Drive Reviews

Get a low down on some of the cool cars on Indian roads. If you are tired of the jargon heavy pretentious tech speak and need some simplified feedback on your choice of wheels, read on. Because we test vehicles in real driving situations just the way you would. And tell it like it is.

The BMW X3 xDrive20d Drive Review. The only SUV you would ever need

BMW has been the leader in creating cars that blur the line between luxury and performance. The brand has been at the forefront when it comes to delivering immensely pleasurable, yet hair-raising, goose bump inducing experiences behind the wheel. Their unrelenting effort to create the "Ultimate Driving Machine" in each segment has mostly worked, and the SUV market has been no different. While the X1 has been a great entryway into BMW's SUV lineup, the X5 has for long been the big brother, with its distinct character, powerful performance and road presence. Sandwiched in between, the X3 has the challenging task of not only carving out an identity of its own in the line up, but also coming out of the shadows of rivals such as Audi Q5, Mercedes Benz GLC and the smartly packaged Volvo XC60. With the new X3 however, things have changed for the better. BMW has made significant changes to give it some showstopper appeal and catapult it into the limelight. Ream more

Long Term Review. 3 months and 5500+ kms with the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga ZDI+

September 2019: When we got the new Ertiga for a long term review, we weren't exactly brimming with optimism. An MPV after all, just doesn't excite - either on paper or in the way it drives. And the prospect of driving a people carrier day in and day out over the next few months seemed a bit drab, to say the least.

December 2019: After spending 3 months+ with the Ertiga ZDI+, and transitioning from a 'review' mode to 'user' mode, we were absolutely convinced about why this one was the fastest flying MPV in the market. Because in terms of versatility and practicality, the Ertiga is an unbeatable proposition. Add to it, the low cost of ownership and high fuel efficiency - it makes a strong case for itself. Read more

Long Term Review. The Maruti Suzuki Ertiga is more than just a people carrier

The MPV segment in the Indian automotive market has been largely devoid of flair or pizazz, and the Ertiga by Maruti Suzuki was no exception. It was a rather dreary vehicle - one that did its job perfectly well, but wasn't exactly a head turner. Certainly not the type you would wish to step out of in a fancy hotel driveway. But that didn't seem to bother the quintessential Ertiga buyer. The 7-seater MPV that offered a huge price advantage over the more premium Toyota Innova, was a massive success from the word go. And after 6 years in the market, it got a makeover in late 2018. This was followed by an engine update in 2019. This time around, the car maker has taken a fresher approach in terms of design - giving the vehicle a dash of contemporary charm and oodles of confidence on the streets. In its new avatar, the Ertiga tries to be more than just a utilitarian people carrier and succeeds in its mission. Read more

Never Stop Discovering with the Land Rover Discovery Sport

Land Rover is an evocative name in the world of automobiles. A byword for toughness and reliability. For decades, the brand has appealed to enthusiasts of all kinds of adventure, and the presence of Land Rover products in some of the most inhospitable parts of the world is a testament to its character. Synonymous with exploration and discovery, it isn't surprising that the Discovery Sport is one of its most popular offerings in India. Combining rugged off road ability with family style comfort & luxury in an efficient size, the Discovery Sport is a good all-round package offering versatility that makes it just about right for demanding Indian roads. Now equipped with a more powerful diesel engine, it retains its classic capabilities that has all that it takes to challenge the new breed of competition on the road. We took the SUV to tango with the retreating monsoon across the unexplored hills of Landour and beyond, and came back quite pleased after clocking over 1000 kms through torrential rains, cloudbursts and some heart stopping moments in the mountains. Read more

Drive Review. The Ciaz 1.5L Petrol SHVS is smart, sensible & stylish

The Ciaz has been a rather significant  success story for Maruti Suzuki and its sales numbers are a testament to its position in the mid size sedan segment. It has also played a significant role in establishing the more premium Nexa retail experience for the car maker, attracting a new set of younger urban audience. For the first time, thanks to the Ciaz, Maruti has been able to go up against, and even beat the likes of the Hyundai Verna and Honda City. When launched 5 years ago, the Ciaz was a strong, but tad boring alternative to the established segment leaders. The recent facelift has given it a fresh look and feel, with some changes being made under the hood as well. Having driven the diesel variant of the new Ciaz earlier, we were thoroughly impressed by its ability to be a fantastic daily commuter. But does the petrol variant, with its new "smart-hybrid" system have what it takes to match up to its diesel brother? We spent a few weeks driving around the 1.5L petrol Ciaz in the Alpha trim, to find out just how much has changed. Read more

The BMW X4 Drive Review. Oodles of poise, presence and performance to match

BMW has for long been a pioneer in creating cars that cannot be slotted into existing categories. With an extremely complex and often confusing product portfolio, they have a knack for creating new segments, where others struggle to compete. Take the 6-Series Gran Coupe for example - which is a 4-door version of the 2-door version of their 4-door car. It gets confusing, but sometimes in the process of pushing the limits of existing segments, they do create some truly unique vehicles that do not fit into traditional slots, but mesmerise nevertheless. The new BMW X4 is one such offering. It promises an exhilarating experience the moment you step in. With oodles of poise, presence and performance to match.

