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Old 23rd February 2017, 18:11   #61
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

It is all in the finer details. Premium cars provide that refinement in interiors, driving experience (stance, responsiveness, balance) and obviously the exteriors and the looks.

Difference between 80% and 95% is huge.

The Mainstream cars are definitely getting really good and in some areas like interiors really matching the luxury brands.

At the core I think the question is should one really go ahead and spend those big extra bucks? What are you getting for it?

I think there a lot of really good cars out there even among mainstream ones. If you are car lover you will where to look (VW etc.). Luxury brand will give you that 95% vs. 80% of a top end mainstream car with all the specs etc. 10-15% may or may not be a big deal depending on how much of an involved auto enthusiast you are.

I think finally it is a matter of cost. You should go for a Premium car if you can comfortably afford it. No need to stretch yourself thin. A good way to evaluate it is once you get a car and if it gets lost/wrecked/totalled/drowned - how much of a disaster is it to replace it again. How big of a part is it of your total savings/wealth.

Finally it is a car and as I said there a lot of very good cars at all budgets. No need to kill oneself for a big badge. But yes it does feel special owning one - but at what cost is the question.
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Old 24th February 2017, 12:15   #62
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

Well my list of cars start from a humble Zen Estilo which I had picked in 2008 to now a menacingly fast Skoda Octavia 1.8 tsi. In between, I had Hyundai i10 AT (sold), 3rd generation Honda City AT (just sold), Grand i10 Asta (O) AT. Let me try and answer the questions by putting the then C segment benchmark Honda City and the Skoda Octavia 1.8 tsi in my perspective.


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1) How significant is the difference in driving experience (power, features, build quality, ride quality, NVH, acceleration etc) between a Rs. 20 Lacs
mainstream brand/model (Eg: XUV 500) and a Rs. 50 Lacs premium brand/model (Eg: Audi Q3)?
Though City had 118 horses under the hood, the car was never comfortable at speeds above 120 on highways, compare that to the Octavia, she feels sure footed even at speeds around 150.

Features, I think the Octavia quite easily beats the entry level premium segment cars in terms of safety features and is on par if not better in terms of comfort. Probably, the premium cars have far better fit and finish, which they have to give as they charge half a crore for what they offer.

With Honda City, outside noise did filter in if the music system is in off mode, however with Octavia, even if the audio is off, you are completely shut off from what's happening outside.


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2) Do you experience this difference in all conditions? In heavy traffic? On a short grocery run? On the expressway? While overtaking a fast moving car on a state highway? In the ghats?
With Honda, I could be a bit carefree while cutting lanes while driving in city traffic, but with the Octi now, cutting lanes? err.. what's that?

On expressways is where the Octavia really shines, with that turbo charged 180 horses under the hood and super quick DSG, climbing to triple digit speeds is a cake walk. What more, the car is able to mask speeds superbly well. To give a perspective 140-150 feels like 110-110 now.

With Honda City, overtaking required planning especially on single road highways. The torque converter unit did take time to think, but with Octavia, Planning? What Planning? Dab the accelerator and she flies. Even before others have realized what happened she completes the maneuver.

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3) Would you say that the driving experience is so significantly better that everybody should own one of these brands at least once in a lifetime? Only interested from driving experience point of view, and not additional benefits like prestige/image etc nor issues like high sticker price/ maintenance costs
/reliability etc.
Well, anybody I met and I told that I have picked up a Skoda, made faces as if what a ghastly crime I have committed especially after owning a Honda which was fuss free kind of a ownership. But then well, somethings you do out of pure love for driving and pure love for experience the driving pleasure. I don't think any Japanese or Korean car can come close to the solid feel of European cars (just my perspective again) So have 40 lacs, will buy a Q3 rather than buying a Santa Fe.

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4) Looking at the numbers, one significant advantage of premium brands is the availability of 200 BHP+ cars. But these days, many mainstream models can crack the sub-11 sec 0 to 100 kmph mark. And premium models manage to touch 100 kmph in 8 to 10 seconds. So, is there a significant difference between a 130 BHP (mainstream) car and 180 BHP (premium) car in real world city and highway conditions?
Well GTO answered that earlier, 130 hp Verna vs 180 hp Octavia.


