Swift and Fabia separated at birth (I mean design) ?

Were the Swift and Fabia – separated at birth or whatever back of envelope drawing that first conceived their deisgn ? I have always felt there are way too many similarities in the design of the Swift and the Fabia. Have not had a chance to drive the Fabia but got a chance to park next to one and sneak a few photos off my mobile :-).

Swift and FabiaSwift & Fabia
(Please click on the thumbnails for larger versions)
Design Similarities:
  • Overall silhouette with tapering roof
  • Glass house area tapering towards C-pillar
  • Blacked out A pillar
  • Bonnet line joining base of A pillar
  • Other than the front grilles the bonnet outline is very similar
Design Differences:
  • The Fabia is narrower by a little bit but longer than the Swift resulting in a longer rear door that doesnt taper as much.
  • The Swift is a bit taller and wider while the Fabia seems lower and flatter.
  • The Swift has better curves 😉
  • Headlamps, Grille, fog lamps are the key differences up front.
  • The rear is different enough – the Swift shows its width with a portly rear.

Related External Link: Also A bit dated comparison  between the Getz, Swift and Fabia by BS Motoring.com.

Question: Are there other cars on the road that you think have such visual similarities ? Do let me know. I will do a series of such posts.

“New” Launches August-September 2009

I have been really bothered by the “new” launches that have been all over the news for the past month. Are these really “new” vehicles – maybe its just me – but I think when the words “all” and “new” are used together in the same sentence to define a vehicle launch I expect the vehicle to look very different from the previous one and to also feature a whole lot of changes to everything in it from engines to interiors to exterior shape and design.  A lot of manufacturers very shamelessly call changes to headlamps, tail lamps, introduction of new color schemes for the interior as a “new” vehicle. Most of these can be done by aftermarket accessories shops – we didn’t need the manufacturers for it.

Since I have been out of action for a while I am taking the liberty to consolidate my thoughts on the most recent launches of the past month or so here.

Toyota Fortuner (Aug 24, 2009)
FortunerThis is really a new launch for India. Wheelosphere.org has details about the launch here. It took a long time to get to India. The only downer is that the interiors are too similar to the Innova. Quality is good and the vehicle is capable and comfortable – but Toyota did not plan for the demand and has closed bookings for the next 7 months – or is it just a ploy to get dealers/brokers to make some quick money through “premiums” being charged to get this popular vehicle soon. (Has Toyota been keeping a ear open to how Maruti and its dealers handle the Swift/Dzire Diesel’s popularity). (Toyota in the recent past called the refresh of the Innova the launch of an “All New” Innova – with just head& tail lamp changes, a new grille & climate control).

Maruti Suzuki Estilo (Aug 25th, 2009)
estiloNew engine and significantly face-lifted exteriors – very close to being a new car. The wheel arches look a bit funny IMHO – well actually the whole front has been a sore point even from the previous iteration. The headlamps look better than the original ones and the bonnet and grille have been re-worked to be more rounded than the older version and more like a tall hatchback than the previous version. The interior has some minor changes. The heart of the car has changed – this is a significant change in my book and will classify this as a new vehicle. Most significant change was the fact that the “Zen” name has been laid to rest instead of being slaughtered on this ugly duckling – which has tried to change its looks slightly for the better I should say.

Hyundai Santro (Sept 1, 2009):
santroFacelift only. This cannotbe called a new car. Beige interiors, grille & wheel cap changes do not make it a new Santro. This should have been decently called a refreshed Santro which is the only way Hyundai can try to move out existing stock till the actual new Santro is brought out.  www.motorbeam.comhad a poll on this and as of this time 57% of respondents say no. 27% say “Who cares” while a surprising 14% has said it is a new car. People who answered “Yes” – folks you really are being conned by Hyundai and you do not know it. Motorbeam has a detailed post on what is “new” here . I am finding it difficult to figure out the “new” grille – which looks exactly like the old/older/oldest Xing ones – is this a case of only the intelligent seeing the new grille ? In that case I must be the stupidest person around !

Honda Civic (Sept 8, 2009)
Facelift only. Minor changes to the tail lamps, smoking of head lamp, changing the bumpers and alloys doesn’t fool me :-). They also have no creativity – they introduce a new trim always called a “V” trim and the main feature is guess what – Fog Lamps and a USB capable music system ? Cruise control is added new – a feature I feel should have been there from day one – for the price charged.

