Like last-year, this year we are up again with the bharathautos.com 2014 Top Five Cars list – as with previous edition in 2013, the writers each pick five cars that caught their attention big this particular calendar year.
In this article, we’ve set the marker at five, not because we have anything against going the usual route of 10, but to select five out of a host of new arrivals in any calendar year means having to be more selective about things and encourage more thought in the process. This year, we welcome new name to the 2014 edition – Ritij Khurana jump in head-first with the five that stood out for them.
“The year 2014 came to an end with a high note for the Indian automobile industry. The industry recovered from the slump it was facing from some time and the new launches ensured that the masses came out in large numbers to buy the cars. The MPV segment saw a lot of action and so did the hatchback segment. But that didn’t mean that the luxury segment didn’t. The luxury segment was as busy as any volume segment and the automakers rejoiced with the sales they witnessed.”
1. New Maruti Alto K10 AMT
The Alto K10 has always been a fun car to drive courtesy of its high Power-To-Weight Ratio and a potent 1.0 litre motor under the hood. The engine has been quite the performer courtesy of the 67 Bhp it outputs along with 90 Nm of peak torque.
It got a facelift this year alongside an AMT transmission which made it the world’s cheapest car to feature an automatic transmission. Its pricing begins from Rs 3.06 lakhs and goes up till Rs 3.8 lakhs for the top end AMT variant. The K10 has always been the car for the masses that brings some fun to the table with it and the facelifted Alto K10 isn’t any different either.
2. Hyundai Elite i20
The i20 got itself a generation change this year and it broke cover as the Elite i20. The B+ premium hatchback has gone on to become the Indian Car Of The Year 2014 and has been the only car for a while to seriously dent Swift’s sales. The looks of the car alongside the features on offer are unmatched.
The hatchback has been priced between Rs 4.99 lakhs for the base variant and Rs 6.56 lakhs for the top end variant in petrol guise. As far as diesel is concerned, the prices are Rs 6.09 lakhs for the base variant and Rs 7.66 lakhs for the top end variant. It has a 1.2-litre petrol motor and a 1.4-litre diesel motor that powered the previous generation i20.
3. Tata Zest
The Tata Zest marked the beginning of an all new era for Tata and the car brings in the country’s cheapest diesel sedan with AMT to the table. It was launched at a price of Rs 4.64 lakhs for the base petrol variant and the prices went all the way up to Rs 6.99 lakhs for the top end diesel AMT variant.
The good thing about it was the fact that it came with a turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol engine that developed 90 PS of power and 140 NM of peak torque. The diesel unit comes with a 1.3-litre engine that develops 90 PS of power and 200 Nm of torque.
4. Audi A3
Thw Audi A3 was launched in India this year which happens to be the cheapest luxury sedan out there right now. It was launched at a price of Rs 22.95 lakhs for the base variant and the top end variant costed Rs 32.66 lakhs for the top end variant.
It comes with the option of 2.0 litre TDI motor that develops 143 Bhp and 320 Nm of torque. The other engine option on it is a 1.8-litre TFSI motor which develops 180 Bhp of power and 250 Nm of peak torque. The car has made luxury cars accessible for many and hence makes it to our list of top 5 cars.
5. Honda Mobilio
The MPV based on Brio went on to become the most popular MPV in the country due to the value for money on offer. It came with a starting price of Rs 6.49 lakhs for the base petrol variant and Rs 10.86 lakhs for the top end diesel RS variant with additional body kit.
It shared the engine options with the fourth generation Honda City which made it quite a fuel efficient yet powerful MPV that made it the choice of masses. The Mobilio has everything needed for a family car in a compact package and we couldn’t resist bringing it in the top 5 list for making the MPV segment popular among modern car buyers.
Stephen Neil Gershom:
“2014 had been a year of ups and downs for the Indian automobile industry. A few segments saw a slowdown in sales, and a few segments picked up in sales numbers, fuel prices came down and so did taxes, but the government also brought about crazy restrictions on vehicles plying on our roads, so on the whole, the year 2014 was a mixed bag for the Indian automobile industry.
We saw many new launches in the year 2014 and most of the launches were quite successful, but as automobile enthusiasts, we always have our favorites and here is a list of my favorite cars launched in 2014.”
1. New Mahindra Scorpio
The Mahindra Scorpio had been around for more than a decade and still sold very well, but Mahindra wanted to keep the Scorpio updated and planned to launch a refresh.
After a few months of testing, they finally launched the refreshed Scorpio, and boy am I glad they did that. The new Scorpio is quite the looker, with the new design making it look more muscular than ever while it has not lost even a bit on the reliability front.
