Team-BHP > The Indian Car Scene


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 7th May 2020, 13:37   #1
BHPian
 
ChiragM's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 959
Thanked: 8,888 Times
Default When smaller, cheaper cars are more fun-to-drive than bigger & expensive ones

When smaller, cheaper cars are more fun-to-drive than bigger & expensive ones-brio.jpg

We are mostly under the impression that to buy a fun-to-drive car, one has to spend a lot of money. Actually, that's not always true. In many cases, cheaper + smaller cars are more fun-to-drive than the larger, more expensive ones.

Golden Rule = It's more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow.

Take a look at this video by James May on the Fiat Panda, where he explains the concept. "It's not about how much power you have, it's about how much power you can use!"


This is also a bit unique to India. That's because the more powerful and the bigger the car, the harder you need to concentrate on your surroundings. The roads may be narrow, and you have to be wary of the random pedestrians, two-wheelers and rickshaws that come your way. Heck, owing to our driving conditions, you cannot even redline an E350d limousine in 3rd gear because you run out of road quickly....forget a proper sports car!!

GTO has frequently mentioned of the fun that he's had with an Alto K10 / Swift on the Lonavla ghats. Cars are more fun to drive at the limit, and smaller cars with lesser power reach their limit earlier than the pricey ones. After driving BHPian Blackwasp's Maruti 800, Moderator Aditya commented that he hadn't had that much fun while driving in a long time (note: this is a guy who test-drives 2 new launches a month).

When smaller, cheaper cars are more fun-to-drive than bigger & expensive ones-combine1.jpg

It's not just about the power. The size of the car also plays a major role. Shorter the wheelbase, the more fun to drive it is on curvy roads. For example, the chuckable Swift will make you grin on ghat roads far more than a Ciaz. Rides with short wheelbases have a smaller turning radius and can corner tighter than equivalent vehicles with longer wheelbases. In this post of his BMW M2 Competition, BHPian Reesnat talks of how the M3 loses out on the small car handling / charm that comes with the M2. The bigger the car, the more weight it carries as well, and that extra weight reduces the performance and fun factor.

Further, you might push a smaller car harder, as parts on the larger ones burn a hole in the pocket. That's why Mahindras & Gypsys offroad deeper than Landcruisers whose headlamps cost over a lakh. The list goes on & on:

A Tiago JTP is so much more fun than say, a Harrier.
For pleasure, give me an Octavia (especially the vRS) over an A6 or A8 any day.
A hot hatch like the Abarth Punto will lead to more than most cars costing twice or thrice as much.
Figo Sports on your favourite mountain road over a Honda City.
Go for a 200 km drive in an Etios 1.5. Do the same in a Yaris or Corolla, then come back & tell me which one you enjoyed more (1000 bucks says it's the economy sedan).
Remember the small & tight Fiesta 1.6S? GTO says there is no C segment sedan that's more enjoyable, even today.
C-Class over the LWB E-Class, any day.
Believe it or not, a Mini Cooper S is more fun than a Ferrari in India (much to the dismay of teenage boys reading this thread).

When smaller, cheaper cars are more fun-to-drive than bigger & expensive ones-compass-endy.jpg

The same holds good for Crossovers & SUVs as well. Smaller monocoque SUVs like the Compass / Seltos are car-like to drive than bulky body-on-frame SUVs like the Fortuner / Endeavour, which suffer from height, weight and body roll. There is simply no contest in speed or cornering capability.

When smaller, cheaper cars are more fun-to-drive than bigger & expensive ones-cooper-aventador.jpg

These are the reasons why sporty cars costing under Rs. 1 crore (like the Cayman & M2) give more pleasure than a large & over-the-top supercar like a Lamborghini Aventador in India. Added advantage = something like the Ford Mustang can be enjoyed even on your daily office commute, you do not need a racetrack for it. Try that in a Veyron.

Of course, there are several exceptions to the rule too, but I hope the point is made = it's not necessary that more money should always equate to more pleasure. Enthusiasts on a budget can have a blast too!

Thanks to the M2 review for inspiring this thread!
When smaller, cheaper cars are more fun-to-drive than bigger & expensive ones-bmw-m2.jpg
ChiragM is online now   (71) Thanks
Old 7th May 2020, 13:43   #2
GTO
Team-BHP Support
 
GTO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Bombay
Posts: 57,795
Thanked: 164,325 Times
Default Re: When smaller, cheaper cars are more fun-to-drive than bigger & expensive ones

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!

