The Union Budget has brought an overarching sense of gloom for carmakers – import duties are up to a staggering 100 percent, there are no improvements in incentives for EVs and hybrids, and the SUV – India’s favourite kind of car – now has a tax of its own. But that hasn’t hindered manufacturers’ plans, especially for new SUVs, and they’re going ahead full steam.
Exciting new SUVs
Our big scoop this month is a new micro-SUV from Mahindra that’s smaller than even the sub-four-metre Quanto. Known for now as the S101, this smart, front-wheel-drive crossover could even be an eight-seater! What will they think of next! We’ve also got the lowdown on VW’s Up-based Taigun and Jeep’s CR-V-rivalling Cherokee, both of which are headed our way.
M&M’s other big breakthrough is the new-generation Reva, called the e2o. It’s much more desirable now, more conventional-feeling to drive and significantly, much easier to live with. Read all about India’s newest crack at emissions-free motoring in our first drive report.
As if the full-size SUV segment wasn’t fiercely contested already, it now has a new player. Isuzu is launching its brand in India with the gargantuan MU-7, and at first glance it looks promising. But is it good enough for a relatively unknown brand to take on the established favourites?
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Because of the Mahindra connection, the word Jeep rolls off the tongues of most Indians quite easily. However, the original Jeep of the USA is now headed our way via Fiat, and we’ve driven what will be its maiden offering – the Grand Cherokee luxury flagship.
The big group test: Automatic mid-size saloons
Once frowned upon for their poor fuel economy and expensive sticker price, automatics are now making a big comeback in India. We’ve rounded up the best of the two-pedal mid-size saloons on sale and put them in the ring to see which is the best at soothing your nerves.
Toyota Etios and Liva facelifts
In truth, this isn’t much of a facelift as the changes to the exterior are hard to spot. The real changes are geared at making the Etios feel more premium, both to drive and be driven in. Toyota has also thrown in a sporty 89bhp Liva called the TRD Sportivo, and we’ve driven that as well.
Gallardos at the BIC
Lamborghini let us loose in its 2013 range of Gallardos. And not just to pootle around in traffic either. Three quick, loud laps of the BIC in each, the LP570-4 Superleggera Edizione Tecnica and our old favourite the LP550-2, left us with a silly grin on our face for days later.
The 2013 F1 season has just kicked off, and we’ve got a guide that will tell you what to expect – from each team’s gameplan, to what each track has in store. We’ve also got a full report of the Valley Drag – India’s first international drag race at Aamby Valley, in Maharashtra.
You’ll find all this and so much more in Autocar India’s April 2013 issue.