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View Poll Results: Your choice if you had a budget of Rs. 3 Lacs for an Automatic
Pre-owned Hyundai i10 AT 49 28.32%
Pre-owned Maruti A-Star AT 37 21.39%
New Tata Nano AMT 69 39.88%
NOTA :-) 18 10.40%
Voters: 173. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 27th September 2016, 20:36   #1
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Default Automatic for 3 lakhs: Used i10 vs Used A-Star vs New Nano

Although the first car that comes to mind when talking about budget automatics is Suzuki Alto K10 AMT, it costs a significant Rs. 5 Lacs on road. That's about Rs. 1.65 Lacs over Tata Nano AMT. If you want options in Tata Nano's price range, you have to take the pre-owned route (Used Suzuki A-Star AT and Used Hyundai i10 AT)

Santro AT is available at a much lower price point (Rs. 1.5 to 2 Lacs), but the cars are quite old. A few months back, I faced the same dilemma and eventually picked the A-star AT after evaluating the Nano AMT and i10 AT. Here are my thoughts about each car -

Pre-Owned Hyundai i10 AT

Automatic for 3 lakhs: Used i10 vs Used A-Star vs New Nano-dsc00896.jpg

PROS:

+ Most complete Rs. 3 Lac automatic hatchback. First choice if this will be the only car in your garage.
+ Very practical. Has the biggest boot and good rear legroom. Can seat 4 adults in reasonable comfort.
+ Good power & 4-speed AT makes it a great city and highway car.
+ Nice interiors
+ Best ride quality.
+ Decent availability in the pre-owned market. Hyundai sold a significant number of i10 ATs.

CONS:

- Some Team-bhpians have reported shockingly low city fuel economy (6 to 7 kmpl).
- Since Hyundai i10 was priced at a premium when new, you will have to pick an older car than A-star for the same price.
- Hyundai maintenance/service costs are higher than Maruti's & Tata's (we have a Hyundai Santro Xing in our garage).
- Steering is dull. Not a fun car to drive.
- Does not look as "cute" (based on comments from women) as Nano or A-star.
- Will be out of warranty. And you might need to spend extra cash on tyres, battery, service etc.

Pre-Owned Maruti A-Star AT

Automatic for 3 lakhs: Used i10 vs Used A-Star vs New Nano-dsc02028.jpg


PROS

+ Small dimensions, good steering and reasonable power (64 BHP) makes it a fun & chuckable little hatchback.
+ High on safety (relatively speaking). Equipped with ABS, door open indicator, auto door lock at 20 kmph and height adjustable rear headrests.
+ Excellent high speed stability.
+ Reasonable build quality for a Maruti. No rattles on my 41000 km run car. Most of the A-stars manufactured in India were marked for exports to Europe.
+ Maruti service
+ Was priced at just over Rs. 5.3 Lacs in 2011 when new. If you find an used A-star, it is likely to be just 3 or 4 years old and with very little kms on the odo.

CONS

- Not as practical as i10 AT. Boot space is quite tiny.
- Poor rear legroom makes it essentially a 2 adults + 2 kids car.
- Does not ride as well as the i10 on bad city roads.
- Poor availability in the pre-owned market. A-star did not exactly set the sales charts on fire.
- Not as fuel efficient as the Nano AMT.
- Will be out of warranty. And you might need to spend extra cash on tyres, battery, service etc.

New Tata Nano AMT

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PROS

+ The only choice if you are allergic to buying pre-owned cars.
+ No hassles/pitfalls associated with buying a pre-owned car. Will have warranty and zero maintenance expenses for the first year.
+ Cute looks (women again, not my words)
+ Best fuel economy and low long term maintenance costs
+ Airy cabin. Gives you a sense of space. Can seat 4 adults unlike the A-star
+ Tiny footprint makes it very useable in the city.

CONS

- Not very powerful when compared to A-star and i10.
- AMT is slow to downshift on inclines or while overtaking.
- Not a good highway car. Small boot
- Does not ride well on bad roads.
- Concerns about service, quality and long-term reliability (we own a Tata Vista petrol)
- My wife was particularly worried about the Nano undergoing spontaneous combustion, although I provided ample evidence/proof that the car has been fixed

Last edited by smartcat : 28th September 2016 at 00:45.
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Old 28th September 2016, 07:18   #2
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Default re: Automatic for 3 lakhs: Used i10 vs Used A-Star vs New Nano

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Hatchbacks Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 28th September 2016, 07:36   #3
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Default re: Automatic for 3 lakhs: Used i10 vs Used A-Star vs New Nano

My pick would be the A-Star for the obvious reasons.
1) Safety - It comes with ABS and the build quality of the A-Star is very good. The car feels solid unlike most from MSIL stable.
2) Fun - Apart from that giant steering wheel, which is also set up a little too high, the car is bucket loads of fun. Also comes with a good EPS unit.
3) The K10 is an amazing motor. Its a bit vocal, but I like that unique 3 pot thrum of the K10. And AT masks all the deficiencies the car has in the lower revs.

