AROUND FIVE dozen cars are expected to be launched in India this year, which promises to be one of the busiest in recent times. That is a car every six days! As we get behind the wheel for this year’s roller coaster ride, we pick out five of the most exciting cars coming our way.
The Jazz by virtue of its price became a case study on how to not launch a small car in India. However, courtesy a potent 1.5litre diesel engine and the successes of the Amaze and new City, Honda has its tails up. The new Jazz will offer a mix of quality, reliability and fuel economy and is expected to take the battle to Hyundai’s Elite i20. Maruti is also readying a new premium compact car YBA, while there is a chance that the Skoda Fabia may make a comeback by the end of 2015.
Seven-seater people movers have emerged as a big segment in the past few years and Renault is hoping for a repeat of the Duster’s success with the Lodgy. A roomy vehicle, it has its roots in Renault’s Dacia platform. The quirky looking vehicle may come only with a diesel engine borrowed from Duster and will take on the Innova. Do not expect any cutting edge technology or frills. It will be just a poor man’s seven-seater.
MARUTI S CROSS
If you discount the age-old Gypsy, the S Cross would be Maruti’s first big entry into the SUV segment. Strictly a 5-seater and without an all-wheel drive option, it will fight it out with the Duster, but will boast of better interiors and Maruti’s famous after-sales service and reliability. It is also expected to get new 1.6litre petrol and diesel engines. A compact SUV from Mahindra and Hyundai’s ix25 would also make their debut. There is also an outside chance of a compact SUV from Honda, on the Brio/ Amaze platform.
MERCEDES CLA SEDAN
The luxury end of the industry is so tight that even one new launch can alter the situation. In that context, Mercedes’ stylish compact sedan CLA would be the big draw. Capable engines offset the cramped leg room at the back. The AMG version launched last year has already laid the foundation for the CLA. In the other categories, watch out for Jaguar’s own new entrylevel sedan, the XE, and Audi’s A3 compact car later this year.