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Old 18th November 2014, 13:30   #1
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Default 2014 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 that simple early morning run to work, or the 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 Friday).

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 line-up relevant & accessible to the vast majority of motorheads.

Each of these cars 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 : 19th November 2014 at 08:46.
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Old 18th November 2014, 13:32   #2
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Default Re: 2014 Lineup: The Best Enthusiast Cars in India

Skoda Octavia 1.8L DSG

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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)

Last edited by GTO : 19th November 2014 at 08:48.
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Old 18th November 2014, 13:34   #3
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Default Re: 2014 Lineup: The Best Enthusiast Cars in India

Fiat Linea T-Jet

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

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

Official Review (Fiat Linea T-Jet : Test Drive & Review)

Last edited by GTO : 19th November 2014 at 08:51.
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Old 18th November 2014, 13:38   #4
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VW Polo 1.2L GT TSI

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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

Official Review (Volkswagen Polo 1.2L GT TSI : Official Review)

VW Polo 1.5L GT TDI

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What's hot: Fast & torquey 1.5L diesel, excellent fuel efficiency, smooth 5-speed manual, solid build, clean styling, mature suspension, accommodating 280 liter boot

What's not: Not as explosive as older 1.6 TDI, electric steering, expensive price-tag, same exterior as the regular Polo, limited rear legroom, some missing equipment, VW's dealership experiences

Review (The Red Devil - VW Polo 1.5L GT TDI)

Also check out the Vento 1.2L TSI...
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...and Rapid / Vento TDI 7-speed DSGs:
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Official Review (2014 Skoda Rapid 1.5L DSG : Official Review)

Last edited by GTO : 19th November 2014 at 11:18.
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Old 18th November 2014, 13:41   #5
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Default Re: 2014 Lineup: The Best Enthusiast Cars in India

Ford EcoSport 1.0L EcoBoost

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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)

Ford Classic 1.6L Petrol

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What's hot: Fast & revv-happy 100 BHP motor, beautiful steering feel, superb handling & dynamics (Figo gets points for the same too), VFM pricing, solid build

What's not: Awfully outdated by current standards, cramped interiors, mediocre fuel economy

Last edited by GTO : 19th November 2014 at 09:51.
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Old 18th November 2014, 13:44   #6
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Toyota Liva 1.5L (TRD Sportivo)

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What's hot: Punchy 1.5L petrol engine offers fast performance & fabulous driveability, distinctive 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 the Etios Cross and its sedan sibling, the Etios

Official Review (Toyota Liva 1.5L (TRD Sportivo) : Official Review)

Last edited by GTO : 19th November 2014 at 09:55.
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Old 18th November 2014, 13:51   #7
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Default Re: 2014 Lineup: The Best Enthusiast Cars in India

Mahindra Thar

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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

Official Review (Mahindra Thar : Test Drive & Review)

Maruti Gypsy

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What's hot: Timeless charm, competent off the road, outstanding reliability, low maintenance, modification potential, agile to drive, extremely abuse-friendly

What's not: No diesel, low fuel efficiency, poor low-end torque, horrible ride quality, potentially long wait period due to inconsistent production schedule

Force Gurkha 4x4

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What's hot: Capable 4x4, diff locks on front & rear axles, hardtop available, spacious interiors, nice ride quality (for a 4x4)

What's not: Pathetic dealers & after-sales service, scarce availability, poor fit & finish, cumbersome gearbox, weak air-conditioner, ergonomically messed up

Last edited by GTO : 19th November 2014 at 10:28.
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Old 18th November 2014, 13:53   #8
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VW Jetta 2.0L TDI - MT

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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)

Last edited by GTO : 19th November 2014 at 11:07.
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Old 18th November 2014, 14:22   #9
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Maruti Swift

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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)

Honda Brio

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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)

Last edited by GTO : 19th November 2014 at 12:45.
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Old 18th November 2014, 14:34   #10
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Default Re: 2014 Lineup: The Best Enthusiast Cars in India

Isuzu D-Max

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What's hot: Power & character at 6 lakhs, all variants are competitively priced, best-in-class build quality, can handle abuse, competent diesel engine, easy to drive, balanced road manners & controlled body roll, interiors are user-friendly (fit & finish, ergonomics, NVH, air-conditioning), car-like equipment (tilt steering, power windows, height-adjustable seat belts, dead pedal, cup-holders, coat hook etc.)

What's not: Can be registered as a commercial vehicle only, you need a CV driving licence, awfully thin dealer network, available as a 2-seater only, a generation older than what's available internationally, ABS or 4x4 aren't part of the options list, proper rear bumper is conspicuous by its absence

Official Review

Last edited by GTO : 19th November 2014 at 12:11.
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Old 18th November 2014, 14:37   #11
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Maruti Alto K10 - Manual

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What's hot: Pocket-rocket fun on a tiny budget, 67 BHP in a 740 kilo car (power to weight ratio of 91 BHP / ton), light & mechanical driving feel, superb fuel economy, compliant low speed ride quality, immensely chuckable

What's not: Abject lack of safety, nervous high speed handling, inconsistent & dull steering, woefully thin tyres

If on a small budget, also check out the Datsun Go which has a similar power to weight ratio, and better high-speed manners than the Alto K10.

Last edited by GTO : 20th November 2014 at 13:16.
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Old 18th November 2014, 14:40   #12
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Default Re: 2014 Lineup: The Best Enthusiast Cars in India

Ford Fiesta

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What's hot: Lovely steering (among the best EPS out there), sharp handler, facelift is great looking, neat feature set (voice activation, auto-fold mirrors, cruise control, keyless start & go), torquey diesel with good driveability

What's not: Turbo-diesel isn't as powerful as competitors, no petrol engine option, limited rear bench space

Official Review (2014 Ford Fiesta Facelift : A Close Look)

Chevrolet Cruze

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What's hot: Funky exterior & interior styling, well-rounded 164 BHP engine is fast, turbo-lag is greatly reduced, loaded with equipment (sunroof, keyless entry & go, electric driver's seat, cruise control, rain sensing wipers etc.), good reliability, competitively priced

What's not: That 2,000 rpm turbo kick (of the older Cruze) is gone, power delivery is tamer now, rear seat comfort is inferior to all direct competitors, mediocre interior quality, not as dynamically accomplished as the Europeans, lousy JK Vectra OEM tyres, weak headlamps

Official Review (2012 Chevrolet Cruze : Official Review)

Last edited by GTO : 20th November 2014 at 13:32.
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Old 18th November 2014, 14:42   #13
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Pre-worshipped Rides

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The stonking Skoda Laura 1.8L TSI MT can be yours for 6.5 lakhs. The pre-owned market has several other options for enthusiasts - right from good Civics at 4 lakhs, clean BMW 320Ds at 10 lakhs and the 6-cylinder E60 530d at 15 lakh. Take your pick!

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Related Articles: Old vs New

Last edited by GTO : 19th November 2014 at 14:27.
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Old 18th November 2014, 14:54   #14
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Default Re: 2014 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 : 19th November 2014 at 14:28.
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Old 19th November 2014, 14:34   #15
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Default Re: 2014 Lineup: The Best Enthusiast Cars in India

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