Ashok Leyland Stile Review
Car Tested: 2013 Ashok Leyland Stile
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 11.20 lakhs
The Stile offers good comfort but looks unembellished.
Multi-purpose vehicles are gaining solid momentum in India. Gone are the days of the Maruti Omni, which had a monopoly in the Indian market for quite some time and catered to both commercial as well as private buyers. There are a range of MPVs available in our market now and many are yet to be launched. The compact MPV segment has also emerged and has been accepted very well by the Indian audience. Now Nissan is pushing the NV200 platform for this segment, on which the Evalia is based and surprisingly, it has been chosen to be the next New-York City cab. Based on the same platform, Ashok Leyland has launched a re-badged Nissan Evalia, renamed as Stile. The Ashok Leyland Stile is targeted towards the growing commercial vehicle segment, unlike the Evalia. The Stile is a cut price version of the Evalia and we take it for a quick spin to explore the changes.
Motor Quest: The NV200 is a light commercial vehicle platform produced by Nissan. It is being shared with Chevrolet, Mitsubishi and Ashok Leyland. The NV200 platform has been chosen to be the next New-York City cab and has hit the production lines.
Exterior – The most significant changes can be noticed upfront. Instead of the sleek headlamps of the Evalia, the Stile gets a broader set of smoked headlamp cluster. The grille on the Stile is bigger in size, supported with a single chrome slat on the top. The Ashok Leyland logo sits on the bonnet instead of the grille. The bumper has also been redesigned with chunkier lines that integrate the fog lamp housing without fog lamps, as they are not offered as standard equipment on the Stile to cut cost. So the changes on the front fascia of the Stile give a bold appearance when compared to the Evalia’s somewhat sharp treatment.
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The humdrum looking side profile of the Stile is ditto as the Evalia, retaining the supporting crease lines of the sliding door and slightly highlighted wheel arches. However, the Stile gets sliding windows on the sliding door unlike the Evalia that gets butterfly windows, which is now addressed on the updated version. New set of 10-spoke alloy wheels on the Stile looks good but still carries over the small 14-inch tyres (15-inch tyres are optional). As we move on to the rear profile, the design gets flatter and dull. The Stile’s rear is simpler because the thick set of reflectors are absent. The Ashok Leyland badging is prominent just above the number plate housing and the tail lamps look similar but get different detailing inside. Noticeable change is the addition of a rear spoiler, which doesn’t gel properly with the overall styling.
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Interior – The Ashok Leyland Stile gets more or less the same interior as the Nissan Evalia but with slightly improved ergonomics and lesser features. You have to climb inside the cabin, ingress takes a bit of an effort because of the high floor placement. There is an instant feeling of roominess as you enter the cabin because of the large windshield, light colour theme and high seating position. The dashboard layout is plain and simple. You will find a lid covering the glove box, which was open in the previous version of the Evalia. Another change to notice is the scooped out storage section above the glove box, which is because of the absence of airbags on the Stile, even on the range topping trim. The dashboard mounted gear lever positioning frees up space in the middle. The Nissan Micra derived steering wheel on the Stile has a reworked horn pad with an Ashok Leyland logo.
The instrument cluster gets a simple analogue speedometer without a tachometer, which is present in the Evalia, displayed on the digital MID screen. Instead of the MID, the Stile comes with a small screen displaying fuel level, time and ODO with two trip modes. Another disappointing aspect is that the turn indicators don’t have a sound when engaged and quite often one tends to forget about the engaged blinkers, which is misleading for the traffic around you. Then there are the power window switches, which are controlled individually. The driver side doesn’t get one touch function, neither the control of the passenger side window. The outside rear view mirrors are only manually adjustable across all the variants. Such basic features are provided to keep the price aggressive for the commercial vehicle segment.
The footwell is wide and you get a dead pedal for added comfort. However, the driving position is a bit awkward, as the steering wheel is tilted to the extent that it reminds you of a bus. The rear doors feel heavy to slide, thankfully they get anti-roll back locks when pushed all the way back. Our test model came with 7-seater layout that gets captain seats. The captain seats are comfortable and supportive for long drives with flexible legroom and are reclinable as well. The sliding windows are small in size and it would be uneasy to travel without AC in summers. Third row seat is very practical, where two average sized adults can sit easily. Boot space even with the upright third row is adequate but for a good load of luggage, you need to fold the last row. While the Nissan Evalia comes with ABS, EBD and airbags as standard across all its variants, it’s strange that the Stile is not being offered with these safety features, even as option.