Big fan of small + chuckable cars here . In the recent past - within the city - the most fun I've had has been with the ugly S-Presso and its lovely engine + gearbox + small footprint. Adding some more smaller + inexpensive cars that I've had fun in, over the years:

- Maruti Ignis 1.2 MT (wheels literally pushed out to the corners)
- Honda Brio (a Honda go-kart for the roads)
- Ford EcoSport
- VW Polo GT (especially that mad 1.6 TDI variant)
- Ford Figo Sports & the Freestyle
- WagonR 1.2L (try it, the breadbox will surprise you with that 1.2L)

We can also expand this philosophy to bikes. Trust me, I've enjoyed redlining Rtech's ZZR400 in Mumbai...good luck trying that in a CBR1000 that can touch 150 kmph in 2nd gear! Related thread (Big vs Small Touring Bikes)

When smaller, cheaper cars are more fun-to-drive than bigger & expensive ones-combine2.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 8th May 2020 at 08:24. Reason: Some more cars
GTO is offline   (33) Thanks
Old 7th May 2020, 14:03   #3
Team-BHP Support
 
vb-san's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: S'pore/Thrissur
Posts: 5,671
Thanked: 7,057 Times
Default Re: When smaller, cheaper cars are more fun-to-drive than bigger & expensive ones

Great thread! This is indeed so true, and I completely subscribe to the point that good things come in small packages. The M2 mentioned in the opening post is a classic example.

In my opinion, for almost all the car brands, the fun aspect is at peak in the smaller avatar (not always the smallest). For e.g.; BMW 3-series, Mazda 3, VW Golf GTI, Octavia RS etc.
vb-san is offline   (7) Thanks
Old 7th May 2020, 14:31   #4
BANNED
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 135
Thanked: 184 Times
Default Re: When smaller, cheaper cars are more fun-to-drive than bigger & expensive ones

So true, also the older cars. I drive a 2007 Ford Fiesta 1.4 EXI petrol and am not able to move on from it . Reason - fun to drive, no complicated electronics and the sheer VFM of maintaining an older car vs buying a new one (EMI & higher insurance). And thanks to Ford India, the prices of spares are much lesser compared to many years ago. Did 130K Kms on it till date, and still addicted to the hydraulic power steering and the almost perfect 50:50 weight distribution. And driving a less powerful car fast is so rewarding and can use the power band all the time - "It's not about how much power you have, it's about how much power you can use!"
Attached Thumbnails
When smaller, cheaper cars are more fun-to-drive than bigger & expensive ones-20200125_093630_hdr.jpg  


Last edited by Rohit_Quad : 7th May 2020 at 14:34.
Rohit_Quad is offline   (33) Thanks
Old 7th May 2020, 15:02   #5
BHPian
 
NiInJa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Pune
Posts: 711
Thanked: 1,725 Times
Default Re: When smaller, cheaper cars are more fun-to-drive than bigger & expensive ones

This is so true, as GTO mentioned in his post too, I have a lot of fun driving my dad's S-Presso than driving a longer and wider car. Two reasons: Its small foot print and higher power to weight ratio. For one, you can drive the car relatively fast compared to bigger cars with less worrying of scraping something and second, the car builds up speed upto 60 kmph pretty fast if revved hard, which it allows. High speeds are dangerous and most roads don't allow it anyway.

My favorite track in Pune is driving from Hinjewadi Phase 3 to Lavasa circle, it has nice curves and one can head back home quickly if the wife calls. I've taken all cars that we've owned or parked by relatives and none of them were as fun as the quick S-Presso and my friend's Alto 800.

P.S. I've been driving the S-Presso in our parking lot at nights due to the lock-down to keep the battery charged, its like go-karting
NiInJa is offline   (4) Thanks
Old 7th May 2020, 15:10   #6
BHPian
 
Tuisha110HP's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: NEW DELHI
Posts: 39
Thanked: 81 Times
Default Re: When smaller, cheaper cars are more fun-to-drive than bigger & expensive ones

Quote:
• Go for a 200 km drive in an Etios 1.5. Do the same in a Yaris or Corolla, then come back & tell me which one you enjoyed more (1000 bucks says it's the economy sedan).
Oh man, you surely did copy my thoughts on it I did a trip from Delhi to Jaipur and back in a 1.4D Etios Liva. I developed goosebumps in my tummy driving that fantastic piece of machine. It attaches itself to the road like leaches do, changes lanes like housefly and picks up speed like anything. Trust me on this! A spirited driving when my friend took over the steering wheel gave me motion sickness

Last edited by Aditya : 8th May 2020 at 07:07. Reason: Broken quotes fixed; typo
Tuisha110HP is online now   (10) Thanks
Old 7th May 2020, 15:13   #7
BHPian
 
Thermodynamics's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Bengaluru
Posts: 680
Thanked: 3,317 Times
Default Re: When smaller, cheaper cars are more fun-to-drive than bigger & expensive ones

Completely agree. The golden rule is very true. One of my colleague (in USA) who is a racer and a regular on tracks says his Mini can put best of the sports cars behind because of superior cornering ability.

