Nissan Sunny Automatic
Expected: February 2013; Price: Rs 7.5 – 8.5 lakh
Japanese car maker Nissan plans to launch the Sunny in an ‘autobox’ option. Mated to a six speed CVT, the petrol motor is likely to be priced Rs 80,000 dearer than the manual. The popular diesel version may contribute to the bulk of the sedan’s sales in India, however, the Sunny CVT would be a great option for buyers who drive themselves over a short distance.
Powertrain on the Sunny CVT will be the 1.5 litre motor, currently doing duty in the manual gearbox version of the Sunny petrol.
Expected: Mid 2013, Price: Rs 7-10 lakh
American car maker Ford gave Indian masses a first look of their latest, up-and-coming automobile tailor-made for the Indian market, the EcoSport, at the 2012 Delhi Auto Expo in January. The compact SUV design that is somewhat unique to the EcoSport does give it a slightly different appearance from the other cars in its SUV gene pool. It’s sleek and aerodynamic rather than chunky and conspicuous, but with a 200mm ground clearance it’ll ride as well as any of the bigger SUVs out there. The engine too is a departure from tradition. The EcoSport boasts of surprisingly diminutive one-litre, 3-cylinder ‘ecoboost’ petrol engine, but it’s been turbocharged to produce a respectable 120PS of power and 170Nm of torque. Ford claim the SUV will give 16kmpl, which is quite decent for a vehicle its size.
The car comes pre-loaded with a few toys, too. Microsoft’s SYNC voice control lets you make calls, reads out your texts, and even allows you to browse through your music collection without taking your hands off the steering or looking away from the road. The manufacturers also proudly proclaim the car contains an insane 20 different storage spaces, including an ample 346 litre boot space, air-conditioned glove box, a James Bond-esque hidden compartment under the front seat that slides in and out, and a designated space to store an umbrella! Safety too has been looked after with the inclusion of front and side curtain airbags, ABS, traction control and ESP. The SUV also contains a hill launch assist system that helps you pull out on an incline without rolling back, and smart start, Ford’s keyless entry system that detects your proximity to the car and unlocks the door when you get close enough, and with ignition at the push of a button, keys are more of an option than a necessity in this car.
The EcoSport will also come in automatic transmission and diesel engine variants. This car is being compared with the Renault Duster due to its styling and size, but if it does fall within the expected Rs 6-10 lakh price bracket, it may well turn out to be Ford’s most successful contribution to the Indian market.
Face-lifted Fiat Linea
Expected launch: Mid 2013, Price: Rs. 6.5 - 9 lakh
The 2013 Fiat Linea mid-size sedan is due a facelift for 2013. It was introduced in Turkey earlier in 2012. The revamped car’s exterior styling updates include a new front bumper with revised fog lamp housings and a new grille. At the back, is a new bumper with a big strip of chrome. The number plate housing is relocated from the bumper to the boot lid, with a chrome strip on top.
The interiors have been given a new lease of life with Fiat 500 inspired dashboard with a curvy contrasting colour section (in this case beige) across the centre. The instrument binnacle is reshaped while retaining the circular dials that now have a black background. The old air-conditioning vents have been replaced with more modern ones, there is a new integrated stereo and new air-con controls. The steering wheel has been given silver inserts.
The face-lifted Fiat Linea has a more modern and appealing interior while exterior styling changes are modest at best.
Renault Scala Automatic
Expected: February 2013, Price: Rs 9 lakh
Current-gen Honda City*
Face-lifted Honda City
Expected: Late 2013, Price: Rs 7.20 – 10 lakh
Japanese car maker Honda is expected to launch a face-lifted version of the City by late 2013. The sedan will not feature any design changes, but Honda will bring in the 1.5- litre i-DTEC oil burner to take on the Volkswagen Vento TDi and Skoda Rapid TDi.
The introduction of the diesel engine is part of Honda’s plan to boost annual sales from three million to six million units by 2017. The petrol engine option will sport the acclaimed 1.5-litre i-VTEC tweaked to improve performance and fuel efficiency.
The interiors are expected to remain the same.
Nissan Compact SUV
Expected: August 2013; Price: Rs 7.5 – Rs 11 lakh
As a part of badge re-engineering between Nissan and Renault, the Japanese car maker will launch a compact SUV similar in design and build to the Duster. The SUV is expected to go on sale by August 2013 at a more aggressive price tag.
Overall, the vehicle, code named NH79 is expected to have minor changes to the exterior design while the interior is expected to remain the same similar to what has been seen with the Micra and Sunny being re-badged as Pulse and Scala respectively.
*Image for representational purpose only
Hyundai Hexa Space MPV
Expected: Mid 2013, Price: Rs. 8-12 lakh
Hyundai’s Hexa Space Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV) Concept code named HND-7 caught many eye balls when it made its global premiere at the 2012 Auto Expo in Delhi. Well, the good news is that the production version of this compact people mover from Hyundai is all set to wriggle its way into India’s growing MPV arena sometime around the middle of 2013.
The Hexa Space like its name suggests features eight slim, hexagonally shaped seats that fit together like puzzle pieces, maximizing internal space, while minimizing vehicle width. The seats would offer multiple configurations for seating. The center seats fold flat for greater comfort, the second row folds flat to create a limousine function, the back row folds flat for light-cargo use. Hyundai’s first ever MPV for the Indian market is targeted at urban customers in their 30s and 40s and is built on the same “Fluidic Sculpture” that has helped the car maker execute such eye catching design for all its other passenger vehicles currently selling in India and international markets.
Expected: Late 2013, Price: Rs. 10-12 lakh
Volkswagen is set to enter the mini-SUV market with its Taigun by the end of 2013. Based on the up! front-wheel drive New Small Family platform (NSF), it will be 319mm longer, 83mm wider and 81mm taller than the up! and will sport a 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. Prices will be around Rs 10-12 lakh and its rivals include the Ford Ecosport, Mahindra Quanto and Renault Duster.
It premiered at the recent Sao Paulo Motor Show and is a more compact version of Volkswagen’s Tiguan. Weighing only 985kg, the Taigun is expected to be fuel efficient with an estimated 22.22kmpl mileage.
Expected: End of 2013, Price: Rs. Rs 10-15 lakh
Force Motors aims to cash in on the MPV segment boom with its own new luxury minivan. The new vehicle is based on the Mercedes-Benz Viano and will be manufactured under license from the German auto major. The yet to be named luxury eight-seater will be larger than other MPVs on sale currently.
It is speculated that the new vehicle will have features which are unheard of in the current MPV segment. Powering the vehicle will be the Mercedes-sourced 2.2-litre diesel engine which produces 139PS of power and is the same unit currently used in the Force One SUV. Prices are expected to be around Rs 10-15 lakh.
*Image for representational purpose only
New Skoda Octavia
Expected: End of 2013, Price: Rs 11-16 lakh
The Octavia was a raging success when it was launched in India. And now Skoda is all set to relive the success with the all new Octavia. From the spy shots, it looks more premium than the outgoing model but on the other hand it does borrow a lot of its styling cues from several cars in the VW Group. The Skoda Octavia will ride on the MQB platform that underpins the new Golf and Leon. It will be lighter than the second-gen model and will be offered with more premium features for the high-end versions, without compromising the affordable variants that made the car a success in Europe and India.