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Old 22nd November 2008, 19:27   #1
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Default Sonalika Rhino - first impression

One of the staffer's in our office bought a Sonalika Rhino to use as an office cab. I was quite intrigued by this Qualis looking vehicle, which I had seen earlier at the Expo and a couple of them on the road as well, so I took a spin in it.

I'm attaching a couple of pics, but since it was dark and pics taken from the phone cam - I apologise for the quality.

Designwise, there's nothing very spectacular and one can mistake it for a Qualis when viewed from the side.

From the front - it has a lower bonnet than the Qualis and dual headlamps and integrated fogs in the bumper. Light quality is good - especially on high beam.

From the rear - it's all the more Qualis-looking except for kind of pleasant looking tail lamps (separate brake & tail lights with clear lens reverse and indicators).

The top spec model that this is (S2 I think) has integrated indicators in the ORVMs and they are manually adjustable from inside.

On the inside it's a beige/tan affair. Quality was surprisingly good for the upholstery but some plastic bits are not that great, but very passable.

Seating - The drivers seat doesn't have very good thigh support and the floor is high, lifting your knees. Middle-row has OK leg room but again high floor and not much thigh support. Third row - not much leg room. Access is through flip down second row left side seat. With the third row folded, there is very decent luggage space.

The steering has an upward slant (a tad more than the Qualis, a bit less than the Omni) and is not adjustable. It's a neat looking 3-spoke affair.

Instrumentation is jazzy with a blue backlighting which is really bright. There are tacho, speedo, digital trip meter, fuel & temp guages.

Five speed gearbox - with a 4.23 first, 2.63 second, 1.5xx third, 1.0 4th and 0.823 overdrive 5th ratios.

The pedals are kind of truck like and upward facing, not very ergonomical for the low-mounted driver's seat, but I guess one can get used to this.

This model comes with power-windows (wood finish panels on the door switches) and central locking.

It has a roof mounted AC over the middle row and the AC is really good.

Fog lamp switch, hazard light and demister switch located in the centre console.

The engine is a 2-litre, 100bhp power and 220Nm torque turbocharged DI unit according to the manual and neatly packaged with a tight plastic covering over it.

When I got in and started it up, it sounded distinctly tractor-like (remember Sonalika also makes tractors).

The gears slot in quite nicely and have a bit of a long throw (yeah, right - I'm one to complain!).

The clutch is hydraulic and quite soft. Turning radius wasn't anything much. It's not much and even the driver of this car was complaining about it. Didn't get time to see the specs in the manual for that.

Anyway, went for a spin around the block. It does pull very well. Pickup is good, and thankfully they've provided a nice and loud factory fitted audio system from Nippon, that attempts to drown out the growl from the engine. Sonalika needs to do more for NVH here.

Very tractable (tractor-able ) engine I must say. Gearing is also good (though first is a little tall) . Great for city driving as the torque appeared to be delivered linearly and no turbo lag as such to speak off.

Braking - I don't know if there was a fault with this particular car, but the brake pedal was very soft - didn't spring back also on release, but kind of gradually let up. Braking was OK, though it did kind of dive a bit, but not as much as the Qualis did.

Mileage - the Ghaziabad (and probably the only dealer in the NCR) dealer has said is about 18kmpl. I would be more inclined to believe it's around 12-13 in the city, but I'll wait for this staffer to report that.

Top speed is a claimed 155kmph - which again I think could be true (but God help anybody standing in the path of a Rhino flying at 155kph!). This car only had 80km on the odo when I drove it and sounded like it really needed to be run in. I didn't go over 60kph on the short drive I took.

Price: Rs 8.9 all inclusive for this spec model. Dual AC, power windows, power steering, central locking, fog lamps, body coloured bumpers, beige upholstery, 3-forward rows (8-seater).

At that price, I asked why this staffer chose a Rhino, over a Sumo, Tavera, Bolero, Scorpio & Innova. His answer: 1. To be different.
2. The claimed mileage (therefore running cost).
3. The engine power (100hp unit / 1.6 ton body weight)

Pics:
1. Front & engine
2. Interior

P.S -> software restrictions prevent me from modifying (rotating images). Could one of the mods do it please?

Cheers,
Attached Thumbnails
Sonalika Rhino - first impression-1122_174417.jpg  

Sonalika Rhino - first impression-1122_174609.jpg  

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Old 22nd November 2008, 21:08   #2
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i got to drive one of the TD cars in my city. brake pedal was verrry soft. in fact, while i was checking the pedals before starting, i was even worried if it was connected. even an alto's brake seems to take more effort. i had to be cautious to use less effort while braking also
the lag in the TD car i drove was very noticeable, at least compared to my indica'. maybe because it had been abused. I do remember hearing them say that the lag has been taken care of in the newer models. and even after the lag, there was not an appreciable surge in power. just the responsiveness changed.
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Old 23rd November 2008, 09:04   #3
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I have driven this car, sorry guys but this thing really sucks.
The plastic used is very low quality and comfort level is nothing if compared to any car in the same segment. I think Sonalika should stick to tractors.
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Old 24th December 2008, 19:23   #4
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With the Sumo Grande, Bolero, Tavera & entry-level Innova, why would anyone even bother with a Rhino? Blatantly copying the looks of the Qualis ain't enough....it is the stuff under the skin that matters. The Rhino is a typical effort from a first-time car manufacturer : Terrible road manners, messed up ergonomics, suspect reliability, rare after-sales service and dismal quality.
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Old 24th December 2008, 21:20   #5
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wasn't the car designed by italian company Pininfarina.they are supposed to be great designers right??

