorcycle, but the linear power delivery and the electronic aids mean that inexperienced riders won’t sweat riding it, and it's not warp-speed quick like the Tiger 1200 that we rode in the last issue.
The upright riding posture is almost perfect, and adding to the comfort quotient is the generous and well-padded saddle. I was cruising down the highway, soaking in the beautiful vistas when suddenly the rain gods came down in full fury. The Tiger 800 XRx’s riding modes came in handy here and it gets four of them – road, sport, off-road and rain. With slippery road conditions, I switched to rain mode. You still get full power, but throttle response is mellower and the traction control is at its highest setting. Even with strong crosswinds and under heavy downpour, the Tiger 800 XRx was rock-solid. Cruise control now comes standard, as do heated grips, which added to the comfort quotient.
The road surface continued to deteriorate and soon reached lunar levels of ridiculousness. But the Tiger wasn’t bothered in the least and you just need to stand and roll on the throttle as the ADV wafts its way over bumps, potholes, undulations and what not! Helping its cause are the Showa USD fork and monoshock unit, with 180mm and 170mm of travel, respectively. Since the XRx is a mid-spec variant, there’s minimal adjustability and you can only change the preload of the monoshock.
The Tiger 800 XRx gets a 19-inch front wheel and a 17-inch rear one, running tubeless Metzeler Tourance tyres. This makes it more fun to ride around corners t [...]
2019 is going to be a big year for Suzuki Two Wheelers. We recently brought you the exciting news that Suzuki will be launching a 250cc motorcycle next year – likely to be called the Gixxer 250. But the brand isn't stopping there, and it's also giving its much loved Gixxer range a big update next year as well.
One good product can change a brand's perception; for Suzuki, no motorcycle defines it better than the Gixxer. It still remains a joyfully fun-to-ride motorcycle; but competition has begun to move on. After years of consistently topping the segment in all our tests, the Gixxer finally lost its crown to the recently launched TVS Apache RTR 160 4V a couple of months back. Next year, the Gixxer completes half a decade in the Indian market and an update is much-needed.
Suzuki has confirmed with us that the Gixxer will receive a major overhaul and launched next year. For starters, the 2019 Suzuki Gixxer will receive significant cosmetic updates and we can expect it to look sharper and sportier than the existing Gixxer. It will still be identifiable as a Gixxer, albeit with a more spruced-up design. As part of this update, it’s likely that the new Gixxer will gain an LED headlamp, a more comprehensive all-digital display, the Suzuki Easy Start System and possibly even split-seats. The Gixxer has one of the best riding positions in its segment and we hear that Suzuki will be tweaking this slightly – fingers crossed that this riding position only improves.
One of the few drawbacks of the Gixxer is its stiff ride quality. We understand that the Japanese brand will focus on improving this aspect in the 2019 Suzuki Gixxer without compromising on its brilliant riding dynamics. The existing frame and brakes are almost certain to be carried forward on the new bike – why mess with a good thing? On the engine front, the updates wouldn’t be too significant and at most you could expect a marginal bump in power – and perhaps some work into increasing the bike's refinement.
With all the updates, the 2019 Suzuki Gixxer will carry a slight premium over the existing motorcycle, which is priced at Rs 87,250 (ex-showroom, Delhi, ABS variant).
2017 Suzuki Gixxer SF ABS review, test ride
2016 Suzuki Gixxer SF Fi review, road test
Suzuki Gixxer SF India review, test ride [...]
Having worn-out my four-year old Alpinestars SMX-6 (vented) boots to shreds – well, almost – I was looking for a worthy replacement. How exactly do you reduce a pair of boots to shreds? By wearing them every day for four years through sand, snow, dirt, slush and rain, and regular racetrack outings as well! As you can tell, I’m extremely demanding of my boots and, frankly, quite unapologetic about it, too.
