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Old 17th April 2021, 14:25   #1
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Default What car for under 14 lakhs ex-showroom?

I am in the market for a new car and I think I am trying to fit a square peg into a round hole here. So I would like to use this forum as a brain multiplier and seek advice from experts here. Or knock some sense into me.

Motives
  1. I had a 2006 Baleno which worked pretty well for my needs. But when the cost of repairs and parts got to the 10s of % of the car's value, I decided to part with it. This was towards the end of 2019. Luckily I had my inlaw's Ford Ecosport with me (he was on an extended trip to his son's place abroad) and I was (am still) using it.
  2. My employer had(s) a generous lease policy and they paid the road tax on new car leases. I tried to get a Seltos, but the wait times meant I couldn't complete the sale within the lease window. In April 2020, a.k.a., the summer of Corona, the lease policy was changed and they stopped paying road tax. I was keen on the new Honda City, but I was stuck outside Bangalore during the lease window. Third time appears to be the charm. So I thought of getting the ground work done well in advance before the lease window opens in Jul-Aug 2021.
  3. I hate paying taxes more than wanting a new car. So I've decided to go with the company car lease. Be it IT or the horrendous 45% GST on sub-4m + >1.2l engine combination...

Requirements
  1. I think we will end up as a 2-car family in a couple of years. But that's a very optimistic forward looking statement. So I'd like to base this decision assuming this to be the only car for the next 5 years.
  2. This being the only car and since my wife plans to drive it too on occasion, it has to be an automatic, preferably petrol.
  3. On account of the company policy, it has to be new.
  4. Should seat 4 (2 adults, 2 kids becoming young adults rather fast) comfortably.
  5. I'd like to keep the monthly payment in the range of 25-35K. For a really good car, it can go to 40K.
  6. I live in Whitefield, Bangalore where the roads are perennially dug up. So scraping the bottom is something I am mindful of. I don't need a large gc to go offroading, but somewhat decent gc.

Contenders


Below are the contenders based on my initial search in YouTube and team-bhp.
1. Good on the wallet
  • Jazz - I'm personally leaning towards this based on chieftain's post (Critical Initial Review : Honda Jazz). Spacious, Honda and somewhat quirky. But expensive for a hatchback.
  • Baleno (AutoCar's YouTube video from 2 years back comparing Jazz, i20 and Baleno had some nice things to say about the car). Plus, new gen Baleno replacing the old sedan would be poetic.
  • i20 & polo - apparently fun to drive, but smaller in the inside. Should I check these out?
2. Okayish on the wallet
  • XL6 - Will come in handy for the occasional long drives with parents/inlaws. This is not a requirement as such and I can always rent a 7 seater for such trips. Leoshashi had some nice things (My first car: 2020 Maruti Suzuki XL6 Alpha MT Review) to say.
  • Ciaz - very spacious, but given its price is similar to the XL6, why not go for a 6 seater? Do they have the same engine+transmission options?
  • Venue/Sonet - will be comparable to the ecosport, I guess. But I am having a tough time navigating through the variants.
3. Stretching the wallet
  • Honda City VX - the CVT version is near the top of the lease bracket. You get 6 airbags and won't feel like a downgrade from Baleno (sedan). Verna is not spacious in the inside apparently. Rapid and Vento are nearing EOL.
  • Seltos/Creta - modern, newer models, but the petrol manual is what I can get within the budget. I haven't read any review on their petrol manuals yet in team-bhp (correct me if I am wrong). Only 2 airbags and not so great crash test ratings is a cause to worry too. But the bling!
  • Kushaq - Appears smaller on the photos, and given the lease window and its expected arrival time, I don't want to be in the same boat I was with Seltos 2 years back.

4. Outside contenders
I drive very less - 20 km a day roundtrip to work, school and kids classes. With metro rail coming up near the doorstep, longer city trips (when COVID recedes) will be through that in a year or so. Highway rides are planned well in advance and are usually to various nature/wildlife parks in the southern states where the last mile is expected to be offroad. Every round-trip will be 700km on an average and about 8 a year. Unplanned highway trips are rare.
  • Nexon EV - given my driving patterns, I can live with this car for city commutes and rent a zoomcar for outstation trips. But does the base variant at 13.99 lakhs have the creature comforts? Plus, I get to stick it up to the taxman by not paying road tax.
  • Mahindra Thar - Getting the kids in and out will be a problem and I will be an irresponsible dad promoting sibling rivalry, but will the offroad trips pay for it?

What other cars should I consider?
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Old 17th April 2021, 16:45   #2
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Default re: What car for under 14 lakhs ex-showroom?

You haven't mentioned much about your requirements.
I would assume a safe, easy to drive car, with good seating comfort, and good ground clearance should meet the deal.
However, what are your thoughts on ride v/s handling, performance v/s fuel economy, requirement for features, etc.?

