• A serpentine road meandering through the pine forest of Palampur bordered by mountains glowing in the morning sun took me to the Norbulingka Institute in Dharamsala. Nestled quietly in the backdrop of snow-capped Dhauladhar range, this monastery is a replica of the original Norbulingka in Tibet. In fact, the breathtaking monastery is a little Tibet, filled with blissful sights of fluttering prayer flags, spinning prayer wheels and monks twisting a strings of prayer beads between their fingers. A stroll down the Japanese-styled gardens followed by sumptuous breakfast at the monastery restaurant was the perfect way to unwind after a tediously long drive.
    The drive started a day earlier in Amritsar, the land of lush wheat fields, delicious food and lionhearted people. We began in the perfect setting of agrarian abundance at Punjabiyat, a fascinating farm resort in the verdant countryside of Amritsar. Brimmed with simplicity of village life, Punjabiyat offers ample opportunity to capture

    Read More »from Nissan Terrano Anniversary Drive
  • Photos by Clint ThomasPhotos by Clint Thomas
    Be it their quest for road presence or misfortune of ploughing through awful roads everyday, Indians have many reasons behind their affinity for SUVs.  Now, ask them which SUV would they buy if they had a pot of gold to spend, I’m sure the lion’s share would answer – a Range Rover. What could be the catalyst behind this love affair?  Is it the fact that Range Rovers are an epithet of luxury and high esteem shored up by unbelievable off-roading capability, or it’s the favourite brand of their beloved celebrities? Perhaps it is just the snob value or the strong statement the vehicle makes. Whatever it may be, Range Rovers enjoy a special place in every enthusiast’s heart.

    The 2014 Range Rover Sport is the quickest, most agile and most technologically advanced RR ever made. Designed to blend the British marque’s comfort, luxury and off-road capability with a racier and more engaging driving experience, the Range Rover Sport is every car enthusiast’s fantasy.


    In essence, the Range

    Read More »from Road Test and Review: Range Rover Sport
  • The E Class has been the rock-solid nucleus of Mercedes-Benz, with more than 11 million units sold globally and over 23,000 in India. Year after year, this luxury sedan epitomizes vault-like solidity and superior integrity. The fine blend of safety, comfort, performance and equipment has made the E Class a popular choice among luxury car shoppers. Staying true to its lineage, the 2014 E Class has been optimized to appeal to a larger crowd, with a hint of contemporary enhancements.


    Of late, Mercedes-Benz’ strategies are hugely aligned with and responsive to the contextual and cultural conditions of the target population. This situational appropriateness resulted in a dramatic shift away from the wedge-shaped design language across the model range. The E Class too received a design refresh in 2014, but in a way that doesn’t disappoint its loyal fans and at the same time attracts a larger, younger demographic.

    The most prominent exterior styling change is a more streamlined front

    Read More »from Road Test and Review: Mercedes-Benz E Class 250CDI
  • Competition makes us all better. The same applies to cars as well. The littlest off-roader in the Q family has just got better to fend off the swelling competition in the luxury compact SUV segment.  But unlike a routine facelift, changes to the Q3 Dynamic are not merely skin-deep as it is equipped with Audi Drive Select, which makes the car even more desirable.


    Modifications to the exterior are subtle, still recognizable. An all-chrome grille and aluminum skid plate are new in the front, while 17-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels add freshness to the profile. Clear lens taillights look particularly impressive and underbody guards on the rear bumpers ensure peaceful off-roading.
    Interiors are full of soft-touch materials that look good and are well assembled. Brushed aluminum accents and walnut brown wood inlays are specially made for the Dynamic Q3. Electrically adjustable front seats with 4 way lumbar support offer outstanding comfort and the rear seats are certainly the best in class

    Read More »from Test Drive and Review: Audi Q3 Dynamic
  • ‘Hot hatch’ is often a loosely used term to describe any good-looking hatchback with impressive performance figures. But in reality, the hot hatches in India can be counted on the fingers of one hand – and the Polo GT is arguably the best among them. Truly a wolf in sheep’s clothing, the Polo GT is already proven to tickle a hardcore enthusiast's fancy. Now that Volkswagen has updated the GT along with the new Polo, let’s find out what’s in store with the new Polo GT.


