• HONDA ACTIVA 3G WITH CNG KIT REVIEW

    Compressed Natural Gas or CNG kits aren't exactly new systems available. Cars, buses, trucks and three-wheelers, all have benefitted from the same, as the fuel option is not only more efficient but cleaner as well. Two wheelers were that one untouched segment waiting to be tapped with CNG alternatives and it is Mahanagar Gas Limited (MGL) that is exploring this opportunity with the new CNG kits for scooters. A nascent offering that everyone is curious about, we decided to take a CNG equipped scooter for a ride, in this case, the Honda Activa 3G, in a bid to seek answers. Here's what we found out.

    Honda Activa With CNG Kit Review Video:

    The Honda Activa with a CNG Kit

    What Is It?

    MGL initiated the development of the CNG kits that can be retrofitted on automatic scooters. The development process took four months and the kits completed pilot runs before being introduced in the market. The CNG kits are currently being manufactured by component makers ITUK as well as Lovato and were launched earlier this month. The kits are quite similar to the ones found on cars, and let you choose between both CNG and petrol options.

    cng activa price

    The CNG kit has been approved by ARAI and ICAT

    While our demo scooter was the Honda Activa 3G, the CNG kits are compatible with 18 scooters available on the market including popular models like the TVS Jupiter, Hero Duet and Maestro, Mahindra Gusto, Suzuki Access and the likes. The kits have received requisite approvals from Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), Pune as well as International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT), Delhi, which makes it ready for sale. For Mumbai, it is Lovato providing the kits and prospective owners will have to head to any of its outlets in the city to get the retro-fitment done.

    The customer versions won't sport any CNG branding

    Talking about the CNG kit itself, the unit comprises two cylinders that have a combined capacity of 1.4 kg and are located behind the front apron. The piping runs through the floorboard and connects to the reducer that supplies gas to the engine in appropriate quantities. Needless to say, the kit costs over and above the scooter's price and the installation takes just 3-4 hours to complete.

    The cylinders are located behind the apron and covered with a plastic panel

    What Are The Changes?

    At first glance, it is really hard to distinguish the standard scooter from that of the CNG derivative. The demo vehicle that we have comes with the CNG badging, which is the giveaway. On a customer spec model though, it will be hard to know the same. We did find a host of folks (including some in very fancy cars) stop and take notice as well as come over and ask about the scooter's credentials.

    The toggle switch allows to jump from petrol to CNG

    That said, the CNG kit has been quite cleverly added into the scooter's body. The twin cylinders are located just behind the apron and covered with a black plastic panel. A small lockable opening at the front of the panel gives you access to the CNG fuel gauge. Toggling between petrol and CNG fuel options is taken care by a switch located right below the choke. There are air vents on top of the plastic panel that act as a safety feature, specifically added to let the gas pass, should there be a leakage.

    I was a tad bit sceptical of the cylinders being fitted right behind the apron; given that I would be losing a major chunk of the legroom. However, that thankfully is not the case. Tall riders won't find the kit as an intrusion, but finding your footing can be a concern due to the location of the fuel filler valve. An ergonomic issue, Lovato tells us that the same has been identified by them as well and the next lot of scooters equipped with the kit will get the fuel filler valve repositioned.

    The CNG valve gets intrusive and will be repositioned in the next lot of scooters

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    The other noticeable change comes with the under seat storage that is compromised to make way for the reducer. The device takes a quarter of the space, but can still easily accommodate a tool kit, first aid box and vehicle papers with ease. Fitting a helmet is out of question. The other major change comes in the emissions of the scooter. Lovato says that using CNG cuts hydrocarbons by 75 per cent on the model, while carbon monoxide is reduced by 20 per cent.

    The throttle response is sluggish, the added weight doesn't help

    How Does It Ride?

    Now, the standard Honda Activa 3G makes around 8bhp of power and 8Nm of torque in its petrol-only avatar. Power output has taken a beating of 5 per cent and that is evident once you twist the throttle on the CNG version. There is a slight delay in response specifically on the CNG version, but the power delivery gets linear and seamless, once the scooter picks momentum. That said, cold starts do see the vehicle struggle for power in the CNG mode and it is best advised to run it on petrol for a few kilometres before switching to the alternate fuel. Being a carbureted motor, you won't have issues cranking the engine directly in the CNG mode.

    Climbing flyovers or riding with a pillion is hardly an issue

    While slow power delivery is a small compromise and can be lived with, the scooter's handling takes a hit as well. This is largely because of the additional 14-15 kg of the CNG kit with the weight concentrated at the front. This takes away the nimbleness of the vehicle and even though the additional kilos aren't felt once set in motion; it is in dense traffic where the light handling is missed.