Just like the BMW X6, the X4 is a 'Sports Activity Vehicle' or SAV, offering both SUV and coupe like features. Based on the X3 platform, it combines the ride height and four wheel drive characteristics of an SUV with the stylish demeanour of a coupe, with an elegantly sloping roofline and sporty styling. But is it really the best of both worlds? We spent a fortnight with the X4 xDrive30i M Sport (petrol variant) and were pretty impressed with what we encountered. But does it really make for a sensible buy? Read more

Drive Review. The Tata Harrier is rough luxury on wheels

Tata Motors has long been a marquee brand in the Indian automotive industry, creating products such as the Safari and Sumo which resonated quite well with Indian customers for decades. While their rugged offerings have appealed to a generation of explorers and seekers, the lack of refinement and dearth of innovation has held them back from making inroads into the premium market. All of this seemingly changed in 2008, with the company's acquisition of Jaguar Land Rover. The marriage heralded an opportunity for Tata Motors to redefine itself, and it took a few years for things to take shape in that direction. The silver lining was the H5X concept, revealed at the 2018 Auto Expo in India. Out of which Tata's latest luxury offering the Harrier was born. It's an SUV that ticks all the right boxes, with a fresh and innovative design that incorporates JLR's strong underpinnings. Read more

Drive Review. The BMW X1 M Sport is a fun to drive asphalt hugging mini beast

The entry level luxury SUV segment is one of the most important categories for luxe auto manufacturers in India, as a lot of first time luxury car buyers step into the category through this segment. Gone are the days when marquee brands could provide cut-price versions of their more expensive cars as their entry level offerings, and the segment has grown to include some stellar models of late. Enter BMW's baby SUV, the X1, which for long has been one of the company's best selling cars in India. Now in its second generation, the X1 has fixed the issues that riddled the car when it first launched in 2009, and has become a worthy contender for the title of the best entry level luxury SUV in the market. We spent some quality time with the top of the line BMW X1 xDrive20d M Sport variant, to find out if it has what it takes to challenge the newer offerings in the segment, especially the new Volvo XC40. Read more

Drive Review. Volvo XC40 is the Sexy Swedish Compact SUV for Gen Next

Rarely does one come across technology that transcends its purpose to become more than just a feat of engineering. Or a mere tool in your hands. And when one does, it is magical. The Volvo XC40 is one such experience - a marvellous tech-enabled disruption that brings  automobile engineering closer to a human level. Sculpted with care with a distinct youthful character, it is built around you to simplify everyday life on the move. Volvo's first foray into the entry level SUV market is an amalgamation of all that the company is good at, wrapped up in a distinctively youthful package that is aimed at the next generation of car buyers. We spent a week with the XC40 Inscription trim to find out just how appealing it is, and we came out of the experience thoroughly impressed. Read more

Drive Review: The Ciaz Alpha Diesel 1.5L is a compelling package that combines style and substance

Amongst mid-sized sedans in India, Maruti Suzuki has made a mark for itself at the entry level with the Ciaz. But it has continued to struggle against more well entrenched adversaries like the Honda City and Hyundai Verna at the top end of the segment. While the Ciaz has always been appreciated for its matured styling, well appointed interiors, generously spacious cabin and fuel efficiency, it lagged behind a bit in power and performance even though it offered the best value in the segment. In the hierarchy of premium-ness, drivability becomes a key factor that influences brand choice, and the Ciaz needed some improvement on that front.

We saw Ciaz go through a much needed facelift in the second half of 2018, and a new 1.5L Smart Hybrid petrol engine was introduced alongside. That was followed by the introduction of the indigenously developed BS-VI compliant 1.5L 4-cylinder DDiS 225 diesel engine in the first quarter of 2019. This engine will eventually go on to replace the 1.3L Fiat sourced Multijet diesel in the portfolio after new compliance norms kick-in from April 2020. Read more

Drive Review: The little big things make the 2019 Maruti Suzuki WagonR a winner

Few car makers can boast of selling between 10000-15000 units of a single model consistently month after month. And that's what makes the WagonR special for Maruti Suzuki. Having sold more than 2.2 million units since its launch over two decades ago, the WagonR is amongst the all-time top selling cars in India. And now in its 3rd generation, it has gone through a complete makeover to keep up with the times and woo over a new generation of buyers in the small car segment.

