In recent years, the words like ‘travel’ and ‘roadtrips’ have become much more synonymous than ever before. The new generation of Indians is now much open to the idea of travelling, and that too on four wheels by enrolling the concept of drive and reach, to make their journeys much more memorable. Thankfully, the cut-throat competition among all the manufacturers has resulted into some cars which make perfect sense and match with the idea of road trips. For falling under this category of vehicles, the primary requirements of a car are the spacious and well-thought cabin, powertrain options punchy enough to breathe comfortably for long miles and a ride quality which is plush sufficiently to keep the people inside the cabin as free of fatigue as possible.
In this feature story, we are pointing and throwing some light on all such cars made for mass market buyers which fulfil all the requirements mentioned above to call themselves the best cars with which you can write new travel stories and memories. Following is a category-wise list of all such cars which are best suited for travel lovers, which ranges from an entry-level mini hatchback and going all the way up to a full-fledged SUV.
Ever since its arrival in the Indian market, the Renault Kwid has been writing new stories of success, for the car has brought some zing and excitement to that particular segment which was seen as the most boring and ignorable but the most significant regarding cost consciousness in the Indian car market. The design cues and stance of an SUV, coupled up with the dimensions of an entry level urban car has worked wonders for Kwid, which offers a serious amount of cabin space as well as features, which also include the impressive 7-inch AVN system from Duster, from the cars of one class above. Not to mention the boot space (300 litres) and ground clearance (180mm), which have ashamed all of its competitors who were blamed for compromise of features and build to keep costs in check. And the final icing on the cake is the sweet 3-cylinder, 1.0-liter petrol engine which puts up 67 PS of power and 91 Nm of torque, which is available with both 5-speed manual and AMT gearbox options.
The new generation Figo might not have set off sales charts on fire just like what the first generation Figo did in the Indian market, thus helping Ford India to gain a stable stage in the country today. However, there is no dearth in the admittance that how fantastic is this car to drive and own in the practical world. Owing to its sturdy build quality and fit and finish, spacious cabin, excellent seat bolstering, the spacious boot space, the solid punch of the 1.5 liter oil burner and to top it off, the incredible driving dynamics of the Figo, which is a genetic gift all Ford cars are blessed with. The Figo is blessed with a gem of a motor as well. The 4-cylinder, 1.5 liter diesel engine, which belts out 100 PS of power and 200 Nm of torque, thus putting all of its competitors to shame as far as outright performance is concerned, without compromising too much on the front of fuel efficiency as well.
No matter how much fanfare the Maruti Suzuki Baleno and the Hyundai i20 might have generated in the premium hatchback space, but there is no denying the fact that when it comes to practicality, the Honda Jazz happens to top the charts. And there are many reasons to support this point. The station wagon like space and stance, the sedan rivalling legroom and boot space make the Jazz so much versatile to use. The spiced by the presence of the party trick of the car – the magic seats, which enables the user to set up the seating configuration as per the usage inside the cabin, thus maximising the space. And then, both the 1.2 liter petrol as well as 1.5 liter diesel engines are powerful enough to perform equally well on both city duties as well as highway jaunts, which make it a perfect car for those who carry out weekend runabouts on a frequent basis.
Yes, the Honda Amaze might not feel as premium as its elder siblings like Jazz and City and is a letdown when it comes to rich feel and features, but regarding engine performance as well as space configurations, the Amaze has some high points up its sleeve. To start with Honda’s ‘man-maximum-machine-minimum’ philosophy has been put up to maximum usage in the Amaze, by sizing down the dimensions of the dashboard and seats to maximise the cabin space. With the largest boot space in the competition, which can give a tough fight to premium sedans one segment above, the Amaze driveability is then further enhanced by the powerful 1.2 liter petrol as well as 1.5 liter diesel engines which it shares with the Jazz. The car is not as fun to drive as the Aspire and Dzire, but then, it is easy and involving enough to be not boring.
For many, the S-Cross is not a car to make your neighbours go envy after it, as its face is not the prettiest of the lot to which it belongs. However, move besides this particular aspect, and you will be surprised and impressed by the fact that how well engineered the S-Cross is.
The S-Cross has one fantastic chassis and steering wheel, spacious cabin and boot space, impressive ground clearance for Indian driving conditions, long list of features which also include travel-oriented features like cruise control, rear disc brakes and voice-guided navigation system, which make it one lovely car to drive it. The car is available in two engine options, the 1.3 liter diesel as well as 1.6 liter diesel, and if you ask us, the 1.6 liter engine is one terrific oil burner, which offers a humongous amount of torque of 320 Nm (segment best) for long highway runabouts. So, if the aspect of looks is not at the top of your wishlist, the S-Cross is the car to opt, if you love travelling.
