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Old 17th May 2017, 09:15   #1
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Default SUV to premium sedan for touring purposes : A pipe dream?

After pondering long enough on this aspect, I guess it is time to throw it at all of you to get a sensible answer.

I have been an SUV person all my life. Have owned a Bolero GLX, Scorpio CRDe and a Pajero Sport MT 4wd. All these vehicles have taken me and my passengers (never more than 3 others) in comfort across the country and back.

However, off late, I've been bitten by the sedan bug for the following reasons:

1. My current budget for a vehicle is between 18-20 lac INR (new/pre owned). In this budget, there are great sedans that are available at Bangalore.

2. Like GTO and others, I m a fan of pre owned cars and all my cars till date have been pre owned. A good, pre owned sedan feels much better put together than an SUV in that range. It also has additional kit in terms of safety.

3. I guess I m done driving manuals now. I don't drive a lot in the city, yet I've begun to prefer the peace of mind and lower maintenance a slush box gives me. Needless to say, I'm smitten by the ZF and DSG trannies.

4. I love fuel economy (call me cheap/poor/chindi...whatever). While speeds on our highways seldom exceed 120kmph for any considerable amount of distance, SUVs top out at around 11kmpl at those speeds. The bigger SUVs drop below 10. This is something I dont like.

Now for the questions that I have in my mind:

5. Ground clearance is something I take seriously since most of my usage is for long distance travel all over India. Is, say, 155mm sufficient? I've never driven a sedan long enough on a bad road to have an answer to this question.

6. 4WD (No AWD please, to me, 4WD must have 4L). One of the reasons I purchased a Pajero Sport was because of its 4WD capabilities which I have put to use 3 times in my 3 years of ownership (4L). I loved the experience and the confidence, but is it worth it when it was put to use once a year?

7. Handling/visibility/road presence/gizmos (not safety features but gizmos)etc. These are not really important to me (maybe because I haven't owned a good sedan long enough) at this stage.

8. Space. This is very important to me. Not 7 seats per se, all I need are 4, but I need 4 really spacious seats on all counts. And I need a vehicle that allows 1 person to curl up on the middle/rear row reasonably comfortably as and when required.

9. Durability/Longevity. This is essential to me because it gives me a feel good factor on a daily basis.

10. Upkeep costs. Im used to spending around 10-12 k for every 10k km for service and related spares and would not mind the same kind of expense.

A few "must have" things (Dunno if they are possible, but still) not in any specific order:

1. AT.
2. Cruise control.
3. Good air conditioning.
4. Disc brakes all around.
5. ABS and at least 2 airbags.
6. Good, tested structural rigidity.
7. Ample ground clearance.
8. 4WD- Aaargh..do I need it?
9. Good visibility.
10. Great ride quality over broken roads.
11. Some ability to take abuse like a missed speedbreaker or a pothole once in a while.

Given the above quandary that I am in, I would have loved to go for a new Storme V-400 with my eyes closed had it been available in the AT 4WD guise but it isn't and wont be.

I don't like the way the Hexa and the Innova look (MPV/Van) and I dont like the XUV's ride and interiors. The Scorpio's AT is just not worth it.

So, are there any options or am I asking for too much?
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Old 17th May 2017, 11:37   #2
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Default re: SUV to premium sedan for touring purposes : A pipe dream?

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Originally Posted by n.devdath View Post
My current budget for a vehicle is between 18-20 lac INR (new/pre owned). In this budget, there are great sedans that are available at Bangalore.
Look for a BMW 320d F30 (newest you can find) or a late model Jetta Diesel DSG. Both are all-rounders and offer good reliability. You can also consider an E90 from the last year of production; fantastic car, other than rear seat space.

Quote:
5. Ground clearance is something I take seriously since most of my usage is for long distance travel all over India. Is, say, 155mm sufficient? I've never driven a sedan long enough on a bad road to have an answer to this question.
You have to be careful for sure, but I just did an 1,800 km road-trip through 3 states and faced no ground clearance issues. Indian highways have much improved from what was the case 10 years back.

That said, hitting a speed breaker at speed isn't even an option with these cars.

Quote:
One of the reasons I purchased a Pajero Sport was because of its 4WD capabilities which I have put to use 3 times in my 3 years of ownership (4L). I loved the experience and the confidence, but is it worth it when it was put to use once a year?
If you use the 4x4 only once a year, rent! Whenever you're going on an expedition, pick up a Fortuner / Endeavour for a week.

Quote:
10. Upkeep costs. Im used to spending around 10-12 k for every 10k km for service and related spares and would not mind the same kind of expense.
Will be higher with the premium Euros.

Last edited by GTO : 17th May 2017 at 11:41.
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Old 17th May 2017, 13:19   #3
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Default Re: SUV to premium sedan for touring purposes : A pipe dream?

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Look for a BMW 320d F30 (newest you can find) or a late model Jetta Diesel DSG. Both are all-rounders and offer good reliability. You can also consider an E90 from the last year of production; fantastic car, other than rear seat space.
So you wouldn't recommend the Octavia diesel would you?

