The week gone by has been a mini Auto Expo of sorts for the Indian automobile Industry. As many as 5 new cars and bikes were launched and all very crucial to their segments. While some of these like the BMW 3 series and Hyundai Grand i10 Nios are new generations others like the Kia Seltos, Maruti XL6 and Indian FTR 1200 are all new machines. At a time when auto sales are going down at some pace, these big ticket launches could just be the push the struggling auto sector needs in India.
The much awaited Indian debut of Korean giant Kia motors happened with the arrival of the Seltos SUV. The company claimed to have already garnered more than 32,000 bookings at the time of launch this Thursday. The car has been launched with three engine options and as many as 16 variants across the range. The 1.4 turbo petrol with a 6-speed manual/7-speed DCT, 1.5 petrol with 6-speed manual/IVT and 1.5 diesel with 6-speed manual/6-speed automatic are all there. Kia says all the engines will be BS-VI compliant, when emissions norms that will come into effect next year. There are two distinct design lines—Tech Line aimed at family-oriented customers and GT Line aimed at enthusiasts. Noteworthy features include a heads-up-display, 10.25 -inch HD touchscreen, 360 degree surround view monitor, blind spot monitoring and world’s first connected air-purifier. Prices begin at Rs 9.69 lakh for the base 1.5 litre petrol while the top variants of diesel and 1.4 litre petrol (both manual and DCT) are priced at Rs. 15.99 lakh.
Maruti’s premium retail channel Nexa has a new product to offer. The XL6 is based on the Ertiga MPV but promises a lot more luxury, comfort and style. The exterior design is quite bold with the car getting a raised hood and unique grille with a cross-bar design element that sweeps into the head-lamps. All black alloys, roof rails and side claddings add to vehicle’s personality. The car also gets LED headlamps, DRLs and tail lamps with LED light guide. The cabin is all black with leather seats, flat bottomed steering and Maruti’s 17.8 cm smartplay system. The second row gets roof mounted AC vents and captain seats that can be slid forward to create more space for the third row. The BS-6 compliant 1.5 litre petrol engine churns out 103 bhp and 138 Nm. The XL6 will be available in both 5-speed manual and 6-speed automatic transmissions. Prices begin at Rs 9.79 lakh for base manual and round off at Rs 11.46 lakh for Alpha automatic variant.
BMW 3 series
The 7th generation of BMW’s largest selling car the 3 series was launched in India earlier this week. The new 3 series is quite an evolution in terms of design as it gets a larger kidney grille, longer wheelbase and short overhangs. There is lot of tech inside as the car gets features like virtual assistant, gesture control as well as reversing assistant for parking. The cabin also gets a large 12.3-inch touch screen along with 3-zone climate control. The two-litre four-cylinder 330i variant produces 258 hp and 400 Nm while the two-litre four-cylinder 320d produces 190 hp and 400 Nm. The sedan gets an eight-speed Steptronic Sport automatic transmission and is now lighter by 55 kgs. The range starts at Rs 41.4 lakh for the 320d Sport, moves to Rs 46.9 lakh for the 320d Luxury line and tops at Rs 47.9 lakh for the 330i M Sport variant.
Hyundai Grand i10 Nios
The i10 has been a successful brand for the Korean car maker in India and the third generation of the hatch which adds the suffix NIOS (meaning more) is now running on our roads. The car gets many segment first features on the outside which include Projector fog lamps, rear chrome garnish chrome door handles, integrated roof rails, shark fin antenna and air curtains. Like every other Hyundai the cabin too is feature rich with the addition of 20 cm touch screen that is compatible with Apple carplay and Android auto, Arkamys sound system, Wireless phone charger and rear AC vents. There are 1.2 litre petrol and 1.2 litre diesel engines to choose from and both also come with AMT variants. Prices range from Rs 4.99 lakh (base petrol) to Rs 7.99 lakh (top diesel).
Indian FTR 1200
Iconic American maker of cruiser and bagger motorcycles Indian has entered an all together different segment with the FTR 1200 segment. The bike has been launched in two avatars the FTR 1200 S priced at Rs 15.99 lakh and the FTR 1200 S race replica which will set you back by 17.99 lakh. The bikes get a liquid cooled 1203 cc engine which churns out 120 bhp and 115 Nm. There are 3 rides modes on offer and they differ in throttle response and traction control levels. The FTR also gets a 4.3-inch touchscreen with bluetooth which can be operated with gloves on. Indian has tied-up with Orix India to offer its models on lease to make them more accessible.
Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars