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Old 27th February 2020, 10:07   #1
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Default The best engines ever sold in India

A lot of enthusiasts believe that "the engine makes the car" . What's under the hood can be the deciding factor for many of us. The upcoming BS6 norms are changing the landscape too, with some brands improving their offerings (e.g. Tata), while others are taking a step back (e.g. Ford).

Which engines, according to you, are the best ever sold in India? Please only include engines from the mainstream segments (<25-lakh rupee cars) as they are most relevant to the Indian car scene. My personal list is as follows:

Maruti's 1.2L K-Series
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The familiar 1.2-litre K12 engine has been around since eleven years now, but it’s still a gem of a motor. Maruti has also continually been tweaking it. The K12 is refined, rev-happy, has good driveability and offers respectable FE. It feels at home pottering around in the city, and you can enjoy its performance on the highway. On a related note, I must add that the BS6 iteration of the K10 is among the best 1.0s we've driven.

The Mahindra & Tata 2.2L diesels
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Mahindra & Tata both took AVL Austria's help for their 2.2L engines (more info). These are easily among the best turbo-diesel workhorses in the price range. Excellent torque delivery, very robust & reliable, fast (the latest tune does 155 horses in the XUV500) and acceptably efficient. These 2.2s have powered a wide range of UVs, from the Sumo Grande & Scorpio to the Hexa & XUV500. The engine's versatility is impressive.

Honda City's 1.5L Vtec
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The 1.5-litre "Hyper Vtec" of the first-generation Type-2 Honda City is a mad, mad, mad engine, making that City Vtec among the most iconic cars sold in India. The Vtec revved like crazy and the car itself felt like a high-powered go-kart. It shot up to ~7,100 rpm like most other petrols do 3,000! Listen to the sweet, melodious tune in this video. Must say, even the current City's 1.5L remains one of the best naturally-aspirated petrols in the country.


Hyundai's 1.6L diesel
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Hyundai's 1.6L diesel is a jewel. Its refinement is astonishing, and the power / torque delivery the best in the segment. This talented 1.6 CRDI covers a wide range of cars / price-points, from the Verna to the Elantra, and the Creta in between. Sadly, we expect the beautiful 1.6L to move away in favour of the 1.5L eventually (Hyundai will get excise duty benefits from the switchover).

Skoda Octavia vRS' 1.8L turbo
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The current Octavia's 1.8 TSI is enjoyable, yet the 1st-gen vRS is among the best & purest driving machines you can get your hands on...that 1.8L under its hood is one of the reasons why. Simply put, it was way ahead of its time. 148 BHP wasn't exactly commonplace in the early 2000s. It packed a punch in stock form itself, and many enthusiasts further modded it to 200 - 300 BHP tunes. Yes, there was lag and reliability was below-average in the long run. Still, it remains one of our absolute favourites.

Ford's 1.5L diesel
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In a 2019 poll, BHPians rated this as the best 1.5L diesel in India (link). It uses honest old-school mechanicals (8-valve SOHC); turbo-lag is superbly controlled & the mid-range packs a punch. An engine that appeals to the head as well as the heart.

Fiat's 1.3L MJD
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How can we miss the MJD? Indisputably the national engine of India, this 1.3L diesel was so loved that it powered not just different cars, but also brands (Maruti, Tata, Fiat, GM & more have used this one). It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that the little 1.3L saved Maruti from disaster in the mid-2000s, when the market swiftly moved to diesels and Suzuki had no oil-burner of its own. This is THE small diesel of India and no other will ever outsell it. Read BHPian tributes to the 1.3L MJD here.

VW's 1.2L TSI
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This 4-cylinder 1.2L turbo petrol is deadly; what makes it better is that VW paired it to an equally deadly DSG transmission! The Polo TSI brought direct-injection hardware & dual-clutch tech for the first time to the mass market segment. Quite telling that, a full 7-years since its introduction, no other car in the hatchback segment can match the combination. Fast, revv-happy (like a Honda) & punchy, this engine is the reason enthusiasts bought the Polo TSI, despite its obvious age + high price. Will soon be replaced by a 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol though.