This is true in motorcycles as well, the very reason why RX100 was so popular.
Thermodynamics is offline   (6) Thanks
Old 7th May 2020, 15:19   #8
BHPian
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 352
Thanked: 579 Times
Default Re: When smaller, cheaper cars are more fun-to-drive than bigger & expensive ones

Of course there is no beating the basic science- Smaller the car, smaller inertia, lower weight and thus sharp handling.

But, I find it is highly car-dependent. Like, I love Polo over the Vento, but Vento vs the Jetta, its Jetta.

It may also be a function of taking a higher risk with cheaper cars. I will never drive a Jetta with the margins I keep with a Polo simply due to the risk of nicks and chips.

Figo & Classic were similar. Between Manza & Vista , I enjoyed the Manza more than he Vista.

I have never driven the one series, but I haven't seen people stating it to be better than the 3 series
1.2TSI7DSG is online now   (9) Thanks
Old 7th May 2020, 15:45   #9
BHPian
 
Amey Kulkarni's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: All Over!
Posts: 282
Thanked: 450 Times
Default Re: When smaller, cheaper cars are more fun-to-drive than bigger & expensive ones

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
We can also expand this philosophy to bikes. Trust me, I've enjoyed redlining Rtech's ZZR400 in Mumbai...good luck trying that in a CBR1000 that can touch 150 kmph in 2nd gear!
Absolutely GTO! With over a half lakh Kms done on big bikes within last 5 years, I can certainly say that the mid-segment bikes are alot fun to ride than Litre class at least on Indian roads. Litre class are an overkill and expose you to lot of power and risk considering the traffic situations.

Lot of people think buying big capacity bikes will make them faster but the truth which they miss is - "Its always the rider and not the bike!!"

Cheers,
Amey
Amey Kulkarni is offline   (10) Thanks
Old 7th May 2020, 16:08   #10
Newbie
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Gurugram
Posts: 3
Thanked: 64 Times
Default Re: When smaller, cheaper cars are more fun-to-drive than bigger & expensive ones

I think one of the classic examples of this is the initial models of Maruti Zen. I was a kid when my elder brother brought one, and when he gave it a go, boy my jaw used to be on the floor every time.
One of the most fun to drive car. It is still there with him.

Another one which comes to mind is the Chevy Beat petrol. I drove it a lot in around Bangalore and used to really love its power at that point.
BroodVarun is offline   (6) Thanks
Old 7th May 2020, 17:15   #11
BHPian
 
Tassem's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 529
Thanked: 796 Times
Default Re: When smaller, cheaper cars are more fun-to-drive than bigger & expensive ones

Completely agree with this.

Shockingly the most fun I've ever had in a small car in India was in a Maruti A-Star back in 2008. Not sure how many know, but that car is literally a go-kart in disguise. Almost no power, no grip and will let you handbrake turn into any corner, controlled slides all day long, everyday. Felt tight, super nimble and a ton of fun. Except in the looks department, I liked it over the e-zen which was a cute little maniac in its own right!

The Honda Brio is also a ton of fun. I think it has to do with how you don't feel bad about revving them unnecessarily. The smooth engines don't seem to complain at all. In the same vein, I also have a lot of love for the Alto K10 and Swift. Used to be in love with the Swift once upon a time. What a chuckable car!

However, if I were to buy my own small, cheap, fun to drive car, it'd have to be a Polo. GT TSI/TDI or GTi. Love them all. But lean towards the petrol cause it's more fun to thrash.

Last edited by Tassem : 7th May 2020 at 17:27.
Tassem is offline   (7) Thanks
Old 7th May 2020, 17:19   #12
BHPian
 
Bibendum90949's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 352
Thanked: 903 Times
Default Re: When smaller, cheaper cars are more fun-to-drive than bigger & expensive ones

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiragM View Post
Remember the small & tight Fiesta 1.6S? GTO says there is no C segment sedan that's more enjoyable, even today
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rohit_Quad View Post
So true, also the older cars. I drive a 2007 Ford Fiesta 1.4 EXI petrol and am not able to move on from it . Reason - fun to drive, no complicated electronics and the sheer VFM of maintaining an older car vs buying a new one (EMI & higher insurance). Did 130K Kms on it till date, and still addicted to the hydraulic power steering and the almost perfect 50:50 weight distribution.
I too echo the same sentiments. i've always been an admirer of Ford Fiesta. I had a 1.5 TDCi though. In my two and half decades of driving and of all the cars i've driven, this is one car I always wanted to be behind the wheel. After having upgraded from a smaller hatch those days, it was one car that made me realise there's more to driving pleasure than merely driving. The steering feedback and precision that it offers is unmatched. Add to that the leech like grip it possesses - it's chassis play a big role there. My 5 years of driving (2006-11) and a lakh plus kms in it was an eye opener of sorts too and edified me into the most sought after element a driving enthusiast yearns for - handling of a car.

