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    Two burgeoning segments in Indian automobile industry – compact sedan and luxury hatchback – have elicited a raving response. While one segment offered cheaper sedans, the other made luxury more affordable. When Audi decided to introduce its cheapest car in India, they charted a new path by blending together the best of both worlds. Thus, the Audi A3 creates a new market segment – the class of luxury compact sedans.

    Design

    The A3 is quintessential Audi. So it takes an eagle-eyed enthusiast to tell the difference between the A3 and the A4 - or even the A6 - from a distance. And it’s a great thing because on the road, the baby Audi grabs as many eyeballs as the more expensive models do. Like its elder siblings, the A3 gets the signature single-frame grille flanked by slim bi-xenon headlamps with DRLs that help the car retain its regal image. Striking horizontal contours and large air inlets on the bumper add to the broader stance of the front end.
    The ‘tornado line’ slicing the length of

    Read More »from Road Test and Review: Audi A3
  • When Tata launched its first indigenously made car Indica in 1998, it proved an instant hit, thanks to its spaciousness, practicality and fuel efficiency. But the inevitable had to happen – Indica soon became the favourite of taxi fleet operators. The ill-maintained, often run-down Indicabs cast a pall on Tata products’ appeal to individual customers. Tata’s attempt to steer away from the ‘taxi image’ and attract more personal buyers saw some very good products coming to the market, but their uncanny resemblance to Indica marred sales drastically.  

    In what could potentially lead to a dramatic perception change of the company, Tata is set to launch the all-new Zest compact sedan. Zest looks promising, but will it help transform Tata’s fortunes and give the company a new identity? Let’s find out.

    Design

    You might not realise it’s a Tata until you see the badge, because the overall styling of the Zest completely sets it off from the Indicas and the Indigos. However, from certain angles you

    Read More »from Road Test and Review: Tata Zest
  • Indian MPV market has been very conservative where carmakers seldom go out on a limb to make their cars stylish. The monotony in design has made MPVs an unpopular choice for families despite the need for a larger vehicle. Honda’s first MPV for India, Mobilio, is set to break new ground in the MPV market with its stylish look, superior performance and a practical cabin.

    Design

    If you said MPVs are boring, eat your words. Agreed, the Mobilio’s face is nigh-on identical to the Brio but the sharp bumper design adds more aggressiveness to the Mobilio’s visage. Move to the side and rear, sharp lines and chiseled facets give the car a sporty attitude. What I liked the most about the Mobilio’s design is the beltline that kinks downwards at the B pillar. This simple but clever design touch yields an airy greenhouse and a feeling of spaciousness. The large, wraparound tail lamps, floating D-pillar and black inserts on the bumper gel neatly with the rest of the styling and the Mobilio is best

    Read More »from Road Test and Review: Honda Mobilio
  • Narendra Modi was driven to Rashtrapati Bhavan for the swearing-in ceremony in an armoured Scorpio, long used by him during the campaigns. But soon after assuming office, the Prime Minister had to ditch his favourite SUV for a swanky BMW due to security reasons.

    Mahindra & Mahindra had written to the Prime Minister, requesting he continue to use the Scorpio as his official car. Mahindra said it would be a matter of great pride and honour for Indians that the PM uses a vehicle designed, developed and built in India. However, the Special Protection Group (SPG) decided to go with the BMW 7 Series 760Li Security Edition— the most secured vehicle in the country.

    BMW Security Vehicles are designed to withstand a range of three risk situations – street crime (attacks with blunt objects and handguns up to a calibre of .44 Magnum), organised crime (attacks with the most commonly used automatic weapon in the world, the AK-47) and attacks with explosive devices and armour-piercing weapons.

    Also

    Read More »from Meet BMW 7 Series 760Li, Narendra Modi’s new ride
  • In over a century of evolution, automobiles have transformed dramatically. As I drive the 2014 Ford Fiesta today, it’s quite amazing to see how technology has changed everything, except the Ford script logo, since the first mass-produced Ford Model T. While a swathe of once state-of-the-art technologies such as ABS and airbags are increasingly becoming part of standard safety package, in-dash user interface is the new battleground for carmakers.

    There is no question the 2014 Ford Fiesta is a head turner. But what makes the Fiesta unique is the in-car technology that earns it the well-deserved title of a “connected car.”

    Design

    The 2014 Ford Fiesta’s styling is not a huge departure from the outgoing model, but it gets a handful of changes that make the car more desirable. The large air dam that dominated the Fiesta’s nose has been traded for a more stylish hexagonal grille.  Five thin chrome bars on the grille along with the chrome accent around the air dam breathe new life upon the

    Read More »from Road Test and Review: 2014 Ford Fiesta
  • Very few product taglines really stick. Even fewer products stay true to the taglines. And the Nissan Sunny has certainly been one of them. Nissan called Sunny a “CAAAR” for its roomy interiors and it indeed offered the best cabin space in its segment.  Sunny managed good numbers and with the arrival of new rivals, it now gets a complete makeover to stay at the top of the game.