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5) On highways, do you actually get to a destination faster? And with less fatigue in a premium car?
Reaching early, is a function of which stretch of the road you are driving, but reaching fresh, definitely yes. I do a frequent Mumbai-Pune/ Mumbai- Goa trips, with Honda City I used to take 4 hrs to reach Pune and 11 hrs to reach Goa. Well I haven't embarked on a 600 km drive yet on the Octavia, but she still took 4 hours to reach Pune on various occasions that I have driven to Pune.

Talking about arriving fresh, with plush interiors, an awesome sounding audio set-up, memory controlled seats, tons of sensors around, dozens of things that happen in automatically and a car which can be docile and monster at a flick of your command, arriving fresh is given.

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6) Are there any mainstream models that can offer 90% of driving experience (power, refinement, acceleration, steering feel & feedback, features, build quality, ride quality, noise insulation) at 50% of the cost?
I think the C Segment cars are catching up fast now at-least in terms of refinement and features. Power, Acceleration, Ride Quality and build quality is something that will always remain as a game with the premium cars.
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Old 24th February 2017, 15:35   #63
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

Nice thread!.
I used to own the Audi A6 2.0TDI automatic and before that, the BMW 3 series convertible, when I was in the UK. My wife had the Honda Civic.
The stock was good on the Audi, however, I had the engine tuned on the Audi and it was a killer of a drive after that. The convertible Beemer prior to that was the one that I enjoyed the most. The steering feedback, the excellent benchmark road manners, the wind in the hair and the attention one gets was unparalleled.

The drive comfort, the feel, the insulation from the road noise, and the amazing power at your disposal when you need it, cannot be matched with the mass market segment cars. The Honda Civic was not bad though and did its job perfectly well and was a reliable one. It was more of a point A to point B car. No fuss, but no excitement.

But all this was in the UK...

When I came back to India, I went for a XUV and a Micra. I feel that the luxury brands are overpriced, their maintenance charges are unreasonably high and one cannot enjoy them to their full potential on our roads. Especially Kerala roads, with the narrow roads and the traffic density. I have Code 6 tuned the XUV and now it a whopper of a vehicle and I am enjoying it.
As far as owing cars in India is concerned, my personal opinion is that if one has loads of money to spend, then the premium paid (cars here being much more costlier than the same models in Europe or the US) ,to own a luxury car and experience it, is justifiable. Obviously, the 'feel' and 'snob-value' of being seen in a luxury marquee is another matter altogether. But otherwise many of the mass market cars in the upper segments do provide a great experience and the gap between them and the luxury brands is narrowing.

Outside India, I would not think twice going for a luxury brand, 'cos for then one can really enjoy the car to its maximum potential.

Thats my two paise worth.

Cheerio.
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Old 24th February 2017, 16:09   #64
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

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Originally Posted by sawnilrules View Post
Talking about arriving fresh, with plush interiors, an awesome sounding audio set-up, memory controlled seats, tons of sensors around, dozens of things that happen in automatically and a car which can be docile and monster at a flick of your command, arriving fresh is given.
Agree with the plush interiors/seats, but how do audio setup, memory controlled seats and a ton of sensors and other things that help someone arrive fresh?
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Old 24th February 2017, 17:29   #65
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

Since I returned to India 13 years ago I have had a host of cars across segments, the most 'premium' of them being a series of VW Passats. Also working for a weeks stints in Germany, I have had Mercedes E Class rentals.

IMHO there's no point buying an expensive car in the chaos that are Indian roads. I do most of my driving in city traffic. My preferred weapons of choice these days is my wife's Nano AMT as a run-about (anything less than 5 - 7 kms) and a Safari Storme for all other scenarios (especially the Mumbai Monsoon).

There's no substitute to the high seating position, all-round visibility and the Moses like street parting ability of a Storme. The rickshaws and 2-wheelers run helter-skelter as she moves in. I had to use my horn in the Passat whereas the Storme 'talks softly and weilds a big stick'! The soft suspension is great for the Stalingrad / Aleppo rubble that Mumbai roads become after the first showers. And point my Storme south-wards at dawn and it knows the roads to Club Mahindra Goa . . . a Storme any day for a long drive.

