6 most affordable cars in India

The affordable compact four wheeler segment has suddenly caught everyone’s attention with two new launches in close succession – Tata Motor’s much talked about Tiago (earlier christened as Zica) and Datsun’s second attempt with the Redi Go. Moto Adda takes a quick look at the 6 most affordable hatches in India that aimed at first time car buyers or those looking for a second car.

Tata Nano

Nano GenX_1

First on the list is our favourite, the compact yet spacious Tata Nano. We loved the shape of this car right from the start and Tata Motors have bettered their product with the recently launched Nano Gen X which now comes with Easy Shift (AMT) gearbox. Happy to note that the folks at Tata Motors have closely looked at customer feedback and incorporated a host of changes while adding some new features into this compact car. Some of these features include the Auto shift gearbox with a Sports mode (WOW!!), rear trunk with about 100 liters of storage space and plush new interiors. This truly makes for an ideal city car and is in a league of its own.

Engine Capacity: 660 cc – 38 bhp

Price: Starting at under 2 lakhs for the base model and Rs 2.7 lakhs for the Easy Shift automatic variant.

 

Datsun Redi-Go

Datsun Redi-Go_1

Unveiled on the 14th of April, Redi-Go is Datsun’s third offering in the Indian market after Datsun Go and Go+. While the first two have not lived up to the company’s expectations, Redi-Go promises to rake in the numbers thanks to its refined looks and lean price tag. Yes, the Redi-Go is expected to sell for about Rs 2.5 lakhs with bookings having already started from 1st May and deliveries expected from June’16. Don’t expect fancy features such as touch screen entertainment or ABS, but you will get your money’s worth. We must appreciate the company’s efforts to make this car stand out in the looks department (esp at the back) while keeping the ground clearance at 185mm. The Redi-Go will directly compete with Maruti’s Alto 800 / K10, Hyundai Eon, Tata Tiago and Renault Kwid.

Engine Capacity: 800 cc mated to 5 speed gearbox

Price: Expected to fall under 2.5 lakhs for the base model

 

Tata Tiago

Tata Tiago

This is yet another surprise package from the Tata stable with fresh styling and a refined three pot petrol and diesel engine developed in-house. Tata Motors have taken on the challenge of giving us another success story (after Indica) in the form of Tiago with a very modest price tag while offering rich features within the cabin. If not for the Tata badge, you would never have guessed this to be a Tata product. The Tiago also proved its durability during the recently concluded 50,000 km non-stop run at top speeds breaking multiple records under the #GearedForGreat challenge (Click here to read our story). The car scores high on looks, features, refined interiors and claimed fuel efficiency of about 25 km/l. What more can you expect from an entry level car. To market their new line of products, they have signed up with Lionel Messi for many crores.

Engine Capacity: 1.2 L Revotron Petrol and 1.05 L Revotorq Diesel

Price: Starting at 3.20 lakhs for the base model and about 4.9 lakhs for the top end variant

 

Renault Kwid

Renault Kwid White

After its success with the Duster, Renault India has not been fortunate with any other successful product so far. Renault Pulse, Scala Sedan and Lodgy have not been able to cut ice with India car lovers resulting in average sales. However, their latest offering the Kwid with its SUV inspired design has caught our attention thanks to its looks, optional features and low price tag. The final verdict will come from the people soon enough. Regardless, we are happy to look beyond the Maruti stable for pocket friendly cars.

Engine Capacity: 800 cc petrol offering 54 PS of power with a fuel efficiency of 25 km/l

Price: Starting at 2.65 lakhs

 

Hyundai Eon

Hyundai Eon Blue

Hyundai has been a tough competitor to the Maruti since it entered the market with the Hyundai Santro in 1998 and has since slowly eaten away their market share making it the second largest automobile manufacturer in the country. I have personal been a big fan of the Santro and still continue to own a 1.1 ltr 2002 ZipPlus model. While the Santro went out of production last year, they brought in the Eon well before (2011) to fill the gap in their portfolio. Designed under the new fluidic philosophy, the Eon is quite good looking both inside out. While the market didn’t warm up to this car initially, they company has managed to rake in the numbers in the last couple of years. Guess it’s time for a refresh with new entrants emerging every other month.

