Driven #32: 2015 Ford Figo Aspire TDCi Titanium+

Ford has a notorious reputation in India with just one of its models selling well at any point in time. Be it the Escort, Ikon, Fiesta, Figo or Ecosport, they have all stayed true to that legacy. In its bid to change that image, the American manufacturer has launched a slew of new models over the last few months with the Figo Aspire leading the charge. The Aspire is not just an extension of Ford's successful Figo nameplate but also marks the brand's entry in one of the fastest-growing and most-competitive segments in the market. Yes, the Figo Aspire has jumped head on into a segment where Maruti-Suzuki, Honda and Hyundai aren't letting the new comers settle down. Add to it the perception of expensive maintenance associated with Ford and there is a lot riding against this car.

The Figo Aspire has started off well in its first few months on sale but has the car got what it takes to overcome the odds, sustain sales and succeed in the Indian market? Let's find out. 


Designing a compact sedan for India has got to be a challenge for even the best automotive designers in business. Slapped with multiple constraints with the most significant being the need to restrict the length of the car under four meters, it is not that difficult to end up with a design that's disproportionate and awkward. That's precisely why Ford's designers deserve a pat on their backs for their work on the Figo Aspire. It isn't the most proportionate compact sedan out there but it easily is the best-looking one in the market right now.

Creating a positive impression from the word go, the Figo Aspire strikes a chord at first glance. Its sharp nose characterized by the hexagonal grille inspired by Aston Martin looks fabulous while the sleek horizontal chrome slats and swept back headlights further ups the style quotient. The Blue Oval logo sits atop the grille and not on it like it does in most cars. The ridges in the front bumper and the prominent 'power bulge' in the hood adds muscle to all that bling up front. The profile is not the best angle to view the Figo Aspire with the short overhangs, long wheelbase and puny 14-inch wheels resulting in an awkward stance. Fact is, the Figo Aspire looks better than most of its competitors in this angle too and that tells a lot about the prevailing 'aesthetic' sense in this segment. Stubby rear view mirrors with integrated repeater lamps and a strong shoulder line housing the door handles are nicely done. The rear, again, is well designed with large wraparound taillights setting the tone. The boot lid has an integrated lip spoiler as well as a character line that connects the taillights.

Though the Figo Aspire has generous application of chrome, the shiny metal looks classy in this car. Even the thick chrome bar that runs across the boot lid and the front fender inserts add to the appeal of the car and aren't gawdy to look at. Ford could have reduced the number of badges at the rear though. With different fonts, sizes and offsets, the Figo, Aspire, Titanium and TDCi badges fill up the empty space in the boot lid well but look cluttered. The design of the alloy wheels could have been better too, given that the Ecosport and the old Figo had great-looking wheels.


Manufacturers these days are adopting a common design theme in and out for models across segments. Ford is no different and the Figo Aspire's cabin borrows heavily from its siblings, the Ecosport and Fiesta.

What is not borrowed is the instrument cluster that appears barebones at first look. Move past its simple looks though and this cluster provides you with all that you need and then some more. A large speedometer houses the LCD screen that displays the odometer reading. A steering-mounted stalk lets you toggle through information like trip meter, outside temperature, average speed, average and instantaneous fuel efficiency and distance to empty readouts. An analog tachometer sits to the left and a large fuel gauge to the right of the speedometer. There is also an 'Econo' mode which, when turned on, prompts the driver to shift up at optimal revs for better fuel efficiency. The prompting is done by displaying a green 'up arrow' symbol.

The three-spoke steering wheel is good to hold with nicely-shaped thumb recesses. The glossy black insert is great to look at but is an instant dust magnet. The center console is a direct lift from the Ecosport with an array of buttons stacked like those in the Nokia smartphones of yore. The layout is starting to look a bit dated and Ford should think of moving onto sleeker touchscreen-based units that are the norm these days. The climate control buttons below, though a tad smaller than what we would have liked, look neat and classy. The chrome-ringed rotary dials with their knurled finish stand out and are great to touch and operate. The USB and Aux inputs are placed right in front of the gearstick along with a 12-volt power outlet.

