Base model at Rs.5.78 lakh
The 1.5-litre petrol engine car is priced at Rs.5.78 lakh for the base model and Rs.7.68 lakh for the top-end model (ex-showrooms in New Delhi).
“We are planning to sell 40,000 units across all models available in India by the end of this fiscal. Of this, we aim to sell around 12,000 units of Sunny,” Nissan Motor India Managing Director Kiminobu Tokuyama told reporters here at the launch.
The 10th generation Sunny is based on Nissan’s popular V-(versatile) platform, which is also used in Micra, its first car in the country.
Sunny is the second car manufactured at the Chennai facility, which the company jointly owns with French maker Renault, its international alliance partner. The company sold 13,030 vehicles last fiscal, of which 12,000 were Micra. It had sold 1,384 units in August, led by the compact car Micra.
“India is an exciting market for many global auto majors. We want to tap the opportunity. We will launch three more models by 2015,” Nissan Motor Company Corporate Vice-President (Africa, Middle East and India) Gilles Normand said, adding the company was happy with the performance of Micra.
Mr. Normand, however, did not reveal the name and price of the upcoming three models. The auto maker said over 85 per cent of the components for Sunny had been locally sourced, out of which as much as 40 per cent parts were sourced from Chennai itself.
“We are certain that Sunny will redefine the dynamics of the sedan segment here. We have been able to aggressively position it, thanks to localisation in excess of 85 per cent, which also reiterates our commitment to this market,” Mr. Normand said.
The Chennai facility is expected to ram up its capacity to four lakh vehicles a year in near future.
All summer, researchers from the city’s Free University have been testing the automobile around the German capital.
The vehicle manoeuvres through traffic on its own using a sophisticated combination of devices, including a computer, electronics and a precision satellite navigation system in the trunk, a camera in the front, and laser scanners on the roof and around the front and rear bumpers.
“The vehicle can recognize other cars on the road, pedestrians, buildings and trees up to 70 meters around it and even see if the traffic lights ahead are red or green and react accordingly,” Raul Rojas, the head of the university’s research group for artificial intelligence, told reporters at a presentation on Friday.
“In fact, the car’s recognition and reaction to its environment is much faster than a human being’s reaction.”
The scientists have worked on their research car, a Volkswagen Passat worth $551,800 with lots of built-in special technology, for four years.
Several other groups have also been working on such technology recently, notably Google, which has been testing a robotic Toyota Prius in Nevada.
“There’s a big trend for completely computer-controlled cars many companies and research centers in several countries are working on it and it is hard to say, who’s got the most-developed vehicle at the moment,” Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, a professor for automotive economics at the University of Duisburg-Essen, told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
Mr. Dudenhoeffer estimated that with the technology advances, it could only take another decade for the fully automatic cars to start becoming available for consumers. “Even today’s cars are often partially computer-controlled, for example when it comes to parking or emergency brakes.”
However, he said, that besides the technological issues, the legal challenges would be another issue that needed to be regulated — “Who will be responsible when there’s an accident the owner or the passenger of the computer-controlled car or the company that produced it?”
“However, all in all, one can definitely say that computer-controlled cares will be much safer than human drivers,” Mr. Dudenhoeffer said. “Especially if you keep in mind that most of today’s accidents are caused by human error.”
In Berlin, the university researchers received a special permit from the city’s security and safety controllers in June to use it in regular traffic under the condition that a safety driver sits behind the steering wheel, even if he doesn’t touch anything not the steering wheel, gas pedals nor brakes.
On a special testing ground, the team has also been allowed to let the car run without anyone on board.
“This kind of technology is the future of mobility,” Mr. Rojas said, who had a more conservative estimate than Mr. Dudenhoeffer, saying that it may be 30 to 40 years before they become available to the average consumer.
The key to the automobile’s intelligence is in the way the computer program runs.
“In the beginning with had trouble with the robotic driving style of the car,” said Mr. Rojas. “But we’ve worked on the programming and now its driving style is as smooth as a human being.”
