Maruti Vitara Brezza
India’s largest carmaker got into the compact SUV segment with the Vitara Brezza in 2016. The Brezza struck an instant chord with the Indian car buyer who wanted an affordable car which looked muscular and came from a reliable auto maker. It ticked all the boxes. The proportions were well balanced; the highlight was the signature ‘Bull Horn’ LEDs with turn indicators that looked distinct. Automatic headlamps, big tyres and square wheel arches added to the muscular look. Some other noteworthy features on the car included rain sensing wipers, auto headlight, air-cooled upper box, and card holder in glove box. The engine was the acclaimed 1.3 litre 90 PS diesel mill that has been a proven workhorse on cars like the Swift and the Dzire. Maruti promised an impressive mileage of 24.3 km per litre, the highest in SUV category.
This was a car that had proved its mettle around the world. It’s sold in more than 160 countries that practically means the entire globe. Before it came to India, it had already sold 4.5 million units worldwide. India missed out on the second generation but the third generation was launched during the festive season and became an instant hit. Hyundai slotted the Tucson comfortably between its other popular SUVs, the Creta and the Sante Fe starting at Rs 19 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) while the top Diesel GLS variant was priced at Rs 25 lakhs. It had both Petrol and Diesel options and both come in manual as well as automatic. Both were 2.0 liter mills but the Diesel was a lot more powerful at 185PS. The Petrol delivered a maximum power of 155PS. What also worked in its favour were some 1st-in-class features like a Hands Free Smart Power Tail Gate and Electric Parking Brake.
No other sports car has captured the imagination of automobil3e lovers across the world as much as the Ford Mustang. The Pony car as it is famously called made its way to India in the middle of the year. The iconic American car has featured in hundreds of movies, many a music videos and has been a part of popular folklore for decades at a stretch. While not too many cars were allotted to India, whatever came was lapped up within no time. The shape was all-new, yet is unmistakably Mustang. Key design elements were retained which included the long sculpted bonnet and short rear deck. A lower, wider stance with a reduced roof height works well for the car. And finally, the throaty 5.0-litre V8 engine, featuring an upgraded valve train and cylinder heads, delivering a peak power of 401PS with 515Nm of torque with a top speed of 250km/h.
From an icon from the west to an icon from the east, the Godzilla also entered the Indian market just before the year ended. In comparison to the Mustang which is a V8 this was a V6 but surprisingly delivered more power at 565bhp. This came from an award-winning 3.8-liter V6 24-valve twin-turbocharged engine with 637Nm of maximum torque. The new signature V-Motion grille, exceptional aerodynamic performance, precision-crafted powertrain and upgraded interior gave the GT-R a more mature character which reinforced its status as one of the most revered performance cars in the world. Nissan’s flagship sports car went on sale priced at Rs 1.99 crore, ex-showroom, New Delhi and Bollywood star John Abraham became the first GT-R owner in the country.
BMW 7 series
German car maker BMW launched the new generation of its flagship sedan the 7 series at the Auto Expo and the car just took luxury to a whole new level. The car forced rivals like the Audi A8 and Mercedes S class sit up and take notice as the Bavarian giant went beyond the sporty BMW DNA to set new benchmarks when it came to luxury. The Nappa leather seats were as luxurious as it can get and wood on the dash gave that premium feel. BMW came up with gesture control that enabled the occupants to control various functions merely by using hand signals. These included answering or rejecting phone calls and changing stations merely by swiping or waving your hand. In addition to an eight-program massage function with three intensity levels the footrest came out behind the front seat along with a tray table from the rear armrest and the rear seat reclined by around 45 degrees after which you almost forget you’re sitting inside a car and instead are spending some quality time in a business class seat of a luxury airline.
Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars