The Indian automotive industry has aided in the countries economy by a big time. Also, this industry over the years has seen a lot of advancements and upgrades. These advancements have led to many cars running in the Indian market for a long. So, today, we look at 10 such cars of the 20th century that have enjoyed or are still enjoying their time in the Indian market. Without further a’do, let’s get going.
Note: 10 cars listed in the article are mentioned in no particular order.
Ford Ecosport (2013 – Present)
Let’s start with the vehicle that has played a vital role in making the sub-compact SUVs one of the best selling right now, Ford Ecosport. It was 2013 when the SUV became part of the Indian shores. Well, this was certainly not the first sub-compact SUV in India, but it definitely was the best selling of its time. Ford Ecosport still is available in the Indian market after a couple of facelifts.
Additionally, another facelift of the Ecosport is overdue. Apart from the small form factor, the Ecosport also got a couple of engine options, with a ton of features on the inside. With that, this small SUV also boasts a plush and potent suspension setup making it one of the best vehicles for urban use.
Honda City (1998 – Present)
Undoubtedly, the kind of C-segment sedans in the Indian market is Honda City. This Japanese carmaker launched the City in 1998 and surprisingly it is still in production and is in its 5th generation. In these generation changes, the sedan has witnessed a drastic change from a drivers car to a car that is best for the chauffeurs as well as a good company for weekend drives.
As of now, the Honda City 5th generation comes power by a 1.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine that pushed about 122ps of max power. With that, in these years, the sedan has also grown in size. The current Honda City sold in India is longer and wider when compared to the Honda City from the 2010s.
Hyundai Verna (2006 – Present)
The next vehicle to joining the list is the perfect rival of the Japanese car City. And this rivalry is been the talking for more than a decade now. Hyundai Verna became a part of the Indian automotive industry in 2006. Fun fact, if you are not aware, Hyundai Accent for the Indian market was later named the Hyundai Verna. Still, in some international marker, the Verna sold in India right now is named Accent.
So, it’ll now be wrong if we that the Hyundai Verna has been there in India since 2000. That said, it was in 2020 that the Korean carmaker Hyundai gave the Verna its mid-life facelift. In this facelift, the sedan became BS6 compliant with some subtle changes on the outside as well as additions to the currently long feature list.
Maruti Suzuki Swift (2005 – Present)
Now, the success story of the Indian best carmaker after the 800 has to be the Swift. Maruti in partnership with Suzuki launched this potent hatchback back in 2005. Back then, the car was one of the cars to offer value for money. In its top-end trim, it had some first in segment features along with a decently powerful powertrain.
And in early 2021 Maruti Suzuki decided to give the Swift a subtle facelift. In this, the company upgraded the engine with dual jet technology along with some additional features. Now, the car remains to be an exceptional driving dynamics with a powerful 90ps 1.2-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine.
Renault Duster (2012 – Present)
Another SUV is another success story. After the poor response from the Logan, the French carmaker Renault took a gamble with the Duster. Well, back when the Renault Duster was launched in 2012 it became the best selling car for Renault. The SUV also helped in establishing the market for compact SUVs in India.
Am… This is the same segment that has Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos in them. That said, in 2012 Renault Duster came with a couple of diesel engines and a single petrol engine. Alongside, the SUV still boasts of rugged and utilitarian design. Meaning, everything on the inside has been constructed by keeping function over form in mind.
From 2012, the Renault Duster now feels a little outdated and is in desperate need of a generation change (which is something that is already a part of some of the international markets.
Volkswagen Polo (2009 – Present)
The German carmaker Volkswagen is super resilient to changes. Well, the hatchback in India that has by far seen minimal to no updates is the Polo. It ain’t broke why fix it then, the same goes for the overall appearance of this premium hatch in India. Seems like yesterday but let me tell you Volkswagen Polo was the first to launch in India in 2009.
Yes, Polo is more than a decade old and still no cosmetic updates. That said, over this period of the time Volkswagen has just given the vehicle numerous cosmetic updates on the outside and inside. Also, it was 2020 when the company updated the powertrain of the Polo.
