Last week we promised you that we’ll bring motoring action to you like never before and like no one else. Keeping the faith, we are back again with another sumptuous issue of our Auto Special with a longer list of more exciting cars waiting to be launched in 2010. If the small cars we featured last week made for a long list, this log is nothing short of a bonanza. In this issue we’ll talk about all the mainstream cars (apart from small cars) which will grace our roads in the year 2011. There are no less than 21 of these beauties begging your attention and money in the New Year. So buckle up and enjoy your ride as we take you through the details of each one of them.
Kizashi is Suzuki’s challenger to the global D-segment benchmark, the Honda Accord. The first mid-size sedan from Suzuki will be powered by a capable 2.4-litre petrol engine and will come with 6 speed manual and automatic transmissions. MSIL is likely to keep the Maruti nametag out for Kizashi’s branding, as the brand is associated with small, cheap cars. To be branded as a Suzuki, the car will retail for Rs 15-16 lakh rupees and will be imported as a CBU before enough volumes are achieved to make local assembly feasible. The car is launching by January end.
New Swift DZire
With the advent of the 2011 Swift, the Dzire is also bound to change. Maruti is planning to cut the Dzire’s boot short for a sub-4 meter length target so as to avail the excise duty cut on small cars and sell the Dzire at a discount. Whether the short boot Dzire is going to sell alongside the usual boot version is still a question though. The engines will remain unchanged, although the rumours of adding a high output, 90bhp diesel in the options list are rife. The Dzire will follow the new Swift’s launch.
Mahindra’s Thar seems to have made the management at MSIL rethink their strategy for the compact SUV segment. While the Gypsy King is only made to order now, the Jimny may be a good weapon to retaliate with. The 4×4 mountain goat internationally comes with a 1.3 petrol power plant. However, for India, putting in the 1.3 DDiS diesel mill will make this small and capable off-roader a great option to have.
The Korando is the most contemporary product from the Ssangyong stable – the Korean SUV maker that Mahindra bought recently. The Korando comes with a 2.0L turbo diesel engine producing 175PS of power. The car is a modern, compact SUV which is designed and built primarily for the European markets. The engine is mated with a 6-speed manual transmission. Modern looking and feature packed, the Rexton will provide an economical diesel SUV substitute to those who cannot afford the CR-Vs and the Captivas of the world.
Another India bound probable from Ssangyong’s SUV lineup is the Rexton. The Rexton is powered by a 2.7-litre 5 cylinder engine which is available in two avatars. The power output of the two versions is 165 and 186 PS respectively at 4,000rpm. The engines are connected with a 5-speed manual and a Mercedes-Benz sourced 5-speed T-Tronic Auto transmission. The Rexton isn’t as modern looking as the Korando, but is more spacious and sits higher up in Ssangyong’s model hierarchy.
Mahindra and Mahindra
Mahindra has been readying its own new generation SUV for the Indian market for quite some time. Codenamed W201, this SUV is termed World SUV by industry experts and Mahindra officials. An entirely new product, the W201 is expected to take traits such as refinement, handling, driving aids and creature comforts to a new high by Mahindra standards. The new SUV, unlike the ladder frame setup of its predecessors, will have a monocoque shell for more car-like handling. Power will be delivered by the same 2.2 litre mHawk engine that powers the Scorpio, although the engine may be retuned a bit to suit the heavier weight of the new model.
Logan (Short Boot)
Mahindra is planning a short boot version of the Logan to make it qualify as a small car. Only a few months ago, an automotive magazine managed to catch the test mule of the short boot version of the car on camera. Reducing the boot size will make a lot of sense for the Logan. It’s already great value, and an excise duty cut will make it a terrific VFM proposition. Add to the equation the fantastic fuel efficiency of its 1.5-litre diesel engine, and the short boot Logan is sure to become value seekers’ delight.
