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Old 24th November 2013, 14:00   #1
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Default 2013 Lineup: The Best Enthusiast Cars in India

There are cars and then, there are cars. As BHPians, we aren't looking at a mere mode of transportation from point A -> point B. To us, the journey is as important as the destination...be it the simple early morning run to work, or that pleasurable 1,000 kms road trip.

Good thing is, the vibrant Indian market offers petrolheads a wide variety of fun-to-drive cars. And if you thought you need to spend big $$$ to have fun, think again. Excellent options are available at each & every price point.

Best part is, most of these rides will keep the driver as well as family man in you happy. After all, the car of a typical Indian household just has to be a multi-tasker (ghat cornering on Sunday, office on Monday, kids to football ground on Saturday).

Listed below, in no particular order, are the best enthusiast cars on sale today. Only those with a price tag <20 lakhs have been included, to keep the lineup relevant & accessible to the vast majority of motorheads.

Each of these automobiles will bring a smile to your face (*guaranteed*) in their own special way, every time you head out for a drive! What's more, if you wish to enhance the driving experience, they are modification friendly too (related article).

Last edited by GTO : 24th November 2013 at 14:50.
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Old 24th November 2013, 14:03   #2
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Default Re: 2013 Lineup: The Best Enthusiast Cars in India

Fiat Linea T-Jet


What's hot: Turbo-petrol motor, benchmark steering, excellent dynamics & stability, all-round disc brakes, solid build. For manual tranny lovers, still the most satisfying car (<10 lakhs) to drive on the highway

What's not: Long throw & rubbery gearshift, awkward driving position, poor interior fit & finish, rear seat short on space, niggling issues, Fiat's after-sales service

Official Review (Fiat Linea T-Jet : Test Drive & Review)
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Old 24th November 2013, 14:04   #3
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Default Re: 2013 Lineup: The Best Enthusiast Cars in India

VW Polo 1.6L GT TDI


What's hot: Fast & torquey 1.6L diesel, fuel efficiency, smooth 5-speed manual, solid build, clean styling, mature suspension, accommodating 280 liter boot. Vento engine in a hatchback = Fun!

What's not: Electric steering, expensive price-tag, same exterior as the regular Polo, limited rear legroom, some missing equipment, VW's dealership experiences

Also consider its sedan siblings, the Vento & Rapid

Official Review (Volkswagen Polo 1.6L GT TDI : Official Review)

VW Polo 1.2L GT TSI


What's hot: Fast high-revving 1.2L TSI petrol, lightning quick 7-speed DSG, safety kit (ESP, hill-hold), solid build, clean styling, mature suspension, accommodating 280 liter boot. Premium car tech in a small package

What's not: Reliability concerns over the DQ200 DSG transmission, no manual, expensive price-tag, electric steering, same exterior as the regular Polo, limited rear legroom, some missing equipment, VW's dealership experiences

Also consider its sedan sibling, the Vento TSI

Official Review (Volkswagen Polo 1.2L GT TSI : Official Review)
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Old 24th November 2013, 14:05   #4
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Default Re: 2013 Lineup: The Best Enthusiast Cars in India

Skoda Octavia 1.8L DSG


What's hot: Explosive performance (178 BHP), lightning quick DSG, premium build, loaded with features, enhanced cabin space, cavernous 590 liter boot, 5 star safety & kit. Nearly as much car as the C-Class & 3-Series at a significantly lower price

What's not: Reliability concerns over the DSG transmission, no manual gearbox option, some niceties missing (paddle shifters, smart keyless entry & go, alloy wheel spare), unusually tall floor hump makes 5th occupant unwelcome, Skoda’s ill-famed after-sales service

Official Review (Skoda Octavia : Official Review)
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Old 24th November 2013, 14:06   #5
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Default Re: 2013 Lineup: The Best Enthusiast Cars in India

VW Jetta 2.0L TDI


What's hot: Timeless styling, solid build, powerful + practical diesel, slick 6-Speed manual, improved space, superbly tuned suspension, 5 star safety & kit. An Audi A4 with a VW badge, really. Diesel gets a multi-link rear suspension which the Octavia diesel doesn't

What's not: Interior quality is a grade lower than earlier Jetta, equipment levels are poorer to the Skoda Octavia, looks uncannily similar to the 1/2 price Vento, VW's dealership experiences

Official Review (Volkswagen Jetta : Test Drive & Review)
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Old 24th November 2013, 14:07   #6
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Default Re: 2013 Lineup: The Best Enthusiast Cars in India

Toyota Liva 1.5L (TRD Sportivo)


What's hot: Punchy 1.5L petrol engine offers fast performance & fabulous driveability, neat body kit, spacious interiors, effortless to drive within the city, neutral handling, comfortable ride, Toyota’s fuss-free ownership experience

What's not: Light steering with zero feedback, outdated styling, missing equipment (no fog lamps, electric mirrors, rear defogger and rear wash / wipe), low rent interiors, cost-cutting glaringly obvious in several areas

Also consider its sedan sibling, the Etios

Official Review (Toyota Liva 1.5L (TRD Sportivo) : Official Review)
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Old 24th November 2013, 14:08   #7
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Default Re: 2013 Lineup: The Best Enthusiast Cars in India

