Season of ‘safe’
hatch-backs. With Maruti offering the Estillo and Swift, the
floodgates seemed to have opened. The latest offering from
General Motors is the Spark. In my opinion, it is one of the
best-looking cars in the market. Actually it’s the Daewoo
Matiz of yore and offers some interesting features. The most
interesting feature is that the instrument panel is
centre-mounted on the dash-board, not in front of the driver as
is conventional. Possibly, it has the best safety features. It
has 14 impact bars, in the doors, front and rear and the ‘B’
pillar extends into the roof. So if the car overturns, the
occupants have protection. The roof won’t cave in. The doors
are non-jamming, being made from a one piece sheet metal. The
engine is referred to S-Tec, is 1000 cc with 4 cylinders, 8
valves and puts out 63 bhp.
The Spark has
impact-absorbing bumpers and will take a 15 kmph bump without
any hassle. Great for the parking lot. Tyres are tubeless.
McPherson strut suspension up front and torsion beam axle at the
rear. All shocks are gas filled. The Spark has a 100.000 km
3-year warranty. GM also offers a service package. It costs Rs
7,600 approximately and is good for 3 years or 45,000 km. All
service will be provided free during this period i.e. engine
oil, filters, air cleaner, brake oil, spark plugs.
This service is
a first in the industry. The Spark is available as the 1.0 E,
1.0, 1.0 LS and I.0 LT. Prices range from Rs. 3.09 lakh for the
base model to Rs. 4.30 for the top model, which is fully loaded.
Power steering, power windows, body-coloured bumpers are
available in the medium-range variants.
introduced the new Palio Stile. It comes with a 1.1 litre
engine, 4 cylinders and 2 valves per cylinder. The fuel tank has
an increased capacity of 47 litres and the manufacturer claims
15.5 km per litre. This gives you a cruising range of over 700
km. The highway fuel consumption could be 17-18 km per litre.
The reason for this would be a lower kerb weight and a 1.1 litre
engine. The Stile has four-wheel McPherson independent
suspension. The interior remains unchanged.
In the 1.1
litre engine there are three variants. The SL is priced at Rs
3.56 lakh. The SL has no power steering or A.C. The SLE, priced
Rs. 3.77 lakh, has power steering, A.C. and two power windows in
the front doors. The top-end SLX model at Rs. 3.97 has four
power windows, lights, de-fogger and rear window wiper.
The 1.6 litre
Palio Stile has a four cylinders, a16-valve engine. It puts out
100 p.s. of power as opposed to 57 p.s. of the 1.1 litre engine.
The cost is Rs. 4.38 lakh.
brought out the Getz Prime with a 1.1 litre engine. The changes
are cosmetic with possibly a more spacious cabin. This gives a
sedan-like feel, courtesy the Space Wizard design. The variable
seat-folding options provide versatile combinations. The driver
has an arm rest. The Prime is equipped with ABS brakes and has a
clutch lock, meaning you have to de-press the clutch before
starting the car. Basically, the cars remain unchanged. There
are four variants—- the GLE 1.1. at Rs 3.91 lakh, the GVS 1.1
at Rs. 4.21 lakh, the GLS and GLY, both 1.3 litres, at Rs 4.89
lakh and Rs 5.24 lakh, respectively. The owner’s manual is
available in French, Spanish, Italian, German and, of course,
introduction of the Logan is bound to make waves simply because
of the price and options offered. Most important, they offer a
diesel option. They also offer a price that is hard to ignore.
The 1.4 litre petrol engineed Logan is Rs. 4.38 lakh. It has AC
and heater but no power steering. For Rs. 4.82 lakh you can get
power steering. The 1.6 litre petrol engine Logan is priced at
Rs 5.78 lakh and is fully loaded and has a driver’s side
air-bag, a feature not found in more expensive models.