Mercedes Benz AMG GLE 43 Coupe Performance

OVERVIEW ;

Mercedes-Benz has claimed a massive fan base in India, with a build royalty that few brands have ever displayed before. Although its niche of over-extraordinary luxury models have wooed countless enthusiasts in the country, the brand is constantly reinvigorating its flavour of build to cater to newer generations. A hand-picked example of this ever-flowing state of evolving architecture is the Coupe version of the premium SUV model, GLE. Here is a vehicle that combines two systems of design that are supposed to be at odds with each other. On one hand, the Coupe brings a masculine and powerful visual figure to the mind of the viewer, seeming to cast its menace over any street where it prowls. At the same time, it has been effectively undercut with softer, plush themes, giving it a well balanced, feminine theme. making it easier for you to understand where this vehicle scores big and where it loses out.

DESIGN AND STYLE ;

As you might expect, the new GLE43 looks quite similar to the outgoing GLE400. In front, we see a comparable fascia, with downturned headlights set with daytime running lights across the top of the housings. Between the headlights is a fine black mesh grille divided by two sets of twin wings that stretch across the horizontal plane.The lower bumper was tweaked a bit, with enlarged intakes and a sharper lower lip the appears to hug the ground a little more tightly. The brushed-metal look skid plate is retained, offsetting the lowest edge of the crossover. Up top, the hood gets the same drawn back character lines as before, suggesting a sinewy, muscle-bound pose.To my eye, the front end still has that characteristic SUV “boldness,” but presents itself with a little more sportiness than before.

Moving to the flanks, the aesthetic is more or less a carryover. The shoulder line and lower character line lend it a bit of a visual rake, drawing the eye back towards the plumped-up rear fenders. Per SUV tradition, the roofline is flat and straight, unlike its coupe sibling, and the hatch forms hard angles that drop into the rear. The taillights once again wrap around into the fenders using horizontal graphics. Above are brushed metal-look roof rails.The wheels shown in these press images depict an open five-spoke design, which is similar in appearance to the rollers used on the outgoing GLE models, albeit a bit larger. Sizing looks like it comes in at 20 or 21 inches in diameter.Speaking of sizing, we expect the AMG GLE43 to have the identical curb weight and dimensions as the GLE400. For reference, we’ve provided that information in the table below.

CABIN AND COMFORT ;

The interiors of the Mercedes GLE 450 AMG are the standard fare ones seen on the normal GLE. It goes without saying, quality is top notch everywhere and finding even one substandard quality button is difficult. The black interiors add that touch of sportiness but at the same time make the interiors feel less roomy. Again, like the exteriors, the interiors do not have AMG branding at any place which does make one feel a little odd. An AMG branded steering wheel or AMG badging on the dashboard would have been a nice touch.

The rear seats are good for two passengers however legroom and headroom is at a slight premium. The sloping roofline is to be blamed for the slight lack of headroom. The front seats are scooped to give that extra bit of room to the rear passengers. However, this car isn’t the one for primarily chauffeur driven customers. It is more suited to the ones who drive themselves. Like most European cars, the boot is very spacious and with the spare wheel neatly tucked in under the boot floor, there’s nothing to eat into the boot space either.

The infotainment system screen is well integrated into the dashboard and doesn’t look out of place as is the case with some cars from Mercedes-Benz. However, in the age of touch-screens, it is surprising that the GLE 450 doesn’t get one. Instead, one has to use the buttons located on the centre console and it does take some time getting used to. There are five driving modes – Winter, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual. Another neat trick is the 180 degree camera which is particularly useful while parking the car as the rearward visibility isn’t too good.

ENGINE AND GEARBOX ;

The 2996cc twin turbo petrol unit under the hood of the GLE coupe is a collection of some of Merc’s best high-tech features, all roped in to create one fine package. It is a reduced capacity iteration of Merc’s old 3.5-litre V6 which did duty in the E350. The engine’s bore and stroke have changed from 92.6 x 86.0mm to 88.0 x 82.1mm. This motor features variable valve timing, direct injection and two turbochargers. It uses third generation piezo injectors from Bosch and they can open five times per firing cycle and are precisely controlled to burn only the exact amount of fuel required according to the throttle position, gear position, engine and road speed. Making 362bhp and 520Nm of torque from as low 2000rpm this motor delivers instant responses.

Step on the accelerator and the motor feels smooth and well-balanced. There is loads of grunt from the word go and the motor makes light work of the 2270kg kerb weight. At full throttle the motor comes in its own and it pushes you back in the well padded seats as it gains speed in a linear manner. Take-off is very strong and thanks to the 315 section rear tyres traction is unbelievable. As a result, performance figures are more than impressive. Acceleration from rest takes you to 100kph in one seamless rush and it just takes 6.02 seconds. Keep the throttle pinned down another seven seconds and you’ll snarl past 150kph! What makes all this power so accessible is that the new 9-speed automatic works well with this motor. It shifts seamlessly in comfort mode and the gearshifts become fast enough in sport mode for spirited driving. With all that power, what’s also impressive is that stability around long corners is fantastic too. The long wheelbase, wide stance and wide tyres give it huge amounts of grip, and there’s almost no shifting around, even at really high speeds. The Coupe also has the ability to sit calmly on the road even with the speedo wound all the way around. In the tighter stuff all that girth can get a bit unnerving initially. But with more time behind the wheel you realise that this Merc is quite adept in this environment too. Of course, there’s no getting away from all that mass, especially when it comes to successive corners and the brakes take a hammering too if you drive it hard for a considerable period of time. So while this is no Porsche Macan, it surprisingly still is a fun car to drive hard.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

What’s immediately likeable about the GLE 450 is that every ride is not going to conclude with a potential visit to the chiropractor unlike a certain smaller AMG SUV. The GLE 450 rides on self levelling air suspension that has been tuned to feel closer to a full AMG rather than a run-of-the-mill GLE. It’s quite supple in Comfort mode but nowhere close to as soft as a stock GLE. As you move into Sport mode, the suspension drops by 15mm and becomes a little firmer while Sport+ lowers it by a whole 55mm and firms it up even more. Pleasantly, even Sport+ isn’t rock hard and I found it quite a joy to use on the smooth road to Aamby Valley.With 275-section tyres up front and gigantic 325-section rears, the GLE 450 AMG Coupe has a huge amount of traction. With so much grip and all-wheel drive, traction control almost never cuts in, but when it does it cuts power significantly until the system thinks the car is back under control. The ESP system in this car is tuned more like that of a standard road car and when engaged, it is more intrusive than something you’d find on an AMG sportscar. It is a very large car though and can only hide its mass so much. After a few minutes of hard driving, I found the brake pedal starting to get soft in the battle to slow the beast down. The GLE is very fast but prefers to flow through the corners rather than piling in at maximum speed and torturing the brakes at every bend.The GLE 450 is comfortable enough in the real world and offers a commanding view in traffic that reduces some of the anxiety of driving such a big vehicle in a city like Mumbai. It has practical ground clearance and even has a Lift mode in the air suspension if the need to off-road ever arises. On the highway, it settles into a steady cruise but has a tendency to transfer the impact of a pothole or bump from one side of the car to the other. It’s a strange sideways jig that doesn’t change the car’s line but can definitely be felt by the passengers. It is most prevalent in Comfort mode and is one of the only issues I have with the way the GLE 450 drives.

SAFETY ;

We were quite impressed with the range of facilities that the brand had incorporated to shield its occupants. From airbags to strong seatbelts to advanced aid programs such as downhill speed regulator, brake assist and many others, the car enables its occupants to enjoy a safe and peaceful ride. Out of the ordinary facilities such as reversing cameras, parking assists, an electric parking brake and many others also inundate the driver, making sure that no stone is left unturned in terms of providing a secure ride.

BOTTOMLINE ;

The GLE450 AMG Sport Coupe is a tough car to critique. On one side, you have that gorgeous body and good handling as positives. And on the other hand you have the well made but slightly boring interiors along with the firm and jittery ride as partial negatives. But being automotive journalists first and petrol heads a close second, we are willing to forgive these small follies in the light of what is possibly one of the better petrol engines we have driven in a while. And come to think of it, the GLE450 is a great value for money product too with its nearest competition, the BMW X6 priced almost Rs 30 lakh more. The final verdict is quite clear. The GLE450 AMG Sport coupe is not for everyone. But for those who want something different that will stand out is a sea of grey, black and white luxury SUVs, it is the perfect alternative!

