India is a land of diversified cultures and yet when it comes to choosing cars, we Indians have been very typical about it. Hatchbacks and SUVs have always remained in trend. Due to this one segment called Station Wagon, was not able to make a mark on the Indian audience. Let’s take a look at 10 forgotten station wagons of India.
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HM Ambassador Estate | The NOT SO iconic one
Hindustan Motors Ambassador is one of the most iconic and historic cars in India. The Laal Batti Vali Gadi is known to everyone in India. Loved by government officials, Ambassador was also equally loved by people. But how many of you know that the icon was also released with a station wagon version. Yes, you heard it right! Ambassador Estate was launched in the 1970s. The estate was based on the icon and the only difference was that the company attached a box with metal and glass at the rear which is prominently visible in the picture. It is not known to much which accounts for it to be rare visibility on roads.
Maruti Baleno Altura | One of The WORST Selling Maruti
Maruti Suzuki has been a very prominent automobile brand in India. The company has given the Indian people various cars which were really loved by the audience. Alto, the top-selling model in India for straight 15 years and only to be dethroned by the company’s very own Dzire in 2019. Or the iconic Maruti 800, a household name Maruti Suzuki had an excellent business in India. But not all the cars by the automaker were loved. One such is the Baleno Altura, a station wagon version of Maruti’s Baleno sedan. It came with a 1.6-litre petrol engine which was very fuel-efficient and powerful. It also boasted features like speed-sensitive power steering, Kenwood audio system, alloy wheels, all four electric power windows and with more space than the sedan version. But all features were not pleasing enough for the customers as the sales of this station wagon was not at all good.
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Fiat Padmini Premier Safari | Estate Counterpart
Fiat Padmini was one of the most popular cars in that era. But it got an estate counterpart, like others, which was known as Padmini Premier Safari. It was the first estate car to be launched in India back in 1973. It was manufactured by a Mumbai-based coach-building company known as Starline Motors and was powered by a 39hp, four-cylinder, petrol engine. The company had to discontinue the wagon as the response from the buyers was not close to what was expected.
Tata Estate | First Attempt
Tata Motors is known for many cars, Estate NOT being one of them. Though preloaded with features like power windows, power steering, 15-inch alloy wheels, factory-fitted cassette player, a tachometer and many other features too. Tata Estate was powered by a non-turbocharged 1.9-litre diesel engine which provided the wagon with a peak power of 67 hp. But all these features were not able to lure the customers into buying one as the car was unreliable and the engine was not very complimenting either. Tata had to discontinue the model due to the low sales.
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Tata Indigo Marina | Another Attempt
Tata Motors once again tried there hands at a station wagon this time stretching one of their well-known cars, Indigo to make another estate known by the name of Indigo Marina. Although the Marina was not that bad at sales as compared to the Tata Estate, but yet was not a hit either. The wagon was powered by 1.4-litre petrol as well as diesel engines which powered the Indigo hatchback. The build quality was poor and the wagon was underpowered.
Škoda Octavia Combi | The Unsung Marvel
The Czech automaker, Škoda has been known to introduce one of the best cars. And the Škoda Octavia Combi was no exception. But yet this was also not a hit in India. The wagon came powered with a 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol engine which produced a stunning 149 hp of power (which was amazing at that time). The body also seemed to be properly designed and not just an extension of the Octavia. This car is no doubt one of the best Station Wagons of India.
Opel Corsa Swing | Thirsty yet Speedy
The German automaker, Opel also tried to enter the station wagon segment in the year 2003, the time which saw many manufacturers trying to mark the segment as a choice in the market. The Corsa Swing had a fuel efficiency of 14kms per litre which at that time was really less as Maruti was already rolling out cars which were really efficient. The company tried to lure customers by giving a 1.6-litre petrol engine which churned out a power of 92hp, the car could reach the speeds exceeding 170 kmph. But ‘Kitna Deti Hai’ was what Indians were looking were.
Rover Montego Station Wagon | The International Estate
Launched by Sipani Automobile in partnership with Britain’s Rover Motors, Montego station wagon entered the Indian market in 1993. It was a well-loaded car with a 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine which gave nearly 80hp of power and 165Nm of peak torque. The estate was equipped with power steering, power windows and air-conditioning, the comfort features which were rare at that time. But the price tag of Rs 11 lakhs was a major reason that the wagon was a flop show in India and the car was discontinued by 1995.
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Fiat Weekend | No one desired this weekend
Fiat also tried the wagon segment. The Fiat Weekend was based on Siena sedan, which was based on the Palio hatchback. It was launched back in 2002 as a spacious alternative to its predecessor. It was sketched down by the famous Italian automobile designer, Giorgetto Giugiaro. It was powered by a 1.6-litre petrol engine produces a 104hp of power. But even will all this, the Weekend proved to be a flop in the Indian market and was soon discontinued by the company, low sales being the factor.
Fiat Palio Adventure | Weekend But a better one
Fiat launched another station wagon under the name, Palio Adventure based on the same platform Weekend was based on. Adventure can be said to be a dull-sporty version of Weekend which had wider tyres and sportier alloy wheels. It also came will a factory-fitted bull-bar(Yes, it was legal at that time). That’s it. Rest everything was the same. The same engine powered the Palio Adventure too. And the fate met was also the same. Very low demand led the company to discontinue the model.
These were the station wagons of India that have been totally forgotten, some of them were not known even when they were launched. Although spacious, the low fuel efficiency, low power and chunky design led to the failure of station wagons in India. The segment never gained popularity in India. Many well-known automakers tried to introduce the Indian audience to the estate segment but the fate was inevitable. Though few station wagons such as Škoda Octavia Combi offered a plethora of features and were even well equipped with power, they were also not able to change the picture for station wagons in India.4