The Renault Kwid launches today. I had forgotten I had snapped the Kwid in the end of May 2015 at a toll both on the NH beyond Chengalpet. I wasnt too impressed but the jazzy pre-release press photos make it seem like it is much larger. Felt it was really between the size of an Eon/I10. Anways wishing Renault India all the best with the latest launch as the fortunes of their India operation now lie mostly on the small shoulders of this Kwid!
My last post To S(h)un-film or not to S(h)un-Film? lead me to think a lot about the ban and around the ban from what all could be going on behind the scene. Here is an attempt to detail this out further using some Google Skills, Excel skills and some free time! I hope I don’t start seeing conspiracies in everything. I found it interesting that so much data is available for India online and free ! Here is the PDF file I created:
The Chennai Traffic Police were doing some stop , check , fine and rip operations in couple of parts of the city. However this seems to have lost steam as the week progressed. I am still driving with the sun film on and Rs 100 fine ready to be paid in hand. If caught I will pay the fine and remove the film only post that. Have also resolved to not fix it back later as well !
Do let me know if you have questions and also please do share this with your friends. Do feel free to re-post/share !
The Indian Supreme Court probably wanted to take a break from looking at more weighty matters and chose to focus on a frivolous PIL submitted by someone who claims to represent the “Mango” People (Aam Aadmi). Supposedly sun film is the cause for all the law and order issues in the country and that it should be banned altogether – there is no legal % of visual light transmission that can be used. Only factory fitted tinted and laminated glass that conforms to the CMVR rules can be used.
Legality apart -the sun film manufacture/sales industry supposedly provides around 150 crore to the Indian economy. These people will be badly hit if all sun film is made illegal to use. There is a fee for getting the sun film removed – this is not something that is usually done – but now the installers themselves are getting a chance to make money by “assisting” the removal for a fee of anywhere between 300 -500 Rs ! They hope to milk this for at least a month and then raise petitions to remove the ban. The ban will get removed within no time. Then again people will flock to get the film added back. With all the FUD going on people will gladly shell out more money to get costlier “clear” film that reduces heat transmission. The sun film companies make money either way.
Doing a net search shows sun film bans have been talked about since 2007 in parts of India – but this has not been consistently enforced. I remember having a dilemma when buying my Swift(photo in this post) in 2007 about putting sun film but since there was nothing clearly specified or enforced I went in with tints with 50% VLT which were legal at the time. However now 5 years later the same tints are now illegal. Our 7 year old Getz has films with around 70% VLT as well.
My Next Steps:
- I personally will wait and watch what will play out. All speculation online points towards the drives to strip out sun-film to be strong for the next month or so at most if not less
- Plan on keeping Rs 100-1000 as the fine for getting caught and pay it and get a receipt for the fine as well. Why the range – because the cops do not have a clear fine specified – it seems to vary !
- If forced to remove the sun film by the cops I will do so – but feel I will also park at the side and then make sure they catch and remove sun film from all vehicles that go by including cops, ministers, actors etc.
- I will not put back the sun film on my cars after that – hate to spend more money on a commodity which can be legal one day and magically be made illegal the next. Also hate the feeling of being taken for a ride by the cops and the legal system which is not consistent nor effective in its mandates.
Points to Ponder:
- Different states seem to be interpreting the rule differently – some targeting only the darker tints while some are targeting even the lightest and even the clear films – if you are planning drives across states – make sure you drive without sun film to be in the clear.
- Are the cops so good at catching anti-social elements/terrorists by visually identifying them from a distance ? This is assuming they don’t already move around wearing some disguise in crowded buses and trains !
- As many online have commented – is there a way to measure the crime rate coming down drastically when vehicles do not have sun film ?
- Wont the kidnappers/rapists start using panel vans/load carrying trucks instead of just vehicles with dark tints?
- Just because of a rising trend in vehicle accidents – is the solution a ban of all vehicles altogether?
- Just like knives are used in murders – they should be banned altogether
- Terrorists use hotels, houses etc – so can they be banned as well ? Or as an alternative – ban all windows, doors and hey why stop there – ban all walls – we just need protection from the rain and just need the roof over our heads – walls should not be there – just to make sure all the moral police can happily peer into our bedrooms and bathrooms !
- Full face helmets with tints on them obscure the faces of the riders/also there may be some nefarious activities going on under the tinted face shields- can they be banned as well ?
What are your thoughts on this ban ? Do let me know and what will be your action – comply or get caught or what ?