Maruti's 1.6L diesel
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Let me share one number with you = 320 Nm of torque! It was the primary reason that enthusiasts looked past the S-Cross' UGLY looks. There's a wild surge of power once in the turbo zone, with the S-Cross 1.6 literally "flying" on the open road. Sadly, Maruti overpriced the 1.6L variant and then complained that no one bought it, so it was discontinued (when the S-Cross facelift arrived).

Abarth Punto's 1.4L turbo-petrol
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The 145 horses gave the Abarth Punto absolutely explosive performance! The Punto finally got an engine to match its splendid chassis, and there are many 30-lakh rupee car owners who have been left embarrassed by the hatchback. A true wolf-in-sheep's-clothing if you remove the garish red stickers. Experience its insane turbo-kick & power delivery to know what we're talking about. The engine is durable too = BHPian Blackwasp has covered 70,000 km on his Abarth Punto & the motor hasn't given him any trouble at all. Too bad about the terrible gearshift quality though.

Last edited by ChiragM : 27th February 2020 at 10:31.
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Old 27th February 2020, 10:19   #2
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Default Re: The best engines ever sold in India

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Indian Car Scene. Thanks for sharing!

Lovely thread . Adding two more to the list:

FCA's 2.0L Turbo Diesel
The best engines ever sold in India-2017jeepcompass01.jpg

Fast becoming the "national engine" of the Rs 15 - 20 lakh SUV segment, with Jeep (Compass), Tata (Harrier) & MG (Hector) all using it. Rumour has it that Maruti has spoken to FCA about borrowing it for a future crossover of theirs. It's a fantastic motor with long legs. Have enjoyed it on many road-trips.

Honda Accord's V6
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Both, the 3.0 of the earlier Accord & 3.5L of the later "boat" were crazy engines. Drive it and you'll know why no one does naturally-aspirated petrols as well as Honda. The 9th-gen Accord drove like a boat, but floor it in a straight line and it shot ahead like a missile.

Related Threads

The fantastic 1.5L diesels

Understanding the different types of engines

The best petrols of 2019

Last edited by GTO : 27th February 2020 at 10:21.
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Old 27th February 2020, 10:51   #3
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Default Re: The best engines ever sold in India

The 2 liter engine in the Tucson. You feel those 400 NM of torque every-time you floor the A-pedal. The NVH is very good, you don't feel the engine running when you are inside the car, you don't feel the AC compressor being kicked, I love driving this in the open road.

The best engines ever sold in India-2016hyundaitucson01.jpg

Pic source

My absolute favorite is the 2.2 AVL in M&M SUV's and the 1.2K engine in Maruti. In my books, M&M has tuned the 2.2 better than Tata managed.

Last edited by Sheel : 29th February 2020 at 08:49.
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Old 27th February 2020, 11:04   #4
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Having been an owner of 2 Esteems, the amazing 1298 cc SOHC engine coupled with the low kerb weight of the car used to make it a blast to drive!

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Old 27th February 2020, 11:11   #5
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I would like to add Renaults 1.5 K9K to the list. Its a workhorse in all its 68/85/110 bhp avatars and is pretty linear and smooth while on the boil.

Last edited by fhdowntheline : 27th February 2020 at 11:13.
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Old 27th February 2020, 11:18   #6
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Default Re: The best engines ever sold in India

Back in the day the Vtec was the best engine, IMO. However, the ford ikon had a super fun engine. There was a torque surge you got post 4000rpm that almost felt like a turbo charger was kicking in even though it was a NA engine. These were the two most fun cars to drive in the 2000s until the VRs came and took their crown.
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Old 27th February 2020, 11:36   #7
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Default Re: The best engines ever sold in India

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiragM View Post
The upcoming BS6 norms are changing the landscape too, with some brands improving their offerings (e.g. Tata), while others are taking a step back (e.g. Ford).
Why do you feel Ford has taken a step back?
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Old 27th February 2020, 11:51   #8
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Sounds like a tractor, pulls like a train - The VW's mighty 1.6 TDi.

It definitely sounds like a tractor on the outside and almost a truck on the inside however, when the pedal is floored, the RPM shoots to 5500 RPM redline and you leave significantly expensive cars in the hazardous black smoke that this engine emitted. Have done 70K kms so far and still delivers ~21kmpl when driven sanely.

The choice was between this and the butter smooth 1.6 CRDi of the Hyundai. I chose this 6 years back because, even though the Hyundai was significantly faster on the straight line, the VW will run circles around the Hyundai in the in gear acceleration which depicts most of the real life scenarios.

