The compact SUV and SUV segment in India is booming, so much that manufacturers are shifting their focus to producing tall, beefy looking cars with erm… small engines.
But what about hatchbacks? Well, they’re still in demand too and we think they still would be in the near future. After all, small, affordable and peppy cars are always good in have in congested cities. Speaking of small cars, the Kia Picanto has made quite a name since its launch a few years ago. Also known as ‘ Kia Morning’ in many countries, the Picanto is available in three engine options, funky colours and a few of the so called attractive features.
Based on the Hyundai i10 platform internationally, the Picanto is quite similar in size to that of the i10 making it look like one too, if you look closely from different angles. But that’s possible only if you have a keen eye. The 2020 avatar of the Picanto has many aesthetic changes made to it which make it a bit overwhelming for a small car.
The front end gets a new chrome ‘Tiger Nose’ grille, LED projector headlamps, a redesigned bumper with a new place for the fog lights and bigger air dams. Overall, we think Kia has tried to make the Picanto look a bit aggressive but the front actually looks like there’s too much happening there all at the same time. A bit cramped of sorts.
The rear and sides too don’t miss out on the 2020 updates. The rear bumper gets a diffuser, taillights are now LED and the alloy wheels get a new design. Yes, we know, it looks like it has fake exhausts. The look at the back is opposite from what’s happening in the front. There’s lots of space the designers could fill stuff in. Or not, perhaps.
Speaking of the interior, most things looked the same as the earlier models except for a few additions that would make it a highly attractive package in India. A large eight- inch touch screen Infotainment System with UVO connectivity suite, automatic AC, push button start- stop, an electric sunroof, ventilated front seats and a semi digital instrument panel with a 4.2 inch multi- information display. As keen drivers, we liked the electric sunroof bit the most.
Speaking of the heart of the matter, the Kia Picanto comes with three engine options- a 1.0 litre three cylinder naturally aspirated engine churning out 75 bhp and 95NM of torque, a four cylinder 1.2 litre engine making around 85 bhp and lastly, a 1.0 litre three cylinder turbo petrol engine producing 99 bhp. That’s a lot of choice for a small car! The three cylinder motors however get only a 5 speed manual gearbox whereas the four cylinder motor gets the option of a 4- speed automatic.
Safety too isn’t compromised. It has what most modern small hatchbacks come with- seven airbags, ABS, EBD, reverse parking assist, and many other features which we may not see in India even if the car is launched soon. The seven airbags option is also a great start in terms of safety for a small car like the Picanto and we do hope to see it if at all the car is launched in India.
Speaking of the Kia Picanto launch in India, Kia has expressed that it isn’t keen on entering the hatchback segment in India yet, especially when it is currently focussing on bringing the compact SUV Kia Sonet into India soon. But with times changing quickly, you may see the Picanto on Indian roads sooner than expected. Or, maybe not so soon. Well, only time will tell in case you’ve been waiting for this hatchback.
And then there are people who adore their cars, love them and live with them. People who love driving their machines. People who call themselves automobile enthusiasts, car lovers, petrolheads, etc.
Enthusiasts as we know are an endangered species today because very often, challenges and responsibilities in life ensure we leave aside our passion for short or long periods of time. The RPM needle doesn't go past the half mark. Fuel economy suddenly becomes the most important factor to consider in a car. Comfy suspension replaces the sporty suspension. That fun to drive factor is replaced by a dead,
light and lifeless steering wheel. Life, then as we know gets dreary and lifeless.
But does it really have to be that way? Does life always have to go in that direction? Or is there a way where can have a bite from both worlds and maintain equilibrium? Of course, you still can’t expect good mileage if you rev it too much. But still, we think there's still hope for people like us. A way where we could maintain a fine balance between fun and responsibility. A balance between passion and practicality.
Often, we find this balance in cars from Ford. Of course not all of them from the fleet have this speciality where you get two things for the price of one. But mostly, they do have the capability to bring a smile on your face every time you take those cars out for a drive.
