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Old 8th November 2017, 01:46   #1
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Default College student with a budget of a lakh - Esteem vs Zen MPFI?

Managing in a single car when there are two brothers in a family, both equally enthusiastic about automobiles is really a hard job to do. Well me, being the younger always got the key first of our Hyundai Grand i10
But then there is always this automobile bug inside me which is constantly biting my brain to get a car for myself. Have fought with my conscience whether to go with the decision or not from the last one year on buying a new car. And at last, the bug won.
The car will run 80% on the highways as my commute to and back from college is 54 kilometres.
So the requirements the car has to fulfill are:
1) Needs to be under a lakh rupees
2) Has to be fun to drive
2) Should have a mileage figure between 13-16kmpl
3) Cheap on pocket
4) Availability of spares should be decent.

Keeping the following requirements in mind I zeroed in to two cars. First option is the Maruti Zen (MPFI only) and second is Maruti Esteem (MPFI only). The reason for choosing Maruti over brands like Honda and Fiat is their cars having abundance of spares even after years of being discontinued.

I wish that the experts would guide me on the cars that I have listed, their availability of spares and how heavy are they on the pocket as the only source of income I have is the pocket money from parents If there are other models other than the two I have listed that fulfill my listed requirements then suggestions from my superiors are whole heartedly welcome.

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Old 8th November 2017, 11:36   #2
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Default re: College student with a budget of a lakh - Esteem vs Zen MPFI?

I would pick the ZEN.

Get a decent car, plonk in a 1.3 motor and you have one killer car to enjoy on your highway. Reliable as have been driving one from last five years, never let me down and the happiness of beating bigger cars is priceless.

Last edited by GTO : 8th November 2017 at 17:33. Reason: Spacing
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Old 8th November 2017, 12:16   #3
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Default re: College student with a budget of a lakh - Esteem vs Zen MPFI?

Maruti is the right way to go here for all the reasons you stated.
Out of the two, zen is a better pick for its reliability, compactness and easy and fun to drive.
Its probably hard to find, but I would also add a well maintained m800 5 speed as well to the short list. They have more power than regular 800 (within the same body shell), an additional gear and 800's close-to-nature driving dynamics.
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Old 8th November 2017, 12:19   #4
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Default re: College student with a budget of a lakh - Esteem vs Zen MPFI?

I would suggest an Alto. It is easily available in the market, cheap to run and even cheaper to maintain. Since it is one of the "newer" cars, parts availability won't be an issue.
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Old 8th November 2017, 12:23   #5
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Default re: College student with a budget of a lakh - Esteem vs Zen MPFI?

Get the Zen if you don't mind how cramped your friends will feel in the back look for a car with good chassis and suspension, swap the engine for a 1.3 and voila you are left with a true Hot Hatch by the definition itself. Not like the expensive and complicated ones in the market today. Cheap, simple, frugal, fun and tiny so you can nip in and around traffic when you end up going to the city. Considering you will spend most of your time on the highways, the rare occassions when you do go to the city, might end up annoying you when you have to deal with traffic and a small car helps a LOT
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Old 8th November 2017, 12:51   #6
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Default Best used car for a college going student?

As you are going to have a lot of highway runs, I would recommend a used Hyundai Santro Xing due to the following reasons-

1. The engine+gearbox combo is best in its segment till date. I have owned the Wagon-R with the F10D engine and still love the gearbox on the Xing. The Santro's 4-cylinder engine is responsive and can be actually fun on the highways.

2. It can seat 5 adults in comfort with a decent boot space if at all you plan an outing with your friends.

3. I found the steering pretty good on the Xing and the suspension isn't bad as the fluidic generation of Hyundais. In fact it is way better than those.

4. Out on the highways you can realistically get 15-16kmpl with a moderate heavy foot.

Zen & Esteem are too old and finding a clean car is going to be very difficult. You can get a relatively new Santro Xing at the same price. Spares aren't going to be an issue either. Happy shopping!

Asit

Last edited by GTO : 8th November 2017 at 17:34. Reason: Formatting
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Old 8th November 2017, 15:24   #7
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Default re: College student with a budget of a lakh - Esteem vs Zen MPFI?

Quote:
Originally Posted by scorpian View Post
I would pick the ZEN.