Xylo 5 seater
Mahindra is trying to play it really smart with a new, smaller version of the Xylo. While maintaining the basic shape of an SUV, the company plans to reduce the length of the vehicle to less than 4 meters to avail an excise duty cut. This would make the Xylo mini SUV qualify as a small car, and fantastic value for money product. In its smaller version, the Xylo will appeal to taxi operators and families alike. The fuel efficiency too will be quite high with a sub 1.5 litre diesel engine under the bonnet.
The 1.5-litre petrol version of the Etios, which has become a stonking success already, will be followed by a diesel variant by the end of the year 2011. The exteriors and interiors would largely remain the same, but the oil-burning variant will come with a higher sticker price. The chances of this car turning into a major hit among taxi operators is quite high knowing Toyota’s terrific reputation among the community.
Honda have unveiled the new Civic in the ongoing Detroit Auto Show. Although the exteriors are not very different from the current version, we can expect an infusion of plenty of positive changes in the new generation Civic. With the advent of the Corolla Altis and the Cruze, the Civic is under pressure and the need for a new model is increasingly felt by the Japanese carmaker. Details about the engine options are not out yet, but hopefully Honda will offer better (read more efficient) engine options in the new car.
GM have taken the wraps off the new Aveo sedan at the Detroit Motor Show. The handsome looking car has been entirely refurbished and looks ready to take the fight to the likes of the Sx4 when it arrives in India. Christened the Sonic for the US market, the new Aveo will internationally be available with a 1.4 litre turbocharged engine producing 138 horses and mated to a six speed manual transmission. There would also be a naturally aspirated 1.8 litre four cylinder engine which will be mated with a five speed manual or six speed auto tranny. The engines for the Indian market however may differ from the international options.
Renault is betting big on India, and is ready with its lineup of next-gen cars to erase the bad memories of Logan. The first in the range of the new Renault vehicles to be introduced in India would be the Fluence sedan. The Fluence is a mid-size sedan which can be compared with the Cruze and the Civic in terms of size and will be available with both petrol and a diesel engines. The diesel mill will be a more powerful version of the 1.5-lite DCi mill that powered the Logan. The petrol motor will be a 1.6-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder unit, sourced from its ally Nissan, and capable of 110bhp. While both petrol and diesel engines will be mated to a six-speed manual transmission, the petrol engine will also get the option of a CVT auto.
ccording to Renault’s strategy, the next vehicle to be introduced in the Indian market after the Fluence sedan will be the Koleos crossover. The Koleos comes with a 2.0-litre diesel engine in two different states of tune. The first version produces 150PS of power, while the second, more powerful version dishes out 170PS of peak power.
Although not as refined or as capable as its international rivals such as the Honda CR-V, Ford Kuga and VW Tiguan, the Koleos has made a strong point for itself internationally as a value offering and is a laudable first effort by Renault at a crossover. The Koleos is expected to hit the Indian roads by Mid-2011 and will be priced in the region of Rs 17-18lakh.
Malaysian national car maker has been looking at an entry into the Indian market for many years now. However, 2011 seems to be the year when the carmaker would actually start selling its cars in the country. The company is looking at launching various vehicles from its international portfolio in the Indian market. The Saga sedan and the Exora MPV are the two most probable launches apart from the small car Savvy we talked about last week.
Former Hyundai India president BVR Subbu is director on the Proton board and that should say a lot about the company’s seriousness to make a foray into the Indian market. Proton is in talks with a variety of carmakers including Nissan and HM, and while nothing seems to have been finalized as of now, the company has the capability to quickly start assembling their cars here once they have access to an assembly plant and retail outlets.
The Safari remains largely unchanged for more than a decade now. However, with the Aria, Tata Motors have shown that their new generation 4×4’s will be much more advanced. The next generation Safari, or the Safari Merlin will reap the benefits of the lessons learnt by Tata during the development of the Aria.
The Tata Merlin will be powered by the same 2.2-litre DICOR mill that propels the Aria, albeit with a dual mass fly-wheel for smoother operation and reduced NVH levels. Tata Motors is also apparently working on a 3.0-litre diesel engine.
