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Old 2nd October 2010, 18:12   #1
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Default The Best Driver Oriented Diesel in the sub-9 lakh Category

Hey all,

My Dad and I are in the market for buying a car in the sub-9 lakh category, and we're willing to look at used cars as well as new.

Now I just want something that's really fun to drive yet reliable (aka Honda Civic) but Dad absolutely insists on a diesel.

Between the 2 of us it seems like very few cars fits the bill.

Our Criteria's are
1) Must be incredibly FUN and driver oriented (that's mainly my criteria). Power is the key word here.
2) Must be reliable and have decent after sales service. Shouldn't cost a bomb in upkeep.
3) If it's a used car, should not be too outdated. As long as its reliable and spare parts are easily available, this can be compromised on.
4) Should be able to comfortably seat 4 people and luggage for out-of-town drives.
5) Would be nice to have safety features such as airbags and ABS, but can compromise.

Some of the cars I have short listed are

1) Hyundai i20 CRDi (New)
What we like
- Powerful 1.4 Ltr engine
- Excellent After Sales and Low Upkeep Cost
- 6 Speed transmission
- Feature Laden
Don't Like
- Would still like a larger more powerful engine, but this can be worked around by installing After-market Air Filters and FFE's.
- Steering has zero feedback, feels dead. Destroys fun factor.
- Not sure if a hatch can carry enough luggage for 4 people for a long out of town trip.

2) Skoda Octavia (Used)
What we like
- Has excellent handling and stability
- Really nice sturdy feel, like a tank.
- HUGE Boot, can stuff plenty of luggage back there
- Comfortable ride
Don't Like
- 1.9 ltr Diesel Engine feels like it could use more punch.
- Skoda horrible after sales service. Really scared to buy Skoda after hearing the horror stories on this site.
- Upkeep costs high. European cars really are expensive to maintain.
- Is too old, feels like an outdated car.

3) Hyundai Verna (Used)
What we like
- Absolutely amazing engine. I LOVE this 1.6 CRDi, it is simply too much fun.
- Hyundai, so will be fairly reliable and easy to maintain.
Dont Like
- Absolutely atrocious handling, what good is all that power if I don't have control
- Lack ABS and Airbags, finding a used example with the optional airbags and ABS will be almost impossible.

4) Hyundai Elantra (Used)
What we like
- Has a good 2.0 ltr CRDi unit, rev happy
- Big and Spacious, will be comfortable for long trips
- Decent High Speed Stability
- Is like a Korean Octy
Don't Like
- The car never sold very well and is now a discontinued model. Not a problem for me, but huge thumbs down from dad.
- Spare parts may be hard to find.

5) Swift Dezire ZDI (New)
What we like
- Is a Maruti, after sales service galore.
- Is an extremely VFM product.
- Nice handling
- Decent Sized Boot
Dont Like
- The looks, hate the boot paste job.
- Would like something more powerful than the 1.3 ltr DDiS. (Can't question the popularity of this engine though)
- Interior doesn't feel as premium as the i20.

6) Tata Manza (New)
What we like
- Absolutely Sheer VFM
- Very spacious, very comfortable car.
Don't Like
- Tata after sales service
- Want a more powerful fun engine.
- Is not a driver oriented car, amazing for those being chauffeur driven, but we don't fall under that category.

7) Mercedes C Class (Used)
What we like
- Fully satiates my hunger for a fun car
- The 3 pointed star (it is a status symbol after all)
- Fullfills all critera except......
Don't Like
- Astronomical Maintenance Costs and suspect reliablilty. Don't think the upkeep costs will outweigh the savings on diesel.
Cost of ownership would probably be so high, I'd be better off buying a petrol Civic and spend money on fuel rather than maintenance.


I may have missed out on many cars in my shortlist, so please add them if you guys can think of more options.
I'm beginning to suspect that affordable, reliable, fun, and diesel cannot be used in the same sentence.
Please help me make a decision, because I am absolutely stumped.
Thanks Guys

Last edited by Amartya : 7th October 2010 at 22:31. Reason: Removed extra smiley.
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Old 2nd October 2010, 18:15   #2
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I would suggest you to look at the new VW Vento diesel. The new torque king of the segment!
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Old 2nd October 2010, 18:25   #3
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Volkswagen Vento (New)
What we Like
- Is incredibly fun
- Can easily seat 4 people plus luggage
- Well Built German
Dont Like
- Highline Variant Goes out of Budget, (base variant is so sparse of features not even worth considering)
- Horrible Attitude of dealers
- Don't trust any company affiliated with Skoda. In all honesty, I expect the after sales service and long term reliability to be horrible.

But is an otherwise absolutely brilliant car.
Just the main issue that it is too expensive. Original Budget was 7 lakh, after much debate we finally stretched it to 9 lakh to include the i20 CRDi Asta and Swift Dezire ZDI. 11 lakh is out of the question.

Last edited by kadanaJ : 2nd October 2010 at 18:28.
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Old 2nd October 2010, 18:30   #4
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A used Magnum perhaps?

If you are looking for fun driving, do look for good in-gear acceleration and handling, rather than engine size or power figures.

All the best!

EDIT:
The D'zire isn't much of a handler. Feels like two separate cars, which is more or less true as well.
But the car sure is immensely practical!

Last edited by EssYouWe : 2nd October 2010 at 18:35.
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Old 2nd October 2010, 18:32   #5
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I would choose the Dzire Zdi then, for it's more fun to drive and more practical.
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Old 2nd October 2010, 18:44   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kadanaJ View Post
Volkswagen Vento (New)
What we Like
- Is incredibly fun
- Can easily seat 4 people plus luggage
- Well Built German
Dont Like
- Highline Variant Goes out of Budget, (base variant is so sparse of features not even worth considering)
- Horrible Attitude of dealers
- Don't trust any company affiliated with Skoda. In all honesty, I expect the after sales service and long term reliability to be horrible.

