Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Quick Tryst with Rajiv Bajaj

My Quick Tryst with Rajiv Bajaj

In my efforts to raise funds for my company, I did the unthinkable - I participated in a reality show that funds the winner startup. The journey has been good so far. Each week, of the 10 contestants,one is eliminated. I am still standing after 4 weeks, and hope to go as far as possible :D

The 4th episode was judged by Rajiv Bajaj - It was an awesome experience interacting with him, and EVERYONE of the contestent were blown away by whole experience. We were amazed by the focus, clarity of thought and expression and a genuinely good personality. There was no air of superiority or swagger that even a moderately successful personality sports nowadays. He was leading a company close to 16,000 Cr topline, and it was an absolutely humbling experience to find out how he went about his work with absolute sense of purpose. I was genuinely surprised to know about his management style that derives from Yoga and Homeopathy! (a different post on that, later!)

As the show was getting setup, I had good 10 mins to interact with Rajiv, and I used the opportunity to the max to get some 'insider' information on Bajaj

[SVI] DTSi is your flagship product. Do you think DTSi can scale multi-cylinder scenarios?

[RB]DTSi can definitely work in multi-cylinder scenarios. Our R&D is already working on such scenarios. It may not be an inline twin. But you can see some updates from us going forward

[SVI] Do you have the ability to scale beyond your current 220 cc offerings? Or, do you leave the market over 250 cc to Kawasaki and KTM?

[RB] We have schemes to create Pulsars with displacements from 150 cc all the way up to 750 cc! We don't have any technological challenges / hurdles in scaling up to 750cc. Our R&D already has some work done in this area

[SVI] When can we expect the next launch of Pulsars?

[RB] You should expect them very soon, even before March timeframe. You'll be very happy with the new list of features and a vastly improved platform.

[SVI] Should I start saving money? :)

[RB] The price points are in such a way that you don't need to save that much money!

[SVI] You launched FI with P220, and then you went back to Carb. Don't you think it is a step backward for Bajaj?

[RB] In smaller displacement bikes, the role of the FI is limited. It might help you while starting the bike on a cold day. Otherwise, a carb and FI do the samething - Help mix air and fuel mix. However, if I am able to save 10K - 15K INR by going back to carb and pass on the benefits back to the end-customer, that would place the product very attractively. P220-DTS FI was selling like 500-600 bikes a month. After we released the DTSi version (fastest Indian), we sell like 5000 bikes a month. This makes sense for the company.

[SVI] What about higher displacement bikes from the Pulsar range?

[RB] For 250cc and higher offerings, they'll have FI be default. We can't and will not use carbs there.

[SVI] What is the arrangement with KTM?

[RB] The Duke 125 is completely done in our plant here and is exported to European market. We'll be launching them here too

[SVI] What model of Duke are you planning to launch? Is it the 200?

[RB] Yes. We'll first launch the Duke 200 here. It is an awesome bike and it will shake up the market

[SVI] What is its power output? Should I sell my Honda CBR? :)

[RB] The bike produces close to 25 BHP. It is an awesome bike and it will beat CBR in all aspects. CBR is a pretty heavy bike close to 163 kgs. Duke 200 is close to 139 kgs. So, you can expect much higher power-to-weight ratio. You should probably shift :)


I told Rajiv that I was member of Team-BHP and he also passed on his email ID (in confidence :) ) to ask further questions and he'd be glad to answer. One of the girls in the competition was TOTALLY floored by him - Little does she know that I was, as well!

MM 550 XDP (Wife) vs CJ/CL 340 DP (Girlfiend)

MM 550 XDP (Wife) vs CJ/CL 340 DP (Girlfiend)

The four letter word Jeep and the related information has been on my mind for the last five years now. Go anywhere attitude possessed by these vehicles are a class apart and this had made me a wannabe jeeper.

Started reading lot about these vehicles on Jeep Thrills and later on became a member with Team-BHP after going through various threads.

I was deeply impressed with the talent, experience and skills possessed and displayed by few of them like UBS ji, Dhabhar Behram, GTO, Samurai, Sanjay (4x4army), Shiva (trammway), Harjeev and was often critised by managers and family members for spending too much time on this website. Went through the pros and cons of all available jeeps in India, and even visited the very famous Moga, Dabwali, Meerut, Patiala, Jalandhar sort of places looking for one which would suit me. The assembled jeeps built in Moga truely caught my attention, however the whole meaning of the Jeep was lost with the 4x4 lacking in most of them. Toyota 2c and 3c turbo engines only offered mileage and speed and nothing else. Moreover, they cannot be legally driven in most places in India. So completely stopped the idea of an assembled jeep.

In October2010 at Moga I came very close to buying a Mahindra Classic jeep in excellent shape, but the price was too much beyond my budget. It was from the last year of Classic's production (2000) and was in real good shape. The dealer quoted the price of 2.4 Lac and I seriously regret now for not buying it. Later on after reading the reviews I found that it would have been a fairly priced jeep with the current generation of jeepers literally considering it as a legendary icon. Six months later in April 2011the jeep was sold for 2.6 Lacs by the dealer. All I could do was bang my head on a wall. :Frustrati

I went on searching and simultaneously comparing the CJ/CL 340 DP (Girlfiend) vs MM 550 XDP (Wife). Went through various posts (Particularly Harjeev, Trammway, GTO, Samurai, Sanjay, V-16) and finally decided to stick to the Wife the MM 550 XDP (Ex-Army), with a special mention of the fact that the sheer beauty of the SWB cannot be ignored and the search for the same will continue.

Last week on Friday (Nov 25) I finalized the deal for an Ex-Army MM550 XDP with one of the scrap yard dealers (MSTC bidders) in my native town Pathankot and closed the deal on Sunday (Nov 27). He had 4 jeeps at his disposal that time out of which I picked the 2003 model as it had the minimal damage and was good from mechanical point of view. All of them required tinkering work and this was the one which had all wheels and mechanicals in all most the right shape. The 2004 model was infact much wider with broader leaf springs and hand brake, but the price quoted by the dealer was way too much and was beyond my budget.

So I opted for the 2003 model. Pics quality will not be too good as they were clicked by a cellphone that too only two in number stupid:

This was the 2004 model Attachment 850312

This was what I picked the 2003 model Attachment 850311

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Honda mulls higher fuel efficient two wheelers for India

Honda mulls higher fuel efficient two wheelers for India

Honda Motorcycle Scooter India which parted away from Hero a year back is planning an onslaught of new models in India. Honda will launch new mass market motorcycles and a new scooter besides upgrading its current portfolio. Honda is working to launch more fuel efficient two-wheelers in India to strengthen. The company, which is enhancing

Tyre Change Time on my Linea MJD EMO Pk

Tyre Change Time on my Linea MJD EMO Pk


My Linea MJD EMO Pk is due for a Tyre change. My car has run 38000Km and is 13 Months old, translating in a running of around 3000Km a month.

My OE Apollo Accelere's have given me adequate service. Just one flat, average road noise, decent average (17Kmpl, mainly on the NH4), no complaints about the grip, handling and braking too. Ride too has always been satisfactory. The only grouse i have is the wearing out at 38000Km.

I need to replace my tyres, set of 4. My priority is tyre life, grip and braking. Better economy would be a bonus. Road noise and ride although important are not the priority.

My tyre dealer has suggested Goodyear Assurance or the MRF ZLO.

Valuable inputs are awaited to help me choose.



Koenigsegg Agera R sets Guiness world record for 0-300-0 km/h

Koenigsegg Agera R sets Guiness world record for 0-300-0 km/h

Koenigsegg sets the Guiness world record for the fastest 0-300-0 km/h (21.19 secs). This is the sixth world record by the Swedish auto-maker.


