50 Years of the Toyota Corolla: Here's a look back at the world's best-selling and most-popular car!

After 50 years of production and over 44 million units sold worldwide, the Toyota Corolla needs no introduction. The Corolla is not just the world's largest selling car year over year but also the best selling car ever in automotive history. As Toyota celebrates the 50th anniversary of this iconic car this year, here are some truly staggering figures about the Corolla with some fun facts thrown in for good measure:


  • Toyota Corolla made its debut at the 1966 Tokyo Motor Show

Sales Milestones

  • Within 4 years of launch, sales of Corolla reached 1 million units in 1970
  • Sales quadrupled over the next 6 years with the Corolla going past the 5 million mark in 1976
  • The '10 million' milestone was reached in 1982, just 16 years after the car's launch
  • The years 1994, 2005 and 2013 saw sales crossing 20, 30 and 40 million units respectively
  • As of September 2016, cumulative global sales of Corolla was a staggering 44.1 million units
  • North America has been the biggest market for the Corolla followed by China and Asia (excluding China)
  • Roughly 3 out of every 10 Corollas sold have been in Toyota's home market of Japan
  • 1 out of every 5 Toyotas on road worldwide is a Corolla, a remarkable achievement for a brand that sells over 40 cars

Production Statistics

  • Corolla production started at Toyota's Takaoka plant in Japan in 1966
  • Corolla assembly overseas started in Malaysia and Australia in 1968 through CKD kits
  • Thailand was the first country outside Japan to produce the Corolla, way back in 1972
  • As of 2016, Corollas are being produced in 13 countries and 16 plants
  • Of the 44 million Corollas on road, roughly 26 million were produced in Japan with the remaining 18 million coming from outside the country

Fun Facts

  • Standing bumper to bumper, the 44.1 million Corollas would cover 5 rounds of the earth
  • Toyota sold 1 Corolla every 15 seconds worldwide in 2015
  • The total driving distance of the Corollas sold in 2015 would cover more than 50 round trips between the earth and the sun  

Having been in existence for five decades, there has been a Corolla for every Tom, Dick and Harry out there. On sale in more than 150 countries right now, this car has seen 11 generations so far and the best part is the Corolla is showing absolutely no signs of slowing down. In fact, it's going from strength to strength.

So, how did the Corolla evolve through the years? Read on, to find out.

The first-generation Corolla (1966 - 1970)

As Japan recovered from the devastating impact of the World War, Toyota realized the need for a car for the masses - a sort of the quintessential 'family car.' The result was the Corolla, which meant "crown of flowers."

Tatsuo Hasegawa, who led the development of the Corolla, came up with a '80-plus points' concept when designing and developing the car. In pursuit of a balanced high score in all areas of development, the Corolla debuted with unmatched practicality and longevity as its major virtues. With a sporty design featuring subtle curves and semi-fastback body style, a newly-developed 'K' model 1,100 cc engine, McPherson strut-based front suspension, floor-mounted gear shift, individual front bucket seats and aluminium enclosures for headlights, the Corolla was well and truly ahead of its time and segment. It's no wonder then the Corolla became Japan's best-seller within 3 years of launch.

Coinciding with the so-called 'age of motorization' and the boom in Japanese economy post-war, the foundation for a truly global automotive success story was set.

Three body styles were offered in the form of a 2-door sedan, a 4-door sedan and a 4-door van. 

The second-generation Corolla (1970 - 1974)

Launched in 1970, the second-generation Corolla built on the favourable reputation generated by its predecessor. It was bigger, more powerful and offered more comfort for the customer, thus reinforcing it's position as the perfect car for the family. As it became more popular, the Corolla hit a production and sales milestone of 1 million units that year. The 1.1-liter engine gave way for a bigger 3K 1.2-liter mill. Additionally, 1.4 and 2T-G 1.6-liter engines were also on offer, depending on the variant. Noteworthy was the expansion of sporty Corolla offerings during this period, christened the Corolla Levin.

Four body styles were offered - 2-door sedan, 4-door sedan, 4-door van and coupe. 2.40 million units of these were produced before the third-generation model arrived.  

The third-generation Corolla (1974 - 1979)

At a time when the automotive industry was experiencing a turbulent phase, thanks to the oil crisis and the increasing regulations on vehicular emissions, the third-generation Corolla debuted with a bigger, more stylish design and more fuel-efficient engines. For the first time in Corolla's history, wind tunnel studies had been used to tweak the final design. The increase in body size ensured the collision safety standards of the time were met while emission standards were taken care of by Toyota's proprietary Toyota Total Clean System that perfected the catalyst-based exhaust purification system and electronically-controlled fuel injection system.

This was the period when Corolla's exports rose sharply, making it the world's best-selling car for the first time. It's remarkable that the Corolla has been holding on to the tile ever since with it's global success story continuing unabated. 