 

 

Skoda Superb Facelift Performance

INTRODUCTION ;

Skoda is a premium car brand in India and the company has been offering the Superb for its King customers. The Superb had grown old and felt old in front of the competition. But now, Skoda has the new-generation Superb that will break the monotony and add new freshness. We lay our hands on this new Superb and find out if it has the aspects to gain more customers. Exchange your old car for Superb

DESIGN AND STYLING ‘;

Skoda’s design language has evolved over time but their mantra remains the same – simple yet elegant. The new Superb just takes your breath away with its sharp, minimalistic and premium styling. One look at it and you might mistake it as a premium luxury branded German if you hide the logo. The projector headlights get great crystal like detailing, the signature grille dominates the front profile while the muscular bonnet is seamlessly designed into the body. The front bumper gets sharp styled foglamps with a chrome line.

The new Superb is longer and wider than the outgoing car and that is evident from the side profile, it looks huge but not bulky. There is a sharp and strong crease running across the shoulder line while the roofline smoothly flows down towards the end. We were driving the L&K variant which has these spectacular looking multi-spoke 17-inch alloys while the lower variants get chunky 5-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels. Similar LED detailing has been given to the tail lamps that look sharp and neat. Overall, the design is very well proportioned unlike the previous Superb that had inconsistent proportions. Styling is subjective but it is currently the best looking car in its segment or even some segments above.

CABIN ;

We’re used to modern Skodas having classy cabins, but there are usually subtle signs of economising. Not the Superb, though. The squeezable padding extends to the glovebox lid and its surroundings, and there’s a flock-lined, drop-down storage box by the driver’s knee.

Other standard niceties on this Elegance version include leather trim, dual-zone automatic air-con, electrically adjustable and heated front seats, a touch-screen stereo with built-in six-CD player and a built-in umbrella, plus drainage system, in the left-hand rear door.

Finding a comfortable driving position is easy, and it stays comfortable over a distance. Your rear passengers, meanwhile, can luxuriate with a good view forward, thanks to a high-mounted seat and a fine surplus of foot room.

Behind the foldable rear seat is a boot space seemingly big enough for a small wardrobe, but a high loading sill stops the Superb from being an estate car in the wrong-shaped body.

You open the bootlid with a normal catch. To its right is a similar catch; squeeze it until the high-level brake light flashes, then pull upwards to open the entire tailgate. It’s clever, but for us the simple, better-looking and even more voluminous estate is the model to go for.

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION ;

The 2014 Superb remains the same under the skin and that includes what’s under the bonnet. So, the engines that are going to be unaltered and carried forward into the new, facelifted model are the 1,798cc TSI petrol and the 1,968cc TDI diesel engines only. The V6 is gone, along with the four-wheel drive option. But the decision to retain the two smaller, 4-cylinder engines in the same state of tune and to drop the V6 option must be due to a mix of customer feedback and demand patterns.

The same state of tune also means that the 1.8-litre petrol engine puts out 160PS of peak power and 250Nm of torque, while the 2-litre diesel mill manages the same 140PS of power and 320Nm of torque. The petrol is offered with either the 6-speed manual or the 7-speed DSG automatic gearbox and the diesel engine is offered only with the 6-speed DSG transmission.

RIDE AND HANDLING

;The Superb was always a good handling car and now, even more so. Along with the four wheel drive system comes a set of larger 17-inch diameter wheels which make this car even sweeter to drive. Steering is precise and she’ll just rocket away where you’re pointing her at. If you want to have a little bit more fun, then there’s always the ESP Off switch located beside the gear stalk. Tyres on the Superb are rather low profile, but they don’t compromise on ride quality either. Overall, a great suspension setup and well-matched tyres compliment the four wheel drive system beautifully well to make for one of the sweetest handling cars in its segment.

SAFETY ;

Skoda has done no compromise in terms of safety as you get top notch equipment with the new Superb. The list is long and here it is – 8 airbags, ABS, EBD, Hill Hold Control, multi-collision brake, anti-slip regulation, electronic differential lock, traction control system, electronic stability control and more. Skoda after sales service has been controversial in India but according to the carmaker, they have improved a lot in terms of turn around time, spare part costs, customer satisfaction after the launch of the new Octavia. The Czech carmaker says customer satisfaction level has gone up in the recent past and they are working hard to get everything right when it comes to after sales.

BOTTOMLINE ;

The Skoda Superb is one of the best luxury Sedans in the segment with rear seat comfort, drive quality and it’sup market build quality. Even though there are some features are missing but the basic USP that of comfort, quality and brand values have been fully retained on the Skoda Superb Ambition.

The Skoda Superb Ambition Petrol starts at Rs. 18.27lakhs and the Diesel version of the Superb Ambition TDI Automatic that we tested priced at Rs. 22.84lakhs Ex Showroom Mumbai surely making the competition stiffer with its rivals.

The Superb definitely excels in every department that the chauffer-driven customers consider. It is spacious, comes with loads of creature comforts. The Skoda Superb diesel is undoubtedly the car we’ll put our money on if we were to choose a diesel car in the Rs 20-25 lakh bracket

BMW 5 Series Test Drive

OVERVIEW ;

It has almost become a norm to launch a vehicle in both petrol and diesel variants. At least when it comes to the Indian automobile market, one cannot think of launching a high priced car without enough fuel economy to please the customers. Not just India, most of the global developing nations face the concern of fuel. And it has gone beyond mere fuel economy, it is now a matter of accessibility too. One cannot find enough fuel around the world hence the additional avenues such as electric and hybrid car technologies are at an all time high. So when a big manufacturer like BMW enters Indian market, they take note of it too. The BMW 5 Series is one such class that is offered in both petrol and diesel variants in India. The vehicle is impressive due to the unending list of offerings that have been offered in terms of exterior specifications, interior features, a range of engine performances and most importantly different fuel options. However India has only diesel variants at the moment. So this can be seen as an expansion strategy by BMW where it is specifically targeting fuel economy vehicles.

DESIGN AND STYLE ;

To begin with the front facade, it has the signature kidney bean shaped radiator grille that is treated with a lot of chrome. There is a large slanting bonnet, which has a couple of character lines and it is embossed with a prominent insignia on the tip. This grille is flanked by a trendy headlight cluster that is incorporated with adaptive LED headlamps with auto high beam assistance. It sports an LED day time running lights. Below this grille, it has a body colored bumper that houses a wide air intake section for cooling the engine. It is further flanked by a couple of bright LED fog lamps that has chrome surround. The windscreen is quite large and equipped with a pair of rain sensing intermittent wipers. Body colored outside rear view mirrors with anti-dazzle and heating function can be seen to its sides. It has body colored door handles, while the door sills are garnished in chrome. The neatly carved wheel arches with an elegant set of 18 inch light alloy wheels give further style. These rims are covered with high performance tubeless radial tyres for superior grip on any road conditions. The car maker has patterned its rear end attractively with some notable elements. These include a radiant tail light cluster and there is an expressive boot lid that has the company’s badge neatly engraved on it. Its body colored bumper is embossed with a couple of reflectors. It has a large windscreen that has a defogger along with wash and wipe function

COMFORT AND CABIN ;

BMW has made sure the new 5’s cabin exudes luxury and is packed with new-gen gizmos. The dashboard and centre console design are clearly a reflection of the 7 Series interior.Seating on the electronically adjustable driver seat is low. Yet, frontal visibility is good. Though there isn’t adjustable lumbar support, the seats are large and accommodating. These are draped in Dakota leather and not Nappa like in the sport trim. Nonetheless, they don’t fall short in providing comfort and look elegant. Ergonomics are good too with all the controls remaining within the reach of the driver’s arm. The seats are nicely cushioned in the second row as well.

For just two occupants, the second row has good knee room and thigh support. However, even if a third person can fit in, the other two might be a little uncomfortable. Nonetheless, the generous headroom and the panoramic sunroof adds much to the sense of space. Also, the 520 litres boot space is generous enough to accommodate large bags, despite having a space-saver neatly tucked underneath.

Several features from the flagship car have trickled down to the 5 Series. These include the new gesture control for the infotainment system and remote parking function with key fob. Both of these are an eye-catching novelty, but it is unclear how many buyers will actually make use of these functions. Preset gestures can control the high-resolution 10.25 inch screen. However, it’s easier when used via the iDrive controller or the remote control.

