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Aditya 22nd February 2019 09:40

Which trends do you love in modern cars?
14 Attachment(s)
We recently had a discussion on the worst trends of modern cars. Now, let's take a look at some of the trends that we love in modern cars.

Below are some of the trends I love (in no particular order) in modern cars. BHPians, please add to this list.

Cars getting faster & faster
There was a time when engines with 100+ BHP were found only in relatively expensive cars. Now, even some B2-segment hatchbacks produce 100 BHP! All we can do is :D. In the car market of today, you don't need to spend too much money to have fun.
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New cars = Safer cars!
Thanks to customer awareness levels, NCAP crash tests & upcoming safety norms in India, cars are generally becoming safer by the day. What's more, airbags & ABS have found their way even to budget cars today (ESP will too, soon). The Tata Nexon became the first Indian car to be awarded a 5-star rating by the Global NCAP, while the Mahindra Marazzo got a 4-star rating :thumbs up.
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Long warranties
Warranties are very important to us. Some manufacturers such as Toyota, Honda and Volkswagen are offering extended warranties of up to 7 years. Even Skoda recently announced a 6-year warranty option. Nothing quite like the peace-of-the-mind that a long warranty brings to the ownership of today's complicated cars.
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Luxury car features going mainstream
Just 3 years back, many 50-lakh cars didn't have front parking sensors. Today, the XUV300 gets them! Similarly, the Toyota Yaris has 7 airbags - something more expensive Mercedes' & BMWs don't offer even now. We like how today's mass market cars boast "luxury car" features such as auto headlamps + wipers, keyless entry & go, reversing cameras, touchscreen head-units with Apple CarPlay / Android Auto and more. A decade ago, power windows and air-conditioning were the only features you could brag about in the <9-lakh segments.
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Fun variants of everyday cars
Cars like the Tiago JTP, Baleno RS, Polo GTs, Figo S, Abarth Punto & Octavia vRS give enthusiasts the choice of buying higher performance variants of regular cars. Appealing to the head + heart? You bet.
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Compliant ride quality
Almost every new car today rides well. That wasn't necessarily the case 5 - 10 years back. Today, even budget vehicles have suspensions tuned to deliver a compliant ride (e.g. Santro). Car manufacturers have paid attention to customer feedback; a cushy suspension is an absolute must-have on typically Indian roads. No longer are there any bumpy cars being launched. Drive a 2005 Swift back to back with a 2019 Swift to know what we're talking about.
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Super easy to get a power bump
In the mid 2000s, extracting even 10 - 15 BHP more out of a mass market car was a lot of work. Today, thanks to remaps and / or turbo engines, adding 20 - 40 BHP is literally a 15 minute job! The internet too has led to the modifications industry maturing, while bolt-on modifications are commonplace today.
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Environment-friendly Factories
Car manufacturers are getting increasingly serious not only about tail-pipe emissions, but also building cars in a more sustainable manner. As an example, take a look at Hyundai India's efforts in this post.
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L-o-n-g service intervals
I remember my old cars going in for servicing multiple times a year. Honda dealers were especially notorious for calling customer cars in every 3 months for servicing. Today, the norm is a single visit annually. It's not just the time factor = km intervals have increased as well to 10,000 - 15,000 km.
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Toyota-like reliability everywhere (well, almost)
It's hard to find an unreliable new car today. Sure, there are a handful, but they are more the exception rather than the rule. Almost every new car on sale today is more or less reliable. If you had to drive to Kashmir tomorrow morning, you probably won't need any more preparation than a visit to the petrol pump for fuel & tyre pressures. Engineering quality has improved, as has part longevity.
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Faster & smoother Automatic gearboxes (cheaper options too)
Automatic gearboxes are becoming really quick, slick, smooth & fuel-efficient (see how many BHPians are converts). Once a mainstay of the segments above, ATs are gaining popularity in the high volume segments too. The torque-converters are ubiquitous, yes, but we now also have lightning fast dual-clutch ATs and unbelievably smooth CVTs. Those on a budget can pick the value-for-money AMT. While the AMTs are usually slow & jerky, Hyundai has shown what can be achieved with electric actuators.
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Car-like MUVs & SUVs
If you needed to carry 6 passengers a decade ago, you'd have to make do with a heavy body-on-frame vehicle that drove more like a mini-truck than a car. Leave aside the Mahindras & Tatas, even the 1st gen Innova - indisputably the benchmark - wasn't exactly easy or refined to drive. All of that changed with the monocoque UVs. These are car-like to drive, have superior road manners, lesser body roll, perfect ergonomics and a higher level of refinement. The new breed of UVs are more comfortable to live with and drive, hence their appeal has greatly widened. Fact is, body-on-frame UVs are losing sales to the monocoques.
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Flexi-Usage options
Want a chauffeur-driven car? Just open the Uber / Ola app on your smartphone. Need an SUV for that holiday trip? Log on to Zoom. Moving to a city for 12 months and need short-term car ownership? Zap & Revv will be happy to help you. As if that wasn't enough, on the days that you aren't using your Zap / Revv car, you can give it off on rent & make $$$. These services have significantly increased accessibility & offer incredible flexibility at a fraction of the cost of ownership. You are no longer stuck with just the one car you own, nor do you have to ask friends or family for favours.
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Cleaner cars
Thanks to ever-tightening emission norms & a strict government, modern cars are less polluting and more fuel-efficient than ever before! BS6 emission norms are scheduled for April 2020. We also expect hybrids to gain in popularity as these are designed for exactly our kind of stop-and-go traffic conditions.
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GTO 22nd February 2019 09:43