Get a decent car,plonk in a 1.3 motor and you have one killer car to enjoy on your highway.Reliable, as have been driving one from last five years,never let me down and the happiness of beating bigger cars is priceless.
Quote:
Originally Posted by IshaanIan View Post
Get the Zen if you don't mind how cramped your friends will feel in the back look for a car with good chassis and suspension, swap the engine for a 1.3 and voila you are left with a true Hot Hatch by the definition itself. Not like the expensive and complicated ones in the market today. Cheap, simple, frugal, fun and tiny so you can nip in and around traffic when you end up going to the city. Considering you will spend most of your time on the highways, the rare occassions when you do go to the city, might end up annoying you when you have to deal with traffic and a small car helps a LOT
Well the idea of swapping in a 1.3 is in the books, but then there is the budget too that should be kept an eye at. However I am planning some mild visual and performance upgrades as alloys,spoilers,FFE and performance air filter to keep the car fresh in today's day and age as I would be keeping the car for the next 3 or 3.5 years

Quote:
Originally Posted by dileepcm View Post
Maruti is the right way to go here for all the reasons you stated.
Out of the two, zen is a better pick for its reliability, compactness and easy and fun to drive.
Its probably hard to find, but I would also add a well maintained m800 5 speed as well to the short list. They have more power than regular 800 (within the same body shell), an additional gear and 800's close-to-nature driving dynamics.
Ah the 5S 800! I can go on and on about how much my childhood is linked with this particular car. Finding this particular model won't be much of a hard job as there are plenty well maintained cars roaming in our streets. In fact this car is more available than the Zen and Esteem. The only problem is finding a car at a suitable price tag and the one's that are sold are sold at a pretty high price considering their age and mileage they have covered.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashis89 View Post
I would suggest an Alto. It is easily available in the market, cheap to run and even cheaper to maintain. Since it is one of the "newer" cars, parts availability won't be an issue.
I have considered the Alto too mainly for it's rock solid build quality specially the Type 1 Altos. However, one thing I have observed specially in North Eastern region is that the Altos are sold at twice their value in the used market. 03-04 models go for a price of about 1.15 to 1.30L. Paying above 1L for a decade old car having a 800cc engine didn't make much sense to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by asit.kulkarni93 View Post
As you are going to have a lot of highway runs, I would recommend a used Hyundai Santro Xing due to the following reasons-

1. The engine+gearbox combo is best in its segment till date. I have owned the Wagon-R with the F10D engine and still love the gearbox on the Xing. The Santro's 4-cylinder engine is responsive and can be actually fun on the highways.

2. It can seat 5 adults in comfort with a decent boot space if at all you plan an outing with your friends.

3. I found the steering pretty good on the Xing and the suspension isn't bad as the fluidic generation of Hyundai's. Infact it is way better than those.

4. Out on the highways you can realistically get 15-16kmpl with a moderate heavy foot.

Zen & Esteem are too old and finding a clean car is going to be very difficult. You can get a relatively new Santro Xing at the same price. Spares aren't going to be an issue either. Happy shopping!

Asit
I am still wondering why I didn't think of the Santro earlier Driving a Grand i10 for almost 7 months and covering over 10k kilometres during this period, I can say that Hyundai cars are reliable to the core. And not to mention the Hyundai after sales service that are giving the Maruti ASC a tough competition in many parts of our country.
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Old 8th November 2017, 16:07   #8
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Default re: College student with a budget of a lakh - Esteem vs Zen MPFI?

I would suggest Alto K10 (1st gen). This was my first car and it was indeed fun to drive. Maruti had rightly called it as pocket rocket. The car is quick, but high speed stability and braking is pathetic. Anyways, I don't think it would be available for 1 lakh, but it meets all other requirements put down by you

My first car during college days and I miss my K10 :(
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Old 8th November 2017, 16:11   #9
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Default re: College student with a budget of a lakh - Esteem vs Zen MPFI?

A used well maintained Swift, would fit the bill! I tried suggesting Alto to my kids, response was a firm NO!
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Old 8th November 2017, 17:19   #10
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Default re: College student with a budget of a lakh - Esteem vs Zen MPFI?

You are at an age when you should be zipping around on a bike. Within the constraints you have outlined at the beginning of the post, a smart bike is the way to go. You will have fantastic mileage, no parking issues, maintenance easy on the pocket and best of all, a fun machine. Think again.
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Old 8th November 2017, 17:45   #11
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Default Re: College student with a budget of a lakh - Esteem vs Zen MPFI?