I was on the lookout for a more serious, racier pair of boots this time around. Our bikes are only getting faster (er, even if I’m not), and I’m riding more than ever before – touch wood! Naturally, I thought I’d end up with yet another pair of Alpinestars (my first road boots were SMX-5s), until I made the inevitable phone call to Vicky Jaising, an authority on motorcycling and gear, and the man behind the Performance Racing Store in Mumbai. A mention of ‘Forma boots’ was made and, tempted, I made my way to the store, a kaleidoscopic array of top-notch riding gear. Forma’s race-boot line-up includes the Ice Pro (non-vented; Rs 21,000), Ice Pro Flow (vented; Rs 21,000) and its rider replica versions (Rs 24,000; Danilo Petrucci, Karel Abraham, Lorenzo Savadori have one to their name). I was to try the Ice Pro Flow, which I eventually bought.
Four months of use (or abuse, rather) later, I’m convinced I got a good deal. Coming from a more conservative league of boot design (courtesy Astars), I found the Formas loud and complex at first. The white-on-black exterior needs patient cleaning, courtesy the comprehensive racy layers it sports – namely the Flex Control System Pivot, the vented heel plate, the gearshift pad and the substantial toe slider. The interior gets a red, breathable ‘air-mesh’ lining which feels premium and comfortable, and unlike some other boot brands, Forma makes its toe-boxes generous, which is great for those of you with wide feet. Being a top-notch, race-spec boot means they aren’t as plush as my SMX-6s, but that’s a small compromise in exchange for far more serious protection.
The Ice Pro Flow features three levels of fastening, primary being a zipper that leads to a Velcro mechanism running along the side of the boot. Secondary, but crucial to its design, is the FCS Pivot system, which tightens around the calf area using an easy-to-use and sturdy ratchet. This mechanism lends the boot a secure, snug fit, something that is further aided by the front-fastening system. This ‘system’ is no more than an adjustable rubber strap that extends over the top of your foot, but it adds to the sensation of security; I don’t know of its exact benefits in the event of a crash.
So far, the Flow has fared impressively through daily wear. Its ventilation level is seriously good and I like the overall fit and comfort, even when I’m boot-bound for long days in the office. The steel-finish toe-sliders have picked up a few scuffs after chaotic stints in traffic but, that aside, the boots have held up well – even after two off-road stints (here we go again!). Priced at Rs 21,000, the Ice Pro Flow boots are certainly among the most affordable in this segment, and are a terrific deal. Let’s hope I can say the same, four years from now!
Price: Rs 21,000 [...]
Fans of the British spy, car aficionados and Mega-Lego-maniacs will want to get their wallets and credit cards ready, at this point. Lego is now selling a 1:8-scale model kit of James Bond’s iconic Aston Martin DB5 seen in the 1964 movie Goldfinger. The film stars Sean Connery as James Bond and was the third instalment in the Bond film series.
The 1,290-piece model is being sold complete with 007's original gadgets from the film. Yes, the toy model comes with Bond’s bespoke additions, including an ejector seat, flipping number plates as well as the machine guns mounted on the car's front wing. And no, they did not forget the radar tracker, hidden telephone and wheel-mounted tyre scythes.
Finished in Silver Birch, the model features silver wire wheels (just like the actual car) and is Lego’s take on the iconic British GT. Under the bonnet lies a six-cylinder engine, mimicking the 4.0-litre straight-six that powered the classic two-door performance model.
The car is 10cm high and 34cm long. It's described by Lego as a “challenging and rewarding build experience full of nostalgia” that can become a “perfect display piece”. It's rated at Lego's 'expert' level – which means that it's among the most difficult Lego models to build.
The kit is sold exclusively in Lego stores. It's availability in India is still uncertain, but it is priced at £129.99 (around Rs 11,700) in Lego stores across the UK. [...]
The Bombay High Court has revealed its decision on abandoned and dead vehicles left on Mumbai’s roads saying that the state government and the BMC should form a grievance redressal mechanism to ensure complaints about abandoned and improperly parked vehicles are addressed, and offenders are penalised.
A division bench chaired by Justices Abhay Oka and Riyaz Chagla has taken this decision, concluding a public interest litigation filed by a Goregaon resident, Tekchand Khanchandani, on abandoned and illegally parked vehicles and other related issues.
The mechanisms that are expected to be put in place for this before September 19, 2018 include a toll-free number and dedicated email address exclusively for complaints on abandoned/illegally parked vehicles, and SMS and WhatsApp facilities for citizens to report on these issues.