Engine Capacity: 800 cc petrol motor generating 56 PS of power and the recently added 1000cc motor generates 69 PS

Price: Between 3.25 lakhs to 4.4 lakhs

 

Maruti Alto 800

Maruti Alto 800

Maruti has been the country’s darling since the 80’s. They have produced some brilliant products in association with Suzuki of Japan like the 800cc Van (still in production), 800 car, Esteem, Baleno and more recently the Swift, S-Cross, Baleno hatchback and Brezza. Known for their price points and low annual maintenance they have become a dominant player in the country. Their biggest success story after the 800 was the Alto 800 which was powerful yet frugal and in a better shell. People lapped up this product and still continue to do so. Today, shoppers have a 1000 cc engine option as well. However, with stiff competition, Maruti better pull out a surprise (esp in the design dept) if they plan to dominate the entry segment.

Engine Capcity: 800

Price: Base variant starts at 2.5 lakhs and the K10 variant can go up to 4.35 lakhs

Tesla rewrites history with Model 3

A lot of you might have already heard about Tesla (Wiki link about Tesla) and the way it is revolutionizing the automotive sector, energy storage and space exploration. I personally believe that Elon Musk, its founder, will be regarded as the most revolutionary person of the 21st century.

Coming back to what we like most – cars, Tesla has already shown the world that electric cars need not be slow and run out of charge within 80 kms. All their models, the Roadster, Model X and Model S have gained widespread appreciation and disbelief from first time users. While these models are out of reach for the common man (even in the US), the company recently opened booking for its first mass production vehicle the Model 3 which is slated to be priced at $35,000.Tesla Model 3

Model 3 slated to launch in 2017 has already broken all expectations with over 3.25 lakh bookings of $1000 each. The total sales projection exceeds $14 billion which no other car manufactures has ever received. People stood in queue overnite outside Tesla showrooms to be the first to book this model (another first after the iPhone phenomenon). A few prominent figures in India have also gone ahead and booked their Model 3. You can be part of the action too by visiting this page. Do note that, Tesla is not sold in India but is expect to enter in 2017.Tesla Model 3 Glass roof

Why the fuss? Model 3 is a four door sedan which can seat 5 people, has storage both in the front and back (no engine remember), looks gorgeous, drives for about 346kms per charge and can do 0 to 100 km/h in less than six seconds and doesn’t burn any gas. What more do you want??

Watch the official unveiling of the Tesla Model 3 by founder Elon Musk

Vimeo Video of Model 3 launch

What really worked for Tesla?

Elon is this genius who has spent enough time and effort to develop state of the art lithium ion batteries that are compact yet, capable of managing tasks well beyond our comprehension. All this while keeping costs under check. The massive GigaFactory which is just up and running will help leverage economies of scale and drive costs further down. One of the reason Tesla was able to achieve the $35,000 price tag for Model 3.

All eyes are now towards the 2017 launch and other surprises that Tesla might throw at us in the months to come.

Tata Motors creates history with 360 records

Tata Bolt and its team posing after the record breaking attempt

Tata Bolt and the entre team posing after the record breaking attempt

Last week, Tata Motors set 360 records of various sorts at a closed 4.2 km long NCAT high speed test track in Ahmednagar. The only Indian car brand to do so in a short span of 18 days. One might wonder what drove them to achieve such a feat. Well, we have a couple of theories for you;

  1. Since Tata motors entered the passenger car segment, they have kinda struggled to get a strong foot hold in the market. Their launch of Manza was a step towards changing the customer mindset and offer premium / refined products at great value. However, their latest set of products, the Zest sedan, Bolt hatchback and the newly launched Tiago are much more refined and are helping the brand change its legacy as a mass carrier.
  2. Tata Motors have essentially been stuck in the value segment and a few of their product positioning strategies have backfired (Ex: Nano, a brilliant product but was poorly positioned as the cheapest car or most of the company’s adds position their brands as VFM)

Now, with the JLR acquisition fully integrated into the Tata fold, the Indian conglomerate is keen to bring some of Jaguar Land Rover’s best practices and design aesthetics to its Indian product portfolio. The Tiago and the soon to be launched Hexa have greatly benefited from the new design language. The company is also making a conscious effort to correct its shortcomings and bring out world class products that are completely Made in India.

All four Tata cars on the 4.2 km oval track

All four Tata cars on the 4.2 km oval track

This marathon event with four stock production cars running constantly for 18 days in a #GearedForGreat Challenge achieved multiple record-breaking distances culminating at 50,000 km each with an average speed of around 120 kmph. A team of 60 drivers took turns to keep the cars running with regular stopovers for quick service, oil and tyre changes.press-01apr16-05-highres

All four cars cars started their endurance run on the 14th of March breaking all existing records for 24 hours with the Tata Bolt storming through to a new Indian mark of 3161 km at an average speed of 131.7km/h. From here on it was all about setting new benchmarks on the tough 4.2 km high-speed circuit with all four corners featuring steeply banked curves of varying degrees. Despite the extreme stress, the new engines – The Revotron 1.2T, the Revotron 1.2L and the Revotorq 1.05L held up magnificently over the entire record distance without any deterioration in performance.press-01apr16-08-highres

An individual normally covers a distance of 50,000 km, in 3-4 years under normal driving conditions in India and it is almost impossible for an average consumer to consistently achieve average speeds beyond 130km/h for a serious length of time. All these cars have proved that the new generation of Tata products are not only aesthetically pleasing but seriously durable.

