Datsun GO+ Review & Transmission

OVERVIEW ;

Nissan revived the Datsun brand after a huge time period and launched the GO entry-level hatchback in India. Unfortunately, the GO did not sell as well as anticipated in the market and recently the vehicle received a lot of flak for performing terribly in the NCAP crash test. Datsun has also developed an MPV based on the GO and with the recent climb in sales that MPVs are witnessing, Datsun seems to be quite optimistic that it will be able to gain decent sales with the GO+. But, the Datsun GO+ competes with some products that have the backing of manufacturers with a huge service network. So how does the GO+ perform? Does it have what it takes to capture the market? A nice drive through Rishikesh, Uttarakhand allows us to test the GO+ and its capabilities.Check for review & price of Datsun cars

DESIGN AND STYLE ;

Styling is also another important priority when it comes to Indian customers Maruti has realized that and thus they have designed their new MPV in a clever way, it has an impressive space inside while it looks brilliant from the outside. On the other hand Honda Mobilio looks brilliant too.Coming to the exterior of the Datsun GO+ MPV you will find that it has many similarities when compared to their hatchback GO. The Go+ shares the same wheelbase with the Go hatch, while the front fascia with the large headlamps and huge grille with the chrome treatment surrounding it are similar to what you will find in their other car.Check for GO+ price in Jaipur

The side profile of the MPV is also identical to the hatch. However you will only begin to notice the difference only from the C-pillar of the MPV, the rear of the MPV has been extended in overall length to fit a third row of passenger seats. According to us the attractive part of the MPV is mostly its rear styling, the roof bends down and blends with the rear design of the car perfectly. It looks quite modern and also has a strong shoulder line which is carried all the way to the rear side of the car. However the design of the tail lamps has been inspired from their hatch Go.

CABIN AND COMFORT ;

Get inside the Datsun GO+ and the first two rows are exactly the same as the GO. The fit and finish is good and plastic quality is decent. In the top-of-the-line variant “T”, the GO+ gets front power windows, mobile docking station connected to two speakers, electric power steering and air-con. If your smartphone is larger than 5.2-inches then the docking station cannot hold it. All the three rows have fixed headrest. In terms of features it misses out on basic things like rear wiper and maybe even rear defogger for improved rear visibility in monsoon and winters. The A variant doesn’t get the mobile docking station, or power windows or the electric power steering also.

The first row is spacious and it has a bench-like seat, for storage of excess luggage next to the driver and the co-driver. Some believe that three people can sit in the front row, but that isn’t the case, as the gear lever will make seating uncomfortable. The second row has generous headroom, but knee room is just fine for tall people. The thigh support too could have been better, but this is one of the best in its segment.

The third row is strictly for kids, and even Datsun calls this as a 5+2. There is barely any head room, knee room or should room for adults. With the third row raised, the boot size is a mere 48 litres and when the seats are flipped the space is 347 litres. One can even flip the second row of seats and further increase the loading space. With the third row of seats folded our entire tenting luggage fitted with ease.

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION ;

The compact MPV is powered by the familiar 3-cylinder, 1.2-liter petrol from the GO & Micra Active hatchbacks. It churns out the same 67 BHP @ 5000 rpm & 104 Nm of torque @ 4000 rpm. The ARAI puts its fuel economy at 20.62 kmpl that’s just 0.01 kmpl lower than the GO.Despite the same motor churning out the same number of horses as in the Go, that too having an added 20 kilograms to pull, the Go+ doesn’t gives you a chance to complain. The motor has been re-tuned, but the altered ECU tune hasn’t changed the eager nature of the three pot mill. Engineers at Nissan have done a great job in enhancing the overall drivability and refinement of the motor.

Thanks to its healthy power and torque to weight ratios, Go+’s engine feels quite peppy and the throttle is responsive too. The MPV doesn’t feel sluggish, although continuous downshifting helps might irritate you a bit. It’s reasonably quick in a dash to 100 kmph and able to easily attain & sustain 120 kpmh. Though we don’t recommend going over that speed. Period.NVH & Insulation is better than Go hatch, but engine as well as wind noise permeate through the cabin easily. Not just motor’s gruff note, you can even hear the exhaust as well, which we found very irritating. The suspension is also noisy, accompanied by excessive tyre noise on bad roads.