The Vitara Brezza was a bit late to the party, but oh boy, since its inception, it has mercilessly eaten up by the competition and is even entering into the territory of the SUVs which are there in one segment above, such as Creta and Duster. The Vitara Brezza is the first ever SUV for masses by Maruti Suzuki (leave aside the Grand Vitara for its limited sales and focus towards Indian market), and for this single fact, the car has been churning out pretty impressive sales figures. But there’s more than what meets the eye, for the Vitara Brezza is one value for money product as well, thanks to the well-designed cabin which despite being of a sub four meter SUV doesn’t feel cramped. The list of features shared with the S-Cross, with a good amount of boot space and ground clearance, make it one suitable car for driving long miles as well. Powering the Vitara Brezza is the same 1.3 liter diesel engine which is shared with a number of Maruti Suzuki cars, which is known for its strong mid-range as well as excellent fuel efficiency, another must-haves for travel bugs.
Leading the sales charts in its segment with single-handedly pushing its competitors far away ever since its arrival in India, the Honda City has been the favourite for all types of buyers in this segment, starting from the chauffeur driven to the self-driving owners. The cabin of the City has evolved into a much comfortable space to be in, thanks to fabulous under thigh support as well as generous legroom. To top it off, the boot space too is the largest in the segment. The choices of 1.5 liter petrol and 1.5 liter diesel engines with which it has been blessed with are simply the best in class regarding performance as well as fuel economy at the same time. Sure, in recent times, the Ciaz has been giving some tough fight to the City in terms of sales numbers thanks to more spacious cabin and having a big cost advantage. However, the engine options of the Ciaz are not as exciting as that of the City, which is why the City is a more pleasurable car to drive and be in.
Some products suffer from the ill fate of being a flop product despite being one solid one. One such car is Renault Lodgy. Launched after the massive success story of the Duster, the Lodgy is one compact MUV which has been built upon the same platform as that of the Duster. So was it enough for being a good recipe for being a sure shot hit? Sadly not, as the Lodgy sales haven’t been strong enough from day one, blame it for its awkwardly styled rear profile, which gives it a profile of a large van. But then, when it comes to practicality, the Lodgy leaves its similarly priced competitors far behind, with super spacious interiors, independent AC vents for all three rows, potent engines and super smooth ride quality inherited from Duster, making it one perfect car for large families who are on a budget. The Lodgy is available with a 1.5 litre engine options in two state of tune – 85 PS of power and 110 PS of power.
The Duster is one perfect example of how a relatively new car from a relatively new manufacturer can be a success story if you have all the ingredients in just the right amount. With Butch exteriors, spacious cabin, ample amount of boot space and more than sufficient boot space, the Duster proved out to be the perfect choice for all those who want the stance of an SUV, but not the large dimensions to make it intimidating to drive in city peripherals. The engine options which the Duster comes with – the 1.5 liter diesel engine in two states of tune (85 PS and 110 PS) as well as the fantastic ride quality made the Duster the default choice for all the SUV lovers who loved to be on driver’s seat. Though in current times, the Creta offers a much more premium packaging than Duster, but if you love to be on the seat behind the steering wheel, and that too for hours, the Duster is the better car in the segment.
The XUV500 came out as a boon for all the Mahindra lovers who wanted the ruggedness of a Mahindra vehicle in a much more premium and posh form which feels contemporary to the core, unlike other offerings from Mahindra. The only seven-seater vehicle in the stable of Mahindra which is built on a monocoque chassis, the XUV500 offers the driving experience of a car with the versatility and practicality of a proper seven-seater SUV, which is hard to match by other similarly priced cars. Powered by a 2.2 liter powerful diesel engine, the luxurious and spacious interiors packed with features have made the XUV500 one default choice for those who love to travel with more people on board. It is the value for money proposition as well as a premium experience of the XUV500 that it is blamed for the massive drop in the sales of D-segment executive sedans in the country today.
Yes, the segment of proper full sized seven seater SUVs was and still is dominated by the Toyota Fortuner, but as far as product prowess goes, even the new generation Fortuner lags behind the fabulous product which the new generation Ford Endeavour is. One perfect example of how a product can transform itself from being super-dated to super-awesome and desirable. The new generation Ford Endeavour is every bit a butch American SUV – be its intimidating ‘in-your-face’ exteriors, its comfortable cabin and excellent on-road driving manners in all kinds of conditions, be it broken pothole filled roads or hilly terrains, the Endeavour makes you feel as if you are the king of the streets. Available with a choice of 2.2 liter and 3.2 liter diesel engines, the Endeavour is the big sized SUV for conquering over the roads less travelled, thanks to its much pure performance and much better driving dynamics than before.
If there is a list of cars for travel lovers and there is no ‘Innova’ word mentioned in the entire write-up, the list makes no sense, for the car is termed as the last word when it comes to happy motoring. Launched as a whole new generation model of the Innova, which has been recorded as the most successful MUV in the history of India, the Innova Crysta has moved up in the pricing ladder and has entered into the territory of entry-level luxury sedans such as Skoda Superb and Audi A3. However, at the same time, it has evolved itself into a much more luxurious, spacious and comfortable car, which can give more posh sedans priced above it a run for their money.
The luxurious interiors, packed with new generation features. More refined and powerful than before petrol and diesel engine options, the new Innova Crysta currently is ranked as the best vehicle for all those who love to travel for long distances, and that too, along with their large families, thanks to its seven seating configurations.