Saying 2020 was an eventful year would really be an understatement. The coronavirus pandemic and the resultant lockdown took a heavy toll on people and businesses alike, and the auto industry too saw some major setbacks. However, that did not deter car manufacturers from launching new models in the country. Once the lockdown eased, we saw a wave of new car launches, albeit on digital platforms. Incidentally, 2020 saw some of the most important car launches, and here are the Top 5 cars that went on sale during this pandemic-stricken year.
This year in July, Honda finally launched the seventh-generation City sedan after making us wait for months. The car was first unveiled in November 2019, in Thailand and it was supposed to go on sale in India around March or April, however, with the Pandemic, the company had to postpone the launch, and the car finally went on sale on July 15, 2020. The new Honda City is a major leap compared to the previous-gen model, which, incidentally, is still on sale in India as a petrol-only sedan.
Apart from design upgraded, the new City also comes with a host of premium features like premium leather interior, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a 7-inch digital instrument cluster, electric sunroof, and Alexa remote compatibility, which is an industry's first feature. Under the hood, the 2020 Honda City gets both petrol and diesel engines. The former is a 1.5-litre i-VTEC 4-cylinder unit developing 119 bhp and 145Nm of torque, with 6-speed MT and CVT automatic. On the other hand, the diesel engine is a 1.5-litre i-DTEC motor putting out 98 bhp and 200Nm of torque, with a standard 6-speed manual gearbox on offer. The car is currently priced at ₹ 10.90 lakh to ₹ 14.65 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
First showcased at the 2020 Auto Expo as a pre-production concept, the Kia Sonet was supposed to go on sale in India around the festive period, and surprisingly, despite the pandemic situation, the company managed to launch it around the same time. Launched on September 18, 2020, the Kia Sonet is already becoming the segment leader, and it was the highest-selling subcompact SUV in November 2020 at 11,417 units. The Sonet shares its underpinnings with the Hyundai Venue, but its design and styling are inspired by the Kia Seltos. The Kia Sonet comes with a range of segment-best features that include a 10.25-inch touchscreen HD display for infotainment, ventilated front seats, air purifier with virus protection, wireless charging, and a sunroof among others.
The Sonet also comes in the sporty GT-Line option, like the Seltos, and it is the only car in this space to offer a diesel automatic option. Engine options include an 85 bhp 1.2-litre naturally aspirated petrol, a 118 bhp 1.0-litre T-GDI turbo petrol, and a 1.5-litre diesel offered with WGT on the manual that makes 99 bhp and VGT on the automatic version which offers 113 bhp. Transmission choices include a 5-speed manual, a 6-speed manual, a 6-speed iMT, a 7-speed DCT and a 6-speed automatic torque converter unit. The Kia Sonet is priced from ₹ 6.74 lakh to ₹ 12.89 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
Also Read: Kia Sonet Review
The new-gen Mahindra Thar was probably the most anticipated launch for 2020, and the car was in the making for a few years. The second-gen Thar was launched on October 2, and it became an instant success, garnering over 20,000 bookings in just about 20 days. In fact, the new Mahindra Thar is overbooked until mid-2021. The off-road SUV is built on a new platform that has made it a far more superior product, in fact, it recently bagged a 4-star safety rating from the Global NCAP, which is commendable for this model.
The new Thar comes in two key sub-models, an adventure focused AX option and lifestyle-oriented LX options, and for the first time, the SUV also gets a hard-top roof. The SUV also gets better cabin insulation, roof-mounted speakers, a touchscreen infotainment system, and forward-facing rear seats with 3-point seatbelts. As for engine and transmission, the new-gen Mahindra Thar is offered with a new 2.0-litre mStallion turbo petrol engine that is tuned to make 150 bhp and 320 Nm of peak torque. On the other hand, the diesel trims get the 2.2-litre mHawk diesel engine that makes 130 bhp and 300 Nm of peak torque. Both come with the choice of a 6-speed manual and a 6-speed automatic torque converter unit. The Mahindra Thar is priced between ₹ 11.90 lakh and ₹ 13.75 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
The new-gen Hyundai i20 too has been a much-anticipated product, and it was launched on November 5, 2020, a few days before Diwali. The premium hatchback comes with bold new styling and a host of premium features that make it a more upmarket product. The projector headlamps, LED DRLs, dual-tone alloys, LED taillamps and the sunroof are just some of its key highlighting features. The cabin, on the other hand, gets bold styling along with a large touchscreen infotainment system that gets Hyundai BlueLink connected car tech, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The new Hyundai i20 comes in three engine options - a 1.2-litre, naturally-aspirated petrol, a 1.0-litre turbo-petrol and a 1.5-litre diesel. While a manual gearbox will be available with both the 1.2 petrol and 1.5 diesel, the 1.0 turbo will only get an intelligent manual transmission option and an option DCT automatic unit. The 1.2 petrol also comes with the option for an iVT or Intelligent Variable Transmission, which is Hyundai nomenclature for a CVT automatic transmission. Prices for the Hyundai i20 start at ₹ 6.80 lakh, going all the way up to ₹ 11.18 lakh (all ex-showroom, India).
The Nissan Magnite is the newest addition to the subcompact SUV space, and it was launched early this month on December 2, 2020. Launched at an introductory price of ₹ 4.99 lakh to ₹ 9.59 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) the Magnite is right now the most affordable subcompact SUV you can buy. The subcompact SUV is based on Renault-Nissan Alliance's CMF-A+ platform. Customers opting for the higher-spec XV or XV Premium trims will also get to option to add a 'Tech Pack' which will come with add-on features like - wireless charger, air purifier, ambient mood lighting, puddle lamps and high-end speakers from JBL. Apart from that, the Magnite gets an 8-inch infotainment system, wireless charging, segment-first 360-degree camera and more.
Under the hood, the new Nissan Magnite comes with two petrol engine options - a 1.0 litre naturally aspirated motor and a 1.0-litre turbo petrol unit. While the former is tuned to make around 71 bhp and 96 Nm of torque, the turbo-petrol unit makes 99 bhp and 160 Nm of torque. Transmission duties will be handled by a 5-speed manual gearbox for both the engines, however, the turbo petrol unit also comes with an optional CVT automatic unit, and that one offers slightly less torque at 152 Nm.
We have already driven the new Nissan Magnite and told you all about it, so you can check out our review here.