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You have to be careful for sure, but I just did an 1,800 km road-trip through 3 states and faced no ground clearance issues. Indian highways have much improved from what was the case 10 years back.
Absolutely my point. Both highways and rural roads have improved hugely off late and most cars in small towns (hills and plains) are anyway hatchbacks and small sedans.

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
That said, hitting a speed breaker at speed isn't even an option with these cars.
Which is what worries me. How fragile are they?

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Will be higher with the premium Euros.
How much higher?
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Old 17th May 2017, 13:38   #4
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Default Re: SUV to premium sedan for touring purposes : A pipe dream?

I will agree with GTO and suggest you pick up a pre-owned Beemer which preferably has a BSI/ Extended warranty.

Quote:
Which is what worries me. How fragile are they?
Not much, unless you have some very high breakers. Just need to slow a bit.

Quote:
Space. This is very important to me. Not 7 seats per se, all I need are 4, but I need 4 really spacious seats on all counts.
If this is important then you will need to look elsewhere, in both 3 or 5 series, rear space is the constraint, try if you can find a 3 GT instead.
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Old 17th May 2017, 13:53   #5
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Default Re: SUV to premium sedan for touring purposes : A pipe dream?

Quote:
Originally Posted by n.devdath View Post
However, off late, I've been bitten by the sedan bug for the following reasons:............

So, are there any options or am I asking for too much?
How about a new Corolla Altis? Apart from point 8, I guess it satisfies all other points in your list?

EDIT: Google tells me that the GC is 175 cms; couldn't find it on the company website.

Cheers,
Vikram

P.S: You've used the words "just not worth it" for a Scorpio; you better not meet me next time you are in Pune

Last edited by comfortablynumb : 17th May 2017 at 13:58.
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Old 17th May 2017, 13:57   #6
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Default Re: SUV to premium sedan for touring purposes : A pipe dream?

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If this is important then you will need to look elsewhere, in both 3 or 5 series, rear space is the constraint, try if you can find a 3 GT instead.
Yes, space is indeed very important for me since a breezy, roomy cabin enables the driver and the occupants to be in it longer. Confined spaces are not good for long distance travel.

Also, wouldn't the fact that none of the Beemers come with a spare wheel well be an issue when going into non existent areas and roads?

Quote:
Originally Posted by comfortablynumb View Post
How about a new Corolla Altis? Apart from points 7, 8 & 10, I guess it satisfies all other points in your list?

Cheers,
Vikram

P.S: You'e used the words "just not worth it" for a Scorpio; you better not meet me next time you are in Pune
Na, the Altis just doesnt cut it when it comes to a lot of other points too.

The Scorp, having owned it for a good amount of time, I can confidently say that the older Scorpios were much, much better in the durability and build quality dept compared to the current crop. And 18 big ones for a 15 yr old bodystyle with those horrendous door pads...not happening.

I'll meet you anyway, and have some bhel with you.
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Old 17th May 2017, 14:01   #7
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Default Re: SUV to premium sedan for touring purposes : A pipe dream?

Quote:
Also, wouldn't the fact that none of the Beemers come with a spare wheel well be an issue when going into non existent areas and roads?
Not much, you can buy space saver if it does not have but given your requirements & budget, an X1 or GT3 appears to be an option from BMW stable. Tell me how many times have you changed tyres on your Pajero? But Yes, without a spare tyre on a long distance it can be a trouble if something goes wrong. I won't suggest any VW/Skoda/Audi given the kind of stories we hear or see.
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Old 17th May 2017, 14:08   #8
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Default Re: SUV to premium sedan for touring purposes : A pipe dream?

The Volvo S60 Cross Country would be ideal but none will be in your budget as yet
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Old 17th May 2017, 14:10   #9
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Default Re: SUV to premium sedan for touring purposes : A pipe dream?

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Tell me how many times have you changed tyres on your Pajero? But Yes, without a spare tyre on a long distance it can be a trouble if something goes wrong. I won't suggest any VW/Skoda/Audi given the kind of stories we hear or see.
Thrice in 3 years but they were AT tires with a higher profile and I am a cautious driver too, don't bash any vehicle that I drive. However, if I did not have a spare then, I would have had a tough time even with my tire inflator with me.


So are we saying that a BMW is more reliable compared to VW group car?
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Old 17th May 2017, 14:14   #10
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Default Re: SUV to premium sedan for touring purposes : A pipe dream?

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So are we saying that a BMW is more reliable compared to VW group car?
For sure, this is from my own experience besides they have a very transparent and all inclusive BSI packs, though prices of these have increased considerably but works best. You can go to BMW showroom and get a drive of newer ones, that way you can judge the condition of old one better in my opinion. They might also have some of the preowned ones as well.
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Old 17th May 2017, 14:28   #11
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Default Re: SUV to premium sedan for touring purposes : A pipe dream?

