First Archives – My Blog

There are always a few car models that define an automotive company. The Accord for Honda is exactly one of those and we did get three generations of the car from 2000-2013 till Honda India pulled the plug due to slow sales. But now it is back in and all new avatar and whats more important than the sharp looks is what it gets under the bonnet – a hybrid powertrain. The Honda Accord Hybrid is now available for purchase in India at a starting price of ₹ 37 lakh.

This of course is not the first time Honda has introduced a Hybrid car in India. It did so with the Civic about half a decade ago but technology has moved on a long way since then and the Accord is the perfect way for the Japanese auto giant to showcase some of that new tech in the country. Let’s start with what is under the hood. As with every Hybrid, the Accord gets two power making units.

The new Accord Hybrid isn’t Honda’s first hybrid in India

The first is a conventional 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder, naturally aspirated internal combustion engine that makes a modest 145bhp 175Nm of torque. The second is an electric motor that is powered by a 1.3Kilowatt/h Lithium-ion battery pack. This electric motor is rated at 184bhp and 315Nm of torque. Now, if you wanted, you could run the Honda Accord Hybrid on purely electric propulsion but that would limit your range to only 2 kilometres before the petrol engine takes over automatically.

The Econ button optimises fuel efficiency helping return 23.1 km/l

In fact, the Accord Hybrid has three drive modes – one pure electric (that we spoke about above), a Hybrid Drive mode and an Engine Drive mode. In the Hybrid Drive mode, the internal combustion engine actually runs to power the electric generator and is disengaged from the actual driveline of the car. If you wanted instant power and you floored the throttle pedal, the engine connects up to the driveline by a set of gears and the combination of the electric motor and the internal combustion engine powers the car.

This is the Engine Drive mode and although all of this sounds really complicated, the Accord Hybrid does it without any fusses, jerks or even letting the driver know that the drive modes have shifted (with the exception of the graphic illustration that flashes on the central screen).

The Honda Accord Hybrid gets a CVT

The drive sensation of course is extremely smooth and very quiet in the EV mode and the Hybrid Drive mode and the Accord truly envelops you in a quiet cocoon even when the petrol engine kicks in. Power delivery is swift and although the Accord Hybrid is a slightly heavy car at 1620kg, triple digit speeds come by quite quickly. The CVT gearbox is usually something I personally dislike but in this case, combined with the electric motors, it is the best form of power transmission that you could have. It does get a little buzzy around the top end of the rev-range but the engine itself sounds quite nice and compensates for it.

The Accord Hybrid is equipped with LED Headlamps

All Accords are supposed to be comfortable while still maintaining a sense of chassis composure that Honda cars are known for and the new one offer exactly that. The Accord Hybrid is not floaty at high speeds and feels well planted but still offers very good low speed ride quality and bump deadening. The chassis itself does not prefer to be thrown into a corner hard but will handle all the spirited driving that you can throw at it. The Accord also has regenerative braking which means that most of the light braking is actually done through the electric motors and not the actual discs. Only after a 0.25G force is exerted on the brake pedals does the car actually actuate the disc brakes to slow it down. Now for some, that might translate to a slightly soft and dead brake pedal feel, but when it comes time to get the car to a complete halt, it is more than effective. Of course, as an added bonus, it also helps to charge your batteries a little.

The 18-inch alloys on the Honda Accord Hybrid look sharp

The Honda Accord does wear an all-new dress on the outside and in my opinion, this is one of the prettiest Accords ever made. The overall design is very edgy and yet understated. The full LED headlamps have to be our favourite element and you do get a simple daytime running light, a LED low beam and a LED high beam setup. The LED fog lamps on the bottom continue the trend and compliment the headlamps well. The front bumper is also quite sporty and the gloss black element in the centre really helps bring out a well balanced look when combined with the chrome and black grille. Although there isn’t much to talk about in terms of other design elements, we do like the LED combination tail lamps, the built in boot spoiler and the well crafted rear bumper. The 18-inch two toned diamond cut wheels ties up the overall design well.

The cabin is a mix of top notch materials, features and lots of space

Step into the Honda Accord and the spacious and bring cabin feels welcoming. The leather seats are standard and electrically adjustable offering a soft and comfortable seating position with surprisingly good lumbar support. The rear seats too are wide, offer good support and have equally good leg room. The Accord has never disappointed in rear seat comfort and this new generation continues the trend. There is a good amount of wood accent pieces along with a gloss black central console.
The design of the dashboard is not overdone and kept simple and usable as all accords in the past have been.

