This year was a bonanza as far as automobile launches were concerned in India. Earlier this year, the Auto Expo unraveled many new cars and motorcycles. Some concepts while others in production form. Many of the cars that weren’t showcased at the expo too made their way to the showrooms this year. In the Indian context, the Maruti Suzuki Swift was one important product launch and so was the return of the Santro nameplate. Lamborghini launched its first SUV, the Urus in India and so did Rolls-Royce with the Cullinan. While this is just the starting, 2019 promises to be even more exciting with new manufacturers entering the fray. So, without further ado, here is the list of the five most important car launches this year.
Maruti Suzuki Swift
In its third generation the Maruti Suzuki Swift, once again proves to be a best seller. Maruti manages to consistently move more than 15,000 units each month. That’s more than what the competition manages. There is plenty of equipment on offer, something that even cars double the cost don’t provide for. The bummer is that the engines are the same as before. However, due to weight reduction with respect to the new platform, performance has become even better. And for the very first time in India, the Swift comes with petrol/diesel automatic options. Just wow, isn’t it?
While ideally a replacement for the ageing Xylo, the Marazzo is an all-new product. The chassis is new, interior bits and even the engine. It is a very capable MPV and looks as well as feels premium. The engine is decent but could have done with more grunt and better driveability. Refinement though is top notch. Mahindra has also ensured that safety features are standard throughout the range. Right now, it is also the only four star rated MPV as far as tests conducted by GNCAP go. While the sales numbers right now aren’t exactly on Mahindra’s side, nonetheless, the Marazzo will pick steam. There is a new petrol as well as diesel automatic expected in the near future.
The Ford Freestyle is largely a Figo cross. However, once you start driving it, you realise that they are as different as chalk and cheese. The star is the all-new 1.2-litre petrol engine. It makes more power than most of the crossover hatchbacks today and is a hoot to drive. Efficiency isn’t too bad either. Ford has updated the interior and a new Sync3-enabled music system finds its way too. We love the touchscreen response as well as the varied smartphone capability. Space at the rear still is a premium and there are no bottle holders too. However, this is one Ford product that sells well apart from the EcoSport.
Reviving a hallowed name plate is a big thing. Maruti did it with the Baleno and has been able to maintain momentum as well. Hyundai tried it this year with the Santro. The new Santro is slightly bigger than the older car but has upmarket interior too. It though retains the same engine from the older car but with a retune. Performance is okay, however this Santro is more of a beginner’s car than a perfect family one. There are many goodies on offer but the price point inches closer to the bigger Grand i10 as well as the base Elite i20.
Tata Tiago and Tigor JTP
Affordable performance was never the mantra of Tata Motors. Wait, we got to rethink that one. The Tata Tiago JTP and Tigor JTP are not only fun to drive but also fuel efficient. These vehicles don’t also cost a bomb to buy. There are enough features to keep the children and wife happy as well. Not only this, they have been engineered to be a tad more stiffer than the regular cars. Tata has plonked in 1.2-litre turbocharged engines that are good for 114PS of power. A 5-speed manual gearbox sends power to the front wheels. This is the only affordable sub-Rs 8 lakh on-road price, performance hatchback that you can buy today.