To say that it’s been a bit of a tough year would be to say that the ocean is a little bit salty.
And yet automakers continue to fire on all cylinders – as evidenced by our annual mega test last month, and our award winners this month. The ten machines that you see on the cover represent the very best of the year gone by – each one extraordinary in its own way.
Take the Mercedes-Benz GLS for instance. Far more imposing and versatile than an S-Class, and every bit as comfortable and luxurious. And, surprisingly, it even drives brilliantly – disguising its mass while floating around the track like a ballet dancer.
The Kia Sonet, at the other end of the spectrum, proves that you can make a statement with a compact SUV as well. It also proves that you don’t have to compromise on quality, tech or driving dynamics either. It’s second cousin, the Hyundai Creta, meanwhile, keeps getting better and provides levels of refinement and features that you won’t find even in cars that cost twice as much.
The Skoda Superb, on the other hand, proves that sedans are far from dead! You simply can’t get that kind of a driving experience from any SUV. And the Honda City, which rounds out the top-five cars, demonstrates the fact that the naturally aspirated petrol engine still has some tricks up its sleeve.
On the two-wheel front, it’s not surprising that there are two adventure bikes in our top-three – the Triumph Tiger 900 & KTM 390 Adventure. It all comes down to what Sumeet Narang, President – Probiking, KTM & Husqvarna, said: that ADVs are to bikes what SUVs are to cars. They’re incredibly versatile and usable, especially in our conditions. Speaking of which, do check out all our interviews with the winners – it speaks volumes for how proactive the industry has been during the pandemic and how much optimism there is going into 2021.
Rounding out the top-three bikes is the Hero Xtreme 160R, which demonstrates the massive strides that Hero is taking when it comes to product development. On the performance front, the BMW M8 Coupe and Ducati Panigale took top honours with the fastest lap times at the BIC. Of course, they were blisteringly fast, but they could well have won for simply being the prettiest machines on test.
The balanced proportions of the M8 are in stark contrast to the sheer shock value that BMW has reserved for its newer designs – but, as Vikram Pawah, President, BMW Group India, said, sometimes, polarising is good! It allows people to stand out, and for their machines to be true reflections of their personality. So, which of these ten suit your personality best? Drop me a line and let me know…