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

The highly practical station wagons are extremely popular in European countries. When the Indian automobile market was booming, manufacturers tried their luck by launching new types of products in the market including the station wagons. However, the station wagons never became as popular in India. There are quite a few station wagons that were launched in India in the past and were forgotten over time due to the unsuccessful journey. Here are ten such cars.

Fiat Premier Padmini Safari

Almost all the automobile enthusiasts born before the 2000s know about the Fiat Padmini sedan. Well, there was a Fiat Padmini Safari based on the sedan and was the first station wagon of India that was launched way back in 1973. It was manufactured by a Mumbai-based coach-building company known as Starline Motors and was powered by a 40-PS, four-cylinder, petrol engine. It was later discontinued from the market after not receiving a good response from the buyers.

Hindustan Ambassador Estate

The Hindustan Ambassador platform was well utilised by the manufacturer. The brand even launched a pick-up version of the Ambassador in the Indian market. Before that, the Estate version of the Ambassador was launched but it did not become as popular as the sedan version. The station wagon was based on the regular Ambassador and was launched during the 1970s. The company just attached a box with metal and glass which is quite apparent in the picture. It was based on the Oxford Traveller and is one of the rarest cars to find on our roads.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Altura

Maruti Baleno Alturas Featured

In the 2000s, Maruti Suzuki launched the station wagon version of the Baleno sedan. Just like all other estates, the Baleno Alturas did not become as popular in the Indian market and did not register a big number on the sales chart. It came powered by an excellent 1.6-litre petrol engine that generates 96 PS.

Skoda Octavia Combi

Station wagons are extremely popular in European markets. However, in India, none of the station wagons that were launched did well. Skoda also launched the Octavia Combi vRS and the L&K version. The vRS variant came with a powerful 150 Bhp engine while the L&K version offered plush interiors. The Octavia Combi offered loads of space and was extremely practical.

Tata Indigo Marina

You can’t fault Tata for not trying. The automaker took a relook at the station wagon segment with the Indica platform. The Indigo sedan was developed into a spacious station wagon called the Marina. The Marina, for all its practicality, remained cursed by the Indian market’s station wagon jinx. Both petrol and diesel versions were offered, but none of them clicked.

Tata Estate

The Estate was just that, a station wagon with many cosmetic parts and mechanicals borrowed from the Sierra. The car’s design was said to be based on Mercedes Benz station wagons of the 1980s, and this theory makes sense given the fact that Tata used to assemble Mercedes Benz’s until the latter decided to go it alone in India. The Estate never really managed to become a hot seller as station wagons have never done well in India, ever.

Fiat Weekend

The Fiat Weekend on the Sienna sedan in the Indian market. The Weekend was launched in India in 2002 and came as a more spacious alternative to its sedan sibling. It was designed by the renowned Giorgetto Giugiaro of Italy and was produced at the company’s Ranjangaon facility. Powering the Fiat Weekend was a 1.6-litre petrol engine. No prizes for guessing that the car did poorly in terms of sales.

Fiat Palio Adventure

Fiat Palio Adventure Profile
The Palio Adventure is based on the Fiat 326 (Economy) Platform.

Fiat Palio Adventure was another estate that was based on the same platform. The Adventure was 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. It was powered by 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 really low demand.

Opel Cora Swing

The Corsa Swing came at a time when many manufacturers were trying to woo the car buyers with a station wagon. The Corsa Swing was basically an estate version of the Corsa sedan and offered a more spacious cabin. Like the sedan, it had an amazing ride quality. While its sedan sibling offered 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre petrol engines, the Swing was available with the 92 bhp 1.6-litre engine option only. Thanks to its powerful motor, the Swing was capable of hitting speeds in excess of 170 km/h.

Rover Montego

The Rover Montego station wagon was a result of a partnership between Britain’s Rover Motors and Bangalore-based Sipani Automobiles Ltd. The car was launched here in 1993 and was a feature-rich vehicle. The Montego with many features such as a sunroof and a self-levelling suspension among others. It was powered by a 1,991-cc turbo diesel motor that produced 80 PS of maximum power and 165 Nm of peak torque.

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