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Old 18th August 2015, 07:55   #1
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Post Who needs a safe car - an expert or a novice?

Some common requirements in a what-car thread - for the self-driven:
  1. Should be nice to drive, performance should be good, should have a nice steering.
  2. Need all safety features - airbags all around, ABS, traction control etc.
  3. If it's an SUV, should give macho image, command respect on road
  4. The sub-luxury segment options range from Polo GT range to medium/large SUVs like Toyota Fortuner/Santa Fe.
Car for the wife / parents - common requirements:
  1. Should be easy to drive and park - read small.
  2. Better if there is no boot - again read small.
  3. Easy to maintain - should be really cheap.
  4. Options start from an Alto or an i10/Brio, and normally end at the Compact sedan class - Xcent, Amaze etc.
The above listed is not the scenario always, but do happen very often. A couple of questions to ponder:
  • We all love our family, so why an inferior option for the immediate family member (spouse / parents). Shouldn't the so-called lesser expert driver need a safer car? Why should your wife/dad drive a Wagon R and not an Ecosport?
  • In the developed markets, big large SUVs or MPVs are more popular among women. But here the mighty men want to feel more macho and need to command respect - do you really need a car for that?
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Old 18th August 2015, 08:33   #2
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Default re: Who needs a safe car - an expert or a novice?

Everyone should get the safest car they can buy, expert or novice! The so called experts can also have bad moments. Besides accidents are sometimes caused by things which are beyond the driver's control.

I so hope GOI makes a bare minimum safety kit, like two airbags, EBD + ABS, standard on all cars. I am sure base variants with safety kit is going to make a lot of people happy and relieved over here at least. Much needed for the lower segments.
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Old 18th August 2015, 09:45   #3
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Default re: Who needs a safe car - an expert or a novice?

We badly need: A base variant of a car with good structural strength and all the safety kits.

I would add the stereo, parking assistance, etc. later on.

Something like a Polo's base variant with 6-airbags, ABS, etc with AT?
I am day dreaming now!
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Old 18th August 2015, 10:26   #4
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Default re: Who needs a safe car - an expert or a novice?

To begin with all cars should have minimum safety standards; A crash worthy safe shell, crumple zones, ABS, Airbags. Unsafe vehicles like M800, Omni, Bolero, etc. should be scrapped off. A hi-tech crash test facility is need of the hour in India.

The the Buses & Trucks that carry an air of invincibility around them, should be designed such that the driver sits lower, in sync with the other vehicles on the road. These vehicles are moving missiles on Indian roads, they have to be designed with more fibre/plastic & done away with excess steel & iron.

Regarding OP's viewpoint, a bare minimum vehicle that meets the needs & requirements of the senior citizens or female folk are bought to offer mobility, that also keeps costs in check including regular maintenance. Noteworthy, fairer sex doesn't translate into better drivers on Indian roads compared to women abroad.
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Old 18th August 2015, 10:29   #5
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Default re: Who needs a safe car - an expert or a novice?

In almost all households, the second car is driven within city limits.

Death or severe injuries in car accidents are extremely rare within city limits, because of low speeds. ABS never activates at slow speeds. Airbags too won't pop out in low speed impact. That's probably why I don't feel unsafe when driving my dad's Santro or my FIL's Vista base model - within the city.

Airport runs might involve comparatively higher speeds, but I guess people take the big safe car with large boot on airport duties.
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Old 18th August 2015, 10:33   #6
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Default re: Who needs a safe car - an expert or a novice?

A safer car is requirement of both an expert as well as a novice.
Because when things go wrong, it doesn't matters if you are an expert or novice. A novice needs a safe car because he is more prone to crashes. An expert needs a safe car because you might be observing all rules and limits but what if an idiot comes rashly and bangs you out?
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Old 18th August 2015, 10:50   #7
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Default re: Who needs a safe car - an expert or a novice?

Everyone needs a safe car, no ? Safe does not only mean Airbags + ABS braking, it's also things like structural build quality, design (example:thick A or C pillars blocking good view of the sides is bad), driver seating position to name a few.
And who wouldn't want a "nice" car ? Yes, looks can be subjective but some nice features are always desirable/preferred. AC, Central locking, Keyless entry, Auto locking, Window locking, cup holders and useful cubby holes, maybe even AT/AMT and a decent ICE system are some features in a nice car according to me.
We can compromise on a few things if one is looking for a second car (as a city run workhorse or otherwise) but I think an ideal mix of the safety and niceties is necessary

Last edited by NPV : 18th August 2015 at 10:52.
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Old 18th August 2015, 10:54   #8
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Default re: Who needs a safe car - an expert or a novice?

The parameters such as "easy to drive", "easy to park" result in a small hatchback. Easy to drive - because, we do not want to trouble our loved ones with a heavy vehicle. Easy to park - because it will be probably taken to vegetable market or schools to drop our kids in narrow streets without good parking facilities. Along with this, when we consider a second car, our budgets will be usually small.
When we consider a small budget hatchback, the options to get a vehicle fully loaded with safety features are nearly nil.
For example, if one is looking for a easy to drive small hatchback with safety equipment in the budget of 6 lakhs, how many options one have?
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Old 18th August 2015, 11:10   #9
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Default re: Who needs a safe car - an expert or a novice?