Five body styles - 2-door sedan, 4-door sedan, 4-door van, coupe and 3-door hatchback - were on offer. This model achieved a total production volume of 3.75 million units.

The fourth-generation Corolla (1979 - 1983)

As Japan and the rest of the world was recovering from the oil shock, the design concept of the new model - 'Luxury car status and features, with excellent fuel economy' - matched the needs of the era. This is the only Corolla in history that featured four round headlights and is known for its straight lines and the introduction of a diesel engine in the lineup towards the end of the cycle. Other engines on offer included the 1.3-liter 4K-U, 1.5-liter 3A-U and the sporty 1.6-liter 2T-GEU DOHC mill. This generation also saw the conventional leaf spring-based rear suspension ditched in favour of a 4-link coil with a lateral rod.

Domestic and overseas sales continued to go up with annual exports going past 500,000 units in 1980 and the Corolla surpassing Volkswagen Golf in production volume between 1979 and 1982. During this time, the Corolla's production also reached a significant landmark of 10 million units.

Seven body styles - 2-door sedan, 4-door sedan, van, coupe, hatchback, hardtop and wagon - were on sale during this generation. 

The fifth-generation Corolla (1983 - 1987)

This was the time when the Corolla saw a major shift from the front-engine rear wheel drive layout (FR) to the front-engine front wheel drive (FF) layout for the mainstream variants. While the sedan variants adopted the FF layout in pursuit of increased passenger space and seating comfort, the coupe variants persisted with their FR layout for a sporty feel and more driving excitement. A new 1.8-liter engine was added to the existing lineup of 1.3, 1.5 and 1.6 liters. This period also saw the birth of the legendary FR 86, a sort of a cult within Toyota, featuring a new 4A-G 1.6-liter DOHC engine.

Corollas in every conceivable body type - 4-door sedan, 5-door sedan, 2-door coupe, 3-door coupe, 3-door hatchback, 5-door hatchback, wagon and van - were on sale during this period!

The sixth-generation Corolla (1987 - 1991)

'To go beyond the norms of the class' was the intent behind the development of the sixth-generation model. As a result, this generation of Corollas were lower, wider and employed rounded lines for that sleek high-class look. These Corollas were known for their exceptional quality, high performance and, dare we say, fun to drive characteristics. The engine lineup featured 1.3, 1.5 and 1.6-liter petrols and a 1.8-liter diesel. Believe it or not, a full-time 4WD system was part of the drivetrain lineup, the first time in a Corolla! 

Updated strut-type suspensions for all four wheels, an electronically-controlled variable damping force damper called the TEMS (Toyota Electronic Modulation System), soft-touch materials at critical places in the cabin, lumbar and side support for front seats with full-flat reclining option - you name it and this Corolla had it almost 30 years back. 

Body styles included a 4-door sedan, a 2-door coupe, a 3-door hatchback, a 5-door hatchback, a van and a wagon.

The seventh-generation Corolla (1991 - 1995)

Corolla of this generation was more of an evolution of the sixth-generation model, albeit with 'dramatic improvements made on every aspect' as Toyota proudly declares. Quality levels were remarkably high throughout and it wouldn't be an exaggeration if we tell you that this generation of the Corolla played a key role in cementing the image that Japanese cars enjoy today. The economic downturn in Japan meant sales dropped in Toyota's home market but export business remained brisk with the Corolla and its derivatives clearly the world's best-selling nameplate by now. Five petrol engines with 1.3, 1.5 and 1.6 liter displacements and a 2.0-liter 2C diesel engine were the power choices available.

Passenger safety got a fillip with features like Antilock Braking System (ABS), Supplementary Restraint System (SRS) Airbag for the driver, side impact beams and high-mounted stop lamp appearing on Corollas for the first time. 

Six body variations, including a sedan, a 2-door coupe, a van, a wagon, a 3-door hatchback and a 4-door hardtop, were available with this generation. 

The eighth-generation Corolla (1995 - 2000)

As the Corolla grew bigger and more luxurious with each passing generation, it was starting to stray away from the original's concept of a simple and convenient compact car. The eighth-generation Corolla returned back to the roots by being sleeker and lighter. Engine lineup continued to be the 1.3, 1.5 and 1.6-liter mecha twin-cam units with the flagship model getting the 4A-G 1.6-liter DOHC VVT mill. Diesel option continued to be the 2.0-liter 2C-III unit.

In addition to the sedans, coupes and wagons we know, new body types like the Corolla Seres 4-door hard top and the Corolla Spacio MPV were brought in to the lineup to make it a complete family of models.