I love all kids, dogs, horses and cars - big, small, rich, poor, friendly and snotty. But nothing better on Indian roads than a big, hulking SUV with a great music system. What the heck - a few days of muck and a few dents actually enhances the menacing nature!

If I could afford it, I'd keep a nice Porsche at a house in Dubai to fly across the pond on weekends to get my speed thrills. But for Mumbai a top-end Tata Storme or a Mahindra Scorpio will do just fine . . . no point dishing out more money!!

Last edited by Ferruccio : 24th February 2017 at 17:37.
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Old 25th February 2017, 21:38   #66
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

First of all congratulations on the thread. It's a question I've had occassion to ponder over many a time.

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My questions in this thread are addressed to those who own premium brands like BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Jaguar, Volvo & Land Rover - but preferably, those who also own & drive a mainstream brand car (like Hyundai or a Toyota) daily or on weekends.
I drive a Hyundai i10 since 2008, a Mercedes C class (W204) since 2010, a Honda City iVTEC (ANHC) since 2011 and a Hyundai Creta (2016).

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Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
1) How significant is the difference in driving experience (power, features, build quality, ride quality, NVH, acceleration etc) between a Rs. 20 Lacs
mainstream brand/model (Eg: XUV 500) and a Rs. 50 Lacs premium brand/model (Eg: Audi Q3)?
The difference exists and exists in a variety of parameters. But whether the effect is pronounced or diminished is greatly determined by the pattern of Usage. While there is an undeniable sense of occasion when you get into the a BMW or a Merc it gets very quickly and greatly diminished if the usage is constrained to city. Bads roads and stiff suspensions, big engines and choc-a-bloc traffic, unscientific speed breakers and low riding sedans - all terrible combinations that very quickly kill the joy of driving. However there are somethings that remain irrespective - the sense of sturdiness and build quality.

Therefore the Merc for me has become a weekend or "I'm leaving the city" drive for the rest of the week the others trump it.

As far a features go most Koreans and Japs are far ahead.

Where a Merc or a BMW comes into its element is on a nice highway with disciplined traffic (a rarity).

Also beleive it or not but ergonomically the rear seat of the City where I spend a fair amount of time is actually much better than the C class. If you plan to ferry 5 then the Germans cant even play the game because most of them have a terrible transmission tunnel. Similarly I find the Creta seating in the rear better than the Q1/Q3.

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2) Do you experience this difference in all conditions? In heavy traffic? On a short grocery run? On the expressway? While overtaking a fast moving car on a state highway? In the ghats?
Definitely its the ecosystem of use that is the deciding factor!

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Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
3) Would you say that the driving experience is so significantly better that everybody should own one of these brands at least once in a lifetime? Only interested from driving experience point of view, and not additional benefits like prestige/image etc nor issues like high sticker price/ maintenance costs
/reliability etc.
Yes highway runs are an absolute pleasure irrespective if you are the sort that stamps on the gas to get to 100 or find your pleasure in high triple digit speeds or in relaxed driving. But solely from the drivers seat. Elsewhere in the car I think a Corolla or a City does the job very very well.

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Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
4) Looking at the numbers, one significant advantage of premium brands is the availability of 200 BHP+ cars. But these days, many mainstream models can crack the sub-11 sec 0 to 100 kmph mark. And premium models manage to touch 100 kmph in 8 to 10 seconds. So, is there a significant difference between a 130 BHP (mainstream) car and 180 BHP (premium) car in real world city and highway conditions?
No. Unless maniacal driving is you style.

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Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
5) On highways, do you actually get to a destination faster? And with less fatigue in a premium car?
Get there faster - no way.
Less Fatigue - Again the ambient conditions are the greater determinant. But all things being equal IN THE DRIVERS seat yes there is definitely less fatigue. Being more enjoyable makes it automatically less tiring. Seated Elsewhere in the Car not so, unless you climb many segments higher.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
6) Are there any mainstream models that can offer 90% of driving experience (power, refinement, acceleration, steering feel & feedback, features, build quality, ride quality, noise insulation) at 50% of the cost?
So many.

