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Mahindra XUV300: What to expect from each variant
With its launch scheduled on February 14, fresh details have emerged revealing the equipment break-up of the much anticipated Mahindra XUV300 compact SUV. Based on the SsangYong Tivoli sold in international markets, the XUV300 will be available in four trim levels ­­- W4, W6, W8 and W8(O) ­– and will be offered with a choice of a 1.2-litre turbo-petrol making 200Nm of peak torque and the 1.5-litre diesel engine from the Marazzo though it’s expected to use a different tune. Here is a look at what you can expect from each variant Mahindra XUV300 W4 Audio system with 4 speakers (diesel only) Electric adjust wing mirrors Electric tailgate release Gear shift indicator Multi-mode steering 16-inch steel wheels Dual airbags ABS with EBD Mahindra XUV300 W6: In addition to the features from the W4, the W6 gets Keyless entry Steering mounted audio controls Wheel caps Roof rails Rear spoiler with high mounted stop lamp Mahindra XUV300 W8: In addition to the W6, the W8 adds in Keyless entry and go 7-inch touchscreen with navigation, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay Two tweeters ESP with hill hold assist Micro hybrid technology Dual zone climate control Cruise control Reverse camera with guide lines 6-way adjust driver seat Auto projector headlamps and wipers Electric folding wing mirrors Ambient lighting (mood lighting) Heated mirrors LED DRLs 17-inch alloy wheels Front and rear faux skid plates Mahindra XUV300 W8(O) Knee and side airbags Leatherette upholstery Auto dimming rear view mirror Tyre pressure monitoring system Front parking sensors 17-inch diamond cut alloy wheels Sunroof As we had previously reported the XUV300 features many segment-first and segment leading features in the top trim such as 17-inch alloys, tyre pressure monitoring system, front parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, sunroof and a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and navigation. When launched, the XUV300 will rival not only compact SUVs like of the popular Maruti Suzuki ViatarBrezza, the Ford EcoSport and the Tata Nexon but also larger offering such as the Hyundai Creta and Maruti Suzuki S-Cross. Expect prices to be in the range of Rs 8-12 lakh. [...]
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Budget 2019: FM backs EVs but no sops announced
In the union budget announced today, finance minister Piyush Goyal reaffirmed the government's push for electric vehicles and of making India a pollution-free country; but did not announce any sops to boost EV adoption. "This (pollution-free) India will drive on electric vehicles with renewables becoming a major source of energy. India will lead the world in the transport revolution through electric vehicles and energy-storage devices, bringing down import dependence and ensuring energy security for our people," Goyal said while presenting Budget 2019. The auto industry was left wanting for a concrete announcement that would further the government's vision for clean energy and provide impetus to the country's fledgling market for electric vehicles. "The EV industry welcomes our finance minister’s commitment towards making the country pollution-free. We hope the government would soon announce a concrete plan of action with its time-bound implementation in order to fulfil its stated vision," said Sohinder Gill, director general, Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV). "SMEV strongly feels that an initial high dose of incentives and actions must be taken in the next year or two years to re-launch the electric mobility mission that has sort of lost steam in the recent years due to flip-flop of policies,” he added. "As per the 2019 budget electric vehicles are a key part of the government's vision for 2030. However considering the environment concerns, we were hoping for something concrete in the budget. Moreover, to meet the target of 2030 the government needs to plan today instead of giving the electric vehicles a push at a later stage," said Ayush Lohia, CEO, Lohia Auto Industries. However, the government recently announced a reduction in customs duty on import of parts and components of electric vehicles in an effort to boost local assembly. The duty on import of EV components have been lowered to 10-15 per cent, from 15-30 percent while the import of battery packs for EVs or hybrids now attracts a duty of 5 percent. "Although the recently announced cut in customs duty on certain electric-vehicle components will augur well for EVs during the longer term, there could have been more done in this regard to make India adopt EVs at a faster rate. We hope these factors, including charging infrastructure, will be addressed in the FAME II policies to be announced soon,” said P Balendran, Executive Director, MG Motor India. The country's apex automotive body – Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) – appreciated the emphasis laid on electric mobility; but called for a rollback in the duty hike on import of lithium-ion battery cells, which was increased from nil to 5 percent. "Since cell manufacturing is at very nascent stage, at present, in India, the current practice of importing cells is expected to continue; and hence the change will only lead to increase in cost of manufacturing electric vehicles' battery packs, which is expected to be dampener in generating demand for electric vehicles," SIAM said in a statement. [...]
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Harley-Davidson issues global recall for Street motorcycles
Harley-Davidson has issued a recall for 43,908 units of its Street motorcycles (the Street 500, the Street 750 and the Street Rod) for a brake related issue. All Street motorcycles sold between May 2015 and December 2018 have been affected. While we don’t have an exact number for the Street models recalled in India, there are 12,800 bikes that have been affected in the United States. Harley-Davidson has found that brake pads on certain models could be dragging due to caliper pistons being prone to corrosion and thus jamming the system. This means that the brakes are being employed while the motorcycle is on the move, causing accelerated wear of the brake pads and possibly even an accident in more extreme cases. Harley-Davidson has mentioned that the problem is more likely to occur in environments where rusting is common to motorcycles, like coastal regions. The company has said that dealers will install new front and rear brake calipers as part of a corrective measure. We get the Street 750 and Street Rod in India and they are priced at Rs 5.33 lakh and 6.53 lakh (ex-showroom), respectively. In other news, Harley-Davidson was selling its Street 750 a few months ago with discounts going up to Rs 89,000. [...]
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2019 Parx supercar, vintage car rally details revealed
Brace yourselves, enthusiasts in Mumbai: the Parx supercar rally is finally making a return this year, with the last edition held in 2015. First held in 2008, the rally has witnessed some of the city’s most delicious supercars turn up in droves. This time around, though, there’s a twist. Mixing it up with the supercars will be a big collection of superbikes, vintage cars and vintage bikes, to mark the Western India Automobile Association’s 100th anniversary. To be held on February 8, 9 and 10, the 2019 Parx supercar and vintage car rally will witness a total of 400 vehicles – 100 supercars, 100 superbikes, 100 vintage cars and 100 vintage bikes. While Gautam Singhania, chairman and managing director, Raymond Ltd, kept his cards close to his chest, we understand that two of the major attractions at this year’s rally will be his McLaren Senna and LaFerrari, which will be leading a range consisting of Lamborghinis, Maseratis and other high-performance cars. Among attractions in the vintage car section will be the Benz Patent Motorwagen replica, along with a 1896 Ford and a 1903 Humber Humberette. On February 8 and 9 (from 9am to 6pm), all the vehicles will be on display at the MMRDA Grounds, BKC, for enthusiasts to come and take a look, while the rally will be flagged off on February 10 at 11:30am. The cars will take the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, pass Worli Sea face and Haji Ali, and then move to Marine Drive and finally ending at Ballard Estate at around 1pm. Also see: Supercars galore in Mumbai on Jan 11, 2015 2014 Parx Super Car show report and gallery [...]