The ninth-generation Corolla (2000 - 2006)

This was the 'coming of age' of the Corolla brand from being a safe, no fail option in Toyota's lineup to the one that defined the 21st century compact car. Every aspect of the car was developed from scratch with a design that was more European than ever. Sales slumped in Japan due to prevailing conditions but the demand in the United States of America, Europe and the rest of Asia, particularly China, meant that the volumes were never threatened. The powertrain lineup was upgraded using a variable valve timing and lift mechanism (VVT-i) in 1.3, 1.5 and 1.8-liter configurations while the diesel engine was also boosted with 2.2-liters of displacement. New age safety features like Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control System (TCS) were employed for the first time on a Corolla during this period. 

The coupe model (Levin) was discontinued with the launch of this generation while the lineup was rejigged to include sedan, wagon (Fielder), 3-door and 5-door hatchbacks, MPV (Spacio) and a new derivative model in the Japan and the United States dubbed the Matrix.

For the first time ever, the Corolla, hitherto a popular private import option in the country, was officially launched in India. The North American version was the one that made it here and, needless to say, it set new standards for quality and reliability soon after its launch.

The tenth-generation Corolla (2006 - 2013)

Debuting on the 40th anniversary of the original, the necessity for Toyota to develop the Corolla with a global point of view and a global scale was felt more than ever. For instance, the dynamics were tuned with European customers in mind, the space and practicality aspects had the American customers covered while quality and reliability continued to be top notch as ever.

India continued to be in the scheme of things with Toyota launching the European version of the tenth-generation Corolla here with the suffix Altis. The Altis went straight to the top of the sales charts as soon as it was launched, a position the Corolla hasn't relinquished in the Indian market yet.

The eleventh-generation Corolla (2013 - Present)

With a daring and aggressive design, the current generation Corolla broke away from the mold of staid and boring designs of the past. With renewed focus on chassis dynamics and distinct designs for each of the three regions where the car is a best-seller, the Corolla of today truly represents the DNA inherited over the last five decades of existence. 

A face-lifted version has just made its debut and, lest we forget, the Corolla is still the best-selling car in the world. 

That's some history there! Few cars on earth can boast the legacy or replicate the popularity of the Corolla. As often said, reaching the top is one thing, but staying there is a different thing altogether. Kudos Toyota, for staying at the top for five decades with the Corolla and managing the success so well so far!

Corolla 50th Anniversary Edition (USA)

As part of the celebrations, Toyota had rolled out a limited "50th Anniversary" Edition of the Corolla in the United States of America, the car's biggest and most important market. Limited to just 8,000 units, the 50th Anniversary Edition gets an exclusive 'Black Cherry Pearl' exterior colour, all black interiors with contrasting black cherry stitching on the seats, gear shifter and arm rest, black cherry theme on the dash panel and door trim, unique floor mats and a badge on the boot. 

No, you can't buy one of these now. We are sure all of these are already sold out. But wait, the Corolla is fast approaching the '50 million' landmark and, with no other automobile in history reaching that milestone, Toyota might spring a grand surprise to mark the occasion!


Suzuki unveils the all-new 2017 Swift in Japan

Suzuki has taken the wraps off the all-new Swift hatchback at an event held in Japan today. With more than 5.3 million units sold worldwide since it's introduction as a strategic global model in 2004, the Swift is a crucial model for Suzuki. The all-new model is expected to consolidate the Swift's position in Suzuki's lineup.

Just like the current-generation model, the new Swift gets an evolutionary design incorporating all the elements that made the existing car a crowd-pleaser. Featuring a wrap-around windshield with blacked-out A and B-pillars, a progressively expanding body when viewed from the top, an inset Mini-like cabin, prominent waist lines that flow onto the taillights on either sides and scaled-back headlights, the new Swift is instantly recognizable with its predecessors. Yet, there are enough new styling cues to distinguish the new model. 

A sleek hexagonal grille with a red-coloured line in the center gives the new Swift's fascia a distinct identity. In profile, the characteristic tapering window line now gets the rear door handles as well, giving the car a coupe-like appearance. There is also a partially blacked-out section in the C-pillar that successfully manages to impart a 'floating roof' effect. The taillights are more squarish now while the bootlid and rear bumper gets prominent character lines for added muscularity. It is clear Suzuki has tried hard to please all with the new Swift and we have to agree that they have succeeded partially.

Mainstay of the new Swift's powertrain lineup internationally will be the 1.2-liter, 4-cylinder DUALJET K-Series petrol engine coupled with a 5-speed manual transmission. The sporty RS variant will get Suzuki's new 1.0-liter BOOSTERJET engine that's expected to make its debut in India under the hood of the upcoming Baleno RS. The SHVS (Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki) mild hybrid system also features in the list of technologies underneath the new Swift. The Indian versions though are expected to carry over the existing 1.2-liter K-Series petrol and the Fiat-sourced 1.3-liter DDIS diesel engines, possibly with higher power outputs.

There is a new upmarket flat-bottom steering wheel inside overlooking a sporty twin-pod instrument cluster. The center console gets a rather large touchscreen infotainment system and big rotary controllers for the climate control system, resulting in an uncluttered dashboard. A full suite of safety features are on offer including Adaptive Cruise Control and Dual Sensor Brake Support collision mitigation system that uses a camera and a laser sensor to prevent impending collisions, the latter employed for the first time ever on a Suzuki car.

