Latest Cars to Enter the Indian Market
The Indian car market is expanding at a rapid pace and the spirit of competition is ever-present. Newer models are constantly being introduced and existing models are continuously being revamped as international and domestic car manufacturers are coming to realize the potential that the Indian car market offers. Car manufacturers like Hyundai, that have made India a second-home in terms of manufacturing capacities, are introducing their completely built units as well to the Indian market to provide a larger choice to Indian consumers.
Other car manufacturers are introducing mid-model upgrades to compete with their rivals as Honda has done with the City in order to better compete with the Volkswagen Vento. The burgeoning Indian car market means that we as buyers are treated to a host of new vehicles more regularly than we have ever been used to and this can only be a good thing. Some of the newest cars to enter the Indian market are discussed below and should make for some exciting reading.
Hyundai Santa Fe Makes its Entry
Hyundai has released its latest offering in the SUV segment the Santa Fe has been released in time for the holiday season. The SUV, which is a seven-seater is available in two variants – a four-wheel drive option costing around Rs. 23 lakhs and a two-wheel drive option which costs around 21 lakhs. Looking at the way the Hyundai Santa Fe has been priced it is easy to think that it might be a bit expensive as compared to its rivals, but the people at Hyundai are confident that the range of qualities, specifically the 2.2 liter diesel engine, should garner the desired response from the market.
Other attributes include ABS, Traction control, ESP, roll-over sensor six-airbags and a host of other active and passive safety equipment. The Santa Fe is also equipped with low rolling resistance tyres that helps conserve fuel and sources at Hyundai claim the get 14.66 km/l as per ARAI certifications. One reason for the slightly high prices is due to the fact that Hyundai will be importing the Santa Fe as a completely built unit from Hyundai’s factory in Korea.
Tata Aria to Break New Ground
Tata Motors largest offering till date has finally made it to Indian roads and the Tata Aria offers something very exciting for the Indian market. Being India’s first four-wheel-drive crossover, the offering from Tata provides the expediency of an MUV with the toughness of an SUV (I would take the toughness part with a pinch of salt and make up my mind after a few months). Tata is hoping that the combination of these two facets will ensure that the Tata Aria becomes their best selling and most profitable car till date.
The Tata Aria will use the existing engine from the Safari, which is the 2.2 liter DICOR unit that is capable of putting out a maximum 140 PS with 320 Nm torque and is mated to a 5-speed transmission and incorporates an entirely new Mark II gearbox. The Aria comes loaded with safety features like airbags for rear passengers, dual HVAC with climate control, EBD and ABS and Tata has filled it with everything you will need. The Tata Aria will be available in three trim levels – Pride, Pleasure and Prestige and there is also a full leather upholstery trim available. All models are BS IV certified. Pricing of the Aria is the only factor that may inhibit sales as it is priced between Rs.13.1 lakhs and 15.8 lakhs, although Tata fans should ensure is still does quite well.
New Fiat Linea to be Powered by T-Jet Engine
Fiat India has released its C+ segment offering the Linea in a new look and the car will now be powered by a 1.4 liter T-Jet engine. The new T-Jet engine will be more powerful and will deliver 114 horsepower and a maximum torque of 207 Nm. The Fiat Linea will be the first car in its segment to have a turbo-charged petrol engine and will also be equipped with disc brakes at the front and rear. There are other new features like new Sumbeam Beige color scheme, new chrome exhaust tip and new roof antenna. The Fiat Linea will be available in two trims – T-Jet (available for around 9.5 lakhs) and T-Jet Plus (available for around 10.1 lakhs. The T-Jet will come with 15″ alloy wheels and the T-Jet Plus will be available with 16″ alloys and leather upholstery. The 16″ alloys give the car a lower more sporty stance and initially Fiat aims to sell the upgraded model only in Mumbai / Pune and the Delhi / NCR regions with availability increasing in to the other metros soon after.
Fabia Enters with Fab Factor
The Fabulous Fabia makes a return and this time the car is driven by its fab factor. Skoda Auto has not made wholesale changes to the Fabia but those that have been made stand out easily. The most noticeable changes are the new chrome front grille, newly designed multi-reflector fog lamps and new front and rear bumpers. The interiors also get major upgrades and are now uncompromised as the Fabia is equipped with climate control, one-touch power windows and a tilt/telescopic steering wheel. These small changes go to show that keeping it simple and paying attention to detail, go a long way in improving not only looks but also performance.
The Skoda Fabia will be available in 1.2 liter petrol, 1.2 liter diesel and 1.6 liter petrol versions. With all the refinements in the exterior and interior styling and design, the most exciting part of the Fabia is definitely its price. Releasing it in time for Diwali seems to have perked up even the people at Skoda and they have priced it very competitively between Rs. 4.2 lakhs and 5.8 lakhs. If the looks are not enough to ensure that the Skoda Fabia generates impressive sales in the competitive hatchback segment, the pricing definitely will.
Audi to Launch Q7 with Upgrades
India’s best selling luxury SUV, the Q7 has been introduced with a new engine offering fans another option does its business in the Audi A6. The engine in the Q7 is tuned slightly differently to give put a bit more power and torque and the motor now delivers 335 PS and 440 Nm respectively. This increased power is directly translated to faster pick-up and the Q7 goes from 0-100 km/hr in under seven seconds. The 2,995 cc engine is mated to the new eight-speed gearbox from Audi and will also feature Quattro four-wheel drive.
The new 3.0 liter engine will be available along with the present offerings of the 3.0 diesel and 4.2 liter diesel engines. The new 3.0 liter petrol will now be the only petrol version offered by Audi for the Q7 and has been introduced for a starting price of around 59.3 lakhs making it the cheapest in Audi’s impressive range of vehicles.
Mercedes-Benz has been targeting India on a large scale for almost a year now and has introduced a wide range of their cars to the Indian market. The latest vehicle to be offered to Indian audiences is also the newest car in the Mercedes-Benz stable and is the R-Class. The R-Class is a brand new niche segment and offers the qualities of an SUV combined with the luxury and comfort of a sports sedan. This car should serve the four-wheeler segment in India and will be positioned slightly lower then the ML-Class and GL-Class of Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
The Indian version of the R-Class will be powered by a 3.5 liter petrol V6 engine that delivers a maximum of 272 PS and 350 Nm of peak torque. What comes as a big surprise is that Mercedes-Benz has no plans to introduce a diesel version of the R-Class in India and ultimately this may be the deciding factor in vehicle sales as the Indian market is very fuel conscious and shows an inclination towards diesel rather than petrol engines. The R-Class is a very comfortable vehicle and would suit those businesses that need to chauffer around their entire boardroom to the company weekend retreat with all the opulence they deserve. Priced competitively at around Rs. 59 lakhs we will have to wait and see if Mercedes-Benz has taken the right step with regards to leaving out the diesel option.