Blog Posts by Clint Thomas

  • Road Test and Review: Audi A6 Matrix

    The Audi A6 has a special connection with India. 30 years ago, when young cricketer Ravi Shastri was named Champion of Champions as India beat Pakistan in the World Championship of Cricket in Australia, he was handed the keys to a smashing Audi 100. Shastri took laps around the MCG in the Audi 100, with the team piled onto the car -- it stays indelibly etched in the memories of many cricket fans.

    The Audi 100 matured and mellowed over generations and in its latest A6 Matrix avatar, the car inherits many character traits from its big brother A8 and can even be called a “mini A8”.

    Design

    As with the previous generations, the A6 Matrix remains one of the most elegant and appealing designs in the executive car segment. The styling cues inherited from the A8 make it stand out from the crowd.

    The most obvious changes are up front. Apart from lending the car an aggressive scowl, the Matrix headlamps comprise an array of intelligent LEDs to give the driver a clear view of the road ahead, while

    Read More »from Road Test and Review: Audi A6 Matrix
  • India’s automobile revolution a boon or bane for the country?

    Automobile industry in India has come of age. The roads once dominated by Ambassadors and Premier Padminis are now teeming with foreign-born luxury cars. The public transport system that started with hand-pulled rikshaws and bullock carts has advanced to a stage where air-conditioned cars can be hailed with a tap on the smartphone screen. In 68 years of independence, India witnessed an extraordinary revolution in the automotive sector.

    A world of opportunities opened up in the post-liberalisation India for the global automakers. Suzuki, Toyota and Hyundai were the pioneers to venture into the market but now, all major carmakers have invested in manufacturing in India, clearly upholding the fact that despite several negative perceptions still associated with the country, India is competitive and capable of delivering quality.

    Hyundai, which set up their plant in the Chennai in 1996, now exports to 119 countries, shipping over 190,000 cars in 2014-15. Maruti, too, saw sales of 1.29

    Read More »from India’s automobile revolution a boon or bane for the country?
  • Road Test and Review: Mercedes Benz E400 Cabriolet

    Most say buying a convertible in India makes no sense. Dust, smoke, stink, noise… our cities offer the most unfavorable conditions for open-top motoring and the roof spends a lot more time up than down. However, convertibles are meant to be driven across wide-open country roads in fair weather with sun on face and wind in hair. Thankfully, our country has no dearth of such roads.

    Mercedes Benz E400 Cabriolet recently came to Bangalore to adorn the carmaker’s new state-of-the-art city showroom and the weather down south was just perfect to indulge in open-top motoring.

    Design

    I was not really comfortable driving this car around city; not for anything else, but because I’m slightly scopophobic. The E400 Cabriolet is such an attention-grabber that no one passes by without staring at the car and also the one behind the wheel.

    Talking about the styling, I would say the E400 Cabriolet is elegance personified. Viewed up front, the Cabriolet is a lot similar to the E-Class but the

    Read More »from Road Test and Review: Mercedes Benz E400 Cabriolet
  • Road Test and Review: Ford Figo Aspire

    Thirty nine percent of compact sedan buyers make choices based on exterior design, surveys show. But designing a sub-4 metre sedan with pleasant styling and neat proportions still remains a challenge for automakers. Ford has skillfully leapt over that challenge, and the result is a very pretty compact sedan – the Figo Aspire.

    Design

    The Figo Aspire has a very satisfying design when compared to its closest rivals. The gaping grille with thin chrome bars gives the Aspire the same character as its elder sibling - the Fiesta. The swept-back polygonal headlamp and the bonnet bulge add to its attractiveness when viewed from front three quarters. Move to the sides and you immediately know it’s a compact sedan but thanks to an elongated character line and rising beltline, proportions appear balanced. Ditto for the car's posterior; the boot is well integrated and the wraparound taillights are joined by a chrome strip across the bootlid. The fact that the Figo Aspire is among the best-looking

    Read More »from Road Test and Review: Ford Figo Aspire
  • Road Test and Review: Maruti S-Cross

    Photos by Clint ThomasPhotos by Clint Thomas
    Soon, you’ll start noticing car showrooms branded as ‘NEXA’ in your neighborhood. Decked-up with state-of-the-art facilities and service, NEXAs are nothing short of a luxury car showroom.

    NEXA is a new sales network, through which Maruti Suzuki will be selling its premium cars in future. A brand that’s never known for luxury or premiumness, Maruti is all set to change that image with the new chain and future premium products.

    The first car that makes to the NEXA outlet is the S-Cross, a premium crossover. Built on a completely new platform, the S-Cross is tasked with the responsibility of catapulting the brand into new territories.

    Design

    The S-Cross is quintessential crossover – raised ground clearance, integrated roof rails and black body cladding giving a familiar rugged look. However, this one looks more special and original than most of its rivals that have added a “Cross” to their hatchback siblings.

