“Life’s too short to drive boring cars”. Some carmakers have taken this too seriously and made few of the meanest cars that could have made it big. But ‘could have’ never changed to ‘have’ and the cars are now a part of the history of the automotive industry. Let’s have a look at 10 such most underrated cars in India that were better than the rivals and yet were not able to lure in the customers.
Abarth Punto | Hold On-to Something
The company advertised the Punto with a tagline, ‘The steering wheel isn’t just for steering, it’s for holding on’. Fiat in collaboration with Abarth launched the Punto, a 5-seater hatchback. It was offered with a 1.4-litre petrol engine capable of producing 145hp of power and 212Nm of peak torque. The engine was mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. It was also equipped with power steering, power windows, ABS with EBD, automatic climate control, airbags and much more. Yet it was not able to get the customers attracted towards it. The high starting price of ₹9.67 lakhs kept it off the charts of sales.
Tata Hexa | Feel the adrenaline rush
A real SUV offered by Tata. Powered by a 2.2-litre which produced 154hp of power and a peak torque of 400Nm, Hexa was indeed a great SUV. It was offered with both manual as well as automatic transmission. It had a 4X4 version offered too. The looks were pretty good and sturdy too. But, Tata Hexa was not able to get many buyers attracted towards it.
Maruti Suzuki S-Cross | Designed to dominate
This company has been known for making budget cars. Yet at some time, Maruti Suzuki launched S-Cross, a perfect crossover. It was equipped with a 1.6-litre diesel engine which was capable of producing 118hp of power and a peak torque of 320Nm, still one of the best in the segment. But, the car was brought into India through the SKD route. It kept the price on the higher side and people were not ready to spend more on a Maruti offering, even without knowing about the specifications it offered.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS | Made Of Speed
Another offering from the largest carmaker in India, Baleno RS that was not able to attract the customers towards the beauty of speed and power. It was powered by a 1.0-litre petrol engine capable of producing 100hp of power and a peak torque of over 150Nm. It had a good mileage of 21.1kmpl. Yet being a bit pricy than the normal Baleno, people were not ready to spend any more on the car with an RS added to it.
Maruti Suzuki SX4 | Made For Gentlemen
What? Another Maruti Suzuki car on the list! When did this happen? Well, this happened back in 2008 when SX4 was launched. It had everything, a good brand name, spacious cabin, strong petrol engine and good features. It was later on given a diesel engine too. But the arc rival, Honda City was simply better than the SX4. Sometimes, the lower price is not able to make the car survive in the Indian market, though this is a rare sight, at least what was seen in the case of SX4.
Skoda Fabia | Superbly built, Well engineered
A brand which is known for German build quality cars, Skoda launched Fabia in India to tap in the segment. It had a class-leading riding quality and a powerful engine. The mill that powered the car was a 1.2-litre diesel engine capable of producing 75hp of power and a peak torque of 180Nm. Yet the Skoda service cost was on the steeper side making it highly unlikely for the Indian buyers to choose it over the rivals.
Mitsubishi Cedia | The Premium Sedan
The sedan came powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine which was able to produce 114hp of power and a peak torque of 175Nm. It was also equipped with safety features such as airbags, ABS with EBD and engine immobiliser. For the driver’s enhancements, it had power steering, height-adjustable driver seat, multi-information display, steering-reach adjustment and much more. It had climate control, leather seats, power windows, central locking, remote locking, CD player and the list continues. Sometimes being perfect makes you less chosen. The Indian market was not open to the sedans a lot when Cedia was launched. This is what led to the low sales of the luxury and powerful sedan. It was discontinued in 2013.
Renault Lodgy | Take your world with you
An MPV from Renault which derived its engine from the popular Renault Duster, Lodgy was launched in India to set afoot in the MPV segment. But being too modern killed the sales expectations. The engine was powerful enough for a 7-seater car and yet the people were not ready to bat an eye on the Lodgy. It really never took off.
It is clear from the list that not everything perfect is chosen by the customers. Yet it would have been great if such cars would have made good sales and showed the potential that this market has.