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SIAM welcomes import duty cut on EV components
Country's apex automotive body Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers has welcomed the government's move to reduce the customs duty on import of parts and components of electric vehicles. It said the decision will aid local assembly and consequently, EV adoption as well. According to a notification issued by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), the duty on import of EV components have been lowered to 10 - 15 per cent, from 15-30 percent. The import of battery packs for EVs or hybrids is now 5 percent. However, the apex auto body observed that the increase in import duty on battery cell from nil to 5 percent would make the introduction of electric vehicles more difficult as battery cells are not currently manufactured in the country. It recommended that  the import duty be kept at nil with an expiry date announced upfront to enable battery and automobile companies to plan for local assembly. The components that fall under the purview of 10 percent import duty include a knocked down kit containing a battery pack, motor, motor controller, charger, power control unit, energy monitor, contractor, brake system and electric compressor not mounted on chassis and in "disassembled" form. If the same components are in a "pre-assembled" form, they will attract 15 percent import duty, the according to the CBIC notification. SIAM observed that the notification has also removed ambiguity in the definitions of CKD and SKD of electric vehicles for all the vehicle segments. The fully built electric vehicles will still attract 60 percent/100 percent for passenger vehicles and 50 percent for two-wheelers as suggested by SIAM. [...]
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India-spec Yamaha MT-15 details revealed
Yamaha will soon launch the MT-15 in India, and the bike has been spotted testing in near-production form last month. This week, a ‘Type Approval Certificate’ registered with the CMVR (Central Motor Vehicle Rules), surfaced online, revealing a few details of the upcoming bike. The document dated January 17, 2019 confirms that the MT-15 will be powered by the same 155cc, single-cylinder engine on the R15 V3.0 that produces 19.3hp at 10,000rpm and 14.7Nm at 8,500rpm. Also revealed in the document are the bike's dimensions. The India-spec MT-15 measures 2,020mm in length, 800mm in width and 1,070mm in height. In comparison, the Thai-spec bike is just as wide, but measures a slightly lesser 1,965mm in length and 1,065mm in height. However, that being said, the Thai- and India-spec bikes have the same 1,335mm wheelbase. The extra length of the India-spec bike could be the result of a longer tail section or different tyres. What's also seen in the document is the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW), which is 288kg. The GVW of a vehicle is essentially the kerb weight in addition to the weight of its passengers (in this case, rider and pillion). Assuming that the average weight of each person in the test is 75kg, this would result in a kerb weight of 138kg for the India-spec MT-15. For reference, the Thai-spec bike weighs 133kg. This assumption makes sense given that the R15 V3.0 gained a similar 5kg when it made its way to India. The India-spec MT-15 receives a few changes compared to the international bike, like a conventional telescopic fork rather than a USD unit, and a basic, box-section swingarm and not the aluminium unit found on the R15 V3.0 and international-spec MT-15. The MT-15 was recently teased at a Yamaha dealer event and we expect the bike to be officially launched in the coming weeks. IMAGE SOURCE [...]
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Toyota-badged Baleno confirmed for launch in 2019
One of the biggest announcements in the automotive universe in 2018 was Suzuki and Toyota tying up to share certain models in India. It was a bit of a surprise, but not entirely unexpected following their alliance in 2017 for the development of electric vehicle technology. The tie-up aims to create a win-win situation for both companies – Suzuki receives technology, while Toyota receives popular mass-market products that its India line-up sorely lacks. Now, Toyota has confirmed that the first of the shared products – the Maruti Suzuki Baleno – will go on sale at its dealerships in the second half of 2019. Speaking to Autocar India at the inauguration of the company’s first driving school in Mumbai, N Raja, deputy managing director, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, said, “One thing we're working on now is one of the products from the alliance – the Baleno. Towards the second half of this year, we should be seeing it made available to our dealers for sale.” This model-sharing exercise will go beyond mere badge-engineering, and Toyota’s version of the Baleno is likely to sport soft part changes as well, including a new grille, redesigned bumpers and lights. Raja, however, has confirmed that product changes will be kept to a minimum. Any further differentiation in products, involving sheet metal changes would require massive investments and would lead to an increase in costs, something Toyota wants to keep in check. Instead, the company aims to add value by providing a different buying experience to the customer. “From Toyota's side, our focus is to differentiate the sales experience for the customers that we get. We would look at Toyota's strengths of sales. We have more than 1.5 million Toyota customers, we have to focus on how we approach them and offer them this product so that they remain in the Toyota family,” added Raja. Small visual tweaks to the exteriors and interiors aside, under the skin, Toyota’s version of the Baleno will be identical to the Maruti Suzuki model and will share its engines and gearboxes. It is also expected to adopt some form of hybridization in line with Suzuki and Toyota’s partnership in this area. It’ll be interesting to see how Toyota distinguishes the buying and aftersales experience for its version of the Baleno, seeing how Maruti Suzuki has anyway added a dash of premium to the buying experience with its Nexa retail outlets – which is where the Baleno is sold from. What do you think will make Toyota’s version of the hot-selling Baleno more appealing? Let us know in the comments. Also see: Analysis: Toyota and Suzuki’s partnership in India Suzuki and Toyota to share certain models in India Toyota to build Suzuki cars in India 2019 Toyota Camry Hybrid India review, test drive 2019 Toyota Supra unveiled at Detroit motor show [...]
