Mega Test - Best of 2016: 10th Anniversary Special

By Team autoX | on November 15, 2016

Our megaest (is that even a word?) mega-test of the year is back. Here are the best cars and bikes of the year – each of them tested to near destruction so that we can tell you which is best.

Of course, we’re back at the BIC – not merely because we enjoy pounding around in fun cars and bikes, but also because this is the only venue in which we can truly test each new vehicle launched in the past year. Well, all the ones we can get our hands on anyway.

We’re not just testing how fast a machine is, but also evaluating its quality, comfort, ride, handling, refinement, design, drivetrain and practicality. We make every attempt to be as transparent, objective and scientific about this as possible. But there are some subjective factors as well. For instance, X-Factor (which gets 20 points in the case of the cars, and 15 points in the case of the bikes) is that little special something that a machine brings to the table. With its heritage and folklore, the Mustang, for example, is simply the poster child for X-Factor!

Value for Money is one of the most important aspects in our market, and, therefore, it gets the most points – both for the cars as well as the bikes. Of course, its not just a case of giving the most inexpensive machine the greatest points – but looking at just what it offers relative to its competition.

The only purely objective field is Lap Time, which is recorded for each machine using the transponders at the track. This gives us a uniform method to determine virtually all the dynamic factors, such as power, high-speed stability, handling, braking, etc. And, well, we all like to drive and ride – so this is important to us.

The fastest car of the bunch was the Lamborghini Huracan, while the slowest was the Datsun redi-GO – the two were separated by 57.8 seconds and 15 points, which equates to .3 points per second. Now, last year, the lap times were set by professionals. But this year the times were set by our regular track testers – Editor Dhruv Behl in the cars, and Contributing Editor Ashish Jha on bikes. The rationale being that the cars and bikes that make it easier to approach their limits are the ones that will impress. Moreover, our aim here isn’t to break lap records but merely to set consistent and representative lap times over two days – which leads to a fair and representative scoring system that takes into account the full range of a vehicle’s strengths and weakenesses. The evaluators include our full team of experienced road testers, each of whom score each vehicle on the different parametrs before the final scores are averaged and computed.

So, as they say, let the games begin...

Harley-Davidson 1200 Custom
Harley-Davidson 1200 Custom

LAP TIME: 03:23.6
TOTAL SCORE: 60.3
We like our bikes to have some sort of a mechanical feel to them – smoothness isn’t always such a great thing. But, then again, we don’t want our motorcycles to feel so mechanical where you can feel – and hear...
 

TVS Victor 110
TVS Victor 110

LAP TIME: 03:43.1
TOTAL SCORE: 63.6
It’s unfair, no? Pitching a pocket-friendly commuter against motorcycles that are ten times its cubic capacity or price. The TVS Victor 110 finds itself in just such a predicament here....
 

Mahindra Mojo
Mahindra Mojo

LAP TIME: 03:14.9
TOTAL SCORE: 65.5
The Punto Evo now looks the part once again. And drives quite well too. But there’s a much hotter version around the corner – and we’d like to wait for that thank you very much…
 

Royal Enfield Himalayan
Royal Enfield Himalayan

LAP TIME: 03:15.4
TOTAL SCORE: 65.9
COMMENTS: When we first got news of the Himalayan, we were very excited. In fact, a completely new motorcycle launch from the legendary Indian bike maker is always big news and invariably creates a media frenzy...
 

Honda Navi
Honda Navi

LAP TIME: 04:19.9
TOTAL SCORE: 67.2
Over the years, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) has gained a reputation of playing it safe with their products. While that approach has been working well for them, it fails to add excitement to the two-wheeler...
 

Aprilia SR 150
Aprilia SR 150

TOTAL SCORE: 68
There was a lot of expectation and scepticism surrounding the Aprilia SR 150. Many prayed and hoped that the iconic Italian two-wheeler manufacturer wouldn’t pull a fast one by doing a nip-and-tuck job of its sibling...
 

