Tuesday, November 27, 2012

“TVS Phoenix Test Ride Review” plus 8 more Motorbeam

“TVS Phoenix Test Ride Review” plus 8 more Motorbeam

Link to Motorbeam.com

TVS Phoenix Test Ride Review

Posted: 27 Nov 2012 06:48 AM PST

TVS Phoenix 125 Test Ride Review

TVS Phoenix – Click above for high resolution picture gallery

Bike tested: 2012 TVS Phoenix (Disc)

Price Ex-Showroom Chennai: Rs. 53,000/-

The TVS Phoenix comes as a pleasant surprise in the commuter segment.

Commuter motorcycles are the bread and butter of every 2-wheeler manufacturer in India, accounting for a majority of sales. This segment is extremely important too as it serves the requirements of a a large number of people in our country. After a long time, TVS has launched a new motorcycle in the Indian market. The TVS Phoenix is a trendy commuter bike, boasting of many segment first features. This 125 cc machine can help the Chennai based 2-wheeler manufacturer to boost volumes in the highly competitive commuter segment. But does the TVS Phoenix have the goods to deliver and shake its rivals?

Styling - The TVS Phoenix, at first glance, looks sporty despite being a commuter in shape and size. Phoenix has an ‘electrify’ theme, courtesy, the graphics which are everywhere on the motorcycle right from the multi-colored front mudguard, headlight, side panel and very prominent on the rear fender and the fuel tank. The Apache inspired headlight looks substantial because of its size and lines. The exhaust with the ‘EcoThrust’ badge looks good too. Fuel tank design is very commuter, so is the tail light section, but it's the excellent paint job, all black theme side panels encouraged from Apache and the nicely sculpted rear fender which makes the Phoenix standout in the crowd from other commuters.

Ergonomics - The seating position is upright, but it is low, which makes it a boon for short riders. RVMs aren’t that wide but should be sufficient for normal sized riders. There isn’t a knee recess to grip to due to the shape of the tank. Dual designed fabric seat looks good, but it's on the softer side which made our ride uncomfortable after 50 kms in the city.

Instrument Cluster and Switch Gear - This is the party piece of the Phoenix; the logically laid out digital instrument cluster is a commuter segment first. The round dial displays a speedometer which can be mistaken for a tachometer at first glance and the fonts are small and hard to read whether it’s day or night. It shows a segment first service due indicator and a low battery indicator. There's the digital trip and odometer which can be toggled via a button.

Rest two dials on either sides serve the basic function. On the right, there's the high beam, shift light and indicator light displayed, the left side sees brand name TVS embossed neatly. Switch gear and palm grip quality and finish is miles ahead of any commuter bike because it's a straight lift from the Apache, solid feel and easy to use. There's more, once again a first is the hazard light indicator which is the replacement of the engine kill switch, neat thought. A very mature decision by TVS to introduce this feature as it's useful for parking on dual carriage roads and panic braking situations.

Performance and Gearbox - The Phoenix is powered by an all aluminum, 125 cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled, 4-stroke engine, that makes 10.9 BHP of power at 8000 RPM and 10.78 Nm of torque at 6000 RPM. The engine is smooth and peppy, not very loud but does sound coarse at redline. Throttle response is linear though; the engine is vibe free and surprisingly sounds good too, despite the commuter nature of this motorcycle. Low and mid end grunt is excellent, aiding drive-ability in the city where it belongs.

The Phoenix reaches the 70 km/hr easily after which progress is slow to a top speed of 90 km/hr. The 4-speed gearbox is precise and effortless but a bit clunky and not as slick as its Japanese rivals. Short ratios help in minimizing gear shifts, even in traffic, 3rd gear, 30 km/h, the motor pulls flawlessly. Neutral is achieved easily. Only if the Phoenix was a 5-speed gearbox, it could have been much more efficient and relaxed on the highway.

Riding Dynamics - Phoenix has been loaded to the brim here as well. A well refrained single down tube chassis with superlative front suspension geometry and the innovative Series Spring rear suspension setup gives it excellent handling dynamics. The harder you push the motorcycle into a corner, it gives you confidence you need and thanks to low seating position and the feedback from the front which a rider requires for an amusing ride on a twisty road.

