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Old 29th January 2020, 10:29   #1
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Default The 10 worst Indian cars of the last decade

The Indian market has matured so much that you'd be hard-pressed to find a truly bad car on sale today. Most 2020 cars are either good or acceptable. However, ever so often, a rotten apple does somehow get launched...defying taste, common sense, research & wisdom .

Note: This is NOT a subjective list. It's also based on market performance and ALL of the listed cars have flopped in India. The Top 10 worst Indian cars of the last decade IMHO are as follows:

Mahindra Quanto
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You can't simply shorten a failed product (Xylo) and expect it to sell. Yes, the Quanto was spacious and had a practical engine, but boy was it ugly! It also had the ride quality of a pogo stick. Mahindra later applied some lipstick on it, but the NuvoSport bombed too.

DC Avanti
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Dilip Chhabria wanted to build a super'ish car for India, although enthusiasts gave it an extremely insulting i-g-n-o-r-e. Yes, I'll be the first to admit it was a fair effort by a tiny home-grown manufacturer and that its acceleration was decent for the price (acceleration mind you, not the top speed). But there was little else to lure any petrol-head toward it. The styling was weird (especially that ugly rear end), it was heavy at 1600 kilos, the build was inconsistent, the interior quality shoddy, there were no airbags and the sales / service support was zero. Of course, you then had "hand-built" car reliability & sloppy handling to live with. On the Lonavla ghats, a 10-lakh rupee Abarth Punto would leave this wannabe supercar for dead. Thanks DC, but for ~35 lakhs, gearheads will gladly pick up the world-class Octavia vRS instead.

Premier Rio
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The losers at Premier Auto - who were partially responsible for ruining Peugeot & Fiat in India - thought they'll jump onto the emerging crossover trend with a cheap Chinese import. Luckily for India, its shrewd customers saw behind the facade and realised it's a rebadged Zotye Nomad from China (the cars even arrived with the Zotye badge). Worse still, Premier later did the usual "Padmini jugaad" and plonked the 1.3L MJD into it. The Rio was horribly built, had a depressing interior, was noisy and suffered awful highway manners. Then of course were the suspect promoters backing it!

Datsun Go / Go+
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Datsun represents what is a completely disjointed thought process & strategy from none other than fugitive Carlos Ghosn himself! Enthusiastically entering the Indian market thinking that "cheap will sell", Datsun launched the Go without even a glovebox lid. Cost-cutting is more obvious than at your local beedi shop, and there was a mobile docking port offered instead of a head-unit! The Go+ then showed the world how NOT to do a 3rd-row seat (although sister concern Renault did it right with the Triber).

Ashok Leyland Stile
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A truck maker tried to enter the car segment with a shortcut and it ended pretty badly. Not only did the car fail, but it led to a messy divorce in the courts (related link). The Stile is a rebadged Nissan Evalia, albeit a poorer + decontented version of what was already a flop car. So stripped was the Stile that its supposed top-end LX version (costing over a million bucks, mind you) didn't even get a rear defogger or remote locking! The hapless dealers were forced to think up schemes, giving away a Stile for free if you placed a big truck order. IMHO, Ashok Leyland should stick to making trucks & buses.

Isuzu MU-7
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Isuzu launched the D-Max pickup truck which BHPians loved (review link) & at a fantastic price too. Overnight, it became the best pickup truck on sale in India. Sadly, Isuzu also brought in the outdated MU-7 SUV which was already being replaced by the newer MU-X internationally. The old MU-7 was overpriced for what it offered, had a 1980s interior and no brand value / dealer network to speak of. Not that its replacement - the MU-X - did any better. Isuzu didn't learn from earlier mistakes and launched the 2013 MU-X in 2017 (instead of the latest version). The MU-X's gearbox was terribly slow, the wavy ride quality can make you car-sick and it corners like a ship. Both SUVs deservedly sank like the Titanic.

Mahindra Verito Vibe
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I can't decide which one is the uglier hack job - the Quanto or this contraption? It's one of those OEM products that deserves an entry in our weird & wacky mod jobs thread. Can't decide if this weirdo was a joke from Mahindra or an unpardonable error? Any which way, it made the company a laughing stock. An outdated design, basic interior and such a poor chop-job that 50% of people think it's an ugly hatchback, while the other 50% think it's a sedan.

Force One
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Force Motors wanted to cash in on the SUV craze, but didn't have the resources to develop a proper one in-house. So, it simply did what me and you do on AliExpress = placed an order in China + shipped it in. Drive the Force One and you'll know how unsorted it was. Not to forget, the unlucky few who did buy one had to contend with reliability issues, scarce part availability and clueless after-sales support. Not even Amitabh Bachchan could save this turkey (he was the brand ambassador). There was simply no reason to pick it up over say, the similarly priced XUV500.

