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 station wagons. However, the station wagons never became as popular in India. Several station wagons were launched in India in the past but were forgotten over time due to their unsuccessful journey. Here are ten such cars.
Fiat Padmini Safari
Almost all automobile enthusiasts born before the 2000s are familiar with the Fiat Padmini sedan. Well, there was a Fiat Padmini Safari based on the sedan, which was the first station wagon of India, 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. However, it was later discontinued from the market due to the poor response from buyers.
Hindustan Ambassador Estate
The Hindustan Ambassador platform was well-utilized 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 simply 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 Indian roads.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno Alturas
In the 2000s, Maruti Suzuki launched the station wagon version of the Baleno sedan. Just like 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 generated 96 PS.
Skoda Octavia Combi vRS
While station wagons are extremely popular in European markets, in India, none of the station wagons that were launched performed 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, despite its practicality, remained cursed by the Indian market’s station wagon jinx. Both petrol and diesel versions were offered, but neither of them clicked.
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.
The Fiat Weekend was based on the Sienna sedan in the Indian market. The Weekend was launched in India in 2002 and served 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. However, the car performed poorly in terms of sales.
Fiat Palio Adventure
Fiat Palio Adventure was another estate based on the same platform. The Adventure essentially shared similarities with the Weekend, including plastic cladding, wider tires, and sportier alloy wheels. These features, along with the factory-fitted bullbar, gave the Palio Adventure a rugged appearance. It was equipped with the same 1.6-litre petrol engine found in the Palio 1.6 GTX. Unfortunately, the Adventure failed to attract many buyers and was eventually discontinued due to low demand.
Opel Corsa Swing
During a period when many manufacturers were attempting to entice car buyers with station wagons, the Corsa Swing made its entry. The Corsa Swing served as the estate version of the Corsa sedan, offering a more spacious cabin. Like its sedan counterpart, it boasted an excellent ride quality. While the sedan was available with 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre petrol engines, the Swing was exclusively equipped with the 92 bhp 1.6-litre engine option. With its powerful motor, the Swing was capable of reaching speeds in excess of 170 km/h.
The Rover Montego station wagon was the result of a partnership between Britain’s Rover Motors and Bangalore-based Sipani Automobiles Ltd. It was launched in India in 1993 as a feature-rich vehicle. The Montego came with various features such as a sunroof and a self-leveling suspension, among others. It was powered by a 1,991-cc turbo diesel engine that produced 80 PS of maximum power and 165 Nm of peak torque.