The Tata pavilion at the Auto Expo 2018 had everyone in awe. It was not just because of the new H5X and the 45X concepts, but also because of cars like the Tigor and Tiago JTP (Jayem Tata Performance), the Tigor and Tiago EVs, the Nexon AMT and Aero, and the Racemo and the Racemo+, apart from their current lineup of cars. The best part about almost all of the cars shown was that these were either in production, or close to it.
Also Read: All about the new exciting H5X SUV
The H5X SUV concept took the cake though; the Impact Design 2.0 language, seen for the first time on a Tata product, made for an exciting looking SUV. Considering how Tata’s recent launches have been close to their concepts, in terms of design, the H5X’ production version could look quite nice!
Also Read: Tata Nexon AMT shown at Auto Expo
Maruti deals a Swift blow
Also Read: Our review of the new Swift
The new Swift had the enthusiasts in all of us excited. After all, the hatchback has gone back to its sportier roots. The Swift still holds a soft spot for many Maruti fans in the country and the company had to make sure it priced the hatchback right. Maruti did not disappoint; with a price range of Rs 4.99 lakh to Rs 8.29 lakh - it straddles multiple segments and could give the competition nightmares.
Kia's here with a bang
Kia announced its formal entry into the competitive Indian market at the Auto Expo 2018 and showcased almost its entire international lineup of cars at the show. Apart from highlights like the flagship Stinger 4-door GT, Kia showcased the SP Concept - a precursor to its first product to be launched in India sometime around mid-2019.
Kia promises to bring in cars which will have an exciting design, high quality and higher levels of safety equipment as compared to the competition. Here's everything about the first product Kia will bring to India, based very closely on the SP Concept.
Honda goes back to its roots
Honda’s endeavour to become a mass-market player in India has seen limited success; it is the fifth largest car manufacturer in India and is not enjoying a dominant position in any of the segments it competes in. Thankfully, the brand still holds a ‘premium’ tag among many car buyers in the country and the company seemed to be capitalising on this theme at the Auto Expo 2018.
The premium car charge at the Auto Expo was spearheaded by the all-new CR-V crossover and the all-new Civic sedan. The CR-V will be launched, for the first time in its model history, with a diesel engine - which should make it more attractive to customers. The Civic, which had left fans and loyal customers craving for a replacement since 2013, also made a comeback and will hopefully renew its rivalry with the Toyota Corolla. The highlight at the Honda pavilion was the new Amaze compact-sedan, which has received a bold makeover to take on the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Dzire.
Yamaha is back with a better R15
The Yamaha R15, when launched back in 2008, took the idea of affordable sportbikes to an all new level. Its capabilities threw preconceptions out of the window, though it did command a premium over bikes which had bigger engines than it!
Also Read: All the details about the new R15 V3.0
When the R15 V2.0 was announced in 2011 and while initial impressions of the bike were positive, it failed to keep up with competition that offered the same or better performance for much less money. Since the KTM revolution began, Yamaha has taken six long years to respond - and finally, we have the V3.0.
The engine gets variable valve timing to help the engine deliver smooth performance at all RPMs as well as improve mileage. The 6-speed gearbox now features a slipper clutch and there is a hydraulically assisted clutch lever for faster shifts. LED headlamps and all-digital instruments add the premium factor - all this for a mouth-watering price.
Hero XPulse is almost here
After first teasing the XPulse adventure tourer at EICMA 2017, Hero has finally showcased it at the Auto Expo 2018. The bike showcased at the Expo was closer to production and takes the reins from the Impulse.
The Hero XPulse 200 is a more off-road focussed bike than the Impulse and is better than it in every way. There’s a larger 200cc engine, higher ground clearance, off-road spec tyres, touring-spec windshield, enduro-style handlebars, prominent knee recesses and crash protection devices all around. All-LED headlamps, all-digital instrument console, monoshock rear suspension will also be on offer. Expect Hero to price the XPulse competitively.
So many scooters!
The Honda Activa 5G, Suzuki Burgman, Aprilia Storm, Aprilia SR150, 22 Motors Flow, Hero Duet 125, Hero Maestro 125, Okinawa OK100, Vespa Electrica, TVS Creon, Okinawa Praise - these were some of the scooters at the Auto Expo 2018. In fact, scooters had as much a presence at the expo as motorcycles; the interest in them is growing and manufacturers are catering to the same.
With increasing competition, scooter manufacturers are upping their game in terms of features. Electric scooters took the centrestage in many pavilions; some, like the Honda PCX concept showed how range anxieties could be addressed with brake-energy regeneration, swappable batteries and fast charging. The TVS NTorq and the Aprilia SR125 showcased smartphone connectivity and dedicated apps for users with features like satellite navigation, message/call alerts, emergency broadcast etc.
Just cause, says Mahindra
The Mahindra pavilion at the Auto Expo 2018 was the most underwhelming of all, even though it had over 15 exhibits.
Also Read: This could be the Mahindra XUV700
Apart from the e2o NXT, eKUV and the rebadged Rexton, the stall had concept cars which would never see the light of day. Why Mahindra did not take this opportunity to rename the SsangYong Rexton for India is puzzling. Moreover, its electric vehicles - especially the eKUV - were not given as much prominence as they deserved. On the other hand, the Stinger convertible, KUV100 Adventure and Thar Wanderlust concepts seemed to be there just to fill up space.
Where’re the car launches?
Two-wheeler enthusiasts had more to cheer about at the Auto Expo 2018; there were only two sub Rs 10-lakh car launches this time. Apart from the Maruti Suzuki Swift and the Hyundai Elite i20 facelift, all the cars launched at the expo cost more than Rs 50 lakh!
Also read: Hyundai Elite i20 facelift launched!
BMW had a slew of launches, or price announcements, during the show - including the M3 sedan facelift, M4 coupe facelift the all-new M5 sedan (with AWD!), the 6 Series GT and the X6 35i M Sport. Mercedes-Benz announced the price of their flagship Maybach S 650 and S 560 limousines. DC joined in too with the launch of the new TCA sportscar.
The elephant in the room
Nobody would have complained about the lack of space at the Auto Expo 2018. In fact, it seemed like there was too much space as you walked through various exhibits. The emptiness was compounded by the fact that many major manufacturers had given the event a miss, though Volkswagen did cheekily gate-crash the event with a 31-car test-drive for the public on the second day of the expo.
The Auto Expo seems to be slipping from the priority list of manufacturers, here’s hoping the next edition will be more popular.
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