REVIEW-TOYOTA YARIS DUAL TONE

Snapseed

Toyota introduced the dual-tone variant of the Yaris around the festive season in 2019.  First introduced in April 2018 the Yaris has been a consistent performer in the Toyota line-up in India.

Toyota in India is largely known for the Innova and the Fortuner. These cars have been blockbusters from the word go with no competition in sight. But their range of sedans and hatchbacks haven’t exactly set the sales charts on fire.

Snapseed(2)

I had reviewed the Yaris earlier in 2019. One had come back impressed with the all-round efficiency of the sedan.Just before the year ended, I got a chance to review the Toyota Yaris Dual-Tone.

So, what are the changes one gets in the dual tone Yaris Variant? Let’s find out.

Snapseed(8)

THE EXTERIOR
This variant gets a dual-tone black roof, piano black finish on the grille, OVRMs, Fog bezel, Rear LED combination tail-lamps with LED DRLs, projector headlamps, chrome grille and OVRM turn indicators.

IMG_3130.jpgTHE INTERIOR
One gets new leather upholstery, centre console box a leather-wrapped steering wheel & gearshift knob. The 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system is now compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It comes with Bluetooth connectivity, one USB charging port and a CD player. There are few 12V mobile charging points available too.

IMG_3129.jpgThe rest of the features remain the same such as mood lighting, roof-mounted air vents, 8-way adjustable driver seats and 4.2-inch MID. The seats are well contoured, comfortable and offer good under thigh support. Legroom on offer in the back row is adequate.

IMG_3128.jpgSAFETY FEATURES:
The Yaris comes with a host of safety features such as ABS, EBD, brake assist, hill assist, front and rear parking sensors with camera, front and rear fog lamps, seatbelt reminder warning for driver and co-driver.

THE ENGINE:
Under the bonnet the Yaris remains unchanged. It still uses the same 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine which delivers 107 PS of power and 140 Nm of torque, mated to a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed CVT gearbox.

FullSizeRender(4).jpgDRIVE EXPERIENCE:
Press the start button and the car kicks to life quietly. There’s a relaxed tranquillity about the way the Yaris sounds like while idling. Shift into Drive mode, press on the accelerator pedal,  the 1st thing you experience is how easy the car feels to drive.

Snapseed(9)

In the first 10 minutes of driving the car one thing was obvious. The Yaris is the ideal vehicle to drive in the city. The engine is responsive enough, with a smooth CVT transmission. It’s perfectly at home in in the stop-go traffic, going about its job in an efficient fashion.

Snapseed_Original

The quality of our roads isn’t the best. That didn’t bother the Yaris one bit. It went over potholes, unpaved, broken stretches of road without any fuss. The ride quality is top notch. The suspension has been perfectly setup for our roads, the relatively tall tyres providing the right amount of cushioning to make the daily drive a hassle-free activity.

The visibility on offer is very good, Throttle response and braking sharp and precise. The CVT transmission is extremely smooth, downshifts and upshifts happen with any noticeable lag. This is one of the better CVT’s in the business right now.

The Yaris takes a tad bit to respond when you start accelerating. While this aspect is fine in the city, on the highway you want the car to respond in a brisker fashion. Overtaking is a bit of a task courtesy the flat mid-range of the engine.

The Yaris is extremely steady and planted at triple digit speeds. The customary speed warning starts beeping the moment you touch 80kmph. This is part of the safety norms for BSVI cars. The Yaris comes with 476 litre bootspace which is very impressive for a midsize sedan.

The fuel efficiency figures the Yaris returned were very good. Over the 300 kms I drove on this review it returned an average of 10.5 kpl in traffic. On the highway it went up to16.8 kpl.

PRICING
The pricing for the Toyota Yaris J manual starts at Rs 9.40 lakhs ex-showroom Mumbai, the J model CVT starts at Rs 10.10 lakhs ex-showroom Mumbai.

CONCLUSION:
The Yaris is a compact, solid and efficient sedan which comes with the Toyota brand of efficiency and reliability. Easy to drive with a no-nonsense approach, the Yaris is the ideal companion for everyday driving.

Snapseed(3)

NEW LAUNCH-KIA SELTOS

Kia Motors, the world’s 8thlargest automaker today launched its first product inmid-SUV segment, the Seltos in the Indian market with an introductory price starting from INR 9.69 lakhs (Ex-showroom PAN India) for the entry level Petrol Smartstream G1.5 HTE model going up to INR 15.99 Lakhs (Ex-showroom PAN India) for the Diesel1.5 CRDi HTX plus (6AT) and Petrol Smartstream 1.4 T GdiGTX (7DCT) and GTX plus top-end variant. The Seltos is BS-VI compliant and available in both petrol and diesel variants with manual and automatic transmission options.

