2013 has been a mixed year for Indian car market. The sales of passenger vehicles dropped by 7.1 percent year over year in the January-October period, driven primarily by the 10.5 percent fall in car sales. Though the overall numbers don’t bode well, there have been segments that have managed to pull through the turbulent times. The luxury car and compact car segment in the country is one that is still moving ahead. With a year on year growth of 15 percentage and the same expected to follow through in the coming years, it is clear that there certainly is a market for high-end luxury vehicles which offer the owner an experience that is worth shelling out the extra few lakh rupees.
Grand i10 Based Sedan
Going by the current Indian market scenario, Korean manufacturer Hyundai is planning to expand its product lineup and improve its market share by launching new products in the new Compact segment, a compact Sedan and Compact SUV. The First to come out will be the the compact sedan. Hyundai had recently phased out the Accent and this new compact sedan will fill this gap. The new sedan will be priced competitively around the Rs 5-8 lakhs bracket to take on the present segment leaders the Honda Amaze and Maruti Suzuki DZire. Hyundai’s new compact sedan will be based on the recently launched smaller sibling, the Grand i10 hatchback. The styling of the sedan will be similar to the Grand i10 up till the B pillar. The rear end styling will be revised to include the additional length. The interior styling and equipment levels are expected to be similar with a few minor changes for product differentiation. According to a statement by a Hyundai official, the compact sedan will be different and come with a more powerful diesel engine. So will most probably be powered by the 1.4L diesel engine from the i20. The other engine will most probably be the 1.2L Kappa2 motor from the current Grand i10. Being in the compact car segment, the upcoming sedan will be under sub 4 meters in length. This new car is expected to be released by the first half of 2014 and will feature in the Hyundai line up by the next year Delhi Auto Expo.
New Ford Figo based sedan
Ford has been faring well in the Indian car market with its Figo hatchback. With the introduction of EcoSport, the company is on the brink of eking out its largest market share in India till now. The sedan version of Figo will be based on the platform of the hatchback version, which is already on sale in global markets. This new release from Ford rumoured to be a four metre sedan rivaling the Swift DZire and Honda Amaze. The Indianized version of the car will have a few changes in the design and interiors to make it suitable for the Indian conditions. The compact sedan version of Figo will be released in India by sometime in 2014 or by early 2015.
The engine options will likely be refreshed versions of the 1.2 and 1.4 litre units serving on the current Figo with the engines tuned for more power and torque. The 1.0 liter EcoBoost engine which debuted in India on the highly successful Ecosport might also be there as an option. All these engine options will be paired to a 5 speed transmission and an automatic 6 speed variant too.
The car will carry an aggressive price tag like it’s hatch sibling, hinting Ford would source the parts locally to keep prices down. Rumors suggest that Ford Figo sedan might replace the now old Fiesta Classic model in the coming Ford lineup.
New spy shot of Figo based sedan, read all about it here
Fiat India’s first entry into the executive sedan segment will be spearheaded by the Viaggio. Based on the stunning looking international Dodge Dart, the car has been designed with the marque’s Italian heritage in thought, straight clear lines, an imposing grille and an elegant stance. Fiat promises that the driving dynamics to match the flamboyant Italian styling. Engine options will include the renowned T-jet petrol engine in 120 bhp and 150 bhp states of tune. A Multijet diesel version is also on the cards. Both these engine options will be paired to a 5 speed manual transmission and might also use the revolutionary Dual Dry Clutch Transmission (DDTC) developed by the Fiat Powertrain company.
The Viaggio will be an entire new cup of tea for Fiat. It will facing off against the established rivals from GM (Cruze),Toyota (Corolla) and the all new Octavia from Skoda. Fiat Viaggio has dimensions 4.679 mm, width 1.850 mm and 2.708 mm wheelbase. This sedan can easily accommodate 5 people, so it is perfect for use as a family car. We expect Fiat India to roll out the Viaggio by late 2013 or early 2014. Expect the car to be priced between Rs 10 to 17 lakh.
