What’s new and exciting about the top 5 upcoming launches!

Which are the five most-interesting cars to watch out for this festive season? There are at least 15 new car launches vying for your attention across segments, from hatchbacks to sedans and SUVs. But there are some that are likely to generate a lot more interest than others among these new launches.

CarToq picks out five of the most-awaited launches and tells you why these vehicles are likely to create a stir in the market.

Tata Safari Storme

tata safari storme

Tata Safari Storme: First Drive review by CarToq Expert, Amit Pinge

The Tata Safari Storme is one of the most exciting launches this festive season. The Storme is not just a “new-and-improved” Safari, but it actually has some much needed mechanical changes which make it a much better vehicle than its predecessor. It is likely to be priced between Rs. 10 lakh and Rs. 13 lakh. Here’s what’s unique about the Safari Storme:

Styling changes: Though not a completely new design, a Range Rover inspired front with projector headlamps and flat tailgate with spare tyre now under the vehicle, give the Storme a modern look. The biggest change is the improvement in plastic quality and fit and finish.

Feature changes: The Storme gets all-round disc brakes that improve braking performance, additional AC vents and changes to the headlamps, audio system and mirror controls.

Performance changes: The Storme has a chassis and suspension that’s been adapted from the Tata Aria, which makes it handle a lot better and has reduced body roll. The engine too has been tweaked with a dual-mass flywheel reducing vibrations and NVH levels.

The Tata Safari Storme is likely to now compete more effectively with the Mahindra Scorpio VLX variants. The latter sells three times the number of Safaris each month. In terms of style, the Safari Storme looks a lot fresher and has good road presence, being a lot bigger than the Scorpio. It is also more spacious than the Scorpio. The addition of all-round disc brakes and improved suspension mean the Storme is also likely to handle much better than the Scorpio, which is anyway not great when it comes to ride and handling. And going by initial drive impressions, the NVH levels and body roll are well contained in the Storme, which should make it slightly better compared to the Mahindra Scorpio.

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Mahindra Mini Xylo

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Photo: Spy photo of mini Xylo

The Mahindra Mini Xylo is another vehicle that has been much awaited. When launched it is likely to open up a new segment in the market – that of compact MPVs. Being under 4-meters in length, this vehicle capitalizes on all the tax sops being doled out, which should make for some aggressive pricing of between Rs. 5 lakh and Rs. 7 lakh. Here’s what’s unique about the Mini Xylo:

Engine capacity: The Xylo will feature a three-cylinder 1.5 litre diesel engine that is expected to put out close to 100 bhp of power using twin-turbo technology, a first for Mahindra and a first for the segment.

Seating capacity:  The mini Xylo is essentially a spacious five-seater with two additional jump seats squeezed into the boot – to get the benefit of lower taxes for additional seating capacity in some states.

The Mini Xylo will essentially be creating a segment of its own and will be an effective alternative to spacious premium hatchbacks such as the Toyota Etios Liva or the Hyundai i20. It will also compete with vehicles such as the Premier Rio, which is a compact SUV. Aggressive pricing is what will be the USP of the Mini Xylo, along with good road visibility and interior space for five, and seven at a pinch. With a powerful and fuel-efficient three-cylinder engine, the Mini Xylo can also appeal to buyers of the Renault Duster 85PS, as it will likely be priced at least Rs. 2 lakh lower, and will have more seating capacity as well as more engine power.

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New Maruti Alto 800

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Photo: Spyshot of the new Maruti Alto 800. Courtesy: Cardekho.com

Also see: Upcoming Maruti Alto 800

The Maruti Alto 800, just by virtue of being a Maruti, is likely to be a hit even before it hits the showrooms. It will be Maruti’s new entry-level car and will compete with the Tata Nano and Hyundai Eon. It’s likely to be priced around Rs. 2.5 lakh. Here’s what’s unique about the Alto 800:

Spacious car: The new Alto 800 is likely to be more spacious than the Maruti 800 and also the older Alto. It will have more luggage space, making for the perfect little family car.