Update – May 18th,2012:
Today’s news papers indicate that the Chennai City Traffic Police (CTP) has started their drive against sun films. They have posted a notice on their FB page as well. All are free to comment on this drive. I already have !
Do Show Your Support:
Do show your support against this ban by “Liking” this FB page calling for a Movement Against Supreme Court’s Decision to Totally Ban Suncontrol Films. There is also a petition here “The Supreme Court of India: Reconsider decision on a blanket ban on car films.”
International news on Zimbly Cars is a rare occurance but could not resist this one about speculation of the next Ford Mustang to incorporate styling cues of the Evos Concept from Inside Line.
Inside Line has come up with some renderings that mash together existing Mustang design and the Evos Concept. The overall looks interesting though. (Rendered images of the blue Mustang on this page are from Inside Line website).
Why am I bothered – well the Ford Mustang has held a special place in my mind always and has been a car I have wanted to own during my Detroit days. The reality of having to struggle with a RWD in snow was what stopped me.
My last 2 weeks in the US I had planned on renting a Mustang but as luck would have it the rental agency didnt have it in stock so had to drive around a stupid Monte Carlo instead :-(. Anyways I hope Ford will sell the Mustang in India someday and that I will be able to save up enough to buy one (before I am too old/unhealthy to drive) !
1 Car Nut + 1 Wild Dream + 1 Tata Nano + 25000Km of Road + 80 Days = Recipe for Epic Road Trip ? Definitely !
Kochi based auto enthusiast and long road trip geek (among a long list lot of other illustrious achievements) Mr Thomas Chacko cooked up this dream road trip while editing the trip details of Suresh Joseph who covered all Indian state capitals and all zonal railway headquarters in a Maruti Swift. Rather than do the same road trip he wanted to add some more excitement – by choosing to add in the farthest points of the country in all directions possible , making the distance to cover touch 25,000 Km and to do this in around 2.5 months. He managed to sweet talk Mr Ratan Tata(through a letter) to have Tata Motors sponsor a Tata Nano as well. Mr Chacko will be doing this trip without a convoy of on road assistance as well. He is planning on doing all the driving himself but will have company with him across the trip from his family – his wife, son, daughter, brother, sister and brother-in-law.The road trip has kicked off on May 3rd and is to conclude by July 20th,2012.
Just looking at the plans things seem easy – plain math says that 25000 Km in 80 days would come to 312 Km per day. Though the details of the specific daily routes/distances is not mentioned – it would mean driving a minimum of 6+ hours (assuming an average speed of around 55Kmph) each day. Of course this may vary depending on road conditions and traffic.
Using the Nano for such trips is not new – The Nano Superdrive event in 2010 covered 15,000 kilometers across 36 cities in around 26 days with multiple cars and drivers primarily with the intent to set at rest fears of the Nano’s reliability and safety. The Nano(s) came out of the experience unscathed.
However I wish there was a bit more to this road trip than the distance, endurance of man, machine and time factor – am sure its still not too late to use the publicity from this drive to benefit some charity or other. So far all that is clear is that the journey will be documented in a book called Mano Et Nano which obviously will be printed by Mr Chackos own publishing company. Will be a fun read am sure either way.
Do follow the updates from his blog www.manoetnano.com (I wish the site is updated frequently – it hasn’t been as of writing this post). Some funny comments to the initial post on the site ask if the Nano would crack first or the Chacko would ?
I salute Mr Thomas first for being a car nut and for being crazy enough to embark on such a trip. Am also happy to see his family come forward to participate and support him on the trip. It is truly an inspiration to see such road trips being planned and executed. Hope to do something like this before my bucket kicking.
It started as a one off thing but over time I have started noticing the embellishments that are done while preparing vehicles for photo shoots used for print ads and for the websites of the manufacturers selling vehicles in India. I know it’s the whole point of advertising to sell the product in their best possible light – but I feel these points should be known especially if you are in the market for a new vehicle.
- Visuals of the cars on manufacturer websites usually are of the highest trim variant which comes with body colored bumpers, door handles, exterior body colored mirrors, alloys and in some cases wider tires.(All Manufacturers)(Best Example – even the Maruti 800 on its website is shown with Alloys. The Nano however does show wheel covers in most photos with some even without the wheel covers with just wheel caps)
- Sometimes even the top end trim may not come with alloys – but still all photos will be with Alloys! ( Eg. Tata Grande)
- In a lot of cases the photos are shot with wider than stock tires and with a much lower aspect ratio.(Tata Nano/ Tata CS).
