Mega Test - Best of 2017: 11th Anniversary Special

By Team autoX | on November 15, 2017

An assemblage of 55 vehicles undoubtedly makes this our megaest (there’s that word again!) test ever. We give you the best new bikes and cars that 2017 had to offer – each of them tested in the most thorough and transparent way possible.

Once again, we’re at the BIC. Why? (Is that even a question?) Well, because we enjoy fun cars and bikes as much as anyone else. That’s one reason. There’s another – because it offers a controlled environment to test and evaluate newly launched cars and bikes . . . well, at least the ones that we manage to get our hands on anyway.

So, what’re we testing? Not just the speed of a machine but also its quality, ride, comfort, design, handling, practicality and drivetrain – in short, all and every aspect of a vehicle. And while we do it, we try to be as transparent, objective and scientific as possible. But that doesn’t mean that there’re no subjective factors. For instance, there’s X-Factor, worth 20 points in the case of cars and 15 points for bikes, which is that something special that a car or a bike brings to the table. To put things in perspective, the Jeep brand, for instance, has X-Factor in abundance, given its heritage.

Now, in our market, the most valued aspect of a car or a bike is its Value for Money, and that’s why it’s worth the most point. But that doesn’t mean that the most inexpensive machine will get the most points, for the idea is to look at what the machine offers relative to its competition.

Lap Time is another factor, but unlike X-Factor, it’s completely objective. In fact, it’s the only factor without any tinge of subjectivity. It offers us a uniform method to virtually test every dynamic factor of a vehicle – power, high-speed stability, handling, braking, etc. And, since, we exist to drive and ride, this one is very important to us.

Amongst the cars we tested, the fastest of the bunch was the Nissan GT-R and the slowest was the Isuzu MU-X. They were separated by 17.6 seconds and 15 points – that’s .9 points per second. It was our Editor (and part-time racer), Dhruv Behl, who set four-wheel lap times since he's lapped more cars around the BIC than any other person alive, while professional racer Sarath Kumar set our two-wheel times.

The idea is not to demolish lap records but merely to set consistent and representative lap times over a couple of days. It creates a fair scoring system, taking into account all aspects of a vehicle’s strengths and weaknesses. Our team of experienced road testers evaluate every vehicle on different parameters before averaging final scores to make sure they’re without any bias. Once again, we strive to be as transparent and objective as one can possibly be!

To scorch the track on two wheels, we roped in the incredible skills of professional bike racer Sarath Kumar...read more

Jeep-Compass
Jeep Compass

LAP TIME: 01:14.7
TOTAL SCORE: 68.8
Everywhere you go these days, all you see are SUVs – don’t you? Well, most car manufacturers would have you believe that anything with a ride height a few extra millimetres off the ground is a...
 

Audi-A5-Sportback
Audi A5 Sportback

LAP TIME: 01:10.1
TOTAL SCORE: 67.3
Every year, there’s one car at this test that steals our collective heart just by the way it looks. What can we say, we’re suckers for a pretty machine! It’ll be no surprise to learn that, this year, that car was the....
 

Hyundai Verna
Hyundai Verna

LAP TIME: 01:14.3
TOTAL SCORE: 67.2
Hyundai was the first manufacturer to get Indian customers addicted to state-of-the-art common rail diesel engines – and there’s been no looking back ever since. The first-gen Verna in our market...
 

Maruti Suzuki Dzire
Maruti Suzuki Dzire

LAP TIME: 01:14.8
TOTAL SCORE: 66.7
COMMENTS:The Maruti Suzuki DZire has ruled the sub-four-metre sedan segment ever since its inception. Now, the latest generation DZire has done one better. Within three months of its launch in May 2017...
 

Honda Navi
Nissan GT-R

LAP TIME: 01:05.1
TOTAL SCORE: 62
Godzilla has been a long-time coming in the Indian market. And, of course, its legend well precedes it. Nissan took the plunge and finally introduced the GT-R in the Indian market over the past year, and in...
 