The infotainment system supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

There are two central screens, one for the infotainment system that comes with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and the other mounted slightly further away from the driver providing a display of what the engine modes are and how the drive is being transmitted. One of the most useful features has to be the passenger side camera that virtually eliminated blind spots and helps you change lanes. It activates by flicking the left indicator on or by pressing a button on the indicator stalk. The Accord Hybrid also gets the usual two-stage climate control, cruise control and a sun-roof as part of standard equipment. On the whole then, the Accord is a quite and comfortable place to be in.
There aren’t really any faults in the Accord Hybrid if we are honest.

The Accord Hybrid joins the league of chauffeur driven cars, akin to the Camry and Superb

The Accord was always meant to be a showcase of technology for Honda and it does just that. Yes, it could have done with more power and a stiffer chassis but that would have been pointless considering the fact that most of these will actually be used as chauffeur driven cars instead of owners actually getting behind the wheel. The Accord brand in India has seen success in the past and this very well could take the fight up to the Toyota Camry which is sold in both standard and Hybrid avatars in India.

Honda Accord Hybrid Rear

The Accord Hybrid is only available in one fully-loaded variant which makes sense for such a low volume car. The Accord is a CBU and is priced at Rs 37.0 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) which makes it about Rs 6.1 lakh more expensive than its only real rival, the Toyota Camry Hybrid. With GST around the corner and excise benefits on hybrid and electric cars looking very likely, the Accord might not see huge sales figures but could very well be a path maker for other cheaper Hybrid cars from the Honda stable – and that would be a welcome move.

[“source-ndtv”]

The Sportsters are an important range for Harley-Davidson India. Light, sporty and agile, these bikes try to explore a customer base of a different kind of rider than the traditional Harley-Davidson purists – riders that seek a sporty bike with agility and handling rather than pure straight line performance. The 2017 Harley-Davidson Roadster is the new sporty Harley and with this bike, H-D India will be hoping to find a new fan following in the sales charts. But does it have what it takes to make it a popular Harley? We spend some time with the Roadster in sunny Rajasthan.

(2017 Harley-Davidson Roadster)

What Harley-Davidson describes as garage-built custom design, the Roadster looks quite attractive and sporty, with retro looks complemented by blacked-out styling to give that dark edge. The mirrors, belt guard and headlamp are black as the oval air cleaner which has a black insert. Then there are slotted black exhaust shields and a blacked out powertrain. A short, clubman-ish handlebar sits on top of the pushed back, retro headlight and the rider sits in a slightly crouched position looking out over the neatly laid out single-pod, part-analogue, part-digital instrument console. In a way, the new Harley-Davidson Roadster is reminiscent of the ’60s Sportsters yet has all the modern touches.

(Harley-Davidson Roadster 1200 Evolution V-Twin)

The engine is the air-cooled 1200cc Evolution V-Twin which also powers the Forty Eight as well as the 1200 Custom. First introduced in 1984, the 1200 Evolution makes about 98Nm of torque at 4,250rpm, and like other Harleys, the power is in the low and mid-range, so ride the torque and it pulls cleanly. But rev the engine hard, and it protests, with vibrations creeping in and the air-cooled motor making its displeasure felt with noise and harshness. On the long open highways of Rajasthan, let the Roadster settle in at around 120kmph, and life is good, for hours on end. There’s more power on hand for more speed, if needed, but the engine doesn’t sound happy at high revs as mentioned earlier.

(Harley-Davidson Roadster)

The biggest change though is the suspension and brakes; the front suspension is an upside down 43mm fork (not quite the kind of equipment Harleys are known for), and it doesn’t dive too much under hard braking and offers a level of sure footedness that is quite likeable. The rear suspension is adjustable and the brakes – with dual discs at the front and ABS, offer confident and sure-shot stopping power. The seating position is on the sporty side – a tad aggressive for a cruiser and more suited for jaunts around town than long hours in the saddle covering inter-state distances.

(2017 Harley-Davidson Roadster is an impressive handler)

Yes, the Roadster looks retro-cool, is quite an impressive handler for a 250kg motorcycle and offers a fun, sporty cruiser, as long as you’re not expecting sportbike-like acceleration or performance. In fact, it is the looks which begin to grow on you and you begin to appreciate how cool this bike is. The suspension though, while being sporty, is stiff enough to send road undulations up to the rider, compromising ride quality – not a very happy feeling when you encounter broken sections on the highway. But that’s not my biggest grouse.

