Sunday, February 28, 2010

Maintaining a car or bike to be costly - Union Budget 2010

The Union Budget announced by the Finance Minister, is all set to have a direct impact on the automotive sector of the country. Buying and maintaining a car or bike is going to be costly with a hike of 2% in the Excise Duty which has already led to an immediate and corresponding increase in the prices of automobiles and component. Running cost of bikes and cars too will get dearer with the suggested increase in Excise Duty on petrol and Diesel.

The Excise Duty on small cars now stands at 10% while on big cars, Mutli Utility Vehicles (MUV's) and SUV's the duty has bumped to 22%. The duty on Electric Vehicle makers stands at 4%. Adding to that, the Excise Duty will also cut their share from the prices of vehicle components like tyres,batteries, etc. A pair of heavy duty truck tyre would now cost Rs. 500 more, while that for a sedan will be higher by Rs. 250 a tyre. Batteries will be dearer by 2%. The tyre makers of the country have already resorted to this hike.

The government’s decision, taken as part of a partial rollback of the stimulus package in the Union Budget, saw companies announcing corresponding increases in prices almost immediately. These included big volume players like Maruti, Hyundai, Tata Motors, Mahindra, General Motors and Honda.

“Prices have to go up with the increase in excise and our cars will become dearer by 2% across the board,” Maruti chairman RC Bhargava said. The entire model range of Maruti will now come at revised rate with a hike between Rs. 3,000 and Rs. 13,000.

Hyundai said that the hike on its cars will range between Rs, 6,500 and Rs. 2,5000. The price of the Santro is expected to be up by Rs. 6,500, the i10 by Rs. 6,700 and the i20 by Rs. 9,500. “The increase will be on all the models,” Hyundai India’s marketing and sales director Arvind Saxena said.

Paul de Voijs, Managing Director, Volvo Auto India Pvt. Ltd stated, "As per the Union Budget 2010 presented by the hon' ble Finance Minister, the 2% increase in the excise duty on cars will lead to a hike on the car prices. Unfortunately this will be passed on to the end consumer as it is inevitable."

Tata Motors have spared the Nano for now from the revision, but the a hike between Rs. 4,600 and Rs. 18,700 will be levied on all other models coming out of Tata Motors factory.

2010 Porsche Cayenne

The newest generation of the Porsche Cayenne is all set to make its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show soon in March. The new-generation Cayenne S Hybrid comes with a technically advanced and sophisticated parallel full hybrid drive. The car also boasts of a fuel efficiency figure of just 8.2 liters/100 kilometers which is equivalent to 34.4 mpg. The car is yet more efficient with CO2 emissions of just 193 g/km which makes the car perform like an eight-cylinder with the fuel economy of a six-cylinder machine. The car also features the new Tiptronic S eight-speed automatic transmission with Auto Start Stop and a widespread of gear ratios, thermal management on the engine and transmission cooling circuit, on-board network recuperation and variable engine cut-off.

The Cayenne S Hybrid along with the entire list of models in the new generations is specialized in efficiency and performance in their respective segments. A whopping 23 percent fall has been observed in fuel consumption which has made the car cleaner and greener. The ultra-light weight construction along with the blend of the perfect materials has helped bring down the weight of the car to 180 kgs along with a better standard of safety and quality. The weight factor has not only improved efficiency but also improved performance, agility and handling.
The new car offers a better on-road and off-road driving pleasure. The new design and shape of the car displays the typical ‘Porsche Look’ within the car with a sports-like character. The new car is more compact and dynamic than its predecessors. The Cayenne S Hybrid comes with a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 engine that runs on petrol and has the capacity to churn out 333 horses. Along with this is an electric motor which produces an additional 47 bhp of power which adds up to the overall power and torque of 380 bhp and 580 Nm respectively. Apart from the hybrid, there will also be various other options powered by both petrol as well as diesel engines. The heart of the Cayenne Turbo is a 4.8-litre V8 that churns out 500 horses.