The SUV is still powered by a gem of an engine, the Mhawk but the transmission has been updated and this has made gearshifts slicker than before. The Scorpio still remains the most desirable and most ’in-demand’ SUV in India, still sells like hot cakes and has all the equipment Indian conditions ask for, and for all these reasons, it finds a spot on my list.
2. Maruti Suzuki Ciaz
Maruti Suzuki has surely come a long way from the old 800’s and Omni’s, and the Ciaz is a reminder that Maruti Suzuki too can produce cars with excellent build quality. This year, the time came for the Maruti Suzuki SX4, to be replaced. And Maruti Suzuki did it this time with the Ciaz.
First look at the Ciaz will show that the designers looked to the Maruti Suzuki Kizashi for inspiration and this is a good thing, because the Kizashi is a really good car. The Ciaz is loaded to the gill with features and it has a huge options list too. Powering the Ciaz are the same petrol and diesel enfines used in the Maruti Suzuki ertiga. For being a worthy replacement to the SX4, and for being one of the most value-for-money sedans, the Ciaz finds a spot on our list.
3. Hyundai Elite i20
Ever since its launch, the Hyundai i20 has been one of the best hatchbacks out there. Many already loved the design language but this year Hyundai did something that was lauded by all the petrol-heads and automobile enthusiasts in the country.
Hyundai launched the Elite i20 which got rid of the fluidic design language and brought to Indian shores contemporary European styling. The elite i20 looks exactly like a hot hatch should – glamorous from every angle, and it is for this very reason it finds a spot on this list. It is, the comfort, reliability and build quality of the old i20, but in a more stylish and glamorous package.
4. Maruti Suzuki Celerio
This was, in my opinion, the most important hatchback of the year 2014, because of one major reason-it changed the way Indians thought about automatic gearboxes. Automatic gearboxes had been around since a long time, but only the wealthier customers could make use of them as they were available only on high-end cars and then they slowly made their way down to smaller cars like the Hyundai i10, but didn’t sell very well in such cars, because automatic gearboxes were pretty expensive and pushed prices up considerably, this is the reason why, the Maruti Suzuki Celerio was genius.
The Maruti Suzuki Celerio was the first car in the country to be equipped with an AMT (Automatic-manual transmission) gearbox, which was cheaper to manufacture because it was very similar to a manual gearbox and also the fuel efficiency did not drop as much as that in cars with conventional automatic gearboxes. This made Indian customers of small cars change their minds and go for the AMT equipped Celerio and for the first time in the country, an automatic variant of a car outsold its manual counterpart and it is for this revolutionary change that, the Celerio finds itself in this list.
5. Honda City i-DTec
India on the whole, is a diesel loving country and many are obsessed with diesel powered cars, few love the clattering sound that the engine produces and many love the efficiency and torque of an oil-burner and since Honda did not have a diesel engine, the competition was trumping Honda in sales numbers, but not since this year.
Honda had spent a lot of time developing a diesel engine for this diesel loving country and they finally plonked it in the Honda city refresh and launched it in January 2014. The Honda city was already a fine car, it drove well, the build quality was good, it handled well, the interiors were well laid out and it had bulletproof reliability too, so the only thing missing was a diesel engine and once that too was made available, there was no looking back for Honda. Honda sold thousands of diesel engined city’s throughout this year and I don’t see the sales slowing down anytime soon. That diesel engine in the refreshed Honda city is the reason for this car to be here in this list.
This was my selection of the top 5 cars launched in India through 2014. And here’s hoping for a better 2015 in the automobile industry.
“2014 Indian automotive Industry witnessed a fair growth of 9.52 percent against last year sales. Competition Commission of India (CCI) levied a penalty of INR 2,544.65 crores ($415) on 14 car makers for their restrictive trade practices by preventing independent repairers coming into the market. Part of the leading car makers also had to recall some models over defective components. Passenger cars and commercial vehicles logged negative growth. Light commercial vehicle (LCV) segment has been the worst hit, with sales reducing to approximately 330,000 units. The sales of diesel vehicles are also reducing because of the narrowing price gap with petrol.”
1. Audi A3 Cabriolet
Audi India has launched the long-awaited A3 Cabriolet in the Indian market recently couple of weeks before in December 2014 at a price tag of INR 44.75 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi). It features retractable soft top which can be operated electro-hydraulically within 18 seconds even when the car is on the move at speeds upto 50kmph. Apart from the soft top, Audi’s A3 Cabriolet almost looks identical to its Sedan sibling already launched previously.