Swedish super car manufacturer Koenigsegg has received official Guinness approval today for its 0-300-0 km/h record time in addition to 5 other world records.
The world record runs took place at Koenigsegg's proving ground in Ängelholm, Sweden on September 2, 2011 at 12.08 pm in a standard Koenigsegg Agera R.
With a time of 0-300-0 km/h in only 21.19 seconds, the Agera R world record is a testament to its stability, acceleration and braking performance.
The Agera R is powered by a twin-turbo 5.0-liter V8 engine producing 1115 PS (1099 hp / 820 kW) and 1200 Nm (885 lb-ft) of torque. A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission enables the 1330 kg (2932 lb) supercar reach a top speed in excess of 390 km/h (245 mph). Miraculously, fuel efficiency is a respectable 14.7 L/100km (16 mpg US / 19.2 mpg UK) with CO2 emissions of 310 g/km.
Christian von Koenigsegg has stated in a press release, "We had high hopes when we set out to do this record. But the end result was truly astonishing. This is Koenigsegg's 4th Guinness World Record since 2003 and it shows our continued commitment to build Hypercars that deliver beyond expectations."
The numbers are as follows:
0-300 km/h = 14.53 sec
0-200 mph = 17.68 sec
300-0 km/h = 6.66 sec
200-0 mph = 7.28 sec
0-300-0 km/h = 21.19 sec
0-200-0 mph = 24.96 sec
Meteorological data:
Wind was calm and came in straight from the side, not affecting the results. Weather was partially cloudy and fair. The test track is completely flat with no gradient.
Testtrack heading: 0400
Wind direction: 2900
Wind speed: 9 kts
Temp: 15.4 C
Pressure: 1015 HPA
All data was measured and collected by a third party with the officially accepted Racelogic VBox performance recorder.

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Honda Accord catches fire after overturning !

Honda Accord catches fire after overturning !

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This was in today's TOI.

According to the news, Ashish Garg a software engineer and two of his friends were on their way from the Jama Masjid area when a dog suddenly came in their way.

In order to save the dog , Ashish Garg swerved the car right and he lost control . The accord went on to hit a tree , overturned and caught fire !

Fortunately no one was injured as the cops present at the spot bravely broke the windows of the burning car and pulled all the 3 occupants out in time .

Kudos to the cops , however i never knew that an Accord could catch fire so easily !

P.S. Mods please move the thread to the relevant section if required.

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Honda showcases EV-STER next-gen electric sports concept

Honda showcases EV-STER next-gen electric sports concept

Honda will exhibit the world premiere of the EV-STER, the next-generation electric small sports concept model, at the 42nd Tokyo Motor Show 2011, which will take place at Tokyo Big Sight from Saturday, December 3 through Sunday, December 11, 2011. If the Electric market in India does boon, we could surely get these machines on

Rann Utsav - Dec 9 - Jan 15: Status

Rann Utsav - Dec 9 - Jan 15: Status

Yesterday, I replied to a query on the subject, can't find it today, so posting it to all prospective Rann Fans this year:

1. The Rann Utsav will be from 9th Dec to 15 Jan, will be inaugurated by CM Mr.Narendra Mody on 9th Dec (read tight security, travel restrictions etc.) I would avoid any travel here from 8th to 10th.

2. Near Dordo Village, 440 tents, A/C and Non A/C (it would be cold, you'd not want A/C) are on.

3. 80% of them are booked out for the whole month; yesterday someone who tried for December 20th, did not get acco., 15th to 24th it's sold out.

4. Prohibition WILL NOT be relaxed, non-veg food WILL NOT be served.

5. Ther's a special package: Tourists will be picked up from Bhuj and taken to the Utsav in Bus, contact Gujarat Tourism Offices, get more dope here:

Rann Utsav | Fairs & Festivals | Home | Gujarat Tourism

Rates here:

6. Passes will have to be made out in Bhuj or in the check post on the road to Dordo, better to get it done in Bhuj itself, the check post would be very crowded and zap time. Carry extra passport photos, some identity proof and photocopies (at the check post there was only one photocopy shop) even children MAY be asked for school identity proofs, last year they did to me but we managed to haggle through.

7. There's another special package organized by the Tourism Department this year from 25th to 31st at Mandvi Beach.

8. Most hotels in Bhuj and areas around are going at Premium prices those who still want to make it in this period should HURRY with the bookings on whatever is left. Be ready to share space and facilities with lots of crowd. This year they are expecting record crowd, the adds with Big B are on with increased frequency, he has been a big crowd puller to Rann.


Rockford Fosgate R-300 4 channel

Rockford Fosgate R-300 4 channel


Team, I need some quick help....!! please:

I am going to order Rockford Fosgate R-300 4 channel Amp from US. Currently I have Pioneer DEH-6390SD HU, RF R1652-S Compos in the front and R152 Coax in the rear doors.

R-300 is costing 129.99$. Is this worth the price?? Please help!!

Kolkata to Ranchi - Security issues?

Kolkata to Ranchi - Security issues?

A close friend is getting married in Ranchi on 27th-28th Jan 2012, has invited me to attend. I was thinking of driving over, since its only 415 kms as per mapmyindia. 2 questions mainly:

1. Please pinpoint the exact route and give me tips on route conditions.

2. Are there any security issues? It'll be just my wife and I in the car, and we will be passing through a large part of Jharkhand, after all!

Fiesta Diesel - Turbo Queries

Fiesta Diesel - Turbo Queries

Guys wanted to know if anyone here has installed a bigger turbo in Fiesta D. If so what are the gains in terms of performance .. and how much did the overall procedure cost.

Also wanted to know which are the other diesel cars which are available in india today would be better for a Turbo build which can be used as a daily drive and long highway cruising as well.

If am sounding naive sorry kinda new to this ..turbo thing.

2012 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack

2012 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack

Volkswagen has officially unveiled the 2012 Passat Alltrack at the Tokyo Motor Show.

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(Images Source)

On the styling front, the Alltrack has plastic body cladding, matte chrome accents, an increased ride height and 17-inch alloy wheels.
Inside, the cabin features titan silver trim, faux aluminum pedals and stainless steel door plates. Other goodies include automatic climate control, power windows and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The boot holds 603 liters (21.3 cubic feet) of luggage, but that can be expanded to 1,731 liters (61.1 cubic feet) when the rear seats are folded down.
Under the hood, four engines are available. The petrol variants are rated at 160 PS (118 kW / 158 hp) and 210 PS (155 kW / 208 hp), while the diesels produce 140 PS (103 kW / 138 hp) and 170 PS (125 kW / 168 hp). Despite the wagon's off-road intentions, all-wheel drive is only standard on Alltracks with the two most powerful engines.

Source: 2012 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack debuts in Tokyo [video] (You can also find the press release there)


2012 Volkswagen Passat Alltrack first footage (no audio) - YouTube

Seems like a decent all-rounder. Given a choice I'd still go for the A4 Allroad Quattro with the 3.0L V6 ;)

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Initial Ownership experience-TOYOTA ETIOS DIESEL GD-SP

Initial Ownership experience-TOYOTA ETIOS DIESEL GD-SP

After joining TEAM BHPI have been waiting patiently to write my first blog. What better could it get than writing the experience with a new car, The ETIOS arrives home!

