The Coronavirus pandemic affected the entire automotive industry pretty hard back in 2020. Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse during the second wave in 2021. But still, the automakers in India weren't deterred by these setbacks. For our second year of the BBC TopGear Magazine Awards, the entire team had a tough time nominating each vehicle in our categories and an even tougher time selecting a winner. But nevertheless, let us not bore you with the minor details and just get straight on with what you are all here to know!
Engine of the Year
One can easily assume that we are just going to focus on that mighty V8s, V10s, or the V12s. But, in reality. Our choices are the workhorse that propels the masses while proving the perfect balance between performance and fuel efficiency. Our choice of the lot was the 1-litre 3-cylinder K10c engine in the Maruti Suzuki Celerio.
Innovative feature of the Year
In an evolving world such as ours, new technologies are added to modern vehicles constantly. But out of all the tech that we find in modern-day vehicles, the active cylinder technology found in Volkswagen's 1.5-litre TSI EVO engine is what caught our attention.
Two-Wheeler of the Year (up to 130cc)
This is the bread and butter of the majority of the Indian consumers, and brands primarily focus on offering only commuter motorcycles in this segment and don't bike makers don't try and think out of the box here. But still, the Bajaj Pulsar NS125 won our hearts by offing a unique experience in the 130cc segment.
Premium Cruiser of the Year
Who doesn't like to head out on the open road while straddling these high-performance cruisers, because we certainly would love to do just that! And as our travel partner, we couldn't think of anything else apart from the Indian Chief Dark Horse.
ADV of the Year (up to 500cc)
This segment is usually for motorcycles designed to explore the off-beat path just as much as they would love to zoom off on the open highways and, in essence, offer the best of both worlds. The ADV that really impressed us was the BMW Motorrad G 310 GS.
Compact Mini-SUV of the Year
This segment shows that SUVs don't have to just be rugged and tough to sell but can also be a lot more practical and approachable, and the vehicles competing in this segment showcase just that. But what stood out among the competition was the Renault Kiger.
Mid-Size SUV of the Year
This is currently the hottest segment in India, where all the manufacturers are trying to claim this crown! The competition here is so cutthroat that the team and we had a tough time deciding which vehicle deserves this title. Nevertheless, we brainstormed for hours and came to a result which was the Volkswagen Taigun.
ADV of the year (up to 300cc)
Who doesn't like a splice of adventure through their daily commute? And nobody likes a broken trail more than a buyer who will appreciate the ADVs knowing that it isn't denting their pockets. Thus, our choice is the Hero XPulse 200 4V, which offers everything that one would require.
Two-Wheeler of the Year (up to 160cc)
This segment caters to consumers who want a bit more out of their motorcycles. The bikes nominated in this category offer just that little extra to entice customers. But the one to do it best is the Yamaha R15 Version 4.0, by offering basically a heavily toned down R1 superbike that is accessible to the masses.
Two-Wheeler of the Year (up to 250cc)
The quarter-litre segment was always seen as an entry-level performance segment, and till this day, it caters as a gateway for most enthusiasts and the newly revised KTM RC 200 ticks all the boxes to help it win over the other nominations.
Two-Wheeler of the Year (up to 400cc)
This segment has seen significant growth in the past decade in India, and more and more bike manufacturers are now catering for buyers in this segment. However, Honda has really outshined in this segment with the CB350RS.
Premium SUV of the Year
We were extremely surprised to see that when we were jotting down the nominations for this category, plenty of vehicles were launched in 2021 that catered to this category and just like our last category. So the entire team had to brainstorm alongside our online votes to bring forward a winner. But the Skoda Kodiaq came out as a winner compared to its competitors.
Entry-Level Luxury Sedan of the Year
This segment is usually the gateway drug that we all call luxury for young entrepreneurs and, in most cases, old entrepreneurs too. It gives a buyer a taste of what each luxury manufacturer has to offer. Our winner this year was the BMW 3 Series Gran Limousine.
Luxury Mid-Size SUV of the Year
How do you make luxury feel more luxurious by adding more space, and who does it better than SUVs! So out of quite a tough choice, we had to give it to the Volvo XC60 for redesigning what we are to expect from this segment with the features and comfort it has to offer.
Luxury Sedan of the Year
Now the entry-level sedans set the bar pretty high, to begin with, so automotive manufacturers have to really put it all to impress the consumers in this segment. While the Germans did all they could to retain the crown, the Lexus ES 300h swopped up the award for the luxury sedan of the year.
Luxury EV Car of the Year
EVs are not only taking over the world, but now they are also taking over the luxury segment, and the Jaguar I-Pace has hit the home run by offering luxury and, more importantly, a fantastic range that most buyers in this segment would appreciate.
Luxury Car of the Year
How do you one-up both those previous categories? It takes someone up, over-the-box around the box, or even just out of the box thinking, and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class just aces luxury like no other, making it the rightful winner of this segment, luxury car of the year.
Two-Wheeler of the Year (up to 700cc)
The middleweight segment has always offered great versatility and has been an aspiration for most motorcycle enthusiasts. With that being said, the Triumph Trident 660 provides performance and usability without burning a hole in your pocket and hence was the winner of this category.
Two-Wheeler of the Year (up to 1000cc)
These are the poster child of each bike manufacturer; these either end up in your garage or as a poster on your wall! So for us, the Ducati Monster is a fitting winner in this category compared to its other nominations.
