Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Is The Indian Ignis As Strong As The European Car?

Maruti Suzuki Ignis - Front-Offset

At a tour of Maruti's wrapped-in-secrecy Randamp;D facility in Rohtak we witnessed a frontal off-set crash of the Ignis. As prescribed by the Indian norms, the test saw the Ignis, loaded with crash-test dummies, hit a stationary barrier at 56kmph. In a tenth of a second, announced by a horrific boom, it was all over. The Ignis' passengers, so we were told, would have suffered some lacerations and bruising at the most. Rescuers wouldn't have to cut or wrench the doors open, either, when helping the injured out of the car, as the doors opened with just a bit of effort..

So, are the two cars different?

The answer, provided by C V Raman, Executive Director of Engineering at Maruti Suzuki, was clear: the European car's additional safety level is because of the extra active safety features on offer. Nonetheless, C V Raman stressed that the chassis structure of the Indian car is not different from the European-spec car that complies with the crash test at higher speeds. However, he avoided drawing a parallel between the 3-star(standard)/5-star(with safety pack) European car and the Indian car.

Maruti Suzuki Ignis - Pedestrian Safety

As per the standards laid down by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, new cars to be launched after 1st Oct 2017 have to comply with three crash tests. However, vehicles already on sale have time till 1st Oct 2019 to comply with these full frontal, front-offset and side impact tests. Maruti Suzuki's new generation products such as the Baleno, Vitara Brezza and the Ignis -- as would be expected from forward-looking clean-sheet designs -- have already been designed to comply with these norms.

Apart from Suzuki's new lighter and stronger SUPER-TECT platform,. As of now, these aids are offered only on higher end cars in the Indian market. The Ignis, which has already been criticised by Indian customers for being pricey, would become unviable with these additional safety aids.

Maruti Suzuki Ignis - Pedestrian Safety

In the past,. The Ignis way forward, if it can be called that, is a welcome change that shows that Indian lives aren't any less important.




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Updated Toyota Corolla Altis Launch Soon

2017 Toyota Corolla Altis

The current generation of the. While it had been able to hold on to the top spot in the D1 sedan segment for a long time, increased competition has eaten into its share.

While has served as a double whammy. And this is evident in the sales numbers released in January 2017, which reflect that the Corolla Altis has slid down to being the 4th most popular car in the segment

2017 Toyota Corolla Altis

On one hand, it is certain that Toyota is going to launch the updated Corolla Altis in the first week of March 2017 since some dealers across the country have already begun accepting pre-bookings for the car at a quoted amount of Rs 1 Lakh.

On the other hand, what is not confirmed is what changes Toyota will make to help the Corolla regain lost ground. Toyota had revealed, which is also expected to make its way to India, but there is no confirmation about it from the company.

2017 Toyota Corolla Altis

If Toyota does bring in the facelift, it will adhere to the company's new exciting design language seen internationally. The basic silhouette of the car will remain the same, though it will receive new LED headlamps, a narrower grille and a new LED tail-lamp. Inside, the changes could include a revised dashboard layout and the use of new soft-touch materials. Toyota could also include a larger infotainment system to make the Corolla Altis feel more premium than the competition, especially since the Hyundai Elantra has already been lauded for the unit it has.

Alternatively, Toyota could also opt to update the design slightly rather than introducing the facelift, to save on costs.

2017 Toyota Corolla Altis

The powertrain options in the new Toyota Corolla Altis are expected to remain the same. First, a 1.8-litre, naturally aspirated, 4-cylinder petrol motor, developing 140PS of maximum power and 173Nm of peak torque, paired to either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed automatic transmission and second, a 1.4-litre, turbocharged, 4-cylinder diesel motor, developing 88PS of maximum power and 205Nm of peak torque, paired to a 6-speed manual transmission.

2017 Toyota Corolla Altis

There are also reports online suggesting that the Corolla Altis facelift in India might also be offered with a hybrid powertrain. Toyota has already in the country and the introduction of the Corolla Altis hybrid could give the model an advantage over the competition.

