Wednesday, July 18, 2012

“2012 Renault Duster Test Drive Review” plus 4 more Motorbeam

“2012 Renault Duster Test Drive Review” plus 4 more Motorbeam

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2012 Renault Duster Test Drive Review

Posted: 18 Jul 2012 05:57 AM PDT

Renault Duster Test Drive Review

2012 Renault Duster – Click above for high resolution picture gallery

Car tested: 2012 Renault Duster 110 PS RxZ

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 13,35,483/-

“The Duster is about SUV appeal with the driving dynamics of a sedan”

It’s not often a car is launched which can change the fortune of an entire company. The Duster is one such vehicle and Renault is betting big on this car. This is the fourth offering from Renault in India with the previous products, the Pulse, Fluence and Koleos not making ripples in the industry. First showcased at the 2012 Auto Expo in Delhi earlier this year, the Renault Duster is the first of the compact SUV’s to make it to the market. The response it has got is immense with more than 8000 bookings in the initial few days, which happens to exceed the total number of cars Renault sold last year. It looks worthy on paper, but just how good is it, we find out in the beautiful countryside roads in Kerala.

The Renault Duster is originally a brainchild of Dacia, a Romanian auto manufacturer which is now a subsidiary of Renault. Dacia is also responsible for the Logan and the Duster is based on the same platform. The Duster has been selling in Europe since 2010 and is the first to open up the compact SUV segment in India. According to Renault, it is positioned to attract buyers from SUV, sedan and premium hatchback segment.


Exteriors – There is no mistaking the Renault Duster on the road, its broad and muscular stance reflects its SUV DNA. The front houses double barrel headlamps with a large chrome grille, the Renault logo sits confidently in the center. The front bumper gets two tone color treatment with black cladding and aluminum finished skid plate. Large mesh-work covers the air dam and the Renault Duster looks very appealing indeed.

Side Profile

The sides have prominent and muscular wheel arches with 16-inch alloy wheels. Roof rails and side steps enhance the SUV profile and Renault has offered pull type door handles instead of the grab type ones. The top end variants get silver finished ORVM’s while the lower variants get body colored outside rear view mirrors. Large windows give a roomy feeling to the cabin.

Exteriors - Rear

The muscular theme continue to the rear. The bulging rear wheel arches can be appreciated well from the rear profile. The tail lamp cluster is simple yet elegant and is complemented by bulging surrounds on the boot. ‘DUSTER’ is boldly inscribed on the chrome garnish. There is a black button which can be pressed to release the boot, there is also provision to open it with the key. Similar to the front, the rear bumper is also of two tone color arrangement with aluminum finished skid plate. The rear bumper houses the reverse parking sensors with reflectors on either side.

Head over to the next page to read about the interiors of the Renault Duster.

Mahindra To Inaugurate REVA Plant On August 22

Posted: 18 Jul 2012 02:27 AM PDT


We have got some exclusive bit of information about Mahindra’s plans for the REVA from our sources. The Indian utility major plans to inaugurate the REVA plant in Bangalore on the 22nd of August, 2012. This plant will churn out 30,000 units of the REVA NXR every year. The REVA NXR will be launched in India in September and will be priced below Rs. 5 lakhs (ex-showroom). Mahindra wants to bring in volumes in the electric vehicle segment with the REVA NXR, which is the next generation of the REVA.

The REVA NXR is a 2-door hatchback and can seat four. The vehicle has gets massive upgrades compared to the old REVA and also features a technology called REVive, which activates reserve charge, once you are out of charge. The Lithium-ion batteries have a range of 160 kms, while the top speed is around 100 km/h. The exterior styling of the REVA NXR was dveloped in collaboration with DC Designs, while the final styling was done by the REVA team. Mahindra had unveiled the REVA NXR at the 2012 Auto Expo.

In order to best cater to the needs of the buyer, Mahindra plans to offer the REVA NXR in three variants, which have different sized batteries with the base variants getting lead acid batteries. These batteries will give the REVA NXR a different range, with the base variant getting small batteries and the top end getting big batteries for a longer range. The medium sized battery should take 8 hours for a full charge. The REVA NXR also features an AC, quick charge mechanism and advanced range meter.


Mercedes Confirms Compact Crossover On MFA Platform

Posted: 18 Jul 2012 02:26 AM PDT

Mercedes BClass closeup

Yes, the potential competitor for BMW X1 and Audi Q3 has been confirmed. The compact crossover based on the A-Class is what the German car maker is working on. Mercedes-Benz has not revealed much of the information about the new crossover. However, the all new baby SUV is expected to hit the roads by 2015. The news came in along with the announcement of the all-new 2012 A-Class hatchback production. It would be a hat trick for Mercedes-Benz as the three new front wheel drive models will be produced at its Germany plan at Rastatt.

