Gone but not Forgotten Series – Chevrolet Tavera

Do read our earlier articles in the ‘Gone but not Forgotten’ series – Toyota Qualis, Ford Fusion, Tata Nano and Skoda Octavia Mk1.

A lot of eyebrows will be raised for including Chevrolet’s Tavera in the list of ‘Gone but not Forgotten’ series. However; we exactly list the reasons why it makes an entry in the series –

  • Tavera was Chevrolet’s best selling model in the Indian sub-continent!
  • General Motors sold a whopping 2,08,431 units of the Tavera in the Indian market.
  • Tavera was Chevy’s longest running model too! The model was sold for almost 14 years (2004 to 2017).
  • Not surprisingly – this best selling Chevy was not a General Motors product; rather it was a re-badged Isuzu Panther! However; it was developed together as the “160 Project”.
  • The Tavera was actually built in the GM Halol, Gujarat plant with knock-down kit sourced from Isuzu Indonesia!

  • Tavera was developed to meet local Indian conditions in terms of harsh climate, uneven roads and large family structure.
  • The model was highlighted as a durable vehicle. It was also the Taxi operators favorite and they use to swear by the Tavera’s reliability and low running costs.
  • Tavera was a bigger brand than Chevrolet in Rural India. The rural customers may not recognize Chevrolet; but they could easily identify a Tavera!
  • In many cases; one could even hear the Chevrolet dealership being called as a Tavera dealership instead. Such was the brand equity of Tavera in the rural pockets of India.
  • The model was Chevrolet’s cash cow in India. The model had the most consistent sales volume in the Indian market with little / minor changes in its lifetime.
  • Even during the last stage; Tavera was contributing to over 50% of General Motors India’s sales! In 2017; Tavera sold 3,028 units v/s the overall GM sales of 7,434 units.

The name of the vehicle comes from the name of the small French village Tavera, in Corsica, known for its steep paths and rough roads. Tavera’s main competition included vehicles like the Toyota Innova, Mahindra Bolero and Tata Sumo. Tavera was available in India with diesel engine and a manual transmission. The vehicle was available in 7,8 and 9 seater configurations. Under the hood it was available with 2.5 litre diesel engine delivering a power and torque of 72 bhp and 171 Nm respectively. As for the fuel economy, the BS3 compliant diesel engine claimed to deliver 13.58 km/l.

Let us look at the Tavera’s Sales Trend through its years of existence in the Indian market –

  • Chevrolet Tavera registered its all time highest sale in the year 2007 when it sold 21,866 units. Also Tavera’s highest monthly sales was reported on September 2006 (2,222 units).
  • The model saw an upswing in sales in 2011-12 as well when it consistently reported >20k sales for 2 years repeatedly.
  • The model was primarily termed as a cheaper option to the Toyota Innova and had a strong fan base in the rural & taxi markets.
  • Even during the General Motors exit from the Indian market; Tavera was easily liquidated by its dealers and its void still hasn’t been filled by any OEM till date.
  • Even after the launch of a much cheaper MPV Enjoy; Chevrolet used to sell much higher numbers of Tavera.
  • Anyhow Tavera’s ride in the country, was not a smooth one. GM had to recall all Taveras built between 2005 and 2013 as they were manipulated to beat the emission norm. General Motors’ emission fudging episode left the company and government authorities red-faced.
  • The emission norm changes too led to the death of the model. The model could never upgrade to the BS IV norms and it had to slowly phase itself out.

Tavera will always be remembered as a capable, fuss free and a reliable workhorse. The model still has a huge fan following among the rural & taxi buyers and is sorely missed over the years of its phase out. Even GM itself wouldn’t have anticipated that Tavera would become its best selling and most consistent model in the Indian sub-continent. Hence though that the model is Gone; it is definitely not forgotten.


MoRTH Issues Notification To Limit Unfair Fastag Lane Use – Opinion

Ministry of Road Transport and Highways recently issued a notification to address a keyword issue. You had to have a Fastag to drive through the Fastag lanes. Even if it was damaged, you could, technically, fight your way through with the official word on your side. The MoRTH addressed this with GSR 298E. The clause now says that the tag should also be functional and valid.

Entry for non-tag users in Fastag lanes results in double toll as a fine.

Click here to read the official circular.

