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Old 12th November 2009, 14:37   #1
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Default C+ segment car purchase help needed (Civic, Jetta, City, Cruze)

Hello everyone,

Let me start off by saying that I am not really a car person. I prefer my bikes, and require a car only when I have to meet my clients spread out few hours away from Bangalore (once or twice a month), or when I have to take the family around (again, same frequency). My father generally uses the car more than me (about 20 kms a day within the city, more if I have it)

Till now, we have firmly been in the Maruti fold, with two 1997 Esteems, a 2002 Wagon R, and a 2006 Swift at our disposal, only deviating with a 2002 Indica V2. Our main primary car has been one of the 1997 Esteem, (with the other cars being used in/for my business), which is now showing it's age, and hence we need to upgrade from it. I am more than happy with Maruti's A.S.S, which treats my 12 year old Esteem like it's a new car, and have played a vital role in keeping my Esteem running like new.

I would like to buy an elegant, fuss-free, contemporary car, which will satisfy my Dad's requirement of ease of use within Bangalore's city traffic, and my occasional needs as written above. Keeping this in mind, I fixed a budget of about 15-17 lakhs at the maximum. I also will be keeping this car for 10 years at the minimum, as I don't see the rationale in buying cars often, but follow the opposite with my bikes

I have shortlisted a few cars as below, in the order of my preference:

1) Chevy Cruze
2) Honda Civic
3) Honda City ( I know this is in a lower segment, but I will get to why I listed this below)
4) Volkswagen Jetta.

I am not even considering Skoda, after knowing what happened to Harish and others. They can shut shop and pack up for all I care

I will now get to my observations about each car, and I would request you all to pitch in with your inputs to help me make a better decision.

1) Chevy Cruze : TD'd the LTZ variant after a friend recommended it, and came away impressed. THe TC had done 550 kms in my first try, and 750 in my second try about a week later. I did not notice any adverse clutch recoil as mentioned in TSK's review, both times. I loved the visibility of the road I was getting from the driver's seat, and the overall comfort in the car. The engine, as many have said is a stonker, but there was quite a bit of coarseness coming through into the cabin. I am also taken in by the level of equipment available at this price range, and the looks of the car. Being a tech-averse guy, I was not totally taken in by all the gadgetry in the car, in fact my Dad was more excited about the electric this, electric that than me! I didn't mind the turbo-lag as well, and neither did my Dad.

That said, I find some jarring points in the car. Firstly, there is an appalling lack of headroom in the back. I am 5.11 and while sitting normally, the top of my head brushes against the roof. I am willing to overlook this, because my parents are on the shorter side, and they were quite comfortable in the rear, which is where they're more likely to be sitting if we are all in the car.

Secondly, I found the interiors a bit cheap considering the segment this car is selling in. In fact, we TD'd a Civic immediately after the Cruze, and this was the very first thing we noticed. Plastics used are pretty cheap, and the driver armrest is positioned in an odd manner, even though it is moveable to an extent.

THat aside, I am still keeping the Cruze at the top of my list.

2) Honda Civic - Plenty has been said about the car, and we found the car to be very good and satisfying. But I find it very overpriced, and the dealers here are all talking about a 2 month waiting period. This is a huge disadvantage as I need a car in the next month or so. On comparing a few vital spares & service parameters, I think the Chevy has a big advantage over the Civic.

3) Honda City - Why we are considering the City is that, my parents saw this in the showroom and were immediately taken in by the relative practicality when compared to the D segment cars. We went for a quick TD, and they liked the car, and want me to consider this as well.
I have the same view about the VFM aspect of the City as well. I think this should have been closer to the SX4 OTR price.

4) VW Jetta - I am not too sure about this car, even though I had a nice time in the car and the dealership, who were going all out to make me feel like I was buying a car a couple of segments higher. They do seem to be upping the ante in terms of sales, going by their new marketing blitz and I might even score some hefty discounts over and above the year end freebies I'm likely to anyway get.

