Auto Expo preview!


In a manner very unlike Maruti Suzuki, the company is not focussing on small cars at the Auto Expo this year. Instead, it plans on bringing in utility vehicles. The first of those is the Ertiga, pictured here, which it says is the country’s “first compact utility vehicle”. Powering the Ertiga UV is the K14 VVT engine, which is also making its global debut. Also on display will be a few of the compact cars from the Suzuki stable, like the Solio, MR Wagon and Palette. These cars aren’t being launched just yet though; they’re only here to gauge the crowd reaction.

Hyundai plans on launching the Elantra sedan in India. The last Elantra in our market was the third-generation model, which didn’t do too well for itself. One generation later, we’re going to be presented with the latest Elantra, one that follows the same “fluidic” design that is found on the new Verna, with a choice of petrol and diesel engines. With looks like that, it’s hard to imagine it becoming anything but a sales success. Next on the agenda is the new Sonata, which will also be launched at the Auto Expo. This car goes head-to-head with the Camry and Accord worldwide, and manages to come out on top as well. Now it’s our turn to witness that battle!

Tata Motors’ all-new Safari is long due and will certainly be launched at the Expo. We’ve been seeing the new Safari, also speculated to be called the ‘Merida’, being tested for over a year now and in the wake of the competition from Mahindra’s Scorpio, XUV 500 and also the cheaper, two-wheel drive Skoda Yeti, Tata Motors better have an ace up its sleeve.

As we have gathered from spy shots, the Safari will be more contemporary looking, with a new front grille, headlamps and all-new bumpers. In profile, the Safari retains its tall stance but it will certainly look very distinct. The rear is going to be a complete redesign, with a new bumper and the characteristically Safari door-mounted spare wheel.

The insides of the Safari have remained largely unchanged since when it was first launched, save for some wood inserts/leather/beige trim additions and of course, the typically loaded top-end variants that were equipped with a gaming console and a mini-refrigerator, to name a few. The new car will get a completely redesigned dashboard, centre console and door trim. In addition to this, the car is certain to get an all-new diesel powerplant — an evolution based on the current DiCOR range. Watch this space for more!