The Figo Aspire might be a compact sedan slugging it out in the mass market but Ford has put in a lot of efforts in designing the car's interiors. Don't believe us? Let's give a few examples. The recess right below the climate control unit has a ribbed texture to prevent items from sliding around. The superb integration of multiple controls including headlamp leveling, front and rear fog lights and remote boot opening in a single panel to the right of the steering wheel is another job well done. Are you looking for a secret place to hide your wallet from prying eyes? There's one to the side of the dashboard visible only when you open the driver's door. The front doors can hold a 1.5-liter bottle and two 1-liter bottles each with some space left for more! This, without a doubt, is a well thought-out cabin.

The front seats are spacious and accommodating with a healthy height adjustment range. The beige leather upholstery is exclusive to the Titanium + variant and adds to the plushness of the cabin. The rear seats are far more spacious than we imagined and the Figo Aspire offers more knee room and shoulder room than even the bigger Fiesta. Even after adjusting the front seats for six-footers, the rear seat still had ample space to comfortably seat three adults. Of course, the middle passenger would feel unwelcome with the raised floor. 

The Titanium + trim level we drove gets the ‘SYNC with AppLink’ infotainment system with a 4.2-inch display screen in the center console. It supports USB, Aux, MP3, CD and Bluetooth audio inputs and accepts voice commands as well. Working through the SYNC system is a bit overwhelming initially but gets progressively simpler once you are used to it. Unlike the Ecosport we drove earlier that struggled to understand Indian accents, the Figo Aspire had no problems listening to us. The Aspire also gets Ford’s industry-leading Emergency Assistance that calls the police and gives them the GPS co-ordinates in case of an accident. Making its debut in the Aspire is the new ‘Ford MyKey’ that allows owners to set speed limit, volume limit and let out an audible speed warning. It’s simple, intuitive and might come in handy when handing the car over to others. 

All variants of the Figo Aspire gets dual airbags as standard with the Titanium + getting segment-exclusive six airbags. Knowing how well the old Figo’s body structure fared in the Global NCAP tests, the Figo Aspire should be amongst the safest cars in the segment. We will wait for crash test results to vouch for that statement though! The long list of features in the Figo Aspire include power-folding mirrors, ABS with EBD, Guide Me Home headlamps, leather seats, adjustable front and rear headrests and steering mounted audio controls. Push Button Start, reverse parking camera, reach adjustment for steering and auto-dimming mirrors are conspicuous by their absence.


Figo Aspire’s engine lineup includes a 1.2-liter petrol, a 1.5-liter petrol exclusive to the 6-speed automatic transmission and a 1.5-liter diesel. The car we drove had the diesel mill under its hood with 99 horsepower and 215 Nm of torque. Though the engine is shared with the Ecosport and Fiesta, the Figo Aspire was the first model to get it in a higher state of tune. Of course, Ford has now updated the other models in the lineup as well. 

Turn the ignition on and the Figo Aspire cranks up with an unmistakable diesel clatter. Refinement levels are acceptable at low revs and increases as the revs climb. Though the engine gets a fixed geometry turbocharger to boost output, the lag is well-controlled and hardly evident. It’s a boon inside the city as the response in low revs is simply brilliant. The car shoots off the line and the linear power delivery ensures your daily commute within the city will be an easy affair. But, it’s an open road that this motor craves for. Show it an open stretch of tarmac and you will see the Aspire cross triple digit speeds in no time. Despite the absence of a sixth gear, the Aspire is an extremely capable cruiser and can munch miles for hours without breaking into a sweat. The mid-range packs a punch and you can drive the car in third and fourth gears all day. Power tapers off near the redline but you will hardly feel the need to rev this engine so hard.

The 5-speed manual gearbox is nice to operate with a reasonably light clutch and well-defined gates. That said, we would have preferred an additional gear in the Aspire, given the power on tap and its cruising ability. Though the Xcent and Dzire are more refined and have smoother gearboxes, the Figo Aspire would leave them in the dust when it comes to outright acceleration. The Amaze is no longer the segment benchmark in this category. 

Ride quality is excellent and the Figo Aspire’s suspension is tuned for comfort. At city speeds, the Aspire gobbles up bumps and potholes with ease. The biggest of undulations filter into the cabin with a loud thud though. As speeds build up, the soft suspension setup’s limitations are exposed and the Aspire isn’t as composed as you would expect a Ford to be. Handling is predictable but body roll is quite evident when you flick the wheel enthusiastically. Where the old Figo and Fiesta handled as if they were on rails, the Aspire handles like any other decently-sprung compact sedan would on road. The steering is light at low speeds and weighs up well as you go faster. Still, its not a match for the fabulous hydraulic power steering in the old Figo. If you’re one of those smitten by the magic in cars like the Ikon, Mondeo or Fiesta, the Figo Aspire will not please you. For everybody else in the mass market, this is one of the better-handling compact sedans on sale.

