Automobile by definition is a road vehicle running on an internal combustion engine or electric motor which can carry usually four people or so. Though the western world witnessed its share of automobile innovation, the Indian roads were not able to be a major audience before independence. While the western roads enjoyed the Italian mobility marvels and American designs, Indian markets were host to Mercedes Benz and a few other vehicles which only the elite could afford. The Indian car market most relates to is the Ambassador car. Based on the iconic Morris Oxford, Ambassador created waves in the Indian market by serving the Indian public at every walk of life. From diplomat’s transportation to the cab service, the spacious, strong masculine Ambassador sure remains the most impressive image of car in the country. While the car is being discussed at such levels the company behind it sure cannot be left unmentioned. This iconic car comes from India’s very own Hindustan Motors. The company started manufacturing the Ambassador back in 1958 and was an unbeatable champion on roads until Maruti Motors came on board . Still Ambassador, as its name suggests remain to be a crucial part of Indian roads. Not just due to the impact it created in the way Indian public commute but also for the contribution it made to the history of Indian automobiles as a whole. The vehicle remained the most sought after alternative for traditional cars due to its robust build which is designed to withstand the most absurd terrains ranging from the mountain terrains to the crippled Indian roads where the terrain back then was as good as suited to fit in maximum number.
It all started with the Birla's trying to introduce a car, which could replace the earlier Hindustan Motors models and they found a perfect solution in the form of Morris Oxford Series III. Though the basic version came out with a side-valve engine, it was eventually updated to a overhead-valve engine. The monocoque chassis also helped the vehicle in maintaining a spacious feel which gave a breeze of fresh air back then. This mode of construction not only helped the Ambassador in having a spacious design but also helped it withstand any collision impacts. The major specialty of the Ambassador, even now remains in its safety and immunity towards collisions. Though the company had been through several issues meanwhile which partly led the company to face severe losses due to the increased competition, the company still managed to have a dedicated customer base who could not ignore the charm and history of the Ambassador.
Over the years, lot of things changed, lot of cars came and what had just been a complete market of automobiles ended up being a huge market of SUVs, coupes, sport cars, MUVs, hatchbacks, convertibles, crossovers and many other new segments competing with each other yet creating an individual market of their own. Apparently, Hindustan Motors is the only manufacturer in the world who manufactures Bedford trucks parts. The company recently revamped its flagship vehicle and is reportedly planning on increasing the available range at a rapid speed. The color variants offered by the vehicle are also customized to match the contemporary design parameters. Much recently the famous Deepak Chabria used Ambassador as the base structure for DC designs Amberod. The tweaks done by DC designs and the appeal it created is but an indication to the impact the vehicle has in the Indian market which never ceases to die. Right now the main area where the vehicle is used is the taxicab services and government diplomat transport with prominent political personalities including INC chief Sonia Gandhi commuting through it.
The variants have a different fuel specifications. While two variants come with diesel engine the other three are available in petrol, LPG and CNG variants. The mileage is more in the diesel variant as always, while the running cost is lower in the CNG. The CNG, along with being highly affordable option, is a better choice for those looking from environmental friendly solutions. The engine capacity in the 1.5-litre DSZ engine is 1489cc, while the 1.8-litre petrol engine, the 1.8-litre CNG engine and the 1.8-litre LPG engine have a 1817cc engine capacity. The highest engine capacity of 1995cc is available in the 2.0 litre DSZ engine, which is justified considering its four cylinder OHC engine and the desired performance from the vehicle.
Power of Ambassador
The Hindustan Motors Ambassador car offers 71bhp in its MPFI engine and a 50bhp in the diesel variant, DSZ engine. Though it isn’t much compared to the massive 130bhp most SUVs tend to provide, the market Ambassador targets can have a satisfactory ride with just this much. Also since the latest models are comparatively slimmed down in size, the body weight is also reduced considerably allowing the Ambassador travel at high speeds inspite of the low Bhp. The 1.5-litre DSZ engine offers a maximum power of 35.5bhp at 4000rpm with a torque of 7.44kgm at 2250rpm. The MPFI petrol engine provides a 71bhp at 4800rpm and a torque of 13.7kgm at 2250rpm. The 1.8-litre CNG engine offers a decent 54bhp at 4600rpm and a torque of 10.49kgm at 3000rpm. The 1.8-litre LPG offers a 65bhp at 4600-4700rpm and a slightly less torque of 13.2kgm at 2000rpm. The powerful 2.0-litre diesel engine offers a decent 50bhp at 4200rpm along with a 10.8kgm at 2200rpm.
These colors are available with all variants of Ambassador
Acceleration & Pick-Up
The Ambassador features a five speed manual gearbox with all the gears synchronized with overdrive. The clutch used in the Ambassador is the dry disc type with a diameter of 200mm for the diesel variants and a 215mm diameter for the remaining models. The 2.0-litre DSZ and 1.8-litre CNG variant have a four cylinder OHC engine, the 1.5-litre DSZ engine has a four cylinder OHV engine, while the petrol variant has an MPFI engine with four cylinder OHC.
