The time has come to look back on 2016 and recognise automotive excellence. Welcome to the CNBC-TV18 OVERDRIVE Awards 2017. Each year our awards recognise achievement in multiple categories across the automotive galaxy. In every case, we are looking for vehicles, organisations and people who stand head and shoulders above their peers. These are the stars of our show, the winner of the CNBC-TV18 OVERDRIVE Awards 2017.
The awards candidate pool is divided into two categories. Vehicles imported into India via the CBU route are restricted to their categories, but the vehicles assembled or manufactured in India get the lion’s chunk of awards. These include the prestigious Car, Bike and Scooter Of The Year Awards. The process of identifying these awards includes a jury consisting of members of the OVERDRIVE test team as well as eminent experts from the field who help zero in on the vehicles that deserve the accolades. And now, without further ado…
DESIGN OF THE YEAR
Triumph Triumph Thruxton R
Sometimes a design transcends expectations rather than exceed them. The new Triumph Thuxton R is one of them. The feelings begin with the stunning visual design which sticks to the essentials of cafe racer design but with unprecedented finesse in execution and sensitively added detail. But it the sensation of riding the motorcycle that is really special. The Thruxton R feels correct. It has a predictable feel that most modern motorcycles can achieve, but the twin-cylinder engine and the chassis have a laid-back poise that is very old school. Just like the motorcycle. It’s the combination of the styling and the nature of the performance that wins the Triumph Thruxton R our Design Of the Year Award. The Triumph Thruxton R boasts a 1,200cc parallel twin-cylinder engine making 112Nm of peak torque. It comes with ABS, riding modes and traction control as standard. The R model gets adjustable suspension and is the only Thruxton variant on sale in India.
MOTORSPORT AWARD OF THE YEAR
Winning a championship title once in the field of motorsport takes effort. Winning a championship title for the second time, however, takes exceptional effort. Gaurav Gill’s tremendous hard work and discipline, in combination with his natural talent and flair for rallying, have paid off this year.
Gill not only won his second FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship title in 2016, he also achieved this feat in an astounding manner, winning every single rally along the way. On his way to the 2016 APRC crown, the Team MRF Skoda driver took six victories of six rallies, ensuring he dominated the season and also ensuring he takes his place alongside other rally greats who have also won multiple APRC titles.
It is for this precise reason that Gaurav Gill wins our Motorsport Award Of The Year.
PERFORMANCE BIKE OF THE YEAR
Ducati 959 Panigale
All-out performance is a lofty goal. The Ducati 959 Panigale is a stunning example of success at achieving it. The motorcycle spans both a friendly nature so that new riders can learnt without intimidation as well as profound performance envelope so experienced riders can continue to extract performance from it. It’s this wide array of talents along with a near-silent but effective suite of electronic rider aids combined with excellent spec and pricing that makes the Ducati 959 Panigale our Performance Bike Of The Year. The Ducati 959 Panigale is the entry-level Panigale and is powered by 160PS 90Â° V-twin with desmodromic valves. The motorcycle gets the full electronics suite and is designed to handle track work as well as road use.
PERFORMANCE CAR OF THE YEAR
The Volkswagen Polo GTI is a legendary name and car. It was created before the corporate honchos knew of it and before you knew it. The car both had a cult following and 2 million units in sales. The latest generation of the car comes to India with the 192PS engine, a smart two-door design that helps it stand out, and a blend of ride quality and handling that will warm the very cockles of your heart. It is a supremely involving package that aces all the parameters needed to be our Performance Car Of The Year! Congratulations Volkswagen!
IMPORT MOTORCYCLE OF THE YEAR
Triumph Street Twin
The Triumph Street Twin opens the new Bonneville range for the British motorcycle maker. But unlike other models in the range, the Street Twin stands out because of two shrewd decisions the engineers made. First, the Street Twin is a small, compact motorcycle with the low seat, but it isn’t an all-out retro motorcycle which widens both its useability and appeal. Second, Triumph ensured that the motorcycle has the basic electronics as standard – ABS and traction control – although it was meant to be the entry-level model. This is matched to a torquey twin-cylinder 900cc engine and a friendly chassis, and it comes together as a motorcycle that works really well in India. This is why the Triumph Street Twin is our Import Motorcycle Of The Year. The Street Twin is powered by a 900cc parallel twin that makes 55PS and it gets ABS and traction control as standard.
IMPORT SUV OF THE YEAR
Bentley is making SUVs now? There was a lot of apprehension and the reactions to the concept that previewed the design were mixed. But we should all really have trusted the Bentley boys to know what they were up to. Because the Bentayga looks as imposing and expensive as a Bentley is supposed to be in the flesh. It drives with that gutsy reserve that one expects from an SUV of its stature, and it has a surprisingly ride and handling balance that you simply do not expect from a vehicle this size. No other SUV launched as a CBU this year was as impressive. Our Import SUV Of The Year is the Bentley Bentayga.
IMPORT CAR OF THE YEAR
The Volvo sedan has never played by the rules of the segment. The S90, though, is something else altogether. It starts with the idea that the S90 is a relaxed premium car, neither sporty nor luxury-oriented. But it rapidly becomes clear when you drive it. The S90 is beautiful. It feels great to look at from every angle, and it owes nothing to any other vehicle design in the world. The cabin is luxurious, well-appointed as Scandinavian cabins tend to be but also extremely restrained and uncluttered. The driving feel is similar too. The ride is super comfortable without being too plush, handling is competent without being too aggressive… The whole car is tuned into this state of zen where it all falls into place leaving you in peaceful and serene. The Volvo S90 is unusually good at what it does. And it is our Import Car Of The Year!
