REVIEW-TOYOTA YARIS DUAL TONE

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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REVIEW-THE NEW POLO GT TSI

2009 was when the 1st Volkswagen Polo came to our shores. Its 10 years now since then, but the loyalty and love the VW Polo shares amongst buyers and enthusiasts remains unchanged. That’s why it’s no surprise that the VW Polo has the distinction of being ranked no 1. for three years in a row according to the J.D. Power 2018 India Initial Study.Snapseed_2Down the years I have been fortunate to drive various models of the Polo during reviews. Every single time I have come back impressed. Last week I spent a few days with the 2019 Volkswagen POLO GT TSI the top variant in the Polo lineup.IMG_2649The 2019 model comes with quite a few exterior changes while retaining the timeless quality and appeal its known for. The new Polo comes in a brand new colour “Sunset Red” which gives the car a striking and sporty appearance. One gets new sporty side skirts, new smoked oil lamps, restyled tail lamps with LED elements, GTI inspired honeycomb front grille and bumpers, 16 inch alloys, rear bumpers with a faux diffuser-like black plastic.IMG_2647Step inside and you get a sporty looking flat-bottomed steering wheel that has controls on both sides of the wheel for audio, phone and multi-information display. The centre console has a silver finish on the exterior edges. The dual-tone interiors are very premium in finish. Chrome is prevalent even in the outlining around the air vents. The door mounted armrests have a fabric finish, seats are very comfortable and offer excellent under thigh support. Shoulder and headroom on offer is very good too. The legroom in the back seats is ideal for someone of average height. The Polo is a comfortable car for 4 passengers for long trips. The 5th person may find it a little discomforting courtesy the high tunnel height in the rear.IMG_2648The Polo I reviewed was the GT TSI that comes with a 1.2 litre engine that puts out 105PS horsepower and 175Nm of Torque. The transmission doing duty on this model is the legendary 7-speed DSG.

Start the engine, give it a rev, immediately you can sense the power under the hood. Put it into gear, step on the pedal and you get to experience the insane power the GT TSI offers. There’s zero lag going through the gears and before you know it, the car zooms away. The basic architecture of the engine is the same from the previous model, with a variable geometry turbocharger which force feeds air into the combustion chamber. The cabin is well insulated from engine sound, even while accelerating courtesy good NVH levels. The gear ratio is spread out specifically to help with the fuel efficiency figures the Polo returns.Snapseed 7Driving the Polo is something I have always come to enjoy. I enjoy driving hatchbacks that are complete in every sense of the word. In traffic the Polo is very easy to manoeuvre, overtaking is a breeze. Finding parking is effortless courtesy the size of the Polo. Safety in the Polo as with all Volkswagen cars is of the highest standards. ABS and front-dual airbags are standard across its range. An industry first in its segment.Snapseed 6Driving out of town on the weekend in the Polo was when I got to experience the full refinement and power of this 1.2 litre petrol engine. This is a car that remains planted even at high speeds.

The Polo handles all types of roads with ease, something that is a trademark of all VW cars. The suspension is soft enough to assure a comfortable ride quality over long distances. Braking is sharp, which is extremely confidence assuring when pushing the car hard into corners.Snapseed 4The Polo GT TSI is the ultimate hot hatchback for the enthusiasts.  The price for the Volkswagen Polo GT TSI is Rs 9.76 Lakhs ex-showroom Mumbai.Snapseed_1

REVIEW: THE NEW VOLKSWAGEN VENTO

The Diwali week started with a bang. I was reviewing one of my favourite sedans the new Vento which was launched in the beginning of September this year. The Vento is a car I have driven extensively. Whether it’s driving the stock or race versions, the Vento always brings a smile to my face.

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The new Vento comes with a host of changes to the exterior. It’s now available in a brand-new colour “Sunset Red”. The Vento is now more vibrant, younger and sportier courtesy the new side skirts, smoked oil lamps, GTI inspired honeycomb front grille and bumpers, cool looking black coloured roof and a rear bumper with diffuser.

