100 BHP, less than 1000 kgs weight and ~ 10 seconds to reach 100 km/hr is all what enthusiasts wanted in 2000.
While India has always been a diesel loving country, the demand for diesel cars wasn’t as high 10 years back as it is today. In the earlier 2000s, petrol did not cost an arm or leg. One litre of petrol was priced at Rs. 26/-, while the same amount of diesel would set you back by Rs. 14/-. There were no common-rail diesel engines available and very few cars were available with a diesel heart. Cars were light and power to weight ratio was the first thing which an enthusiast would calculate. In the last decade, there were 5 fantastic drivers car, which went on sale in the Indian market. These cars are no longer available today but were the best performance cars at that time.
Ford Ikon 1.6 – It was known as the Josh Machine and for a reason. Power came in from a 1.6-litre ROCAM engine which produced a power output of 92 PS at 5500 RPM and a torque output of 130 Nm at 2500 RPM. This SOHC motor would enable the Ikon to reach 100 km/hr in 14 seconds, with the top speed being 168 km/hr. However its not the performance numbers which made the Ikon 1.6 such a delight, instead it was the short gearing and responsive low and mid range performance which made the Ikon extremely fun to drive.
Fiat Palio 1.6 GTX – When this hatchback was launched, it was the most powerful in its segment. The 1.6-litre engine produced 100 BHP of power at 5500 RPM and 138 Nm of torque at 4250 RPM. Featuring DOHC, the Palio’s engine would enable the car to reach 100 km/hr in just 11.5 seconds, with a top speed of 170 km/hr. The Palio 1.6 weighed 1080 kgs. It came shod with 175/65/14 tyres and ABS was also offered. Mileage was not the strongest point of the Palio 1.6 though and a 500 units limited edition called the Palio S10 was launched with the same engine.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno – The flagship Maruti vehicle in its days, the Baleno became an enthusiast’s favorite post the reduction of prices and discontinuation of the old Honda City. The Baleno was powered by an all aluminum 1.6-litre engine which produced 91 BHP of power at 5500 RPM and 130.5 Nm of torque at 3000 RPM. 0 – 100 km/hr was achieved in 11 seconds, thanks to the 985 kgs weight. Top speed was 175 km/hr which was fast for a car of this price.
Honda City VTEC – The most sought after vehicle in the good old days, the Honda City was the performance king. It was powered by a 1.5-litre VTEC engine which produced 106 BHP of power at 6800 RPM and 132 Nm of torque at 4700 RPM. The weight was just 985 kgs resulting in breath taking performance. 0 – 100 km/hr came up in less than 10 seconds and the redline was an insane 7100 RPM. At that time, the City VTEC was the quickest accelerating car in India till 60 km/hr (car pictured above is the Type-I City, whereas the City VTEC was Type-II).
Skoda Octavia vRS – The first of the affordable turbocharged petrol cars to hit our shores was the Octavia vRS. It was powered by a 1.8-litre, 20-valve engine which produced 150 BHP of power at 5700 RPM and 210 Nm of torque between 1750-4600 RPM. This turbocharged motor redlined at 6900 RPM and the hot body kit made the Octavia vRS look fast even while standing still. 100 km/hr came up in 9 seconds, while top speed was 225 km/hr. The vehicle would reach 110 km/hr in second gear. The Octavia vRS had splendid brakes and handling was very good too.
With vehicles becoming heavier, focus going on mileage and steering’s becoming electric, the good old petrol head days are behind us. Which car do you miss the most?