How Reliable Are the Performance Stats of Indian Auto Magazines?


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As we all know, there are a whole lot of hatches and sedans available in India in the 3-10 lakhs price bracket. Car buyers, especially the enthusiasts, attach a lot of importance to the performance of the car and especially to the time taken by the car to accelerate to 100 Kmph from standstill.

Unfortunately, 0-100 Kmph times (in seconds) and Top Speed (in Kmph) figures in r/o these cars vary quite a bit from magazine to magazine. Here are a few examples:

1. 0-100 Kmph times (sec) and Top Speed (Kmph) figures for NEW 2011 SWIFT DIESEL as they appear in the ‘Car Buyer’s Guide’ section of different Indian car magazines are as follows:

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2. 0-100 Kmph times (sec) and Top Speed (Kmph) figures for RITZ DIESEL as they appear in the ‘Car Buyer’s Guide’ section of different Indian car magazines are:

2.png

3. 0-100 Kmph times (sec) and Top Speed (Kmph) figures for FIGO DIESEL as they appear in the ‘Car Buyer’s Guide’ section of different Indian car magazines are as follows:

3.png

4. 0-100 Kmph times (sec) and Top Speed (Kmph) figures for ALTO K-10 as they appear in the ‘Car Buyer’s Guide’ section of different Indian car magazines are as follows:

4.png

5. 0-100 Kmph times (sec) and Top Speed (Kmph) figures for LINEA 1.4 PETROL as they appear in the ‘Car Buyer’s Guide’ section of different Indian car magazines are as follows:

5.png

6. 0-100 Kmph times (sec) and Top Speed (Kmph) figures for LINEA 1.4 PETROL T-JET as they appear in the ‘Car Buyer’s Guide’ section of different Indian car magazines are as follows:

6.png

7. 0-100 Kmph times (sec) and Top Speed (Kmph) figures for LINEA 1.3 DIESEL as they appear in the ‘Car Buyer’s Guide’ section of different Indian car magazines are as follows:

7.png

8. 0-100 Kmph times (sec) and Top Speed (Kmph) figures for SWIFT DZIRE DIESEL as they appear in the ‘Car Buyer’s Guide’ section of different Indian car magazines are as follows:

8.png
 
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AMG

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Re: Variations in car magazines' 0-100 Kmph and top speed figures

Some magazines quote manufacture figures, others vbox them.

And no two drivers are the same, so no two 0-100 figures are the same.
 
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You are spot on AMG, 0-100 Kmph figures can and will vary between two testers, there are a host of factors that can affect measurement of this particular parameter. However, the fact remains that car enthusiasts use this parameter the most to compare how fast or slow a car is compared to its rivals from the same segment or in the same price band.

So much so that all other performance tests are given a go by including the very relevant in-gear acceleration times. In view of this, it is desirable that the car buyers/ owners/ enthusiasts have access to a performance database that is fairly reliable and accurate as far as outright acceleration is concerned.

As it stands, however, there is little consensus among different car magazines. A Punto 90 HP Petrol either does the 0-100 Kmph sprint in 16.51 sec (Autocar India) or in 12.5 sec (TopGear India). I don't know which one is correct.[confused]

Even more surprising is the difference in top speeds of various cars amongst the car mags. Does the Alto K10 have a top whack of 156.2 Kmph (BSM) or 143 Kmph (Autocar India)? I can understand a difference of 2-3 Kmph but this boggles the mind since all testers must be using the Vbox or else we can just take the manufacturer's claims as the Gospel.

Talking of which, I have a hunch that the manufacturers' claims regarding performance of their cars are very close to the truth while their claimed fuel efficiency figures are generally hogwash.
 
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Talking of which, I have a hunch that the manufacturers' claims regarding performance of their cars are very close to the truth while their claimed fuel efficiency figures are generally hogwash.
Lol mileage figures given by car companies are like political promises during elections,but some diesel car owners claim mileage figures way above company figures(i do doubt the owners calculation accuracy can call it too much pride or overenthusiastic ).
Well Navtej quite an interesting topic & I appreciate your effort but i Guess Autocar India & Overdrive use V Box or similar instruments,dont know about the other Magazines & as for the car buyers section they are inaccurate,you should see some of the tyre size bloopers in some of them
 
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Pl see the attached file. Fantastic article. Courtesy Jeremy Clarkson from his book Clarkson on Cars.

