• 2018 wrap-up: Best car launches of the year

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    • Maruti Suzuki Swift: The third-gen model of India’s most sought-after hatchback has already found over one lakh takers in less than a year from its launch! The Swift is an insanely popular car in India thanks to its youthful design and good value for money quotient. While the latest model carries forward its engines from the previous-gen Swift, it offers – for the first time – an AMT automatic option with both petrol and diesel powertrains.
    • Honda Amaze: The second-gen Honda Amaze has been a major step up in terms of design and quality over the car it has replaced. Additionally, it offers a diesel CVT option, which no other compact sedan has. While the exterior of the car may be a bit polarising, the interior is definitely handsome and comes with good equipment levels.
    • Mahindra Marazzo: The Marazzo is a handsome and a well-priced MPV from the homegrown carmaker. Positioned between the Ertiga and Innova, the Marazzo uses a unique front-wheel drive setup, despite being based on a ladder frame chassis.
    • Hyundai Santro: The Hyundai Santro has been resurrected this year in the form of a very feature-rich car. The new Santro gets segment-leading features like a touchscreen infotainment system and a rear AC vent which set it apart from the competition. To expand its market, Hyundai is also offering an AMT gearbox and a factory fitted CNG kit with the new hatchback.
    • Tata JTP twins: The Tiago JTP and Tigor JTP are the first Indian mass-market cars that prioritise performance over everything else. These cars offer stiffer suspension, more power and bespoke exterior changes which would surely appeal to young enthusiasts. And prices are quite affordable too!
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  • 2018 wrap-up: Best two-wheeler launches of the year

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    • Royal Enfield 650 twins: Royal Enfield set the market on fire in 2018 by pricing the 650 twins under Rs 3 lakh. Not just well priced, the Interceptor and Continental GT 650 have won over critics and buyers alike thanks to their high quality and refinement levels – something that has been missing in the Enfields of yesteryear.
    • TVS NTorq: The NTorq has set a new benchmark for scooters in terms of equipment. The 125 cc scooter comes with a unique digital display which connects via an app to your smartphone to display an array of features, most important of which is turn-by-turn navigation! This, combined with the scooter’s funky design and great pricing (Rs 59,712 ex-showroom), means that it’s a winner.
    • Yamaha R15 V3.0: The V3.0 is the most drastic change that the R15 has received since its debut in 2008. Its new design makes it look more like a middleweight than a light sport, while the new 155 cc motor now makes more power. Then, the R15 continues to offer stellar riding dynamics which makes it very appealing to those looking for a capable sports bike on a budget.
    • Jawa/ Jawa Forty Two: 2018 saw the resurrection of the iconic Jawa brand in India thanks to Mahindra. Two new models – the Jawa and Forty Two – were launched with a brand new 300 cc, single-cylinder engine. Given that Jawa/ Yezdi has a cult status among the Indian bike enthusiasts, the reborn bikes are bound to find many takers based on nostalgia alone!
    • TVS Apache RTR 160 4V: The next-gen model of the sporty premium commuter has a new four-valve engine, an updated design and more power. The Apache RTR 160 4V is a great option for those looking for an all-rounded city bike with a dash of sportiness.
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  • 2018 wrap-up: Best smartphones of the year

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    • Xiaomi Poco F1: Undoubtedly, the Poco F1 has been the most talked about smartphone of 2018. The phone redefined the meaning of a flagship killer by offering top-notch hardware at a starting price of just Rs 20,999 (now slashed to 19,999). Current Price: Rs 19,999 – 28,999
    • Huawei Mate 20 Pro: The Mate 20 Pro combines a great design with industry-leading set of features. The phone has three cameras, a brand new 7nm Kirin 980 chipset and a lot of other features such as an in-display fingerprint scanner, 40W superfast charging, reverse wireless charging, etc. Current Price: Rs 69,990
    • Asus ROG Phone: The ROG Phone has set a new benchmark for gaming phones in 2018. It has a very offbeat, gaming-focused design that’s combined with flagship-grade hardware. There’s a lot of cool RGB lighting effects everywhere on the device. The ROG phone also comes with a lot of optional accessories to elevate the user’s gaming experience. Current Price: 69,999
    • Samsung Galaxy Note 9: While the Note 9 does not bring anything particularly fresh to the table, it’s a proven solid all-rounder, doing everything thrown at it with ease. Then, it also comes with an S-Pen, which is a boon for creative and power users. Current Price: Rs 60,700 – 84,900
    • Honor Play: The Honor Play, just like the Poco, offers flagship-grade hardware for under Rs 20,000. It’s a great option for those looking for a powerhouse on budget. Current Price: Rs 16,999 – 20,999

     

     

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  • 2018 wrap-up: Biggest smartphone trends of the year