Ford Ecosport, Ford Fiesta, Ford Figo, Ford Freestyle. They've all been around us for a pretty long time. We’ve seen them evolve with us (except the Freestyle) but most importantly, what has stayed in this process of evolution is a communicative steering wheel that lets you feel every crack on the road, a suspension setup that offers decent comfort and enough stiffness to handle those curves. Horsepower figures are usually just enough to take you back by surprise and yet, there’s enough fuel left to do a last minute road trip.
This fusion of both worlds creates such a blend that driving these machines indeed feels very special. Not only this, We’ve mostly seen that cars from Ford India often offer safety features like 6 airbags, ARP, TCS, etc to even cars like the Freestyle! That says a lot about what the brand really prioritises on. We haven’t even moved onto the service costs yet because we feel that would be off topic.
With so many different choices in the market today and in this ever ending race between manufacturers to be on the top, what is often left behind is the essence of driving. Sadly, items like large infotainment systems, sunroof, projector head lamps, etc are features that are considered a priority by consumers while cars that offer an excellent driving experience with other satisfactory features are being ignored. To petrol heads like us, this is a worrying trend indeed. It is easy to find cars that go fast and have all the latest features. But it is indeed difficult to find great cars today that offer a blend of both worlds. Enthusiastic drivers and drivers’ cars then, are indeed endangered species.
Hello everyone! Y'all may have seen the videos on my 2017 Nano GenX XT. “He” has been a gem of a companion for all of my trips and travels. Fuel costs have been just around? 1600 per month. Mind you he has run more than 33,000kms now without any squeaks or rattles.
Here's my initial 21,000km review of my stock Gen X Nano from 2019:
After running purely in stock condition for 3 years, in 2020 I decided to get my Nano modified to my unique taste. The lockdown meant that I had a
lot of free time too. Here's a detailed summary of my Nano’s transformation.
Buckle up for the journey folks!
I have always been fascinated by the Megapixel concept by Tata motors. Tata was planning an improved “Pelican” (1000cc engine) version of the Nano based on this concept. The GenX was a preview of this model and sported a lot of design elements seen on this concept. So I started to plan on my modifications phase by phase.
First, I bought a red Nano scale model and worked on the body decals. I previously had tried doing Photoshop renderings which looked rather good and made me seriously think of implementing this project. Since the Gen X design was already 70% based on the Megapixel concept, I decided to complete the look.
90/100 Osram headlamp bulbs
VW type trumpet horn (Hella)
White LED cabin light
Seat covers with improved driver seat comfort
Interior ambient red lighting.
I thought I’d start with the essentials first. After some research, I got to know about the Nano zone, a rather small car modification shop near Lakshmi Mills in Coimbatore. So after enquiring details, I first got the horn and headlamps done. He suggested Osram 90/100 H4 bulbs and Hella trumpet (VW type) horn. Both were fitted with separate relays and the work was done by his boys up to good perfection. So after a few days, I left the car with him for 2 days to get the seat covers and ambient lighting done. I had thought of a custom design for the seat cover keeping in mind the interior theme colors and asked him to get it done. As the driver seat was not providing enough support for my long thighs, I thought of extending the seat base as well. He said it can be easily done, and yes indeed! Everything was done to superb perfection and the workmanship was great. Some extra foam had to be designed to extend the base, that’s all. All this was done for just around? 8750. Till date, the seat is very comfortable and can keep me fatigue-free on any long drive. Satisfied with the work, I started planning the next major works.
I have detailed the first phase of modifications in my Nano’s second 30,000km update review on our Youtube channel.
As I was already planning for the Megapixel mods since the start of this year, I came across a few Nano images in Sri Lanka, which was running on 13” alloys from the Renault Kwid. So I too decided to get it done. However since I didn’t have the budget for alloys, I was trying to source some used Steel rims of the Kwid. Sadly, no luck. I tried asking the service centers but they too didn’t have 5 rims. At that time in February, a good friend helped me out in sourcing 5 Steel rims in Chennai.
In the month of June, I had ordered a rear fog lamp assembly unit for my Nano from Boodmo. All GenX Nanos have this empty slot on the rear bumper which would perfectly fit the OEM rear fog lamp offered on the Zest, Nexon, Altroz, and even the original Nano LX. Did it cost me just around? 500 was a perfect fit in that slot. I asked the Nano Zone guys to make it work in tandem with the brake lights. Till date, it works perfectly.