Triumph Street Triple 765
Triumph Street Triple 765

LAP TIME: 01:04.8
TOTAL SCORE: 76.5
Since the introduction of the Triumph Street Triple in 2007, it’s been hailed for its usability and versatility. So, when Triumph unveiled the new-generation model in the UK earlier this year, it had a lot to live up to...
 

Honda Africa Twin
Honda Africa Twin

LAP TIME: N/A
TOTAL SCORE: 74.5
Embracing new technology can be a challenge for many. And, sure, you will get some resistance from the old guard, but eventually the marvel of new technology makes a believer out of most. This is what...
 

Harley-Davidson Street Rod
Harley-Davidson Street Rod

LAP TIME: 01:21.8
TOTAL SCORE: 72.7
That Harley-Davidson is a cult brand is not something that you need to know. The iconic American brand enjoys an unparalleled fan following across the world, including India – and, of course, owing a Harley-Davidson...
 

Ducati SuperSport S
Ducati SuperSport S

LAP TIME: 01:04.7
TOTAL SCORE: 72.5
Ducati sports bikes are renowned for their handling and performance, such as the Panigale duo – the 959 and 1299. But with an aggressive riding stance, they can be rather unforgiving to the rider’s back...
 

Triumph Tiger Explorer XCX
Triumph Tiger Explorer XCX

LAP TIME: 01:12.1
TOTAL SCORE: 72.5
If the Tiger didn’t cost a bomb, it would have been a very deserving recipient of a ‘Best of 2017’ award. At any rate, it was just .2 points off an award – that’s how close it was at the top this year. Up until now, Triumph only...
 

Ducati Monster 797
Ducati Monster 797

LAP TIME: 01:08.2
TOTAL SCORE: 72.5
They call it a ‘Monster,’ and that’s quite strange – largely because there’s nothing about this street naked that intimidates you. Sure, it has a sinister appearance, but in every other respect the Monster 797 feels docile...
 

BMW 750Li
Triumph Bonneville Bobber

LAP TIME: 01:17.4
TOTAL SCORE: 71.8
The Bonneville line-up is probably one of the best single model platforms available in the world today. There are now six different variants of the Triumph Bonneville – each unique in their own way – and without a doubt the most beautiful...
 

Bajaj Dominar 400
Bajaj Dominar 400

LAP TIME: N/A
TOTAL SCORE: 68.5
When it comes to traditional vehicle segments, the SUV boom of recent times has inflicted some serious casualties over the recent past – and one of the major ones in the Indian market has been the entry-level luxury sedan....
 

Yamaha FZ25
Yamaha FZ25

LAP TIME: 01:16.3
TOTAL SCORE: 68.5
Good things come in small packages – the Yamaha FZ16 / FZ-S is proof of that. Since its launch in 2008, this small capacity Yamaha streetfighter has gone from strength-to-strength in our market. And, given the love...
 

Scrambler Ducati Desert
Scrambler Ducati Desert Sled

LAP TIME: 01:13.2
TOTAL SCORE: 68.4
The Scrambler Ducati Desert Sled has a whole lot more presence than any scrambler before it. But, even though it belongs to the Scrambler family, it’s a completely different motorcycle than the other four variants of the Scrambler...
 

Honda Cliq
Honda Cliq

LAP TIME: 01:42.6
TOTAL SCORE: 64
Every year, when we take the latest four-and-two-wheel vehicles to the Buddh International Circuit for our anniversary track test, many scooter makers get nervous because they feel that we’re judging their vehicles purely...
 

DSK Benelli 302R
DSK Benelli 302R

LAP TIME: 01:12.4
TOTAL SCORE: 63.5
After a long wait, Benelli finally entered the entry-level performance space with a fully faired offering in the form of the 302R. One of the biggest draws of motorcycles in this class is design, and in that regard the Benelli does reasonably...
 