    Nevertheless, the marginal drop in power isn't intrusive when climbing flyovers or gradients. Having run completely on CNG in our test, the scooter managed to pull the rider and pillion with ease. We started the test with half a tank of CNG and managed to get a fuel efficiency of nearly 50 kmpl in our test cycle. On a full tank, MGL and Lovato claim a figure of around 110 kmpl.

    The CNG kit returns a fuel efficiency of 110 kmpl on a full tank

    How Much Does It Cost?

    MGL and Lovato say that the CNG kit equipped scooters offer a running cost of ₹ 0.60 paise per km. This includes nearly ₹ 0.48 paise per km for the fuel and ₹ 0.12 paise for maintenance. However, when you compare it to the running costs of a standard scooter that runs at ₹ 1.2 paise per km; the difference is almost half between the two. As far as maintenance costs are concerned, the company says that the CNG equipped scooters need to follow the same service intervals as its petrol derivative.

    A full refill of the CNG tanks will cost under ₹ 60 in Mumbai

    Coming to after-sales support, retrofitting the kit on an all-new scooter directly impacts the OEM warranty on the vehicle. You do get a dealer warranty only on the CNG kit for a year and includes three services to check for any leakage or breaks. The kit will also be recalibrated, should the need be. The cylinders themselves have a lifespan of 20 years and need to be checked every three years for possible rusting or leakages.

    All said, the Lovato CNG kit will set you back by ₹ 17,000 (including taxes and RTO registration in Mumbai), over and above the scooter's asking price. That does make the kit slightly more expensive than anticipated and one needs to factor in the return of investment, which begs us to question...

    Petrol scooter or the CNG equipped one?

    Should I Buy One?

    The answer largely depends on which side of the fence you are on. MGL and Lovato ran pilot programs with certain corporate buyers and in all honesty, that remains the most profitable buyer for it. With delivery scooters that are prone to do exceptional numbers on the odometer, it makes business sense to install a CNG kit, which is sure to give you a profitable return on your investment.

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    On the other hand, if you are a private scooter owner and use the same for almost all your travelling needs, the CNG kit is a viable option. However, if your scooter usage is largely within city limits and particularly for short sprints, sticking to the petrol option just happens to be a more viable choice here.

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  • Renault Kwid 2018 launched with many first in class features

    The Renault Kwid 2018 has been launched today. The car gets a lot of features and is hence called the Kwid Feature Loaded Range. Available in 8 trims with segment-first features, the new Renault KWID 2018 Feature Loaded Range has been launched at no additional price, further enhancing its value proposition. The Renault Kwid has been a redefining product in its category. The Renault Kwid 2018 is one of the few cars to take on the mighty Maruti Alto 800 and provide some stiff competition to it. The Kwid is not compromised in terms of features as much as others in the segment. Do read further to know more about the Renault Kwid 2018 Feature Loaded variant.

    Renault Kwid 2018 Price

    RENAULT KWID 2018 FEATURE LOADED RANGE PRICING (ex-showroom, New Delhi) Standard-0.8L-SCe ₹ 266,700 RXE-0.8L-SCe ₹ 309,800 RXL-0.8L-SCe ₹ 335,900 RXT-O-(MT)-0.8L-SCe ₹ 382,500 RXT-O-(MT)-1.0L-SCe ₹ 404,500 RXT-O-(AMT)-1.0L-SCe ₹ 434, 500 KWID-Climber-MT-1.0L-SCe ₹ 429,500 KWID-Climber-AMT-1.0L-SCe ₹ 459,500

    Renault Kwid 2018 Feature

    Renault Kwid 2018 Specifications

    Engine 799cc / 1000cc Power 52bhp / 67bhp Torque 72Nm / 91Nm Transmission 5-speed manual / AMT

    Renault Kwid 2018 Model Dimensions

    Length 3679mm Width 1579mm Height 1478mm Wheelbase 2422mm Fuel Tank 28 litres Ground Clearance 180mm

    Renault Kwid 2018 Exterior

    The Renault Kwid 2018 looks very beefy. It is a contemporary car and looks that way. The Kwid has tough looks and a tall appearance. High ground clearance is one of its USPs of Renault Kwid 2018 and it also gets matte black body cladding. This makes it look bigger and bulkier as compared to other cars in its segment.

    Up front, the RXT(O) variant of Renault KWID 2018 Feature Loaded Range gets an appealing new razor edge chrome front grille highlighting the Renault diamond logo, which accentuates the SUV-inspired design of the vehicle and add a touch of premiumness

    Renault Kwid 2018 has transformed the entire entry level hatchback segment. The Kwid has SUV looks and not typical car looks. The others cars in the segment are compact and basic in styling, while the Kwid feels large enough and rugged with its high ground clearance. The Kwid looks more rugged due to the body cladding. From the side it looks seems impressive with a high ground clearance. The tyres are skinny and are the only downside on the Kwid. This is in view of keeping costs low and deriving a higher fuel efficiency. It gets blacked out door pillars and also door handles. The subtle design changes have brought forth a mature overall stance in line with its all-terrain attitude. In terms of standard features, the mid-level and top-end variants get body coloured bumpers, full wheel covers and front fog lamps.