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Step inside and the first thing you notice is the 2 toned beige and black interior colour scheme. The seats are all beige adding to the plush look of the new Vento. The flat-bottomed steering is both height and reach adjustable. The seats are very comfortable and offer good under thigh and lumbar support. The Vento comes with aluminium brake and accelerator pedals, glove box light, 16-inch Grey Portago alloy wheels, body colour rear spoiler and rear USB charging port. All variants of the new Vento now get a seat-belt reminder system, rear parking sensors and a speed alert system. Dual airbags and ABS have always been standard across the Vento range, that remains unchanged with this facelift. The boot space on offer in the new Vento is 494 litres.

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The cabin is spacious offering good leg, shoulder and head room in both rows. The suspension is setup perfectly for our road conditions. Post the monsoon roads in India are usually at their worst. It didn’t matter to the Vento. It handled bad roads, potholes with ease without any of the passengers in the car complaining of discomfort.

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The new Vento comes with Volkswagen Connect as a standard on the Highline trim and higher variants. Volkswagen Connect is a dongle-based connectivity suite which offers you features such as trip tracking, driver behaviour and statistic tracking, fuel cost monitoring, location sharing amongst other features. This system also helps to schedule service appointments with authorised Volkswagen India showrooms in India.

The engine in the new Vento 1.5 TDI DSG that I drove was the same as the older model. Go past 1500 rpm and the car springs to life. The acceleration is brisk, overtaking is done without too much effort, the car stays planted at all times and is extremely secure at any speed. The handling, braking, driving dynamics on the new Vento are very impressive. It offers solidity which one has come to expect in all Volkswagen cars.

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The Vento churns out 108Hp at 4000rpm and 250Nm@1500-30000 RPM of power. The ARAI claimed mileage is 21.5 kmpl. The mileage figures I got on this trip with the new Vento were excellent.

The real pleasure of driving Volkswagen cars comes courtesy their legendary “DSG” gearbox… This is something I mention every time I drive cars from the Volkswagen group. This is by far the best gearbox in the business. Upshifts and downshifts are swift and smooth, there’s no lag at all. This makes driving the Vento in any kind of traffic conditions a relaxing affair.

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Prices for the new Vento start at Rs 8.76 Lakhs ex showroom Mumbai for the Trendline (base model) 1.6 Petrol and Rs 9.59 lakhs  for the Trendline(base model) 1.5 Diesel.

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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 NEW MARUTI XL6

Driving forth the NEXA values of global experience, innovation and excitement, Maruti Suzuki India Limited today launched its all new premium MPV, the XL6. Available at over 360 NEXA dealerships across the country, the exclusive 6-seater, XL6, is a blend of stylish exteriors coupled with plush interiors.

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Presenting the XL6 to customers, Mr. Kenichi Ayukawa, Managing Director and CEO, Maruti Suzuki India, said, “There is a considerable increase in demand for premium MPVs owing to the ever-evolving customer needs. At Maruti Suzuki, we always bring out products that match and compliment customer’s demand. Backed by NEXA’s focus on creation and innovation, the XL6 is a testament of our commitment to bring the newest technologies to our customers. The XL6 strikes a perfect balance of style, space, comfort, performance and safety. We are confident that our exclusive 6-seater, the XL6 will strike a chord with today’s customer who seeks Comfort and Style.”

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XL6 Exterior – BOLD, ICONIC, SPORTY AND ASPIRATIONAL

The bold exterior design of the XL6 reflects aspirations of urban individuals who need space without compromising on style.Its raised hood and unique grille with bold cross-bar design element sweeping into the head-lamps ending with the inset LED DRLs add to XL6’s imposing, rugged and tough stance.The Stylish all black Alloy wheels, Roof rails and side claddings along with expressive side profile add to vehicle’s personality. Signature Quad LED headlamps and tail lamps with LED light guide are designed to captivate anyone with their detailing.

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INSIDE THE ALL NEW XL6 – BUSINESS CLASS, TECH-SAVVY AND SOPHISTICATED

The exceptional driving experience of XL6 is enhanced by the sophisticated and plush interiors.The all black interiors, with Premium stone finish and rich silver accents sweeping across the cabin impart a sophisticated touch.  The slim wide Instrument panel emphasizes the width of the car, adding to the overall feel of space and carrying forward the exterior

The XL6 prices are as follows:

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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.

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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 :

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BMW 320d Sport – INR 41,40,000

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

BMW 330i M Sport –   INR 47,90,000

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.