Launched in January 2019, the 3rd generation WagonR is bigger on space, better in aesthetics, and brings modern flair to the interiors with updated tech and safety features. We spent a week with the WagonR ZXi AGS 1.2L petrol variant, which is the range topping model and comes with the Auto Gear Shift (AGS). At an ex-showroom price tag of INR 5.69 lacs it may feel a bit excessive, but we can assure you will be spoilt for choice with over 14 petrol and CNG variants to choose from, starting at INR 4.19 lacs. Read more

Kicking up a storm with the new Nissan Kicks. #ShotOnNoisePlay2

Nissan may have been a bit under the radar in India lately, but they are about to kick up a storm and shake things up by early 2019 with the launch of the new Nissan Kicks. The stylish compact SUV which is already on sale in certain international markets has some important changes in the India specced version.

We were at the Rann of Kutch recently for an exclusive media drive experience, and came back with a first hand report after testing it for over 250 odd kms. Read more

The 2017 Maruti Suzuki S-Cross Smart Hybrid Drive Review. #ShotOnHonorView10

Back in 2015 Maruti Suzuki set out to change a few things about marketing its brand to the next generation of automobile customers. Those who were not weighed down by legacy or blind brand loyalty anymore, but were making measured and practical purchase decisions backed by digital research & data, peer opinion & reviews and some detailed competitive analysis.

As a result, the company made some major alterations to its product line, marketing and distribution and introduced the new concept of an elevated retail experience in the form of NEXA outlets. NEXA introduced the world to Maruti Suzuki's most adventurous offering yet - the S-Cross. We reviewed the S-Cross back when it was launched, and the market feedback at that time was a tad underwhelming. Though a good product, it was overshadowed by the Hyundai Creta which launched around the same time, and its 'premium crossover' positioning didn't quite match expectations. It seemed more like an overpriced and oversized hatchback that lacked any real crossover elements. Read more

The Tata Hexa XT 4x4 Drive Review. #ShotOnHonorView10

Tata Motors has been on a quest for rediscovery lately in the passenger car & utility vehicle segment, and the company has been making strides in revamping its image. Their portfolio now has a slew of offerings that are smart, practical and aimed at a modern set of buyers, and things definitely seem to be moving in the right direction. So when we got our hands on the new Hexa for an extensive drive-out, it's safe to say we went in with some expectations.

While Tata calls the Hexa an all new vehicle, it is actually a heavily updated version of the company's outgoing MPV, the Aria, with some new SUV like elements packed into it. So does the new Tata Hexa live up to its promise of 'whatever it takes to conquer every terrain'? We took the Hexa XT 4x4 on a road trip from Delhi to Lansdowne to find out, covering 600 kms across mountains, highways, valleys and river beds. Read more

The Tata Nexon XZ+ 1.5L Diesel Drive Review

The compact SUV market is unarguably the hottest segment in the Indian car industry, with every manufacturer trying to grab a share of the pie. Tata never had a product in this segment until September 2017, when they came up with a slightly differentiated offering with the Nexon - a lifestyle compact SUV aimed at millennials.

Starting out as a futuristic-looking concept car showcased at the 2014 Auto Expo, the Nexon eventually hit the Indian roads as it was imagined. And it has been a runaway success ever since. Rolling out 10,000 units in under 3 months and 25,000 units in under 6 months, it has captured the imagination of young buyers with its flamboyant design, loaded specs and aggressive pricing, giving Tata Motors a fresh lease of life. Read more

Dramatic & Devilish. The Jaguar F-PACE 2.0L AWD Diesel Prestige Drive Review

They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Even in the world of automobiles it's rather accurate, if you think about it. The importance of a good first impression can never be undermined. And that's something that Jaguar understands well.

The marque makes it a point to make the first reveal of their vehicles utterly memorable, through audacious jaw-dropping spectacles that tame the impossible and challenge what is humanly off-limits. And does it with a remarkable sense of cool. Which is why when Jaguar made its first foray into the widely popular SUV segment with the F-PACE, it did so with a sensational, gravity-defying public debut in September 2015. Stunt driver Terry Grant performed a record breaking 360 degree loop stunt in Frankfurt, withstanding extreme forces of 6.5G (more than space shuttle pilots) to loop the 19.08 metre loop. The move was aimed to bring into focus the performance SUV's lightweight construct and sports car-like abilities. It was tuned to perfection and on point. Much like the vehicle itself, which is a knockout package of style, sportiness and practicality with the unmissable Jag swag. Read more

The 2018 Mahindra Scorpio S11 2WD Review. #ShotonHonor7X

For the longest time, the Mahindra badge on a vehicle has been a symbol of frugal manufacturing and swadeshi swag. The brand's uncanny ability to read Indian conditions, get under the skin of its consumers and build products that get the job done without much fuss, has been admirable.

