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View Poll Results: When shopping for a new car, which variant do you buy?
The base variant (Eg: LXi) 5 1.09%
The mid variant (Eg: VXi) 124 27.07%
The top variant (Eg: ZXi) 296 64.63%
Don't Know/ Can't Say 33 7.21%
Voters: 458. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 1st May 2017, 19:01   #31
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Default Re: Analysis: Which is the most popular variant?

Interesting thread. I voted for Don't know/ Can't say. And here are the reasons:

1) The variant I choose will depend on the safety kit the car is equipped with. Generally the top most variant will have the maximum safety kit, but nowadays manufacturers are slowly changing as Indian consumers realize the importance of safety e.g. Toyota offering all safety aids even in the base variant of the Liva

2) Depending on the purpose the car is going to be used, the variant will change. If the car is predominantly being used by the driver to take my wife to work or my mother to the supermarket, then I will choose the base variant (again provided the safety kit is there) without any creature comforts, but if it's me who will be using the car, then I will choose the mid/ top end variant which is fully loaded. This is also due to the reason that, after a lot of bad experiences, I have totally lost faith in the aftermarket car accessory guys and I prefer factory installed stuff

3) The variant also depends on the car model I am considering. For example, if I am considering a BMW, I will prefer a variant which has features like sun roof, ambient lighting etc. not because I necessarily need them but because it is a premium car and should give me the premium experience. I would not want the same in a Creta

Last edited by carfreak : 1st May 2017 at 19:03.
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Old 1st May 2017, 19:36   #32
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Default Re: Analysis: Which is the most popular variant?

@Smartcat, you are surpassing yourself with these fantastic threads with superlative analysis. Please keep them going

Moving onto my choice, I picked Top Variant - which is what I picked on most of my cars. Please note that when I say Top variant, I am talking about features with a given Engine Gearbox combination - for example, when I bought my Superb, I picked the 1.8 TsI Petrol AT Elegance, and not the 3.6 FSI, but I still consider it the Top Variant.

Why? Because Top Variants do have a number of nice to have features, and because I don't like tampering with cars in the after market.

To give you my history, I have owned a City GXi Manual, a Getz GLE, a Superb 1.8 TSi AT Elegance, a Vento 1.6 MPI AT Highline, and a X3 20d XLine. All were the highest end variants with a given engine and gearbox, except the Getz. We went for a mid variant Getz since we had started targeting a Wagon R or Santro, moved to the Swift and then picked a Getz since Swift deliver periods were too long back in 2005 - and we were running out of budget.
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Old 1st May 2017, 23:15   #33
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Default Re: Analysis: Which is the most popular variant?

Voted for "The Mid Variant".

With advent of safety features coming into even base trims, I prefer the middle variant. Usually, my preference for feature list AC (either manual or Automatic), Power Windows, Music System, Atleast Electric adjustment of ORVM. Bluetooth connectivity, Touchscreen AVN, Alloys are not on my priority list. But I believe that middle variant makes the car quite usable.

Plus, there are a lot of aftermarket options now along with Official Accessories.

Also, Difference between top end and penultimate variant is quite a bit in some cases. Eg : Swift - difference between top end petrol (ZXI) and VXI ABS is Rs. 80,000/- in my city. Thats almost 12.5% more than VXI ABS variant.

Last edited by aaggoswami : 1st May 2017 at 23:16.
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Old 2nd May 2017, 00:12   #34
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I'm on the Android app and it shows no voting option. I always go for the Manual Top Variant when I buy cars. I like the bells and whistles and am comfortable with manual.
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Old 2nd May 2017, 00:22   #35
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Default Re: Analysis: Which is the most popular variant?

Voted for "The top variant"

I think there are few factors at play here in how people decide on the variant.

1. BHPians vs Non-BHPians : No real surprises on the poll results. It's very likely that anyone who has a keen interest in cars will want to go with the best features and these are obviously reserved for the top variant. When it comes to non-BHPians, I guess the mid-variant may find the highest takers closely followed by top variant.

2. Urban vs rural : The urban areas may have more takers for mid or top variants and in semi-urban and rural areas it could perhaps be mid or base variant.

3. Number of drivers : This is just my thinking but I guess the one who pays from his/her pocket would want to be at the wheel the highest and may go in for a higher variant. A 'family driven' could likely be a mid variant.

4. Age of buyer : The middle aged person buying a car for the first time would possibly not want to stretch his/her budget for a few features or creature comforts that may not mean much and may settle for a mid variant. This may also hold true for younger buyers but the trend among millennials could be to lean towards more features thanks to larger disposable incomes.

