2016 DC Avanti Review
2016 DC Avanti – Click above for high resolution picture gallery

DC Avanti Review

Car Tested: DC Avanti; Road Test No. 651

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 43.35 lakhs

The Avanti succeeds in what it is made for – exclusivity, attention and a fun-to-drive factor

It all began when I was a kid. Posters of Lamborghinis and Ferraris adorned the walls of my room and with a sparkling eye, I used to look at them everyday and wonder that I’ll buy one of these machines when I enter college. I did enter college many years later but reality struck and I realised it isn’t as easy to buy a Lamborghini or a Ferrari. Just like me, there must be a lot of people who have had such desires to buy a sexy-looking, fast car in their early years of life. Then entered a wise man called Dilip Chhabria who envisioned the idea of a ‘Made In India’ sports car, a car that would be big on style and power and yet it would be relatively inexpensive. So ladies and gentlemen, it was a bright day in Gurgaon, Haryana and a shiny new Electric Blue DC Avanti had just come out of its slumber to take us on a drive and show us its prowess.

Motor Quest: The DC Avanti is currently manufactured on a made-to-order basis. The company assembles the entire vehicle at its plant in Pune. The vehicle has been getting a lot of attention ever since it was first showcased and as of now, there are around 50 units of the Avanti plying on Indian roads. The company even exports the vehicle and currently there is 1 Avanti running in London too.

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The engine gets a vented glass cover, the bonnet has other components

Exteriors – The DC Avanti was first unveiled to the public way back in 2012 at the Auto Expo and while it did generate a lot of buzz, not everyone went gaga on its looks. At first glance, the Avanti looked very quirky and got some brickbats too. Later on, DC gave some tweaks to the car’s exteriors and the final product turned out to be much better-looking than the one that was first showcased. Even now, the Avanti looks much better in flesh than in pictures. The front is jaw dropping gorgeous with all its striking elements and the low slung body line. The headlights in the production model are a bit different than the ones showcased on the concept vehicle.

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Take the Avanti anywhere and be sure you’ll get lots of attention

DC offers the option of painting your car in any colour of your choice, different wheel designs can be chosen too

The body is very wide, in fact wider than a Lamborghini Aventador! The height is also just marginally more than the raging bull. The side profile looks sporty with all its prominent lines and creases. The alloy wheels could have got a better design though. Also, the front and the rear just don’t blend in well with each other and the side profile takes a design change out of nowhere. It is the rear end of the car where things tend to become a bit quirky which includes the tail lights and the engine cover. With the bonnet and the rear engine cover opened up, the rear of the car actually looks as if it is the front of the car! We noticed that the paint quality on the exterior body panels is just splendid and DC has always been known to have excellent paint finish. The Avanti is offered in three colours (red, white and silver) but the company does allow you to choose any specific colour of your choice and they would paint it for you in that exact shade.

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The Avanti has basic interiors, many improvements needed

Interiors – DC has always been known for the luxurious interiors that they put together in modified Toyota Innovas and Mahindra XUV500s so I was really expecting the interiors of the Avanti to be quite rich in terms of quality. However, the case wasn’t that and we found the interiors of the vehicle to be a bit below par in terms of quality in certain places. The dashboard has a simple and neat layout with a very prominent centre console housing. The dashboard is finished in black and it has some silver accents around the AC vents. The AC vents are circular and the design is quite similar to what we see in entry-level hatchbacks. Ah, reminded me of the old Chevrolet Spark. There are some design issues too, such as the fact that the left power window switch is used to operate the right power window and vice versa, which we were assured would be corrected in the newer batches.

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Lots of customisation options are on offer, including upholstery patterns and colours

The steering wheel has a flat-bottom and is good to hold. It doesn’t get integrated phone or audio controls and is again very simple with just a horn button. The horn again sounds like that of a mass-market car. The switchgear is made up of pretty decent quality and in the Avanti the headlight stalk is on the LHS while the wiper stalk is on the RHS, just like European vehicles. The instrument cluster houses a nice high resolution display which shows the usual information such as speed, RPM, odo, trip meter and average and instant fuel efficiency. The vehicle also gets automatic climate control and the AC works nicely without any concerns. There is also a Pioneer touchscreen audio system on offer and it has been integrated with the rear camera that the Avanti offers. Talking about storage spaces, well there are hardly any! The door pockets are very small in size and it would be impossible to fit even a water bottle in there. The glovebox is also very compact and there is another small storage space between both the seats which is just enough to keep your phone and sunglasses.

