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Old 22nd July 2010, 14:02   #1
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Default Views invited from all SUV experts & women drivers

Hi Ladies (& Gentlemen too),

No offense intended to the mensfolk. However, I am specifically looking for responses from women drivers of the following vehicles :

Tata Safari
Mahindra Scorpio
Mahindra Xylo

Areas I want to target :

- Handling of these vehicles vis-a-vis sedans
- Driving comfort (important factor considering heavier build of the SUVs)
- Reliability & Maintenance

I am an outright fan of mid-segment sedans till a bad crash 2 weeks ago left me so shaken, I had to consider buying an SUV on the consistent insistence of my family. (Plan to share the experience in another post)

Though I would definitely put most of the blame for the accident on the shoddily managed Commonwealth Games road divider renovation projects of the Delhi Administration , the sturdy build of my Ford Fiesta went a long way in ensuring my personal safety. Nontheless, it sustained considerable damage.

I am still in the planning stage with the following options :

1. Volkswagen Vento Diesel (yet to commence delivery)
2. New Ford Fiesta Sedan 2011 (launch a good year away)
3. Safari / Xylo / Scorpio (based on my family's collective wisdom)

Other factors to be kept in mind :

1. My budget is INR 10 lacs ex-showroom
2. Daily drive is 60-70 kms.
3. Evening drive is usually in dark (between 7.00 pm to 9.00 pm)
3. Weekend use is approx. 100 kms.
4. My present drives are Fiesta Diesel 1.4 ZXi, Ikon 1.6 ZXi (daily use), i10 Magna (weekend use).

Genuine information and feedback would be appreciated to help me resolve my present confusion.

I plan the purchase in Q3 2010

Thanks in advance
Warm Regards

Last edited by bblost : 22nd July 2010 at 16:39. Reason: No more than 2 smileys per post. Thanks.
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Old 22nd July 2010, 16:36   #2
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Glad to hear you came out safe from your Fiesta accident!

An accident is called an accident because it is an accident. No one can plan for one - all one can do is to be proactive enough to avoid one.

Now let me take the liberty of adding more to your confusion

No one can vouch for SUVs being completely safe. They too have their share of cons mostly attributable to their high center of gravity. Therefore, if you intend to buy an SUV - Safari/Scorpio/Xylo(?), be prepared to drastically change your driving style.

Now coming to your specific questions -
- Handling of these vehicles vis-a-vis sedans: the vehicles you have shortlisted can't even hold a candle to the handling of sedans. Reason mentioned in my previous paragraph.
- Driving comfort (important factor considering heavier build of the SUVs): forget it, except for Safari's driving seat which gives you a high seating position with sufficient room to move your elbows around.
- Reliability & Maintenance: Mahindras apparently are more reliable only if you are considering the minor niggles - else one is as reliable and cheap as another.

Our midset is such that bigger the vehicle, we consider it to be relatively safer. However, in real life it might or might not be true.

If I were you, given the circumstances, I would go for a diesel sedan having ABS and airbags (more the merrier) or hold the purchase till the time new Fiesta is in.
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Old 22nd July 2010, 17:23   #3
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@SM, pls ping member MansIdea. His wife drives their Scorp in BLR, and looked quite comfortable. You could PM him, since he does not log in too often.
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Old 22nd July 2010, 17:31   #4
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MY wife drives the safari extensively, and finds the height adjustment feature a boon. Since she used to drive a santro, she took time to adjust to the heavier clutch, and the bulk of the safari, but now she feels more relaxed while driving the safari.
for city use, she prefers smaller cars, but for highway, she prefers the safari.
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Old 22nd July 2010, 17:35   #5
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@SM, having read your review about the Fiesta, I would say, you should stick with the sedans and specifically until the new Fiesta launch.

If safety is your concern, check for the crash worthiness of these SUVs in their crash test report cards. I am sure, the SUVs are no better than the sedans in that price bracket.
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Old 22nd July 2010, 17:41   #6
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Most women are scared of driving big cars like SUV/MUVs butttt once they get over the fear of taking the drivers seat they realize they perfect this to small sedans.

My cousin drives an Altis but prefers using the Endeavour as she find it easier for judgement in traffic thanks to the ride height.

I think a Scorpio Automatic would be perfect for you.
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Old 22nd July 2010, 17:47   #7
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Hi. Which mid sizer did you crash? The Fiesta?

A Safari/Xylo/Scorpio will never give you the driving pleasure that you take for granted with the Fiesta and the Ikon. And Mahindras and Tatas have their share of niggles as well. I would suggest that you buy a mid size sedan again, but the fully loaded one that comes with all the safety features. Don't but the lower variants like ZXI or Trendline.

Your best bet in the near future would be the Vento diesel. The Highline variant should be far more safer than the SUVs mentioned above and you would not have to compromise on driving pleasure as well.
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Old 22nd July 2010, 17:53   #8
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I too have a friend who drives a Honda City as her daily ride but is more comfortable driving her brother's Endy for the same reason as Sahil mentioned "as she find it easier for judgement in traffic thanks to the ride height. "
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Old 23rd July 2010, 11:09   #9
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Originally Posted by Sugeeta View Post
I had to consider buying an SUV on the consistent insistence of my family.
Why would a SUV be more safer? Higher CoG would mean that one has to be more careful at curves etc.

Since safety is the concern, I suggest you go for the top variant of a good sedan/hatch with airbags, ABS etc. Spending money on safety features would be more valuable than going for a SUV with bare minimum safety features.

