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Old 29th January 2017, 12:22   #1
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Default In a strange quandary: S-Cross Zeta 1.3 vs Polo GT TSI

There is a thread in the "What car?" section that discusses decisions regarding hatchbacks in comparison to compact SUVs. I didn't think, my query fits in there, since according to the Indian definition, the S-Cross being 4.3 metres in length does not fall into the compact category. However, Mods, kindly merge my post with any existing thread if you think the topic does not deserve an independent thread.

Currently, we have two petrol cars: a 4 year old Honda City, driven by me, that recently got new tyres (Continental MC5 195/60/R15), and a 9 year old Hyundai Getz Prime (currently on third set of tyres: Yoko A-drives), chauffeur-driven, used by my wife.

We want to replace the Getz with a new car. The new car will be driven by me, and the older car will be driven by the chauffeur.

Our budget has a flexible max of 11 Lakhs on road in Kolkata.

Both of us work. The cars are used primarily for office commutes in dense to very dense city traffic. In addition, there may be evening trips for social occasions and occasional weekend trips on the highway. The Kolkata roads, in case you are not familiar, are rough, there is perpetual construction work, and even the manholes are not level with the road - and we take pride in putting a satellite around Mars. Our total drives are approximately 1000 - 1200 kms per month, distributed approximately equally between the two cars. However, we like to keep two cars, at least as long as both of us are working. And the kilometres do not justify a diesel car.

Our problem is, we do not have any specific requirement for the new car, except that it has to be a relatively niche product, solidly built, dynamically very stable, with all possible safety features available within the budget quoted above. Ideally, we would like to keep the car for at least 8 years. My Honda still drives like new, actually better than a new, and there is no reason why we cannot keep it for another 4 - 5 years. We expect the same from our new car. We also expect the new car to have features on par at this price point, but we are not sold on features alone. Build quality and driving dynamics along with safety are the most desirable qualities for us. A petrol automatic would be nice, if available within our budget, given that this would be the 13th car in my life and I am not getting any younger.

Keeping the above in mind, we set out test-driving three cars: S-Cross 1.3, Vitara Brezza ZDI+, and Ecosport Petrol Titanium Automatic. The S-cross came out as the winner from this lot by a long mile. The test drive on the S-Cross was amazingly good, even on the stock tyres. My son who drives a Camry in the US was visiting us, and he also drove the S-Cross and strongly recommended it. We could not test drive the Ecosport, since a test-drive vehicle was not available with the dealer. We sat in it and did not like the cramped inside, especially the passenger's proximity to the driver. The Brezza drove well, but looked and felt cheap at that price, especially in comparison to the S-Cross.

Everything's nice with S-Cross except that it runs on diesel and noise is not well-controlled inside the cabin, at least that was the case with the test vehicle. There is talk about a petrol version to be released in the future. However, two things have put me off regarding the petrol S-Cross: the speculated M15 engine does not excite anyone (it would stand no chance against even the 1.3 VGT which was a pleasure to drive, with minimal lag), and secondly, it seems to me that S-Cross is presently not a priority for Maruti, and hence it would take some time for the petrol to appear in the Indian market, that too perhaps without a boosterjet. Well, the bottomline is: we are not allergic to diesel, and if it turns out that our best choice at the moment just happens to be a diesel car, we would just go ahead with the deal, even if our driving does not need diesel.

Then all of a sudden, the idea of the Polo GT TSI came to mind. Apart from being solidly built, it has two technological marvels in that car: the TSI turbo petrol engine with direct injection, and the double clutch DSG 7+1 speed automatic transmission. On the negative side, the rear room comfort is much much less, in comparison with the S-Cross. But then, the argument of my wife is, having a smaller car in densely populated Kolkata really helps at most times. Since we already have a mid-sized car with a large boot, we can very well have the second car smaller. In any case, in our standard scenario, we do not usually have too many people to carry in our cars. In comparison with the S-Cross, the GT TSI comes with disc brakes only on the front, and for that price does not have navigation and rear parking cameras as standard, although I am told the screen can be used with my cell phone for navigation, and it has rear parking sensors.

The test-drive with the Polo GT TSI went really well. The car felt well planted with adequate braking. The engine response was very good and the transmission really beautiful. The NVH level inside the cabin was very satisfactory and the front doors closed with a thud, if that says anything.