(Harley-Davidson Roadster)

My problem with the Roadster is the footpeg design and position. The pegs are spread wide out and awkwardly positioned, so every time you encounter a red light, or even when you have to manoeuvre the bike in a tight parking lot, the footpegs get in the way of your legs. Yes, the footpegs can be folded up, but it’s too much of an annoyance to keep folding them up every time you place your feet on terra firma. That’s not a deal breaker though and with Harley-Davidson’s exhaustive list of aftermarket accessories, this ‘problem’ can be managed.

At Rs 9.7 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), the Harley-Davidson Roadster offers a sporty cruiser which has a lot of positives, most of all, super cool retro looks and handling that certainly underscores its Sportster heritage. With ample ground clearance which is ideal for Indian conditions, the Roadster offers an attractive proposition in the Harley-Davidson Sportster range – a cruiser with personality, handling and practicality.

[“source-ndtv”]

First thing this November morning, I was handed over the keys to the new Harley-Davidson Road Glide Special, an all-new touring motorcycle for 2017. We are heading west out of Delhi into Rajasthan on NH8 and dawn has just broken out. The big tourer from Harley-Davidson gobbles up the kilometres with little effort and a quick glance at the speedo showed unprintable numbers. Before we realised, it was time to stop for breakfast on the Jaipur-Ajmer highway.

The 2017 Road Glide Special shares the same design as the outgoing model, but it’s the first time this bike is being introduced in India. The front fairing, described by Harley-Davidson as the shark nose, has a love-it-or-hate-it feel. Personally, I don’t find it too ugly, but there are some who just don’t like its looks at all, and it’s not difficult to comprehend why. The wide rider’s seat is well-padded and cushioned and an hour into the ride it becomes apparent that the Road Glide Special can take you comfortably over a long, open highway without requiring frequent stops.

(2017 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Special)

The Road Glide Special weighs 370kg dry and with fuel and oil will be over 420kg. Muscling that kind of weight on a motorcycle does require some effort, particularly when you’re trying to park or stuck at a stop light. But once the bike’s on the move, the weight seems to magically disappear. and of course, the Road Glide Special attracts quite a bit of attention, thanks to its massive size and that unique shark nose front end.

The big story though, is the new engine – the Milwaukee-Eight 107. It’s a 1745cc v-twin, has four-valves per cylinder (so the ‘Eight’ moniker) and is said to have less friction among its moving parts and is also called more efficient. In terms of numbers, the Milwaukee-Eight makes 150Nm of torque, kicking in at 3250rpm, we don’t know the power output since Harley doesn’t publish those, but for a touring bike this size, acceleration and high top-speed doesn’t matter, or does it?

(Powered by new Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine)

First gear settles in with a ‘thunk’ and the large v-twin gives a likeable rumble as the bike gains momentum. Accelerating through the bottom gears is when you realise, that this, the new Milwaukee-Eight has perhaps charted out new ground in Harley-Davidson’s history. It’s smooth, has enough power to cruise at triple digit speeds all day without the engine feeling stressed out and there’s hardly any vibration that Harley big twins are usually identified with. The torque comes in strong and low and just a twist of the right wrist is enough to pull ahead of slow moving vehicles on the highway.

(Smooth performance of the Milwaukee-Eight engine)

The Milwaukee-Eight is also counterbalanced so it offers a level of smoothness and refinement that is instantly likeable. Sixth gear settles in at just over 2000rpm at a steady clip of 120km/h, and the “slip and assist” clutch makes working the heavy clutch less of a chore as I realised after swapping the Road Glide Special for the Fat Boy later in the day.

(Comfortable long distance touring machine)

Cycle parts are also new; the Road Glide Special gets a new Showa fork at the front and the rear suspension is also easily adjustable. What all this means is that the suspension just swallows up bumps on the road, and for long hours on the highway, the Road Glide Special offers a level of comfort that is difficult to compare. Brakes, now with standard ABS, are effective and offer confident braking if you need to shave off highway speeds in a hurry.

(New suspension and ABS on the Road Glide Special)

The 2017 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Special is brought to India as a CBU, and priced at Rs 32.81 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). For that kind of money, what you get is a luxury touring machine that proudly wears the bar and shield brand, and now has an engine which has really put the new H-D touring range in a different league. It’s built well, screams out high quality and has entertaining highway manners. So, regardless of whether you’re a Harley fan or not, the Road Glide Special makes a solid statement as a well put together touring motorcycle.