The new Swift shares its underpinnings with the Baleno and is expected to shed weight compared to the current-generation model. With pricing expected to be more or less similar as well, it will be interesting to see how Suzuki pitches these two cars in various markets. We expect the Swift to be targeting the young and the young-at-heart types as a chic and sporty offering with the Baleno presenting itself as a mature and spacious car for the whole family.

The new Swift goes on sale in Japan, starting next month, followed by launches in other international markets including India through 2017. With stylish looks, sporty handling and efficient powertrains, the Swift has never ceased to impress. Expect the new Swift to carry the legacy forward!


Vespa turned 70 and Piaggio celebrated it in style

2016 has been quite an eventful year with too many things happening. One such milestone in the automotive industry that made this year what it is has been Vespa's 70th anniversary. Since the first 98cc model rolled out of the Pontedera works in Italy in 1946, Piaggio has seen this iconic scooter come a long way, selling more than 18 million units and earning legions of fans worldwide. 

To commemorate the anniversary, Piaggio Group had lined up a series of celebrations spread across the year. As part of that, three models in Vespa's international lineup - the classic and timeless PX, the sleek and nimble Primavera and the powerful and sporty GTS - are being offered in limited 'Settantesimo' editions. Settantesimo is Italian for seventieth, in case you're wondering.

Offered in two exclusive colours, Azzurro 70 (Blue) and Grigio 70 (Silver), the 70th Anniversary editions offer an added dose of style in true Vespa fashion on what are arguably stylish packages already. A dark brown leather seat with beige piping, contrasting 'dust grey' wheels and a chrome luggage carrier are the highlights of these special editions. Of course, prominent 'Vespa 70' logos are embossed on the seat as well as the inside of the front fairing to let people know this isn't a regular Vespa. That's not all, a 'retro' leather bag that matches the seat's colour and stitching pattern can be had to carry your stuff along. Talk about attention to detail!

We also like the way Vespa has spread these 70th Anniversary editions across its lineup to suit different tastes and preferences. 

For the power-craving crowd, there is the GTS 300 70th Anniversary edition. With a 300cc engine that delivers 22 horsepower and 22.3 Nm of torque, the GTS is the fastest and the most powerful Vespa out there. Amongst other features, this flagship Vespa gets front and rear disc brakes, Antilock Braking System (ABS), Anti-Skid Regulator (ASR), LED Daytime Running Lights and USB port.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Primavera 70th Anniversary edition targets the beginners and the young urban riders alike with engine options from as low as 50cc all the way up to 150cc. It was with the original Primavera of 1968 Vespa grew into a truly global phenomenon and we are glad this modern iteration is part of these celebrations.

How could the timeless PX not be a part of anything Vespa? With a design that has hardly changed over three decades, it is remarkable that the PX is still relevant and capable enough to pull in crowds. To top it all, the PX continues to be the only Vespa to still offer the four-speed twist-grip manual gear change that our dads were so in love with.

We have saved the best for last. You and me can be a part of these celebrations too, right here in India. When Vespa launched the 946 Emporio Armani limited edition, they also launched the VXL150 70th Anniversary edition in the country. Priced at ₹96,500 ex-showroom Pune, the anniversary edition is powered by a 150cc engine that churns out 11.4 horsepower and 11.5 Nm of torque.

What are you waiting for then? Go, grab a slice of automotive history before they are all sold out.


Toyota Fortuner sales cross 100,000 units in India

Toyota Fortuner, India's largest selling premium SUV, just crossed a significant milestone with cumulative sales going past 100,000 units this week. With that, the Fortuner becomes the best selling and the most successful premium vehicle ever in the country. No other automobile priced above the ₹2 Million mark in India has achieved the kind of success and seen the kind of volumes the Fortuner has. 

The reasons are clear for all to see. The Fortuner offers a combination that’s just too hard to resist – pull of ‘Brand Toyota’ that’s probably bettered only by Maruti-Suzuki amongst the mass market brands, macho styling coupled with amazing road presence in a country that loves SUV styling elements, rock-solid reliability that can dismiss broken terrain with aplomb and trusted yet affordable after-sales service in a cost conscious market like ours. How many other vehicles on sale offer all these on a platter? 

When it was launched in 2009, the Fortuner was only available with a 3.0-liter engine under the hood with a full time All Wheel Drive system. Despite the lack of variants and trim levels, Toyota hit the bull’s eye with sales of the Fortuner steadily on the rise. In fact, Toyota sold as many of these as they could make with rivals unable to mount any sort of threat. Barring a few months earlier this year when Ford launched the new Endeavour, the Fortuner has always been the best-seller in its segment. There were months when Fortuner sold more than thrice as much as the cumulative sales of all of its rivals! Believe us, we ain't kidding.

