Our Picks - Best New Car Of 2017
Modified On Jan 03, 2018 05:55 PM By CarDekho
Of all the cars launched in 2017, here's what found a spot in our hearts
Raunak - Ford EcoSport Facelift
Now that's what I call a facelift! Though Ford took a little longer than usual to bring in the mid-life update of the EcoSport, it was a thorough one. In fact, the American automaker made it look fresh again with an all-new cabin, front profile and a brand new engine as well. Interestingly, Ford hasn’t found the need to hike its prices by much, thanks to increased localisation.
The cumbersome-looking SYNC 1 unit with a plethora of buttons, seen in the pre-facelift model, had begun to show its age. The touchscreen unit that Ford introduced in the 2017 model didn't make much of a difference either. However, the EcoSport has now taken a leap forward with a class-leading, floating 8-inch unit that you get in the Endeavour and the Mustang. What surprised me, however, was Ford’s decision to offer Android Auto and Apple CarPlay from the Trend variant onwards with a 6.5-inch unit!
Sadly, Ford has discontinued the 1.0-litre EcoBoost turbocharged petrol engine. This 125PS, 3-cylinder motor made the EcoSport a little pocket rocket. But that’s no cause for concern as the new 1.5-litre, 3-cylinder petrol engine makes it the most powerful sub-4m SUV yet again. And while the older 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder engine came with a dual-clutch automatic transmission, the new motor can be had with a traditional 6-speed torque converter. The new auto ‘box gets additional brownie points as it comes with paddle shifters, which I’m sure a lot of customers would fancy.
On the downside, I feel Ford should have taken this opportunity to introduce bi-xenon/LED headlamps along with a sunroof (offered in the global model) here to make it more tempting and secure it as a worthy alternative to the other sub-4 metre SUVs for the years to come. Nevertheless, like the pre-facelift model, I love the 2018 Ford EcoSport.
Jagdev - Mercedes-Benz E-Class
The new E-Class is a big step up over its predecessor. But big improvements in every new generation of a car is something that we’ve come to expect from all carmakers these days. The reason why it remains my top pick for 2017 doesn’t really lie in how good or relevant a product it is. To know that, you can head over to our review of the new E-Class.
What makes it special then? Well, it’s Mercedes-Benz’ move to offer it in its long wheelbase avatar in India. That makes India the only RHD market in the world to get the stretched E-Class. It shows the German carmaker’s commitment towards our market and its intent to remain at the top of its game here. It also means that we can expect Mercedes-Benz to 'Indianise' its most important cars in some way or the other to suit our taste. I can already imagine seeing the yet-to-be-revealed A-Class sedan replacing the hatchback in India. Is it too early to cross our fingers?
Mahesh - Maruti Suzuki Ignis
My favourite car has been on sale for almost the entire 2017 calendar year. It's the most affordable car to have found a spot on the Nexa showroom floor. So, just like all of its 'roommates', it gets ABS, dual airbags and a frame that's ready to meet the crash compliance tests well before they’re even mandated. I like it because it doesn't leave safety as an option. Rather, the Ignis makes essential safety features affordable for most buyers.
The starting price tag of Rs 4.56 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) is attractive too. Also, the car walks the fine line separating quirky and weird, which always gets me drooling. There are also plenty of personalisation options on the iCreate menu. It has a petrol and a diesel engine and both of them come with a manual or an automatic transmission covering all my needs.
The top variant's features complete its looks, but unfortunately, they appear overpriced. What also hurts its potential are the lower variants' basic infotainment system and AC controls which look out of the place. The feature list also gives LED projector headlamps and LED daytime running lights a miss. I'd rather pick the most affordable option and save the cash to go for some tasteful iCreate bling. If you know me, you won't find the choice surprising as I own the equally quirky Honda Navi and have spent a fair amount of cash customising it.
Dhruv - Ford Figo S 1.5 Diesel
The hot hatch space has been gradually picking up in India and I, for one, am a big fan of small cars with powerful engines. Not only are these relatively easier to enjoy but are easy on the pocket too. Now pardon me for being very specific here, my pick is the Ford Figo S edition in its 1.5 litre TDCi guise, putting out 100PS of power and 215Nm of torque. The motor has been a proven performer, packs a great punch when required and can switch on its frugal nature if the driver is willing. After all, it’s the same unit that powers the Aspire and the EcoSport as well.