- Mudflaps are usually omitted. Especially the el-cheapo ones given for free by the dealers.(Most Marutis and Hyundais)
- Dark tints are there on all windows including the front window- usually so dark that they could never be street legal. (Every single manufacturer does this)
- Body Kits are usually added to boring models.(Toyota Etios Liva)
- Boring/ugly rear ends are usually not shown – except for the 360 degree views where they have no choice.(Swift D’Zire, Toyota Etios)
- Interiors are usually again shown of the top end trim level with steering mounted controls, tachometer, climate control(if present), music system and premium seating material. The lower trim levels without music system , speakers, parcel tray, floor mats, boot mats etc are never shown. (All Manufacturers)
- Vehicle colors indicated and the actual color of the vehicle may have next to nothing to do with each other. Only colors like white, black and silver may look similar in real life.
- Colors are usually bumped up in contrast/saturation to pop off the page.(All Manufacturers)
- Wheel are blurred to indicate it is in motion. (Maruti Swift usually looks like it is going to crash into something. Usually the rear wheels are not moving.)
- The Mahindra Thar in the photo used as the cover for this post – looks absolutely pasted in ! Also note the bull bar,headlight grill,fog lamp,insect grill, alloys ,tint and the lack of driver :-). Oh and by the way the front right tire is just a bit smaller than the left. The weird lighting under the vehicle is very suspicious as well.
- List the manufacturer websites where entry and mid trim variant photos are shown in the comments below.
LIV TMRRW 2DAY is the tag line Toyota is using for its entry level Hatch – pitched at the millennial generation looking for a high quality brand name car – easy to drive and maintain. Suddenly after a long time feeling the need to do a TD – I requested for a test drive through the Toyota website on a whim on a Thursday afternoon scheduling a time for the next day 5 PM. No call no email till Friday morning when a person called to confirm the test drive request and mentioned the sales person would call and confirm the time for the TD. This happened like clockwork within a few minutes. There was a change in plan from my side and requested the timing to be between 1:30 to 2 PM instead. This was agreed to. I gave my office address as the location for them.
At 1:28 PM I get a call from the sales person that he was outside our gate ! Wow – for the first time the TD vehicle has shown up at the time specified. The sales guy made sure the vehicle was turned around and made easy to drive out for me (from a service lane still under construction that had open manhole covers) . That was a nice touch.
Test drive car was in Ultramarine Blue and was of GD SP (Safety Pack) trim. The color reminded me a lot of my Getz Electric Blue :-). The test drive car came with a body kit that was an add on accessory – not part of the standard – but it definitely made the car look interesting and a bit sportier. The car without the under body skirts and spoiler looks very plain and unappealing.
There were stickers on the car to indicate it was a test drive /demo vehicle. Great – good to know am not driving a customer car. Digital odometer had around a bit over 9K Kms. Interior of the vehicle was spic and span and clean.
Steering wheel was nice and chunky and of the right size to hold with a thicker portion at 10 and 2. Steering wheel had height adjust but the seat did not. Seat felt a bit lower than needed but I was comfortable within a minute of sitting in it with just adjustment for leg room.
For my height (5’7″) there was decent leg space in the driver seat and my left leg didn’t foul with the dashboard like it did in the Figo. No dead pedal available.
1st gear slotted in nicely and surely and starting off was a piece of cake with the clutch being light and easy to operate even for a first time user of the car. No heavy diesel car clutch issues I was expecting.
Pickup from stop was decent enough – didn’t push it but when moved into second the vehicle seemed a bit slow to respond. Unfortunately the lack of the tachometer meant I had no assistance to tell if I was shifting too early etc.
Drive in 3rd and 4th were decent – again within city roads the ride was smooth and minor bumps etc were not noticed. Even on a badly paved road at slow speed the ride was comfortable. Only one sharp bump made the suspension make an awkward sound and the vehicle sprung up a bit.
The center mounted speedo is easy to read and I got used to it in no time.
Air-conditioning seemed adequate at fan speed #2 in the afternoon Chennai heat – but again the sales guys had the Ac running before the TD itself. Over #2 the noise was a bit much.
Doors felt a bit thin and didn’t have a solid feel on closing.
Rear hatch has to be opened via central locking and the hand grip of the opening was a bit awkward.
- GD trim comes with ABS. Need to go to GD SP for Airbags
- Comfortable front seats – adjustable headrest can be lived with
- Amazing space at the rear seat – 3 people in comfort with around 4 inches to spare of legroom till the front seat (set for my driving position).
