Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Honda to launch Mobilio in July

Japanese car maker Honda Motors will be launching its multi-utility passenger vehicle (MPV) Mobilio, first showcased at the Auto Expo 2014 in February, in India this July. File photo: S. Subramanium
The HinduJapanese car maker Honda Motors will be launching its multi-utility passenger vehicle (MPV) Mobilio, first showcased at the Auto Expo 2014 in February, in India this July. File photo: S. Subramanium

Based on the successful Brio platform, Honda is hopeful that the 7-seater vehicle will help boost the MPV segment.

Notwithstanding the slowdown in the market, Japanese car maker Honda Motors will be launching its multi-utility passenger vehicle (MPV) Mobilio, first showcased at the Auto Expo 2014 in February, in India this July.
Based on the successful Brio platform, the company is hopeful that the 7-seater vehicle will help boost the MPV segment.
“The Honda Mobilio will be launched in July 2014,” confirmed Honda Cars India Ltd. Senior Vice President (Marketing and Sales) Jnaneswar Sen. Asked about the pricing of the vehicle, he told The Hindu that “It is still early to talk about the pricing of the car. All I can say we are concentrating on making it a compelling and attractive package.” He expressed confidence that “the launch of the Mobilio will revive the MPV segment”.
Amid the sluggish automobile market in the country, the MPV segment too has shown a decline of 15 per cent in the past financial year. Sales of Toyota Innova, which has dominated the segment for sometime now, nosedived 28 per cent, while sales of Maruti Suzuki’s Ertiga slipped 22 per cent.
About the opportunities in the segment, Mr. Sen said, “If we consider the current market size and the players that are there, the MPV segment adds up to between 10,000 and 12,000 units a month, so a year’s volume is about 1.5 lakh units, and that’s not a small segment.” He added that the segment grew very well a year ago and the decline in the last financial year (2013-14) was actually in line with the industry de-growth.
The company, which sells products such as Odyssey and Freed under this category globally, said with Mobilio they “are looking at the car as a personal vehicle for large Indian families rather than a commercial vehicle.” “We expect that Mobilio will appeal not only to MPV segment customers who generally have large families but also to families which have traditionally opted for a sedan or an SUV... Styling is one thing consumers are looking for in this segment and we believe we have delivered on this front with the Mobilio,” Mr. Sen added.
Mobilio will be available in petrol and diesel variants. Honda till now has been able to buck the declining sales trend in the automobile industry in the country on the back of recently launched successful models — Amaze and the new City. Besides Mobilio, the car maker would be launching the all new Jazz later in this fiscal year, Mr. Sen added.

Spied – Sporty Honda Mobilio RS variant gets ready for Indonesian launch

Honda Prospect Motor (HPM), the Indonesian subsidiary of Honda, is gearing up to launch the Honda Mobilio RS soon. The Mobilio RS, as the name signifies, is a sporty looking variant of the people carrier, that goes head-to-head with the newly launched Suzuki Ertiga ‘Sporty’ variant.
Spied Honda Mobilio RS rear image
The Mobilio RS will be positioned above the existing top-end variant.
Honda Mobilio rear at the Twin Ring Motegi
Rear of the standard Honda Mobilio, added for comparison.
The RS variant of the Mobilio comes with a roof spoiler, a ‘RS’ badge, exhaust finisher and a sportier rear bumper with a chrome strip. Previous spyshots have revealed redesigned headlights with LED elements, a twin-slat chrome grille, side skirts, new alloy wheels and an aggressively styled front bumper on the range topping variant.
Visual enhancements aside, the Mobilio RS would not sport any mechanical improvements and power will continue to come from the 1.5-liter four-cylinder i-VTEC engine. HPM offers this engine with a 5-speed manual or CVT gearbox options.
Honda Mobilio RS Indonesia spied front
Front of the Mobilio RS from a previous set of spyshots.
Honda Mobilio front view review
Front of the standard Mobilio added for reference.
The RS variant of the Mobilio is likely to be priced at a premium of 27 million Rupiah (INR 1.44 lakhs) over the existing top-end variant. While the manual would cost 214 million Rupiah (INR 11.44 lakhs), the automatic would cost 225 million (INR 12.03 lakhs), as per the Indonesian media report. The Mobilio was launched in Indonesia in January.
In India, Honda will launch the MPV in July this year in petrol and diesel variants. The diesel will use the 1.5-liter i-DTEC engine which outputs 100 PS and 200 Nm of torque on the Amaze, while the petrol will get the City’s 1.5-liter i-VTEC that makes 119 PS and 145 Nm of torque.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Toyota Etios Cross review, test drive

