Ashok Leyland Stile: First Drive
The Nissan NV200 is a brilliant platform. Ever since it was introduced back in 2009, it's been winning many awards and accolades around the world and recently has even been selected as the replacement for the venerable New York taxi. Last year, India received its very own NV200 in the form of the Evalia - a worthy, if yet understated passenger van to take on the likes of the Toyota Innova. Now however, it's Ashok Leyland's turn at taking a crack at the passenger MPV market with its very own Evalia based contender - the Stile.
Ashok Lelyand is probably one of the most famous names in India when it comes to the transport industry. It is nigh on impossible to travel even a few kilometers down any of our highways and not see one of the company's commercial vehicles keeping the nations economy running, plying goods from one city to the other. But this is really the first time Ashok Leyland is trying its hands at the rather more whimsical passenger car market. That being said, having a joint venture with Nissan (which we've already seen before in the for of the Dost) is the perfect stepping stone in the company's attempt at this segment, though it really isn't going to be an easy task in any way.
As soon as you look at the Stile, you realize that this is an Evalia - there's really no mistaking that. But on closer inspection, it becomes evident that Ashok Leyland has put in quite a bit of effort to differentiate the Stile from its Nissan badged twin. From the get go, it is clear that the Stile is not as premium as the Evalia, but that's ok... It's not meant to be. Now this can be a good thing and a bad. While the Stile is meant to provide all that the Evalia does at a much more affordable price point, it really does beg the question of whether it can take on the undisputed segment leader, the Toyota Innova, and make as much as a dent in its market share. But that is another question for another day.