Fuel efficiency: The Alto 800 is likely to be powered by a slightly tuned version of Maruti’s existing 800 cc Alto engine, which is inherently fuel efficient, giving around 18 kmpl in the city and up to 22 kmpl on the highway.

Low-maintenance cost: With a high level of localization, the Alto 800 will have low maintenance costs and a much lower total cost of ownership compared to most other cars.

The Maruti Alto 800 will compete with the Tata Nano as an affordable entry-level car. The car is likely to offer more interior space than the Nano (which is in itself surprisingly spacious). It will also be almost as fuel-efficient as the Nano, but probably have much greater range, as the Nano has only a 15-litre fuel tank. And with Maruti’s widespread service network and high local vendor base for spare parts, the car will be as cheap if not cheaper to run than the Nano.

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Mahindra Reva NXR

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Also read: Mahindra Reva NXR, exclusive details!

The Mahindra Reva NXR will be the first electric car in the market after its predecessor the Reva-i. The NXR will feature a longer driving range and can seat four people comfortably. It is likely to be priced at about Rs. 5 lakh. Here’s what’s unique about the Reva NXR:

Low-running cost: The Reva NXR will feature an electric motor and rechargeable Lithium ion batteries that gives it a range of up to 120km in normal city running conditions, making it a cost-effective car to run for daily office commutes – with a total running cost of nearly 1/10th that of a petrol car.

Easy to drive: For those who have been hankering after an automatic, the Reva is a step better. Electric cars have excellent torque, which means pick up will be much faster than your average petrol hatchback in city traffic. Its compact size, AC and light weight will make it comfortable and easy to handle for daily use.

Mobile app control: The Reva NXR will feature a unique mobile app that will help you use the car judiciously. You can check on the car’s charging status on your phone, switch on the AC remotely before you reach the car to cool it, or even unlock some reserve power using your phone.

The Reva NXR does not have any direct competitor, but from what we hear, it will be pitched directly against the Hyundai i10 and Maruti A-Star automatic. If you look at it from a daily commuter point of view, this makes sense. A range of 120 km on a single charge (8 hours overnight) or 80 km on a quick charge, is good enough for the city. It will be much cheaper to run and easier to drive than a Hyundai i10 automatic, it will have almost the same amount of interior space and comfort for four adults and has all the comfort features such as AC, music system and power windows. The best part is that it will be the most eco-friendly car in India!

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Ford EcoSport

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Also see: Ford EcoSport diesel and petrol variants for India

The Ford EcoSport is the most awaited compact SUV after the Renault Duster, and is likely to be on road by January 2013. This compact SUV will be a good alternative to sedans especially in the city. We expect the EcoSport to be priced between Rs. 7.5 lakh and Rs. 10.5 lakh. Here’s what’s unique about the EcoSport:

Unique petrol engine: The Ford EcoSport will feature a three-cylinder 1-litre EcoBoost (turbocharged) petrol engine that will put out 120 bhp of power (which is as much as some 1.6 litre petrol engines), but have the fuel efficiency of a small-capacity engine – giving close to 20 kmpl. It will also come with a choice of a 1.5 litre diesel engine, which is probably going to be more popular than the petrol.

Compact size: The EcoSport is likely to be just 4-meters in length, which may allow it to be priced aggressively. It will have adequate space for five and enough luggage space – more than most hatchbacks, but not as much as some large sedans. However, the tall driving position and good visibility will be an advantage especially in the city.

The Ford EcoSport will directly compete with the Renault Duster. However, the Duster’s petrol variant is hardly popular, while the EcoSport petrol may appeal to some buyers because of its fuel efficiency and power. It will probably be a better alternative to a petrol sedan in the same price range. The diesel will probably account for the bulk of sales. The dimensions and looks of the EcoSport are what will work in its favour. Compared to the Duster, the EcoSport is more modern looking and may appeal to young urban buyers better, and the top-end variants are likely to sport more features than a similar Duster variant.

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These are the five most exciting cars we think will hit the roads in the next few months. Share your thoughts on them, and tell us what you think are likely to be the key propositions of these cars.