    New Design

    Nissan has brought in some clever design elements that made an already good-looking car even more aggressive. Large boomerang headlamps and wider grille now define the Sunny’s front. The new bumper is sportier and gets lavish chrome accents – I particularly liked the chrome lines around the fog lamps. While new alloy-wheels and side mirror turn indicators are the key changes in profile, a sportier antenna and large chrome strip emblazon the rear of the car. However, the biggest change here is the outstretched bumper that gives the car a stronger stance on road.

    Although the spacious cabin has been

    Read More »from Road Test and Review: 2014 Nissan Sunny
  • Not just dynasty, Congress also suffers from banality

    The Congress missed a trick by appointing the lesser-known Mallikarjun Kharge as the leader of opposition than promoting a younger talent like Jyotiraditya Scindia.

    (Photo credit: Associated Press)(Photo credit: Associated Press)

    Sonia Gandhi was applauded in 2004 when she famously refused to wear the prime ministerial crown despite many sycophantic Congress leaders imploring her to become the leader of the nation. That act was termed as a ‘sacrifice’ by her admirers. Fast forward to 2014 and Sonia has rejected the leader’s position again – but this time, the role of a leader of the opposition (LOP) in the parliament.

    Although it is gracious for a leader to decline a prominent position in politics, doing so at the time of crisis shows lack of leadership. If Congress ever needed Sonia’s leadership, it is today. In the current scenario for the Congress, it also projects banality. Handing over the responsibility of LOP to a lesser-known Mallikarjun Kharge is neither a sacrifice nor humility. It justifies the claim by Congress critics who have accused the party of its old style of functioning with a remote-control in the hands of Gandhi family.

    Kharge, the man who now will take on the BJP-led government in the

    Read More »from Not just dynasty, Congress also suffers from banality
  • What could still go wrong for the BJP

    The Congress might surprise itself by putting up a far better show than it is expected to. Even a couple of dozen extra seats in its kitty could queer the pitch for the BJP.


    While the Bharatiya Janata Party is fully justified in being euphoric, it would do well to just hold off the celebrations for a while and reflect on George Santayana’s words: ‘Those who cannot remember the past are destined to repeat it.’

    Although the exit polls overwhelmingly favour a BJP-led government at the Centre and predict a complete rout of the Congress, a bit of caution – and some humility – might be in order.

    The Times Now-ORG exit poll survey gives the BJP and its allies 249 seats on the lower end of the spectrum (going up to 265 seats on the upper end), just short of simple majority of 272 seats. It gives the UPA 148 seats and ‘Others’ 146.

    The CNN IBN-CSDS poll gives the NDA a comfortable 270-282 seats, while it says the UPA would get 91-102 and Others 159-181. India TV-C Voter poll too pegs BJP (and allies) way ahead at 289, followed by Others at 153, and the UPA at 101.

    The India Today-Cicero puts BJP+ at 261-283; UPA+ at 110-120, and Others at 150-162. ABP Nielsen exit poll

    Read More »from What could still go wrong for the BJP
  • Kejriwal has my sympathy, not my vote. Yet

    He seemed destined for greatness. But the price of greatness is responsibility. And it was here that Kejriwal stumbled.


    For a judicious homemaker who’s not aligned to any political ideology, my wife is quite well informed and aware of her democratic rights and duties.
     
    Acutely alert to issues that affect the common Indian, Anju has no-nonsense, down-to-earth solutions to many a complex problem that politicians brazenly avoid tackling.
     
    Her often-politically-incorrect opinion on matters of import is nothing short of astonishingly sagacious.
     
    She, like a million others, reserves unabashed contempt for most politicians. Thus, it was like a punch to the solar plexus, when one fine winter evening she suddenly declared she might join the new political kid on the block, the Aam Aadmi Party, and work to ‘cleanse the system’.
     
    When she sets her mind at doing something, it is imprudent to get in the way; thus, I decided to button my lip and nod wisely.
     
    Knowing she wouldn’t trust a politician, no matter how honest his cronies might profess him to be, until she is entirely persuaded by his argument and intentions, I

    Read More »from Kejriwal has my sympathy, not my vote. Yet
  • The dummy’s guide to Congress's downfall

    Apart from allegations of corruption, perceived policy paralysis, inability to deal with price rise, and ten years of anti-incumbency, the continuing infatuation with the Gandhis could well be the start of a long winter for the Congress.

    This election season has been dirty: from name-calling to hate speeches, we have heard it all. But the one statement that takes the cake is a gem by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra where she says that the 'Congress will fight back against all those who have maligned the Gandhi family'.
     
    In a way these words sum up the dipping fortunes of the grand old party of India's politics and why it is in the doldrums.
     
    It's common knowledge that the Gandhis perceive the Congress to be their personal fiefdom and ruling the party comes as a right, as an inheritance. But such blatant use of this understanding is rarely seen.
     
    Priyanka's statement that the Congress will fight back against those who try to humiliate the Gandhi family stinks of pomposity and points to the already known fact that it is ‘family first’ in this party. But that begs the question why the Congress should do a 'Kill Bill' to avenge the slurs?
     
    Almost all Congress leaders have been viciously attacked by political rivals, but the family has

    Read More »from The dummy’s guide to Congress's downfall

Pagination

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