666A88D1-D2DF-4EC3-8EC3-9CC3BB9A8D32

The company also announced the receipt of record 320,35 bookings for the Seltos so far which has set a new benchmark for the mid-SUV segment in the country. Kia Motors India is well equipped to handle the overwhelming demand for Seltos in the market.  The company’s Anantapur plant has an annual production capacity of 3,00,000 units which will allow the company to smoothly cater to the increasing demand of Seltos in the country.

BFB150BA-001B-4594-805E-4D031D2F566A

Commenting on the occasion, Mr Kookhyun Shim, MD & CEO, Kia Motors India said, “The Seltos has been one of the most ambitious projects for Kia Motors and even more so for Kia Motors India. The Seltos marks the arrival of Kia in India for the first time, and we have put our heart and soul into this product. The Seltos is all about surprising everyone with its premium features,distinctive design, supreme quality, refined and powerful engine options, addictive performance and so much more. It is BS-VI compliant and has undergone extensive testing to meet emission norms even with the currently available BS-IV fuel, which makes it future proof. With the most advanced set of engine, fuel and transmission options in Seltos, we are confident to address all the unmet needs of the segment today. For our new age digital savvy customer, we have also designed a complete digital journey from booking, sales and delivery to aftersales service thereby ensuring the most evolved ownership experience ever. I am confident that Seltos will redefine the entire mid SUV segment in India.

Seltos is available in Smartstream 1.4 turbo petrol with a 6-speed manual/7-speed DCT, smartstream 1.5 petrol with 6speed manual/IVT and 1.5 diesel VGT with 6speed manual/6speed automatic. Further, all theengines will be BS-VI compliant, making Seltos the first car in the segment to meet the emissions norms that will come into effect next year. The Seltos will have two distinct design lines – Tech Line aimed at family-oriented customers and GT Line aimed at enthusiasts who are young at heart. The Seltos line up will get premium and smart features such as 8.0 inch heads-up-display, 10.25 inch HD touchscreen, a hi-tech sound mood lamp, a rear shade curtain, 360 degree surround view monitor, blind spot monitoring, world’s first connected air-purifier, highly advanced proprietary UVO connect system with 37 unique features for a wirelessand seamless communication with the car, an 8-Speaker Bose Hi-Fi sound system with sound mood lamp and more. Host of safety features, ESC, VSM, 6 Airbags and use of AHSS– Advanced high strength steel.

The Kia Seltos will be offered in a variety of 8 sensuouscolors and will get 5 dual tone options to keep the young and dynamic character of the car intact.

Further easing the buying process, Kia’s partnership with 8 leading banks of India will help the customers get the most attractive financing options with the lowest interest rates and desired paying back period. To add more comfort to the buying process for the customer, the company has designed a unique online purchase process, which begins with booking, selection, to financing and closes with delivery. Two leading banks of the country have tied up with the company to offer a complete online financing option to customers as well.

Seltos will come with Kia Motors’ comprehensive Promise to care service program which has been designed on the core philosophy of CARE-Connected, Adaptive, Responsive and Engage, which dovetails into a never before service experience for our customers. The service network of across 160 cities in India issupported by a digitized, IOT enabled Kia LINK app to efficiently manage service lifecycle. Spare parts network ensures spare parts are available across the country through 4 Parts Depots in Chennai, Navi Mumbai, Delhi NCR and Kolkata. The Seltos comes with a 3 years comprehensive warranty, extendable upto 5 years. The offering includes 24/7 Road side assistance of 3 years and scratch care program for one time free repair, amongst others.

53A7803E-DE67-4C00-85FE-42B79D3118BC

PRICE

There will be a total of 16 variants, the ex-showroom prices of which are:

The deliveries of the Seltos will begin today and bookings will remain open and the interested customer can purchase the Seltos at any one of the 265 customer touchpoints across 160 cities or can even purchase the car online by logging onto www.kia.com/in

All India (EX. Showroom Price   in Lacs)

Tech Line

All India (EX. Showroom Pricein Lacs)

GT Line

Petrol

Diesel

Petrol

Smartstream G1.5

1.5 CRDi VGT

Smartstream

1.4 T – GDi

HTE

9.69

9.99

GTK

13.49

HTK

9.99

11.19

GTX

14.99

15.99  (7 DCT)

HTK Plus

11.19

12.19

13.19  (6 AT)

GTX Plus

15.99

HTX

12.79

13.79  (IVT)

13.79

HTX Plus

14.99

15.99 (6 AT)

NEW LAUNCH-THE ALL NEW BMW 3 SERIES

The all-new BMW 3 Series, the power-packed seventh generation of the world’s most iconic sports sedan, was unveiled today at the ‘Thrill City’ in Gurugram. Locally produced at BMW Group Plant Chennai, the all-new BMW 3 Series is now available in diesel and petrol variants at all BMW dealerships across India.

