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What Is The Difference Between A Facelift And Generation-Change?

When it comes to the automotive industry, be it in India or any other country, the carmakers have to have a new vehicle every year to keep them up to date. But, designing a completely new vehicle from scratch is an expensive and super time-consuming affair. Hence, to keep their line-up of cars up to date, automotive manufacturers generally give the car a facelift or a generation change. Now, you might think, in both cases, you are getting a new car, so what is the precise difference? Let’s find out together!

New Skoda Rapid Monte Carlo Features
New Skoda Rapid Monte Carlo Facelift

Why do the carmakers introduce facelifts or generation changes?

Before, getting into the crux, let’s start with block one. What is the need for a carmaker to introduce a facelift?

We all have heard this probably a zillion times, that the technology changes with every passing second. New things are being modified or generated for the better good. This is something even the automotive industry across the globe has to pay attention to.

In the generation change or facelifts, these carmakers may introduce some new features or maybe a new powertrain. A new transmission can also be a reason to update a vehicle.

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But then, why don’t the carmaker introduce it in a brand new car?

Sure, it is much more feasible for a carmaker to make a car from the ground up that has all the updates, but it’ll cost them a lot more to design and manufacture a particular vehicle. So, we are left with either a generation change and a facelift.

With all that clear, let’s have a comprehensive look at how a vehicle’s facelift differs from a generation change.

Facelift VS Generation change

With the passing years, there are multiple new features that we witness in many cars in the market. Here, the company has two choices, either to design and manufacture the car around those features. Second, somehow integrate those features in existing cars.

For a better understanding let’s elaborate a little further.


Maruti Suzuki Ertiga New Sales Record
Maruti Suzuki Ertiga New Sales Record

Any car is said to be facelifted when there are just minor changes on the inside and outside. Say, a car got a revised front and rear bumper with all led headlights and tail lights. The car is said to have gone through a facelift. Also, at times one can hardly notice any difference between the two.

The same can be said for the interior, the facelifted car resembles a lot with the model that is currently on sale. But, to stay ahead in the market, the facelifted cars generally have a revised equipment list.

FACT: Talking about the interior in a facelift, they are the electronics that are usually upgraded, as they usually plug and play.

Here are some examples for you to understand better.

  1. Hyundai Verna

    Hyundai Verna Facelifts
    Hyundai Verna Facelifts

    In 2020, after the implementation of the BS6 emission norms, Hyundai gave the Verna a detailed facelift. though in the facelift, the basic structure remains the same, the sedan got a pair of new headlights.


    Next, the talking point was the huge grille which does suit the new Verna. On the inside, the basic look and feel does remain the same but with some additions. A new bigger infotainment system and an all-digital instrument cluster do grab the eyeballs.

  2. Tata Nexon

    Tata Nexon
    Tata Nexon

    Moving on to the Tata Nexon, again about a year ago, Tata launched the facelifted Nexon in the Indian market. Though the car does look totally refreshed it still is a facelift. In the facelift, the oversized headlights are replaced by a more sleek and modern looking setup.

    Tata Nexon Interior
    Tata Nexon Interior

    At the rear too, it gets a new taillights setup. This also allows the Nexon to have a high bonnet line. On the inside, it remains the same as a typical facelift. Tata Nexon boasts of an all-digital instrument cluster with additional features like TPMS. This makes the car a little more practical.

Generation Change

2020 Honda City
2020 Honda City

Moving on to the generation change, the differences are more prominent.

From the design and features to the basic body structure, this can be different when a car goes through a generation change. Moving on, apart from additional features, the car can also witness mechanical changes.

These mechanic changes include possibly a new engine, or a completely new drive train. Also, another thing to consider is that the basic chassis and the platform remain the same, hence it is called a generation change. But at times, like the new 2021 Tata Safari, even the platform is different from its older counterpart.

Let’s have to examples to understand better

  1. Hyundai Creta

    Old Hyundai Creta VS New Hyundai Creta
    Old Hyundai Creta VS New Hyundai Creta

    It was 2020 when most of the carmakers refreshed their vehicles either with a generation change or a facelift. Lucky Creta, it got a complete overhaul. Talking about it, the 2020 Hyundai Creta did look a little polarizing at first glance. It got an all-LED headlight set up with a big and beefy bonnet. Onto the side, the 2020 Creta does look completely new.

    Hyundai Creta Interior
    Hyundai Creta Interior

    The same can be said for the rear too, as it was also given a complete makeover. The story continues onto the inside as well. The thing that catches your eye first is the new 10.25-inch touch screen that instantly uplifts the cabin. Adding elegance to the interior was a part digital instrument cluster and India’s favourite, panoramic sunroof. Basically, everything changed except its platform.

  2. Honda City

    The only car in its segment to get a generation change is Honda City. From the aggressive arrowhead design, the new 2020 City got a little more sophisticated and elegant. To begin with, the 5th generation Honda City became wider, longer and a little taller than the 4th generation. This means a lot more space on the inside over the previous spacious cabin.

    We have to say this, Honda knows how to manage space well. With this generation change, the City also got a little power powerful as the carmaker introduced a 1.5-litre DOHC engine this time. Opening the door of the vehicle, the elegance continues. From the material used to craft the interior to the features, everything shouts luxury. Again, nothing has been carried forward from its previous generation.

The Gist

For the most part, the carmakers introduce a facelift of a vehicle just to refresh it with a couple of new features. But when there is a lot to be done to the car, they prefer overhauling. Rather giving it a completely new look to stay with the flow of technology.

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Let us know in the comment section below which car desperately needs a generation change in India?

Utkarsh Bhardwaj
Utkarsh Bhardwaj
Technical Content Strategist at GoMechanic | Big Time Petrolhead with the passion for building cars and driving those beauties.


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