Triumph Bonneville T120
Triumph Bonneville T120

LAP TIME: 02:53.1
TOTAL SCORE: 69.9
The new T120 is bigger and better. The entire new Bonneville line-up has really impressed us, and the flagship model certainly retains its no-nonsense character. Besides its excellent and refined
 

Ducati Multistrada 1200S
Ducati Multistrada 1200S

LAP TIME: 02:43.8
TOTAL SCORE: 70.1
It’s a shame that the Multistrada 1200S missed out on an award this year, because it certainly was one of the best bikes that we tested in 2016. Joining the Multistrada family, the 1200 S was designed for...
 

Triumph Street Twin
Triumph Street Twin

LAP TIME: 02:58.2
TOTAL SCORE: 70.4
The Street Twin is the smallest of the new Bonnevilles, and it’s quite a remarkable machine. It was a very close battle to be crowned one of the three ‘Best of 2016’ bikes, and the Street Twin lost out by...
 

DSK-Benelli TNT 25
DSK-Benelli TNT 25

LAP TIME: 03:13.8
TOTAL SCORE: 70.5
DSK-Benelli took a big risk entering the quarter-litre category in India. However, they’ve managed to bring in a superb product at the right price point. Even though it might not be a bestseller in...
 

Apache RTR 200
Apache RTR 200

LAP TIME: 03:14.1
TOTAL SCORE: 71
For a while it seemed like TVS was sitting in the shadows, as other motorcycle manufacturers came out with a slew of product launches and created new segments. However, we had it all wrong – because the...
 

Triumph Thruxton R
Triumph Thruxton R

LAP TIME: 02:37.6
TOTAL SCORE: 73.5
It certainly wasn’t easy to pick our winners. But, ultimately, we all couldn’t ignore the fact that the Thruxton R is without a doubt one of the best motorcycle launches of 2016 – and not just in India, but globally...
 

VW Vento Cup
VW Vento Cup

LAP TIME: 02:28.7
Why is the VW Vento Cup car here, you ask? Well, if we’re honest, for no reason other than the fact that we wanted to drive it around the BIC once again. But if we had to come up with a legitimate sounding....
 

Chevrolet Trailblazer
Chevrolet Trailblazer

LAP TIME: 02:59.2
TOTAL SCORE: 45.5
If you’ve been following our work, you would have read our review of the Chevrolet Trailblazer – in which Abhishek developed a liking for this humongous SUV despite its limitations. The truth is that the ride...
 

Jeep Wrangler
Jeep Wrangler

LAP TIME: 03:01.1
TOTAL SCORE: 49
The Jeep Wrangler is the kind of car every hard-core off-road enthusiast dreams of owning. But, in India, it’ll remain a dream for virtually everyone because of its staggering price. This iconic...
 

Datsun-redi-Go
Isuzu D-Max V-Cross

LAP TIME: 03:10.2
TOTAL SCORE: 54.1
Sure, the likes of Tata and Mahindra have been offering pick-up trucks for a while now. And while some have been quite utilitarian, and also drivable – think Mahindra Scorpio Getaway and Tata Xenon XT – none have been particularly....
 

Volkswagen Ameo
Volkswagen Ameo

LAP TIME: 2:58.7
TOTAL SCORE: 54.6
After a long wait, Volkswagen finally entered the compact sedan space with the launch of the Ameo a few months back. And, as you’d expect from all cars that wear the German giant’s badge, this one too is built like a rock. Right from....
 

Jeep Grand Cherokee
Jeep Grand Cherokee

LAP TIME: 02:47.5
TOTAL SCORE: 56
It’s no secret that the ‘Jeep’ has been a very popular model in India for decades. Originally built for the Second World War, the Jeep saw its life extended in the Indian market due to its reliability and the ability to tackle our....
 

