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View Poll Results: If you bought the smaller engine option of any model, did you ever regret the decision?
Yes, all the time 92 31.83%
No, overall happy with the engine choice 80 27.68%
Mixed experience. Mostly fine, but with occasional regrets. 117 40.48%
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Old 8th November 2023, 10:07   #1
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Did you ever buy the smaller engine option of any model? Did you ever regret it?

Many times, whenever a new car is launched, it is made available in multiple engine options. There are petrol, diesel, CNG, hybrid and electric powerplants on offer. In some cases, there is a smaller engine available for cost-conscious & fuel consumption-conscious customers and the taxi market. There's also a larger engine option for those who don't mind paying for higher performance and those who would like all the bells & whistles in the car as mostly, the top variant comes only with the larger engine.

Here are some examples of cars of one type available with smaller and larger engines.

Maruti WagonR



The WagonR comes in 1.0L and 1.2L versions. While the former produces 66 BHP, the latter makes 89 BHP. The smaller engine comes in LXi and VXi trim levels, while the larger engine comes in the ZXi and ZXi+ variants. The 1.0L is available in a petrol+CNG variant as well which the 1.2L misses out on.

Skoda Kushaq & Slavia / Volkswagen Taigun & Virtus



The Skoda-Volkswagen twins are available with 1.0L and 1.5L turbocharged petrol engines. The smaller engine produces 114 BHP and is mated to either a 6-speed MT or 6-speed torque converter AT, while the larger one puts out 148 BHP and is mated to a 6-speed MT or a 7-speed DSG AT. The larger engine comes with Active Cylinder Technology too.

Even in the past, we have had such examples.

Ford Endeavour



The second-gen Endeavour was launched in India in 2016. It was available with two diesel powerplants. The first was a 2.2L, 4-cylinder unit that made 158 BHP, while the second one was a 3.2L, 5-cylinder motor that put out 197 BHP. The former came with a choice of 6-speed MT or AT. Further, the MT came with a choice of RWD or 4WD, while the AT came only with RWD. The 3.2L unit was mated to a 6-speed AT and a 4WD system.

Maruti S-Cross



The S-Cross was launched in India in 2016. Back then, it came with a choice of two Fiat-sourced diesel engines - a 1.3L and a 1.6L. While the smaller motor produced 89 BHP, the larger one made 118 BHP. The 1.6 was the weapon of choice of enthusiasts, while the 1.3, which had been around for a very long time in some car or the other, appealed to those looking for a reliable and no-nonsense motor.

Most buyers are clear in their minds about what they want to buy. However, some go ahead with purchasing a car with a smaller engine and later, feel they have made the wrong choice. I have one example of someone regretting and one, where the buyer was satisfied.

Back in 2007, my brother was looking for a small hatchback. As his budget was tight and he isn't much of a car person, we had to stick with a reliable product with good after-sales service. The Maruti Alto was chosen. Unfortunately, the 1.1L engine was no longer manufactured and he decided to stay away from used cars (where an Alto 1.1L could be sourced). So a brand new 800cc MT was purchased. This car was fine as a city runabout. A year later though, he started taking it to weekend getaways. That's where the problem started. With 4 people on board and the A/C running, it felt underpowered. Quick overtakes and climbs needed the A/C to be turned off. After some drives, he called me complaining about this. Many times, he said, "If only, we would have picked up a used Alto 1.1L...."

In the second case, a neighbour (and friend) of mine wanted to move on from his trusted Maruti Ciaz 1.4L. He was in love with the Skoda Slavia, which was launched in 2022. He wanted an AT but didn't know what engine and gearbox would be the best option for him. He has a chauffeur and doesn't drive himself very often. After many chats, test drives and considering the complications involved in DSGs, we concluded that the 1.0 TSI with the 6-speed torque converter AT was best suited for him. Earlier this year, the car came home. My friend is very happy with the car. Though not as exciting as the 1.5 TSI, it has enough power to keep him satisfied.

So, have any of you ever bought the smaller engine option of any model and did you ever regret it?

Last edited by Aditya : 8th November 2023 at 13:30.
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Old 8th November 2023, 10:18   #2
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Re: Did you ever buy the smaller engine option of any model? Did you ever regret it?

