are the days when buying a small car meant choosing between a
Maruti 800 and a Zen. In the Indian market brimming with choices,
buying a small car can be quite a trial. Forget first-time
buyers, even those hunting for a change of car are left
confused in a market full of small cars, where each
manufacturer is competing for your money. The prospective
car-buyer is bound to collapse facing rapid fire jargon like
MUV, NV, Xing thing, German engineering, and More Car Per Car
What do I want from my car?
what are you looking for? You need a car that is stylish, has
enough space for your family of four, is fuel-efficient, has
low running costs, is backed by a network of easily accessible
service stations, and one that would fetch good resale value
five years down the line. So how do you decide which car is
worth your money? Read on...
How much can I afford?
At your first peek into
the Indian small car market, you will find cars costing as low as Rs
2.6 lakhs to as high as Rs 5.5 lakhs. The first thing to do is
decide how much you want to invest in your dream baby.
Shortlist the choices. Setting your budget not only helps you
think clearly, but also picks out the cars that fit in your
budget. Don't let those loan companies stretch you beyond your
Next, decide which fuel your car will
use: petrol or Diesel. Choose Diesel, and your choices are
fairly limited. Also, your decision for a diesel car should be
so only if you have a lot of driving to do.
Diesels in the Indian small car segment can
literally be counted on fingers - namely Zen D, Indica Diesel,
and Palio D. Although the bestseller in the diesel segment is
undoubtedly the Indica Diesel, buyers have their own reasons
for going for each one of the other cars.
Choose petrol, and you have a bigger
list before you -- Maruti 800, Indica Petrol, Santro, Zen,
Alto, WagonR, Palio, Getz and Corsa Sail. Entering this list
soon will be Ford Fusion and Honda Fit.
Entry Level Cars
If you are migrating from a
two-wheeler or a Premier Padmini to a new car with lower
budgets, the Maruti 800 and the Alto LXi are great options.
These cars are absolute value for money, have incredible fuel
efficiency, perform commendably, and most of all, are very
easy to drive, even on bad Indian roads.
Throw in a few more lakhs and you can
bite into the wider small segment populated by the Hyundai
Santro, Maruti Zen, Maruti WagonR, Tata Indica, and Fiat Palio.
Besides being more powerful than Segment A cars, these sport
more aesthetic designs and are available with a host of
options and subsequent pricelists. Options include power
steering, power windows, body-colored bumpers,
booster-assisted brakes with ABS, rear wipers, rear defoggers,
leather seats, wood-finish interiors, and sporty gear knobs.
These cars have plush interiors and are generally very
appealing to the eye.
The top-of-the-line segment in the
small car market is cornered by Hyundai Getz, Opel Corsa Sail
and high-end Palios. These cars, although smaller than
mid-sized cars, are meatier than small cars and provide the
power that motor enthusiasts crave for.
Being small, these can be driven
around with ease and being powerful, offer both breath-taking
acceleration and high top speeds. These cars are most suited
for the buyer who wants good power and performance in a small
package. Fuel efficiency? Well, letís leave that out for
So whatís my decision?
Summing it up, choosing a small car
can be quite a tough task, especially if you make an
uninformed decision and realize that another car is better
than yours. So take your time, and do the market research. Get
feedback from existing owners. Read up reviews on popular
motoring mags. With the correct information and your finest
choice, nothing stands between you and your dream small car.
Happy small car shopping!