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Toyota inaugurates its first driving school in Mumbai
Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) announced the launch of the Toyota Driving School in Mumbai today. This driving school is managed by one of the brand's own dealerships, Lakozy Toyota. The driving school is the company’s first in Mumbai, Maharashtra and its 11th across India. This is a part of Toyota's 'Safest Car with Safest Driver' mission toward road safety. The chief guest at launch of the Toyota Driving School was Hemant Patil, Assistant Regional Transport Officer, Andheri, Mumbai. Amar Pawar, dealer principal, Lakozy Toyota was also present, along with N Raja, Deputy Managing Director, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, who was there to represent the senior management of the company. In an attempt to improve the culture of road safety in India, Toyota Kirloskar Motor has launched ten other driving schools at Kochi, Lucknow, Hyderabad (two), Chennai (two), Kolkata, Faridabad, Vijayawada and Surat. The Toyota Driving School places great importance on making every student a responsible and safe driver. The school's curriculum will be a comprehensive driver-training program boasting high quality, practical and futuristic training models like the driver-simulator mechanism. The curriculum will cover the following topics comprehensively: - Traffic management, rules and discipline. - Safe and correct driving concepts. - Manners and responsibilities of a driver. - Simulation of driving in a real vehicle before getting on to the road. - All aspects of practical driving on roads. - Driving on various roads under different climate conditions. - Know your car: Basic maintenance and repairs. - Emergency handling. - Systematic evaluation and feedback. The simulator is a key part of the teaching program and is expected to provide hands-on experience. Learners can practice all car controls like steering and accelerator-, brake- and gear-shifts before they take the actual vehicle out on the road. The set-up can also simulate various road and weather conditions like fog, dim light, and uphill and downhill terrain. Beginners can apply for the driving school's standard learning package; but in addition to that, the Toyota Driving School will also offer the flexibility of additional learning modules, allowing its students to design a curriculum of their choice. To make this experience as realistic as possible, Toyota has incorporated features like the instrument panel, steering, and seats of an actual Etios car in this simulator. "The simulator is the first car simulator in India with Full High Definition Computer graphics in an immersive Curved Projection environment, and it is the first simulator in India with real complete car cabin along with actual car gear," said N Raja, deputy MD, Toyota Kirloskar Motor. "In addition, it also offers extensive local language support for effective training and extensive sessions for both novice and advance drivers. Commenting on the launch of the new Toyota Driving School, Amar Pawar, Dealer Principal - Lakozy Toyota said, "It is a privilege for us to be associated with Toyota Kirloskar Motor in contributing towards improving road safety in Mumbai and playing an active role in their endeavour to promote good driving habits amongst citizens. Increasing population and rising traffic in urban areas has compromised on road safety, leading to increase in road accidents. The steady rise in the number of road mishaps in the city is an issue that needs to be addressed promptly; and with our driving schools we take on the onus of educating our citizens on achieving the ultimate safety mission of zero accidents. We believe that the Toyota Driving School – with Toyota's trainers and a comprehensive curriculum – will be able to improve the behaviour amongst the people in our city." N Raja said, "As per the latest statistics, in India, more than 1,50,000 people are killed each year in traffic accidents. That's about 400 fatalities a day and primary reason of road accidents are poor road safety practices. Road safety goes beyond the transport sector, with a direct impact on public health, societies, and economies. Road traffic crashes cost most countries three percent of their gross domestic product. Road safety is an inherently cross-sectoral issue. Real progress can only happen if all relevant stakeholders unite their efforts. As safety leaders in the industry, it is our primary mission to ensure the safest cars with the safest drivers in the country and significantly reduce the traffic accidents with our safety initiatives. Through these driving schools, we aim to bring down the rising number of road mishaps in the country caused majorly due to human error.” The Toyota Driving School has till date enrolled over 5,800 students. By 2020, the company plans to launch 50 such schools across India, voicing their traffic safety commitment even louder. Also see: 2019 Toyota Camry Hybri [...]
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Tata Hexa prices hiked
Just a few days after launching the Harrier, Tata Motors has silently increased prices for the Hexa. The SUV’s range now starts from Rs 12.99 lakh and goes up to Rs 18.16 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). The base XE trim receives a price hike of Rs 42,000 while the rest of the variants have been hiked by a uniform Rs 19,000. The updated pricing makes the Hexa Tata’s most expensive product in their portfolio, taking over from the recently-introduced Harrier. The Hexa will be continued to be sold 7 variants with one engine and three gearbox options. Powering the Hexa is a 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine that puts out 150hp and 320Nm while being mated to a five-speed manual gearbox in the base XE variant. In the remaining six variants, the engine produces 156hp and 400Nm of torque and comes coupled to either a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox. A 4x4 variant is available too, albeit only on the top-spec XT trim and with the manual gearbox. Given below are the revised prices for the Tata Hexa, in comparison to the old prices. Tata Hexa variant-wise prices (ex-showroom, Delhi)VariantsOld pricesNew pricesHexa XE 4x2Rs 12.57 lakhRs 12.99 lakhHexa XM 4x2Rs 14.19 lakhRs 14.38 lakhHexa XM+ 4x2Rs 15.27 lakhRs 15.46 lakhHexa XMA 4x2Rs 15.43 lakhRs 15.62 lakhHexa XT 4x2Rs 16.64 lakhRs 16.83 lakhHexa XTA 4x2Rs 17.80 lakhRs 17.99 lakhHexa XT 4x4Rs 17.97 lakhRs 18.16 lakh In our road test of the Hexa, some of the qualities that shone through included its impressive refinement, an upmarket look and feel, spacious interiors and superb ride quality. For now, the Hexa is Tata’s most expensive passenger car, though that will change when the seven-seat version of the Harrier (codename H7X) arrives later this year. Also see: 2017 Tata Hexa long term review, fourth report 2017 Tata Hexa vs Toyota Innova Crysta automatic comparison [...]
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Suzuki V-Strom 650XT ABS updated for 2019
Suzuki has launched an updated version of the Suzuki V-Strom 650XT ABS in India. The middleweight adventure tourer has received minor additions with no change in price, at Rs 7.46 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). For 2019, the V-Strom 650XT ABS now gets hazard lights and side reflectors. The motorcycle also features new graphics on the bodywork. Other than this, the middleweight adventure tourer remains identical to the 2018 model. The V-Strom 650 is available only in XT trim in India and is the third bike from the motorcycle maker to be locally assembled, after the Hayabusa and the GSX-S750. The styling of the V-Strom 650XT remains unchanged and it continues to be inspired by its larger sibling, the V-Strom 1000. Being the XT, it gets premium anodised 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 remote preload adjuster at the rear. It has a seat height of 835mm, a fuel tank capacity of 20 litres and a kerb weight of 216kg. Powering the ADV is a 645cc, V-twin engine that makes 71hp and 62Nm of torque, and is mated to a 6-speed gearbox. The V-Strom 650XT gets a three-stage traction control system (two levels and a disengage option). Other features include a three-way, height-adjustable windscreen, Suzuki’s useful Easy Start System and standard ABS. In terms of competition, the Suzuki V-Strom 650XT goes up against the Kawasaki Versys 650 (Rs 6.69 lakh, ex-showroom, India) and the SWM Superdual T (Rs 6.50 lakh, ex-showroom, India). [...]
