Nothing probably screams practicality or efficiency louder than MPVs. Love them or hate them, these high-riding, 5-seater plus vehicles remain the choice for family of all sizes where responsibilities are diverse and efficiency is on high priority.
While they aren’t necessarily fun to drive or brilliant looking, modern MPVs are more than good at ferrying big families in relative comfort or hauling loads of luggage. And the upcoming 2016 lot is ought to live up to these traits, and then some.
So what’s new for MPVs in 2016?
New Toyota Innova
Come 2016 and we will finally have an entirely new replacement for the Toyota Innova which is perhaps India’s most loved family vehicle. The 2016 model features Toyota’s new global design language that makes the Innova quite a looker, on paper at least. The interior, too, is all-new with the dashboard, steering wheel and instrument cluster taken off Toyota’s tough as a nail Hilux pickup.
Despite being around for over a decade, the Innova has been at the top of its game, thanks to its bulletproof reliability and resilient build quality. There is a downside though and it’s the old 100bhp 2.5-litre diesel engine’s lack of grunt, especially out on the highways. The 2016 model, however, is expected to fare much better with its new 2.4-litre diesel engine producing 149bhp of power and 359Nm of torque.
The last couple of years have seen a healthy surge in demand for MPVs and as a result, automakers are now planning to expand their presence by having models at different price ranges. Chevrolet, for one, already sells the entry-level Enjoy MPV and is about to scale up with the new Spin which will be positioned at a relatively higher shelf in the MPV space.
The Chevrolet Spin is expected to come in both petrol and diesel models and with cabin space to match the likes of Renault Lodgy and the Honda Mobilio. Expect Chevrolet to take the covers off this new model at the Auto Expo in February next year.
Mahindra Quanto facelift
Mahindra has stopped making the Quanto and is instead working on an upgraded version which is due next year. While the overall design will be similar to that of the discontinued model, the heavily camouflaged prototypes caught on test suggest that the upgraded Quanto will get some major cosmetic upgrades. The compact MPV, in fact, will come with revised DRL-infested headlamps, a new front grille and bumpers as well as new alloy wheels for the top-end trim. Inside, Mahindra will include a revamped beige theme for a more inviting look and a new audio system with Bluetooth and voice recognition system.
Mechanically, the Quanto facelift is likely to borrow the TUV 300’s drivetrain. This means one can expect this model with the same 1.5-litre 3-cylinder mHAWK 80 turbocharged diesel engine. Developing around 85bhp and 230Nm, this unit will be paired to a 5-speed manual gearbox.
The upgraded Quanto is expected to arrive early next year. However, given that it’s among the more affected manufacturers due to the interim ban on sale of 2-litre plus diesel vehicles in Delhi, Mahindra would want to speed up the launch of the new Quanto to somewhat compensate for the ban on affected vehicles like the Scorpio and the XUV500.
BMW 2 Series Active Tourer
The 2 Series Active Tourer is quite an unusual car for BMW. Aside from being the first-ever front-wheel-drive BMW, it’s also the brand’s first attempt at making a genuine 7-seater MPV. In essence, the 2 Series Active Tourer may go against everything BMW traditionalists would vouch for but as a practical luxury buy, it promises a lot.
While its European rivals range from models like the Ford S-Max to the Mercedes-Benz B-Class, the 2 Series Active Tourer’s arch nemesis here in the Indian market will be the Mercedes. BMW, however, will have an edge over the Stuttgart-based automaker thanks mainly to the added versatility of the seven-seater configuration on the Active Tourer.
It’s an open secret that the Aria is a sales disaster, especially when pitted against something like a Toyota Innova. Tata, though, hasn’t given up on wanting to grab a share of the hotly contested MPV segment and is counting heavily on the all-new Hexa which will be debut at the 2016 Auto Expo.
The Hexa is first of the all-new breed of utility vehicles currently under development by Tata. Inside, the concept featured a six-seat configuration with captain seats in the middle. It is expected to be powered by a 2.2-litre, 4-cylinder, VARICOR diesel engine developing 154bhp of power and 400Nm of torque.
While we are hoping for a 6-speed manual gearbox in the Hexa, this new model’s drivetrain highlight could come in the form of the optional all-wheel drive that Tata may offer. The latter option certainly will widen the Hexa’s appeal among MPV buyers as well as those who would otherwise opt for a Renault Duster or the Mahindra XUV500.