Furthermore, this display is connected to a 600 Watt, 16-speaker Harmon Kardon system satisfying all your infotainment needs. Even if this trim misses the heads-up display, it gets a new wireless phone charging tray and the very practical 360-degree cameras and sensors. They give a nice all-round view of such a big car and add to the convenience while parking. On the safety front too, the 5 Series is loaded to the brim. The safety features include six airbags, ABS with brake assist and dynamic braking lights. Additionally, there’s park distance control, traction control, stability control and cornering brake control too. All of this makes sure you are cocooned safely in the luxury sedan.

ENGINE AND GEARBOX ;

The BMW 5 Series in the 530d guise is a powerful and fun car to drive. When I first checked out the specs, I was not too impressed and expected the 530d to be more of a smooth, decently efficient and comfortable kilometre muncher…that is, until the point that I pressed the throttle for the first time. It gives you the jollies, courtesy a 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel engine that produces 258bhp and a whopping 500Nm of torque and boy did I get mine! The 530d gets massive 275/45 R18 rear tyres but still struggles to grip the instant you floor the throttle but when it does, you shoot off the mark like a racing greyhound unleashed.

The German automaker’s twin scroll turbo system allows for linear power delivery right from low revs. The engine is mated to a ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox which sends power to the rear wheels.There are four driving modes offered with the 5 Series- comfort, ECO PRO, Sport and Sport+ of which the last switches off the ESP a.k.a dynamic stability control giving you access to the car in its full mechanical madness. Oh be warned! In a BMW when you switch of the electronic aids, they stay off completely. The standard mode is the comfort setting but to make the car appealing to the eco brigade, BMW has provided the ECO PRO which is basically a combination of a start-stop system and regenerative braking. This mode also runs the car in a more efficient manner by reducing the amount of power at various levels of throttle input as well as performs upshifts at a lower RPM.

This version has been fitted with paddle shifters to add to the sporty excitement but you can also do rally style shifts using the rather phallic-looking gear lever on the centre console. BMW says the 530d M Sport will do 0-100kmph in 5.8 seconds but in more real world conditions we expect this number to be closer to seven seconds and like all BMWs sold in India it is limited to a top speed of 250kmph. It almost seems obvious that since most owners will be chauffeured, we expect that the car will be driven either in Comfort or ECO PRO mode for a majority of the kilometres in its lifetime.While the BMW has a good set of numbers to back it up in terms of performance, it is realistically the second car in the list. The Jaguar XF-S has a 3.0-litre diesel V6 engine that produces 275bhp and 600Nm of torque and is a far more powerful vehicle when it comes down to outright performance.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

BMW cars are known for handling and the 5-Series is no different. It feels eager to turn and the steering is crisp, rich with feedback. The 520d is a whole lot of fun behind the wheel, always putting a smile on your face as you steer into the next corner with enthusiasm. If anything, it only feels big, due to its large dimensions but once you are used to it, you can push the car around the twisties, rewarding yourself with a pat on the back at the end of the day for doing good entry and exit speeds around corners.

Where the 5-Series does falter is the ride quality. Although it’s quite acceptable at low speeds, the 520d does tend to get unsettled on not-so-perfect tarmac as you go faster. This affects the high speed stability of the car as well. While the 5-Series is glued to the roads at high speeds, just like any other BMW, if there is a bump or two on the road, the vehicle tends to bounce a bit over it. Insulation is fantastic though and you can barely hear the road or wind noise inside the cabin. The brakes are sharp and offer good stopping power.

BRAKING AND SAFETY ;

BMW 5 Series packs the best of features from the BMW factory. With airbags strategically placed to offer safety to the passengers despite their seat position. This removes the possibility of the passengers getting hurt by the airbags instead of being protected by them during the collision impact. With ABS, Brake Assist, Child safety locks, engine immobilizer, door ajar warning, crash sensor and power door locks, the car offers the handpicked essential features from all of the BMW Series. The car also offers seatbelts to the front and the rear seat passengers. Brake Energy Regeneration allows the vehicle to convert its kinetic energy into electric energy so as to reduce the fuel consumption at start, halt and other areas where the engine functioning is not necessary initially

BOTTOMLINE ;

The BMW 5-Series is even more appealing in its facelifted form. While cosmetically there isn’t a world of a difference, it’s really the added equipment which makes this Bavarian’s case stronger. The 5-Series looks fresh, drives well and the powerplant packs in a lot of punch, even in the smaller engined 520d. The handling is sharp and although the ride quality is far from prefect, it’s quite acceptable. There is a ton of equipment on offer and the desirability factor of the BMW 5-Series really makes it a car worth considering in this segment.

 

Ford Endeavour Hatchback Overview

OVERVIEW ;

Ford is offering the new Endeavour in India with two diesel engine options. We tested the 3.2-litre powered variant recently and came out quite impressed with its strong performance. Now it’s time for us to test the 2.2-litre version. The latter is the more popular engine of the two because of its desirable price positioning. Let’s find out how capable the smaller engine is to haul this big brute. We took it to Goa from Mumbai in varying traffic and road conditions to get the proper feel of this American SUV on Indian soil.

DESIGN AND STYLING ;

The Ford Ranger pick-up platform underpins the all-new Ford Endeavour 2016. This is a ladder -on-frame construction and has its inherent strengths of durability and ruggedness. It doesn’t have a jazzy styling but looks premium. The Ford Endeavour 2016 reminds you of the classic American muscle trucks. It comes with a new trapezoidal front grille which has horizontal slats. Then there are projector headlamps with LED DRLs, a roof-mounted rear spoiler and 18-inch alloy wheels. An Endeavour branded chrome strip runs across the tailgate between the tail lamp clusters. This makes it look premium.

The Ford Endeavour 2016 is rugged and sleek. This SUV is 4892mm long and has a ground clearance of 225mm. This allows the Ford Endeavour 2016 to tackle any kind of terrain with ease. The menacing road presence and massive size can make the weak tremble. This makes the Ford Endeavour 2016 stand out in a crowd.

CABIN ;

Step inside and you’ll be happy to note that the vast exterior dimensions have liberated good interior room, and with it has also come a much plusher feel. The dashboard top is covered in double-stitched leather and feels nice to touch, although lower down in the cabin, you’ll find some bits that seem low-rent for the price. The Titanium variants get a nice 8-inch touchscreen with Ford’s latest infotainment system, called Sync 2. In addition to providing Bluetooth connectivity and streaming music, it also uniquely allows for voice commands, and a valet mode that can shut off the display when you are handing over the car to someone else, protecting any personal data you might have stored in the system.

The touchscreen system is flanked by two large air-con vents and on top of the glovebox is a nice, chunky, satin-finished plastic strip. The steering wheel feels great to hold and is well designed, but has a few too many buttons on it. There are two hi-res information screens in the instrument panel that sit on either side of a central speedometer. The one on the right is the car-and-driver interface, while the one on the left is a display for the audio functions. The centre console looks nice and simple, with not too many buttons except the AC and audio controls. Below this there are multiple power sockets followed by a nice cavity to store odds and ends. Just ahead of the gearknob, there are buttons to control the park assist, traction control system and a dial for the off-road controls. This rotary dial operates Ford’s Terrain Management system. There’s space behind the gearlever with two rubberised cup holders and all the doors get bottle holders too.

Sink into the large, powered driving seat and finding a good driving position is quite easy. You immediately realise the new car is much wider on the inside than the earlier one and there’s an abundance of legroom in the second row too – the seats, though a touch too low, are quite comfortable with good cushioning. Headroom is not too great on variants equipped with the panoramic sunroof though. The third row, however, isn’t quite spacious enough for adults – you are sat low, it’s cramped for kneeroom and headroom, and access is quite a chore. The ability to slide the second row forward does at least afford some relief, making it possible to use the last row occasionally over short distances. Impressively, the third row is powered, and can be folded away at the touch of a button, but even with them in place, luggage room is not too bad. Fold them away though, and space is properly impressive. Unlike the previous Endeavour, the boot opens via a hatch, not a door, and it’s powered. This also means the spare wheel has had to be moved to beneath the car.

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;

The model we test drove was the 3.2L TDCi with a 6-speed automatic gearbox. On paper, the engine might seem a bit less powerful than may be required for a behemoth like the Endeavour. But with more than adequate torque available through the rev-band, the new model doesn’t seem weak or lumbering on the road. There is a healthy 470Nm of torque available, though this peak level is generated within a small rpm-range of between 1,750 to 2,000 rpm. As a result, the 3.2L TDCi has a punchy and strong mid-range, and the sub-1,500 rpm acceleration cycle feeling a bit more laboured. Idling rpm-level is at about 900 rpm. Its performance on the road is brisk and the torque converter gearbox is often what seems to be the part of the powertrain that needs to better match the engine. The new Endeavour has excellent stopping power despite the fact that it is shod with MRF Wanderer All-Terrain tyres.