Here’s the excerpt from the amendment:

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has issued notification GSR 298 E,  dated 15th May 2020 for  amendment in the  National Highways Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules, 2008 which provide  that if a vehicle which is not fitted with FASTag or the vehicle  is without a valid or functional FASTag, enters into “FASTag lane” of the Fee plazas, then they  shall pay a fee equivalent to two times of the fee applicable to that category of vehicles. 

Before this amendment, the user of vehicle was to pay twice on the fee plaza only if the vehicle didn’t carry the FASTag and entered in dedicated FASTag lane.



Even if you have a functional tag and the toll plaza’s hardware is the issue, it’s going to be difficult to prove that your tag is fine. Incorrect installation and non-maintenance could also lead to the malfunctioning of the RFID reader.

A rushed approach towards implementing the Fastag had its fair share of hurdles and caused traffic jams at several booths. That’s the exact opposite of what we were promised. Lots of road users have also had to pay cash at the booth only to find out later that the toll was also deducted from their account. Instead of educating the road users and delivering the promised results, the MoRTH bullied road users into getting a tag by closing all but one lane at toll plazas for non-tag users. Ideally, it should work as any startup does. Offer enough value to the end-users that they’re happy to pay for your product or service. This could be done by gradually increasing the number of Fastag-exclusive lanes at all toll booths.

The Reality

At the Kherki-Daula toll (NH8 Gurugram), for instance, there were 2 Fastag-exclusive lanes on each side. This is long before the Fastag became mandatory. The order to penalize non-tag users for using the tag lane has been around for a few years. Yet, it was never implemented at this plaza. Eventually, thousands of drivers found that there was no value in having a tag. Since the number of cash transactions was still quite high in these lanes, the authorities decided to drop the number of Fastag-exclusive lanes to 1 on each side. Poor enforcement of rules at the plaza was proving that the Fastag wasn’t offering enough value to the drivers to encourage adoption.

The Pain

All of a sudden, Fastag became mandatory, which led to huge traffic jams at the this Kherki Daula plaza. It got so much worse, that taking a longer alternate route became not only cheaper but faster for people. Talk about falling in your own pit.

The worst case is that everyone gets stuck in traffic because the road users aren’t ready to pay twice the tax. As a best case, the Fastag was speeding up the journey for its users by slowing down non-tag users. As there’s only 1 lane for non-tag users, it creates a severe bottleneck even at booths, which can use other lanes could ease the flow without affecting tag users.

This is a huge source of revenue for MoRTH as car owners have to buy a tag and maintain some balance. Those who have to rarely travel on the highways may also cave-in to avoid the pain of getting stuck in the only cash lane. Fastag was supposed to be faster for tag users. Not necessarily at the cost of slowing down non-tag users.

Risk To Privacy Though Location Tracking

Every time you go through a toll booth, the transaction record notes your location. Granted that this could potentially help you locate your lost vehicle. But, in the wrong hands, it’s a record of your routine, which can easily predict your location in future by drawing patterns. Machine Learning algorithms are already capable of doing this. Whether you’re comfortable sharing your location with the government officials depends on how much you trust them to safeguard it. History is not on their side. Aadhaar data breach and the recent revelation of security risks in the Arogya Setu app should be proof enough.


No Official MoRTH Order Mandating Fastag

I dug deeper and tried to find the actual order mandating Fastag. I’ve scoured through MoRTH’s and NHAI’s portal and Googled the hell out of Google and the closest thing I could find was a press release on PIB claiming that the MoRTH has “decided to declare” all lanes as Fastag-exclusive lanes. But, there’s a big difference between “deciding” to declare and “declaring”. “My friend has decided to buy a car” and “My friend has bought a car” have different meanings.

For clarifications, I’ve personally written to the Nodal Officer of the Indian Highways Management Company and NHAI officials but never received a response. Since Paytm and other banks were also marketing and selling Fastag, I tried to reach out to Paytm and HDFC. Their representatives claimed to acknowledge that Fastag is mandatory but couldn’t show me a copy of the MoRTH notification. The reps tried their best to end the conversation as soon as I asked for their permission to quote them.

Perhaps I’m missing something. If you happen to come across such a MoRTH order/notification mandating Fastag at all national highway toll plazas, then kindly consider providing us with the link for the same in our comment section.