The Series Spring suspension setup which is applied on the Phoenix always makes the rider feel it's constantly working, which makes it a bit disconcerting some times. Braking is excellent too, a light kerb weight and a 240 mm petal disc at the front giving superior bite from the master cylinder and 130 mm drum brakes at rear make braking precise. But the handling and braking could have been better if the tyres would have been on the softer side which is the complete opposite here; all though they also give a benefit, longer tread life.

Miscellaneous - Shocking omission of under seat storage and foot peg holder. Some may think it misses out on the some goodies which the competition offers such as LED tail lights, but it makes it up with the LED pilot lamps, first in class which come on the Phoenix, which truly makes it look like a younger brother of the Apache. The TVS Phoenix has 6-spoke alloys wheels instead of the usual 5-spoke alloys seen on majority commuters, neat touch. Indicators have a black piano finish, a la Honda bikes. Fuel filler cap when lifted comes in the hand; it's high time we get the flap mechanism standard in all bikes. Lightest bike in its class, standing with a kerb weight of just 116 kgs against the competitions, while all others weigh 6-7 kg heavier.

Verdict - The TVS Phoenix, no doubt has an edge when it comes to goodies and has almost everything what a modern commuter needs, easy to maneuver, comfort, affordability and a fuel efficiency. We don't see why one should not give this motorcycle a second thought because Phoenix comes out as a very attractive package, offering more than what is required to reach from point A to point B in a comfortable and economical manner.

What's Cool

* Handling and ride quality
* Striking decals
* First in class features (LED pilot lights, hazard lights, digital console)

What's Not So Cool

* No under-seat storage
* 4-speed gearbox

TVS Phoenix Specifications

* Engine: 124.5 cc, air-cooled, 4-stroke, SOHC
* Power: 11 PS @ 8000 RPM
* Torque: 10.8 Nm @ 6000 RPM
* Transmission: 4-speed constant mesh
* Top Speed: 90 km/hr
* Fuel Consumption: 50 km/l
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Suspension: Telescopic forks (front), 5-step adjustable hydraulic shocks with series spring (rear)
* Tires: 2.75 x 17 (Front), 90/90-17 (Rear)
* Brakes: 240 mm Disc (Front), 130 mm Drum (Rear)

TVS Phoenix Dimensions

* Overall length x width x height: 1985 mm x 740 mm x 1065 mm
* Wheelbase: 1265 mm
* Ground clearance: 165 mm
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 12-liters
* Kerb Weight: 116 kgs

Honda To Introduce N Series Based Small Cars

Posted: 27 Nov 2012 04:32 AM PST

2012 Honda N-One

Honda is planning to introduce small-sized vehicles based on its N minicar series, which is a popular line in Japan and it will target emerging markets. Honda President Takanobu Ito recently said that a competitive small car using technology and parts from the N series will be the key to increasing sales in emerging markets, where the automaker is lagging in the four-wheel field. Last year, Honda released the N Box. Basically the N-series cars feature a relatively spacious interior, with compact engine space and the fuel tank placed under the floor at the centre of the vehicle.

More than 1,80,000 units of the popular N series had been sold in October. Ito said that Japan excels at achieving high performance in a limited size and the company has sharpened such technology to a level other regions can hardly imitate. Ito believes that Honda needs to release small vehicles based on the N series in emerging markets in the future after the company makes improvements and modifications in undercarriage length, engine displacement and other areas to suit the needs and tastes of each market.

The company aims to raise its sales in emerging markets, such as China, India and other Asian countries, to more than 3 million units by 2016. Honda plans to introduce a new range of vehicles to those markets, including a sedan and a Brio based SUV. Currently, Honda will focus on making the Brio brand more popular and in near future it will develop an N series-based vehicle that will be even smaller and cheaper than the Brio, to attract the owners of motorbikes, of which Honda boasts strong sales worldwide.

The Japanese automaker has set a goal of selling 1.2 million automobiles in 2015 in the Chinese market. In Japan, Honda plans to add five models to its minicar lineup by 2015. Honda can regain its position in India, if they plan to introduce N series based small cars in the near future.

