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Old 14th February 2020, 12:13   #1
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Default Want to buy an enthusiast's car for ~10 lakh rupees

I am currently planning on replacing my daily driver Wagon-R Green (Petrol/CNG).

What I have come to realize over last 60k kilometers is, driving experience matters, in daily run. The gadgets are good while the car is new; over time, you don't care much about those features on daily run. You care about exiting the traffic jams quickly. With that as primary focus, what gives most bang for my buck?

My need:
  1. I need enthusiast's car. I commute 33 kms one way daily, of which <10 kms is city, rest is highway. Performance matters! And I am not one who just wants fast engine. A car should have a good composure. The drive should inspire confidence. I'm not running a straight line drag race. Just acceleration/speed isn't good enough.
  2. It must be a safe car. I have a family with a young child. Safety comes first. Period.
  3. It should be reliable car. I wish to keep my new car for a decade. So I am considering the ASS, (possible) exit of brand from Indian market, etc.
  4. Manual Transmission.
  5. My budget is ~10L. I could possibly stretch a little. I'm not worried much about running cost. Peace of mind is more important than the cost.

Absolute no-no:
  1. No used car. I have never got anything second hand, I definitely don't want to start with a car.
  2. No Maruti. They are tin-cars. Additionally, their attitude (recent post: No proactive GNCAP testing from Maruti (Rumour: Maruti won't send cars to Global NCAP for crash tests)) puts me off further. I care for my family and I don't want to risk safety for VFM (no offence to Maruti fans out there).
  3. Must be BS-VI. After waiting for so long, I don't want to go for BS-IV now. I am willing to wait a little more. (As a side effect, I get more time to gather all information/test-drives I can, and get more options in new/face-lift launches)

Conditional no:
  1. Preferably no diesel. Not that I think negatively of them, but I don't trust the government anymore. I'm worried that nation-wide personal Diesel ban could happen.
  2. Preferably no Mahindra, Nissan, Fiat. (Slightly worried about Ford as well, as Ford is kind-of Mahindra now)

I haven't mentioned body-type as I do not have a preference; as long as it drives nicely. In general though both me and better half like sedan over SUV.

Contenders:
  1. Polo 1.0L TSI (if it's 115 PS as reports suggest. Only hatch in my list)
  2. Aura 1.0L GDI (yet to test drive. I drove the Venue 1.0L and did not like the handling)
  3. Aspire (waiting for BS-VI launch)
  4. City - 5th generation (waiting for launch. Yeah, it's over my budget, but a dream car!)
  5. Seltos Tech line (I like the car. Not sure if the 1.5 NA is enthusiastic enough. Over my budget)
  6. EcoSport (a car that is highly regarded as driver's car. But over budget)

With Abarth and JTP gone, the (on budget ) enthusiasts' car market is literally empty (not listing GT TSI and Baleno RS as they were on my exclusion list - but they are gone too). None of the cars listed above is designed to be enthusiasts' car; they are mass market cars IMO. But that's all we got.

Any inputs/suggestions, that help me choose right car, are welcome.
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Old 14th February 2020, 12:15   #2
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Default re: Want to buy an enthusiast's car for ~10 lakh rupees

Check out the Ford Figo and some of its variants (Freestyle, etc). The 1.5 Diesel is kickass and will be very economical to buy, run and maintain.

Safety is additional freebie which you will get with 6 airbags.

I think it ticks all boxes for you!
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Old 14th February 2020, 12:22   #3
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Default re: Want to buy an enthusiast's car for ~10 lakh rupees

If you can compromise a bit on BS6, please give a try to Verna 1.6 petrol. A good low and middle range and good handling too at legal speeds, nice interiors and exterior too.

If BS6 is absolute must, would suggest to wait for Rapid that is expected to come with 1.0L TSI in manual. Since you are not too inclined on gizmos and gadgets, New duster with (on spec) hot performing petrol expected to launch within this year (unless Renault botch up again with over enthusiastic pricing).
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Old 14th February 2020, 12:25   #4
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Default re: Want to buy an enthusiast's car for ~10 lakh rupees

I think the Freestyle is a worthy contender. It looks smart, the top variant is loaded with safety kit, it can manage bad roads thanks to its suspension setup and higher ground clearance, it comes with a manual transmission and it is quite great to drive too. However, my personal experience has been limited to the 1.2 petrol. The 1.5 diesel might be better on the highways.