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Review: New 2019 Maruti Suzuki Wagon R review, test drive
EXCLUSIVE!  What is it? The new Maruti Suzuki Wagon R you see on these pages exists nowhere else in the world. There are other Wagon Rs, like the one sold in Japan, but for India, Maruti has engineered and built a car that is all but bespoke, tailored specifically for our regulations, conditions and customer needs. Like most of its sister cars like the Swift, Baleno, Ignis and Ciaz, the new Wagon R is also based on the company's Heartect platform. Benefits of the new platform include improved performance during crash tests, a lighter kerb weight for improved fuel economy and performance, and improved dynamics too. Compared to the outgoing model, the new Wagon R is now 13mm longer, 125mm wider and has a wheelbase identical to the Ignis. It's also lighter than its predecessor; the top-of-the-line ZXi trim weighs 835kg and you need to add another 10kg for the AMT or robotised manual gearbox. It also has an all-new style quotient. Yes, it's still a tall boy and clearly so, but the new car is also wider, comes with a bulkier and more rounded-off nose; and unlike the quirky and very functional old Wagon Rs, it even has some nicely styled bits. Stuff like the 'arrow'-shaped headlights, the sporty chin, the nicely sculpted shoulder-line, the well-defined wheel arches – all look good; and then there's the 'floating roof'. Even the big Honda CR-V-like tail-lights work well. It's also interesting to see that the Wagon R isn't slab-sided, for once; the glass house clearly is 'in-set' from the base of the car. What's it like inside? On the inside, the new car is better appointed. The two-tone black-and-beige theme works well and Maruti's new touchscreen, dubbed ‘Smartplay Studio’, has an attractive new interface. On higher variants, the instrument panel adds more to the appeal with its integrated digital tachometer, and the presence of the Ignis steering wheel lifts the quality quotient even further. No, there are no soft-touch bits, but the nicely textured top of the dash makes it feel more upmarket than before and even the door-pads are a bit better-finished. The design of the dash is disproportionate and slab-like and the centre console is placed at a jaunty angle, which further adds to the visual dissonance. Then there are the odd-looking vents and plenty of bits carried over – like the window-winder buttons. Also, although the new seats are larger, they have fixed headrests and are quite flat and featureless; which means that you don't so much as sink into them as sit on them. The cabin is much wider now. The driver and passenger don't sit shoulder-to-shoulder and the new car is also more practical when it comes to stowage and storage. The glove box, for one, is larger, the door-pockets up front are more useable, and you even get small albeit very useable pockets in the rear doors. The little cubby hole above the gear lever isn't very practical, though. It's small, there's no USB socket (other than the one in the Smartplay system), and since there's no rubberised mat, your odds and ends keep sliding around. Rear-seat passengers will clearly be more comfy. Legroom is plentiful now, especially as you sit high, the wider cabin allows three in the back to sit without shoulders having to overlap. Headroom, as always, has never been an issue. Maruti's new Smartplay Studio even lets you use your phone as a remote from the rear seat! Nice. Boot space is also increased – being longer, wider and deeper, there's clearly room for more baggage here. On some versions the seats even split 60:40 for even greater practicality. What's it like to drive? On the new Wagon R you can now choose either the 68hp, 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine or the 83hp, 1.2-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine. The four-cylinder engine, which we have driven briefly, is clearly more refined, more powerful and  (for the most part) smoother. However, take off from rest and the same 1.2-litre engine hesitates for a nanosecond before taking off again. As I drive on, the light kerb weight and the responsive K12 engine combine nicely and make the new Wagon R feel easy to drive. The easy manner in which the Wagon R pick up speeds makes it a breeze to drive; the mid-range is fairly good and the engine likes to be revved. But when you visit the top end of the power band, between 5,000-6,500rpm , Wagon R gets noisy. You can tell that this car doesn’t have much by way of sound insulation. However, it has performance in spades. Using all the revs in the lower gears whips the tiny front wheels into a frenzy; the Wagon R shoots forward with a never-before-experienced sense of purpose. Get this – the new Wagon R 1.2-litre variant has a power-to-weight ratio of nearly 100bhp per ton! Is it any wonder? All in all, however, the additional performance feels like a bit of a [...]
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Blog: The story behind the Tata Harrier’s killer price
Well, it's finally out. After hearing about it, seeing it in concept form and driving the actual SUV, the one crucial detail of Tata’s Harrier is finally out – the price. And just like the concept and the drive experience, it doesn’t let you down. With an ex-showroom price (Mumbai) ranging from Rs 12.69 lakh to Rs 16.25 lakh, it's far away from Compass territory (Rs 16.54 - 21.07 lakh for the 4x2 diesel) and it’s, in fact, quite competitive than the smaller Creta too (Rs 13.32 – 15.17 lakh for the 1.6-litre diesel) If you’ve read our review, you’ll know that the Harrier is a very competent SUV that's based on the Land Rover D8 platform. So why and how has Tata priced it so competitively? The 'why' is pretty obvious. Despite historically being a UV manufacturer, Tata lost ground considerably in this space. The Storme didn’t whip up quite the storm, and the response to the Hexa was lukewarm. In addition to this, the SUV space was only further hotting up, particularly in the sub-four-metre segment currently dominated by the Brezza, and in the small SUV space where the Creta rules. If Tata was to regain its share of the UV business, it would need strong products. Enter the Nexon and the Harrier – both with ‘look-at-me’ styling and pricing too. So how did Tata manage the low pricing on the Harrier? It’s big, it's loaded, and remember, it’s based on a Land Rover platform that should have been expensive. But here’s the interesting part – when Tata says they've used the platform they haven’t actually used all of the parts per se. What they have basically done is used the ‘knowledge’ of the platform and built themselves an all-new car. Firstly, imported content was either localised or replaced, as far as possible. The engine and gearbox are from Fiat (the Compass’ incidentally) and for the monocoque, Tata has used high-strength steel instead of the massive amounts of expensive aluminium found in the Land Rover. For the rear suspension too, Tata has ditched the complicated and expensive multi-link setup and instead used their own torsion beam (twist-blade) setup, which has also resulted in significant cost savings. What also helped is the use of a hydraulic power steering instead of the more efficient but costlier electric power steering system. Furthermore, Tata has also cleverly ditched certain features they think consumers may forgive, like disc brakes at the rear, a sunroof and dual-zone climate control. Tata may be right about this, but, oddly enough, if at all there’s anything consumers would really miss it would be the sunroof. So, what is shared between the Tata and Land Rover SUVs is the design engineering and hard points of many components. For instance, you can bolt on the alloy wheels of the Land Rover Discovery Sport onto the Harrier, as the wheel nut diameter (pitch circle diameter) is identical. Using the engineering knowledge of the Land Rover platform is a clever approach, as the research and development cost of an all-new platform is saved. Of course, money is still needed to get adopt new materials and components but it's not as much as having to do a platform right from scratch. Moreover, it helps that the said D5 platform happens to be from Land Rover, which Tata own. So, with the sound engineering of an upmarket platform and with far cheaper parts, the Harrier has a killer combination. What Tata needs to do now is make sure that they build it right and that the quality is always in check. Thanks to the Nexon, Tata’s April-December 2018 market share grew from 4.72 to 8.09 percent, and if the Harrier goes according to plan, expect to see this rocket further still. Also see: 2019 Tata Harrier: Which variant should you buy? Tata Harrier Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru prices revealed Tata Harrier official fuel efficiency figure revealed Tata Harrier waiting period up to three months 2019 Tata Harrier vs rivals: Price, specifications comparison 2019 Tata Harrier price, variants explained 2019 Tata Harrier review, test drive 2019 Tata Harrier image gallery [...]
