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What’s New and Hot in Goa’s Automotive Universe?

Sure, Goa may be famous for her sea, sand and chilled beer.  But there’s a lot more to this tiny state that also happens to be one of the wealthiest of India. Goa has always had a penchant for stunning automobiles, starting way back in the Portuguese era.

During those earlier times, one could import any car, bike of any make or model from any part of the world and sell it in Goa. The Germans, Americans, Japanese and British vehicles were quite famous and were easily noticed amongst the wealthy houses of Goa.

The trend has not changed much. Today, you can see Red Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Merc’s, Harley’s and many more big machines zooming past the open streets in Goa. Supercars, Premium and luxury automobiles are quite common in our state which also reflects the customer’s magnetism towards these machines.

Here are some of the big car launches across segments in the year 2014.

Super launches of the year 2014!

2014 saw 50-plus car launches in India right from the entry hatch Datsun GO to the superfast all new Lamborghini Huracan.

In the small car segment Datsun made its debut in the Goan market with the launch of GO hatchbatch which promises to be a car for the RISERS. The other big launch in the small car market is the Celerio with AMT (Automated Manual Transmission), an automatic car for the masses.

Hyundai also launched the Eon with 1.0 engine option for those looking for a more powerful version of the entry hatch.

End of this festive season we will also see the launch of the new Alto K10 from Maruti Suzuki with an option of automatic transmission.

Our pick in this segmentMaruti Suzuki Celerio

New launches in 2015 – Celerio diesel, Tata’s new small car and Nano with automatic transmission, Renault’s small car, Datsun’s car based on Redi-Go concept

The next segment, the premium hatch saw a lot more excitement with many launches namely, the facelifted Polo, facelifted Punto Evo and the all new Hyundai i20. Chevrolet also launched the refreshed Sail hatch.

The Volkswagen Polo received some subtle exterior and interior changes, and a major mechanical upgrade with the new 1.5 TDI Common Rail diesel engine which returns high fuel efficiency and good performance. Volkswagen has updated the entire Polo range which includes the Polo GT TSI (hot HATCH with 1.2 TSI, 105 PS of power and 175 Nm torque), Polo GT TDI (1.5 TDI, 150 PS & 250 NM of torque) and Cross Polo.

FIAT introduced the new Punto Evo which received major changes on the exterior and interior. The Punto however, continues to be powered by the same engine options.

The game changer in this segment is the all new Hyundai Elite i20 which comes with an aggressive styling and long feature list. The new Elite i20 is available in both petrol and diesel engine options. However, no Automatic option on this for now. Chevrolet gave the Sail Hatch some minor tweaks which mainly includes a new dual tone dashboard.

Maruti Suzuki is planning to launch a sporty version of the Swift with additional features in the coming weeks. Tata Motors which showcased the Bolt hatch at the 2014 Delhi Auto expo has now pushed the launch to early 2015.

Our pick in this segmentNew Hyundai Elite i20, Polo GT TSI

New launches in 2015 – Tata Bolt, Honda Jazz, Elite i20 Automatic

A new segment is born in India – It’s not a Hatch, it’s not a SUV – It’s a CROSS.

The Cross segment is something to watch in the coming days. Automakers are working on models which offer best of two worlds: Practicality of a hatch and ruggedness of a SUV.

Toyota did not taste success with the Liva, but the Cross does have an attitude. The extra cladding around the exteriors and bold design certainly has helped to lure more buyers.

There is something big to expect in the coming days. FIAT’s new Avventura Contemporary Urban Vehicle made its global debut at the 2014 Auto expo and will soon be launched in the Indian market. The Avventura comes with a 200 plus ground clearance, 16” alloy wheels, high terrain gauges and a new rear tailgate with an externally mounted spare wheel.


Do look out for the new FIAT Avventura

Talking about the compact sedans, two major launches took place this year, Hyundai Xcent and the Tata Motors Zest. The Xcent replaced the ageing Accent and has been another successful model from the South Korean auto maker. The Xcent is based on the Grand i10 platform and comes with the same engine options as the later. The Xcent boasts of smart features like Smart key with push button start/stop, Rear AC vents, Rear Parking Camera with Display, Electro Chromic Mirror and many more.

Tata Motors was the first company to launch a compact sedan the Indigo eCS way back in 2008. The company now introduced the Zest sedan, which reflects the new design language. The Zest is packed with a number of segment first features like projector headlamps with LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLS), LED tail lamps, 15” alloy wheels standard from base variant, 5″ Connectnext Infotainment By Harman, Voice command, SMS readout, auto volume, 8 speakers, Fully automatic AC with controls on the touchscreen and many more. The Zest is powered by a 1.2 turbo petrol Revetron engine which comes with multidrive-mode – Sport, Eco & City. The diesel engine comes with an AMT option, making the Zest the first automatic diesel sedan in its class.

The Honda Amaze and Maruti Dzire are going strong month on month, with Dzire leading the sales chart. Maruti will be introducing the refreshed Dzire in a couple of months.

