Goodbye 2022: Top 10 cars launched this year that impressed us most
As the year 2022 draws to a close, it is time to reflect back on the slew of launches that took place in India, all with the solitary objective of wooing potential buyers - you and me. The Indian automotive market was absolutely buzzing with new and updated models - across segments and price brackets - all vying for your attention.
Almost every single car launch through the course of 2022 managed to create a big buzz as the country emerged from the gloom of Covid-related restrictions in the previous two years. But while not every model can claim to have become a hit, the order book for most manufacturers have never been this good.
Here is looking at some of the most significant car launches in India in 2022 - significant not so much from a sales' volumes prospective but because these demonstrate the vibrancy of the market:
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The second offering from the French manufacturer in the country, the Citroen C3 came as a breath of fresh air, complete with its funky body colour themes. For a small car, it does offer impressive amount of space in the cabin and has a spirited drive trait. Available with two petrol options and only manual transmission, it may not dent the market for traditional giants but makes it to this list because of a gutsy challenge nonetheless.
(Watch the Citroen C3 in action here)
Maruti Suzuki Alto K10
A car that needs absolutely no introduction and one that, despite its small proportions, commands its place in lists such as these - the Alto K10 from Maruti Suzuki. The Alto K10 is a segment in itself and this year, saw a facelift which gives it a more modern appeal. There are some mechanical tweaks here and there but the model will continue to be a hit because of its affordable pricing, mileage and no-fuss running trait.
(Watch Alto K10 hit Kerala roads here)
Maruti Suzuki Brezza
Brezza from Maruti Suzuki is perhaps the biggest launch of the year in the Indian car market. And that's saying a lot considering how busy Maruti Suzuki has been right through the year. The sub-compact SUV segment is buzzing and the Brezza, complete with its massively updated looks from all angles, has already become a common sight on Indian roads. Powered by a 1.5-litre petrol engine and with two transmission options, the model now also packs a whole lot of new features, including a Head-Up Display (HUD).
Tata Tiago EV
Tiago EV was always going to be one of the most eagerly-awaited of battery-powered options in the country. The tag of being the most-affordable electric car in India helps but the model packs in so much more. Available in two battery pack options, the EV claims to have a range of over 300 kms and gets several key features not seen in a vehicle in this segment - automatic climate control, ZConnect telematics etc.
(Watch Tiago EV hit the waves in Goa)
Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara
Yes, Maruti Suzuki has indeed had a busy year and Grand Vitara has been one of the key reasons for it. The first-ever mid-size SUV from the country's largest car maker, the model's main USP is also its strong hybrid technology. It gets stylish looks, Suzuki All Grip technology and for some one on a budget, there is a mild hybrid version as well. It stands as a sibling to the Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder and both models are being manufactured at the Toyota plant in Karnataka. Boot space, however, is compromised on both models.
If a bully of an SUV is what you are after, the Scorpio-N is a no-brainer. Just don't confuse it witht he Scorpio that is now called Scorpio Classic. The Scorpio-N may share its name with the iconic model but it is an absolutely new model, complete with fresh looks, a brand new cabin and tons of features that are also available on the XUV700. The SUV obviously has 4x4 capabilities but a high waiting period for Mahindra models could harm its prospects.
Honda City Hybrid
The Honda City Hybrid was never meant as a high-selling model but a statement of very strong intent of strong hybrid technology from the Japanese. To bring it into a sedan at a time when popularity of sedans continues to tumble is a brave move and the City Hybrid has earned a place in our ‘respect’ list. There is a 1.5-litre petrol engine under the hood but there is also a pair of electric motors. The sedan claims to have superior mileage and also offers ADAS - Honda Sense - highlights. Boot space, however, takes a hit once again.
(Check out Honda City eHEV's ADAS capabilities)
Jeep saw an empty space in the three-row premium SUV space. Jeep invaded with the Meridian. Now challenging the legendary fame of Toyota Fortuner requires guts and full points to Meridian on that count. It also has a very premium cabin and some serious 4x4 capabilities. The third-row may be quite restrictive but as a premium option, the Jeep Meridian does still make quite a lot of sense.
Volvo XC40 Recharge
It sure may not be as fancy as some of the more expensive luxury electric SUVs but the Volvo XC40 Recharge is perhaps the most fun EV we drove all of 2022. Based on the petrol-powered XC40, the XC40 Recharge has a 78 kWh battery pack and claims to last over 400 kms per charge. It fires from 0 to 100 kmph in 4.9 seconds and offers 408hp and 660Nm. Local assembly means in relative terms, it also isn't quite too expensive.
When it comes to local assembly of a luxury electric vehicle, Mercedes hit it out of the park with its flagship electric sedan - EQS. The ₹1.50 crore price tag may still mean that it isn't for everyone but with a claimed range of over 850 kms, one can take it to anyone, anywhere. On obvious lines, it boasts of a luxurious cabin and some very opulent drive traits.
Notable mentions: From the updated Maruti Suzuki XL6, Skoda Slavia and Volkswagen Virtus to Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder, Audi Q3, Mercedes GLB and even rather niche products like Lexus NX350h, the options are hardly limited. No one car may be perfect in every sense for any one customer but there sure is much to like about each offering that comes our way. Upwards and onwards into 2023