Mr. Rojas estimates that once the technology specifically the sensors gets less expensive, such cars will eventually conquer the roads.
“It is similar to the beginnings of the computers 40 years ago, only research labs could afford computers, now everybody is walking around with a computer in his pocket.”
Ideally, the car will respond to orders by remote control, for example on an iPad or an iPhone. With a click or a touch, the passenger can call the car to his personal location and then order the car to drop him off at his desired destination.
“This kind of car is actually perfect for car sharing,” said Mr. Rojas. “There will be no more need for owning a car once the automobile has dropped off its passenger it will drive on to the next passenger.”
Honda is finally stepping in to the mass market category in India with the introduction of the Brio. Marrying a quality product to sensitive pricing is a utopian idea; however the Brio has been conceived out of this very line of thought. Vikram Gour got behind the wheel to see if this little car lives up to being a mass mobile yet retaining Honda’s DNA
It takes a lot to build a small car that is destined to fight it out in the cut throat premium hatchback segment in India. The wish list of customers for this particular segment lies over such a wide range of choices and options that any one car maker will find it a daunting task to try and actually cater to fulfilling every single need. The result is there for all of us to see and each manufacturer that has stepped into this segment has ushered in a unique selling point of their own. Some ideas have worked, some have been a little lackluster, however the growing trend is that the premium hatchback marketplace is ever evolving and at the same time it is getting crowded as more and more manufacturers are looking at getting their hands on a slice of the pie for this is the largest selling segment in India. It’s good business sense to have a product in this segment, especially when you are a brand that caters to the masses. Honda has known all of this only too well and finally they are ready with their small mass car arsenal, the Honda Brio (pronounced: Br-ee-oo).
The Brio is a car that has been conceived for markets such as India. In fact a lot of the preliminary studies for the car have been carried out in India. The story started a few years back when Honda conducted va
rious surveys across the country in order to gauge the audience requirement as well as gain a better understanding on what exactly they will have to build from scratch. Representatives went across the country and met with a lot of people who fit the demographic requirement of wanting to own a premium hatchback.
They also conducted studies of their own in terms of buying patterns as well as a deeper look at the lifestyles of potential customers. Apart from that, they also checked out the potential competition and drove those cars, understood their place in the market and more importantly, Honda also checked those vehicles to figure out what are the common problem areas that customers find with those models. Post this detailed study, Honda drafted the requirements of what the Brio should be. In fact the study boiled down to three core needs of the Indian customer, which included the need to express themselves, the need to ferry around family safely and the need to be frugal. These needs were further drafted into the core values that a Honda small car should possess, namely, a strong presence, space and low fuel consumption.
The first value pillar laid down for the Brio was a strong presence. The designers have worked hard to give this little car a well proportioned stance that marries in many design cues associated with larger Honda products. According to the designers, the Brio is essentially based on a double triangle theme. The top triangle lies inverted and adds a flair of sleek dynamism, while the bottom upright triangle ushers in the sporty stance. Together these elements give the car a stance that signifies forward motion. With an underlying theme of active dynamism, the Brio had to have the right elements in place to give it a significantly higher visual appeal than its closest competitors. In doing so, the car has received a wider stance and the elements such as the sculpted hood, large headlights that flow into the body lines, large Honda logo and the flared wheel arcs paint a uniform picture in the minds eye of a small, yet purposefully built car. Viewed from the side, the small car proportions come into play, yet the high shoulder line and a lower crease help create a break in what could have been a boxy design and instead you get a very clear look at that forward motion stance.
The rear is where the designers have really turned to using elements rather than a design flair to spruce up the design and complete the exterior package. The entire hatch is glass. The large glass back immediately draws you away from the fact that the rear is essentially just plain flat. It works to really bring out the open ended design that the double triangle theme creates. Flanking the glass at the rear are the rear cluster lights which take their inspiration from the Jazz. Other elements that add to the exterior charm of the car are the aerodynamically sculpted ORVMs, a small integrated rear spoiler and the specially crafted alloys shod with 175/65 R 14 rubber that have been designed to be more aerodynamic. The exterior package has been executed very well and the Brio is bound to stand out in a crowd.
