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Which are the BEST cars and bikes in India?

Last updated on: April 9, 2012 10:38 IST

Which are the BEST cars and bikes in India?

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Business Standard Motoring Team

T
he Business Standard Motoring 2012 Awards function was held on March 19, 2012 in Mumbai. Attended by the who's who of the Indian automotive industry, the function was compact, entertaining and power-packed - just like BSM, then.

The event was a huge success, made all the more fun by Ash Chandler - a stand-up comedian, actor, singer, restaurateur and a complete entertainer. More importantly, he is also a Harley owner.

With only 11 categories of awards, obviously not everyone was going back home with a trophy. That made each award category that much more special and difficult to win. Obviously, the effort taken to arrive at the winners in each category was equally tough and the battles that were fought internally were pretty intense.

The jury comprised the BSM team, of course. But we also roped in four external jury members for the critical Car Of The Year 2012 - without their clear votes, we wouldn't have got a winner and would still be fighting! But arrive at the winners, we did.

Here then, in the following pages, are the winners of the 11 categories. So let's not keep you from the action any longer. Welcome ladies and gentlemen, to the coveted Business Standard Motoring Awards 2012!

Click on NEXT for more...


Image: Roadster cars are on display in Mumbai.
Photographs: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
Tags: BSM , Chandler , BEST , Ash

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Car of The Year 2012

The Maruti Suzuki Swift bags the top prize - for the second time!

The big one! With the huge range of cars available on Wednesday, this award salutes the one car that encapsulates all that it takes to be a real player in the Indian market - suitability of purpose, safety, design, fuel efficiency, the fun-to-drive factor and bang for the buyer's buck.

This year, there were 11 cars in the shortlist. The jury had to decide which one would win between the Ford Fiesta, Honda Brio, Hyundai Eon, Hyundai Verna, Mahindra XUV500, Maruti Suzuki Swift, Nissan Sunny, Renault Fluence, Skoda Rapid, Toyota Etios Liva and the Volkswagen Jetta. Not an easy choice, right?

But there was one car that ruled them all, and that was the... Click on NEXT...


Photographs: Courtesy, Maruti Suzuki

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Maruti Suzuki Swift

A car which was our COTY in 2006 returned to claim the title again in 2012! That's a record of sorts. The Swift remains the benchmark in its segment by which all the others are measured.

It was the case when there was hardly any competition for it in 2005 and it is the case even now, when there is increased competition in 2011.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Maruti Suzuki

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And for what other reasons did the Swift trounce the rest of the COTY competition? Simply because the new Swift offers virtually everything you can ask for in a car in its segment, be it quality, looks, comfort, space, fuel efficiency and value.

But what tilted the scales in its favour was its incredible FTD factor - the fun-to-drive aspect that we are partial to at BSM. Well done, Maruti Suzuki!

Click on NEXT for more...


Photographs: Courtesy, Maruti Suzuki
Tags: BSM , FTD , Maruti Suzuki , COTY , BEST

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Bike of The Year

The Hero MotoCorp Impulse walks off with the coveted trophy!

For a market that's considered the second-largest for two-wheelers in the world, until now the segment was dominated by eco-commuters - and it still is.

But the market is changing, and it is getting fragmented. Finally, consumers are getting more to choose from.

Unlike the Car Of The Year category, this one didn't have as many contenders, though it will rapidly change from next year onwards.

However, for this year, there were three main ones that made it to the shortlist - the Hero Impulse, the Honda CBR 250R and the Bajaj Boxer 150.

Of this trio, there could be only one winner, and that was the... Click on NEXT ...


Photographs: Courtesy, Hero MotoCorp

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Hero Motocorp Impulse

From the very manufacturer of the eco-commuters comes, like a breath of fresh air, the Impulse.

The Impulse is the bold new face of Hero MotoCorp. The company is now revitalised and dynamic and leading the charge is its on/off-roader. This bike is a true segment-buster - in fact, it's a segment creator, treading new paths literally!

For the price it is asking, it offers good build quality and excellent fuel efficiency too. And even if you are doing nothing extreme off the road (which it easily manages), it makes for a sprightly urban commuter as well.

