It’s the carmakers’ endeavour to keep their best products on sale for as long as possible. However market conditions have often made them pull the plug on a lot of some really fast, enthusiast-oriented cars. We look at the great cars that could have stayed in the market for longer, but sadly did not.
Starting with the smallest:
Skoda Fabia 1.6
One of the first premium hatchbacks in India, the Skoda Fabia was also offered with a 1.6-liter petrol engine. That, when most every manufacturer was happy with their sub-1.5-liter engines, was a big thing. The car was reassuring to drive, and boasted an overall build and fit and finish that remain to be bettered even now. The 1.6-liter made 105 hp, and catapulted the car to 100 kmph from standstill in about 12 seconds. Sadly the sales failed to exhibit the same kind of pace, hence the car was pulled out of the market very soon.
Hyundai Getz CRDi
Putting a big engine in a hatchback is a formula that works really well — you’re going to see a lot of such examples in this list. With a torque-y 1.5-liter diesel engine under the bonnet, the Getz CRDi was effectively the first hot hatchback that was easy on the pocket. The handling was far from great, but with 110 PS and 237 Nm, the pocket rocket sadly left the market before it could get widespread appreciation.
Toyota Etios Liva Sportivo
The Etios Liva wasn’t positioned in the premium hatchback segment to start with but it had the handling balance almost spot-on — for an everyday hatchback, that is. So all it needed was a larger, more eager engine to exploit the chassis’ potential. Toyota rightly decided to please the enthusiasts by offering the 89 hp 1.5-liter petrol engine from the Etios sedan. While the exercise ensured Toyota made one of the most exciting cars in the segment, the increased price meant the Etios Liva TRD Sportivo (P) was positioned close to the higher-spec versions of more popular cars, and hence the demand for it wasn’t huge. As a result, the special edition was eventually pulled out of the market.
Ford Fiesta 1.6S
As a midsize sedan offering from Ford, the Fiesta had a lot going for it: good handling, decent space, and low costs of running. Ford decided to take it to the next level by offering a driver-oriented version with a better suspension, a body kit, and a new special-edition colour. Revered among enthusiasts and almost a collector’s item now, the Fiesta S came with the same engine as the regular car, but that didn’t make it any less desirable. It would have been great if Ford had continued with the model for longer, because its successor failed to strike the chord with market.
It might have failed to be a market success, but the Fiesta that followed was again an enthusiasts favourite. It was the first in the segment to offer a dual clutch automatic gearbox, but that couldn’t manage to bring prospective customers to the showrooms. The facelifted version was available only in diesel, but that didn’t appeal to the market, either. Ford India lists the Fiesta on its website, but there have been no units of the Fiesta dispatched to the dealerships. And that’s a misery, not just for Ford but also the enthusiast market.