The Honda City is a pleasure to drive. The steering is a brilliant balanced one and the petrol is such a free revving beauty. I'd pick it over say a A3/CLA. It does it all at 1/3 the price.

The Toyota Corolla vs C/3 series.

Creta vs GLA,Q1,X1.

and so on....

Then there are cars like the Toyota Innova which does so many things right.

And all of these options not just mean 70-80% of the car at 30-50% of the price it also means no terrible scary shocks of maintenance bills.

Last edited by vineshpikale : 25th February 2017 at 21:42. Reason: got thr qoutes from the OP mixed with my reply
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Old 27th February 2017, 12:22   #67
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

Quote:
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Agree with the plush interiors/seats, but how do audio setup, memory controlled seats and a ton of sensors and other things that help someone arrive fresh?

Well, I look at this this way, a good quality audio setup and great songs playing in the background help you relax on your drive. Mumbai traffic is getting worst day by day, but the days I'm out with the Octi, the traffic just doesn't bother me as the audio quality takes over & one tends to enjoy the music by appreciating the quality of sound that surrounds you. Well that's my perspective though, may vary from person to person.

What I meant with memory controlled seats was the ability to choose the exact driving position with 12 way electrically adjusted driver seat that further helps in driving comfortably and sensors which let the car do most of the things which otherwise would require the drivers' input. For example, while entering or exiting the tunnel, the lights switch on or switch off, rain sensing wipers which come up automatically with the right swipe speed depending on the intensity of the rains or even the AFS lights which not only turn in the direction where the car is poised to enter but also intensify the throw of the light depending on the ambient lighting outside thus illuminating the road ahead in a much better way.

IMO all these and many more features definitely add to the comfort and stress free drive.
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Old 27th February 2017, 16:14   #68
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

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I think finally it is a matter of cost. You should go for a Premium car if you can comfortably afford it. No need to stretch yourself thin. A good way to evaluate it is once you get a car and if it gets lost/wrecked/totalled/drowned - how much of a disaster is it to replace it again. How big of a part is it of your total savings/wealth.
This is the actual assessment one has to make since it comes down to affordability. I have gradually upgraded from Zen> Fiesta> Civic >Altis> BMW within 9 years because I could easily afford it. Despite this sometimes it seems more of an indulgence rather than a necessity, and accompanied with constant worries about maintenance or repair cost.

Would I make the same decision again?............definitely not !!!
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Old 27th February 2017, 16:30   #69
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

one aspect I do have to highlight is that the overall dealer and retail experience while buying a luxury brand in India is very much lacking. Due to the small numbers in many cities dealers have monopolies which they exploit. due to low volumes the options available for a buyer willing to shell out big bucks is very limited. The Big 3 really go all out in giving a lot of options in terms of interior packages etc. when buying overseas.

None of this is available here. Unless it is a dated model the dealer attitude is very much "take it or leave it"

I was keen on buying the new BMW X1 but was not really happy with the beige interiors as well the seats which felt very bare and non-premium. Color options are also limited.

Best bet is that you get some seasonal discounts. While still deciding on X1 dealer offered good deal on the 320d Sportline (red). Really loved the interiors (plush and premium) and the smashing red looks. Obviously we loved the performance aspect and decided to compromise on the convenience and the rear space of the X1. when spending so much you really need to get that "it" factor which the 320d this version was giving us.

so in the end yes buying a premium brand here does involve some kind of compromise. In my case it felt that this is a purchase I can make and I am not going to go big anytime soon for many years. Both of us are big on self driving so this was like a dream car.