Tata Tiago
Tata Tiago

LAP TIME: 3:02.2
TOTAL SCORE: 56.2
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....
 

Renault Kwid 1.0 Litre
Renault Kwid 1.0 Litre

LAP TIME: 03:04.0
TOTAL SCORE: 56.2
Renault’s Kwid was a sensation last year when it hit the market – it was spacious, comfortable, well equipped, had a decent powertrain, good handling, and was being offered at the price of an Alto 800? It got everyone’s attention....
 

Abarth 595 Competizione
Abarth 595 Competizione

LAP TIME: 02:46.4
TOTAL SCORE: 56.3
Looks can be deceptive. This is a saying that’s especially apt in the automotive world. Fiat seems to be a perfect example of this, and you don’t have to look any further than the Abarth 595 Competizione for the epitome of this concept....
 

BMW X1
BMW X1

LAP TIME: 2:46.2
TOTAL SCORE: 57.3
Rear-wheel drive has been a centerpiece of the BMW brand since time immemorial. So, when BMW announced that it would start making front-wheel drive cars, it inevitably caused quite an uproar among the purists – and rightly....
 

Honda BR-V
Honda BR-V

LAP TIME: 03:02.1
TOTAL SCORE: 57.7
It’s no secret that the success of the SUV sector, at the expense of other more traditional automobile forms, has taken the world by storm over the past few years. The shift started gradually with the introduction of luxury SUVs....
 

Ford Endeavour 3.2 4X4
Ford Endeavour 3.2 4X4

LAP TIME: 03:01.7
TOTAL SCORE: 59.8
Here’s a machine that really ought to be a lot further up the charts, but it lost out because of a few very specific reasons. Well, let’s start with all the things that we like about the new Endeavour. For starters, it looks good....
 

Volkswagen Beetle
Volkswagen Beetle

LAP TIME: 2:41.8
TOTAL SCORE: 60
In a world of Yin and Yang, nothing is really considered to be perfect. The good, bad and ugly (not in this case) come together as a part of one package. What matters is if the positive overpowers the negative. Anyway, enough philosophy....
 

Fiat Linea 125S
Fiat Linea 125S

LAP TIME: 02:49.5
TOTAL SCORE: 60.5
The Fiat Linea is a competent machine no doubt, but it’s getting quite long in the tooth. After all, any car that’s been on sale for over a decade gets there sooner rather than later. The Grande Punto, on which it’s based....
 

BMW 520i
BMW 520i

LAP TIME: 02:42.8
TOTAL SCORE: 61.2
It goes without saying that the BMW 5 Series is the definitive driver’s car in its segment. Unfortunately, fuel prices and a demand for the diesel model meant that only the diesel 5 Series models were on sale in India. Now....
 

Volvo S60 Cross Country
Volvo S60 Cross Country

LAP TIME: 02:43.4
TOTAL SCORE: 62.1
There’s no denying the fact that car buyers around the world are currently madly in love with crossovers, SUVs, or anything that rides an inch or two higher than the rest of traffic. However, when Volvo announced the arrival of....
 

Fiat Abarth Punto
Fiat Abarth Punto

LAP TIME: 2:47.3
TOTAL SCORE: 62.5
In a country like ours, where motorists prefer fuel efficiency over everything else, launching a gas-guzzling performance hatchback may not sound like a very bright business proposition. But then, Italians don’t understand....
 

Jaguar XE 25t
Jaguar XE 25t

LAP TIME: 02:37.6
TOTAL SCORE: 62.6
If a tail-happy, rear-wheel drive sports sedan is the object of your desire, then look no further than the Jaguar XE. It guarantees to put a smile on your face that will be very difficult to wipe off. What makes the XE stand apart is....
 

Audi A4
Audi A4

LAP TIME: 02.42.6
TOTAL SCORE: 63
The Audi A4 is powered by a 1.4-litre petrol engine. Startled? But before you write it off, take a deep breath and don’t judge the car by its specifications. This 1,395cc, with 148bhp and 250Nm of torque, is one of the most....
 