The end of the year factor is also something which is playing in my head. My situation is that I need a car within a month, but don't want to lose out on a year old car so close to 2010. I can get a TR till the new year, and then do the permanent reg so that it's 2010 on paper, but I will be stuck with a 2009 manufactured car I guess.

Now, considering I will be holding onto this new car for at least a decade, I don't think this should matter much but something tells me I need to look at this point as well.

One more factor is that I will be exchanging my Esteem for the new car, and Sundaram Motors (Chevy) have given me the best offer of all the others so far. THey've offered me 75k, and others have quoted 45-50k.

So those are my options, and my observations. Please feel free to pitch in with your inputs, poke holes in my reasoning, and thanks in advance guys!

Last edited by Technocrat : 12th November 2009 at 19:05. Reason: Only 2 smilies per post please :)
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Old 12th November 2009, 14:49   #2
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Whatever cars you have mentioned IMHO CIVIC will be a good buy. Jetta is also a good car, but the service network of Honda is much better than Jetta.
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Old 12th November 2009, 14:49   #3
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Default Re. Jetta


For a reference to the Jetta purchase decision and initial drive reports, you can refer to my thread 'Got my VW Jetta' in the intial drive and ownership reports.

4000 kms and 4 months ( too short a time though) later, I've had no cause for any complaints.

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Old 12th November 2009, 15:21   #4
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Hi Rossiter!
Mind if I suggest another car. I ahd once driven the Corolla and found it to be good. I am sure the Corolla Altis is better. It is not a drivers car but none the less pretty comfortable. Try TDing one and also Toyota A.S.S is legendary so no issues on that front. From the list that you have mentioned I would suggest you the Cruze.
All the best with your purchase.
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Old 12th November 2009, 16:27   #5
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For your use i would recommend either Civic or Altis. These petrol engined Japanese car will be more reliable and would offer better peace of mind compared to Cruze or Jetta which shares parts with Laura.
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Old 12th November 2009, 16:34   #6
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My opinion if you have the money -

Go for the Jetta. You will adore the European build, design and quality.

2nd choice would be the Altis. You get what you pay for (unlike the Honda where you feel you overpaid for the brand).

In both of the above, look for the Automatics. Will make city driving very stress free.

If you want to restrict the budget to around 12L, pick up the City AT.

I would ignore the Cruze. It wont have the quality, feel or the appeal of the above 2 cars.

On the Esteem -
Post a sale ad on Tbhp or some of the other sites like Carwale. What I mean is, you'll get far better value selling individually like this (while you finalize and get your new car) than giving it to the dealers for scrap value.
45-50k is a joke. A bad one at that for a well maintained Esteem.
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Old 12th November 2009, 17:48   #7
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As everyone has already suggested TD the Altis Auto. Its a great car to drive and has many more features than the civic. go in for the touch screen panel and there is nothing you will ever miss in that car.
Cruze is gorgeous and has wonderful interiors but it is still a chevy.
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Old 12th November 2009, 17:55   #8
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Hands down, Cruze wins.

BTW, I am planning to go for a Skoda because of the features and I am getting it at a awesome price. If you hate Skoda, then you should stay away from VW since both are German and have high maintenance

IMO, Honda is not worth it. The difference between Honda and Skoda is that the former robs you at the beginning and the latter in the post purchase period.
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Old 12th November 2009, 18:29   #9
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Check out the new altis, You willl definately love it, It is easy to drive practical to use and lasts for generations.

The build quality is exceptionally good and the Toyota engine will last for years to come, for more information and full features (Luxury and technical) please refer to the review section on Team-BHP and few customer reviews to know what others are saying..

Chevy cruze is an excellent car, so its second in my list.

Don't go for the Honda city, since you want to use your car for atleast 10 years I don't recommend it because of its interiors (mostly size), since your father will use the new car regularly the Altis should be the perfect match.

Honda city is a good car but not as practical to drive as the altis in the city.

As far as jetta is considered, we yet dont know when VW will consider entering into Indian market seriously..