Braking is good and the presence of ABS with EBD meant that the Aspire shed speeds without losing its composure. The pedal offers good bite and the Aspire won’t surprise you with its antics in case of an emergency. The car scores big in fuel efficiency too with 15 - 16 km/l easily achieveable inside the city. Even after some spirited driving during our test drive and extensive idling for the photo shoot, the average fuel efficiency in the MID was still 18.2 km/l. A big thumbs up!



Ford might be late to the compact sedan party but the Figo Aspire is a truly capable product. The big-selling Swift Dzire falls short on rear seat space and comfort, the Xcent lacks power in its diesel avatar and the Amaze has disturbingly low-rent interiors. The Zest was a good all-rounder at launch but people’s lack of faith in Tata prevented it from posing a threat. That brings us to the Figo Aspire. It looks good, pampers occupants with a host of features and a plush cabin, packs a punch with diesel power, returns good fuel economy and boasts of a comfy ride. It might not steer and handle as well as the old Figo or Fiesta but that's hardly what the market wants. If we are on the lookout for a diesel compact sedan right now, our money would be on the Figo Aspire!

Photography & Editing: Bharath Rengaraj & Aravind Ramesh


Isuzu D-Max facelift spotted testing in Chennai

Slowly but steadily, Isuzu is carving out a niche for itself in the Indian market. Despite having limited sales points compared to rivals Tata and Mahindra, the MU-7 premium SUV and D-Max pickup truck in its various configurations have been doing reasonably well in India to warrant setting up of a new manufacturing facility. Coming up at Sri City in Andhra Pradesh, Isuzu is expected to soon start assembling vehicles at the new facility.

Internationally, the MU-7 has been replaced by MU-X while the D-Max received a significant facelift towards the end of 2015. While there is no news on the MU-X, Isuzu has already started testing the D-Max facelift in India. Caught testing by a regular reader of Anything On Wheels in Chennai, these camouflaged pickup trucks are proof that the D-Max is all set for a makeover very soon. Two variants of the truck were spotted, a Single Cab chassis and a Dual Cab (Isuzu calls this 'Crew Cab') variant with arched deck. In fact, the latter could be the Space Cab variant too but the cut-outs in the camouflage for rear door handles make us believe otherwise. While there are no frontal shots of the test vehicles, there are enough clues that helped in establishing the truck's identity. The prominent shoulder line that runs the full length of the profile cutting through the door handles, the vertical taillight clusters with clear lens indicators and reversing lamps and the cut across the rear deck opening are similar to the ones in the D-Max facelift currently on sale in Thailand.

The D-Max lineup in India currently include Single Cab, Single Cab chassis and Space Cab with flat and arched decks. When Isuzu launches the facelift, the lineup could expand to include the Crew Cab configuration as well. 4x4 versions are also rumored to be in the works. The 2.5-liter 4-cylinder common-rail turbocharged diesel engine that powers the D-Max currently was replaced by a new 1.9-liter diesel mill that churns out 147 BHP and 350 Nm of torque when the facelift was launched. When the D-Max facelift is launched in India, this new engine is likely to make it here too. In addition to the new engine, the facelift gets significantly-revised front and rear bumpers, new wraparound headlights and sleeker taillights. The interiors have received a complete revamp too with improved aesthetics and better build quality.

Compared to Tata's Xenon and Mahindra's Imperio, the Isuzu D-Max stands out for its powerful engine and comfortable cabin that is well put together and loaded with all necessary features. With the impending facelift, these strengths are likely to be strengthened further. Bring it on Isuzu!


Ford launches the all-new Endeavour in India

Less than six months ago, Ford's lineup in India was hardly exciting save for the Ecosport. They might have been the best-handling cars in their segments but the Figo and Classic were pretty old compared to the newer competition. One after the other came the Figo Aspire compact sedan, the new Figo hatchback and the Ecosport facelift. Stepping into 2016, Ford probably had the newest lineup in the industry. With the launch of the all-new Endeavour today, the American manufacturer is continuing its launch spree here.

