Honda Civic Hybrid Review

Honda Siel Cars India Limited introduced Civic Hybrid in the Indian automobile industry in June 2008. The luxurious sedan is the first hybrid ever launched in the country. An inescapable exhilaration will be felt the moment you turn on the ignition of this car. Honda Civic Hybrid is definitely one of the most environment friendly cars seen on Indian roads. Powered by a high-tech engine, the automobile boasts of stunning looks and good fuel efficiency.

Honda Civic Hybrid is powered by 1.3L i-VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) engine combined with a compact and efficient electric motor - IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) system. The hybrid system provides three stages of valve timing (low-speed, high-speed, and valve-deactivated mode). As soon as you apply brakes, the "idle stop" feature occurs automatically, making the engine stop temporarily. When brake pedal is released, the engine restarts on its own. This way, a good amount of fuel is saved and emissions are minimized.

Design And Comfort
The powerful engine, nimble handing and futuristic technology of Honda Civic Hybrid are wrapped up in a sophisticated design. The car's frontage deserves special mention - it is adorned with clear lens fog lamps, beautiful headlights, and a sleek front grille. In the rear side is an aerodynamic trunk spoiler, which adds to the presence of the automobile. The unique 15-inch, lightweight alloy wheels add a stylish touch to the luxurious sedan. As far as comfort is concerned, people will forget the outside world, because it is so relaxing to take a ride in Civic Hybrid.

Clad in top-quality leather, the seats of Honda Civic Hybrid are very comfortable to sit on. The sporty cockpit cabin of the car is equipped with high-tech audio system that has been integrated on the dash. Dual Zone Automatic Climate Control System facilitates uniform cooling throughout the cabin. Apart from this, Civic Hybrid also comes equipped with vanity mirrors as well as front and rear center armrest. Audio controls are mounted on the steering.

Ride And Handling
Honda Civic Hybrid comes equipped with Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), which blends the effortlessness of an automatic with the efficiency of a manual transmission. CVT is combined with the Drive-by-wire Throttle System, in order to provide the most efficient drive ratio possible, depending on the torque load. The electric motor of the car assists the gasoline engine during acceleration and stores energy during braking and deceleration.

Honda Civic Hybrid has a number of safety features to boast of. These include specially designed front dual SRS air bags, G-CON technology, Antilock Braking System (ABS), and active headrest. G-CON technology is an advanced passive safety feature, which shields the passengers of the car by providing a survival zone in case of an unavoidable collision.

Variants, Price And Color
Available in two colors - Premium Pearl White and Alabaster Silver, Honda Civic Hybrid is worth Rs 21.5 lakh (approx).

Model Civic Hybrid
Body Type Sedan
Number Of Doors 5
Seating Capacity 5
Fuel Capacity 50 Litres
Length 4545 mm
Width 1750 mm
Height 1450 mm
Wheelbase 2700 mm
Ground Clearance 165 mm
Minimum Turning Radius 5.4 m
Kerb Weight 1290 kg
Number Of Cylinders --
Displacement 1339 cc
Transmission (Automatic) CVT
Max. Power 95 PS @ 6000 rpm
Max. Torque 121.5 PS @ 4600 rpm (engine) 103 Nm @ 0 to 1160 rpm (electric motor)
Front Suspension McPherson coil spring
Rear Suspension Double wishbone
Front Ventilated Disc
Rear Disc
Tyre Size 195/65 R 15 Radial & Tubeless

Honda Accord Review

Product Rating

Recommended by 77% members 3
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Honda Siel Cars India Limited launched the eighth generation Accord this year. The luxurious sedan is a blend of superior styling, comfort, and sophistication. The car boasts of more power and passenger space. As compared to its previous models, Honda Accord is much improved and more dynamic to drive. Its bold and aggressive looks of make it one of the most commanding sedans on Indian roads. Honda has re-worked on every aspect of Accord - from its exteriors to interiors, to make it different from its predecessors.

Under the hood of Honda Accord lies an advanced i-VTEC engine, which generates a power of 180 PS @ 6500 rpm and a maximum torque of 222 Nm @ 6500 rpm. A broad torque curve of the vehicle ensures quick acceleration and smooth shifting. The engine of Accord delivers optimum fuel economy as well. You can either opt for five-speed manual transmission or automatic transmission.

Design And Comfort
The overall length and breadth of Honda Accord has been increased by 80 mm. Its front fascia is quiet impressive. Adding to the luxurious feel is the front grille, along with sparkling head, tail and fog lamps. The model is more agile and flexible as compared to its predecessors. Front and rear corner protectors are the add-ons. The joy of riding an Accord can be fully experienced by five people.

