Continued: Great powerful cars that died prematurely

Mitsubishi Lancer Cedia

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Mitsubishi might have distanced itself from sedans, but there was a time when the Lancer ruled the streets and topped Mitsubishi’s sales charts too. The Cedia followed the Lancer, but with a larger, 2-liter engine, it soon became a favourite among enthusiasts. A lot of these were bought to be converted into rally-spec machines while there was even a special edition (from the factory) complete with OZ Racing alloys. Sadly, no manufacturer does that today! Despite all that it failed to make a mark in the market and was eventually pulled out, ending its about three year long period in the challenging market.

Skoda Octavia vRS Combi

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First among affordable cars to feature a turbocharged petrol engine, the Skoda Octavia vRS is still valued highly, and the Combi more so. But sadly only among the enthusiasts. The Combi stayed in the market for about three years, but it obviously had more life than that. It was an estate that could beat sedans from a segment (or two) above in both straight-line pace and cornering. And unbelievable it may sound, a well-kept Combi can still manage all that.

Honda Civic

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The lack of diesel engines hit Honda’s bestsellers badly, given that the competition offered both petrol and diesel engine powertrain options. The Civic, like other Hondas, wasn’t. On the bright side, it came with a 1.8-liter i-VTEC petrol engine which had enough pace for both everyday and enthusiastic driving. The low-set driving position and the availability of aftermarket performance upgrades has ensured it’s still a favourite. Sadly, Honda thought it wasn’t viable to continue selling what was one of the finest products sold by Honda in India.

Maruti Suzuki Kizashi

Suzuki Kizashi

Maruti Suzuki’s image of selling frugal, inexpensive cars led the Kizashi to be a market disaster. Brought to India as a CBU (Completely Built-up Unit), the Kizashi was one of the most expensive cars sold by MSIL. On sale for about two years, the Kizashi was powered by a 2.4-liter petrol engine that made upwards of 175 hp. It was mighty powerful, considering the manual version managed to hit the 100 kmph mark in just 8 seconds. That obviously made the Kizashi super-cool but the price tag (starting price was about Rs 16 lakh) ensured that it didn’t find too many takers. And as a consequence it left the market — basically MSIL stopped importing it.

Hyundai Terracan

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While Hyundai enjoys great success with the Creta compact SUV, its SUVs weren’t always as successful. Before the Santa Fe, there was the Terracan sitting atop the company’s SUV line-up. Its stint in the Indian market lasted only for about three years, but even in that short time, it managed to stand out. The solid reason behind that was the 2.9-liter diesel engine that made about 160 hp and 345 Nm. A five-speed gearbox came standard and power was sent to all four wheels. It was priced at around Rs 20 lakh, so, as you must have guessed by now, the demand was quite limited. That resulted in the vehicle’s early departure.

Peugeot 309

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Brought to India via Premier Automobiles Limited — the same guys who got us the Fiat 1100D — the Peugeot 309 had the potential to be a market success in the country. Sadly the PAL management couldn’t make the most of the opportunity, hence making both Peugeot brand and the 309 a failure here. The engine options included a 70 hp 1.4-liter petrol and a  57 hp 1.5-liter diesel unit. It was ahead of the competition and was very different — in a good way — to whatever was sold in the country then.

Honda Civic’s image: source