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Old 22nd June 2006, 14:02   #1
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Default 2006: Feast of all shapes, brands and sizes

An interesting story by Autocar India.


Time really flies when you�re having fun, you stop, blink, and just like that, we�re in June already! Since, we�ve just touched the half year mark, I thought I�d do a quick flashback on the first half of the year, and show you what you can look forward to in the second half. While we do this, we�re also going to be telling you what we would go out and buy. Now with the number of choices available, and with everyone�s demands being different, we split up our choices from each segment into the following:
The value for money buy: This car may not be the cheapest in the segment, but is the one we feel offers the most for its price. The most spacious car: The car that would fit the needs of the average Indian family and his luggage.
The pick of the segment: This is the car we would go out and buy and consider the best in its class as an overall package. To begin with, in the small car segment, here are the new entrants this year:
Indica Xeta and Indica V2 turbo were two variants that caused a lot of buzz. Both cars were quite different from their predecessors, so, these cars are the pick of the litter. The other contenders were: Palio, Santro Xing, Getz, Maruti 800, Maruti Alto, Maruti Zen, Maruti Wagon R, Maruti Swift and Tata Indica diesel.
With its extremely interesting price point, spacious interior and improved performance, our value-for-money pick is the Indica Xeta. With enough of a boot to call it one, the large wheelbase and airy interior of the Getz is the most spacious.
Autoshow's pick of the segment and the car that swept away all the awards and the one we chose as 'Car of the Year' last year, is the Maruti Suzuki Swift.
Then is a class of cars that have to struggle to please the customer. The midsize buyer is normally very demanding, looking for practicality, economy, comfort as well as an image. Let's take a look at the new entrants. The 'Made for India' Ford Fiesta, Chevrolet Aveo and the Honda City Ztec were the mid-sizers that hit the roads this year.
The contenders are: Fiat Petra/ Adventure, Ford Ikon/Fusion/Fiesta, Honda City Zx, Hyundai Accent, Maruti Esteem/Baleno, Mitsubishi Lancer and Tata Indigo/Marina.
In the value-for-money segment, the Hyundai Accent wins hands down. I did consider the Esteem but this oldtimer from Maruti is dated now and can�t offer as much as the Accent does. The most spacious car in this segment is quite easily the Lancer.
Our pick of the segment; the one that combines everything the customer wants - space, comfort, economy, and a reasonable price is the Ford Fiesta 1.4 diesel.
In the luxury segment, for the customer who�s a little discerning. He�s looking for image, comfort, class and performance, while price is not his major concern. This segment sees two new entrants � the Camry and the Skoda Laura PD
The contenders are: Chevrolet Optra, Ford Mondeo, Honda Accord, Hyundai Elantra/Embera, Mercedes Benz C-class, Mitsubishi Lancer Cedia, Skoda Octavia /Combi /Laura PD DSG, Toyota Corolla and Toyota Camry.
In the value-for-money category, it's really a toss up between the Sonata Embera and the Honda Accord. Both cars have the look, space and performance, but for its strong brand and better resale value, the Honda Accord gets the honors. For space - it's undoubtedly the new Camry. And then, there�s the pick of the segment, again keeping in mind the customer profile and his requirements, we choose the Skoda Laura PD DSG.
Now we go to the creamy, super-luxury segment. There�s no real competition here � it�s a contention between the Mercedes E Class variants and the Skoda Superb. Well, I think the new Mercedes E280 CDi is a car that lives up to the super-luxury tag, and this is the car that�s my choice.
Last but not the least, is the SUV/MUV bunch. In the last two years, this segment saw a lot of action but this past year has been a little slow, with no new entrants except for the revamped Scorpio.
Here are the contenders: Chevrolet Tavera/Forrester, Ford Endeavour, Honda CRV, Hyundai Terracan/Tucson, Mahindra Scorpio/Bolero, Mitsubishi Pajero, Nissan X-trail, Tata Sumo Victa/Safari Dicor and Toyota Innova.
Our value-for-money pick would have to be the Scorpio CRDe - it's not the cheapest of the bunch, but has the best performance, space and refinement. The Innova gets my thumbs up for being the most spacious and the one that combines all qualities, but if you�re looking for a true blue SUV, look no further than the Hyundai Tuscon.
Well, if you�ve noticed we�ve left out the imports and that�s because the choice is wide open and almost all worldwide manufacturers have their agents here, but here are a few that I enjoyed: Rolls Royce Phantom, Bentley Continental GT, Lamborghini.
Now, these were the cars that are already on the road in the early half of 2006, but here is what you can look forward to in the next few months. These are some of the dream rides coming into town: Chevrolet Optra SRV, Chevrolet Aveo Hatch, Honda New Accord, Honda Civic, New Hyundai Accent, Mitsubishi Montero, Porsche Cayman S, Audi Q7, New Zen and the New Endeavor.
Well, it seems like the Indian car market is just set to speed away, with some very good-looking wheels set to hit the roads.
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