Blog Posts by Clint Thomas

  • Road Test and Review: Volkswagen Polo GT 1.2 TSI

    This one’s for the enthusiasts. If you wonder how on earth a 1.2 litre engine is going to impress an enthusiast, digest this: the new Polo GT is powered by a turbo-charged direct injection TSI petrol engine that develops a mighty 105PS and 174 Nm of torque, offering better performance than the discontinued 1.6 litre Polo. Those who cribbed about the Polo 1.2 being underpowered and the 1.6 being defunct would both find solace in the new Polo TSI.

    Design

    We love the Polo for its classic, sober design and there are not many changes that make the new Polo different from its predecessor. However, on the exterior, the new Polo TSI gets headlamps with black finish, GT badging on the front grille, new alloy wheels and GT TSI badging on the boot lid as well as the C pillar.

    The interior gets a more serious makeover that reflects the car’s sportiness. Seats get a new black and grey fabric combination and are supportive, too. The steering wheel, gearshift knob and the handbrake lever are

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  • Hyundai i-TECH i10 Cross-Country Drive

    Hyundai is on a roll. It has recently achieved another milestone of 1.2 million i10s sold across the globe. What better way to celebrate this accomplishment than with a special edition i10. Called the i Tech i10, the special edition comes with a host of new features.

    The i Tech i10 can be distinguished by sporty ‘i Tech’ body graphics outside and dual tone red and beige upholstery seats with red dashboard and door armrest inserts inside. The most beneficial add-on is the rear-view parking camera with electro-chromic function on cabin rear view mirror, which is a first-in-segment feature. It also gets a steering-mounted Bluetooth device. The special edition i Tech i10 can be yours if you shell out an extra 15000 rupees than the standard i10.

    Well, the celebrations didn’t end there. Hyundai organized a cross-country drive called ‘i Drive India’ to showcase the durability, performance, reliability and fuel efficiency of the i10. Selected automobile journalists got a chance to spend two

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  • Road Test and Review: Tata Vista D90

    Indica has been an important car for Tata. Ever since its launch in 1998, the car has evolved into a capable and practical hatchback that always stayed on top of sales charts. Now in its latest Vista D90 avatar, Indica has shifted the goal posts to another pitch. Powered by a specially tuned Quadrajet diesel engine, the new Indica is a completely different animal that delivers 90PS of raw power. However, does it live up to the hype? I recently spent two days behind the wheel of the D90 to find that out.

    Design

    Tata has thrown in some new design elements that reflect the sportiness of the car. However, the new bumpers and an aerodynamic rear spoiler seen in the pictures are not part of the original D90, but a body kit that you may purchase from the dealership. What come as standard are just a contrasting roof and the D90 badge at the rear.

    When it comes to the interiors, the D90 receives major changes. The Manza-inspired dashboard looks pretty neat and thankfully the centre-mounted

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  • Road Test and Review: Honda Amaze

    In the past couple of years, the Indian car industry introduced us to a series of new segments. Needless to say, the sub-4 metre segment emerged the most popular, thanks to the tax benefit it enjoys. But the carmakers’ desperate attempt to cash in on the lower tax rate left us with a handful of mediocre designs that were merely squeezed up variants of existing models. Finally, we have in the market a well-thought-out, a well-sculpted sub-4 metre sedan -- the Honda Amaze.

    And that’s not all. With a 1.5L i-DTEC engine that’s exclusively developed for India, the Amaze marks Honda’s entry into the diesel segment. That fact itself makes the Amaze recognisable in the already crowded diesel segment, but has the Japanese carmaker got everything right with the Amaze to win the lost market share back? Let’s drive the Amaze to find out.

    Design

    If you thought the Amaze is just the Brio with a boot slapped onto it, hey, you were wrong. Although the front half of the car is identical to the

    Read More »from Road Test and Review: Honda Amaze
  • First Drive Review: The New Honda CR-V

    There’s good news and there’s bad news. The bad news is that there is no diesel and will not be for the foreseeable future.  The good news is, CR-V is now being assembled in India and prices have gone down by a whopping 2.7 lakh rupees. Well, that’s incentive enough to show some love for a petrol SUV, so let’s find out if the new price and features make it a good bargain; also how far the fourth generation CR-V has departed from the model it replaces.

    Design

    While the new CR-V’s structural design stays true to its roots, it flaunts a more sculpted body. Major changes are up front – the old-fashioned grille has made way for a more contemporary one. The three-bar grille flanked by swept-back HID headlamps lends the car a younger and distinct stance. Changes in profile are subtle, although the large ten-spoke alloy wheels and bold fender flares create a rugged presence.The vertical tail lamps, which have been a design fixture of the CR-V for many years, get a more three dimensional

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  • ASEAN-India Car Rally 2012 Coverage

    28 Mahindra XUV 500s are traversing across 9 countries, covering a total distance of 8000 kilometres and spreading the message of solidarity. Catch all the live action from the 2012 ASEAN-India Car Rally.