The interiors on the Brio are also a result of findings from the extensive survey conducted in India and parts of Asia. The research showed a strong trend towards the need of space and safety and this was the basis of the second value pillar that is intrinsic to the Brio. Following the Honda principle of man maximum-machine minimum, the little Brio is actually rather spacious on the inside. Effective packaging has freed up a lot of space and tall people can fit in rather comfortably even on the rear bench. It’s comparable to a magic trick small on the outside but large on the inside and that is just how well Honda has managed to free up the space on the inside which is definitely going to be one of the biggest USPs with the Brio. Apart from that, the interiors boast of quality plastics, though the color choice of dark brown for the console and a light beige for the glove box might not gel too well aesthetically, the plastics themselves are of a quality that is above what one would expect in this segment.
The console is neatly crafted and the cockpit area is concentrated around the driver to offer an engaging driving experience. The triple analog 3D meters are a nice touch and add an element of glamour. In terms of equipment, the Brio comes with a double DIN integrated audio system which boasts of an AUX and USB connectivity. The air-conditioning controls are simple; however the unit itself is very effective at cooling the car down. The other up market touch to the car are the steering mounted controls, which are a neat feature as well as help in terms of safety as the driver doesn’t get distracted by having to fidget with controls on the console. The front seats with integrated headrests offer a sporty touch and the fabric used on the seats is also rather nice. Despite being a small car built to a price, one cannot but feel that they are definitely inside a Honda, that is actually sums up the fact that the interiors have been executed keeping in mind Honda’s DNA of quality comfort.
As mentioned earlier, safety is also a concern that had to be addressed and Honda is offering the Brio with dual SRS front airbags, seatbelts with pretensioners, disc brakes, ABS and electronic brake distribution (EBD). The driver’s airbag is the latest i-SRS airbag system with continuously staged inflation which can accommodate a number of occupant positions and potential collision situations. It stays open longer and helps mitigate injuries even better. Further to this, the front bonnet construction and bumper have been designed to mitigate injury in case of hitting a pedestrian. In terms of body construction, the Brio incorporates Honda’s G-Force Control (G-Con) technology that helps with driving performance, ride comfort and safety. The construction of the body utilizes extensive usage of high tensile steel in key areas of the frame which help in offering a rigid yet light body. In fact the Honda Brio weighs in only at 930 kilograms, but offers a very strong structure. The Brio has passed the Japanese crash test norms which are significantly higher than the European norms, and that is definitely an achievement for a small hatchback.
Having taken the efforts in terms of car design, space, features and safety, it only made sense to power the Honda with a tech savvy motor. Under the hood of the Brio is a 1198cc i-VTEC petrol unit that makes 88PS @ 6000 rpm and churns out a decent 109Nm of torque @ 4600 rpm. This unit is based on the same motor that does duty in the Honda Jazz; however it has been revised for the Brio. The 5 speed gear box also boasts of revised ratios which capitalize on the new state of tune and offer a rather engaging drive experience. The motor is smooth, extremely refined and the only grouse we could find with the car was that it had to be revved hard while tackling inclines. Having said that the i-VTEC motor is a high revving engine and does need to hit those rpms in order to offer the benefits it’s designed for. Overall it’s a great driving experience, but what is equally important is the fact that the engine is a frugal unit and this brings me to the third value pillar of the Brio, namely, efficiency. With an ARAI claimed figure of 18.4 kilometers to the litre, the Brio is definitely efficient. Above that, Honda has incorporated a little ‘ECO’ light on the dash which allows the driver to tune their driving to a more economical one and gain the best out of this vehicle. On the other hand, the i-VTEC motor also offers a fair level of spirited driving that fits in with the sporty angle that the car portrays.
