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|2nd July 2010, 17:19||#1|
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India's Own "Daily Drive Everyday Sportscars"
I've been reading up a lot on the "Everyday Sportscar Genre"(Excuse me for the long but apt term) lately.Cars that can play the role of a daily driver with as much aplomb as the practical family car.Cars that wont require you to give up family dictated practicality requirements(read interior space for your family/bootspace for all that grocery shopping and the occasional weekend trips/decent dealership support et al) to gratify that tyre-shredding "I AM PETTER SOLBERG" mode occassionaly when your better half/family isn't around.
To put things into perspective I'd like to give some examples of such cars that have their own fanfollowing the world over:
1.MITSUBISHI EVO Series
3.FORD FOCUS(The RS version falls squarely in this genre)
5.SEAT CUPRA R(The Cupra with the R monicker is a real beast)
Such cars are essentially removed from the out and out sportscars in the sense that although most of these cars have their engines/suspensions specifically tuned with performance driving, they can carry out the role of the family hatch/sedan just as comfortably.For example, you cant drive a Toyota Supra or a Nissan 350z when you have to take your wife and kids to the movie.Throw in an EVO into the equation and well..lets just say it'll offer near about similar levels of fun with the practicality of seating for four.So make no mistake about this, most of these cars like the ones mentioned above are a real hoot to drive and will distinctly leave their "ordinary"purely practical counterparts biting their dust.And they have gone on to become iconic in their own respective segments, quite rightly so.
Which brings me to the main part of my topic.Cars like these that are/were available in India.To make it clear I am in no way comparing the cars available in India to the EVOs and the IMPREZZAs.Just listing out some that come close when looked at from the Indian Automotive perspective.Cars with a pleasurable balance of the dual idendities..theDr.Jeckyll and Mr.Hyde cars, if you please.
For most part of its automotive history, our country has seen cars that have been manufactured purely keeping the practicality aspects in mind, which of course, is not a bad thing.However, such cars such cars do tend to become a little "monotonous" to drive over a period of time.Sedate would be an apt term.No disrepect meant though.However, there have been some cars with this unmistakable dual identity that I speak of, albeit few and far in between.So without further ado, I begin my list:
The last four letters are all that is required to announce the calibre of this car.VTEC.Honda debut'ed this model somewhere in the mid 2000s and boy did it introduce us to a completely new level of a driver focussed sedan.This was truly the car that created a whole new segment/niche as far as a Daily driver Sportscar was concerned.OK, it was'nt a sportscar, and no car that I'm gonna list is a real sportscar, but what the heck!106 Jap horses under the hood and that sweet exhaust.Those Honda Alloys and the Spoiler truly marked this beast out.An engine that loved to rev all the way upto 7-7.5k RPM was literally unheard of in the Indian Automotive scene in those time.Drive one today and it'll have a wide grin plastered over your face.This truly was our first experience of the Genre that I am discussing in my post.
So, what are the chances that a czech car maker which was the butt of jokes in the last decade, can come up with something truly performance oriented..20V turbo petrol..Stiffened suspension..Xenons..Recaro like bucket seats..Sun/moonroof..16inch Spider alloys..and a rally kit to boot??
Bleak, really.Unless you're talking of a certain Octavia vRS.Skoda unleashed this beast sometime in mid 2004 in the Indian market.This car single handedly changed the way we looked at a car with the driver as its focus.Every bit in this car right from the embodssed leather seats to the vRS gearknob to that chunky three spoke rally steering wheel made you realise that this was truly special.Including those fabulous colours:Red, Yellow, Magic Black(Pearl finish:they charge you extra for this colour in the UK) or the Silver.Launched at 16 odd lakhs, it surely was'nt cheap.Not by a long stretch.Heck, you could get a base accord at that price.But then, all you needed to justify that high price was a set of twisties and some revs..3500 RPM to be precise.Thats when the turbo really get onto its own.The beastly ways of the Turbo in this machine..the mad whistle and itd be game over for most of the cars available at twice the price at that point of time.Whats better, you could keep your beautiful girlfriend/wife who didnt understand a thing of automotive jargon happy just by sliding that sunroof.As many on international forums like Briskoda.com opine, the Mk1 Octavia vRS(the one we got here in India) had the best combination of looks and proportion, which sadly got ruined in the subsequent iterations of the new Octavia(Laura Iin India)RS.Sadly, like the OHC VTEC, the vRS aint available new anymore and a clean used example has become a real rarity nowadays.A legend, in the true sense.