With a lakh in hand, I wouldn't be particular about which model I get home. Rather, I'd stress on the condition of the car, irrespective of the make / model as long as it has a reputation for decent reliability. If you're keen on a Zen or Esteem only, pick whichever example is the newest + lowest mileage + in best condition.

Even you get a really clean car and have to spend 20 - 30k over your budget, go for it. It'll save you money in the longer term.

Hyundais like this one & this will be worth checking out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scorpian View Post
Get a decent car, plonk in a 1.3 motor and you have one killer car to enjoy on your highway.
Not with a 1 lakh rupee budget . Even if you manage to find a cheap engine + labour, it'll be cutting things too thin. There's no reserve for reliability issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dileepcm View Post
800's close-to-nature driving dynamics.
. Seconded, and love the way you put it.
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Old 8th November 2017, 17:46   #12
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Default Re: Best used car for a college going student?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.Naren View Post
I would suggest Alto K10 (1st gen). This was my first car and it was indeed fun to drive. Maruti had rightly called it as pocket rocket. The car is quick, but high speed stability and braking is pathetic. Anyways, I don't think it would be available for 1 lakh, but it meets all other requirements put down by you

My first car during college days and I miss my K10 :(
Quote:
Originally Posted by Durango Dude View Post
A used well maintained Swift, would fit the bill! I tried suggesting Alto to my kids, response was a firm NO!
Alto and the Swift are two cars that age really well and have high demand in the used car market. 2010 K10s are sold for 2 to 2.5L here and so are the 2005 Swifts

Quote:
Originally Posted by SajiNSalin View Post
You are at an age when you should be zipping around on a bike. Within the constraints you have outlined at the beginning of the post, a smart bike is the way to go. You will have fantastic mileage, no parking issues, maintenance easy on the pocket and best of all, a fun machine. Think again.
That's right sir. I already have a motorcycle that is super light in the pocket. But the thing is that riding a motorcycle at highways in the North Eastern part of the country during the cold season and specially in the morning time takes a toll physically.

Last edited by Tanveer02 : 8th November 2017 at 18:08. Reason: Restructured a line
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Old 8th November 2017, 19:53   #13
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Default Re: College student with a budget of a lakh - Esteem vs Zen MPFI?

GTO mentioned a Hyundai Accent in his post car has done suspicipusly low mileage and is a 2011 model not sure about it, but it is definitely worth a dekho at that price. The Accent may not have the heart and handling capabilities of the Baleno or Old Honda City Vtec, but what it does have over those two is loads of space, excellent ride quality, and good comfort. Handles pretty neutrally as well and one can have fun with an Accent.
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Old 8th November 2017, 20:44   #14
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Default Re: College student with a budget of a lakh - Esteem vs Zen MPFI?

The Esteem and Zen are getting scarcer on the roads and spares may be a problem a few years hence. No one builds spares for cars that are scarce. Spare makers invest and the motto is to reap profits out of their sales. So its simple mathematics.

Buy a car that has its numbers on the roads even if the model has been discontinued. The Hyundai Santro or the Maruti 800 make a lot of sense here. Both are frugal and need a minimal maintenance.

For example, the Yamaha RX 100 and its later two stroke variants, were discontinued during the turn of the millennium. But OE spares are still available at the Yamaha sales and service outlets as many have survived.

Last edited by anjan_c2007 : 8th November 2017 at 20:45.
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Old 8th November 2017, 21:35   #15
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Default Re: College student with a budget of a lakh - Esteem vs Zen MPFI?

Well if I was in your place I would invest that money in buying a SWB mahindra Jeep, or a MM540/550 as per availability.
You can get one in below average conditions for ₹60-70k. With time invest in it as per requirements and the list of mods is endless. By the time you will graduate you will end up owning a wonderful companion and the best part is that it's value will increase with time and not depreciate. It will also be a good learning experience, a jeep will teach you a lot of things about the workings to a car, I personally have learnt a lot from it. You will be able to fix problems for which people rely on mechs.
No car can come close to a decently maintained humble jeep for a college student. Respect, pride, honor all bundled up in one package.
It ticks all your requirements, though the 'fun to drive' factor might be different from the kind of fun you might get driving a pocket rocket like a Zen 1.3 and since you already have 'regular' cars at your home a jeep might be a good thought to ponder upon.

Last edited by wrongturn : 8th November 2017 at 21:39.
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