Most auto magazines in India do not have the resources/inclination to test vehicles the way they are meant to be tested because it takes a lot of time, effort, skill and money (sophisticated equipment) to produce reliable, scientific test data. 0-60/0-100 figures of no two riders/drivers could be the same even if they are both driving/riding the same automobile under exactly the same conditions.
 

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Quite an interesting read,am a big Top gear fan since childhood & Jeremy Clarksons views are always direct & bold,I do feel in India fuel quality also plays a role in acceleration tests,pumps are so corrupt so you can never tell,but I do feel sometimes most of the facts & figures are biased based on the number of ads in these magazines
 
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Excellent post there Sam. Indeed, providing reliable and accurate 0-100 Kmph times would require a lot of resources, including time, money and yes, a few cars to spare since as the venerable Clarkson says, something will break if you do performance testing properly.

I do not believe that any of our car magazines have the budget to repeatedly subject a car, especially an expensive car, to the brutal 0-100 Kmph or any other acceleration tests in order to achieve better times running the risk of breaking the driveshaft, ruining the gearbox or chassis components, burning the clutch plates and the like.

So, it must be something like this - take a few photos, look at the power or torque to weight ratio, the gear ratios etc, estimate the number of ads a manufacturer could or would provide as AMG and Prads have so eloquently pointed out and accordingly imagine numbers that appear reasonable enough and insert them in the relevant columns.

Even better, fish out the manufacturer's claims, add 2 or 3 seconds to figures of cars belonging to a struggling manufacturer (that won't provide much revenue in the form of ads or is not exactly in the pink of health and so can't provide auto journos with free trips to foreign auto shows/ expos and won't provide the journos with free five-star hotel stays) and subtract 1 or 2 seconds from the ones doing well in the market or the ones with deep pockets.

A small example is the new Maruti Suzuki Swift. Maruti claims a 0-100 Kmph time of 14.80 sec for the Diesel Swift, enthusiastic testers of Autocar India managed to do it in 13.65! They also added, tongue firmly in cheek, that though the car appeared to have lost the acceleration and power of the older model, 'our Vbox times reveal that it is actually quicker to the ton by 0.2 sec compared to the older one'.

Even then, sometimes, if you look carefully enough, you can spot howlers which are dead giveaways to the fact that the figures were fudged a bit carelessly.

Example: Overdrive (Dec 2011) mentions in the Car Buyers Guide (on page 266) that the Ford Figo petrol does the 0-100 Kmph in 16.79 sec and accordingly does the quarter mile (0-400 metres dash) in 20.60 sec.

Come to the Hyundai Eon. (They have accidently switched the Eon with the Accent but forgive the typo and come to the figures) The Eon is significantly slower to the 100 Kmph from standstill, taking all of 19.08 sec. Here is the surprise: it supposedly does the 0-400 m dash in 19.94 sec- crossing the mark well ahead of the Figo petrol despite being more than 2 seconds slower to the ton!

If the Xylo owners are feeling they have a fast enough car, Overdrive gives them a rude jolt. The 0-100 Kmph is a respectable 15.9 sec but the Xylo seemingly reaches the 400 m mark from standstill in 20.1 sec! This is slower than the Eon! However, you have a great fan in TopGear India. According to them, the Xylo has a top whack of 235 Kmph! Always thought the M& M guys were good but never thought they would unleash this rocket on our roads! F1 then?[clap]

Did you think the Vento is fast? Overdrive doesn't think so. The Vento petrol Highline AT has a 0-100 Kmph figure of 16.5 sec but does the 0-400 m dash in 20.5 sec! Page 277. Slower than the Eon again!

Does any of you have a Sonata 2.0 CRDi A/T? The one with the powerful 150 BHP and 314 Nm diesel engine? Well, be informed that according to Overdrive, the puny Eon would leave you dead in a drag race.

Your Sonata is supposed to reach the 400 metre milestone from standstill in a yawn-inducing 21.25 sec! Time for an engine swap with the Eon then? This gem can be found on page 267 of the Dec 2011 issue of OD.

Great entertainment this!
 

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Well,these performance stats solely depends on the testing team,none else.