In terms of driving behavior, the little Brio is a charmer on four wheels. The light electronic power steering is a boon in city traffic, yet offers a fair level of feedback which is essential on a more spirited drive. The Brio also boasts of a 4.5 meter turning radius, which is great for our narrow roads, and usually tight driving circumstances. Ride quality has also been addressed and the McPherson struts up front and H shaped torsion beam at the rear do their duty rather well in soaking in the bumps and keeping the passengers comfortable. Despite being a comfortable ride, there has been no real compromise on handling. Honda is a master at offering both and this gene shines through on the Brio as well.
With the Honda Brio, there is no doubting the fact that Honda Siel has put all their cards on the table. This car has been purposefully built for the Indian audience and from the looks of it; Honda has addressed each and every issue in typical Honda fashion. They have been rigorous in their approach and to further ensure that they get things right, the Brio also boasts of a high level of Indian components as opposed to importing items which could result in a price increase. On one hand, the Brio had to live up to being a Honda and on the other it had to cater to a very tough price point. Yes, it does have an Achilles heel in the lack of some small but vital components such as a rear defogger and rear wiper, but overall this is a car that not only has the brand name but the right elements to really kick up a storm in its segment. Building the Brio was a challenge, and Honda addressed each need with dedication. It goes without saying that pricing the Brio right is the key to its success for that is the only element that could keep the Brio from making it to victory lane.
It’s been a few years since the new C-Class kicked off the design revolution for Mercedes Benz helping the company move away from the entire twin-headlamp phase. The current C-Class was an instant hit with everybody with its crisp lines and the refreshed one hopes to build on that same platform. First glance at the headlamps raises a bit of a question mark though, nobody in office seems to know what to make of it and we hope that will change over time. The rest of the exterior changes are less apparent like the new bumpers and some minor LED treatment. However, this Avantgarde C 200 does come with a panoramic sunroof (think S-Class), which is hard to miss.
Then again it’s not just the exterior that’s been freshened up. In fact, the interior is completely new with a new layout for the dash and new materials. For once, Mercedes Benz has also gone ahead and offered a proper list of features with the C-Class. Now you get fully electric adjusted seats for both driver and passenger with options for saving your favourite seating positions, the steering wheel is electrically adjustable and the mirrors have electric retract. Even the steering wheel design, the dials and the display screen are new to complete a properly overhauled interior with black everything and brushed aluminium inserts.
Mechanically, there are fewer changes though. The turbocharged 1.8-litre petrol unit in this car have the exact same power and torque ratings as the previous car. Power remains at 186bhp and torque at 285Nm. However, the new seven-speed gearbox does help put down that power at the rear wheels much better with quicker and smoother shifts. Flat out the C 200 will clock 100kph in just over eight seconds and carry on well past 200kph.
The Blue Efficiency bits must work to some degree because despite the C 200 weighing more than one-and-a-half tonnes it manages to return more than 8kpl under mixed driving conditions and more than 10kpl on highway jaunts.
So there you have it, the refreshed C-Class does everything better despite its questionable looks and gets along pretty well on the road as well. Prices for the new car have still not been announced, but expect them to be pretty damn competitive.
We hoped they’d do it. We prayed they’d do it. And we sort of knew that they’d do it. Now, they’ve actually done it – brim your eyes with this: Jaguar’s sub-XK C-X16 sportster production concept sketch.
And yep, you read that right – PRODUCTION concept. So this isn’t some Design Dept. flight of fancy that’s made from topsoil and runs on dreams. Jaguar actually wants to make this.
Nicknamed the XE, it has entirely dishonorable intentions for the Porsche market. And, according to the manufacturer, this is the precursor to a whole new wave of similarly sporty cars focused on dynamics, technology and design.
Alas, details of the oily bits are absent for now. But when it’s officially revealed on September 13 at the Frankfurt motor show we should be able to tell you more.
For now, though, we know that it’s been penned by the same team that scribbled the XJ, XF and XK outline. Which isn’t a bad back catalogue.
The new Jaguar XJ is a well-rounded car that oozes styles and is exciting to drive
This new Jaguar XJ is a deeply impressive car, one that has strong character and plenty of appeal as we found out. Taking on the Mercedes-Benz S-class, the BMW 7-series and the new Audi A8 is no small task after all.
