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Old 26th May 2011, 15:16   #181
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Default Re: Small Car Buyer Guide - A Ready Reckoner

Surprised to see the Figures for Polo 1.2 D vis a vis Figo. The turbo lag in Polo should have contributed to the lower 20-80 and 40-100 but apparently that's not the case in the ratings. The turbo lag has done some damage to i20 figures though. Surprising since i have found the i20 to have lesser turbo lag than the polo 1.2D.
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Old 26th May 2011, 18:50   #182
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Default Re: Small Car Buyer Guide - A Ready Reckoner

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Originally Posted by cingsman View Post
In my opinion, a much better set of metrics should give greater emphasis on what an audience of small cars desires when it buys a small car.
Do let us know what exactly a small car buyer desires!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ACM View Post
The weightage for Braking distances needs to be even higher (ofcourse coupled with ABS) as and Airbags helps only after an accident while brakes prevent one and we all know which is better.
If you were to choose between an i20 diesel (airbags, ABS, but poor braking distance) and Swift diesel (no airbags, ABS, decent braking distance), would you actually put your money on the Swift diesel?

Under certain driving conditions, like in a ghat section, even if you slow down quickly because of good brakes, you can still have an accident because the other guy might have been slow to react. That's when the airbags help.

Having a car that has good handling (high speed manners, sharp chassis etc) can also help avoid accidents.

Quote:
Also in case of the i20 it is a know -ve that the diesel has the worst braking distance in the range, and the petols are better. It may be due to the engine weight up front being higher for the Diesel engine and the resultant weight distribution effect on all four wheel.
Diesel engined cars don't have engine braking apparently. Do a Google search for "Engine braking diesel". Quoting from Wikipedia -

Quote:
Diesel engines do not technically have engine braking in the above sense. The reason is that unlike petrol engines, diesel engines vary fuel flow to control power rather than throttling air intake and maintaining a constant fuel ratio as petrol engines do. As they do not maintain a throttle vacuum, they are not subject to the same engine braking effects as petrol engines are.
Quote:
Originally Posted by vishnurp99 View Post
Surprised to see the Figures for Polo 1.2 D vis a vis Figo. The turbo lag in Polo should have contributed to the lower 20-80 and 40-100 but apparently that's not the case in the ratings. The turbo lag has done some damage to i20 figures though. Surprising since i have found the i20 to have lesser turbo lag than the polo 1.2D.
The gearing ratio also affects the acceleration figures - not just the turbolag. For example - Linea diesel takes around 15 secs to hit 100 kmph from standstill. Now although Punto 90 HP is lighter and has Linea's engine, it takes 16.2 seconds to hit 100 kph.




ROUND NO. 2 - HANDLING


Having a strong performance only helps in a straight line. However, if for some reason you want to race your hatch on a track, you will need a car that handles well too. A car that handles well naturally enhances driving pleasure on our highways.

To get the ranking of best handling hatchbacks, I have used Team-BHP reviews on handling for each hatchback.

Guidelines For Better Ranking In Handling:

- Good high speed stability on highways. Should not feel nervous at high speeds.
- No bodyroll during cornering
- All FWD cars understeer, but good ones delay the onset of understeer allowing you to push harder on ghat or hilly roads.
- Good grip levels.


The ranking of hatchback with best to not-so-great handling characteristics - the one in the top gets 36 points and the one at the bottom get 1 points - looks like this:



Small Car Buyer Guide - A Ready Reckoner-handing.jpg


[Click on the image to get a larger, clearer one]



Comments:

- Most tall boys have poor handling characteristics. There are a few exceptions like the Ritz though.

- Maruti A-Star and Chevrolet Spark surprise.



The ranking of cars with the best mix of performance & handling:


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Quote:
Originally Posted by aniketi View Post
But dont understand the idea of comparing all the cars together which are hatch. You are comparing 8-9 Lac cars with Nano & alto. Is this fair?
When we compare the Nano with the Jazz and everything else in between, we find out how good the A-star really is when it comes to performance & handling. Although the A-star costs just Rs. 4 - 5 lacs, it beats the pants out of majority of cars when it comes to these two parameters.

Now if we had just compared A-star with other entry level cars like Nano, Alto, Santro, Spark etc, it would have topped the list yes - but you wouldn't have known how good it really is when compared to the next car in the list. In this type of comparison, the more the merrier.

All one has to do is "blank out" Polo, Punto and all other hatches that one is not interested in buying from the final table. Just look only at the relative rankings/points of the cars one is interested to buy.

Tata Nano is at the bottom of the list and that seems to be unfair - but really - performance & handling are not exactly the USP of the car. It's real strengths (Practicality, price, running costs, looks etc) will show up in the rankings - even with the presence of Polo, Figo, Swift etc in the comparo.