I did that mistake when I bought S-cross back in 2016 , I always had that regret till I sold the car in 2023. While it performed flawlessly in city but on highway runs I always kept kicking myself for not taking the 1.6 engine.

While buying the Slavia I was hell bent on not making the same mistake and went with 1.5 engine
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Old 8th November 2023, 10:34   #3
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Re: Did you ever buy the smaller engine option of any model? Did you ever regret it?

I bought a Ford Ikon Flair 1.3, when I could've purchased a slightly older 1.6 variant.

While I dont really regret completely, the itch of not having a better powered similar car was still there.. Every oppurtunity, i would find reasons on how the 1.3 is similar to 1.6.
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Old 8th November 2023, 10:46   #4
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Re: Did you ever buy the smaller engine option of any model? Did you ever regret it?

I had clocked atleast 10,000 kms (mostly within city) on my father-in-law's Indica Vista/Fiat 1.2L 65 BHP petrol. (remember there was also the 1.4L 90 BHP model)

Did you ever buy the smaller engine option of any model? Did you ever regret it?-img_2962.jpg

At city speeds, there was no difference between Vista 1.2L and any other small car. That is, you won't feel that you are driving an underpowered car. It is quite likely that Tata/Fiat tuned the engine for low-end grunt. However, under certain conditions (Eg: full of passengers + starting off on an incline), it used to catch me out occassionally and I was forced to ride the clutch/step on the accelerator.

On highways, 1.2L Vista somehow puts you into 'monk mode' and you end up cruising at 80 kmph, not rushing through the gears. Now this might have something to do with slow steering & gummy gearbox too (especially compared to Civic I had at that time). Anyway, after some time behind the wheel, one gets used to overtaking a fast moving bus on a 2-laned highway too - you just have to concentrate a bit more, wait for the right opportunity and step on the gas.

Last edited by SmartCat : 8th November 2023 at 15:01.
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Old 8th November 2023, 10:54   #5
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Re: Did you ever buy the smaller engine option of any model? Did you ever regret it?

I bought a Fiat Punto 1.2 petrol in 2010. I didn't regret it for 13 years. But in 2023 it stopped recognizing my key and the service vendors couldn't fix it without replacing the whole ECM/BCM combo, which would have been exorbitant so I chose to dump it. Apparently the 1.4 petrol and diesel Puntos have a sophisticated ECM that can be programmed to, eg, disable the immobilizer, but the 1.2 had a very basic one, and (I was told by another, third-party repair shop) this particular problem is known to happen in the 1.2 petrol Punto.

Actually I still don't regret it: whatever value I lost in resale (Tata Motors did buy it back though it wasn't working, but of course a working car would have fetched much more), I would have spent on extra petrol if I had bought the 1.4, plus of course the higher upfront cost. It drove well for 13 years, > 110000km until this happened.
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Old 8th November 2023, 11:07   #6
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Re: Did you ever buy the smaller engine option of any model? Did you ever regret it?

On the poll If I select yes, does it mean that I regret buying the smaller engine? What should I choose if I had bought a model with the smaller engine but don't regret it?
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Old 8th November 2023, 11:14   #7
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Re: Did you ever buy the smaller engine option of any model? Did you ever regret it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tortoiseNhare View Post
On the poll If I select yes, does it mean that I regret buying the smaller engine? What should I choose if I had bought a model with the smaller engine but don't regret it?
I have edited the poll question for clarity. Check now (refresh page).

Last edited by SmartCat : 8th November 2023 at 11:26.
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Old 8th November 2023, 11:15   #8
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Re: Did you ever buy the smaller engine option of any model? Did you ever regret it?

Yes, I bought 2016 Jazz 1.2 i-VTEC MT whereas I should have bought 1.5 i-DTEC MT version. I would have got more satisfactory power on long journeys and loads of mileage.
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Old 8th November 2023, 11:21   #9
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Re: Did you ever buy the smaller engine option of any model? Did you ever regret it?