The only con is that the Freestyle doesn't feels special enough from the inside, the interiors are aesthetically basic and the car in general is not really doing well in terms of volumes. But it ticks a lot of boxes from your requirement list !

Last edited by //M : 14th February 2020 at 12:26.
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Old 14th February 2020, 12:42   #5
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Default re: Want to buy an enthusiast's car for ~10 lakh rupees

Quote:
Originally Posted by akshye View Post
[*]City - 5th generation (waiting for launch. Yeah, it's over my budget, but a dream car!)
Within your current budget, the Honda City will be a great option. Have been driving one over the past year, and it offers a great mix of performance, reliability, practicality and fun. Yes, it does not match up to the build quality of the Germans, but otherwise, cannot really find too many faults with it. Don't think you can go wrong with the iVTEC, offers loads of smiles per mile, especially when paired with the super slick gearbox. The BS6 has also been available in our market for some time now.

Last edited by arindambasu13 : 14th February 2020 at 12:46.
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Old 14th February 2020, 12:48   #6
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Default re: Want to buy an enthusiast's car for ~10 lakh rupees

Quote:
Originally Posted by akshye View Post
I am currently planning on replacing my daily driver Wagon-R Green (Petrol/CNG)...
With Abarth and JTP gone...
I have information from a reliable source that the BS6 JTPs are expected to be released before Diwali. Since your current car seems to be in good health, I would suggest you to wait if you can. This wait would also iron out all issues with BS6 fuel and new engines.

However if this is urgent, my suggestion would be on the following lines:

A. Order of purchase for a shorter term (within budget):
1. Polo (nothing like it if you can manage the service part, but the new 1.0 TSI is yet to be tested)
2. Aspire/Freestyle (Aspire used in cabs in some cities, so parts should not be an issue, although delays maybe expected)

B. Order of purchase for a longer term (exceeding budget):
1. City (nothing in the segment matches the petrol engine-gearbox combination)
2. EcoSport (one of the best handling compact SUVs out there with matching features and safety, should be a bit future-proof considering the market is shifting towards SUVs)
3. Seltos (would be a stretch but GT is worth the extra premium, however compared to above options, less value for money)

Last edited by Researcher : 14th February 2020 at 12:55.
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Old 14th February 2020, 13:13   #7
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Default re: Want to buy an enthusiast's car for ~10 lakh rupees

Kindly wait for watch Duster 1.3 turbo petrol which was introduced in Auto Expo. Seems interesting.
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Old 14th February 2020, 14:05   #8
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Default re: Want to buy an enthusiast's car for ~10 lakh rupees

From the current lot of BS6 cars - I'd give the Figo siblings a good hard look, especially in 1.5D guise.
Heck - I'd even look at the EcoSport given safety is a priority + is equally fun to drive in it's own manner if you often encounter average roads. The better stability & view on the highways could be a big big bonus though at the cost of performance (due to weight & aerodynamics). It may be a bit over budget - but with the Venue, Seltos, and new Creta around the corner - deals will start trickling in especially since you aren't in a rush (and same for the Figo & Aspire too!).

The JTP if it makes a come back would be a brilliant choice as well!

That aside - I'd genuinely look at getting a deal on a safe choice BS4 vehicle like the Rapid 1.6 MPi (safe due to a relatively simpler engine - no turbo, etc.).
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Old 14th February 2020, 14:06   #9
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Default re: Want to buy an enthusiast's car for ~10 lakh rupees

You have already listed down the best option- The Polo 1.0 TSI. It is yet to be tested but I am pretty sure that it will continue to be the best enthusiasts choice.

The other options are-

1. Honda City V variant- It might be slightly above your budget with with the pending launch of the new City, you maybe able to extract a good discount from Honda. Technically, I'd say that Polo will still be a better enthusiasts choice. The City will make for a better balance between performance and value and it is ultimately from a higher segment and brings slightly more prestige to the table if that matters to you.

2. Venue/Aura- Another examples of balance between performance and value, a bit more towards the value side though.

3. Ecosport and Seltos with their NA engines won't really make for a great enthusiasts choice.

4. Last but the least, the Aspire/Freestyle diesel is a great choice if you don't mind opting for a diesel. You get all the performance of a Polo/City(except for the top-end ofcourse) with the added advantage of better mileage and very reasonable service and part cost. Yes, you may have to put your trust in the government a bit more vis-a-vis a petrol car if you decide to go down the diesel path.