Space is a big problem though. Its virtually non existent in the boot and at a very high premium for the rear passengers. But the front is very very spacious with a good range of travel. Fellows who are 6+ will love it there. But the general lack of space makes it an ideal second car.

Don't like the i10 AT due to lack of safety kit. And the top variant came loaded to the gills (sunroof anyone?), so its hard to come by in the used car market. The FE will also be slightly less compared to A-Star, but its got awesome performance from that 4 cylinder engine. Handling is a bit scary.

Nano is available for a very sweet deal now, I was offered one for less than 3 Lakhs OTR for the XTA. But its not that comfortable over poor roads and there is no hill hold. Also the power train struggles a bit on hilly terrain. But the car is amazing value for the price - the space is amazing and its a perfect fit for the urban spaces.
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Old 28th September 2016, 08:27   #4
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Default re: Automatic for 3 lakhs: Used i10 vs Used A-Star vs New Nano

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
Pre-Owned Maruti A-Star AT

Cons:
- Does not ride as well as the i10 on bad city roads.
Just swap the stock 155 spec tyres with 175 sections, and see the difference !

Apart from the points you have mentioned, the A-Star front seats have very good under-thigh support, and is very comfortable to drive. City FE is easily 10-11 even if you have your fun driving it.
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Old 28th September 2016, 09:43   #5
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Default re: Automatic for 3 lakhs: Used i10 vs Used A-Star vs New Nano

Voted for the Nano here, considering it to be solely run in city.
If the usage is city+Highway then the A-star makes the most sense(for two occupants). For more than two occupants the A-star doesn't make any sense in any polls(hence discontinued).

The Nano with its small footprint and all round visibility is a breeze to drive in tight spaces inside the city. The space inside the cabin(with 4 people) is also more in Nano compared to the discontinued Maruti. Mileage in the Nano would be better.Lastly, you get a new car and the AMT is cheaper to service if anything goes wrong.

FYI, i own the A-star MT and I love the car.When anyone(eventually everyone on the rear seat) complains about the space, i throw them out and ask them to take a lorry or a bus. The A-star is a hoot to drive and is one of the well built ones of Maruti. My 5+ year old one still feels like new.

Last edited by saion666 : 28th September 2016 at 09:47.
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Old 28th September 2016, 10:04   #6
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Default Re: Automatic for 3 lakhs: Used i10 vs Used A-Star vs New Nano

I'd pick the i10 AT. It's the most complete car of the options listed. Great quality, reasonably quick and smooth shifts. Yes, the FE is the lowest of the 3 here, but it's also the best car of the lot. Something has to give.

Outside of these options, I'd pick a used Civic or Corolla AT. They are exchanging hands at ridiculously cheap prices. Have seen very good examples for 2.5 - 3.0 lakhs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by condor View Post
Just swap the stock 155 spec tyres with 175 sections, and see the difference !
If the overall diameter is kept under 2% (as is generally recommended for tyre upgrades), how would the same sidewall height improve ride quality? I can understand superior grip levels, but ride quality?
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Old 28th September 2016, 10:10   #7
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Default Re: Automatic for 3 lakhs: Used i10 vs Used A-Star vs New Nano

Little more than a year back, I have considered these very cars. I dropped the i10 due it's city FE and also perceived part cost & servicing by Hyundai ASS.

The toss-up was between the A-Star and the Nano AMT. Both have their advantages & certain could-have-been-better points.

The Nano AMT was much improved over it's previous versions, and amazingly agile in congested areas.

We finally settled for the A-Star as a slightly more rounded off package. We found a 3.5 year, 11.8k run version, upgraded the tyres, and zipping around the city happily !

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
If the overall diameter is kept under 2% (as is generally recommended for tyre upgrades), how would the same sidewall height improve ride quality? I can understand superior grip levels, but ride quality?
I'd say, the width in this case. The car is more stable at speeds, is definitely less affected by cross-winds and the bounce has reduced a lot after changing the tyres.
( Regularly drive on the elevated road here, so have been able to compare the behaviour over sufficient distances. And pot holes ? a dime a dozen. May be more )

Last edited by condor : 28th September 2016 at 10:14.
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Old 28th September 2016, 10:21   #8
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Default Re: Automatic for 3 lakhs: Used i10 vs Used A-Star vs New Nano

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
If the overall diameter is kept under 2% (as is generally recommended for tyre upgrades), how would the same sidewall height improve ride quality? I can understand superior grip levels, but ride quality?
That ride is more to do with those awful JK Vectra tyres that A-Star had has stock. Swapping them for even average tyres like Apollo Acelere in stock size will improve the ride considerably. Had done that for our A-Star ZXi and the difference was very obvious. Besides the stock size has a very high profile to help the ride.

