I’ve written this article to relieve the despondency I’m going through since the day automakers stopped bothering about using same down-the-road graphics for a hatchback and its more felicitous version which we have been forced to call a (compact) sedan.
Arguably, Tata was the first one to start this warfare by launching the Indigo – a sedan version of the Indica V2. Lo and behold, Maruti Suzuki didn’t wait much and joined this herd instinct by introducing the Dzire. These two cars could have been awarded as the “Most hideous cars in India” in late last decade, the time when people began contributing to forging this bozos explosion by moving on from genuine yet tasteful designs like Hyundai Accent to these blowzy so-called compact sedans, which in a more descriptive sense are nothing more than hatchbacks with external boot. This was the time when recognizing a car, whether it’s a hatchback or sedan, started becoming a task. An era of identity crisis was about to begin.
And, this is the core point what I want to be heard for – Cars have begun losing their exclusivity factor! Dear auto-makers, think and ask yourselves to go beyond playing with the size of what has already been created, as you are not in sex toys business where size matters most but not looks. You are making cars – the big yet sentimental asset a middle class think to own after finding a crib for himself, at least here in India.
I, and probably a multitude of you – auto enthusiasts – would believe the ideology that a car is more than just a possession which reflects the style, taste, likeness and much more about the real persona of its buyer, and more importantly the artist (or the team of artists) who has created it. Our buying decisions largely depends on the way we are being persuaded by the exclusivity of a product; we eventually connect ourselves to it, appreciate it, feel impelled, start admiring and finally bring that “my-favorite” home one day. And this is how cars like Impala, Ford Mustang, Pagani Zonda, Lamborghini Countach, Ferrari F40 and so on have created their own bed of worshipers.
Leave the exotics aside, creations like Volkswagen Beetle and Mini Cooper, or consider even more cost-effective developments you can connect easily with like Maruti Suzuki 800 and Mahindra Scorpio, have become iconic only after proving their mettle and intent to solve a purpose. To the world’s surprise, this is when a list of flaws can be prepared for each of them. But what matters more is they all have/had their individual identities. They were different expressions, of different contemplation and different visions. But, in today’s world, the so-called modernized and technologically developed era, it seems like no time is left to materialize the creativity and all striving to make this world dark, arid. Not empty but hollow!
Today, India has 5 compact sedans to offer. And to my shame, all 5 look almost as same as their hatchback versions. Changes are limited to diminutive bits like chrome-plated grille, and if you are lucky enough you may find the headlamp cluster in a different shade at most. Unfortunately, Honda has taken this sterile approach to an all new level. To discern the Amaze from Brio they have painted the front bumper grille in body color. I personally point that out as the nasty of the nastiest aesthetic flaws this car have, even before its overly emphasized out-of-sync side body creases. When I saw the Amaze for the first time, my first reaction was has the bumper been repainted at a nukkad shop?
Dear Ford, I love your cars. I own a Ford too. But this was not expected from you.
While sharing of mechanical components between different models is something unquestionable to quite a great extent, but making them not appear distinctive, especially from a cheaper version, is as equal as blasphemy. Excuses are many to justify this degrading business practice, but at core, dear automakers, you are doing nothing but killing the passion people have for the cars. I think it’s enough said to pour my heart out.
Now, I’d like to share a word with the new car buyers as well. Dear people, first thing first, you need to understand that an external boot is not the only bit that differentiates a sedan from a hatchback. I do agree that by stretching your hatchback budget a little, you can get the utility of a large boot and (pseudo-)feel of driving a bigger car (although, never for me), but please don’t think of compact sedan as a substitute to the mid-size sedans. I’ve come across many people trying to project their compact sedans as practical version of the models from a segment above. Yes, these cars can be said practical but not a version of a segment above sedan car.
Sedans I sorely miss today –