The wait is nearly over. We are just a day and a few hours away from the opening of the doors to Auto Expo 2018. As always, there is huge buzz surrounding India’s largest motor show. Sure, some manufacturers have decided to sit out this edition of the Auto Expo, but the ones that are taking part are coming in with all guns blazing. Here are some of the important cars that we just can’t wait to see in the metal.
Tata has been teasing images and sketches of its Hyundai i20-rivaling hatchback in the run up to the Auto Expo 2018, and the exercise sure has had the right impact. There’s genuine curiosity about Tata’s big hatchback. The car will carry Tata’s latest Impact Design 2.0 design language and promises to be a departure from everything we’ve seen from the carmaker so far. Cabin quality is also said to be leagues ahead of what we’ve come to expect from Tata Motors.
Associate Tata Motors with SUVs? Then the H5 concept is the one that will be the big draw at Tata’s stand for you. The concept previews Tata’s upcoming SUV that will be available in five- and seven-seat avatars. Again, styling will be very different to all Tatas before and the images released so far do suggest bold elements and unique details. Huge wheels, slim LED headlamps and a complex glasshouse are just some of the design features revealed as yet.
Tata Tiago JTP and Tigor JTP
Tata will also take the wraps of the performance versions of the Tiago hatchback and Tigor compact sedan. The JTP in the name will tell you these are souped-up versions of the cars, though there will be plenty of visual elements to differentiate them from their everyday versions. Redesigned bumpers with exaggerated air inlets, body kits and a lowered suspension will give the models a very purposeful look. To give the cars the go to match the show, Tata will equip them with the 1.2 turbo-petrol engine from the Nexon.
New Honda Amaze
The second-gen Honda Amaze will make its global debut at Auto Expo 2018. While the outgoing car scored huge on practicality, it was somewhat down on flash value. Honda will make amends with the new car that is said to borrow styling cues from the larger City. The new Amaze will also boast a richer cabin, addressing a major weakness on the existing car. We expect the new Amaze to run the same 1.2-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel as the Amaze on sale today.
Hyundai i20 facelift
Hyundai’s hugely popular i20 is all set to get a facelift, and we’ll see the car for the very first time in the metal at the Auto Expo 2018. Styling will be tweaked, with the front end receiving Hyundai’s new ‘cascading’ grille as well as projector headlamps. New alloy wheels and a reprofiled boot lid will complete the makeover. A new infotainment system will be the big change in the cabin. The 1.2-litre petrol and 1.4-litre diesel engines will be retained on the new car, though the 1.4 petrol that was solely available with an automatic transmission will be dropped. In its place, Hyundai will offer the 1.2 petrol engine with the option of a CVT automatic gearbox for the first time.
Kia SP Concept
Korean carmaker Kia is a first-time participant at the Auto Expo and is counting on its new SP Concept to make a lasting impression. The Hyundai Creta-sized SUV has so far only been revealed in teaser images and from what is visible, styling is rather attractive. No more details are out as yet but the SP is a precursor to an SUV model with which Kia will start its India innings come 2019. Kia has been on a roll in terms of design and the SP Concept suggests that is set to continue for some time to come.
Mahindra is known to shock and awe with its concepts at the Auto Expo and the Stinger convertible SUV will be the vehicle for the job at the 2018 event. Built on the TUV300’s ladder-frame platform, the Stinger will be under four metres in length and use a fabric roof à la Range Rover Evoque convertible. Mahindra will gauge showgoer response to the Stinger to see if there’s a business case in building one.
Given the tepid response to the original SsangYong Rexton in India, there was always a question mark over whether Mahindra would bring in the new-generation model to our market. Come Auto Expo 2018, we’ll see the new Rexton in India, though with Mahindra badging for the very first time. Yes, Mahindra wants to take on the Toyota Fortuner and Ford Endeavour head-on. Who knows, this could just be the model that upsets the apple cart.
Maruti Suzuki Future S
Maruti already has a hugely popular compact SUV (the Vitara Brezza) in its ranks but that’s not stopped it from exploring the potential of an even smaller SUV model. The Concept Future S points to the direction Maruti is looking at. The model will be 200mm shorter than the Vitara Brezza and will also debut an all-new design language for Maruti. An upright A-pillar and high bonnet line suggest the shape will be more SUV than jacked-up hatchback. Interesting, don’t you think?
Maruti Suzuki Swift
You’ve already seen the all-new Swift on this website but Auto Expo 2018 will present an opportunity to the public at large to get up close with Maruti’s upcoming blockbuster. It looks attractive, boasts a more spacious cabin and is also available with automatic gearbox options for the very first time. The waiting lists are already swelling up, and that’s even before price have been announced! The Swift launches on February 8 at the Auto Expo.
Toyota is readying a new mid-sizer for India and it’s a model that will be pitched against the Honda City, Maruti Ciaz and Hyundai Verna. The model in question is the Yaris sedan that will get its first India showing at Auto Expo 2018. The sedan will come powered by a 1.5-litre engine and will also be offered with a CVT automatic gearbox. A practical sedan with Toyota’s bullet-proof reliability? We wouldn’t bet against it.