[“source-ndtv”]

Everybody knows that the new Skoda Kodiaq is exactly the same car as Volkswagen Tiguan or SEAT Ateca, so what’s the point in testing another version of the same machine, right? But then again, all three take part in the World Car of the Year contest as separate candidates, so it’s my duty as a world car juror to spend time with them all. To make a long story short, here I am on the Spanish island of Mallorca test driving the latest model of the tradition-rich Czech brand. Its name is Kodiaq, it’s a large SUV with the option of three row seating (standard variant is a 5 seater with an immense boot of 720 litres).

Skoda Kodiaq First Drive

Its design language speaks forms that are quite unique among such cars. It’s been styled according to the latest trends within the Skoda brand, and maintains the new family look. This means the lines are sharp, large planes cross with each other bringing a certain tension to its design. You soon learn to like it! There is a lot of glass – the windows are vast, securing a perfect view and letting a lot of light in to the cabin.

Skoda Kodiaq Interior

The SUV is truly gigantic for its segment in terms of sheer size, offering an almost 2800 mm wheelbase, and spaciousness of the cabin is on par with cars of much higher segments. In fact it’s as if you took the Skoda Superb, gave it almost 200 mm of ground clearance and raised its roof by another 100 mm! All five standard seats are astonishingly comfortable, and it would be really hard to find a match in terms of the space you get for your legs, knees, and feet.

Skoda Kodiaq

The Kodiaq’s dashboard is clear, extremely easy to understand and operate, and the standard gauges in front of the driver are not only completely conventional, but also simply beautiful. That is almost refreshing these days where everything is going virtual or digital! The finish is perfect, although it’s too easy to find hard surfaces. It doesn’t disturb, though, as everything fits so perfectly to one another. You won’t hear any squeaks, nothing is loose – and the feeling of solidity is rather overwhelming. The Kodiaq is a very modern car, where most of the latest safety technologies are at least optionally available – and surprisingly – many of them you will find are in fact standard specs. Connectivity, driver assistance systems, safety on the highest possible level – both active and passive, make the Kodiaq a formidable package.

Skoda Kodiaq First Drive

The car I tested had a turbodiesel engine – 2.0 TDI 190 bhp – and the latest version of the famous DSG automatic double clutch transmission. The dynamics were excellent and the ride more than impressive! The car is equipped with adaptive dampers, and so provides ample comfort: I do not hesitate to reach for the word “luxury” in this context! Even the VW Tiguan, a true champion in terms of ride comfort, must step back here and let the Kodiaq take over as the leader – and that’s saying something! But to impress the car journalist takes a little more than just the ride comfort. And this “little more” comes as very stable, smooth, but yet dynamic handling, with lots of feel and feedback from the steering and brakes.

Skoda Kodiaq Side Profile

No, this Skoda is not a perfect car. There is too much of a rather cheap plastic quality at play, and ergonomics behind the wheel could and in fact should be a trifle better in terms of range of regulation. These flaws however are common to all three models from the VW family, so let’s not fight over it. The point is, for reasonable money you get a very good, modern, very safe, extremely spacious, uncannily comfortable car with very rich standard specification.

Skoda Kodiaq Rear Profile

And this makes it NOT like just any other. Now the question is – how will it be positioned in India? It will arrive only by the second half of 2017, by which time the Tiguan too should have already been launched. Expect 7-seater variants in petrol and diesel, with the DSG option, and positioned in price terms just below the Tiguan. It has all the makings of a runaway hit – if Skoda gets the price and positioning right.

[“source-ndtv”]

On Tuesday, HMD Global – which has the exclusive rights to use the Nokia brand name on mobile devices – unveiled the Nokia 150 and Nokia 150 Dual SIM much earlier than previously expected. However, both Nokia 150 and Nokia 150 Dual SIM – the first Nokia-branded mobile phones by HMD Global – are feature phones, and not the much anticipated Nokia Android phones. The Nokia 150 and Nokia 150 Dual SIM basic phones will go on sale in select markets from Q1 2017, starting with APAC, IMEA, and Europe.