    On the occasion of the 20th commemorative year of India-ASEAN relations, the 2nd edition of the ASEAN-India Car Rally was formally flagged off from Yogyakarta, Indonesia on 27th November and will wind its way through 8 of the 10 ASEAN countries before finally ending in New Delhi. However, since there is no road that connects Indonesia to Singapore, the rally begins from Singapore.

    Day 1: Singapore to Ipoh (Malaysia)

    28 Mahindra XUVs were lined up at the Marina Bay Formula One Circuit for the flag off on 28th November. Hundreds of people, including children waving flags, cheered as Singapore foreign minister K Shanmugan flagged off the rally.

    Here begins the epic journey of 28 Mahindra XUVs carrying politicians, diplomats, movie stars, journalists, rally enthusiasts and laymen,

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  • ASEAN-India Car Rally – A curtain raiser

    31 Mahindra XUV 5OOs, 8000 kilometres, 22 days, 9 countries… ASEAN countries and India are gearing up for an adrenaline-filled experience as the 2nd edition of the ASEAN-India Car Rally is all set to kick-off on 26 November 2012. On the occasion of the 20th commemorative year of India-ASEAN relations, the rally will be flagged off from Yogyakarta, Indonesia and wind its way through 8 of the 10 ASEAN countries before finally ending in New Delhi, India.

    Senior Union government officials and representatives from the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Auto Car India have already chalked out the possible road routes for the rally. The convoy will traverse through ASEAN countries Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar and then enter India from Moreh in Imphal.

    The rally will pass through Guwahati on December 17, when economic ministers of ASEAN countries will meet in the principal business city in northeastern India. The flag down of the rally in Guwahati and the

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  • Audi R8 Sportscar First Drive Impressions

    The R8 is the slowest car Audi has ever built! You might now be thinking I have gone off the rocker. Not really. I am referring to a tongue-in-cheek slogan Audi designed to bring attention to the time it takes to build an R8. Unlike other Audis, the R8 is meticulously hand-assembled in small numbers. It's a slow and lengthy process, but what it loses in time, it gains in craftsmanship.

    The performance figures tell a very different story. Powered by a 5200cc V10 engine that develops a whopping 525 PS and 530 Nm of torque, the R8 rockets from 0-100 km/h in 3.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 313 km/h. Needless to say, these numbers make the R8 the fastest road car Audi has ever built.

    Driving an Audi R8 on a race track has two advantages -- it certainly is the best way to appreciate this scrupulously crafted machine, and it's a great opportunity to polish your driving skills. Audi has designed their Audi Sportscar Experience (ASE) programme in such a way that the participants get

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  • Honda teases sleek Brio sedan

    Honda has published an official teaser image of the Brio Sedan on its Thailand website. Contrary to some despicable 'rendered images' put out by some Indian automobile websites, the Brio sedan has a very futuristic design, with cues taken from the Honda City.

    The company hasn't divulged any information beyond the above photo. However, what we can clearly see are the i-VTEC badge on the car's rear and '1.2' written on the image. These clearly suggest the car will be powered by the Brio hatchback's 1.2 litre i-VTEC motor.

    Rumour has it that the Brio Sedan will also get a scaled down version of the 1.6 i-DTEC diesel engine that was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year. Although there's no official word on this yet, expect a 1.5 litre diesel Brio sedan by April 2013.

    Being a sub-4metre car, the Brio sedan will take on the Maruti Dzire, Tata Indigo eCS and the Mahindra Verito CS that will be launched by March 2013.

    Talk of the town is that Honda will also introduce

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  • Road Test and Review: Tata Safari Storme

    When Tata introduced the Safari in 1998, it forged a radical new trend for the industry. Soon, India's first 4X4 SUV became a household name and won the hearts of many enthusiasts. But, over the Tata Safari's 14-year life span, there have been hardly any significant upgrades apart from two new engines and minor cosmetic changes. A decade-and-a-half after it was launched, the Safari is still evolving. It finally got the long-awaited overhaul, but will the new Safari Storme be able to regain its past glory? Let us get on with the road test to find out.

    Design

    There's no getting away from the fact that the Tata Safari looks majestic and has massive presence on the road. The new Safari Storme stays true to everything that made the original so fantastic from the beginning. The Storme's exterior is very similar to the Safari and you'd be forgiven for thinking it's the same car in the first glance. But a closer look would reveal that the car has undergone some significant changes. The

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