Volvo XC90 T8 Excellence
Volvo XC90 T8 Excellence

LAP TIME: 02:44.0
TOTAL SCORE: 64.3
Some cars are about making a style statement, while others are about power and prowess. But Volvo have their own way of doing things. They care little for pomp and flair, but definitely value green technology and don’t mind a....
 

Range Rover Sport SVR
Range Rover Sport SVR

LAP TIME: 02:30.1
TOTAL SCORE: 63.5
If you look at it rationally, the very concept of a performance SUV is a bit of a misnomer. On the one hand, you have an automobile that’s designed to tackle all types of terrain while keeping its occupants comfortable. And this....
 

BMW 320i
BMW 320i

LAP TIME: 2:37.9
TOTAL SCORE: 63.5
You do know that BMW takes immense pride in saying that it makes machines for ‘Sheer Driving Pleasure.’ And this isn’t just a marketing gimmick, all BMWs really are driver’s cars. And if there’s one car that manifests this belief....
 

Audi R8 V10 Plus
Audi R8 V10 Plus

LAP TIME: 02:14.8
TOTAL SCORE: 63.5
The R8 is so very desirable that it ought to figure very highly in our ‘Best of 2016’ list. Really, the only place it loses out is in terms of practicality – it is a supercar after all (despite being quite a comfortable one....
 

Mini Cooper S Convertible
Mini Cooper S Convertible

LAP TIME: 02:36.8
TOTAL SCORE: 63.8
The Mini Cooper S is a good little hot hatchback, but how do you make the iconic Cooper S even better? As it turns out, you can do so without tinkering under the bonnet and simply by taking the roof off. And, in doing so....
 

Skoda Superb
Skoda Superb

LAP TIME: 02:41.4
TOTAL SCORE: 64.1
Typically, with each successive new model, cars tend to get fatter and – as a result – lazier. So, on the face of it, when we found out that the Superb has become longer, taller, wider and taller for your comfort we weren’t....
 

Mercedes-Benz GLC 300
Mercedes-Benz GLC 300

LAP TIME: 02:43.1
TOTAL SCORE: 64.1
When it came to the Mercedes-Benz GLC, we ended up splitting hairs as the arguments went on for hours. In the end, the points were totaled and the GLC missed entering our top-five by a whisker – literally....
 

Lamborghini huracan LP610-4
Lamborghini huracan LP610-4

LAP TIME: 02:12.8
TOTAL SCORE: 64
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....
 

Toyota Innova Crysta
Toyota Innova Crysta

LAP TIME: 02:56.3
TOTAL SCORE: 64.2
Our market has a rather funny reaction when it comes to MUVs or people movers. In the past, Indians have traditionally shunned MUVs – as a result of which the segment has posted moderate sales numbers at best....
 

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza
Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza

LAP TIME: 02:56.1
TOTAL SCORE: 64.8
When you’re an automotive behemoth, rather, the automotive behemoth in the Indian market, it’s not difficult to reflect on your product range and count the many successful products that make up your vehicle portfolio....
 

BMW 750Li
BMW 750Li

LAP TIME: 02:30.8
TOTAL SCORE: 65.8
We seem to find ourselves at the racetrack with this luxury sedan more often than not. Not only did we first test it at a racetrack in the US over a year ago, but we brought it to the Buddh International Circuit a couple of months....
 

Hyundai Elantra
Hyundai Elantra

LAP TIME: 02:47.6
TOTAL SCORE: 67
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....
 

Ford Mustang GT
Ford Mustang GT

LAP TIME: 02:25.6
TOTAL SCORE: 68.7
If you ask old-timer automotive enthusiasts – and by old-timers we mean those who’ve been in love with cars well before the Internet and YouTube came along – there are a few cars and badges that virtually all of them will name....

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