RIDE AND HANDLING

;The Datsun Go+ is a perfect car for the first time buyer. Not only does it offer great all-round visibility, the Go+ also offers relative ease of driving due to its light steering and relatively upright seating position. That said, as we mentioned earlier, the seats could have done with slightly more padding to offer more long term comfort.The most impressive aspect of the Go+ though has to be the way it rides over rough surfaces. Not only does the go plus feel comfortable on bad roads, the way it absorbs bumps is noteworthy too. That said the front end does tend to bottom out on larger potholes.

The Datsun Go+ is not really meant to go through twisty roads like a hot hatchback but then it is no slouch either. Although the steering feels precise and well weighed, the Go+ does showcase a lot of understeer especially when pushed anywhere close to the limit. The 155 section tyres mounted on 13-inch wheels also accentuate mid-corner roll and pitch. What does manage to impress us though is the ridiculously short turning radius that the Go+ offers. The Datsun Go+’s brakes are also well set up to offer adequate bite when applied in both city usage and under emergency stop situations. That said, having an optional ABS module for the T variant is something Datsun should seriously consider.

SAFETY AND SECURITY ;

Driver airbag and manual central locking are available only on the top-spec variant. Other features such as 3 point ELR front seat belts, second row seat belts, third row seat belts, child lock and engine immobilser are standard on all trims.

BOTTOMLINE ;

The all new Go+ by Dastun is a decent attempt to target the MPV market. It’s a perfect budget family MPV, which can be used as seven-seater if needed. The engine performance and fuel efficiency is very good. Though the interior space could have been better and safety features could be improved.

 

Volkswagen Vento Price & Srecifications

 

OVERVIEW ;

The C-segment has been witnessing a very thorough and intense battle since the past few years. The Honda City has always reigned the market but Hyundai followed up closely with the Verna which did manage to overtake the former in sales. With the fourth generation City in the market, the battle grew even more interesting. Maruti then dropped a bomb by launching the Ciaz which sold in great numbers for the first couple of months and then sales dipped down slightly and settled at number two position in the segment. The Volkswagen Vento is a very worthy contender in this segment but unfortunately it didn’t really sell as much as its rivals thanks to a lot of reasons like poor after-sales perceptions, limited features, etc. Now, the German auto giant has updated the Vento again and it comes across as a very good package and it might just hit it off with buyers in this segment.Check for Vento price in Bangalore

DESIGN AND STYLE ;

Is it true that all Volkswagen cars looks the same and have almost same design cues perhaps its true, take a look at this new Vento and you will realize that it looks almost the same but what Volkswagen has done is that they have added some fresh new elements to the sedan which actually has give this new sedan a new league of life.

Towards the front the Vento has typical 3 slat Volkswagen grille with the logo on it while the front bumper now has been added with Chrome slats. The front headlamps too receieved some significant updates as well lastly talking about lights the fog lamps also loks slimmer than the old ones and is helpful specially during turns. The side profile of the sedan remains completely unchanged the rear fortunately received some bling which came in the form of a new slim chrome strip on the rear boot and also on the rear bumper. Find best offers on Vento

Overall the Volkswagen Vento looks more like a elongated Polo and why not it even shares some of its components with it including the platform but because of the enhanced platform the Vento rear passengers can also enjoy the extra amount of space.

CABIN AND COMFORT ;

While the headlamps of the Volkswagen Vento remain the same, the round fog lamps are replaced by new ones with integrated cornering lamps. New alloy wheels, borrowed from the Polo look neat. The rear view mirrors now come with LED turn indicators and also are electrically foldable. Tails lamps have new internals that make it look smart. There is a new chrome lining on the boot, to make it look premium and a new rear bumper with chrome inserts and reflectors.DSC02835

Another addition is a soft touch release button on the boot, in addition to the earlier release buttons in the cabin and on the remote. The door handles also get a dash of chrome on the top portion. A new interior colour theme which VW calls the ‘Walnut Desert Beige’ welcomes you inside.

The layout remains the same. It finds some welcome features like cruise control, a cooled glovebox, which was always spacious. I personally liked is the new dead pedal, which goes a long way in improving driving comfort.

ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION ;

The Volkswagen Vento comes with a 1598cc, 4 Cylinder, 8 Valve engine in both petrol and diesel, delivering a maximum power of 105 bhp in both and maximum Torque of 255 Nm in diesel version and 153NM in Petrol.The standard Vento Gearbox is a 5-speed manual gearbox and the engine features a 4-valve head along with double overhead camshaft. In petrol version, there is an automatic transmission available with a 6 speed box in the Highline variant. The claimed fuel efficiency of 15KMPL in petrol and 20KMPL in diesel for 1.6 Litre engine is quite impressive.

All in all, the Vento comes in 7 variants in which Trendline, trendline metallic and Highline are common for both petrol and diesel variants . Additionally, the petrol version has Automatic transmission version in Highline variant. The car is packed with several active and passive safety features like advanced high chassis, side airbags, rigid body shell, five three-point seat belts, ABS, and EBD. The diesel and petrol Vento compete with a number of models in their class. The below table gives a comparison with prominent competitors and their respective top end models.

Volkswagen cars come with style and luxury that are driven by performance oriented engines. This means Volkswagen Vento is a good addition in entry level sedan segment. The car has lot of leg room as not an inch of space has been wasted inside and out. One of the shortcomings we could state, is that the dashboard could have been made more impressive.From comparison it can be concluded that Vento is in par with other competitor models and the main strength of Vento is its German quality and sense of newness.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

The Volkswagen has always been a well sprung sedan. The ride quality is definitely one of the biggest virtues the 2015 Volkswagen Vento has inherited from its forbearer. With McPherson Strut in front the semi-independent trailing arm suspension is tuned on the firmer side, while the high profile 15-inch tyres makes the Vento marches over bad roads and practically glides over the tarmac.

Thanks to this setup and a precise and communicative steering, the 2015 Vento facelift has an absolute fun to drive dynamics. While negotiating turns it’s never fidgety, never loses it poise and is never unpredictable. This really boosts the driver’s confidence, making the Vento an obvious pick among its rivals.

SAFETY ;

Safety elements are up to the mark in this upgraded Vento. In the entry level models, you will find aspects like dual front airbags, three point seat belts that are height adjustable at front, and electronic engine immobilizer with floating code. The rear parking sensors does the job of alerting the driver about any obstacle through audible signals, while the front and rear adjustable head restraints offers support and protection to your neck. Whereas the mid and top spec variants additionally gets hill hold control, and power windows with pinch guard function on all doors. Besides these, the advanced attributes like anti lock braking system as well as electronic stabilization program takes the security standards to next level.

BOTTOMLINE ;

The Vento has always been a pretty good vehicle and this update just makes it better. The sedan excels when it comes to looks, interiors, driving feel and a lot more. It only loses out due to its poor service network and the slightly high cost of spare parts and maintenance as compared to rivals. Volkswagen also has a not-so-good perception when it comes to reliability. The DSG transmission really rocks and trumps over any other automatic available in this segment. You should definitely consider the 2015 Vento if you prefer build quality, handling and the quick tranny over better resale value and slightly cheaper service costs that rivals offer.

 

 

 

 

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza Engine & Gearbox

OVERVIEW ;

Within no time the concept of a compact SUV gained a lot of traction in the Indian market. That is because one gets the feeling of driving an SUV sitting high up along with its practical size for urban driving conditions and most importantly it doesn’t cost a bomb. We are seeing this segment getting crowded year after year but India’s largest ca rmaker Maruti Suzuki didn’t have anything to offer, until now. The Vitara Brezza has been engineered and developed entirely by the Maruti Suzuki team in India achieving high localisation. Looking at the price positioning and features offered, we are quite sure it’ll sell in big numbers but how does it perform in terms of drivability and practicality? We find out. Check On Road Price of Vitara Brezza

DESIGN AND STYLE ;

Like all the other prominent names in the compact SUV segment, the Vitara Brezza too has the muscular and stubby stance which makes it larger than what it actually is. The lifted off frontal stance with a boxy design with clear lines make it look a bit old school, but then, there are some clear details in its design, which makes it an SUV of today’s times. The Vitara Brezza is actually based on the XA-Alpha concept which Maruti Suzuki previewed few years ago at the Delhi Auto Expo, and while it isn’t as flashy as the latter and has got a much toned down design in its production guise, it gets a number of design cues and features, making it a contemporary vehicle.Starting off from the front, the Vitara Brezza gets a lifted off stance with a chunky looking chrome grille, which gets squared off fins within it clearly inspired from the XA-Alpha’s front grille. The headlamps have a simple rounded rectangle like design, but then, they do get funky looking projector bulbs with daytime running LEDs. The front bumper too has a bulgy design, with black claddings and prominent positioning of fog lamps with turn indicators placed above them, which is something other vehicles in its segment are not having.

