• 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.

    Design

    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.

    Design

    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
  • Photos by Clint ThomasPhotos by Clint Thomas
    A fellow auto journalist who is embarking on a 50-day road trip to Europe has the Isuzu MU-7 as his top vehicle of choice. As a car critic who has driven almost every car in India, he thinks MU-7 is the right vehicle for the 25000-kms drive. Built like a tank, the MU-7’s go-anywhere capability is impressive, but what caught his interest was the luxury of space the SUV offers - and that’s exactly what Isuzu highlights as the USP of the car.  

    In a country that loves SUVs and spaciousness alike, offering a full-grown SUV with some extra space can be a formula that endears itself to the buyers, but that alone doesn’t make a successful product. So I recently spent some quality time with the MU-7 to find out what makes it distinct in a segment where competition is razor-sharp.

    Design

    The MU-7 is unmistakably an old-school SUV that blows you away with its very aggressive front fascia. Wide tooth grille, sharp projector headlamps and beefy bumpers coupled with the large intercooler intake scoop

    Read More »from Road Test and Review: Isuzu MU-7
  • 'Where is leader Moti?' the class wants to know!

    The NDA international school was widely popular for the decorum in its classes and the development programmes for its students. However, one day, that famous decorum was disturbed in one of the classes.

    The NDA international school was widely popular for the decorum in its classes and the development programmes for its students.

    However, one day, that famous decorum was disturbed in one of the classes.

    In that class, a few naughty students had created ruckus by forcefully making one of the students, Aman, complete his homework by holding his hand!

    Well, that wasn't the real issue. The students in the class were shocked as Aman had already finished the homework and had to 'force-write' it again. The incident created an uproar in the class with many students shouting, 'Teacher! Teacher!'

    An alarmed school cleaner present near the class, named Parrot, realised the absence of any teacher during the lunch time and arrived to the chaotic scene hurriedly.

    The grey-haired Parrot was known for his laziness among the students, and hence had earned the moniker, 'aged parrot'.

    "Hey kids. Stop that. Where is the leader of the class?" he asked.

    Nagendra Moti was recently unanimously appointed the class

    Read More »from 'Where is leader Moti?' the class wants to know!
  •  

    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

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