    Although the S-Cross has an aggressive nose comprising xenon projectors with

    Read More »from Road Test and Review: Maruti S-Cross
  • First drive review: Hyundai Creta

    Compact SUVs are flying out of showrooms in India. The winning formula is very simple – for not much money, you get the comfort and fuel efficiency of a car with the versatility of a big vehicle. Hyundai has joined  the compact SUV bandwagon with the launch of Creta, a rugged compact SUV that has the looks of a mini-Santa Fe.

    Design

    The Creta is very much a lifestyle statement. Despite being categorized as a compact SUV, the Creta is a well-formed vehicle with balanced proportions. The front has a very strong presence owing to the muscular grille, accompanied with beefy front bumper and large fog lamps. Projector headlamps are accentuated by Daytime Running Lights. In profile, the Creta stands tall on 17-inch alloy wheels and a rising character line along with roof rails add to the tall stance. The rear design is very clean and simple, with wide wraparound taillights. Overall, the fluidic design language isn’t as loud as seen on other Hyundais, but that’s a good thing on this SUV,

    Read More »from First drive review: Hyundai Creta
  • Road Test and Review: 2015 Volkswagen Jetta

    The Jetta has been one of the best sedans around - absolutely impressive in both the way it looks and drives. Volkswagen has recently launched the new Jetta, with handful of updates for 2015. Aside from some cosmetic changes to the exterior and cabin, the 2015 Jetta carries over unchanged.

    What’s New

    The Jetta has found favour with buyers for its unfussy, no-nonsense styling. In its newest avatar, the Jetta is an even more sanitized version of an already established design.  A new grille accentuates the car’s width, while the new bumper with redesigned airdam and foglamps add to the sharper look. The profile of the car remains untouched, save for the good-looking twin-5-spoke alloy wheels on the top trim diesel variant. The rear has a ‘son-of-Audi’ stance owing to the new tail lamp design, bumper and bootlid.

    The Jetta’s cabin is quintessential Volkswagen, exuding an air of solidity. The doors close with a reassuring clack and the new flat bottom steering wheel makes ingress and egress

    Read More »from Road Test and Review: 2015 Volkswagen Jetta
  • Road Test and Review: 2015 Hyundai Verna

    The previous-generation Hyundai Verna was nothing short of a super hit in the midsize sedan segment. With its combination of trailblazing fluidic style, best-in-class performance and generous equipment, the Verna easily convinced us that it was the best value for money in its segment. Now redesigned for 2015, the Hyundai Verna is a little more handsome, receiving refinements to its suspension, interior and feature content.

    What’s New

    A mellower version of its former self, the 2015 Verna stays close to its original fluidic recipe while adding more spice to its overall looks. The front fascia has been thoroughly redesigned to reflect contemporary tastes and trends. The signature hexagonal grille has made way for a wing shaped one with dual chrome slats. Surprisingly, the daytime running lights introduced in the 2014 Verna have been ditched for a simpler headlamp unit with projectors. Aggressively redesigned front bumper features boomerang shaped fog lamps that give the Verna a sportier

    Read More »from Road Test and Review: 2015 Hyundai Verna
  • Exploring the Rann of Kutch with Honda Amaze

    Photos: Clint ThomasPhotos: Clint Thomas
    Honda’s Drive to Discover is something auto journalists look forward to every year, because it is one of the very few events that gives the opportunity to explore the diverse terrestrial and cultural environments of India. As a prelude to the Drive to Discover 2015, Honda organized a two-day drive to Rann of Kutch to introduce the new and improved Amaze and drive it across the sprawling expanse of Rann.

    A drive to Rann of Kutch was a dream come true for many of us, because Gujarat is not in the list of car manufacturers when it comes to organizing media test drive programmes. So with that first-time excitement, I joined a group of two dozen auto journalists in Ahmedabad to experience Gujarat roads for the first time.
    Over breakfast, a friend recommended I have as much non-veg food as I wanted because asking for non-veg in Gujarat gets you only shocked looks. The same applies to liquor, too. Before we could end a matter-of-fact discussion on how this could take a toll on Gujarat tourism,

    Read More »from Exploring the Rann of Kutch with Honda Amaze
  • Road Test and Review: Mercedes Benz CLA

    Mercedes Benz established a new class of elegance ten years ago, when it introduced the CLS four-door coupé.  With Its low, swoopy roofline, CLS represented exclusivity and has been influential on automotive design in the following years. The newest fruit of the carmaker’s youthful labour, the CLA, aims to replicate the success of the CLS.  The German carmaker’s most affordable sedan has already made young hearts throb but does it drive as well as it looks? Let’s find out.

    Design

    True, beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, but some cars are destined to be absolute stunners - Mercedes Benz CLA is one of them. It looks highly desirable from every angle but rear three quarters view is just mind-blowing, thanks to the aesthetically designed tail lamps, twin tail pipes, brawny haunches and sculpted bumper. Riding on 17-inch alloy wheels, the CLA’s profile is characterized by a curvy rear window achieved by the sloping roofline. The expressive character lines lend the car an elongated

    Read More »from Road Test and Review: Mercedes Benz CLA

Pagination

(131 Stories)