For it’s part, Toyota kept adding more variants and brought in facelifts at regular intervals. While the first-generation model received a noticeable facelift in 2012, the all-new second-generation Fortuner debuted last month. Toyota’s New Global Architecture that underpins the Fortuner has been a cash cow for the Japanese car-maker in India. The Innova Crysta MPV, also built on the same platform, is yet another resounding success story that has decimated rivals on its way to the top of the segment.

Within a few weeks of launch, the new Fortuner has amassed over 6,000 bookings with Toyota delivering as many as 2,000 units last month. Considering the new Fortuner’s price tag that starts at ₹26 Lakhs for the base variant, that’s an incredible start! Mark our words, the next 100,000 isn’t going to take 7 years.


Indian Car of the Year (ICOTY) 2017 & Indian Motorcycle of the Year (IMOTY) 2017 announced

As we gear up to say good-bye to 2016 and start off the new year with a bang, it is time to look back at all the new cars and motorcycles launched in India this year and zero in on the best of the lot. That’s precisely what the jury members of the Indian Car of the Year (ICOTY) and Indian Motorcycle of the Year (IMOTY) titles gathered for, like they do every year. Here is their verdict for 2017. 

Indian Car of the Year (ICOTY) 2017

Modeled on the lines of popular international titles like the North American Car, Truck and Utility of the Year, European Car of the Year and Japan Car of the Year, the Indian Car of the Year (ICOTY) title is unique in its approach. Instead of a single media outlet or publication handing out the title, the ICOTY brings together a panel of journalists and experts from an assortment of media outlets, automotive magazines and websites.

This year’s jury included Yogendra Pratap (Auto Today), Rahul Ghosh (Auto Today), Dhruv Behl and Ishan Raghava (Auto X), Aspi Bhathena and Jim Gorde (Car India), Sirish Chandran and Aninda Sardar (Evo India), Kartik Ware (Motoring World), Bertrand D’souza and Bob Rupani (Overdrive), Girish Karkera and Sriram Narayanan (Top Gear) , Muralidhar Swaminathan (The Hindu Business Line) and Pablo Chaterji (Man’s World).

From the 19 new cars launched in 2016, 13 qualified for the jury round that was held earlier this month at Lonavala. After careful evaluation on parameters including price, fuel efficiency, styling, safety, performance and technical innovation, the number of contenders were brought down to six. The ones that made the cut were Ford Endeavour, Hyundai Elantra, Hyundai Tucson, Maruti-Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Toyota Innova Crysta and Skoda Superb. 

In what was supposedly a tough contest, it was the Maruti-Suzuki that came out on top. Despite not being a global Suzuki model, the Vitara Brezza, designed and developed in India with inputs from Suzuki’s engineers in Japan, is a terrific all-rounder that has taken the market by storm. Not for nothing then is the Vitara Brezza India's largest selling Utility Vehicle! Hyundai, the winner of the last three ICOTY titles, saw its Tucson finishing runner up with the Toyota Innova Crysta completing the top three. 

ICOTY 2017 Winner - Maruti-Suzuki Vitara Brezza

2017 ICOTY Results:

  1. Maruti-Suzuki Vitara Brezza
  2. Hyundai Tucson
  3. Toyota Innova Crysta

Previous ICOTY Winners:

  • 2016 - Hyundai Creta
  • 2015 - Hyundai i20
  • 2014 - Hyundai Grand i10
  • 2013 - Renault Duster
  • 2012 - Maruti-Suzuki Swift

Indian Motorcycle of the Year (IMOTY) 2017

The Indian Motorcycle of the Year (IMOTY) title is similar in methodology and approach to the ICOTY except that it honors the best on two wheels. The jury for 2017 included Rahul Ghosh (Auto Today), Jared Solomon and Arup Das (AutoX), Sirish Chandran and Aninda Sardar (Evo India), Pablo Chaterji (Man’s World), Kartik Ware and Ruman Devmane (Motoring World), Shubhabrata Marmar and Rishaad Mody (Overdrive), Debabrata Sarkar and Christopher Chaves (Top Gear) and Aspi Bhathena and Sarmad Kadiri (Bike India).

2016 saw more than 30 new launches out of which just 12 made it to the jury round that was held in conjunction with the ICOTY earlier this month. After assessments based on their styling, value for money, practicality, suitability for Indian riding conditions and a host of other factors, the top five were chosen. The shortlist included Kawasaki Versys 650 ABS, TVS Apache RTR 200, Royal Enfield Himalayan, Honda Navi and TVS Victor.

In the end, it was the Apache RTR 200 that finished on top, winning the coveted title for 2017. Though TVS was late to the market, there is no doubt that the Apache RTR 200 is a stupendous effort by the Indian motorcycle manufacturer. That it can hold it's own against similar-priced offerings from Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki is a testimony to the Apache RTR 200's abilities. Kawasaki Versys 650 came runner up with the Royal Enfield Himalayan rounding off the top three.   