When the original Endeavour was launched here way back in 2003, it was a popular choice in the premium SUV segment by virtue of its butch looks, massive road presence and good off-roading capability. In 2009, the Toyota Fortuner came in and decimated the competition overnight. With the new Endeavour, Ford would be hoping to redeem its lost position back from Toyota.

From the looks of it, the new Endeavour is a clear winner. Ford has retained the classic SUV traits and refrained from adding unnecessary cuts and creases in the sheet metal. The Endeavour is butch, boxy and muscular with a macho image that can be matched by very few SUVs in India. A big trapezoidal grille with thick chrome bars sets the tone up front with a huge Ford logo sitting proudly in between. While the hunky proportions and butch looks are carried over in profile, the rear is relatively softer and loses the tailgate-mounted spare wheel. A healthy dose of chrome is present at the rear too while both bumpers get rather prominent skid plates. 

The interiors of the new Endeavour are top notch as well with full leather upholstery, 8-way electrically-adjustable driver's seat, dual zone climate control, power lift tailgate, a 8-inch TFT touchscreen infotainment system with 10 speakers, Ford's latest SYNC 2.0 tech and even Integrated Active Noise Cancellation available as standard across the range. The flagship 3.2-liter Titanium variant gets several segment-first features that could put the German luxury cars to shame. The spec list include front parking sensors, tyre pressure monitor, interior ambient lighting, automatic headlamps with HID and jet wash, front parking sensors, puddle lamps, electric panoramic sunroof, power-folding third row and semi-automatic parallel park assist.

If off-roading is your forte, the new Endeavour is tailor-made for you with a ground clearance of 225 mm and water wading capability of 800 mm. The 4x4 variants even gets a 'Terrain Response System' that lets the driver choose between Sand, Snow/Mud and Rock modes depending on the surface underneath.

Of late, Ford's commitment towards offering segment-leading safety features as standard has been evident and the Endeavour is no different. While front and rear disc brakes, driver and passenger airbag, Antilock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Electronic Stability Program (ESP), Traction Control, Hill Launch Assist, emergency assistance and Ford My Key are standard across all trim levels, the top-end variant offers seven airbags including a knee airbag for the driver.

Powering the all-new Endeavour is a choice of two diesel engines - a 2.2-liter, 4-cylinder mill with 158 BHP and 385 Nm of torque and a 3.2-liter, 5-cylinder unit with 197 BHP and a whopping 470 Nm of torque. While the smaller engine can be had with either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic transmission, the 3.2-liter variants are mated to the latter only. Similarly, the 2.2-liter variants can be had in 4x2 as well as 4x4 drivetrain while the 3.2-liter variants come with 4x4 option only. 

Prices for the 2.2-liter variants start from INR 24.75 Lakhs and go up to INR 27.36 Lakhs while the two 3.2-liter variants are priced at INR 27.78 and 29.46 Lakhs for the Trend and Titanium trim levels respectively.

At these prices, the Endeavour undercuts the Toyota Fortuner, its chief rival. With its butch looks, comfy interiors, an impressive array of comfort, technology and safety features and a good variant spread, there is no reason to not believe that the Ford might manage to pull in a significant chunk of customers from the popular Toyota. In fact, the all-new Endeavour deserves to sell well. Period.


Mahindra launches KUV 1OO, its smallest UV yet, in India

You have to hand it to Mahindra for managing so many new launches one after the other. In the last twelve months, the Indian Utility Vehicle manufacturer has launched facelifts of the XUV 5OO, Scorpio and Thar apart from the all-new TUV 3OO launched late last year. Today, Mahindra has added yet another all-new model to its growing lineup, the KUV 1OO. Positioned as a compact Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV), the KUV 1OO is the smallest and the most affordable vehicle in Mahindra’s portfolio yet, making it a crucial launch for the Nashik-based manufacturer.

Codenamed S101, the KUV 1OO was designed and developed by engineers at Mahindra's Research Valley near Chennai and has been spotted testing multiple times by Anything On Wheels.

True to its legacy, Mahindra has designed the KUV 1OO with styling elements picked up from SUVs and crossovers. Up front, the KUV 1OO sports a bold fascia characterized by the tall hood and the large bumper. A modern take on Mahindra’s toothy grille with chrome inserts sit proudly on top of the bumper while the wraparound headlights with extensions that run well into the fenders and almost touch the windshield bring some quirkiness to the package. What’s a new Mahindra without quirky touches? Overdone but distinct character lines, C-pillar-mounted rear door handles and a sloping roof are the other controversial design bits that are sure to invite contrasting opinions from onlookers. Helping the KUV 1OO’s cause is the black cladding all around and the large squarish wheel arches. On the contrary, they make the tires and wheels look puny.