My thoughts:

As an only car, I'd avoid the Baleno (average build, average ride quality, average engine) - name aside, there is nothing in common with the 2006 Baleno known for it's stellar ride quality, good build, and engine.
Similarly, the Polo with it's cramped interiors can be avoided.

i20 & Jazz are viable options for a city commute and could be considered subject to GC, & Boot space. However, both are expensive and nearing C-SUV pricing.

XL6 IMO is more practical for your requirements keeping in mind GC than the Ciaz + it's newer. Engine & Transmission options are the same across both.

In fact, rather than the Ciaz - I'd urge you to look at the S-Cross instead : Good build, mature ride & handling, better ground clearance, etc.
To be honest, the S-Cross would be my pick over the Venue/Sonet for a growing family as it is a size bigger than them (used to compete with the earlier gen Creta).

Other contenders in this segment include the Rapid Automatic : a little heavier on maintenance, and it is outdated - but if you enjoy driving this could be a great option subject to ground clearance.
And of course the City : if the Ground Clearance isn't an issue, it could be a great option. Reliable, latest generation, spacious, etc.

The Seltos doesn't inspire confidence for long highway trips with it's average safety; and since it's a long term buy & a single car garage : better to spring for the auto as traffic isn't going to get any better.
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Old 17th April 2021, 17:09   #3
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Default re: What car for under 14 lakhs ex-showroom?

You should also add Ford ecosport petrol AT to your shortlist. It's very reasonably priced for a car with 6 airbags, 6-speed torque converter with paddle shift, 1.5 NA petrol engine, warranty upto 6 years etc.

I found it to have decent power, safety, build quality and ride quality at a fair price. It's not as slick as a VW (engine refinement, steering feel etc). Not as modern/bling as Kia. It's a substantial package, lacking a bit of emotional appeal due to age.

Last edited by androdev : 17th April 2021 at 17:13.
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Old 17th April 2021, 17:15   #4
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Default re: What car for under 14 lakhs ex-showroom?

Though it is stretching the wallet, I would suggest the Honda City. The new gen looks really nice and the official review praises its performance. Plus, it will be a fantastic upgrade for you and being a Honda, should be good on the long term reliability aspect. In fact, you would probably end up keeping it longer than 5 years.
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Old 17th April 2021, 18:01   #5
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Default re: What car for under 14 lakhs ex-showroom?

How have you liked living with the Ecosport? Despite being around for a few years, it still is a solid contender, and would be my pick in the Compact Crossover space.

Other than that, the Honda City is a no non-sense car, drives well, has lots of space and is a very practical city/highway car. With 'rapid'ly growing kids, Honda City will serve you well for 5 years and you would not be tempted to look for an upgrade in a couple of years (which you otherwise might if you get a hatchback/hatchback on steroids). Only concern would be the future of Honda in India.
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Old 17th April 2021, 18:09   #6
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Default re: What car for under 14 lakhs ex-showroom?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sramanat View Post
I had a 2006 Baleno which worked pretty well for my needs. But when the cost of repairs and parts got to the 10s of % of the car's value, I decided to part with it. This was towards the end of 2019.
You keep your cars for long. Good .

Quote:
Honda City VX - the CVT version is near the top of the lease bracket
And it's also a top choice. Great engine, smooth CVT, an all-rounder. You must strongly consider this. Because you keep your cars for a long time, you deserve to splurge a bit at the time of buying, then saving in the longer term. Please do read this article of mine (How a more expensive car can work out cheaper (if you hold onto it for longer)). Drive the Creta & Seltos too. If they appeal to you more, spend a little more and get the variant you want. Then drive the car for 10 years. Go with whichever car - whether City or Creta - makes you smile more.

Quote:
Mahindra Thar
Even as a Jeep lover & Thar fan, I can tell you it's a poor choice as the only car in the house for a family man. 2 doors, too bumpy, too impractical.

Last edited by GTO : 17th April 2021 at 18:10.
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Old 17th April 2021, 18:14   #7
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Default Re: What car for under 14L ex-showroom?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sramanat View Post
  • Jazz - good car, check the GC
  • Baleno - poetic yes but a very different car
  • i20 & polo - FTD and easier to manage in the city, the new i20 apparently is more spacious on the inside as per reviews but the Polo is more FTD between the two IMO, check the GC though.
  • XL6 - practical yes, GC is good, but if you are ok with the size moving around in the city
  • Ciaz - why not go for a 6 seater? Due to the size and the feel of driving it over a sedan. Do they have the same engine+transmission options? Yes, TD and see if you're ok with the 4 speed AT.
  • Venue/Sonet - no idea on these, the variants are quite exhausting
  • Honda City VX - for sedans this is my pick with the 1.5NA petrol being the star, Rapid is good too but like you said will be refreshed soon.
  • Seltos/Creta - But the bling! You got it
  • Kushaq - Along with the VW Taigun, might fit your needs well, looks promising but timings are a concern like you mentioned
  • Nexon EV - should've the usual comforts, personally I won't advise an EV as your only car
  • Mahindra Thar - but will the offroad trips pay for it? depends on how often you plan to off road, cannot be the only car in a family of 4.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sramanat View Post
What other cars should I consider?
Do TD the S-Cross and the Brezza. You're already driving the Ecosport so already have experienced it.
MSIL's Brezza, Ciaz, Ertiga, XL6, S-Cross and Toyota's Urban Cruiser all share the K15B engine and the 4 speed automatic gearbox.