All four cars posing after achieving the 50k mark

All four cars posing after achieving the 50k mark

This grid below shows the time taken by each of the cars to achieve the 50,000 kms milestone. Kudos to Tata for this massive feat. #GearedForGreat

Cars Completion Time
Revotron
 Zest 408hrs 50min 26.688sec
Tiago 414hrs 59min 20.995sec
Bolt 429hrs 53min 29.400sec
Revotorq
Tiago 418hrs 51min 26.801sec

Raid de Himalaya – A Mysorean’s dream

Raid de Himalaya 2015

This is a story of Vikas Bharadwaj working in a small kpo industry (Knowledge Process Outsourcing) and extremely passionate about rallying. His passion took him to the 2015 edition of Raid de Himalaya which is considered the world’s second toughest rally in terms of navigation as well as physical endurance and only next to the deadly Dakar.

Vikas at the Raid De Himalaya

After 3 long years of planning, Vikas was finally able to participate in the 17th Himalayan Raid in the Alpine Class. His machine was the modest Bajaj Pulsar 150 which went under heavy customization along with suggestions and support from many leading champions of the country like Nataraj from TVS, Vishwas SD (Banglore), Chirag Takur (Shimla) and Vijay Parmar (One of the organisers). 12825604_909379442490591_147656910_n

Landing in Delhi for the first time, Vikas spent couple of days roaming around Delhi, Agra and Chandigarh. He had the opportunity to visit the country’s first formula1 track at the Buddh Circuit and the famed Taj Mahal.

Vikas on an Indian Scout at Buddh International Circuit

At the Buddh International Circuit on an Indian Scout

Come October 9, 2015 things just got real. Vikas says, “I still remember that day. I woke up at 5am and awaited for a start slot of 7:29am. Finished the first Transport sector 20 minutes earlier and started my first competence stage. Managed to crossed the SS (Special sectors) and by the time I started the second Competence stage, I felt as though I had lost my breath and died. A few seconds later, I realized that that it’s not me but my ride. I had lost the throttle wire. Since I had already entered the sector, my time was already counting. Without any option and with some help from my co-riders, I literally started pulling the skinned wire for the next 365 kms. The roads were not kind either with dirt tracks most of the way till I reached Manali by evening. Even though I had lost a lot of time, I was happy that I finished Day 1 but felt sad that the preparation was not up to the mark.”

Vikas's Ride, Pulsar 150

Vikas’s Bajaj Pulsar 150 cc

“While my journey came to an end, it was a huge learning for me being a privateer without any support. I realised that preparing mentally, physically as well as mechanically well in advance is crucial for success. Biking is more than a passion and sport for me and I’m working hard to go back and participate in the 18th Raid de Himalaya.”

Raid de Himalaya 2015 RouteStandings Chart

Vikas is looking for support and sponsors to give his best this time. If you are keen to support him or know individuals and corporates who would be willing to support this Mysore lad, do reach out to us or Vishal directly on +91 9731864634.

Toyota bids farewell to first gen Innova

Toyota Kirloskar Motors entered the MPV/SUV segment in 2000 with the Qualis also know as Kijang in global markets. This 7 / 8 seater van became an instant hit in the country with its sturdy and reliable performance even though it came with an outdated look. However, by 2005, Toyota decided to pull this off the market and replace it with the more refined Innova. Diehard fans of the Qualis still swear by it and continue to maintain their prized possession. Click here for a detailed post on the Qualis on Team-BHP.

Toyota Qualis

Toyota Qualis (Pic courtesy TopSpeed)

Innova with an updated international design was priced slightly higher but attracted both private individuals and fleet owners who sang praises of its refinement and reliability. With multiple facelifts (no changes to the engine though), the Innova continued to rein the charts as the most popular MPV for 10 long years with the highest resale value in its segment. Ex: If you owned a G4 model in 2009, you could still sell it for the same price today. Others competing with the Innova in the segment are Mahindra Xylo, Tata Aria (will be relaunched as Hexa this year), Renault Lodgy, Honda Mobilio, Maruti Ertiga and Nissan Evalia. While some of them are strong competitors, they haven’t been able to topple Innova’s market leadership.