Last edited by smartcat : 26th May 2011 at 19:08.
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Old 26th May 2011, 19:00   #183
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Default Re: Small Car Buyer Guide - A Ready Reckoner

Yet another fantastic thread, Smartcat! Can't wait for all the remaining parts

5 (?) years on and Swift is still the hatch of choice from a fun to drive, perspective!

I sense a distinguished BHPian in the making!

Last edited by anekho : 26th May 2011 at 19:01.
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Old 27th May 2011, 09:41   #184
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Default Re: Small Car Buyer Guide - A Ready Reckoner

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Originally Posted by smartcat View Post

If you were to choose between an i20 diesel (airbags, ABS, but poor braking distance) and Swift diesel (no airbags, ABS, decent braking distance), would you actually put your money on the Swift diesel?

Under certain driving conditions, like in a ghat section, even if you slow down quickly because of good brakes, you can still have an accident because the other guy might have been slow to react. That's when the airbags help.

Having a car that has good handling (high speed manners, sharp chassis etc) can also help avoid accidents.
Smartcat actually I would probably chose the swift diesel over the I20 diesel, as not only does it have better brakes (and braking distance) but is also the more stable of the two with better handling - even if there were no airbags.

Actually the new swift that would be out soon takes the game further away from the I20 with better interiors and features, newer but similar looks, while retaining the current braking and stability characteristics.

Both my current cars have 6 airbags but I still prioritise braking higher than the airbags safety. Infact one of the criteria for choosing the Aria over the fortuner was disk brakes all around (all 4 wheels) and much much better braking distance as well as brake feel. Besides TC, ESP etc. Similary the Laura when choosen over the Accord again had much better braking and stability going its way.

Yes Airbags cost the company money and the top spec models should have it, but if a fundamental like stability or brakes is poor in a car, then airbags cannot compensate for it airbags are not fool proof, yes Diana was not wearing the seatbelt in the rear seat of her illfated car, but even the safest car in the world (S Class) could not save anyone in that accident including those wearing seatbelts upfront, airbags dont totally change the laws of physics. Ofcourse the S class also has great brakes but this accident could not have been averted by better brakes. Better Brakes do make for much lesser accidents. Have use a Safari for many years and its braking though better than that of the Scorpio was actually an event that can trigger a heartattack. Am am now happy to now have vehicles that brake much better. When one has to brake suddenly with a person crossing the road suddenly a good brake with shorter braking distance could not just save our cars and lives but also of the pedestian. Coupled with Stability and ABS the good brakes would make most cars much more safer than the addtion of Airbags. We do need to note that while Airbags are beneficial the single biggest safety device in cars is the Seat Belt and that has saved a lot lot more lives than airbags can ever claim (besides the fact that airbags need to be coupled with seatbelts to be truly effective - why they failed for Diana). How many of us wear seat belts in the rear? I do insist on my family having the seat belts on even in the rear seat - especially on highway drives and the kid needs to always be in the rear.

Would still maintain that Better Braking distance with ABS and a stable car or a stability program (like ESP) is more important than the airbags as a safety parmeter and should have higher weightage.
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Old 27th May 2011, 10:12   #185
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Default Re: Small Car Buyer Guide - A Ready Reckoner

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
Comments:

- Most tall boys have poor handling characteristics. There are a few exceptions like the Ritz though.

- Maruti A-Star and Chevrolet Spark surprise.
Dear Smartcat, at the onset thanks for an excellent thread. The amount of research and effort that has gone into this comparison is truly commendable! However, having driven both the Spark and the A-Star extensively, IMO the Spark trumps the A-Star every time when it comes to handling. To be more specific, body roll and high speed stability for Spark is superior to that of the A-Star. Try taking a moderately sharp and banked curve in excess of 65 on the A-Star, and it slides. The Spark understeers, yes, but its predictable every time!

Would love to have your comments on the same.
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Old 28th May 2011, 11:18   #186
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Default Re: Small Car Buyer Guide - A Ready Reckoner

Quote:
Originally Posted by anekho View Post
5 (?) years on and Swift is still the hatch of choice from a fun to drive, perspective!
Punto T-Jet anyone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ACM View Post
Both my current cars have 6 airbags but I still prioritise braking higher than the airbags safety.
I do not disagree with your logic, but a car with 6 airbags will mostly get a 4 or 5 star EuroNCAP ratings. So even in our rankings, i20 diesel inspite of its poor braking distance will top the safety list because of increased protection during side impacts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordavenger View Post
having driven both the Spark and the A-Star extensively, IMO the Spark trumps the A-Star every time when it comes to handling. To be more specific, body roll and high speed stability for Spark is superior to that of the A-Star. Try taking a moderately sharp and banked curve in excess of 65 on the A-Star, and it slides. The Spark understeers, yes, but its predictable every time!
.
I'll take your word for it, Lord! In the rankings, a point here or there won't matter much in the overall scheme of things.