Maruti Suzuki YL1
Maruti Suzuki will discontinue the SX4 sedan next year and will be replaced by an all new executive car, currently under testing with the code name YL1 in India. The YL1 sedan is said to be based on the Suzuki Authentics concept that was showcased in July at the Shanghai Motor Show. The new car gets an aggressive front end, with a trapezoidal front grille and ample amounts of chrome and headlamps that are stretched and angular. The rear end will also be like the front with the tail lamps joined with the tailgate with multiple folds to add a sporty touch and yet more chrome. All this is speculation from the spy pics circulating the net. The new car will be a bit larger than the retiring already roomy SX4, but won’t get the tall ground clearance of its brother. The YL1 is based on the new Ertiga platform, which is roughly based on the Swift hatchback. The cabin will have the trademark Jap ergonomics so everything falls to hand easily. It can also comfortably seat three adults at the back too making it a very good family car.
The interiors are nice and have quality touch with the overall design philosophy based on the top of the line Kizashi sedan. It will be more feature rich with stuff like Push button starter, rear AC vents etc. It will also be lighter than the outgoing SX4 making it more economical and improves driving dynamics too. The YL1 will also come with ABS/EBD with two front driver airbags as standard for the top end models.
The engine options will most probably include the petrol 1.4 litre K series engine from the Ertiga making about 93 bhp and 130 Nm of torque. It’s a free revving unit offering a good balance of performance and fuel efficiency. The diesel one will be the 1.3 litre Fiat sourced Multijet unit with the larger geometry turbo for more power, so the engine will put out 90 bhp and 200 Nm of torque. Both these engines will be paired to a five speed transmission with an automatic variant to be introduced later. Depending on the response, Maruti also plans to introduce a CNG variant too.
The car will most likely be released at the 2014 Indian Auto Expo along with other new releases and will go on sale by mid 2014. It will take on the established C segment rivals, Honda City, Hyundai Verna, Volkswagen Vento and many others. As the car will be locally made, the pricing will be suitably aggressive, something Maruti’s is good at with the base variant around Rs 7.25 lakh and the fully loaded one costing about Rs 10.5 lakh. The YL1 will be more driver oriented with both the suspension and steering setup tuned for more driving dynamics. Expected to be priced lower than the current segment leader Verna, the 2014 SX4 could be the ace that Maruti needs to pull out of its hat to push the sales further north in a current economic lean period.
Spyshot of Maruti Suzuki YL1 revealed, click for more.
Mitsubishi New Lancer
Mitsubishi has launched the awesome fully loaded Lancer Evolution in India but the aging Lancer that is still being sold will be hoped to be replaced by the current version soon. The new Lancer sports the same gaping grille and sleek headlamp design as the Evo. The new sporty face of the Lancer is enough to lure Indians into showrooms. Apart from all the glitz and glamor, the Lancer will also have a 1.8 litre petrol engine pumping out around 141 bhp, good enough for a top speed of 183 kph. We also hope Mitsubishi will launch a 2 litre diesel-powered version of the Lancer here to further bring in the numbers.
The most recent generation of Lancer is less expensive and sportier than majority of its competition with a steering that is also nice and direct. It is a car that has been appealing for the enthusiasts for a long time, hope Mitsubishi bring it here by atleast 2014.
Honda Civic 2014
In 1990s, Honda first introduced the Civic, a line of compact and subcompact cars which has now established itself completely in Indian market as a major luxurious brand model. As per the latest rumours, Honda is planning to launch the 2014 Civic in Indian market by 2014. Also later in the year, a diesel variant of that model will also be available to everyone if things go well for the Honda Civic 2014.
The exterior of Honda Civic 2014 is a complete blend of style, uniqueness and impressive design. It has an ‘open-mouth’ lower front body coloured bumpers, a black honeycomb mesh front radiator grille with a chrome slab in its lower portion, bonnet with sleek chrome slab in air dam and new round fog lamps. It has power adjustable, folding and heated body colored ORVMs with in-built side indicators, 16-inch alloy wheels, clear lens tail lights and newer stylish rear bumper. It has a length of 4557 mm, width of 1753 mm and height of 1435 mm as its dimension and has a large wheelbase of 2670 mm for a stable ride. It has a good high ground clearance of 170 mm, a sore point with the old civic, for a bottom scrape free ride. There is a minimum turning radius of 5.4m making it easy to drive in city traffic and plonking it into tight parking spots. It has a fuel tank capacity of 50 litres and a kerb weight between 1243-1305 kg.