Toyota Innova First Gen

Toyota Innova First Gen

Toyota has now decided to phase this popular model out and launch the second generation Innova Crysta with class leading features and design aesthetics. The Toyota Kirloskar plant in Bidadi rolled out the last production vehicle of the Innova on Friday (11th March) with employees giving a warm farewell. Toyota Employees bid farewell

The new model is expected to offer a refined 2.4ltr engine with better fuel efficiency, class leading features along with an option to go automatic. Priced higher than the outgoing model, Innova Crysta is expect to reach the showrooms by May 2016. Until then, let’s ogle at the images and videos.

Toyota Innova Crysta_AutocarIndia

The new Innova Crysta (Pic courtesy AutoCarIndia)

Here is the Youtube link to the promo video

KTM India – Delighting riders since 2012

To extend their dominance in the Indian biking segment particularly beyond the 125cc range, Bajaj Auto in collaboration with Austrian manufacturer KTM, launched its popular model, the Duke 200. This pocket rocket churning out close to 25 bhp was a game changer in the starved performance biking scene in the country back in 2012. The icing on the cake was the price of Rs.1.17 lakh (ex-showroom), thanks to hyper localisation by Bajaj. The Duke 200 is currently sold at around Rs 1.44 lakh (ex-showroom).

Duke 200_1_IndiaCarsbikes

The 2014 model of KTM Duke 200, 200cc with 26 hp

The Duke 200 with its light weight body had a massive power-to-weight advantage and soon became a popular option among youngsters who earlier had to be satisfied with the 150cc Pulsar which put out 15 bhp or the 225cc Hero Karizma with a modest 17 bhp. Both were very capable bikes in their own right, but the Duke 200 was a class apart.

 

KTM 390

KTM 390 – 44 hp, 375cc single with ABS and sticky imported Metzeler tyres

Encouraged by the response to the Duke 200 (sold 11,000 units till then), the company decided to take it a notch higher and in less than 18 months, launched the bigger more powerful Duke 390. Priced at Rs 1.8 lakhs (Rs 2.14 lakhs on road in Bangalore), the Duke 390 (375cc engine) was capable of churning 44 horses and achieve a limited top speed of 175km/h. The specs were mind boggling for us and we couldn’t digest the fact that KTM and Bajaj were able to give us this package at under Rs 2 lakhs along with an industry first ABS as standard and performance Metzeler tyres.

 

IMG_20140427_155721

Kriegers, one of the early KTM 390 clubs of Bangalore

Biking enthusiasts across the country made a beeline to the KTM showrooms across the country to test ride the 390 and fought to be the first to get their hands on one. I was one among the lucky few as well and have never regretted owning this mild beast. Ignoring a few finishing defects, the bike has always brought a smile on my face and its low cost of ownership and easy maintenance has enabled a lot of us fulfill our dream of owning a performance bike sooner than expected.

KTM RC390

Both the 200 and 390 based RC series come with cosmetic changes such as full fairing, projector headlamps, integrated pillion seat and clip-on handle bars.

Bajaj Auto’s Chakan plant had more surprises in-store when they brought out the RC 390 and RC 200 in 2014, two super sport models based on the same two engines and priced at Rs 2.05 lakh and Rs 1.60 lakh (ex-showroom) respectively.

Rumor has it that the company is now working on launching an adventure sport variant to take on the highly awaited Benelli TRX 502 scheduled for a September launch and the recently launched Kawasaki Versys 650.

Kawasaki Versys 650

Newly launched 2016 Kawasaki Versys boasts of a 650cc parallel twin (68 bhp) with fully adjustable front and rear suspension and a smart locking system for side boxes / panniers

With the right kind of products and pricing, Bajaj Auto and KTM will be able to extend their dominance in the mid range performance category for years to come. But, we do hope they bring a twin to India in the near future.

Renault launches new Duster with AMT option

Renault DusterEnough has been said and written about Renault’s Duster which entered a segment that was only serviced by Tata Safari and Scorpio (if you compare the price points). However, pretty soon, we saw the entry of Ford’s Ecosport, Nissan Terrano (A premium version of the duster with some cosmetic changes) and most recently Hyundai’s Creta.

While all of the above are very capable compact SUVs, the Duster stands apart with its durability and rock solid stability. Tata’s Safari is comparable to Duster in comfort and off road capabilities, however, the former is an outdated model and is very bulky considering it can seat only five people. The Creta is posing a stiff competition to the Duster with its overall Hyundai refinement and looks. But, I don’t think a Creta owner would like to throw around his car in the dirt, something that comes naturally with the Duster.

