Contenders for the worst car of the year in 2013



Its a three way fight between Honda Amaze, Ford EcoSport and Hyundai Grand i10 for the best car of 2013. There are juries dime a dozen to decide that. I wont join that league. What I would rather look at is the worst of the lot. Like I have done in the last 2 years.

Nobody talks about it, writes about it, thinks about it. But surely, in the dead heap of two dozen cars–big and small–launched in 2013, there are a few that are not worth the effort. And why do we need to look at them? Besides filling up space and giving you something to read about, to those unfortunate ones who do land up here, it will perhaps show some humble car manufacturer what kind of cars ought be made or launched in India.

What is heartening this year that except maybe a couple there werent any new cars that were specifically bad. Which goes to show that there is something that the manufacturers are doing right.

There are two ways to decide the nominees. One, based on where the product is at fault either in yours truly’s humble standards or when compared to those in its segment. The other is when despite being a good car, factors like price or cost of service and spares have relegated it to the margins.

Like in the past, those that figure in this list are not bad cars per se. They are only not as good as the others. With the disclaimer taken care of, lets get down to the business.

Cross Polo

Its a little hard to imagine that a Volkswagen would ever make it to such a list. But that is exactly what I meant when i said there werent many outrightly ludicrous cars launched this year. The Cross finds itself here because it does not, bar some tacky cladding, offer anything beyond the existing Polo.

In Europe, this version comes with a higher ground clearance that gives it better versatality. We would have loved to have it here. Instead we are charged more for changes that are neither classy nor necessary. This is a result of a company trying to conceal an obvious dry product pipeline. We would have been better off without the Cross.

Cross polo bigger but not necessarily better

Chevrolet Enjoy

General Motors would want to forget 2013 in a hurry and that is not because its car features in this list. (I dont even think they care). They had two launches this year–Enjoy and Sail sedan– both have Chinese origins and both have their own set of problems.

But while the space and practicality saves the sedan, it could not rescue the Enjoy. Suspect build quality, tacky interiors, underpowered engines and lack of refinement are its myraid problems. And GM’s mess with the Tavera was so big that Enjoy could not even get a decent marketing push. This one, is a disaster and one of the prime contenders for the crown.

A gross misnomer

Maruti StingRay

Like VW, another surprise here. A Maruti actually makes it to the list. And the fact that this was the sole launch from the company in 2013, proves what an underwhelming product it is. Basically a souped up version of the boxy Wagon R, the Stirngray does not bring anything new to the table.

And it is a mighty disappointment because there was so much that could have been done with the car. The projector headlamps and chrome garnish on the grille only makes it look even more ungainly. And uncool. And the tagline — my thing, everything–does not help either. The sting is clearly missing here.

Value for money changes but

Mahindra Verito Vibe

Such a list is not complete without the customary entry from either a Tata or a Mahindra. This year the toss up was between the Indica Vista D90 and the Vibe. The latter makes it for the loss of opportunity.

Given that Mahindra’s hands were tied due to its estranged partnership with Renault, the Vibe isn’t a bad product. Whats got my goat was the ridiculous boot lid.

Neither a proper small car nor a sedan, a notchback design would have done a world of good to the car. Instead it falls in the no man’s land.

I am still confused what to call it…a compact sedan or a hatchback, because it is none. Perhaps the market is as confused for only that can explain the lack of takers.

Mahindra Verito vibe a practical compromise

Rave and rant, post comments, fight, jostle….you are most welcome. Or abuse me at sumant.banerji@gmail.com. Want something else, vote on and let us boot one of these out. Let the mud slinging begin.

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  • anil

    It’s quite a long article but it missed very important point. IF YOU DON”T HAVE LEADERS WHO CAN LEAD, politics is bound to go local.

    Once people like Narendra Modi (you may not like him but that’s not the point) comes to Centre stage politics will become national. Everything he does will be national.
    Period.

    Even if you don’t like Narendra Modi, get one some one else of his calibre and see the result for yourself and then write another article. It’s the LEADER’S DUTY TO LEAD and that includes addressing issues of national importance and MAKE IT HEARD.

    Indians have been far too long under controlled mindset (influence of artificial social Engineering done in the name of Gandhism but absolutely not by Gandhi or by his remotest approval) and have problem seeing through potential socio-political problems. Side effect of this is – as a nation of one billion people – THEY HAVE ACCEPTED CORRUPTION as norm of the day (things are now changing slowly, I must admit)!

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  • anil

    Mr. Vir Sangvi, as a person in media you should also do your bit of contribution. Once a politician start raising caste/religious bogey you should come heavy on that person no matter what. Set the trend if you are so honest with yourself. So far no one has done that and it’s an opportunity to be the first. If you write a long long story on that people can forgive you even if you show sign of some immaturity.

    On the other hand, if you show intelligent gimmicks to justify the crooks, people will not hesitate to even dump you along with those crooks. So allow pulse of your heart to be heard from close proximity of your brain, working only depending on “brain” alone may make you another of the buddies of the mafia group. Such people end up in despair at the end.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_URSXATBEMZ7HUAB3OH36PLYWDM Ashok

    Idle to believe the Samajwadi Party will not win well over 40 Lok Sabha seats in 2014, or earlier, so the columnist’s basic premise is valid. Were the Congress to shuffle its pack in the states where it is in power with nondescript CMs, that might give it a fighting chance in the next national election.

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  • Anonymous

    I have no respect for Vir Sanghvi. Nira Radia affair has exposed what we knew all along i.e. the fact he is a corrupt Congress stooge. However I concur with him that regional parties may emerge stronger and form a so-called Third Front govt. in 2014. That is a cause for worry as their previous record with the likes of Charan Singh and Deve Gowda has been utterly contemptible and a recipe for chaos. The BJP has to get its act together fast for India’s sake as the Congress cannot and will not think beyond its hopeless nincompoop dynasty.

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  • Vikrant Dhoke

    Sumant, Both Verito and Verito Vibe are good looking cars.
    You are ‘unfair’ on it, to be most polite. Worst car is the Quanto.

    But I drove a Verito Diesel and got a good body massage. I was shaking for 5 minutes after a 3 min drive. I did not dare to drive a petrol version.

    But Logan was good, I have used a lot of Meru services in Logan.

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    Sumant Reply:

    Vikrant, Quanto did not make it to the list because it was not launched in 2013. How a car looks is a matter of opinion. Even then, I did not criticise the car for how it looks, rather that more was needed to be done with it. Even in its existing shape, it is ungainly to look.

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  • http://batman-news.com Manish

    Sumant, get us your views on worst looking sedans
    its already 2014 but still some manufacturer sell us old designs to talk about
    how about Sunny, does it even look like a car its a design disaaaaaster
    Quanto, WagonR, Sail Uva, Etios etc

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