OPTIONS! THAT’S WHAT YOU have. Up until now, if you wanted a turbo-petrol in the C-segment you had the Vento. That’s it. Nobody else believed in turbocharging, not even Skoda who plugged away with the 1.6 MPI in the Rapid. And then came BS6 norms and manufacturers whose eyeballs weren’t glued to their toes, invested. Put money into localising tech for future regulations and — crucial to readers of this magazine — satiate the appetite of the growing flock of enthusiasts demanding performance, joy and fun from their cars.
Let’s start with Hyundai because nobody have taken those big jumps in technology as the Koreans. First introduced in the Venue last year, the 1.0 GDI is the first direct-injection turbo-petrol engine to be made in India. Nope, I haven’t forgotten VW’s 1.2 TSI that has been around for ages — seven years to be precise — but that motor was never made here. Neither were Suzuki’s 1.0 Dualjet or Fiat’s 1.4 T-Jet both of which, in any case, have been discontinued. It would have been the easiest thing in the world to look at all those examples and smash out the usual excuses — Indians don’t pay for performance, Indians don’t pay for new technology, Indians only want fuel efficiency — but Hyundai didn’t. And customers put their money where their mouths are. 43 per cent of Venues sold are with the turbo-petrol, and that engine, in different states of tune has gone into the i10 Nios, Aura and, now, the Verna.
To Skoda then, who are now in the driver’s seat of the VW Group in India. They were the first to introduce India to the turbo-petrol in the original Octavia RS and now they offer India’s most affordable turbo-petrol car in the Rider variant of the Rapid. And they’ve absolutely thrashed the suggestion that Indians don’t spend on powerful engines. Response to that Rider has been so overwhelming that dealers have stopped taking orders and Skoda has introduced a Rider Plus to cash in on the demand. What we have here is the Monte Carlo which has more equipment, a higher price tag, and that cracking motor. What we don’t have is a DSG. And, so, back to Hyundai. They’ve got a twin-clutch!
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