Harley Davidson Street Glide41
Harley-Davidson Street Glide

LAP TIME: 01:34.2
TOTAL SCORE: 63.6
The Street Glide Special is the ultimate highway cruiser. Now that the Project Rushmore engines have been replaced with the new Milwaukee-Eight engine, the Harley-Davidson Touring line-up is better than ever. The new engine...
 

Harley Davidson Road King
Harley-Davidson Road King

LAP TIME: 01:36.8
TOTAL SCORE: 63.3
With the Road King, Harley-Davidson has taken a very smart approach – updated all the bits that needed to be addressed, while leaving all the good bits untouched. So, when you see a Road King in the flesh, if you can’t figure out if it’s the...
 

Harley-Davidson Roadster
Harley-Davidson Roadster

LAP TIME: N/A
TOTAL SCORE: 62
The Roadster is the newest motorcycle from the Sportster line that’s available here in India. It’s got a nice retro look influenced from the old sportsters that tasted great success in motorsport events in the US, which is how the Sportster line became popular...
 

UM Renegade Commando
UM Renegade & Commando

LAP TIME: 01:28.0
TOTAL SCORE: 57.4
Lohia UM is trying its best to tap into the Indian automobile market with their Renegade Commando line. Last year, after they launched in India, they were met with a slightly critical response – mainly because of the quality levels of their bikes...

BMW 530d
BMW 530d

LAP TIME: 01:10.5
TOTAL SCORE: 66.6
The 5 Series sedan has long been the mainstay for BMW in the Indian market. Popular with people who are chauffeured around, as well as those who drive themselves, the car offers an optimal balance between...
 

Volvo V90 Cross Country
Volvo V90 Cross Country

LAP TIME: 01:11.4
TOTAL SCORE: 66.6
The Volvo V90 Cross Country was one of the most surprising cars that we tested this year. It finished tied for sixth place with the impeccable BMW 530d. What a machine this really is, especially when you compare...
 

Mercedes-Benz E 220d
Mercedes-Benz E 220d

LAP TIME: 01:13.0
TOTAL SCORE: 66.3
Accounting for almost 35% of Mercedes-Benz sales in India since its debut, the E-Class has been the bread-and-butter model for the brand. And with the kind of numbers it brings in for the Stuttgart-based carmaker...
 

Audi RS7 Performance
Audi RS7 Performance

LAP TIME: 01:05.9
Total Score: 66.3
Over the years, we’ve lapped over 200 cars around the BIC and clocked countless hours at the track. But not many machines have surprised us as much as the Audi RS7 Performance with its lap time....
 

Porsche Macan R4
Porsche Macan R4

LAP TIME: 01:11.0
TOTAL SCORE: 65.5
Porsche has spent the past 70 years perfecting the art of the sports car. But, more recently, they also seem to have perfected the art of the urban SUV. The Cayenne and Macan are the most car-like and dynamically...
 

2017 Land Rover Discovery
2017 Land Rover Discovery

LAP TIME: 01:15.5
TOTAL SCORE: 64.6
As you’ll see elsewhere in this issue, we took the brand new Land Rover Discovery to the high Himalayan passes of Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh. Let’s just say that there’s absolutely no better vehicle...
 

Volvo S90
Volvo S90

LAP TIME: 01:12.6
TOTAL SCORE: 64.1
The Volvo S90 is regal, yet contemporary. Made of Asgardian metal, or so we would like to believe, this Scandinavian sedan has managed to gate-crash the dominance of the German holy trinity. It does this by not just being extremely....
 

Jaguar F-Pace R-Sport
Jaguar F-Pace R-Sport

LAP TIME: 01:10.7
TOTAL SCORE: 63.7
Some of you may remember that we’ve recently spent quite some time with the F-Pace, which happens to be the winner of the World Car of the Year award for 2017. So, you could say that we’ve gotten to know Jaguar’s first SUV quite well...
 