The Nokia 150 and Nokia 150 Dual SIM are basic feature phones and do not offer Internet access; however, they offer features such as an MP3 player, FM radio, Bluetooth v3.0 with SLAM, and a VGA camera with an LED flash. Nokia 150 and Nokia 150 Dual SIM, which feature 2.4-inch QVGA (240×320 pixels) displays, run on Nokia Series 30+ operating system, and are priced at $26 (roughly Rs. 1,800) before local taxes and subsidies. The Nokia 150 and Nokia 150 Dual SIM offer battery life of up to 22 hours, according to HMD Global; the battery standby time of Nokia 150 is 31 days, while the Nokia 150 Dual SIM is claimed to deliver 25 days of standby time.
Nokia 150 and Nokia 150 Dual SIM come pre-loaded with Snake Xenzia, and the try-and-buy version of Nitro Racing by Gameloft2, says HMD.

To recall, HMD Global is the Finnish company that owns the rights to use the Nokia brand on mobile phones. The company, led by former Nokia executives, earlier this month took over the Nokia basic phone business from Microsoft and has struck a licensing deal with Nokia Oyj to bring the brand back to the smartphone market next year.
The basic phone business currently makes most of its sales in India, elsewhere in Asia and eastern Europe.

Nokia was once the world’s dominant cellphone maker but missed the shift to smartphones. It sold all the handset activities to Microsoft in 2014 and is now focused on telecom network equipment.

Microsoft struggled to compete with the likes of Apple and Samsung in smartphones and has largely quit the phones business.

 
[“source-ndtv”]


After transitioning its curved screen from an experiment to a standard feature at the top end, Samsung is reportedly working on foldable phones. Two foldable phones are said to be in the works at Samsung, with one model scheduled for launch in 2017.

Samsung Electronics is working on a ‘dual-screen’ smartphone that has flat screens on both side as well as a phone with single flexible OLED display, as per a report by Etnews. The company has been tipped to produce a small amount of dual-screen smartphones in 2017 in order to gain user response from the market.

The dual-screen smartphone features two flat displays on each side and even though the panel doesn’t bend itself, there is a hinge between the two displays that allows for the smartphone to have a foldable design. Once completely folded, the displays will be inside, and no longer visible. On the other hand, the other foldable smartphone, which is expected to come after the dual-screen phone, is tipped to sport a panel that itself bends, and will result in a device with a display on both front and back when completely folded. As it will feature a truly foldable display, the phone will understandably require a much advanced hardware.

Notably, Samsung has already given us a glimpse of its ‘in-foldable’ smartphone that sports a foldable display panel inside the smartphone. Quoting an expert from the industry, the report said, “In-foldable Smartphone is seen as a first type of a foldable Smartphone. Out-foldable Smartphone is the next step of in-foldable Smartphone.”

In the out-foldable smartphones, the panels work even at the point where it is bent, Etnews points out. Interestingly, Lenovo showcased its own flexible displays at its Tech World 2016 event earlier this year in June.

Samsung has earlier been tipped to unveil two smartphones with bendable displays at MWC 2017. Some reports have further suggested that the company’s timeline for the launch of its foldable smartphone was impacted by the global recall of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone.

 
[“source-ndtv”]

First thing this November morning, I was handed over the keys to the new Harley-Davidson Road Glide Special, an all-new touring motorcycle for 2017. We are heading west out of Delhi into Rajasthan on NH8 and dawn has just broken out. The big tourer from Harley-Davidson gobbles up the kilometres with little effort and a quick glance at the speedo showed unprintable numbers. Before we realised, it was time to stop for breakfast on the Jaipur-Ajmer highway.

The 2017 Road Glide Special shares the same design as the outgoing model, but it’s the first time this bike is being introduced in India. The front fairing, described by Harley-Davidson as the shark nose, has a love-it-or-hate-it feel. Personally, I don’t find it too ugly, but there are some who just don’t like its looks at all, and it’s not difficult to comprehend why. The wide rider’s seat is well-padded and cushioned and an hour into the ride it becomes apparent that the Road Glide Special can take you comfortably over a long, open highway without requiring frequent stops.

(2017 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Special)

The Road Glide Special weighs 370kg dry and with fuel and oil will be over 420kg. Muscling that kind of weight on a motorcycle does require some effort, particularly when you’re trying to park or stuck at a stop light. But once the bike’s on the move, the weight seems to magically disappear. and of course, the Road Glide Special attracts quite a bit of attention, thanks to its massive size and that unique shark nose front end.

