Top gear in Geneva

Top gear in Geneva
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First Published: Wed, Mar 11 2009. 06 08 AM IST

Updated: Fri, Mar 27 2009. 06 16 PM IST
Volkswagen Polo
The fifth generation Polo, which made its world debut in Geneva, is a significant volumes product for Volkswagen. The new Polo is being offered with as many as eight engine options in Europe. The ones that caught my attention were the 105 bhp-1.2 litre TSI petrol, and the 90 bhp-1.6 litre TDI diesel. These can be mated with either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox. The Polo will be made in India by the year end and I expect VW to get aggressive with a price range of Rs5-6 lakh.
Interestingly, the same platform will also spawn a compact sedan, which VW hopes to launch in India by mid-2010 in the Rs6-7 lakh range.
Skoda Yeti
So you want a family car that also doubles up as an off-road brute. You want space but also want city-friendly compactness. Tough task, right?
Skoda doesn’t think so, and what we got was the world debut of the Yeti. It is a bit of a van, a car and even an SUV—all rolled into one. The Yeti offers seating for four or five, options of diesel and petrol engines, cargo space, and the best part—a four-wheel or front-wheel drive choice. It has a bold face, accentuated by the big round fog lamps, but retains the typical Skoda family look.
The car goes on sale in Europe within a few weeks, and Skoda has begun a study to make the car in India by the end of 2010— where, like many European markets, it hopes to create a brand new segment of its own.
Bentley Continental Supersports
The name Bentley conjures up images of fast and luxurious saloons rolling down a highway towards St Moritz or Monte Carlo. That is for the most part true, except these cars are also gracing driveways in New Delhi and Dubai—at a faster rate. Enter the Continental. Bentley has now thrown in a surprise—flex-fuel. This means the engine can run on an ethanol-petrol blend with varying proportions of ethanol— as much as 87%. It can also run on pure petrol.
The car is 110kg lighter than the Continental GT Speed on which it is based—which makes it the fastest Bentley yet, doing 0-100 kmph in a mere 3.7 seconds. If this car becomes popular, it could mark a whole new direction for premium cars in the near future.
Chevrolet Spark
This is the replacement for the current Matiz, which sells as the Spark in India. The new Spark will be made in India later this year. But unlike most markets, the current Spark is likely to stay on as an entry-level small car, while this could be launched with a new name, to take on the Hyundai i10 and Maruti A-Star.
What is interesting is that the new Spark is based on the Suzuki Splash platform—which Maruti plans to introduce in India by 2010.
Expect a 1.2-litre petrol engine, reasonable space and plenty of style. The price range would be between Rs3.5-4.5 lakh.
Tata Prima
This is a big surprise from Tata Motors. A full-size sedan concept, the Prima has been co-developed by Tata and Italian design house Pininfarina. More famous for designs such as the Maserati Quattroporte or the Ferrari F430, Pininfarina has delivered a classy punch with the Prima.
The car is a five-seater sedan, and Tata says it will go into production in India in about three years. The Prima boasts bold styling and flowing Italian lines, yet retains the design DNA seen in recent Tata showings such as the Indica Vista or Xover concepts. If the interiors and engine end up matching the style quotient, it looks like Tata has a winner on its hands.
Porsche Cayenne
The Porsche Cayenne SUV is the best-selling Porsche model, mainly due to sales in Russia, West Asia, India and China. The only thing that kept some buyers away was diesel options from the VW Touareg, BMW X5 or Audi Q7. But now, in a move that may make purists cringe, Porsche has rectified that. I never thought I’d see diesel and Porsche in one sentence, but here it is—the diesel Cayenne. The 3-litre diesel V6 produces 240 bhp and comes from Volkswagen. Expected to become the best-selling model in India, it will be on offer by the second half of the year.
Vinayak Patankar is editor (auto), NDTV. Write to us at businessoflife@livemint.com
BUY
To some, the Quik Pod is a nefarious device used for discouraging human interaction while travelling. To others, it’s a stick to which you can attach your camera to take fairly steady and flattering self-portraits on the go. The basic Quik Pod (www.quickpod.com)—essentially a monopod with a handle—costs $34.95 and includes a clip, wrist strap, carrying bag and a bubble level to ensure your shots have a flat horizon. The standard model extends to 18 inches and closes to 7.5 inches. It weighs 3.5 ounces and attaches to any camera with a standard tripod adaptor
©2009/ THE NEW YORK TIMES
WORK
The Kensington Slimblade ($129) is a trackball mouse that requires little desk space—they’re stationary, unlike mice—and offers a unique and highly accurate scrolling mechanism. In this case, the ball itself is made of heavy red plastic and the base has four buttons—left and right click, with two buttons for media and on-screen viewing control. It is compatible with PCs and Macs. It has a rugged USB cable clad in nylon fabric and the package looks as if it could survive the beating those old Centipede games used to take.
©2009/ THE NEW YORK TIMES
SHOOT
Samsung’s HZ15W camera ($330)is both portable and powerful. It has a 24mm ultra-wide-angle Schneider lens with an impressive 10x optical zoom, which is complemented nicely by the camera’s optical and digital image stabilization. You can put that zoom to use by recording high-definition video and also connect the camera directly to an HDTV, sans cradle. The 12-megapixel HZ15W has a 3-inch LCD screen and offers both manual and automatic shooting modes so you can play around with the shutter speed, aperture and exposure. It also has face and blink detection technologies.
©2009/ THE NEW YORK TIMES
PLAY
The standout feature of the Logitech G19 gaming keyboard ($200) is a tilting colour GamePanel LCD screen, 320x240 pixels, that can be used to display gaming information for about 60 games. It houses 12 fully programmable G-keys (three macros per key) and has multi-key input functionality, which means you can bang on up to five keys simultaneously. You can also record new macros, and there’s a game mode switch that disables the Windows key to help prevent accidental lockouts. It is compatible with both Windows and Mac.
©2009/ THE NEW YORK TIMES
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First Published: Wed, Mar 11 2009. 06 08 AM IST