Back in 2002, the company hit the sweet spot with its first SUV, the Mahindra Scorpio. An aspirational home grown urban product, it was truly one-of-a-kind. As hot on the high streets as it was in the Himalayas. Fifteen years later some may call it an ageing icon, but it continues to have a cult-like following amongst Gen X users and has shown remarkable consistency in sales all through. Mighty and muscular, the vehicle's butch untamed appearance and rugged construction clearly differentiated it from competition, and instantly connected with the individual's pursuit for power, freedom and adventure. Nothing else really came close. Read more

The Jeep Compass Limited Option 4X4 2.0 Diesel Drive Review. #ShotonHonor7X

Think of the term 'SUV' and certain names invariably pop up in your head. Brands that have cemented their place as quintessential off roaders, stood the test of time, and continued to be the very essence of what the term stands for - sporty, rugged with a go-anywhere attitude. Jeep is one such brand. The American stalwart of hardcore off-roaders has been a byword for well performing SUVs for several years now. But the iconic brand never really forayed into the SUV loving Indian market, till recently. The Wrangler and the Grand Cherokee were the first to be launched in 2016, but sadly, their steep prices put them out of reach for even the most affluent buyers. 

But all that changed in the later half of 2017 with the launch of the Jeep Compass; a sharply focussed SUV for emerging markets that clearly put India at the centre of a major global initiative. Both as a manufacturing & export hub, as well as a critical market for the brand. After all, it is hard to ignore one of the top three passenger car markets in the world anymore. Read more

A head-nod worthy AMT: The Tata Tiago XZA 1.2L Petrol AMT Drive Review

We tested the Tiago when it first came out in 2016, and were quite impressed with Tata's latest take on the mid-sized hatchback for the Indian market. Expectations around the Tiago were high, and it didn't disappoint when it finally rolled out. And now with over 100,000 bookings in a little over a year, it has proved to be a shot in the arm for Tata Motor's PV division, offering a compelling package of looks, features and performance with a strong underlying value-for-money proposition. The compact hatch segment has always been a busy space. With Kwid redefining the entry level, Micra innovating for market share, favourites like Celerio and Grand i10 going strong, and new-kid-on-the-block Ignis finding its niche, the Tiago had to up its game to keep interest alive. So a few months back, it introduced the AMT (automated manual transmission) gearbox in the top end petrol variant, which has met with a reasonably good response. Read more

#MadeForIndia: The Volkswagen Ameo 1.2L MPI Highline review

Volkswagen stepped into the sub 4-metre compact sedan space in India during the first half of the year 2016, with the Ameo. They launched the 1.2L 3-cylinder inline petrol variant first, following it up with the 1.5L 4-cylinder TDI diesel during the festive season. Finally they introduced the range topping diesel automatic with the DSG gearbox to complete the line up, which we extensively reviewed earlier.

While the Ameo petrol looks exactly like the diesel variant inside out, the drive distinguishes one from the other and makes all the difference. We spent some time with the top specced 1.2L MPI Highline petrol with a 5-speed manual gearbox (there is no automatic option with the petrol), to find out if it was as impressive as its diesel sibling with the DSG gearbox. The diesel automatic by the way had us completely besotted, as it drove and felt like a car from a segment above. Read more

Homing in at La Villa Bethany, Landour with the Discovery Sport

It is always tough to say no to Landour. The lovely little cantonment town in Uttarakhand has remained our unanimous choice when it comes to choosing an easy-paced and languid escapade. While other popular hilly destinations may fail to offer a rejuvenating experience with their cacophonous chaos and rampant commercialisation, Landour scores high with its lingering calm and natural charm. The deep woods, misty walkways, gabled roofs and quiet environs of this colonial outpost are reminiscent of a bygone era - with everything from its name to its temperament retaining an unquestionably British hangover. And what better way to get there, than drive up in a remarkable piece of contemporary British engineering; the Land Rover. More specifically, the Land Rover Discovery Sport. Read more

A loveable bug: The 21st Century Volkswagen Beetle 1.4L TSI Petrol Drive Review

If you look back at the history of the modern automobile, few cars stand out the way the Volkswagen Beetle does. The original 'People's Car' was first produced in 1938, and is the longest-running and most-manufactured car of a single platform in automotive history. What started off as a functional and utilitarian set of wheels for mass mobility, has over time transformed into an iconic symbol of freedom, love and joy, world over.

The loveable 2-door 4-seater bug has traversed through the highway of history - making its way from the motorway to the museum. From moving the masses to moving up the snob ladder, the Beetle has indeed come a long way, and remains one of the most loved cars around the world. Read more

Object of Dzire: The Maruti Suzuki Dzire 1.2L Petrol ZXi+ AMT Review

When it comes to passenger cars, Maruti Suzuki has been at the forefront of almost every segment in the country. Cornering about 45% market share consistently, their offerings have always dwarfed the competition in terms of sales, even though their products haven't necessarily been the most advanced. In recent years however, they have been on the path to create more progressive products both in terms of design & performance. The Baleno, Brezza and Ignis have been super successful in their respective space, and their premium NEXA retail program has added a dash of sophistication to the brand. Read more