Honda N-One Interiors

Source – Asahi

Audi Q3 Local Assembly Starts Soon

Posted: 27 Nov 2012 04:14 AM PST

Audi Q3

Audi is seeing stupendous growth in the Indian luxury car market. The German car maker has all of a sudden gone aggressive in the country, launching new products and expanding its dealership network quickly. Audi has become a threat to its fellow country rival, BMW, by challenging the Bavarian auto maker for the numero uno spot. Just recently it overtook Mercedes-Benz for the second spot and is already neck to neck with BMW as far as overall sales go this year.

Leading the charge for Audi are its Q-range of vehicles. India being an SUV loving country, can’t take its eyes off the Q7, Q5 and recently launched Q3. The Audi Q3 has huge scope in India, as its an entry level SUV offering splendid dynamics and the desirability offered by the brand with the four rings. Audi’s baby SUV is priced significantly higher than the BMW X1, due to the two reasons. Firstly the Q3 is offered with Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system, while the X1 comes in rear-wheel drive guise only.

Read The Audi Q3 Review

The Audi Q3 is also brought in as a CBU model, while BMW locally assembles the X1 at its Chennai facility. Now Audi is looking to start CKD operations of the Q3 at its Aurangabad facility. The Ingolstadt based manufacturer recently announced CKD operations for its flagship Q7 SUV. A new assembly hall, called hall-C has been built for this very purpose. Local assembly will reduce waiting period on the Q3 and will also boost profit for the company. Audi will launch more variants of the Q3 next year, including petrol and front-wheel drive versions.

Koenigsegg One:1 – The World’s Fastest Car?

Posted: 27 Nov 2012 03:48 AM PST

Koenigsegg one:1

Koenigsegg has started a new project for a limited edition car called the Koenigsegg One:1. Only five cars will be produced and is targeted to be sold exclusively in China. Earlier thought to be a special project for potential buyers to have their own extreme custom Koenigsegg, this project is at a primary stage and the details like the launch and specifications are a mystery. But some details are known, like the name denotes the concept of the car. The One:1 has one horse power for every one kg of weight.

Thus with an expected weight of 1250 to 1350 kgs, it will have equal number of horse power. This will make this car having the highest power to weight ratio. It may also be in contention to steal the crown of 'World's Fastest Car' from the legendary Bugatti Veyron Super Sports which has a top speed of 431 km/hr owing to an astonishing 1184 HP enabling it to do 0 – 100 km/hr in just 2.5 seconds. The Koenigsegg One:1 might be able to do a top speed of around 450 km/hr.

Koenigsegg already hold a lot of amazing records set by the Agera R, so this might just be the final entry into the stable to become the ultimate hypercar in the world. Only time will tell what Koenigsegg plan to achieve with this amazing One:1 and whether the Bugatti keeps its throne or looses it. But for now we can say that the One:1 looks amazing in the pictures and promises to be a very extreme hypercar. Bugatti is already working on a 1600 BHP Veyron, set for unveil next year.

Koenigsegg One:1 side

Source – CarsUK

Tacita T-Race – A New Electric Enduro Bike

Posted: 27 Nov 2012 03:42 AM PST

Tacita T-Race Bike

An Italian company, Tacita, has launched the latest electric enduro off-road bike called the T-Race. This bike was tested this month at the Merzouga Rally in Morocco where it not only competed, but also won in the ‘New Energy’ category. This makes it the first ever electric bike to start the rally, first to traverse the whole distance of the rally as well as first to finish the rally in history. The bike was ridden by Canadian Dakar and rally racer, Patrick Trahan.

This amazing bike was conceptualized as an all electric bike, that was road legal, to be enjoyed on proper off-road trails, riding in the countryside as well as to compete in rallies with a battery range enough to last a full day of riding keeping up with petrol powered bikes. It was designed and engineered to be a typical Italian enduro bike with high-tech features, great ergonomics and great fun to ride, along with zero emissions, no noise and protection of the environment.

The Tacita T-Race has an aerodynamic high-tech design with perfect weight distribution to make it extremely agile and maneuverable. It has a three phase alternate current, maintenance free motor delivering normal rated power of 10.7 HP and a peak power of 32 HP. It has three settings – Eco, Sport and Boost for various power requirements. The T-Race also has a multiple-speed gearbox, which most electric vehicles do not have.

