IndianAutosBlog's Shakti Budhiraja filmed the Fluidic Avante/Elantra testing on Delhi roads last week. The Avante is not playing the volumes game but its a powerful point prover for Hyundai who has struggled to sell expensive vehicles in the past. Hyundai's previous stint with the Elantra proved to be a mis-hit but two generations later, the Koreans have an opportunity to begin on a fresh page.
The C and D segments have done a world of good to shift the baseline of automotive companies in India. Skoda's premium brand image is credited to its success in managing to sell Superb and Laura that are value buys. Before the arrival of Cruze, General Motors was not competitive in higher segments.
Shortly Ford crawls into this space with the Focus. Honda's refurbished Civic that's drawing flak for not being a step ahead is another model awaited in India. Companies will not invest to bring in new models if there is less demand or no potential to that market category. For all those who have bought Verna, City, Vento, Optra and Linea in the coming years there are plenty of models to upgrade to. The brisk sales in the B+ and C Segment is another reason why there is buzz in the immediately higher floor.
Besides mere presence these models are opportunities for companies to show what Europe or America buys as an everyday car. For many who have used such cars in overseas countries, returning to India won't be a tough experience!
Many companies are not able to sell their global models in India's most wanted segments due to cost reasons. Toyota chose to develop and slip in a market-specific Etios and the same holds good for Honda and Renault. These cars are low-cost alternatives to world-class models that populate the developed markets. Here's a chance for them to show how far they have come in terms of refinement, interior quality, driving performance and powertrain technology as there are lesser cost constraints in the C and D segments.
On posting the first spyshot, readers said that the Avante's style can alone dismantle the competition. Past experience has shown that its a combination of price (Corolla), design (Civic, Cruze), features (Octavia, Laura) and mileage (Corolla) that does the trick though the Fluidic Design is an added advantage for Avante.
There are no details available on the powertrain but its a no-brainer that Hyundai has to bring a diesel variant perhaps a more powerful edition of the Verna's 1.6-liter fits the bill.