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The seats are comfortable and have a good travel range

The seats are good and supportive but storage spaces are on the lesser side

The seats are large and comfortable and have a very good travel range. Passengers below 6 feet in height will not face any issues in seating while taller passengers might just brush their head against the roof of the car. Whilst seated in the vehicle, take your own sweet time to find the perfect driving position otherwise frontal visibility might be a concern for some people, especially those who are a bit shorter. There is no internal rearview mirror obviously but the ORVMs offer an excellent field of view. Apart from all this, DC also offers a lot of customisations for the interiors where one gets to choose from exotic materials like Alcantara, carbon fibre, etc. for the interior panels. Our test car also came with Alcantara lining on the roof which looked and felt very premium.

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The 2.0-litre turbocharged engine is surprisingly a very good performer

Performance – The DC Avanti comes with a mid-engine layout and the powerplant is a 2.0-litre petrol engine that is sourced from the French automaker Renault. Pumping out 250 horses at 5500 RPM and 340 Nm of twist between 2750 to 5000 RPM, the engine is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission that allowed us to completely exploit the car and churn out the best possible performance from it. The Faridabad highway from Gurgaon was pretty much empty and with a devil intention of giving the car that perfect launch, I could reach the 100 km/hr mark from standstill in approximately 6 seconds which is the claimed time from the automaker itself.

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Turbo lag is excellently contained and the Avanti responds well

The engine is punchy and accelerates swiftly but tends to get a bit noisy

The clutch is very heavy and has a fairly long travel but it has been mated to the engine nicely. Release the clutch with a slight input to the throttle and the first thing you realise is how responsive the engine feels and how brilliantly the turbo lag has been contained. The car picks up pace right from the initial rev range itself. The motor reacts swiftly to accelerator inputs and the Avanti reaches speeds well over the ton quickly. Performance in the mid range is good too but it is the 6200 RPM redline where the motor gets insanely aggressive.

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Acceleration is quick but don’t expect much in terms of fuel economy

However, drive with a light foot and the Avanti will not at all disappoint as an everyday car and it easily cruises at 100 km/hr in the 6th gear at 2000 RPM. The engine does tend to get a bit noisy and it just doesn’t sound like a full-blown sports car. Top speed of the car is electronically limited to 200 km/hr. Also, the gearing is pretty short and that helps the Avanti gain speed quickly. However, the gear shifts aren’t really all that slick and there was a slight amount of roughness while shifting gears. Talking about fuel efficiency, well the Avanti was able to extract 7.5 km/l according to the on-board computer but we did notice the instant fuel efficiency dropping to the 5 km/l mark.

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The steering is stiff and handling is fun, Pirelli tyres really help matters

Driving Dynamics – As you would expect on a sports car, the steering is on the stiffer side and it is a speed-sensitive unit. As the speed of the vehicle increases, the steering also starts becoming very stiff. In fact, at really high speeds, the steering becomes so stiff that it gives a proper go-kart feel, thus making the Avanti immensely fun to drive. Tackling corners is a hell lot of fun and the car maintains its composure in a brilliant manner no matter what speeds you’re doing. The Avanti comes with 20-inch wheels running a staggered set-up and these Pirelli P-Zero tyres have excellent levels of grip. The vehicle gets all four disc brakes which do their job of shedding speeds nicely but we would’ve appreciated if the brakes were more confidence inspiring.

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Ground clearance of a normal car = No worries about scraping

The stiff steering wheel gives you the feel of a go-kart, high ground clearance is useful on our roads which have craters

Most sports cars are associated with the fear of road-hugging ground clearance but you don’t need to worry with the Avanti which gets a ground clearance of 170 mm which is just like any other mass-market hatchback sold in India. With so much of ground clearance, one can be assured that the car don’t scrape its belly on most of our nasty speed breakers. Also, the suspension is very stiffly sprung and thus the shock absorbers have a short travel range too. However, ride quality inside the cabin is very decent by sports car standards. It is stiff but not that much to break your back completely. The suspension also does a very good job of absorbing bumps and you can actually go quickly over broken roads without having much to worry about.