Te am(e)o, mi amor: The Volkswagen Ameo 1.5 TDI Highline review

Having tested several cars across manufacturers over the years, it usually doesn’t take us too long to figure out the character of a car. A 360° walk around, a peep under the hood, a few minutes inside the cabin and a short drive later, we have a fair idea about the ethos of the car and what the company behind it stands for. But then some cars take you by surprise, turning out to be a completely different animal from what you expect it to be. And rarely are they mass market cars. But the Volkswagen Ameo 1.5 TDI Highline turned out to be an exception. Read more

Making a comeback with the #styleback: The Tata Tigor 1.2L Petrol Drive Review

Tata's journey in the Indian passenger car market has never really been a smooth ride. The trust factor synonymous with the brand has eluded them in this category, as they have constantly struggled with product and service issues. With just a handful of successes over the past two decades (Estate, Safari, Sumo, Indica), an extravagant experiment (Nano) that didn't quite go right, and a few unsuccessful new launches (Bolt, Zest); things haven't really gone their way. Lack of timely upgrades, long intervals between product launches, flogging dated technology and niggling issues with sales, distribution & service networks meant that Tata never really posed a challenge to the market dominance of Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai. Although on paper they always remained the strongest contender to do so. Read more

The hatchback on steroids: Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS Drive Review

Behind the wheel of the Baleno RS, the first thought that crosses the mind is how far Maruti Suzuki has come from building VFM cars for the masses to sculpting an impressive performance hatch that is a worthy challenger in its category. Instinctively, comparison with the Polo GT Sport and Abarth Punto crop up. But that's a tad unfair, as the true spirit of the Baleno RS lies in its enhanced road sportiness rather than its racing DNA. An 800 km road trip over 4 days through some significantly challenging highways and hills of Uttarakhand gave us a rather well rounded perspective of Maruti Suzuki's most powerful hatchback yet. We drove out from Delhi to North Corbett via Lansdowne and back, and it was pretty evident that the Baleno RS is built for the thrill of the road; not the race track. The 'RS' moniker stands for 'road sport' and that's what it was - a nifty hatch for your daily commute that can make distance chasing on highways quite a fun activity. Read more

Fort Nalagarh with the Vitara #Brezza. Powered by #LeEco

The Vitara Brezza is back in our garage. A month after our extensive in-city review, we took Maruti Suzuki's sensational compact SUV out for a long drive this time, as there was still some juice to be extracted out of this one. Our road trip started from Delhi to Chandigarh via NH44. After an overnight halt we drove onward to Fort Nalagarh via Baddi, spending some time in between to explore different terrains nearby - hill roads, soft roads, tractor trails, alleys, steep inclines and such. Finally we drove back to Delhi via Chandigarh, having covered 1000 kms over 4 days in our Cerulean Blue and Pearl Arctic White ZDi+ variant, which is the top-end model equipped with all bells and whistles. Read more

The Tata Tiago Drive Review powered by #LeEco

India's automotive history has been a relatively short one. Iconic cars have been far and between, with the Ambassador, Maruti 800 and the Gypsy probably making the cut. And perhaps to a lesser extent the Tata Nano. Then there are the likes of Hyundai Santro and Tata Indica. Small cars that have enjoyed an extended run well beyond their expiry date to remain widely popular and instantly recognizable on the roads.

Much of the action in the Indian automobile industry has been in the compact hatchback segment. Tata Motors stepped into the game a bit late with the Indica in 1998 - it's first indigenous passenger car which became an instant success thanks to the introduction of a diesel option in a small car and its generous cabin space. Indica eventually went on to sell over a million units for Tata, who continued their small car experiments with the revolutionary Nano in 2009 and the Bolt in 2014. While the former has had a mixed run, the latter failed to make much of an impression. Read more

The Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza Drive Review powered by #LeEco

The compact SUV segment has been a game changer of sorts for the Indian auto industry. What started off as a sub segment of utility vehicles has turned out to be one of the biggest disruptions that the industry has ever witnessed. Who would have imagined that compact SUVs would become the fastest growing segment in a small car market like India?

Well, we could thank the millennials for breaking our two decade old fascination of upgrading to a 'car with a boot'. Today 'a car with muscle' has actually emerged as a choice for many a first car buyer and for those who wish to upgrade to a more practical alternative that gives them the characteristics of a bigger car at the price of a hatchback.