Last edited by shancz : 17th April 2021 at 18:32. Reason: comp
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Old 17th April 2021, 18:15   #8
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Default Re: What car for under 14L ex-showroom?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sramanat View Post
1. Good on the wallet
  • Jazz - I'm personally leaning towards this based on chieftain's post (Critical Initial Review : Honda Jazz). Spacious, Honda and somewhat quirky. But expensive for a hatchback.
  • Baleno (AutoCar's YouTube video from 2 years back comparing Jazz, i20 and Baleno had some nice things to say about the car). Plus, new gen Baleno replacing the old sedan would be poetic.
  • Would strike out these completely. Primarily due to their fragile build. May I suggest Altroz Turbo Automatic instead of these?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sramanat View Post
2. Okayish on the wallet
  • XL6 - Will come in handy for the occasional long drives with parents/inlaws. This is not a requirement as such and I can always rent a 7 seater for such trips. Leoshashi had some nice things (My first car: 2020 Maruti Suzuki XL6 Alpha MT Review) to say.
  • Ciaz - very spacious, but given its price is similar to the XL6, why not go for a 6 seater? Do they have the same engine+transmission options?
  • Venue/Sonet - will be comparable to the ecosport, I guess. But I am having a tough time navigating through the variants.
Would cancel out these , again due to their inferior build quality/lack of safety features.
My options in this segment include, in my order of preference-
  • Ecosport AT
  • Mahindra Marazzo
  • Duster CVT
Would have included S Cross in this list, ahead of Duster, only if it did not have the Anemic 4 speed gearbox.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sramanat View Post
3. Stretching the wallet
  • Honda City VX - the CVT version is near the top of the lease bracket. You get 6 airbags and won't feel like a downgrade from Baleno (sedan). Verna is not spacious in the inside apparently. Rapid and Vento are nearing EOL.
  • Seltos/Creta - modern, newer models, but the petrol manual is what I can get within the budget. I haven't read any review on their petrol manuals yet in team-bhp (correct me if I am wrong). Only 2 airbags and not so great crash test ratings is a cause to worry too. But the bling!
  • Kushaq - Appears smaller on the photos, and given the lease window and its expected arrival time, I don't want to be in the same boat I was with Seltos 2 years back.
City seems to be the best option of the mentioned cars in this category.

Would avoid Thar and Nexon EV, because of their lack of practicality.

Last edited by 07CR : 17th April 2021 at 18:19.
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Old 17th April 2021, 19:21   #9
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Default Re: What car for under 14 lakhs ex-showroom?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sramanat View Post
Requirements
  1. I think we will end up as a 2-car family in a couple of years. But that's a very optimistic forward looking statement. So I'd like to base this decision assuming this to be the only car for the next 5 years.
  2. This being the only car and since my wife plans to drive it too on occasion, it has to be an automatic, preferably petrol.
  3. On account of the company policy, it has to be new.
  4. Should seat 4 (2 adults, 2 kids becoming young adults rather fast) comfortably.
  5. I'd like to keep the monthly payment in the range of 25-35K. For a really good car, it can go to 40K.
  6. I live in Whitefield, Bangalore where the roads are perennially dug up. So scraping the bottom is something I am mindful of. I don't need a large gc to go offroading, but somewhat decent gc.
I used to work in Whitefield and so I can relate to the horrendous traffic and bad road conditions. Also, I used to drive my Honda Jazz CVT to work. It is a great car to deal with such conditions. The spacious interiors will keep your little ones very happy indeed, even after they are full grown adults!