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Old 27th February 2020, 11:52   #9
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Default Re: The best engines ever sold in India

Adding two more:

Suzuki G16B


The best engines ever sold in India-9cc370bcb239a38e2052b40d1d70f1d6.jpg

The G16B powering the MS Baleno was a fantastic motor. One of the last large petrols from MS for a while (now the 1.5 is available), it has excellent driveability, both in city and the highways. It produced 95 hp, which was more than sufficient for the lightweight car, and 130nm torque, which came at merely 3000rpm! Such a low end torque, from a petrol motor, made sure this car was pocket rocket!


VW 1.6 Tdi


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The 1.6 Tdi powered the Vento, Rapid and the Polo. I remember the TeamBHP reviews for the Vento and Rapid showered praises on this oil burner. It has sufficient low end torque and the awesome turbo kick at 1800 rpm gave the steering wheel an additional purpose : for holding on! (I know, I copied this from somewhere ) And the extremely mod friendly nature is an enthusiasts dream!

Last edited by GeneralJazz : 27th February 2020 at 11:54.
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Old 27th February 2020, 12:12   #10
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2 More to Add -

Ford 1.6 Duratec and 2.0 from Detroit Diesel on the Optra and 1st Gen Cruze !!

Owing one and owned one in the past, both were a blast and the way they were mated to the cars, it was a Bliss !!
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Old 27th February 2020, 12:13   #11
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VW 2.0 in both the tunes... Mad Mad engine for sure. Alas! They messed up in emissions.

I drive a Q3 QUATTRO and was briefly hunting for a pre-worshipped Jetta.
Test drove the Jetta in manual and DSG models. Fell in love with the manual.. Man that engine pulls like a locomotive, and the power-band just doesn't end

And Q3 2.0 with DSG 380 is a different ball game altogether .

Cheers,
AB
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Old 27th February 2020, 12:26   #12
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I will add Toyota's 2.5L D4D from the Innova and the 3L D4D from the Fortuner to the list. Don't have as much experience with the 3L engine, but I found it to be a very torquey engine and pulls very linearly, and is fuel efficient (given its size).
Having driven the 2.5 D4D for over 2.1 lac kms, I would say the biggest trump card of the engine is its reliability and the fact that the engine still feels 'fresh'. And we all know how good the engine is to drive at speeds <100, with torque always available on demand. Its a different story though beyond 100kmph.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiragM View Post

Mahindra & Tata both took AVL Austria's help for their 2.2L engines .
Mahindra did a much better job than Tata of tuning the 2.2 engine to their requirement. Atleast, when I had the 2.2L Dicor Safari, I always felt the Scorpio - a rubbish SUV in my books- bettered it in just one key department and that was the Mhawk 2.2 engine.
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Old 27th February 2020, 12:28   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiragM View Post

The 145 horses gave the Abarth Punto absolutely explosive performance!
While there is no question that this engine should feature in your list. However, my personal take on it was that, although performance wise it did not falter, I was expecting more from it. Both in terms of the shove and the aural affirmation, it did not manage to overwhelm as much as its 145bhp specification suggested. Yes, I was using the upper end of the rev-range to exploit the maximum. That too, to eliminate any placebo, I took to it's wheel after pushing a 15 yr old Ford with only 91bhp!
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Old 27th February 2020, 12:36   #14
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I belong completely and wholeheartedly to the club of "Engine Makes or Breaks the Car". I have been lucky to own two of the best petrols that this country has ever seen, on the Swift 1.2 K Series and now the Honda City iVTEC. Both these engines are titans in their own right, and have enjoyed each and every kilometers clocked on these two engines. Notwithstanding their age, they remain pertinent even today, with lovely performance from the high revving motors.
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Old 27th February 2020, 13:34   #15
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Accent CRDi came with a 1500cc 3 cylinder 12 valves diesel engine which produced 82 bhp at 4000rpm but it was super zippy and peppy made overtaking easy as hell, it did not need multiple gear changes unlike others at that point of time. The only direct injection avalible at that time was under the luxury german brands. The engine itself has a American origin "Detroit from what I recall" and it laid the foundation for the future. Best part is since it was a 3 pot and CRDi it gave great fuel avg.
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