The big story though, is the new engine – the Milwaukee-Eight 107. It’s a 1745cc v-twin, has four-valves per cylinder (so the ‘Eight’ moniker) and is said to have less friction among its moving parts and is also called more efficient. In terms of numbers, the Milwaukee-Eight makes 150Nm of torque, kicking in at 3250rpm, we don’t know the power output since Harley doesn’t publish those, but for a touring bike this size, acceleration and high top-speed doesn’t matter, or does it?

(Powered by new Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine)

First gear settles in with a ‘thunk’ and the large v-twin gives a likeable rumble as the bike gains momentum. Accelerating through the bottom gears is when you realise, that this, the new Milwaukee-Eight has perhaps charted out new ground in Harley-Davidson’s history. It’s smooth, has enough power to cruise at triple digit speeds all day without the engine feeling stressed out and there’s hardly any vibration that Harley big twins are usually identified with. The torque comes in strong and low and just a twist of the right wrist is enough to pull ahead of slow moving vehicles on the highway.

(Smooth performance of the Milwaukee-Eight engine)

The Milwaukee-Eight is also counterbalanced so it offers a level of smoothness and refinement that is instantly likeable. Sixth gear settles in at just over 2000rpm at a steady clip of 120km/h, and the “slip and assist” clutch makes working the heavy clutch less of a chore as I realised after swapping the Road Glide Special for the Fat Boy later in the day.

(Comfortable long distance touring machine)

Cycle parts are also new; the Road Glide Special gets a new Showa fork at the front and the rear suspension is also easily adjustable. What all this means is that the suspension just swallows up bumps on the road, and for long hours on the highway, the Road Glide Special offers a level of comfort that is difficult to compare. Brakes, now with standard ABS, are effective and offer confident braking if you need to shave off highway speeds in a hurry.

(New suspension and ABS on the Road Glide Special)

The 2017 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Special is brought to India as a CBU, and priced at Rs 32.81 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). For that kind of money, what you get is a luxury touring machine that proudly wears the bar and shield brand, and now has an engine which has really put the new H-D touring range in a different league. It’s built well, screams out high quality and has entertaining highway manners. So, regardless of whether you’re a Harley fan or not, the Road Glide Special makes a solid statement as a well put together touring motorcycle.

 
[“source-ndtv”]

Everybody knows that the new Skoda Kodiaq is exactly the same car as Volkswagen Tiguan or SEAT Ateca, so what’s the point in testing another version of the same machine, right? But then again, all three take part in the World Car of the Year contest as separate candidates, so it’s my duty as a world car juror to spend time with them all. To make a long story short, here I am on the Spanish island of Mallorca test driving the latest model of the tradition-rich Czech brand. Its name is Kodiaq, it’s a large SUV with the option of three row seating (standard variant is a 5 seater with an immense boot of 720 litres).

Skoda Kodiaq First Drive

Expected Launch : Aug 2017

Its design language speaks forms that are quite unique among such cars. It’s been styled according to the latest trends within the Skoda brand, and maintains the new family look. This means the lines are sharp, large planes cross with each other bringing a certain tension to its design. You soon learn to like it! There is a lot of glass – the windows are vast, securing a perfect view and letting a lot of light in to the cabin.

Skoda Kodiaq Interior

The SUV is truly gigantic for its segment in terms of sheer size, offering an almost 2800 mm wheelbase, and spaciousness of the cabin is on par with cars of much higher segments. In fact it’s as if you took the Skoda Superb, gave it almost 200 mm of ground clearance and raised its roof by another 100 mm! All five standard seats are astonishingly comfortable, and it would be really hard to find a match in terms of the space you get for your legs, knees, and feet.

Skoda Kodiaq

The Kodiaq’s dashboard is clear, extremely easy to understand and operate, and the standard gauges in front of the driver are not only completely conventional, but also simply beautiful. That is almost refreshing these days where everything is going virtual or digital! The finish is perfect, although it’s too easy to find hard surfaces. It doesn’t disturb, though, as everything fits so perfectly to one another. You won’t hear any squeaks, nothing is loose – and the feeling of solidity is rather overwhelming. The Kodiaq is a very modern car, where most of the latest safety technologies are at least optionally available – and surprisingly – many of them you will find are in fact standard specs. Connectivity, driver assistance systems, safety on the highest possible level – both active and passive, make the Kodiaq a formidable package.

