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Three Boxes or Two?

The Indian car buyer’s affinity towards sedans is well documented. Roughly one in every four cars sold here in September 2017 was a sedan and the largest selling car in that period was the Maruti Dzire, a sub-four meter saloon. The reason behind this popularity is simple, owning a sedan has traditionally been a sign of growing prosperity and improved social stature. This mindset is a legacy of the Indian car industry during the License Raj: where the Hindustan Ambassador and Premier Padmini (both sedans) were a symbol of power as well as prosperity. Lately, things have been changing. Newer car buyers are ready to forgo the perceived benefits of a sedan and instead opt for a premium hatchback. This trend was first seen with the launch of the Maruti Swift in 2005 and has now grown to become an entirely new segment with competent players like the Maruti Baleno, Hyundai i20 and the Honda Jazz. Interestingly, the Swift itself now fits in a segment lower than the one it helped create. Ha
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Are crossovers really that bad to drive?

While the general opinion among car enthusiasts is that the world could do without crossovers i.e. cars which can’t decide what they are: a brash hatchback or a soft off-roader, we personally think there may be some merit to this trend. In this present society of Instagram driven narcissism (a reasonably acceptable thing by the way), it is only fair that this subtle vanity is also projected onto our daily drives. And crossovers do this better than any other cars. Porsche Macan GTS Credits: Automobile Magazine Crossovers have some clear advantages over conventional bodystyles: they’re usually more spacious, the high set driving position is easier to sit in and look out of, and the seemingly big size means you’re in with a better shot in the usual daily traffic skirmishes. But they can be cumbersome and heavier than they need to be. Usually at the expense of efficiency. Most of them are also dynamically hampered, given how much higher they sit off the ground. The vast expanses of

Italian Supercars and Pagani

The Oxford dictionary defines art as, “The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination…producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.” Throughout the history of the automobile, the Italians have taken it upon themselves to use the car, in its most abstract definition, a social tool, as canvas for some breathtaking artistic expression. Cars like the Fiat 500, the Ferrari 250 GTO, the Lamborghini Miura and more recently the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione redefined car design for good, and these barely scratch the surface. Not to mention, most of them were sublime driving machines.  This also meant that the general public would tend to overlook their questionable build quality and awkward interior layouts. Fast-forward to the present day and the situation is slightly different. Case in point, Ferrari & Lamborghini. One is a marketing juggernaut, selling everything from keychains to amusement park rides. While the other is now a

The Honda Revival

Of all the major Japanese manufacturers, it is safe to say that Honda has been most committed to creating a legacy for itself in the world of motorsport. This can be put down to the fact that Soichiro Honda, the founder and an automotive genius, consistently believed motorsport success to be the pinnacle of achievement for any auto manufacturer. And this is showcased no better than by Honda’s journey in F1. The Honda RA271, a works effort, became the first Japanese car to race in F1 in 1964. This was followed by their first GP win in Mexico in ’65 with the RA272. A string of consistent performances followed up to 1969. After a 15-year hiatus, the team returned in 1983 as an engine supplier in what was its most successful stint. Honda supplied its engines to six consecutive constructor champions as well as five consecutive driver championships, of which three came from the iconic McLaren-Honda-Senna combination. And all of this was not just a brand-building exercise, Soichiro

The Future of the Supercar is Electric.

The future of the automobile is electric. This is almost a fact. The future of the supercar however, is under debate. Petrolheads are a resistive bunch and don’t take to change easily. They aren’t ready to let go of their flat-plane crank V8s just yet. This is seen in the criticism this year’s Ford GT received for having only a V6, when in fact this car is up there with its peers in pace and dynamism. This outlook has been further aggravated when it comes to electric power. Until very recently, electric power was associated with dull, drab, eco-conscious family cars like Priuses and Insights. It was only after the effective torch-bearers of petrol power, Ferrari, Porsche and Mclaren, showed with the LaFerrari, the 918, and the P1 respectively, that electric power can also make a car exciting and quick, and be way more efficient while doing so. What cannot be argued with are the performance figures new electric cars put out. The Tesla Model S, in P100D spec, has a 0 to 96 kph time

What happened to Hydrogen FCVs?

At the turn of the century, the world was at the threshold of two sustainable solutions to power cars – hydrogen fuel cells and electric batteries. In fact, electric car technology was fraught with inefficiencies and the cars born out of this were deplorable to say the least. These being early hybrids like the Toyota Prius and the Honda Insight. Eco image aside, these were pretty much portable washing machines.  On the other hand, cars like the Honda FCX Clarity and Toyota Mirai, both hydrogen powered, were ushered in as the new hope in keeping the automobile relevant going forward. The situation now though, has completely turned on its head, Elon Musk and his firm, Tesla, have captured imaginations the world over – be it the general public, automakers or governments. This is also entirely due to approaching the problem from a completely different viewpoint. Rather than path-breaking tech. Tesla used already existing technology, be it the motors, the batteries, design, packaging or c

Is GM the new BMW?

This thought would have probably been inconceivable a decade ago. But now, there is a real possibility that this is a fair assessment. Ever since the post sub prime crisis bailout, GM has taken pointed steps to reinvent itself and be more relevant in this, what can easily be called, the golden age of super and hypercars. It has offloaded loss making brands (Hummer, Saturn, Opel – Vauxhall), exited countries where production was expensive (Australia), had a thorough rethink of how the business is managed and has invested in newer technologies (electric cars) & trends(ride-sharing). Product development too seems to have become more engineering & design oriented and less hampered by budget​ cuts. A prime example of this is the present generation C7 Corvette. This car in its Sting-Ray & Grand Sport variants can consistently hold a candle to the latest variants of the Porsche 911 – the class standard. This is not just in outright speed but also in all manner of handling tes