Mahindra Quanto – 1.5 diesel engine - Expected pricing: Just under Rs 6 lakhs
There has been talk of the mini-Xylo for ages now but finally, the 'Quanto' as it will be called will hit the showrooms this festive season. The Mini Xylo (just a nickname for now) is nothing but a 4-metre version of the Xylo to help it meet the lower excise duties and take on the hatchback segment.
What's new with the compact Xylo you ask? Well, quite a bit. For starters it will be a 5+2 seater, the plus two being side facing jump seats at the rear. This gives the compact Xylo a competitive edge. Other changes include a lowering of the standard features on offer as well as some changes to the trim quality to ensure that it can slip in under the Rs 5 lakh tag for the base variant, going all the way up to Rs 6.5 lakh for the fully loaded versions.
To meet the lower excise duty bracket, Mahindra have also developed a three-cylinder engine, based on the current 2.2 mHawk motor that powers the Scorpio, Xylo and XUV5OO. This 1.5-litre diesel twin scroll turbocharged powertrain is mated to a five-speed gearbox. 100 bhp is what it’ll make along with 24.5 kgm of torque.
Expect it to hit Mahindra showrooms just before Diwali, sometime in late September. It has the makings of a runaway success and could potentially turn the whole MPV market on its head.
Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 – 800cc 3-cylinder petrol – Expected pricing: Rs 2-3 lakhs
It’s the car India has been waiting for – the Alto 800. We expect this car to be called the Alto 800 and it should be a practical, if basic, car for the masses. If it hadn’t been for Maruti’s factory labour woes, it would’ve probably come to the market even earlier. Sources say - ‘Although this will be an 800cc car, technologically it will be more advanced than the existing two 800cc models. It'll be more fuel efficient, and hence will also be more expensive than M800 and Alto’. Watch out for this one.
Mercedes-Benz B-Class – 1.6-litre turbocharged/2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol – Expected price: Rs 25 lakhs and up
When launched, it will be the cheapest Mercedes-Benz available in India. This comfy four-seater MPV looks great, has modern interiors, has the badge value to boot and drives well too. It’s a new territory that Mercedes-Benz is exploring and how the market will take to this new luxury four-seat MPV is anyone’s guess. Ready to B?
Its part of the two launches Mercedes-Benz is planning, consisting of the Mercedes-Benz A and B-Class. The latter, which is expected to arrive later this year, will be the cheapest Mercedes-Benz to go on sale, but not for long. Come late-2013 and Mercedes-Benz would have the A-Class, up and running and gunning for a price tag that could slip under the magic ` 20 lakh mark. As MB India plans a second line at Chakan, not just the A and B-Class, but also the next-generation GLK, the smaller GLC and possibly a fifth model too will be assembled.
Chevrolet Sail – 1.4 petrol/1.3 diesel – Expected price: Rs 4.5 lakhs and up
GM’s big launch this year will be the Sail hatchback, something Lowell Paddock, President and MD of GM India, believes will be a game-changer. The SAIC-GM developed Sail hatchback and sedan will replace the Aveo U-VA and Aveo sedans in India and is expected to come with two motors – a 1.3 diesel and a 1.4 petrol. We’ve scooped the test mules running around and a peek inside confirmed that it was quite spacious on the insides.
Chevrolet Enjoy MPV – 1.3 diesel/1.4 petrol – Expected price: Rs 6-7 lakhs
Little is known about the Chevrolet Enjoy or the Wuling CN-100, except that it's a seven-seater and will be powered by a pair of petrol and diesel offerings.
To be assembled at GM's facilities at Halol, the Enjoy is based on the Wuling CN-100, a product of the GM-SAIC alliance in China. And since SAIC has picked up a 50 per cent stake in the Indian operations as well, a whole bunch of products can be expected, such as the Sail hatch and sedan as well as the Enjoy MPV.