Additionally, the high court has also directed the BMC and state government to maintain a register of the complaints received, provide a complaint number and note down the action taken. Those guilty of abandoning vehicles will also be booked under the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, the Motor Vehicles Rule, and the Maharashtra Police Act.
Shortly after the launch of the GSX-S750 and Burgman Street, Suzuki is gearing up to launch yet another motorcycle in India. August 2018 will see the launch of the company’s mid-size adventure motorcycle – the Suzuki V-Strom 650. Interestingly, India will likely only get the adventure-focused XT variant of the V-Strom 650. We expect it to be priced between Rs 7.5-7.7 lakh (ex-showroom).
The V-Strom will be the third motorcycle from the bike maker to be locally assembled, after the Hayabusa and the recently launched GSX-S750. Internationally, the V-Strom adventure tourer is offered in two variants – the standard V-Strom, which is a more road-biased motorcycle, and the off-road-specific V-Strom XT, the version that is expected to be sold in India.
The styling of the V-Strom XT is inspired by its larger sibling, the V-Strom 1000. The smaller engine motorcycle gets premium anodized wire-spoke rims shod with Bridgestone Battlax Adventure A40 tubeless tyres. The twin-spar alloy frame is suspended on a conventional telescopic fork at the front and a monoshock with rebound adjustment and a remote preload adjuster at the rear. The seat height of the V-Strom 650 XT is 835mm, as opposed to the 840mm of the its main rival, the Kawasaki Versys 650. The Suzuki’s fuel tank is quite generous at 20 litres and the motorcycle tips the scales at 216kg (kerb weight).
The bike is powered by a 645cc, V-twin engine that makes 71hp and 62Nm of torque and is mated to a six-speed grarbox. Meanwhile, the Kawasaki Versys 650’s engine makes 69hp and 64Nm, but also uses a six-speed transmission. The V-Strom 650 XT gets a three-stage traction control system (two levels and a disengage option). Other features include three-way height adjustable windscreen, Suzuki’s useful Easy Start System and standard ABS (off-road enthusiasts will be disappointed to know that it cannot be disengaged).
The Kawasaki Versys 650 retails for Rs 6.69 lakh (ex-showroom), which is significantly cheaper than the expected pricing of the V-Strom 650 XT. However, the Versys 650 sold in India is a more road-oriented model and doesn’t come with the V-Strom's expensive wheels or electronic aids like traction control, which could work to Suzuki’s advantage.
2018 Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT showcased at the Auto Expo
Suzuki Motorcycle at Auto Expo 2018 first look video [...]
Mercedes-Benz India, today, launched the ‘Service on Wheels’ mobile service truck initiative, especially for Tier-II and Tier-III cities where the carmaker doesn’t have a direct presence. It comes equipped with tools and professional service personnel to cater to customer cars.
On being notified, one of the many mobile service trucks will visit the customer’s area and carry out the inspection, repairs and service of the car. This initiative is part of Mercedes-Benz’s service differentiation strategy under the ‘My Mercedes, My Service’ umbrella, which was launched in July 2016.
The company claims that ‘Service on Wheels’ is a first-of-its-kind initiative in the Indian luxury car industry, and is highly customer-centric and tailor-made for the country’s market.
Phase 1 of ‘Service on Wheels’ will travel to 15 different Tier-II and Tier-III markets, undertaking service-related requirements of customers in the remaining months of 2018.
2018 Mercedes-Benz E 220d 4Matic All-Terrain review, test drive
Mercedes-Benz E 220d All-Terrain image gallery
Mercedes to launch BS-VI-compliant 4cyl diesel with E-class All-Terrain
Fly by night: Mercedes-AMG GT R in Mumbai [...]
Volvo’s performance brand, Polestar, showcased its 1 electric sports coupe in motion for the first time at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. First revealed at the 2013 Frankfurt motor show as Volvo’s Concept Coupé, the car was reinvented and shown as the Polestar 1 in Shanghai late last year.
The 1's online configurator recently went live and allows visitors to choose from a limited number of options, with exterior paint shades spanning metallic and matt shades of black and grey. Polestar has kept the customisation options for the model close to those shown on the concept.