849034B8-F116-4DD9-8981-CDCEC0EBCE2F.jpegMr. Rudratej Singh, President and Chief Executive Officer, BMW Group India said, “The 3 is the heart and soul of BMW. As the ultimate sports sedan, for over four decades, it has been the flag bearer of ‘Sheer Driving Pleasure’. In its new avatar, the 3 has outdone itself once again! Built for thrill and driven by technology, the all-new BMW 3 Series is an automobile that creates an impeccable harmony between the driver, the machine and the road. Enthusiasts waiting for the perfect luxury sports sedan will be undoubtedly drawn to its new design, generous space, luxurious interiors and host of innovative technologies. Our current patrons, who swear by the unmatched driving character of the 3, will be equally thrilled with its enhanced best-in-class handling and agility.”

029B5106-7E76-445B-9870-930E06837979‘Thrill City’, a unique pop-up space, reflects the pulse of modern city life, full of buzzing entertainment, high skylines, city squares and even has its own nightclub. Created exclusively for the launch, it showcases the highly-urban, dynamic and spirited personality of the all-new BMW 3 Series.

29AA63C9-0501-45FF-912F-91511F4B5A4C.jpeg

The all-new BMW 3 Series makes an incredible impression with segment-first technologies for an even better driving experience. Making its debut in the all-new BMW 3 Series is the BMW Virtual Assistant, a digital personality of the vehicle that responds to voice commands. It sets a new benchmark for voice recognition. Drivers can operate a number of car functions simply by speaking to their BMW Virtual Assistant. It can be addressed by saying “Hey BMW” or a customer-defined wake word, thereby adding an individual touch to the car. Hands do the talking with BMW Gesture Control, which is part of a rigorously thought-out operating concept that recognizes six pre-defined hand movements for control of a number of functions. The spread of driver assistancesystems is more extensive than ever. The Reversing Assistant provides unmatched support in reversing out of a parking spot or through narrow driveways. It keeps a record of the last 50 metres driven and assists by taking over the steering.

Overwhelming driving comfort of the all-new BMW 3 Series is a result of the debut of lift-related damper control that reduces body movement perceptibly caused by bumpy road surfaces and dynamic cornering, which paves the way for sporty, authoritative handling.

The all-new BMW 3 Series adapts perfectly not only to a dynamic lifestyle but also to personal taste. It is available in three design schemes – Sport, Luxury Line and M Sport. Sport celebrates the gust of adrenaline with sporty style and self-confidence. Luxury Line indulges movement in style and endows elegance. M Sport package bestows masculine character distinguishing itself as an elite sports model.

The all-new BMW 3 Series is available in two diesel variants (BMW 320d Sport and BMW 320d Luxury Line) and in one petrol variant (BMW 330i M Sport) which are locally produced. The ex-showroom prices are as follows :

1F015C93-4E70-46C8-8F73-010E6EBD752E

 

BMW 320d Sport – INR 41,40,000

BMW 320d Luxury Line –   INR 46,90,000

BMW 330i M Sport –   INR 47,90,000

#10YEARSOFPOLO

In 2009 India was introduced to the concept of a “hot hatch” when Volkswagen India launched the Polo. Prior to that we Indians modified hatchbacks sold in the country, by adding a host of power and sound boosting accessories.

The Polo apart from being fun-to-drive, had oodles of power and came with segment first performance capabilities. In the decade since,  lots of competitors have come along, but the Polo still stands timeless in design and performance.

This premium hatchback that quickly stepped up to be the safest carline with a 4-star global NCAP rating for adult occupant protection. One of the biggest contributions the Polo has made to the industry is its class leading safety features. For the longest time, the Polo was the only premium hatchback to have dual airbags and ABS as standard within its segment.

Over the years, the Polo has been launched in various petrol and diesel engine options starting with the 1.6L MPI and 1.2L TDI followed by the GT TSI, GT TDI and the powerful, performance oriented 1.8L TSI Polo GTI version. In the last 10 years, this fun-to-drive hatch has witnessed eight engine options. Thus, allowing customers a wide range of engine options to choose from.

To celebrate this momentous occasion Volkswagen India had invited Rotormouth along with other auto media to drive from Mumbai to Soma Vineyards in Nashik to celebrate #10YEARSOFPOLO.

We drove there in an assortment of different VW models that are sold in India.  Soma Vineyards is one of the more recent entrants in the wine business in India. Located in Nashik the wine growing region of India, Soma Vineyards has become very popular with wine connoisseurs across the country.

To welcome us were present 4 legendary models of the Volkswagen Polo. Models that had gained a huge following with car enthusiasts worldwide.

The Polo Mk II…58819051-52FF-4C5D-A588-EF4CDA1A7704The second-generation Polo called home to two manufacturing facilities present in Wolfsburg, Germany and Pamplona, Spain. The carline was manufactured between 1981 and 1994 in three different body styles which includes a 3-door hatchback, 2-door sedan called the Polo classic and a new 3-door hatchback with a near vertical rear window (Coupé). The Polo Mk II was powered by a range of engines from 1.1L and 1.3L diesel versions to a 1.3L and 1.4L gasoline variant. Over the period the Mk II sold 2.7 million units including supercharged GT40.