What more do you want? Congratulations, Hero MotoCorp - we look forward to more exciting bikes from you, if the Impulse is anything to go by.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Hero MotoCorp

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Jury special award 2012

In any awards process, there's always that one contender that could have won, had it not been for, well, the eventual winner.

It's the nominee that captured the jury's hearts and minds, but lost out only because of the black-and-white of the points tallying system.

Only one car qualifies for this award every year. And it is a special award that tips its hat to a car that has the fighting spirit in it.

This year, the award went to the... Click on NEXT ...


Photographs: Courtesy, Honda India
Tags: BEST , India

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Honda Brio

A tiny car but every inch a Honda. The radical styling plus its cheerful looks can bring alive any street in the country. And its irrepressible nature is not only skin-deep.

Because it has a terrific FTD quality about it. The cheerful and spunky motor can bring smiles even in your humdrum commute and it has this attribute of being great fun to chuck around as well.

Told you, we are biased towards cars that are fun-to-drive! Congratulations, Honda Siel!

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Photographs: Courtesy, Honda India

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SUV of The Year 2012

Though small cars dominate the market, we are sure that, given a chance, a large portion of small car owners would upgrade to an SUV.

This year, there were five finalists: the BMW X1, Force One, Mahindra Thar, Mahindra XUV5oo and the Renault Koleos.

Yet only one SUV in the list was a complete shoo-in for the honour, and that was the... Click on NEXT ...


Photographs: Courtesy, Mahindra & Mahindra

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Mahindra XUV 500

The XUV had people talking even before it was a few sketches on a drawing board. When the product was shown for the first time to the world, it was clear that Mahindra had exceeded expectations.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Honda India
Tags: XUV , BEST , Mahindra , India

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And that was before its killer price was announced! Not only is the XUV a path-breaking vehicle for Mahindra, it is, by itself, a brilliant SUV that is good-looking, fun-to-drive, packed with features and, of course, offers exceptional value. You deserved it, folks!

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Photographs: Courtesy, Mahindra & Mahindra
Tags: XUV , BEST , Mahindra , SUV

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Premium Car of The Year 2012

Now how do you choose one car from this list and call it the winner: Aston Martin Rapide, Audi A6, A7 and A8, Maserati Quattroporte, Mercedes-Benz CLS, Volkswagen Passat and Volvo S60?

Each one of them is an awesome car in its own respect, but the jury had to arrive at the one winner, which would encompass every aspect of a premium car.

And that, according to us, was the... Click on NEXT ...


Photographs: Courtesy, Audi India

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Audi A6

In a segment lorded over by the Germans the world over, the rivalry between them is pretty intense. How do you fend off this prodigious competition?

You do that by offering something youthful yet classy, comfortable yet sporty, great looking yet approachable. And of course, by harnessing technology to delight and surprise the customer.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Audi India
Tags: BEST , Audi , India

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The terrific A6 does all that and more! Watch closely: Audi is in the process of setting benchmarks.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Audi India
Tags: BEST , Audi , India

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Premium SUV of The Year 2012

While we love to own an SUV, we dream about getting a premium SUV for ourselves. If you have the money, you have a terrific choice in front of you.

And among the ground-up new premium SUVs launched this year, there were four: the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz R350, Mercedes-Benz G55 AMG and the Range Rover Evoque.

Now, you don't have to think twice and wonder why the honour went to the... Click on NEXT ...


Photographs: Courtesy, LandRover

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Range Rover Evoque

As radical a departure from the Land/Range Rovers as you can get, but every inch a Land/Range Rover! The Evoque is the SUV not only for the present, but the future.

Its iconic styling has made it a classic while there are no compromises with the interiors, the performance and its off-roadability. Our award was yet another one in its kitty!

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Photographs: Courtesy, LandRover

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Performance Car of The Year 2012

Aston Martin DBS. Aston Martin Vantage. Audi RS5. BMW 650i. Ferrari 458 Italia. Lamborghini Aventador. Maserati GranCabrio Sport. Maserati MC Stradale. Mercedes-Benz SLK. Volvo S60 T6.

