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View Poll Results: Your Car of the Year 2012?
Maruti Alto 800 36 1.70%
Renault Pulse 9 0.42%
Chevrolet Sail U-VA 30 1.41%
Maruti Dzire 42 1.98%
Mahindra Quanto 22 1.04%
Maruti Ertiga 420 19.79%
Renault Scala 8 0.38%
Renault Duster 1135 53.49%
Nissan Evalia 5 0.24%
Tata Safari Storme 67 3.16%
Hyundai Elantra 97 4.57%
Ssangyong Rexton 12 0.57%
Hyundai Sonata 8 0.38%
Toyota Camry 7 0.33%
Mercedes B-Class 13 0.61%
Mitsubishi Pajero Sport 23 1.08%
Mini Cooper 28 1.32%
Audi Q3 34 1.60%
BMW 3 Series 126 5.94%
Voters: 2122. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 6th December 2012, 13:14   #1
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Default The Team-BHP Car of the Year 2012. EDIT : Renault Duster it is!

It's back again; The Team-BHP Car of the Year poll, where YOU the BHPian will choose our car of the year.

Listed below are the launches of 2012. Also listed are some relevant high-points on each car, along with the market's response to it.

NOTE:
  • The cars have been sorted in price-ascending order (cheapest first).
  • It's only NEW cars that are included in our COTY. That excludes the "refreshed" headlamp & tail-light versions, facelifts and engine variants.
  • This is a public poll. Other readers will be able to see what car you have voted for.
  • Models costing over 50 lakh rupees, including many fully-imported-cars (CBUs), have been excluded from our COTY. Reason = Low relevance & commitment to the marketplace.
  • Link to our 2011 COTY (Team-BHP Car of the Year 2011. EDIT : Mahindra XUV500 it is!!).
  • As has always been the case, we insist there will be only ONE Team-BHP Car of the Year. Why? Simply because we don't believe in handing out an award for the "door of the year" or "best sunroof of the year" (as examples). Some award ceremonies have 20 awards to ensure there's one for each car manufacturer in India. We have no such inclination, and will only focus on the best, most important new car of the year.

Look forward to your votes, and also the reasoning behind your choice. Thanks!

EDIT on 5th January, 2013:

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Garnering nearly 55% of the votes and completely dominating this year's poll, the Renault Duster is Team-BHP's Car of the Year 2012.

What a year it's been for Renault. The brand was practically invisible in 2011. One relevant product in an untapped segment is all that it took for Renault to become a household name (relatively). The Renault-Nissan combine has now also overtaken VW-Skoda & Honda.

Equally, the challenge for Renault is to evolve beyond being a "one trick" pony. The Scala, Pulse, Fluence etc. are going nowhere. There's a plethora of other compact SUVs coming, so the Duster isn't going to enjoy this advantage forever. What will Renault do to enhance the volumes of its sub-10 lakh hatchbacks & sedans?

Over to you, Renault.

Last edited by GTO : 5th January 2013 at 14:29.
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Old 6th December 2012, 13:17   #2
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Default re: The Team-BHP Car of the Year 2012. EDIT : Renault Duster it is!

Maruti Alto 800: Official Review (Maruti Alto 800 : Official Review)



• A much improved Alto at the same price point
• F8D engine has excellent driveability & fuel economy. Neat gearshift too
• Comfortable ride quality. Soft suspension is absorbent
• Convenient city car: Light, agile & easy to drive
• Effective air-conditioner
• Driver-side airbag & factory fitted CNG kit available
• Maruti's excellent after-sales service & fuss free ownership experience
• Cramped rear bench. Also, the seatback is very short
• Thin, budget seats offer basic levels of support
• CNG kit for base variant costs a hefty Rs. 75,000 (LXi's CNG kit is a realistic Rs. 57,000)
• Mediocre expressway competence. Best driven <100 kph
• Puny 145 mm tyres. An upgrade is highly recommended
• Lacks the design appeal of the Hyundai Eon

Market Response: Super Hit
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Old 6th December 2012, 13:18   #3
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Default re: The Team-BHP Car of the Year 2012. EDIT : Renault Duster it is!