Bought the Aveo 1.4 instead of the 1.6 back in 2009. Regretted the decision every time we went out on the highway. The engine was plain inadequate beyond speeds of 80kph. Overtaking needed lots of calculation and planning to execute. Add to this the reliability issues we faced, the 1.4 experience was not fun.
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Old 8th November 2023, 11:49   #10
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Re: Did you ever buy the smaller engine option of any model? Did you ever regret it?

I bought Kushaq 1.0L instead of 1.5L. Whenever I see the lack of refinement in 1.0L engine, I regret not going for 1.5L

But when I purchased, there was no Mid Ambition variant in 1.5L and it was only available in top variant which was close to 20 Lakhs. I console myself as I still don't beleive India 2.0 cars from Skoda are VFM at 20 Lakh+
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Old 8th November 2023, 12:55   #11
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Re: Did you ever buy the smaller engine option of any model? Did you ever regret it?

While I myself bought the highest engine option for the 2 out of the 3 vehicles I currently own (Pulsar and Figo), roads these days are vastly better than they were 10 years back and if everyone decides to stick to the speed limits, there is no need for *higher powered variants* of cars being sold in the higher segments.

I drive a 100BHP hatchback and wherever I go, I really cannot use its sub-10-second 0-100 prowess anywhere without getting my co-passengers sh*t scared. It does 120 with ease and returns great economy anywhere in the 80-120 speed range. I find no reason to upgrade to 150BHP VW/Skodas or 160 BHP Hyundai/KIAs when there exists 110-120 bhp options which will not have so much unused capacity (and I can get my cheap thrills on my 40BHP motorcycle which is the least powerful *Triumph Speed* branded motorcycle).

I feel there is point of diminishing returns where the lower powered variants of a WagonR / Magnite / Kiger may be too underpowered but that of a Slavia / Verna may be sufficient. We could define it with Power to weight ratios being or lower than that of the top 5 sellers.

If it is lower than the best sellers, it is definitely underpowered and vice versa.

Baleno, Nexon and Brezza happen to be part of the top 5. All 3 have a P2W ratio of between 91-95 bhp per ton.

WagonR and Swift make the remaining 2. WagonR 1.0 is below this number (81) and Swift and WagonR 1.2 are above (101-105)

Anything that is above average (> 105 bhp/ton) and your butt dyno should not make you feel that you got the wrong engine. I guess that is the reason why the higher power engine options exist, to take the power to weight ratio to an *above average* number.
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Old 8th November 2023, 13:21   #12
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Re: Did you ever buy the smaller engine option of any model? Did you ever regret it?

I have the Punto 1.2 instead of the 1.4. The low end grunt and being able to use it like an automatic in third gear from 20-60kmph means driving is effortless in the city. It's still running fine, no regrets.
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Old 8th November 2023, 13:29   #13
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Re: Did you ever buy the smaller engine option of any model? Did you ever regret it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aditya View Post
The S-Cross was launched in India in 2016. Back then, it came with a choice of two Fiat-sourced diesel engines - a 1.3L and a 1.6L.
I got the S cross 1.3 back in the day, even though the car has been sold I still think I'd have retained her if it was the 1.6. It was replaced by a Harrier earlier this year. The 1.3 was reliable & economical but not a whole lot of fun.
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Old 8th November 2023, 13:31   #14
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Re: Did you ever buy the smaller engine option of any model? Did you ever regret it?

Bought a Jazz 1.2 instead of a fantastic 1.5L Diesel engine. Although it does the job, nothing can beat either the mileage or driveability of diesel. For me, its a mixed feeling.
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Old 8th November 2023, 13:39   #15
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Re: Did you ever buy the smaller engine option of any model? Did you ever regret it?

Bought WagonR 1.1 in 2005, it was big engine for a person who didn't know to drive. Over the years it turned out smaller
Upgraded to SCross 1.6 in 2017, its still a big engine, I really don't feel the need for an upgraded engine & nowadays I don't even feel like driving a car!!

Bought an Rx in 2001, was very powerful then, felt the engine is small & bought CBR 250R in 2011, which was powerful then. Over the years got used to it & bought Interceptor in 2021. For now I think it's just adequate for the kind of FE & power it makes. I still feel Striple or Bonneville might satisfy the need for more power, but then, there's emotional connect with motorcycles that can never be satiated.

Last edited by aargee : 8th November 2023 at 13:44.
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