Russia gets a special edition Polo sedan AllStar (popularly known as Vento in India) priced at 599,500 rubles (Approx Rs 6.3 lakh). In terms of upgrades, the vehicle gets fresh cosmetic and feature upgrades, while mechanically it continues to be powered by existing engine options. The special edition model is offered in a special copper orange metallic shade.
Speaking of features, the Volkswagen Vento AllStar edition gets chrome embellishments door sill guards and a stylish ‘AllStar’ badge on the B-pillar. Inside, the sedan comes with leather wrapped steering wheel with integrated controls, exclusive seat covers, fabric floor mats, 2-DIN music system with 4 speakers, fabric floor mats, central armrest and metal pedals. Additionally the vehicle also gets electrical ORVMs with heating function and an optional anti-theft system.
Under the hood, the special edition Vento AllStar is powered by the existing 1.6-litre petrol engine in two tunes – 84bhp mated to a five-speed manual transmission, while the 103bhp variant comes mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Recently, a test mule of the Polo AllStar edition was spotted in India, thereby hinting at its possible launch sometime soon.
More details of the India-spec 2016 Hyundai Elantra have been uncovered now that the car is merely days away from the official launch. Hyundai India, as we know, is preparing to launch the all-new generation of the Elantra and has even started teasing it through TV commercials.
Like the previous model, the 2016 Elantra will be available with one diesel and one petrol engine option. Besides a 6-speed manual gearbox, there’s also an automatic gearbox that will be on offer for this D-segment offering.
Getting into the details, the diesel car will be powered by a 1.6-litre four-cylinder unit with 126bhp of power and around 265Nm of torque. Meanwhile, the petrol car will get an all-new 2-litre four-cylinder motor with around 150bhp of power and 190Nm of torque.
In terms of looks and appearance, Hyundai has adopted a new design language instead of the brand’s traditional Fluidic design theme. The 2016 Elantra comes with a whole new look for the large hexagonal grille, sweptback LED headlights, diamond-cut alloy wheels, wing mirrors and slimmer taillights.
The 2016 Hyundai Elantra will compete in the D-segment wherein it will rival cars like the Skoda Octavia, Toyota Corolla Altis and the Chevrolet Cruze.
It’s almost the end of August, and there is no sign of an official invite from Apple yet. This means that the rumour mills still have some job to do, before Apple puts all the curious minds to rest. The latest flurry of leaks however pretty much cements the arrival of the dual camera setup on the large variant of the iPhone 7 – expected to be called the iPhone 7 Plus.
Jimmy Lin from Taiwan is known for posting photos of him using the iPhone before its release. He has been doing so since 2012, and this year is no different. Lin has posted a photo of himself appearing to use the larger iPhone 7 variant, as the dual camera setup is clearly seen at the back. However everything else remains hidden behind his palm, and we aren’t sure if the Smart Connector pins will make their way to the device . As for the variants, there is conflict that Apple may launch a new iPhone 7 Pro that will introduce all the new hardware, while the iPhone 7 Plus variant will just sport a large form factor. However, several other reports refute this claim and stress that Apple will stick to tradition and launch two variants, with the larger one sporting the new hardware including the dual camera and Smart Connector. Another rumour had indicated Apple may call its next iPhone the iPhone 6SE, due to the minimal changes compared to the previous generation. We’ll have to wait and see just what Apple has in store for us.
PhoneArena has also leaked cases and bumpers of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus revealing key details. The photos tell the same story that has been told in the past, and shows off the dual camera setup at the back. The cases don’t hold any openings at the back, hinting that the Smart Connector won’t be added this time.
Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 7 on September 7, with minimal design changes and introduction of several new hardware upgrades. The camera will see an upgrade, with the 4.7-inch iPhone 7 getting optical image stabilisation, and the iPhone 7 Plus getting an all-new dual camera setup. 3GB of RAM is expected in the larger variant to accommodate all the new hardware. A new Space Black colour variant is also expected to be introduced, and the iPhone 7 will be void of the 3.5mm audio jack.
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Lamborghini has taken the wraps off its latest and craziest creation- an open top version of the Aventador-based Centenario supercar. Built to honour founder Ferruccio Lamborghini, the car will be produced in a limited run of 20 units and has been priced at Rs 15.4 crore (2.3 million USD).
It retains the same extreme design as its coupe sibling but minus the roof. Noticeable elements include the aggressive rear section, massive air ducts beside the door and what appear to be unique 20 inch wheels. This concept is also a preview of the design philosophy that we can expect on future Lamborghini models. Powering this futuristic beast is a 6.5-litre mid-rear mounted V12 producing 759bhp and close to 1000Nm of torque. You will only get it as an AT and with all-wheel drive as standard.
When the Raging Bull announced the Centenario range, it said that it would be building 20 coupes and 20 roadsters. If our guess is as good as yours then we can safely say that every single unit of the 40 cars has already been sold and probably a few delivered too
Everybody has been hearing a lot on airbags of late, and some have even questioned whether the ones in older cars would indeed work if involved in a crash. Let’s highlight what’s apparent and put two and two together.