Buying Experience:
One afternoon walking past the Toyota showroom I just thought of stepping in to try the ETIOS Diesel. Requested a TD and the sales folks were happy to offer one. What followed was an experience!
I had weighed the ETIOS against Swift Dzire, SX4, Fiesta Classic and I found what I needed exactly in the ETIOS. The car stood out as a no nonsense practical vehicle. I went ahead and booked the vehicle on the 7th of October without second thoughts. I got the vehicle delivered on 23rd November. The entire sales process was the best I ever experienced. Every time I stepped into the TOYOTA showroom I came out happier with the customer centric service I received. There was never a negative element from the sales folks. Kudos to TOYOTA for that!

ETIOS GD SP (Vermillion Red)
I've driven the vehicle around for around 300kms and here are my observations:

Plain vanilla design may not turn heads for sure. But remember we have one of best automotive makers playing in the sub 10 lac segment!

It's audible! But with the passage of time you are sure to get used to it. Having driven a TATA vehicle for 2 years the diesel clatter seemed to be nothing different for me.
The engine compartment is not cramped and you have ample space to work around the equipments.
Though a diesel vehicle it is extremely easy to drive it through the infamous Bangalore traffic.
Excellent low end torque with near zero turbo lag
You do not need to downshift frequently, the vehicle pulls well in the 2nd and 3rd gear.
I've not hit the highways yet so I hold back to write about this.

The dashboard is something strikingly terrible of the vehicle. I feel even a 1950's speedometer dial would have looked better! There is just a single trip meter. The only way that we can mask this terrible mistake is having a 2 DIN Music system lighting up the bland space. I've added a PIONEER AVH-2300DVD system which makes the dash look a bit more worthy of glances if not stares!
The seats are well cushioned and extremely comfortable. However the stock fabric is extremely thin and you can feel the sponge.
There is enough space at the rear seat. 3 well built adults go in with ease. Not to forget the almost flat flooring at the back, something very hard to see in other cars.
AC is extremely effective and I didn't have a chance to run the blower above 1. Let's wait for the summers.
The steering feels very light and is tilt able. Somehow it's a bit time consuming to hit the sweet spot for driving position in the ETIOS.
The single wiper does a really good job. No doubts on that.
Ample space in and around for storing mobiles, bottles etc.

At 595litres it sure takes care of a long vacation baggage.
The VD and VXD models don't come with the alloy option for the 5th wheel.

The best in any diesel vehicle I've driven so far. It is extremely soft and you feel afloat when cruising in the ETIOS.
However the flip side to this is that you would be kissing all the speed breakers with 3 adults and luggage loaded.

Stock lights are good for city driving but I feel on the highway you many need better lamps.
GDSP version doesn't come with FOG lamps. You could add it for Rs 4250/-
Single Cabin lamp, would have been good if there were reading lamps at the rear also.
GDSP version doesn't come with a rear de-fogger.

Good value for money vehicle with Toyota's quality assurance. If you are contended with low maintenance vehicle requiring fewer fuel pit stops this is the vehicle for you.

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Whether to repair an used S10 before bringing home or not is the question!

Whether to repair an used S10 before bringing home or not is the question!

Dear BHPians & FIATians,

For the last few months, we've been searching pan India for a well maintained S10 . It will suffice here to say that we've atlast got hold of an S10 at a throw away price. :D

The car is in Mumbai and we're in Calicut. Put in other words, the car is ~1200kms away from us. That gives us two options
  • Drive the car all the way down after carrying out the necessary repairs and replacements.
  • Bring the car home via Movers & Packers.
As of now, we're more inclined in driving the car down rather then opting for Movers & Packers, just for the heck of it. *evil grin*

Regarding the car, well, the car in question was left used for quite some time as the seller has few other vehicles. I guess, few works need to be done on the car urgently to be on the safer side. Given my limited knowledge the things that needs urgent replacement are :
  • Belts
  • Filters
  • Throttle Body Cleaning(?)
  • Change Fluids after flushing
  • Tyres
  • OVRMs
  • Wiper Motor
  • Rubber Beadings
  • Strut Bushes
  • Headlights
  • AC Gas Top-up. May require some work as the car was left unused.

Basically, we're thinking on the lines of sourcing the required parts from Kava Automobiles and likes. Then, getting the car repaired from trustworthy, reliable and reputed mechanic/service station.

Err...I need your valuable inputs very badly :
  1. Where can I get all these works done in Mumbai? Suggest me some good service centre/mechanics. Please provide the contact details, in case you've.
  2. Which brand synthetic oil and flushing oil is recommended? or Should I stick with mineral oil?
  3. Did I miss anything that needs to be replaced? If yes, please let me know.
  4. In worst case, if we opt for Movers & Packers, which one do you recommend?

Thanks in anticipation my friends. *smile*

PS: Don't say things like : i) don't touch a pre-owned S10 even with a barge pole, ii) you'll end up spending more time sourcing parts rather then enjoying the car iii) Fiat A.S.S sucks a big time and blah blah. We really know what we're getting into. *pun intended* :uncontrol

Skoda Rapid - Tyre Upgrade & Upsizing

Skoda Rapid - Tyre Upgrade & Upsizing

The best upsize for the existing 185/60/R15 is 205/55/R15 (0.5 % deviation).

In Bangalore, with great difficulty, I was finally able to source Continental CPC2 and Yokohoma S.Drives in this size (exactly 4 tyres each, at different dealers). No Michelins, Bridgestones or Pirelli's available in this size...

In reading through the forum, I came across 2 very disturbing threads:
For the S.drives: Yokohoma S Drives
For the CPC2's: CPC2

I'm absolutely undecided... I'd love to get one final concensus on which tyres i should go for b/w the two - as these are my only two options (except Apollo's again of course).

Note: My driving is mixed - city + highway. I drive fast (on the highways mostly) when its safe and empty, I love ghats, and I like to push the car to its limit when its safe, so to me - cornering, straightline speed/stability, braking, traction are all important. Also, given the wonderful (i.e horrible) road conditions at Bangalore, ride comfort is equally important as well.

So, between the CPC2 and the S.Drives, which would you prefer/recommend? Please feel free to elaborate why in as much detail as possible. Thanks!

Tyre upsize for Skoda Rapid (CPC2 or S.Drive). Need Help for selecting Alloys too

Tyre upsize for Skoda Rapid (CPC2 or S.Drive). Need Help for selecting Alloys too

The best upsize for the existing 185/60/R15 is 205/55/R15 (0.5 % deviation).

In Bangalore, with great difficulty, I was finally able to source Continental CPC2 and Yokohoma S.Drives in this size (exactly 4 tyres each, at different dealers). No Michelins, Bridgestones or Pirelli's available in this size...

In reading through the forum, I came across 2 very disturbing threads:
For the S.drives: Yokohoma S Drives
For the CPC2's: CPC2

I'm absolutely undecided... I'd love to get one final concensus on which tyres i should go for b/w the two - as these are my only two options (except Apollo's again of course).

Note: My driving is mixed - city + highway. I drive fast (on the highways mostly) when its safe and empty, I love ghats, and I like to push the car to its limit when its safe, so to me - cornering, straightline speed/stability, braking, traction are all important. Also, given the wonderful (i.e horrible) road conditions at Bangalore, ride comfort is equally important as well.

So, between the CPC2 and the S.Drives, which would you prefer/recommend? Please feel free to elaborate why in as much detail as possible. Thanks!

Spotted a WINNER at the HM Showroom

Spotted a WINNER at the HM Showroom

I saw a vehicle badged WINNER parked outside the HM showroom here in Pondicherry. It also read HM Shifeng on the doors. Looked bigger and better finished than the ACE/GEO with bigger wheels too. Looks like HM could have a winner on their hands.

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P.S. Mods, i searched and could not find this anywhere, if a thread already exists, kindly merge.