The car will be available in the European market from the 8th of May costing an equivalent of Rs 29.40 lakh while the Cayenne Turbo is priced at about Rs 58 lakh. However, do not expect the prices to be same in India due to the infamous import duties.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Undisguised - Tata Aria Spotted Near Pune

One of motoroids regular readers sent this scoop shots of the Tata Aria doing its final testing rounds while being completely undisguised. Though we have already seen the MUV in flesh at the 2010 Auto Expo, we hadn't seen the vehicle running on road in its final production form. As per our friend who caught the Aria on cam, the vehicle was extremely quiet even when doing speeds of 130 km/h! On a few bumps in the road surface on the Pune-Mumbai highway, the vehicle seemed to have quite a significant bounciness / body roll. Later the vehicle pulled over to a roadside hotel, where the reader further followed it. As per his observations, even at idle RPM, there is hardly any diesel clatter as compared to the similar engined Safari DICOR.

According to other sources closer to the development of the Aria, the vehicle is in its final component-testing phase before it goes on sale in March. We are expecting the Aria to be priced between the Xylo and the Innova with the top end model slightly crossing the Rs. 10-lakh mark.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

2010 Acura RDX

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2010 Acura TL SH-AWD Manual

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2010 Acura MDX

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2010 Acura TSX V6

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2010 Acura TSX V62010 Acura TSX V6 Side view
2010 Acura TSX V62010 Acura TSX V6 interior
2010 Acura TSX V6 engine2010 Acura TSX V6 engine

Now this is how you test a car - Chevrolet Cruze - Road tested & Reviewed

Here our partners at Motoroids put the Chevrolet Cruze to what we call "Now this is how you do a road test", driving the car 600 Kms in all sorts of terrain to try and prove what the car is really worth. Interested to know the verdict. Visit our Car Reviews and Road Tests section to read the full story. Take my word for it, it is worth reading it.

Read the full review here "Chevrolet Cruze Road Test & Car Review"

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Maruti Suzuki recalls 1 lakh A- Star to replace Faulty Fuel Gaskets

Following reports of anomalies in the fuel tank, Maruti Suzuki, the biggest car maker in India are now in the process of recalling over one lakh A- stars to replace the faulty fuel pump gaskets and O rings. Approximately these affected one lakh cars were manufactured before 22nd August, 2009.

An official press release states, "At Maruti Suzuki, we constantly monitor quality of our products through feedback and internal analysis. In one such exercise in November ‘09, we came across an anomaly reported in the fuel tank in some of the vehicles and by December ’09 we started contacting the customers through letters. These vehicles belonged to lot made till 22nd August ’09 only. In case fuel is filled up to brim, beyond fuel auto cut off position, a possible fuel leakage from fuel pump mounting area may take place. No problem has been reported by customers. However, as a proactive step, we decided to check all vehicles from the lot, around 1 lakh units including those exported overseas. We are changing fuel pump gasket and O ring at no cost to customer. We are midway through the checking activity and hope to complete it soon. The final cost arrived at on this account will be shared with the supplier partner.”

Furthermore, the company has indicated that it has already kickstarted the repair process last year and are done with half of the affected units so far.

Chevrolet Cruze Automatic Launched by GM India

General Motors India today launched the Chevrolet Cruze Automatic in Bangalore at a ceremony presided over by its President & Managing Director Mr. Karl Slym. The manual version of Chevrolet Cruze launched in October has already redefined the D-segment with its coupe-like design proportions, comfortable interiors, class leading features and other exclusive product attributes.

The 6 Speed Automatic Transmission will be offered on the LTZ variant which also comes with a host of features like PEPS, Push Button Start, Cruise Control, Smart Screen and Electric Sunroof to name a few. The Automatic variant will also be available in a special 3 coat paint called White Diamond in addition to the exciting six colors already on offer.

The Chevrolet Cruze AT also has a triptronic mode which enables a sportier drive for the customer. Other highlights of this six-speed automatic transmission include Clutch-to-clutch shift operation for added precision and smoother shifts between gears. Also, it has a wide spread ratio with the first gear designed for a very high ratio to provide brisk acceleration from the top while the sixth gear has an overdrive ratio to keep the engine revolutions as low as possible for highway cruising and improved fuel economy. One of the key benefits of this model is that it uses premium fluids in the transmission that does not need replacement during normal use.

“Chevrolet has already become a driving force in India’s vehicle market,” said Karl Slym, President and Managing Director of GM India. “The Cruze has been receiving excellent market response since its launch in the last quarter of 2009. The auto Journalists in India who had test driven the vehicle have rated it as the best in its segment for its unique product attributes.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Volkswagen Polo Launched in India

Volkswagen has launched its eagerly awaited Polo hatchback in India. Surpassing the expectations, the company has priced the Polo very aggressively. The ex-showroom pricing for the car in Delhi is an alluring 4.34 lakh rupees for the base 1.2-litre petrol version. The base version of the fuel efficient 1.2-litre diesel will be available for Rs 5.32 lakh. The company has launched only the petrol version for now and the diesel version will be available around May. You can book petrol Polo for yourself right away though and get your delivery starting March 8th.

The company has localised the Polo to 50% for being able to offer it at such a lucrative price point. VW expects a localisation of 70% in due course which will increase their profits. We hear that there is a possibility of a 1.6-litre petrol model as well, which will be a total scorcher among all small hatchbacks in the country, but the timeline for this model’s launch has not been defined yet by VW.

Volkswagen has invested huge amounts of money in India and has set up one of the most sophisticated car plants of the country in Chakan near Pune. The German company is totally committed to increasing its presence and reach in the Indian market and plans to facilitate that by selling its cars well in the all-important B-segment.

At the current prices, the new Volkswagen is slightly more expensive than the equivalent Maruti Suzuki cars but cheaper than similar spec Hyundai cars. Both Hyundai and Maruti cars have more powerful engines than the Volkswagen on the paper, but you never know, Volkswagen may just trump the others with its better technology. Surprisingly, defying the global trend Volkswagen has priced the Polo cheaper than the Skoda Fabia – now Skoda is considered a notch lower than VW worldwide.

The petrol engine is a 1.2-litre, 75bhp three-cylinder unit, while the diesel mill is a 1.2-litre, 75bhp, three-cylinder common-rail unit. Both the engine will come with a five-speed manual transmission system claimed to transmit power with short, accurate shifts and very smooth handling. The car will be available in three trim levels called Trendline, Comfortline and Highline. 

Polo 1.2 petrol price – Ex showroom Delhi
1.2 petrol Trendline Rs 4.34 lakh
1.2 petrol Comfortline Rs 4.83 lakh
1.2 petrol Highline Rs 5.72 lakh
1.2 diesel Trendline Rs 5.32 lakh
1.2 diesel Comfortline Rs 5.81 lakh
1.2 diesel Highline Rs 6.70 lakh

Prices of the base petrol and diesel versions of Swift, Ritz and i20

Polo 1.2 litre 4.34 lakh 75bhp

-- Base Petrol
Swift LXi 4.00 lakh 84bhp
Polo 1.2 litre 5.32 lakh 75bhp

-- Base Diesel
Ritz LXi 3.90 lakh 84bhp
Fabia 1.4 Diesel 5.88 lakh 68bhp
i20 Magna 4.81 lakh 79bhp
Swift LDi 4.74 lakh 75bhp
Ritz LDi 4.65 lakh 74bhp
i20 Diesel 6.20 lakh 90bhp

Womens Car Rally - 2010

A Time Speed Distance rally may not necessarily be a race. It is more of precision driving where in the participants have to concentrate on maintaining the needed speed and being on the correct course of the rally. The Women Car Rally is a rally based on this TSD format where the participants are provided with both the route instructions as well as information regarding specific speed to be maintained at different sections of the rally. The speeds assigned are never illegal and are usually below the posted speed limit of the particular route or area. The rally will be held on the 2nd of April 2010.

To take part in this rally, the minimum requirement is a car and a woman holding the steering wheel. The team will consist of a woman driver and a navigator who will have to attempt to stay at the right course at the correct speed. The most accurate team will be at the perfect location and at the correct speed at a given time. Time checks at various unspecified locations will be used as the tool to determine the score of a team. The task of recording and comparing the time will be done by rally marshals. Travelling too fast or too slow would cost some valuable points through penalties.

The rally will witness breath taking views throughout the well planned course. The rally does not demand for special preparation and special cars. Participants can use their regular cars too for the rally.