With every new model launch, Mahindra seems to be moving a notch higher in interior design and quality. From the pictures released, it appears the KUV 1OO continues that trend. The dashboard is well-designed and features an unconventional layout to accommodate elements that would otherwise be placed in the floor console. Guess why? The KUV 1OO is an official 6-seater with 3 + 3 layout which meant the floor console had to be taken out to accommodate the third passenger up front. When not in use, the middle seat at the front can be folded down to work as an arm rest! To break the monotony, piano black inserts and chrome accents have been used to good measure and they look rather pleasing to the eyes.

The KUV 1OO has a long list of features with Antilock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) as standard and dual airbags offered as an option in all variants. The top-end K8 trim level is quite loaded with alloy wheels, body-coloured door handles and mirrors, mood-lighting in inner door handles, infotainment system with a 3.5-inch display screen, BlueTooth, USB, Aux and Mahindra BLUE SENSE mobile app compatibility, Driver Information System, steering mounted audio and phone controls, Daytime Running Lamps, Micro Hybrid technology, armrest and adjustable headrests at the rear, keyless entry, power-adjustable mirrors, cooled glovebox, Follow-me-home and Lead-me-to-vehicle headlamps, rear wiper, washer and defogger, puddle lamps on all doors and ISOFIX child seat mounts. That’s one heck of a list for a compact vehicle!

Powering the KUV 1OO are a pair of new engines christened ‘mFalcon’. The petrol variants get the mFalcon G80 MPFI mill with dual variable cam timing that generates 82 horsepower and 115 Nm of torque while the diesel units is the mFalcon D75 with 77 horsepower and 190 Nm of torque. Both the engines are mated to a 5-speed manual transmission with an Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) likely to be available some time later. On the fuel-efficiency count, the KUV 1OO returns an ARAI-tested 18.15 km/l for a liter of petrol and 25.32 km/l for a liter of diesel.

The petrol variants are priced between INR 4.42 and 5.51 Lakhs while the diesel variants retail between INR 5.22 and 6.76 Lakhs. All prices are introductory and ex-showroom Pune. That puts the KUV 1OO bang in the middle of all the action in the hatchback segment.

Competing against similarly-priced hatchbacks like Maruti-Suzuki Swift, Hyundai Grand i10 and potentially the upcoming Tata Zica, Mahindra is entering new territory with the KUV 1OO compact SUV. Will the SUV-loving Indian public shower their love for the KUV 1OO? We think they’ll.

Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 AMG Coupe launched in India

After ending 2015 as India's largest-selling luxury car manufacturer with 15 new model launches, Mercedes-Benz is back with the first launch of 2016. This time, it is the hot new GLE Coupe in its all-conquering AMG guise that has landed on Indian shores. Imported as a Completely Built Unit (CBU), the GLE Coupe is priced at INR 86.40 Lakhs, ex-showroom Mumbai. It isn't cheap but what makes it more value for money is the fact that the BMW X6 M Sport, its immediate rival, is priced significantly higher.

Thanks to the X6, this whole 'SUV/Crossover Coupe' thing caught the fancy of premium car buyers big time forcing rivals including Mercedes-Benz to come up with similar models of their own. As its nomenclature indicates, the GLE Coupe is based on the regular GLE SUV but gets a couple-like roofline and a sloping rear, a design trait that premium car buyers can't seem to love enough. Distinguishing the GLE Coupe at the front is a big single-slat grille and a muscular bumper with massive air dams. A prominent character line cuts across the profile passing through the door handles while the humongous 21-inch AMG alloys fill out the wheel wheels completely and some more. The horizontal taillights are lifted straight off Mercedes' sports cars and look fabulous while the roof spoiler, dual exhausts and chrome-finished skid plate hints at the potential lying under the GLE Coupe's hood.

Powered by a 3.0-liter, bi-turbo V6 petrol engine, the GLE Coupe churns out 362 horsepower and a whopping 520 Nm of torque. It is paired to a 9G-TRONIC 9-speed automatic transmission that offers the driver five different modes to choose from. These include Individual, Comfort, Slippery, Sport and Sport Plus. With such power and torque, expect this vehicle to be a stonker on roads!