Coming to the technical specifications, the A3 Cabriolet is available with two small capacity (1.4 TFSI and 1.6 TDI) and two large capacity (1.8 TFSI & 2.0 TFSI) engine options globally. Unfortunately, India only gets a 1.8-litre TFSI petrol unit coupled to a 7 speed S-tronic dual-clutch automatic gearbox which produces a maximum power of 177 BHP at a maximum torque of 280 NM.
Audi A3 Cabriolets turbocharged performance, quick folding roof and being the most affordable cabriolets available till date in India has made it as my choice for the 2014 top five cars.
2. Hyundai Elite i20
Hyundai finally launched the much anticipated Elite i20 in the month of August 2014 at a price tag of starting at INR 4.89 lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi). Hyundai’s Elite i20 is built on the new fluidic platform and gets fresh exterior styling. It features rear parking sensors, auto climate control, ABS, driver and passenger air bags, automatic head lamps, rear view camera and auto folding wing mirrors. It also features longer wheelbase, large central console, two tone interiors, alloy wheels and smart key along with push button start.
Coming to the technical specifications, Elite i20 is available in both petrol and diesel variants. The petrol variant is powered with a 1.2-litre Kappa with dual VTVT, 16 Valves, and 4 Cylinder coupled to a 5 speed manual transmission producing a maximum power of 82 BHP at 6000 RPM and a maximum torque of 115 NM at 4000 RPM in turn providing fuel efficiency of 18.6 kmpl. The diesel variant is powered with a 1.4-litre U2 CRDi diesel engine coupled to a 6 speed manual transmission producing a maximum power of 89 BHP at a maximum torque of 220 NM in turn providing a fuel efficiency of 22.54 kmpl.
Hyundai’s Elite i20 new styling cues to the exterior built on new fluidic platform, large legroom and shoulder room, trendy interior and after sales service in the hatchback segment has made it as my choice for the 2014 top five cars.
3. Mercedes Benz GLA
Mercedes-Benz India launched its compact luxury crossover GLA in the month of September 2014. Mercedes Benz GLA is now available in three variants namely GLA 200 CDI Style, GLA 200 CDI Sport and GLA 200 Sport.
GLA 200 CDI Style features Bi-Xenon headlamps with daytime running LEDs, five spoke 18 inch alloy wheels finished in a high sheen black shade, reverse camera, carbon fibre trim, electrically folding ORVMs, electrically adjustable driver’s seat with memory, start/stop system, tyre pressure monitoring system, cruise control, auto dimming rear view mirrors, infotainment system, rear centre arm rest and gloss black roof rails at a price of INR 32.75 lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi). GLA Sport variant features rain sensors, silver trim, illuminated door sills, Harmon Kardon surround sound system, twin exhausts, aluminum roof rails, electrically adjustable front seat with memory, silver colour five spoke 18 inch alloy wheels, sunroof, vanity mirror on sun visors, paddle shifters, seat comfort package and ambient lighting. The GLA 200 CDI Sport and the GLA 200 Sport are priced at INR 36.9 lakhs and INR 36 lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi).
Coming to the technical specifications, Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 CDI is powered with a 2.2-litre, 4 cylinder, diesel engine mated to 7 speed double clutch auto box transmission producing a maximum power of 135 PS at 4400 RPM and a maximum torque of 300 NM at 3000 RPM. Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 is powered with a 2.0-litre, 4 cylinder, petrol engine mated to 7 speed double clutch auto box transmissions producing a maximum power of 183 PS at 5500 RPM and a maximum torque of 300 NM at 1400 RPM.
Mercedes Benz GLA featured with attractive external appearance, ergonomically designed seating arrangement providing better comfort, good pick up and acceleration along with safety features provided which are not present in other cars in this segment makes it as my choice for the 2014 top five cars.
4. Maruti Suzuki Ciaz
Maruti Suzuki launched its all new Sedan Ciaz in October 2014. Maruti Suzuki Ciaz features 16 inch alloy wheels, chrome grille in the front, new design elements on the bumpers to include large headlamps, ABS, front two airbags, rear AC vents, keyless entry and start, retractable blind for rear wind screen. It also features spacious cabin interiors, dark wood inserts to the dashboard as already seen in the Swift Dzire, climate control system and multifunctional large touch screen display.
Maruti Suzuki Ciaz is now available in 4 variants. The petrol version comprises of VXI, VXI+, ZXI and ZXI+ whereas the diesel version will comprise of VDI, VDI+, ZDI and ZDI+. Coming to the technical specifications, Maruti Suzuki Ciaz is available in both petrol and diesel variants. The petrol variant is powered with a 1.4-litre K Series engine (K14 VVT engine) coupled to a 5 speed manual transmission producing a maximum power of 94 BHP at a maximum torque of 130 NM in turn providing fuel efficiency of 20.73 kmpl. The diesel variant is powered with a 1.3-litre diesel engine coupled to a 5 speed manual transmission producing a maximum power of 89 BHP at a maximum torque of 200 NM in turn providing a high fuel efficiency of 26.21 kmpl.
