Breathe a sigh of relief as 2020 bows out and we look forward to the New Year. The coming year will be extra special in the automotive world as a lot of new car launches have been pushed to 2021 owing to the government-imposed lockdown that delayed preparations and generated apprehension in the automotive community about market realities. However, with the market responding positively now, the upcoming year is going to be a bonanza for new car buyers.
From the long list of scheduled launches in 2021, we have selected the ones that are expected to stand out and find a new direction in the automobile world. Here is our list of the top 5 rides that are gearing up to make a statement in 2021.
Text: Rishabh Agarwal
Although the name has not been finalised yet, this new product from Tata is designed to take on established rivals such as the Renault Kwid and the Maruti Suzuki S-Presso. This compact SUV fits within 3.9 metres in length and has a very muscular yet compact body. With design inspiration taken from a Rhino, this high set SUV exudes the feeling of power and looks ready to take on any terrain. Prominent design features include a quiet yet muscular stance, a floating roof appearance, blacked out C-pillars, and high set rear door handles which are hidden in the C-pillar. The Tata Motors tri-arrow design is prominently seen in the design of the headlight cluster as well as the taillights with small Rhino figurines etched in the rear quarter glass as well as on the rear glass. The doors open a full 90 degrees for easy ingress and once inside, large storage spaces within the well-built cabin can be seen. The dashboard is made of soft touch plastics, features protruding air-con vents and has an interesting multi-layered design. A stand-up central screen fulfils connectivity duties to elevate the in-cabin experience. Powering this little Rhino is a 1.2 petrol unit that should be good for 86hp.
Mercedes Benz A-class Limousine
Yes, that’s right, a long name for what is the new entry point for the three-pointed star in India. Although the name suggests a long wheelbase variant like the one seen in China, India will get the standard 2,729mm wheelbase European version. Resembling the current CLA, the new generation A-class Limousine gets a flatter roof that helps with more headroom at the rear, while maintaining its four-door coupe styling. This Mercedes offering has been built on new generation underpinnings and it offers more width and much needed legroom. Expect the latest MBUX infotainment system and the twin screen layout as on the larger Mercedes cars. The interiors are built tough, well laid out, and designed to excite.
Showcased at the Auto Expo in 2020, the A-class Limousine will bring the fight to the Audi A3 and the (just launched) BMW 2-Series. Powered by smaller engines with options for petrol and diesel power, customers can have the A-class Limousine with either a 1.3 litre petrol engine producing 163hp or a 1.5 litre diesel engine producing 116hp at launch.
News from under the hood: Not long after the launch of the standard versions, Mercedes is said to launch the fully blown AMG powered cousin in the AMG A35 guise. Powered by a 2-litre turbo petrol engine, the powered output is rated at 306hp for such a small light compact sedan making it a car aficionado’s dream.
Citroen C5 Aircross
The French brand Citroen is gearing up to enter India in 2021. Citroen is well known for its innovative products right from its inception, immediately after the First World War in 1919. One thing to look forward to is the unique automotive styling. Citroen products are known the world over to have a certain ‘Frenchness’ about them and true to its identity, India will experience the same in the company’s first product here – the C5 Aircross.
The C5 Aircross is a mid-size crossover that features a double-barrel front grill with the top barrel incorporating the twin chevron logo of the brand, while the lower section incorporates the slim headlights. This unique front, that is a Citroen style standard, sets the tone for the rest the C5 Aircross. The lower section of the bumper highlight dummy oblong intakes and the same oblong design is also found in the protective layer on the bottom of the doors and is incorporated into the taillight detailing as well. The rear looks very modern with the Citroen logo hogging attention and the taillights mimicking a hallucinating effect. The oblong design is incorporated into the design of the tail-pipes too, which are finished in chrome. Open the large door and you are greeted with a prominent well-designed dashboard that incorporates a unique digital instrument cluster. Along with the quirky angular gear lever, be ready to be treated to well-designed, supportive, and well-cushioned seats that will keep you happy on long journeys. The C5 Aircross offers a 5-seat pattern, i.e. the rear bench has three fully adjustable seats so the middle passenger can individually adjust the seat for legroom and seatback angle. These among many highlights are set to fascinate you as Citroen launches its brand and showrooms in India.
This is the first series production of an all-electric vehicle from Audi. Designed to look like a fossil fuel powered Audi SUV, the e-tron features an updated version of the Audi Bulgarian beard grill which is all chrome. The headlight cluster features a unique e-tron signature – 4-small horizontal light strips integrated below the headlight cluster. There is a high focus on aero efficiency all over. The slim openings in the grill automatically shut when not required, the front air dam design has been tweaked to incorporate better airflow, and the exclusive wheel design helps to reduce the drag. The slim virtual mirrors that incorporate cameras instead of mirrors on the sides help to provide a unique design element to the e-tron. On the rear, a slim OLED strip connects the taillights for a clean finish. Step in to witness the latest generation Audi dashboard which now has three screens and fewer buttons. Two screens located on the front door pads relay the image from the side cameras in high definition and the touch screen function allows the driver to control the view of the camera. With large seats wrapped in Alcantara and leather, occupants are bound to feel pampered. The SUV offers a claimed drive range of 400 kilometres under the WLTP cycle with a standard full charge with a 10-watt charger taking about 8 house which can be reduced to just 30 minutes with a 150-watt charger. Get ready for the full Audi experience with a new heart.
Mercedes Benz S-class
Now this is the real limousine! Brand new for 2021, the next generation S-class is ready for attention! Marginally larger than the current model, the next generation limousine looks smart covered in a tight skin over a well sculpted body. New external elements such as all-new chrome grill featuring three horizontal blades and LED headlights with the Digital Light System, which can project symbols and guidelines on the road surface, debut. This limousine features plush door handles and fresh taillights that wrap around the new boot design.
As with every new generation, the interiors get a generational change as well. All new cabin design leans heavily on voice activation and connected applications. These changes reveal a minimalistic cabin which features as many as 27 fewer buttons, but which relies heavily on technology. The twin-screen design has been dropped in favour of a 3D digital instrument display and an OLED vertical central screen. Along with this screen arrangement, the next-gen MBUX infotainment is developed to understand 24 languages and take commands from every passenger in the car and not just the driver. With the introduction of face, voice, and fingerprint recognition to authenticate the driver, you can be sure that your car is as safe as it can get. With new technologies that follow the movements of the driver and passengers to activate functions, and a heads-up display that uses augmented reality to guide the driver, this automobile is set to establish the new gold standard of technology in today’s luxury automobile market.
News from under the hood: Also expected in the coming year is an AMG powered option, a full electric option as well as a S-class based Maybach