The Polo GT TSI…IMG_0132Designed to be a head turner, the Polo GT is known for its legendary performance and impeccable fuel efficiency. The carline holds a lot more respect with its GT badge making the look and feel a cut above the rest. With a revolutionary 1.2L TSI engine under its body, it strikes a fine balance between power and efficiency along with a 7-speed DSG transmission. The car boasts of a 105PS of horsepower and 175 Nm torque. It delivers a fuel consumption of 24.49km/l

The Cross Polo…IMG_0129Launched in 2013, the Cross Polo is a crossover version of the Polo hatchback. The carline depicted a bold, sporty design flair, which appealed to customers with active lifestyles and a taste for adventure. The Cross Polo was available in three variants – 1.2L diesel and petrol engine options mated to a 5-speed manual transmission followed by a 1.5L TDI along with a 5-speed manual gearbox.

The Fast and Furious Polo GTIIMG_0128In 2016, Volkswagen launched a carline for the true-blue enthusiasts. Introducing the GTI philosophy to the Indian market with the brands’ hottest hatchback Polo GTI. The powerful carline comes equipped with a 1.8L TSI coupled with Volkswagen’s globally renowned DSG transmission producing a blistering 141kW (192 PS) of raw power. The Polo GTI ticks all the boxes when it comes to providing a complete performance package and sets the driver apart from his peer group. It effortlessly combines power & beauty with technical enhancements and distinctive design additions like independent bumpers, red GTI insignia, distinctive side sills and GTI specific rear spoiler.

At the official event presentation to kick-start the celebrations that evening Steffen Knapp Director, Volkswagen Passenger Cars said, “Today, marks a milestone in our India journey with the Volkswagen Polo completing a decade long presence in this region. World over, the Polo has been the most loved carline with over 14 million units being sold. We’re glad Polo in India is significantly contributing and has quickly become the best-selling carline in our portfolio. Till date, the Polo receives 45 percent of first-time buyers with a strong preference towards the GT TSI variant, which comes with our globally renowned DSG gearbox.

Further, it gives me immense pleasure to inform that nearly 31 percent of women prefer buying a Volkswagen Polo over the others in this segment. Owing to its durability, build quality, safety and fun-to-drive experience.”

The Volkswagen Polo over the last decade has received several accolades across segments by automotive magazines in India and globally. The most noteworthy recognition continues to be by J.D. Power with the topmost rank awarded to the Polo over the last three consecutive years in the premium compact car segment. Followed by the Indian Blue Books award for the highest in residual value in the year 2018. “

Next morning at Zonkers Adventure Park we got to drive the POLO RX and POLO CUP TSI race cars around a small go-karting track. This showcased first-hand the racing and track capabilities of the VW Polo.IMG_0091We learnt how Sirish Vissa, Head Volkswagen Motorsport India and his team had transformed the stock Polo’s into powerful racing machines. The Polo Cup was followed by the Vento Cup and then the Ameo Cup which is a One Make Racing  National Championship Series.

Currently, Volkswagen, Europe’s leading car manufacturer offers the Polo in four engine options in India:

Polo GT TSI GT TDI
1.0L MPI | 5-speed MT 1.5L TDI | 5-speed MT 1.2L | 7-speed DSG 1.5L TDI | 5-speed MT

 

The Volkswagen Polo has so far sold over 2.5 lakh units in India. Performance, safety and all-round durability has made the VW Polo a favorite with car buyers over the last 10 years.  Here’s wishing Volkswagen India more success with the Polo for the next decade.

 

RockMe Burgers in Chiang Mai

It all started by reading a blog on food joints in Chiang Mai, prior to our departure for this beautiful city in Northern Thailand. Apart from the super local food, I chanced upon this particular writeup featuring the best burgers in town. Just by seeing the pics, I was all set to dive into a meaty & cheesy concoction, made famous by all travelers to this small but happening restaurant.

DSC_5660

Located on Loi Kroh Road, the nightlife paradise of Chiang Mai, this Restobar is located below the Raming Lodge Hotel. We chose to stay there as well as the hotel’s breakfast was being catered to by Rock Me Burgers (how convenient). Having spent the first two days roaming around sampling local fare and walking a lot to build up a massive hunger (and to lose some weight as well), we decided to hit the joint on a Friday afternoon. The interiors of the joint made us even hungrier as all we read and saw were food related information and pictures. The menu card is expansive and has options of meat and vegetarian burgers so, all my veggie friends.. fear not.. enjoy !

IMG-20180819-WA0029I ordered a massive beef burger and to my expectations.. it was MASSIVE.. my friends ordered other varieties including one in seafood which came in a coconut shell. The quality of the burgers is superb and portions enough for 2 to a plate.

rock-me-burgers-bar

Ice tea and a few beers later, most of us were struggling to walk as half a ton of burger inside each one of us did make us sleepy as hell. Over the next few days, we did visit the joint again, and enjoyed every bit of the bite.