If Toyota does launch the Corolla Altis hybrid in India, it will be powered by a 1.8-litre, naturally aspirated, 4-cylinder petrol motor, paired with an electric motor, with a combined maximum power output of 128PS of maximum power and a claimed fuel efficiency of 23kmpl.

2017 Toyota Corolla Altis

We will keep you posted as and when Toyota officially releases any information on the upcoming Corolla Altis. Stay tuned.




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Renault Kwid Registers Over 1.3 Lakh Sales

Renault Kwid

Renault India's blockbuster has yet another milestone under its belt. Renault's most affordable offering has been so successful that it has sold over 1,30,000 units since launch. This is a reflection of the growing acceptance of the among the first time car buyers.

The hatchback managed to unsettle the long-reigning king of the segment, the. Features such as the digital instrument cluster, 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation and the humongous 300-litre boot clicked with the masses at large.

To support the rising demand, Renault India has been proactive in introducing new variants as well. For instance, a 1.0-litre motor found its way into the Kwid's engine bay last year to take on the. To cement the Kwid's positioning as a city-slicker, an AMT variant was introduced shortly after. This helped the Kwid in expanding its presence in India, so much so that Renault India's share in the passenger vehicle market grew to 4.5 per cent by the end of 2016, registering triple-digit growth in the process.

The Kwid portfolio is complete, so do not expect any major changes or revisions in the near future. That said, based on the same CMF-A platform as the hatchback, which should be worth looking out for.

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Honda Civic: Can/Should It Return To India?

2017 Honda Civic

Back in 2012, one of India's favourite premium sedans was discontinued. It wasn't that the Civic lacked popularity, but Honda Car India decided that its growth lied in more affordable car segments. Hence, the focus shifted from cars like the Accord and Civic, to models like the and Amaze.

However, fresh rumours imply that Honda is reintroducing the Civic in India. We'll have to wait and see if the reports hold water, but till then, we've decided to take a look at the feasibility of Honda reviving the Civic name in India.

What killed the old Civic?

- 2012 was a time when diesel cars were gaining popularity, but Honda didn't have an engine ready for the Civic in India (1.6-litre diesel engine offered in Europe wasn't compatible with the quality of fuel sold in India). In fact, Honda's first and only diesel engine in India was introduced in 2013, in the.

Trivia: The 1.5 i-DTEC is the fourth diesel engine Honda ever made for its passenger vehicles worldwide.

2017 Honda Civic

- Sedans as a body style were losing popularity to crossovers/SUVs, not only in India, but the world over.

- Honda itself found that its premium cars were losing numbers. In July 2012, the Honda Civic's sales crashed by nearly 80 per cent, compared to the same month in 2011. Apart from the lack of a diesel engine, the Civic's 1.8-litre petrol engine, while high on performance, was also heavy on fuel consumption. A similar problem was faced by the Accord's 2.4-litre i-VTEC engine, which also contributed to the reduced resale value of both cars.

Why the Civic could return

2017 Honda Civic

Popularity: No one can deny the Civic's popularity in India. Run through any discussion about the sedan's return to the country and it will be almost impossible to find someone who doesn't want that to happen. It's a similar case with the Accord. In fact, a top executive from Honda Car India Limited (HCIL) told us that most buyers of were existing owners of the old Accord. Such is the fan/loyalty base of these cars.

Premium Is In: Premium/luxury cars are gaining popularity as more people are interested in spending that extra bit more to get more upmarket value. The Civic has a permanent place in buyer memory as a premium sedan and that could work in its favour.

Low Rival Interest: The competition hasn't seen any significant changes over the years. Rivals like the Volkswagen Jetta, Skoda Octavia, Corolla Altis and the Hyundai Elantra sell in the early-mid triple digits, so their manufacturers are taking it easy on promotions. The Civic could strike when the competition has its guard down and make an impact for Honda.