Duster_Amazon GreenTo keep up with the growing competition, Renault recently launched the 2016 Duster with 32 changes to the vehicle and in a few interesting colors. We also see the 6 speed AMT (Automatic Maunal Transmission) gearbox being introduced in the top variant. The existing Petrol and Diesel (85 & 110ps) engines continue to power the 2016 Duster.

Additional features include – New Rear View Camera with guidelines, Climate Control, Auto-up/down window with anti-pinch, New Media Nav and Centre Fascia. On the safety front, the Duster will offer ABS, EBD with Brake Assist, Dual Airbags, ESP and Hill start assist.

Prices start from Rs 863999 for the base petrol RXE variant and go up to Rs 1373999 for the 110 ps RXZ All Wheel Drive variant. The most popular model is the 85ps RXL priced at Rs 1043999. All prices are ex-showroom Bangalore.

To find your nearest Renault showroom, view this link.

A day at Ferrari World, Abu dhabi

ferrari-world-in-dubai1-lamadubai

Artistic impression of Ferrari World. Pic courtesy Lamadubai

If you are a Ferrari fan like me, then Ferrari World is like Disney Land for you.

This massive enclosed wonderland is the largest indoor and Ferrari’s first theme park in the world and also boasts of the fastest roller coaster in the world – Formula Rossa.

A good half a  day is necessary to cover all the stalls, experience different rides (including the fastest coaster reaching speeds of upto 240kmph and pulling 4.8 Gs) and drool over some of the most technically advanced machines every built. Entry fee varies from AED 250 t0 AED 500 but is well worth it. You can buy your tickets online here.

Here are some pictures to help you visualize better. You can also visit our Facebook page for more – Ferrari World, Abu Dhab

A visit to BMW Museum in Munich, Germany

If you are a fan of German automobiles, then a visit to the Mercedes Benz museum in Stuttgart or the BMW Museum in Munich is a must.

During our visit to Germany back in 2015, we made it a point to visit Munich and spend half a day at the BMW Museum which is located at Olympiapark not too far from the city centre. The museum is an ode to the beautiful and powerful machines built by Bayerische Motoren Werke or Bavarian Motor Works.

Here is a photo feature of some of their masterpieces. For the entire set of images, do visit our Facebook page (Moto Adda) – BMW Museum Images on Facebook

BMW Welt / Museum, Munich, Germany
R7 Prototype, 1934
Twin cylinder 800 cc, 35bhp with top speed of 145kmph
R 39, 1925
BMW 328 Racing Saloon, 1939
2000 cc inline 6 cylinder, 136 ps with top speed of 230 kmph
BMW launches over the years
BMW 3.0 CS, 1971
BMW i5 ion Concept
Isetta, 1955
Also known as the Bubble car, has only one door at the front with a folding stearing
 
M1 Homage (Right)
BMW 3, 1930, 15 ps
R5, 1936
500cc twin cylinder, 24 bhp with top speed of 140 kmph
BMW R50/2, low compression 500cc boxer engine
BMW 335, 1939. 3485cc inline 6

India & its Bikes

Update: Since writing this post, India has seen a slew of new bikes with bigger and more powerful engines. CBR 250, KTM Duke 200 and the Duke 390 have revolutionised the motorbiking scene in India. More on this in our next post.
______________________________

Have been wanting to vent my frustration regarding this topic for long.

Don’t know if you have noticed, during the late 60’s n 70’s n 80’s we had bikes like Jawa, Yezdi 250 / 350, Bullet, Rajdooth 175 and Rajdooth 350. All these bikes had over 250cc engine capacity except for the Rajdooth 175cc model but the irony was that we didn’t have enough good roads to use their full potential.

Today, we have ring roads and express highways but none of these good old bikes are available to ride on. Sad to say that our country is still stuck at the 100cc, 125 and 150cc category. Pulsar and Karisma have taken a bold step and gone ahead to launch 180 and 225cc bikes. Royal Enfield / Bullet is the only age old model still in existence with its heavy duty 350 and the occasional 500 cc versions.

Even bikes like the Bullet which has survived the test of time has not thought of manufacturing a twin cylinder bike. WHY?? Is it less fuel efficient?? Maybe, but then who cares when u’r getting the pleasure of riding on one of those beasts….

So my wait continues for the first Indian twin cylinder to be launched since I can’t afford to own an imported bike yet.