Jaguar XF
Jaguar XF

LAP TIME: 01:11.7
TOTAL SCORE: 63.4
Some may complain that it’s a bit difficult to distinguish between the second generation Jaguar XF and the XE, but then that’s pretty much the case with most luxury sedan manufacturers at the moment – as each one tries to propagate their...
 

Honda Accord Hybrid
Honda Accord Hybrid

LAP TIME: 01:12.8
TOTAL SCORE: 62.9
The Honda Accord Hybrid presents an interesting proposition for those looking for eco-friendly motoring. It also happens to feature some very interesting technology, so it’ll also certainly delight the geek in you. To start with, the Accord features...
 

Tata Nexon
Tata Nexon

LAP TIME: 01:15.4
TOTAL SCORE: 62.7
In the past, Tata’s reputation has been stained with a perception of being substandard in regards to quality and driving dynamics. Fortunately, they kicked off a paradigm shift when they launched the Zest aa few years back....
 

Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS
Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS

LAP TIME: 01:13.3
TOTAL SCORE: 62
It’s been a long time coming, but after years of waiting there’s finally a Maruti with an engine that an enthusiast would consider. Or at least that’s what it says on the brochure of the Baleno RS. Based on the standard car, this model...
 

Jaguar XE 20d
Jaguar XE 20d

LAP TIME: 01:10.2
TOTAL SCORE: 61.2
When we drove the petrol-powered Jaguar XE, at our ‘Best of’ shootout last year, we thought it was just the machine that someone looking for a driver-focussed sports sedan would have. In fact, the current resurgence at Jaguar...
 

Hyundai Tucson
Hyundai Tucson

LAP TIME: 01:15.1
TOTAL SCORE: 61
In the Hyundai range in India, which is quite stylish as a whole, the Tucson stands out as being perhaps the most striking of the lot. It features excellent proportions and some great design highlights, which ensures that it looks...
 

BMW 330i GT
BMW 330i GT

LAP TIME: 01:11.1
TOTAL SCORE: 60.9
The BMW 3 Series is one of our favourite cars of all time. It’s been the global sports sedan benchmark for several decades now, and it’s one that’s always set the bar when it comes to driving dynamics. But India is a unique market...
 

Audi A4 35TDI
Audi A4 35 TDI

LAP TIME: 01:11.8
TOTAL SCORE: 60.3
The arrival of the new A4 marked a much-needed change for Audi. With the last-generation car getting long in the tooth, and the competition intensifying in the segment, a new version of the car was necessary – and the latest generation delivers just that...
 

2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport
2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport

LAP TIME: 01:15.5
TOTAL SCORE: 59.6
Yes, the Discovery Sport has been around for a while now. And no, we haven’t lost our minds in deciding to make it a part of this feature. While it looks identical to the model that we’ve had on sale for the past couple of years...
 

Toyota Fortuner
Toyota Fortuner

LAP TIME: 01:19.8
TOTAL SCORE: 58.5
You might say that hooning around on a race track in a full-sized four-wheel drive SUV is a bit childish. And, at first, it would appear so. But more connected readers will know that, all things being equal, this is our constant...
 

Lexus RX 450h
Lexus RX 450h

LAP TIME: 01:15.1
TOTAL SCORE: 58.5
When you look at the design language of the Lexus lineup in India, the one product that stands out is the RX SUV. It’s the one truly unique ‘Lexus’ vehicle in this lineup – the other two products are derivatives of Toyota products...
 

Fiat Abarth Punto
Audi A3 35 TFSI

LAP TIME: 01:11.6
TOTAL SCORE: 58.5
The A3 has been a long favourite here at autoX. When the car was first launched in India, we chose this small German luxury compact sedan to be our steed for our 100th issue anniversary challenge where we covered 6,000 kilometres...
 