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Airbags will be offered in the near future, car also gets a roll cage

Safety and After Sales Service – The biggest negative of the DC Avanti is the fact that it doesn’t come with airbags. The company is working on this and airbags will be made available on the vehicle in the coming few months. The car gets ABS with EBD and there’s also a roll cage that has been incorporated in the body of the 2-door machine. Apart from that, the body is made up of carbon fibre while the doors get side impact bars. The vehicle needs to be brought in for its first service at 2000 kms and after that the service intervals are every 8000 kms. The company claims that servicing the Avanti will be easy on the pocket and a regular service should cost just Rs. 10,000-15,000/- which is pretty decent.

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It may be DC’s first proper car, but it’s a very good attempt

Verdict – Well, there are no sports cars available in India anywhere under the Rs. 50 lakh mark so the DC Avanti does make a good case for itself. In fact, it is quite fun to drive too and the eye-catching looks are sure to give you lots of attention, especially from the fairer sex. But, the Avanti is still far from being a perfect sports car and it still needs quite a few improvements. The other options that you would have are the BMW Z4 and Audi TT but these cost almost Rs. 20 lakhs more than the Avanti. However, if you already have a couple of cars in your garage and want another car that could give you kicks along with some quick acceleration bursts and a proper sports car feel, then yes the DC Avanti is just the perfect car for you. However, if there’s going to be just one car in your garage, then you’d be better off with a BMW 3-Series or a Mercedes C-Class.

The DC Avanti gives you a proper sports car feel on a relatively lower budget and the oodles of customisation possibilities make sure that you can keep your car an exclusive one on the road. However, the interiors are a big let down, especially coming from the fact that DC has been known to put in some of the best interior modifications with splendid quality on regular cars.

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The engine located in a glass cover invites a lot of curious glances

What’s Cool

* Looks way better in flesh than in pictures
* Chuckable handling characteristics and easy to drive nature
* Engine has lots of punch for relaxed as well as aggressive driving
* Very good ride quality

What’s Not So Cool

* Interiors are basic and quality could have been better
* Long term reliability still remains a concern

Alternatives: BMW 3-Series, Mercedes C-Class, Audi TT, BMW Z4

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Buy an Avanti and it’ll reward you with a lot of attention

DC Avanti Specifications

* Engine: 1998cc, 4-cylinder, Turbocharged, DOHC
* Power: 250 HP @ 5500 RPM
* Torque: 340 Nm @ 2750-5000 RPM
* Transmission: 6-speed manual
* 0-100 km/hr: 6 seconds
* Fuel Consumption: 5-7 km/l
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Suspension: Double wishbone
* Tyres: 255/35/20 (Front), 295/30/20 (Rear)
* Brakes: Ventilated discs (front and rear), ABS
* Safety: ABS, EBD, Seatbelt Pretensioners, Roll Cage

DC Avanti Dimensions

* Overall length x width x height: 4565 mm X 2120 mm X 1200 mm
* Wheelbase: 2700 mm
* Ground clearance: 170 mm
* Turning radius: 6-metres
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 50-litres
* Kerb Weight: 1580 kgs

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The DC Avanti makes a good case for itself as an inexpensive sports car

Testers’ Note:

“The DC Avanti is one crazy attention magnet thanks to the aggressive and free-spirited styling. DC knows how to grab eye balls with its design but I think the rear profile could have been more proportionate. Usually DC excels in doing interior detailing as well but the Avanti’s cabin felt a bit average and inconsistent in quality. However, the engine is great fun on a straight line and handling is quite sharp as well. The desi sports car has big room for improvement but does its job of getting attention quite well.” – Aariz Rizvi, Assistant Editor, MotorBeam.
“I really liked the looks of the Avanti from most angles. The rear looks a bit disproportionate but who cares, the car gets tons of attention everywhere. The insides are a snug fit and it takes some time to get used to the seating position, but once you’re used to it, driving the Avanti is a breeze. The engine has enough punch to get going at a quick pace and the handling is super fun, thanks to the ultra stiff steering and the grippy tyres. The Avanti does need a lot of improvement but otherwise it’s a great attempt and the hard work shows.” – Parth Gohil, Road Tester, MotorBeam.