But I feel a manufacturer more focused on India and offering all the experience will give you a better value for the money spent.
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Old 27th February 2017, 20:04   #70
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

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Best bet is that you get some seasonal discounts. While still deciding on X1 dealer offered good deal on the 320d Sportline (red). Really loved the interiors (plush and premium) and the smashing red looks. Obviously we loved the performance aspect and decided to compromise on the convenience and the rear space of the X1. when spending so much you really need to get that "it" factor which the 320d this version was giving us.
Hello neeravnaik, agree with what you have written. Premium cars give you a more premium experience but we all have to pay a big 'premium' for the same.
My compromise was that I actually wanted red colour with black interiors and to get the same had to settle for a Diesel engine whereas I wanted a petrol engine. By the way I have booked the same car as you in Delhi and got a discount of 8 lakhs. What kind of discount did you get?

Thanks.
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Old 27th February 2017, 20:08   #71
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Hello neeravnaik, agree with what you have written. Premium cars give you a more premium experience but we all have to pay a big 'premium' for the same.
My compromise was that I actually wanted red colour with black interiors and to get the same had to settle for a Diesel engine whereas I wanted a petrol engine. By the way I have booked the same car as you in Delhi and got a discount of 8 lakhs. What kind of discount did you get?

Thanks.
congrats on your purchase! I am really happy with the car.

got a 10 L discount on the standard OTR price. Bangalore has generally the most expensive car prices. compared to delhi it almost pushes it up by a segment so this should be similar to discount that you got.
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Old 27th February 2017, 23:46   #72
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

Let me start with a disclaimer that I may sound like a luxury car basher. I have owned some, but driven many extensively across the brands. Many of these experiences have been from ownership or extensive driving experiences in friends' cars.

BMW 320d:
My first diesel car ever. Most certainly, the last.

Pros: Stiff and nicely tuned suspension for beautiful road dynamics, very stable at high speeds and corners (as long as the road lives up to it). It has a delightfully reliable engine coupled with the 8-speed, amazing gearbox. Sexy looking.

Cons: Goodies are not the focus. The tractor like engine sound of the 2.0 diesel, stupid turbo lag and power lacking rev-bands. They are just not meant for petrolheads who love high revving, uniform and continuous power delivering petrol engines. The car supposedly revs to 5,800 rpm but doesn't generate any power beyond a point. Better to let the gearbox shift than manual it. Their petrol variant 328i, as rare as it is, is incredibly good to drive but extremely hard to find (still, only paddles and no clutch). With 18" wheels and stiffer suspension, I would not like to use throttle while a see a mirage. Period.

Regardless, the cars will almost go flying off undulations and expansion joints if you are not careful with run flats. In the city, please do not carry a hot beverage to have in the car. You will surely spill it. Unless you have got regular tubeless; which means to say you would spend an additional ~28k on donut wheel. Bleh.

Mercedes C220d (old generation and the new):
After driving a car that redlines at 4,200 RPM, I realised I was posting in the wrong thread. The topic says "driving experience". How do I experience a steering that is a .

Mercedes C63s AMG: A lot of pros, 500+ bhp to begin with. But Mercedes somehow kill the fun part in it. The steering is too light and weighs up as you change modes. Even with a lot of pushing, the car will behave like a little Hyundai hatchback and think twice before going wild. It is a beautiful car but I only wish Mercedes had tuned it a little more aggressively to make us feel nervous while the car was completely in control (life goals, I know).

Audi A4: Quite nice in the city. They are actually packaged very well to take on different conditions. But they cannot think beyond the 2.0 TDI which is now a standard even in A6.
Cons: The Audis are as boring if you are looking at the driving experience. They used to put up Quattro badges on sedans at times (like A6 Quattro) to insult enthusiasts. All wheel drive is never so much of a need - rear wheel drive will do just fine.

XF S: I have seen a friend who bought a XF Sport and electric AC vents stopped working immediately. Some sensors decided not to work, blah blah blah. I drove it for a while. Not bad at all. But it just doesn't feature in an enthusiast's list because the car essentially feels like a product from the long delays in production; owing to the frequent labour strikes in UK. I don't know if the brake booster would choose to go an strike and stop working, so I would never push this so-called British junk.