Volkswagen Tiguan
Volkswagen Tiguan

LAP TIME: 01:15.0
TOTAL SCORE: 58.1
The long-awaited VW Tiguan was launched to much fanfare earlier this year. And rightly so, the first reasonably affordable SUV in India from the German brand is an opportunity for VW to cash in on the current SUV craze...
 

Range Rover Evoque
Range Rover Evoque

LAP TIME: 01:14.4
TOTAL SCORE: 57.1
In 2011, when Range Rover launched the rather chic Evoque, purists thought it marked the end of the Land Rover philosophy. But, in reality, the wise men from Gaydon knew exactly what they were doing – they were actually diversifying...
 

Honda WR-V
Honda WR-V

LAP TIME: 01:17.3
TOTAL SCORE: 57.1
People today want SUVs – this much is very clear. At the affordable end of this scale are compact SUVs, which appear to have become the best thing since sliced bread. The trouble here is that the WR-V isn’t one...
 

Tata Hexa
Tata Hexa

LAP TIME: 01:18.1
TOTAL SCORE: 56.4
The predecessor to the Tata Hexa, the Aria, was fundamentally a good machine. The trouble was that it was meant to take on the mighty Toyota Innova, which is a gargantuan task for any vehicle. Plus, the Aria was expensive, and there were some quality issues...
 

Hyundai Grand i10
Hyundai Grand i10

LAP TIME: 01:17.7
TOTAL SCORE: 56.3
This little Korean hatchback has had us gushing ever since it was first launched. It’s a cute little car that’s got a lot of heart and character. What’s especially good about the Grand i10 is that it’s got great quality levels, both inside and out...
 

Audi Q3 30 TFSI
Audi Q3 30 TFSI

LAP TIME: 01:13.9
TOTAL SCORE: 56
Remember the first compact luxury SUV that came to India? Nope, you’re wrong, it wasn’t the Audi Q3 – but the BMW X1. You see, the X1 was supposed to have first-mover advantage, but it was the Q3 that truly went on to make a mark...
 

Maruti Suzuki Ignis
Maruti Suzuki Ignis

LAP TIME: 01:17.1
TOTAL SCORE: 52.8
Designed for millennials, the Ignis unquestionably has a funky design. And while some were doubtful about its quirky looks when they first saw it, over time, its design has become more acceptable. In fact, the car looks quite...
 

Hyundai Xcent
Hyundai Xcent

LAP TIME: 01:18.2
TOTAL SCORE: 52.8
With the introduction of a new 1.2-litre diesel engine in the Xcent – and also the Grand i10 – this model once again qualified for our awards this year, along with its sibling. The Xcent also went through a mild facelift...
 

Tata Tigor
Tata Tigor

LAP TIME: 01:18.7
TOTAL SCORE: 51.9
Over the past few years, Tata Motors has really tried hard to straighten out its brand perception. It initiated this process with the Zest, continued it with the Bolt and Tiago, and progressed even further with the Hexa and Tigor...
 

Lexus LX 450d
Lexus LX 450d

LAP TIME: 01:20.6
TOTAL SCORE: 51.8
If the Nissan GT-R has a terrifying nickname like ‘Godzilla,’ then we’re going to call the LX 450 ‘King Kong.’ The LX is the big daddy of all full-size luxury SUVs. It’s a glorified luxury version of the legendary Toyota Land Cruiser LC 200...
 

Isuzu MU-X
Isuzu MU-X

LAP TIME: 01:22.7
TOTAL SCORE: 50
At a time when premium SUVs are easily breaching the `30-lakh barrier, Isuzu’s MU-X is here to save the day and offer a 3.0-litre diesel engine and an automatic gearbox at an ex-showroom price of `23 lakh. From this...
 

Datsun Redi-Go
Datsun Redi-Go

LAP TIME: 01:20.4
TOTAL SCORE: 49.5
The newest raging bull in the stable is so good that we had to carve out a whole new category for it – ‘Performance Car of the Year.’ You see, while we make every attempt to be as sensible as possible and rate all the new cars....

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