Next time in Chiang Mai.. its RockMe all the way

Rockme

Location & Other Detail credits: Chiang Mai Food Critic

At a Glance

Lots of seating. Fun counter bar outside. Air conditioned inside. Excellent burgers. Sandwiches include french fries. Reasonable prices. Credit cards accepted.

Prices

Drinks: Water: 30 baht/Heineken, San Miguel: 80 baht/Singha, Leo: 70 baht/Chang: 60 baht

Food:

Original Burger: 160 baht/Classic Hotdog: 130 baht

Food Taste: If you’re looking for a delicious burger in Chiang Mai, this is the place to go! They also offer hotdogs, fries, onion rings, milkshakes, and more. Everything is excellent!

Atmosphere: There is indoor/outdoor seating. Indoor is air-conditioned. Outdoor has a long bar along Loi Kroh Road with a fun atmosphere, and you can watch the cooks grill the burgers. 80’s rock plays throughout the restaurant.

Cleanliness: The restaurant is part of Raming Lodge, so it is pretty clean.

Service: Great! The staff speaks American English and serves with a smile.

 

Address:

17-19 Loi Kroh Road, Chiang Mai 50100, ThailandPhone: 089-852-8801 / Facebook:Rock Me Burgers & Bar on Facebook

Hours: 11:30 – 24:00 Everyday

VOLKSWAGEN TIGUAN EXPERIENTIAL DRIVE

The last week of October took me to an area and location I hadn’t visited in quite a while. I was driving out early on Saturday morning to the Volkswagen Tiguan Experiential Drive being held at Mukesh Mills in Colaba. For anybody who’s grown up watching movies, music videos in the 90’s Mukesh Mills is immediately recognisable. Countless films and videos have been shot there. Every part of this defunct mill has been used in films to depict all sorts of locations and situations.

Experiencing the Tiguan in such an environment would be interesting!

After the usual registration process, we were briefed by Dr. Tejas Kothari a well-known off-roading expert of what we would experience on the course.

The first obstacle that was created was the terrapod. This would get us to gauge the Tiguan’s ability to handle different alterations in height. How it manages to stay stable and clear this obstacle successfully. I went about doing this activity with the usual sense of caution. Tejas who was the instructor, goaded me on, making corrections when I was veering off. Being on 2 wheels in a moving car is always exciting. This was no different!

SAN_8670

The next obstacle we experienced was the axle breakers. Here one got to see first-hand, the ability of the Tiguan to transfer the requisite amount of torque between the wheels, while they were struggling to find traction. Tejas instructed me to go easy and slow on the throttle, that being the key to clearing this activity smoothly. I did just that.

SAN_8678

Now we moved to the final activity of the drive.
The last activity was to test the ABS of the Tiguan. How it reacts during sudden braking at fast speeds, while attempting a lane change. Tejas told me to step hard on the throttle and slam the brakes the moment we reach the braking marker. The Tiguan managed this activity with ease, showcasing how well the ABS works in such situations.

SAN_8707

At the end of this experiential drive one got a different appreciation of the Tiguan.

A SUV which I have spent lots of time driving in the recent past.

ADVENTURES WITH THE Q5…

The second generation Q5 was Audi’s first launch of the year. Launched in 2011 the Q5 ticked all the right boxes for SUV buyers, making it an instant success. In the last few years SUV’s have become an important category for every luxury car manufacturer. We Indians love SUV’s. And Audi gets it right each time with their Q series.

COLLAGE First.jpgThe 2018 Q5 is taut, sleek and more compact in its appearance compared to the previous model. The one-piece square grille and headlights with the LED DRL’s is what you first notice when viewing the car front on. There is a sharpness to the crease where it joins the tail light, which is new compared to the old Q5. The all-LED headlights are brilliant while driving in the night and offer very good illumination.

The moment you step inside the cabin you are greeted with a familiar looking steering wheel, 3 zone air-conditioning and a huge 12.3-inch instrument cluster display. The views which can be switched around, are superb to look at and use. The 8.3-inch display that sits atop the dashboard comes without a touchscreen feature which is good, as it one less thing to distract the driver while driving. The resolution is crisp and sharp. One must use the rotary knob on the centre console to access it. MMI scribble pad with 8 short cuts are on offer as well to use the screen for the on-board navigation.COLLAGE 5.jpgThe cabin has very good noise insulation. The air-conditioning has a smart feature, that it can detect which part of the SUV is getting direct sunlight, thus adjusting the temperature accordingly. Safety is always of the highest standards in Audi cars. The Q5 comes with 8 airbags, park assist system and a 360-degree camera. Seats are plush looking and extremely comfortable which is fantastic when driving long distances. But only the driver’s seat gets a memory function.COLLAGE 4.jpgNowadays luxury SUV’s in India come with huge sunroofs. The Q5 has one of the largest I have seen. Something one can use in the winters while driving on empty highway roads. Lots and lots of legroom is on offer for both front and rear passengers. Recline the rear seat back and you get even more comfort. The boot space is 550 litres. Fold the rear seat back, and one gets an additional 1,000 litres to play with!COLLAGE 2.jpgCOLLAGE 3.jpgThe Q5 has an inline four cylinder, 2.0-litre diesel engine which offers 190PS and 400Nm. Step on the throttle slightly and the Q5 responds with brisk acceleration. Power delivery is smooth and refined. Driving it on the expressway early in the morning with practically no traffic gave me a first-hand experience of the power that’s available. O-100kmph was very fast, making one forget that you are driving an almost 2-tonne SUV!