The wheels were received on 22nd June by paying a transport charge of? 500. Meanwhile, I had enquired about the cheap and best tire brands for 13-inch wheels, shortlisting CEAT, and Firestone. Did Firestone seem the cheapest? 2600 per tire whereas a CEAT would cost? 2750. After considering the fact that Firestone indeed was owned by Bridgestone and is the OEM tire offered on the Jeep compass, I decided to go ahead with it. However, after a couple of days when I went to get the new wheels fitted, Firestone was out of stock. I had to go ahead with CEAT, with a bargain of? 2700 per tire.
The larger wheels and 155/65 R13 tires were a perfect fit on the hubs. However, I had to remove the front mud flaps as they were rubbing on the tires every time I turned the wheel. Since there were only 4 tires in stock, I had to return a couple of days later for the spare tire. Every Nano owner, including the Nano Zone shop owner, warned me that the 13” tire wound never fit in the small bonnet of the Nano. However, it was an easy cakewalk. The new spare tire was fitted to the new wheel and in no time was inside the bonnet of the Nano. The old tires were almost worn out and were given as exchange for? 700 only.
Fitting these larger wheels drastically improved the feel of the Nano. Here are the observations after a few days running:
Road noise is non-existent
Ground clearance increased by 15mm approx
Grip is excellent
Braking feels improved, although needs slightly more effort.
Ride quality significantly improved
Feels confident at higher speeds
On the flip side, there were a few down points:
Increased body roll
Front mud flaps can’t be fitted
Fuel economy reduced by approx 0.2kmpl
Speedo error of -3kmph
Overall, I was happy with the modification and so was my mother. I sold and couriered the stock 12” rims and wheel covers to another Nano owner in Bangalore for? 3550 including shipping. (The courier service idea was a mistake as the transport charge itself was 70% of the total cost of the wheels) The next thing the Nano needed was good looking wheel covers. However, I wasn’t able to find the right design suitable for my future modifications.
I asked the Nano Zone owner to help get the right design. One of the available designs from PRIGAN seemed to impress me. Though it was a plain design, it seemed ideal for the re-design I had in mind. So I started working on a custom design based on the plain one.
This was the custom redesign I had rendered.
Since repainting was not a good idea on the plastic surface as suggested by the Nano Zone owner, I asked him to do it using stickers. Gloss black and red reflectors were used to create this design and after a couple of days, on the 1st of July I got them ready my Nano was ready to cruise.
These custom wheel covers cost me? 1000. Impressive?
I also got the Probus mobile holder for Rs.650 from Amazon and did some DIY to get that stuck on the steering column panel. It doesn’t hamper road visibility and also works like a jugaad version of the Digital cluster navigation screens seen on premium cars.
I was planning on a few exterior modifications:
LED DRLs with 3 way switch
Black roof and door sills
Megapixel front makeover
Dashboard leather wrap
I don’t prefer overtly flashy modifications, however, I wanted to have unique looking LEDs.
With black roofs being the trend, I wanted to get that done as well along with black on the running board door sills.
I was never a big fan of the thin French mustache of the stock Gen X, so decided to give it a larger, grille-like cohesive look as seen on the Megapixel concept.
A Nano club member had wrapped the gloveboxes in tan leather. I loved the idea and wanted to get something done on my Nano, but in line with the interior color theme. I decided to get red and black again.
I still had the stock key with the separate central locking buttons dangling on the rings. I wanted the keys to match the modifications carried out. So decided to get flip keys similar to other Tata cars.
On 10th August I decided to get the LEDs done. Initially, I had planned the LEDs in the lines of the Nano Europa concept, but that seemed too simple. So after a lot of head-scratching, based on the suggestion of Mr. Nano Zone, I finalized this Feline-eye design. Nano Zone has some good quality options of flexible LED DRLs and the Cyan Blue seemed very cool and unique to me. So finalized on that.
I wanted these LEDs and the ambient red lighting to be connected to a 3-way switch:
The first point will keep them always ON irrespective of locking the car.
The second point is the total OFF position.