Plugging A Gap: Between the and Accord Hybrid, there is a massive price gulf of nearly Rs 30 lakh. The Civic could close this gap and give Honda buyers something to consider after the City, since the Accord Hybrid is quite expensive.

Why it may not

2017 Honda Civic

Low-Volumes: While its rivals aren't showing much interest, there is a reason behind it. Buyers, still, largely prefer SUVs/crossovers like the. Around the Rs 15 lakh mark, sedans start to lose their popularity, only to be regained around the Rs 30 lakh mark, where luxury brands come into the picture. As popular as the Civic will be, it will still be a low-slung five-seater sedan that will be closely priced to popular six- or seven-seater utility vehicles.

Price: When the Civic was discontinued in India, it was priced between Rs 12.60-15 lakh andndash; a territory that the Honda City's higher variants now fall into. The new Civic (tenth-generation) is a car that's bigger and more technologically advanced than the old car that was sold in India. If introduced, the Civic will, at best, be assembled in India, since, at least initially, localization would result in excessive investment for a segment that's moving slowly. That means we're looking at a starting price of around Rs 15 lakh, at the least. How many takers would the Civic find at that price?

Would you buy the if it was relaunched in India? What's the price you'd find acceptable?




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Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Is A 200MPH Car - Almost

Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Here's some news for muscle car fans. This time, it is all about its competitor from the bow-tie brand. Yes folks, the Camaro is in the news (no, it is not coming to India) andndash; the Camaro ZL1, which is the most powerful production Camaro till date. The ZL1 has touched a top speed of the 323kmph (202mph for those who like imperial measurement units).

The Camaro ZL1 is based on the latest Camaro that is based on the Alpha platform by GM

For the ZL1 to record the top speed, GM went to the Automotive Testing Papenberg GmBH proving ground in Germany. It is a 6.15km-long facility with 4km straights and 2.15km turns that are banked at 49.7 degrees on the top lane. The ZL1 was run in both forward and reverse directions around the track. The car was able to record 323kmph top speed in one direction while it touched 309kmph in the other direction. The car ran on its production-spec Goodyear Eagle F1 tyres. Once GM saw the car average 316kmph, it changed the front and rear camber settings to 0 degrees and inflated the tyres to the maximum pressure. The car was then able to go even faster, recording an average of 323kmph.

The Camaro ZL1 features a 10-speed automatic gearbox jointly developed by GM and Ford

However, since the factory settings were changed, the average top speed of 323kmph stood nullified. Hence, officially, the Camaro ZL1 is 'still not' a 200mph car. The Camaro ZL1 has been in the news for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is based on the 2017 Camaro that is based on GM's new Alpha platform. Secondly, it sports a new 10-speed automatic transmission that GM developed with Ford. It has a 6.2-litre direct-injected V8 that makes 659PS power and 881Nm torque. This helps the Camaro ZL1 go from 0 to 100kmph in just 3.5 seconds and to blast down the quarter mile in 11.4 seconds.

The Camaro ZL1 is the fastest Camaro in production yet

Now, let's get back to wishing that GM brings at least the standard Camaro to India to rival .




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Range Rover Velar Teased; Official Debut On March 1

Range Rover Velar - Teaser

British SUV-maker Range Rover has officially announced a new addition to their portfolio. Called the 'Velar', the manufacturer says the SUV derives its name from the original prototypes of the Range Rover that dates back to 1969. "When development engineers needed to hide the true identity of the 26 pre-production Range Rovers, they chose the name Velar, derived from the Latin velare, meaning to veil or cover," read the press statement.

The Velar will look at plugging the gap between the. While the teaser image gives next to nothing away other than the massive panoramic sunroof and the LED taillamps, Range Rover has this to say: "Elegant simplicity, a visually reductive approach and pioneering consumer technology are the hallmarks of the new Range Rover Velar."

That's unnecessarily cryptic, we know. But rumour has it that the Velar is nothing but an SUV with a coupe-like roofline - a trend the BMW X6 kicked off. It is supposedly based on the same platform, and is likely to borrow powertrains from it as well.