can anybody give the kerb weights of Scorpio,tavera , innova etc
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Old 24th December 2008, 21:30   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmddis View Post
wasn't the car designed by italian company Pininfarina.they are supposed to be great designers right??

can anybody give the kerb weights of Scorpio,tavera , innova etc
where did you read that ??!!

i think the vehicle was designed in association with ROVER of UK - who i presume might have helped in sorting the ride/handling bit

at that price, i wonder why someone would not look at the SUMO GRANDE

AFAIK - it has 100+horses, and its very unique ( hardly have spotted 2/3 on the road )..


Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
With the Sumo Grande, Bolero, Tavera & entry-level Innova, why would anyone even bother with a Rhino? Blatantly copying the looks of the Qualis ain't enough....it is the stuff under the skin that matters. The Rhino is a typical effort from a first-time car manufacturer : Terrible road manners, messed up ergonomics, suspect reliability, rare after-sales service and dismal quality.

I read somewhere that Sonalika could have purchased the old Qualis dies from Toyota
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Old 24th December 2008, 22:29   #7
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It seems that the ICML R&D team has collaboration from MG Rover,Pininforina and Lotus .Check the link below

International Cars & Motor Ltd
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Old 24th December 2008, 22:50   #8
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GTO,

You got alot of facts wrong, rather dated there. Quite massively. While still copied, current versions, are shall we say, improved to the point of being palatable.

And what I've heard from the very engineers who've worked on what's inside but I'd much rather not get into its road manners etc.

Though yes, the logic for not buying one is quite spot on, and is indeed their bane. They've got the pricing totally wrong.
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Old 25th December 2008, 14:01   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
You got alot of facts wrong, rather dated there. Quite massively.
Pray tell me what part I got wrong, phamilyman? Let me ask you this : Have you experienced the Rhino yourself? I have had the (mis)opportunity of being shuttled in an enthusiastically driven '08 one and briefly taking the wheel. Hence, my observations. It came across as a poorly executed MUV that lacks engineering depth. It's competitors are leagues ahead.

Quote:
And what I've heard from the very engineers who've worked on what's inside
They would say that, wouldn't they? Think about it.
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Old 16th January 2009, 07:21   #10
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This MUV was on display in the recent Bangalore Auto Expo. Nothing spectacular about this vehicle and no distinguishing features, not even the pricing.

According to the pamphlet, it is "[COLOR=black][FONT='Calibri','sans-serif']Conceptualized [/FONT][/COLOR]& Engineered in Technical Collaboration with MG Rover, UK".

Attaching some pics
Attached Thumbnails
Sonalika Rhino - first impression-img_2218.jpg  

Sonalika Rhino - first impression-img_2220.jpg  

Sonalika Rhino - first impression-img_2222.jpg  

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Old 9th February 2009, 16:35   #11
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Pune photos ( The car has ARAI testing stickers ).
Attached Thumbnails
Sonalika Rhino - first impression-08022009001.jpg  

Sonalika Rhino - first impression-08022009002.jpg  

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Old 9th February 2009, 17:15   #12
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And people I don't think the vehicle meets any safety standards. Happened to see a brand new Rhino crashed in the GST( sorry no pics ), the car apparently had a puncture or tire blew ( i dunno ), it seemed to have lost control and hit the lorry before. And man i could see almost the pistons popping out and the driver was seriously injured!!! Seeing the impact on the Rhino i thought it would have screwed up badly in the lorry!! But to my shock the lorry had a bent rear crash bar and thats all!!!
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Old 27th September 2009, 13:25   #13
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The common rail engine one is coming soon. Test drove it earlier this year

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Old 27th September 2009, 17:30   #14
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Hey Roshun,

Nice write up or rather brief & good road test...unlike boring & sleeply road test reports on products which most would have read in the auto magazine(s) months before product launches.

This was required as most would have just seen this vehicle with not much details

keep it up & thanks.
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Old 27th September 2009, 19:03   #15
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8.9 L for these four wheels?? And I did come across ICML while researching for my new car and thought they are some new MNC, LOL, who have launched a new vehicle in India. But did not even care to find out about it as I never heard of the brand before. Today I come to know its actually Sonalika. Way to go Sonalika.

In the vehicles already suggested, add Xylo as the last choice perhaps.
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