The Audi Drive Select offers Dynamic, Comfort and a dedicated off-road mode. In the off-road mode, the moment you go off the tarmac the engine performance changes. Throttle response becomes duller, one can see a marked improvement in the traction. Quattro also helps the Q5 put its power down better, thereby enabling better acceleration and improving grip levels. The adaptive suspension gets taut in Dynamic mode in regard to handling, while in the Comfort mode the ride quality is far plusher. Steering feedback is very good, engine performance, responsive transmission with an adaptive suspension that handles bad road easily make the Q5 a very impressive SUV

We visited Della Resorts in Lonavala, a well-known and popular resort for weekend getaways out of Mumbai. Started in 1996 Della has become one of the must visit resorts in the region. Jimmy Mistry a renowned architect is the driving force and inspiration behind the resort. Della is well known for its adventure and adrenaline filled activities and is India’s biggest extreme adventure park. There are 50 plus adventure activities on offer.COLLAGE 6.jpgDella offers India’s only Swoop swing (100 ft.), India’s Longest Flying Fox(1250ft.), 5 kinds of zorbing and 700cc Yamaha raptor ATV . The other activities one can partake in are Archery, Rocket Ejector, Motocross dirt bike riding, Buggy Ride, Paintball and Rappelling.

Driving the Q5 on empty roads in and around Lonavala over the weekend on all sorts of roads made me come back with one realisation. If anyone is in the market to buy a plush midsize luxury SUV, look no further. The Audi Q5 is the SUV for you.COLLAGE last.jpgThe pricing starts at 55.27 lakhs for the Q5 35TDI Premium Plus Diesel and the Q5 Premium Plus 2.0 TFSI Petrol. All prices are ex-showroom Mumbai.

SKODA OCTAVIA – The “CULT” FAVOURITE

When the Skoda Octavia was launched in 2002 it changed the game for performance sedans in this country. Prior to that if an enthusiast was looking for something exciting he/she looked abroad, or modified the existing cars available then. The Octavia since then has gone on to develop a massive cult following. When Skoda announced their latest face lift of the Octavia last year it was met with lots of enthusiasm. Worldwide, Skoda has sold over 50 lakh units of the Octavia.COLLAGE 1.jpgThe Octavia has a split-headlamp cluster called the Quadra LED headlights. The reason for this name is because they are split into four compartments with the low and high beams being separated. LED daytime running lights and fog lamps on the bumper are part of the kit. There is a chrome strip running across the bumper which gives the car a premium finish. The grille is glossy black, with some creases across the hood which weren’t there in the earlier version. The front fenders are far more sculpted adding to the muscular look of the Octavia. The tail lamps at the rear are LED units with a rear bumper that has been revised too.COLLAGE 2.jpgOne of the new features the Octavia gets is the Park Pilot. Once you activate this, the car manoeuvres itself while parking. The driver still plays a role applying the brakes whenever necessary. There are proximity sensors all over the car with the customary reverse parking camera.

Step into the car and the first thing you notice is the new 9 inch infotainment scree with capacitive touch. The interface is very smooth and fast with a resolution ratio of 800×480. The Octavia comes with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Mirror Link to pair your phone with. Skoda has an app called “Boss Connect”. This app lets owners who usually sit in the rear seat control the infotainment system from there.COLLAGE 4.jpgThere’s ambient lighting with 10 colours on offer as well!  One can increase and decrease the brightness of the lights in the footwell and doors. A panoramic sunroof is also part of the package. Two USB ports for rear passengers below the rear AC vent are there as well. The interiors are extremely plush and classy with soft-touch plastics and a beige/black two-tone colour scheme.  Lots of leg room and space in the cabin make this a very comfortable space, where one can spend long hour driving or being driven around.COLLAGE 3.jpgThe Octavia comes with two engine variants, the 1.8-litre TSI and the 2.0-litre TDI.  I drove the diesel variant and boy or boy what an engine. All the Skoda cars I have driven in the past have been amongst the best driver cars in terms of performance. So much power is available through the power band.  This comes with the legendary 6 speed DSG gearbox. If there was a lifetime achievement award given to a gearbox, the DSG would win it hands down. That’s how good it is. The power and torque output is 140.8 bhp and 320 Nm. The claimed mileage is 19.3 kmpl.