There are four battery packs on the Tacita T-Race, two in front and two at the back specially positioned to keep the centre of gravity a low as possible offering ideal weight distribution. The batteries are the latest advanced rechargeable Lithium Polymer with very low weight and high output and a storage capacity of 10.6 kW and have a range of about 100 kms in rally or race conditions. They are capable of two thousand charges (or 1,00,000 ksm) after which the residual capacity is 80 percent. The battery requires 9 hours to charge from a 220 v socket but can be charged in three and half hours using a 3 kW charger.

Tacita will also supply a trailer for racing or rallying purposes that acts as storage for the bike as well and a Solar charging station. The trailer has solar panels on the roof which stores electricity which can be used at night to charge the T-Race. The chassis, suspension and tyres are the latest in the off-road / enduro category giving it superlative handling, agility and balance required in rally and off-road conditions.

Tacita boast of typical Italian craftsmanship and passion in building the T-Race with cutting edge technology and customers can get their bikes tailor-made to their requirements. Also they will sell riding gear, helmets, bags and accessories for the customers all hand made in Italy. From March next year, the company will start organizing tours for customers to special trails and off-road destinations in the glorious Italian Alps which will give an experience of what the T-Race Enduro bike was built to do.

Tacita T-Race Bike enduro

2014 Mercedes-Benz GLK India Bound

Posted: 27 Nov 2012 03:31 AM PST

The Mercedes-Benz GLK is a compact luxury crossover SUV released as a 2009 model elsewhere and as a 2010 model in North America after its public debut at the 2008 Beijing Auto Show competing with the Audi Q5 and BMW X3. The next-generation Mercedes-Benz GLK is likely to get launched in the India and Australian market in 2014. The company says the rival for the BMW X3 and Audi Q5 is now confirmed to be a part of the local SUV offerings, joining the G-Wagen, GL-Class and upcoming GLA.

Mercedes-Benz Australia spokesman David McCarthy said that the next-generation GLK model is at least two years away and it will be built in right-hand drive too. McCarthy admits that some of its Australian dealers contacted the company after reading this news, stressing their desire to have the next-generation GLK among the showroom line-up. Mercedes Australia has been missing rivalry to popular mid-size luxury SUVs such as the Audi Q5 and BMW X3, as well as smaller segment of SUVs such as the Q3, X1 and Range Rover Evoque.

The current model of the Mercedes-Benz GLK features the same 3.5-litre V6 engine mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission that powers the C350 Sports Sedan. This engine uses direct-injection technology to optimize power and fuel efficiency. Output is estimated at 302 HP of power and 370 Nm of torque. There’s also an Eco Start-Stop system present on the GLK350 that will shut down the engine when the vehicle comes to a complete stop to prevent wasting fuel while idling. We expect the next-generation GLK to launch in India soon after its global launch with a price tag of around Rs. 40 lakh.

Source – CarAdvice

KTM’s India Website Says Duke 390 Coming Soon

Posted: 27 Nov 2012 12:59 AM PST

KTM 390 Duke Upcoming

KTM's upcoming streetbike, the 390 Duke was revealed at the 2012 EICMA show in Milan earlier this month. The KTM 390 Duke comes with a single-cylinder, four-stroke, liquid-cooled engine mated to a six-speed gearbox. The engine sits on a tubular space frame made from chrome molybdenum steel and is powder-coated. KTM claims that the 375 cc engine churns out 44 HP at 9500 RPM and 36 Nm at 7250 RPM. The new 390 Duke weighs in at less than 150 kgs fully fuelled.

Visually, the motorcycle looks similar to KTM's Duke 200 and the frame is exactly the same, from the 43 mm upside-down forks up front to the 150-section tyre at the back. The rider will be seated in an upright position and will have a sporty yet upright riding posture. The seat height is actually lower and the tank does hold half a litre of fuel more than the Duke 200. The form factor of both the motorbikes is same with the 390 Duke featuring new graphics.

The 390 Duke is offering the safety of ABS. There's a radial mounted 300 mm disc in front and 230 mm rear disc brake. Low-profile, tubeless radial tyres are provided on both lightweight, alloy rims. The 390 Duke will be locally produced in India from Bajaj Auto's Chakan facility on the outskirts of Pune. The motorcycle will also be exported to global markets including Europe. We expect the 390 Duke in Bajaj's KTM showrooms by March 2013 with a price tag of around Rs. 2,00,000/-.