The early years saw the Renault Duster and Ford EcoSport open up the market for compact SUVs in India. In 2015 the Hyundai Creta was launched and it shook up the market at the premium end to take the top spot. Mahindra, the undisputed leader of UVs in India launched its TUV500 followed by the KUV100 and very soon every manufacturer had a product in the segment - either in the form of a crossover, a mini SUV or a compact SUV. Except for Maruti Suzuki, which was kind of late to the party. Read more

The Mahindra TUV300 mHawk100 Drive Review powered by #LeEco

Last week we took off from Delhi towards Rajaji National Park and then further up in the hills of the Uttarakhand region - a journey that was meant to test our vehicle's long distance drivability, passenger comfort, endurance and overall performance. Thankfully, we had one that seemed to be just perfect for the proceedings. The Mahindra TUV300. Launched last year, the TUV300 is the younger sibling of the wildly successful XUV500. And when Mahindra sent us the updated T8 variant powered by the mHawk100 engine (produces 100 bhp) to test, it seemed like the perfect drive for the highway and hills as we went chasing the monsoon. We drove 1000 odd kms over 7 days and encountered a fair bit of rough weather, winding mountain roads, steep inclines and thunder showers. Although not quite the powerhouse, the TUV300 is no pushover either. It is built tough, sure footed and secure. But more on that later. Read more

The Scorpion King with the Sting: The Fiat Abarth Punto Drive Review

Hatchbacks are by far the most sensible category of vehicles to own. Small, efficient and practical, they are ideal to zip about without much fuss. With premium hatchbacks throwing in more and more creature comforts these days, things get better and the hatch starts making even more sense. But there is one aspect where they always lag behind. And that is the thrill of the drive. Sure, the small size and low weight of the hatch makes for a zippy drive, but what it tends to lack is raw power. The small engines are often tuned for high efficiency and if you are an enthusiast, that is a big compromise that can ruin the experience behind the wheels. The answer to this conundrum is the hot hatch. Combining the practicality of the hatch and the thrill of a small sports car, the hot hatch remains quite the rage world over. However, the Indian market has always been deprived of a decent, affordable one until the uber stylish Fiat Abarth Punto was launched last year. Read more

Sorted, Smart and Scintillating: The Baleno Drive Review

Baleno was launched about six months back and it has literally swarmed the streets ever since. With more than 1,00,000 bookings in the first four months, it has already been declared a blockbuster of sorts. Together with its recently launched cousin Vitara Brezza, it has given Maruti Suzuki enough reason to smile, after the mildly disastrous S-Cross. 2016 sure seems to be looking up for the company, as it inches back towards a 50% market share, thanks to new launches, aggressive marketing and retail initiatives. Their caller tune this season ought to be Bruce Springsteen's "Glory Days". Read more

Very very seXC: The Volvo XC90 Drive Review

An interior designer, a restauranteur, a jewellery designer, a theatre owner and a school fund raiser. Five opinionated and demanding LA professionals with 24x7 jobs, who have been exposed to every shred of luxury that the American West Coast can offer. Put them together in a room, mix well and voilà! What you get is the all new Volvo XC90.

Surprised? Well, it so happens that Volvo has a philosophy of building vehicles that are 'designed around you'. Therefore it takes its focus groups quite seriously. In its journey to create the new XC90, the company decided to involve this particular set of Californians to work closely with them for over three years. They felt this group typically represented Volvo car owners around the world, who need a luxury vehicle that helps them keep up with their busy lives. Something they can call home while on the move. Read more

Old Dog, New Tricks: The Volvo S60 Cross Country Drive Review

Volvo Cars have always been known for a certain demeanour. Elegant and self assured, a quintessential Volvo usually appeals to the liberal, educated, well heeled sorts, who value safety and refinement over flashy show of wealth. Lately however, the brand has been making a conscious effort to break away from these stereotypes and step out of its own comfort zone by aggressively reaching out to a younger, free spirited, tech savvy audience globally, through music, sports, digital and less traditional marketing campaigns. It has also been hard at work developing a new range of cars focussed on progressive design, human centric technology and driver oriented performance. The Volvo V40 and the S60 Polestar, along with a few new concepts that have been unveiled globally over the last few months are a step in that direction.

Volvo's latest addition to its India portfolio is the new S60 Cross Country. We had it in our fleet for a few days and it came to us in the lovely Rich Java paint option. While we have reviewed the Volvo S60 R-Design earlier, the S60 Cross Country happens to have a mind and heart of its own. What may seem as a marketing gimmick at first glance, is actually quite a mean package that pleasantly surprises with its mild audacity. Read more

Good enough, but not #GearedforGreat yet: The Tata Bolt Drive Review

We took the Tata Bolt for a week long drive when Tata Motors was in the middle of a rigorous endurance challenge to showcase the might of their new generation passenger vehicles - the Zest, Bolt and Tiago. We drove around Delhi NCR, while the #GearedforGreat challenge was simultaneously being held at the 4.2 km long NCAT (National Centre of Automotive Testing) high-speed test track at the VRDE (Vehicle Research & Development Establishment) in Ahmednagar. Four vehicles including the Bolt clocked a staggering 50,000 kms each over 18 days there, at an average speed of 120 km/h. Setting as many as 360 new records in what was a test of performance, strength, speed, efficiency and durability.