While the endurance of airbag systems are being questioned, we need to understand that it is only due to the use of chemical inflators. These applications make use of an unstable ammonium nitrate to produce hot gases on impact so that the airbag inflates. However, the concern lies in the stability of ammonium nitrate as it deteriorates over time, and the degeneration is accelerated by extreme hot and humid weather too. Reports claim that airbags with ammonium nitrate made by the Takata brand between the years 2001 and 2003 have a 50 per cent failure rate!
Although we could use other inflators like compressed gas and mild explosive materials, they come with their own set of quirks. While gas canisters have a tendency to lose pressure with time, explosives go through some wear and experience a chemical break down over time. Airbag manufacturers have begun to take measures of late to increase the longevity of an airbag inflator, but the problem now lies in the older cars.
There’s some confusion on how concerns can be detected on older cars (over a decade old), as there are currently no tests available. Recently, recalls have also been made due to airbags that could overinflate and send shrapnel into the car. Scott Upham, consultant, Valient Market Research, said, “You’re using a chemical inflator that probably should be changed at least at the seven year mark. Automakers really don’t want to admit that, but I think that’s going to be the result of this Takata debacle.”
Eventually, as time flies, reliable tests or sensors should be able to detect concerns with airbags. But until then, one would rather drive safely, than deal with the inevitable.
The 2016 season of the Volkswagen Vento Cup is turning out to be interesting with Karminder Pal Singh winning another race ahead of championship favourite Ishaan Dodhiwala. On a freshly laid MMSC track, the drivers pushed the race-prepped Vento cars to their limits.
Earlier in the day, Ishaan proved to be the fastest guy around with a pole-setting lap of 1:55:821 showing why he is the championship favourite. It was a closely fought pole position with the top four starters within three tenths of a second.
Karminder Singh Pal, starting second on the grid, pulled out one of the best starts to take the lead from Ishaan at the first corner itself. From there, Karminder drove a clean race in the front, not giving a single chance to Ishaan to fight back. Keith who had started third, suffered a bad launch and plunged to sixth and then fought back to fourth with Aditya Pawar too far ahead to catch up. Junior Cup driver Jeet Jabakh finished a respectable fifth.
Race 2 on Sunday will see a reversed grid with last year’s junior champ Pradeep Rao starting from pole and Jeet Jabakh from fourth.
Tata Motors has recently introduced a Sportz edition of the Zest with extra benefits. The special edition has been launched to celebrate the 50,000 units sales milestone and the compact sedan’s second Anniversary in the Indian market.
The new Sportz edition is basically an add-on package that can be availed from a dealer. It includes a body kit available for all variants. There is also a funky side decal, contrast coloured wing mirror housings and rain visors. One should note that the alloy wheels are only offered on the top-of-the-line variant now. However, they can be availed as a dealer-level accessory at an extra cost for any other trim as well.
There are no changes mechanically and the engine options continue to remain the same. The Zest comes powered by a 1.2-litre Revotron turbocharged petrol mill and a 1.3-litre Quadrajet diesel motor. The former produces 90bhp of power and 140Nm of torque, while the latter is available in two states of tune (75bhp,190Nm and 90bhp, 200Nm). On the transmission front, a five-speed manual gearbox is standard across the line-up, but the 90PS oil-burner also gets a five-speed AMT gearbox.
There are also some other benefits of up to Rs 68,000 offered as a part of the celebratory package. This includes a special scheme with an EMI of Rs 3,999, a free insurance worth Rs 30,000 and an exchange bonus of up to Rs 30,000.
Deals like these should help garner some sales for the carmaker that have slowly started to dip. For prospective buyers, the various offers should make the Zest a very attractive value proposition.
Suppose you have to traverse an unknown and treacherous path and you have five off-roaders to choose from. You know you should be thinking with your head and not with your heart. What would you opt for? The best of the lot isn’t it? My heart still made me grab the keys of the Renault Duster! The car was dismissed as the weak link of the lot, so I challenged myself to take account of its limitations and extract the most of its capabilities. So what eventually? Did I get stuck in the woods? Or did I have a great excursion? Let me take you through what all happened.
First up was the broken road and lot of gravel to reach our first gathering point. Small stones were brushed off easily. Pretty easy task. Then came the rocky patches, which were again fine. I switched from 2WD to auto. I knew I didn’t have the option of engaging the gearbox into low-range, but had the electronically controlled AWD system that had its electronics doing their job in a better way.
But my happiness was shortlived as the first problem came up quite quick with big boulders on the way. Though the Duster has a good ground clearance of 210mm, I felt there was not good enough space between the running body and the terrain to tackle the obstacles. I had the constant fear of damaging the underside of the car while climbing over some big stones and rocks. So rock crawling wasn’t for us, especially when I had no clue about the vulnerable components under the vehicle. I chose a simpler route around that section. Furthermore, I was not at all interested in showing off the flex or axle articulation knowing there were better vehicles to do that there.
