Snapshot – The monsoons and the festivities are in the air, and car makers in India have lined up their wares. June and July will together see a dozen cars being launched and this launch blitz will continue well into August, September and October. CarToq takes a look at the 4 hot launches for August 2014 and fills you in with all you need to know about these cars.
Audi A3 Sedan
Audi will start the second half of this year with one of the hottest new compact cars in its line up globally, the A3 sedan. Measuring a little longer than the Honda City, at 4.45 meters in length, the new Audi in town will be the German luxury car marque’s least priced sedan in the Indian market, sitting below the A4. The Audi A3 sold here will get two engine options, a 1.8 liter TSI turbo petrol motor that is good for 177 Bhp and 250 Nm, and a 2 liter TDI turbo diesel engine that makes 138 Bhp-320 Nm.
7 speed and 6 speed DSG dual clutch automatic transmissions will be standard on the petrol and diesel powered A3 sedan. Folks familiar with cars from the Volkswagen group would notice the Audi A3 sedan’s engine line up being similar to that of the MQB Skoda Octavia. Well, the similarity is due to both cars sharing the MQB platform. The Audi A3 sedan will be loaded with luxury and will sit a cut above the Skoda Octavia sedan, at a starting price of about 26 lakh rupees.
Fiat Grande Punto EVO
Fiat India will launch the Grande Punto EVO hatchback in early August 2014. The car has already reached Fiat dealerships and the official bookings will begin soon. In facelifted form, Fiat India’s best selling car gets a host of improvements across the board. The styling gets a revamp with tweaks to the front and the rear of the car while the interiors see a new dashboard and better quality materials being used.
In terms of features, the Punto EVO gains quite a bit, from ambient lighting to rear AC vents, to 16 inch alloy wheels and a new instrumentation console. Under the hood, things remain unchanged, with the petrol and diesel engine line up being carried over from the outgoing model. On the Punto EVO, Fiat is expected to address gear ratio concerns that existing owners of the hatchback have complained about. A complete picture about this aspect will only emerge after the media drives, which will happen in the 3rd week of this month.
Tata Zest Compact Sedan
A comeback car for Tata Motors, the Zest compact sedan is loaded to the gills with class leading features. The car’s media drives are currently on and the official launch is slated to happen in August. Though the Zest is based on the age old X1 platform, the car features a completely new top hat design with sharp styling. Measuring under 4 meters in length, the Zest will sit in the compact sedan segment category, whose other players include the Maruti Dzire, Honda Amaze and the Hyundai Xcent.
The Zest will feature 1.2 liter turbo petrol (88.2 Bhp-140 Nm) and 1.3 liter turbo diesel (90 Bhp-200 Nm) engines. The petrol engine will get multimode driving technology, in other words driver switchable engine maps, which will allow the driver to slot the car into Eco, Power and City modes. The diesel powered Zest’s claim to fame will be its 5 speed automated manual transmission. Tata Motors will also debut the Harman designed touchscreen infotainment system on the Zest, which will also get automatic climate control, high quality interiors and engineering bits to improve driving pleasure.
Facelifted Volkswagen Polo GT TSI and TDI
Volkswagen India will launch the facelifted 2014 Polo hatchback on the 15th of July. A month down the line, the high performance, facelifted GT TDI and GT TSI models will make their debut in India. Like the regular variants, the GT TDI and GT TSI facelifts will feature revised exteriors and mildly refreshed interiors. The bigger story revolves around the diesel powered GT TDI hatchback, which will receive a new 1.5 liter-4 cylinder turbocharged engine that makes 103 Bhp and 250 Nm.
Talk of a DSG automatic gearbox for the Polo GT TDI have been doing the rounds for a while now. If Volkswagen doesn’t add a DSG gearbox to the GT TDI model, expect a price revision downwards, on account of lower excise duties as the new engine is a smaller unit fitting the 1.5 liter capacity requirements for sub-4 meter cars seeking excise benefits. The petrol powered GT TSI model will come with a 1.2 liter TSI turbo petrol engine that makes 103 Bhp and 175 Nm, and that is mated to a 7 speed dual clutch automatic gearbox. Both cars will be Volkswagen’s premium hatchbacks for the Indian market.