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5 Longest Lasting Car Models in India

Car models in India come and go. Some last long, and the others don't. Over the years, we've seen legendary models like the Maruti 800, Ambassador, and Padmini fade away. But there were some that stayed and remained evergreen. Today, we will look at five of these models that have stood the challenge of the Indian market for the longest time. 

Hindustan Ambassador (1958-2014)

Name an Indian car more legendary than the Ambassador, and we challenge you. It was the car of dreams for every kid. If you owned one, you had immense respect from everyone around you. It transported the ultra-elite, who made fundamental changes like the top politicians and bureaucrats. We think it's one of the best-designed cars India has ever seen. It evolved over the years but kept this legendary design the same. The Ambassador lasted almost half a century on the Indian roads, making it the longest running model in Indian automotive history. That being said, even the absolute best cars aren't immortal. The Ambassador faced a tough time with declining sales in the 2010s, eventually leading to its discontinuation in 2014. The car is still revered for introducing India to luxury and is integral to the Indian car heritage. Some passionate buyers still own Ambassadors and take them out on roads with absolute pride.

Maruti 800 (1983-2014)

Any list of Indian Automotive history is incomplete without the Maruti 800. The 800 was launched when owning a car was a dream for Indians. You had the Ambassadors and Fiats, but the elites exclusively owned all. A car that revolutionized this was the first Maruti ever, the 800. It had better tech, better features and, best of all, better mileage. Launched in 1983, it got 120,000 advanced bookings. Throughout its fantastic run, it ruled the hearts of Indian buyers, rich and poor alike. It also formed the base for India's most successful automobile manufacturer, Maruti Suzuki. After a splendid run of around 30 years, the 800 was discontinued in 2014. Its killers were the stricter BS4 emission norms. Even after ten years of being discontinued, it is still regarded as one of the most important cars to be sold in India.

Mercedes-Benz E-class (1995-now)

When we set out to make this list, we genuinely did not expect a luxury model to make it. On top of that, if you told us it would have a German badge, we wouldn't believe you. But it turns out it is true. Mercedes-Benz found an Indian partner in the form of Tata in 1995 and launched the E-class. This means the luxury sedan has had a glorious career of almost 29 years in India. What makes this feat even more impressive is that in the 2023 sales report, Mercedes said the E-class is still their best-selling model. Wouldn't it be wrong to call it the big daddy of sedans, right?

Honda City (1998-now)

When we were young, there were just a handful of models that we knew. In those, most would be the everyday cars seen on the road. There was one that set itself apart, the one that was the aspiration. This model was the Honda City. Its sleek design, high reliability, and worthy engine have inspired kids like me to own it someday. Now that we think of it, the City has stood the test of time incredibly well. Launched in 1998, the City has seen multiple iterations and has served as the sole warrior for Honda for many years. Its siblings came and went, but the City stayed, and we hope it stays for a long time ahead. 

Maruti Suzuki Alto (2000-Now)

When it came out in 2000, the Maruti Alto had a big responsibility on its shoulders. To up the game over the 800. This was a mighty task as the 800 was almost reaching legendary status back then. The Alto did not disappoint; it established its place and has stayed firm there ever since. It has seen itself get a complete revamp multiple times throughout its lifetime. It is also split into two parts, the Alto 800 and the Alto K10. None of this stopped its popularity among the Indian masses. After years of ranking in the most sold models, the Alto faces its most formidable challenge in the SUV trend. What remains of its legacy is the Alto K10, which saw its sibling, the Alto 800, perish in April 2023. Do you think the Alto K10 will survive the SUV tide and come victorious?

TopGear Magazine June 2024