The cabin space of Accord has been increased. There is more space between the seats in the front, along with increased legroom for rear seat passengers. The instrument cluster has been positioned lower, in order to facilitate better visibility. High quality central console adds to the luxurious feel inside the cabin. The advanced audio system of Accord comes with a multi-selector and USB port. The rear seats are equipped with audio controls, AC vents, and reading lamps. While the dashboard is revamped, the dual-toned interiors look appealing.

Ride And Handling
Better cornering and maneuvering has been provided in the new Honda Accord, mainly by its advanced double wishbone suspension in the front, which also ensures a smooth drive. The car comes with variable gear ratio (VGR) steering system, which enables superb handling, with a smaller turning radius. The new Accord offers improved responsiveness and a better road grip.

The advanced safety features of Honda Accord make it a worthwhile car. The automobile has been equipped with six safety air bags, Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE), and G-Force Technology, for improved safety of its occupants during a collision. With the use of high-tensile steel, the torsional rigidity of the car has been improved.

Variants, Price And Color
Honda Accord is available in three variants – 2.4, Elegance and 2.4 Inspire. Priced between Rs 16.49 lakh and Rs 18.14 lakh, the sedan is comes in a number of attractive colors, including alabaster Silver, Bold Beige Metallic, Taffeta White and Crystal Black Pearl.

Renault Zoe concept EV supermini (2011) CAR review


How much? £13,000
Engine: Electric motor, lithium ion battery, 79bhp, 163lb ft
Transmission: Direct drive, front-wheel drive
Performance: 8.1sec 0-62mph, 84mph, 100mile range, 0g/km CO2
How heavy / made of? 1392kg/steel
How big (length/width/height in mm)? 4086/1788/1540mm

     Renault says the Zoe concept is 90% identical to the production electric car that goes on sale in early 2012. We get behind the wheel to find what it won’t be like at all to drive.

What is the Renault Zoe EV? Is it a Clio replacement?

No, the Clio will continue, and there’s a new Clio on the way for late 2012. The Zoe though, is a standalone electric car, albeit one that’s about the same size as the Clio and priced to match a Clio diesel.
What the Renault Zoe you see here shares with the new-gen Clio is the new Renault corporate nose. Make no mistake, this is the new face of Renault.

You say it’s 90% the car we’ll get in 2012. What’s going to change?

The shape is the shape you’ll see in showrooms in 2012, and that’s no bad thing. The Zoe is even prettier in the metal than in pictures, modern and dynamic without being overly aggressive.
But Renault is desperate to keep the cost down to around £13k (after the £5k UK Government grant), so we’re not going to see the glitzy lights, glass roof, touch-sensitive door locks and humungous wheels.
However Axel Breun, Renault’s concept car design boss, says the budget will allow for suitably large wheels (at least 16in) to retain the show car’s squat stance and the blue tinge to the badge will stay to  denote that this is an electric Renault. Are they sure it's not Germans involved in the Renault espionage saga? That's the same stylistic flourish announced by BMW today for its new i3 and i8 electric cars.

What’s under the bonnet of the Renault Zoe electric supermini?

A 79bhp electric motor; the lithium ion batteries live under the floor to keep the centre of gravity low and reduce the loss of boot and cabin space. While 79bhp doesn’t sound like much, electric motors are all about torque: there’s 163lb ft of twist available meaning 62mph comes up in a very brisk 8.1sec and a 100-mile range, which should be fine for a car designed to live in town.

Sounds promising. So what’s the Zoe like to drive?

Bloody awful because, like so many concept cars, it’s just a lash-up with a milk float motor designed to look pretty on the show stand, not actually be driven. Besides being incredibly slow, fragile and in this case fitted with heavy and long-winded unassisted steering (the real cars will be electrically powered) it’s also creakier than a pirate ship in a storm.
It’s also hard to see out of the Zoe thanks to some terrible reflections in the distorted front screen and those massive high-back seats. Other than the position of the pillars and the shape of the dash, there’s nothing we can glean from driving this car that will give us a clue to what the real car will be like to drive.
Unless of course, this is what it’s actually going to be like to drive… But fear not. CAR has driven other Renault electric vehicles, including the Fluence ZE, and they are more mature and sophisticated devices comparable to conventional internal combustion engine vehicles. We hope the same polish will be applied to the Zoe before production.


If Renault can keep the price down, its pretty electric Zoe could well be a hit with urbanites whose driving habits mean fewer out-of-town journeys.
We're about to find out if Renault's electric gamble has paid off. And we have to say that Renault has got a prettier EV on its hands than the mundane Leaf from rivals Nissan.