Two-Wheeler of the Year (up to 1500cc)
These are the flagship, the pin-up models from each bike manufacturer. They are built to showcase the true potential of what these bike makers can achieve. For 2021, the Suzuki Hayabusa is the superbike that managed to etch a space in the entire team's heart, thus winning the two-wheeler of the year in the 1500cc category.
7 Seater SUV of the Year (Sub Rs 30 lakh)
This category saw 3 humongous launches through 2021 and gave the entire team sleepless nights. There have been so many debates, arguments and even tiffs in the office to bring forward a winner in this segment. Trust me, we all have bruises to show how intense the discussions got! Nevertheless, the Tata Safari managed to bag this award for being the best all-rounder full-size SUV.
Hatchback of the Year
Hatchbacks are the bread and butter of the Indian segment, with most automakers trying to outdo the other by offering new tech, more comfort and even better performance in this segment. However, the winner had to be the Hyundai i20 N Line for providing the perfect balance of performance and practicality that customers would require in a hatchback.
Editor's Choice Tech Feature of the Year
Manufacturers have really pushed the envelope on technology in the past decade. One such feature that really stood out and has earned the Editor's Choice Tech Feature of the year is the AI Assistant on the MG Astor.
Editor's Choice EV Car of the Year
Electric vehicles are usually seen as a sensible purchase but fortunately, we had the opportunity to experience an EV made purely for fun which was the Porsche Taycan. It blew us away with its electrifying performance and deserved to win the editor's choice EV award.
Editor's Choice Innovative Auto Solution
Innovation is at the heart of this industry, and one such innovation that was impressive and worthy of the Editors Choice Innovation Auto Solution is the JK Tyre Puncture Guard, which really redefines innovation in the automotive segment.
ADV of the Year (1000c and above)
These are your tough, rugged mile munchers that can comfortably take you cross country and, if required, even across continents. What better way to explore the unknown than with our winner of this category, which is the Harley Davidson Pan America 1250 S.
Scooter of the Year 2022
This segment has always been the one that attracts the most buyers, and manufacturers keep trying to one-up themselves and the competition with their new launches. Through the years, this segment has grown from puny little 50cc scooters to now having scooters that share the same engine as a motorcycle. But what aced out in 2021 was the TVS Jupiter 125 by offering a complete package that a customer would desire.
Entry-Level Performance Car of the Year
I never thought I would mention the words entry-level and performance in the same sentence. But what a time to be alive and the car to nail this balance is the BMW M340i which left every team member wanting to step out of the vehicle at all.
Performance Car of the Year
Now, this segment is something that entices everyone who doesn't like just performance! That being said, delivering the perfect balance between performance and daily usability is what we were looking for. The Audi RS 5 Sportback is a performance sedan that satisfies all the needs one has.
Supercar of the Year
Settling for one in this segment was nearly impossible since a debate between your heart and mind will never settle. But still, we had to be professionals and decide on a winner, which we chose was the Lamborghini Huracan STO for being the perfect weapon to destroy lap times of any racetrack around the globe.
Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year
Being a lifestyle buyer is a hard choice. With that being said, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is our pick of the lot for this category. It is hard, rugged and purposefully built that really can go anywhere! The cherry on top has to be that it is now locally assembled in India, making it relatively affordable.
Turnaround Vehicle in the Indian Market
This vehicle, when launched, carried the entire company on its shoulders and solely retrieved the company from leaving the Indian Market. And the car in question here is the Nissan Magnite which proved to be a market favourite and has sold in huge numbers ever since it was first launched.
Automobile CEO of the Year
Being a CEO is no easy feat and is a position reserved only for the best of the best shaped by some hard decisions that shape the very structure of the automobile industry. This year's Automobile CEO of the Year is Mr Shailesh Chandra from Tata Motors.
Editor's Choice Manufacturer of the Year
Being an automobile manufacturer involves more than just building cars. Some might suggest that they shape the very lives and memories of that most people grow up with. One such manufacturer that's constantly pushed the envelope and has earned the Editors' Choice Manufacturer of the Year is Hyundai.
Editor's Choice Two-Wheeler of the Year
Building a two-wheeler that can sustain itself in our rather harsh environments and streets is no easy feat, and one such manufacturer that never fails to amaze and is the Editor's Choice Two-Wheeler of the Year is TVS with the Raider 125.
Motorcycle of the Year for 2022
Each year, each two-wheeler manufacturers battle it out to win this coveted award. Each brand focuses on pleasing customers by offering the best balance of performance, fuel efficiency, features, and affordability. Like every year, we had a tough time sorting out the best of the best in two-wheelers. However, we had to give it to the Royal Enfield Classic 350 for completely changing everyone's perspective of the RE image. It retained its roots while revamping itself to please both the old skool customers and the new buyers.
Car of the Year for 2022
This is it, the moment you were all waiting for. With so many vehicles launched in India in 2021, our voters, jury members and even the editorial team spent a lot of sleepless nights trying to justify who should be the winner of this award. Finally, after a lot of coffee and discussions, we had to give this award to the Mahindra XUV 700 for just hitting the bullseye! From the price point to the engine and variant options, the XUV 700 caters to everyone's needs while also standing out from the competition.
To watch the entire BBC TopGear Magazine Awards, click the link below.