Fee Details:
Early Entry: Rs. 7,000/- per team from Feb. 12 till Feb. 21, 2010 onwards
Standard Entry: Rs. 8,000/- per team from February 22 till March 07, 2010 onwards
Late Entry: Rs. 9,000/- per team from March 08 till March 17, 2010 onwards
Very Late Entry: Rs. 10,000/- per team from March 18 till March 25, 2010

This includes -
An opportunity to participate in Women Car Rally
An invitation for the participating team to prize distribution function followed by gala dinner.
Accommodation on twin sharing basis for the team at The Fern Ecotel Hotel (5-Star Luxury Hotel) on the night of 2nd April 2010.

Participation fees to be paid in favor of "Women Car Rally" by Cheque/DD/Cash payable at Delhi.
Cash/Cheque/DD can be deposited in IDBI Bank.

Mercedes Launches New M-Class Variants in India

Mercedes-Benz today launched the 2010 M-Class in two variants for India. The Sport Edition of the M-Class is priced at Rs. 55 Lakhs while the Luxury Edition is priced at Rs. 60.9 lakhs Ex-showroom Delhi.
In terms of technology, the 2010 M- Class takes forward exciting features like permanent four-wheel drive and 4ETS traction systems to the next level by incorporating additional functions such as Downhill Speed Regulation, Acceleration skid control(ASR) and the off-road ABS system. The AIRMATIC air suspension significantly improves ride comfort, while the Adaptive Damping System (ADS), adjusts shock absorber response to suit driving situations. The double-wishbone front suspension makes a significant contribution to reduce roar and tyre vibration, ensuring impressive driving dynamics with its raised aluminium wishbones. The rear axle has a four-link suspension system. Standard-fitted 19” light-alloy wheels emphasise the sporting pedigree of the new M-Class.
The radiator grille is sub-divided by three black louvres with chrome trim, the rear tail lights with LED technology and the rear tailgate with its discreet spoiler edge and a panoramic rear windscreen add to the allure of the vehicle. The M-Class additionally includes features like PARKTRONIC, Electric Sliding sunroof, Front Memory seats, Media interface & Audio system with 6-CD changer, mini-spare wheel.
Interior Sports Package of the Sports edition consists of interior lighting package, sports instrument cluster, sports pedal system made of brushed stainless steel with rubber studs, Alcantra/ARTICO man made leather upholstery with contrasting topstitching, electrically adjustable front sports seats. While the Exterior Sports Package includes 19 inch 5 twin spoke light alloy wheels, rectangular tailpipes with chrome trim, aluminum-look roof rails, chromed waistline trim strip, load sill guard on the rear bumper in chrome and simulated front underguard in stainless steel. In addition to the Exterior sports package; the luxury edition includes a wood/leather multifunction steering wheel, Thermotronic 3-Zone Automatic climate control, harmankardon LOGIC 7® Surround Sound® system (12 high performance speakers with 610 watts output), Anti-Theft Protection package & Leather seats.
The M-Class has secured the highest rating of five stars in the European NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) crash tests. The M-Class is also the first vehicle in its market segment anywhere in the world to be fitted as standard with the anticipatory occupant protection system PRE-SAFE®.

Honda Siel appoints new President & CEO

Honda Siel Cars India (HSCI) on Monday declared Mr. Takashi Nagai as the next and the 4th President and the CEO of Honda Siel who will take charge from April 1st, 2010. Tagai has replaced Mr. Masahiro Takedagawa, who will now head the company's Canadian operations.
Takashi Nagai has vast experience in the automobile industry, having worked with Honda ventures in different markets, across the globe including America and Europe. From February 2003 to January 2006, Nagai was stationed in Mexico as Director of Honda de Mexico, S.A. de C.V. In February 2006, Nagai was appointed as General Manager, Overseas Operations Office No. 1 of Honda Motor Co. Ltd. looking after North America, South America and European market. In April 2007, Nagai became Executive Vice President, Asian Honda Motor Company Ltd. and a Director of Honda Motor Co. Ltd from June of the same year.

Takedagawa, who has been heading Honda’s Indian joint venture with the Siel Group since April 2005, has been appointed as the president and Director of Honda Canada Inc. During Takedagawa’s tenure in HSCI, the company set up its second manufacturing facility at Tapukara in Rajasthan. His period of leadership saw the company introducing premium sedan Civic and hatchback Jazz in the Indian market.

