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Sitar

The sitar ( English: / ˈ s ɪ t ɑːr / or / s ɪ ˈ t ɑːr / ; IAST: sitāra) is a plucked stringed instrument, originating from the Indian subcontinent, used in Hindustani classical music. The instrument was invented in medieval India and flourished in the 16th and 17th centuries and arrived at its present form in 18th-century India.

Used widely throughout the Indian subcontinent, the sitar became popularly known in the wider world through the works of Ravi Shankar, beginning in the late 1950s and early 1960s. [1] In the 1960s, trend arose for the use of the sitar in Western popular music, with the instrument appearing on tracks by bands such as the Beatles, the Doors, the Rolling Stones and others.

New Range Rover previewed: a first sit in JLR’s luxury giant

New Range Rover revealed

No, we’re just standing in front of the gigantic new Range Rover.

It actually looks pretty good in real life, doesn’t it?

It does – the pictures don’t seem to have done it any justice. It’s big, yes, but sculpted and purposeful. The back end looks much tauter and better put together than the saggy press shots. The flush glazing and smooth bodywork is genuinely impressive. Now, if we can get past some of these people at the Range Rover’s reveal event we can have a closer look at the car.

What’s it like inside?

As soon as you open up the car you get a sense of the engineering thought that’s been put into the car. The metal of the doors has been pressed thin like ravioli around each edge, with sizeable strips of rubber. They’re supposed to be there to aid the Range Rover’s 900mm wading depth and prevent leaks, but they have the added bonus of improving refinement and blocking out road noise. And of course all of the Range Rover’s doors are designed to open and close with the kind of thunk you’d expect from such a luxurious model – you don’t even have to be touching them, thanks to the new power closing feature.

Climb onboard and it’s a little higher than you expect, but the SV model we had a look at is particularly well done out. The cabin is a vast space, there’s over a metre of legroom in the second row, more than enough space to recline your chair and enjoy the shagpile carpet (you might want to bring your slippers).

Being eco-conspicuous is very important for the rich these days, so Land Rover is putting a lot of emphasis on its non-leather materials that are available for the car. There’s nowhere you’d feel like you’re missing out, though.

Are there lots of toys to play with?

Rear passengers in the new SV model might not even get round to enjoying the 13.1-inch infotainment screens and noise cancelling headphones that come with the car. The small touchscreen panel in the rear centre console could keep you amused for hours.

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Here you can adjust the seats, with their heating and massage functions, electronically deploy the footrest or watch the table emerge smoothly from its hiding place. A team of people spent two years perfecting this one console and the effort shows immediately.

Another touch reveals cupholders, press again on a different screen and a hatch behind your shoulder swishes aside to reveal the onboard fridge, which is big enough to handle a champagne bottle and a couple of glasses.

Are there any other nice touches?

Range Rover is particularly proud of its Tailgate Event Suite, where the boot opens up and with a bit of floor panel manoeuvring turns into a full-on seat with cushioned backrest. It’s designed to take up to 350kg of weight and also features speakers in the boot hatch and extra lighting for a bit of ambience. Perfect for watching the polo.

Should I buy one?

We’d normally urge you to wait until the car’s been driven, or even until prices have been announced, but with a car like the Range Rover that’s not likely to stop anyone from deciding to go ahead with getting one. Luxury purchases like this aren’t always rationally driven ones (there are better off-roaders out there, for instance, or cheaper seven-seaters – it’s the Range Rover’s fanciness and rarified image that set it apart), but as rational as a luxury car purchase can be, it seems at first sit like the Range Rover ticks all the right boxes.

2021 Mahindra XUV700 First Drive Review

  • Engine performance
  • Features
  • Third row accommodation
  • Low speed ride

Right Front Three Quarter

The all-new Mahindra XUV700 will be available in both petrol and diesel engine options with either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic. The 2-litre petrol is quite strong making 200bhp of power and 380Nm of torque. The 2.2-litre diesel engine, meanwhile, will be available in two tunes — an 185bhp version with 420Nm for the manual and 450Nm for the automatic and also a 155bhp version with 360Nm for the entry-level versions. What we have here is the top-of-the-line diesel automatic version with 185bhp tune and first impressions are really good. This engine has a smooth idle and vibrations are little to none. It’s only when you get up to speed that you’ll hear a little more noise than you’d like while accelerating.

Front View

Even so it’s not that annoying diesel clatter and actually the engine is quite refined. Overall NVH levels are among the best in class if not the best. The other good thing about this engine is that it delivers punchy performance right from the word go. You get nearly 450Nm of pulling power from as low as 1750 revs and this peak torque stays flat till 2800rpm which is the ideal operation range under normal driving conditions. The XUV700, then, has more than enough grunt and it shows when you push it. Performance is strong all the way till 4,000rpm and the XUV will keep pulling hard well past triple digit speeds.