Skoda Kodiaq First Drive

The car I tested had a turbodiesel engine – 2.0 TDI 190 bhp – and the latest version of the famous DSG automatic double clutch transmission. The dynamics were excellent and the ride more than impressive! The car is equipped with adaptive dampers, and so provides ample comfort: I do not hesitate to reach for the word “luxury” in this context! Even the VW Tiguan, a true champion in terms of ride comfort, must step back here and let the Kodiaq take over as the leader – and that’s saying something! But to impress the car journalist takes a little more than just the ride comfort. And this “little more” comes as very stable, smooth, but yet dynamic handling, with lots of feel and feedback from the steering and brakes.

Skoda Kodiaq Side Profile

No, this Skoda is not a perfect car. There is too much of a rather cheap plastic quality at play, and ergonomics behind the wheel could and in fact should be a trifle better in terms of range of regulation. These flaws however are common to all three models from the VW family, so let’s not fight over it. The point is, for reasonable money you get a very good, modern, very safe, extremely spacious, uncannily comfortable car with very rich standard specification.

Skoda Kodiaq Rear Profile

And this makes it NOT like just any other. Now the question is – how will it be positioned in India? It will arrive only by the second half of 2017, by which time the Tiguan too should have already been launched. Expect 7-seater variants in petrol and diesel, with the DSG option, and positioned in price terms just below the Tiguan. It has all the makings of a runaway hit – if Skoda gets the price and positioning right.
[“source-ndtv”


Samsung Galaxy S8 may finally become the company’s first smartphone to feature autofocus functionality on the front camera, a feature so far missing from even the flagship handsets of the South Korean titan. Samsung is planning to introduce autofocus functionality with the front camera on its upcoming flagship device, being dubbed Samsung Galaxy S8, instead of fixed-type, as per a report in South Korean media.

It has further been suggested that the smartphone will be using encoder technology instead of the existing voice coil motor mechanism for autofocus.

As per earlier leaks, Samsung Galaxy S8 will sport a pressure sensitive display, improved camera, an optical fingerprint sensor. The smartphone is tipped to come in two screen size variants – 5.7-inch and 6.2-inch. Rumours suggest that it will sport a bezel-less 4K (2160×3840 pixels) Super AMOLED display with high pixel density of 806ppi. The Samsung Galaxy S8 is further rumoured to be powered by company’s own Exynos 8895 SoC coupled with 6GB of RAM. The recent leaks have suggested that Samsung will launch the alleged Galaxy S8 smartphone on the side-lines of MWC 2017 in Barcelona on February 26.

Needless to say, just like every other rumour, we will have to wait for an announcement by the company for any confirmation.

BlackBerry Ltd has signed a deal to work directly with Ford Motor Co to expand the carmaker’s use of its QNX secure operating system, the Canadian technology company said on Monday, as Ford develops increasingly automated vehicles.

The deal with Ford is the first BlackBerry has done directly with a major automaker, though it currently sells its technology to auto industry suppliers.

The company is betting its future on expanding sales of software products, including to automakers and other manufacturers, after largely ceding the smartphone market to rivals including Apple, Alphabet’s Google and Samsung.

Panasonic Automotive currently uses QNX software in the Sync 3 infotainment console that it supplies to Ford.

BlackBerry is hoping the new deal will expand use of BlackBerry’s software in Ford vehicles as the two companies identify other systems where it might be used.

“We can form the basis of the entire vehicle all the way from autonomous drive through to infotainment,” John Wall, the head of BlackBerry’s QNX unit, said in a phone interview.Ford is ramping up its driverless vehicle efforts and plans to offer a fully automated vehicle for commercial ride-sharing in 2021, it announced in August.

QNX’s software is certified for use in autonomous driving and active safety systems, according to Wall.

“In the initial engagements you can think of an expansion into the cockpit; telematics, infotainment, cluster,” Wall said.

BlackBerry and Ford declined to say how QNX might be rolled out into new systems or discuss financial terms of the deal.

A dedicated team of QNX engineers based in Ottawa and Waterloo will work with Ford to expand the carmaker’s use of the Neutrino industrial operating system, as well as an overarching programme that can control other operating systems and related security technology, BlackBerry said. “We’re providing the plumbing for the vehicle that is both robust and safe and secure to allow the customers to build their applications on top of that,” Wall said.

Dan Dodge, who founded QNX in 1982, and stayed on after BlackBerry bought the company in 2010, left QNX at the end of 2015. Bloomberg reported in July that Apple hired him as part of its own self-driving plans.

[“source-ndtv”]