IMOTY Winner 2017 - TVS Apache RTR 200 4V

2017 IMOTY Results:

  1. TVS Apache RTR 200
  2. Kawasaki Versys 650
  3. Royal Enfield Himalayan

Previous IMOTY Winners:

  • 2016 - Yamaha YZF R3
  • 2015 - Harley-Davidson Street 750
  • 2014 - Royal Enfield Continental GT
  • 2013 - KTM Duke 200
  • 2012 - Honda CBR 250R

Well done, Maruti-Suzuki and TVS. Keep up the momentum and roll out more such models in the coming years!


WardsAuto announces 10 Best Engines for 2017

Kicking off the annual awards season as always is Ward's list of 10 Best Engines for the year 2017. The awards, currently in its 23rd year, has stood out from the rest of the industry titles in its quest to recognize the best of internal combustion engines and electrified propulsion systems on offer. 

While the 10 Best Engines of 2016 automatically qualified for this year's competition, the rest of the candidates included all-new or significantly improved powertrains that debuted in the Unites States of America this year. To be eligible, the vehicles using them should be priced no higher than $62,000. In all, there were 40 nominees for 2017 which, after careful scrutiny and evaluation, has been brought down to 10. 

So, here's the class of 2017, in alphabetical order:

  • 3.0L Turbocharged DOHC I-6 (BMW M240i)
  • 1.5L DOHC 4-cyl./Dual Motor EREV (Chevrolet Volt)
  • 3.6L DOHC V-6/Dual Motor PHEV (Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid)
  • 2.3L Turbocharged DOHC 4-cyl. (Ford Focus RS)
  • 2.0L DOHC 4-cyl./Dual Motor HEV (Honda Accord Hybrid)
  • 1.4L Turbocharged DOHC 4-cyl. (Hyundai Elantra Eco)
  • 3.0L Turbocharged DOHC V-6 (Infiniti Q50)
  • 2.5L Turbocharged DOHC 4-cyl. (Mazda CX-9)
  • 2.0L Turbocharged DOHC 4-cyl. (Mercedes-Benz C300)
  • 2.0L Turbo/Supercharged DOHC 4-cyl. (Volvo V60 Polestar)

Turbocharging, downsizing and electrification are the powertrain themes we keep hearing from car-makers and those are precisely what this list reaffirms.

Six out of the ten best engines are force-fed with turbochargers while one is both turbocharged and supercharged. For the first time since the inception of the awards in 1995, a big-displacement V8 engine has not made it to the list. That’s hardly surprising, given today’s 6-cylinder mills generate as much power and torque, if not more. Three hybrids have made it to the list too!

BMW’s glorious turbocharged 3.0-liter I6 engine under the hood of the M240i and General Motors’ innovative Voltec drivetrain that powers the Volt have both retained their place in the list from 2016. 

The rest of the list includes one award-winning engine each from FCA, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo. 

Chrysler’s masterstroke in hybridizing its Pacifica minivan has earned plaudits worldwide and the 3.6-liter Atkinson Cycle V6 with plug-in hybrid tech is the engine with the biggest displacement in the list. At the other end sits Hyundai’s pint-sized 1.4-liter turbocharged ‘Kappa’ engine. 

Judges were particularly impressed with Ford’s 2.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder mill under the hood of the brilliant Focus RS. That they considered it to be the most exhilarating to drive of all the 40 powertrains tested is yet another proof Ford has got the Focus RS spot on.

All the award winners would be honored at a WardsAuto ceremony during the North American International Auto Show at Detroit in January.


Ferrari celebrates 50 years in Japan with the J50

Back in 1966, a 275 GTB became the first ever Ferrari to be officially registered in the Land of the Rising Sun. 50 years later, Ferrari is celebrating it's association with Japan, and how? During a special event held at the National Art Center in Tokyo recently, the Italian manufacturer revealed the new J50, a strictly limited series of bespoke cars to commemorate the occasion. 

Based on the 488 Spider, the J50 is a two-seat, mid-rear-engined roadster that marks a return to the ‘Targa’ body style that adorned some of the most-loved Ferraris of the seventies and eighties. Powered by a 3.9-liter twin-turbo V8 shared with the 488, the J50 delivers 681 horsepower wrapped in a radical and futuristic body work.

Created by Ferrari’s Special Projects department and designed by the Ferrari Styling Centre in Maranello, the J50 impresses the moment you set your eyes on it. Sporting ultra-slim LED headlights, raised wheel arch crests, two carbon-fibre air channels in the hood, quad taillights and one of the best diffusers we have ever seen, the J50 is a stunner. Of course, how can we not talk about the black swage line that rises from the nose and wraps around the car on either sides? Apart from looking fantastic, it is a novel interpretation of a design cue that iconic Ferraris like the 288 GTO, the F40 and the F50 had in the past.

