It has been a busy 2016 in terms of new introductions in the Indian automotive market and it wasn't surprising since we had the Auto Expo at the beginning of the year. From iconic sportscars to mass market hatchbacks and compact SUVs, the country has been offered with a host of new vehicles in various segments. A few such examples are the Ford Mustang, Vitara Brezza, Tata Tiago, Endeavour, Renault Kwid 1.0 AMT, Toyota Fortuner and Innova Crysta and we have listed down how they gained popularity with the aspirational as well as mass consumers in the country
The first American muscle car was officially introduced in India in July, 2016 at a price tag of Rs 65 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi. A long hood with a short rear deck and signature three slat tail lamp, all exude the heritage Carol Shelby and Henry Ford started in 1967, the year the first production Mustang was introduced. The build quality, use of materials and a host of driver aids on board as well as appreciable ground clearance make the Mustang the ideal sportscar for everyday use.
Powering the muscle car is only one engine option for India, a 5.0 litre naturally aspirated V8 engine that pumps out 400 hp of power at 6,500 rpm and 515 Nm of torque at 4,250 rpm. Mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission, this combination sends power to the rear wheels. Along with the V8 rumble exiting the tailpipe and a cockpit-inspired cabin, the Mustang checks most boxes for the enthusiast. We recently drove the Mustang GT from Ahmedabad to Surat and found out whether the Pony car makes sense on the Indian roads or not and if it really is more expensive than it ought to be. Also Read: Ford Mustang GT V8 Review
Compact SUVs have been hugely popular in urban areas due to its commanding driving position and smaller dimensions for easy maneuverability. Ford was the first to take the cake with the introduction of the EcoSport. That said, Maruti Suzuki, despite being a little late in the game, introduced the Vitara Brezza in March, 2016 at an introductory starting price of Rs 6.99 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi. This made Ford reconsider the pricing of the EcoSport which was immediately slashed by almost Rs 1.5 lakh so that the compact SUV from the American carmaker would stay competitive in the price battle. That said, the Vitara Brezza garnered a huge interest and has sold over 83,000 units since its launch along with garnering a huge waiting period.
Powering the Vitara Brezza is a 1.3 litre DDiS diesel engine that has been seen doing duty in other Maruti Suzuki cars like the Baleno, Swift, DZire, Ertiga and other models. This engine generates 89 hp of power at 4,000 rpm and 200 Nm of torque at 1,750 rpm. Currently the Vitara Brezza is available only with a manual transmission and a diesel engine, however, there have been speculations of a petrol engine and AMT or automatic transmissions in tow for 2017. We would also love to see the SHVS (Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki) added to the diesel engine which is a mild-hybrid technology for better fuel efficiency and lesser emissions. Also Read: Maruti Suzuki to introduce mild-hybrid technology in its cars in 2017
Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza Video Review
In hopes of putting an end to the company's earlier reputation of questionable reliability and build quality, Tata introduced the Tiago, a hatchback which was priced aggressively. With a starting price of Rs 3.95 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi, the Tiago garnered interest quickly and has sold over 30,000 units till date since its launch in April 2016, and is presently driving the sales growth of the company.
The Tata Tiago is powered by a 1.2 litre Revotron petrol engine and a new 1.05 litre Revotorq diesel engine. Both engines have adequate performance figures with the petrol generating 83 hp of power and 114 Nm of torque while the diesel produces 69 hp of power and 140 Nm of torque. These engines are coupled to a 5-speed manual transmission and the overall package is ideal for a nuclear family. In 2017, two cars that have been confirmed by Tata will be introduced, the Hexa and the Kite 5 compact sedan, the latter being underpinned on the Tiago's platform. Also Read: Tata Hexa First Drive Review
Tata Tiago Petrol Video Review
Renault Kwid 1.0 litre AMT
After the introduction of the Renault Duster in the Indian car market, the French car company wanted to introduce the most affordable car from them. The Kwid was introduced with an 800 cc petrol engine, better features list and a starting price tag of Rs 2.65 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi, which made it a good proposition. The Renault Kwid was modern in terms of design and the tall stance attracted a lot of potential car buyers. While the Alto 800 sold an impressive 11,660 units in November 2016, the French small car took the second spot as it sold 7,847 units in the same period.
The 1.0 litre Kwid AMT (Available at Rs 4.26 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi) has also been pitted against the Alto K10 AGS variants (Starting at Rs 4.05 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi). Unlike the Alto K10, a touchscreen MediaNav infotainment system offered with the Kwid also added to the attraction for young buyers in cities. Power generated by this motor is 67 hp at 5,500 rpm and 91 Nm of torque at 4,250 rpm. This engine, mated to an automatic transmission has a claimed fuel efficiency of 23.01 kmpl, which is comparable to the segment competitors.
Ford introduced the new Endeavour in Thailand in 2015, and ever since its launch, potential buyers had something exciting to look forward to from the American carmaker. The new Endeavour isn't just a mere facelift but an entirely new vehicle that comes with features that are top notch and technology that makes it a capable SUV with appreciable off-roading credentials. The two engine options available with the Endeavour include a 2.2 litre and a 3.2 litre unit, both being diesel motors. Despite the ban of diesel engines above 2,000 cc in major cities like NCR and Kerala, the Endeavour gained popularity and the availability of an automatic transmission also helped gaining good numbers for the full-sized SUV (The company sold 562 units in November 2016)
The 2.2 litre generates 158 hp of power and 385 Nm of torque, while the 3.2 litre produces 197 hp of power and 470 Nm of torque, the latter being available only with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Versions powered by the 3.2 litre motor are also offered with Ford's Terrain Management System, which aids in tackling different terrains like sand, rock, gravel etc with ease. The vehicle also has a rear locking differential. Also Read: Ford Endeavour off road review
Toyota Fortuner and Toyota Innova Crysta
Toyota's earlier generation Fortuner and Innova are among the top two cars that contributed to a major extent in the company's sales. The Innova become a hit amongst fleet owners due to its rock-solid reliability and consistently strong sales since its introduction in 2012, is proof enough for its popularity. In addition, the passenger vehicle became a practical family car for a number of large families. The Fortuner instead became the new choice of those who love to own a car with a dominating road presence.
After a few facelifts on both models, Toyota came up with the Innova Crysta, a premium MPV and the new Fortuner, an SUV designed for the urban environment. The Innova Crysta that was launched in 2016, garnered popularity immediately (The Innova Crysta has sold over 50,000 units since its launch) and premium touches made it the ideal choice for a person who would want a luxurious people carrier. On the other hand, the Fortuner lost its brute design but gained an urban friendly face. Launched on 7th November 2016, the new Fortuner, like its predecessor gained immediate popularity and within a month of its launch, more than 6,200 units were booked.
Both cars are underpinned by the same platform and powered by the same set of engines, a 2.7 litre petrol, a 2.4 litre diesel and a 2.8 litre diesel. The Fortuner, however, missed out on the smaller diesel unit, however, gets a new all-wheel drive system with Limited Slip Differential for the diesel engine powered variants. Also Read: Toyota Fortuner Off-Road Review
Toyota Innova Crysta 2.8 Litre Diesel Automatic Video Review
It surely has been an exciting 2016, where established car companies entered new segments and completely new models of existing cars were introduced, which are mechanically as well as electronically better than their predecessors. And like this year, we expect 2017 to be even more exciting with the introduction of affordable performance hatchbacks like the Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS, new premium hatchbacks like the Maruti Suzuki Ignis and refresh of existing models like the Ford EcoSport.