Safety which is hallmark with all VW family cars sees the base trim of the Octavia get 4 airbags. The top trim gets 8 airbags with dual airbags upfront and at the sides. ABS, EBD and traction control are standard across the variants.

We drove with the Octavia to Kamshet. It’s located 120 kms from Mumbai along the Mumbai – Pune Expressway.  Driving the Octavia on empty roads early in the morning was the perfect demonstration of the handling prowess of the car. Acceleration is rapid, before you realise it, the Octavia is touching three digit speeds. To get to Kamshet one must take the 2nd Lonavala exit and get on to the Mumbai – Bangalore Highway.COLLAGE 5.jpgIt’s a picturesque hill station in the Western Ghats, which is renowned for paragliding and flying schools. Kamshet is regularly featured in the top 10 must visit destinations adventure junkies. Driving in these natural scenic surrounding on narrow roads was a refreshing break from the highway. In Kamshet one can enjoy the surroundings and have a closer look at the village life of India with muddy huts and village markets. The area is surrounded by paddy and sunflower fields and it provides an awesome view while you are enjoying the world class paragliding facilities here.

After spending a day of taking in the sights it was time to head back. This was a day well spent driving one of my favourite car to a location that is still untouched by development.lastPricing for the Skoda Octavia starts at 18.91 Lakhs for the 1.4 TSI Ambition Petrol Manual and 21.79 Lakhs for the 2.0 TDI CR Ambition Diesel Manual. Prices are on road Price (inclusive of GST), Mumbai.

 

MONSTER RIDES

Ducati India in the last while has been aggressively promoting their motorcycles. They have a strong Ducati Owners Club Programme worldwide, which is now present in India too. One of their strongest products in the line has been the Monster Range of bikes.

IMG 1.jpg

The Ducati Monster (called Il Mostro in Italian) is a muscle bike designed by Miguel Angel Galluzzi and manufactured by Ducati in Bologna, Italy, since 1993. It is a naked bike, characterized by an exposed engine and frame. The trellis frame in the Ducati Monster is an integral part of the motorcycle’s design, allowing for both aesthetic appeal and for structural efficiency.

In 2005, Monster sales accounted for over half of Ducati’s worldwide sales. Ducati motorcycles use 90° V-twin engines, which they call L-twins, with desmodromic valves, and tubular steel trellis frame, designed by Fabio Taglioni (1920–2001).

The Monster line has had numerous variations over the years, from entry level 400 cc (24 cu in) bikes up to top of the line 160 hp (120 kw) multi-valve, water-cooled super bike-engine versions, with as many as nine different Monster versions in a single model year. The Monster’s elemental simplicity has also made it a favourite platform for custom motorcycle builders, showcased at competitions like the Monster Challenge.

Rotormouth / Outventures spent 5 days with the legendary Monster 797 last week. Stylish, good looking and muscular, are the words that come to mind when you spot the Monster 797

Ducati have down the years redefined the way naked street bikes look and perform. The Monster has a rounded headlight, beefy looking petrol tank and the familiar Ducati single-piece steel-tube trellis frame. The exhaust pipes bend and turn into a thick looking can.

COLLAGE 4.jpgThe equipment on the Monster 797 doesn’t have aids like rider modes or traction control. The Monster comes with ABS as standard. One gets the Ducati Multimedia System (DMS), which you can access via a USB port under the seat. Using the DMS you can access your phone and navigation on the instrument panel.

The riding position is sporty and comfortable. The handlebars are wide with low foot pegs. All this has been done to make riding in the city or highway a comfortable affair. The 797 uses a backlit instrument cluster which is common across the other Monster models. The display is easy to read even in glaring sunlight.

The bike is powered by the Desmodue, 803cc, air-cooled, L-twin motor that develops 75PS at 8,250rpm and 68.9Nm at 5,750rpm.  Maximum percentage of torque is available at around the 3500-rpm mark. That’s why when you get the bike rolling, release the clutch slowly for a smooth pick-up

Power delivery across the band is smooth and linear with a crisp throttle response. The 797 is not a high-strung track fiend, but something you can ride every day. That doesn’t mean it’s a slouch on the track. Friends who have ridden it on the track have come back praising it’s track worthiness!

COLLAGE 3.jpgThe Monster 797 gets non-adjustable 43mm Kayaba upside-down forks up front and a Sachs mono-shock at the rear. This helps keep the bike stable entering or exiting a corner, making quick direction changes. The tyres you get with the bike are the Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tyres. These are wrapped around 10-spoke 17-inch wheels.