There's clearly a lot of faith on the little one's shoulder. "We call the Velar the avant garde Range Rover. It brings a new dimension of glamour, modernity and elegance to the brand. The Range Rover Velar changes everything," says Gerry McGovern, Land Rover's design chief.

The Velar will make its official debut on March 1, ahead of the Geneva Motor Show. We're sure it will make its way to India as well, soon after the brand officially launches.




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Is The Indian Ignis As Strong As A European Car?

Maruti Suzuki Ignis - Front-Offset

At a tour of Maruti's wrapped-in-secrecy Randamp;D facility in Rohtak we witnessed a frontal off-set crash of the Ignis. As prescribed by the Indian norms, the test saw the Ignis, loaded with crash-test dummies, hit a stationary barrier at 56kmph. In a tenth of a second, announced by a horrific boom, it was all over. The Ignis' passengers, so we were told, would have suffered some lacerations and bruising at the most. Rescuers wouldn't have to cut or wrench the doors open, either, when helping the injured out of the car, as the doors opened with just a bit of effort..

So, are the two cars different?

The answer, provided by C V Raman, Executive Director of Engineering at Maruti Suzuki, was clear: the European car's additional safety level is because of the extra active safety features on offer. Nonetheless, C V Raman stressed that the chassis structure of the Indian car is not different from the European-spec car that complies with the crash test at higher speeds. However, he avoided drawing a parallel between the 4-star European car and the Indian car.

Maruti Suzuki Ignis - Pedestrian Safety

As per all new cars to be launched after 1st Oct 2017 have to comply with three crash tests. However, vehicles already on sale have time till 1st Oct 2019 to comply with these full frontal, front-offset and side impact tests. Maruti Suzuki's new generation products such as the Baleno, Vitara Brezza and the Ignis -- as would be expected from forward-looking clean-sheet designs -- have already been designed to comply with these norms.

Apart from Suzuki's new lighter and stronger SUPER-TECT platform,. As of now, these aids are offered only on higher end cars in the Indian market. The Ignis, which has already been criticised by Indian customers for being pricey, would become unviable with these additional safety aids.

Maruti Suzuki Ignis - Pedestrian Safety

In the past,. The Ignis way forward, if it can be called that, is a welcome change that shows that Indian lives aren't any less important.




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Maruti Silently Introduces Crash Test-Compliant Ertiga And Ciaz

Maruti Suzuki Ciaz

As per Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assesment Program (BNVSAP) all new cars launched after 1 Oct 2017 will have to comply with crash test norms. However, vehicles already on sale have time till 1 Oct 2019 to comply with these full frontal, front-offset and side impact tests. Maruti Suzuki's new generation products such as the Baleno, Vitara Brezza and the Ignis -- as would be expected from forward-looking clean-sheet designs -- have been designed to comply with these norms. However, older models would need to be reengineered to meet these norms.

Maruti Suzuki Ertiga

Enabled by the expansive Randamp;D centre spread over 600 acres in Rohtak, Maruti Suzuki has reengineered the to meet these norms. While details are scarce, the changes are said to include some structural changes for greater strengthening. However, C V Raman, Executive Director, Engineering, at MSIL, said that overall weight of the vehicles wouldn't have necessarily changed. Maruti Suzuki officials confirmed that the updated versions are already on sale. The Ciaz has been the segment leader recently. Maruti had hiked prices across the range in January 2017.

Right from the 1980s, Maruti Suzuki's Engineering arm has been increasingly engaged with Suzuki's Randamp;D division in Japan in developing products for India. From the Zen facelift in 2003, joint development of the Swift in 2012, to the full-body change for the new launched in 2013, Maruti's Randamp;D division has seen a ramp up of the abilities of the Indian arm. With the Rohtak facility in operation from 2013, Indian engineers can work in parallel with their Japanese counterparts for the development of all new products and share the workload. However, the revamp of the small car line-up is expected to be built on all-new platforms to boost the safety factor in the smaller hatchbacks too.

Recommended Read:




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