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A Guide: Eating out in Haridwar Dehradun

A Guide: Eating out in Haridwar Dehradun

I am on a 4 day work trip to haridwar/Dehradun. Any suggestions for food, places where I can get this food?
Being south indian, I love Lassi in the north. So suggestions for that are also welcome.

Mods: Please merge this with any other thread if a new one is not warranted.

JDM Alto Eco returns 32kmpl, India calling

JDM Alto Eco returns 32kmpl, India calling

The 2012 Suzuki Alto Eco sold in the Japanese market promises an impressive fuel economy of up to 32km/L (~75.3mpg US or 3.1lt/100km) in the Japanese 10-15 test cycle and 30.0km/L in the JC08 driving cycle. The JDM Alto is powered a very fuel-efficient new R06A 0.66-liter three-cylinder engine featuring a start/stop system borrowed from

From Swift to a Rapid (after test driving everything else with a turbo under 23lakhs)

From Swift to a Rapid (after test driving everything else with a turbo under 23lakhs)

Swift to Rapid (on a budget!) - The journey...

The past:
My passion for speed started with 2 wheelers. The RX-100's, Shoguns, the lot... I wanted something different, so I searched all over the place and bought a used Supra SS in the year 2000 (the 110c, 16BHP, 4-speed close ratio gearbox version) from a friend's friend. I've never had so much fun on any other bike till date, so many fond memories… I still have the bike, it now runs a Shaolin based engine (the con rod and piston are RX-135's – due to lack of Shaolin oversized pistons), It's very nicely ported, 5 speed of course, has a 90/100 kit with a custom ignition, a 28mm flat slide carb, K&N intake, carbon fiber reeds, a brilliant exhaust chamber, front disc – estimated approx. 20BHP, flies to 135kmph on Michelin M45 rubber. Mr. Jaffer/Babu (Dream Machines, Sanjaynagar, Bangalore) should be credited for being patient with my precise needs of how the bike should deliver the power I wanted. We've blown through at least 5~6 cylinders, 10+ pistons and what not to get to this level… Modding a Suzuki in India is not easy as the Yamahas, half a day spent on a RX-135/Z (mild exhaust porting, air intake, exhaust chamber) would result in performance that's very close to my bike…. Anyway I wanted something different…

Fast forward 6 yrs. from then to 2006… I decided to buy a car finally. My budget was 5 lakhs, the motor had to be free-revving and punchy, and the car had to handle well. Nothing else fitted the bill other than a Swift Petrol. It looked awesome as well! So, I picked up a red Swift VXI. A year from then, got a performance K&N intake installed, got a free flow exhaust system/headers in place, platinum-iridium plugs and Potenza G3 185/70 tyres. Loved it! Just earlier this month, we drove down to Goa and we touched 180kmph quite a few times (150kmph was regular). The car was running as good as new, it engine was butter smooth, always ran on Shell Engine Oil/Gear Oil/Brake fluid/Coolant… I had some much fun in this car for 5.5 yrs., many memorable adventures ;-). Off late, I need more punch and power, and I contemplated turbocharging the car. Red Rooster quoted about 1.5~2Lakhs, which is not a bad deal, but is it worth it? I had second thoughts, mainly cause the VXI doesn't have ABS and Airbags. I needed something faster, a new car now, also safer. So, sold the beloved Swift couple of weeks back… and I miss it dearly :-(

I only had one complaint with the Swift. The gearbox design. I hate tall gear ratios. If you have a 5-speed box, I expect the gears to be close enough, the 5th gear should logically attain top speed (not necessarily at red line, at least 1000rpm short)... The Swift reached its top speed in 4th, the 5th was a very lazy overdrive. And the consequence of such is design obviously is that gears 1 thru 4 are widely spaced out… not very ideal. I swore that my next car would be different.

The present - the search for the new car:
For starters, I laid out some minimum requirements. Namely:

-If I was buying a Petrol, it had to be 16v DOHC with a Turbocharger (non-Variable Geometry Turbo was ok for Petrol), Direct Injection & Variable Valve Timing

-If I was buying a Diesel, it had to be 16v DOHC Common-rail with a Variable Geometry Turbo

-Engine: 1.6 ~ 2.0 liter or higher (a smaller engine was acceptable if also supercharged... deep down I was hoping the 1.4 TSI Twincharger would debut with the Jetta)

-Horsepower: 120~160BHP or higher (I was targeting ~100 BHP / ton)

-Torque: 25 kgm or higher

-No turbo lag (little lag was acceptable if everything else was brilliant in the car)

-Gearbox: 6 speed (or a brilliant 5 speed box was acceptable). Short/close ratio gearbox , Tall ratios is a no-no

-0-100: ~ 10 seconds
-20-80 in 3rd gear: ~ 10 seconds
-30-100 in 4th gear: ~ 11 seconds

-Top speed: ~200 kmph

-Mileage ~10kmpl in city

-Brakes: All round discs (no drum stuff)

-Wheels: 16 inch alloys, 205/55~60 tyres

-Safety: ABS + EBD, 2 Airbags minimum

-Handling: No body roll, shouldn't wallop around during hard cornering, Steering feedback should be direct, Stiff'ish suspension

The other tit-bits/features that I wanted were: A/C climate control with rear vents, Audio system with USB in, Steering mounted audio controls, Auto sense headlights and wiper, Rear defogger, Realtime mileage indicator / distance to empty in the HUD, Electrically adjustable side view mirrors, Auto dimming inside mirror, Fog lights, Rear park sensors - the works!

Yeah, I had the bar set very high! And wanted a lot for very less! Little did I know…

Finally the Price: I froze on an extended budget of around 15 lakhs. I was prepared to sell my dog (for the sensitive folks, pun intentionally intended, my HUGE German Shepard goes by the name Shadow, and I love him dearly, he's 11yrs old), one kidney (one's enough to live), one eye (I figured one's enough to drive, right?), and was alreadt to sell one to two bedrooms from my 3 bedroom flat… ha ha!

So, I set out to test drive the best cars of today. This was October-through-November'2011. I straight away dismissed *most* of the Petrols in the market as they didn't have a Turbo, also dismissed all the Diesels under 100BHP (Ford Fiesta, Linea, SX4 etc.) as they really didn't feel fast enough for my taste. And Tata …wait a minute, I thought we were talking about cars, so moving on…

Fiat Linea Tjet plus 1.4 – I sort of like the T-Jet, good punchy motor, good gearbox, looks great, all round disc brakes, slightly higher priced I guess… Didn't like that the engine wasn't cutting edge (Not Direct Injection, doesn't have Variable valve timing), and it was a 1.4L. Torque was acceptable, the 0-100 was acceptable (11.05s), the 20-80 in 3rd (11.94s) was also ok, but 30-100 in 4th (15.52s) was too slow for my taste since I'd experienced something similar in the Swift, the mileage wasn't great at 9.4kmpl in the city either for a 1.4L. Feature rich and packed, I also get the wheels/tyres and safety features that I wanted, brilliant handling. But, the in-gear acceleration times and the mileage threw me off… so did the lack of Direct Injection & Variable Valve Timing.

Hyundai (fluidic) Verna SX 1.6 VGT: I love the way this baby looks. Love how refined the CRDI engine is, you can hardly hear it. Love how many features are packed into it. Love the price at 11.57L, … and all the love ends there. Personally, the car doesn't feel like it has 126BHP under the hood. Too sluggish for my taste for city driving. Hate the gearbox. With a 6 speed box, don't understand how the 5th and the 4th gears should hit almost the same top speed…yes, I know there's a marginal difference of about 10kmph. The tall ratios reflect in the in-gear acceleration times and makes the turbo lag quite pronounced in the city. 0-100 is good in 10.54s, but in-gear acceleration figures (20-80 in 3rd at 13s, and 30-100 in 4th at 15.1s) were ridiculous for a car with 126BHP and 6 gears. This thing has all round discs, but doesn't feel that way either. I hate the handling, lack of steering feedback, loathed the body roll and it scared the crap out of me when I experienced how unstable it was at high speeds. Deleted it from my list of probable cars. I wish Hyundai would learn someday, no offence to those who love the new Verna, just expressing my point of view.