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What compliments this strong engine so well is the six speed automatic gearbox. Sure it’s no dual clutch unit and the gearshifts aren’t lightning fast but for driving around town and covering long distances on the highways it does the job. It goes up and down the gears smoothly, doesn’t hesitate in bumper to bumper traffic as you go and off throttle. Overall it’s a great comfort oriented gearbox that does it’s job beautifully.

Left Rear Three Quarter

Wheel

Coming to the ride and handling, the front suspension on it is a typical McPherson strut but with it you get special dampers from Koni which can adjust the frequency of damping force as per the load and road conditions. The rear suspension, meanwhile, is a multi-link system that also gets the same dampers. The end result is a ride quality that’s most impressive when you are at speed. The XUV’s high speed manners are commendable with good body control and stability. You sit planted over long undulations and it’s not twitchy in anyway.

Left Front Three Quarter

The steering, although a touch too light at low speeds, weighs up nicely as you up the pace and inspires confidence to carry on cruising at highway speeds. If there’s something we don’t like here it’s the low speed ride. Although not uncomfortable by any means, it just doesn’t have the same level of cushiness as something like the Safari as it goes about it’s business of absorbing bumps and other road imperfections. You tend to hear the suspension working more often than not and that affects the overall comfort levels.

Dashboard

The top-spec AX7 variant that we have tested here has everything one would expect in terms of features and connectivity tech. You get a 10.25 inch infotainment screen and next to it another 10.25 inch screen for the instrument console, wireless phone mirroring, dual zone climate control, LED headlights, sequential turn indicators, leather everywhere, electrically adjustable driver’s seat and a panoramic sunroof. The XUV700 also gets many segment-first features such as pop out door handles, seven airbags including one for the driver’s knees, in-built Alexa voice commands and a surround sound system from Sony.

The highlight though is the fact that Mahindra has introduced ADAS systems at this price point. Yes, the XUV700 gets advanced driver focused safety systems such as Forward Collision Warning, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Adaptive cruise Control, Traffic Sign Recognition and High Beam Assist. There is some stuff missing on this car though. For example, the steering column is adjustable for rake only and it’s also missing ventilated seats and front parking sensors. Then the there’s the lack of paddle shifters which is something we feel should have been here given the performance on offer.

Infotainment System

This being a technology-focused cabin, of course, you get a full suite of connectivity tech. Here Mahindra is using what it calls AdrenoX which uses AI to make life behind the wheel that little bit easier, especially when you have so many features that you can control. Basically the system works around Alexa’s functionality, the dual digital screens and the Sony sound system to control pretty much all the entertainment features and the car’s functions. Now some might argue that this car looks a little too familiar from the outside and yes, we agree there are a few elements that remind us of the XUV500 but the interior is a giant leap forward both in terms of design and finish. It’s smart, it’s modern, it’s well put together and overall it’s just a nice place to spend time in.

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Rear Seats

In terms of rear seat space, there is a lot of knee room and head room and because this cabin is mostly all white, the overall ambience is actually superb. It’s just that the seat base isn’t as long as we would have liked and because of that under thigh support is a little lacking. Things aren’t any better in the third row. First of all, the process of getting into the third row isn’t exactly effortless and once you are in here you will realize that the third row accommodation is best reserved for a quick trip to your local restaurant or hang out spot.

Rear Seats

You can see that it’s extremely tight and there is hardly any seat comfort on offer and so just like the Alcazar, the XUV700 barely makes it as a five plus two. In fact, in this segment it’s the Safari that has the most usable third row so that’s something to consider if you are looking for a seven seater vehicle. We had high hopes from this cabin for quality and finish also and we are happy to report that for the most part, the XUV700 delivers on both. Fit and finish is there and we like how well the buffed chrome elements go with the gloss black materials. We also like how there are softly padded materials everywhere you touch. So it all comes together really for the XUV and the build quality here is worth appreciating. We just wish there was more under thigh support and a little more room in the third row. That would have made this cabin so much more usable.

Bootspace

Rear View

The XUV700’s design is not simply an update over the XUV500 but an entirely new look, elements of which we will probably see in future models from Mahindra. Things like this new logo that will be used specifically for their SUV range. Mahindra has revealed that this new visual identity will make its way to the rest of the SUVs in a phased manner. As for the actual design, yes, there are certain design cues that will remind you of the XUV500. For instance, the way the headlights sink from the edge and point towards the number plate area and the vertical slats on the front grille. However, there is also a lot of new stuff like the smartly designed bumper, the new logo and the LED headlamps giving the XUV700 its own identity.