Renault Pulse

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• Better looking than the Nissan Micra
• Quality, well-designed, interiors
• Driver airbag standard across the range (including base variant)
• Diesel engine offers stunning driveability. Fuel efficient as well
• Compliant ride quality. Suspension tuned for comfort
• Gizmos : Keyless entry & go, engine start / stop button, electric folding mirrors, climate control
• Ordinary three-cylinder petrol engine
• Dull to drive
• ABS brakes removed from the diesel Pulse
• Inexistent under-thigh support from the rear seat
• The wafer-thin dealer network

Market Response: Flop

Last edited by GTO : 6th December 2012 at 13:28.
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Old 6th December 2012, 13:27   #4
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Default re: The Team-BHP Car of the Year 2012. EDIT : Renault Duster it is!

Chevrolet Sail U-VA: Official Review (Chevrolet Sail U-VA : Official Review)



• A well-rounded family hatchback
• Superbly tuned 1.3L diesel powerplant. Short-throw gearbox is a pleasure to use
• Spacious interiors. Rear legroom betters some sedans
• Excellent ride quality mated to neutral road manners
• Ideal for city driving : High seating position with a light steering, clutch and gearshift
• Dated & unappealing styling
• Missing features (No climate control, MID, steering-mounted audio controls, seat height adjustment)
• Sensitive steering at high speed. Needs a steady hand on the expressway
• Some quirky interior bits : Push / pull type door locks, centrally-placed window switches etc.

Market Response: Recently launched. Too early to tell

Last edited by GTO : 6th December 2012 at 13:29.
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Old 6th December 2012, 13:30   #5
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Default re: The Team-BHP Car of the Year 2012. EDIT : Renault Duster it is!

Maruti Dzire: Official Review



• Priced lower than the outgoing Dzire. Noticeably better in most areas (quality, comfort, interiors etc.)
• Competent engine range. Very refined motors
• Absorbent ride quality, even over rough roads. Neutral road manners too
• Terrific fuel efficiency, especially from the diesel
• Effortless to drive in the city; light steering, clutch and gearshift. Automatic transmission available
• Maruti’s excellent after-sales service & wide dealer network
• Oddball boot design. Side profile looks particularly awkward
• Small 316L boot & no folding rear seat either. Limited practicality
• Mediocre brakes (LXi / LDi & VXi / VDi), just like the mechanically-identical Swift
• Limited rear seat space is incomparable to the Manza, Etios, Verito et al
• Hefty 1.2 lakh premium for the Automatic transmission variant
• Long waiting period for deliveries of the diesel variant

Market Response: Super Hit
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Old 6th December 2012, 13:31   #6
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Default re: The Team-BHP Car of the Year 2012. EDIT : Renault Duster it is!

Mahindra Quanto: Official Review (Mahindra Quanto : Official Review)



• A 7-seater SUV at the price of entry-level sedans. Compact size makes city driving easy
• Robust, abuse-friendly build & construction. Rough road friendly
• Spacious 1st & 2nd seat rows. Interior ranks high on practicality
• 1.5L diesel engine is torquey, efficient & acceptably refined
• Features include reverse parking aid, two front armrests, lumbar adjustment, door puddle lamps etc.
• 690 liters of boot space (with the 3rd row seats folded away)
• Awkward styling. Design isn't proportionate either
• Cramped 3rd row of seats is best suited to kids and / or occasional use only
• Bumpy ride quality. Unsettled over any type of surface
• Driving experience marred by excessive body roll and a slow, numb steering
• Lacks the quality & finesse of same-price hatchbacks and sedans
• Mahindra's after-sales service remains a gamble

Market Response: Above Average, though early days yet

Last edited by GTO : 6th December 2012 at 13:37.
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Old 6th December 2012, 13:31   #7
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Default re: The Team-BHP Car of the Year 2012. EDIT : Renault Duster it is!

