Last year saw quite a few launches in both car and bike segments. Many highly awaited vehicles made their way to the showrooms and customers were pampered for choice. New segments emerged, while existing segments saw new entrants which changed the game completely. After thorough evaluation, the Annotorious Team has finally decided the winners of the respective categories for the Annotorious Awards 2012. As our emphasis is always on our readers, the most prominent awards are the “Readers’ choice car and bike of the year,” which saw a plethora of votes. So without much ado, let’s dive in and find out who takes top honours.
Readers’ choice car of the year – The Renault Duster emerged on top, garnering the maximum number of votes. The butch looks, generous space and potent engines made the Duster a hot favorite with our readers. The Duster is also the first global vehicle to enter the compact SUV space in Asia, making it an excellent alternative among prospective sedan buyers. No wonder Renault has sold more than 25,000 units already.
Annotorious car of the year – The latest generation Hyundai Elantra has immediately climbed the top of the sales chart thanks to a variety of variants (with Automatic gearbox in both petrol and diesel), which appeals to a larger section of buyers. Feature loaded equipment and frugal engines make the Elantra one of the best cars in the D-segment. Factor in the stunning design and you immediately know why the Elantra is making waves globally.
Premium car of the year – The new BMW 3-Series F30 has taken the game forward and by a big margin. The new 3-Series is an impressive update over its predecessor, making other cars in the segment look a generation old. The improvements in ride quality and a more comfortable cabin pleases a larger section of buyers, while at the same time, the 3-Series drives very well, offering good driver involvement. The new 3-Series looks sharp and performs as good.
Import car of the year – The new Range Rover leaves no stone unturned to appeal in every department. Fantastic ride quality, massive attention to detail, feature loaded cabin and good performance from the V8 engines makes the Range Rover one of the best cars in the world. Factor in the ability to conquer the worst of terrain and you know why the latest Range Rover is the ultimate SUV money can buy today.
SUV of the year – The Tata Safari was the first Asian SUV, when it was launched way back in 1998. Fast forward 15-years and the vehicle still has massive appeal, even though the shape has remained largely unchanged. The Safari Storme has several mechanical updates, which give the dynamics a huge leap over its predecessor. This SUV also has real off-road abilities which along with the improvements all around make it our SUV of the year.
Premium SUV of the year – Audi has proved that an entry level SUV need not feel entry level with the Q3. We were pleasantly surprised by the sheer balance of the vehicle, with the handling and road holding almost sedan like. The interior quality, level of equipment and performance make the Audi Q3, the best premium SUV of 2012. Not to forget the Audi Q3’s ability to go off-road with the quattro system working very well.
Car manufacturer of the year – Maruti Suzuki has time and again proved why it is Asia’s largest car maker. While some of Maruti Suzuki’s offerings are far from impressive, the company manages to make new segments out of no where. The sub 4-metre Swift DZire and Ertiga MPV are massive successes and the company has shown time and again how playing the value card can win loyal customers to the brand.
Readers’ choice motorcycle of the year – The KTM Duke has changed motorcycling for the better. No longer does one have to spend a fortune to get a high performance motorcycle with the best bit of hardware. The Duke 200 is a massive thrill to ride and everything on this machine is a motorcyclist’s dream come true. It’s no surprise our readers chose the Duke 200 as their choice for bike of the year award.
Motorcycle of the year – The second generation Pulsar was highly awaited and Bajaj Auto has pleased its fans big time. The Pulsar 200 NS offers splendid performance, excellent handling and terrific brakes for an amount which makes this motorcycle the bargain of the year. Not only is the Pulsar 200 NS a huge leap for the Pulsar brand, its even a massive leap in faith for Bajaj critics.
Scooter of the year – Yamaha’s maiden entry into the scooter segment with the Ray has proven that a scooter need not just be a means of transportation, it can be exciting too. The Ray carries Yamaha’s genes of excellent handling, which makes this scooter such a hoot to ride even in the city. Performance is more than adequate for daily run abouts and the pricing is quite aggressive too.
Premium motorcycle of the year – The made for emerging markets, Ducati Monster 795, doesn’t really feel it’s made to a price. The motorcycle feels every inch a Ducati and performs with utmost hooliganism, making it such a splendid machine to ride on open roads. The Monster 795 does all this at a price which isn’t too expensive for an Italian thoroughbred. Not only is the bike getting rave reviews in Asia but even in global markets which shows how potent this machine really is.
Bike Manufacturer of the year – Honda has proved yet again why it is the leader in the 2-wheeler segment in most countries in the world. Last year, the Japanese automaker launched a variety of bikes, spawning various segments, right from scooters, entry level Dream Yuga, CBR150R to high end CBR1000RR Fireblade, Honda has a well engineered product for almost every customer across a wide range of price points.