KTM 390 Duke Coming Soon

Ford India To Go Aggressive In 2013

Posted: 27 Nov 2012 12:47 AM PST

2013 Ford Fiesta Sedan Facelift

Ford has released their massive expansion plans, explaining their targets at becoming one of the top manufacturers in India as well as other countries from the South East Asia region. Ford declared that total of eight cars will be launched and a total of 500 service centres will be opened by year 2015. This is not something new and was already disclosed by Ford last year.

An average seller in India, none of the cars from this great American Company has had great sales until the launch of the Ford Figo, which was the ‘gamechanger’ as the new President of Ford India, Mr. Jogindar Singh, called it. Figo was the first of the target 8 launches for India which has certainly delivered well. They have similar expectations from their next major launch that is the EcoSport to be launched in 2013. As the compact SUV market in India is hotting up, Ford expects tremendous sales from this sub 4-metre SUV. Also they will launch new products, mostly in the small car segment to complete their line of eight new cars by 2015.

The main problem Ford faced in India was the lack of strong after sales and service support for their cars. The new president of Ford India aims to rectify that by introducing many new 'Touch Points'. They aim at 250 outlets by end of 2013 and as many as 500 outlets by end of 2015. Many of these service centres will be in tier II and III locations and lot of sales are expected from these towns.

Ford is also starting a new factory in Tamil Nadu next year along with expansion of current plants and also their suppliers. This will feed the fuel to their massive expansion plans which will help them with the growth sales that they have set as targets. Even currently Ford has acceptable growth rate coming from domestic demand as well as healthy export of their cars from India. Last year they sold 96,270 units in the domestic market and exported 22,000 units. Till October 2012 they already had sold 75,150 units in India and exported 21,900 units.

Red Ford EcoSport

Audi To Launch Pre-Owned Car Programme In India

Posted: 26 Nov 2012 10:51 PM PST

The Volkswagen Group owned brand, Audi, is going to launch its pre-owned car programme in India called Approved Plus in December this year. The Audi Approved Plus outlets will feature about 8-10 Audis, that will be around 4-5 years old on an average. According to a Gurgaon-based Audi dealer, a basic 2009 model A4 diesel sedan will cost around Rs. 18-19 lakh in the Audi Approved Plus outlets compared to Rs. 30.10 lakh for a brand-new model. Authorized Audi dealers are planning to open the Approved Plus outlets adjacent to the new ones or in the vicinity in various cities including Gurgaon.

This initiative of introducing pre-owned outlets to the Indian market will make it easier for customers to own an Audi. Recently, Audi India confirmed a price rise of up to 5 percent across its model range from January 1, 2013. Michael Perschke, Head, Audi India said that the overall market scenario is challenging. The rise in input cost, depreciating rupee as well as continuous increase in fuel prices have made them re-evaluate their pricing strategy in India and increase the prices of the entire range. However, they are offering the customers customized and innovative finance options from Audi Finance which will make their purchase more attractive.

Audi's German rivals are already in the used car business. BMW's Premium Selection pre-owned business was introduced last November whereas Mercedes-Benz was the first luxury car brand to introduce its Proven Exclusivity pre-owned outlets in June 2010. BMW's seven pre-owned car outlets at Gurgaon, Ludhiana, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad currently have the 3-Series and 5-Series sedans besides the X1 on sale. All cars selected under this pre-owned car programme are less than five years old and would have clocked less than 1,20,000 kms. Vehicles come with up to 24 months / 2,00,000 kms warranty. BMW Premium Selection car owners also have an option of taking BMW India roadside assistance available 24×7.

Mercedes-Benz has 72 touch-points in 31 cities with 31 showrooms and 41 workshops. The luxury car maker plans to add 10-15 new touch points each year in line with the company's growth strategy in this segment. This could include upgradation of existing showrooms or setting up of new ones. Proven Exclusivity showrooms currently display the C, E, GL and ML-Class models. Proven Exclusivity programme only offers cars that are not more than six years old.

Source – AutocarPro

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