The other engine on offer is the 2.2L TDCi, which puts out a peak power of 160PS and peak torque of 385Nm. This variant is also offered with the option of a 6-speed manual gearbox. Both the engine models are offered with 4X4 variants. With an electric locking rear differential and an All Terrain Management System, the new Endeavour’s 4X4 capability is quite significant. Capable of shifting on-the-fly with the rotary selector and with a water-wading capability of 800mm, the Endeavour is built to get off the road on an expedition or maybe even stay on it during the monsoons!

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

I was also impressed with the Endeavour’s dynamics, despite its bulk and the superb ride quality. Expectedly, there’s body roll and at times the MRF tyres make you feel like they’re having trouble pulling the heft through, but there’s a confident feel to the SUV. The steering wheel even offers a precise feel, which aids confidence. The ride quality though is brilliant, as there isn’t much lateral movement and the suspension soaks in bump, potholes and a lot more very well.

SAFETY ;

The Ford Endeavour 2.2 comes with all the safety kit offered with the 3.2, except driver knee airbag and hill descent control. Otherwise it comes with six airbags – dual front airbags, side airbags and curtain airbags. ABS with EBD is there of course, standard with electronic stability programme and traction control system. The new Ford Endeavour is being offered with 2 year/1,00,000 km warranty and 24×7 roadside assistance with optional extended warranty. Ford has had a bumpy ride in India previously with buyers’ unsatisfactory perception towards their after sales service. However, the American carmaker now promises much better service experience and has come a long way in terms of network pan India.

BOTTOMLINE ;

While this new 2016 Endeavour is unarguably leagues better than what it replaces, Ford India aren’t really looking to outdo themselves. As a matter of fact, the brand is vying for the entry-level full-size luxury SUV crown and the new Endeavour is more than capable for the task. It not only looks the part but also drives well. And more importantly for fans of the old Endeavour, it still comes with genuine off-road credentials.

Mercedes Benz GLS Class Review & Performance

OVERVIEW ;

Mercedes-Benz has started following a new nomenclature for its vehicles. The ML is now called the GLE, which means that the GLE is a mid-size SUV. For the entry level SUV market, Mercedes has the GLA, which is based on the A-Class. For the top spectrum of the market, the Stuttgart-based automaker has been offering the GL-Class which has now been renamed to GLS following a minor mid-life facelift. Mercedes claims that the GLS is the S-Class of SUVs. Now, we know that the S-Class is easily one of the best cars in this world, but is the GLS equally good? Let’s have a look.

DESIGN AND STYLE ;

After revealing the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE earlier this year, Stuttgart virtually gave away what the new GLS will look like. Since it was introduced in 2007, the GL has essentially stood as the stretched, three-row version of the M-Class (now the GLE) with almost identical design. These official photos confirm that the same holds true for the GLE and GLS, as the changes are almost identical, especially at the front.

“The SUV now sports a more aggressive bumper with larger air intakes on the sides.” Specifically, the SUV now sports a more aggressive bumper with larger air intakes on the sides. Depending on trim, it also gets the same wavy insert seen on the GLE. The grille’s upper edges have been refined for a sharper look, while the headlamps feature new clusters and LED strips.

The facelifted SUV continues to benefit from Mercedes’ numerous customizing features and packages. The Sport exterior, available on the GLS550, adds more muscular front and rear aprons, body-colored side flaps, and 21-inch AMG wheels. By selecting the Night Package, customers will get an AMG-style grille and an array of black-painted parts, including the mirror caps and the window trim.

CABIN AND COMFORT ;

In a word, huge. The GLS’ large exterior translates into a massive cabin with genuine space for seven occupants. You can’t move the middle-row seats fore and aft as you can on other full size SUVs but even then, there’s lots of space to stretch out. The middle seats are also well bolstered and offer manual adjust for the backrest angle as well. There’s also plenty of head, shoulder and knee room in the rear-most row – the reasonably comfy seating position makes this section of the cabin perfectly habitable for two medium-sized adults for short stints. However, access to this area isn’t the most convenient and actually speaking, even those sitting in the first two rows will have to make full use of the footboard in the trek up to the high-set cabin. The front seats are comfy as before and the view out remains commanding as ever.

Mercedes has also tried to bring the GLS’ cabin up to speed, though it must be said, you don’t get the same sense of modernity as you would inside the latest Q7 or Volvo XC90. Quality levels are good as before, but again the newer crop of SUVs have taken things to the next level.

There’s a sportier three-spoke steering, the instruments get a more detailed digital info display and the top portion of the centre console has also been revised. An 8-inch screen takes pride of place on the dash now but like the other new Mercs, the display seems tacked on to the fascia rather than being an integral part of it. Still, the display does show everything in high-res clarity and what the GLS also gets is Merc’s latest COMAND Online infotainment system. The system lets you browse websites, tune into internet radio and use preset apps by connecting via a synced phone’s 3G/4G network. And there’s Apple CarPlay too. The infotainment system’s interface is slick and you can even enter inputs via a touchpad. A few more shortcuts would have helped ease of use though.

The centre screen is also the display for the GLS’ immensely useful 360-degree camera. Mercedes has also added three-colour and five-stage adjustable ambient lighting to the package. A panoramic sunroof, electric fold for the third row seats and cooled/heated cupholders are some of the other features onboard. Oh, and the GLS also gets a dial for Dynamic Select that lets you choose between five driving modes – Comfort, Sport, Slippery, Off-Road and Individual – each with its own powertrain, steering and suspension setup

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;

The GLS is offered with a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine. It produces 258bhp and 620Nm of torque and is now mated to a new 9G-Tronic automatic gearbox in place of the seven-speed unit that was connected to the older car. 4MATIC is standard for the Indian market. The 9G-Tronic has been designed to increase fuel efficiency by having shorter ratios thereby allowing you to drive at a higher speed in a lower rpm range. The first five gears are short while thedifferences start to stretch out from fifth gear onwards.This basically means you can cruise at triple digit speeds below the 2000rpm mark.While testing the GLS we found that despite its 2.45 tonne weight, it was able to do the 0-100kmph sprint in 8.29 seconds as compared to the older GL’s 10.15 seconds. It is a similar story in the 20-80kmph in third gear which was 4.83 seconds compared to the GL-Class’ 5.83 seconds. The 40-100kmph sprint in fourth gear was achieved in 6.38 seconds and is marginally faster than the older car’s 7.88 seconds.Its major rival, the Audi Q7, is significantly faster across all three criteria.

The GLS gets Mercedes-Benz’s AIRMATIC suspension which in combination with the 275/50 R20 tyres does a pretty decent job of absorbing bumps and imperfections on the road at lower speeds. The steering is light and makes it an easy job to manoeuvre this behemoth. As you go faster, the car does tend to move around quite a bit and for this there is a sport mode which firms up the suspension and steering response for sustained higher speeds. However, this is just a marginal improvement over the comfort mode.Given its size and weight, the GLS is not a car that will switch directions easily and is best enjoyed when you drive in a calm manner. There is also the snow mode as well as individual mode of which latter will give some pre-sets that you can play with to get the responses to your individual preferences.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

Ride quality is what you would expect of a Mercedes-Benz, thanks to the air suspension and large 20-inch wheels that do a good job of soaking in bumps and undulations. There’s a sense of plushness though the odd speed breaker can be felt at times lest you try to drive fast over it. Ease of driving is apparent, as the GLS felt perfectly drivable even in city traffic, and in that sense it is adept at masking its imposing size.Sport mode obviously stiffens the suspension, with sharper inputs from the steering and better throttle response and that’s apt if you want to enjoy driving fast on an open road. Comfort mode trades handling for a plusher ride as it softens the suspension a bit and makes the steering lighter as well. Off-road makes the suspension softer, and despite its large dimensions the GLS felt capable of going off the tarmac once I switched to Off-road mode, especially with the raised suspension height. It doesn’t quite let you realise how big it is off tarmac, but expectedly, you do get a sense of the massive dimensions and weight on tarmac, even in Sport mode. It is a big SUV and likes to driven like one, and not thrown around corners.

