The 10 Meanest Machines from 2020 to Bring Back Road Trips

The 10 Meanest Machines from 2020 to Bring Back Road Trips
The year 2020 necessitated road trips and independently undertaken travel

The year saw a slew of mean machines launch in India, and we present our a few of the best ones

Prannay Pathak
December 31 , 2020
11 Min Read

Among the travel buzzwords chanted by everyone in the pandemic year, ‘solo travel’ and ‘road trip’ would easily top the list. Up until the outbreak of the virus, community, good company and a healthy amount of mingling with fellow humans had been par for the course. But then, suddenly, all of it changed—social distancing became the prefix to every action and thought, and undertaking your own travel became about the best option for travel, for a while at least. The unpredictability of the larger economic situation and the restrictions on travel had car and bike sales dipping and recovering and spiking and booming. Regardless, automobiles stayed in action and a number of motorbikes and cars were launched. Here are a few worth a dekko:

Royal Enfield Meteor 350
The latest in RE’s decorated line of motorcycles that boasts the recently launched and wildly popular Himalayan and Interceptor 650, is the lighter Meteor 350. The long-stroke engine has been touted to offer high torque even on a relatively low RPM. Said to be part of a “new era” of Royal Enfield machines, the Meteor will get the tech to match up against the likes of the Benelli Imperiale 400, the Jawa Perak and the Honda H’ness CB350.


Read: Easy, Rider: A Guide to First-Time Motorcycle Travel

Kia Sonet BS6

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The compact SUV designed specifically for the Indian market, launched earlier this year, and has already been tipped as the perfect companion to the country’s roads and an excellent fit for the middle-class pocket. With an engine that goes up to 1493cc, 250Nm torque and 113bhp, plenty of powertrain options, impressive fuel economy, a clutter-free cabin that is enough to make long rides comfortable. The conventional manual transmissions have made way for the smarter iMT that ensures smoother shifts. This Sonet will for sure do an epic job on the road.

Ducati Multistrada 950 S BS6

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With the fairing design having undergone an upgrade, the new ‘side-winged’ Multistrada 950 is a lot more like its elder brother, the 1260. It is powered by a 937cc liquid-cooled Testastretta L-twin that is also found on the Ducati SuperSport. There are four riding modes in this latest Multistrada—Urban, Touring, Sport, and Enduro. The 20-litre tank also means fewer re-fuelling stops—are you listening, overlanders?

Read: A Chat With Adventurer and Motorcyclist Lois Pryce

Mahindra Thar

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This true-blue off-roader that has been a consistent favourite in the Indian market was launched on Independence Day. The AX and AX Optional models have been equipped with side-facing seats at the rear and can seat six passengers as against the four of the LX variant. The LX model comes with a ground clearance of 226mm. Safety features are a priority in any off-road vehicle and the new Thar comes with dual-front airbags, EBD, ABS, and electronic stability control with roll-over mitigation, hill-hold and hill-descent control. Deliveries started in November.

Read: How to Stay Safe During a Road Trip During the Pandemic

KTM 250 Adventure

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The Austrian brand’s Duke series has been the object of the fascination of most of India’s young riders for about half a decade now. Its new offering, the 250 Adventure, is aiming to appeal to the Royal Enfield Himalayan fanbase owing to its nimble, sporty design and maneuverability—wider footpegs with better grip and ergonomic handlebar and seats. The lower-spec Katoom will draw power from a 248.8cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder engine (yeah, the same engine found on the 250 Duke).

Skoda Karoq
The Skoda Karoq
The SUV is a body that is expected to finally come into its own in the new normal, and Skoda, after Yeti and Kodiaq, is looking to do just that with the Karoq, even though it won’t come with a 4WD setup. With a 1.5l turbocharged petrol engine, 148bhp of power, a 7-speed DSG transmission and ample seating capacity and boot space, the Karoq is slated to provide stiff competition to the likes of the Hyundai Tucson and the Jeep Compass. Bookings for it are open, so make that offroading trip to Nagaland now.

2021 Honda CB1000R
The all-new Honda CB1000R
A true-blue naked bike, this one was the brand’s most impressive street fighter so far if one goes solely by looks. That’s not all—the single-sided swing arm, several adjustment options for suspensions on both front and rear, and a headlight assembly pack quite a punch and render the bike a lot different from its predecessors. But since brawn isn’t everything, be prepared to be blown away by the rest—the 4-cylinder, 999c engine is inherited from the classic Fireblade model and will comply with Euro 5/BS6 emission norms. The bike is expected to be out in India early in 2021 and if you need something multipurpose, this is it.

Read: Motorcycle Diaries, Again: An Epic South American Adventure

MG Gloster

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Another terrific candidate for the title of the top off-roader in India in 2020 was the MG Gloster, albeit within the luxury space. The ladder-frame chassis of this car that distinguishes itself as a genuine SUV enables fuel efficiency and improved performance, and is provided great power by the twin-turbo engine. There are seven modes suited to Indian terrain, 550-mm water wading capability alongside a 2.0l turbocharged petrol engine, 360Nm peak torque and 220PS of power. The other great feature is its tremendous all-round visibility, including seat height adjustability, a blind spot detector and a 360-degree camera. 2020 gave us plenty of demons, but also this beast to vanquish them all.

Read: A Road Trip to Ooty

Aprilia SXR 160

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Its launch delayed for the longest time due to the pandemic, the much-awaited maxi-scooter from the Italian manufacturer to rival the BS6 Suzuki Burgman Street 125, was eventually here to jazz up the Indian market. It is powered by a 160cc, fuel-injected engine, and with better power and fuel economy and improved torque, weekend getaways with your gang have no more reasons to be called off. The Aprilia SXR 160 is perfect for those long drives around the city—it has an instrument cluster that is totally digital, and offers smartphone connectivity and a USB charging port.

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