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Best cars on display at the 2016 Dehli motor show


SUVs and hybrids were the flavour of the month at last week's Delhi Auto Expo, India's big biennial event.

More than 80 vehicle launches were held and a surprise entry was that of Jeep, making its debut in the show's 30-year history.

Mahindra was there with bells and whistles. The company, formed in 1945 with a handful of staff to produce ex-WWII Jeeps, now employs more than 200,000 people.

It showed the Thar, which is about as Jeep as a Jeep can be ... plus some of its new SUVs.

Compact cars, highly prized in India because of their agility in India's scary dart-and-weave traffic, abounded. Maruti-Suzuki gave the Vitara Brezza its first look at the world while VW unveiled its new Tiguan.

There were numerous electric vehicles from many brands

The other giant Indian automaker, Tata, had a couple of small SUVs and a neat little hatch unfortunately called the Zica — which was named before the mozzie-borne Zika virus popped up — and Mahindra showed its new 1.2-litre three-cylinder KUV100 and facelifted and bigger XUV500, the latter now with a six-speed auto.

Tata-owned Jaguar showed five new models, including its "Made in India" XE sedan, amid celebrations for six years under Tata ownership.

Volkswagen pulled the covers off its cutesy Ameo, which is really a Polo in sedan form. There were numerous electric vehicles from many brands.

The Delhi event also had a big showing of motorcycles and scooters, which greatly outnumber cars in India, with models from most of the world's manufacturers.

Mahindra, which recently acquired Peugeot scooters, and is the sole Indian maker in Moto3 racing, had a raft of new model two-wheelers, among them the GenZe, an all-electric scooter with remote diagnostics and navigation features and some additions to its Mojo 300cc lifestyle machines.

Mahindra's Queensland outpost is expanding its national network of dealers, automotive and agricultural. There's no word yet on whether the Thar will make it to Australia, while its next model to arrive is the Scorpio, due in 2017.

Who goes Thar?

The short answer is a Jeep built in India. The tough little US Army vehicle Mahindra started out with decades ago was the start of something big. The Thar runs a 2.5-litre diesel engine and attracted plenty of attention at the show with a host of butch features. As with Jeep in the US, Mahindra developed its Thar for tough driving conditions and the vehicle shares plenty of design and engineering themes with the US brand.

Mahindra XUV Aero

The Aero is a big, sleek coupe-like car with 158kW/450Nm, or 55kW more than the donor XUV's 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel. As with Hyundai's Veloster and the earlier Mazda RX-8, the car has three doors, one for the driver, two for passengers and an interior kitted out with some advanced infotainment. Will it go into production? Depends on public reaction. Judging by the appreciative show crowd — more than 100,000 visitors a day — it should.

Which car is your favourite from the 2016 Delhi motor show? Let us know in the comments below.