The year 2013 hasn’t really been the year for automobile companies, at least not for all of them. While sales dwindled and customers shied away from new purchases, there were some fantastic products which were launched and in spite of the slowdown, a few manufacturers simply couldn’t keep up with demand for their vehicles. Obviously a good product can make people consume and that’s why the MotorBeam Team faced a tough challenge in deciding the winners of the respective categories for the MotorBeam Awards 2013. After thorough analysis, we are here to announce the top honours.
Readers’ choice car of the year – The Honda Amaze managed to whisk past the Ford EcoSport, garnering the highest number of votes and winning by a small margin. The Amaze is the first diesel Honda in India and offers generous space and terrific mileage in a compact sub 4-metre package, making it such a practical alternative in our country. Being a Honda, it inadvertently also ticks the reliability, quality and resale value boxes. No wonder the Amaze has become Honda’s best selling vehicle in India in no time at all.
MotorBeam car of the year – Hatchbacks are supposed to be small and cheap, devoid of equipment and priced as low as possible. Such is what most people think about these small cars. Hyundai has changed the very game in the hatchback space with the launch of its Grand i10, a car which is really grand in most parameters, be it space, mileage or features. The Grand i10 offers many segment first features while also being the most spacious vehicle in its class. It also gets a frugal diesel engine.
Premium car of the year – This award was not easy for us to decide as the nominations were plenty but the Skoda Octavia literally swept away the honours. The new Octavia is a very well engineered product the world over and comes with terrific quality and an excellent cabin. It gets a choice of engines along with a fire-breathing 1.8 TSI for those who crave for fun behind the wheel. The overall package is so good that the Octavia is without doubt the pick of its segment.
Import car of the year – The Flying Spur is the fastest 4-door car in the world but that’s not the only thing which helped it win the MotorBeam import car of the year. With all that speed, it still offers terrific luxury and plays its dual roles very well. The balance between comfort and handling is simply stupendous. The Flying Spur can cruise all day long at high speeds while encompassing occupants in total grandiosity.
SUV of the year – SUVs are quite easily the most popular body style in India. The Ford EcoSport is the most affordable modern SUV in the country. While it won’t capture off-road trails, it does offer practicality in the urban jungle. High ground clearance and water wading ability, loads of equipment, frugal engines (not to forget the awesome EcoBoost motor) and aggressive pricing make the EcoSport the SUV of the year. Little wonder then why this Ford has a 9 month waiting period.
Premium SUV of the year – An SUV which captures every off-road trail with such ease that it’s totally not believable while at the same time you can find yourself pushing it around corners and doing track days. That’s not all, it pampers you with a level of comfort that is mostly seen in luxury saloons. Yes, it’s the Range Rover Sport and it stays true to its name of being a Range Rover with sportiness in abundance. It’s also the best Land Rover we have ever witnessed which sums up how good it is.
Car manufacturer of the year – Mercedes-Benz is undoubtedly the car manufacturer of 2013. The German automaker has launched a slew of products and services this year, showing its commitment to the Indian market. The G63 AMG, new GL-Class (also locally assembled now), A-Class, B-Class diesel, locally assembled ML250, new E-Class, new E63 AMG and SLK55 AMG were all launched this year. Furthermore “Performance Drive” and Centre of Excellence were also announced.
Readers’ choice motorcycle of the year – 373cc, 43 HP, 35 Nm, ABS, Metzeler tyres, trellis frame et all at just Rs. 2.14 lakhs (on-road, Mumbai). 0-100 km/hr takes just 5.6 seconds while 0-130 km/hr comes up in a shade under 11 seconds, top speed is 170 km/hr. Little doubt than why the Duke 390 emerged as the clear winner in this category. It’s not only a rocket in a straight-line but very well balanced in the corners with excellent brakes to boot.
Motorcycle of the year – We all have pre-conceived notions about Royal Enfields but the Continental GT will change that. While it’s not a very quick bike, it’s surprisingly sure-footed around corners and can make you have fun without getting intimated. An all new platform with only the engine not being all new shows the effort by the company in developing this cafe racer. Not to forget, the styling is drop dead gorgeous and there is top drawer hardware with Pirelli tyres, Paioli shocks and Brembo brakes.
Scooter of the year – The TVS Jupiter is no doubt the best 110cc scooter in the Indian market and the company has done a very good job in developing it. The Jupiter offers very good dynamics and is loaded with features. It also looks modern and rides well. While it retains the engine from the Wego, TVS has modified the 110cc powertrain to offer smoother performance and the Jupiter delivers. It thus outclasses the market leader making it look a clear generation old.
Premium motorcycle of the year – Kawasaki has been on a roll in 2013. It has launched 5 new products in the Indian market and the ZX-10R is easily a bike you will fall in love with on first ride. The performance is ballistic but that’s expected from a 1000cc in-line four powered motorcycle. What isn’t expected though is the ease with which anyone can take to this motorcycle. The compact dimensions and fantastic ride quality makes the ZX-10R one of the easiest superbikes to live with.
Bike Manufacturer of the year - Hero has come out all guns blazing in 2013. Not only did the company acquire a significant stake in EBR, it also tied up with Magneti Marelli and made significant progress on its R&D efforts. Hero launched bikes in the US, Central America and South Africa while also firing three of its own engines. The company showcased 15 updated bikes and announced its plans to launch 50 new products in the next three years. The automaker also introduced 5-year warranty on its bikes.