Renault Kwid Climber – Hormazd Sorabjee
The flexibility of the Kwid is quite evident in this rugged SUV concept, and it’s an appropriate version of the Kwid to show since SUVs are the flavour of the entire market. The Climber captures the image and stance of a true-blue SUV, and it’s hard to believe that underneath that rugged suit is an affordable hatchback.
Maruti Suzuki Ignis – Shapur Kotwal
The Ignis is just right for India. It's compact at 3.7 metres and yet has an attractive stance. The retro detailing at the rear gives it real character and it comes with a fresh new interior: no carry over bits here. As long as Maruti don't equip it with what look like narrow 'cycle tyres', this could be the next big thing.
Tata Nexon – Renuka Kirpalani
Amongst the clutter of compact launches there was one stellar car and, surprisingly, it was from the Tata stable. The Nexon makes you do a double take to look at it again and again. Despite its edgy styling, it’s practical and spacious on the inside. This is a big step forward for Tata, and it knocks the socks off others in the segment. Just wish the launch was sooner.
BMW 7-series – Perseus Bandrawalla
With numerous high-tech features, BMW has built a car that feels like it is right out of a Bond movie. Remote parking may not be available in India at launch, but other features like gesture control and the fantastic touchscreen infotainment system will come with it. The new 7-series paves the way for technology and features that could eventually appear in mainstream cars in the future.
Renault Kwid Racer – Doug Revolta
The world needs more affordable performance cars. With 18-inch wheels, an Alcantara, aluminium and carbon interior, bucket seats and a roll cage, the Kwid Racer is a tantalising prospect for those seeking thrills without paying too many bills. There are no details on powertrains, but just imagine if the Renaultsport team got hold of it. Shame it won’t make production, but let’s hope it inspires future models.
Jaguar XF – Gavin D’Souza
I like the XE, I’m impressed by the F-Pace, but I’ve been bowled over by the new XF. The last one was Jag’s ‘renaissance moment’, and the new one seems to have ushered in the next evolution. It’s as luxurious as an XJ and I hear it’s as tight to drive as an XE. And it’s gorgeous. Can’t wait to have a go.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS – Nikhil Batia
There’s a thrill in revving the daylights out of a naturally aspirated petrol engine but, the fact is, today’s traffic doesn’t allow such indulgences. So, it’s become more about mid-range punch than a manic top-end for me. And that’s exactly why I’m interested in the 1.0-litre Boosterjet turbo engine in the RS. If it’s anything like Ford’s EcoBoost engine, I’ll be sold.
Toyota Innova Crysta – Akbar Merchant
Toyota's superb people mover gets even better. I am a big fan of the comfort and practicality of the current model and the next-gen Innova looks even better. There are also new engines on offer and a much-needed auto 'box. Sadly, the new Innova won't be cheap. But yes, this was one of the most promising unveilings for me at this Auto Expo.
Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza – Sergius Barretto
The very simple and conservatively styled Brezza was my star of the expo. Why? With its cool coloured contrast or floating roof options, it’s a sign of India’s largest and mostly play-safe manufacturer getting bolder. Buying a Maruti now should mean you did the fun thing and not just the sensible thing. Hooray!
Ford Mustang – Nishant Parekh
The Ford Mustang is easily my star car for this show simply because it looks absolutely staggering. Now in its sixth generation, the car still shares the retro touches to the styling with its predecessors, complete with the wide shoulders and that lengthy bonnet. The deal only gets sweeter with Ford deciding to bring the iconic sportscar in its most lethal 5.0-litre V8 guise to India.
Jeep Wrangler – Siddhant Ghalla
Purists have argued that the new Jeep Wrangler has too much tech and too many features for it to be the hardcore, bare-knuckled, hairy-chested mountain-eater that it is supposed to be. To them, I say: kind sirs, you are wrong. The Wrangler is finally here, and with a 2.8-litre diesel to churn out 197bhp and a meaty 50kgm of low-range torque, off-road enthusiasts have much to rejoice about.