SAFETY ;

Standard safety features on the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class include automatic crosswind stabilization, trailer stability assist, front side airbags, a driver knee airbag, full-length side curtain airbags, a forward collision mitigation system with automatic braking and a driver attention/drowsiness monitor. Also standard are a rearview camera and a five-year subscription to mbrace Connect (includes Mercedes-Benz roadside assistance).

For additional peace of mind, mbrace Secure is available and includes automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle location and more. The Premium 1 package adds a blind-spot monitor and lane-keeping assist, while the Driver Assistance package contributes adaptive cruise control, an upgraded collision mitigation system with pedestrian recognition, speed limit assist and “active” blind spot and lane-keeping assist systems that can automatically guide the car back into its lane if the driver fails to heed their warnings.

BOTTOMLINE ;

If you are in the market for a full-size luxury SUV with seating for seven, the GLS, that costs Rs 80.38 lakh (ex-showroom, Pune) is sure to be on your list of probables. It does, after all, offer all that you’d want. It’s got presence, it’s got a massive cabin, it’s got plenty of features and it’s even got a strong diesel engine. Unfortunately, at the same time, there’s no escaping that the GLS is a facelift of a four-year-old SUV. Rivals like the Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90 feel half a generation ahead and this, we feel, is something that will play against the new GLS. But if you must have a seven-seat SUV with the three-pointed star on the grille, the GLS will give you more than enough to be happy about.

 

Jaguar XE Facelift Test Drive

OVERVIEW ;

Jaguar XE is a premium compact sports sedan from the stable of Jaguar that comes with an elegant but powerful look. It has a sturdy build and is equally at ease in city roads as well as in uneven off track drive. The Jaguar XE images that the company released during Auto Expo 2016 shows an amazing designed car with commanding presence and style. It falls in the above 4-meter category and has remarkable features that give it an edge over its rivals in the market that are within this price bracket. Jaguar XE is available in two different trims; one of them is called the Jaguar XE and the other is called Jaguar XE 2.0L Petrol Pure2.0L Petrol Portfolio. This well-built sedan has a big 2835mm of wheelbase that allows it to seat around 4 passengers comfortably. The design of this SUV looks masculine and the comfort level of this car is on par with other such vehicles in this price category. Check Price of XE

STYLE AND DESIGN ;

The Jaguar XE, in the released publicity material and spy shots, looks exactly like the larger XF and the flagship XJ. This is a common practice among all the manufacturers partly due to economies of scale and partly due to the fact that it is easy for them to adapt a successful design across all their models to retain familiarity of product.

The Jaguar XE will get a smaller version of the XF’s massive chrome mesh grille complete with the leaping cat. Standard features are expected to be projector headlights, LED daytime lights and projector fog lamps. We even expect that the bumper will remain the same but with a higher ground clearance. Apply car loan for XE at Carzprice

The side profile is also similar to that of the XF in terms of roof line, flared wheels arches and the rake angle of the roof line both in the front and back. However, while the boot will have similar design elements as the XF and XJ-like tail lamp cluster and chrome strips, it appears to be far smaller (in relation to the larger cars). The rear bumper is expected to be a little sportier and will be complemented by dual exhausts.

COMFORT AND CABIN ;

The 2017 Jaguar XE’s cabin features an attractive, uncluttered dashboard with clean lines, but it lacks the sort of visual flair that made the original Jag XF and current XJ so special. Its quality also leaves a lot to be desired. Compared to what’s in its German luxury sedan competitors, the door trim looks and feels a bit flimsy, the trim that wraps around the dash is unremarkable, and the dash top itself is shiny and a bit coarse. Our test car also had more squeaks and rattles than usual, and in general, the XE’s cabin feels as if it belongs to a nice midsize family sedan rather than an entry-level luxury one.

Admittedly, opting for a non-black color scheme improves things as does opting for the range-topping R-Sport model that covers the dash in stitched simulated leather. It makes a difference. So too does the 10.2-inch InControl Pro touchscreen included in the Technology Pack. It has impressively quick processing speed, responds well to inputs, and its especially wide size makes it look modern and aids functionality. Some of its audio controls are a little tricky to figure out, but in general, the system works well. The same could be said of the base InControl touchscreen, but it’s smaller, slower to respond and has less advanced graphics.

In keeping with the segment’s sporty character, the 2017 XE feels snug and intimate from the driver seat. Controls fall readily at hand and the supportive driver seat should adjust enough to accommodate taller drivers. Unfortunately, such ample adjustment up front does take its toll on the backseat. The XE’s Audi, BMW and Mercedes competitors all have more spacious rear accommodations. And although the 15.9-cubic-foot trunk would seem to be among the segment-best on paper, in practice it’s a bit narrow and those of competitors are likely more useful.

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION ;

The punchy nature of the engine is more in keeping with the XE’s sporty pretensions. The engine feels quicker than its 9-second 0-100kph time would suggest and kickdown acceleration is good too, though its rivals are faster still. The engine bunches up its power for release at 2000rpm and till 4000rpm, progress is strong. You can rev on and even hold gear at the 4900rpm limiter in manual mode but the eight-speed gearbox does such a nice job of things on its own, you’ll be happy to let it do its thing. In Dynamic drive mode, the gearbox gets the best out of the engine by selecting the ratio that keeps revs near the 2000rpm mark. Resultantly, there’s no delay in the build of power and the XE just lunges forward as and when you need it to. The XE also adapts well to a relaxed driving style. The gearbox keeps engine revs and noise levels low. It’s just that the engine isn’t as quiet as it ought to be. Throttle inputs are usually accompanied by a grumble from the engine and there’s a drone in the mid-range too. You just won’t get the same sense of calm in the cabin as you would in the beautifully insulated A4 35TDI, though a BMW 320d is noisier still.

It’s actually the 320d that the XE 20d can be best clubbed together. Both cars are designed to put the driver at the heart of the action. And like its petrol siblings, the XE diesel succeeds in this quest, and how. The steering is straight up incredible and there is a very natural balance in the chassis that makes the XE a joy to drive on curvy roads. Yup, we can’t wait to bring it head-to-head with a Bimmer either. Ride quality, again like the petrols, is really good too. There is a great balance between body movement arresting firmness and ride-enhancing suppleness in the suspension setup, and only on occasion will the XE thud and thump on our roads.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

The ride of the XE is smooth. It has been tuned for better handling, but for India it has tweaked for better ride also. Drive on broken tarmac or even at high speeds. It irons out most of the road shocks for front and rear passengers making it extremely comfortable for the occupants. The handling of the XE is just fantastic. What makes it even better is the steering feedback. The steering wheel weighs up as speed increases. Most of the sedans in this segment now have electronic steering wheel that is extremely light and kills the joy for those who enjoy driving

SAFETY ;

The Jaguar XE got the highest safety rating, 5 star in the Euro NCAP test. It comes with the usual package of safety features which are more or less standard across the segment. The lightweight aluminium structure of the car is supported by high strength steel in impact areas which gives solidity to the car. The sales and service network of Jaguar is limited when compared to the German trio but they are expanding steadily. Yes, the current Jaguar owners haven’t been happy with the service quality but the Tata owned brand is committed towards customer satisfaction.

BOTTOMLINE ;

The all-new Jaguar XE is worth a look in the luxury small car class, but some rivals may better fit your needs, so be sure to cross-shop before you buy. The XE’s strong suit is its sharp performance, though you can get a similar driving experience behind the wheel of the BMW 3 Series. Inside, the XE has nice features, but it isn’t especially roomy, and there are some unappealing materials that don’t fit the luxury brand. The Audi A4’s cabin, on the other hand, feels premium and has generous space for all passengers.