VW Vento 1.6 TDI Highline: I really like the Vento. Brilliant and punchy motor, revs quite freely for a diesel, amazing torque of 25kgm and how it's delivered! Virtually no turbo lag, good 5 speed gearbox with excellent gear ratios, looks great, pricing is fine …Didn't like the fact that the engine was a little noisy and that the handling /steering feedback was ok/acceptable (not great). The 0-100 (11.30s) figures don't do justice on paper as it feels faster than that, but the brilliant part is the in-gear acceleration. 20-80 in 3rd (9.24s), and 30-100 in 4th (10.5s) is unbelievable for a car in this class, they're the best figures for any car up to 17lakhs. Heck, don't believe me? Compare it to the Skoda Laura 1.8 TSI's in-gear acceleration figures of 20-80 in 3rd (9.47s) and 30-100 in 4th (10.79s) – the Vento is actually quicker in-gear, WOW! The mileage is great too at 13.1kmpl in the city. Feature rich, and I also had the safety features I wanted. The Vento also just got Steering mounted audio controls, Rear parking sensors and USB input in the audio system as well. I was just wishing the diesel clatter could have been slightly better handled, the handling could have been slightly better, and was also wishing it had 16" wheels with 195/60 or 205/55 tyres. I really love this car for the price of 12Lakhs… but wanted to explore other options before I decided.

BTW - VW is offering 6.99% interest on car loans, on the Petrol variants and the Trendline Diesel. The Breeze offer (Sat Nav, Touch Music system, Rear park, etc.) is only on the Petrols. The Comfortline Diesel does not get any offers whatsoever.

Chevy Optra – I grew up admiring the car, but didn't want to go in for it. It's an old model. I do love the punchy engine though.

Chevy Cruze LT 2.0 VCDi: I love the way the Cruze looks, good punchy motor, fantastic torque, ok gearbox though,…Didn't like that the engine wasn't DOHC, didn't like the fact that the manual wasn't 6 speed like the automatic variant. And it has significant turbo lag in the manual variant, which was a turn-off. The feature list is endless – I get everything I want, which was brilliant! The 0-100 figures are good (9.64s), but the in-gear acceleration figures are poor, 20-80 in 3rd (13.83s) and the 30-100 in 4th (16.38s) are both very poor for a 2.0L engine, and I know this is because of the turbo log. Mileage is not bad at 10.3kmpl in the city for a 150BHP Commom rail engine. Was it worth 15.13L ? Almost yes – but only if the in-gear acceleration figures were better and if it had a 6-speed box, and no turbo lag of course.

Chevy Cruze (Automatic) LTZ 2.0 VCDi: So, I drove the Cruze Automatic LTZ next – 6 speed, well chosen ratios, did not exhibit any noticeable turbo lag, and was actually fun to drive. In manual tiptronic mode, the gearbox doesn't upshift at all, even at red-line – till you shift yourself. Nice eh? You're in full control... Being an auto, the 0-100 is very good in 9.95s, and in kick-down mode the 20-80 in 3rd (6.17s) and 30-100 in 4th (8.18s) is excellent as well. Now compare it to the Laura 2.0 DSG TDI's figures 0-100 (9.72s), 20-80 in 3rd (6.27s), 30-100 in 4th (7.93s) and you'll see that the Cruze Automatic is very competitive! and it felt very good on the road as well. Hmm, I really liked the Cruze automatic, but the price put me off. At 18.12 Lakhs, you're now in Skoda Laura territory. The Laura 2.0 TDI with DSG is available at 18.88L with a 80k discount. I'd choose a Laura any day… so I drove the Laura next. One thing to note is that the new 2012 Cruze refresh is set to debut soon, and it's rumored to be a 160BHP DOHC engine with a 6-speed manual box. This will be awesome for sure, but the Chevy guys themselves don't know when it'll launch. I can't wait any longer, I need a car – missing my Swift too much...

Skoda Laura 1.8 TSI Petrol - Classic: Man, it's brilliant! A turbocharged petrol with 160BHP, a brilliant 6 speed gearbox, brilliant steering feedback and handling. A petrolhead's dream… I test drove it twice, both very long drives. State of the art engine, gorgeous to look at… I wanted this. Look at the acceleration figures, 0-100 in 8.17s, 20-80 in 3rd (9.47s), 30-100 in 4th (10.79s), top speed of 223kmph. I really wanted this car… To top it all up, Skoda is now offering a flat 1.8L discount on this car. From 15.6L, you get it now for 13.8L. Unbelievable! And fuel efficient for an engine of this caliber – 9.8kmpl in the city. I was going to buy this, abso-freakin-lutely… What I didn't like was that the Classic is totally stripped of features, doesn't even have alloys for crying out loud. The Ambiente is better spec'd and you get it for about 16.94L with a 1lakh discount, but the Classic at 13.8L is fantastic value. Another thing that was tugging away at the back of my mind was that the Laura had been around for some time, it's due for an update/refresh next year. I will get screwed (read: poor re-sale value) when I want to sell this after 6yrs maybe. But then again, why are they giving a 1.8L discount? Cause nobody wants to buy Petrol anymore and the thought of selling it away for peanuts i.e 5lakhs or so maybe 6yrs down the line came back to haunt me. I'm not rich, didn't inherit anything, don't have a business, I just have a salaried job, and I work too damn hard for every rupee I earn, and I'd have to take a 7yr loan for this car (nah, I won't even be eligible to pay EMI's for a 5yr loan for this car) and can't afford to lose too much in resale few years down the lane. Also, factor in the petrol cost… but deep down I said kept telling myself "idiot, focus on the engine, balls to the fuel cost". I hate that in our country, we pay less for diesel, compare it to the US where diesel fuel is actually marginally more expensive than petrol!!!

- I slept on this for a few days…

Skoda Laura 2.0 TDI (140BHP, DSG) - Ambiente: I loved this as well, I already knew the handling and steering is awesome, and the 2L engine is fantastic. No turbo lag whatsoever. The DSG gearbox is brilliant! I think it has 6th sense, it's so intuitive! Acceleration figures are class leading 0-100 (9.72s), 20-80 in 3rd (6.27s), 30-100 in 4th (7.93s), and yet it's extremely fuel efficient for a powerful automatic (11.6kmpl in the city). Did I mention the DSG? ;-) it's so much fun in Sport mode, lightening quick shifts. The Ambiente is better spec'd as well (compared to the Petrol only Classic), and I get back some of the features, but not all. This thing costs 18.88L, and it doesn't have climate control, or USB input in the audio system, no rear park sensors and has 15" alloys (not 16"). But it's beautiful, and in crappy traffic like Bangalore or in the beautiful winding western ghats, the DSG automatic will be an absolute dream. I decided that if I was buying an automatic, it's gotta be a Laura DSG Diesel. I knew I couldn't afford it, I was just dreaming… I slept on this some more... I hadn't driven the Jetta yet.