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Right Side View

Move to the side and you will come across some more familiar details it’s just that they have all been refined and brought up to date for the XUV700. The overall profile may look similar to the five double ooh but there have been plenty of changes that make the design coherent. First of all you have pop out door handles which fit flush when locked, giving the doors a really clean look. Then there are the wheel arches which are nowhere as pronounced as the ones on the 500. The less prominent wheel haunches on the seven double ooh lead us to the massive wraparound taillights which taper towards the centre. The number plate housing is still mounted on the lift gate while the rear bumper features a thick, contrasting silver bash plate to give it some character.

Left Rear Three Quarter

Now we weren’t really expecting a price reveal at this point but Mahindra threw a pleasant surprise by announcing prices for four variants at the time of the unveiling. The base MX five-seater petrol manual will cost you Rs 11.99 lakh whereas the equivalent diesel will set you back at least Rs 12.49 lakh. Moving up the range, the AX3 petrol manual is priced at Rs 13.99 lakh and the AX5 comes in at Rs 14.99 lakh. This frankly makes the XUV700 great value, however, we will have to see if such competitive pricing reflects on the higher spec versions, especially the range topping AX7 series with the options pack. Now as you may have figured by now, it is a mighty impressive product on so many counts. It’s got the power, the road presence, the features and at last, an interior that can rival the best in the segment. Mahindra really has gone all-out with the XUV and it shows.

Better still, the 2.2-litre diesel engine and the 6-speed auto is a lovely combination that can give you the thrills when you are in the mood and be frugal the rest of the time. But coming to the most important question, does the XUV700 have enough to make a name for itself in a segment which has heavy hitters like the Safari and the Alcazar? Going by what we have seen and experienced so far, the XUV700 is looking extremely promising though we will have a much clearer picture once Mahindra announces prices for the rest of the variants but again, looking at the prices of the five-seater manual variants so far, the XUV700 is likely to be the value champ at the premium end of the market as well.

2023 Smart electric SUV: what we know so far

Smart Concept SUV 2021 Front Tracking

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Kia e-Niro

Audi E-tron GT

Audi E-tron Sportback

On sale: 2023 | Price from: £34,500 (est)

It’s a rare thing to have your cake and eat it, but that’s exactly what the new Smart electric SUV is aiming to let drivers do. It combines a futuristic design with good interior space, and a long range with cutting-edge technology designed to make driving easier and safer. That could all end up being a very tasty recipe indeed.

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Based on the Concept #1 car shown at the Munich Motor Show in September, this will be Smart’s first SUV, and will feature frameless doors and a panoramic sunroof designed to create the illusion of a floating roof.

As these photographs show, there are constellations of LEDs linked by slim light bars in place of headlights and rear lights. The futuristic design also features touch-sensitive light bars instead of door handles.

Smart Concept SUV 2021 rear light bar

It’s unlikely that all those details will make it on to the final production model, which Smart is expected to put on sale in 2023. The touch-sensitive light bars, for example, could be replaced with more conventional handles that won’t be disrupted by poor weather conditions.

Kia e-Niro

Audi E-tron GT

Audi E-tron Sportback

Thicker pillars will also be added between the front and back doors for better side-impact crash protection, and entry-level models could get conventional LED lights instead of the adaptive LED light clusters of the concept. We also expect the concept’s four-seat interior to be changed to a more conventional five-seat layout.

The as-yet unnamed SUV’s interior should have a similar amount of space to other electric SUVs, including the Kia e-Niro and Mercedes EQA, so your holiday luggage shouldn’t pose any problems.

The relatively compact size should be helpful when it comes to manoeuvring around town – especially when you find a tight parking space. Indeed, the manufacturer’s existing models, the Smart ForTwo and Smart ForFour electric cars, are both known for fitting into spaces most other cars couldn’t manage. We’d also expect the Smart SUV to have a tight turning circle and quick, light steering.

A 12.8in infotainment screen will be the focal point of the interior, and it will update wirelessly to unlock new features without the need to visit a dealer.

Facial recognition tech is expected to be included as standard. The system will identify registered drivers as they approach the car, and automatically adjust settings based on the user’s preferences – for example the seating position and radio station.

A Beats Audio stereo will be available, although it will probably be an optional extra as part of a partnership, similar to Audi’s tie-up with Sonos.

Smart Concept SUV 2021 Interior

Smart has not revealed which batteries or electric motors it plans to fit to the car, but Geely – the company engineering the SUV – is likely to use the same underpinnings as the Chinese-market Zeekr 001 electric car for high-end versions. That model has a battery capacity of up to 100kWh, and a range of up to 434 miles between charges.

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