Re: Which trends do you love in modern cars?
Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Indian Car Scene. Thanks for sharing!

arunramaswamy 22nd February 2019 09:53

Re: Which trends do you love in modern cars?
For me, the below are the main improvement that I see in modern cars.

1) The structure of the cars are getting more robust in every iteration. Which means better safety for your loved ones.
2) Safety features are becoming standard. Minimum 6 airbags with ABS, EBD and BA in mass market segment which was unheard of even 5 years ago.
3) The reliability of the modern engines with lower cost to maintain with longer warranty period.
4) Techs like Hybrid and Battery power also makes your environmental friendly.

However I am worried about the introduction of electronics gadgetry that has the potential to make the drivers depend on it for day-to-day driving and basically scare them from driving without these features. Case in point; Reverse Camera. Most people find it difficult to reverse or parallel park a car without this.

am1m 22nd February 2019 09:54

Re: Which trends do you love in modern cars?
Something we all take for granted these days: reliability!

I grew up in my mom's Ambassador (Mark IV model I think). And man was that thing unreliable! I remember at least a couple of breakdowns a year. We lived in Whitefield (in Bangalore) and used to come in to the city (yep, Whitefield was outside the city in the 80s and it was a long, dark, scary road at night! It's still long and scary these days, but that's only because of the traffic!) and the car broke down a few times at night there. Usually radiator overheating so we'd wait for it to cool and pour in some more water. Didn't stop her from taking us on long drives, but we'd always get the car inspected thoroughly before a long drive and would carry spares for a lot of common things.

The Maruti 800, when it came out and we got one, was a real revolution!

And these days we don't think twice about hopping in to any car and taking a drive on the highway! In fact, my wife and I are heading on a 4k long road trip next month and it's amazing how the reliability of the car is not even an item for consideration anymore. (touch-wood :)) With the loooong service intervals for the latest cars and bikes, it's amazing how far every car and bike manufacturer in India (except Royal Enfield, I guess :)) has come in terms of reliability.

R4m4kr15hn4n 22nd February 2019 10:02

Re: Which trends do you love in modern cars?
I am not sure if this will qualify as a trend, but I find that the rear seat space management has improved significantly over the years. There was a time I could not sit in the back seat thanks to my height (I am almost 6'2"). But today, I can sit without much trouble (or without troubling the front seat passenger) even in a smaller car.

Blow Horn Ok 22nd February 2019 10:04

Re: Which trends do you love in modern cars?
Great thread. You have covered almost all points. Driver aids and electronics have also improved a lot. Reverse cameras, parking sensors can be found in almost all cars. Internationally collision detection and automatic braking systems, driver fatigue and alert sensors, blind spot detection systems are now standard and I am sure indian cars will get them soon.

gkveda 22nd February 2019 10:06

Re: Which trends do you love in modern cars?
I love entire life cycle change !

Earlier, we had many car-less drivers. Today, we are coming with driver-less cars. Probably, this is the result of few care-less drivers(Pun-Intended :) ). But, it is really good change in the world.

Only thing I wish is, every car-less driver should own driver-less car in our country.

rohan_iitr 22nd February 2019 10:10

Re: Which trends do you love in modern cars?
I like the following trends in modern cars:

1. Automatic option being available in almost all cars, including entry level cars

2. Parking aids like camera and sensors being available even in smaller cars

3. Premium interior quality and overall refinement even in smaller and cheaper cars

4. Multiple engine options, even within the same fuel type

5. Safety features being standard in all variants


arnieshwartz 22nd February 2019 10:35

Re: Which trends do you love in modern cars?
Great thread, and you've listed out several apt trends. I've long been wondering if there should be a mandatory list of features, revised periodically, that should be standard on the base variant of any car. I hate it when brochures list things like "chrome garnish", or "black sash tape on B pillar", or, "driver side vanity mirror"... among differentiating features between vehicle grades.


Originally Posted by arunramaswamy (Post 4548773)
However I am worried about the introduction of electronics gadgetry that has the potential to make the drivers depend on it for day-to-day driving and basically scare them from driving without these features. Case in point; Reverse Camera. Most people find it difficult to reverse or parallel park a car without this.

I agree. Technology should be an enabler, but not to the point of reducing drivers to the point of being entirely dependent on them.