This big Jag oozes presence, lots of it. The way school kids point excitedly and supercar-hardened people’s gawp tells you they like the XJ’s overall design stance. And, unlike the long wheelbase versions of its German rivals which look a bit too stretched, the XJ’s long bonnet and swooping roofline make it look like it was designed to be stretched in the first place.
It is entirely convincing as a luxury car on the inside as well. There’s a nice cockpit-like feel created by the high centre tunnel when you slide into the accommodating seats. Thumb the starter button and, like the smaller XF, the gear selector rises out of the centre console as the 3.0-litre twin-turbo diesel hums to life.
Leather and well finished wood adorn most surfaces and there is a new-to-Jaguar digital dashboard display, in place of conventional, real analogue dials. Its resolution is fabulous and there are some neat graphics: speeds closest to the car’s current velocity are beautifully highlighted while the rest is dimmed, and the manual gearchange selection shows up superbly. We especially like the old-school air-con vents that look and function brilliantly.
The rear seats, an important selecting criterion in India, are fantastic. The almost 3.2-metre-long wheelbase ensures there is plenty of legroom and more headroom than the swooping roof-line suggests; the rooflining is scooped out to make this possible. And, the seats are wide and comfortable – maybe not as nice as an S-class but impressive nonetheless. Equipped with the rear seat entertainment package, the car gets a gaming-console-like touch-screen remote to control the headrest-mounted screens. If anything, it’s the low seats and the rather small rear windows that you could complain about – the XJ’s rear seats don’t give rear seat passengers the commanding view outside that a Merc S-class does.
The latest XJ uses aluminium for its body panels and chassis, an expensive process but one that, in the luxury class, only Audi’s A8 shares. Unencumbered by the A8’s four-wheel-drive system, however, the rear-wheel-drive XJ is one of the lightest cars in this class. Even this long-wheelbase version, at 1813kg, weighs just 13kg more than the smaller XF diesel!
This light weight means the 271bhp and 61.18kgm of torque don’t work too hard to make the XJ get to 100kph in 8.5sec and even this figure doesn’t tell you how effortlessly the XJ diesel adds speed in real-world use. What that figure also doesn’t effectively communicate is how satisfying the diesel powertrain is to use. Throttle response is accurate, power delivery is linear and the six-speed auto ‘box is intuitive, so you know exactly how much throttle to feed at all times. In Sport mode, the gearbox holds gears for longer and the shifts are quicker (and a little less smooth). Flicking the steering wheel-mounted paddles activates a manual mode which, if the car is set to Dynamic mode, will hold gears to the limiter. The powertrain is so refined that you can hear some tyre roar over course surfaces.
The other happy corollary of the Jag’s light weight is that it simply doesn’t feel its size when you feel like driving hard. Jaguar engineers developed both the short wheelbase and long wheelbase versions alongside each other with the chassis development of the LWB version even taking precedence at times. This shows in the way this 5.2-metre-long saloon changes direction with the agility and precision we’ve not seen on any other car this size, including the BMW 7-series.
The steering is light but accurate and the balance is impressively neutral for a car this long. And, unsurprisingly, with its long wheelbase, it feels supremely stable and planted at high speeds. This is one of those cars that shrinks around you the faster you go.
Switch the adjustable dampers to their softer setting and you’ll find a car that rides with aplomb over most surfaces with the occasional shudder over lumpy surfaces. It doesn’t have the same authority over bad sections as a Merc S-class but then again, the S doesn’t have the XJ’s low-profile 245/45-R19 tyres.
The long wheelbase and ground-hugging stance mean you have to be extra careful over speedbreakers. There’s also that rather narrow boot aperture that will make loading bigger pieces of luggage a bit of a task.
The XJ diesel in Portfolio spec costs Rs. 83 lakh. It is a well-rounded car that is so full of character. But the downside is the relatively small dealer network, which means it won’t be practical to own.
Coming in with a 2.2 liter, Common Rail Diesel Daimler engine, a suspension kit from Lotus, the most anticipated SUV, Force One, is here and that too at 10.65 lakhs ex-showroom. Competition better watch out.