I would still say that the Polo is the best choice for your requirements, followed by the Aspire/Freestyle diesel and then the current gen City.
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Old 14th February 2020, 14:49   #10
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Default re: Want to buy an enthusiast's car for ~10 lakh rupees

Any particular reasons for strictly a manual car?

I have been driving my Polo GT TSi from over a year now and I am quiet content with it. It gives me the same confidence what my octavia gives on the highway and it is quiet nimble in the city too. My daily run like yours is about 40 kms one way.
The DSG is super smooth, the engine is peppy when you want it and the fuel efficiency is not bad either (sedate driving returns a decent 16-17 kmpl overall).

I am 6'2, so find it a bit cramped if I have to fit more than 3 people onboard - but otherwise there is absolutely no problem so far with the car. (in fact I prefer using polo over my octavia anytime!! pure exceptions being longer road trips where octavia scores much better in terms of safety features and space)

Other than this you can also wait for the new Tata Altroz EV. I believe in the EV trim - it would be quiet peppy and should be around your budget too. Can't comment on it's petrol variant as I haven't tried it yet. You might want to check it out. I've heard decent reviews about it and the EV trim will definitely make it peppier than the under powered petrol engine.

Last edited by samyakmodi : 14th February 2020 at 14:52.
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Old 15th February 2020, 00:43   #11
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Default re: Want to buy an enthusiast's car for ~10 lakh rupees

Quote:
Originally Posted by samyakmodi View Post
Any particular reasons for strictly a manual car?
Well, it's hard to explain. It's a personal preference. I love driving. It's an engaging activity. And I feel auto shift makes one lazy. I'm not saying auto box owners are lazy, but that's just my perspective. No offence to rising popularity of auto boxes.

While on the subject, I also like well weighed steering. Not non-power steering ofcourse, but I like steering that's balanced between feedback weight and power assist.
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Old 15th February 2020, 02:10   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akshye View Post
Well, it's hard to explain. It's a personal preference. I love driving. It's an engaging activity. And I feel auto shift makes one lazy. I'm not saying auto box owners are lazy, but that's just my perspective. No offence to rising popularity of auto boxes.



While on the subject, I also like well weighed steering. Not non-power steering ofcourse, but I like steering that's balanced between feedback weight and power assist.

Try the polo gt tsi once. You might like it
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Old 15th February 2020, 07:41   #13
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Default re: Want to buy an enthusiast's car for ~10 lakh rupees

Quote:
Originally Posted by akshye View Post
[*]Aura 1.0L GDI (yet to test drive. I drove the Venue 1.0L and did not like the handling)
Aura has the typical modern Hyundai handling and steering traits. However - if you don't need the boot space (As Polo seems to be in the list), consider the i10 Nios TGDi instead of the Aura.

Quote:
Originally Posted by samyakmodi View Post
Try the polo gt tsi once. You might like it
There is no 1.2 GT TSi in the BS6 lineup. Only the 1.0 TSi and the rumours are that it might be coupled with a 6-speed torque converter instead.
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Old 15th February 2020, 09:55   #14
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Default re: Want to buy an enthusiast's car for ~10 lakh rupees

Why is there no mention of the XUV3OO here? It has everything you're looking for. Amazing engines, 5 star safety rating, good service network and has enough space too.
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Old 15th February 2020, 10:06   #15
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Default re: Want to buy an enthusiast's car for ~10 lakh rupees

Quote:
Originally Posted by akshye View Post
Any inputs/suggestions, that help me choose right car, are welcome.
Give this thread a thorough read, negotiate a good deal and go ahead with the current-gen Honda City iVTEC. It offers a very good balance of performance, practicality and reliability.

Ford Ecosport is a good handler by compact SUV standards but its 3-cyl petrol engine will be a compromise. If going for the Ecosport, opt for 1.5D otherwise stick to the City 1.5P.

As you have a 10-lakh-rupee budget and keep your cars for long term, do not consider B-segment hatchbacks or compact sedans. Go with what your heart says - a fun to drive C-segmenter with a good petrol engine - and you'll enjoy the ownership for years to come.
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