If this is where Ferrari’s design is headed, we will have to prepare ourselves for visual treats more often from Italy! 

The interiors of the J50 are shared with the 488 Spider as well with a few custom bits thrown in for exclusivity. Trimmed in fine leather and Alcantara, the red-over-black interior is a perfect match to the exterior’s three-layer red paint with black accents. For those rainy days, there is a detachable two-piece carbon-fibre targa hard top that can be stowed behind the seats.

Just 10 of these would be made, each of them tailored specifically to cater to the tastes and needs of the individual customers who are likely to shell out six digit figures for this ten-of-a-kind Italian super car. The rest of us mortals shall wait and save until the next round of Ferrari celebrations.

McLaren celebrates 10,000 cars in 5 years

McLaren might be going through a lean phase in Formula 1 but their road cars are putting on what is easily the strongest showing ever in the history of the company.

Until 2011, McLaren had only produced a single line of road cars, albeit in the form of the legendary F1. The 12C, that went into production that year at the new McLaren Production Center in Woking, signaled the return of McLaren to the road car business and things have been looking up ever since. While it took 42 months to build the first 5,000 cars, the next 5,000 took just 22 months. Sales are rising exponentially, from 1,654 cars in 2015 to over 3,000 when 2016 comes to a close. Much of that popularity is thanks to McLaren’s new Sport Series – comprising the 540C, 570S and 570GT – that debuted early 2016. 

A 570S in ‘Ceramic Grey’ rolled off the line last week to become the 10,000th car since McLaren became a full-time road-car manufacturer. McLaren Special Operations (MSO) was the division that came up with this distinctive colour to mark the milestone. This landmark car isn’t heading to a customer and would be retained as part of McLaren’s Heritage Collection. 

While McLaren still has a long way to go to challenge Ferrari and Lamborghini on sales, there is no denying the fact that they are on a roll. With MSO already confirming that work on the legendary F1’s spiritual successor has started, things have never looked brighter for the British car-maker!


Tata Nexon spotted testing near Pune

When Tata Motors unveiled the Nexon Concept at the 2014 Auto Expo in New Delhi, little did we realize we were looking at an 'almost final' production model. It's funky design, unconventional waist line and the loud multi-tone paint job were conveniently forgotten as merely conceptual touches only for Tata to dazzle at the 2016 edition of the Auto Expo by retaining them all in the production model.

Testing in public roads started soon afterwards as we caught two speeding Nexons in Pune. It's almost an year now and it appears Tata isn't done with its testing schedules yet. Spotted by an ardent fan of Anything On Wheels in the outskirts of Pune earlier this week, the Nexon has now started shedding its camouflage ever so slightly.

Clearly evident from the close spy shot are Tata's trademark honeycomb grille with the unique mesh pattern, the protruding headlight, the inset foglamp housing, the distinct window line and the two-tone paint job. Also visible is the stylish alloy wheel and plastic cladding over the wheel arches for that quintessential crossover touch. The rear has evoked mixed emotions so far and we will reserve our final judgement until the official launch. All said and done, there is no denying the fact that Tata has tried something new with the Nexon using its "Impact Design" philosophy and the result is a distinctly impressive crossover. 

Remember the buzz generated by the Ford EcoSport when it was launched in 2013? This Tata is all set to do something similar in 2017.

If the recently launched Tiago is any indication, expect the Nexon's interiors to be classy, well-built and feature-rich. The car is expected to get a floating 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a two-tone dashboard and a rotary drive mode selector!

Tata Motors is in the midst of a new model onslaught that started with the launch of the successful Tiago. With the Hexa, Tiago-based compact sedan (codeanmed 'Kite 5') and the Nexon waiting in the wings, Tata is having its plate full. Come on Tata, bring the Nexon to the market already. The Hexas and Kites can wait!


Nissan GT-R roars into India

Few cars evoke emotions and induce smiles the way Nissan's flagship sports car, the GT-R, does. That Nissan has decided to bring such a legendary car to India is reason enough for celebrations. 

Imported as a Completely Built Unit (CBU) to be sold exclusively at Nissan's sole High Performance Centre in Noida, the GT-R will set you back by ₹1.99 Crore. And that's just the ex-showroom figure, mind you!

Launched here is the latest 2017 version of the car that just made its debut at the 2016 New York International Motor Show. This facelift has brought with it a sharper fascia dominated by the characteristic V-motion grille and a larger air dam. The multi LED headlights feature complex and distinctive detailing and the sculpted hood is now more aggressive, thanks to pronounced lines and the two air intake nostrils. The waist line gains prominence as you move towards the rear giving the GT-R a 'crouching-and-ready-to-pounce' stance. On the road, the GT-R's rear is what most onlookers would get to see most often and that's where the iconic four ring taillights and the functional diffuser with quad exhausts make an impact. Skirts all around, chin spoiler at the front and boot spoiler at the rear aid aerodynamics and look chic.