    Also Read: Tata Tiago Price, Review and Specifications

    Renault Kwid 2018 Interiors

    The interiors of the Renault Kwid 2018 bring in some freshness in the segment. The interiors are spacious and they look amazing when compared to the competition. The first thing that catches your attention is the touchscreen system. It has Bluetooth and navigation too. The competition does not offer this feature, even as an accessory. The instrument cluster is all digital and that stands out.

    New features on the Renault Kwid 2018 include a reverse parking camera, rear armrest, new and a rear charging socket. Among these features is also the Rear ELR (Emergency Locking Retractor) across all the variants. This allows the rear seat belt to freely extend and retract with occupant movement, yet locks the belt during a sudden stop or upon impact.

    The Renault Kwid 2018 has oodles of space too. There is ample of head room and knee room in both the rows. There are a lot of storage spaces that are not found on its rivals. This is where the Kwid shines over the competition. The Renault Kwid 2017 isn't just spacious but at the same time even practical. This hatchback has a boot space of 300 litres, which is a lot more than that offered on hatchbacks that are a segment above it.

    Renault Kwid 2018 Engine

    The Renault Kwid 2018 is pleasurable to drive. The three-cylinder unit fires up quickly and settles to a quiet idle. There is decent low end torque and the car pulls off smoothly. There is enough grunt to keep it going and is a breeze to drive in the city. The clutch feels very light, however, the gearshifts feel a little coarse at times, especially while slotting into first gear. The engine becomes audible in the cabin when revved high. The chunky steering wheel seems from a segment above. The centre portion of the steering is the horn button and it also extends to the side spokes making it very convenient to use.

    The Renault Kwid 2018 gets a crawl function on the AMT gearbox.

    Also Read: Renault Kwid 1.0 Price and Features

    Renault Kwid 2018 Ride and Handling

    Truly, the Renault Kwid 2018 impresses in many ways and that includes the ride and handling. It maintains Renault's legacy of a fantastic ride quality, similar to what we have seen in the Duster and Lodgy as well. The potholes are not much of a bother when you are behind the wheel of the Kwid. Yes, it glides over them. The handling is something unseen in this segment and the Renault Kwid 2018 can put to shame many a cars from higher segments too. The steering is well weighted, not too light or heavy either and the feedback is quite precise.

    Also Read: Hyundai Santro to make a comeback

    Renault Kwid 2018 Mileage

    Variant Transmission Mileage 800 Manual 25.17 km/l 1.0 AMT 24.04 km/l 1.0 Manual 23.01 km/l

    This is a fuel efficient car. Both 800 and 1.0 offer good mileage. These figures are claimed ones, however in real driving conditions they will be 10-15 percent lower.

    Also Read: Toyota making a new hatch - Kwid competition

    Renault Kwid 2018 Competition

    The Renault Kwid competes with the Maruti Alto 800, Hyundai Eon and the Datsun RediGo.

    Also Read: Maruti Alto 800 facelift price, features and specifications

    Renault Kwid 2018 Features (Variant-wise)

    STD: This variant gets basic features like black bumpers, wheel arch cladding, tinted glazing, black hub cap for wheels, integrated roof spoiler, single tone dashboard, digital instrument cluster, moon grey upholstery, open storage on the dashboard, gear shift indicator and two year corrosion protection.

    RxE: This variant gets STD features and air-conditioner with heater, foldable rear seat backrest, lower glove box and centre fascia with satin silver contour.

    RxL: This variant gets body coloured bumpers, electric power steering, multi-spoke wheel cover, single DIN music system with mp3, bluetooth, USB and aux and even 12V connection.

    RxT: This variant has front fog lamps, touchscreen system with navigation, on board trip computer, front power windows and the optional package of driver airbag.

    Also Read: Datsun Redi Go price, features and specifications

    Renault Kwid 2017 Images

    Also Read: Datsun Redi Go Sport is here. Looks even better

    Renault Kwid 2018 Colours

    Renault Kwid 2018 comes with five colour options: Bronze, Grey, Silver, White and Red. Red is the communications colour.

    Renault Kwid 2018 Warranty

    The Renault KWID 2018 Range comes with a 4 year / 1 lakh km (whichever is earlier) class-leading warranty along with Road Side Assistance at no extra cost. This includes the regular 2 years / 50,000 km comprehensive warranty along with an additional 2 years / 50,000 km extended warranty, enabling customers to enjoy an unparalleled ownership experience.
    Coming in five colour options, the Kwid is the first car to offer 60 customization options through their accessories route, which includes decals, claddings, etc to enhance the looks of the car

     

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    08/10/2018

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