Chevrolet Beat is a promising car from General Motors that has all potential to work wonders not just for the company but also for first-time buyers. Its funky styling, bold lines and motorcycle inspired dashboard have won many fans. The Beat is powered by a 1.2-litre petrol engine that produces 79 bhp of maximum power and 10.91 kgm of maximum torque. The price of the Beat starts at Rs 3.93 lakh.
The Wagon R is the second highest selling car in the Maruti stable next only to the Alto. Ever since Maruti introduced the blue-eyed boy, we mean the new Wagon-R, the sales have been increasing gradually. The boxy looks are now hidden behind the subtle curves and a premium look with good chrome bits in and out. This ‘easy to drive’ city car has a peppy engine under the hood and a class-leading interior space. Wagon R is powered by a 1.0 litre petrol engine that produces 67 bhp of maximum power and 9.17 kgm of maximum torque. The price of Wagon-R starts at Rs. 3.63 lakh.
Nissan Micra is the mass market car from one of Japan’s largest auto makers in India. The Micra’s retro looks attract a ‘love it’ or ‘loathe it’ response. It is extremely spacious, user-friendly and comes with gizmos like key-less entry and start-stop engine switch. Micra is powered by a 1.2 litre petrol mill that produces 75 bhp of maximum power and 10.6 kgm of maximum torque. Nissan has upped the ante on the safety front by offering driver air bag as standard. With the Micra diesel the company claims a fuel efficiency of 23 kmpl* (ARAI Test). However, with just 21 dealers network across the country, Micra and Nissan are at a disadvantage. Price of Micra starts at Rs. 4.35 lakh.
Skoda YetiSkoda Yeti has smartly addressed an emerging market of soft-roaders in the Rs. 14 to Rs. 18 lakh range at a time when there is fierce competition in the Rs. 20 lakh SUVs in India. Yeti’s advantages include handsome appearance and an enthusiastic 2.0 litre diesel motor that produces 140 bhp of maximum power and 32.6 kgm of maximum torque. While the Yeti is a good package, it lacks the third row seats and is therefore strictly for those with small families. Or no families! Yeti prices start at Rs. 15.8 lakh.
Tata Motors has boldly launched a premium vehicle despite its image as a ‘value-for-money’ car maker. Aria which is the first “Indian crossover” has improved interior quality — at least by Tata’s standards — and good looks. It combines the maneuverability of a sedan with the practicality of a SUV. And boy, is it loaded! Cruise control, rain-sense wipers, darkness sensing lights… you name it and Aria has it. Aria is powered by the tried-and-tested 2.2 litre DICOR engine that performs its duty in Tata Safari. This engine has been tweaked to produce 138 bhp of maximum power and 32.6 kgm of maximum torque. The 4×4 option tries to further justify the premium sticker price. The price of Tata Aria starts at Rs. 12.91 lakh.
Volkswagen PoloVolkswagen Polo is the German brand’s trump card for the mass hatchback market in India and so far, it seems to have worked. The safe and solid feel that is so closely associated with all things German are big plus for Polo. Polo is powered by a 1.2 litre petrol engine that produces 74 bhp of maximum power and 11.2 kgm of maximum torque. The 1.6 litre petrol engine produces 105 bhp of maximum power and 15.6 kgm of maximum torque. The 1.2 litre diesel engine produces 75 bhp of maximum power and 18.3 kgm of maximum torque. The engines are not as refined as offered by the rest of the competition. But, the overall package gives a lasting experience in driving the hatch around the town. The price of Polo starts at Rs. 4.88 lakh.
Vento is born out of the successful ‘boot + hatch = sedan’ formula that had earned success for Maruti Suzuki with its Swift Dzire and Tata Motors with its Indigo Manza model. However, the German engineering stands head and shoulders above in terms of gluing the boot so nicely that we wonder if Vento was designed before the Polo. Vento has caused some dent in sales of Honda City, the market leader which is a reflection on the car’s performance as well as overall package. Vento is powered by a 1.6 litre petrol and 1.6 litre diesel, both producing 104 bhp of maximum power, While the petrol motor produces 15.6 kgm of maximum torque and 25.5 kgm is produced in case of diesel motor. The Vento price starts at Rs. 7.90 lakh.
Ford FigoFord Figo is the absolute value-for-money car from the American brand. Although based on the Ford Fusion which did not sell well, the car’s fresh design cues and maximum utilization of space with its wider wheelbase makes the car a preferred hatchback for those seeking roominess. This ‘smart car’ is offered in both petrol and diesel engines. The 1.2 litre petrol engine produces 70 bhp of maximum power and 10.4 kgm of maximum torque while the 1.4 litre diesel engine produces 68 bhp of maximum power and 16.3 kgm of maximum torque. While the car is known for its ride and handling, the petrol motor lacks pick up. The price of Figo starts at Rs. 3.92 lakh.
Maruti Suzuki RitzTo begin with, engineers from Maruti Suzuki worked at close quarters with their Japanese counterparts in the development of the Ritz, much like that for the AStar. Bits and pieces here and there come together to make the Ritz a fairly different car as compared to the international Splash. Small modifications on the exterior have been implemented keeping in mind the developing Indian tastes, including a redesigned rear bumper that accommodates reflectors and RR fog lamps. The heart of the car, which is the K12M engine, has been extensively tested, calibrated and tuned specifically for Indian conditions. Apart from this, a reworked gearbox uses gear ratios different from that of the Splash to match its driveability with Indian traffic conditions. Given that unlike in international markets, the rear bench is often used by three and not two adults, special emphasis has been given to the shoulder space and rear seat comfort – a redone seat profile included. To go with the same concept, the Ritz carries a redesigned central console that has also been provided to ease the ingress and egress for rear seat passengers. To take in the sometimes massive potholes in India, ground clearance of the Ritz is a good 30mm higher than that on the Splash. The suspension has been re-tuned for comfort as per Indian roads. A bigger and wider tyre has also been accommodated, along with the body redesigns needed for the same. While the Swift was lapped up all sorts of consumers for its allrounder abilities, it was essentially meant for the young and sporty crowd looking for a fabulous driving experience. The Ritz will be a more sensible car, with the focus lying on space, comfort and driveability.
What will make the Ritz unique from the rest of Maruti Suzuki’s portfolio is the K12M engine. Elder sibling of the earlier K10B engine that powers the peppy A-Star, the K12M carries the same fundamentals of light-weight and hence far lower levels of fuel consumption and NVH.