The side profile of the Vitara Brezza does get a rather clean profile with two sharp creases – one running from the front headlamp and ending up on the rear door, and the other being below of it which starts on the rear door and ending up in the rear tail lamp. The black colored body cladding form the front bumper is extending all the way onto the sides as well, giving it a lofty stance, which is further complemented with its high 200mm ground clearance. The top most variant of ZDI+ gets a dual tone treatment for its roof, which gives it a stance of a floating roof. The doors and mirrors have got very mild design, making the overall side profile appear boxy. However, the 5-spoke alloy wheels have been given a very nice and upmarket design treatment.At the rear, the Vitara Brezza has got a bulky stance, thanks to the wide profile accentuated by two big trapezoidal tail lamps and a big thick chrome bar with the name of the car embodied on it, much like what we have already seen on the Renault Duster. These tail lamps do get the same kind of LED light guides as on the front headlamps.

CABIN AND COMFORT ;

The Brezza isn’t a very tall SUV, but the cabin is set at a comfortable height so getting in and out is easy. The seats are well shaped but the cushioning is a touch too soft and this can be uncomfortable over long distances. Up front, you get a excellent view out thanks to the low-set dashboard that is smart in its own right. The centre portion (that hosts the infotainment system) is nicely framed with a piano black plastic surround, which is a neat styling element. The silver highlights and glossy black plastics on the dash do add some colour, and what’s more, the instrument cluster also gets selectable colours for the backlighting. The dashboard is practical too and comes with twin gloveboxes (the upper one being cooled), and there’s a generous storage area in the console between the seats. Unlike the Baleno, the USB port is quite accessible (though still not lit) for iPhone users to connect to CarPlay.

There are, however, lots of bits shared with other Marutis, like the steering and power window switches from the first-generation Swift (our perennial beef with Maruti). The air con buttons are all new, but aren’t uniformly sized and curiously, the largest button here is that of the Auto AC mode.The overall cabin quality is good, but not great. Some of the plastics are nicely textured, but in the lower areas, the finish could have been better. What lifts the cabin to a good extent is the woven roof lining and plush seat fabrics that deliver an ambience that is more premium than other compact SUVs.

Maruti designers we spoke to revealed balancing adequate boot space and a roomy cabin was a challenge. What’s nice is that space in the back is sufficient enough to seat three, and offers adequate knee room and plenty of headroom. The cabin width too is surprisingly good. Rear seat comfort is good and the inclusion of a fold-out centre armrest also helps here. And there’s a coat hook too.

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;

Maruti Vitara Brezza engine line-up as mentioned in the beginning is confined to a single diesel mill. Maruti has used the regular Fiat sourced 1.3 litre DDiS diesel engine powering most of the diesel models like Maruti like Ertiga, Ciaz etc The diesel engine is tuned to deliver 89bhp of top power along with 200Nm of torque. A five-speed conventional manual transmission is mated to the diesel motor while an AMT may be introduced later

Maruti Vitara Brezza range comprises of six variants namely LDi, LDi (O), VDi, VDi (O) and ZDi (O). The base variants comes with electrically adjustable outside rear view mirrors, power steering, power windows in front, folding rear seat, manual AC and tilt steering. As we go up in the model series, the V variant gets additional features such as rear parking sensors, floating roof treatment, keyless entry, full wheel covers, power windows in front and rear, gear shift indicator and electromagnetic tailgate.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

To compensate for the tall height and the heavy diesel engine up front, the Brezza gets a stiff suspension setup. This becomes very apparent when you attack the corners, as the compact SUV manages to keep body roll controlled. The downside to this, is a lot of thudding and crashing over potholes – which can get quite taxing on a day to day basis. Highway manners are confidence-inducing as well. The Brezza doesn’t float or feel bouncy as it goes about chugging miles.