No Toll If ETC Machine Malfunctioning

Another circular from 2018 allows you to drive through a Fastag lane for free if you have a valid, functional tag with adequate balance but the electronic toll collection machine can’t read your tag. We strongly urge you to keep a hard copy of this order with you to minimize the chances of getting in an argument with the toll booth operator – should you end up in such a situation.

Click here to read/download a copy of this MoRTH circular

Suggested Reads:

Hindustan Times: Chaos at Laddowal Toll as FASTag glitches continue

Times Of India: FASTag chaos at toll plazas on Solapur-Dhule highway

Indian Express: Long lines at Kherki Daula on day 1 of FASTag rollout, jam stretches 2 km

MoneyLife: Aadhaar Data Breach Largest in the World, Says WEF’s Global Risk Report and Avast

India Today: Aarogya Setu not mandatory? Govt softens stance in Lockdown 4.0 guidelines

In Home Ministry’s sharp U-turn, Aarogya Setu not mandatory to resume office

2020 Honda WR-V Facelift Spotted

Skoda New Cars, No Diesel For Honda Jazz, WR-V Spotted, And More

Honda Drops Diesel Engine From Jazz And CR-V

Honda have confirmed to Autocar that the Jazz and CR-V will not get a BS6 diesel engine. Rajesh, Goel, SVP, marketing and sales, Honda Cars said:

“During 2019-20, HCIL’s overall sales contribution was almost 80 percent from petrol and 20 percent from diesel, but this trend differed in each of the product segments. Although there is an increasing shift in market preference towards petrol, we believe that the demand for diesel will not vanish immediately. Hence, in our BS6 line-up, we have strategically decided to offer diesel models in specific segments in line with our customer’s preference. For example, among our three product offerings in the sub-four-metre segment, diesel contribution in WR-V and Amaze was quite significant and hence they are being offered in both petrol and diesel. On the other hand, customers for the premium hatchback Jazz are increasingly opting for the petrol model, and hence the new Jazz will be offered in petrol variants only.

Our CR-V customers continue to show a natural preference for the petrol model and in order to maintain a lean variant line-up and stay focused on our core customer category, we have decided to retain only petrol variant for CR-V.”

Honda Jazz BS6
2020 Honda Jazz Facelift BS6


The CR-V losing the diesel option is news for us as full-size SUV buyers prefer a diesel engine. Fortuner and Endeavour are prime examples. Even the Kodiaq and Tiguan started off with a diesel engine. Meanwhile, the Amaze and WR-V will retain the it because of stronger demand in these models. There’s nothing confirmed for the next-gen City. The City’s rivals (Yaris, Ciaz, Rapid, Vento) also don’t have a diesel engine. But, the Verna does have the option. If Honda City also dropped it, then it’ll leave one full section of the pie to Hyundai.


Honda Resumes Production At Tapukara Plant

After the COVID break, Honda are eager to get back on track to meeting pending deliveries and updating the lineup. The WR-V is next in line for an update and then it’s City’s turn. The Tapukara plant near Bhiwadi in Rajasthan is starting production. The NOIDA plant, however, will remain closed for a little longer.

To bring the newer WR-V facelift, City and Jazz facelift, Tapukara plant is all Honda needs. Their Rajasthan plant also makes the Amaze. Essentially, all bread and butter Hondas. Late in 2019, Honda were reportedly working on setting up the Tapukara facility to make the next-gen City. The Jazz will also get a refresh after the WR-V and City.


2020 Honda WR-V Facelift Brochure Leak Dashboard
2020 Honda WR-V Facelift Brochure Leak Dashboard

2020 Honda WR-V Facelift Spotted And Brochure Leaks

Images of the Honda WR-V facelift recently surfaced online. Bookings for the WR-V facelift are open since March. The crossover will retain its petrol and diesel engines. According to the leak, the updated WR-V petrol and diesel engines will deliver a fuel efficiency of 16.5kmpl and 23.7kmpl, respectively.

2020 Honda WR-V Facelift Brochure Leak
2020 Honda WR-V Facelift Brochure Leak

Image Source

Skoda Karoq, 2020 Rapid, Superb Facelift Launching On May 26

Skoda India today gave a date for the launch of 3 cars – the Karoq, Rapid 1.0 Turbo and Superb facelift. The 3 cars were to launch sooner but couldn’t because of the lockdown. All 3 cars are coming on May 26 with petrol engines only.