First you need to be convinced that a sedan offers you and your passengers equal or more comfort than an SUV. Because you can also get SUVs that tick most of your requirements once you get into premium segment. You don't have to opt for a sedan to enjoy the things you listed.
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Old 17th May 2017, 14:29   #12
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I think your budget is a limiting factor. Within 18-20L you won't find a Sedan from any of the Premium European makers which comfortably seats 4 unless it is quite old.
You don't like the Hexa or Innova, but they actually fill the bill perfectly in your case.
If AT wasn't a strict requirement, I would have recommended taking a look at S-Cross 1.6.
A V40 CC from Volvo, pre-owned, is also worth a look, if available in the market.
You could of course take a look at the offerings from VW/Skoda, but they are known to be weak in the reliability/A.S.S area.

Last edited by rdst_1 : 17th May 2017 at 14:32.
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Old 17th May 2017, 14:39   #13
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Default Re: SUV to premium sedan for touring purposes : A pipe dream?

Get a slightly used Camry Hybrid. It'll be supremely comfortable not just for driving but also for 4 passengers. Reliability would be high, and considering it's a Hybrid, fuel economy is fairly decent too. It also has an automatic CVT gearbox, and ground clearance is decent being above average for its class.

Because it's a Toyota, reliability would not be a problem and the car would serve you for a long time.

The only reservation I can think of is how it is a petrol car and not a diesel one that you've used your entire life.
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Old 17th May 2017, 14:44   #14
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Default Re: SUV to premium sedan for touring purposes : A pipe dream?

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Originally Posted by n.devdath View Post
1. AT.
2. Cruise control.
3. Good air conditioning.
4. Disc brakes all around.
5. ABS and at least 2 airbags.
6. Good, tested structural rigidity.
7. Ample ground clearance.
8. 4WD- Aaargh..do I need it?
9. Good visibility.
10. Great ride quality over broken roads.
11. Some ability to take abuse like a missed speedbreaker or a pothole once in a while.
Premium German sedans will score well in parameters 1 to 6. For point nos. 7 to 9 you are better off looking at crossovers X1, Q3, X3, Q5 etc.. These will also offer more interior space, not necessarily horizontally, but the additional vertical space does make them feel roomier.

Point no. 10 - Broken roads isn't really their forte. The ride is designed for smoother roads, so that they handle and grip exceptionally thanks to stiff suspensions. BMWs in particular with their RFTs can be quite harsh on broken roads. Tubeless tires will improve matters but they won't glide over bad roads like say a Duster. You do get fantastic body control though and occupants will feel fresh even after spending long hours in the car.

Point no. 11. - You need to be extra attentive and scan the road surface carefully. Missing to spot a big speed breaker or pot hole can be disastrous and leave you stranded. I have myself seen an Audi A6 driver missing to see a medium sized speed breaker on the highway and fluid started leaking after he went over it at speed.

My Skoda Laura used to cost about 12 to 15k to maintain per year per 15000 kms. For premium Germans budget about twice this amount and that's a conservative estimate unless you are willing to service them outside the official service centers.

A well maintained Jetta or Octavia Diesel is a very good option if you are coming from big 4x4s. They will give you 80% the premium German with less than half the fuss .

Last edited by Santoshbhat : 17th May 2017 at 14:46.
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Old 17th May 2017, 15:08   #15
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Default Re: SUV to premium sedan for touring purposes : A pipe dream?

Quote:
Originally Posted by n.devdath View Post

However, off late, I've been bitten by the sedan bug for the following reasons:

1. My current budget for a vehicle is between 18-20 lac INR (new/pre owned). In this budget, there are great sedans that are available at Bangalore.
You can look at 2 years old BMW X1/F30. Haven't faced any issues with GC of F30 in last three years and I have driven it on some real bad roads.

Quote:
Originally Posted by n.devdath View Post

3. I guess I m done driving manuals now. I don't drive a lot in the city, yet I've begun to prefer the peace of mind and lower maintenance a slush box gives me. Needless to say, I'm smitten by the ZF and DSG trannies.
Again, F30/X1 makes lot of sense if you are looking at ATs now. DSG is almost equally good but check the VW/Skoda dealership reputation in your city before taking the plunge. Here in Pune, VW's dealer is fantastic in terms of service and reliability.

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Originally Posted by n.devdath View Post

4. I love fuel economy (call me cheap/poor/chindi...whatever). While speeds on our highways seldom exceed 120kmph for any considerable amount of distance, SUVs top out at around 11kmpl at those speeds. The bigger SUVs drop below 10. This is something I dont like.
Almost all of the D segment sedans will deliver better FE numbers.

However, please keep in mind that you won't be able to drive any of the sedan as carefree as your earlier SUVs. That being said, with most of our highways been improved over the last few years, a practical sedan like X1 will face almost no issues if one takes decent care while tackling bad roads.

Your co-passengers will definitely like riding in a sedan over SUVs.

Good luck!
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