    One needs to work at Volkswagen to spot the design changes to the New Polo. But that’s not a downer because Polo is widely admired for its classic, sober design. Along with the subtle changes to the New Polo, the TSI and TDI get GT badging on front grille and the tailgate. GT TSI gets the badging on the C pillar as well. What add some sportiness to the New Polo GT’s exterior are the black rear spoiler and ORVMs.
    Open the door and the GT garnish on the doorstep welcomes you to a cabin that gets a more serious

    Read More »from Road Test and Review: Volkswagen Polo GT TSI & GT TDI
  • Is this a Mercedes? I often see this amused expression on the faces of passersby while driving any Mercedes-Benz model in the past two years. The new entrants into the Stuttgart carmaker’s rapidly expanding model range are dynamic, youthful and a clear breakaway from the sedate, “old man’s car” image. I could see such expressions again last week along the Himalayan Expressway as Mercedes-Benz organized the media drive for its latest model – the GLA – to Shimla.

    The GLA is not just the latest iteration of the company’s new design philosophy, but an important car that fills a long-vacant void in Mercedes’ lineup - that of luxury compact SUV.


    At the first glance, the GLA appears like an inflated A-Class and that’s no surprise because they are built on the same MFA platform. Essentially, the GLA is an A Class on steroids with a straighter roofline and better ground clearance. However, rugged touches like bulging lines on the bonnet, aluminum cladding and large air intakes on the

    Read More »from Road Test and Review: Mercedes-Benz GLA
  • Frankly, I had rebuffed Mahindra’s offer to test drive the e2o when it was launched in 2013, because I knew I would be staring at the battery range indicator rather than focusing on the drive or the dynamics of the car. I was too skeptical to take the car for a photo-shoot or speed test because the maximum I could peacefully go away from a known charging station was 30-35 kilometres.  

    When Mahindra called me again recently with the same offer, I happily accepted because the new premium variant of the e2o runs up to 120 kilometres on a single charge. That’s not all, it is now equipped with power steering, which makes city driving a doddle.


    The new e2o’s exterior styling remains unaltered and continues to be a mix of futuristic and quirky design. Projector headlamps and honeycomb mesh grille give this tiny car a sporty front but it looks a bit disproportionate in profile, thanks to its tall stance and short wheelbase. The rear gets an all-glass tailgate and a pair of small but

    Read More »from Road Test and Review: Mahindra e2o T2
  • Maruti has it easy in the small and compact car segments.  But India’s top carmaker hasn’t been able to hit the sweet spot in the midsize sedan category dominated by the tasteful rides from Japan, Korea and Europe. Now, in what could be a do-or-die effort, Maruti is once again vying for the wallets of C-segment buyers with an all-new car --the Ciaz. Ciaz not only ups the ante on what have historically been Maruti’s lackadaisical attempts to crack the midsize segment, but has developed into a resilient contender among its feature-laden competitors.


    Maruti cars have never been stylistic standouts but the Ciaz is absolutely more assertive than anything else from its maker’s stable. The four-slat chrome grille looks neat, so do the large dual headlamps with projectors. Remarkably, all variants of the Ciaz will get projector headlamps. The well-molded bumper adds some zing to the front, however, the chrome accents around the fog lamps as seen on the concept car would have made it

    Read More »from Road Test and Review: Maruti Ciaz
  • Photos by Clint ThomasCarmakers generally introduce special editions on two occasions – to mark the tremendous success of a particular model or to give it a boost when sales show a downward drift. Mercedes-Benz India, which is observing 2014 as the “Year of Excellence,” has registered a strong half-yearly growth of 25% and a significant contributor to this growth trajectory has been the NGC portfolio comprising the A-Class and B-Class. Celebrating the overwhelming success of its New Generation Cars (NGC) portfolio, the Stuttgart carmaker recently introduced the A-Class and B-Class ‘Edition 1.’

    These two adorable baby Mercs have already found appreciation among young Indians and the Edition 1 takes them to new heights with some tasteful touches. Over the previous long weekend, I took the B Class Edition 1 on a roadtrip not just to find out what’s new in the special edition, but to explore the capabilities of the B Class as a sports tourer.


    The B Class is often described as an inflated A Class. While

    Read More »from Road Test and Review: Mercedes-Benz B Class Edition 1
  • The dictionary defines the word elite as ‘someone who is superior in terms of ability or qualities to the rest of the society.’ Well, in that sense, Hyundai’s premium hatchback i20 has been an elite car since its inception in 2008. With its impressive fluidic design, interior quality and avant-garde features, the i20 redefined the benchmark in the segment. Now, in its second generation, the i20 has been justifiably christened the Elite i20 and let’s find out what makes an already good car even better.


    The Elite i20’s exterior represents the latest iteration of what Hyundai calls Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design language. However, Hyundai has ditched the rounded fluidic edges for a bold design with sharper character lines. Dominating the front is the signature hexagonal grille, but this time with honeycomb mesh surrounded by chrome accents. The lower bumper is adorned by a plastic mesh strip that neatly connects the fog lamps. The striking design of the swept-back headlamps yields an

    Read More »from Road Test and Review: Hyundai Elite i20


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