3.FORD FIESTA 1.6S:
So what is a ford fiesta doing in this list?Well, if you're asking yourself in this question, jus go out and DRIVE one.Especially in that Aquarius Blue colour.The car's another fine example of an Indian Daily Driver Sportscar.Stiffened suspension,that big spoiler, tasty 15 inch alloys and that gem of an engine thats jus revv-happy.The S in the name stands for everything thats not available on the other sedans its segment.Recipe for a tasty drive:Pull till 6k in the 1st gear..go on to 2nd take it upto 6k again...3 gear repeat...Appraoching that twistiy..slam on the taut brakes..back to 2nd..dial in for understeer...and accelerate away.The delightful rasp of the 1.6 motor will always egg on the rallystar in you.And mind you, this car truly is removed from its normal 1.6 siblings, the suspension and that kit making all the difference.Love Driving?Got a budget of 8 lakhs?Look no further.Best part is the wife/girlfriend can be fooled into beleiving that its a normal Fiesta.The blue is no longer available though.Snap up one, before the blokes at Ford think Indian and do the inevitable pull the plug on a car thats been specifically tuned for enthusiastic driving.
So, that is the list from my side.Its not exhaustive though.
Just a word of advice.I hope my fellow bhians have got a hang of the type of cars that deserve a mention here.Its got to be something more than a performance oriented engine.There is a certain level of exclusivity here.Esteems/Ikons though good in their own respects dont deserve a mention here, no disrespect.Thats the same reason why the Laura 1.8 does'nt find a mention here although its got a nice TSi motor.And so does the ANHC although its got 118 horses under the hood.You jus cannot compare it to the OHC VTEC if you've driven one.
Hope this was an interesting read.
Last edited by octane1002 : 2nd July 2010 at 17:28.
|2nd July 2010, 18:04||#2|
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Hey Octane, what a thought and a better thread buddy!!
Frankly, Until I bought my first car back in 2007, I was more of a Biker Boy.
Every now and then though, would hear (since it would virtually vanish) a Red or a Black Skoda Octi Zip buy with that Whistle. If only I knew then, it was a vRS I was hearing to !!
Till date, have not been lucky enough to experience this Rush. But have driven the following "Indianized Family Sports" (IMO) :
Last edited by Vik0728 : 2nd July 2010 at 18:05.
|2nd July 2010, 18:20||#3|
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For some reason Esteem rarely finds mention as a 'performance' car. The Swift though got the tag which sported the very same engine. Strange enough to me! Agree that the Esteem slides at corners (due to its weightlessness probably), but then thats fun to me.
Years prior to 2000, till OHC made its entry, to me Carb Esteem was the true Indian rally car and mind you she had just 65 horses BUT (a big big BUT), she had a nice 1.3L engine which could be tunnnned, wonderfully tuned. I had the very old 2000 model 1.3L Carburrated Esteem which I took to 170kmph very recently. Remember she just had a K&N Filter and no special tuning.
Just imagine the kind of rocket packed in the 1.3L MPFi Esteem. One gem of a car to me. My friend had one and well, to me is a true Indian sports car.
At 850kgs, Esteem is lighter than TATA NANO! Would you beleive it??? Power to Weight Ratio - 100
I guess its worth mentioning some critical features of the car you write about in this thread :-
Carb 1.3L Esteem
P-2-W - 77
0-100 in 14.1secs
MPFi 1.3L Esteem
P-2-W - 100
0-100 in 13.1 secs
THOUGH ONE THING HORRIBLE IN ALL ESTEEMS WAS =====> BRAKING :(
Another of My favorites THE SUZUKI BALENO.
These are some of the tests done by indiacar.com in 2001, 17 CARS - ULTIMATE PERFORMANCE TEST
Last edited by Technocrat : 3rd July 2010 at 00:16. Reason: Only 2 smilies per post please, thanks
|3rd July 2010, 00:15||#6|
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