VW Jetta 2.0 TDI – Highline: What a package! Has pretty much everything anyone needs, Looks fantastic, handles well, punchy motor, the DSG is phenomenal as usual, you get 8 freakin airbags, traction control (which is also there on the Laura), Electronic stability program, Electronic Differential Lock, etc. – so it's as safe as safe can get, and very clever. It's built like a tank! Similar acceleration and fuel economy as the Laura (same engine and weight as the Laura, so obviously). And, you have one extra gizmo - the paddle shifts. The best fun I've had in my entire life! The best test drive of any car in India (I say India because I recently drove a Ferrari 458 Italia at the Las Vegas Speedway for $399.. more on that later, I promise!) But, if anyone hasn't driven the Jetta Highline DSG with paddles, take a test drive ASAP – just for the heck of it. You won't be disappointed… Right then, I decided that if I buy an automatic, it has to be a diesel with DSG of course, but it has to have paddle shifts! Jetta was the new automatic of choice... What I didn't like is that when you pay 22.28L, you don't get USB input in the audio system, and you don't get climate control either. I think they will throw these into the next refresh, whenever it happens… I also wanted to test drive the Jetta manual, but they didn't have one. It would be an interesting buy at 17.64L. But then, at 22.28L for the Highline with paddle shifts, you're now creeping into Skoda Superb territory. Mu hu ha ha ha! (read: evil laugh)

Skoda Superb: Has the 2 best engines, the 1.8 160BHP TSI, and the 2.0 140BHP TDI – with 6-speed and 7-speed DSG or manual. The most feature rich and complete package in any car I've driven in India (till date). Enough said… I was way out of my league. Will revisit this in 6 yrs.…

Then the Skoda Rapid launched, the TDI Elegance:
I read the Autocar preview, looked good. Then the Team-BHP review came out, and man – what a review! It was beautifully crafted, and as detailed as ever. Kudos to Samurai and Vid6639, you guys did an awesome job. After reading the review, I ran to the nearest Skoda showroom and took a hard look at the car. I really loved the way it looked, Skoda did a good job. Then I drove it, thrice in 3 days – I began to appreciate the improved handling and NVH (as compared to the Vento). I was impressed. And to top it all off, Skoda has apparently communicated (as per some websites) that the 0-100 is 10.8s for the TDI (as compared to the Vento's measured 11.3s, as per Autocar). Hmm… not sure how far this is true, we'll know when Autocar or somebody else measures it in more detail, but note that the Rapid is very slightly lighter. The engine felt very nice for sure, slightly better than the Vento for some reason, and equally punchy or better. To remind you again, Vento's 20-80 in 3rd (9.24s), and 30-100 in 4th (10.5s) is class-leading and is marginally better than Laura 1.8 TSI's 20-80 in 3rd (9.47s) and 30-100 in 4th (10.79s)! The in-gear acceleration figures should be the same as the Vento at least right? It certainly felt very quick, identical or better than the Vento. And, I get the TDI Elegance for 11.2L, which is 80k cheaper than the Vento Comfortline. Of course, you immediately realize that you don't get Steering audio controls, USB input in the audio system and Rear park sensors, but in all – these 3 features wouldn't cost you more than 25k to install (if you were to take a basic 2-Din Pioneer system, and basic functional rear park sensors, and pioneer's steering remote). The Rapid was looking like a very good deal, the best part was that I was thoroughly impressed by the engine.

Now, I had to decide between the Rapid Elegance at 11.2Lakhs, or the Laura TSI Classic at 13.8Lakhs.

I couldn't decide for almost a week, I had countless constructive arguments with friends and my younger bro (who works at Chrysler, in Detroit) over this decision.

Then, I just bit the bullet, and froze on the Rapid – it's extremely good value for money, its Diesel and very fuel efficient, so my running costs are very low. And I'll get a good resale value when I sell it. And I get to keep my dog, my kidney, my eye and my bedrooms, and I can afford a 5yr car loan!

Then, I had countless arguments with myself and my good pal Shadow-the-Shepard, cause the Rapid didn't meet some of the over-enthusiastic minimum requirements that I'd set for myself: Here's how I counter argued them (...myself):

-1.6L 16V DOHC with VGT (variable geometry turbo) - check

-I'd set a min. target of 120BHP – the Rapid was 105BHP. I'll wait for the Pete's tuning box to complete testing on the Vento. I spoke to Mr.Pete himself the other day, and he was kind enough to let me know that they're still testing on the Vento, and the results weren't great, so the box was sent back to PSI for analysis... The box should be ready in about 2~3 months though. BTW – Red Rooster and Race Dynamics said they have a tuning box for the Vento for 20k, expected to boost horsepower to 130BHP.

-I'd set a min. target of 100BHP per ton – The Rapid works out to 87BHP per ton, but the tuning box will help, right? Moving on…

-6 speed gearbox – The Rapid's 5-speed is very well matched, and has carefully selected ratios. Can't complain one bit…

-25kgm torque - check

-No turbo lag – check

-0-100 in ~10s – Autocar measured the Vento at 11.3s, some websites indicate that the Rapid can do it in 10.8s, close enough

-In gear acceleration times – The Rapid/Vento beats my requirements

-Top speed of 200kmph – The Rapid/Vento will hit a 'true' 186kmph. That's like 190/195kmph on the speedo. 200kmph on the speedo is good enough for me. Hmm, the Tuning box will help right? Maybe an air intake will add fun to the party, an exhaust mod too maybe (is one recommended for a diesel?), but I think the 5th gear will be at redline at close 200kmph (if we can get it there, cause its already doing 4100rpm at 186kmph, the redline is 5000rpm)

-Climate control with rear vents, rear defogger, mileage indicator in the HUD, Elec. Adj side view mirrors, Fog lights – all check

-Auto sense headlights/ wipers & auto dimming inside RVM – that was asking for too much in the first place, only the Laura L&K, the Jetta Highline and all other cars beyond that horizon have *all* of them. So ignore…

-USB input in audio system, steering mounted audio controls, rear park assist

– not available on the Rapid, but won't cost more than 25k. Acceptable

-All round disc brakes – fail, nothing I can do about it. Mr. Pete said he can install a new set of all round discs, but it will be very very expensive. But the Rapid's braking is good. Sporty tyres should help some more, right?

-ABS+EBD & Airbags - check

-16" alloys, 205/55~65 tyres – Can't do the 16" alloys as then I'll have to go with 205/50 tyres for the upsize (if i need to duck under the 2% deviation), moreover a 50 profile is silly for our roads. Will go in for the 205/55/R15 tyres (which is the right upsize with about 0.58% deviation). BTW – I'm having a hard time sourcing tyres of this size, the Yokohama S.Drives are temporarily stopped due to ISI certification issues, Pirelli India, Bridgestone and Michelin don't have this size in their India lineup. Continental is nowhere to be seen in Bangalore. Don't like Dunlop or Goodyear. Apollo Acellere is available, but nah. Will wait for a while…

So, the Rapid TDI Elegance it was! And I don't regret it at all!

Again, this decision wouldn't have been possible if not for the awesome and timely Team-BHP review. You guys rock! Thank you very much!
Anyway, thought I'd share all this as this might help somebody else looking for a car in this segment (or the next segment).

Oh, before I forget, I booked the car Monday last week, a Silver Rapid at Vinayak Motors. I got a call yesterday and they said the car's ready! Phenomenal work Skoda! Kudos. Hope you earn back all your reputation. I really had a very good experience at Vinayak Motors at Bangalore. Good stuff. Then in-between all this, I dropped into Skoda yesterday to check out the Silver Rapid, and I saw a Candy-White Test drive Rapid next to it. Oh boy, the white looked better to my eyes (did I mention I'm party color blind?, but it's the red/green/brown or blue/purple shades that confuse me ONLY when they're next to each other). The White Rapid looks definitely better to me... So, I changed my booking to Candy-White, only to hear that stock of White TDI Rapids will take a week or so more. Well, no problem. I'll wait. It'll be worth it!