HALL OF FAME
Madras Motor Sports Club Race Track, Irungattukottai
It is impossible for motorsport to flourish in any country without the right infrastructure. Which is why it is important to recognise any entity that makes it possible for motorsport to thrive, especially in a country like ours. The Madras Motor Race Track, run by the Madras Motor Sports Club, is one such entity.
It has provided young racers from India the perfect opportunity to learn the art of racing and hone their skills, since the early ’90s, and has served as a training ground for the likes of Narain Karthikeyan, Karun Chandhok, Armaan Ebrahim, Aditya Patel, Gaurav Gill and several other Indians currently racing or rallying internationally.
The track has also been granted FIA Grade 2 certification, allowing it to host international events. For their tireless effort to promote motorsport in India, the MMST receives our Hall of Fame Award.
VIEWERSâ€™ CHOICE SCOOTER OF THE YEAR
The Suzuki Access 125 came out as all-new scooter designed to replace the firecracker that was the earlier Suzuki Access. It proves to be a savvy update. The new Scooter uses a restrained design with a clever colour palette and the retro chrome headlight surround to create an air of sophistication. This is matched rather well by a competent scooter chassis, excellent disc brakes, well-tuned suspension and an engine that hasn’t forgotten who to have a little fun while keeping an iron grip on economy and refinement. These are among the many reasons why you all voted the Suzuki Access to the top and made it our Viewersâ€™ Choice Scooter Of The Year!
LUXURY SUV OF THE YEAR
The Mercedes-Benz GLC shares its underpinnings with the C-Class. It is the companyâ€™s ninth locally assembled product. The GLC gets a long list of standard safety and assistance features. These include parking assist, attention assist, adaptive brake lights, seven airbags and a tyre-pressure monitoring system. Other infotainment features include a 20-CD stereo, Garmin-based navigation, two USB ports and SD card inputs. The GLC is offered with two engine options â€” a 2.1-litre 170PS/400Nm diesel engine and a 2.0-litre 245PS/370Nm petrol engine. Both the engines come mated to 9-speed automatic transmission. Mercedes claims that the petrol GLC300 will do the 0-100kmph run in 6.5s and hit a top whack of 225kmph, and the diesel does the same in 8.3s and 210kmph.
PREMIUM SUV OF THE YEAR
The new-generation Ford Endeavour looks far more modern and contemporary than the earlier generation which can be seen with its aggressive-meets-bold-design language. The new Ford Endeavour sits on top of Fordâ€™s portfolio in India as the flagship model and is available in five trims. The premium SUV comes with two diesel engine options â€“ a 3.2-litre 5-cylinder unit and a 2.2-litre 4-cylinder mill. A 6-speed automatic and the 4Ã—4 drivetrain is offered on both the variants, but the 2.2 can also be optioned with a manual transmission or a 4Ã—2 configuration. The 3.2-litre also comes with different terrain modes to optimise driving performance in snowy, sandy or rocky ground. In terms of safety, the new Endeavour comes with seven airbags.
UTILITY VEHICLE OF THE YEAR
Toyota InnovaÂ Crysta
The Toyota Innova has an extraordinary history in India. It arrived when the Qualis was at its peak and replaced it. And it has been a fairy tale. The new-generation Innova grows slightly in size and stature and has a higher price tag too. But it also has more space and features, comprehensive safety equipment, and brand-new petrol and Diesel engines that know what they are expected to deliver. Toyota has rolled out an effective update to an extraordinary vehicle with aplomb. The Toyota Innova Crysta is our UV Of The Year!
PREMIUM CAR OF THE YEAR
The Hyundai Elantra’s run for the award starts with it being the best in its class. This is it achieved with its design and engineering. The spacious sedan is smart to look at as well as good to drive. It’s the new benchmark in its segment. But the Elantra is more than just a good car. It belongs to a segment where a lot of cars fell by the wayside as sales switched to SUVs. Not the Hyundai Elantra. It has reignited interest in its class, and it is this along with sheer ability that makes it our Premium Car Of The Year!
COMPACT CAR OF THE YEAR
The Tata Tiago represents a turning point for Tata Motors in India. It’s an extremely well-executed package that exceeds all expectations. From the sleek and modern design of the exterior to little details in the cabin. From the ride and handling package to the overall engineering. The Tata Tiago has single-handedly revived Tata Motors, and that’s why it is our Compact Car Of The Year!
LIFESTYLE VEHICLE OF THE YEAR
Isuzu D-Max V-Cross
Our country isn’t known for its love for pick-up trucks. In fact, they are a rare sight on our roads. However, ever since the Isuzu D-Max arrived on our shores, the pick-up truck segment has seen a spurt in sales. Apart from the huge dimensions which make it stand out, the D-Max is a practical package that comes equipped with a host of comfort features while the large loading bay allows it to carry an impressive amount of luggage. The Isuzu D-Max V-Cross delivers an old-school SUV feel while feeling indestructible. Also, Isuzu diesel engines are known to be reliable units. This pick-up truck can go anywhere from treading on tarmac to broken roads as well as muddy trails and it goes off-road too. It meets all the criteria to bag our Lifestyle Vehicle Of The Year Award! Congratulations Isuzu!
MANUFACTURER OF THE YEAR
Hyundai Motor India
Hyundai Motor India has had a great year! The numerics look excellent with great sales in India as well in the export market. This is also based on the new product onslaught. Hyundai launched the Creta, the Elantra and the Tucson, all of which are segment-leading products in their own right. They’re all design and quality benchmarks. But Hyundai also did extraordinary CSR work this year, including the campaign to save our monuments and their untiring work in the aftermath of the floods in Chennai. Hyundai Motor India is our Manufacturer Of The Year!
SCOOTER OF THE YEAR
BIKE OF THE YEAR, VIEWERS’ CHOICE BIKE OF THE YEAR
TVS Apache RTR 200 4v