2012 Nissan Versa America front leftThe 2012 Nissan Versa was driven on to the stage at the 2011 New York Auto Show with an an eye-popping price tag of $10,990. The car revealed in reality is not the next generation Versa which was showcased as the Tiida in Auto Shanghai simultaneously. The car Americans will buy instead is a sedan based on the Micra platform, which is also expected in India during the festive season under the name Almera.

India has to consider itself fortunate as the rear AC vent and Automatic climate control are expected in the Indian version, are absent on the US-spec model. In India, rear seat comfort is given top priority in a car costing just about 10 lakh rupees. American don’t use the back seat as much as we do.

The Versa is the best selling car in its segment in North America (it outsells the Chevrolet Aveo and the Hyundai Verna), but here in India that won’t necessarily hold good. Hyundai has taken up this segment in war footing planning as many as 10 variants for the new Verna, while Ford is going all out with the sporty Fiesta, the Figo’ success serving as a launchpad. The VW Vento is setting the standard in this segment and is looking good to eclipse the City from the throne.

hit the jump to see the official shots

Posted on Apr 21 2011 - 3:13pm IST

Old Honda Civic vs New Honda CivicHere’s a picture tweeted by Auto123 comparing the new Civic with the old one. The new Civic has been put on sale in some parts of the world and we’re expecting it to land here in 2012. A Honda official from Britain remarked that Honda’ working on a small diesel engine for the next generation Jazz and the new Civic for an early 2013 debut.

Honda’s reduced the Civic’ wheelbase by a small margin and as a result the rear seat comfort should be affected, but by how much we can’t say at this point. Honda can offer the 150bhp i-DTEC diesel engine upgraded to meet current emission norms for European countries, but that’s unlikely for the Indian market.

Noticeably the ground clearance has gone up and the the dashboard has been tilted towards the driver. This will make for an ergonomic cockpit and a stress-free driving experience on Indian cities with sky-scraping speed bumps and craters from the moon.

Comparing the images, do you think Honda’ moved ahead with the new Civic? What do you think it could have done better?

Tata Indica Vista ATHere’s an interior snap of the Tata Vista EV. Since this is an EV, it is understandably missing a conventional gearbox. The image provides us an idea of how the gear selector will look like. There’s no concrete proof of Tata Motors working on a AT for the Vista or Manza. The Manza has done well for Tata in wiping away the image of the Indigo being a cab operator’ everyday tool.

Well-finished interiors, generous amount of rear seat space and good levels of powertrain refinement has won it accolades. Tata Motors should next explore AT avenue for its Nano, Indica and Indigo models. Tata also needs to work on a bigger sedan, perhaps stretching the Manza’ platform and giving it a more powerful diesel engine. The AT will then come in handy as it will brush shoulders with the Honda City and Hyundai Verna.

Two Indian Autos Blog readers have reported sightings of the Ford Focus testing near the Saidapet area in Chennai. The vehicle had one person on board and was driven quickly.

new Ford Focus silver

It featured multi-spoke alloys, black interiors and silver body paint (roughly like what you see above). The badges were covered using black duct tape.

Both readers could not get pictures as the in one case the vehicle zoomed past in the opposite direction and the person wasn’t carrying a camera in the other. Having said this, it is only a matter of time before eagle-eyed petrolheads get hold of snaps that confirm this development.

During the unveiling of the new Fiesta at a mall in Delhi last week, top Ford officials opened up on the possibility of the Focus arriving to India. They said the C-Platform, which the Focus is based on, is heading to India along with the CD-Platform, which the Mondeo uses. Exciting times are ahead in Focus’ segment as Hyundai is planning the Avante and Honda is all set to launch the new Civic here as well.

Posted on Apr 21 2011 - 12:14pm IST

Hyundai Sonata TurboDWS reports that Hyundai will debut the i45 saloon during the second half of 2011. This is contrary to other media reports claiming an Auto Expo 2012 launch.

The car will carry the i45 badge instead of Sonata. Test mules have been spotted near Chennai wearing the i45 badge and surprisingly no camouflage. The vehicles on test had a GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) badge hinting that there was a 198hp/250Nm 2.4-liter motor on-board. Hyundai’ ad campaign on TV during the World Cup showed a formation of Sonatas creating sound waves.

There is a good possibility that a 2.2 litre CRDI engine producing 197 bhp/420Nm from the Santa Fe will be fitted to the Sonata, as the segment is moving towards diesel fuel. The VW Passat, Skoda Superb and Honda Accord are going to have company very soon.

The following article on Car Customization Tips has been sent in by our friends at BikeAdvice.in. It feels nice to see our cars totally revamped after some inexpensive modifications. But have you guys felt that these mods are not practical? Here I take pleasure in coming up with a few tips that need to be […]

Japan’ 5th largest car manufacturer has shown interest in taking part in the Indian auto market. Three Japanese car companies have made major announcements in India over the last eighteen months – Renault-Nissan inaugurated the $1 billion Oragadam car plant, Toyota introduced its Etios low-cost car and promised to introduce the even cheaper hatchback by June and Honda’ toying with the idea of cashing in on the festive season spirit with its pint-size Brio city hatch.

Mazda 2 India

India’s most powerful car manufacturer is another Japanese company, so Mazda, if anything, had the feeling of being left out all this while.

Mr. Takashi Yamanouchi, President and CEO, Mazda Motor Corporation -

We have a bouquet of compact cars like the Mazda – 2 and sedans that are suited for the bulk of Indian customers who prefer small and fuel efficient vehicles. We are yet to finalise our strategy for any joint venture or a fully owned subsidiary. All depends on the kind of cars that are viable for the Indian market.

Mazda with its Indian partner Punjab Tractors is selling a range of commercial and special-purpose vehicles for the last eighteen years. Heading to India is not voyaging into uncharted waters for Mazda.

The Mazda 2 hatchback is based on the Ford Fiesta platform. Hopes were drowned after Ford expressed doubts over the odds of Fiesta hatch making it here. Perhaps Mazda can answer the prayers of all Fiesta hatch lovers with the Mazda 2?

Posted on Apr 20 2011 - 8:36am IST

Volvo Concept UniverseAs we all know that the Shanghai Motor Show is on in full swing and auto manufactures are busy showing us glimpses of their future. In the same spirit, Volvo has displayed their ‘Concept Universe’ – a glimpse of their new design language and a bigger sedan. A S90 perhaps?

Look at the design and you’ll see it is a clean one without complex interplays, aggressive shapes and curves. The product taking cues out of the Concept Universe will be positioned in the premium segment with particular attention given to Chinese customers.

After the global launch of the S60, one can easily say that Volvo’s design department has jumped leaps and bounds from the earlier designs. No more is it being viewed as a geography teacher’s car. The new Volvo cars are smart, chic and very cool. In fact they are at par with their German Rivals in terms of design.

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