Why?Every car has a different powerband,some have a strong low end,some have a strong mid range while some have a fantastic top end.So if a car is continuously kept in its powerband then it will give the best acceleration figures while if the tester either exceeds the power range or misses it then there will be a difference in the acceleration time by a second or two.Same is with top speed,some cars attain their top speed in the fourth gear instead of the fifith as their engines are unable to pull to that high revs in the fifth gear.

So being true,nearly none of the magazines are accurate all have some errors.
 
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Excellent post there Sam. Indeed, providing reliable and accurate 0-100 Kmph times would require a lot of resources, including time, money and yes, a few cars to spare since as the venerable Clarkson says, something will break if you do performance testing properly.

I do not believe that any of our car magazines have the budget to repeatedly subject a car, especially an expensive car, to the brutal 0-100 Kmph or any other acceleration tests[/B] in order to achieve better times running the risk of breaking the driveshaft, ruining the gearbox or chassis components, burning the clutch plates and the like.
I once tried to time my dear old friend's recently purchased used Honda City 1.5 (with 1.1 lakh kms on the clock) for a 0-100 run:stupid:. I depressed the clutch, put the car in first gear, redlined the poor horse of an engine (I think it was 7000 rpm) and dumped the clutch. That day, the poor old car lost it's clutch and I lost a dear old friend.

So, it must be something like this - take a few photos, look at the power or torque to weight ratio, the gear ratios etc, estimate the number of ads a manufacturer could or would provide as AMG and Prads have so eloquently pointed out and accordingly imagine numbers that appear reasonable enough and insert them in the relevant columns.
Most auto makers do not provide auto mags with the luxury of a dedicated test mule. Indeed, if you see the road test photos of a particular car/bike in various auto mags pertaining to the same month, you would find the same car/bike being used by all of them.With such scarcity of resources, any mag that brutalizes the test mule would certainly not remain in the good books of auto makers for a long time. And in any case, how many of the so-called road test experts in India have the necessary skill to take a car/bike to it's limit again and again (which is absolutely indispensable for obtaining correct, reliable test data)?

Even better, fish out the manufacturer's claims, add 2 or 3 seconds to figures of cars belonging to a struggling manufacturer (that won't provide much revenue in the form of ads or is not exactly in the pink of health and so can't provide auto journos with free trips to foreign auto shows/ expos and won't provide the journos with free five-star hotel stays) and subtract 1 or 2 seconds from the ones doing well in the market or the ones with deep pockets.
Print media is a race against time. If another magazine brings out the road test of a vehicle before you do, you are dead. In such a scenario, it is only obvious that the lesser privileged would resort to such tactics for staying in the race. Though it would be wrong to name people on a public forum like this, I can personally affirm having been told by some reputed road test editors that they sometimes finish off the road test report of a vehicle even before that vehicle has landed up at their office (what to do yaar....the editor is always barking down my neck for the road test blah....) !

A small example is the new Maruti Suzuki Swift. Maruti claims a 0-100 Kmph time of 14.80 sec for the Diesel Swift, enthusiastic testers of Autocar India managed to do it in 13.65! They also added, tongue firmly in cheek, that though the car appeared to have lost the acceleration and power of the older model, 'our Vbox times reveal that it is actually quicker to the ton by 0.2 sec compared to the older one'.
The first Indian WRC driver would be from Autocar India. Cheers !