The ex-showroom price of the cars in Kolkata are: 9.86 Lakhs for the S-Cross 1.3 Zeta, and 9.36 Lakhs for the Polo GT TSI - a difference of mere 50 thousand. The on-road prices are within our budget, especially keeping in mind that we enjoy the maximum NCB on the insurances of both cars.

One major complaint about both cars. Neither come with Xenon/LED projector headlamps (the alpha trim of the S-Cross does, but at a premium and much above our budget). I have read somewhere that VW is thinking of introducing these headlamps on a future Highline+ trim on the Polos and Ventos, but I am not sure when.

I am thankful to many many Team-BHP threads for having come this far in our selection for the new car. Kindly share your thoughts, especially in this situation when I have managed to put two very different cars together for a comparative evaluation. I need to hear from you if I am doing something very stupid.

Last edited by asitkde : 29th January 2017 at 12:37.
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Old 29th January 2017, 12:29   #2
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Default re: In a strange quandary: S-Cross Zeta 1.3 vs Polo GT TSI

I have just one suggestion.
Please consider the S Cross 1.6 Alpha.
You will never regret it.
It is a truly excellent car.

I went today to test the Ignis at NEXA and took some time renewing my acquaintance with the S Cross 1.6 as well while I was there.
Sincerely, if I didn't own the Yeti already, the S Cross 1.6 Alpha is most definitely my car of choice. I prefer it to the Creta for sure.
The S Cross 1.6 Alpha is delightful with its fierce acceleration, planted feel, European Premium feel and overall quality. And with the price drop, it is priced very decently now too! Its a keeper and will be a sought after enthusiasts car, some years down the line. Being a Maruti you won't even have to worry about resale!
And the best thing is that it can happily serve you for the next 5-6-7 years without a problem.

And if I were you, and considering the POLO, then I would just drop the Polo and go straight to NEXA and buy the S Cross.
But within the S Cross variants, there is NO other one that is as worthwhile as the 1.6 Alpha. Even if you have to stretch the budget a bit. The 1.3, by contrast is a gutless beast.

So, for what it is worth, Ive said my say. A couple of others on TBHP have also raised this query time and again, and my answer has steadfastly been the same as above, always!

Last edited by shankar.balan : 29th January 2017 at 12:32.
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Old 29th January 2017, 13:52   #3
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Default re: In a strange quandary: S-Cross Zeta 1.3 vs Polo GT TSI

Quote:
Originally Posted by asitkde View Post
Both of us work. The cars are used primarily for office commutes in dense to very dense city traffic. In addition, there may be evening trips for social occasions and occasional weekend trips on the highway.

...

And the kilometres do not justify a diesel car.

Our problem is, we do not have any specific requirement for the new car, except that it has to be a relatively niche product, solidly built, dynamically very stable, with all possible safety features available within the budget quoted above.
...
Build quality and driving dynamics along with safety are the most desirable qualities for us.

...

A petrol automatic would be nice, if available within our budget, given that this would be the 13th car in my life and I am not getting any younger.
Considering all this, hatch would be the best answer, and Polo GT does seem like a good choice. But I feel there are 2 other cars which you should be looking at more sincerely.

1. Ford Figo 1.5 D Titanium+

This car recently won the Overdrive test of the hot hatches. It is significantly cheaper than both the cars you are mentioning, and if you believe the Ford promises, should cost significantly less in maintenance too in comparison to Polo GT. In addition it also has 6 airbags and brilliant driving manners

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...-quickest.html (Overdrive's hatchback track test - Figo 1.5 diesel quickest!)

2. Baleno RS 1.0

Baleno with the 1.0 engine has received rave reviews, as a car that is a hoot to drive. It supposed to be launched in month of February. I suggest you keep tabs on the progress from your Nexa advisor. The bookings should open very soon. This will be available in Alpha trim which is already feature loaded. Expect Maruti to throw in a couple of things to differentiate it further from the 1.2 variant.


http://www.autocarindia.com/auto-new...ch-403095.aspx
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Old 29th January 2017, 13:57   #4
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Default re: In a strange quandary: S-Cross Zeta 1.3 vs Polo GT TSI

Primary question is what matters to you more - the convenience of the Dual Clutch AT in the Polo or the extra space in the S-Cross. Pick the one that is more important to you.