The steering is well-weighted, and shouldn’t be a problem inside the city or on the highways. You can have a bit of fun with it around the twisties as well, the wheel does have adeqaute amount of feedback to offer. Yes, there’s a hint of understeer if you push it hard, but it quickly corrects itself the moment you lift off the throttle.

BRAKING AND SAFETY ;

A mere glance at the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza specifications would be enough to make you realize that there is no compromise on the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza Braking and Safety aspect. Each variant of this Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza model has ventilated brakes from the front wheels. At the same time, you have drum brakes for the rear wheels. The driver airbag is a common feature in all the variants with the higher variants having passenger airbags as well. The anti-lock braking system coupled with the electronic brake-force distribution in some of the higher variants makes this vehicle a very safe one. This makes Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza handling quite easy. The parking sensors are an additional attraction in the higher variants.

BOTTOMLINE ;

The Vitara Brezza comes across as a very well-rounded package. It looks attractive, is loaded with equipment, has a spacious cabin and is fairly practical too. Thanks to 98 per cent localisation, Brezza’s killer price of Rs 9.54 lakh(ex-showroom Delhi) is just an icing on the cake. It does lack in some areas like the once benchmark 1.3-litre DDiS diesel engine which has now started to show its age, the typical Japanese light build doesn’t go very well with it being an SUV and the ride could have been more refined too. But for what it is, the Brezza is surely Maruti’s ticket to mega success in the much sought-after compact SUV market.

 

 

Tata Nexon Engine & Safety Features

OVERVIEW ;

Given that Tata Motors was the one to realise ‘sub-four-metre car’ need not always mean hatchback (remember the Indigo CS compact sedan), it has taken its own sweet time to come up with a compact SUV. Sure, the carmaker had made its intent about breaking into the segment very clear with the Nexon concept of 2014, but it’s only in September 2017 that the final product will be available at a showroom near you. One look at the Nexon, though, and you’ll probably agree Tata Motors has used its time well to come up with a genuinely eye-catching rival to the likes of the Ford EcoSport and huge-selling Maruti Vitara Brezza. The Nexon is an attention magnet. Its overall design and styling are so radically different from what we’ve seen from Tata Motors, even over the past two years, that the badges are the only big giveaways of its company of manufacture. Tata’s compact SUV looks almost concept-car-like and actually makes the Maruti Brezza from 2016 look decidedly boxy and old-fashioned.Check Ex Showroom Price of Nexon

DESIGN AND STYLE ;

To begin with let us first inform you that the Nexon is based on the XO platform which is the same platform that also underpins almost all of their new generation compact cars including the Bolt, Zest and even the Tiago and Tigor.Take a look at the production variant of the Nexon, and you will instantly mistake it with the concept car which was showcased almost three years back at the 2014 Auto Expo with some practical additions. This compact SUV stands apart from the crowd because of certain factors which include its modern looking face, a sloping roofline like silhouette, big extended X like design towards the rear which has been finished in Ivory white ceramic type element that we can also find towards the side profile and also under the front fog lamps. The big 16-inch chunky alloy wheels, high ground clearance of 200 mm, projector headlamps and LED taillamps are some other highlights which make the SUV looks quite modern and well equipped and practical at the same time. Get deals on Nexon

The premium looking front grille has been finished in Piano black and has the Tata logo at the centre while a chrome slat sits on the base of the grille and extends all the way towards the side headlamps edges (Tata Motors calls it a humanity line). The Nexon also gets LED DRL’s positioned below the projector headlamps units. Towards the lower front face, the round fog lamps placed slightly higher to perhaps highlighting the high ground clearance.Towards the side profile is where you will witness all the crease lines and bulges. The muscular wheel arches and the big 16 inch wheels along with black plastic claddings further add to its muscular stance. Just below the window line is where you will also find the Ivory white strip which you will also notice towards the front and rear profile of the SUV. One of the other highlights of the side profile of the SUV is its coupe like sloping roofline which is further accentuated by the Contrasting roof colour.Towards the rear profile the Nexon gets an X shaped element which is positioned just below the rear windscreen. The floating roof spoiler towards the rear also features a LED stop lamps.

