Honda Amaze - Hormazd Sorabjee
The Honda Amaze has grown up and how. It may be a compact sedan in size, but it sure doesn’t look like one. Not this second-generation car, at least. The Brio-esque grille is gone and replaced by a vertical, chunky bar of chrome which gives it instant big-car cred. The interiors, too, have been spruced up and the new Amaze feels like a mini-City on the inside and not a Brio with a boot. And the cleverest bit is slipping a CVT automatic transmission into the diesel variant, which will no doubt help the Amaze find many new buyers.
Kia SP Concept - Shapur Kotwal
It takes a while normally for car companies to be on the ball here in India, but one look at Kia’s SP Concept and you know this company is going to hit the ground running. The bright work up front may be exaggerated and even so on the wheels, but this show car, in essence, is what we’ll see on our roads come 2019. The same spot-on proportions, the same fantastic stance and then there’s the tightly stretched skin. The more I looked at it, the more I liked it; especially those subtly flared wheel arches and the seamless manner in which the white roof merges with the rest of the car. Expect a lot from Kia.
Kia Stinger GT - Gavin D'Souza
There are more powerful sports sedans than the Kia Stinger GT, there are also better looking ones, ones with more desirable badges and more luxurious ones too. If given the option, chances are, many would not give it a second look, and simply put even more money down on something more familiar. But just the fact the Stinger GT exists at all makes it my pick from the 2018 Auto Expo. With 370hp and a 100kph time of 4.7sec, it’s no slouch, and unlike almost every other Kia, this one uses a proper, handling friendly rear-wheel-drive chassis! Kia could have just stuck to its affordable hatchbacks, family crossovers and planet-hugging hybrids, but they went and did this too. Please put it on sale here.
Tata H5X - Nikhil Bhatia
First up, kudos to Tata’s social media team. I think the cryptic teaser images they released in the run up to the Auto Expo 2018 were really nicely done. They got all and sundry genuinely excited about Tata’s big SUV reveal at the motor show. And you know what? The SUV really lived up to the hype. Bold, chunky and sexy even, the H5X, in my book, just takes Tata SUV design to the next level. I love the design and I love the detailing, and the techy cabin is really cool too. Now if only the final production version can stay true to concept.
Suzuki e-Survivor - Nishant Parekh
The Suzuki e-Survivor is my star car of the Auto Expo, not least because the concept is as futuristic as it gets. Distinctive rugged looking exterior, massive wheel arches, huge wheels and four-wheel drive assure go-anywhere ability. An electric motor powering each of the four wheels promises an engaging driving experience. I hadn't even soaked in the exterior fully when the ultramodern-looking dash with its spherical monitor that displays vehicle data caught my eye – I was sold; I couldn't care less about its autonomous driving ability. To me, it's all the car one will ever need.
Tata Racemo - Akbar Merchant
I had my eyes on this little Tata right from its first showcase at Geneva last year. The ‘Racemo’ attempt by Tata has a really huge potential. The looks that are just right, the two-seat setup and that small, yet powerful engine could give India its own version of the Mazda Miata. Look at it! It’s surely a head-turner! Its combination of just about the right proportions, overall striking and ‘in your eye’ looks, a futuristic and youth oriented interior, and the 190hp motor – I find these to be just the perfect recipe for a unique product from Tata. Give it a few minor interior and exterior tweaks to make it production ready and there we have it! We've seen the Tiago, the Tigor, the Hexa and the Nexon, and not to forget the stylish H5X and the 45X at the Auto Expo – they have surely made Tata Motors one of the most exciting mass-market car brands in recent times. Although chances are bleak, but I think a production version of the Racemo could just be an icing on that delicious cake that many of us are looking for.
Tata 45X - Amaan Ahmed
It'd be easy to draw up a list of stunning supercars, fancy sedans and burly SUVs. The list of jaw-dropping hatchbacks, though a short one, would definitely have the Tata 45X figure on it. There couldn't be a better way to introduce the IMPACT 2.0 design language. It's long and low-slung, the face displays just the right amount of aggression, the split rear spoiler looks funky and the detailing is just exquisite. Even the colour was done to perfection, and to add to the effect, Tata had placed it inside a glass showcase, so we were all looking at it like children peering wishfully into a toy store. Here's hoping that Tata can keep the production model as close to this as possible.
Maruti Suzuki Swift - Rivan RS
Yes, it’s a rather pragmatic choice but that's not why the Swift is a star. For me, it’s the car’s potential for the burgeoning hot-hatch segment that has me giddy. A look at its pricing will tell you most trims of the Swift are priced comfortably under the Baleno. The Baleno RS undercuts its hot-hatch rivals, the Polo GT TSI and Abarth Punto, by a significant margin as well. A Swift RS with the Baleno RS’ engine isn’t too far a stretch of imagination. While the 102hp, 1.0-litre turbo-petrol engine may not be as powerful as the 138hp, 1.4-litre one available on the Swift Sport sold abroad, the potential Swift RS could be a placeholder until (and if) Maruti decides to bring the Swift Sport to India.
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