Exclusive! New Cars for 2011

We bring you confidential info on all the cars being launched in 2011.

Tata Nano CVT (November 2011)
The brief from Henry Ford for the Model T called for an easy car to own and drive. Now Ratan Tata seems to be finishing what Henry started, giving the iconic Nano a CVT. Belt and pulley automatics have been sold in India, by Honda and even Audi, but their success hasn’t been great. The Nano in fact was to be launched as a CVT but reliability constraints held it back. As long as this gearbox is reliable and inexpensive, Tata Motors is sure to unlock the massive potential that exists in small towns and cities. For the first-time driver, the Nano’s engine’s torque curve is perfect for use with an automatic.

See Tata Nano images here

Tata Safari face-lift (Early-2011)
Tata has been quietly testing a face-lifted Safari for some time now. In the new avatar, the roofline stays faithful to the original, with heavy revisions made to the nose and tail. Also, the headlights are new as are the tail-lights and you can expect a new grille and bumper as well. It will be powered by the same 2.2-litre DiCOR engine making 140bhp but with tweaks to improve refinement. It will be on showroom floors in February 2011 and we don’t expect a huge jump in price.

Tata Venture (Early 2011)
With the Venture, Tata Motors is all set to enter the hugely under-penetrated compact MPV market which has only two players – Maruti Omni and Eeco. The Tata Venture is going to be positioned higher than the Maruti Eeco MPV, which means its price could start at Rs 3 lakh. The vehicle’s flexible cabin allows seating for six or eight. The Venture, as shown in the Delhi Auto Expo, seems to be loaded with convenience features like power steering, power windows, reverse parking aid, keyless entry with engine immobiliser and rear wipers. It is also said to include various safety features like a collapsible steering system and side impact beams. The interiors are said to follow a two-tone theme. It is based on Tata’s Super Ace pickup platform which is heavily modified for civilian duty.

See Tata Venture images here

Toyota Camry CKD (End-2011)
What the Camry needs is a competitive price tag, and that’s exactly what Toyota is giving it. By importing completely knocked down (CKD) kits and assembling the car in India, it will help Toyota lower the price of the Camry as it will evade the duties levied on fully built imported units. While it will retain the current 2.4-litre petrol engine, expect mild updates to the exteriors and the interiors. And there might be a manual version as well.

Toyota Etios Liva (April 2011)
The Etios Liva will be powered by a 1.2 litre engine developing around 80bhp. The bantam weight 890kg hatchback promises strong performance without compromising fuel efficiency. Interior space is similar to the Etios saloon and hence the Liva promises to be the most spacious hatchback in its class. Toyota plans to introduce a 1.4 diesel engine at a later stage for both the Etios saloon and Liva. This diesel will be similar to the one in the Corolla diesel but is unlikely to get the same variable geometry turbo (VGT). Instead a fixed geometry turbo developing around 70bhp is likely to be used as this will offer better fuel consumption and cost less than the VGT. There is also talk of introducing the saloon’s 1.5-litre 88.7bhp engine in the Liva at a later stage to spice up the Liva’s rather tame personality.

See Etios Liva images here

Volkswagen Jetta (October 2011)
The new Jetta is nothing like the current Jetta. Smart, handsome and much bigger, expect it to come with VW’s legendary attention to detail. Also, it will be cheaper than the current Jetta, thanks to VW removing some of the less necessary features like gas struts to open the bonnet. Lower versions of this Jetta will feature a non-independent torsion beam suspension at the rear as well. As for power, we expect the 1.4-litre, 122bhp TSI petrol and the 2.0-litre common rail diesel in the Jetta when it is launched here in October 2011. An estimated price range of Rs 15-18 lakh is bang in Skoda Laura territory.

See New VW Jetta images here

Volkswagen Passat CC(Mid-2011)
The Passat CC is VW’s take on a four-door coupé theme started by the Mercedes CLS. It features a radical four-door coupé-like body with a rakish roofline adding more sex appeal to the conventional Passat. Its beautifully crafted headlights and the heavily beveled and layered bumpers give the car a sense of solid craftsmanship. On the inside, it offers plenty of legroom, supportive seats and a good amount of room in the footwell. The dash and fascia are lifted from the Passat and the quality fit/finish is only as good as the saloon can manage. All mechanical underpinnings of the Passat are shared with the CC like the chassis, suspension bits, gearboxes as well as the engines. The top-of-the-line variant will be powered by a 3.6-litre V6 producing 280bhp. The Passat CC may be priced cheaper than the rivals like the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes C-class but this VW will provide a larger, sexier profile and a fair bit of excitement.

New volkswagen Passat (Early 2011)
Volkswagen is likely to unveil the new Passat at the Paris Motor Show. It is a thoroughly restyled and re-engineered car and will feature a new four-bar grille, a full width lower air intake and squarer headlamps. It will use the same platform as the current Passat. Expect overhauled interiors with improvements in perceived quality along with new trim and materials from the more upmarket Passat CC. Although VW is offering a 1.4-litre TSI and a 1.6 TDI, we expect the Indian car to carry on with the 1.8 TSI petrol and 2.0 TDI diesel that the current car comes with. You might have to wait a bit for this one though as VW plans to launch it only in February.

See new VW Passat images here

Volvo S60 (Early 2011)
A bit of moving and shaking at Volvo after a break and this is what’s causing it. The S60, if you didn’t know, is Volvo’s challenger to the BMW 3-Series, the Merc C-class and the Audi A4. Though Volvo would like you to think it is a sporting saloon, its real strength lies in the fact that it doesn’t stray too far from Volvo’s traditional values. And with a gazillion years of Volvo’s safety engineering behind it, the S60 makes for an interesting, funky looking alternative to the big three. We expect firepower to come from the 2.4-litre diesel that is in the bigger S80 as well as a 2.0-litre petrol. Volvo says it will be here in the first quarter of 2011 and will be priced between Rs 29.90-41.10 lakh.

See Volvo S60 images here

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