Compared to the GT TSi, the 1.3 S-Cross feels horribly underpowered. But that is just me.
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Old 29th January 2017, 14:10   #5
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Default re: In a strange quandary: S-Cross Zeta 1.3 vs Polo GT TSI

Quote:
Originally Posted by asitkde View Post

One major complaint about both cars. Neither come with Xenon/LED projector headlamps (the alpha trim of the S-Cross does, but at a premium and much above our budget).
This can be added to S-Cross at ~40K without effecting warranty.

My pick is S-Cross, irrespective of the variant or engine options because of its proven engine, ease of Maintainance, backed by Maruti's reliability.
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Old 29th January 2017, 14:13   #6
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Default re: In a strange quandary: S-Cross Zeta 1.3 vs Polo GT TSI

Some more consideration to confuse you...

1. Ameo - Priced at par with SCross Zeta; has boot space near to SCross; same power as Polo GT TSI; has slightly better P2W ratio than even SCross 1.6; Diesel Ameo has torque figures better than SCross 1.3. Cons - VW sub par service

2. Ford Aspire/Figo - Economical to maintain than Maruti, especially SCross; Aspire has more boot space than SCross; awesome P2W ratio & torque per tonne compared to SCross 1.3 & fits easily under 10L (forget 11L); claimed FE of Aspire matches to that of SCross 1.3; Cons - missing Cruise control, if that's your priority

All said what you get with SCross is country's BEST network & unmatched service
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Old 29th January 2017, 16:12   #7
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Default re: In a strange quandary: S-Cross Zeta 1.3 vs Polo GT TSI

Thanks a lot for the replies, so far.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
And if I were you, and considering the POLO, then I would just drop the Polo and go straight to NEXA and buy the S Cross.
But within the S Cross variants, there is NO other one that is as worthwhile as the 1.6 Alpha. Even if you have to stretch the budget a bit. The 1.3, by contrast is a gutless beast.
I think I agree with you for the suggestion of the S-Cross 1.6. However, since a lot of city driving is involved in our case, I have a feeling, the 1.3 is more suitable in such circumstances because of very little lag, although I am saying that without having driven the 1.6 in the city. May be, I should try out the 1.6, just once, but I am not sure if I shall get the nod of the finance ministry.


Quote:
Originally Posted by autorahul View Post
Considering all this, hatch would be the best answer, and Polo GT does seem like a good choice. But I feel there are 2 other cars which you should be looking at more sincerely.

1. Ford Figo 1.5 D Titanium+

This car recently won the Overdrive test of the hot hatches. It is significantly cheaper than both the cars you are mentioning, and if you believe the Ford promises, should cost significantly less in maintenance too in comparison to Polo GT. In addition it also has 6 airbags and brilliant driving manners

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...-quickest.html (Overdrive's hatchback track test - Figo 1.5 diesel quickest!)

2. Baleno RS 1.0

Baleno with the 1.0 engine has received rave reviews, as a car that is a hoot to drive. It supposed to be launched in month of February. I suggest you keep tabs on the progress from your Nexa advisor. The bookings should open very soon. This will be available in Alpha trim which is already feature loaded. Expect Maruti to throw in a couple of things to differentiate it further from the 1.2 variant.


http://www.autocarindia.com/auto-new...ch-403095.aspx
May be I am wrong, but I am not completely convinced by the build quality of both the current Figo and the Baleno, especially the Baleno with that unbelievably light weight. Please correct me if I am wrong. Also I am not looking for the fastest car on a track and all this discussion of how a DSG or a DCT cannot downshift efficiently on slow cornering in a slalom-like situation. Although I must confess that I need a longer test-drive with the GT TSI, whatever length I have driven that car for, both the engine and the transmission appear very adequate for my purposes. But your point is also very well appreciated: that, other cars at least with similar performance are available at much less money. I have to now enquire about the build quality and the driving dynamics of these cars. I thought they were not at par with the VW on these points, but I might be wrong.



Quote:
Originally Posted by reignofchaos View Post
Primary question is what matters to you more - the convenience of the Dual Clutch AT in the Polo or the extra space in the S-Cross. Pick the one that is more important to you.