But my bank loan isn't ready yet, they actually rejected it! Apparently I cannot afford a 8 lakh loan. Man... give me a break (and to think I was actually considering a Laura). Anyway, I spoke to the manager, and we worked something out in the morning, so the loan just got approved today...

Attaching pictures of the white Rapid TDI Elegance – test drive car – that I fell in love with

Also attaching a spreadsheet which captures all of my research in detail. Hope this is useful to somebody else as well.

Disclaimer: All performance and fuel efficiency figures quoted are courtesy Autocar India Magazine, but of course it doesn't take a genius to understand they're fairly accurate when you drive the cars. All prices quoted are actual On-the-road figures as of November 15th, 2011 at Bangalore.

I swear to do a full review after my first 1000kms, which is when I plan to starting revving up this baby to its potential! Till then, Salud !

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Honda unveils new 1.6 litre diesel engine, India bound

Honda unveils new 1.6 litre diesel engine, India bound

Honda unveiled its new 1.6 litre diesel engine during an event where Honda announced the outline for a revolutionary next-generation technology for automobiles called “Earth Dreams Technology.” Earth Dreams Technology” is a next generation set of technological advancements which greatly enhance both driving performance and fuel efficiency at a high level, using as its base

Toyota to launch new SUV in India

Toyota to launch new SUV in India

Found this article in


The Indian unit of the Japanese auto giant Toyota Motors is working on the development of a new Rs 10 to 12 lakh Sports Utility Vehicle in the Indian market, as per the recent tweet of Mr. Hormazd Sorabjee, Autocar India. As per the media reports, the new SUV from the Toyota portfolio will be launched in the price segment of Rs 10 to 12 lakh, where it will be competing with the likes of Mahindra Scorpio, recently launched Mahindra XUV 500, Tata Aria, Tata Safari Merlin and Force One.

The new Toyota SUV will be developed on the modified platform of Etios model that made its debut in the Indian auto market about a year back.

The decision of launching a new SUV in the volume segment seems to have been taken in a bid to tap the increasing demand for the SUVs in the country. The multi utility vehicle Toyota Innova has already been a major success of the car maker in India as Innova has been leading MUV segment since its launch in the country. The company is now looking forward to give the SUV segment another segment leader by launching this new model.

The rapidly growing SUV segment is attracting a number of multinational car makers to launch their models in the Indian market. Even the largest car maker Maruti Suzuki will showcase a concept version its upcoming SUV at the Delhi Auto Expo in January 2012.
If they do launch this SUV, I wish they do a proper job.

Mod:dint find a existing thread, please merge if already discussed.

Honda announces Next-gen “Earth Dreams Technology”

Honda announces Next-gen "Earth Dreams Technology"

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. today announced the outline for a revolutionary next-generation technology for automobiles called “Earth Dreams Technology.” “Earth Dreams Technology” is a next generation set of technological advancements which greatly enhance both driving performance and fuel efficiency at a high level, using as its base advanced environmental technologies to pursue the joy of

Glad to be a BHPian

Glad to be a BHPian

Hello all

I don't know where to start and what to tell!!! Just came back from a vacation only to see the ever so awesome words from Team BHP admins - "Your Team BHP membership has been approved". WOW! After seeing several posts that state its difficult getting into the team, I cant stop myself but smile because it was my first attempt and I feel blessed. I remember the time when my brother was talking all about Team BHP during one of our usual debates on cars. All I said to myself then was that he was just being another bragging brat!! I'm glad to sneak in to the site one day because I know I have been hooked ever since!

I have so much to talk and read about!! All I'd want to say is that I'm glad to be a part of the awesome ( awesome is an understatement actually) team and all the members, moderators and admin are definitely doing a great job!!

Home automation Thread

Home automation Thread

Recently I had visited a premium villa in bangalore and found the home automation for home lighting (mood lighting),security and piped music as well the centralised video streaming, remote garage opening/monitoring over Iphone etc.
Found many products based on Insteon/X10 protocols for USA (110V), could not locate many companies except eLoka from bangalore, dealing with this attractive idea.
With so many gadget admirers/software professionals, I request people to share their ideas.

Country’s first Fiat brand store in Delhi likely to be inaugurated on January 6

Country's first Fiat brand store in Delhi likely to be inaugurated on January 6

Sources have revealed to that the formal ceremony to mark the opening of Fiat’s first brand store in India is likely to be held on the 6th of January. Fiat has decided skip the Auto Expo and will launch its MY2012 Linea and Punto models on the 3rd in a different location.

Shortly after these models have been introduced, it will open the brand store, a new concept for a mass market brand, to the public.

Fiat 500 in Berlin during its launch in 2008A giant hoarding during the launch of the Fiat 500 in Berlin back in 2008

The first brand store, rumored to be in Connaught place, is where customers and fans of the Italian car maker can learn about its rich history and product lines. The display area could have special visitors in the form of imported cars and theme cars.

Depending upon the response the first store generates, Fiat could put up similar brand stores in other parts of the country to raise the awareness of Fiat products, design, technology and heritage. It is created to serve future customers and fans an experience of Fiat brand. Fiat could give visitors a taste of Italy with authentic snacks and coffee, the source adds.

Nissan likely to showcase Leaf, GT-R at Auto Expo 2012

Nissan likely to showcase Leaf, GT-R at Auto Expo 2012 is told by sourced with direct knowledge on the matter that Nissan could display the (green) peace-loving Leaf and the ear-shattering GT-R at next year’s Delhi Auto Expo. India is not hearing the name of this critically acclaimed sports car as Nissan India gifted an example to India’s first F1 racing driver Narain Karthikeyan.

Powered by a 3.8-liter twin turbo V6 engine that puts out a mind-boggling 520hp/612Nm, the Nissan GT-R, some call Godzilla, injured British television presenter Jeremy Clarkson’s neck while he was filming in Japan.

Nissan GT-R

The Leaf EV, touted to be the next generation automobile is on the opposite side of the spectrum. It has divorced the fuel station, so from that perspective it cannot survive in India as we don’t have the supporting infrastructure and charging terminals. The Leaf travels 160km on a full charge and uses Lithium Ion batteries. It is marketed as an environmentally friendly and economical family car.

Nissan Leaf

The Leaf EV is a brand shaping tool and though India’s not ready for it, any form of everyday transport that does not run on petrol or diesel is a crowd puller. Besides these exhibits, Nissan will not miss out the opportunity of displaying its existing model portfolio.

Help with identifying a scooter - Is it a Narmada 150?

Help with identifying a scooter - Is it a Narmada 150?


I would need help from the experts with identifying a scooter.
I am pretty sure it is Indian, but that's about all I know.

Thanks in advance,

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New Tata Safari likely to be on view at Auto Expo; Merlin not its commercial name

New Tata Safari likely to be on view at Auto Expo; Merlin not its commercial name

Tata Safari MerlinSources have revealed to that Tata Motors is evaluating all possible options for the launch of the next generation Safari that’s been testing since early 2010.

The company is likely to exhibit the model at the Delhi Auto Expo next year and launch it in early 2012. This was the strategy followed with the Aria crossover in 2010.

See interiors shots of the Safari Merlin

The new Safari will not grow significantly in dimension. It is based on the Aria platform and every body panel is different. Interiors are built making use of better quality plastics.

Merlin will borrow features and functions from the Aria. Technical changes have reportedly made the car much easier to drive in the city with a reworked steering system and gearbox.  The engine and gearbox have been retained and the power and toque outputs could rise marginally.