Maruti Suzuki Ciaz featured with great cabin space, excellent internal and external appearance, excellent ride quality, standard equipment list and low initial cost of ownership when compared with other cars in this segment has made it as my choice for the 2014 top five cars.
5. Tata Zest
Tata Motors finally launched the much anticipated sub compact Sedan Zest in September 2014 at a price tag of starting from INR 4.64 lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi). It features projector head-lamps with chrome accents, new set of 15-inch alloy wheels, LED lamps at the rear, touch-screen infotainment system from Harman, voice commands, steering controls, LED DRL’s, rear parking sensors, ABS and new Tata signature grille with the new ‘Humanity Line’, which flows into the head-lamps.
Coming to the technical specifications, Tata Zest is available in both petrol and diesel variants. The petrol variant is powered with a turbocharged MPFI, 4 cylinder engines which produce a maximum power of 90 PS at 5000 RPM and a maximum torque of 140 NM at 3500 RPM. The diesel variant is powered with a 1.3-litre Multijet diesel motor which produces a maximum power of 90 PS at 4000 RPM and a maximum torque of 200 NM at 3000 RPM.
Tata Zest featured with turbo Revotron petrol engine, attractive interiors and exteriors, new alloy wheels as standard from base variant and being priced aggressively makes it my choice for the 2014 top five cars.
“Cars. They come in all shades, shapes and sizes for every person, purse and purpose, and I absolutely respect that about them. As such, my list consists of two SUVs, a compact sedan, a hatchback and a crossover that I consider my favourites for 2014 – each for a different reason.”
1. Tata Zest
Tata Zest looks smart, comes with a comfortable and spacious-enough cabin and is also loaded with countless features even in the base model. Compared to its direct rivals like Maruti Swift Dzire, Honda Amaze and Hyundai Xcent, Tata Zest is a clear winner in terms of styling, space, performance, handling, pricing, and the list goes on! And with the Zest, Tata Motors lives upto its old saying – “more car per car”.
With the Zest, Tata Motors has proved that they can make a passenger car which personal car buyers will wholeheartedly appreciate.
2. Hyundai Elite i20
Meant to be an affordable B-segment car, Hyundai has managed to inject a good amount of cool into this one. You can notice the effort put into the design of Elite i20 both externally, as well as internally. The engine line-up is capable enough and the list of features is also the longest in class.
In the Elite i20’s case, things have been taken a step further; compared to the old i20 the Elite i20 is better in every way and is a more complete all-rounder. Although car is not exciting to drive like Swift or Polo, Spacious interiors with outstanding quality, fit and finish will bring a smile on your face and the suspension is very nicely sorted for a B-segment offering.
3. Fiat Avventura
Fiat Avventura is a genuine crossover and is a most promising car from Fiat I’ve seen in a while. It’s not just another crossover like the Etios Cross or the Cross Polo, it does have the strong character to match-up with the real crossovers. The car looks really funky, is built well and has a fair bit of tech in it.
Avventura’s competitive pricing and the fact that it looks a sight better than most other cars on the road should be reason enough for a significant number of people to whip their wallets out and head to the showrooms to buy one.
4. New Mahindra Scorpio
One of the most value-for-money cars you can get in Malaysia, due to the absence of taxes. With the facelift, it looks even better, and with the introduction of a new luxury variant ‘S10’, Scorpio owners finally get luxuries like a 6″ touchscreen system, GPS navigation, projector headlamps, LED tail-lamps, auto-headlamps & wipers, cruise control. More than the styling changes to me the new interior and better dynamics summarise the change the new Scorpio has.
Of course there is still some improvement required in some areas but Mahindra have nearly made the Scorpio the perfect SUV for the price-bracket it operates in.
5. Hyundai Santa Fe
Yes, the price tag isn’t exactly favorable but ticks all the boxes. For me, the Santa Fe in India is poor-mans Audi Q7, staying true to the words with the 18-inch wheels, dual exhaust tips and too much use of chrome in the top trim, it easily looks pricier than an Audi Q5 even. And its rear fascia & taillights resemble those of the Audi Q5.
It’s on my list because it makes a great family SUV and the strong diesel engine that sets the big Hyundai apart from its Japanese rival like the Fortuner, CR-V and Pajero. The Santa Fe has always been in a class of its own in India, but armed with bold new looks inside out, it can now ride confidently around town and is far superior product than its Japanese rivals.
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