- Flat rear floor makes middle passenger comfortable
- Fairly decent and usable bootspace of around 251L. When folded it goes to around 500L.
- Service interval of 10K after initial service at 1K. Also option of Smile service packages for lower costs.
- 3 years 1Lakh Km warranty
- ARAI claimed mileage of 23.59 (Not able to test mileage in the short drive I did)
- Noise from the engine sounded like a share auto. This was heard over the AC. I guess one will get used to it over time- but for the entire duration of the test drive – this bothered me. The Figo in comparison had a muted thrum and the Maruti diesels had a similar muted thrum that was not annoying.
- Horn sounded adequate but was only a single one.
Missing features (that would make this a truly great car):
- Split folding rear seat
- Seat height adjust
- Music system (strangely they have speakers installed for the GD SP trim but no music system)
- Fog lamps
- Climate control / switch for fresh air/recirculation – the slider is from 1980s !!!
Availability at this time is around 30-45 days. Price for top end GD SP Diesel trim on road Chennai is 7.14L.
You get a Toyota badge on your vehicle for the price. Ride and handling are decent enough. Feature list is a bit short and makes the Figo seem like a major value for money deal.
Also points to think about – do you really need a diesel – if not then can you spend a bit more for the Etios sedan (in petrol) ? The pricing for the top end Etios Sedan diesel on road I felt was a bit too much coming at around 9.46 on road.
PS: Images are from www.toyotabharat.com & toyotaetiosliva.in
I just noticed – almost every image of the Liva on the Toyota websites – are with the body kit and spoiler and with alloys (found only on the VX petrol trim) !!!! One has to pay extra for the body kit to be added to the diesels.
<- What it looks like without the body kit (see circled areas). Couldn’t find any other image without the body kit on the site :-).
<- Looks much more improved with body kit, spoiler and alloys(see circled areas). Fog lamps as well.(Click on image to view larger size)
My friend Venkat N. sent me this photo of the Renault Duster testing on GST road in Chennai . Its a blurry image from his cellphone camera but still clear enough to see the outline of the upcoming SUV from Renault which a lot of people are waiting for eagerly.
Thanks Venkat for the photo and please keep your eyes open for the Ford Ecosport !
I test drove a Ford Figo Diesel in Titanium trim after a long time of not having done any test drives. It was a fairly short one for around 2 kms over bad roads and for around 2 kms on good roads. The car had four guys (myself, a colleague of mine and two salesmen from Ford). I drove mostly on the bad roads and my colleague on the better roads. Done after lunch near office.
- Good leg room in the back and can seat 3 on the rear seats (its got a larger wheelbase than the Swift, Ritz, Indica,I10 , Beat) – in close contact
- Ride fairly good over bad roads and vehicle felt pretty stable
- Good sized rear view mirrors and rear and all around visibility
- Seat material seemed pretty rugged and could live up to some wear and tear – no choice on seat colors though.
- Adequate looking boot space (284 they claim)
- Afternoon sun with red dashboard didn’t cause any reflections on windshield
- The demo car brought for the TD had a “demo car” sticker at the back and had around 25K kms on the odometer. Didn’t notice any rattles during our TD – but also one of the two salesmen was on the phone for a good duration trying to get a good deal on life insurance J.
- AC was felt in the rear even at speed 2 on the blower – however we didn’t get to check how soon it chilled the interiors since the AC was on even before we got in the vehicle. More than 2 the noise of the blower begins to be loud.
- Only Titanium trim comes with ABS & Airbags (not available on lower trims as an option even)
- Defogger shows up from ZXI(mid trim) trim onward – this is a good point – Maruti provides this only on their Top end ZXI trims only.
- 2nd gear seemed to be a bit sluggish – I have only my recent 1.3 petrol Swift to compare with – and in comparison this felt slower to respond – however in 3rd things seemed a bit livelier. Noticed by my colleague as well.
- Turn indicators on the left hand side of steering wheel. Not a deal breaker but annoying as hell if you have/drive other brand vehicles as well. I kept switching on the wipers multiple times during my TD.
- Driver seat position was not comfortable for me with my left knee hitting the dashboard console. Colleague was ok.
- Adjusting the seats couple of times didn’t help get me any more comfortable than when I started.
- Door pockets useful only for papers/magazines etc.
- The plastic on the B-pillars outside had faded to a dull grey like old Maruti 800 bumpers. On pointing this to the sales guy he mentioned it needs polish periodically to look ok.