Even then, sometimes, if you look carefully enough, you can spot howlers which are dead giveaways to the fact that the figures were fudged a bit carelessly.
Example: Overdrive (Dec 2011) mentions in the Car Buyers Guide (on page 266) that the Ford Figo petrol does the 0-100 Kmph in 16.79 sec and accordingly does the quarter mile (0-400 metres dash) in 20.60 sec.
Come to the Hyundai Eon. (They have accidently switched the Eon with the Accent but forgive the typo and come to the figures) The Eon is significantly slower to the 100 Kmph from standstill, taking all of 19.08 sec. Here is the surprise: it supposedly does the 0-400 m dash in 19.94 sec- crossing the mark well ahead of the Figo petrol despite being more than 2 seconds slower to the ton!
If the Xylo owners are feeling they have a fast enough car, Overdrive gives them a rude jolt. The 0-100 Kmph is a respectable 15.9 sec but the Xylo seemingly reaches the 400 m mark from standstill in 20.1 sec! This is slower than the Eon! However, you have a great fan in TopGear India. According to them, the Xylo has a top whack of 235 Kmph! Always thought the M& M guys were good but never thought they would unleash this rocket on our roads! F1 then?[clap]
Did you think the Vento is fast? Overdrive doesn't think so. The Vento petrol Highline AT has a 0-100 Kmph figure of 16.5 sec but does the 0-400 m dash in 20.5 sec! Page 277. Slower than the Eon again!
Does any of you have a Sonata 2.0 CRDi A/T? The one with the powerful 150 BHP and 314 Nm diesel engine? Well, be informed that according to Overdrive, the puny Eon would leave you dead in a drag race.
Your Sonata is supposed to reach the 400 metre milestone from standstill in a yawn-inducing 21.25 sec! Time for an engine swap with the Eon then? This gem can be found on page 267 of the Dec 2011 issue of OD.
Great entertainment this!
Such examples galore. Though some of them are typos, may of them are very conspicuously the copy paste efforts by someone who doesn't even know his/her mph from kmph. More hilarious are the road tests of exotic sports cars where the journo would tell you about how he/she flied off to Maranello upon Ferrari's invitation where he/she wrung the neck of a 458 Italia on the hallowed Ferrari test track for full 15 laps and how direct and precise it's steering is and what a spine tingling howl does that glorious V8 make blah....Dead giveaway? All Photographs by: Manufacturer !

Time to grow up, then.
 
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Time to grow up, then.
Sam, your post is really funny and sadly, true. The auto mags are as bad (or good) as the newspapers that report daily news. It's forums like this where real car enthusiasts can get honest and brutal facts about cars, whether it's the mileage, the performance, or any other car related details.

Despite being a girl, I do enjoy reading, understanding, and writing about cars. The Automotive India forum is a great place to extend my learning.

Let's try to stay true to our real purpose - provide accurate (as far as possible) information to those who really want it.
 

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I once tried to time my dear old friend's recently purchased used Honda City 1.5 (with 1.1 lakh kms on the clock) for a 0-100 run. I depressed the clutch, put the car in first gear, redlined the poor horse of an engine (I think it was 7000 rpm) and dumped the clutch. That day, the poor old car lost it's clutch and I lost a dear old friend.
Well,this incident itself says that our dear SAM himself don't know how to really use the power band and how to get the maximum power out of the rev-range.
Let me help here,dear Sam,for the high revving engines like the Honda v-tec and i-vtec this is not a good practice to revv the engine to such a high revs before moving,this will definitely do the same that happened to you.Sorry to say,but the nonsensical act is done by you not by anyone else(Please pardon me for these words:sorry:).
When you rev the engine to such high revs,especially an old one like the one mentioned by you,then when you release the clutch suddenly then though the car starts moving but there is a sudden downfall in the revvs too,the engine comes down to about 3500-4000 rpm when you suddenly release the clutch,which results in the intense pressure on the components of the engine,clutch as well as gear which results in that neither you get the desired acceleration,nor your car remains perfect,same happened to you too.
while for an i-vtec or v-tec engine if you simply make the car move in first gear,then pull it brutally to the 6500-7000 rpm and then shift up to second and revv it again and then to third then you will get 100 kph really within 11 seconds and in third gear itself.I have driven the City a lot and know how to exploit its power band.

While the practice mentioned by you can be applied on the turbocharged engines which have a strong mid range or high powered petrol engines like V6 of accord/Superb or other V8's.

Most auto makers do not provide auto mags with the luxury of a dedicated test mule. Indeed, if you see the road test photos of a particular car/bike in various auto mags pertaining to the same month, you would find the same car/bike being used by all of them.With such scarcity of resources, any mag that brutalizes the test mule would certainly not remain in the good books of auto makers for a long time. And in any case, how many of the so-called road test experts in India have the necessary skill to take a car/bike to it's limit again and again (which is absolutely indispensable for obtaining correct, reliable test data)?
+1,its a fact that the test bike/car is same for all the auto mags and hence the ones who test first are quite okay rest others are having more errors.