CAR's rating

Rated 4 out of 54
Rated 1 out of 51
Rated 1 out of 51
Rated 3 out of 53
Feelgood factor
Rated 4 out of 54
Readers' rating
Rated 3.5 out of 53.5



Honda CBR 250R First Ride

It’s easy to mistake the faired-in CBR250R for a larger capacity motorcycle, with styling that resembles Honda’s own VFR1200F. A front fairing extends downwards to shroud its engine bay, also serving to mount the rear view mirrors. The bikes curved visor provides first-rate wind protection at high speed. Neat attention to detail is apparent in the attractive steering head, as well as clip-on handlebars. We liked the 250R’s blue backlit LCD instruments arranged in an easy to decipher layout. An analogue tachometer dominates this bay and you also get a large digital speedometer, in addition to odometer, trip-counter, clock, fuel and temperature readouts.. Switchgear is comprehensive, with smart buffed alloy levers and nice palm grips also part of the latest Honda.
The tank looks classy, feeling equally nice thanks to perfectly sculpted knee grooves. Futuristic flank panels swoop back into the bi-colour tail, split grab bar and edgy brake warning light. Even the lower sections look dandy; beginning in a sharp belly pan, leading into a stubby silencer crafted from blackened stainless steel and neatly executed rider and pillion footrests.
Honda has developed this CBR’s 249cc, 4-stroke, dual overhead camshaft engine from scratch. The liquid-cooled, single cylinder powerplant is fuel-injected using Honda’s PGM-FI system, and employs generous cutting edge technologies to maximize efficiency.
The centrifugal cast, thin-wall cylinder sits offset 4mm from the crankshaft center towards the exhaust, reducing friction between the cylinder and molybdenum coated piston. Its cylinder sleeve exterior is textured for better heat dispersion, while the combustion chamber uses pent roof architecture. There’s an iridium spark-plug for enhanced durability, and a straight port layout with twin-beam fuel injection. A wet air-filter does duty, and the new engine uses four lightweight valves, with thin (4.5mm) stems. The world’s first roller rocker arms for a DOHC engine debut on the CBR250R, with tappet clearances being shim adjusted. Honda has built a recess into the cylinder head to temporarily accommodate the rocker arms, so mechanics need not labor to remove a camshaft when changing shims.
Bearings support the crankshaft journal in another first for any single cylinder Honda, while a balancer cuts vibrations. While peak power developed will be close to 25.8bhp at 8500rpm in India, a maximum torque figure of close to 2.3kgm at 7000rpm is expected.
The engine note is pleasantly gruff, still soft. Engine revs build with a willing thrum the instant you select first, open throttle and let out the well weighted clutch. Throttle response is crisp, the CBR250R enjoying a wide, thoroughly refined powerband even novices won’t hesitate to exploit. Rpm rises in a smooth, purposeful rush through an adequate low end, to meet a meaty mid range and frantic top end rush as expected from this short stroke powerplant (bore and stroke is 76mm x 55mm). You’ve six-gears to play with in the one-down, five-up pattern, each shift accompanied by a light, precise feel at the pedal. The CBR is good for effortless 120kph cruising, with maximum speed likely in the region of 150kph.
A diamond frame, with steel pipe trusses binds the CBR250R together, with 37mm diameter telescopic front suspension, a rectangle section swingarm and Honda’s Pro-link system with 5-step preload adjustment working at the rear. The riding position feels mid way between commuter-friendly upright and sporty. The CBR250R seat offers good padding, helping make this a comfortable bike.
Handling is light, street friendly and stable through the corners; suitable for an occasional track day, but feeling most comfortable as motorcycle better suited to daily use.
Honda is offering top drawer, combined ABS front (296mm floating disc) and rear (220mm) disc brakes, as a paid option. Both calipers use advanced resin-molded pads. The combined system is calibrated to intervene and allocate brake pressure to the front and rear brakes whenever you depress the rear brake, while the front brake lever works independently as on any motorcycle. Both brakes are ABS enabled, the system modulating hydraulic pressure to prevent wheel lock in every situation.
The C-ABS system works its magic without any drama, is not intrusive and does not call for a rider to alter his braking habits. This clever system will make a pro of most novices.  
 The practical and city friendly CBR250R is a superbly balanced motorcycle that is going to set a benchmark in India. The 250R launches in India in April 2011, poised to provide enthusiasts a fine combination of style, adequate performance, street friendly handling as well as advanced brakes, at a decent price. The base model CBR250R retails for Rs 1.5 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), with the ABS variant priced higher at Rs 1.8 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
A segment starting motorcycle from tomorrow, today, it’s going to be a while before we see another bike as good as Honda’s CBR250R.