5. Perceived importance of features : Not all top end variants offer mechanically different features. The decision in these cases could just come down to how much more important is a cosmetic feature like better ICE, leather seats or DRL's or projector headlamps (not considering safety).
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Old 2nd May 2017, 00:37   #36
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Default Re: Analysis: Which is the most popular variant?

You are one Smartcat , fantastic comparison. and great idea to use used car listings for this info.

I don't look towards buying any variant at the initial stage. First deciding the car and then checking out the available options and their pricing.
For eg. We bought a Honda city in 2005, the Base variant but the top one was about 60-70k more and gave a casette player(seriously? a height adjusting seat and beige interiors), We didn't find value in these features so didn't pick it

Got a spark in 2010, got the one with power steering and AC, the only useful safety features I was interested in like ABS,airbags were a good 1.5 lacs more, a lot for a secondary city car.

But in 2013, buying an Ecosport, went for the top of the line ecoboost, the lowest variant you could get it in was titanium(good since i wanted the safety features) and the titanium option added 6 airbags and leather seats(which can't be added later when you have airbags in the seats) for a mere 40k. A no brainer since that was like 5 percent of the car's price.

Similarly if I can get a good and useful feature, say like a rear wiper, safety features or android auto/carplay at a sane amount of money I would get that in any car.
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Old 2nd May 2017, 07:50   #37
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Default Re: Analysis: Which is the most popular variant?

Nice thread! Most aspects have already been dealt with. Some more from my side:

- The biggest here I think is the budget constraint of the buyer. Every thing else is deemed small. So if there are perceived budget boundaries within the financial plane (if I may choose to use a term like that!) what would be that boundary beyond which a buyer would settle for a mid trim of a next grade rather than a top trim of the current grade
- Base version is very rarely bought I think, unless it is sufficiently equipped.
- Some products get a the base version rarely equipped because the manufacturer does not intend to have a sale on that trim. Its only a bait to pull in the buyer to the showroom, with aggressive pricing.

Another set of aspects: Mandatory feature requirements.

- This I think comes more from a pro-buyer (team-bhp grade buyer vs a non-aware buyer).
- Items like power, safety, engine, clutch ease, #gears, cruise control etc come in.
- While most of the tech specs do not change across the trim, safety does in a big way.
- For the non-aware buyer its usually the creature comfort like a touch-screen which is the draw. This usually will be a battle between mid and top trim; but not the base trim.

AT vs non-AT is very small subset in my opinion for this thread. Because if a buyer has designs on getting an AT, he is already leaning to an informed buy in the market. We still have to get to a point, where AT forms the bulk of the non-aware buyer's market.

Last edited by ampere : 2nd May 2017 at 08:42.
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Old 2nd May 2017, 09:37   #38
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Default Re: Analysis: Which is the most popular variant?

Voted for "Top Variant". Reasons as follows:

1. Top variant is loaded with safety features. Though that is changing now, yet the following points will still tilt my decision towards the top variant.

2. Comes loaded with all frills. I wouldn't want anyone messing around with my new car to install those speakers or other accessories. Also, it goes a long way to get a completely built and thoroughly tested specimen. OEM warranty is important to me and should be hassle free.

3. Usually the top end trim comes with bigger set of wheels along with alloys. Don't know why, but I somehow do not like the steel rims. Though they are more abuse friendly.

4. I won't get a feeling few years down the line that I am missing a particular feature. In my case, Ecosport Titanium comes with Microsoft Sync and it comes in handy. If at all I were to add it as an accessory later on, it would cost me the current market price Vs. what I had paid at the time of original purchase. Not to forget the messing around with electrical and associated parts.

5. I would want the best that my budget can buy me!

6. Top end variants usually command a better premium while selling of the car.
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Old 2nd May 2017, 10:32   #39
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Default Re: Analysis: Which is the most popular variant?

This was a very interesting read. Thank you for compiling all this data!.
I give my input, I personally bought the Vxi(middle) variant of the Swift because It offered the best value for money. The lowest variant being cheapest offered too little in my eyes and the highest variant offered too little for the premium asked.
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Old 2nd May 2017, 11:15   #40
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Default Re: Analysis: Which is the most popular variant?

My last four cars have been top end Automatics (Laura L&K, C200, City and Amaze. That was the starting point. The top end offers almost every feature available and thus saves me the trouble of doing any post purchase mods and additions.

The above rule could be different in the higher ned models as many top end (by price) cars have 4x4 manual or are diesels that don't offer the fully loaded kit.