- The sound of the diesel engine is apparent when pushed in 2nd and 3rd. Got used to it by the end of the TD
- No power windows for rear doors, climate control, fog lamps, steering controls , alloy wheels even on Titanium (highest) trim
- Single folding rear seats (isn’t it time split folding rear seats become the norm ?)
- Rear Wash and wipe only on Titanium
- Boot release button on the dashboard – I kept searching on the floor near the driver’s seat and found only petrol tank release.
- Gear lever seems a bit too long (would have felt better if it was shorter maybe by an inch or so)
- Seat belts are in a fixed position on the B-pillars. If you are not comfortable with the seat-belts – you may find the driving position with seat-belts irritating.
- Odd colored dashboard option 🙂
- Even odder combination when paired with the wild green colored exterior (The color is called “Squeeze”)
- Forgot to check the glove box space and for the bonnet release which I didn’t see near the driver’s seat – turns out its on the passenger side.
Cool and interesting features of the Figo (Didn’t get to test these):
- Rapid Deceleration Warning
- Distance to Empty Meter
- 6 Speed Smart Wipers
- Lane Change Indication
- Bluetooth Phone Connectivity
I didn’t get to take it on one of our “highways” – but I guess OMR can be called a highway of sorts. Ford did a price reduction recently in 2012 and this is after a price increase with some additional features in 2011.
Would I buy this car ? Yes – only if I couldn’t afford to wait for something with more bells and whistles for the price and with a more responsive engine. If you are in a hurry and want a diesel engine hatchback with a minimal waiting period – this vehicle does most things well and can be a worthy choice among other options available. Also check the options from this list: http://cars.zimbly.com/2009/07/diesel-hatchbacks-comparison-chart-updated-with-hyundai-i20-crdi/
Only other point to remember is this car has not had any exterior updates since the time of launch – now over 2 years without it means it could happen anytime within the next 6 months to a year. Changes may not be very major but still …worth a thought.
The Hyundai Verna is one good looking car and its design is a wonderful evolution of the older, now retired Verna. This is a short post with feedback from my friend Jegedeesh about his Verna (based on some specific questions I asked him relating to his ownership experience).
Here are some photos of Jegedeesh, his son and his car 🙂
Now for the Q&A:
How is the ownership/driving/service experience so far and how long have you had it (how many km covered)?
I have done 6800 kms so far and the driving experience is top class … the driving, gears are really smooth and especially the drive in the city is really smooth, butter smooth infact.
Hyundai has plentiful service outlets and i must admit that i did like my Kun Hyundai showrooms better .. they are more helpful and do a better job, but there is no complaint with the Gurgaon one .. they were professional.
You might want to understand here that i have my car on a Company Lease, so i do not spend any money on maintenance, but i did see the bill and it was just for replacing the Engine Oil + Filter (1500 INR).
What is the mileage it gives you so far (and any services & costs so far – is it on par with your expectation at time of purchase?)
I get a mileage of 15/litre (mine is a 1.6 L Diesel) in city, i do not thrash the car, run it steadily between 70-90 kms and the best mileage i have got is 18.5 on a highway (not really the best motorway, but sufficiently long roads, between Gurgaon & Amristar), running @ 100+ kms. The mileage is purely dependent on individual driving style, but you can safely say that i am quite satisfied with my car’s mileage.
Any good points/features that stand out?
The car is loaded with wonderful features – Reverse Camera + Auto-adjusting rear mirror (goes dull on Headlight hitting the mirror) + Steering Tilt + Bluetooth integration with Mobile (Speaker + Mic integrated), integrated call + management of music. Space (inside the car + storage), brilliant interiors.
Any irritants or negatives that stand out?
Steering can be a bit wafty @ high speeds (especially if you are used to Hydraulic ones), car does get hit in humps or pot hole roads – at low speeds. I would have loved also better tires than the stock ones. The stereo is also a bit flat, the speakers are not great and the car doesn’t play DVD.
What are the accessories you added on and what do you feel are must haves for someone buying this vehicle?
I have added no accessories, just kept the car as it is 🙂
Would you recommend this car to anyone and why ?
I have been driving a Hyundai for 7 years now (a Santro Xing previously and now this one) and they produce very nice cars and this car has a great engine, brilliant mileage and also good space. The car has the look & feel of a premium car with all features etc. I think it is a reliable car with good resell value.
Thanks a lot Jegedeesh for your valuable inputs – am sure it will help others looking at this beautiful machine as an option to own.