We wanted to make a list of 5 but couldn’t decide which of these to leave out. Every car listed below is as ground-breaking as the other
- Maruti Suzuki Swift:
The Maruti Suzuki Swift has always been a car that's fun to drive and, at the same time, economical. This third-generation model retains this nature better than its ancestors, thanks to the new HearTect platform that it's based on. The new Swift tips the scale at 870 kilos, nearly 10 per cent lighter than the model it replaced. Needless to say, the reduced weight, working together with a more aerodynamic design has a positive effect on fuel efficiency. While this makes the Swift an absolute hoot to drive, there’s also noticeable improvement inside the cabin. The seats are better than before, there’s a new infotainment screen now and it also has a 25 per cent larger boot. And then there’s the tried and tested 1.2-litre petrol and 1.3-litre diesel engines. Since the launch of the first-generation model, the Swift has been a no-brainer for a lot of buyers, and it continues to be the universal favourite – so much so that just like the two generations before it, this one too went on to win the coveted Indian Car of the year 2019.
- Mahindra Marazzo:
We’ve said it before, and we say it again, the Marazzo was the surprise package from Mahindra in 2018. In fact, we were so impressed by the MPV that we even awarded it a spot on our ‘Best of 2018’ mega test. The Marazzo has hit the nail on the head in terms of space on offer – there’s ample of it in all three rows. With front-wheel drive and a transversely mounted engine, the Marazzo has managed to free up considerable space inside the cabin. There’s has been huge improvements in terms of quality and fit and finish. The Marazzo scores well in terms of practicality too – lots of storages space all around, roof mounted air-con for increased comfort of rear passengers, sun blinds for the rear windows and more. The new 1.5-litre diesel motor is also quite impressive. It is smooth and easy to drive. But most of all, Mahindra has got the pricing absolutely right. Priced marginally higher than the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga and a lot more affordable than the Toyota Innova Crysta, the Marazzo sits in the gap rather comfortably.
- Hyundai Santro:
The first-generation Santro was a runaway success for Hyundai. Fully aware of the potential that the Santro name still holds, Hyundai brought it back to life with the second-generation model a few months ago. Like every other Hyundai offering, the Santro flaunts segment-leading features like 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Other features include Bluetooth connectivity, reversing camera, parking sensors and more. In term of safety too, the Samtro gets a bunch of features as standard. At the heart of the Santro is the 1.1-litre motor from before. The motor is eager and quick, and the AMT is among the best we have driven in any car in that price range. Even in this second-gen model, the Santro continues to be the wholesome family car that we have always known it to be.
- Tata Tiago JTP:
Tata gave a new meaning to affordable performance with the launch of the Tiago JTP. Priced at Rs 6.39 lakh (ex-showroom), the Tiago JTP offers a great power-to-penny ratio. Unlike some of the other cars in the market, Tata has actually put in a lot of work in developing the Tiago JTP. It comes with the same 1.2-litre petrol motor as the standard model but has been fitted with a turbocharger, a larger intake and revised mapping. The Tiago JTP flaunts an impressive power-to-weight ratio of over 107bhp per tonne. The Tiago isn’t just about the additional power – Tata has made adequate changes to the car to ensure that it delivers on the handling front too. Larger tyres and a firmer suspension setup ensure that the Tiago handles well too. Add to that the cosmetic changes that give the Tiago JTP the proper stance of a performance car, and what you get is a package that no other brand offers at this price. And if this still doesn’t excite you enough, drive it and listen to the sweet sounding turbo whistle.
- Maruti Suzuki Ertiga:
No one understands the Indian car buying market better than Maruti Suzuki. They spotted the need for an affordable spacious MPV and brought in the Ertiga. Having not updated it for a while, the Ertiga was showing its age. This new-generation model improves on everything that the Ertiga did so well. Firstly and most importantly, space. The Ertiga has oodles of leg and knee room for the second row passengers. Getting into the third row can be a bit of a squeeze, but once seated, there is reasonable room there too. There’s a noticeable improvement in terms of overall design and quality too. If this still isn’t enough for you, there’s also the new, more powerful petrol on offer. At 103bhp, it is quite a huge gain over the model it replaces. Just like the other Maruti Suzuki model, this one too comes with a hybrid system. The new Ertiga has grown in almost every way – it’s more spacious, feature rich and has a premium feel. Starting at Rs 7.44 lakh, the Ertiga is great value for money too.
- Honda Amaze:
At the Auto Expo 2018, Honda promised to bring in four new launches in the Financial Year ending 2019. The first of the four was their compact sedan offering – the Amaze. Take a closer look at the spec sheet, and you will know why the Amaze is easily the most sensible car to be launched in 2018. One of the biggest drawbacks of the old Amaze was the poor quality of plastics used in the interior and wafer-thin seats to make more space. Thankfully, the new-generation model doesn’t make any such compromises. Lots of cabin space, comfortable seating, a 420-litre boot and the option of an automatic with petrol and diesel engines – the Amaze ticks all the right boxes.