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

Station wagons are made popular mostly by the European countries where they are used the most. During the early days of the Indian automobile industry, manufacturers entering the market tried launching different vehicles including station wagons. However, they did not become as popular as the manufacturers would have liked. In fact, there were an array of station wagons available in the showrooms in India. But at present, they remain forgotten. Which were these station wagons? Here are ten of them.

Fiat Padmini Safari

Fiat Padmini sedan has a massive recall value in the memories of the car enthusiasts in India. However, only a few of us about the station wagon based on the sedan. It was known as the Padmini Safari and was launched way back in 1973. The vehicle was manufactured by a Mumbai-based coach-building company known as Starline Motors. It came with w four-cylinder petrol engine that generated around 40 PS of maximum power. Later, the Padmini Safari was taken off the market.

Hindustan Ambassador Estate

There is hardly any automobile enthusiast in India who would not recognise an Ambassador. Hindustan Motors launched quite a few options based on the Ambassador after its dwindling popularity in the market. There were a pick-up version and even a station wagon variant. Hindustan Motors named it Ambassador Estate. It was one of the first Estates in the Indian market. However, the job was not neatly done. It is one of the rarest vehicles in India.

Maruti Suzuki Altura

While Maruti Suzuki has a massively successful line-up in India and offers some of the best-selling cars in the market, the story was not always the same. Maruti Suzuki launched the Baleno Altura based on the popular sedan version of the car. It was launched in 2000s but the market was not developed enough for the car to survive.

Skoda Octavia Combi

Octavia Combi was a station with a high-performance variant. However, just like the other, low powered ones, the Octavia Combi failed miserably in the Indian market. The high performing vRS version of the car came with a 150 Bhp engine.

Tata Indigo Marina

Tata also tried its luck in the station wagon market. After utilising the Indica platform for the Indigo, Tata launched the station wagon version named the Indigo Marina. It came with both petrol and diesel engine options. While Indica and Indigo were selling decently in the market, the Marina failed to attract the buyers.

Tata Estate

Way before the Marina was conceived, Tata launched the Estate in the market. It was based on the design of 1980s station wagons from the Mercedes Benz. In fact, Tata used to assemble Mercedes-Benz cars in India before the luxury brand started its independent operations in the country. The Estate failed to grab the attention of the customers in India.

Fiat Weekend

Fiat did launch a few interesting cars in India. The Weekend was one of them and it was based on the Sienna. Fiat launched it in 2002 and was marketed as a spacious vehicle. It was designed by the popular Giorgetto Giugiaro from Italy.

Fiat Palio Adventure

The hot version of the Palio hatchback remains every enthusiast’s dream till today. Fiat also launched an estate version of the hatchback. Known as the Adventure, it was the more rugged version of the Fiat Weekend. Remember Fiat Avventura and Punto? Just the similar differences. It came with the powerful 1.6 from the Palio GTX.

Opel Corsa Swing

General Motors operated under different names in India at different time periods. Opel was one of them. It launched the Corsa Swing after the success of the Corsa sedan in the Indian market. It came with the powerful 1.6-litre petrol engine that generated around 92 Bhp. Just like the sedan version, the comfort of this vehicle was brilliant.

Rover Montego

The Rover Montego was bought to India by Sipani Automobiles Ltd after a partnership with Britain’s Rover Motors. It came with a feature list that was unheard of in India. Montego’s feature list included self-levelling suspension, sunroof and many others. However, it did fail just like any other car.