Compared to the GT TSi, the 1.3 S-Cross feels horribly underpowered. But that is just me.
I did not find the 1.3 horribly underpowered. It seemed perfectly mated to my style of driving. It gave me instant low end power for a short time whenever I needed it in city conditions during my test-drive. On open stretches, it also seamlessly went up to 100 kmph, with a bit in the reserve. On our roads, including highways, I do not see myself driving at significantly higher speeds for a prolonged time. But I understand that I will not get that overpowering feel unless I go for the 1.6. I am not sure with the predominant driving conditions, I shall be driving in, I shall need the 1.6 in a critical way.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kashyapz8055 View Post
This can be added to S-Cross at ~40K without effecting warranty.

My pick is S-Cross, irrespective of the variant or engine options because of its proven engine, ease of Maintainance, backed by Maruti's reliability.
Yes I have read about that. But I am not sure about such aftermarket upgrades and their reliability in Kolkata. Kolkata does not even have a 3M detailing shop - I find it very very strange though. 3M should open one.



Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
Some more consideration to confuse you...

1. Ameo - Priced at par with SCross Zeta; has boot space near to SCross; same power as Polo GT TSI; has slightly better P2W ratio than even SCross 1.6; Diesel Ameo has torque figures better than SCross 1.3. Cons - VW sub par service

2. Ford Aspire/Figo - Economical to maintain than Maruti, especially SCross; Aspire has more boot space than SCross; awesome P2W ratio & torque per tonne compared to SCross 1.3 & fits easily under 10L (forget 11L); claimed FE of Aspire matches to that of SCross 1.3; Cons - missing Cruise control, if that's your priority

All said what you get with SCross is country's BEST network & unmatched service
We are not in requirement of a healthy boot in this car. Hence that will not be a deciding factor for us, unless the boot is as small as nearly non-existent. Raw power and torque are important parameters, but for us they are not to be treated in isolation. Driving dynamics has to be coupled with power and torque. To be honest with you, I have not looked seriously at Ameo, but I am not a fan of compact sedans. I do not quite understand why they are in existence. No offence to the owners, I may own one in future, if I get convinced. Just a personal thought at the moment.

Kindly, keep the comments flowing. I want to feel the pulse of the bhpians. I shall reply as honestly as I can, and through all this will come to a decision.

Last edited by asitkde : 29th January 2017 at 16:16.
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Old 29th January 2017, 17:44   #8
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Default re: In a strange quandary: S-Cross Zeta 1.3 vs Polo GT TSI

If I may, I would like to advise you to take a look at Fiat Urban Cross Tjet. It's Abarth Powered 140 BHP petrol engine is a proved and legendary. With its minimal turbo lag, would be a delight to drive both in city and in highways. Please have a test drive (If it's not available for Test Drive, you may test drive either Abarth Punto or Linea Tjet for the idea). It could be fantastic car for your needs and coule be an excellent one in your garage in the years to come.

Last edited by Wildy : 29th January 2017 at 17:49.
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Old 29th January 2017, 17:54   #9
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Default re: In a strange quandary: S-Cross Zeta 1.3 vs Polo GT TSI

Going by the road conditions you mentioned, I think you're better off with a crossover than a hatchback or a sedan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by asitkde View Post
I did not find the 1.3 horribly underpowered. It seemed perfectly mated to my style of driving. It gave me instant low end power for a short time whenever I needed it in city conditions during my test-drive.
Your opinion indicates that you're fine with the power. If so, the 1.3 is a good choice. If you want, you can go for a remap later.

The best S Cross is any variant 1.6 diesel though, although the 1.3 is good enough for Indian conditions. (read- not underpowered)

If you want an AT, pick the City or Ciaz AT as I'm sure about the reliability of the Polo GT TSI.
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Old 29th January 2017, 20:46   #10
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Default re: In a strange quandary: S-Cross Zeta 1.3 vs Polo GT TSI

Quote:
Originally Posted by asitkde View Post
Raw power and torque are important parameters, but for us they are not to be treated in isolation
If you're not wary about Fiat India (IMHO, they might shut down their shop anytime here), Fiat Abarth Avventura/Abarth Punto Petrol has segment highest torque in petrol & are safe vehicles. Handling them is like a dream. Right now they're under super price cuts & give you a good value for money. In Diesel, Punto Evo has superb & BHP per tonne; beats XUV, i20 Active, Baleno, Brezza & even SCross 1.3

If you skip Fiat & considering your low running usage, Petrol is more sensible in terms of cost (thinking through brain), then there're only 2 choices I can think of, Ecosport Boost+ or Baleno from Nexa.