Choose wisely and experience long term benefits..
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Old 12th November 2009, 18:51   #10
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Bought Jetta myself and have absolutely loved it. have driven over 15K kms in past 6 months and it is by far the most refined car especially as a highway tourer.

Of the other choices in option list, I haven't really had a go at Chevy Cruze but saw one on road and quite liked the looks. Even reading some of the reviews, my only grouch would have been rear headroom and rear legroom but that doesn't bother you much so it would be a good choice too.

Honda Civic on the other hand is more like love it or hate it car and I am myself in the latter part so I would not put my opinions here due to their biased nature. Still, it is a very capable choice if you want a petrol car.

Overall, i still can't find fault in Jetta and if was in a market today, would have certainly gone for it. As for Lack of service centres, I see that you are based in Bangalore and will therefore have no problem.

As far as jetta is considered, we yet dont know when VW will consider entering into Indian market seriously..
With one of the best manufacturing units in the country based at Chakan, I would not doubt any intentions on VW as far as India is considered. With 3 more launches in next few months and recent advertising campaigns, it looks like VW are looking to up a gear as far as marketing is considered.

BTW, I am planning to go for a Skoda because of the features and I am getting it at a awesome price. If you hate Skoda, then you should stay away from VW since both are German and have high maintenance
Not really, These cars are assembled differently at different locations. Audi too is a VW brand but has never been short of best in service. Quite an opposite to Skoda. As for Jetta, First time in my life I have walked out of a service centre after full service without paying a single penny thanks to AMC. I am not sure same emotions have been felt by Skoda owners. Agree the cars are both German, in fact they are owned by same people, They are poles apart and can never be compared really.

Last edited by akhilesh51 : 12th November 2009 at 19:00.
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Old 12th November 2009, 19:39   #11
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My remarks are subjective, as I have a Jetta.

My experience with VW has been excellent so far, to the extent that I might be tempted to buy the Polo for my better half some time down the line, if my pocket permits ( no money left after the Jetta).

On a serious note, the torque, the build quality, the feeling of solidity and indestructibility is something that wasn't there in some of the other cars that I test drove before plumping for the Jetta.

What more can I say?


You should TD all the cars and decide based on your criteria, not on mine or someone else's.

BTW Akhilesh, will PM you later - will be in Udaipur in early Feb- will drive down in the Jetta with the family for a holiday- would like to bump into you if you're around at that time.

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Old 12th November 2009, 21:58   #12
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i suggest you go for the jetta.
its got good A.S.S and it has subtle german luxury .and the reassuring german thud, the car is economical as well. its got the build quality which other cars can't even come an inch close.

Td the Jetta you'll love it.
i agree with akhilesh on the A.S.S part of VW
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Old 13th November 2009, 13:00   #13
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Thanks for the replies everyone.

I TD'd the Jetta 1.6 petrol, and had a nice experience, but it didn't quite appeal to me. Seemed pretty slow as well. I wanted to TD the 1.9 diesel, but they had sent the car out on another TD that day.

I didn't try the Toyota, although I will be doing it today.

I'll be trying out all the cars once again today, and will keep in mind all the inputs. I'm really averse to the Honda because even though the car is excellent, I find the pricing to be almost obscene. No offence to anyone.

@issigonis: Will go through your thread now.
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Old 13th November 2009, 14:49   #14
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If you have the budget, Jetta has to be the car !! Especially since you are considering long term, this would be the best pick...

Civic is surely over priced, comparing the civic, IMO the Jetta feels like one segment higher ! it just doesnt have the feel of a 15L car and GC could be an issue in BLR

No comments about Cruze as you dont seem to like the interiors anyways

Regarding the year end factor you mentioned - it should really not bother you as you said you are looking at an ownership period of 8 - 10 years... the indian car scene and resale values would have undergone a sea change by then

Good luck
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Old 13th November 2009, 15:27   #15
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Jetta is a better pick. Not that we have any major issues with the car so far. Looking at the reviews, the car is a good choice in place of skoda now. everyone in this forum know about the skoda credit worthiness.
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