Moving ahead to the next challenge. We had to get down a deep rutted steep descent. To add to the difficulty, rains had made the slope slippery. Then the thought of not having descent control and running on road tyres also gave me the jitters. Anyway, I gathered up the courage to drive down. The vehicle slipped at times, but thankfully the stones helped hold ground. The road tyres gripped well to my surprise. Thanks to the Duster’s shortened gear ratios (utmost credits to the first gear), I didn’t feel the need to continuously brake while crawling down the slope successfully.
Then came the exciting part. In our next section I was splashing around dirt, wheels were spinning fast, but I was still going slowly. That was fine. As long as we were moving, we were good. It was fun throwing the car around the slick spots and green grass, while the ESP light flickered on the instrument cluster. Alas, with the loss in momentum we started to come to a stop. Eventually, the car got stuck! It didn’t budge. I had to get off the gas pedal. I didn’t want the car to dig in further.
The magic switch
I wasn’t deterred. I pulled down the window to check how bad it was, only to hear hundreds of advice and suggestions from colleagues. Pulling up the window to avoid the dirt coming in, I realised it also helped to cut off the voices. I calmly turned the knob to put the ‘4WD Lock’ mode on. This magic switch helps distribute the torque equally to all four wheels for better traction. A little rocking of the car by shifting from first to reverse, while turning the steering back and forth and voila! I was out of the mud pit.
Moving further we faced some small hillocks. The Duster has a hill start assist that prevented the car from rolling back on a slope for a few seconds. I took advantage of this and didn’t let the car roll back immediately. Thankfully the crests were not sharp. Then the Duster’s approach and departure angle were sufficient enough to ascend and descend those steep slopes without a hitch. Never did I slam or even brush the bumpers against the slope. The great low end torque helped maintain constant speeds while clearing any other obstacles. And all this without putting any pressure on the engine. A soft touch on the pedal was enough to get going.
The Duster is high off the ground, precisely 210mm as mentioned earlier. The good visibility and seating position had played a vital role in keeping the vehicle safe till this juncture. It had helped me travel the right lines without a spotter. I could successfully navigate through the tough course. But I still didn’t want to get carried away. After splashing water around vigorously, I was reminded that the air intake was not high enough. I didn’t want it to suck water into the Duster’s engine. That was the last thing I wanted to do. So I simply skipped the deep water wading patch.
Mud plugging satisfaction
So here it is. I feel the Duster AWD won’t make you feel invincible or unstoppable. You will have to think twice before flinging this vehicle anywhere. But to come to think of it, it is such a comfortable off-roader at an affordable price. Its suspension is so well tuned for mud plugging and well-calibrated to take some beating. True, the SUV doesn’t get the most sophisticated AWD systems around, but is quite robust and can tackle some rough patches and tough situations. The need for off-road tyres was felt, but the current ones are good enough for their dual purpose.
I also learnt that it is only the extreme off-road conditions where the going will get tough for the Duster. Otherwise it is a very capable vehicle. Its high ground clearance, robust AWD system, independent suspension and comparatively low weight make it a nimble off-roader. These traits help it to travel places and traverse terrain that any other soft-roader would only imagine of going. But then again, the Duster won’t go as many places. It is not meant to climb over big boulders, go through rivers and ascent ridiculously steep slopes – it is not designed to do that. So forget conquering forts, yet, the Duster AWD will surely show you places in and around these same forts successfully.
Pictures: Kapil Angane
Location courtesy: 19 Degree North
Renault has launched a new variant of its bestselling hatchback or what is perceived as – a super compact SUV. The top-spec RXT variant now gets a 1.0-litre petrol engine and is priced at Rs 3.83 lakh while the RXT option will cost you Rs 3.96 lakh ex-showroom, Delhi. The India-bred 1.0-litre Kwid will also be introduced in foreign markets in due course.
The 1.0-litre Kwid is another variant and hence has the same body shell. But what makes it stand apart is the 1.0-litre badge on the tailgate and the racy decals on the rub-strips on the sides. It gets fog lamps as standard and the dual-tone gloss grey wing mirrors that add a sporty zing to the Kwid. The 1.0-litre SCe three cylinder petrol mill churns out 67bhp of power and 91Nm of torque. Mated to a five-speed manual gearbox, the engine powers the front wheels of the Kwid.
Being the fully loaded RXT trim, it gets central locking with remote, chrome accents to the AC controls and air vents. It gets a seven inch touchscreen infotainment display with GPS navigation, Bluetooth telephony, audio streaming with speed sensing volume control. It also gets USB and AUX inputs. The spunky digital instrument cluster reads average fuel consumption, distance to empty along with a dynamic gear shift indicator. On the safety front, though we do not get ABS or EBD, you have a driver side airbag and pre-tensioning seatbelts.
Renault Kwid 1.0-litre will compete with the likes of the Maruti Alto K10, the Hyundai Eon 1.0-litre, the Maruti Wagon R, Datsun Go and the Tata Tiago in the sub-compact hatchback segment. Renault is planning to increase the number of outlets to 270 by the end of this year. Renault has also introduced ‘Workshops on Wheels’ in Kerala and these will soon be implemented across the country to improve the service reach of the company.