[Year in Review 2019] From Hyundai to Renault and more – the biggest car launches

Despite 2019 being a slow year in terms of volumes, carmakers were not shy when it came to bringing out new products, some even some managing to hit their targets.

2019 has been a mixed year for the Indian automotive industry. From depressing sales figures to runaway hits, the sector has seen several highs and lows. But carmakers remained optimistic, launching several vehicles, with some even hitting their targets successfully.

Here is a lowdown on the new cars that made it big in 2019.

Hyundai Venue

Hyundai has really done well in the small SUV segment and it proved once again that it understands the market better than anyone else with Venue. With prices ranging from Rs 6.5 lakh to Rs 11.10 lakh (both prices ex-showroom, Delhi), the South Korean company’s compact SUV launched in May 2019. On average, it retails nearly 9,000 units each month.

Beating the competition put up by Ford EcoSport and Maruti Vitara Brezza, the Venue brings to the table a breath of fresh air into the segment. Within a couple of months of the launch, the Venue beat the best-selling Vitara Brezza, and bookings crossed the lakh mark recently. The car even won the prestigious Indian Car of the Year (ICOTY) award. 

The SUV comes with a BlueLink connection with features such as SOS alert, remote engine start-stop, and climate control operation, among others. The vehicle also has a segment-first sunroof, wireless charging, air purifier, and an 8.4-inch HD touchscreen infotainment screen.

In terms of powertrain options, the Hyundai Venue gets 1.2-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine (83 PS/115 Nm) with a five-speed gearbox. A 1.4-litre turbocharged diesel engine (90 PS/220 Nm) mated to a six-speed manual box, and a 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol (120 PS/172 Nm) is also on offer with a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DCT (dual-clutch transmission) option.

Mahindra XUV 300

Mahindra is known to make good SUVs but had failed to deliver a product that stuck with Indian buyers in the sub-four metre segment. This changed with the launch of the XUV 300, a car based on SsangYong’s X100 platform previously seen in the Tivoli. The SUV has become one of the company’s best-selling SUVs, second only to the Mahindra Bolero.

The Mumbai-based manufacturer retails the XUV 300 from Rs 8.10 lakh to Rs 12.69 lakh (both prices, ex-showroom, Delhi). The XUV 300 is loaded with features like projector headlamps with LED daytime running lights, LED taillamps, and disc brakes on all four tyres.

The cabin also comes with features like auto-climate control, a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system loaded with smartphone connectivity options (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), and a cooled armrest box. Also, on offer are cruise control, steering mounted audio controls, a rear-view camera, and an engine start-stop button. 

Speaking about the powertrain, the car comes with a 1.2-litre (110.1 PS/200 Nm) petrol engine. The diesel option is a 1.5-litre unit (116.6 PS and 300 Nm of torque). Gearbox options include a six-speed manual for both the petrol and diesel models while the latter also gets a six-speed AutoShift gearbox (AMT). 

Kia Seltos

Kia, the new entrant in the Indian auto market this year, has made waves in the industry, not just ripples. The carmaker has sold over 45,000 units of the Seltos within five months of launch. Besides, in November, Kia sold 14,000 units of the Seltos, making it the best-selling SUV in the Indian market for the month.

Kia Seltos starts at Rs 9.69 lakh for the base trim and goes up to Rs 16.99 lakh (both prices ex-showroom, Delhi). The car’s features include LED headlamps with daytime running lights, vertically stacked LED fog lamps, and 17-inch alloy wheels that give the car a beefy look. Also, the Seltos gets six airbags, eight speakers by Bose, and a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

The SUV is sold with a 1.4-litre T GDI petrol engine (140 PS/242 Nm), 1.5-litre Smartstream G petrol engine (115 PS/144 Nm), and a 1.5-litre CRDi VGT diesel engine (115 PS/250 Nm).

All three are BS-VI compliant and could be had with a six-speed manual, an IVT automatic, a CVT or a seven-speed DCT unit. With so many variants and engine options, the Kia Seltos has left Indian consumers spoilt for choice.

MG Hector

Apart from the Kia Seltos, the MG Hector has been one of the few success stories in 2019. However, some have mixed feelings about it. After all, if one looks at volumes of near 3,000 units a month that Hector registers, things do not look very encouraging.

However, one of the biggest reasons why Hector is considered a success are the 40,000 units that were booked weeks after launch. The company actually had to stop taking orders as it experienced a demand several times higher than its production plans. 

MG claims the Hector is a connected car, which comes with a huge 10.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which can connect to the internet using a SIM card. It even boasts of more than 50 connected features, something previously unseen in the Indian market. It is priced between Rs 12.8 lakh and Rs 17.28 lakh (both ex-showroom, Delhi).

This is where things went wrong as the manufacturer had not planned for such a large capacity and the cars they delivered fell short on quality. Customers were even complaining about the build of the vehicle.

The Hector is retailed with two engine options – 1.5-litre petrol (143 PS/250 Nm) and a 2.0-litre diesel (170 PS/350 Nm). The latter has been sourced from Fiat while the former is sold with 48-volt mild hybrid technology. Transmission options for both include a six-speed manual or a six-speed dual-clutch automatic.

Renault Triber

August 2019 saw the French carmaker take the Kwid and extend it to accommodate seven people. An MPV-based on the same CMF-A platform (common modular platform) as the hatchback, it competing with its sibling the Datsun Go+. Prices start from Rs 4.95 lakh and extend to Rs 6.63 lakh for the top-end trim (both prices ex-showroom, Delhi).

The car has a fully-removable third row of seats, which extends the boot space to 625 litres. Other features include LED daytime running lights, projector headlamps, LED instrumentation console, 15-inch alloy wheels, and four airbags.

Also on offer are passive keyless entry, ceiling-mounted third-row air vents, and pillar-mounted second-row air vents. The 8.0-inch infotainment system offers Apple CarPlay as well as Android Auto.

At the heart of the Renault Triber is the same 1.0-litre engine from the Kwid but with VVT (variable valve timing). This powerplant produces 72 PS of power and 96 Nm of torque while the gearbox currently includes only a five-speed manual. An AMT box will be offered later on. Besides that, the Renault Triber will come with a turbocharged version of the 1.0-litre mill in the future.

(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)