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2019 Maruti Suzuki Baleno facelift: What to expect from each variant
Following the launch of the new Wagon R, Maruti Suzuki is set to introduce a facelift for its Baleno hatchback in our market. The model has received subtle styling updates and a more comprehensive features list as a part of the refresh. According to dealer sources, we've gathered some details about the new Baleno. Bookings for the Baleno facelift are already underway and, as reported by us earlier, gets styling tweaks inside and out, along with more equipment. A handful of Nexa dealers have already started receiving stocks of the updated model. Now let’s take a look at what to expect from each variant:   Maruti Suzuki Baleno Sigma New front grille with 3D design LED rear combination lamps New black and blue interiors Power steering with tilt adjustment Adjustable front headrests Manual AC with heater Front power windows Reverse parking sensors Speed alert system Driver and co-driver seatbelt warning system Nexa safety shield Maruti Suzuki Baleno Delta (Sigma+) LED projector headlamps Electrically retractable and adjustable ORVM with turn indicator Wheel covers 2-DIN audio system Steering-mounted audio controls Climate control Rear adjustable headrests 60:40 split rear seat Rear power windows Rear wash/wipe with defogger Auto-up and anti-pinch powered driver’s window Maruti Suzuki Baleno Zeta (Delta+) Alloy wheels Colour MID New 7.0-inch SmartPlay infotainment system On-board navigation Height adjustable driver’s seat Telescopic adjustment for steering wheel Push button start/stop with keyless entry Front fog lamps Auto-dimming interior mirror Chrome garnish Maruti Suzuki Baleno Alpha (Zeta+) LED projector headlamps with LED DRLs UV cut glass Leather-wrapped steering wheel Voice commands Remote control via smartphone app Follow-me-home lamps Rear parking camera Automatic headlamps As far as engines go, the new Baleno will continue with the same 1.2-litre petrol and the 1.3-litre diesel. The Baleno RS will get cosmetic updates too. Also see: New Maruti Suzuki Ertiga crosses 7,000 units in sales 2019 Maruti Suzuki Wagon R first look video Discounts on Maruti Suzuki cars, SUVs this month   IMAGE SOURCE [...]
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PhotoGallery: Republic Day Throttle 97 supercar meet photo gallery
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PhotoGallery: Triumph Rocket TFC concept image gallery
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Mahindra XUV300 new images out
More images of Mahindra’s premium compact SUV, the XUV300, have surfaced online, revealing what all the variants will look like. The rival to the likes of the Tata Nexon, Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Ford EcoSport and even lower trims of the Hyundai Creta will launch on February 14, 2019, with four variants and two engine options. Images seen of the base XUV300 W4 show that it gets 16-inch steel wheels with no wheel covers, and misses out on front fog lamps, LED DRLs and chrome inserts in the grille. Mahindra had announced that the base variant will have airbags, ABS, disc brakes on all four wheels, LED tail-lights and all four power windows. The next variant, the W6, gets wheel covers for the steel wheels, chrome inserts on the grille and roof rails, but misses out on exterior features like wing mirror-integrated turn signals. Pictures of the interiors show that the base W4 variant also gets power windows, while the W6 variant gets a 2-DIN audio system with Bluetooth streaming and telephony, a manual AC and a digital MID between the tachometer and speedometer dials. However, the W6 does miss out on equipment like steering-mounted audio controls, a touchscreen infotainment system and cruise control; features that are available in the XUV300’s higher-spec W8 and top-spec W8 (O) variants. The top-spec W8 (O) will be equipped with 17-inch diamond-cut alloys, seven airbags, front parking sensors, dual-zone automatic climate control, an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment display and a sunroof. Based on a modified platform that also underpins the SsangYong Tivoli, the Mahindra XUV300 will have two engine options and a single gearbox at launch – a 1.2-litre turbo-petrol that churns out 200Nm and a 1.5-litre turbo-diesel that makes 123hp and 300Nm of torque; both of which are mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. While Mahindra will announce prices for the XUV300 on February 14, it is expected to be priced between R 8 lakh and Rs 12 lakh (ex-showroom). Bookings for the Mahindra XUV300 opened on January 9, for an amount of Rs 20,000. Also see: Mahindra XUV300 promo video featuring Gaurav Gill released Mahindra XUV300 low-spec trim spotted Production-spec Mahindra XUV300 interior: A closer look Mahindra S210 electric SUV confirmed for mid-2020 launch [...]
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Okinawa i-Praise e-scooter launched at Rs 1.15 lakh
Indian electric-scooter manufacturer, Okinawa, has officially launched its i-Praise e-scooter at Rs 1.15 lakh (ex-showroom). This is a substantial increase over the Rs 71,460 ex-showroom price of the standard Praise. The i-Praise comes with a detachable lithium-ion battery and the manufacturer claims a reduced charging time span of only 2-3 hours, compared to the 6-8 hour charging time on for the lead-acid battery on the Okinawa Praise. The 2.9kWh battery can be charged via a 5A socket, and an additional swappable battery pack will set you back Rs 70,000. The company further claims that the i-Praise is 30-40 percent lighter than other e-scooters on the market. Okinawa has claimed a range of 160-180km and a top speed of 55-75kph under ideal testing conditions. While this is good range for an e-scooter, it remains to be seen what these numbers will be like under actual Indian conditions. Another feature that differentiates the i-Praise from the standard Praise is the Okinawa Eco app that comes with features like geo-fencing that prompts your phone when the scooter leaves a certain perimeter, and other details about battery life, trip details, and service intervals. The i-Praise also has a taller seat height of 800mm, compared to the 774mm on the Praise.  Okinawa began accepting bookings for the i-Praise back in December 2018 and has already received 450 bookings. The scooter is available in three colour combinations – red and black, golden and black, silver and black. [...]