Quote:
Originally Posted by asitkde View Post
To be honest with you, I have not looked seriously at Ameo, but I am not a fan of compact sedans. I do not quite understand why they are in existence
Sub 4 meter car means reduction in tax + give a boot space (which still is considered less than 4 meter in terms of wheel base), net result is a new segment between a hatch & sedan, the compact sedan. Almost everyone has this segment starting from Swift D'zire, Xcent, Aspire, Amaze & latest to joing this gang is Ameo.
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Old 29th January 2017, 22:23   #11
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Default re: In a strange quandary: S-Cross Zeta 1.3 vs Polo GT TSI

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildy View Post
If I may, I would like to advise you to take a look at Fiat Urban Cross Tjet. It's Abarth Powered 140 BHP petrol engine is a proved and legendary. With its minimal turbo lag, would be a delight to drive both in city and in highways. Please have a test drive (If it's not available for Test Drive, you may test drive either Abarth Punto or Linea Tjet for the idea). It could be fantastic car for your needs and coule be an excellent one in your garage in the years to come.
I have been a fan of handling of Fiat cars upto a point of time. Really loved the way the Palio (even the Stile) handled with that excellent steering and suspension. Then there was the Palio 1.6. However, I do not feel enthusiastic about them any more. I have driven the standard Punto several times, and came out unimpressed. They are not getting out of the iterations of the Punto and Linea, and are not injecting anything new into the Indian market (Volkswagen at least came out with TSI and DSG, and there may even be a DOHC with the TSI in the coming). Also there are reports of less than mediocre transmission (driven a friend's Punto several times). Fiat has to completely rediscover themselves in India in terms of models, dealer network, service etc, for me to consider them in future.


Quote:
Originally Posted by landcruiser123 View Post
Going by the road conditions you mentioned, I think you're better off with a crossover than a hatchback or a sedan.

Your opinion indicates that you're fine with the power. If so, the 1.3 is a good choice. If you want, you can go for a remap later.

The best S Cross is any variant 1.6 diesel though, although the 1.3 is good enough for Indian conditions. (read- not underpowered)

If you want an AT, pick the City or Ciaz AT as I'm sure about the reliability of the Polo GT TSI.
Also, I think I like the higher driving position of the S-Cross. But I need to test drive the 1.3 again, perhaps for an extended period, to make sure that I do not find it seriously underpowered, as some are suggesting.

I shall give the City or Ciaz AT a pass, because there is already a Honda City at home, and therefore I am not really looking at a sedan at this point of time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
If you're not wary about Fiat India (IMHO, they might shut down their shop anytime here), Fiat Abarth Avventura/Abarth Punto Petrol has segment highest torque in petrol & are safe vehicles. Handling them is like a dream. Right now they're under super price cuts & give you a good value for money. In Diesel, Punto Evo has superb & BHP per tonne; beats XUV, i20 Active, Baleno, Brezza & even SCross 1.3
As I have written above, let me pass Fiat this time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
If you skip Fiat & considering your low running usage, Petrol is more sensible in terms of cost (thinking through brain), then there're only 2 choices I can think of, Ecosport Boost+ or Baleno from Nexa.
Although I have not had a chance to drive any Ecosport yet, I did not like the driver ergonomics apart from the high driving position. Somehow inside the cabin, there is a cramped feeling. In addition, people are not too happy with the Ecoboost 1.0 (turbo petrol) engine. And now, the Kolkata Ford dealers are notorious for setting up a time for test-drive and not showing up. Already in the last 4 years and a half, they have stood me up 3 times.

The low weight of the Baleno worries me, as I have said in one of my earlier posts, although my wife simply loves the look of the Baleno.

Are you completely ignoring the Polo GT TSI among the petrol hatches?


Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
Sub 4 meter car means reduction in tax + give a boot space (which still is considered less than 4 meter in terms of wheel base), net result is a new segment between a hatch & sedan, the compact sedan. Almost everyone has this segment starting from Swift D'zire, Xcent, Aspire, Amaze & latest to joing this gang is Ameo.
Yes, I know about the less-than-4m tax break rule in India. However, irrespective of type of cars, it's on the overall length of the car and not on the wheelbase. But, I was trying to understand a sedan under 4m. Yah, it's the boot, I know.