The third point is connected to the Nano’s central locking and doors and they work like follow me lights. Unlocking the car/opening the door turns them on and locking the car/starting the engine turns them off. Since they are connected to the interior cabin lamp, they too have a theatre dimming function which looks absolutely cool! I loved it!
The work quality and fitment were genuine and the end result was simply WOW! No matter where we go, they make a statement and turn heads. Here are some glimpses:
The next thing in line was the black detailing. I left the car with them the whole day of 13th August and took delivery in the evening. The work was again impressive and the Nano started to look more mature and sporty.
The gloveboxes and the speakers had to be removed from the dashboard to get the wrapping done. So had to drive without music and storage boxes for 2 days. On the final day when the boxes were ready, I decided to get the flip keys done. Left the car with them on the 20th morning and got the keys done by evening. Since the gloveboxes needed a bit more time, I got them fitted the next day afternoon. Though there is a bit of misalignment with the stitching line of the wrap and the gloveboxes take a bit more effort than before to open and close, the overall look is very premium and modern. Additionally, I also got noodle mats for the floor.
All this cost me a total? 7700 which is quite an impressive bargain.
After getting all these done, I made a teaser video of my Nano Megapixel edition for our channel and followers
By the second week of September, I decided to finish the mods and left my Nano at Nano Zone. I had to be with them to direct them with the cutting and shaping since it was not an easy design, to begin with. The badges on the boot were removed and the work was started. The front and rear grille lights too were to be done. After 2 days of work with black and silver stickers, the Megapixel edition was ready. The Nano Zone guys were kind enough to do a full-body wash before polishing and handing over the key to me.
Here's the “angry Bulbasaur” face at night:
All these mods cost me? 36,250 starting with the headlamps, horn, and completing with the body stickering.
Here is the detailed video on my “Tata Nano Megapixel edition”. I have covered all accessory details and drive feedback with the new 13” wheels:
As of now, I have also fit a center armrest for the front seats with a storage box. Due to the unusual size of my Nano's seats, the armrest had to be custom designed in order to fit perfectly. It is a removable unit and works perfectly well. Long drives will be even more relaxing than before!
As of today, my Nano has run around 33,700km and still going strong. Regarding service and repairs, I have spent just around? 6800 till date and hope the maintenance costs stay that way for years to come.
I am loving my Nano and living the Nano life, the Megapixel way!
Toyota is all set to launch the new facelifted 2021 Innova Crysta MPV soon in Indonesia. New photos have surfaced of this updated model from Indonesia. An Indian launch is expected to happen early next year. Here are some key highlights of this new model:
While the overall dimensions remain exactly the same, the facelift model will feature an all-new front grille finished in glossy black with five slats while the outer portion of the grille sports chrome finishing which is further connected to the headlights. The front fascia resembles the Toyota Highlander SUV and Hilux pick up truck to a
The bumper has also been made to resemble an SUV and looks more beefy with a faux skid plate. The fog lamps are located lower down in the bumper on the lower variants whereas the higher variants get LED DRLs integrated with the fog lamps on the regular location. There are no major changes on the sides except for the new dual tone Alloy wheels. The rear too, looks exactly the same except for minor changes in the tail lamps.
The interior of the new Crysta offers a n.ew, larger infotainment system which is expected to feature Android auto and Apple carplay. The Indian version is expected to receive a different faux wood treatment as well. Apart from these changes, the overall layout and comfort will remain the same.
Mechanically, no changes are expected and the updated model is expected to get the same engine options as before. The 2.4-litre 4-cylinder diesel engine mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox generates a maximum power of 150PS and maximum torque of 343NM. The 6-speed automatic equipped diesel variants however generate slightly higher torque figure of 360NM. The 2.7-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine on the other hand produces a maximum power of 167PS and Max torque of 245NM through either a 5 speed Manual or 6 speed Automatic transmission.
This new facelifted Innova Crysta when launched next year is expected to be priced slightly higher than the current one. At present, the base petrol variant is available in India with an ex-showroom price tag of Rs.15.66 lakhs while the top-spec diesel variant is priced at Rs.23.63 lakhs. Stay tuned for further updates on the new Innova Crysta.
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