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All-new 2019 Honda Civic launch details revealed
The all-new Honda Civic has been long awaited by Indian audiences after an absence of nearly seven years. Now, we can confirm that Honda India will launch the new Civic in March 2019 to take on the likes of the Skoda Octavia, Toyota Corolla and the Hyundai Elantra. The new Honda Civic will also rival Maruti Suzuki's new version of the Toyota Corolla, which is also due for a late 2019 launch. The new 2019 Honda Civic will be priced around the Rs 15-20 lakh range and has already been spied undergoing final testing around India. The new Honda Civic will be offered with a petrol engine – and unlike the last time around, will also have a diesel motor on offer. The petrol engine will be a 1.8-litre motor mated to either a 6-speed manual or CVT automatic gearbox. The petrol engine will make about 140hp. The diesel engine on the other hand will be the same 1.6-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged unit that will make 120hp. The diesel engine, in all likelihood, will come with a manual gearbox option only and could miss out an automatic gearbox. In terms of design, the new Honda Civic will get a very angular and almost fastback-like design as compared to the conventional three-box sedan that it was in the last generation. That said, the boot will still open like a regular sedan's does and not like that of a fastback. The new Civic will come packed with LED headlamps and LED daytime running lights along with LED tail-lamps, too. The large 17-inch wheels will have a very typically fluid design language while the face gets a large, Honda-family-look chrome grille. CYRUS DHABHAR Also see: Honda India announces price hike from February 1 Honda City ZX petrol-manual launched at Rs 12.75 lakh New Honda Civic cross-hatch teased [...]
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PhotoGallery: 2019 Honda CB300R image gallery
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PhotoGallery: 2019 Yamaha FZ-FI, FZS-FI V3.0 ABS image gallery
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Pininfarina, Karma join hands for product development
Mahindra-owned Pininfarina and Karma Automotive (formerly known as Fisker Automotive) have partnered to develop new products together. Details pertaining to exactly what this partnership will produce are scarce right now, with complete plans to be announced at some point in the second quarter of 2019 (April-June). Pininfarina is currently trying to establish its own brand, Automobili Pininfarina. The brand's first car, which is a two-door electric hypercar with 1,900hp and 2,300Nm of torque, will be named the Battista. The car is going to be revealed at the 2019 Geneva motor show, which will be held in March. They are also expected to launch a ‘super SUV’ which will use technology from American EV company, Rivian. Karma, on the other hand, currently produces only the Revero, which is essentially a re-engineered version of the Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid sedan. Karma was formed after Fisker Automotive declared bankruptcy, which is why its only has the updated version of the Fisker Karma in its portfolio. The announcement of the partnership is the first indication since that car was launched in 2016 that Karma is looking to develop a new product. Also see: In conversation with Michael Perschke, CEO, Automobili Pininfarina video Automobili Pininfarina PF0 to be powered by Rimac [...]
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Review: Maserati Levante Trofeo video review
Also see: Maserati Levante Trofeo review, test drive 2019 Maserati Levante V6 S petrol drive, review [...]
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Review: 2019 Triumph Bonneville Speed Twin review, test ride
These days, I daydream differently. It’s no longer panoramic visuals of riding a mildly chipped and sagging classic BMW through an arid African expanse, or perhaps a tedious chase involving a flat track in Tavullia. Instead, I now find myself wishing I worked at Triumph – in its product development division to be specific, because it’s been building bikes like it’s going out of fashion. It’s not surprising, then, that you can now have a Modern Classic (which is just one of its categories) to suit every imaginable two-wheeled purpose. You can have one to get through the working week, one that’ll take you through the Sahara desert, another one to make you look cool on Sunday mornings (talk about being specific) and even one that will go really well with your pastel trousers and waxed beard. Thinking up bikes like these must obviously be a fun job, then; and just when I thought it was all over, Triumph decided to take the wraps off its new Speed Twin. Well clearly, I thought wrong. Now the Speed Twin isn’t an all-new motorcycle but rather a cross between the Street Twin and the Thruxton R. But, of course, it’s more than just that. It slots into the void that so far lay unnoticed between the Street Twin/T120 and the basic Thruxton – offering the accessibility of a Street Twin but with stronger performance. At face value, the gap is a slim one but holds merit when you have to put your money where your mouth is and fall short of Thruxton kind of money. Viewed against that backdrop, the Speed Twin starts to make sense – but then it had to because that nameplate is an important one for Triumph. You see, it was the original Speed Twin 5T that took it upon itself to help Triumph make a strong revival in the aftermath of World War II. Edward Turner’s lightweight and well-engineered 500cc Speed Twin is the motorcycle that really fired up the British parallel-twin movement – previous attempts by others hadn’t met with even a sliver of success – and it soon gripped motorcycle manufacturers around the world. It wouldn’t, thus, be unfair to say that the Speed Twin is the father of the modern parallel-twin engine as we know it. However, the Speed Twin of that era was also a very uncomplicated motorcycle – the pre-war version featured a single carburettor, a Girder fork and a rigid frame, leaving a sprung seat to take care of comfort. The post-war model did better on most of those counts, but by then it had spawned more advanced models such as the Tiger, Thunderbird and the Bonneville and was, therefore, relegated to serving as an entry-level offering. However, the Speed Twin of today cannot afford to take the back seat. That should explain why Triumph has crammed its new ‘custom roadster’ with the best of its wondrous inventory and, of course, abilities. So, while it has the exact same engine output credentials as the Thruxton R – 97hp at 6,750 rpm and 112Nm torque at 4,950 rpm – and also uses the same 6-speed gearbox, it’s all meticulously tailored thereafter. The Speed Twin is now the lightest of Triumph’s Modern Classics range. Its 196kg (dry) weight has been achieved by replacing a substantial chunk of steel in the basic chassis with aluminium, apart from using the lighter metal to build the swingarm and the wheels as well. The engine, thanks to a clever mix of materials, is also lighter and Triumph has wisely focused on weight distribution and inertia to make this lighter weight work in favour of sportiness. And there’s more. The Speed twin features a longer wheelbase (1,430mm, up by 15mm) than the Street Twin and the Thruxton R but with the same 22.8-degree rake angle as seem on its flagship café racer. The Speed Twin also gets a larger fuel tank than the Street Twin, with a 14.5-litre capacity on offer and the seat height is thankfully (for taller riders) set at 807mm – the Street Twin’s 760mm could begin to feel cramped over long distances. However, not keen on going overboard with equipment so as to keep costs in check, Triumph retained a conventional fork (from the Street Twin but with uprated internals) rather than opting for the Thruxton’s USD big-piston fork; and it went one better on the Street Twin by offering a 305mm twin-disc setup (as opposed to a single disc) with Brembo four-piston calipers. Not one to skimp on electronics of late, Triumph threw in ride-by-wire, three riding modes (Road, Rain, Sport), switchable traction control and, of course, ABS, which makes the Speed Twin’s premise as ‘the new performance icon’ believable. Is it, really, though? The riding geometry certainly seemed to resonate. Viewed in profile, the Speed Twin has a noticeable forward hunch but the foot pegs are set further forward and lower than on the Thruxton. This results in a riding position that’s sporty but not unreasonable like on your ty [...]