Last edited by asitkde : 29th January 2017 at 22:29.
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Old 29th January 2017, 22:34   #12
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Default re: In a strange quandary: S-Cross Zeta 1.3 vs Polo GT TSI

Share the same feeling as you do with Fiat & Ecosport
Quote:
Originally Posted by asitkde View Post
The low weight of the Baleno worries me, as I have said in one of my earlier posts, although my wife simply loves the look of the Baleno.

Are you completely ignoring the Polo GT TSI among the petrol hatches?
Well...Polo is brilliant car; I say this to people all the time - A car is designed to get over a hump, but VW cars have a hump inside the car itself. Why go anywhere else This is the only thing I hate with VW (including Skoda)

Aspire is slightly powered more than GT TSI & hence suggested Aspire over Polo. Plus, Polo is super highly outdated or rather a refresh is highly anticipated soon both on engine & the car itself. VW cannot keep giving the same for years now
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Old 30th January 2017, 10:11   #13
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Default re: In a strange quandary: S-Cross Zeta 1.3 vs Polo GT TSI

Quote:
Originally Posted by asitkde View Post
..given that this would be the 13th car in my life and I am not getting any younger...
.... I need to hear from you if I am doing something very stupid.
What you need is a small fun city car, a car that will wash away all the sins of owning 12 cars listening to your finance minster and not doing anything stupid. Well, I say it is time you deliberately do something stupid without breaking the law, or burning your retirement fund. Go get that Polo TSI. There is nothing to update in this car, it is perfect now and it will be perfect in 2020. You don't need Xenon headlamps unless you are a batman protecting Kolkata city in the night. Yes, it is not easy to own like a Maruti car, but you are not a young person starting a family. You should be busy making a bucket list. And why is your son driving a Camry, bad parenting!

I'm sorry I am just pulling your leg All the best with your next car.
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Old 30th January 2017, 10:25   #14
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Default re: In a strange quandary: S-Cross Zeta 1.3 vs Polo GT TSI

Wait for Baleno RS. Best looking of the lot (amazing presence as well thanks to those DRLs). It's small, light and powerful with that Maruti peace of mind.

Polo TSI is a good car but it's all about that engine and transmission (which if you're a manual lover won't matter to you). Other than that, driving dynamics don't impress me much.

Light steering and soft suspension in a car with sporty pretensions don't help much.

Though if I was you, I would've gone for that S-Cross 1.6. One amazing car that!

You already have an amazing petrol car (City), how about you try something different and explosive this time?
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Old 30th January 2017, 10:47   #15
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Default re: In a strange quandary: S-Cross Zeta 1.3 vs Polo GT TSI

So, currently you have a sedan (Honda City) and a hatchback (Hyundai Getz) in your house. Whether you swap your Getz for Polo GT-TSi or S-Cross, the configuration will remain the same. You will continue to have a sedan and a hatchback. Yes, the S-Cross is a large hatchback with higher ground clearance.

The Polo GT-TSi is a fantastic car, BUT, couple of things to keep in mind before writing a cheque to VW:
1. After sales service is hit-or-miss, and could be a headache. Lots of well publicised stories of A.S.S. horrors, and an equal number of not-so-publicised stories of good service exist.
2. While the DSG gearbox is known to fail in hot/humid/stop-go traffic conditions, failures on the Polo are rare. There are ways to minimise chances of gearbox failure, make sure anyone who drives the car follows it.
3. If the road conditions are a major factor, then having a Polo & City in the family is not such a good idea, as both have equal dislike for potholed roads.
4. If long trips consist of just wife and you, Polo will be a good car for it. Any more people, then you will have to use the City.

All things considered, the S-Cross 1.3 Zeta appears to be the one to go for. On the other hand, there are other alternatives from Ford, Fiat, VW, and Maruti that people have suggested. Check those out.
Another one I will throw into the ring will be the Tata Zest (if you can stomach a compact sedan). Well built, decent ground clearance and has a suspension capable of tackling bad roads.
Or, have you thought about the Honda Jazz?
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