OT:Neha!![thinking],well now there are female members too on the forum!!Now I'll have to stop bashing female drivers[evil]
 
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Well,this incident itself says that our dear SAM himself don't know how to really use the power band and how to get the maximum power out of the rev-range.
Let me help here,dear Sam,for the high revving engines like the Honda v-tec and i-vtec this is not a good practice to revv the engine to such a high revs before moving,this will definitely do the same that happened to you.Sorry to say,but the nonsensical act is done by you not by anyone else(Please pardon me for these words)
offtopic: Yup. I know all that. Did not explain it in the previous post as I thought it would go off topic. It was the third attempt. The first two attempts were made at 4000 and 4500 rpm respectively. Just trial and error, despite knowing all technicalities that you have mentioned. The fact is that my friend had just installed a green cotton filter and a specially designed Remus exhaust and the induction/exhaust sound just begged the engine to be revved hard. I had actually told my friend that there's no point in revving the engine to it's redline for the full bore start but he was so mesmerized by the sound that the egged me to go ahead, despite my warning him that it might burn off the clutch. And it did. Thanks for your concern though [cheers].
 
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Another issue that bothers readers of different car magazines is the pronounced bias that they have for or against different car manufacturers. Autocar India, for example has this prominent pro-Honda streak.

As I had also mentioned on another thread in this forum, they bucked the trend and left me astounded when declared the Linea T-Jet the winner of their petrol mid-sizers comparison carried out in their Nov 2010 issue.

Sure enough, they got a rap on the knuckles from Honda and promply fell back in line. I was mighty amused to read in the next issue that they were again singing paens to the ANHC.

Hormazd Sorabjee, the editor, wrote that the City was the best petrol car of the segment with a gem of an engine that has become the stuff of legends. Later he expressed his disappointment at the falling sales of the City lamenting that it seemed as if a fabulous petrol engine, best quality and a superlative driving experience that was 'head and shoulders' above that offered by any of its competitors, was not sufficient to make people buy the City.

It was as if the T-Jet had been withdrawn from the market by its maker.


TopGear India on the other hand, has diametrically opposite views. They lament that Honda's cars have lost their soul. They deride the City as 'a well thought out, spacious and economical saloon but one with very little flair or excitement'. They also feel that it is not much to drive, has a lifeless steering and a horribly bumpy ride, cheap interiors and its fuel efficiency figures are heavily contributed to by the skinny, low-resistance tyres that it comes shod with.
 

TSIVipul

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Another issue that bothers readers of different car magazines is the pronounced bias that they have for or against different car manufacturers. Autocar India, for example has this prominent pro-Honda streak.

As I had also mentioned on another thread in this forum, they bucked the trend and left me astounded when declared the Linea T-Jet the winner of their petrol mid-sizers comparison carried out in their Nov 2010 issue.
Well now dear Navtej,you really need to drive the T-Jet once in your life and you will understand why ACI or I consider it far better than the City when it comes to joy behind the wheel.The City has a gem of an engine with fantastic top end and well revving characteristics but then city's steering,ride and body control all lag behind the T-Jet.While the shootout you are talking about is based on the 'fun behind the wheel' factor so here the T-Jet easily wins,in fact if you drive a Fiesta 1.6 then you may forget even the T-Jet too as it has best steering response,throttle input response(full rev range not only mid range like T-Jet) and body control.
While its a fact that as an overall package City wins over T-Jet,why?Simple it is:-
City has better cabin space overall.
Better plastic quality.
Better FE.
And seats are also better.
And most important:Its a Honda not a Fiat and everyone knows the A.S.S. conditions of Fiat.

So if fun to drive is scale then T-Jet is far better than City while if you want an overall package,you seldom cross 140 kph mark,you want good FE and good after sales support then City wins head and shoulders over the T-Jet.

I think in a shootout between new Swit ZXi and Jazz the Jazz won.
TopGear India on the other hand, has diametrically opposite views. They lament that Honda's cars have lost their soul. They deride the City as 'a well thought out, spacious and economical saloon but one with very little flair or excitement'. They also feel that it is not much to drive, has a lifeless steering and a horribly bumpy ride, cheap interiors and its fuel efficiency figures are heavily contributed to by the skinny, low-resistance tyres that it comes shod with.
I think they are comparing the city with its 2003 V-tec one,that car had a great power to weight ratio.Rest +1 to you,the Top gear then simply publish craps.
 
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