But is an otherwise absolutely brilliant car.
Just the main issue that it is too expensive. Original Budget was 7 lakh, after much debate we finally stretched it to 9 lakh to include the i20 CRDi Asta and Swift Dezire ZDI. 11 lakh is out of the question.
i would suggest a used Magnum diesel..
you could get a relatively new fully loaded variant for 7L .
Very powerful and good to handle too.
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Old 2nd October 2010, 18:50   #7
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Chevrolet Optra Magnum Diesel is definitely a good option, and very much worth considering. Thanks for bringing it up, as I didn't think of it before. Now to do some research in the reviews section.
How is the cars reliability btw.

As for the Swift Dzire, Dad loves the car, but I feel that it doesn't really have much of a premium feel like an i20.
Also comparing i20's 0-100 kmph in 13.5 secs to Dzires 0-100 kmph in 14.5 secs, makes the i20 win out, especially with a few after market performance mods.
In my opinion, if something could be done to improve the i20's steering feel and feedback, that would make it the ideal car, practical and fun.

Last edited by kadanaJ : 2nd October 2010 at 18:52.
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Old 2nd October 2010, 19:11   #8
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Why not a Ford Fiesta?
It is definitely among the most popular driver oriented cars in the market, it's a diesel, I'm just not sure about the boot space and maintainence costs of a ford
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Old 2nd October 2010, 19:22   #9
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The Ford Fiesta 1.4 Diesel is underpowered, especially when compared to the other options such as i20, and now the Magnum Diesel. It does however have excellent handling from what I've read in the forum.
The real driver oriented car you are talking about is the Fiesta 1.6 S, but that's a petrol so no good.

Been reading up on the magnum diesel in the reviews section, seems to be a brilliant performer, but GM's after sales service is questionable.
Also the car seems to be hard to find in the used market. Just 2 diesels posted on Carwale.com
Did it not sell in good numbers?

Last edited by kadanaJ : 2nd October 2010 at 19:24.
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Old 2nd October 2010, 20:15   #10
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Take it from a Dzire owner, if you need a decent performer with M.A.S.S peace of mind,go ahead. But if you are looking at performance as main criteria, the Dzire doesn't have the characteristics of its sibling.Body roll is significant (its fun occasionally , but you get sick over a period of time).

I suggest you go ahead with the Magnum Diesel or the Fiesta. Fiesta is underpowered only on paper, its actually a above decent performer in reality.
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Old 2nd October 2010, 20:35   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kadanaJ View Post
The Ford Fiesta 1.4 Diesel is underpowered, especially when compared to the other options such as i20, and now the Magnum Diesel. It does however have excellent handling from what I've read in the forum.
The real driver oriented car you are talking about is the Fiesta 1.6 S, but that's a petrol so no good.

Been reading up on the magnum diesel in the reviews section, seems to be a brilliant performer, but GM's after sales service is questionable.
Also the car seems to be hard to find in the used market. Just 2 diesels posted on Carwale.com
Did it not sell in good numbers?
Buddy look at a new Magnum diesel. The LT I doubt will fit in your budget but the LS should. Im reasonably sure you will get a good discount on it since it is nearing the end of its life cycle. The torque in the car is terrific and the only downside for handling is the slightly soft suspension, but that means great ride.
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Old 2nd October 2010, 21:11   #12
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The magnum is not much of a handler but its got terrific power. Also I found the turbo lag irritating. How about Fiesta + pete's? That would make it a pretty decent performer. The pete's box for fiesta is expensive (I think its close to 42K). You can also get a decent discount on the fiesta.
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Old 3rd October 2010, 10:05   #13
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I won't be able to decide on the fiesta till I test drive it.
No plans of installing pete's. No way I'll be able to convince dad to agree to that level of modification. The maximum he'll agree to is a tyre upsize and K&N Air Filter.

I don't think a new magnum makes much sense. Used seems to be a much better proposition.
It may require some decent legwork to find, but a used Magnum LT seems to be on the top of the list for now.
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Old 7th October 2010, 13:31   #14
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If you don't want to go the Vento way, the only other diesel sedan I'd recommend for driving pleasure is the Fiat Linea 1.3 MJD. Add on a diesel power box and you're looking at a realistic 100 BHP. The steering, ride & handling are simply class-leading. Sure, it still won't be the fastest, but I suppose you are okay with "acceptable" power since I also see the Dzire / Manza / Fiesta on this thread.

The Optra Magnum is too old, long in the tooth and suffers from extremely shoddy resale (you can lose 50% in a year). Avoid.
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Old 7th October 2010, 14:18   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
If you don't want to go the Vento way, the only other diesel sedan I'd recommend for driving pleasure is the Fiat Linea 1.3 MJD. Add on a diesel power box and you're looking at a realistic 100 BHP. .
His dad wont let him add a box.

@KadanaJ

I drove the Linea Petrol and was horribly disappointed with its low power. But, the ride and handling is no doubt the best in industry. I heard the Linea D is better than the petrol in terms of power.

Actually sub 9 lakhs there is nothing that will meet your exact requirement in Diesel. Had it been petrol, it would have been a Fiesta S straightaway.

I recommend look for a good conditioned less than 2 years Optra Magnum LT which you can get it for 7 Lakhs or lower. It feels premium than other cars in 7-9 lakhs segment as its slightly above.
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