The petrol vs diesel debate is non-existential for me since my driving is very limited with >95% in the city.
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Old 2nd May 2017, 11:44   #41
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Default Re: Analysis: Which is the most popular variant?

My personal choice would be Top End ZXI
My cars is/were
M800 top End
Swift DDIS VDI+ABS (This was the top end in 2008, currently its avaialble in ZDI trim too with Airbags)
My current car is Honda City VM-T (Pre-worshipped). In case of Honda I do prefer VM trim rather than VX just because I don't prefer sun roof and that being the difference apart from leather seats. This has changed in the current version where ZX gets 6 airbags.
So it boils down to the question, can I get all features except Sun roof then I would go for that variant.
But in most cases safety features like ESP/TCS/6 Airbags are provided with top end variants which includes sun roof, so my vote is for Top End Variant (ZXI)
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Old 2nd May 2017, 12:27   #42
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Default Re: Analysis: Which is the most popular variant?

Decision on variant has changed for me over the years, although I will always want the top variant. In the mass market, top end means most equipment.
Hence, the desire for "top end". Also, it also means having about as many goodies as a mid-variant vehicle in the next segment up.
So going from most recent backwards, here is how I came to the conclusion on variant.

S-Cross 1.6 (bought new): The only compact crossover that I genuinely liked and wanted to buy. By the time I bought it, only the top end Alpha variant was available with the 1.6 engine. Did not want leather seats, hence tried booking the Zeta variant (and was feeling a bit sad about the compromises in equipment), but the SA helped change my mind by giving BIG discount and swapping seats with a Zeta.

Ford Figo (bought new): Simply had to be a top end, because of safety kit - ABS and Airbags.

Among the used cars I bought, the '91 Ford Fiesta and '98 Nissan Primera were also top end models, but I soon realised that when buying used, a lot of the goodies stop working and are simply not repaired by previous owners due to the cost.

Prior to that, my other cars were either too old to have variants (Zen, Ambassador) or were unique (Mk.2 Golf GTi) and hence no variants.
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Old 2nd May 2017, 12:35   #43
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Default Re: Analysis: Which is the most popular variant?

For few people like me variant decision is based on budget . Is it below or above 10 Lakhs. In Bangalore there is a big difference OT for a car costing 9.99 Lakhs and 10 Lakhs. So ended up with Scross 1.3 Zeta and luckily it turned out to be VFM
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Old 2nd May 2017, 13:07   #44
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Default Re: Analysis: Which is the most popular variant?

Dear Smart
Very well researched and presented review.

To select a variant, many factors goes into the decision making process:
1) Incremental Cost vs Features
What do I get for the additional moolah I plonk? Is it only cosmetic(Crome Grilles, Music System etc) or the serious upgrades(ABS/EBD, Dual Airbags etc).
End of the day, if I select the top verion and pay an additional xx over the previous version, am I getting the VFM? FOr some, airbags means nothing and hence mid variants are popular for models like the Dzire or the Swift.

2) Availability of the Variant
I was dead sure that I wanted a VXi when I car shopped for the Wagon R. But then, I had to retrofit a CNG as that was my criteria as well. Eventually, for lack of options, I had to settle for the LXi CNG in the Wagon R. My intent doesnt matter. Coz, the company offerings didnt match my expectations.

In various cases, I may want an AMT Diesel but to be let down due to lack of choice. Eventually, the next best alternative is taken.

3) Family Preference
Why do you want the top version or vice versa. This may also be derived from what the neighbour drives. Fact is, its Indian tendency to take a version above what the next door neighbour has. It has its pros and cons and I will not delve into that. But yes, peer pressure also leads to a variant choice. A Boss may tell you that the below variant is good for you and decision may be directed at that.
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Old 2nd May 2017, 19:05   #45
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Default Re: Analysis: Which is the most popular variant?

Good thread! Voted for top variant, below is how I go about it:

Thumb Rule : For me, its always the top variant. I tend to hold onto my cars for a long time, so buying a top variant keeps my car's features in-line with newer offerings for most years of ownership.

Budget vs Top Variant: If I am currently short on budget to buy the top variant of the car that I want, I would wait till I get the requisite budget. Or if urgent, look at other options within the segment or maybe a segment below, but again has to be with the best available package for that particular car.

Any top variant? : Having said the above, the top variant has to have some additional features/safety to pay that price, I wouldn't pay that extra bucks for just leather seats/chrome fittings. So, for me the top variant = the best features+safety package that a particular car offers (has to be VFM). That's the only variant I consider while finalising my choices!
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