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    • AI everything: Artificial Intelligence (AI) has to be the buzzword of this year! In the world of phones, companies have basically slapped AI on top of everything to generate hype. For example, scene detection in camera software is now marketed as ‘AI Camera’.
    • The Notch: In late 2017, the iPhone X sparked the notch trend, and 2018 was flooded with phones with such a design. Currently, notches come in many shapes and sizes, rectangular, u-shaped, waterdrop, etc. Some users love it, others don’t, but you definitely cannot escape it!
    • In-display fingerprint scanner: This technology debuted this year, with the Vivo X21 being the first phone to launch in India with an in-display fingerprint scanner. Even though these sensors aren’t as quick as external sensors, they’re definitely the future and the technology is bound to improve over time.
    • More cameras: While more cameras on a phone don’t necessarily mean better results, they do offer more flexibility to the user. This year, many upper mid-range phones have gained telephoto and/ or ultra-wide angle sensors at the back. In fact, Samsung launched the Galaxy A9 (2018) with 4 rear cameras.
    • Prices: While on one hand, Apple breached the Rs 1 lakh barrier with the iPhone XS Max, on the contrary, Xiaomi and Honor launched new flagship killers at disruptive prices (read our feature story on phone prices here). Surely, 2018 has been crazy!
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  • DS 7 Crossback spied in India

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    • For the time ever, the DS 7 Crossback has been spied testing in India with no camouflage whatsoever.
    • DS is PSA Peugeot-Citroen’s luxury marque which was established in 2014. Earlier, Peugeot had officially revealed its intentions to return to India, and it looks like the company may enter the premium segment first.
    • The DS 7 Crossback is a compact luxury SUV which competes with the Audi Q3, Volvo XC40, BMW X1, etc. in Europe.
    • The SUV comes in a range of petrol and diesel engines with power varying from 128 bhp to 218bhp. Also offered is a plug-in hybrid variant that makes 296 bhp – this can help DS compete with Volvo, which is planning to assemble its plug-hybrid models in India very soon.
    • DS is a relatively new brand and is pretty unknown in India. It remains to be seen how the market reacts to such a luxury brand in the presence of established German rivals which include Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW.

     

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  • Benelli TRK 502, 502X India launch date revealed

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    • Benelli will launch its adventure tourer models, the TRK 502 and TRK 502X, in India on February 18, 2019. These will be Benelli’s first launch after it joined hands with Mahavir Group a few months back.
    • The TRK 502 is powered by a 499 cc, liquid-cooled, parallel-twin engine that generates 47 bhp and 45 Nm. It has a 50 mm USD front fork and a rear monoshock.
    • Braking duties on the bike are handled by 320 mm twin front discs and a 260 mm rear disc. ABS also comes standard.
    • The TRK 502X is nothing but an off-road friendly variant of the TRK 502 which shares most of its specs with the latter, expect it comes with spoked rims with a larger 19-inch front tyre.
    • Expect the Benelli TRK 502 twins to cost between Rs 5-6 lakh (ex-showroom) in India.

     

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  • 2019 Maruti Suzuki WagonR exposed in new spy photos

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    • The next-gen WagonR’s exterior has been fully revealed in new spy photos.
    • It’s very evident that the 2019 WagonR sticks to the characteristic tallboy stance, but this time around, the design elements are all-new and more appealing than before.
    • Notably, the rear three-quarter design looks inspired by the Ignis, whereas the new tail lamps look very Ertiga-esque.
    • While the interior hasn’t been spied, we expect the 2019 WagonR to have an all-new cabin to with a lot of added equipment to take on the new Santro, which comes with goodies like an infotainment system and a rear AC vent.
    • It is rumoured that the 2019 Maruti Suzuki WagonR will launch in India on January 23, 2019.

     

     

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  • Mercedes-Benz C200 facelift launched

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    • The facelifted Merc C-Class has been launched with a new mild-hybrid 1.5-litre petrol engine.
    • Called the C200, it has a 1.5-litre turbocharged unit that generates 181 bhp and 280 Nm. Then, this motor works with a 48V belt-driven starter generator which produces an additional 13 bhp and 160 Nm. A 9-speed torque converter automatic gearbox comes standard.
    • In contrast, the pre-facelift C200 had a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol which made 181 bhp and 300 Nm.
    • The new C200 is only launched in the Progressive trim which comes with a panoramic sunroof, LED headlights, ambient lighting, Active Park Assist, 10.25-inch COMAND infotainment system, etc. as standard.
    • The Mercedes-Benz C200 is priced at Rs 43.46 lakh (ex-showroom), which makes it around Rs 80,000 more affordable than the corresponding C220d diesel trim.
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  • Motorola P40 rendered with punch hole display

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    • The upcoming Motorola P40 has been rendered bearing a new design language for the Lenovo-owned brand.
    • In line with the ongoing new trend, the P40 will have a camera hole on the upper left corner of its LCD screen.
    • Also, the device will allegedly have the new Sony-sourced 48MP primary camera, which has already made an appearance on the new Honor View 20 and Huawei Nova 4.
    • While the Moto P series nomenclature is reserved for China, these phones sell under the ‘One’ brand globally. These phones run on the Android One program and this new device will be no different.
    • Expect the Motorola P40 to go official in the first quarter of next year, possibly after the reveal of the new Moto G7 series.

     

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  • Realme A1 budget phone may launch soon

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    • After debuting the selfie-focused U-series with the U1, Oppo-backed Realme is reportedly planning to introduce a new A-series of smartphones with the Realme A1.
    • The Realme A1 will allegedly be positioned below the U1, which means it is likely to be positioned around Rs 9,500-11,500.
    • While no specs of the Realme A1 are out yet, the new phone might be powered by the Helio P60 or one of the Snapdragon 600-series chips.
    • In terms of design, Realme currently uses the rectangular notch (Realme 2, C1) and waterdrop notch (Realme 2 Pro, U1). The upcoming A1 might get the former since it will be an affordable offering.
    • Expect the new phone to be released in the first quarter of 2019.

     

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