Autocar India, India’s largest selling automobile magazine has awarded the Maruti Suzuki Swift with the car of the year award. The original Swift was launched in 2005 and that year too it won the Car of the year. The second generation launched in 2011 took off from where the first Swift left and even though the new Swift looks very similar with the old model, this hatch is built on an all new platform.

The new model is longer and wider and the interior styling is heavily borrowed from its Kizashi sibling. The hatch uses a 1.2-litre K-series petrol engine with variable valve timing (VVT) and produces 86PS. There is also the 1.3-litre multijet engine which produces 74PS. The new Swift is an improvement on the model that it replaces and the ride and handling is better and so is the interior space. The plastic quality has improved and so has the fuel efficiency and the hatch is both dynamic and good value.

Winning the Mid-size Saloon award was the Skoda Rapid. The Rapid is Skoda’s entry level sedan in India and is essentially the Volkswagen Vento. Dig deeper and you’ll notice that Skoda has ironed out many of the Vento’s shortcomings. The styling on the Rapid is better than the Vento, the diesel engine is better to drive, ride quality is better sorted and the handling is agile.

Taking the title of the SUV of the Year was the Mahindra XUV500. The XUV500 uses a monocoque chassis which is a first for Mahindra and the XUV500 is designed and developed completely in-house and it’s the company’s first serious attempt at developing a global product. The SUV makes for a shattering value-for money proposition, the design and styling turns heads, interior space is excellent and the performance from the 2.2-litre engine is pretty good.

In the motorcycle category the Honda CBR250R came on top and was awarded the Bike of the Year.

In the other categories the Hyundai Verna won the award for the Best Styling & Design, the Chevrolet Beat Diesel won the Best Variant of the Year, Ford Fiesta won the Best Driver’s car, Toyota won the Manufacturer of the Year, Honda Brio was awarded the Sub-compact car of the Year, Volkswagen Jetta the Best Executive Saloon of the Year, Audi A6 the Luxury Saloon of the Year, BMW X3 won the Luxury SUV of the Year and the Viewer’s choice award for the CAR was given to the Mahindra XUV500 and the Honda CBR250R for the BIKE.