10 Cars that rewrote India’s automobile history

Now, we all know that there are some cars which hold a place of pride in our lives some time or the other. This same thing happens when we go out to buy a car and come out in the end clutching the prized possession that we admired for so long. Sometimes, the car we admired is no longer in production and hence we have to settle for some duplicate or new version of it. Sometimes, people even settle for used cars exactly because they still want the car of their dreams or rather dreamt of when they were 15 or 16. There were some cars which caught on the fancy and actually changed the entire landscape of the Indian car industry. Here is a list of the 10 cars that actually rewrote the Indian car history for good.

Maruti 800 :

The 800 actually mobilized the Indian public and this inspite of having some of the Premier Padmini cars around. The 800 went through its fair share of changes and moves when it shifted from carburetor to fuel injection and some minor body panel changes. Finally in 2010, it was laid to rest, albeit temporarily and from what we have heard so far, MSIL are planning up a M800 on the lines of the Alto minus the K series engine. Seeing an 800 filled with about 7-8 people was quite common and infact is even common now.

Fiat Palio :

The 800 may have never looked alluring enough but then the Fiat Palio was. There was always an aura about it and despite the fact that Fiat weren’t putting their best feet forward, this car was on the top of the priority list of many buyers. This car had a tank like build quality and coupled with the 1.6 liter engine went like stink around corners. Moreover, it was highly practical as well. Only the Fiat authorized service center part is what spoilt this car’s future. Has anyone heard of the term hot hatch? Well, it was coined after this car came to the market.

Tata Indica :

After the 800, this was the true People’s Car. Tata without much collaboration from foreign companies managed to make their first foray into the passenger small car segment with this car and it stays true to the Indica. The car buying public got what they wanted and that was fuel efficiency, a cheaper to run diesel engine and also space. Not to mention the ease of spares with a Tata product. All this coming in an attractive package as well. The Indica went onto become the Indica Vista and stuff.

Honda City :

The City was the alternative to the Maruti Esteem at that time. Buyers were delighted to have the Honda badge on what was a relatively inexpensive car. Moreover, unlike the Esteem and Cielo, this one had a very good performance even towards the fag end of its rpm. Something like a turbocharger in those days when even turbochargers on diesel cars was a luxury. It was also fuel efficient to a certain extent as also dead cheap to maintain. The reliability aspect was even better than that of the Esteem. It changed the Indian mindset towards Honda as a brand.

Toyota Qualis :

Comfortable drives were never a part of the people mover group thanks vastly to the cramped up Tata Sumo as also Mahindra Armadas. However, when Toyota unleashed the Qualis, it was regarded as a safe, comfortable and also reliable option. Plus factor in the fuel efficiency and the low maintenance costs and this MUV was always in the “waiting”. Inspite of knowing that it was going to be discontinued, there were bulk orders for the same and even now, resale values are an all time high for this MUV even with multiple owners being there on its RC book.

Maruti Swift :

A company which was trying to project a youthful image to its customers found the Swift in their backyard and that’s where the entire thing changed. The Swift was first viewed with an apprehension by the car buying public but then this skepticism was met with long waiting periods and this saga continued right till the 6 years old model was discontinued. Fun to drive – tick, fuel efficient –tick, reliable –tick. What more could a buyer ask for. Plus the drop dead gorgeous looks is something which cannot be discounted for. The Swift continues its best seller tag even to this day and the new one has started following on the old one’s footsteps.

Mahindra Reva :

Well, when it was launched, it had a different name tag to it. However, this was India’s answer to the world regarding the use of electric technology for cars. It was not only compact but also a cheap thing to run about. The asking price is a bit too high however that easily gets negated counting the running costs. The icing on the cake is when next year there would be a 4 seater electric variant coming up and which should carry 4 people around in reasonable comfort without occupying much of real estate.

Skoda Octavia :

Before the Octavia was launched, the Indian public never really knew that there existed a car which had a tank like build, had a big boot, lots of space and also a diesel engine. All this in just under Rs 10 lakhs. Plus the status quo which rivals that of Mercedes cars. This is the Skoda Octavia. Yeah, the rear space was bit on the lower side as was the leg room. The fuel economy that this one accorded was near about 18 kmpl and the diesel running costs further made it all the more value for money. Then there was the RS variant which was aimed at satisfying the enthusiasts and made all the automobile journos look upto Skoda for a test vehicle. Truly a icon, sad that it didn’t sell too well (RS).

Tata Nano :

The car that the world looked upto and only a certain Indian was able to fulfill with, the Tata Nano seemed like a very fresh thing out of the oven. Yes, it has had its fair share of troubles even before production began and also a lofty target to meet as far as the price was concerned. It had the footprint of a sportsbike and offered to carry around 4 passengers in relative comfort. Also, it has got a very frugal engine with decent pep to it. Also, it can be called as a proper 4 wheeler. The Nano set the right expectations from its buyers and delivered more, a typical Tata trait and eventually an Indian at that.

Hyundai Santro :

This tall boy Korean marked the entry of Korean car maker Hyundai into India. It was greeted with a flourish, especially so since Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan was endorsing it. The Santro proved as a means of affordable motoring for the Indians and also mixed it with a good seating capacity and reliability. 12 years after it was launched, the Santro still manages to sell in decent numbers given the competition that it has raked up in all these years. This tall boy helped Hyundai in setting a strong firmhold in the Indian car market. Many revamps over the years didn’t see much change in the looks, but yes the engine and fuel efficiency always seemed to be ready to take on the competition head on.

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