One being the A-class, another being the B-class and the third being the compact crossover, all the three would be based on the Mercedes Front Architecture (MFA) front-wheel drive platform. The upcoming CLA-Class four-door coupe and the Infiniti compact would also share the same platform. The new crossover might carry the GLA badge, where G would denote the SUV and A would denote the A-class. Though it will be based on the front-wheel drive platform, it is expected to be offered with an all-wheel drive option too. The next generation BMW X1 (set to be launched in 2015) will also go front-wheel drive, sharing platform with the next generation MINI Cooper.

Power options are plenty as choice can me made across three gas and three diesel engines. These would generate a power anywhere between 109 HP to 211 HP. The GLA45 would be the top shot in this range but this variant won’t make it to India. It uses a twin-turbocharged 2.2-liter I-4 engine that would produce a power of 350 HP and 450 Nm of torque. The length of 4440 mm makes the Mercedes crossover, much more roomier than its rival, the Audi Q3. The design would incorporate an upright grille with dual crossbars, LED headlights, and tail lights with triple-chamber graphics.

Isuzu Plans India Entry With MPV/SUV

Posted: 18 Jul 2012 01:07 AM PDT

2012 Isuzu D-MAX

Isuzu Motors is looking towards making a mark in the India’s small commercial vehicle and multi-utility vehicle segment. The company has a slew of products on its offerings ranging from cars to LCVs to pickup trucks and heavy trucks. The small commercial vehicle and the multi-utility is a growing segment in the country. The company sees a lot of opportunity as there is space for more players. Right pricing and right positioning should do the trick for the company. Over the last one year, the company has been on a running spree, making huge investments in the emerging markets.

The Japanese automaker is making aggressive plans to expand itself in India. It has been in talks with the Andhra Pradesh Government to set up a manufacturing facility in the state near Nellore. The plant would require an initial investment of Rs. 1000 crore. The expected capacity of the plant would be 1,00,000 to 1,20,000 units per year. Once everything is finalized, the plant is expected to be functional by 2014-2015. The advantage of this plant would be its closer proximity to the Chennai Port. Talks are also in place to look for opportunities in the state of Tamil Nadu and Gujarat for setting up the plants.

The company’s India functions would be done under the name of Isuzu Motors India Private Limited, the office of which will be functional from the month of August. Till the manufacturing plants are functional, the company would assemble and distribute its products. Already, it is closely working with the Mitsubishi team in Chennai for India operations as Mitsubishi globally has 9.2 per cent stake in Isuzu Motor Limited. Hopefully HM’s influence doesn’t come into Isuzu in anyway. Apart from that the company has option to look at the SML Isuzu plant in Chandigarh which manufactures light duty trucks and buses.

The immediate action plan of the company is to import completely build units and knocked down units of its pick up truck D-MAX and SUVs like MU-7 from Thailand. The Isuzu MU-7 is powered by a 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine which produces 146 BHP of power and 294 Nm of torque. The D-Max pick-up is powered by either a 2.5-litre diesel engine (115 BHP or 136 BHP) or a 3.0-litre diesel engine (177 BHP). These would be sold in the south east Asian markets by this year end. The plan is to sell 1,500 units in the first year. The company is in talks to develop a SCV model first, build the localization of parts and then expand the sales channel. Next the manufacturing plant would be set up which would roll out almost 1,20,000 units a year out of which 40,000 are to be exported. Huge plans isn’t it?

Isuzu MU-7

Isuzu MU-7 Interiors

Isuzu MU-7 India

Source – Economic Times

Ford EcoSport To Have 80% Localization

Posted: 18 Jul 2012 12:29 AM PDT

Ford EcoSport Production Version

After having rolled out the 400,000th engine from the Chennai plant, the US automaker is just making more and more plans. In the Auto Expo held recently, Ford announced its entry into the compact SUV segment. And thus was the name “Ford Ecosport” famous. It grabbed everyone’s attention, thanks to the immense popularity it gained on the social networking sites. The compact SUV is scheduled to hit the roads by 2013. The Ford EcoSport is set to be launched with one of the best compact petrol engines in the world, the EcoBoost.

“The EcoSport will have around similar localization levels of Figo and Classic. We are still negotiating to have 80 per cent localization for the EcoSport,” Michael Boneham, President and Managing Director, Ford India, said.

Now, the company has plans to have 80 percent of the Ford EcoSport locally made. The localization levels would match with those of the Ford Figo and the Ford Classic. The Ford Classic already has 80 percent of its components locally made or supplied by local suppliers. This is indeed one of the cost cutting strategies being used by the company which in turn could be a good news for the potential customers as they can expect the prices to be lower.

Ford has a manufacturing plant in Maraimalai Nagar near Chennai and another one at Sanand, Gujarat. The aim is to roll out atleast eight new products by 2015. Coming to the near by future plans, the company will be launching the upgraded version of its Ford Figo, which has been quite a success till now. Not much information was provided on the new Figo but we can expect minor changes and the addition of more features on the car. The new Endeavour is also expected to hit roads by the end of the year.

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