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The Chevy Beat has a new, international look
The Chevy Beat has a new, international look

2014: the deal with wheels

From budget hatchbacks to the ultimate luxury offeringsget a heads-up on what the auto industry is lining up this year

photoWith the slowing economy and weakening rupee, the car market in India has been hit quite hard. But if you thought this would have deterred car makers, think again. There’s a slew of new cars—everything from budget hatchbacks to ultimate luxury offerings—headed our way in the new year. Here are seven that caught our eye:

Chevrolet Beat facelift

There’s no doubt the Chevy Beat is one of the most modern-looking hatches on sale in India. However, General Motors (GM) felt it needed an update, and in late 2011 introduced a facelift
internationally. GM India plans this version of the car here this year.

On sale: Mid-year

Price: 4-6 lakh

Engine(s): 1.2 (petrol), 1.0 (diesel)

Competition: Hyundai i10, Maruti WagonR

Honda Mobilio

Honda has already used the Brio’s platform to give us a saloon in the form of the Amaze, and the next body style to be spun off the same platform is a seven-seat MPV, called the Mobilio. There’s no mistaking this car’s origins when you look at it head on, although some changes have been made to the nose to make it look a bit different. Go to the side, however, and the real changes can be seen. The Brio’s wheelbase was extended to arrive at the Amaze, and it’s now been stretched further, to 2,650mm, which points to a lot of room in the cabin. Honda could give it the City’s bigger, 1.5-litre petrol engine. The rear is this car’s most attractive angle with neat wrap-around tail lamps and a “floating" D pillar. Although a concept car was unveiled at the Indonesian International Motor Show in September, don’t expect too much to change when the production version arrives late in 2014.

On sale: End-2014

Price: 6-9 lakh

Engine(s): 1.5 (petrol), 1.5 (diesel)

Competition: Maruti Ertiga, Chevrolet Enjoy

Mercedes-Benz CLA-class

In India, buyers in the luxury segment are partial to the saloon and SUV body styles. So, after the success of the A-class, Mercedes is all set to bring its saloon version, the CLA. Just like the hatch, style is the focus here, and its curvy shape draws inspiration from the CLS. The engines will be the same too—a 2.2-litre diesel and 1.6-litre turbo petrol, both mated to a seven-speed, dual-clutch gearbox.

On sale: Mid-year

Price: 22-28 lakh

Engine(s): 1.6 (petrol), 2.2 (diesel)

Competition: Audi A3 saloon

Ford Fiesta facelift

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The Ford Fiesta

On sale: Mid-year

Price: 7-11 lakh

Engine(s): 1.5 (petrol), 1.5 (diesel)

Competition:Hyundai Verna

Range Rover Evoque 9-speed

This is not a facelift; the stunning Range Rover Evoque certainly doesn’t need one. In fact, there will be only one change to the car from the one on sale today, and it’s a big one. Although many other cars in the Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) stable have moved from the old six-speed automatic gearbox to ZF’s eight-speed auto, the Evoque is skipping directly to the next level—ZF’s new nine-speed gearbox. The new gearbox will not only improve fuel economy considerably, but it’s said to be a big improvement in refinement and responsiveness as well.

On sale: Early-2014

Price: 55-64 lakh

Engine(s): 2.0 (petrol), 2.2 (diesel)

Competition: Porsche Macan

BMW i8

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The BMW i8

On sale: End 2014

Price: 1.2 crore

Engine(s): 1.5 (petrol) plus electric motor

Competition: Tesla Model S, Audi R8

Datsun Go

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The new Datsun Go hatchback

On sale: March

Price: 3-3.5 lakh

Engine(s): 1.2 (petrol)

Competition: Maruti WagonR, Hyundai i10, Chevrolet Beat

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