Given a choice, we would have given each of these cars an award. A mind-boggling list that forms a dream garage, it is completely difficult to arrive at the single car that is the winner.

But after some fisticuffs and bloodied noses, we arrived at a consensus, and that was the... Click on NEXT ...


Photographs: Courtesy, Lamborghini Aventador

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Lamborghini Aventador

In these days of eco-consciousness, is this the last time we will see an all-new V12 from Lamborghini? We hope not. But even if it is, what an engine it is!

The V12 gives the Aventador hypercar performance but that comes only at supercar price.

The Aventador follows in the tyre marks of the great Lamborghini V12s of the past... and then it overtakes them. For generations, it will grace the bedroom walls of adolescents and grown-ups. This car is historic.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Lamborghini Aventador

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Automotive Pioneer of The Year 2012

What exactly does 'pioneer' mean, in an era when technological advancements are happening at a dizzying pace?

The jury was of the opinion that the following nominees have features that make life more comfortable, safe, easy, and not the least, fun, while pushing their own engineering boundaries.

These were the Audi A8, Mahindra XUV5oo and the Volkswagen Passat.

Of these, the car that won it was the... Click on NEXT ...


Photographs: Courtesy, Audi India

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Audi A8

Mass-produced luxury sedans have to offer exclusivity and options, yet should be able to roll off the assembly line without any delay.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Audi India
Tags: BEST , Audi , India

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The A8 manages that effortlessly by offering features never seen before in its category. It will make the competition react. Because it set this trend, this car is a pioneer.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Audi India
Tags: BEST , India

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Motorsport Excellence Award 2012

The nominees in this category are organisations who are dedicated to motorsport and its propagation in the country.

Apex Racing, Mahindra Adventure, Mahindra Racing and Jaypee Sports International did terrific things in 2011 to be nominated for this award. Still, it was not difficult to arrive at the winner, which is...

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Photographs: Courtesy, Jaypee Sports International

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Jaypee Sports International

2011 has gone down in history as the year when the first Formula One race was held in India. The Indian GP was not only a historic event, but as far as a races go, it was brilliant too.

And making this happen was JPSI, who created a track that drivers look forward to racing at again. Now, what more would you want from a circuit?

The Buddh International Circuit has not only put India on the racing map, but has shown that India can pull it off too.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Jaypee Sports International

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Import Bike of The Year 2012

These are motorcycles that are imported officially into the country and the choice is pretty good! Look at the list of contenders for this award: BMW K1300R, BMW R1200GS, BMW S1000RR, Ducati Monster 796, Ducati Multistrada, Harley Davidson 48 and the Suzuki Bandit.

Any of these machines could win the award because each one of them comes with terrific strengths.

But for us, there was the one motorcycle that would stand head-and-handlebar above the rest, and that was the... Click on NEXT ...


Photographs: Courtesy, BMW

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BMW S1000RR

Once considered the domain of the Big Four, this radical Beemer simply blew them all away. This astonishing bike takes its Japanese competition head-on - and wins!

It's a razor blade on two wheels, and a true game changer. Incorporating cutting-edge engineering and technology, the S1000RR surprised us with its relatively affordable price. For the money it asks, you get the best superbike till date.

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Photographs: Courtesy, BMW
Tags: S1000RR , BEST , BMW , India

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Premium Bike of The Year 2012

This is a category that we expect to see a lot of growth in. Here, we consider motorcycles that are not cheap but are assembled in the country.

That meant the contenders were the Kawasaki Ninja 650R, Honda CBR 250R, Hyosung GT650N and the GT650R.

These are not your average commuters nor are they extreme superbikes - they offer practicality combined with ample performance.

Of the ones you see above, the bike that simply trounced the competition was the... Click on NEXT ...


Photographs: Courtesy, Kawasaki

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Kawasaki Ninja 650R

Affordability, ease of use, performance - the Ninja 650R has it all in spades!

A sensible riding position for everyday use combined with enough power to keep things interesting for a long time to come, the 650R ticks all the right boxes.

Including the one that says you don't have to pay big money to have big fun. Congratulations, Bajaj Auto, for expanding the Ninja family the right way.


Photographs: Courtesy, Kawasaki

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