Snapshot – This is our second edition of the list that features 10 rare cars on Indian that you can still buy brand new. While these cars, like all other cars, do have their strengths and weaknesses, they somehow never caught the buyer’s fancy. Let’s take at 10 more slow sellers that do feature a modicum of exclusivity, making heads turn and stares linger for a moment more than other cars would. These cars typically sell under 100 units a month. Do stop by our first edition too.
Force Motors’ flagship offering in the passenger vehicle segment, the Force One has never really captured the SUV buyer’s attention. And it’s not-so-attractive pricing doesn’t help matters too. Powered by a 2.2 liter-4 cylinder turbo diesel engine with 140 Bhp-320 Nm outputs, the engine is the strongest part of the package. But it is only so much than an engine can do to sell an SUV, which clearly looks dated and way past its sell-by date in a market that has very strongly entrenched incumbents. Even the recently introduced LX 4X4 ABS version of the Force One hasn’t got sales going.
The facelifted Renault Fluence D-Segment sedan is one good looker but has failed to make a dent at the hustings. Driving around in one is sure to attract the second looks though as the sedan makes for a rare, albeit unique sight on Indian roads. Renault has dumped petrol power on this car, which is now solely available with the 1.5 liter K9K turbo diesel engine in 108 Bhp-240 Nm state of tune. CKD assembled at Oragadam, the facelifted Fluence is selling at heavy discounts.
Another proof that badge engineering seldom works in the Indian car market is the Fluence C-Segment sedan, which is based on the Nissan Sunny. Though the Scala looks sharper and has a plusher ride quality, the car has seen few takers. Renault has lined up an interesting discount scheme for this slow mover, whose diesel variants are now available at petrol variant prices. Even this doesn’t seem to be working for this car, which is sold with petrol, diesel and petrol automatic variants.
The initial pricing fiasco that pegged the Tata Aria too high did the flagship crossover in, and the vehicle never recovered from the body blow. Steep discounts and heavy cab sales notwithstanding, the Aria is yet to find traction both in personal car and taxi cab segments. The 2.2 liter turbo diesel engined crossover is a solid buy though, what with the space and comfort on offer, at a price that is lower than that of the Innova. As far as the Tata Motors is concerned, the upcoming Hexa – a restyled version of the Aria – seems to be a better bet.
The Captiva is another rare luxury SUV that reflects it’s maker’s poor fortunes in India. Apart from the Tavera MUV, and to a certain extent the Beat hatchback, little else sells for bow tied brand in India. The Captiva features monocoque construction that makes it one of the better handlers in its segment. An all wheel drive system and a powerful 2.2 liter turbo diesel engine make for a potent combination for mild off roading trails. However, the Captiva’s tall price tag and reputation for high maintenance costs are deal downers for many.
The Ford Endeavour has been around since 2003, which is quite a long while for a luxury SUV to continue selling without a platform change. While an all-new 2016 Endeavour is on its way later this year, the current generation model is finding few takers. The SUV is sold with 2.5 liter and 3.0 liter turbo diesel engine options. The larger motor also gets automatic transmission and four wheel drive options while the smaller engined model is rear wheel driven. The Endeavour’s stiff suspension annoys many buyers, who look for a plusher set up. And the Endeavour’s pick up truck underpinnings, replete with leaf springs, doesn’t help.
Isuzu has a tiny presence in India’s passenger car space, with the Japanese automaker choosing for focus on the commercial vehicle segment oriented D-Max pick up truck. Moreover the MU-7 looks straight from the 1980s. Though hefty, with an imposing presence that dwarfs most other luxury SUVs, this 7 seater is rarely visible on Indian roads. The ones on the road get plenty of attention though as most car buyers here are not even aware that Isuzu sells a luxury SUV in India.
The Quanto is an odd looking vehicle that stands out like a sore thumb, and this seems to be telling on the sales number. The compact SUV looks like a rushed chop-shop job with the Xylo forming its base. Together, the heavy ladder frame chassis and the rear wheel drive layout, limit fuel efficiency, driving buyers away to more economical options. This is a reason why the Quanto isn’t able to leverage on the tall ground clearance and rugged construction, which makes it an ideal option for rougher roads. A suspension update and a comprehensive facelift of the Quanto is coming soon.
The Premier Rio compact SUV is perhaps the first micro SUV in India. However, the number of Premier Limited showrooms is minimal in India, leading to poor sales and brand awareness. The availability of the 1.3 liter turbo diesel engine and a facelift have done little to boost sales of the Rio. A very rare sight on Indian roads, the Rio could go down as the micro SUV in India that spawned the segment but that could never capitalize on the SUV craze of the the country.
The ICML Extreme MUV operates in limited markets of the country, predominantly in the northern parts. This limited presence means that few outside the northern belts such as Delhi, Punjab and Haryana know of the existence of this vehicle. The Extreme is mainly sold as a taxi cab, attracting too few family people mover buyers. The MUV is powered by a 2 liter turbo diesel engine, available in direct injection and common rail direct injection guises. In DI guise, this engine makes 100 Bhp-240 Nm, while the CRDI guise of the motor gets two tunes – 107 Bhp-240 Nm and 120 Bhp-285 Nm.