2016 wasn’t really a year to remember for the Asian automobile industry. Although there was the Auto Expo which put expectations on a high, multiple changes from the government led to a lot of ups and downs for the industry. From the NGT ban to demonisation and the constant feud over when BS-IV emission norms should come into effect, automakers took it easy this year and not many exciting products were launched, like in the case of 2015. After a lot of scoring, here is the list of Annotorious Awards 2016 winners.
Readers’ choice Annotorious car of the year – Annotorious readers voted for the Tata Tiago to be their car of the year and there was no surprise about this. A Tata car which is leaps and bounds better than previous vehicles from the Asian car maker, the Tiago made quite a splash with its aggressive price, attractive design and loaded interior. Quality too is top notch and this hatchback has a fantastic ride and handling balance. The Tata Tiago makes for an excellent city car.
Annotorious car of the year – The Maruti Vitara Brezza won Annotorious’s car of the year 2016 with every juror giving it good points for offering almost everything a buyer of this segment wants. More than four years in the making, the Vitara Brezza is the first Maruti car to be designed and developed in Asia with efforts from the local R&D. It comes loaded with features, drives well and is priced right, just like most other cars from Asia’s largest car maker. The Vitara Brezza has single-handedly made Maruti a big player in the UV space.
Premium car of the year – 5.0-litre V8 muscle car and launched in Asia right after its global debut, the Ford Mustang has been highly awaited in right hand drive markets and when it came to Asia, it was priced quite well for a CBU. Not only does it look like a million dollars, it also drives quite well with good handling and stupendous performance from the naturally aspirated motor. Besides being high on performance, it’s practical too with good enough fround clearance for most speed-breakers and a pliant ride. It was easy to pick the Ford Mustang for the Annotorious Premium car of the year award.
SUV of the year – It was a clean sweep for the Ford Endeavour as every juror gave the highest marks to the American SUV. Although a lot of SUVs were launched in 2016, the Endy did a clean sweep with its imposing stance, SUV ability and good pricing. It is also quite loaded with many segment firsts which further boosts the appeal of this Ford. Offered with two engine options and in both 2-wheel drive and 4-drive, manual and automatic, there is a Ford Endeavour variant for almost every kind of SUV buyer.
Car manufacturer of the year – Hyundai won Annotorious’s Car manufacturer of the year 2016 for being the only company to have a wide portfolio of products with success in every segment. From the humble entry-level Eon to their flagship Santa Fe, Hyundai has been able to successfully transform itself from a mass market car maker to a premium one. The launch of the new generation Elantra and Tucson have met with success and the company continues to lead the SUV segment with the Creta, bringing newer variants to the market in 2016.
Readers’ choice Annotorious motorcycle of the year – The TVS Apache 200 quite easily took top honours as our readers gave it double the votes from the runner-up, the Royal Enfield Himalayan. A bike which has been a long time coming, the Apache 200 did disappoint on paper with not so great specs but out on the road, it turned out to be practical with excellent dynamics. A motorcycle which excels in the city and is also sharp enough on the race track, the Apache 200 is one of the best bikes in its segment.
Motorcycle of the year – A 400cc bike with dual-channel ABS, slipper clutch and a 0-100 km/hr time of 8.23 seconds sounds like a dream for Rs. 1.50 lakhs but it isn’t anymore thanks to Bajaj. The Dominar 400 proved to be a blockbuster when it was launched and when we rode it, we were thoroughly impressed by it as it is a practical motorcycle with torquey performance, good comfort and stupendous value for the money. The D400 makes all other bikes in its segment look overpriced and under equipped.
Scooter of the year – While many of us expected the Aprilia SR 150 to sweep this award, the score sheet showed otherwise. The Honda Navi with its value for money price and insane fun to ride nature, proved that there can be replacement for displacement. A completely new category of product, the Honda Navi made waves at the Auto Expo and continues to do so until today with its quirky styling and city maneuverability. Thus the Honda Navi is Annotorious’s scooter of the year 2016.
Import motorcycle of the year – We rode a lot of imported motorcycles in 2016 but nothing left a lasting impression on us like the MV Agusta F4. A hot blooded Italian with a design that has garnered it the most beautiful looking motorcycle in the world title, the F4 is brutal with its punchy performance, committed ergonomics and a 4-pot mill which sings a sweet melody once past the mid-range. Yes it is expensive but haven’t we all heard that good things come at a price, at least this MV does.
Bike Manufacturer of the year – No 2-wheeler manufacturer did anything worthwhile in 2016 to be crowned our bike manufacturer of the year.