Maruti Ertiga: Official Review (Maruti Ertiga : Official Review)



• A 7-seater MPV at the price of a C segment sedan. The petrol variant, especially, is very well priced
• Car-like ride, handling & driving experience. Effortless to drive in the city and on highways
• Flexible seating & luggage options. Cargo capacity runs as high as 735 liters
• Competent petrol & diesel engines. The latter offers outstanding fuel economy
• ABS available on all variants, except the base petrol. Bigger brakes than the Swift & Dzire
• Maruti’s excellent after-sales service & wide dealer network
• Not a spacious 5 seater if you fold down the 3rd seat row for luggage. Limited width for the 2nd row too
• 3rd row is best suited to adults for short trips, or kids over long trips. Not really a full-size 7 seater car
• Minimal 135 liter luggage capacity with all 3 rows of seats in place
• Diesel engine carries a hefty Rs. ~1.3 lakh premium over the petrol. On-road difference is ~1.5 lakh rupees
• Even the top-end ZXi / ZDi variants don't get climate control
• Long waiting period for deliveries of the diesel Ertiga

Market Response: Super Hit
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Old 6th December 2012, 13:37   #8
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Default re: The Team-BHP Car of the Year 2012. EDIT : Renault Duster it is!

Renault Scala: Official Review (Renault Scala : Official Review)



• Better looking than the Nissan Sunny. Scala's design is more mature
• Spectacular rear legroom and comfortable rear bench
• 1.5L Diesel has excellent driveability, fuel economy and durability
• Compliant ride quality matched by predictable handling
• Feature list includes leather seats, true keyless entry & start, rear fan vents, folding mirrors etc.
• Interior quality & cabin fit/finish
• RxL middle variant is well-equipped (in terms of safety kit & features)
• Priced noticeably higher than the Nissan Sunny
• Brakes feel slow to react and aren't confidence-inspiring
• Mediocre handling & stability above 120 kph
• Prominent tyre noise at speed. Engines are loud at high rpm too
• Quirky styling lacks universal appeal
• Rear seat headroom & under-thigh support are in short supply
• Renault's after-sales is an unknown quantity

Market Response: Average, though early days yet
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Old 6th December 2012, 13:38   #9
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Default re: The Team-BHP Car of the Year 2012. EDIT : Renault Duster it is!

Renault Duster: Official Review (Renault Duster : Official Review)



• A monocoque SUV at the price of C2 segment sedans. Good looking too
• Robust, abuse-friendly build & construction
• Outstanding ride quality. Comfortable over any kind of road
• Car-like to drive. Balanced handling and dynamics
• 205mm of ground clearance. Dismisses broken roads with aplomb
• Fuel efficient 1.5L diesel engine with adequate power on tap
• Practical boot (475 - 1064 liters of cargo capacity)
• No 3rd row of seats. A 5 seater SUV, unlike its 7 seater competitors
• Cost cutting glaringly evident on the inside. Weird ergonomics as well
• Mediocre rear seat legroom. More like C1 segment sedans than C2
• 109 BHP diesel has noticeable turbo lag below 2,000 rpm
• Higher variants are steeply priced. 110 PS Duster is too close to the XUV & Yeti
• No climate control, 60:40 split on rear seat, dead pedal, auto locking doors or 1-touch down windows
• Renault's after-sales is an unknown quantity

Market Response: Super Hit
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Old 6th December 2012, 13:40   #10
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Default re: The Team-BHP Car of the Year 2012. EDIT : Renault Duster it is!