Maybe the issue is just finanacial and not a sort of automotive sexism. We can't expect our middle class to buy cars the same way , say Americans do.
We simply don't have enough disposable income for it and our cars are so much more costlier here.
Here if the husband buys a Vento for himself and a swift for his wife , maybe it's because that's what his budget permits. You can't expect him to sacrifice other important things like bank loans just so that his wife can drive safely in a top end terrano.

If our economy was developed and people were rich as developed markets we might see the more or less same habits of those markets. Meaning more mumsy, safe huge soft roaders.
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Old 18th August 2015, 11:29   #10
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Default re: Who needs a safe car - an expert or a novice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nakul0888 View Post
Maybe the issue is just finanacial and not a sort of automotive sexism.

If our economy was developed and people were rich as developed markets we might see the more or less same habits of those markets. Meaning more mumsy, safe huge soft roaders.
I completely agree with Nakul. Every one of us would love to have maximum safety in our cars for the family. But when the family cannot afford for a top end model, we have to settle for low end below par safety car.

If you see our top 4 most sold cars last month, all of them are one of the least safe cars. The reason people buy them is because that's what they can afford.
I feel it should be law makers responsibility to make sure even base models are safe.
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Old 18th August 2015, 11:33   #11
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Default re: Who needs a safe car - an expert or a novice?

Well, I think there are a factor of reasons:
- For a typical non-enthusiast family, I doubt the primary car would have all the safety features in the first place unless it is standard equipment. In such a case, the second car would be devoid of features, and like the first car will focus on space, fuel economy, easy to drive, etc. The main difference in this case is the weight-age given to the brand value of the primary car (it will not be as important for the second car, but good to have)

- For the enthusiast family, well they do want a nice second car for the family members. However, owing to budget constraints, limited run, etc. - it doesn't make sense to spend so much more on a similarly large car. Yes - being an enthusiast, chances of them buying a car with ABS and Airbags is definitely higher, but at the same time - the car need not be fun to drive / in the same league as the primary car but would have other attributes of importance.
Every time I send the Skoda to the service, I pray that everything is done properly. With the toyota, I don't need to chase service advisors. Saves me a lot of time and stress! In fact, the Toyota and Skoda complement each other very well!

In my case, as an enthusiast, I would gladly trade in all the fun to drive germans (barring one self-driven one) for Japanese warriors for the simple reasons:
- easy to drive with a lighter steering
- no headaches when sending it for a service
- no stress when given to multiple drivers (chauffeur, family, extended friends and family)
- perfect to take out to those places where parking the primary car is a hassle

However, I would not compromise on features and safety for the family, but wouldn't mind comparing a Toyota Camry to an E Class.

Interestingly, I believe ACI or some automobile magazine had done some research a few years ago. The CR-V is the vehicle that most women desired as their daily drives, though an Alto was the next runner up IIRC.

Last edited by lamborghini : 18th August 2015 at 11:36.
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Old 18th August 2015, 11:56   #12
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Default re: Who needs a safe car - an expert or a novice?

BOTH - Both an expert and novice need safe cars. As simple as that.

That is the reason I insisted that my dad buy the top-end ONLY when we bought our first car - a pre-owned Dzire. I gave him the go ahead only after confirming that it is the ZXi model with dual airbags and ABS. Just because my father is a sedate driver and primarily drives in city does not mean that he can drive an unsafe car.

Even though city driving speeds are usually low compared to those one does in highways and the chance of a fatal frontal impact is lesser, nothing is guaranteed. You never from where and when danger strikes. So IMO, better safe than sorry. Whatever car you buy, it should at least have the basic safety features including Dual airbags and ABS + EBD. More safety features is definitely better.

Also ABS, according to my knowledge, is not a speed dependent feature. If my understanding is correct, it is triggered when the wheels lock or the car skids. This may not really be speed dependent. In wet / slippery conditions, the car might skid in a lower speed as well. Same with airbags - it deploys based on the force of impact. So both airbags and ABS can be very handy in the city also. Let us not discount those thinking they will be useful only in highways.
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Old 18th August 2015, 12:01   #13
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Well first of all, a CAR should always be nice and safe. There shouldn't be a unsafe car. There really is no requirement for choosing between a safe or unsafe car because driving in India and returning home without a scratch is basically more dependent on the probability of other idiots we encounter rather than on our own driving and reflex skills.
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Old 18th August 2015, 12:05   #14
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Default re: Who needs a safe car - an expert or a novice?

Hyundai Xcent base variant equipped with ABS whereas VW, Toyota and Ford (Aspire) base variants are equipped with Airbags.

Is it safe to prefer Airbags or ABS if forced to choose the base variant because of budget constraints ?
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Old 18th August 2015, 12:28   #15
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Default re: Who needs a safe car - an expert or a novice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vigkey View Post
Also ABS, according to my knowledge, is not a speed dependent feature. If my understanding is correct, it is triggered when the wheels lock or the car skids. This may not really be speed dependent. In wet / slippery conditions, the car might skid in a lower speed as well. Same with airbags - it deploys based on the force of impact. So both airbags and ABS can be very handy in the city also. Let us not discount those thinking they will be useful only in highways.
ABS does not get activated in low speed. Anyway that what my Swift's User manual says Who needs a safe car - an expert or a novice?-abs.png

I feel the vehicle should have structural stability and Airbags (vehicle that's going to be used inside city). Most of the accidents inside city are of minor and not Fatal, mostly structural damages (unless banged with Tipper).
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