Mercedes launches S-Guard

German car giant Mercedes-Benz on Monday launched its armored limousine S-Guard with a price tag of around Rs 6 crore (ex-showroom) making it the most expensive car to hit the Indian market. The S- Guard which is built in line of the S600 is housed with a 12 cylinder 5.5 cc petrol engine which churns out 517hp and 830 Nm of max torque and can touch a maximum speed of 210 km per hour.

Mercedes-Benz India board member Suhas Kadlaskar said the S- Guard is engineered to provide effective protection against the threats posed by terrorist attacks. ''The armor is designed to resist rifle-launched projectiles from military weapons, which have a velocity almost twice that of bullets fired from a revolver. They also offer resistance to shrapnel from hand grenades and explosive charges,'' he added.

The car is basically targeted at corporate and political leaders, government officials and celebrities and incorporates all the luxury features of Mercedes limousines. The S- Guard now surpasses the Maybach, also manufactured by Mercedes which comes with a price tag of Rs. 5.5 crore.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Nissan to open Chennai Plant, First Micra will rollout in May!

We all know that Nissan's plant was coming up in the outskirts of Chennai. Time flies past so quick, the company announced that it is ready to open the plant within a months time. Nissan is set to build its flagship small car the Micra in the Chennai plant.

The company has also confirmed that the first of the cars manufactured in this plant will be rolled out in May this year.

The Micra manufactured in Chennai will be the latest model of Micra and it will be competing against an already overcrowded market. i20, Jazz, Figo, Beat, Ritz and the likes. However, the demand for this segment is so high that even with overcrowding manufacturers are set to show substantial sales to keep the momentum going.

10 Lakh Cars - Exported

Hyundai Motor India Ltd, the country’s largest passenger car exporter and the second largest car manufacturer, today achieved yet another significant milestone with its cumulative exports crossing the 10 lakh mark. To mark the event Hyundai shipped its first ever consignment to Australia from the Chennai Port this morning. With this shipment, Hyundai is the first automobile company in India to achieve this feat in a record time of just over a decade.
Commenting on the occasion, H W Park, Managing Director & CEO, HMIL said, “Reaching the 10 lakh export car landmark is not only a significant milestone but also a matter of great pride for the Hyundai family as it showcases the global success story that Hyundai as a brand enjoys. I take this opportunity to thank all our customers and stakeholders for their trust and support which has helped us reach this landmark. In the future we are sure to increase our overseas presence as we add more markets.”

Currently, Hyundai Motor India is exporting four of its popular models namely - Santro, i10, i20 and Accent to 110 countries. In 2009, in spite of a global slowdown, Hyundai Motor India’s exports grew by 10.7%. In 2010 Hyundai plans to add 10 new markets with Australia being the latest entrant to the list. The first shipment to Australia is of 500 units of the i20 and the total i20 exports to Australia is expected to be in the region of 15,000 per annum.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Audi v/s BMW commercial wars

Remember the advertisement hoarding wars between Audi and BMW in the US that revolved around the R8 supercar? Well, it hasn't stopped there! The two German rivals are at it again, albeit with new cars this time. Audi has drawn first blood with a new commercial that highlights Audi's victory in three comparison shootouts recently conducted by the Car and Driver magazine. Further more it hits BMW where it hurts the most by stating that there is nothing wrong about finishing second in a 'friendly' competition. Sure! Let's cut the words then and watch the new video:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

2009 Ford F-150 FX4 Pictures

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2009 Ford Fiesta Van Pictures

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Car Service Costs

Thank you for the overwhelming response for my question last week. Many of you have sent your car service costs and much more details about spares etc. Please do take your time to read all the responses, as I am sure you will find them very useful.

Here are the entries: (follow link)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Nissan Juke coming to India

Nissan has released pictures of its Sportscar/SUV crossover Juke which will be physically unveiled at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show in March. The press release issued by the manufacturer states that the Juke will be initially manufactured at its UK plant in Sunderland with sales slated to begin in October. With the Juke Nissan aims to usher in its crossover philosophy into the small car segment.