Luxurious, high-quality interiors have been a Mercedes-Benz forte and the new GLE Coupe does little to change that. Being an AMG, its sporty nature has not been tamed down too as evident by the three-spoke, flat-bottomed steering wheel, brushed stainless steel pedals and sporty front seats. The infotainment system is the familiar 'floating' unit with a 8-inch display. The updated COMMAND system has navigation, voice commands and WLAN hotspot functionality too apart from the regular stuff. Safety suite includes six airbags and a host of active safety features like Crosswind Assist, Attention Assist, Adaptive High Beam Assist Plus, Adaptive Brake Lights and Preventive Occupant Protection System dubbed PRE-SAFE.  

The GLE 450 AMG Coupe is the twelfth AMG model launched by Mercedes-Benz in India. If sales of the AMG-badged Mercs in 2015 is anything to go by, the GLE 450 AMG Coupe will be a hot property in many a luxury households in India. Should the BMW X6 M be worried? Hell yes!


4-door Mahindra e2o spotted testing in Bengaluru

It's a good time to be an environment-friendly automobile in India. With the WHO reporting that Indian cities are amongst the most polluted globally, Indian Government's proposal to directly move to Bharat Stage-VI (equivalent to Euro-6) from the present Bharat Stage-IV (Euro-4) and the knee-jerk reaction in Delhi resulting in the ban of diesel cars above 2000 cc and the odd-even traffic policy, there just wasn't a better time for cars like the Mahindra e2o to present their case to potential customers.

Sadly, the e2o hardly sells in the Indian market and its easy to understand why. It is such an impractical choice as a first or even a second car in a typical Indian family. It is diminutive, has just two doors, comes with a tough-to-access rear seats and has a limited range. While the range factor can be compromised by urban customers, the other tough choices remain. Despite being designed and developed in India and the only electric car officially on sale here, the Mahindra e2o just isn't a car for our market.

All that could be history shortly! It appears Mahindra has realized its folly and is working on getting them corrected.

Spotted testing in Bengaluru last evening, this car with 'test' registration plates appears to be the 4-door variant of the Mahindra e2o. When we received these pics from a regular reader of Anything On Wheels who hails from the Garden City, we were a bit puzzled trying to identify the car. Of course, the exhaust pipe isn't there but it could be hidden well underneath the vehicle! But one look at its silhouette cleared all the doubts we had.

The very short hood and the headlight that peeps out of a hole in the camouflage clearly resemble the ones in the current 2-door e2o. Further proving us right were the circular air-conditioner vent and a tinge of blue where the instrument cluster belongs, two things that the e2o currently has. Because of its short hood, the wheelbase of this 4-door variant appears stretched and that should liberate decent legroom at the rear along with an easier access to the rear seat. The tipped forward stance is carried over from the current e2o too and the test car appears too tall for its width. We would reserve our comments until Mahindra unveils the car though as the camouflage could play spoilsport with our eyes. The car was said to be doing decent speeds of above 60 km/h when these pictures were shot.

The current e2o is on sale in limited cities in India including Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Chandigarh. Powered by a 19 kW electric motor that produces 53.9 Nm of torque, the 2-door e2o has a range of 120 km per charge and a top speed of around 80 km/h. It's quite tech-laden for its size but its high retail price is the single biggest deterrent preventing people from patronizing this car. When the 4-door e2o is launched, we expect Mahindra to give the car a bigger capacity motor with more power, torque, range and top speed.

Though it isn't clear if Mahindra will launch the 4-door e2o in India or just reserve it for exports, launching it in India would be the logical choice. In fact, with Mahindra being one of the brands most affected by the ban on diesel cars above 2000 cc in Delhi, we expect them to fast-track the development of the 4-door e2o to try and compensate the loss in revenue and volumes. Come on Mahindra, bring us a proper 4-door e2o with improved range, mature road manners and less quirky styling and see it sell better, much better!


2016 North American Car & Truck/Utility of the Year announced; Honda Civic and Volvo XC90 take top honours

The annual North American International Auto Show at Detroit has just begun with the announcement of the North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year award winners. These awards are significant as they represent the collective knowledge and opinion of more than 50 automotive journalists from all forms of media including magazines, newspapers, television, radio and websites. 2016 marks the twenty third year of these awards that have become the gold standard in the industry circles.