First shown at the 2012 Auto Expo in New Delhi, the Enjoy is a proper seven seat MPV with conventional hinged doors instead of the sliding variety. Built to a cost, the Enjoy is nearly as large as the Toyota Innova on the outside, the Enjoy could set the cat among the pigeons in the MPV space on the sheer dint of its price tag.
Powering the Enjoy will be either a 1.4-litre, 94 bhp petrol engine from the Sail sedan or a 1.3-litre Multijet diesel, the first on a GM product with about 75 bhp. Performance is expected to be decent and the gearbox will most likely be a 5-speed manual.
If GM pulls this one off, expect more MPVs to arrive from its Chinese partner into the Indian market.
Tata Safari Storme – 2.2 diesel DiCOR – Expected price: Rs 9-12 lakhs
First shown at the 2012 Auto Expo, the Safari Storme is larger and even lighter than the current avatar. In fact, Tata Motors will not just build the Safari Storme, but it will continue to offer the existing Safari as a cheaper option. Some of the top-end variants of the Safari Storme could be priced in parallel to the lower variants of the Aria, ensuring that Tata Motors has an offering at every step from Rs 7-7.5 lakh all the way to Rs 16-17 lakh.
Production of the Safari Storme, as pictured here has already begun. Built on the same platform as the Aria, which itself uses a hydroformed body-on-ladder chassis, the Safari Storme has the same length as the current vehicle and even the same wheelbase. What the Safari is touted to have is a smaller turning radius – of 5.4 metres instead of the current car's 6 metres making it rather useful in tight spaces and during off-roading.
The Safari Storme, like the current model should come in both two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive guises, with the latter being fitted with a Borg Warner, shift-on-the-fly system. With a wider track at the front and double wishbones instead of a torsion beam, the Safari Storme should handle better than before.
On the inside, quality levels have been upped to quite an extent, with better plastic trim, more plush fittings and panel gaps with smaller tolerances. The Safari Storme continues to remain a seven-seater, with jump seats at the rear, though the spare wheel is now placed under the rear tail gate instead of on it.
Powering the Safari Storme is a 2.2-litre, DiCOR motor that is similar to the one found on the Aria. This motor is more refined and torquier than the regular 2.2 and also has a newer iteration of the G-76 gearbox that is slicker shifting. Rated at 140 bhp@4000 rpm and 32.6 kgm@1700-2700 rpm, the Safari Storme stacks up well, when compared to traditional rivals like the Mahindra Scorpio 2.2 mHawk.
Pricing for the Safari Storme is expected to hover in the Rs 9 to 12 lakh bracket, with the current Safari being pushed into the Rs 7 to 9 lakh range. While the Safari Storme doesn't break much ground in terms of design, one does hope that it is a better car on the whole, what with competition like the Renault Duster. Keep watching this space as we get you more on the Safari Storme, including our first impressions on it.
Mahindra Verito sub-4 metre variant
To qualify for the sub-4-metre excise duty breaks, the Mahindra Verito will get a sub-four metre variant, so that basically entails cutting off a good chuck off the Verito’s boot. Like the Dzire’s sub-4 metre cousin, this new Verito will basically be the same car, but at a cheaper price. So, if you don’t mind the lessened boot space and want to save some moolah, we think you should wait for this new Verito variant.
BMW 7-Series/X1 Facelift
Both the 7-Series and the X1 have received mild updates globally so we do expect BMW to roll out these products into the Indian market soon. As for the 7-Series, using an eight-speed transmission throughout the range, the new models claim to have 20% better efficiency in the EU cycle. The 750i gets a 4.4-litre V8 with 45 more horsepower and can nail 0-100 kph in 4.7 seconds (claimed) while the 740i gets a 315 horsepower inline-six. The 740i and the 750i will also come with an ‘ECO PRO’ driving mode – like the new 3-Series – which helps and guides the driver to achieve better fuel economy.
As for the X1, the update brings new bumpers front and back, slightly tweaked hadlamps and new wing mirrors to the X1.