COLLAGE 2.jpgThe ride quality is top class. I spent hours in the saddle riding for meetings in all across the city. Not once did I feel stressed or too tired considering I was riding a 800cc bike. The handling inspires confidence helped in by the fact that it just weighs 193kg and has a short 1435 mm wheelbase. Flicking it around city traffic where every minute, one must make direction changes was very easy. The same can be said,when you throw it into corners.

Braking is sharp and precise. One, gets twin 320mm four-piston Brembo M4.32 callipers that offer good stopping power. The Bosch ABS works well and inspires confidence even in the inexperienced rider.

The Monster 797 is an easy, fast, nimble motorcycle. The type you can ride everywhere in the city daily. The perfect motorcycle for someone looking for their first big bike. For the veteran experienced rider too, the Monster has lots to offer in terms of overall performance.last.jpgAt Rs 9.15 lakh (on-road Mumbai), the Monster 797 is your initiation into the world of Ducati. A world where motorcycling is treated as an art form and performance is king.

THE RETRO EYE-CANDY! SOFTAIL DELUXE

Last week I spent a few days with the Harley Davidson Softail Deluxe. A motorcycle that combines style, luxury and old-world charm. The first sight of the Softail Deluxe is spectacular!

IMG_4808

Back In 2017, Harley-Davidson decided to merge the Dyna and Softail lines of motorcycles into one Softail family. A bold move, something the purists didn’t take too kindly then.

Then they decided to take the new Softails into a new design direction with some of the iconic models. This was again very gutsy, considering Harley as a brand is hugely driven by the “heritage” tag their motorcycles carry. While the new Fat Bob and Fat Boy designs were contemporary and funky, the Deluxe remained true to the original and classical design brief. Thus, keeping the traditional Harley customer base happy.

The Deluxe is a classic retro-themed motorcycle all the way. Lots and lots of chrome is on offer, 16-inch wire-spoke wheels with white-walled Harley-Davidson-branded tyres by Dunlop.

COLLAGE 1.jpg

The Softail Deluxe is an attention magnet if there ever was any! Starting with the large LED headlamp which is flanked by the two smaller auxiliary LED lights. Then comes the attractive angular indicator holders at the front and rear, the chrome garnish on the edges of both fenders. Which is offset by the eye catching Electric Blue paint scheme.

Swing your leg over the bike, and the view that greets you is one filled with chrome through and through from the dual fuel caps, the easy going pull back handlebar, the shiny instrument cluster housing and the top circumference of the three lamps. The Deluxe comes with a low single seat, but as is the case with almost all Harley models, an optional pillion seat can be added.

The build quality and finish on the Deluxe is of the highest standard. The chrome-treated engine fits tightly within the frame with minimal gaps, the wiring is concealed well, and the engine’s oil-cooler is housed at the front of the frame. The motorcycle comes with a keyless start/stop system. The only time you need a key is to lock the handlebar.

There is an alarm system that goes off if someone sits on the bike. The only way to deactivate the alarm is take the key close to the motorcycle to turn it off. There is unfortunately no button on the key to turn it off. This can be annoying at times as in the building complex’s we live in, there is always some fool who likes to sit on the bike to click selfies!

COLLAGE 2.jpg

What’s the engine like?

The Softail Deluxe comes with a 1,745cc twin-cam engine that has impressed everyone. The Twin counter-balancers have ironed out excessive vibrations making the ride very smooth. The throttle response is very good with massive amount of torque on offer. Open the throttle and you will zip by faster than can be imagined. But this is not the kind of bike you want to ride in a rush or flat out. This is a motorcycle to lazily cruise down the highway, accessing torque whenever you need to.

The Softail frame neatly hides a mono-shock which allows the engine to be rigid-mounted. The higher levels of stiffness results in a considerable improvement in the handling department. One of the other reasons in the way the Softail rides so well on our roads is, courtesy the new Showa suspension on the front and rear.

For a bike that weighs 318kg, the Deluxe wears its bulk very lightly.  A low centre of gravity matched with stability, meant I was weaving through heavy traffic very easily.  I was riding and flicking the Softail like most other motorcycles which was fantastic considering its size. Truth be told, this makes for a fantastic commuter, something I don’t mind riding daily. Hats off to the Softail designers for making this possible!

COLLAGE 3.jpg

On the open road at higher speeds, stability is constant with an excellent suspension. This suspension system is extremely refined soaking in bumps and inconsistencies. I rode the Softail on all sorts of roads in the city and highway. At no junction did I have to worry about road conditions, of how the bike would handle that! The Softail has 115mm of ground clearance which means one must be cautious and slow over speed breakers.

The bike’s braking is top draw with the ABS system working smoothly. In situations involving quick braking and sudden stops, the Softail performs with flying colours.

For the prospective Harley buyer who’s in the market for old school candy with just the right amount of modern technology, the Softail Deluxe is the motorcycle for you.

COLLAGE 4

Priced at Rs 18.65 lakh (ex-showroom, India) it’s expensive, but also one of the most desirable bikes out there.

And you can ride it every day too…