Time really does fly. The year 2019 went more or less like a flash with the automotive industry surprising us with major happenings. A quick recap reveals various ups and downs. Starting on a positive note, 2019 witnessed quite a number of new launches right from entry-level cars like the Maruti S-Presso to big bruisers like the Mercedes G 350 d. The year also marked the innings of two big brands in India, MG and Kia with the Hector and Seltos, respectively. Looking at the sales chart, it is obvious we have welcomed both brands with open arms. On the other end, the automotive industry is going through one of the biggest sales slumps in the last 20 years. The whole industry remains optimistic about the slowdown with the Indian government and several carmakers coming up with various initiatives to reignite the crippling industry. That said, here are the top searched cars from Google’s 2019 Year In Search, in descending order. Why reverse order? Because we should always reserve the best for the last.
10) Toyota Glanza:
The Toyota Glanza is essentially a rebadged Baleno and was criticised for not having its own flair. But it went on to become one of the best selling Toyotas in India. How come? The Glanza has a more attractive warranty package — when compared to the Baleno — coupled with Toyota’s strong after-sales coverage. Then there’s the fact that it’s based on a trustworthy car, which one can’t go wrong with.
The Grand i10 recently got its successor in the form of the Grand i10 Nios. The Nios follows all the basic roots of the Grand i10 and adds in the premium form factor. Just like all other Hyundais, the feature list is long and the quality of materials good. Hyundai offers the Grand i10 Nios with a petrol and a diesel engine paired with either a manual or an AMT. And incase you intend to save some money, the standard Grand i10 is still on sale.
8) Renault Triber:
Renault’s little MPV costs as much as a hatchback and carries 7 people. The French carmaker has put thoughtful touches like cubbies throughout the cabin and a removable third row of seats. We can’t wait until it gets a turbo petrol engine next year.
7) Honda Civic:
We couldn’t be happier to get the Civic back in India. Underneath its strikingly proportional coupe body lies a sophisticated suspension setup. Plus, it doesn’t scrape its belly over speed bumps anymore. We’d have loved it to be a bit less expensive, though.
6) Kia Seltos:
The Seltos has been well received taking Kia to the fourth position in terms of market share in the very year of its India debut! It comes with plenty of first-in-class features that make it stand out from the crowd. Then there are the three powertrain options and four transmission options, which is a first in its segment. Coupled with its tempting VFM price tag of Rs 9.69 lakh to Rs 15.99 lakh, there is no doubt the Seltos is a winner.
5) Mahindra XUV300:
Mahindra’s compact SUV is really a Ssangyong Tivoli underneath, but it looks better than its Korean cousin. The modern design is mated with powerful petrol and diesel engines. We might get to see an all-electric version next year with a range on par with international EVs.
4) MG Hector:
Morris Garages kick-started its Indian operations with the Hector midsize SUV. It shares its roots with its Chinese cousin, the Baojun 530. That said, its roots didn’t stop the Hector from becoming a blockbuster success in India. Its dominating size, lengthy feature list and a spacious cabin meant it became instantly popular. Topping the cake here is an attractive price tag, which starts from Rs 12.48 lakh (ex-showroom).
The Toyota Fortuner is a full-size SUV, which also makes for a decent off-roader. It comes with torquey 2.8-litre and 3.0-litre diesel engines. While the new Fortuner is bigger than the one it replaces, its deceiving urban looks hide underneath a humble and perseverant utility car.
2) Hyundai Venue:
The Venue is Hyundai’s delayed foray into the hotly contested compact SUV segment. The Venue’s talking point is the BlueLink connected car technology, which is a first in India. It comes with three powertrain options, three transmission options and four variants. Currently, the Venue is priced from Rs 6.50 lakh (ex-showroom), making it one of the cheapest compact SUVs one can buy right now.
The Maruti Suzuki Baleno consistently leads sales figures in the premium hatchback segment. This was one of the first cars to be updated for BS6. Although its diesel variant may not survive the April 2020 deadline, the Baleno is poised to win more hearts with its frugal engines and spacious cabin.
Surprisingly, some popular cars that were launched this year failed to make it to this list. Here they are:
1) Tata Harrier:
Tata’s Harrier generated quite a buzz in early 2019 with its Land Rover-based platform, styling, modern interiors and Fiat’s 2.0-litre Multijet engine. However, the Harrier had to face stiff competition from Kia’s Seltos and MG’s Hector. The lack of an automatic transmission and all-wheel drive proved to be big drawbacks while the Harrier’s size made it cumbersome to drive. Over time, it lost its appeal and is now a name that’s rarely heard.
2) Maruti Wagon R:
Maruti Suzuki’s Wagon R is based on the Heartect platform. It doesn’t look much better than its immediate predecessor, but continues to be as commodious as ever. We are surprised that the new twist beam rear axle and 1.2-litre engine haven’t made the Wagon R a trending keyword this year.
3) Maruti S-Presso:
The S-Presso is Maruti Suzuki’s answer to the Renault Kwid. The entry-level hatchback drew a lot of criticism for its design but it seems to have struck a chord with the buyers. Helping its case are the spacious cabin and the peppy 1.0-litre K10B engine. The S-Presso also packs some interesting features and comes with the backing of Maruti Suzuki’s unbeatable after sales. All of this has translated into strong sales numbers — three times that of the Kwid to be precise.
For more news updates Follow and Like us on Facebook