10 FORGOTTEN 'station-wagons' of India: Tata Estate to Maruti Baleno Altura

10 FORGOTTEN ‘station wagons’ of India: Tata Estate to Maruti Baleno Altura

Station Wagons have never sold well in the country. Basically, a station wagon, aka an estate, is based on a sedan but has a larger cargo area owing to the bigger body form. While not many estates can be seen on our roads, quite a handful of these vehicles have been sold in our country in the past. Here’s a look at 10 forgotten station wagons of India. Don’t forget to check the video at the end!

Fiat Padmini Premier Safari

The Fiat Padmini Premier needs no introduction. However, not many would remember its station wagon variant. Called the Fiat Padmini Premier Safari, this car was the first-ever station wagon in India. It was manufactured by a Mumbai-based coach-building company called Starline Motors. Launched in 1973, the Padmini Safari was more spacious than the regular sedan. However, it lacked a good fit and finish. It was powered by a 40-PS, four-cylinder, petrol engine. It never sold well but you can still find some restored Premier Safaris.

HM ‪Ambassador Estate

Akin to the Fiat Padmini Premier, even the Hindustan Motors Ambassador had a station wagon variant. While the Ambassador was officially launched in India in 1958, the station wagon came out in the early 70s. It was based on the Oxford Traveller. While the front of the station wagon resembled the Ambassador sedan, it looked totally different C-pillar onwards. Of course, it offered more space than the sedan.

Maruti Baleno Altura

The Maruti Baleno was one of the most exciting sedans of its time. It came with a spacious interior, a powerful AC, and an excellent 1.6-litre, four-cylinder, petrol engine that offered 96 PS. While the sedan still never sold too well, the station wagon variant, which was called the Altura, was a total dud-seller. This, in spite of the fact that the petrol engine was high on performance and fuel efficiency. The Altura even offered a more spacious interior than the sedan. It came with features like a speed-sensitive power steering, Kenwood audio system, alloy wheels and all four electric windows.

Skoda ‪Octavia Combi

Skoda Octavia Combi vRS was basically the estate variant of the utterly bonkers Octavia vRS sedan. Similar to the sedan, the Combi vRS was powered by a stonker of a 1.8-litre, turbocharged petrol engine that produced 151 PS. The Combi vRS, like its sedan sibling, was available in some bright paint shades and came with a subtle body kit. It also had very tasty ‘spider’ alloy wheels.

Tata ‪Indigo Marina

The Tata Indica hatchback gave birth to many body forms. One of these was the Indigo Marina station wagon. This Indica-based station wagon was a highly spacious offering. However, the downsides were the underpowered and not-so-frugal engines along with a poor build quality. Powering the Indigo Marina were 1.4-litre petrol and diesel engines that this station wagon shared with the Indigo sedan.

Opel Corsa Swing

The Opel Corsa Swing was launched in 2003. It was based on the Corsa sedan and looked pretty good. Powering the car was a rather thirsty 1.6-litre petrol engine that produced a max power of 94 PS. It was one of the fastest station wagons of the country and had a true top speed of more than 170 kmph. Like other station wagons here, the Corsa Swing could never sell in decent numbers.

Rover Montego Station Wagon

The Rover Montego station wagon was launched in India in 1993. Basically, Britain’s Rover Motors had tied up with Bangalore-based Sipani Automobiles Ltd to launch the Montego in India. The Montego station wagon came with features, such as a sunroof and a self-levelling suspension. Powering the Rover Montego was a 1,991-cc turbo diesel motor that produced 80 PS of maximum power and 165 Nm of peak torque.

‪Tata Estate

The Tata Estate was Telco’s (now Tata Motors) first attempt at making a passenger car. The Estate came with features like power windows, power steering, 15-inch wheels, factory-fitted cassette player and a tachometer. Its design was loosely based on a Mercedes station wagon of that era and the Estate offered a spacious interior. Powering the Tata Estate was a non-turbocharged 1.9-litre diesel engine that offered only 68 PS of maximum power. The car wasn’t too reliable and the engine wasn’t too powerful either.

Fiat Weekend

The Fiat Weekend was a Siena-based station wagon that was launched in India in 2002. The Weekend was a spacious alternative to its sedan sibling. It was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and was produced at the company’s Ranjangaon facility. Powering the Fiat Weekend was a 1.6-liter petrol engine. Like almost every other Fiat, the Weekend hardly found any takers.

Fiat Palio Adventure

The Palio-based Adventure was a basically a Weekend with plastic cladding, wider tyres and sportier alloy wheels. The body cladding and the factory-fitted bullbar gave the Palio Adventure a pretty rugged look. Powering the Adventure was the same 1.6-litre petrol unit that powered the Palio 1.6 GTX. The Adventure didn’t find many takers and was eventually discontinued owing to a really low demand.

Image sources – 1, 2, 6, 10