The exteriors of an Ambassador are strong and sturdy to start with. The amazing monocoque chassis creates a perfect blend of framework and chassis that help the vehicle in having a balanced weight distribution and a focused center of gravity. This design ethics also makes the vehicle immune to any major damage when collision occurs. The exteriors of the Ambassador are prominent in terms of perfectly built aerodynamics which do not consider the traditional hatchbacks their competition. The vehicle has its own class, takes its own space and works in its own way. While the durability and performance are unmatched in its then contemporaries, the perfect exteriors do make the Ambassador stand different in the crowd. The wheel arches do not actually have cheek or extra muscle and are designed in a simple subtle manner helping the vehicle navigate with ease in crowds without worrying about increased body width. The ground clearance of the ambassador is also amazingly large. It is enough to maneuver through uneven streets and the crippled terrains of the Indian rural scene. Hindustan Motors repeatedly updated its front grill trying to decode the perfect style suiting the entire Ambassador body. The grill, hence, went through an interesting transition phase with the present model settling with a rather simple subtle one. Compared to previous models, the exteriors are also designed aptly suiting the contemporary design standard.
The bulky framework is reduced to be a relatively compact version. The body colored bumper gives a proper style statement which reflects a synchronized exterior feel. The best feature of the Hindustan Motors Ambassador car remains its well built perfectly placed doors and the iconic pinched bonnet, which add character to the vehicle. The indicator lamps help the vehicle have a better command in traffic as it also helps the vehicle avoid potential accidents. The tail lamp is a vibrant diamond cut tail lamp which adds a distinct character to the vehicle, one that claims authority and an amiable design. The diamond cut structure and modeling of the tail lamps provide a more luminescent light which helps the Ambassador in traffic during dark hours. The entire design from bonnet curves to the boot edges moves in a flow. The design is interconnected and the deeply intertwined design characteristics are evident in first look. The Hindustan Motors Ambassador car has a distinct stature on Indian roads and the exteriors are very hard to ignore. Revamping an iconic car is a challenge that not many companies can succeed in doing. Iconic cars of such stature always have these problems. Mercedes G-Class had it, VW Beetle had it and even the Mini had it. Though none of such cars can actually afford to revamp an unrecognizable vehicles out of their iconic image, they do not cease to stop trying which remains one of the main defining parameter of principles. Hindustan Motors too tried its best in achieving these up-gradations and to a huge extent came out successful.
Though the initial exteriors of the Hindustan Motor Ambassador were a little on bulky side, the new edition features an aesthetically pleasing and has a traffic friendly framework. The Ambassador has a total length of 4325mm and the overall width is 1662mm. Being designed for Indian roads, the height is aptly designed to be at 1593mm. This height helps the vehicle in accommodating a larger ground clearance. The ground clearance is a class defining 152mm. The kerb weight is a hefty 1200 Kgs while the gross vehicle weight is around 1650 Kgs. The wheel base of the Hindustan Motors Ambassador is 2464mm which should not actually be a problem in the urban scene.
With the new generation of Ambassador, Hindustan Motors is trying to revamp its age old interiors with a new refreshing perspective, which is not just limited to the material quality being used for the interior build, but also extends to the amazingly ergonomic designs. The steering wheel is still the slim one, but has a better grip and design which make it even more comfortable to handle. The steering wheel is engineered in such as way so as to accommodate enough viewing space while driving in a balanced steer position, to view the driving parameters such as speedometer, fuel levels, etc. Such simple efforts though would not create a major difference alone but collectively they do make the driving experience a better one. But Hindustan Motors did not just settle with a good visual image of the steering but it also updated it to a power steering, which considering its comparatively bulky framework makes it a pleasurable drive. The interiors are also equipped with a well designed seats and ample legroom, molded doors, which blend in perfectly with the interior aesthetics. Being a trusted manufacturer of many vehicles, both personal and on demand from major automobile players such as Mitsubishi and Pajero, Hindustan Motors factory fitted AC included in the Ambassador is a promising gesture. The rear seats are fitted with a foldable armrest which makes it a comfortable choice for the rear seat passengers. A mobile charging facility is also provided in the Ambassador making it more convenient for the passengers.
As a part of new improving the interiors of Ambassador, Hindustan Motors apparently laid special focus on offering a comfortable appeal to them. The efforts, apparently paid off quite well as evident in the look and feel of interiors which maintain the strong appeal of the previous models, while continuing to flourish as an independent style statement. The Ambassador which has always been adored by masses, yet again created a better feature filled vehicle which will leave the public satisfied. The armrest included in the rear seat row folds back into the seats giving a thoughtful design feature that will probably attract the public in numbers it deserves. Along with the factory fitted air conditioning system, the Ambassador features power windows and power steering as an update which will enhance the driving experience. As a whole the interiors are a lot comfortable due to highly improved interior features which provide an unmatched experience considering the Ambassador’s build. The five speed gear and other interior elements are fitted in a promising color match which help the vehicle in developing a striking interior which match the personal taste of the user ultimately.