The first model from the newly spun-off performance hybrid and EV arm of Volvo will cost around €1,55,000 (approximately Rs 1.23 crore) in Europe when it goes on sale in the middle of 2019, although customers will purchase the car through a monthly subscription.
The car spent much of its testing and development time within the Arctic Circle, where its drivetrain, batteries and torque vectoring system were placed under pressure in temperatures that reached -28degC.
The 1 has an all-carbon-fibre body based on a shortened version of the Volvo S90's platform. It will produce 600hp from a front-mounted 2.0-litre turbo engine, plus twin electric motors on the rear axle, and is very much a halo car for the new Volvo performance brand.
According to Polestar boss Thomas Ingenlath, the Polestar will become Volvo’s “technological spearhead” that, after the 1 hits the market, will make only electric performance cars. The company is preparing for an early 2020 launch of the 2 hatchback saloon, which bears a very close relationship to Ingenlath’s Concept 40.2 that has already been seen at motor shows. An SUV, the 3, will arrive after that. [...]
In yet another development in the ‘Dieselgate’ scandal, the National Green Tribunal has questioned Volkswagen India, asking why the 3.23 lakh diesel cars with potential emission irregularities in India have not been recalled, as yet.
Volkswagen India had issued a voluntary recall in 2015 following the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) findings of a large discrepancy between laboratory and on-road emission levels on cars with the EA189 family diesel engine. The recall in India included 1,98,500 cars from Volkswagen, 88,700 cars from Skoda and 36,500 cars from Audi, all across various models that were equipped with EA189 engines – which include the 1.2-litre, 1.5-litre, 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre diesels. However, the NGT has noted that only 64 percent of the affected cars have been recalled, so far, with action yet uninitiated on the remaining 36 percent.
To make the engines compliant with prevailing emission norms, VW was to bring out software and hardware upgrades, developed in consultation with the ARAI. However, the ARAI has stated that Volkswagen has submitted upgrades for only 70 percent of the affected engines.
You can now buy an Akrapovic Racing Line full system exhaust for the TVS Apache RR 310. This exhaust claims a power bump of 2.4hp and 2.7Nm of torque. Additionally, the bike will also shed 4.6kg thanks to the lighter materials being used. Akrapovic is one of the best known brands in the world for high-end exhaust systems and, like the rest of its products, this one doesn’t come cheap. This carbon-fibre exhaust you see in the photos retails for Rs 55,000 (inclusive of taxes) at the Performance Racing Store in Mumbai.
This exhaust system is the same unit as the one made for the BMW G 310 R and G 310 GS. This doesn’t come as a surprise since they essentially share the same motor. The RR 310 with the stock exhaust makes 34hp and 27.3Nm of torque and this system should take the figures upto 36.4hp and 30Nm. Performance Racing Store states that the exhaust system doesn’t require an ECU remap.
On a related note, we also recently rode TVS’ new RR 310 Cup race bike which was equipped with an aftermarket free flow exhaust. TVS claims that along with modifications made to the air intake and ECU the race bike gains four more horses, taking the total to a respectable 38hp. Read more about it here.
TVS Apache RR 310 Cup race bike review, track ride
2018 TVS Apache RR 310 vs KTM RC 390 comparison video
2017 KTM RC 390 vs TVS Apache RR 310 comparison
2018 TVS Apache RR 310 video review
2018 TVS Apache RR 310 review, test ride
What are you driving and why?
For its sheer luxury and presence, I drive a Cadillac Escalade to work. However, my favourite car for recreational driving is a left-hand-drive Jaguar E-type V12, for its raw power and beauty.
What’s next on your wishlist?
A military Humvee – the real thing.
The most fun you’ve had in a car?
That would be the off-road drive in my customised Scorpio, from Chandigarh to Spiti Valley. The magnificent scenery, the serene beauty, the amazing terrain, the tricky road along the Indo-Tibet border and the oxygen mask on my face made it an unforgettable drive.
Favourite/Dream money-no-object car?
A 1957 Mercedes 300 Gullwing.
Who is your all-time greatest motorsport hero?
