Well, like every year, 2016 is also all set to bid adieu, as the New Year's eve is barely a week ahead now. Long story short, it has been a year full of (missed) opportunities for the Indian automobile industry. The country witnessed a flurry of new car launches, while a plethora of facelifted versions also saw the daylight. What made this year an even bigger automotive extravaganza was the 2016 Auto Expo, which was held in in February in Greater Noida, and witnessed nearly six dozen unveilings and launches. Needless to say, several impeccable new cars were introduced in 2016 in India and it was really complex for us to pick just five. But, we have come up with a list of five cars, which, according to us, were the best cars launched in India in 2016.
It would be utterly unfair to not term 'Maruti Vitara Brezza' as the best launch of 2016 in India, and, guess what, our claim has been proved true as the sub-compact SUV has been awarded as the 2016 Indian Car of The Year (ICOTY). The Vitara Brezza, having world premiered at the 2016 Auto Expo, went on sale in March in the diesel fuel trim only. As soon as Maruti started taking pre-orders for its first sub 4-meter SUV, the dealerships were flooded with bookings and in less than a couple of month's time, the Vitara Brezza bagged around 50,000 orders. The mini-SUV outnumbered its closest rival Ford EcoSport several times on the trot in monthly domestic sales. Carrying Maruti's tried-and-trusted 1.3 L DDiS diesel motor, it is being sold via regular company dealerships and the current sales stand over 83,000 units since March.
Tata Tiago has been making headlines ever since it was firstly announced. First things first, it was earlier christened as 'Zica' and then, Tata had to vacate this nameplate due to its similarity with the deadly 'Zika' virus. The Tiago was then chosen to be the official name after a nationwide name hunt contest. It had its first public appearance at the 2016 Auto Expo, while bookings started in March for the all-new hatchback. Finally, the Tiago went on sale in April and stunned everyone with its immensely belligerent pricing. Owing to the impeccable mileage, avant-garde features and, as mentioned earlier, aggressive pricing, the Tiago went on notch 50,000 bookings in less than half a year. The Tiago hatch, for the first time in over 3 years, featured Tata's name in the list of 10 top-selling cars in the monthly sales in November. Tata Motors was really searching for a 'savior' and Tiago proved to be that by raking in immense moolah in adverse situations.
Toyota Innova became a household name in the Indian market as soon as it was introduced in 2009, due to its unmatched reliability and versatility. However, the Japanese automaker upped the level of MPV when it showcased the Innova Crysta at the 2016 Auto Expo. Needless to say, it was leaps and bounds ahead of the preceding model in terms of styling, space and performance. The Innova Crysta was officially launched in May 2016 amidst much fanfare. Despite the fact that it was nearer to its predecessor in terms of pricing, Toyota went on to sale 50,000 units in a period of just 7 months. Furthermore, the most likable variant was the range-topping automatic, priced at Rs. 20 Lakh (Ex-Showroom), which grossed more than 60 percent of the total sales. Moving ahead, the company also introduced the petrol variants in August to further boost the sales, as it was unable to sell the MPV in Delhi-NCR due to Supreme Court's ban on diesel vehicles.
Datsun rediGO made the front-page splash of several leading tabloids and dailies when it was introduced in June 2016. The bookings had begun in May itself at a token payment of Rs. 5000 at all the Nissan dealerships. Being based on the same CMF-A platform as the Kwid, the rediGO was a sensation among the buyers as the company sold more than 3000 units in merely 23 days. Moreover, Nissan has registered close to 10,000 bookings in just 1 month for the hatch. The primary attributes to the rediGO's super success were pricing and mileage. Datsun rediGO price started at as low as Rs. 2.38 Lakh (Ex-Showroom), while it returned a phenomenal fuel economy of 25.17 kmpl. The success of rediGO propelled the company to introduce a limited edition 'rediGO Sport' with more bells and whistles. Although it was limited to 1000 units only, the overwhelming response forced Nissan to develop an additional 800 units to cater the demand.
Jaguar Land Rover India, after months of deliberation and consideration, finally launched the Jaguar XE at the 2016 Auto Expo in February. It is the least expensive model in the company's product portfolio in the Indian market. Being the first aluminium-intensive monocoque product in the segment, it was launched by Bollywood bombshell Katrina Kaif. The bookings started in January, while it was introduced in two petrol derivatives. It can be termed as the paragon of luxury and opulence due to the presence of features like Torque Vectoring by Braking, All Surface Progress Control (ASPC), Intelligent Start-stop, Jaguar Drive Control, Electronic Power Assisted Steering (EPAS), 8-inch colour touch-screen Display, 10-way Electric Front Seats, Softgrain Leather Seats, Panoramic Sunroof, Navigation System, Meridian Audio Sound System, Surround Camera System and Jaguar Smart Key System. Just so you know, the current Lok Sabha Speaker, Ms. Sumitra Mahajan, is also chauffer-driven in a Jaguar XE Portfolio.