As Hindustan Motors claims, Ambassador remains to be a comfortable car due to spacious interiors. The legroom is amazingly big enough to fit in people with height with ease. The rear seating can seat three passengers with ease and ultimate comfort.
Ambassador Engine and Performance
The Ambassador comes with five engine choices which are distributed in terms of engine capacity, fuel type and the performance characteristics. The engine specifications are altered to suit the growing demands of the Indian automobile consumers. While the mileage and performance parameters alter based on the choice of engine, the basic performance ethics of Hindustan Motors are obvious in all the variants. The variants available are a 1.5-litre DSZ, which is a diesel engine, which churns out 35.5bhp at 4000rpm with a torque of 7.44kgm at 2250rpm. The 1.8-litre petrol engine has an MPFI supply system and provides 71bhp at 4800rpm and a torque of 13.7kgm at 2250rpm. The 1.8-litre CNG engine offers a decent 54bhp at 4600rpm and a torque of 10.49kgm at 3000rpm. The 1.8-litre LPG offers a 65bhp at 4600-4700rpm and a slightly less torque of 13.2kgm at 2000rpm. The powerful 2.0-litre diesel engine offers a decent 50bhp at 4200rpm along with a 10.8kgm at 2200rpm.
The neatly carved out wheel arches of this Ambassador are equipped with a robust set of 15 inch steel wheels. These shiny rims have been further covered with a sturdy set of tubeless radial tyres of size 165 / 80 R15 87 S , which have a superior road grip on any terrain. The company has also equipped a full size spare wheel in the boot compartment of this car, which is a standard feature across all the variants.
Braking & Handling
The braking in the Hindustan Motors Ambassador is as promising as it can get. Defining the true meaning of automobile commuting, Ambassador has a better braking facility suiting the build of the vehicle. The Ambassador has perfect braking specifications and handling techniques, which helped it become, one of the few cars which survived decades of competition. The Ambassador features an independent suspension in the front, with torsion bar springs which provide a comfortable handling while the anti-roll bar is augmented hydraulic telescopic double acting shock absorbers provide perfect maneuvering through the speed breakers and the terrains in rural scene which might be filled with rocks and uneven paths. The semi elliptical leaf springs are provided as the rear suspension, which are appended with hydraulic telescopic double acting shock absorbers and metallic bushes, all of which give the vehicle a smooth performance stature. The 2.0-litre DSZ engine and the 1.5-litre DSZ engine variants have servo assisted front disc brakes and a drum brakes in rear equipped with an auto adjuster . The other variants also come with same specifications.
Handling & Safety
Various examples through decades and innumerable personal experiences from public sound like a chorus when speaking about an Ambassador. It might look huge, but it works huge too. It is huge but not obese. Ambassador tales all connect to a single point where the car is lauded for its firm structure and successive safety. Even the worst collision impacts to the vehicle would not impact the vehicle’s passengers usually. There will always be that ultimate disaster, when nothing is left in the car but that can be any car and it is not the point of concern here. The main benefit Hindustan Motors has in Indian automobile market is the fact that almost every Indian has a memory of traveling in an Ambassador no matter how insignificant that journey had been in the first place. Even the present generation have seen an Ambassador on the streets in some form or the other. Other than the safety, handling of the Ambassador car is also a worthy mention. The monocoque chassis helps the vehicle avoid the major damages which the vehicle might have been subjected to. Where its counterparts, whose framework and chassis are joined and aligned fail to withstand some of the traditional collisions, this traditional monocoque structure remains a promising build offering safety and sturdy feel.
Stereo & Accessories in Ambassador
The Hindustan Motors Ambassador comes with an MP3 music system , which offers decent output, which is far better than its predecessors. Hindustan Motors left no stone unturned in providing some of the major prime accessories in the Ambassador making it a tough competitor for other cars in the range. As Hindustan Motors even during its low side, found a decent number of loyal customers in terms of taxicabs, etc. who would still prefer the vehicle due to the affinity they created with it. As an attempt to monetize this fan base, the Hindustan Motors added accessories to the vehicle well past its own previous standards. The aspects such as mobile charger included in the Ambassador allow users to stay in peace without worrying about the aftermath of battery rundown. The charger facility too is apparently a versatile one with a choice of charging mobile phones of various makes. The charging ports can also be used for the charging of the miscellaneous gadgets such as iPods and other media players, kindle and tablets as well. As the availability of extensions and cable connectors is not a problem, practically anything under the sun can be charged with the provision given.
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Pros & Cons
Ambassador Pros :
Sturdy overall structure, iconic design
Ambassador Cons :
Aging interior design, many contemporary design elements ignored.