Price Range (in lakhs)*

Ex-showroom Price Rs 1.5 - 1.8 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)


Fuel Petrol
Installation Single-cylinder, liquid-cooled, four-stroke, 249cc
Power 25.8bhp at 8500rpm
Torque 2.3kgm at 7000rpm
Power to weight 156.4bhp per tonne


Gearbox 1-down, 5-up

Chassis & Body

Length 2035mm
Width 720mm
Height 1125mm
Weight 165kg (ABS)
Wheels 5-spoke alloy, 17 inches
Tyres 110/70 x 17- 140/70 x 17 inches


Front Telescopic
Rear Pro-Link monoshock,


Front 296mm disc (Combined ABS)
Rear 220mm disc (Combined ABS)

BMW-X1 Review

Design & Engineering

The X1 is instantly recognisable as a BMW, and a modern one at that. Using design cues first seen on newer cars like the 7- and 5-series, the X1’s skinning is fluid and cohesive rather than sharp. However, traditional BMW details remain. The double barrel headlamps, the large ‘kidney’ grille, the ‘Hofmeister kink’ in the shoulder line and the big squared off-wheel arches; they’re all there. But this ‘youngest’ of BMWs has other interesting bits as well. The long bonnet is heavily sculpted, the wide front splitter gives the X1 a square jawed look and the design of the rear is very fluid. But while it’s long and wide, the X1 is not tall or chunky enough to be a convincing SUV. This is especially true in the flesh where it looks more like a tall estate than an off-roader.

Under the skin, the X1 is a 3- series; slightly raised and differently tuned but otherwise identical. Built on the 3-series touring (BMW for estate) wheelbase, this car inherits all the 3-series’ driver-focussed hardware. The long wheelbase, the super-stiff chassis, the double- jointed aluminium front struts, the double-wishbone five-arm rear axle and of course the rear-wheel-drive architecture. For India, as yet, there is no four-wheel-drive version of the X1, and that’s smart. This car, despite its 194mm ground clearance is not likely to be taken over challenging or wildly undulating ground. The chin is too low slung, the wheelbase is too long and the X1’s wheel travel is also pretty restricted. Boot space at 420 litres however is just about adequate, but the seats can be split 40/20/40, which is very useful. And BMW has used clever rubber banjo cords in the rear to keep small objects secure.

Performance & Economy

The 2.0-litre common rail diesel motor under the hood of the X1 is familiar as well. Similar to the motor that powers the 320d, this well-specced motor has an all-aluminium crank case, a variable geometry turbo, piezo electric injectors and a fuel rail pressure of 1800 bar. The power output of 177bhp is impressive too. The headline figure however is the torque output of 35.69kgm, which really is a serious amount of twist.

Performance is pretty good as a result, and the X1 comfortably ducks under 10 seconds to do the 100kph sprint. If you keep your foot down for 20.9 seconds, you cross a real speed of 150kph. To put things in perspective, the 2-litre Skoda Yeti takes a full seven seconds longer to get to 150. And that’s with a quicker manual gearbox. This motor however doesn’t spin as fast as the 320d’s, which pulls to 5000rpm against 4600rpm for the X1. Still a top speed of 205kph is pretty impressive.

The diesel X1 also works really well in city traffic. There’s plenty of punch in the midrange and BMW’s baby delivers a good-sized surge of power when you tap the throttle. Progress is very rapid even if the gearbox upshifts early. The six-speed automatic ‘box however isn’t the quickest and blunts the X1’s eagerness a bit. There’s a bit of lag when you floor the throttle and this is noticeable on the highway when you want to make a quick overtaking manoeuvre. It’s best to switch to manual mode for sharper throttle response or when you want to drive in a hurry.

Compared to the 3-series saloon however, this motor feels loud. There is some rattle at start-up, insulation is not as good and though the motor smoothens out once it warms up, it still intrudes at times. The six-speed automatic gearbox though works pretty well on the X1. Up-shifts are executed with a quick flick of the tacho needle, and downshifts, unless you are driving really hard, are reasonably quick too.

BMW diesels have always been frugal and the X1 is no different.The X1 managed to stretch the litre of diesel for an average of 9.8kpl in the city, impressive for a car of this weight. What helps is that it’s geared very similarly to the 320d, which is a very efficient car itself.It’s not as efficient on the highway however, the greater drag supposedly affecting efficiency here.

RatingRatingRatingRatingRatingRatingRatingRatingRatingRating  9/10
BMW’s baby SUV does not have the stance of an SUV. Low slung and more like a hatch or estate on steroids,  it doesn’t have four-wheel-drive either. But how many owners will have an appetite for off-roading? The more serious issue is space. It’s tight on the inside and at best a four-seater.

The diesel motor is quite audible and there are a couple of cheap bits on the inside. All this though is forgotten the moment you get behind the wheel. The motor has plenty of grunt, the ride and handling are nothing short of brilliant, and the best part is that you can attack even poorly surfaced roads in the X1 without the fear of bottoming out or bending something. In addition, the top-of-the-line X1 is pretty well equipped and built to the same quality standards as other BMWs. The top model however is a huge Rs 6 lakh more than the base model and when you have to eventually fork out upwards of Rs 34.50 lakh (on-road, Delhi) to get the key in your hand, it doesn’t seem as good value. However, it’s still not a lot of money for such a highly desirable car and the base model is much more affordable. 
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