The GT-R launched in India is the European spec Premium Edition. That brings along leather appointments on the center console, door panels, shift lever and the dashboard with some bright shades on offer too. The 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system is a customizable unit capable of displaying a plethora of information that include real-time performance data like turbo boost, coolant temperature, oil temperature and even acceleration and cornering G-forces experienced. Those spirited night drives couldn't get any better!

Standard kit include Acoustic windscreen, Active Noise Cancellation, 11-speaker BOSE audio system, Automatic headlamps, six airbags, Vehicle Dynamic Control, Traction Control System, Anti-lock Braking System, Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Tyre Pressure Monitoring System.

Powering the GT-R is a 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine that churns out 562 horsepower and 637 Nm of torque. Mated to it is a 6-speed Dual Clutch Automatic Transmission and standard All Wheel Drive system. With a claimed top speed of 315 km/h and a 0 to 100 km/h acceleration time of under 3 seconds, this Nissan can rival the likes of Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Porsches. 

In India, Nissan offers the GT-R in seven exterior colour options (Katsura Orange, Vibrant Red, Pearl Black, Storm White, Daytona Blue, Gun Metallic and Ultimate Silver) and four interior trim shades (Red, Tan, Ivory and Black). Booking amount is said to be ₹25 Lakhs and the car would be made to order, so be prepared for a wait. 

With supercar-rivaling performance and rewarding chassis dynamics that earned the car legions of fans worldwide, the GT-R is what dreams are made of. Add to that Japanese reliability and it gets potentially lethal if you can cough up the asking price. Remember, the Ferraris and Lamborghinis cost twice as much!


Nikola aims to be the Tesla of trucks, unveils its full-electric 'One' semi-truck

Who would have imagined Nikola Tesla, the Serbian-American scientist famous for his contributions to alternating current electric supply, would have two companies named after him in the twenty first century? While Tesla has done everything right so far in challenging traditions, shaking the established car-makers out of their slumber and earning the respect, Nikola, cheekily named to possibly take advantage of Tesla's popularity, aims to do the same in trucks.

When Nikola announced the arrival on the big scene with renderings of it's One semi-truck earlier this year, they obviously made headlines everywhere. But we would be lying if we said we took them seriously. Blame it on the one too many promising proposals and renderings we had seen that never made it to reality. Squashing such thoughts however, Nikola unveiled it's 'One' zero-emission semi truck at an event held at Salt Lake City, Utah, United States of America.

With its sleek cab and flush wrap-around windshield split by thin A-pillars, the One looks quite chic and stylish for a semi truck. The cabin, from what we infer from the sole rendering available, is futuristic with a large touch screen-enabled dashboard and a smart instrument cluster. As its enormous size indicates, the cabin also has provisions for one or two beds for the driver and the co-driver to take turns for a nap, Wi-Fi and 4G LTE connectivity, a 40-inch curved TV, refrigerator, freezer and microwave. That's a living room there, literally. But the Nikola One is not about stylish looks or a fully-equipped cabin. It is all about what's underneath. 

The Nikola One has a fully electric drivetrain that's powered by a high-density 320 kWh lithium battery pack. Unlike a Tesla car that needs us to plug onto a socket for charging the batteries, Nikola One uses hydrogen fuel cells onboard to charge on-the-go. Nicola claims 1000 horsepower, 2000 pound-feet of torque, a 800 to 1200 mile range and fuel-efficiency equivalent to 15.4 miles per gallon for the One, almost twice as much as any other semi-truck on sale right now. Improved performance, increased fuel efficiency, usable range and zero emissions sure sounds a potentially lethal combination for rivals.

The biggest dampener for alternate fuel vehicles in general and hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles in particular is the lack of infrastructure to recharge or, in hydrogen fuel cell's case, refill. Nikola is aware of that and has plans to build a network of 350 plus Nikola stations spread across the United States and Canada. To make things better, Nikola One's purchase or lease agreement also gets 1 million miles worth of free hydrogen along with warranty and scheduled maintenance for 6 years. 

Nikola is still scouting for a location to build a manufacturing facility and has set itself a deadline to finalize on one in the first half of 2017. 2018 will see Nikola start building its hydrogen fueling stations, in time for a slated market launch of the One in 2020. 

Nikola claims pre-orders for the One totaling nearly three billion dollars, not a bad start at all considering the brand was pretty much unheard of until a few months ago and traditional rivals include biggies like Daimler, Volvo and Freightliner.

If you are still in doubt over the Nikola One, we have something for you. "This truck will come to market. I promise you that" were, apparently, the closing comments by Nikola founder and CEO Trevor Milton at the big unveiling ceremony. We are looking forward to it, Trevor!