Mahindra TUV300 Hatchback First Drive

OVERVIEW ;

With tall boy designs becoming successful, in 2015 Mahindra decided to launch their NBA player. Tall, muscular and very capable at the same time. This was the Mahindra TUV300, which TUV stands for Tough Utility Vehicle. And in 2016 the Mahindra TUV300 get an additional option of a more powerful engine and this is the mHawk100 engine. With ample of space, new and improved, more powerful engine and also the option of an automated manual transmission, also got the power bump. It seems like Mahindra went slam dunk. Now a sub four-metre vehicle I guess this is one of the if not only rear wheel drive compact SUV with a ladder-on-frame chassis, Mahindra yelled “Let the games begin”! So what does the new Mahindra TUV300 have on offer? Read our in-depth our Mahindra TUV300 and the 100bhp TUV300 review. Check On Road Price of TUV300

DESIGN AND STYLE ;

When the pictures of the Mahindra TUV300 first surfaced with camouflage (a time when the vehicle was only addressed by its codename U301), everyone thought it’s the new Bolero because of the boxy design. After Mahindra announced the name, the TUV300’s uncamouflaged pictures surfaced and we were definitely not impressed. In person though, the car does look better but there is just too much influence from global car makers like Land Rover but mostly from Jeep’s Wrangler. The TUV does flash Mahindra’s new design language and the perception from the common man seems positive with many asking about the vehicle.Apply car loan for TUV300 at Carzprice

Mahindra has done a smart job with the dimensions of the TUV300 as it doesn’t look small in spite of tucking under the 4-metre length. The boxy design does give it that retro SUV feel and there are some macho elements like the big bumpers, high ground clearance, front grille with chrome inserts and the spare wheel mounted on the tail gate. Mahindra states that the design is inspired from a battle tank and while that might seem a bit too far fetched, the TUV300 does come across as a neutral looking car which appeals to a certain number of SUV lovers.

CABIN AND COMFORT ;

Step inside and the interior of the new TUV300 will surprise you because inside the story is totally different, the TUV300 gets duel tone dashboard finished in premium black and beige. The centre console gets hexagonal console which actually has been finished in Piano black and gets 2-DIN Audio compatible with Bluetooth, USB & AUX. The steering wheel in particular looks good because it gets mounted audio and phone controls.

The instrument cluster at the front gets twin pods which gets a sporty finish and definitely looks good at night time because of the amber backlighting and chrome ring on the dials. The hexagonal center console is not complete without the Silver accents on AC Vent outer ring. The TUV300 also has seating capacity of 5+2 passengers which has been made possible with the addition of the jump seats . The TUV300 also offers an amazing 400 litres of boot space at the rear which can be extended to 720 Litres if one folds the second row seats. There is also two 12 v charging points inside the cabin. While some top end variants also gets electronically adjustable ORVM’s

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;

The TUV300 comes with a 1.5-litre diesel engine called as mHawk80 that churns out 84bhp of power and 230Nm of maximum torque. This engine has been redone completely as it has dual mass flywheel, which has reduced its vibration. The NVH (noise vibration and harshness) is something that Mahindra has to work on, as the noise is quite prominent. The engine is very smooth and it is the ease of driving that makes a strong statement for it. So driving this SUV in city will be easier and there will not much effort required as one doesn’t has to shift gears. We drove the five-speed manual version of the TUV300 and the clutch was light and easy to drive. The TUV300 also comes with a five-speed AMT (automated manual transmission), however we haven’t got our hands it yet.

The best bit about the TUV300 is the ease of driving in city. You do not require to downshift that often. There is generally enough torque to pull the TUV300 and overtaking is easier. The TUV300 has a good torque that has make it a lot drivable in city, on highway it feels a bit out of steam if you push it too hard. The engine refinement is excellent for a diesel engine and what we appreciate the ease of driving. One sits in a commanding position and there is a clear view of the road. The TUV300 gear box is a bit too notchy, especially for reverse, this is something that needs some work done

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

One of the things that really surprised us is the way the TUV300 handles bad roads. Throw it at a pothole or an undulated section of road and the TUV300 manages to waft over it without much fuss while keeping the occupants quite comfortable. That said, passengers in the rear seat and the last row do feel more jerks than the ones in the first row, but then, that is a typically Mahindra trait.The TUV300 is an easy car to drive for even the most novice driver due to the fact that it is really east to look out of. There is however a slight blind spot when you reverse and the inside rear view mirror could have been a tad bit larger. Of course, the reverse sensors do aid drivers but the addition of a reverse camera would have been very welcome.

Being a body on frame construction, expecting the TUV300 to handle like a sedan or a family hatchback is asking too much. That said, we were pleasantly surprised by how this new setup makes the TUV300 roll much less than the likes of the Quanto for example. The TUV300 also feels quite comfortable and planted at higher speeds. There is of course a noticeable level of body roll when you chuck it into a corner hard or when you take a high speed sweeping corner but nothing that might make it uncomfortable. The TUV300 comes with disc brakes in the front and drum brakes in the rear and while other Mahindra cars do seem a little nervous under heavy braking, the TUV300 manages to hold its own thanks to the ABS and EBD that it gets.

SAFETY ;

We’re quite impressed with the safety parameters that the vehicle employs. Safety features shared by all the variants include a collapsible steering column, side intrusion beams, a seat belt reminder lamp, an auto door lock function as well as a digital immobiliser.

BOTTOMLINE ;

However, while we’re sure there will be plenty of takers for this tough, rugged look and feel at a relatively affordable price, it seems a bit of an oddity in this segment, where nimble dynamics, refinement and driving ease are also valued highly. In fact, it’s reflected in the slightly awkward proportions, which seem to be trying too hard. And finally, though Mahindra has made great strides in this area, fit and finish is still some way shy of global competition. So, while it’s not perfect, we will say the TUV300 is one of Mahindra’s best efforts yet, and if you think monocoque SUVs are not ‘real’ SUVs, or you want the Scorpio’s tough, rugged appeal in a smaller, more affordable package, this is the way to go.

Mahindra Verito Vibe Facelift Review & First Drive

OVERVIEW ;

“The best way to save taxes is to cut it short” well! that is what the policy of many Indian Autocar manufacturers recently. Few years ago Indian Government decided to give tax benefits to those cars which are under the sub 4 meter in length or has a 1.2 litre petrol or a 1.5 litre diesel engine, and Tata Motors started the trend and created one of their best sellers the Indigo, then Maruti Suzuki launched their Swift Dzire which also became very popular in the Indian market then we saw Honda launched their sub 4 meter saloon the Amaze in the Indian market recently. Now Mahindra also followed the same path and launched the Verito Vibe which actually is a sub 4 meter Verito, the shape of the Verito Vibe is really attractive yet confusing. It does not have an extended boot like the normal saloon but still it is not a complete hatchback either because it has a 330 litre boot at the rear and it cannot be accessed from inside the cabin of the car. Check On Road Price of Verito Vibe

DESIGN AND STYLE ;

There are some cars which look good and feel nice. The looks of Mahindra Verito Vibe get mixed reaction. This one has no relation whatsoever with flowing lines and curves. It doesn’t boast of an aerodynamic design. Even sans these attributes, the Verito Vibe looks different and unique on the road.Firstly, the Verito Vibe gets the Aqua Rush colour which is essentially a bright blue. Other than this shade, it also gets the Toreador Red. The Aqua Rush surely isn’t one of the best shades seen on a car but then it looks very funky and breaks from the conventional whites and greys seen on cars of this segment.

See it from front and you may dash to the rear to confirm if it’s a new car or the Verito as they both look identical. The front profile is very similar. It has the familiar looking Mahindra toothed radiator grille finished in carbon. It also has smoked-glass headlamps.The Mahindra Verito Vibe has a three box design. It has a strong shoulder line running along its length. The ORVMs and door handles are done in body color. It may be a hatch but then it has a tall roof line making it a spacious vehicle with great headroom. The Verito Vibe also gets newly designed Champagne Alloy wheels. These wheels look sporty with its new rib design but then giving it a dedicated gold champagne color was not one of the wisest things to do as it doesn’t gel well with all body colours. Book test drive for Verito Vibe in Cazprice

Fortunately, unlike the Mahindra Quanto which has an abrupt looking rear profile, the Verito Vibe has an edgy and quirky rear design. It features a first in class Light-Streaming LED Tail Lamps. The tail lamps are mounted at a high position and double up as the C-Pillar of the car. Other sub 4 metre sedans have a boot attached to it after the C Pillar but in the Vibe, the boot is an extension of the C-Pillar with a duck tail spoiler on the tail gate.One small drawback in the rear profile is the opening of the rear tail gate. It is a very peculiar arrangement. The tail door does not open with the rear windshield instead it chooses to open individually which makes it a big issue as the loading area has a limited opening.

Overall, the Verito Vibe does not manage to be a very impressive looking car especially if you consider the other sub 4 metre sedans like Amaze and Swift DZire. Even then this one does have a few high points which include the LED tail lights, new alloy wheel design and the two tone finished rear bumper.