But it still wont be as compliant as i10 over bad roads at low speeds. The suspension on the A-Star is set on the stiffer side and that's what makes it much more fun and amazing on fast roads.
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Old 28th September 2016, 10:32   #9
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Default Re: Automatic for 3 lakhs: Used i10 vs Used A-Star vs New Nano

Quote:
Originally Posted by deetjohn View Post
Safety - It comes with ABS
One of the risks of driving in the city is rear-ending by other vehicles. The biggest swing factor for me was the safety net of having adjustable headrests at the rear. Nano and older i10s don't even have headrests (leave alone adjustability) in the backseat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Outside of these options, I'd pick a used Civic or Corolla AT. They are exchanging hands at ridiculously cheap prices. Have seen very good examples for 2.5 - 3.0 lakhs.
We briefly considered 2nd gen Honda City AT. Lots of examples available for Rs 2.5 to 3.5 Lacs in Bangalore. We dropped the idea because ease of parking and small footprint was the highest priority. But for those looking for alternatives to Hyundai i10 AT (no major compromise car), the 2nd gen City AT is a good option. It is more fuel efficient than i10, better interiors, nice build, extra large boot and very reliable. Maintenance costs are quite low too.

Civic AT and 1st gen Corolla AT are even bigger and will definitely cost more to maintain. Not suitable for somebody who is conscious about spending too much money. Great for somebody looking for cheap (initial cost) thrills though.

Last edited by smartcat : 28th September 2016 at 10:38.
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Old 28th September 2016, 12:47   #10
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Default Re: Automatic for 3 lakhs: Used i10 vs Used A-Star vs New Nano

I have a 3 year old A-Star AT, so there is obvious bias!
However, the bias developed when we were looking for a good automatic 3 years back for wifey. Surprisingly for Maruti, A-Star has a very solid feel, infact, the thud is almost like my dad's Polo. The stiff ride can be troublesome on bad city roads (i like it as it feels reassuringly solid), but is brilliant on the highways. Another great aspect is the gear shift itself; it's a gated shift and you can select all ratios manually (L,2,3 and D), this is great in overtaking and works very well in the ghats.
Yes, the rear space is bad and the boot tiny, but the car is better looking than both i10 and Nano and works very well as a second car (even the primary car if you have a small family).
We had also considered the Brio AT, wifey loved it's look and the engine+gearbox was very smooth as well, but the low seating, tinny built and a high premium went against it.
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Old 28th September 2016, 14:34   #11
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Default Re: Automatic for 3 lakhs: Used i10 vs Used A-Star vs New Nano

I'd pick the A-Star AT. Very recently I was on the lookout for a small AT car for my S-I-L and had narrowed it down to a pre-owned 33K run 4yo AStar. On checking the records of the vehicle, I found that it had a massive list of "body repairs" in the service history and I could clearly see that the left side doors were replaced (faded v/s brilliant white). Plus, the car had a vibrating A pedal and considering all this, I dropped the A-Star (which was the only one I found in the used car section). If it were not these factors, I'd pick one A-Star any day over the i10.

Coming to i10 AT which was my next obvious choice, I liked everything about the car, except for the poor mileage and how the car cries before changing gears. Plus pricing was a premium at over 4L for a decent "used" car with acceptable service history. It felt a little lethargic in comparison to the A-Star and didn't have that "fun to drive" feel to it. Chucked this too. Since there were no "good cars" available in the used car market, decided to postpone the purchase.
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Old 28th September 2016, 14:43   #12
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Default Re: Automatic for 3 lakhs: Used i10 vs Used A-Star vs New Nano

Voted for i10 AT and even bought one for exactly 3 Lakhs from a friend. Well maintained and driven for only 15k Kms in the 5 years of ownership. Other option that can be included is e2o for City Drive abouts. There are few examples available in the market for ~3L.
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Old 28th September 2016, 14:51   #13
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Default Re: Automatic for 3 lakhs: Used i10 vs Used A-Star vs New Nano

The most challenging part about buying pre-owned automatic cars is finding enough examples of the same. There are very few cars available in good condition. Since the automatic cars in those days were not popular, the majority of these cars have either been used by people who are new to driving or have not much interest in cars. Usually, in both cases they tend to be poorly maintained. Hopefully, over the next few years we will have many more options to chose from as many automatics have not been launched and are selling quite well.

How about a GT TSI for 4-5 lakhs in 3 or 4 years? Sounds good to me.
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Old 28th September 2016, 15:07   #14
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Default Re: Automatic for 3 lakhs: Used i10 vs Used A-Star vs New Nano

Why is Celerio AMT not part of this list? I've been driving one for the past 1 month and its hands down the best of the lot.

While I have the ZXi (O) AMT, I'm certain that one can get VXi AMT within 4 lakhs easily. Its very nimble for city driving and not at all bad for short highway runs. If one upgrades the tyres to 185s then you'd be surprised with the handling.
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Old 28th September 2016, 15:34   #15
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Default Re: Automatic for 3 lakhs: Used i10 vs Used A-Star vs New Nano

If looking for a small nimble city car, my vote is for the A-Star. As already mentioned, it is compact, drives well and most importantly feels solid and has ABS. If I am on the look out for a 2nd hand AT, the A Star will be at the top of the list. In addition since it is heavily compromised with respect to size and was a flop model, most owners would have purchased it for small run abouts. Hence relatively easier to get a low run model.

If it is any used AT at 3L, I will definitely be on the look out for a Civic. Always wanted to own a Civic.
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