CABIN AND COMFORT ;

The dashboard of the Tata Nexon is designed keeping practicality and ease-of-use in mind. The steering wheel feels good to hold and comes with controls for audio and phone. The centre console gets a floating 6.5-inch HD touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You get other features like climate control, 8-speakers for the Harman Sound System, voice commands, 2 airbags and rear AC vents. A lot of parts on the inside have been borrowed from other Tata cars. The Nexon also gets a wearable key which can be useful when you go for jogs.

The AC is excellent and even at blower speed 1, the throw of the air is extremely good. The doors open wide and the seats are set at a height, allowing easy ingress and egress. The front seats feel comfortable with good support for the lower back and under thigh. At the rear, it might get a bit difficult to fit 3 people, but nonetheless, both knee room and head space are very good. The front windows are large but the rear windows are set high up and there is no quarter panel, thus making short passengers feel claustrophobic. The cabin is also very practical with a number of storage spaces, including one in the centre console that has been inspired by premium cars. The boot is well-shaped and you can fold the rear seats flat to get a cargo capacity of 690-litres. Quality on the inside is good for most part but certain areas feel a bit cheap.

ENGINE AND GEARBOX ;

The Tata Nexon comes both in petrol and diesel. It has a 1.2-litre turbo petrol that delivers about 108bhp of power and 180Nm of maximum torque. The Tata Tiago also uses the same engine, but it gets a turbocharger in the Nexon, for better performance. The power output is also higher. It comes mated to a 6speed manual transmission. This is something unique in this segment for a petrol vehicle.

The other engine is a 1.5-litre diesel engine that churns out about 108bhp of power and it comes with best-in-class torque of 260Nm. The diesel engine is the most powerful one in the segment and this also comes with a 6speed manual transmission. This engine is a four-cylinder one, unlike the three-cylinder one found on the Tiago. Both engines get multiple driving modes which are Eco, City and Sport. The Nexon is a front-wheel drive SUV and it does not have an AWD system.The Nexon delivers good fuel efficiency. As the petrol is similar to the Tata Tiago, it should return close to 13km/l in the city and about 17km/l on the highway. At the same time, the diesel engine will return about 17km/l in the city and 20km/l on the highway at least.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

The Nexon gets McPherson struts up front and a twist beam setup at the rear. The ride is a nice compromise between hard and soft and because there’s not much body roll, it feels plush on the inside. It deals with potholes in the manner of bigger SUVs. So all you feel inside is a toned down thud and a little vertical movement that settles down pretty quick. The diesel Nexon is 68kg heavier than the petrol one, and the added weight results in keeping the cabin slightly more stable when going over a rough patch or at high speeds.The diesel Nexon pays the price of the added weight when it comes to handling, but not by a big margin. The difference lies in the fact that the diesel Nexon tends to understeer slightly when you get into a turn while the petrol Nexon feels sharper in comparison. Overall, the Nexon feels quite confident on the road, and stability at highway speeds is not a concern either.With discs at the front and drums at the rear, it feels confident when braking hard. But the brakes don’t offer instant bite, thus requiring you to vary the braking pressure according to the situation.

BRAKING AND SAFETY ;

Tata Nexon comes packed with a plethora of safety features such as dual front airbags, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Immobilizer and Seatbelt with pretensioners and load limiters as standard. The high-end variants also boast of Park Assist with Camera, Front fog lamps with cornering assistance, rear fog lamps and speed dependent auto door locks features.

BOTTOMLINE ;

The Nexon is a remarkable product from Tata; a bold crossover that combines standout form while packaging in immense practicality too, and if it weren’t for the the fit and finish issues, we would recommend it without hesitation. Especially the diesel. No kidding, the Nexon is likely to set segment benchmark on account of its very easy to drive diesel engine, and the big car levels of space in the cabin. On top of that, the Nexon is a neat and tidy handler and comfortable to be chauffeured around in too. The petrol is exciting when driven hard – but for everyday use you’d wish it offered smooth and more fluid performance. And, yes, the design is striking, and this Tata has all the features you need.

 

 

 

 

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.