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India-spec Nissan Kicks variants explained
Nissan is all set to launch the Kicks SUV in India on January 22. As you may already know, the Nissan Kicks will be offered with a 106hp, 1.5-litre petrol engine and a 110hp, 1.5-litre diesel engine. However, brochures of Nissan’s Hyundai Creta rival have now found their way online, revealing full information about all the variants the model will be offered in. The Kicks will be offered in four variants in total - XL, XV, XV Pre and XV Pre Option. The good news is there will be lots of features on offer, even on the lower-spec trims. Here, we’ve broken down the full feature list for each of the four Nissan Kicks variants. Nissan Kicks XL Dual airbags Anti-lock brakes (ABS) Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) Brake assist Rear parking sensors Central locking with speed-sensing auto lock Impact-sensing auto door unlock Six-way adjustable driver seat Fabric upholstery LED signature lights Halogen headlights 16-inch steel wheels with wheel covers Black body cladding Front armrest Power steering with tilt adjustment Power windows (front and rear) One-touch up/down driver-side window with anti-pinch function Electrically adjustable wing mirrors with integrated turn indicators Two 12V power outlets Auto AC Rear AC vents Integrated 2-DIN music system with Bluetooth Nissan Connect Nissan Kicks XV Reverse camera Vehicle Dynamic Control  (diesel only) Fabric upholstery with single stitching 17-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels Front fog lamps Roof rails Satin skid plate Rear seat armrest with cup holder ECO drive mode (diesel only) Rear wiper 8-inch touchscreen screen with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay Steering-mounted audio controls Satin chrome body cladding Nissan Kicks XV Pre Hill-start Assist LED projector headlights Leather-wrapped steering wheel Leather-wrapped gear knob with chrome accents Keyless entry Push button start/stop Cruise control Chrome rear trunk garnish Nissan Kicks XV Pre Option Rear fog lamps Leather upholstery with double stitching Front fog lamps with cornering function Soft-touch dashboard Auto headlights Rain-sensing wipers Follow-me-home headlights 360-degree Around View Monitor Optional dual-tone paint scheme Think the Nissan Kicks is well equipped? Are there any features you think it’s missing? Let us know in the comments section below. Image source [...]
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New Skoda SUV concept confirmed for Auto Expo 2020 debut
Škoda’s all-new SUV will make its public debut in concept form at the upcoming 2020 Auto Expo. The announcement was made by the Volkswagen Group at the inauguration event for the brand’s new technology centre today at Chakan, near Pune in Maharashtra.  We reported in our January 2018 issue about VW Group considering showing vehicles from its India 2.0 gameplan. The new technology centre has been inaugurated under the Volkswagen group’s India 2.0 project for which 250 engineers will be working on new India-specific vehicles that will hit Škoda and Volkswagen showrooms post 2020. The Volkswagen group has invested around Rs 2,000 crore for this project and is aiming at achieving at upto 95 percent localisation. The India 2.0 project, as reported by us earlier, will be led by Škoda with a new Creta-rivalling SUV which will also spawn a VW variant. This new SUV will be based on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB A0 IN platform, which is essentially a modified version of the MQB A0 architecture. A total of four new models will be introduced in the Indian market under this project. While Škoda will showcase the India-spec SUV in concept form first, the production-ready version of this new SUV will get styling cues from the Škoda Vision X concept that was unveiled earlier this year. A production version of this new SUV for European markets will be showcased at the Geneva motor show in March, this year. The India-spec Škoda SUV will be longer than the European version – 4.19m instead of 4.1m. The India-spec SUV will get more legroom at the back and a reclining seat that can be adjusted based on whether there is a requirement for additional legroom in the rear seat or cargo room in the boot. The new SUV will be powered by a 1.5-litre, direct-injection petrol engine that makes around 130hp. The current 1.5-litre TDI diesel motor that does duty in many VW and Škoda models won't be part of the line-up as it can't be upgraded to meet BS-VI standards, and the carmaker's 2.0-litre diesel engine will be too big for a vehicle of this size. Škoda could look at a CNG variant, though. Furthermore, three additional models will be introduced under the India 2.0 project after the new Škoda SUV, all underpinned by the VW Group's MQB A0 IN platform: 1. Volkswagen T-Cross SUV 2. New Škoda Rapid sedan 3. Volkswagen Virtus (Vento replacement) [...]