Earlier this sports hatch used to feature a smooth and refined 1.2-litre turbo petrol motor with a lightning-fast 7-speed DSG gearbox. This engine was available with a 1.2-Litre MPi engine. But after the BS6 norms kicking in, the Polo offers a 1.0-litre TSI motor and a 1.0-litre MPI. Though the power output from both the turbo petrol engine remains identical.
Maruti Suzuki Alto (2000 – Present)
From the era Where Kitna Deti to the time where features and engine power is the norm, Maruti Suzuki Alto stood the storm non like a small car. Launch back in late 2000, the car faired a lucky charm for the carmaker. That said, the car back then was powered by a mere slow 769cc engine later to share its powertrain with the Wagon R.
This is when the Maruti Suzuki Alto got a 1.2-Litre engine. Now over the years, Marut has given this legendary vehicle minimal updates in and out with subtle changes under the hood. This has been done not to unsettle the looks of the vehicle, as it still represents Maruti Suzuki loud and clear.
Also, in between, its life cycle there were multiple variations of this entry-level hatch. And in August 2019 the Alto K10 was put to rest. Now, only Maruti Alto with a 0.8-Litre engine is in production.
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Tata Safari (1998 – 2019, 2021 – Present)
The Cult is the name given to something more of an emotion than just a mere vehicle or SUV. Tata Safari, the SUV that started the full-size segment of family SUVs in India. Now just that Tata Safari was one of the most affordable vehicles in its category to have a 4X4 drivetrain. It was 1998 when the Indian carmaker Tata introduced this huge SUV into the market.
During its life cycle in India, the SUVs witnessed multiple updates, both mechanical as well as cosmetic. But it was until 2012 that the SUV got an overhaul (some that). This is when the Tata Safari Storme was launched. The new Safari Storm came powered by a more powerful engine with more features on the inside. Not to forget, the exterior was also tweaked without spoiling the silhouette of the Safari.
That said, the Safari Storm, including the Safari, was a part of the market till 2019 after which it was discontinued. But now in 2021, Tata came back with the Safari named vehicle. Whether it manages to pump our hearts is a personal preference but we think, the Safari now, is not the Safari we know. PS: 2021 Tata Safari does not come with an AWD or a 4X4 drivetrain, not even as an option.
Maruti Suzuki Eeco (2001-2009, 2009 – Present)
If you have a big family and are a little tight on your budget, Maruti Suzuki Eeco can be the perfect option. From the Maruti Suzuki Versa to Maruti Suzuki Eeco, this MPV has done wonders for the company. Everyone must have seen Eeco someday or the other. But very few of you may remember the Versa, predecessor to the Eeco.
Launched with Amitabh Bachan as the brand ambassador, Maruti wanted to make sure it reached the heart of its customers. But the Versa was not able to gain much popularity and was replaced by Eeco in 2009. With minor changes on the inside and a few tweaks on the outside, Maruti Suzuki Eeco was not different from Versa.
And now, throughout its lifetime, Eeco has been a great companion for the company. As of now, the Eeco is used commercially as well as as a private vehicle. And god knows how Maruti Suzuki Eeco finds a spot on the top 10 selling cars for the month.
Mahindra Scorpio (2002 – Present)
It is said, time is the variable that changes everything. Well, some things do exactly the opposite to an otherwise true quote. One such thing is the Mahindra Scorpio. Introducing this vehicle will be an insult in itself. It is really difficult to not think of a vehicle like the Scorpio that was one of the roots of the current automotive industry.
Scorpio had, or rather it still has what it takes to be one of the most potent vehicles in the current market where SUVs are selling like cakes. Mahindra Scorpio since its launch in 2002 has changed very little and it still retains the same old boxy design. Talking the things towards the success is its drivetrain and powertrain.
Until 2019, the Scorpio too had a 4X4 drivetrain. Well, the car has changed little since, but still looks like a decent package unless Mahindra brings in the update Scorpio in the Indian market.
Let us know in the comment section below, which is your favourite vehicle from the list. Also, tell us did we miss any vehicle?