• Photos by Clint ThomasPhotos by Clint Thomas
    As the stroke of midnight rolled across time zones, sounds of fireworks, music and shouts from revelers dominated the otherwise unruffled ambience of Gajner Palace. Often referred to as a jewel in the Thar, Gajner Palace is indeed an oasis in the barren desert, enchanting in its green contrast to the sprawling sand dunes. Built on the edge of Gajner lake, this heritage property is also surrounded by a wildlife sanctuary, making it a traveler’s utopia.
    Gajner PalaceGajner Palace
    At one of the lakeside terraces of the palace, jubilant yells of folks who decided to spend their winter holidays with a good dose of adventure ushered in the New Year 2015. Standing by the lake in the teeth-chattering midnight cold was an adventure in itself, but the adventure I’m talking about had started a week earlier in Delhi, when Mahindra flagged off the Royal Escape 2014. I had all my New Year plans in place when Mahindra invited me to join the Royal Escape media team, but having partaken in many Mahindra Expeditions before and

    Read More »from Mahindra Royal Escape: Ringing in New Year 2015 the royal way
  • Like it or not, once you have children you’re a slave to space. No matter what your favourite body style is, you’re going to find a lot of love in MPVs. The burgeoning MPV segment in India doesn’t offer much to the budget-minded, and Datsun found an opportunity there to create a new segment – “compact MPV”. You can’t really call the new Datsun GO+ an MPV, but it’s the company’s brave attempt to make seven-seater people movers more affordable – to be precise, solidly into sub-Rs 5lakh territory.


    Stretch the Datsun GO a few inches, throw in a third row of seats and you get the GO+. When observed head on, one really cannot tell the difference between the two because everything from the hexagonal grille, angular headlamps to the well-sculpted bonnet remains the same. In profile, the addition of 210mm beyond the C pillar is the major change and Datsun has done that job neatly. The sloping roofline, rising beltline and the rear quarter glass are seamlessly integrated and give the car a

    Read More »from Road Test and Review: Datsun GO+
  • Yahoo India recently published its ‘Year In Review 2014’ and Tata Zest topped the list of most popular cars of the year. Until not very long ago, it was impossible to imagine a Tata car being featured in a most popular list. But Tata’s undying effort to improve the quality their passenger cars has borne fruit in the form of the Zest, a car that changed the face of Tata. As Zest is fast becoming a favourite in the compact sedan segment, Tata has launched its hatchback – the Bolt. In the wake of the grand success of its sedan sibling, expectations run high for the Bolt. I recently drove the Bolt in Udaipur and here are the first impressions.


    Although the Bolt looks a lot similar to the Zest in a passing glance, there are new elements that visibly distinguish it from the sedan. The front grille is very similar, sans some chrome garnish, but the smoked projector headlamp units are an elegant touch. The fog lamp housing is carried forward from the Zest but the Bolt gets only a chrome

    Read More »from Road Test and Review: Tata Bolt
  • Photos by Clint ThomasPhotos by Clint Thomas
    Older siblings in the family are influencers on their younger counterparts as children generally admire their elders and look to them as role models. Same is the case with cars, and the newest example is the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C Class, as it inherits many character traits from its big brother S Class. The current generation S is certainly a technology and style masterpiece, so if the new C Class is inspired by the Mercedes flagship, then there should be a lot to like about it.


    You would be forgiven for mistaking the new C Class for the S in a passing glance. A closer look will only leave you more impressed, because it’s not just a scaled down version of the flagship and the new C has its own details and styling upgrades. The S Class-inspired LED adaptive headlights are definitely the highlight of the front design, while the grille is shared with the younger and more youthful siblings. Bumper is sophisticatedly sculpted and the chrome lines add just enough finesse to it.
    Rear design

    Read More »from Road Test and Review: 2015 Mercedes-Benz C Class
  • 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


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