Blog Posts by Clint Thomas

  • Road Test and Review: Renault Koleos

    When Koleos was first launched in India in 2011, Renault was quite an unfamiliar brand to most Indian buyers. Later, the French company’s five-product plan for India secured it a place among the heavyweights, while the prodigious success of the Duster made Renault a household name. Now, as the carmaker’s Indian flagship gets a major makeover, a cheaper price tag and addition of three new variants give Koleos a more serious purpose.

    Design

    The 2014 Koleos carries over the design language of the model it replaces. It looks more of a smooth crossover than a rugged SUV. The face now gets a wider grille that stretches from headlamp to headlamp. It also houses a bolder and larger Renault badge. While new alloy wheels and chrome side-protectors are new in profile, rear is left untouched.

    Interiors aren’t a drastic upgrade over the outgoing model either. Although the dashboard design does justice to SUV standards, I am skeptical about its overall quality, especially in a car with a price north

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  • Road Test and Review: Hyundai Xcent

    Welding a boot to a hatchback to build a sub-4 metre sedan and the subsequent design disaster is nothing new to us. But, hey, look at the new Hyundai Xcent. Despite being a sub-4 metre variant of the GRAND i10 hatchback, the Xcent flaunts a well-sculpted body that makes it arguably the best-looking sub-4 metre sedan as yet.

    Design

    One has to admit that achieving a well-proportionate sub-4 metre design out of a hatchback is no easy matter. That said, designers at Hyundai have done a wonderful job of seamlessly adding a boot to the GRAND i10. Inevitably, the Xcent is identical to the hatchback till the B-pillar. The roofline then blends beautifully into the boot with the help of slightly reworked rear window. Though not an eyesore, the rear profile is rather bland and doesn’t gel flawlessly with the rest of the car. Top variants get 15-inch diamond cut alloy wheels that give the sedan a slightly beefier stance.
    As far as the dimensions go, the Xcent shares the hatchback’s 2,425mm

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  • Road Test and Review: Datsun GO

    Probably by now, most of us have heard and read so much about the reincarnation of Datsun and their first car for India – the GO. Some of us have even seen the car at the Auto Expo or at the showroom previews. Expectations run high when a brand returns after almost 33 years with a mass-market car. I recently spent a day with the Datsun GO to find out if the car lives up to the high expectations.

    Design

    Datsun Go has a flawless styling, with some smart touches and neat proportions. The hexagonal honeycomb grille with chrome surround looks handsome without being edgy. The sharp and angular design of the headlamps and the airdams add to the chiseled look of the car’s face. The profile is clean, but marred by the skinny 155/70R13 tyres. The rear, though bland, doesn’t disappoint with raked windshield and bulging taillights. GO’s simple yet elegant exterior design is certainly among the best in the A segment.
    Although the Datsun GO is based on Nissan Micra’s V-platform, there’s no

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  • Road Test and Review: 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe

    The previous generation Hyundai Santa Fe was a quietly sedate and remarkably practical SUV, but it wasn’t a dreamboat that you looked cool in.  Now, as with its younger siblings, the Santa Fe has undergone a drastic makeover that earns it a rightful place among the best-looking crossover SUVs in the market. It raises the bar even further with impressive performance, go-anywhere capability, state-of-the-art interiors and the amount of kit the car gets as standard.

    Design

    The new Santa Fe embodies ‘storm edge’ design concept, which is an evolution of the fluidic sculpture philosophy. The magnificent three-bar hexagonal front grille is certainly in vogue in contemporary automotive design. HID LED headlamps with trendy daytime running lights further enhance the visual impact. Dual tone skid plates add to the sportiness, too.

    Side profile is equally impressive with 18-inch 2-tone Diamond Cut alloy wheels, muscular wheel arches, clean lines and roof rails. The rear design is congruous with

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  • Say Goodbye to Maruti 800

    A little car, but a soaring presence nationwide... Indian automobile history witnessed a dramatic change on a chilly December morning in 1983 when the first Maruti 800 was rolled out of a factory in Gurgaon. Indian roads have never been the same ever since. Now, Maruti has brought the curtains down on the iconic 800, which has always remained a mainstay of personal mobility for the masses. This decision is sure to leave a lot of Maruti 800 fans emotional, and some even watery-eyed.