Stéphane Peterhansel, for winning the Dakar Rally 13 times! And in different cars!
From Chennai to Bengaluru, but in my 1961 Fiat.
What’s on your automotive bucket list?
A 1967 Mustang Shelby GT500, a brass-era pre-1915 Ford Model T Coupe, a 4x4 Lamborghini LM002, and a large V8 Trike.
What would you do with your last litre of fuel?
Without any hesitation, go off-roading – even if it lasts only a few minutes.
Your ideal five-car garage would be?
1. My first car, a 1961 Fiat;
2. the reliable and go-over-anything-and-anywhere Toyota Land Cruiser series 80
3. my first vintage, a 1935 Derby Bentley Convertible
4. LHD Jaguar E-Type V12
5. a Land Rover Defender 90.
I would love to squeeze in a Mercedes W111 Fintail, and park my Defender on the street.
What was your first car?
I was eight years old when I got my first car – a 1961 Fiat. I still have it, and in immaculate condition. My love affair with automobiles started with the Fiat. [...]
At the 2018 Auto Expo, earlier this year, Yamaha showcased the Ray ZR 110 Street Rally Edition concept. The Japanese brand has now shared a teaser video on its official YouTube channel signalling that it will be launching a new scooter soon. From the teaser video, we can identify the scooter in question as the production version of the Ray ZR 110 Street Rally Edition concept.
The styling of the scooter will be similar to the concept showcased at the Auto Expo, including the quirky winglets on the headlight apron. In the teaser we can also see that it will feature redesigned graphics and will be offered in dual-tone shades, along with a red section below the saddle. The concept bike also had an all-digital instrument which will feature in the production version.
The upcoming scooter isn’t an all-new product – it is a Yamaha Ray ZR variant. Yamaha has no plans to launch new products in 2018, as it is focused on the ABS and CBS upgrades to its line-up.
The Ray ZR 110 Street Rally Edition will be powered by the same 113cc, air-cooled motor seen on all Yamaha scooters sold in India. The single-cylinder engine develops 7.2hp and 8.1Nm of torque. The scooter employs a telescopic front fork and a mono-shock unit at the rear.
The two-wheeler runs on 10-inch alloy wheels wrapped around with 90/100 tubeless tyre on both ends. The teaser video also gives us a glimpse of the front disc brake and a drum unit at the rear.
The upcoming Yamaha scooter will carry a marginal premium over the Yamaha Ray ZR, which retails for Rs 55,898 (ex-showroom, Delhi). The manufacturer will also launch the Yamaha R15 V3.0 MotoGP edition in India, soon. [...]
Good value gets results. That statement holds especially true in a market like ours and the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R is testament to this. Less than fifteen days after Kawasaki first launched the locally assembled 10R at a tempting starting price of Rs 12.8 lakh ex-showroom, the company has issued instructions to all dealerships to stop accepting bookings.
We are given to understand that in this short span of time, the company has received around 100 bookings. This is highly impressive for a litre-class superbike and it surpasses the total number of current-gen Ninja ZX-10Rs that have been sold in the country so far.
Deliveries of the locally assembled bikes are yet to begin and they will pan out over the next few months. At the moment, it isn’t clear how long the wait will be before the ZX-10R becomes available for bookings again, but it’s fair to expect a period of at least three months.
The ZX-10R has been highly successful in the World Superbike Championship, winning multiple titles at the hands of Jonathan Rea. It’s also among the quickest motorcycles money can buy with a 998cc, in-line four cylinder motor that produces 200hp and 113.5Nm of torque. The Ninja ZX-10R is packed with electronic rider assists such as traction control(S-KTRC), multi-level power modes, launch control (KLCM), ABS control (KIBS), cornering management (KCMF) and engine braking function (KEBC) – many of which are aided by an inertial measuring unit (IMU).
It is worth noting that both the locally assembled ZX-10R and 10RR will be sold as single-seat versions. This helps the company avoid homologation requirements in terms of engineering a saree guard for the bike. As a result, the bike will ship with a rear cowl as standard and it will not have pillion footpegs. For those who would like the option of a pillion seat, a conversion can be made by buying the appropriate parts, which will cost around Rs 38,000. [...]