The interior of the all new 2014 Honda Civic will be a subtle combo of space and luxury with new advanced state of the art features. the interiors are finished in leather with height adjustable heated front seats. The headrests are also adjustable for better comfort and a powerful AC with climate control and air filter for the torrid dusty Indian summers. It also comes with rear view cameras for easier parking and chuckability in the city into tight parking spots.
Honda Civic 2014 has a powerful 1798cc, 1.8L, Inline 4-cylinder, 16-valve SOHC i-VTEC, Aluminum-alloy cylinder head, Drive-by-Wire throttle system, Eco Assist System, Direct Ignition System with Immobilizer based petrol engine. It puts out a maximum power of 140 bhp at 6500 rpm with a nice punchy mid-range and a maximum torque of 174 Nm at 4300 rpm, paired to a five speed manual as well as an automatic transmission option too. It also has an ECON mode which makes the engine operate in more polar bear friendly way, which all adds to giving a good average mileage of 13.2 kpl.
The Civic 2014 has ventilated front disc brakes and solid rear disc brakes for better braking efficiency. The suspension system is a McPherson Struts at the front and a Multi-Link with Stabilizer Bar setup at the rear.
The car also gets loaded with the needed safety tech too with ABS and EBD as standard and an Advanced Compatibility Engineering II body structure for better crash protection. It will also come with SRS Airbags, a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, Traction Control and Daytime running lights. All this toys will make it very appealing and give it an edge when taking on the segment leader Toyota’s Corolla and the upcoming crop of executive cars, the Nissan Sylphy, Fiat Viaggio and the all new Lancer.
As part of Ford new strategy of making more of its vehicles the same globally, we will get a Mondeo that looks exactly the same as its international sibling. The original Mondeo sold in India was a car slightly ahead of its time, but the new model will offer a good mix of value for money, space and driving enjoyment. It will be brought in our market as a CKD kit to keep prices low, which will put it squarely in Volkswagen Jetta and Toyota Corolla territory. Ford will need to price it really well to ensure more value, since the Mondeo brand still hasn’t taken off in India like the Blue Oval would have liked.
The engine options include the 1.0 litre EcoBoost since it powers the EcoSport as well. The diesel the important choice for India in the current scenario will be either a 1.6 litre TDCi, or a retuned version of the 1.5 litre mill under the hood of the Fiesta being sold here as that will help the company with competitive pricing. All this means that the new Mondeo will not be a particularly quick car but it hopes to make up for it with a very involving drive.
The interior will offer space and quality comparable to its rivals in the segment, but what will make it stand out is the MyFord infotainment system, which links multiple LCD screens in the car to the ActiveSync voice command system available in the current Fiesta. Two screens in the instrument binnacle offer the driver information about different things in the car and can be operated by touchpads on the steering wheel.
We don’t expect expensive bits like the LED headlamps and the Advanced Active Park Assist to come to the Indian car they’d take the price up but we do expect Ford to retain a fair number of toys from the international model to attract potential buyers.
Nissan is a popular name throughout the entire world. The carmaker is associated with everything from cheap to own, run of the mill people cars to high performance track friendly sports cars. With India, Nissan decided to follow a from the top approach by launching some high-end cars first followed by the mass market products. The Teana and the X-trail did the work of establishing the brand, after which the Micra and the Sunny came in to reap the results. However Nissan has missed out on a very important segment, the executive sedan. There is a big gap between the Sunny and the Teana, but it will soon be hopefully filled by a car called the Sylphy.
The Sylphy made its debut recently at the 2012 Beijing Motor Show in China. The Chinese market gets the Sylphy with 1.6-litre and 1.8-litre petrol engines with no diesel engine options. In India, we expect the Sylphy to be powered by the same 1.6-litre petrol and the 1.5-litre diesel engines that power the Renault Fluence. Both these engines are compatible with the Sylphy because this car is also based on the same scalable V platform, the same platform that the Micra and the Sunny are based. The Sylphy will not only be just another fuel-efficient, reliable bland product like the Sunny, it will flaunt a premium styling and an aerodynamic shape with LED daytime running lights which is the current design trend in India.
As we mentioned, the Sylphy will be slotted between the Sunny and the Teana and will be priced between the Rs 12 – 20 lakh range. It will take on its rivals in this class, the Hyundai Elantra, Toyota Corolla and the upcoming Honda Civic.