The Rapid will get a new 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine with a 6-speed manual and 6-speed torque converter automatic. It’ll make 110PS of power and 175Nm of torque. The Vento also has similar engine options. The Karoq will get a 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine with 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission only. It’ll make 150PS of power and 250Nm of torque. The Superb will get a 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine with 7-speed dual-clutch automatic. It’s good for 190PS of power and 320Nm of torque.


Just like the Volkswagen T-Roc, the Karoq is a full import. It will attract some heavy duties but we believe Skoda will still price it competitively like the VW T-Roc.

Hyundai’s Verna Facelift Relaunch

The Verna facelift launched first on March 30. Hyundai have again informed the press that the Verna is now available.

For complete details, head to the official Hyundai Verna page.

2020 Hyundai Verna Facelift Front
2020 Hyundai Verna Facelift Front

We don’t blame them for a double launch. The car didn’t get enough attention as the Creta stole all the limelight. During the COVID drought, we can pause and absorb all that the Verna facelift offers. Here are the engine options:

  • 1.5-litre normal petrol engine with a manual and a CVT automatic transmission
  • 1.5-litre turbo diesel engine with a manual and a torque converter automatic transmission
  • 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission

The engines themselves aren’t entirely fresh. The Kia Seltos and Hyundai Creta also get these 1.5-litre engines. Meanwhile, the Venue was the first one to get the 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine with 120PS power and 7-speed DCT.

2020 Hyundai Verna Facelift Dashboard
2020 Hyundai Verna Facelift Dashboard


For once, we have a facelift, which Hyundai can market as a generation change and we wouldn’t mind. There’s an extensive design update on the front and fresh additions to the feature list. Then, the big one – engines. The 2020 Verna facelift ditches all of its powertrain options and gets a new set.

What’s surprising is how Hyundai (and Kia) aren’t leaving any stone unturned. Under the new leadership of S S Kim, Hyundai are taking more risks and buyers are rewarding them. In times when brands like Maruti Suzuki are moving to a single-engine option, Hyundai are expanding from 2 options to 3. The Aura, Nios, Venue, Verna and Creta, all offer 3 engine options. It’s no longer a conservative carmaker.

We expected the carmaker to be among the last ones to bring electrification and they turned out to be the first. The Hyundai Kona was the first product launch for S S Kim in India as CEO of Hyundai. Then, the attacks just never stopped. We got Santro, Nios, Aura, Verna facelift, Elantra facelift, Venue and next-gen Creta. It’s not just about bringing new cars but retaining petrol and diesel engine options and democratizing the turbo petrol engine.

Hyundai is in the best position right now to come out of these tough times the strongest.

Kia Sonet Official Image

Kia Sonet Could Bring Clutchless Manual iMT With Turbo Hybrid – Reading Between The Lines

Kia had announced at the 2020 Auto Expo that the Sonet will get a clutchless manual transmission. They call it the iMT – as in, Intelligent Manual Transmission. Now let’s try and figure out how it’s going to work. But, before we do that, let’s first understand how a clutchless manual transmission works.

As the name suggests, you let the computer and a motor handle the clutch while you manage the gear. So, it leaves complete control of gear selection up to the driver.

Also Read: The Highway Problem Of Electric Cars

Auto Clutch by AutoMate

Pune-based AutoMate is already making it and they have over a decade worth of experience making auto clutches. You can probably find a couple more brands offering aftermarket auto-clutch systems. For now, let’s take the Auto Clutch to understand how it works.

Click here to know more about their Auto Clutch.

On the gear lever, you have On/Off toggle switch and a touch sensor. With the switch, you can enable or disable the system. This way, you can use it in traffic and enjoy shifting through the gears in the hills as you would with a standard MT.

When you touch the sensors on the gear lever, the clutch disengages (goes inside). To change the gear, release the accelerator pedal, touch the sensor on the gear lever, shift it and release it. Then accelerate as usual. It also monitors the tachometer and disengages the clutch if the RPMs drop too low.

The entire muscle (motors) and the brains (logic board and silicon) sits under the driver’s seat. It’s transferable to another car. When you upgrade, you can take it out and install it again in the next car. That is a good way to increase the value of the system. Because it costs about Rs. 40-45,000, it ought to offer better value than an AMT.