    Harpal Singh, the owner of the first Maruti 800 in 1983, poses with the car in New Delhi in 2010 (Getty Images)

    Remarkably, the Maruti 800 is the second longest Indian production car, next only to the Ambassador. The 800 alone has contributed over 29 lakh units since its launch. Constant technological upgradation of components not only helped masses of car buyers freak out with fuel-efficient, zippy and very reliable Suzukis, the Indian component industry got a massive shot in the arms as the marque's localisation juggernaut rolled on.

    The Maruti 800 was a joint effort between Maruti and Suzuki Motor Co of Japan. The

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  • Replay of Auto Expo live coverage

    The 12th edition of Delhi Auto Expo turned out to be an exciting affair, completely bursting with brand new and facelifted models. We are happy to have brought you all the action live from the Expo. Here's a replay of the live updates from the India Expo Mart.

     

  • Ford unveils the stunning Figo concept sedan

    NEW DELHI: Ford introduced the Figo concept sedan featuring premium design and segment-redefining smart and safety features ahead of the 12th 2014 Auto Expo in New Delhi.

    Ford Figo Sedan Concept

    Specifically designed for the Indian market, Figo Sedan concept displays a more upscale look without the upscale price tag, thanks to its sub-four-metre design.

    “Consumers are more demanding than ever, wanting and expecting more from their cars, even if they are first time buyers,” said Ford India President Nigel Harris. “They expect and demand great fuel efficiency and low cost-of-ownership from the initial price throughout the life of the vehicle. The Ford Figo Concept offers all of this, and more, with sophistication, fresh design, world-class quality, a roomy interior, and innovative smart and safe technology.”

    The Figo sedan concept has a very striking design that’s reminiscent of the 2014 Fiesta. It gets Ford’s latest corporate fascia featuring a trapezoidal front grille. Head, tail and fog lamps are wonderfully

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  • Tata Motors unveils Zest sedan and Bolt hatchback

    New Delhi, February 3: In a bid to revamp its image in the passenger car segment, Tata Motors unveiled two all-new cars – the classy sedan, ZEST and the sporty, dynamic premium hatchback, BOLT.

    Speaking on the occasion of the launch, Mr. Ranjit Yadav, President, Passenger Vehicles, Tata Motors, said, “We at Tata Motors are delighted to showcase to the global market the much awaited next generation cars – the ZEST, a stunning and exciting new compact sedan and the BOLT, a dynamic hatch. These cars have been engineered for global markets, through global teams across India, UK and Korea to set new standards in their respective segments. These cars are a true representation of our Horizonext philosophy, with best-in-class offerings for performance that yet offers economy and efficiency.”

    Tata Zest Sedan


    ZEST and BOLT have been designed and developed based on three key fundamental principles, namely, DesigNext, DriveNext, ConnectNext.

    ZEST and BOLT, a result of the collaborative design inputs from the three

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  • Road Test and Review: Mercedes-Benz S-Class (S500)

    Photos by Clint Thomas
    I am drafting this review as I sit in one of the finest and most luxurious places in the world – the rear compartment of the new S-Class. I believed, until today, that reading in a moving vehicle is an unhealthy practice. But, as I flipped through the stunning 160-page S-Class magazine, it never occurred to me that I was sitting in a moving car. Why? Because with the new S-Class, the outside world stays exactly there - outside.

    As I kept my laptop on the foldout tray table and started typing out some thoughts, I felt like being in a fantasy office workstation, thanks to the 24-speaker Burmester sound system, ambient lighting that bathes the cabin in a spectrum of colors, an energizing hot stone massage function with six different programmes – all integrated into an immaculately crafted interior.

    The new S-Class literally coddles you in the lap of luxury. But there’s much more to the story that tells why the S-Class is the ‘best car in the world’. Let’s discuss that in detail.
    Design

    The

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  • Road Test and Review: The All-New Honda City

    Photos by Clint Thomas
    Just when we thought 2013 was full to the brim with fabulous new models, in drives the all-new Honda City with the biggest surprise of all – a mileage of 26 kilometre per litre. Yes, you read that right; the Honda City finally has a diesel engine under the hood, and now, the iconic car is also the most fuel efficient car in India.

    Well, if mileage is the need of the hour, City now offers the most of it. But there’s more to the story than meets the eye. Let’s discuss in detail.
    Design

    Although every body panel has gone under the knife, the fourth generation City looks very familiar.  Perhaps, Honda didn’t want to tamper with an already perfect design. But a closer look at the car reveals some remarkable design choices. The three-slatted signature grille has given way to a larger, chrome-heavy grille linking sharper headlamps. Two bold creases run down the bonnet, seamlessly converging into the grille. Thanks to the sportier and forward-reaching bumper styling, the new City looks poised to

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