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Top 5 bikes under Rs 4 lakh in India
A budget of Rs 2-4 lakh presents an interesting selection. This is where you start seeing the first multi-cylinder offerings and, while this segment was rather restricted a few years ago, of late, we’ve seen some fantastic offerings from a bevy of manufacturers. While this segment might still be considered a bit out of reach by many, there’s no denying that the motorcycles in this price bracket are exceptional and can even give those that cost a few lakh more a run for their money. And, as always, like with all our lists, we've considered only ex-showroom, Delhi, prices for consistency. TVS Apache RR 310 With its high tail and sharp fairing, the RR 310 features an aggressive supersport-like design. However, the motorcycle is not an all-out supersport, especially in terms of riding position. It has a raised handlebar and reasonably rear-set foot pegs, which should make it comfortable on the street, as well. The RR 310 has ample room on offer and this is of as much help with being comfortable on a high-speed cruise as it is while you experiment with increasing degrees of lean angles. The low seat height also helps and should keep most riders comfortable. The RR 310 is happy on long, open highways but will also handle twisting roads with glee. TVS has equipped the fully-digital instrument cluster on the RR 310 to display average speed, 0-60kph timings and a lap timer mode that can be toggled on-the-move, by pressing the headlight pass switch. It also has segment-first features like a numeric engine temperature gauge and features a highly accurate fuel gauge. The motorcycle also features an upside-down front fork and all-LED lighting. Price: Rs 2.23 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) Power: 34hp at 9700rpm Torque: 27.3Nm at 7700rpm Also read: TVS Apache RR 310 review KTM 390 Duke The 390 Duke completely changed the way small(er) capacity performance motorcycles were perceived in India. And its 2017 avatar takes the game several notches higher. Powered by a 373cc, single-cylinder motor that makes a whopping 43.5hp and a massive 37Nm of torque, the 390 Duke can accelerate from zero to 100kph in a little over five seconds – that’s nearly as quick as bikes with almost twice the engine capacity! Chalk this down to an impressive power to weight ratio thanks to a featherweight dry mass of just 149kg. It stops extremely well too, as it now gets a bigger 320mm front disc with a radially mounted 4-pot caliper, which is supplemented by switchable dual-channel ABS as standard. With a separate function and beefy upside-down forks at the front, when it comes to handling, the KTM 390 Duke is pretty much unbeatable, with only its stablemate, the very sporty RC390, outdoing it in this segment. It’s absolutely loaded to the gills with equipment as well – a ride-by-wire throttle, adjustable levers and a full-colour TFT instrument panel that can be hooked up to your smartphone for controlling music and answering calls. For those of you looking for similar performance, but in a more focused and racy supersport avatar, KTM’s RC 390 is also available for about the same sum of money. Price: Rs 2.44 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) Power: 43.5hp at 9,000rpm Torque: 37Nm at 7,000rpm Also read: KTM 390 Duke review Kawasaki Ninja 300 Kawasaki has recently launched a heavily localised version of the Ninja 300 in India. By localising the components, the Japanese brand has reduced the price by a massive Rs 62,000. The Ninja 300 houses a 296cc, four-stroke, parallel-twin, liquid-cooled engine. This fuel-injected motor generates 39hp of maximum power with a peak torque figure of 27Nm. The motor has dual-throttle valves similar to what you see on the company’s top-spec litre-class sports bike, the ZX-10R, and these deliver smooth throttle response throughout the rev range. The motor is peaky though, and one really needs to rev the nuts off it to get the most out of it. Its six-speed transmission gets a slip and assist clutch, which makes for a light lever feel, while the slipper clutch prevents rear-wheel hop under rapid downshifts. Braking components are made by Endurance and tyres are provided by MRF on the new Ninja 300. The baby Ninja also gets dual-channel ABS as standard. Price: Rs 2.98 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) Power: 39hp at 11,000rpm Torque: 27Nm at 10,000rpm Also read: 2018 Kawasaki Ninja 300 vs rivals: Specifications comparison Yamaha YZF-R3 The R3 is probably the most direct rival to the Kawasaki Ninja 300 and can be described as Yamaha’s take on the quarter-litre (slightly higher) twin-cylinder sports bike. Its 321cc, parallel-twin motor gets four valves per cylinder and puts out a healthy 42hp of peak power, while peak torque is 29.6Nm. But, unlike the Ninja, this has been geared for great pull even at mid-range rpm and doesn’t need to be constantly revved high to make it really go. On top of that, the R3 hasn’t been d [...]
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2019 Toyota Camry Hybrid launched at Rs 36.95 lakh
Toyota has launched the all-new Toyota Camry Hybrid at an introductory price of Rs 36.95 lakh (ex-showroom, India). The previous-gen Camry Hybrid was priced at Rs 37.38 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). Underpinning the new Camry Hybrid is Toyota’s TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) platform, which, as per the manufacturer, has allowed for a lower centre of gravity and improved vehicle dynamics. Exterior styling is more aggressive and in line with Toyota’s latest design language, with a large air intake up front, sleek LED headlamps, more prominent creases along the sides and a raised boot lip.   Unlike its predecessor, the new Camry comes with only a hybrid powertrain. Under the hood sits a reworked 2.5-litre petrol motor now making 178hp and 221Nm of torque, and it’s paired with a 120hp electric motor. Total system output is 218hp. Power is sent to the wheels via a CVT automatic gearbox. The Camry features the brand’s latest hybrid system with a lighter power control unit and the battery now sits under the rear seat, which Toyota says aids the system’s efficiency. On the official test cycle, the new Camry Hybrid returns 23.27kpl.   Toyota has also generously equipped the Camry with equipment on offer including a three-zone auto climate control, an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, power-reclining rear seats, powered sunshades with controls in the rear centre armrest, powered and ventilated front seats with a memory function for the driver’s seat, a 9-speaker JBL audio system, a reverse camera and a head-up display, to name a few. On the safety front, the car comes with nine airbags, ABS and EBD, traction and stability control, and Isofix child seat anchor points.   With the new Camry, Toyota has its sights set on the Honda Accord Hybrid, which is the only other hybrid in the segment, the Volkswagen Passat and the Skoda Superb.   At this price, would you pick the Camry Hybrid over other luxury sedans? Let us know in the comments.   [...]
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Mahindra XUV300 to launch on February 14
It’s official: Mahindra’s latest compact SUV, the XUV300, will launch in India on February 14. The Indian carmaker is looking to take on more than just compact SUVs such as the Ford EcoSport, Tata Nexon and Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza; its rivals will also include the Hyundai Creta. Bookings for the XUV300 officially opened last week (for an amount of Rs 20,000) and based on Chief of Sales & Marketing, M&M Ltd. Veejay Ram Nakra’s statement, Mahindra is likely to price the model between Rs 8-12 lakh (ex-showroom). While the XUV300 shares its underpinnings with the SsangYong Tivoli, the platform has been modified so that the model falls under the crucial four-metre mark. Despite the shorter length, the Mahindra XUV300 is claimed to be the widest (and with the longest wheelbase) in its class. Another aspect where the XUV300 is expected to punch above its class is in its equipment. Even the base W4 variant will have airbags, ABS, disc brakes on all four wheels, LED tail-lights and all four power windows, while the top-spec W8 (O) is expected with front parking sensors, 17-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, a sunroof and seven airbags. There will be two engines on offer – a 1.2-litre turbo-petrol that makes 200Nm of torque and the 1.5-litre diesel engine from the Marazzo that makes 123hp and 300Nm of torque. At launch, a 6-speed manual will be standard on both engines and an automatic option will be introduced at a later date. Also see: Mahindra S210 electric SUV confirmed for mid-2020 launch Mahindra XUV300 low-spec trim spotted Mahindra XUV300 bookings open Production-spec Mahindra XUV300 interior: A closer look [...]
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