All very good. But it would be great if Tata had challenged themselves against competition in a similar event. Also, what are the chances of a manufacturer being dismissive of their own products in an event they themselves organized? Slim, we'd say. Read more

The powerful hatch with performance to match: The Ford Figo Drive Review

Ford has for long been associated with making fun and exciting cars. The Fiesta, when it was first launched in Western markets, caused quite a stir. And the Fiesta ST, which was a high performance version of the best selling hatchback, is still revered as one of the greatest hot hatch ever made. It is safe to say that Ford knows a thing or two about providing an exciting experience in a small package. And driving their latest hatchbacks in India gave us a glimpse of how well they do it. We had the second generation Ford Figo with us for a couple of weeks recently. Launched sometime around the end of September 2015 in India, this is undoubtedly one of the sweetest small cars we have driven lately. We tested the 1.5L Ti-VCT Petrol AT first and followed it up with the 1.5L TDCi Diesel MT, and both were equally delightful. Read more

Dissecting the premium crossover: The Maruti Suzuki S-Cross Drive Review

Be it a hatch, sedan or an SUV, new vehicles that are launched in the market usually find their place within a neatly defined segment. Carmakers seldom venture out of their comfort zone and rarely does one see an offering that redefines categories to create a unique niche for itself. The Maruti Suzuki S-Cross was one such bold and ambitious attempt. Launched with much fanfare in August 2015, it was meant to pull the company out of its middle class roots and push it into the premium orbit. But blame it on bad timing, positioning or pricing strategy, it wasn't the runaway success that one expected it to be. The S-Cross was launched back to back with the Hyundai Creta, and comparisons were inevitable. The Creta was pitched as the 'perfect SUV' and there was little dispute. It has been a runaway success on the back of a solid product, aggressive pricing and clear positioning. The S-Cross on the other hand, was launched at a higher than expected price, and positioned as a 'premium crossover' which was hard to decipher at first glance - it neither looked premium on the outside, nor was it a crossover in the real sense. Read more

Young and restless. For the young and the restless: The Ford Figo Aspire Drive Review

India is the spiritual home of the small car. Be it congested urban cities or small towns, the only way to survive on Indian roads is to get into a compact car. While a compact hatchback remains the go-to vehicle for most Indians who desire to upgrade to four wheels, a 'car with a boot' remains an aspiration for many. The Indian government also gives excise duty relief to vehicles that are sub-four metres, and this peculiar situation has resulted in manufacturers coming out with small and unique three box cars tailored for the market. Cars like Honda Amaze, Hyundai Xcent and Maruti Suzuki's Swift Dzire have managed to capture this segment with considerable success, and the Swift Dzire continues to be one of India's best selling cars. The sub-four metre sedan is now an attractive proposition for all manufacturers and every car maker worth his salt has a product in the segment. Ford is no exception. It recently launched the Figo Aspire, a rather handsome compact sedan targeted at this aspiring class. With a bold & dynamic exterior, premium interiors and intelligent storage spaces, the Figo Aspire combines style with comfort and significantly ups the game in the mass premium segment. Read more

Style, Pizzaz & All That Jazz: The Maruti Suzuki Ciaz SHVS Drive Review

The Ciaz was launched by Maruti Suzuki about a year ago, and the stylish sedan checked quite a few boxes with its good looks, spacious cabin and premium features. The car replaced the SX4 and gave the manufacturer a fresh lease of life in the aspirational mid market C-segment, which was dominated by the likes of the Honda City and Hyundai Verna for a while. While the Ciaz has been a success from the word go and raced ahead of the Verna and the VW Vento in the segment, it has not quite managed to outnumber the City's sales yet. But things may just change. Read more

A twist in sobriety: The Volvo S60 R-Design Drive Review

Volvo passenger cars are meant for the more mature and responsible amongst us; the family oriented, concerned and caring ones. But not a Volvo that wears the R-Design badge. Those ones are clearly for the radicals, thanks to the in-house tuning division at the Scandinavian auto maker that stands out as a tiny streak of crazy in an otherwise dignified history. R-Design cars are known for their unique touches of flamboyance and sportiness, that make a good looking car even better, and the drive a tad bit wilder. Take the Volvo S60 R-Design, for instance. More wolf like than feline, it has a 'tame me if you can' look without being outright aggressive. The sculpted V on the bonnet, the wolf eye headlamps, strong shoulders, expressive grille with the Volvo diagonal and R-Design badge give it a clean, yet self assured road presence that is hard to miss.We drove the vehicle for a while last month, and quite the head turner it was. It even managed to hold its own around tony Khan Market in New Delhi, capturing more eye balls while zipping alongside a much pricier Porsche Panamera. Read more

Feisty, flamboyant and free spirited: The BMW 328i Sport line Drive Review

Ask a true automobile enthusiast about his favourite cars, and the 3-Series would probably feature in the list. And rightly so, because BMW's base sedan offers what many pricier cars can only aspire for - a feeling of automotive nirvana every time you floor the throttle. The last generation 3-Series was simply brilliant to drive, and expectations from the new version were high. Thankfully, the F30 3-Series, which hit Indian shores in 2012 didn't disappoint, and it quickly cemented its place amongst the best driving luxury saloons. But three years down a lot has changed, with new entrants in the market threatening the 3-Series' position. So does the Bimmer still have what it takes to smother its rivals? We spent a weekend with the 328i Sport line and it left us with little doubt. Read more