Nissan Evalia: Official Review (Nissan Evalia : Official Review)



• Light steering, gearbox and tight turning radius. Easily driveable in the city
• Fuel efficient 1.5L diesel engine is a proven workhorse
• Generous cabin space, very usable 3rd row of seats and a large luggage capacity
• Features include a colour MID, reversing camera, keyless entry/go, 3rd row air-con etc.
• Safety kit : ABS, EBD & BA are standard. 2 airbags on all, except the lowest variant
• Boxy looks & sliding rear doors give it a commercial van look & feel
• Middle row missing basics like roll-down windows, A/C vents and door armrests
• Small 1.5L engine has mediocre highway performance. Overtaking needs to be carefully planned
• Thin 165/80 R14 tyres are a joke on an MUV of this size
• Nissan's patchy dealer network & service quality

Market Response: Recently launched. Too early to tell
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Old 6th December 2012, 13:41   #11
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Default re: The Team-BHP Car of the Year 2012. EDIT : Renault Duster it is!

Tata Safari Storme: Official Review (Tata Safari Storme : Official Review)



• Considerably improved in nearly every way. The best Safari till date
• Solid body-on-frame construction. Substantial size & presence
• Competent 2.2L diesel motor. Excellent driveability. Smoother gearbox
• 1st & 2nd seat rows have enormous space and comfort
• Outstanding ride quality at low as well as high speeds
• Better handling, steering & brakes
• Low range 4x4 transfer case, limited slip differential and sufficient rear wheel articulation
• The same old body style. Looks like a mere facelift
• Imperfect fit & finish. Ample rough edges, especially on the inside
• Effectively a 5 seater. The 3rd row jump seats aren't suitable even for kids
• Not as dynamically accomplished as the XUV500, Duster or its sibling, the Aria
• No MID, climate control or dead pedal. Reversing camera removed from the Storme
• Niggling issues & problems (as per the many Safari ownership reports)
• Tata's after-sales service experience remains a gamble

Market Response: Recently launched. Too early to tell
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Old 6th December 2012, 13:43   #12
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Default re: The Team-BHP Car of the Year 2012. EDIT : Renault Duster it is!

Hyundai Elantra: Official Review



• Fluidic styling makes the Elantra a true show-stopper
• Spacious interiors. Top class quality too
• Comfortable suspension. Especially nice within the city
• Refined diesel & petrol motors mated to smooth 6 speed manual / automatic transmissions
• Loaded with equipment. Ventilated seats, reversing camera, dual zone climate control etc.
• Safety equipment includes 6 airbags, ESP, VSM, ABS & EBD
• 1.6L diesel engine can't match the outright punch of its 2.0L competitors
• Uninspiring, conventional Automatic transmission. No dual-clutch technology here
• Rear bench is optimised for 2. Thus, the Elantra is best used as a 4 seater
• Ordinary expressway dynamics. Steering lacks feel at high speed
• No MID, folding rear seat and sunroof

Market Response: Super Hit
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Old 6th December 2012, 13:46   #13
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Default re: The Team-BHP Car of the Year 2012. EDIT : Renault Duster it is!

Ssangyong Rexton:

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Link to Launch Thread (Mahindra launches the SsangYong Rexton @ 17.67 - 19.67 lacs)


Hyundai Sonata: Official Review (Hyundai Sonata : Official Review)



• Excellent styling & substantial road presence. Fluidic design does the magic
• Acres of interior space. Even for tall occupants
• Fantastic ride comfort. This is the perfect chauffeur-driven car
• Loaded with features & gizmos (cooled seats, xenon headlamps, rear camera and more)
• 5-Star safety rating. Equipment includes superb brakes, 6 airbags, ESP, ABS etc.
• No diesel engine! Period
• Doesn't feel as quick as a 198 BHP car ought to
• Back seat is optimised for 2 passengers. Thus, the Sonata is best as a 4-seater
• Dull Automatic transmission cannot match the response time of dual-clutch gearboxes
• Soft suspension leads to average high-speed handling. Not a corner carver at all

Market Response: Flop

Last edited by GTO : 6th December 2012 at 14:12.
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Old 6th December 2012, 13:54   #14
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Default re: The Team-BHP Car of the Year 2012. EDIT : Renault Duster it is!

