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2012 Auto Expo - Utility Vehicles a major trend

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Maruti Ertiga

Maruti Suzuki has unveiled their Ertiga MPV for the Indian masses. It is the first compact MPV in it's segment and will go on sale in April 2012. It is a 7-seater, and is 4265mm long, 1695mm wide and has a height of 1685mm. The Ertiga's wheelbase is 2740 mm, 10mm short of the Innova and the car on display was shod with 15' alloys.

Maruti Suzuki has unveiled their Ertiga MPV for the Indian masses. It is the first compact MPV in it's segment and will go on sale in April 2012. It is a 7-seater, and is 4265mm long, 1695mm wide and has a height of 1685mm. The Ertiga's wheelbase is 2740 mm, 10mm short of the Innova and the car on display was shod with 15' alloys.



On the inside, the Ertiga has a three-spoke, tilt adjustable electric power steering, twin air-con, USB compatible audio unit, steering mounted audio controls, keyless entry and central locking. In addition to that, it has a Multi-information Display (MID), power windows with auto-down function and electrically adjustable ORVMs. The variant on display was the ZDI, so the features may vary. The dashboard is a clear adaptation of the one on the current Swift. Boot space varies between 135 to 735 litres depending on whether the last rows of seats are folded down or not. The last row of seats are accessible through a folding middle row although it is best left to kids or luggage.

The Ertiga sports a McPherson strut suspension at the front and is based on the Swift platform - not the SX4 as was being speculated. Maruti Suzuki has added that an automatic transmission variant is certainly not on the cards, thus continuing a yawning gap between market expectations and feasibility. Expect the usual Lxi/Vxi/Zxi and Ldi/Vdi/Zdi levels of variants to be offered on the Ertiga. We'll keep you posted!

 

 

Ashok Leyland Stile

The Nissan and Ashok Leyland partnership has resulted in this - the Ashok Leyland Stile. This is essentially a rebadged Nissan Evalia or NV200, but in this iteration will be available in several different formats, such as a seven-seater, an eight-seater, courier van, shuttle van and ambulance. Of course, the Stile will be suitably modified for each new application and the company has declared that the Stile will be positioned lower than the Nissan Evalia.

Ashok Leyland will start manufacturing the Stile in 2013, and manufacturing operations will be completely independent from that for the Nissan Evalia. The Stile will come powered by a common-rail diesel engine, and a dual-fuel CNG and petrol engine. These engines are not likely to be Nissan motors and will be designed and developed by Ashok Leyland. However further engine specifications have not yet been announced. Ashok Leyland is looking at setting up different dealerships to sell the Stile, in addition to its dealerships for HCVs and LCVs.

 

Chevrolet Tavera


The Tavera has been upgraded and now carries the Neo3 suffix. Chevrolet claims the Neo3 combines the handling of a passenger car with the performance and ruggedness of an MUV, although we'll reserve comment on that until we've driven one ourselves. The Tavera now gets Chevrolet's twin-port grille, and a bigger bowtie emblem too. Larger headlamps with integrated indicators are also present. The top-end variant will get a dual-tone body colour combination and contrasting gold bumpers and side trim. The interior has been given a premium look in order to give the car a more luxurious feel. The Tavera comes powered by a 2.5-liter direct injection insta-torque turbocharged engine (BS3) and an all-new 2.0-liter common-rail direct-injection diesel engine that is BS4 emission compliant. Both of the engines are said to operate quietly and have excellent low-end torque, which could come in handy in traffic and add to travelling comfort.

 

Chevrolet MPV Concept

The Chevrolet MPV Concept, essentially the SAIC owned Wuling CN-100 MUV rebadged as a Chevy, is a practical, spacious MPV. With the Tavera being largely relegated to taxi duty these days, GM/Chevrolet could really use an MUV that can compete against the Innova. On the looks front, yes, it's no stunner but the clean lines and 'friendly' appearance of the car could actually go down very well with the Indian audience. At least it's not a ghastly, nightmarish design, no? The MPV concept  very production-ready looking MPV that definitely will take the fight to the Innova/Xylo's doorstep. It will be available as 7/8 seater and while not much has been revealed about the MPV yet, it will be safe to assume a strong diesel powerplant will be on offer. Interestingly, the doors for the middle row are conventional hinged doors rather than sliding ones. Also, we spotted the concept running 175/70 R14 JK Ultima radials so you can expect car-like driving mannerisms.

 

New Innova

The 'new' Innova, isn't to be mistaken for an 'all new' one. The engine is the same and it hasn't lost (or gained!) any weight either. On the outside, you get new head and tail lamps, both clear lens, but unlike the Fortuner (which too has been through an update), the Innova doesn’t look quite as fresh. The cabin gets almost the same features as the SUV – leather, DVD entertainment with Bluetooth, reversing camera, keyless entry et al. While the exterior update is debatable, the features list certainly retains its spot as one of the most desirable cars of its segment. The new Innova's prices begin at Rs 9.4 Lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) going all the way up to Rs 13.19 Lakh for the top variant.