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Posted at: Jan 13, 2018, 1:17 AM; last updated: Jan 13, 2018, 1:17 AM (IST)

Hot wheels go haute

A range of SUVs and sedans is all set to woo the Indian buyer. Here’s a look at some of the most-awaited cars of the year

H. Kishie Singh

It is entirely possible that your choice of sedan was decided by a jury of 18 prominent auto journalists. At the recent Indian Car of The Year- I-Coty Awards, the best sedan of the year went to Hyundai Verna.

For about Rs 15 lakh, you can have the pick of the litter. It is a good start to the New Year. Plenty of cars to choose from. However, do keep in mind that fossil fuel cars are on their way out. You are going to be driving an electric car sooner than you think!

The best cars today are those that help to preserve the depleting natural resources of Earth. Here’s a look at some of the beauties that will rule the roads this year: 

Less than Rs 5L

To cater to the demands of the ‘aam aadmi’, Maruti Suzuki offers many choices. On top of the list will be the bestsellers  from Maruti Suzuki — Swift, Wagon R, Alto — followed by Renault Kwid and  Nissan Datsun Go. All are sensible buys. The Alto base model, at about Rs 2.5 lakh, is the world’s best-selling car.

Around Rs 10L

Costing up to Rs 10 lakh, Hyundai i 20 and Jazz and Amaze from Honda are all set to woo the buyer. Both have had a lipstick and nail polish job and are now all set to create sensation on the road with their new look.

In the SUV class is the facelifted Hyundai Creta. Creta has had a good run since its introduction. Also coming up around mid-2018 is a newer Ertiga from Maruti Suzuki. These are all likely to cost around Rs 10 lakh. Good buys.

Also around the same cost, the car to look forward to will be Toyota Vios. Toyota has brought it out to compete with Honda City, which has established an impeccable reputation. The Vios will have a 1.4 litre diesel engine and 1.5 litre petrol engine. Its head-on looks are similar to the Camry. The beauty should give Toyota designers much joy. The big difference is that the Camry is about Rs 35 lakh while you are getting similar looks for a lot cheaper.

Between Rs 10L and Rs 50L

Moving slightly upmarket are SUVs and cars nudging the Rs 50 lakh mark. Probably the best buy will still be the Honda CR-V. Completely redone, the new Honda CR-V (priced about Rs 23 lakh) comes with a 1.6 litre four-cylinder diesel engine, first time in India, and with a nine-speed auto gear box. The 2.4 litre petrol engine will also be available. 

In its new avatar, the fully loaded SsangYong from Mahindra is coming at Rs 30 lakh. SsangYong has been making engines, under licence, for Mercedes for decades. A 2.2 litre engine, mated to an auto transmission and an all-wheel drive, makes for an interesting buy.

The Jeep Renegade, a true-blue 4x4 is set to do battle with anyone! Luxury trim, Yankee style, all-wheel drive, both diesel and petrol variants available, makes for an excellent on-road and off-road vehicle. The Jeep Compas also is a good buy. Both are likely to cost about Rs 15 lakh.

Mitsubishi Pajero Sport and Outlander are both about Rs 30 lakh. The Pajero Sport is a little long in the tooth but a newer model is expected this year. The Outlander is a ‘soft roader’, manufacturer’s words. Whatever that means!

Above Rs 50L

The BMW X2 and X3 are priced at Rs 50 lakh and Rs 60 lakh, respectively. The X2 is the sixth SUV BMW has to offer. Because of its smaller size, it promises better and sportier performance.

The X2 is set to battle with Range Rover Evoque. 

The X3 will lock horns with Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLC.

In the X3, the rear seat passengers get three-zone climate control. The rear seats split 40-20-40. When completely folded, the boot space is a brain-numbing 1,600 litres! You can move your washing machine and two-door fridge without calling the movers!

At about Rs 60 lakh, the Jaguar E-Pace, the second SUV from Jaguar, is in a class of its own. Other than looks, which have always been Jaguar’s strong point, the top end models — petrol and diesel — have the active driveline all-wheel drive. Along with the 4-wheel-drive control system, it has the adaptive dynamic dampers. The car offers a sporty on-road performance. Got it? Jolly good show ole chap!

The Range Rover is an SUV suited for all roads. It does not have the macho off-road looks but don’t let the looks fool you. It has all the off-road technology that Land Rover is famous for hidden away under the skin! Price over Rs 2 crore.

The affordable SUVs

The recent launch from Renault, the Captur, which is a spruced up Duster, will be snapping at Hyundai Creta’s heels.

  • The Captur is longer, wider and has a ground clearance of 210 mm. The Creta is 190 mm.
  • The Creta has six airbags. The Captur has dual front airbags plus ABS, EBBF and ESP.
  • The Captur has Pure Vision LED plus daylight running lights. Price: Rs 10-12 lakh.
  • The Creta has been a segment topper since its inception.
  • The Captur has distinctive looks because of its ‘exclusive themed personalisation’. Whatever that means!
Then, there is the Eco Sport at around Rs 10 lakh. Definitely the best-looking SUV, thanks to the spare wheel on the rear door and an expansive facelift. It retains the 1600 cc, three-cylinder engine and for the AMT has paddle shifts. Ground clearance 200 mm. 

Luxury but for how long?

The Rolls Royce Phantom

The one-of-its-kind Rolls Royce Phantom VIII costs Rs 8 crore! By 2040, the UK is going to stop selling fossil fuel. So the Rolls Royce Phantom will be just a showpiece standing in your garden. No petrol!

In this day and age, considering the health of the planet, to put a V-12, 6.75 litre gas behemoth on the road defies logic. And Rolls-Royce is tom-toming it as a ‘luxury good’. Yes, we need that, even if the rest of the world has to wear gas masks!

Charting the prices

Then there are cars with stratospheric prices. Lamborghini Urus, which has come at Rs 3 crore, is claimed to be the fastest SUV in the world with a 0-100kph time of 3.6sec. 

Then there is the sporty Bentley Continental G.T priced at Rs 4 crore. Even the entry-level Ferrari Portofino is Rs 3.2 crore.

Those buying these cars have pockets down to their knees. They know exactly what they want. They know everything about the car. 

Here’s my pick

I love the wind in the beard experience!

For this, the best would be the Audi A 5 Cabriolet. 190 hp, 2-litre TDI Quatro. A true four-seater. The roof can be opened or closed at up to 50 kmph. Around Rs 68 lakh.

The only competition would be from Mercedes Benz C 300 Cabriolet. Top class luxury, build quality and performance. But no Quatro, that is Audi’s domain. Price N.A.


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