Ford EcoSport 1.0L EcoBoost


What's hot: Futuristic styling, solid construction, free revving turbo-petrol, solid mid-range punch, loaded to the gills with technology & equipment, smartly packaged interiors, dynamically sorted & competent handling (by SUV standards), great ergonomics & driving position, city friendly size, top notch safety kit

What's not: Turbo-lag below 1,800 rpm, Hyundai-esque light electric steering on the highway, stiff ride quality, small 362 liter boot, 5th occupant unwelcome, compact dimensions take street cred away, thick A-Pillars result in severe blind spots, EcoBoost only on top variant

Official Review (Ford EcoSport : Official Review)

Last edited by GTO : 28th November 2013 at 18:24.
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Old 24th November 2013, 14:08   #8
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Default Re: 2013 Lineup: The Best Enthusiast Cars in India

Ford Classic 1.6L Petrol


What's hot: Fast & revv-happy 100 BHP motor, beautiful steering feel, superb handling & dynamics, VFM pricing, solid build

What's not: Outdated by current standards, cramped interiors, mediocre fuel economy, Ford's inconsistent service experiences

Last edited by GTO : 28th November 2013 at 18:26.
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Old 24th November 2013, 14:08   #9
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Default Re: 2013 Lineup: The Best Enthusiast Cars in India

Mahindra Thar


What's hot: Retro Jeep styling, oodles of power & torque for effortless highway cruising, nippy power steering & zero turbo-lag make light work of city driving, comfortable ride quality (by Jeep standards), offroad competency will exceed needs of most owners, a Jeep with warranty, parts & labour support

What's not: Cheap, appalling interior quality, absence of lockable hardtop makes the Thar impractical for daily use, complicated front IFS has offroad limitations, driver ergonomics messed up (pedal position, off-center steering etc.), nervous steering feel over 100 kph, limited potential for offroad modifications due to independent front suspension, inconsistent M&M service support

Also consider the made-to-order Maruti Gypsy (2 - 4 months waiting period)

Official Review (Mahindra Thar : Test Drive & Review)
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Old 24th November 2013, 14:09   #10
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Default Re: 2013 Lineup: The Best Enthusiast Cars in India

Maruti Swift


What's hot: Snazzy styling, competent engine range, balanced ride and road manners, terrific fuel efficiency, effortless to drive in the city, Maruti’s excellent after-sales service, ample aftermarket support for modifications

What's not: No big horsepower variant (small 1.2 & 1.3 engines), tiny impractical boot, mediocre brakes (L & V variants), limited rear seat space, pricey Z trim levels

Official Review (Maruti Swift : Test Drive & Review)
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Old 24th November 2013, 14:09   #11
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Default Re: 2013 Lineup: The Best Enthusiast Cars in India

Honda Brio


What's hot: 95 BHP / Ton power-to-weight ratio, entertaining to drive, redline-happy engine, small, tight & chuckable chassis, Honda reliability & fuss-free ownership experience

What's not: Choppy ride on imperfect roads, tiny 175 liter boot, ordinary space for rear passengers (also, seatback too short), unconventional dashboard design, quirky rear-end styling is a hit or miss

Official Review (Honda Brio : Test Drive & Review)
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Old 24th November 2013, 14:10   #12
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Default Re: 2013 Lineup: The Best Enthusiast Cars in India

Maruti Alto K10


What's hot: Pocket-rocket fun on a small budget, 67 BHP in a 760 kilo car, light & mechanical driving feel, acceptable NVH for a 3-cylinder engine, superb fuel economy

What's not: Terribly outdated, awful safety standards, poor high-speed handling & significant understeer, lifeless steering

Official Review
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Old 24th November 2013, 14:10   #13
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Default Re: 2013 Lineup: The Best Enthusiast Cars in India

Pre-worshipped Rides


Love the value in pre-owned? I do too! There's some lovely cars out there, no matter what your budget is.

20 lakhs can get you an immaculate BMW 5 series, and 1 lakh a fun-to-drive Zen or Palio 1.6. The iconic Octavia vRS typically trades hands for 3 lakhs and there's plenty of sweet Civics in the 4 - 5 lakh price band. Fatter wallet? How about this pre-worshipped Ferrari 360 on our classifieds?

Related Articles:

Old vs New

6 Lakhs (ARTICLE: The Best (used) Enthusiast cars for 6 lakh rupees! Or less)
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Old 24th November 2013, 14:11   #14
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Default Re: 2013 Lineup: The Best Enthusiast Cars in India

ATVs


ATVs, now officially available in India, start at 3.75 lakhs for the reputable brands. Take one out on a trail and you'll have a wide grin plastered all over your face. As much fun as go-karts, but without the need of a clean racetrack. On the flip side, ATVs aren't street-legal in India. You can only drive one on private property, thereby making it an incredibly expensive toy.

To know more, view this report (Polaris 4 x 4 in India) and this official review (Rage Motorsport Cyclone (70 BHP Buggy) : Driven).

Last edited by GTO : 2nd December 2013 at 15:04. Reason: Adding Rage video & link.
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Old 24th November 2013, 14:52   #15
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Default Re: 2013 Lineup: The Best Enthusiast Cars in India

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Indian Car Scene!
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