IndianAutosBlog can reveal that the name ‘Merlin’ is only an internal code. The commercial name will be different. Given that this is replacement for the existing Safari, it could use a suffix or continue without additions.

Spyshot sent in by Pune reader Anant Prakash.

BMW 325i: To buy or Not

BMW 325i: To buy or Not

Hi Team,

I came across someone who is selling a used BMW 325i. This vehicle is about 12 years old and clocked 75k kms.

The owner mentions an immaculate condition and service history.

Would you think this is worth a buy? What would be the best price to take?

What are the caveats to think?



My New Black Babe: The Hyundai I-20 Asta 1.4 CRDI.

My New Black Babe: The Hyundai I-20 Asta 1.4 CRDI.

Hello My Fellow Team BHPians,

After a 40day wait, (which literally seemed like a 40years to me), I finally got my car delivery from Continental Hyundai - Mulund W (L.A. Motors) in Mumbai on 20.11.2011; it's a Black 2011 Hyundai I-20 Asta Diesel, with a 5-speed MT! Car Pictures are inserted at the end! :D
(Prior to this, I used to drive a silver Indica v2 Turbo Diesel which I don't intend to sell it...yet!)

Since my car delivery 10days ago, I've done a little over 490 kms (and I loved every mm. of it! :D), but you can deduct around 25kms from that count, since it showed that in the odometer when I first fired-up my car at the showroom to drive it home!

It's apparently got a top-speed of about 180 kmph, however, I've not dared to go more than 80 kmph which is a common analogy followed by many until the First servicing.

I'd also like to tell you guys how my selection process was, between which cars, and Why i-20? To start things off, I considered classifying popular cars in the market today (that I like) as per their class, as per the best of my knowledge, understanding and practicality:

Standard Hatchbacks:
-Tata Indica and Indica Vista
(although the New "sedan class", ZX variant is very good, way better than current Tata Hatches, however considering the overall factors, it falls under this category!)
-Hyundai i-10, Santro, Eon
-Chevrolet Spark, Beat
-Ford Figo
-Honda Brio
-Toyota Etios Liva
-Fiat Punto
-Maruti Suzuki Swift, Alto, Wagon R

Premium Hatchbacks:
-Hyundai I-20
-Honda Jazz
-Fiat Grande Punto
-Volkswagen Polo
-Skoda Fabia
-Nissan Micra

And..Even a Few Sedans:
-Tata Manza ELAN
-Toyota Etios
-Swift Dezire
-Volkswagen Vento
-Hyundai Verna
-Honda City
-Ford Fiesta

* My parameters for buying my Second Car were:
It had to be Diesel, Within a Budget of ₹ 9L, excellent interior Space, great exterior & interior build-quality, awesome equipment list, good ride-quality & power and fuel efficiency.

So, based on all the above parameters most of the cars were eliminated automatically. The ones left for Final consideration were:

- Hyundai I-20 Asta Diesel – The One which I felt has the perfect balance Overall.

- Swift ZDI – Excellent ride but not much in terms of equipment list, almost average interior quality
- New Polo Highline Diesel – Not much in terms of equipment list, but the suspensions is superb, best in class and so is the build-quality
- Fiat Grande Punto - Excellent Ride (the suspensions are awesome), but noisy cabin and not as powerful as I-20, average build-quality.
- Volkswagen Vento Highline Diesel – Soon realised that it's out of my budget, but still not much in terms of equipment list, although it's a fun car to drive
- Hyundai Verna Diesel – Simply out of my budget, excellent car with great equipment list, great linear power delivery, but I-20 was surprisingly much more spacious
- Tata Vista ZX Quadrajet (the "sedan class") – Surely the roomiest of the Lot in terms of cabin space, build-quality better than its prequels but still not at par with the polo or the I-20.

Now, about my Black Babe!!

Here's a rather short list of goodies provided to me by the dealer:

- Mud Flaps
- Floor Mats
- Car Cover

In conjunction to this, I also got all four tires (and they're Apollo alloys nevertheless), along-with the steering-wheel and my car keys absolutely for Free too!!
Pardon my magnanimity, but I'm very unhappy that I didn't get a good deal on my car that usually costs more than ₹ 8L on-road!

Furthermore, for those who think there's no waiting period for Hyundai i-20 diesel, well you'll be wrong in assuming that, much like I was! Yea, that's right! There was a 40day waiting period only for a 'Diesel' i-20 since the sales guy reckons that the petrol models are more in-demand; however, ironically enough I didn't even get Any Discounts on my Asta Diesel, whereas in the Petrol mod, you also get 200lts. of free fuel coupons in conjunction to the assured Two-day car-delivery, along-with a further cash discount of 10k, free insurance and adding 'fuel to fire' (pun intended!), even a corporate discount of 3k for multinational employees!

Although I did manage to get a great deal on the car-loan and insurance, the full-details of this is shared soon enough.

Now, pertaining to the Pros & Cons of the Car, here's a detailed write-up on that:

- Amazing Build Quality and a stunning looking Car; great aesthetics, exteriors and interiors!
- 1.4 CRDI Pulls like a Horse on steroid-overdose; no turbo-lag whatsoever but it's best pick-up comes from after the 3rd gear.
- Extremely responsive and a well-tuned engine
- Very smooth and precise gear-shifts; it also feels very sporty, yet professional!
- I do not know what Hyundai has done, but I felt the steering is great and the feed-back is awesome in the city and at higher speeds which in my case until now is 80kmph! (Lol). But seriously, the 'light/ dead' feel of the steering at higher speeds has been resolved; well, at least in the case of my car!
- Great Equipment list, fully loaded with a pack of goodies. This indeed is the best car in the class pertaining to equipment list that's loaded in this!
- Very reliable brand, with great after-sales and dealer network. (as told to me by many!)

- The Suspensions is will bob you around on bad roads.
- Weak Horns and Head-lights.
- No freebies or discounts with the diesel variants of the car.
- Sometimes, when I'm on a neutral at a signal and when the light's green when I want to quickly put it in the 1st gear to take off, it doesn't fall in the right spot. I mean, I ain't daft nor am I an amateur, so I can assure you that I'm not a wobbly gear-shifter, however when I fiddle with about two times it then falls in the right spot, i.e. the 1st gear! :Frustrati
(Please advise me if this happens on all New cars, or is it specific to me only. Moreover, this happens like twice for every 10 stops I make!)

Additional Accessories added by me to the Car:

1.Original Hyundai Manufactured Leather Seat Covers, custom-made for I-20:
₹6,700 + ₹500 labour charge for fixed fitting. Done by Hyundai service-men.
2. Garware Cool-Vision scratch-proof sun-film for the front, and Llumar Silver series sunfilm for sides and rear (The latter was fixed by the Hyundai guys):
₹1600 and ₹1900 respectively (all costs incl. of Labour)
3. Skoda Dual Horns:
₹700 incl. of labour
4. Phillips 100/90 Headlights:
₹750 incl. of wiring and labour charges
5. AutoCop Reverse Parking Sensor:
₹2900 incl. of labour charges
6. Pioneer 240W Oval Woofers in the Back:
₹2410 incl. original ply-wood stand for the speakers, wiring and labour charges
7. Full Floor Black Soft Plubber (a mix of Plastic & Rubber) Floor Matting:
₹950 incl. labour charges
8. Car Perfume from Concept:
9. Cost for personalised car number:
₹5000 incl. of agent commission
10. Car Vacuum Cleaner:

Cost Summary

Total Cost of Additional Accessories: ₹25,310
Total Cost of Car Incl. of Insurance: ₹811,366

Total Cost of Car Ownership: ₹836,676

Enjoy The Pics!!!
(clicked from my blackberry bold 9900)
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ______________

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