For instance, you can get an AMT automatic transmission in the Renault Triber for Rs. 40,000. The Renault Kwid automatic is Rs. 30,000 more expensive than its manual counterpart. When you put these prices in perspective, you see that an aftermarket auto-clutch system is quite expensive. For a similar or lower price, you can even automate the gear changes. Not to mention, you get the complete multi-year manufacturer warranty on the entire AMT system.

Kia Sonet iMT (Intelligent Manual Transmission) Clutchless Manual Transmission

Now, here’s the juicy part: Kia Sonet will get the 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine with 48V mild-hybrid tech and iMT. How do we know that? Well, let’s break it down.

2020 Kia Sonet Front Auto Expo
2020 Kia Sonet Front Auto Expo

Kia Sonet iMT

Let’s get this fact out of the way that the Sonet will get the iMT or the clutchless manual transmission. Kia have already announced it at the 2020 Auto Expo.

2020 Hyundai Elite i20 Turbo Hybrid iMT (Clutchless Manual Transmission)

We know that Hyundai are also bringing the next-gen Elite i20 to India very soon. Perhaps early in 2021. Some of the details about the 2020 Elite i20 are already out. Check the engine specs in following sections.

How Kia Sonet’s iMT Works?

In the AutoClutch example, we found out that it engages and disengages based on 2 factors – engine RPM and touch sensor input.

Hyundai have already confirmed how the iMT clutch will engage or disengage. The Sonet’s iMT clutch will work based on the accelerator input and RPM. If the revs drop below a certain point, it’ll disengage to prevent stalling. It’ll also monitor the accelerator pedal input and disengage when you take your foot off the pedal. This will put it in coasting mode, which will give it good fuel efficiency. Shifting gears in the Kia Sonet iMT will work just like a normal manual transmission – minus the clutch. There’s no need to worry about slipping off a touch sensor on the shifter lever mid-way during a gear change.

Here’s a video of the upcoming Elite i20 with a small detail about the iMT. Jump to 3:00 to hear about powertrain and transmission details.

Hypermilers already know that you can coast for longer if you take the engine braking out. Their iMT does just that as mentioned by the Hyundai rep in the video. It disengages the clutch when the driver takes the foot off the gas pedal. This way, the battery could recharge faster and you get far better real-world fuel efficiency. The Sonet’s iMT with 1.0-litre turbo-hybrid will not just be a powerful and convenient engine option, but also the most fuel-efficient.

2020 Hyundai Elite i20 Engine Options

Here are the engine and transmission options for the new i20 in the European market:

2020 Hyundai Elite i20 Engine Transmission Options


1.0-litre Turbo

1.0-litre Turbo Hybrid

1.0-litre Turbo Hybrid









5-speed MT

6-speed MT

6-speed iMT

6-speed iMT

7-speed DCT

7-speed DCT

7-speed DCT

As you can see, the iMT is only available with the hybrid tech. Sonet should be no exception.

2020 Kia Sonet Rear Auto Expo
2020 Kia Sonet Rear Auto Expo

2020 Kia Sonet Engine Transmission USP

We believe the Sonet will introduce 48V mild-hybrid with the 120PS engine. To offer the iMT, they have to. With iMT and hybrid tech, Kia Sonet can challenge the Vitara Brezza hybrid with possibly better fuel efficiency and performance. With the coasting function, Kia’s clutchless manual transmission can handily beat the Brezza MT’s FE figures even if it gets hybrid tech. In case of the automatic transmission, the DCT is naturally more efficient than the torque converter. So, it should have no problem beating the Brezza hybrid’s figures.

The Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza’s petrol engine has an official fuel efficiency figure of 17.0kmpl with the manual transmission. The automatic transmission is a 4-speed torque converter and it also gets mild-hybrid tech. It has a fuel efficiency figure of 18.76kmpl.

Kia Sonet Launch Timeline

Kia recently confirmed that they are starting to retool and setup assembly line for the Sonet. Autocar India interacted with Kia officials and they say that the production of the Sonet is on schedule. However, any more interruptions because of the COVID situation could push the launch schedule further.

The Sonet is currently on track for August/September 2020 launch.

Disclaimer: This article contains personal opinions and should be consumed with a pinch of scepticism. We strive to maintain a clear distinction between reporting and opinion so that we don’t adulterate the objective info with the author’s subjective thoughts.

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