Ford Endeavour (Sept 9, 2009)
FordEndeavourThis one is a bit difficult and I will call this a significant faceliftand not really a new vehicle. The front has undergone fairly significant changes all the way till the “A” pillar. But aft of that there is not much of a change my untrained eyes can detect. The engines on offer are still the same but the 4×4 now comes in Auto-trans only. The Sat-nav system is a cool feature to have. Toyota for sure will be bringing this one and an automatic in soon on the Fortuner to keep up. Our Indian customers are crazy and just run out and throw money at anything branded Toyota and Honda – so Ford has to give away extra to get and keep customers.

Soon to be inflicted on us:
Honda City (Sept 15, 2009)
Again a facelift only since this vehicle has been around for just around a year or even less. The “V” series makes its presence felt but details are scarce at this point other than new alloys (wow – Honda finally relented and are giving poor Indians alloys and fog lamps ! Thank you Honda – we are so touched !) BS Motoring has a writeup here .

Nissan Teana & X-Trail (Sept 16, 2009)
Significant facelifts of these low selling vehicles are to happen says Motorbeam.com.  These do not excite me since they are really niche vehicles which are neither VFM, neither sporty and no where worthy of their prices and they need to be built in in India rather than be imported for their sales to pick up. I am more interested in the vehicles Renault-Nissan has in the works that are focussed at the mass market rather than these :-).

What are your thoughts on the “all new” vehicles being brought out these days ? Please do make your voice heard.

10 Sure Ways to Cause Road Rage in India

Picture of angry man with cigarette and mustache.
Image via Wikipedia
This list of pet peeves are for me  – when encountered are sure to make me loose my cool on the road:
  1. Incessant honking – a butterfly flaps his wings – a honk, the signal is red – honk, traffic is moving honk – for everything !
  2. Flashing headlamps – demanding everyone move aside finally when given space/there is space overtakes and then pulls to a halt at the side! If you want to pull to the side you do not have to race several vehicles to do so. An indicator is all that is required.
  3. Repeated attempts to overtake when there is no place to do so safely(single lane roads).
  4. Changing lanes/weaving in and out of traffic.
  5. Vehicles that do not seem to know the concept of lanes and usually drive using 2 lanes.
  6. Vehicles needing to turn, taking up several lanes and chocking entire flow of traffic in all directions. Also bikers/other vehicles who need to go straight who will cut in front of those turning at a corner risking an accident to do so.
  7. Vehicles that follow without leaving a safe distance. They cannot possibly stop in time if vehicles in front have to stop suddenly. They will hit the vehicle in front then angrily accuse them of having ‘stopped suddenly’ !
  8. People driving (some times expensive sometime cheapo) vehicles that they didn’t put in their own blood sweat and tears to buy. Usually gifted/loaned/entrusted by their parents/employer who can afford it but cannot afford the time to teach them how to drive carefully and respecting other road users. TN07AQ1665 was an example for this a silver Skoda Octavia rashly driven by a chap with a cap could be a driver on GST near the Airport .
  9. People talking on mobiles without using a hands free. One idiot middle aged male in an Orange Indica who almost hit me didn’t have the grace to say sorry – I later saw he was both smoking and talking on his cell phone without a handsfree. If you know him TN07AT6004 please teach him some road sense and tell him Orange doesnt suit an Indica – it still sucks!
  10. People driving on the wrong side of the central road lines/driving in the wrong direction into traffic to ‘save’ a few minutes. Almost all bikers I have seen do this. I even saw a Tata Sumo cab yellow board cut through the divider plastic thingys and happily overtake on the new big flyover on Usman road near Panagal Park. Number plate unfortunately I forgot in my shock.

**Bikers who loosen stones of ‘piled stone’ dividers to beat traffic jams deserve special mention since they do this, speed away on the other side of the road leaving the bricks/rocks on the road for several other crashes to happen later at night**

All the above listed deserve the foulest and worst local curses known to man to be heaped on their heads. Hope they reach their final destination sooner and not annoy driving enthusiasts again 😉

Well this is the list guaranteed to boil and cook my goat. What are your top annoyances ?

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