ROUND NO. 3 - SAFETY


Here, we rank all the cars based on three parameters -

- Shortest braking distance from 100 kmph to standstill
- Number of airbags (driver side only, dual airbags, side/curtain airbags)
- Braking safety features like ABS & EBD.

We all know how important ABS is. But as mentioned in my other thread, I got out of a sticky situation once only because of the presence of EBD in my car - it definitely adds to safety of the car.


Braking Distance from 100 kmph to Zero in metres:


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Safety Features:


Small Car Buyer Guide - A Ready Reckoner-safetyfeatures.jpg


If a safety feature is available, the car gets 36 points for that feature. And if it doesn't, it gets zero. Including the points earned by the car for braking distance and adding up, we get the overall ranking of safest hatchbacks sold in India -


Small Car Buyer Guide - A Ready Reckoner-safetypoints.jpg



Re-basing the ranking table by assigning points on a scale of 1 to 36 -


Name:  safetyranking.jpg
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Comments:

- VW and Skoda cars do not offer EBD.

- Ford Figo diesel's braking distance is very impressive for a diesel, and is actually better than that of the petrol. There could be 3 reasons for that - a) Printing mistake! b) Errors in carrying out the braking test for the petrol version by the magazine c) Ford has actually equipped the diesel version with larger discs at the front and drums at the rear.

- A-star tops the list for the lowest braking distance. And it is also equipped with dual airbags, ABS & EBD.

- Maruti Wagon R comes with airbags but only as an option. A majority of buyers won't go for the optional airbags because it will generally involve a month's delay in getting the car.


Ranking of cars with the best mix of performance, handling & safety (a good combination if you are gifting a car to your 18 year old son or daughter!) -


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Old 28th May 2011, 12:07   #187
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Default Re: Small Car Buyer Guide - A Ready Reckoner

I highly doubt the integrity of the Swift petrol braking data. Is it really in the league of the Alto 0.8 in braking?

I thought it to be miles ahead of the Alto in this department.

Nice to see the K10 sibling turning up the heat.

Last edited by JustCause : 28th May 2011 at 12:09.
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Old 28th May 2011, 13:26   #188
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Default Re: Small Car Buyer Guide - A Ready Reckoner

Perhaps a very fat guy was testing the braking distance of the Swift petrol? Anyway, the usual disclaimers about the accuracy of data apply.

Theoritically though, it is possible for the Alto to have a shorter braking distance than Swift (P).

- Some tests have shown that ABS increases braking distance (because of brake-release-brake mechanism).

- Alto is a lot lighter than Swift.

According to another magazine, Alto stops from 80 kmph to 0 (that's 80, not 100) in 31.69 metres. Unfortunately, I do not have the numbers for Swift's 80 kmph to 0 braking distance.
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Old 30th May 2011, 08:05   #189
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Default Re: Small Car Buyer Guide - A Ready Reckoner

[quote=smartcat;2367044]Do let us know what exactly a small car buyer desires!

My concern is about the emphasis / weightage given to the performance metrics. The metrics remain the same. Maybe a <1 weightage for the 'speed' metrics would be more appropriate and better mirror the thought process and the heuristics that go on in a typical small car buyer's mind.

For eg., a small car buyer thinks of not how quickly the car can get off the blocks. The 'peppiness' / responsiveness of the car / engine is all he cares about. The car is either peppy, somewhat peppy or un-responsive. But then again, does this factor weigh in equal when compared to say, the price factor or the space factor or the 'loaded' factor?

So, yes, my emphasis is on the emphasis!
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Old 30th May 2011, 10:27   #190
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Nice work Smartcat ! Waiting for further analysis.

It's good to know that Swift ranks so high, depsite being oldest among the competitors. No wonder Swift D has long waiting period.
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Old 30th May 2011, 17:36   #191
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Ford Figo diesel's breaking performance could be attributed to the fact that the tdci is substantially lighter than the mjd and other diesel engines.. This means that the car is not as front heavy as the others. This also results in the recommended air pressure being lesser in teh front tyres than the rear while in most of the other cars you fill more air in the front.