One thinks of Force Motors and the first thing to come to mind is the Tempo Traveler or the sucessfully running Gurkha. Come to think of it, that is what has been expected by the pioneer in Light Commercial Vehicles with the Judo, Trax and a fleet that has undoubtedly no competition. Now, the manufacturer is entering into the premium SUV segment with Force One, their first entrant in the passenger vehicle segment. The Diesel mill will also be a frugal one with claimed figures of 11.6 kilometers to a liter. Not only that, the reliability factor is also expected to be at par with other competitors.
Equipped with a 2.2 liter FMTech Daimler engine putting out 141 PS at 3800 rpm, and a massive 321 Nm at 1600 rpm, this beast stands at a kerb weight of 2510 kilos. The power is delivered to the tarmac through 235/70/16R Apollo Hawkz and the overall dimensions comparable to any SUV in the market.
Safety is also not compromised with the Force One getting a Cathodic Electrolyte Dipping Coating making the structure stronger. As for ABS and Airbags, they would be introduced with the 4×4 version later this year. Creature comforts like steering mounted audio, cruise and Bluetooth connectivity controls will come standard with electrically foldable mirrors as well.
For the time being, Force One will be available in a 4×2 version for 10.65 lakhs ex-showroom all India. The Brand Ambassador, Mr. Amitabh Bachchan has already placed orders for two units
Now available at a offer price of Rs 5.5 lakhs for the base Jazz S model, the new Jazz is now no longer an out of budget ‘hot hatch’in India
Introduced at a time when the heat in the Indian premium hatchback segment was just beginning to build up, the Honda Jazz was quite easily a segment-defining car in its class, boasting of oodles of space, a very powerful engine, stylish both on the inside and outside, all of which came together to provide a truly impressive drive experience.
But owing to its steep pricing right from the start, it became a car that merely caught the attention of those, for whom paying a premium for a large hatchback seemed like a valuable proposition. Tragically a very small ratio of India’s small car buyers shared this outlook, owing to which Honda Siel Cars, has worked at localizing its manufacturing operations over a period of time, especially on its volume cars. The result is right before us. The launch of an exciting new face-lifted version of the Jazz at a significantly lower price point, starting at just Rs 5.5 lakhs for the base S model.
With a bold new design that includes a better looking grille, a freshly designed aerodynamic bumper, new headlights with silver and black matt finish and a new rear bumper among other cosmetic changes, the new Jazz is quite simply a glossier version of its original model.
Like on the original model, the dynamic peformance on the new Jazz will be carried forward with its 4-cylinder 1.2 liter i-VTEC engine. The engine features Programmed Fuel Injection that delivers a maximum output of 90PS @ 6,200 rpm and a Torque of 110 Nm @ 4,800 rpm, while continuing to give an impressive fuel economy of 16.7 km/ltr (ARAI tested).
Some value added features on this stylish new version is the Electrically Retractable Outside Rear View Mirror and an Audio System that comes now comes with a standard USB port for added connectivity.
Commenting on the launch of the new face-lifted version of the Honda Jazz, Mr. Seki Inaba , Director Marketing, Honda Siel Cars India Ltd. Said, “During the past couple of years, HSCI has focused on a lot of localization and cost down activities for our volume models through R&D funtion in India. The new Jazz with its attractive pricing will surely appeal to the customers and expand on the base of the Jazz.”
Built on Honda’s innovative center tank layout , this new Jazz will continue to offer abundance of cabin space to all its passengers. A three – mode “Magic Seat” configuration will allow Jazz customers to fix different seating and cargo-carrying configurations, making it a very practical hatchback for multipurpose use. Safety equipment will continue to be offered as standard on the face-lifted version.
Now available in a new Urban Titanium colour in addition to its four existing ones, the new face-lifted version of the Jazz is now open for booking across Honda Siel India showrooms in the country, and will sell in three variants – Jazz, Jazz Select, Jazz X in Manual Transmission. Below are the prcing details of the same.