Chevrolet Sail / U-VA
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You'll find this hard to believe, but the group that brought the MG Hector here is the same one behind the Sail twins. You could say they learnt their lesson! The Sail & U-VA were so boring that - apparently - the agency making a pitch told Chevy to rebrand the cars as vanilla 1 & vanilla 2 . Don't get me wrong, there was nothing fundamentally wrong with the cars, but the problem was that whoever saw one fell asleep instantly. If the dictionary ever needed a graphical representation of "boring", they should use this picture. In a market that was getting snazzier designs from other car makers, no customer even noticed the Sail twins' boring exterior + boring interior + boring drive. I'm yawning, just writing this paragraph.

Renault Koleos
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The Koleos was one of the first products Renault launched in India...and among the worst. Launched at an obscene 23 lakhs in 2011, it was more expensive than the Fortuner & Endeavour! The BMW X1 wasn't too far away either. The product itself had a dimwitted automatic gearbox, limited rear seat space, awkward styling and zero badge value. As a result, this dud is rarer than a Ferrari on Indian roads.
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Old 29th January 2020, 10:46   #2
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Default Re: The 10 worst Indian cars of the last decade

Whenever I think of an 'unnecessary' car in our market, the KUV100 always comes to my mind first. And I still can't think of a reason why it is still available in the market? No offense to the owners.

A colleague wanted an SUV and was hell-bent convinced that KUV is the one for his family, that too the 6-seater variant! I tried my level best to reason out the Ecosport was miles ahead but because of the huge discounts on the KUV100, he felt it was VFM. Luckily though, he agreed to pay the premium for the diesel variant. He consoles himself saying that he drives a unique car (his previous car was a yellow Nano).

There's one in my apartment parking too. It looks weird at night as the LHS DRL, RHS front fog lamp, LHS rear fog lamp and one of the tail light bulbs don't work/is fused!

Fun fact: When I was hunting for a new car, one of my relatives suggested I consider KUV as it has a lot of space, can seat 6-7 people and has good ground clearance!

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Old 29th January 2020, 10:48   #3
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Default Re: The 10 worst Indian cars of the last decade

Mahindra leads the quirky design theme almost at the expense of being graceful in their own assumptions. The KUV (forgot what's after) is one other example. Whenever I see one, the feeling immediately criss crosses as to ask "who would buy this?".
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Old 29th January 2020, 10:55   #4
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Default Re: The 10 worst Indian cars of the last decade

I would like to add Celerio Diesel to that list. The sole reason being that engine. Celerio petrol is indeed decent a car. And it did introduce 'Automatic' transmission to the masses. But that diesel IMO was TERRIBLE. Just my opinion. Maruti did the right thing by axing it within two years.

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Old 29th January 2020, 10:58   #5
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Default Re: The 10 worst Indian cars of the last decade

Seriously, the 'Quanto' looks too weird. Even the 'Nuvosport' looked awkward. Mahindra (though I have deep respect for the brand) has a habit of throwing models, even in the tractor market.

You can always expect at least 2-3 launches every year. One of their dealers even mentioned to me once "Sir sometimes we don't even get the time to remove danglers from the ceiling and they've already announced the next launch!"
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Old 29th January 2020, 11:15   #6
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Default Re: The 10 worst Indian cars of the last decade

How could you miss out the ICML Rhino? A cheapo copy of the Toyota Qualis. Had been an extremely regretful purchase for all the poor ones who fell for it. Mechanically and ownership experience-wise a full scale disaster.

I'll say spare the boring Sail twins (which is a much lesser crime) and put this in that spot
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Old 29th January 2020, 11:24   #7
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Default Re: The 10 worst Indian cars of the last decade

I guess it's just me, but I find the Isuzu MU-7 very desirable! Being an old SUV is not an issue - because when MU-7 was on sale, Mitsubishi was selling the Pajero and Ford was selling the 1st gen Ford Endeavor (facelift)

The 10 worst Indian cars of the last decade-isuzu_mu7_img_9565.jpg

Force One is good looking too, especially from the side. Front and back, not so much. My cousin's husband owned one, and it was beset with problems. When I drove his car, the driver's seatback was stuck at 80 degrees and the gearbox made a groaning sound every time.

Last edited by SmartCat : 29th January 2020 at 11:40.
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Old 29th January 2020, 11:49   #8
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Default Re: The 10 worst Indian cars of the last decade

DC Avanti tops my list. I am surprised DC and BC who have owned several supercars landed up making a car that even they themselves wouldn't want to use. Heck, it did not even have any airbags in the base model!
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Old 29th January 2020, 12:07   #9
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As I was coming down the list I was hoping my poor Sail UV-A would be saved from the guillotine, alas it was not to be. ROFL.