Audi A3 Sedan
The A3 sedan is the answer from Audi for Mercedes-Benz’s CLA and the BMW 1 series sedan. With manufacturers looking to increase their model lineup and sale numbers, entry-level executive luxury saloons are the latest entry. The Audi A3 was launched at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show and will make it to India by 2014, as the new entry-level sedan from the German manufacturer slotting below the A4.
The saloon is based on the Volkswagen MQB platform like the all new Skoda Octavia to keep the costs low and has a total length of 4.46 meters. The design is typical Audi with design elements resembling the A3 Sportback. It has a coupe like design. Smaller than the A4, A3 will be a bit cramped at the back for seating three, but front space won’t be a problem with nice well supported seats. A large boot of 425 litres is also useful.
In spite of being the base entry-level Audi model, the A3 is decently equipped with ABS/EBS, ESPand airbags. It also gets Audi’s MMI system, a high-resolution seven-inch screen, an infotainment system, Audi phone box and an optional 705W Bang & Olufsen sound system too.
The A3 sedan will be available in both petrol and diesel options in India. The petrol version will be most probably be powered by 1.8 litre TFSI unit developing 168 bhp and 320 Nm, a 1.4 litre petrol motor churning out about 141 bhp and 320 Nm is also on the cards. There will also be a 2.0-litre turbo diesel will develop 150 bhp and 320 Nm of torque.Both the engines will power the front wheels to keep the costs down, via a seven speed DSG gearbox.
The Audi A3 sedan looks similar to any other sedan in Audi’s portfolio and cannot be quickly identified as a different variant. However it is apparently the cheapest car in Audi’s line-up but still boasts of many features
It is expected to be unveiled at the Delhi Auto Expo to be held early next year. It would be initially be launched as a CBU (Completely Built Unit) and priced in the range of Rs 25-30 lakh, eventually becoming a locally assembled model to keep costs down.
Mercedes-Benz is no longer the highest selling luxury car brand in the country. In fact Merc is not even in contention for the runners-up place in the battle, as the fight for the top is between BMW and Audi. Even the international numbers reveal a similar story of the three-pointed star is lagging behind. Their plan is to get back at the top in India by 2016 and their new range based on MFA (Modular Front-wheel Architecture) spearheading the challenge in this all German battle.
Mercedes-Benz are perceived generally as ‘old man’s cars’ with their conservative styling but they are trying to change that outlook by releasing sharply styled cars like the drop dead gorgeous A class. Also as the BMW and Audi brands are relatively new they carry a bit more of novelty value too. Also Mercedes Benz still don’t have a competitor in the entry-level crossover segment like the BMW’s X1 and the Audi’s Q3 further hurting the overall sales numbers. This is all changing with the new MFA platform, the B Class is the first front wheel drive Mercedes car in India and soon we will have another hatchback, entry-level sedan and a compact crossover, all based on the same architecture.
The 2014 CLA unveiled at the 2013 Detroit Motor Show is Mercedes Benz’s new entry-level sedan that slotted below the C Class. It is based on the A Class sharing the same chassis and hopefully the same looks too.
At the front, the CLA shares many design elements of the A class with the floating dots grille, large sculpted air intakes and a sporty chin spoiler. The car has prominent clean muscular lines along the sides and rear bumper with a sharp-looking boot lid. With all the aerodynamics and chin spoiler, the CLA has a drag coefficient of 0.23, the lowest figure for any mass-produced car.
The interiors of the CLA will also be similar to that of the A Class hatch with the cool SLS inspired air vents. The company has not revealed the features list yet but it will decently specced.
The CLA will be offered with three petrol engine options producing 122 bhp (CLA 180) 156 bhp (CLA 200) and 211 bhp (CLA 250) and one diesel mill which produces 170 bhp (CLA 220 CDI). Power will be transmitted to the wheels via a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox and the (optional) 4matic four-wheel drive system. Mercedes will also launch a performance version of the sedan called the CLA45 AMG, similar to the A45 AMG, this will also be 335 bhp version.
The car will be launched by 2014 and will be assembled in India at the Chakan facility. The prices for the petrol version will be pegged at around Rs 25 lakh.