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Performance – The Ashok Leyland Stile comes with a single diesel engine option. It is the tried and tested Renault sourced 1.5-litre K9K engine but it comes with a lower state of tune compared to the Evalia. The 1.5-litre diesel unit powering the Stile, produces 75 BHP of power with 185 Nm of torque. Detuning the engine has helped Ashok Leyland to boast an ARAI certified mileage of 19.5 km/l. The reduced performance figures are not evident in the lower range at least. The Stile picks up its pace with negligible turbolag and keeps the acceleration strong until mid-range. This means that it is an effortless city commuter and is capable to pull its weight quickly with all the passengers loaded. Only when the Stile hits the highway, the power feels inflexible in the top range.
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The K9K diesel engine is already known for its creamy and refined nature but somehow, the NVH levels of the Stile make it quite audible inside the cabin. Mated to the 1.5-litre diesel unit is a 5-speed manual gearbox, which has short and precise throws but it could feel more slick and smooth. The ratios are well spread and in-gear acceleration is good that results in easy city drivability. Because of the thin turbolag, the gearbox doesn’t need frequent shifts to get going. Out on the highway, the Stile needs to be downshifted for slick overtakes. However, with a light foot in top gear, the MPV behaves calmly and is a capable cruiser.
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Driving Dynamics – The Stile is meant for commuting between one place to another with comfort, space and practicality. It is obvious that such body type of vehicles isn’t a hoot to drive and same is the case with the Stile. The steering is indeed light and easy to use at slow speeds for comfortable city manoeuvring but out on the highway it remains on the lighter side. The Stile’s cornering ability is predictable but there is a fair bit of body roll, which should be treated by slowing down before hitting a corner. Pushing it too hard will unease the passengers. The 14-inch wheels appear skinny and puny but on the move, the tyres have decent grip and provide good comfort.
The Stile soaks up the bumps orderly with its comfortable ride quality. The suspension setup consists of leaf springs at the rear, which makes it feel a bit on the firmer side but the vehicle manages to tackle potholes maturely. However, there is a sense of bounciness at the back when you hit undulations at medium speeds. High speed stability is worth appreciation, as it feels planted on the roads. There is a certain amount of wind and tyre noise trickling inside the cabin on the highway. Braking performance of the Stile is predictable and the pedal bite is crisp as well but ABS is sorely missing on the big sized MPV, which adds a bit of nervousness while braking at high speeds (all variants of the Evalia get ABS).
[flickr size=”center” float=”medium”]http://www.flickr.com/photos/motorbeam/10269791524/[/flickr]
Verdict – The Ashok Leyland Stile has been launched in India, keeping in mind the commercial vehicle segment. Having said that, at the end of the day it ticks the correct boxes for that segment, where there is no need for premium touches, high-end features, powerful engine and styling. It is a practical MPV with ample space, frugal engine and comfortable ride quality. However, the Stile skips on some necessary equipment in today’s day and age such as ABS, airbags, tachometer, rolling down windows in the middle row and so on. Private buyers would consider the much accomplished competition in this segment but for commercial purpose, the Ashok Leyland Stile seems to be the right option at this price point. The targeted group is the taxi segment, staff transport, ambulance, tour operators and hotel shuttle, places where the Stile simply excels.
The Stile is a practical MPV for the commercial vehicle segment. It has a frugal diesel engine with good low end punch for easy city mobility but skips on some necessary equipment.
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* Ride Quality
* Frugal Engine
What’s Not So Cool
* Basic Features
* No ABS, EBD, Airbags
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2013 Ashok Leyland Stile Specifications
* Engine: 1461cc, 4-Cylinder
* Power: 75 BHP @ 3300 RPM
* Torque: 185 Nm @ 1750-2750 RPM
* Transmission: 5-speed manual
* Fuel Consumption: 13 km/l (City), 15 km/l (Highway)
* Fuel Type: Diesel
* Suspension: Independent, coil with McPherson struts (Front), Leaf Springs (Rear)
* Tyres: 185/65/14 Tubeless
* Brakes: Ventilated Disc (Front), Drums (Rear)
2013 Ashok Leyland Stile Dimensions
* Overall length x width x height: 4400 mm X 1700 mm X 1880 mm
* Wheelbase: 2725 mm
* Ground Clearance: 180 mm
* Front Track: 1490 mm
* Rear Track: 1510 mm
* Turning Radius: 5.2-metres
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 50-litres
* Kerb Weight: 1383 – 1410 kgs