Toyota Camry: Official Review (Toyota Camry : Official Review)



• Spacious premium sedan with excellent refinement levels
• Lexus-esque exterior styling. Great road presence
• Competent 179 BHP petrol engine & 6-speed AT gearbox
• Neutral ride and handling balance. Much improved over earlier Camry generations
• Toyota’s bullet-proof reliability and superb after-sales service
• Priced higher than all other competitors
• No diesel engine in the lineup
• Basic safety kit by segment standards. Only 2 airbags. No ESP or Traction Control
• Still not as dynamically accomplished as the European sedans
• Lacks some D2 segment gizmos (rear audio controls, sunroof, paddle shifters etc.)

Market Response: Average, though early days yet


Mercedes B-Class:

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First Drive Report (Pics & Report : Mercedes B-Class unveiled @ Buddh)


Mitsubishi Pajero Sport:

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An Ownership Review (My Mitsubishi Pajero Sport!)

Market Response: Average

Last edited by GTO : 6th December 2012 at 15:11.
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Old 6th December 2012, 13:56   #15
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Default re: The Team-BHP Car of the Year 2012. EDIT : Renault Duster it is!

Mini Cooper: Official Review



• Retro-chic styling inside out. Looks super cool
• Solid build & construction. Quality is very premium
• Cooper S' 184 BHP engine offers stunning performance
• Go-kart like driving experience. Immensely direct & unbelievably fun
• Excellent handling, grip levels & high speed stability
• 5 Star safety rating and equipment (6 airbags, DSC, ABS, Brake Assist)
• Steep CBU pricing. ~30 lakh Rupees for what is a tiny car
• Manual transmission and diesel power aren't available in the Indian Mini
• Regular 122 BHP engine (Non "S" variant) has mediocre performance on tap
• Bone-jarring ride quality. Suspension is tuned extremely stiff
• Grip over uneven roads isn't satisfactory. Mini feels skittish on unlevelled tarmac
• Cramped rear seat is best suited to children only


BMW 3 Series: Official Review (BMW 320d & 328i : Official Review)



• Great styling & presence. None of the quirkiness of the outgoing generation car
• Superb ride quality in all driving conditions. Ideal suspension set-up for Indian roads
• Fast, competent diesel & petrol engines
• Phenomenal 8 speed gearbox is quick & smooth
• Rear seat space has noticeably improved
• Loaded with features & cutting-edge technology
• BMW's 5 year / 100,000 kms service plan is a USP
• Vague electric steering isn't to an enthusiast's tastes. Not a true BMW steering
• No spare wheel or even space for one! Long-distance touring is a risky proposition
• Back seat lacks under-thigh support for tall passengers
• Rear suspension feels soft under hard driving. E90's back end was more planted
• Top Luxury Plus variant is priced in the vicinity of the BMW 520d & Mercedes E-Class
• Some features missing (folding rear seat, adjustable lumbar support, front parking sensors, height adjustable seatbelts)
• Start-stop functionality is too shuddery & annoying. We kept it switched off


Audi Q3: Official Review (Audi Q3 : Official Review)



• Top-notch interior quality is the segment best, and noticeably superior to the BMW X1
• Competent diesel engine is mated to a quick, seamlessly shifting dual-clutch 7 speed gearbox
• Quattro All-Wheel-Drive system offers leech-like levels of grip
• Effortless to drive, thanks to the light steering & compact dimensions
• Loaded to the gills with features, and then some
• 5 star safety rating & equipment (ESP, ABS, EBD, electronic diff lock, a multitude of airbags etc.)
• Over-assisted electric steering system. Stays light at highway speeds, feels vague too
• Stiff ride quality on bad & broken roads
• Limited rear seat space. The Q3 is best suited to 4 onboard (and not 5)
• Compact SUV, just like the X1. You could get bigger 7-seater SUVs for the same price
• Cheaper FWD variant is still some time away from launch
• Inconsistent sales & service experiences at Audi dealerships

Last edited by GTO : 6th December 2012 at 15:15.
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