A week before the launch of the Burgman Street, dealerships have started displaying the new scooter and accepting bookings. Some dealers have also stated the upcoming 125cc scooter is likely to be priced from Rs 68,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi). Deliveries are expected to begin by the end of July or early August.
At present, there’s no official word on pricing, but according to a dealer in Delhi, the Burgman Street is likely to be priced from 68,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi). We can expect Mumbai pricing to be slightly higher than that. The Suzuki Access 125 SE, on which it is based, retails for Rs 60,718 (ex-showroom, Delhi) for the CBS variant.
The Burgman Street will compete against the Honda Grazia, priced at Rs 63,994 (disc brake variant), and the TVS Ntorq 125, which costs Rs 59,687. There's also the sporty Aprilia SR 125 that costs Rs 66,957 (all prices, ex-showroom, Delhi) The scooter was first showcased at the 2018 Auto Expo earlier this year.
The Burgman Street uses maxi-scooter styling that’s inspired from the larger Burgman range sold in global markets. It’s also the first made-in-India Suzuki scooter to feature an LED headlight and an all-digital instrument console. In terms of features, the flagship Suzuki scooter has been equipped with a multi-function key slot, large underseat storage, a 12V charging socket (likely to be an optional extra), cubbyhole below the handlebar and an LED tail-lamp.
Powering the scooter is the Access 125-sourced 124.3cc motor producing 8.6hp at 6,500rpm and 10.2Nm at 5,000rpm. Other mechanicals of the Burgman Street are also shared with its 125cc sibling. For braking, the upcoming scooter employs a disc brake unit at the front and a drum unit at the rear. Since the Burgman Street is an all-new product, CBS is standard.
Suzuki Burgman Street reaches dealerships prior to launch
Suzuki Burgman Street India launch on July 19
2018 Suzuki Burgman Street: 5 things you need to know [...]
Honda MotoGP rider Dani Pedrosa has announced that he will be retiring from MotoGP at the end of the ongoing 2018 season, bringing an end to an 18-year career in grand prix motorcycling. He broke the news in a special press conference at the Sachsenring, ahead of this weekend’s German Grand Prix.
Pedrosa has been racing for the Honda factory team since 2006, but was left without a ride for next year, when the team signed Jorge Lorenzo as his replacement for 2019. He’s helped Honda to win seven MotoGP manufacturers' championships and has contributed to six team titles for the Repsol-backed factory outfit.
After winning the 125cc title in 2003 and back-to-back 250cc titles in the two following seasons, Pedrosa has been an ever-present frontrunner in MotoGP despite frequent injuries, some of which had threatened to end his career early. He has so far amassed 31 wins and 112 podium finishes in the premier class, but has missed out on a MotoGP title, finishing runner-up on three occasions - to Ducati's Casey Stoner in 2007, and to Lorenzo in 2010.
“Next year I won’t compete in the Championship, I’ll finish my career in MotoGP this season. It’s a decision I’ve thought about for a long time and it’s a hard decision because this is the sport I love but despite having good opportunities to keep racing, I feel like I don’t live racing with the same intensity as before and I now have different priorities in my life,” said Pedrosa.
“I achieved way more than I expected and I’m very, very proud of what I’ve done in the sport. I’ve fulfilled my dream of becoming a racer and that’s something that I didn’t expect when I was a kid watching TV, watching riders in the World Championship.” [...]
We broke the news last Saturday, and now Tata Motors has formally announced it – the highly awaited production-spec H5X SUV is named the Tata Harrier.
If you've been following the developments closely, you'll know the H5X was internally known as the ‘Harrier’, sticking to the carmaker's pattern of codenaming its models after birds. This time around, however, Tata Motors has gone a step further and finalised Harrier as the H5X's market name.
Interestingly, Harrier will be the name of the five-seat version of the SUV. A seven-seat version that will come later will get a different name. The Harrier will be launched in January 2019 with a Fiat-sourced 2.0-litre diesel engine.
If you're thinking you've heard the Harrier name before, it's because Toyota retails a mid-size SUV with the same name in global markets. However, the identical name will hardly be an issue in India, since the Toyota Harrier is not sold here.