To qualify for this award, a car or truck/utility should either be all new or significantly revised from the previous model year. Its retail price should not exceed $100,000 and sales in North America should be not less than 5000 for cars and 2000 for trucks. From the several new vehicles that made it to the list, the jurors had selected three finalists each in cars and trucks. 

Chevrolet Malibu, Honda Civic and Mazda MX-5 Miata were the finalists that vied for the North American Car of the Year crown. Of these, it was the Honda that came out on top after the three cars were driven, tested and evaluated. The new tenth-generation Civic is said to be a quantum leap for Honda vis-a-vis the old model and one that's expected to bring the lost glory back to the Japanese brand. Let's not forget the previous-generation Civic was a rare blip in form for the popular nameplate and the new Civic attempts to correct it right from the word go. It looks sharp and edgy, boasts interiors that are miles ahead of its predecessor and gets a new turbocharged mill under the hood in addition to the free-revving i-VTEC engines on duty. Playing second fiddle to the Civic is the Chevrolet Malibu with the Mazda MX-5 Miata finishing a distant third.


* Honda Civic - 203 points
* Chevrolet Malibu - 181 points
* Mazda MX-5 Miata - 146 points


* 2015 - Volkswagen Golf/GTI
* 2014 - Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
* 2013 - Cadillac ATS
* 2012 - Hyundai Elantra
* 2011 - Chevrolet Volt  

Moving on to the trucks and utilities, Honda Pilot, Nissan Titan XD and Volvo XC90 were the three finalists from more than a dozen qualified new launches. In the end, it was the reborn XC90 that takes the honours this time around. The XC90 is stylish, sexy and elegant all at once. Even against its acclaimed German competitors, the XC90's interiors stand out for its premium feel and tech-laden feature set. Symbolizing Volvo's resurgence under their new ownership, the XC90 had a lot of expectations placed on its shoulders. Needless to say, it has come out in flying colors! That it decimated the other two vehicles vying for the crown by a whopping margin just underlines how good an automobile the XC90 is. Losing out to the Volvo but bunched closer together are the Honda Pilot and Nissan Titan XD, both competent products in their own right.


* Volvo XC90 - 310 points
* Honda Pilot - 111 points
* Mazda MX-5 Miata - 109 points


* 2015 - Ford F-150
* 2014 - Chevrolet Silverado
* 2013 - Ram 1500
* 2012 - Land Rover Range Rover Evoque
* 2011 - Ford Explorer

Kudos Honda and Volvo! Keep models such as these lined up in regular intervals.


Jeep celebrates 75th Anniversary with Special Editions

Jeep, the iconic American brand known for the legendary off-roading prowess of its models, is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. Yes, Jeep has existed since 1941 and the brand has lined up a full lineup of Special Edition models to mark the occasion. Jeep aficionados in the United States of America can choose from the Special Editions of Renegade, Patriot, Compass, Wrangler, Cherokee or Grand Cherokee that go on sale in the first quarter of 2016.

So, what's special in these Special Edition models?

For starters, each of these Jeeps wear distinct green paint jobs. While the Compass, Patriot, Cherokee and Grand Cherokee are painted 'Recon Green', the Renegade gets a brighter 'Jungle Green' and the Wrangler twins are offered in 'Sarge Green'. In addition, all these models offer feature los gloss bronze wheels, orange exterior trim elements and exclusive seats with embossed '75th Anniversary' logo or a one-of-a-kind mesh fabric. As a symbolic tribute to the open air freedom offered by the Jeeps of yore, each of these Special Edition models offer one or the other kind of open top motoring. While the Compass, Patriot, Cherokee and Grand Cherokee feature the regular power sunroofs, the Wrangler gets a fully convertible roof and the Renegade a fabric roof panel. Of course, the ubiquitous 75th Anniversary badge is there as well!

Hardcore off-roaders would not look past the Wrangler while those looking for some panache will go for the Grand Cherokee. For everybody else, there's the Renegade, Compass, Patriot and Cherokee. Pick yours and rule on and off the road!

2016 is going to be special for Jeep lovers in India too as the brand is gearing up for a formal launch in the market. Initially, the Wrangler, Grand Cherokee and Grand Cherokee SRT are expected to be on offer imported as Completely Built Units (CBU). So, in addition to the love for Jeeps, you also need pockets running deep to buy one. But, does all that even matter? Jeep is here and that's what matters!