1. HYUNDAI SANTRO
THE SANTRO IS, SIMPLY, TERRIFIC VALUE FOR MONEY
THIS IS, IN SOME WAYS, THE TOUGHEST CATEGORY in which to win. Buyers in this segment want everything - fuel economy, power, ride comfort, reliability and performance. Running costs must be low, and the purchase price must be sensible. And the car should hold its resale value over reasonable periods of time. Tall order, eh? Well, the Hyundai Santro does it all. It's been around for some time now, but with timely styling updates made by Hyundai, the Santro still looks and feels quite contemporary.
2. MARUTI SUZUKI SWIFT
STYLE, PERFORMANCE AND HANDLING - THE SWIFT IS AN ENTHUSIAST'S CAR!
THIS ONE REALLY IS SOMETHING SPECIAL. SOME small hatchbacks, with their nondescript styling and complete lack of character, are bought because the buyer cannot afford a bigger, better car. You often drive small hatchbacks because you have to, not because you want to. Not so with the Maruti Swift, which won our Car of the Year 2006 award in January this year. To begin with, it's one of the best-looking cars on sale in India today. An iteration of the sporty, aggressive-looking Concept-S, which Suzuki first showed at the 2002 Paris Motor Show, the Swift was extensively tested and developed in Europe. Suzuki say 'the Swift has been engineered for European sensibilities,' and if it's good enough for the Euros, it's good enough for the rest of the world!
3. TATA INDIGO
THE INEXPENSIVE, SPACIOUS AND FUEL EFFICIENT INDIGO IS A BRILLIANT ENTRY-LEVEL FAMILY SALOON
INDIAN CAR BUYERS HAVE A SPECIAL AFFINITY FOR three-box saloons. Whether it's because of 'prestige' connotations, additional boot space, or simply the desire to own a car that's bigger than the one in our neighbour's garage, three-box saloons are a big hit with us. Especially if they are reasonably- priced, cheap to run, and big on cabin space. Enter the Tata Indigo. We aren't saying it's the last word in refi nement, style, or driving dynamics. However, there's no getting away from the fact that the Indigo offers maximum bang for your buck. What matters here is cabin space, fuel economy and ride comfort, and the Indigo is strong on all those front
4. HONDA CITY
WITH ITS HIGH LEVELS OF REFINEMENT, RIDE COMFORT AND FUEL EFFICIENCY, THE CITY IS RIGHT ON TOP
THERE'S NO OTHER WAY TO PUT IT, SO LET'S JUST say this right up front - the Honda City is a stupendous car. This is one of those very few cars where the 'premium' tag is more than mere marketing-speak. In thought, design and execution, the Honda comes out on top.
5. SKODA OCTAVIA RS
IF CARS ARE MUSIC, THE RS IS PROPER HEAD-BANGING ROCK AND ROLL. BRAVO!!!
FOR ONCE, WE CAN TAKE A BREAK FROM TALKING about fuel effi ciency, ride comfort, refi nement and cabin space. Not that the Octavia RS is lacking in those departments - certainly not. But it's just that it also has one attribute which very few cars in India can lay claim to. Performance
6. MAHINDRA SCORPIO CRDe
IT TAKES THE ROUGH WITH THE SMOOTH AND KEEPS GOING WHERE OTHERS CAN'T...
M&M HAVE COME A LONG WAY IN THE LAST TEN years. From the ubiquitous 'jeep,' they've moved on to bigger, better things. And the Scorpio is their fi nest achievement to date. We're not saying it's perfect, but as a budget- spec, entry-level SUV, the Scorpio is not bad at all
7. HONDA ACCORD
EXCELLENT FIT AND FINISH, BRILLIANT ENGINE AND A VERY REFINED CABIN - CERTAINLY THE BEST LUXURY SALOON IN INDIA!
EVERY TIME WE DRIVE THE ACCORD, WE CAN'T help marveling at the sheer all-around capability of the car. It looks good, is spacious and comfortable, rides and handles well, and there's a choice of two absolutely sparkling engines
8. CHEVROLET TAVERA
SPACIOUS, COMFORTABLE, RELIABLE AND FUEL EFFICIENT - AN MUV FOR ALL REASONS, AND ALL SEASONS...
FORGET THE 'LIFESTYLE VEHICLE' HYPE AND ignore the marketing hoopla, and you begin to appreciate the Chevrolet Tavera for what it is - an honest, hard-working multi-utility vehicle that's not afraid to get its hands dirty. It may not be the last word in refi nement and creature comforts, but if you need a reliable workhorse that'll get the job done, the reasonably- priced and frugal Tavera makes a lot of sense.
9. TOYOTA INNOVA
CONTEMPORARY STYLING, LEGENDARY TOYOTA RELIABILITY, HIGH LEVELS OF REFINEMENT - THE MOST VERSATILE MPV AROUND
THE RIGHT CAR, AT THE RIGHT TIME, AT THE RIGHT price - that's what Toyota do best. Sounds deceptively simple, but it's a tough act to follow. When Toyota chopped the best- selling Qualis from their lineup last year and launched the all-new Innova, there was no dearth of people who were saying it just won't work. The Innova was more expensive and its styling was a radical departure from the boxy-looking Qualis.
10. MERCEDES-BENZ S-CLASS
IMAGINE A FAST, QUIET, LEATHER-LINED CLOUD AND YOU HAVE THE MERCEDES-BENZ S350
EVERYONE KNOWS THAT THE S-CLASS IS THE preferred mode of transport for the rich and the famous. And rightly so. Few cars offer the same mix of power, opulent comfort, great safety and outstanding performance as the S-class does. In India, the recently launched S350 has almost no competition.