From the pictures it is evident that the Juke heavily incorporates design elements from the Qazana concept. The basic design theme of the Qazana including the unique front end design with four different headlamps, high waistline, 370Z inspired rear end, oversized wheel arches, and funky interiors featuring a centre console that resembles a motorcycle fuel tank have been carried over to the Juke.

In the Press Release issued by the manufacturer, Andy Palmer, Senior Vice President, Product Planning, Nissan, states that the Juke is a light, nimble, urban, reactive vehicle designed to grab a younger audience. He also stated that the Juke offers something entirely different to the traditional B-segment vehicles and cements Nissan as a car maker prepared to do something different.

Well, the most interesting aspect of the Juke is that its coming to India. The Juke will be manufactured at Nissan's Chennai plant and is likely to reach showrooms by late 2011. The Chennai plant is expected to be fully set-up by March this year. The Micra which is slated for a July launch is being manufactured at this plant. Both the Micra and the Juke are based on the highly versatile V-platform. It makes immense sense for Nissan to launch the Juke too as the platform will be shrared for both vehicles. Along with the small car Micra, Nissan will also be offering its new age crossover to the Indian car buyers.
Quick Facts:
•Five seater Sportscar/SUV crossover based on the Qazana concept
•Buyers will have three engine options to choose from namely two petrol and one diesel unit
•Petrol engine options include a naturally aspirated 1.6 litre engine producing 116PS and a tubo charged variant developing 190PS
•The car will also be offered to buyers with a 1.5 litre common rail diesel engine with a max power and torque output of 110 PS and 240 NM respectively.
•Transmission options include a 5-speed manual and 6-speed CVT with manual mode
•Front wheel drive will be offered as standard. A 4x4 variant featuring Torque Vectoring Technology for improved cornering will also be sold alongside the standard one
•Length-4000mm, Wheelbase-2500mm, Width-1765mm, Height-1570mm

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The end of Maruti 800

The humble 800 was the car which changed the fortunes of Maruti Suzuki in India. It also encouraged masses to get behind the wheel owing to its affordable motoring appeal. Since its launch in 1983, the manufacturer has sold over more than 27 lakh units of its bread and butter model. From April onwards buyers in a select few metros will no longer be able to purchase the 800.

According to the new emission norms, all cars sold in the major cities from the 1st of April should conform to Bharat Stage IV emission standards. The list of major cities include Mumbai, Delhi, Calcutta, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune, Surat, Agra and Kanpur. Maruti Suzuki has taken a decision that it will not upgrade its 800 model to meet the Bharat Stage IV emission norms.

While speaking to media persons about the decision taken R.C.Bhargava, Chairman, Maruti Suzuki, said that the company was contemplating about upgrading the 800 to meet newer emission norms but has taken a decision to stop selling the car in cities where the new norms will be implemented from April 1. He also said that the company will continue to sell the car model in Tier-1 and Tier-2 cities across the country. The new norms also require that cars sold in the above cities from April 1 should conform to Bharat Stage III emission norms.

Since the past couple of years, the Alto has become Maruti Suzuki's numero uno model with respect to sales. Tata has also taken a plunge into the low cost car market with the launch of its Nano. When quizzed by reporters on whether Maruti Suzuki too was planning to launch a new model to replace the 800 Bhargava said that there are no plans as such.

Friday, February 12, 2010

MRF Challenge 2010 third round schedule!

After two rocking rounds of the MRF Racing Challenge 2010, it is now time for the third. The third round of the MRF Challenge will commence on the 14th of February (Sunday) at the Madras Motor Race Track, Chennai. After the success of the first two rounds of the event, we are eagerly waiting to see what happens in the third round. Following is the schedule:


RACE – 06 – MRF FORMULA 1600 – 15 LAPS


LUNCH BREAK – 13:00 HRS to 14:00 HRS



RACE – 10 – MRF FORMULA 1600 – 15 LAPS

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Fiat Linea - Extreme Road Tested

You would call them insane to do this level of road testing on any car. But, this test was done for your benefit to understand the ups and downs of owning this car, a Fiat Linea. Do you want to know what they felt after driving the car for 1600 Kms, Here are the details. Read the complete Fiat Linea Review.