Well, people do think as to which car would be the best to buy should you be coming up with a very handsome budget or be it that you are with the poor man’s begging bowl. Not to worry as Indiandrives and yours truly are here to help you out. Well this list may throw up some doubts about my choice of cars but then this is a honest thought from my end and to the core of my knowledge and abilities. I have segregated the categories into different divisions some like just under Rs 3 lakhs and so on. Hope this contributes for some enjoyable reading and also ultimately in your buying decisions. All the prices quoted here are ex-show room prices and nah, this time I wouldn’t be bothered to add if its Mumbai, Agra, Andaman and Nicobar islands or whatsoever. Take your pick and enjoy it to the core. Unfortunately no SUVs feature in this guide and maybe a separate feature about SUVs may come up.
Under Rs 3 lakhs :
Nowadays, there are so many cars vying for one’s attention in the entry level segment that it is very hard to select a pick. Since I am a 6 footer, my initial concern would be towards the space in front and the back. Well, as far as space is concerned, the Maruti car would have to take a bow out (read Maruti Alto) and it would be the Tata Indica Xeta GLE version which comes in number 1 position. Second up would be the base version of the Hyundai Santro whereas the third position is shared by the Maruti van, Eeco in base trim and the Tata Nano LX. All these cars have space in ample which belie their small exterior dimensions. Of all these cars, the Eeco is the one with the largest body shell whereas the Nano is the smallest.
From Rs 3- 4 lakhs :
With the launch of many new small cars, this segment has also become crowded. Infact more and more new manufacturers are trying their hand in here. The first car which comes to mind in this category is the outstanding Ford Figo. It has got a perfect mix of ride and handling. Space is also readily available. Moreover the number of awards it has garnered since its launch is proof enough that this small car from Ford is here to stay and would make a sensible buy in its base Lxi trim. Next up is the Hyundai I10 in its base D-lite version. How can I forget the old champion in this segment, the Maruti Swift? The Swift which would soon be replaced by a newer version is also a good buy in its base Lxi trim. The Chevrolet Aveo U-VA in its base trim is also a good buy plus the Chevrolet’s 3 year zero maintenance program is enough of an assurance to take care of one’s buying decision.
From Rs 4-6 lakhs :
Now comes the turn of diesel hatchbacks and a few sedans. The top pick in this segment would be the Tata Indigo E-cs. It has got ample of space, has got a diesel engine under the hood and is sort of nice to drive as well. The Skoda Fabia only lost out on some points due to its hatchback image. However it has got space, quality materials and the all essential big car feel, all embroiled into one. I did consider the Polo but then like I discussed earlier, the Polo is totally cramped and this was the sole reason why it didn’t make its presence felt in this list. Maruti’s Ritz is once again one of the best in this segment with ample of space, pace and refinement. The Ritz in its top petrol variant ain’t that bad as also the entry level diesel. The Hyundai I20 Asta (o) Kappa however also presents a strong case for itself. It is spacious, feature laden and has got a nice petrol motor under the hood. It is the only petrol in this segment which seems worth it other than the Ritz.
From Rs 6-8 lakhs :
The safest car in this lot and price would be the Hyundai I20 Asta (O) CRDI with all the options ticked. It is not only spacious but also has a bomb of a diesel engine under the hood. It has an interior seating arrangement which would rival some expensive sedans. Next up would be the Ford Fiesta Duratorq ZXI in its Classic avatar with all the bells and whistles that one could ask for. Plus it also gives diesel fuel economy and good front seats. Well, if your chauffer isn’t on the taller side (which they usually aren’t), then this car would be the best bet for you. Its discounted pricing should make the deal all the more sweeter. If its petrol cars, then the Volkswagen Vento base version with its 1.6 liter petrol engine and nice interiors would be the best bet. If you still prefer a hatchback, then look towards the Honda stable with its very capable Honda Jazz gleaming at you. It has got ample of space, somewhat nice interiors and the all important fuel efficiency going for it.
From Rs 8-12 lakhs :
Surprisingly, I would omit the Honda City from this list. The reason is that it is simply overpriced and at this price, you don’t even get a proper CD player. The Volkswagen Vento diesel in its highest trim would take the piece of cake. Not that it is feature laden but then it more or less provides the same things as the Honda City and also brings in diesel economy to the equation. The Fiat Linea T-jet is the surprise package here but then the Linea is also a spacious car with a bit of compromise at the rear. It is also nice to drive plus handles beautifully as well. Not to mention the beautiful form that it comes in. The Toyota Corolla Altis petrol in its highest trim and the mid level diesel are also the best buys. The Chevrolet Cruze with its 150 Ps of power is also one of the best diesel cars in this segment and plus it has got that big bad boy image which buyers in this segment prefer.
From Rs 12-18 lakhs :
The Skoda Laura in its L&K trim as also 1.8 TSI trim would be the best buy in this segment. It has got ample of space, pace and fuel efficiency to boot for. Plus all the creature comforts that one can desire for. The Honda Civic with the sun roof would also be a top pick. The best part of this car is its space age interiors, which even after all these years haven’t lost the novelty factor associated with them. The Volkswagen Jetta with its understated styling but good enough engine and interiors would come in as a third preference. Seems that there are a dearth of cars in this segment.
From Rs 18-25 lakhs :
The Skoda Superb twins would be the ultimate pick out here with both the 2 liter diesel and 1.8 TSI petrol taking top honors. The newly launched Volkswagen Passat in its mid level trim is also one of the better buys with all those driver aids shifting the focus from the Superb to this car. The Honda Accord comes in third for its less focus on the value for money proposition. It has grown bigger and better but then the features list at this price is a lot less than what the Germans can offer.
That was a real comprehensive list of cars out there and in future, I do hope that we would bring out a Buyers Guide which would cover the upper strata of the economy and by this, I mean covering all those imports which have clogged the Indian market now. Figures close to Rs 20 crores for the recently launched Aston Martin cars are exceptional but those who desire excellence and the best in the field wouldn’t really care about it, do they?