Bottom line:

Buy a luxury if you want the bling. The interiors on the Audi and Mercs are unmatched quality; in some cases they offer too much for the money you pay. Enjoy it. But if you want driving pleasure, buy a BMW. A 3.0 diesel or their petrol please; only as a second car that you only drive on good highways. No, not even the X5/6 because I have made them nervous in just the city, forget highways.By pushing those monstrosities. Entering from High Court and exiting towards Mallya Road in Cubbon Park, I almost literally finished my dose of praying for the week.

Or buy an AMG. or an M. or a S4 or above. They may have their own cons, but at least they are rarely used and only on good roads.

Last edited by rocksterraghu : 27th February 2017 at 23:51.
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Old 28th February 2017, 09:08   #73
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

Premium cars certainly give a 'feel good' factor and pride of ownership. The QA / QC also is far better for the price they command. Their build quality is also good & many have premium interiors and loads of creature comforts.

However, in India the premium brands are way too expensive due to customs duty / import charges etc. as compared to what they, actually cost, to the manufacturer. e.g. In the US one can easily stretch slightly more than ones’ respective budget and own a premium brand. However, in India that 'stretch' becomes a lot due to the import duty factor etc. Also, the insurance + spares (even replacing tyres at some point) after purchase need that much more 'stretch' each time. So, buying a INR 50L+ nice premium brand is not the end of the stretch on the pocket.

I have also seen that many who buy these premium vehicles in India have a business of their own (not working professional – of course there are exceptions) and they use the high cost of purchase & high maintenance to show depreciating asset and get tax benefit in their business. For a ‘regular working professional’ in India, it is a thought to ponder on (even if they can afford it with a stretch), to justify buying a INR 40+ lakh vehicle and then a few years down sell it at a much lesser price without any tax benefit.

Many working professionals who have relocated to India from abroad and who are well to do NRIs in India (even ones who can easily stretch and afford a premium car), also still avoid premium cars when they relocate to India. These may be the same ones, who used to drive nice cars abroad. Instead many, finally make a decision, to purchase a high end & fully loaded main-stream cars when they relocate back to India.

Having said this, it is always good to aspire and if one can afford a nice premium car in India, why not just own it. The pleasure of owning & driving one of these in India boosts up status (artificially??) in social circles too.
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Old 28th February 2017, 12:02   #74
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium Vs Mainstream Brands / Models

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I'm not sure I trust Zoomcar/Myles enough to drive their cars at 100 kmph on our highways. What's the guarantee that the car has been maintained well?
I recently hired a Jazz from Zoom in Kolkata. The car was spanking new done only 1500 kms. So the maintenance thing was out.
The problem is with speed limits on these self drive rentals. Myles has a speed limit of 100 and zoom 125. They send you a text indicating that you have exceeded the speed limit and you are fined a good 2.5 k or thereabouts. Before I digress too much the point I was trying to make is that you cannot ever get a feel of a car on the highway if you are looking at the speedo all the time checking if you are approaching 100. The speed limit on zoom is I would say much better.
I am not criticizing these self drive rental companies. It is good that they set a speed limit in a country like ours and ensure that people drive safe.
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Old 28th February 2017, 20:24   #75
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

First I don't know if i qualify but I own a X1 xline which was the top of the line variant when I bought it a couple of years ago. I also own a Honda Jazz CVT, Apart from these I drive my brother-in-law's camry hybrid quite often.

Nothing to beat the BMW's in terms of pure joy of driving.The 320d is probably the best car I have driven on Indian roads. Having said that, The camry is leagues ahead in terms of back seat comfort and even my Jazz is more comfortable than the X1.Cannot comment on Audi or Mercs.

Like someone rightly said in the earlier posts, Its the 100-250 dash that puts a smile on your face . But on Indian roads its not the safest way to drive.I generally stick to low triple digit speeds on the highways even though that car is capable of a lot more.

If you ask me, for a daily drive and a little bit of both worlds I would suggest a Jetta or an Octavia. The Japs and the koreans just don't offer the same connect in terms of steering feedback that the germans do. But if your priority if features then i think Hyundai offers more on the Grand i10 than my BMW does :( .

But driving a BMW is something that everyone who loves driving should experience.Nothing comes close to it.You just feel like the machine is an extension of you and no other brand comes close atleast the mainstream ones available in India
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