1.4 Lac Kms, 6 years later it is as boring as it was on day one, spare the 1.3DDiS engine.
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Old 29th January 2020, 12:13   #10
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Default Re: The 10 worst Indian cars of the last decade

Many might not agree, but I feel Thar deserves a place here . I am suggesting this despite driving one. At best this can be a recreational vehicle or a purpose built, but should not be road legal. Frequent rusting, steering rack falling apart, crazy brakes, leaking oil can be related to a car from 70-80's. Probably will also score worst in comfort and safety when compared to cars sold in last decade.

Don't get me wrong, it has its strengths off-road, load carrying, looks but definitely cannot be one's primary car and Mahindra could have done a much better job. Don't forget onroad prices are 10lac+(7lac+ for DI).
The 10 worst Indian cars of the last decade-mahindrathardi.png

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Old 29th January 2020, 12:37   #11
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Default Re: The 10 worst Indian cars of the last decade

Originally Posted by PrideRed View Post
Many might not agree, but I feel Thar deserves a place here.
I was going through GTO's opening post and was feeling relieved that I have not owned any of the worst cars of the last decade. Then I saw your post. Yes, many will not agree with you because the Thar looks fantastic aesthetically, unlike most of the cars mentioned here. But being a Thar owner for the last 5 years, I think that what you have mentioned is absolutely correct. The problem is that one tends to forget all the drawbacks after one look at the Thar.
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Old 29th January 2020, 12:48   #12
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Default Re: The 10 worst Indian cars of the last decade

Nuvo Sport was something which no one wanted to own or even tried to stay away from a parked vehicle. It came after Quanto, and was sold along with Quanto. Then you could see a bootless Verito next to it at Mahindra dealership. This was probably the first time when a dealership showcased 3 utter flop models in the showroom.

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Old 29th January 2020, 12:49   #13
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The two cars that had a huge big "LOSER" printed on their forehead on the day that they were launched were, in my opinion, the Premier Rio and the Mahindra Verito Vibe.

The Premier Rio was a re-badged Zotye Nomad/2008, which in turn was a warmed over first-gen Daihatsu Terios. A design from the early 1990's, mildly successful in its day. This, coming from a company now renowned for unethical dealings with customers and business partners alike.

As for the Verito Vibe - I want the stuff Mahindra boffins were smoking when they came up with this "brilliant" idea. Take the old Dacia Logan, chop off the boot to make it look like a hatch, and then don't give it a proper tailgate. Instead, give it a post-box like slot to post your luggage into the boot. Who in Mahindra thought that this contraption would even sell? I hope that individual is no longer in any decision-making capacity in any company in any industry.

Apart from the above two, every other car in this list had at least something to recommend it. They at least had some hope in hell.
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Old 29th January 2020, 12:54   #14
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Default Re: The 10 worst Indian cars of the last decade

Some of the other cars that comes to my mind -

Aria, launched in 2010, though a competent product failed miserably in the market due to high launch price and bland looks.

Scala, the re-badged Sunny launced in 2012, fails to kick-off while its cousin was still selling in good decent numbers.

The New Fiesta from Ford, launched in 2012, completely different in characteristics from its older generation, now christened as Classic.

Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Ashok Leyland Stile
Attachment 1959350

A truck maker tried to enter the car segment with a shortcut and it ended pretty badly. Not only did the car fail, but it led to a messy divorce in the courts (related link). The Stile is a rebadged Nissan Evalia, albeit a poorer + decontented version of what was already a flop car.
Yes, as you said, even the original Evalia, launched in 2012, was a sales dud which had sold a total sum of 2656 units, before pulled the plug in 2016.

Renault Koleos
Attachment 1959359

The Koleos was one of the first products Renault launched in India...and among the worst.
And it's sedan cousin Fluence. Both launched with high hopes and high price from Renault and both bombed together and finally stopped in 2016 for good. However, these 2 have taught Renault, a good lesson, that since then they have almost launched all vehicles with good launch price.

The good thing is that all the cars in your list werelaunched during the initial years of last decade when the market has not yet matured. The recent launches from all the manufacturers are indeed good, and the OEMs have started taking our Indian Auto market seriously.

Last edited by jpcoolguy : 29th January 2020 at 12:58.
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Old 29th January 2020, 12:59   #15
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Default Re: The 10 worst Indian cars of the last decade

Its a comprehensive list and despite thinking hard could only come up with a few additions to this list.

Renault Captur: In the segment that includes the Hyundai Creta, Tata Harrier and Renault's own duster, launching this car was .. Understandably this sank and only sells in traces due to price cuts and discounts..

Honda Mobilio : Many things were wrong with this car.. The design takes the cake. Even the Honda brand couldn't save this !

Interms of one single manufacturer that are / were guilty of designing the worst cars.. Mahindra takes the top spot.. For a company that came up with the XUV 500, Quanto / Nuvosport / KUV are unforgivable. I cringe whenever I see these abominations on road.
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