5 game changer cars from the Auto Expo 2014: Part II

Snapshot: In Part II of CarToq’s list of 10 game changer cars from the Auto Expo, we profile cars that could raise the bar, both for their automakers and buyers alike. Click here for Part I of the game changer car series.

Tata Nano F-Tronic and Active Twist 

Tata Motors showcased the F-Tronic semi-automatic gearbox equipped Nano at the Auto Expo 2014. The automated manual transmission is a five speed gearbox, one that has the potential to make the Nano easier to ride in the city as well as more fuel efficient car due to the additional gear ratio. Along with the new gearbox, the Nano also gained a visual facelift in the form of  slightly more aggressive front end. In terms of features added, a new 24 liter petrol tank and a open-able hatch door made the Nano more practical than ever before.

The Nano with the F-TRONIC gearbox and the additional features seen on the Active Twist version will make for an excellent city ride. The car should hit production in the coming year or so and could take the Nano brand to a new level in terms of price and positioning. If the car buyer accepts the Nano with a power steering, semi-automatic gearbox and new features, Tata Motors might finally have pulled off the re-positioning bid for the small car. 

Maruti Celerio AMT

The Celerio with the automated manual transmission (AMT) was launched at the 2014 Auto Expo. The first car to be equipped with the AMT, the Celerio’s success could prompt more automakers in India to take the AMT route. So, the Indian auto industry is closely watching the Celerio AMT’s performance at the hustings. The initial impressions at the market has been very positive to say the least. The Celerio AMT is reportedly outselling the manual gearbox equipped variant. The Celerio AMT is turning out to be the harbinger of things to come in the Indian car scene, and for this reason, the car is a top game changer from the Auto Expo 2014.

Ford Figo Sedan Concept

The compact sedan segment is the hottest sector of the Indian car market for 2014 and the Ford Figo sedan concept is the best looker of the category. Although the Figo based compact sedan will be launched in India only in 2015, the car’s good looks are likely to raise the bar in terms of how compact sedans are designed in the future.The Figo compact sedan could pack in turbo petrol and turbo diesel engines. Also, expect interesting features and an advanced infotainment system. The Figo compact sedan will be produced at Sanand, alongside the next-gen 2015 Figo hatchback. 

Maruti SX4 Cross 

 

The SX4 Cross Crossover will be Maruti Suzuki’s maiden SUV offering to be built in India. The SX4 Cross is already on sale in Europe and is likely to hit the Indian market by the end of this year or early next year. The SX4 Cross could take on the Mahindra XUV500 in terms of price and positioning in India, making the crossover a premium offering, placed above the likes of the EcoSports and the Dusters of this world. 1.6 liter naturally aspirated petrol and 1.6 liter Fiat Multijet turbo diesel engines will power the SX4 Cross. Expect to pay about 12 lakh rupees for the SX4 Cross.

Mercedes Benz GLA Crossover

Although Mercedes Benz has entered the affordable luxury race with cars such as the A-Class and B-Class, the real volume spinner for the brand is likely to be the GLA Crossover, the three pointed star rival to the likes of the Audi Q3 and the BMW X1. Crossovers and SUVs suit India better than hatchbacks or sedans. This is one reason as to why Audi – with its range of Q badged luxury crossovers – is dominating the luxury car space in the country. With the launch of the GLA Crossover, Mercedes Benz will hope to eat into Audi’s advantage. The GLA is based on the MFA platform and will be available with turbo petrol and turbo diesel engines, in front wheel drive and all wheel drive configurations. The crossover will be priced under 30 lakh rupees with a year-end launch timeframe likely.