Can somebody correct if this understanding is wrong?
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Old 30th May 2011, 22:29   #192
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Default Re: Small Car Buyer Guide - A Ready Reckoner

Quote:
Originally Posted by cingsman View Post
My concern is about the emphasis / weightage given to the performance metrics. Maybe a <1 weightage for the 'speed' metrics would be more appropriate and better mirror the thought process and the heuristics that go on in a typical small car buyer's mind.
After I upload the Excel sheet at the end of this exercise, you can change the weightage of each parameter - based on what's important to you and what's not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ram_NP View Post
Waiting for further analysis.
This analysis is going to take a few more days though as I have a few other things to do - please bear with me.

Personally, I'm interested in knowing where VW Polo 1.6 stands - my brother has almost made up his mind to buy it in another couple of months (and I support his decision for most part)



ROUND NO. 4 - LOOKS (EXTERIOR DESIGN)


The rankings are mostly based on design reviews of each car by Team-BHP and Autocar India. The methodology for the ranking is explained below the table -


Small Car Buyer Guide - A Ready Reckoner-looks.jpg



[Click on the image above to see a bigger, clearer one]



Comments & Methodology of ranking:

- Italian designers & Italian design houses top the table. Punto, Polo & Nano have a timeless design that will look good even 10 years from now. These cars will age gracefully and are design classics.

- Vista, i20, Jazz, i10 and Fabia - these are modern contemporary designs that look stunning for all the angles. They have certain design flourishes like aggressive front end, muscular wheel arches and so on. Generally liked by all. However, these designs start to look boring after 3 - 4 years. That is, they do not age as well as the first set of cars.

- The third set - Beat, Swift, A-star, Micra and Ritz are good designs too. But they split opinion. That is, certain design aspects of these cars (Eg: front or back) will put off some buyers. Swift misses out on being a design classic because its rear-end is not liked by all.

- The next in the ranking is Ford Figo. Modern design but a bit bland looking.

- The next set of cars - Spark, Santro, Alto, Indica, U-Va, Estilo - were once best looking cars during its time. Most of these cars are facelifts of 5+ year old cars and these cars no longer get a second glance.

Expect the i20s and the Jazz'es to be in this place 5 more years from now.

- The last car in this ranking - Wagon R - is definitely not bought by its customers after falling for its looks!


The ranking of cars with the best compromise between looks, performance, handling & safety -


Small Car Buyer Guide - A Ready Reckoner-total.jpg
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Old 17th July 2011, 22:56   #193
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Originally Posted by ACM View Post
Actually the figures are correct and ABS and EBD do not make a difference in stopping distances but rather prevent sliding and skidding.

The weightage for Braking distances needs to be even higher (ofcourse coupled with ABS) as and Airbags helps only after an accident while brakes prevent one and we all know which is better.

Also in case of the i20 it is a know -ve that the diesel has the worst braking distance in the range, and the petols are better. It may be due to the engine weight up front being higher for the Diesel engine and the resultant weight distribution effect on all four wheel.

The braking distance of some much larger SUV / MUV are better than that of the I20 diesel but this is not an error but a sad reality that Hyundai needs to correct with better gear (read bigger disks and better pads) or possibly disks all around.
Mine has 4 discs, may be wider tyres are needed as brake and cornering squeal is evident at speed. Next set will be 195 or 205 size if they fit, the warranty will not be voided as it will lapse by that time.

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Old 17th July 2011, 23:00   #194
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[quote=smartcat;1865116]I have been trying to use the data available in the "Buyer Guide" of automobile magazines on various small cars to arrive at some sort of qualitative ranking. This study will compare cars based on measurables like -

1) Outright Performance (0 - 100 kmph)
2) Driveability or In-Gear acceleration (30 - 80 kmph in 3rd Gear, 40 - 100 kmph in 4th Gear)
Unquote

Always wanted to say this
Driveability figures (from 0 to 100 or 30 to 80 or 40 to 100) do not reveal what the real torque/bhp can do.

Also the data was quoted by Smart Cat on 6th may 2010 00:58 hrs, for example the newer Alto K10 that does not figure best the current Swift flat.

So take all figures with a lot of salt, sorry to Magazine guys, can't hide obvious bloopers.
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Old 17th July 2011, 23:11   #195
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Mine has 4 discs, may be wider tyres are needed as brake and cornering squeal is evident at speed. Next set will be 195 or 205 size if they fit, the warranty will not be voided as it will lapse by that time.
wider tyres improve road grip but if the orginal set of brakes (pads/ disc / drums combo) is not good enough then wider tyres will actually increase the braking distance.

Yes it will help reduce cornering squeal, but if the tyres end up griping the road too well, then better brakes itself will be required.

For example to improve the braking on the fortuner Toyota had to improve the braking system the tyres were fine and wide enough.
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