CABIN AND COMFORT ;

The interiors are identical to the Verito sedan which means you get a cabin which has generous space for passengers. Quality inside is just about average and some plastic parts are really hard in touch and feel. The use of beige inside makes the cabin feel a bit airy and pseudo carbon fibre inserts on the dash break the monotony. The centre console gets the black treatment with uniquely shaped buttons. The audio system is lifted off from other Mahindra vehicles and offers decent audio quality with good connectivity options. The rear speakers have been placed at the rear parcel shelf instead of the rear door and this enhances the sound.

The doors of the Mahindra Verito Vibe shut with a loud thud, they are heavy but the positioning of the door handles is too ahead and the driver finds the power window buttons intruding while opening the door. The lock/unlock buttons are placed below the right most AC vent which is an ergonomic overlook. The instrument cluster is easy to read and has multi-information display carrying a wide array of information including distance to empty and average fuel efficiency figures. The seats although wide, are a bit too hard offering decent under thigh support. There is a seat back pocket on the co-driver’s seat but not behind the driver’s seat. Rear seat passengers will not complain about legroom or headroom and all rear headrests are adjustable.

The Verito being a Renault/Dacia has quite a few of its traits, like the irritating indicator chime which sounds from the glovebox, rotary headlamp leveller and no redline on the tachometer. The glove box has decent space and there is an open cubbyhole right above the glove box to keep stuff. Mahindra hasn’t made the Verito Vibe a proper hatchback because the boot doesn’t open with the glass, instead it opens like a sedan. This makes it heavy to open the boot which has an extremely small loading bay and you have to bend to put stuff inside. The spare tyre is accessed from under the car and not from the boot. The boot itself is generous but the fixed glass and non folding rear seats limit practicality. There is no rear wiper/washer either.

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION ;

A 1.5-litre diesel mill is incorporated that runs based on a common rail direct injection fuel supply system and produces a good mileage. About 21.03 Kmpl can be expected on highways and in the cities, this can come down to only 18.01 Kmpl. There are four cylinders and eight valves which comprises of about 1461cc displacement. These are arranged based on a single overhead camshaft valve configuration. This mill has a capacity to generate a maximum power of 65bhp at 4000rpm and also a peak torque of 160Nm at 2000rpm. It is skilfully mated to a 5-speed manual transmission gear box and this motor can accelerate to a top speed of 145 – 150 Kmph. It can reach from 0 to 100 Kmph within 16 to 17 seconds, which is quite good.

This oil burner is based on a common rail direct injection fuel supply system and is efficient enough in delivering a decent mileage. On highways, it can stretch up to 21.03 Kmpl, whereas, when driven in the city traffic conditions, this figure minimizes to 18.01 Kmpl. Power of Mahindra Verito VibeIts mill has four cylinders which further have eight valves and can generate a maximum power of 65bhp at 4000rpm and a peak torque output of 160Nm at 2000rpm.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

Mahindra bestowed Verito Vibe with an efficient suspension system that promises a bump free ride to its accommodators across all kind of paths. The front portion of the car is handled by a McPherson suspension accompanied by a wishbone link while the rear end is taken care by an H-section torsion beam along with a programmed deflection coil spring. The combination of these systems helps the car in covering all patches and unevenness over roads with smoothness.The car offers an outstanding ride quality and can smoothly glide over all kind of rough terrains without letting you feel the ups and downs below it. The 185/70 R14 tyres and a ground clearance of 172mm plays a huge role in ensuring this level of comfort. The car wouldn’t disappoint at all if your main priorities are a good driving experience with reasonable fuel efficiency.

SAFETY FEATURES ;

Apart from ABS and EBD, this trim comes equipped with an airbag on the driver side which reduces risk of injuries at the time of accidents.The collapsible function of the steering column helps in avoiding injuries to the chest during collision. Fixed seatbelts are available in the base trim but the high end trims come with adjustable front seatbelts. Apart from these, an immobilizer is mated in all the variants of this vehicle. It helps in freezing the engine at the time of unauthorized entry to the vehicle. The rear doors are integrated with child lock system which makes this vehicle child friendly

BOTTOMLINE ;

The Verito Vibe is a puzzling car – it offers great space in the cabin but a boot that is not very practical. The plastic quality isn’t the best in its segment, but the ride and handling compromise certainly is, even though it isn’t even trying to be a driver’s favourite. It retails at approximately Rs 6.6 lakh, ex-showroom, which means that it competes directly with the likes of the diesel Figo. Of course, it being a Mahindra means that spares will be inexpensive, and service will be available in most, if not all, corners of the country. If you value cabin space and the ability to carry five full-sized adults in comfort but don’t need brand value or a boot, the compact Verito will certainly give you good Vibes.

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Renault Captur Engine & Safety Features

OVERVIEW ;

Renault Captur is the new SUV from the French manufacturer which will be launched in India. The Captur looks radically different from the Duster, though it is based on the same platform and also shares the same engine. The launch of the Captur is expected to happen this mont Renault has discontinued the Scala and the Pulse. It is focussing on new products now. The cross-badging of vehicles with Nissan has also stopped. The Fluence and the Koleos also have been discontinued. The Captur is the new global product from Renault.This SUV is built on the B0 platform. This means it shares its underpinnings with the current Duster. The Captur sold in Europe is built on a different platform. There is no similarity between the two. The B0 platform has been highly localised already, hence it brings a price benefit to the Captur. Renault India wants to get a stylish and modern SUV that will appeal to young and trendy car buyers. It reckons, this will be that SUV for them. Check On Road Price of Captur

EXTERIOR AND STYLE ;

The biggest USP of the Captur is in the styling. Renault has rendered it more crossover styling than a traditional boxy SUV. However, the SUV elements are still very much there like flared wheel arches, cladding, faux skid plates and segment best ground clearance of 210 mm. And those 17-inch alloy wheels also scream SUV. Renault has equipped the Captur with LED headlamps and tail-lamps. You also get fog lamps with cornering function and the best in all are the LED DRLs and dynamic swipe indicators (at the front) which Renault likes to call floating indicators. Exchange your old car for Captur

The Captur is also the widest and longest car in its segment but that is more due to redesigned bumpers as the track and wheelbase is identical to that of the Duster. The side profile is highlighted by distinct proportions. The shoulder line rises up as it goes backwards and adds to the style quotient. The rear quarter bears a little similarity to the Kwid but that’s ok since it is part of the same family. Chrome has been generously used all around and Renault will be offering a lot of customisation options on the Captur at the dealership level, something similar to what they are already doing with the Kwid.

INTERIOR AND COMFORT ;

When it comes to Renault Captur interiors, there is a lot to talk about. It is one of the most attractive and premium-looking car from inside as well. The dashboard layout and design is much better than what is found on the Duster. It looks fresh, decent yet dynamic with butterfly-shaped instrument cluster, large digital speedometer with tachometer and a fuel gauge. The cabin is lighted with ambient LED lights that look really cool and premium. The plastics used are of decent quality.

The top-end variant of Renault Captur features a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system with Bluetooth, Aux-in and USB connectivity options. It also supports voice command, navigation and acts as a rear camera display, when needed. However, it misses Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. Other features on the inside include steering mounted controls, cruise control, electrically operated wing mirrors and automatic climate control, which is a standard feature acoss all variants. 2017 Renault Captur is quite a comfortable car. The two-tone white-and-black leatherette seats are very comfortable and they look good too. It offers good under-thigh support, knee room, back support and shoulder room, which makes Captur a perfect car for long journeys. Even three average adults on the rear won’t have any complaints regarding space and comfort. The rear gets its own set of AC vents too.

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;

Renault offers the tried-and-tested 1.5-litre H4K petrol mated to a five-speed manual and a 1.5-litre K9K diesel motor with a six-speed manual on the Captur in India for now. On our first drive, we got the diesel version and we were quite impressed with it. This DCi motor makes 110hp and 240Nm like in the more powerful version of the Duster, but refinement levels have really hit a new high. On the Captur, this engine is the quietest it’s ever been.

This 1.5 DCi motor has always had a bit of turbo lag and it’s the same story with the Captur. However, once spooled up, power delivery is punchy and the motor pulls strong and smooth almost all the way up to 4,700-4,800rpm. Power doesn’t trail off rapidly like a typical diesel and this makes the Captur rather fun to drive. Of course, if it had delivered 20-30hp more, it would’ve been absolutely perfect. But it’s not that the Captur feels underpowered at speed. With a wide powerband like this, overtaking manoeuvres are a breeze. And combined with the car’s solid stability on wide open roads and fairly high speeds, it has all the makings of a great highway cruiser.

