What’s hot for 2015? Emerging car trends this year

What are the kinds of cars that people are buying in 2015? Things have changed significantly for the industry in the past one year. Diesel prices have been deregulated. Demand for petrol cars is back. And there is a rising need for automatics. All trends we had projected in 2014. See: Future watch – Car trends in 2014

So what’s it looking like in 2015? Here’s a look at the emerging automotive trends for 2015.

The lure of compact SUVs

2015 Hyundai iX25 Compact SUV 6

Compact SUVs appear to be the flavour of the season. There are at least four compact SUVs that will come in by the end of the year, which will likely see good demand from customers. The Hyundai ix25, the Maruti YBA compact SUV (based on the XA Alpha), Mahindra’s S101 are the hot favourites. Maruti’s S-Cross may have mixed reactions though. The main reason that people would prefer compact SUVs over hatchbacks or sedans is the higher ground clearance and aggressive styling. Also see: New car launches for the rest of 2015

Rise in demand for affordable automatics

Maruti Suzuki Celerio Hatchback 1

After the spurt in demand for the Maruti Celerio – an affordable automatic hatchback that uses automated manual transmission instead of a conventional automatic transmission to keep costs low, other carmakers are seriously evaluating the technology. Tata was the first to bring in an automated manual transmission on a diesel car – the Tata Zest AMT and will soon have this option on the Tata Bolt as well as the Tata Nano. Mahindra is likely to bring out the Quanto facelift with an AMT later this year.

Demand for crossovers

2015 Hyundai i20 Active 42

Another interesting trend is the demand for crossovers. These are not full-fledged SUVs, but rather hatchbacks that have been worked upon to adapt to an adventurous lifestyle. Examples being the Volkswagen Cross Polo, Toyota Etios Cross, the Fiat Avventura and the recently launched Hyundai i20 Active. The i20 Active is already seeing fairly good demand, given that it builds up on the strong points of the Hyundai Elite i20, upon which it is based. It offers higher ground clearances, a more robust suspension, body cladding and a few more features such as projector headlamps and DRLs.

Higher fuel efficiency and power from petrol engines

Tata-Zest-photo- (22)

This is also going to be the year when petrol engines start advertising higher fuel efficiency. With diesel prices being deregulated, there was already a swing in demand towards petrol cars. However, fuel efficiency and lower torque were some of the reasons that petrol cars had lower demand. That is changing. Volkswagen already has seen decent traction with the turbocharged Polo TSI and Vento TSI. And Tata has taken turbocharged petrol mass market with the Tata Zest and Bolt. The 1.2 litre Revotron petrol not only offers better fuel efficiency, it also offers higher torque and multiple drive modes. Maruti and Honda are reportedly working on turbopetrol engines as well for their future models.

Safety features get priority

Grand i10_Dual Airbags

The series of crash tests by Global NCAP last year, coupled with the statistics for road accidents in India has forced the Indian government to tighten crash test norms for cars made in India. The new norms will come into effect in 2017, but already car makers have started adapting their cars to meet the new safety norms. Datsun Go, which failed the crash test badly, is now coming out with a model equipped with an airbag. Toyota has made airbags a standard fitment across all its models. Volkswagen too has airbags as standard. Mahindra now offers safety kit on a wider range of its models as well, and even entry level hatchbacks now have an airbag option.

Also read: 10 all new cars coming in 2015