Sophomore 22nd February 2019 10:38

Re: Which trends do you love in modern cars?
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Let me add few as well:

Convenience and Accessibility :
Nowadays a customer is not required to visit a dealership or any offices and wait for thier turn even for a single time. You have the convenience of booking a test drive, e-booking etc during the purchase cycle and the sales team will come to your home and the delivery process can be completed at the home itself. And coming to the ownership cycle you can book service appointments with pick-up and drop facilities, renewing insurance etc with a click of a button or call. Escalation and compliant registration is in next level, thanks to the social media.

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Source: MS website

Used Car Market:

Used car market is in it's full swing now. All the major manufacturers stepping directly to the used car market you can now have dealership like experience when purchasing a used car or you can avoid the middlemen by using many online platforms or you can also go with many other means. And customer awareness has increased on this side of the market where earlier there was always a higher fear of risk associated with this purchase. Now this risk factor has been significantly reduced by introduction of warranties provided for used cars, and also many articles and videos over internet with detailed checklists to be performed before buying an used car. All this has helped the used car market to a great extend.

Nanolover 22nd February 2019 10:39

Re: Which trends do you love in modern cars?
I remember way back in 1997, ford escort / opel astra used to cost 7-8 lakhs.

Now i own a tigor XZ+ in the same price bracket in 2019 !!

Cars are getting cheaper and the features over and above the premium cars in the 90"s are

- power folding mirrors
- remote locking
- alloy wheels
- rear camera & sensors
- touchscreen audios with bluetooth
- auto ac
- ABS & Airbags !!!
- Projector headlights
- fog lamps
- BS 4 !!!!!
- good mileage even with decreasing average speed across metros ( petrol versions of the 90's era were gas guzzlers )
- long standard warranty and option to extend warranty
-AMC packages
- feather lite electric power steering

this is over & above what is taken for granted in even the cheapest cars these days - power steering, windows, locks, ac, comfy seats, stereo....the list goes on and on.

Come to think of it - i think we Indians were taken for a ride by most manufacturers in the 90"s with their exorbitant pricing ( although taxes were high during that period i guess. but still please:)

locusjag 22nd February 2019 10:53

Re: Which trends do you love in modern cars?

Compliant ride quality
No longer are there any bumpy cars being launched.
Ahem, as a 2018 TUV 300 owner, I beg to differ lol: I still love the vehicle as a package though. In all my limited wisdom, I believe that the hard suspension is part of what makes it overload-friendly and so capable at high speeds over bad roads (I would love to get corrected if I'm wrong!) The TUV 300/Plus are at home over bad roads and no roads and personally I drive home the advantage by proceeding at high speeds in mine over broken roads. I love that and I can tolerate the tossing around at lower speeds.

Other than that I would like to point out the fact that we get way more cars with higher ground clearance these days, compared to 10 years ago.

I've had my old 2008 Swift become a beached whale on assorted speed bumps and dug up the point where I decided to only buy a high ground clearance car in India as my next one. And the manufacturers delivered a plethora of choices - numerous compact SUVs, hatchbacks with high GC figures.

avisidhu 22nd February 2019 11:02

Re: Which trends do you love in modern cars?
Great thread! Although some here including myself, think that by and large the industry has moved towards adding more gimmicks than enhancing the actual driving experience, but this thread truly puts things in perspective. Modern day cars are safer, lighter and much more reliable.

If I may add, after market options too have undergone a silent transformation. With a budget of lakh or two, I can get a humble hatch to compete with the luxury segment. The example of Creta is well known. And base variants now have safety features as standard, thus allowing one to invest less upfront and keep tinkering with the car for years.

SmartCat 22nd February 2019 11:10

Re: Which trends do you love in modern cars?
When a customer decides to buy a car, he has to take the following decisions:

- Petrol or diesel?
- Hatchback, Sedan, SUV or MPV?
- Manual or Automatic?
- Base, Mid or Top Variant?
- 2WD or 4WD? (for SUVs)
- 5 seater or 7 seater (for SUVs)

In recent times, there are so many variants and models on sale that customers can buy exactly what they want. Examples:

- Top spec petrol Automatic MPV
- Hatchback sized 4x4 diesel manual
- Mid spec compact sedan diesel automatic

and so on.

motorworks 22nd February 2019 11:48

Nice thread!
Almost all of the points have been covered! Standardisation of features is the biggest change. Almost all cars these days have ABS and airbags standard. And a lot of cars have mid variants offering ACC and so on.

However what I absolutely hate is the new obsession over infotainment systems in cars. The very second feature that is being advertised these days is the size of the screen. This obsession leads to car manufacturers spending more money on infotainment rather than safety and useful essentials like rear disc brakes, or any other useful feature. All of us already have 5-7inch handheld screens, laptops, tablets, big screen TVs and more.
Wish this obsession stops at a point and we quickly move on to other needed features.

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