DRIVING AND HANDLING ;

Driving the Captur calmly inside the city is something you learn to do. The heavy clutch bites in quite late, and when it does – there’s not much progress from the engine. You will have to go heavy on the throttle, and get the engine ticking over 2000rpm if you want to get anywhere quickly. Below the 2k mark, the Captur feels a bit lacklustre. This means that a quick overtake inside the city, will most definitely require a downshift. When the turbo kicks in, it kicks in with all its might. So, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed trying to ‘control’ the surge. But, drive it around for a while and you’d learn to work around it, and time your overtakes to make use of this wave of torque. Roll on times are quite strong – the Captur does 30-80kmph (in third) in 7.77 seconds, and 40-100kmph (in fourth) takes 11.56 seconds. For reference, an all-out 0-100kmph sprint is dealt with in 13.24 seconds. It could be a lot faster, if the ESP wasn’t as obtrusiveOut on the highway, the Captur is at absolute ease. It’d make for a fantastic road-tripper. Getting to triple digit speeds is a fuss-free affair, and maintaining it easier still. Slot it into sixth, set the cruise control and let it take over. The open highways seem like the Captur’s natural home. It sips consciously here too – the big Renault returned a respectable 21.09kmpl, whereas the figure was a healthy 15.50kmpl inside the city.

SAFETY ;

In terms of kit, the top-of-the-line Platine variant comes well equipped. The infotainment system comes with a touchscreen interface, sat nav and can play music through USB, aux-in or Bluetooth. You also get rain sensing wipers, LED auto headlamps with dynamic turn indicators, climate control, rear parking sensors with reverse camera, keyless-go, leather upholstery and rear AC vents. In terms of safety, we feel Renault should have offered more than two airbags as its rivals offer as many as six in their top variants.

CONCLUSSION ;

In a crowded compact SUV segment, the Captur really stands out for its styling and level of customization. But it’s much more than just a pretty face. A spacious and very practical cabin and boot make it the ideal choice for a family car. And it’s great to drive too. Renault has omitted some of the key features such as the sliding rear bench split seats and automatic transmission that are offered globally. However, the Captur is a well-rounded car and will find a lot of love from those who like to stand apart in the crowd.

 

Volvo XC60 Price & Transmission

OVERVIEW ;

The Volvo XC60 is a luxury SUV that is available with one diesel engine option which is mated to an automatic transmission. This powertrain is also offered with an all wheel drive system. The Volvo XC60 is available in 10 colour options, Power Blue, Rich Java, Flemenco Red Pearl, Caspian Blue, Chrystal White Pearl, Black Metallic, Bright Silver Metallic, Passion Red Silver, Twilight Bronze and Savile Grey Pearl. The XC 60 is offered with LED Daytime Running Lamps, projector lamps, LED tail lamps as well as front and rear fog lamps. Safety features include airbags, braking aids, reverse parking sensors and a reverse parking camera. Check On Road Price of XC60

DESIGN AND STYLE ;

Its external appearance is quite decent and is appealing at the same time to any customer, who’s looking for a good looking vehicle. For a stylish image, the roof is mounted with a set of rails, which look stylish and make this crossover much more trendy. The window sill gets chrome decoration for an extra edgy richness for all the doors. Both its outside rear view mirrors can be electrically adjustable, which is an added comfort factor as well. The mirrors have a heating function to them additionally and are retractable as well. The headlamps which are fitted onto the front end are active and are stylish too. The daytime running lights are LED and help better in visibility. The side profile is quite lustrous with pull type door handles and neatly carved out wheel arches, which have been fitted with a set of alloy wheels. The base and mid range trims are integrated with a single exhaust tailpipe and it is further decorated with chrome strips for better look. Whereas, the rear end of the top end D5 Summum is fitted with dual exhaust tailpipes, which have chrome cover to them and this enhances the rear image. Skid plate is fitted to both front and rear end. These protect the bumpers from getting damaged from the road impacts and additionally the front plate safeguards the engine from damage. Exchange your old car for XC60

CABIN AND COMFORT ;

Volvo’s reputation for tastefully simple interiors is on full display in the 2017 XC60. The inviting cabin features a distinctive “waterfall” center stack that gracefully joins the dash and center console. Operating the climate control is intuitive, but other systems might take some getting used to. In particular, the infotainment system is controlled via a multifunction knob on the center stack rather than a traditional touchscreen or dial mount where your hand naturally rests. Menus for navigation and music browsing can also be confusing.Seat comfort, on the other hand, is excellent. Front seats are well shaped and appropriately cushioned for long road trips, and the range of adjustments ensure a comfortable position for a variety of body types. Rear seats are similarly accommodating, delivering adult-sized head- and legroom. Volvo is still one of the only manufacturers to offer integrated child booster seats that fold out of the rear bench.The quality of the interior materials is decent for the class, though some newer SUVs have surpassed the XC60 in terms of overall look and feel. The XC60’s age also shows in the overabundance of buttons on the center stack and small infotainment screen. Cargo space is better than average, though, providing 30.8 cubic feet behind the rear seats and up to 67 cubic feet with those seats folded.

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;

In the 2017 XC60, you have a choice between a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a more powerful supercharged version of the same engine. The base engine should be potent enough for most drivers, with plenty of power for merging onto the highway or navigating city traffic. The more powerful optional engine is the right choice if you need to frequently haul a full complement of people and cargo or if you simply desire a little more punch when you press the accelerator. Both engines are paired with a slick-shifting automatic transmission that fades into the background.You can expect much of the same with the BMW X3. Its base engine is no slouch, but the available six-cylinder is more exhilarating. The Acura RDX only offers a single engine, a V6, which provides plenty of power for feisty driving. The base engine in the Volvo XC90 has 10 extra horsepower over the XC60, but the XC90’s heavier weight results in unimpressive acceleration. Both of the XC90’s optional engines feel more powerful by comparison.

The XC60 is among the most fuel-efficient nonhybrid vehicles in the class, getting 23 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway with the T5 FWD. With the T5 AWD, you can expect 20 mpg in the city and 29 on the highway. Getting the supercharged engine that comes with all-wheel drive only decreases fuel economy a bit to 20/27 mpg city/highway.Part of the XC60’s secret for sipping fuel is its stop-start system. When you come to a complete stop, like at a traffic light, the system turns the engine off until you lift your foot off the brake. Then it fires back up and you’re on your way. Unfortunately, the system feels unrefined as it starts the engine back up. If you find it too annoying, you can shut the system off and forego the extra fuel savings. The BMW X3 has the same feature. It can also be distracting, but like the XC60’s stop-start system, you can disable it. From the base X3, you can expect 21/28 mpg city/highway. The Acura RDX returns 20/28 mpg city/highway. The Volvo XC90 gets 22/26 mpg city/highway in the base trim.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

The ride quality can feel stiff but there’s no escaping how comfortable the Volvo XC60 feels to drive. The seats are fully adjustable, including the bolsters and well-crafted ride matches up rather well to create a car that feels very cosseting without feeling overtly plush.Handling is direct and pleasing but because of the focus of comfort and the ride quality, you will notice some amount of roll. The XC60 can be pushed very hard around corners if you like but expect the roll to be a companion. It never misbehaves in any way though, so switch to Dynamic mode and have fun.

SAFETY AND SECURITY ;

Thankfully, Volvo hasn’t forgotten about its roots because the latest XC60 has some of the most advanced safety features in the class.Automatic emergency city braking is standard on all trims and not only recognises other cars, but also cyclists, pedestrians and large animals. The system can even help you swerve around obstacles and back onto the correct side of the road, although this feature only initiates if you start to make an evasive manoeuvre.

Blind spot monitoring and Pilot Assist (automatic steering at speeds of up to 80mph) are available as part of a pack, which also includes adaptive cruise control. However, until Euro NCAP publishes its crash test results for the XC60, we can’t tell you how it’s likely to protect you, your kids or any pedestrians in an accident compared with rivals.As you’d expect in a car costing this much money, all trims levels come with an alarm and an immobiliser, and security experts Thatcham rate it with its maximum five stars for resisting theft, and four stars for repelling scallywags trying to break in and pinch your valua

BOTTOMLINE ;

Volvo finally has a good engine and gearbox to go with the smart styling of the XC60. In its R-Design trim, the XC60 is a more involving drive and comes with a long list of pampering and safety equipment too. So should you go for it? If you don’t need all-wheel drive, which for a road biased SUV is not a top priority, the FWD XC60 will impress you with its breadth of abilities. Volvos are still rare cars in India so the attention you get with this SUV is welcome too.