In the build-up to the Harrier's launch, Tata Motors is working on beefing up its sales network as well. It's also understood that customers will be in for a richer experience as the company is set to give its dealerships a premium makeover, with the possibility of an area specially designed to showcase the Harrier and other future premium models.
The Harrier made its debut as the stunning Concept H5X at the Auto Expo earlier this year. Sketches of the production version suggest the car will stay largely true to the concept's and that the model will retain the high-set LED headlights. Other stylistic elements include a new, more defined interpretation of Tata’s trademark ‘humanity line’ that connects the headlights and grille.
Do you like the Harrier name for the H5X, or were you expecting a different name? Let us know in the comments section below. [...]
SUVs may be all the rage right now, but Porsche India is all set to sell its highest number of 911’s this year. The company which has both SUV’s and sports cars are witnessing an uptake in 911 sales. Interestingly 65 percent of the 911’s sold are of higher variants, priced over the 2.5 crore mark with the GT3 in particular receiving a good response.
While Porsche India have not revealed individual numbers, speaking to Autocar India on the sidelines of the GT2 RS launch in Mumbai Pavan Shetty Director Porsche India said “today the GT3’s are selling in two digits and we are still not able to satisfy the demand” with the company now already asking for a higher allocation for India. Porsche is also very upbeat on the GT2’s prospects in India and Pavan states that the demand for the 911 range topper is three times the amount that will be supplied.
The company also claims that the overall share of sports car sales is increasing, where early it stood at 20% of total sales, today it stands at 35%. The 718 which was launched in 2016 clocked three digit sales in 2017 helping this achievement. However Pavan states that SUV’s have not de-grown but the overall pie has increased with the sports cars segment going up.
The company sold 435 units in 2017, up 10 percent over the previous year. [...]
Japanese carmaker Nissan has reported that proactive initiatives by it to prevent testing irregularities have revealed just that – misconduct in reporting emissions data.
The brand stated that there have been irregularities in its exhaust emissions testing procedure in Japan and submitted related information to the Japanese ministry of land, infrastructure, transport and tourism.
The brand alleges to have discovered ‘nonconformities’ in its final inspection process back in September 2017 and has since carried out an internal investigation into how the discrepancies came about.
Reuters reports that both Nissan and sister brand Renault's shares have fallen since the announcement.
A statement released by Nissan admits that emissions and fuel economy tests “deviated from the prescribed testing environment” and the “creation of inspection reports based on altered measurement values”.
The misconduct was discovered through “proactive initiatives to prevent recurrence of such issues”, although the company wouldn't explain why these initiatives were launched when they were.
Nissan has commissioned a law firm to investigate the issue and implemented its own preventative measures to ensure that a similar issue doesn’t occur in the future.
Nissan has clarified that none of its cars strays from its advertised fuel economy and emissions figures and that it will continue to search for areas of non-compliance, taking the necessary steps if more are uncovered. [...]
Soon after the launch of the Hero Xtreme 200R, its deliveries have commenced in select north-eastern states of India. Hero MotoCorp hasn’t revealed the timeline of the 200R’s availability in other markets as yet.
The images you see here are from Guwahati, where the first lot of Xtreme 200Rs has already been delivered. The first buyer was also presented with a Xtreme-branded helmet, jacket and backpack. The Hero Xtreme 200R retails for Rs 88,000 (ex-showroom), which makes it the most affordable 200cc motorcycle on sale in India
Displacement wise, the Xtreme 200R competes with the TVS Apache RTR 200 4V and the Bajaj Pulsar NS 200 priced at Rs 1.03 lakh and Rs 1.04 lakh respectively (for base variants). However, with respect to its pricing, the new Hero 200cc motorcycle rivals the Bajaj Pulsar NS 160, which retails at Rs 85,786, and the base TVS RTR 160 4V, which is priced at Rs 84,248 (all prices, ex-showroom Arunachal Pradesh). It's worth noting that neither the Bajaj nor the TVS offer ABS yet, while the Hero comes equipped with a single-channel ABS as standard.
You can read more about the Hero Xtreme 200R in our first ride report.