Tuesday, 6 December 2016

REVIEW: A Jekyll and Hyde Personality: The Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSi DSG

What does 178 brake horsepower from an engine the size smaller than amount your car takes in engine oil? What does a 0-100 time of sub 8 seconds sound like? What does feature called sport mode sound? All this can be achieved by taking your family of 4 and their luggage in the boot. Confused? So was I. Then I was told the price. With prices ranging from 15 lacs to 25 lacs, a car can achieve so much? I was in utter confusion as to what was going on…

Until I was introduced to the brand new Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSi. Boy oh boy! My prayers have been answered!

            See, I am an avid lover of fast sedans. The fact that you can take your family, their luggage and still set a hilariously fast time on the nearest racetrack is simply astonishing. And this car ticks all the right boxes for me. And the best part, you do not have to break your bank to afford one of these. On point!

            Off late, due to lots of work pressure and deadlines, I just could not have any moment to relax. Constant stress and headaches that almost became a regular visitor to my mind were wearing me out. All my well-wishers were constantly telling me how tired I looked and that I should get some rest. But what do they know right?  I was getting the Born to race – forced to work type of feeling. I needed some remorse. I took the Octavia for a spin.

            On a cool Sunday morning, I decided to spend some alone time in the company of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan on the stereo, which was paired to my phone via Bluetooth. The early morning serenity makes you realize how pretty the surroundings are. Especially some parts of Delhi, with all the greenery, and the sunroof open, it makes do for an amazing drive.

            With some soothing tunes in the background and the smooth flow of traffic, I ponder as to what I really want to do in life.  Is this really what I wanted to do? Was I made to just study then work just to pay off the bills in life? This is a vicious cycle, which is really easy to fall prey to. Was this meant for me? Just then, I spotted an empty stretch of road and I floored the Octavia. I just realized something. The Octavia was meant for me. Skoda engineers took a picture of me and said, let’s build this man a car. And thus the Octavia was built.

            Soon enough, a mad biker cut me hence forcing me to step on the anvil. The brakes really do a sublime job of shedding speed. The front 288 mm discs are put in to full use in Delhi traffic with the biker and auto rickshaw attack. And all is settled around and back to the serene peace I was enjoying a moment before, back into introspection mode. Back to the same question, is this life?

            With this question, I am interrupted by a view that would plaster a smile on any petrol head. Up ahead was a series of fast corners designed to test the G forces (okay just kidding, just some curly bends) that lay ahead. I quickly check if the traction control is on and gleefully it is. I put the gearbox in Sport mode. And there I am. I flick the super fast steering to my right and the car changes direction with aplomb. Then flicked it left and same story. No fusses. The car took everything. The large seats made sure I was not thrown around mid corner with all the moving around. The Sport mode made sure the 7 speed DSG gearbox did not upshift and stayed in the gear right up to the redline. This meant I always had full torque every time I power out of the curves. Delighted? Certainly am. Impressed? For sure. Is this what I really want to do? You bet.

            And as I was turning up to my driveway, I learnt a couple things about myself. I had fallen to this vicious cycle of life. The stress. The deadlines. The worries. They were all eating a part of me like a blood-infested vampire. I was losing out on the definition of fun. This was never me.

            But then I realized something. Amidst all the stress, the Octavia gave me the smiles and the joy I had not experienced in my life since a very long time. It brought about certain happiness when I took it for a drive. It allowed me to think about what I really want and myself. And yes, I finally could actually think what I really wanted to do in life. I had taken a “ Simply Clever” decision, as Skoda would say. I just wanted to drive the Octavia TSi in my life. Oh and in the Race Blue shade please. With a cherry on top.

            Pictures: ©Archit Kishore

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Return of the Octavia VRS Generation 3

Skoda is focusing on the Indian market more than ever before to regain its position in the market.
The company has already announced the launch of its 7 seat offroader Kodiak in India next year.
Now they are planning to get the Third Generation of the Octavia VRS version in India.
The VRS was launched in the year 2004 and was the first Turbo Petrol car in the country. The Immense driving pleasure , handling and acceleration made it a king in the performance car segment as was also was the fastest in the segment.