The biggest change on the Figo S is to the suspension setup which has been stiffened and slightly lowered, lending it better handling characteristics. The steering feedback that was always a USP of the Figo twins, aids the improved handling all the more. The Figo S is lighter than before and boasts of a power-to-weight ratio of 95PS/tonne making it almost as quick as the Polo GT TDI.
The visual difference between the regular Figo and the sporty Figo S are pretty radical but likeable nonetheless. The front flaunts a blacked-out mesh grille, bordered by matte silver accents and has been borrowed from the UK-Spec Figo. The smoked headlamps reiterate the fact that the Figo S and the Ford Focus RS belong to the same family. The dual-tone paint job continues throughout with the black roof, ORVMs, bigger 15-inch tyres and ‘S’ livery on the side skirts. Everything is the same at the rear, except for the spoiler and wider 195 section tyres which extend out of the body, making it look beefy.
Things are not all breezy when it comes to the interiors as it is available only in the single Titanium trim which misses out on six airbags and SYNC infotainment system. The quality of plastics, like the regular Figo, is also a letdown. While you would expect to get these from a Ford, it’s no deal breaker in my books. The Ford MyDock is a nifty feature and when the car drives this good, you hardly have time to notice the cluttered central console.
What seals the deal for me is the price tag of Rs 7.22 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) for the diesel version as it delivers a lot of bang for the buck which I look for in a vehicle of my choice.
Saransh - Maruti Suzuki Dzire
My favourite car of the year has to be the new Maruti Suzuki Dzire which was launched in May, 2017. It is a complete package that, at a starting price of Rs 5.42 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), is easy on the pocket as well. The Dzire, in this new guise, looks more like a sedan, unlike its predecessor, which looked like a hatchback with a boot slapped onto it. The interior has also been updated and that flat-bottom steering wheel adds a sporty touch to it. The central console is also placed well. In fact, it is ergonomically friendly and tilted towards the driver, making it easy to use.
The safety features further add value to the package. It is not optional on the Dzire, unlike its contemporaries, as the new model gets ABS with EBD, dual airbags and ISOFIX as standard across the range.
The Dzire is also the only car in its segment to offer AMT as optional with both engines - petrol and diesel. Not only does it make driving in everyday bumper to bumper traffic a breeze, but both the engines are adequately powered for me to munch miles on the highways as well. It also gets a 378-litre boot which comes in handy for all sorts of luggage. Although the 378-litre boot is on the lower side of the spectrum when compared to other compact sedans, I found it adequate to suit my needs.
All these features, along with its sedan-like looks and Maruti’s after sale support make the Dzire a practical choice for me and hence, I chose it over other options out there.
Irfan - Tata Nexon
Of all the cars launched in 2017, the Tata Nexon has to be my pick of the year. The quirky styling caught my fancy the moment the Nexon concept was showcased back at the 2014 Auto Expo. The rear-three quarter, in my opinion, is the best angle to view this crossover from. Tata’s latest IMPACT design philosophy seems to be working well for the Nexon, helping it stand out from its competitors - the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza and the Ford EcoSport.
Like all the other cars that have come out of Tata’s stable in the last 2-3 years, the Nexon too gets an exhaustive list of features. The 6.5-inch infotainment system with Android Auto support and Tata’s, now standard, Harman sound system impressed me the most. The move to offer ABS and EBD as standard across the range is commendable too.
The Nexon is offered with two engine options - a 1.2-litre turbo petrol and a 1.5-litre turbo diesel. Both engines come mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox. By the way, this is the only compact SUV to get a 6-speed manual; others get a 5-speed gearbox. However, for buyers looking for an automatic sub-4 metre SUV, Tata is soon set to launch the Nexon with an automated manual transmission (AMT) with both engine options in the coming months. The engines don’t just offer punchy performance, they deliver great fuel efficiency figures too - 17kmpl (petrol) and 21.5kmpl (diesel).
Another reason that makes the Nexon my pick is its very aggressive price tag. Starting at just Rs 5.85 lakh and going up to Rs 9.44 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), the Nexon is definitely a value-for-money proposition. Admit it. You also love this one.