Scandinavian Zen: The Volvo XC60 R-Design Drive Review

The Scandinavians know a thing or two about design. They believe in elegance over brash aggression, and functionality over all else. Be it furniture or automobiles, their products have an air of simple sophistication about them. Mature and evolved in their approach towards design, they always keep people at the centre of everything they set out to do. Take the Volvo XC60 for example. A classic Scandinavian design fused with technology, created for the sole purpose of making human lives safer and simpler. Step inside, and you are engulfed with a sense of comfort that you would usually associate with things that are dear to you. Like a warm hug from a loved one. The atmospherics instantly make you feel at home. Read more

The Pocket Rocket that packs a punch: Mini Cooper D Drive Review

Cars usually have a purpose. A hatchback is your entry to four wheels, while a sedan works as a logical family car. An MUV hauls people around, while an SUV gives you off-roading capabilities. But rarely do you come across a car that serves no true purpose, and you still want it. That's the MINI. We drove the refreshed MINI Cooper D 3-door recently and while it took a while getting used to, we sorely missed it, when it had to eventually go. The MINI has always been unconventionally good looking and the new version is no different. It stays true to the original iconic design and styling. Read more

Why drive when you can xDrive: The BMW X5 Review

The luxury SUV segment has always found favour amongst Indian consumers. Those who can afford it, wouldn't settle for less; and those who can't, aspire for one with the hope of acquiring it someday. This has long been the preferred mode of travel for the reasonably wealthy tribe who tend to be on the road extensively - politicians, movie stars, sports stars, industrialists, corporate honchos and such. It is a symbol of power and prestige on the road, feels relatively safer, and offers spacious interiors that allow you to take your entourage along. And if you have a demanding lifestyle, you could also get a lot of work done comfortably while on the move. Read more

The Fiat Linea T-Jet has always won applause from enthusiasts, who hail its peppy turbo charged engine and direct handling. But driving dynamics aside, the old Linea started feeling a bit dated when compared to its next-generation competitors. To address the issue, Fiat launched the refreshed New Linea in mid 2014 along with the Punto Evo. Since then, the segment has seen some worthy additions like the new Hyundai Verna and a slew of compact cross overs which also compete at the same price point. So does the Fiat Linea still have what it takes to fight its competitors? We decided to find out over a weekend drive review. Read more

The BMW 5 Series has always been the motoring enthusiast's favourite executive sedan. No other luxury saloon has ever managed to capture the essence of the 5 Series, a car that arguably handles better than many sports cars. With a history so illustrious, the 5 Series could only get better. And with the sixth generation 5 Series, BMW set a new benchmark in the segment. Read more

In India, the size of your car defines your status. Or so most people think. Give an average Indian some spare cash to spend on a set of wheels, and they are most likely to opt for something big and flashy. A luxury sedan or an SUV maybe. In contrast, Europeans and Americans have a different take on choosing vehicles. They are evolved and practical souls who mostly buy vehicles for the purpose they need it for, and not to impress their neighbors. You could say, their cars define their personality. Read more

Raghav Sarma of Licence to Drive reviews the Fiat Avventura after spending over a week with the vehicle. The LTD team tested the vehicle over 1000 kms. across highways, bad roads, city traffic, small towns, off road, hills, and drove it just the way you would use it; navigating stop and go city traffic on weekdays, and taking a quick road trip over the weekend. Watch the drive review if you are looking at a change of wheels, and have an eye on the sub INR 10.0 lac segment. Read more

Fiat first showcased the Avventura at the Auto Expo 2014, and the vehicle created quite some buzz amongst visitors and the media alike, as it was a genuinely different offering. The cross over was launched in late 2014 and positioned as a compact soft roader, which the company called a CUV (contemporary urban vehicle). The cross over segment has been on an upswing, with the Fiat Avventura, Cross Polo and Etios Cross vying for a slice of the pie and feeding the lower end of the growing compact SUV market that is dominated by Ford EcoSport and Renault Duster. Read more

In recent years, ATVs and other form of recreational sports vehicles have gathered quite some momentum in India. As one of the largest emerging markets in the world for automobiles of all sorts, vehicles for adventure sports have not lagged behind. And at the centre of it all is one company - Polaris, a name that has stood out for all the right reasons. Read more

At first glance, it's jaw dropping. As it zips past, you can't help but admire its awesome road presence, muscular stance and impressive styling. A few years back it was unimaginable to think that an Indian manufacturer known for its tractors and rugged SUVs could build a vehicle this impressive. Put it on the road anywhere in the world, and it is guaranteed to get a second glance. Read more
Drive Reviews Drive Reviews Reviewed by Sanjay Sarma on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 Rating: 5


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