The new model internationally is offered with 2 engine options. The 2.0 TSI petrol engine producing a whooping 220BHP of power and 350Nm of Torque and a 2.0 Liter TDI diesel engine producing 184 BHP and 380 Nm of torque.
The petrol sprints from 0-100 in mere 6.8 seconds , whereas the diesel takes 8.1 seconds.
The car will also get sportier aesthetic upgrades like , Bigger alloy wheels, Sport seats, Sunroof, Boot spoiler, aggressive bumpers , twin exhausts etc.

Internationally the car is available in both Manual and Automatic Gearbox options. In the Indian market we feel the company will bring the automatic transmission although it will be a let down for some enthusiasts who prefer the manual box.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Skoda Octavia vRS to be launched in India in early 2017

The Octavia vRS made its debut at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed, but given the fall in demand of D-segment sedans in India and a high price tag which could clash with the price of its elder sibling, the Superb, Skoda India delayed the launch of the legendary car in India. But given the rise in demand of petrol cars, the performance version of the Octavia could be launched in early 2017.
Internationally, the Octavia vRS is offered with a 2.0-litre TSI petrol engine that makes 220 BHP @ 4,500-6,200 rpm and 350 Nm of torque 1,500-4,400 rpm. The car does the 0-100 km/h run in 6.8 seconds and hits a top speed of 248 km/h. Transmission options include a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed DSG automatic gearbox that transmit power to the front wheels.

The bad news is that, in India the car might get the 1.8 TSI motor with 7-speed DSG which is the same as the regular Octavia. The would get stiffer suspension, lower ride height, vRS alloys, vRS bumpers, vRS seats and all-black interior.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Haryana Govt Bans old petrol & diesel cars

After the ban on old diesel cars in the Capital, Haryana govt has also banned 15 year old petrol and 10 year old diesel vehicles in the cities which are a part of National Capital Region (NCR). At present this rule is applicable for cities of Gurgaon, Faridabad, Sonepat and Jhajjar . These cities constitute of almost 20 Lakh registered vehicles.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Toyota halts fresh investment in India

2017 Fortuner

After the 10 year diesel ban and the diesel engine capacity ban, companies like Toyota said that they are halting the fresh investments in India , while taking a review , and will possibly hold some of the models that it had planned to introduce in the Indian market.

Shekhar Vishwanathan, Vice chairman and Director at the companies India subsidiary Toyota Kirloskar Motors said, " We will bring in some products planned, but fresh proposals will be on ice for a while, we will rework product plans, atleast till 2020. Some of the products that we had planned to introduce will be rethought."

Toyota recently set up a diesel engine plant with a capacity of 1 lakh unit per year after an investment of 1200 crore rupees. This plant is only able to utilise only 30% of its capacity and causing a loss to the company. " I don't know what to do with this excess capacity. We cannot live with the betrayal of faith. When I go to the Toyota headquarters in Japan for the next project , It is very hard to explain " Vishwanathan said.

Monday, 18 July 2016

NGT Orders to De-register over 10 year old Diesel Vehicles

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday 18 July 2016 has directed Regional Transport Office (RTO) Delhi to De-Register all Diesel vehicles which are more than 10 year old.
"We hearby direct RTO, Delhi to de-register all diesel vehicles which are more than 10 years old, from plying of the roads of the national capilal" , a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.
NGT said that RTO should inform the police about such vehicles for further course of action.
The tribunal passed this order after noting submissions of Delhi Police which said that it has made continuous attempts to stop more than 10 year old vehicles from plying on the roads of the National Capital. But have hardly met any success.

Friday, 15 July 2016

Indian Railways launch Auto Express Freight Train

Indian Railways on tuesday launched the Auto Express, A train which will carry automobiles from Gurgaon to Nidvanda near Bangalore.This will help to reduce the transport time as well as cost.
According to Mr. Suresh Prabhu (Railway Minister) , this train will increase the confidence of the Auto Industries on Indian Railways which will also help to boost the revenues of the railways.
The Coaches of the new train have been specially designed to run at higher speeds of approx 100 kilometers per hour and will help to reduce transport time.
At present 2000 cars move per month between Gurgaon and Nidvanda, with the launch of the train , the no is expected to go upto 6000 cars a month.