The Toyota Etios Cross, first showcased by Toyota at Auto Expo 2014 earlier this year, is the Japanese carmaker’s attempt to cash in on India’s love for compact SUVs and crossovers. The basic formula here remains the same as on the Volswagen Cross Polo that was launched in 2013. In essence, the Etios Cross is a regular Etios Liva hatchback beefed up with a rugged-looking body kit. The added body cladding imparts a serious aggressive look, and while it may look a bit over the top, it ensures that the Etios Cross doesn’t get lost in the crowd – something the Toyota Etios Liva was quite prone to. 
The Etios Cross gets a matte black plastic band that goes right across from its chin, to the flanks and around the rear, thereby adding muscular chunks to the car. There are also pseudo skid plates with a dull silver finish adding to the complete picture. 
Roof rails, a spoiler at the rear and diamond-finish 15-inch alloy wheels all add to the Etios Cross’ appeal. Additionally, the ‘Etios Cross’ badge is prominently displayed on the boot lid and looks rather good. All of these add to the dimensions of the Etios Liva and makes the Cross 120mm longer, 40mm wider and 45mm taller than the standard Liva. Weight, too, has gone up by around 20kg spec-to-spec.
Unlike the VW Cross Polo which is offered in a single variant with a 1.2-litre diesel motor, the Etios Cross will be offered in two levels of trim and three engines to choose from; 1.2-litre and 1.5-litre petrol engines and a 1.4-litre diesel motor. 

While we’d closely inspected the Toyota Etios Cross at Auto Expo 2014, we couldn’t get behind the wheel. Now that we have, these are our first thoughts about the 1.5-litre petrol and the 1.4-litre diesel Toyota Etios Cross.
On the inside, you get piano black interiors and sporty seat fabric and Etios Cross badging. It also features a 2-DIN audio system with aux, Bluetooth and USB compatibility. The top variants will also get audio controls on the steering wheel, and a rear defogger and wiper. However, the lack of electrically adjustable wing mirrors (even on the top-spec car) is a surprising omission for a car in this segment. On the safety front, it will come equipped with ABS and EBD and dual front airbags. As for space and comfort, the front seats are on the right side of comfy and the leg room at the back is quite impressive too. However, the flat seat squab could have been a bit more comfortable had it been inclined by a couple of degrees. 
As there are no mechanical changes to the Etios Cross, it drives almost identical to the regular Liva hatchback and the added weight (up by about 20kg, spec for spec) doesn’t really make a perceivable difference in its road manners. The 1.5-litre petrol motor (available only on the top-spec car) produces 89bhp and concentrates more on city drivability rather than outright power. Throttle response at lower revs is good and the car feels reasonably peppy on the highway too. The 67bhp 1.4-litre diesel, on the other hand, feels more sedate and while turbo-lag isn’t much of an issue, you will miss the mid-range punch on the highways. Also, both the motors are a bit too noisy and cabin insulation doesn’t do the best job at keeping out road noise either.   
However, the ride is pretty absorbent and the suspension does a great job of shielding the cabin from the worst of our roads. Handling is quite decent too and the chunky steering wheel is nicely weighted but a bit slow to respond. 
The Toyota Etios Cross does a good job of injecting a much needed dose of style to the plain Liva hatchback. Yes, the Etios Cross doesn't really add any real off-road credentials to the Liva hatchback, and the interiors still feel a bit low-rent, but the bold styling, spacious interiors and reliable mechanical package does make a reasonably strong argument in its favour. 
The Toyota Etios Cross is expected to command a premium of about Rs 60,000 over the regular Liva hatchback (spec-to-spec) and we think the butch looks justify this price. Also, since the Etios Cross is expected to be about Rs 75,000 cheaper than the VW Cross Polo, it will act as a good entry point to consumers looking for a macho machine.
Fact File


1.5-litre DOHC petrol / 1.4-litre common rail turbo-diesel
89bhp at 5600rpm / 67bhp at 3800rpm
13.46kgm at 3000rpm / 17.3kgm at 1800-2400rpm
Power to weight


Front-wheel drive
5-speed manual


Wheel base

Chassis & Body

Petrol: 950kg / Diesel: 1030kg
185/60 R15


Tank size
45 litres



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