Apart from the engines, the list of features and creature comforts will be as, or even more generous as the Aria. The 2012 Safari Merlin is expected to be unveiled by mid 2011 and is expected to be priced between Rs. 14-17 lakh.
The new generation Fiesta has been doing the rounds on Chennai streets for almost a year now. Although only the hatchback variant of the car has been caught testing till now, we are quite sure that what it’s testing under that skin is the drivetrain for the sedan version. We expect the new car as a replacement to the current Fiesta – however, as commonly seen in the Indian market, companies don’t mind selling the replacement model alongside the existing model with a new name. That may apply to the current Fiesta as well.
The European spec Fiesta is a highly acclaimed car with class leading dynamics and features. It’s considered to be a leader in its segment and we are sure it will do well in the Indian market as well. Engine options include a 1.6-litre petrol with 120 PS of power and a 1.6 L Duratorq diesel with 90 PS and 212 Nm of torque.
The Nissan Sunny falls in the same category as the Sx4, the current Fiesta and the Verna. The car was officially unveiled and introduced to the Chinese market a month ago, and Nissan has officially announced that it’ll be arriving in India as well, one of the 170 export markets of the car.
The new sedan is slated to arrive to the Indian shores in the second half of the year 2011 and will be made in the company’s plant in Chennai. The new car is powered by Nissan’s 1.5-liter HR15DE engine with dual injectors and a new-generation Xtronic CVT with an auxiliary transmission, both of which are newly introduced in China.
Volkswagen India has confirmed that it will launch the 2011 Passat in 2011. The car will be imported CKD like the current version as the company doesn’t have any plans to increase localization. The current generation Passat is under a lot of pressure from its own Group Company competitor Skoda Superb which offers better styling and tech at almost the same price. The car will be available with a 2.0litre TDi diesel and a 1.8 litre TSI petrol engine.
The Jetta is an accomplished car, but doesn’t quite look the part. But that’s going to change with the car’s upcoming version. In its latest iteration, the Jetta adopts the handsome lines that are increasingly becoming the signature design for all new VW cars. The new generation Jetta has adopted the Volkswagen family front-end look as seen on the new Polo, Passat and Vento. Longer than its predecessor by 90 mm, the Jetta will have more interior space.
Engine options for the new car will include a 1.8 TSi petrol and a 2.0 TDI diesel, same as the ones on the Skoda Laura and superb. A cheaper 1.6 TDI diesel from the Vento may also be presented as an option. The new Jetta is expected around March 2011.
Pune based Force Motors are known for their people carriers and MUVs. The Gurkha compact SUV from Force Motors is without doubt one of the best off-roaders in the country It’s a shame that not many people know about it though. Force Motors is now planning an entry into the proper family SUV segment. The company has been working closely with Guangdong Foday of China and have been testing a full-size SUV for about a year now. The new SUV, which is based on the Explorer III platform of the Chinese carmaker will be positioned somewhere between the Tata Safari and the Ford Endeavour.
Power will be produced using a 2.2-litre, Mercedes-Benz derived common-rail diesel engine, which would be good for a peak power output of more than 150bhp and peak torque of more than 330Nm. Launch expected in April 2010.
The talks of HM Ambassador being on a comeback trail have been rife for quite some time now. HM is working on a new variant of the Ambassador which will be (cough!) more contemporary and practical than the Ambassadors that we know. Pune based Oneo design has been assigned the task of refurbishing the car and prototypes are already reported to be ready.
The new car will be powered by a modern 1.5-litre CRDi powerplant, which should infuse some life into this hitherto sluggish workhorse. The news of a compact (with slashed boot) version of the car is also doing the rounds, with an Amby car with short boot having been caught testing on the streets of Pune. The company is planning to slot the car into the small car bracket by engineering it at less than 4 meters length and avail the excise duty cut.