Volkswagen & Nissan too are planning to launch a compact sedan tailor made for the Indian market.


Our pick in this segmentTata Zest

New launches in 2015 – Maruti Dzire facelift

The midsize segment has also seen a number of launches this year. Honda launched the all new City in January and for the first time it was introduced along with a diesel engine. The City is now the segment leader and outsells competition almost 2 times. The new Honda city is larger and also equipped with more features. The sedan is available with a petrol automatic option also.

Nissan was next to launch the refreshed Sunny with an overdose of chrome. The Sunny gets no changes under the hood. Hyundai too mildly tweaked the Verna with projector headlamps and DRLs.

SKODA & Volkswagen launched the upgraded Rapid and Vento. Both the cars are now equipped with a new 1.5 Common Rail diesel engine which develops 105 Ps of power and 250 Nm of torque. The Rapid & Vento are equipped with a 7-Speed DSG Automatic transmission with the diesel engine option. The new launches gave customers more choice in case they are considering a diesel automatic. SKODA has also introduced a Black package on the Rapid which gives the car a very sporty appeal.

Another big launch this year is the new Ciaz sedan from Maruti Suzuki which will help India’s largest car maker to once again enter the premium mid-size sedan segment. The Ciaz is a new generation car and boasts for best in class interior space with premium features like Projector headlamps, touch screen infotainment system, Rear sunshade and Camera Assisted Rear Parking.

Ford too launched the facelifted Fiesta which embodies the new Ford design language. The Fiesta is available in diesel engine option only and comes with an aggressive price tag. FIAT has also introduced the Linea with mildly updated exterior and new interiors.

Our pick in this segmentRapid DSG, Honda City & Maruti Ciaz

New launches in 2015 – Hyundai Verna facelift

Moving up the ladder, the D-Segment which was almost dead is once again given a new life, thanks to the all-new Toyota Corolla Altis. The new benchmark in this segment comes with a revolutionary new style, luxurious and comfortable interiors and a dynamic performance. Some key features of the new Corolla are LED headlamps and clearance lamps, Cyber carbon piano black instrument panel cluster, longer wheelbase, 7” LCD Touch screen with navigation, Rear sunshade, Rear reclining seat a first in its segment and Rear Camera with display audio screen. The Corolla is powered by 1.8l Dual VVTi Petrol with a CVT-i 7 speed sequential shiftmatic with “Paddle Shift” and a 1.4 diesel with 6 speed manual transmission.

Other launches in the segment include only the refreshed Renault Fluence.

Our pick in this segmentToyota Corolla Altis

In the SUV segment, Mahindra launched the new Generation Scorpio with a number of premium features further making the Scorpio more desirable and stronger. Renault launched the Duster AWD with intelligent shift on the fly 4×4. The Duster AWD drive will appeal to adventurous customers who prefer driving in mountainous terrains, a perfect fit for Goan jungles.

Honda launched the 7 seater Mobilio MPV this year, another block buster product from the Japanese car maker which is slotted between the Toyota Innova and Maruti Ertiga.

Tata Motors also launched a refresh Aria MPV this year with a more powerful engine.


The Rs. 20-30 lakhs segment

SKODA launched the Superb and Yeti. The Yeti is equipped a lot more premium features and the new design gives it a really striking look.

The new Hyundai Santa Fe made its debut with a striking new design and host of luxury and safety features. Other launches include the facelifts of Ford Endeavor and Renualt Koleos,


Getting spoiled with luxury!

The Premium & luxury car market has experienced burgeoning demand with new launches from all the major luxury car makers. Mercedes-Benz launched the new S-Class CDI (diesel), ML G63 AMG, CLS Grand Edition, A-Class and B-Class Edition 1 and the powerful E-Class E350 CDI. The big launches from Merc this year is the new CLA 45 AMG that produces a 355 bhp and 450 Nm of torque making it the world’s most powerful 4-cylinder series production engine vehicle. The GLA Class has recently made its debut to take on the likes of BMW X1 and Audi Q3. Mercedes-Benz is gearing to launch the new CLA-Class and C-Class in the coming months.

Audi launched the new entry model, A3 sedan with a starting price of Rs. 22.95 lakhs. The Q3 range was updated with a new top Q3 Dynamic variant. The company has also introduced the A8L facelift boasting the new LED Matrix headlamp and the most powerful Audi the RS7 coupe.

BMW brought the new X5 and facelifted X3 in addition to the limited Edition 1 Series. BMW also introduced the 7 Series Active Hybrid and the 3 Series GT. For performance lovers, the M6 Gran Coupe was introduced. The next big launch from the German luxury car maker is the electric supercar i8.

British luxury car maker Jaguar Land Rover launched the Jaguar F-Type, 2014 XJL and the Long Wheel base Range Rover.

2014 was definitely a great year in terms of new launches and 2015 also promises to be exciting with many new launches planned for the next year.


Note: Wheels on Streets is a regular section of Goa Streets, produced in conjunction with Goa’s on Wheels (