Unless, of course, one wants higher GC, 4WD etc coupled with bad roads. These are the factors that would make me go for a SUV.

For example, i20 top variant has 6 airbags. This car is rated very high on safety. Select such a car.

Last edited by sbraj : 23rd July 2010 at 11:10.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 14:29   #10
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I'm neither a woman nor a SUV expert, but I do own a Scorpio since 5 months. Hope that makes me eligible to reply here.

Here are my $0.02:

1. Handling of these vehicles vis-a-vis sedans: If you compare the handling to a sedan, a SUV will always come out 2nd best. But on it's own (considering it's size), a SUV handles very well. Modern SUVs are quite manouverable in city traffic; so if you think that it'd be like driving a tank, get that thought out of your head. It's just a matter of getting used to the dimensions of the vehicle and tweaking your driving style accordingly.

2.Driving comfort (important factor considering heavier build of the SUVs): SUVs are pretty comfortable, if not luxurious. Leg space and elbow room is plenty, and the fact that you are further away from the road than in a sedan insulates you better from bumps and cracks on Indian roads. As pointed out by Sahil, the height at which you sit makes judgment in traffic easier; also, there are very few blind spots encountered while driving a SUV.

3. Reliability & Maintenance: If they weren't reliable or cost a bomb to maintain, you wouldn't see so many of them on the road (specially Scorpios and Xylos). Even if you stick to TBHP, you will find many SUVs on this forum which have clocked upwards of 50k kms without needing any major work on them. SUVs obviously cost more to maintain than a hatch or mid-level sedan, but not prohibitively so. You can refer the SUV ownership reviews to get an idea of how much a periodic service costs.

Note: I am talking about vehicles in the sub 10 lakh category in whatever I've written above, i.e., Scorpio/Safari/Xylo/Sumo Grande.

Hope this helps.


P.S: If you're considering the Xylo, why not the Innova too? Methinks the middle variant of the Innova should fit in 10L.

Last edited by comfortablynumb : 23rd July 2010 at 14:36.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 14:54   #11
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Originally Posted by Sugeeta View Post
Though I would definitely put most of the blame for the accident on the shoddily managed Commonwealth Games road divider renovation projects
You must be looking at SUVs on account of the higher ground clearance they offer for clearing road dividers (as one of the factors, if I have guessed right).

While my Scorpio does have sufficient ground clearance to clear monstrous speed breakers, I think road dividers will still damage parts near the axle, like the differential, which is set at a height closer to the ground.

Handlingwise, as said by others, SUVs are dangerous to throw around tight corners, at even moderate speeds.

My wife does not like the ride quality of my SUV on potholed and uneven roads, since she has motion sickness (no problems on good highways, though). If you or any co-passenger has this problem, please do not think of buying an SUV, as every journey on rough roads will be anticipated with needless tension.

If you are willing to adopt a sedate driving style, and do not have the above problems, you could look at SUVs, else it is best to finalise a sedan with all the safeties, for your next buy.

Hope this helps
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Old 23rd July 2010, 16:31   #12
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An SUV in general is safer than a sedan. For most ladies in terms of driving comfort would recommend a Scorpio normally as it has better rear visibility than a Safari, and size and interior space being smaller does not affect most ladies. Though the top model in Safari has an excellent rear camera and both the scorpio and safari have/ can be loaded with reverse parking sensors. The front visibility in these vehcles is actually better than in all sedans.

But there is a major caviat. The Safari as compared to the scorpio is better planted on the road, more stable in braking, has a lesser amount of what is called a bouncy ride and has also been reported to be significantly more safer in a crash vs the Scorpio. So the scorpio though more comfortable and with lesser amounts of minor niggles is not reported to be as safe as the Safari which besides being larger, has better brakes, high speed stability and carsh worthyness.

No don't want to start a Scorpio vs Safari war out here, so actually have a different set of recomendations for you.

1) Tata Aria - base model - will land at about 13L and will be lauched towards end August.
2) Toyota Innova G model with power windows - land for about 10L
3) Mahindra Xylo - Top model with all features and ABS will land for about 9.75l

Suggest your try out and choose from 2/3 above if you can't wait till 1, the Scorpio and Safari are both exciting to drive but will be a bit tyring.

If you do consider the Safari would recommend the EX model (with sufficient features but not ABS and no Airbags) or the GX which has ABS but not Airbags. The VX would exceed the specified budget by a big margin.

If do consider the Scorpio would recommend the base Automatic model. The Automatic Transmission is a major safety features and adds not just to comfort and convenience, but reduced levels of stress on account of an AT can prevent accidents due to increased concentration levels.

Last edited by ACM : 23rd July 2010 at 16:32.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 21:07   #13
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Forget SUVs you will get into other types of accidents (size related) like side scrapes and reversing hits.

Just go for a large C+/D seg car and you will feel safe. Think Cedia, base Corolla etc.
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Old 24th July 2010, 16:41   #14
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You are a fan of C-segment sedans and hold safety as the topmost priority for your next 10 lakh rupee purchase. Forget SUVs that are poor handlers (relative to sedans and hatchbacks).

From the hatchbacks, the i20 is as safe as they can get. Within the sedans, choose from the Linea or the upcoming VW Vento. The latter is poised for launch within a matter of weeks and remember, European cars are best bought with a diesel engine.
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Old 26th July 2010, 11:58   #15
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Dear All,

Many thanks for your views on the vehicles in question, i.e., sub 10 lac SUV's.

Armed with your valuable views, I plan to head for test drives of a few in the coming week.

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