My suggestions, in no particular order are
- XUV 300 (top end version with 6 airbags). It isnt too compact and gives your family the full safety kit. 5 years down the line, you wont think that you had skimped out on safety on what will be your second car. I really liked the XUV 300 when I checked it out in a Mahindra showroom.
- Nexon AMT. You get great safety and 2 airbags.
- Honda Jazz. Mr Sensible.
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Old 17th April 2021, 20:26   #10
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Default Re: What car for under 14 lakhs ex-showroom?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sramanat View Post
[*]Seltos/Creta - modern, newer models, but the petrol manual is what I can get within the budget. I haven't read any review on their petrol manuals yet in team-bhp (correct me if I am wrong). Only 2 airbags and not so great crash test ratings is a cause to worry too. But the bling!
My first preference would be City cvt for the engine, space and sheer vfm it provides. Second would be Creta SX petrol manual, you'll be spoiled by the features on the offer. 1.5l NA engine is no slouch either, it has enough low end to potter around city in second gear. Only tall enough speed breaker would require you to downshift to the first gear. On highways it builds up speed in no time. Comfortably cruises at 100kmph at 1800rpm or so. Sure this is not as fast as turbo counter part but in your daily drive of 20 kms, I wonder how many times you'd be flooring the pedal ! From your post I concur that you hold on to your vehicles for long time. So keeping this point in mind, no fuss NA petrol engine should be your choice.
I've Creta sx petrol manual, and covered 3000kms so far and I'm very happy with the purchase. Happy to answer your questions regarding this engine and transmission combination.
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Old 17th April 2021, 20:37   #11
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Default Re: What car for under 14 lakhs ex-showroom?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sramanat View Post
3. Stretching the wallet
  • Honda City VX - the CVT version is near the top of the lease bracket. You get 6 airbags and won't feel like a downgrade from Baleno (sedan). Verna is not spacious in the inside apparently. Rapid and Vento are nearing EOL.
The V variant (below VX) is also decently equipped and might fit well into your budget. The variant however has only 4 airbags in comparison to VX & ZX (Both 6). However all other safety features are present as in the higher models. I have a V (CVT) and from my experience it is a practical everyday car (I drive mainly in Kerala). You can read more about mine (V (CVT)) over here:
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/test-...ty-review.html (Athena | My 5th-Gen Honda City Review)

Last edited by TrackDay : 17th April 2021 at 20:42. Reason: grammer
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Old 17th April 2021, 21:11   #12
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Default Re: What car for under 14 lakhs ex-showroom?

Thanks a lot for the wonderful suggestions guys!
We went to nearby Honda and Hyundai dealers, just to feel the insides and scope out the options. It was a static test drive, as the Skoda guys would call it.

Summing up initial impressions from everyone in the family -

Jazz is roomy. We didn't expect it. Everyone was pleasantly surprised. We subconsciously ended up using this as a reference for the subsequent ones.

i20 is probably equally roomy, but feels smaller in comparison, may be because of the darker interiors. The DCT variant with 6 airbags is an overkill.

City, well was City. We will have to keep it in the running. As GTO and others have said, spending more on a better car makes sense in the long run.

While there checked out Amaze and Aura too. Wife was going full blown VFM route comparing them with Jazz/i20. But Amaze's CVT offering stops at the mid variant with not much creature comforts. Aura is an AMT. So, we ruled them out.

Based on the suggestions, i have to check Marutis, XUV300, Nexon, Altroz and Renault.
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Old 17th April 2021, 23:03   #13
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Default Re: What car for under 14 lakhs ex-showroom?

If you are ok with manual then the XUV300 would also be in my suggestions provided the boot space works for you. Its a bit expensive but worth it IMHO.

Although in automatic it uses an AMT, I haven't driven it so can't comment, probably your TD will clear that.

Last edited by shancz : 17th April 2021 at 23:06. Reason: compacted
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Old 18th April 2021, 00:47   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 07CR View Post
Would strike out these completely. Primarily due to their fragile build. May I suggest Altroz Turbo Automatic instead of these?
Quote:
Originally Posted by sramanat View Post
Based on the suggestions, i have to check Marutis, XUV300, Nexon, Altroz and Renault.
As far as I know, the Altroz is only available in a manual. I'm not sure if there is any news of the automatic's imminent arrival. So if it is possible to wait for it, then should be no problem. That being said, it may seem like a downgrade compared to the City since it is hatchback vs sedan.
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Old 18th April 2021, 13:07   #15
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Default Re: What car for under 14 lakhs ex-showroom?

Man you will be disappointed if you think the Baleno hatch can live up to the name of it's sedan predecessor.

My recommendation would be the same as others. Honda City. But I think the future of Honda is uncertain. The City isn't doing too well. You can take the example of the people who bought Cruze and Chevrolet packed their bags next year. The C segment sedans are anyways on the road to extinction. But still, city looks like the most logical choice given your preferences.

XUV300 otherwise a solid car, is let down by the lousy AMT. Avoid.
Nexon is also let down by the AMT. But one of my relatives have the 2020 XZA and claims that the automatic is smooth.
You can look at Kia Sonet. It comes with a proper 6 speed torque converter automatic.

Last edited by DriverNo.420 : 18th April 2021 at 13:15.
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