IMHO, more fun lies in the handling of a car than tapping all of it's power resources. As Rohit_Quad mentioned, the icing on the cake is it's hydraulic steering - it oozes such high degree of confidence to the driver. How I wish the modern day cars has the same steering set up too.

Compared to that, I hate the EPS in most of the modern cars. It's taking out the major chunk of the fun quotient in driving a car - my personal opinion.

Another car I like driving a lot is an unlikely candidate - the humble Omni. Sitting right on top of wheels, it too gives immense steering feedback and your hands are always 'connected' to the wheel and you know what you tyres are upto. It gives me goose bumps even today when I take my Omni out for a spin in the twisties (certainly by staying very well within its limits) . It's a much more fun to drive car than one can imagine. As the old adage goes - " Small is beautiful".
I would like to rephrase it as " Small is beautiful and fun to drive "

People overestimate the pleasure they’ll get from having more stuff. This does not apply to new rose bushes, crayons, or yarn stashes ~ Dr.SunWolf. I would like to add 'small cars' to the list.

Few pictures of the close-to-heart Fiesta from my archives.
Attached Thumbnails
When smaller, cheaper cars are more fun-to-drive than bigger & expensive ones-screenshot_20200507170228_whatsapp.jpg  

When smaller, cheaper cars are more fun-to-drive than bigger & expensive ones-screenshot_20200507170259_whatsapp.jpg  


Last edited by Bibendum90949 : 7th May 2020 at 17:35. Reason: few corrections and points added
Bibendum90949 is online now   (16) Thanks
Old 7th May 2020, 17:38   #13
BHPian
 
knrn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Jalandhar
Posts: 100
Thanked: 255 Times
Default

A very nice write up Chirag. Aha what with the lockdown, driving pleasure can only be had in thoughts reminiscing about the yore and reading threads like these.
Anyways coming to the point I do agree. The pleasure of driving small cars especially if one has been driving long enough to reach the limit of the car is something that has to be experienced. And it is the redlining and trying to outdo the car that catches onto you like an infection.
As luck would have it, I have been driving santros as far as I can remember and we have had all the models.
I remember that when we got our latest car, 13 years and counting, the 62 bhp version appeared to be so much nippier and rev happy as compared to the previous 55 bhp version. Since I live in Punjab, my long drives are either to Himachal or Jammu both being hilly states.
On the 6 lane state and national highways the hatchback is pretty modest but once it enters the hills, it is simply unbeatable on the twisties. Redlining in 2,3 and 4th gear, the feeling, the sound, the whole visceral experience is phenomenal. I think it has more to do with the connect the small car provides with the road. Big cars just cushion you from what is underneath.
Guys believe me, I knew how to drive but how to enjoy driving and what all points to look, see, hear and feel while driving; I have learnt mostly from this forum from the gurus. From the travelogues to reviews to ownership reports, I have learnt. The more I read, the more I discover the pleasure in small things. My cousin in Udhampur owns an Alto and a Laura. The alto is the 1.1 litre one and the go to car any day.
True we won't have the roads or time to redline the big cars but small cars have a more direct connection to the road.
It is sad to see the Etios 1.5 being discontinued. Hearing good words about it from Gto and from many others on this forum I had a test drive. Every word they said was true.
But sadly most of the cars being mentioned in the thread are ending their life. Except for Figo and swift the others are now hardly there. So yes I do agree- it is not about the power but how much is used and adding to it, it is not the top speed but how you get up there.
knrn is offline   (3) Thanks
Old 7th May 2020, 17:41   #14
BHPian
 
paramesh3210's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: BLR / CBE
Posts: 38
Thanked: 34 Times
Default Re: When smaller, cheaper cars are more fun-to-drive than bigger & expensive ones

For cities like Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai etc definitely a small car is well suited if one commutes every day because of traffic. It has several benefits. Infact, I have friends who sold their SUV's / Sedans and opted for basic hatchbacks for easy drive around the city. Having said the above, I do see lot of big cars being driven daily but what I said is purely from my perspective.
paramesh3210 is offline  
Old 7th May 2020, 17:56   #15
BHPian
 
evil_grin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 92
Thanked: 183 Times
Default Re: When smaller, cheaper cars are more fun-to-drive than bigger & expensive ones

There's also the point that smaller cars are usually cheaper, and therefore have worse NVH - which makes them feel like they're going faster even at the same speed as more expensive cars. And that's thrilling.

It's not how fast you're going. It's how fast you feel you're going.
evil_grin is offline   (11) Thanks
Reply

Most Viewed
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Copyright 2000 - 2020, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks