Advice needed: A well built automatic car under 15L

I am the sole driver in my family. My usage pattern is daily 30-50 km. 3 to 4 trips of 100 to 200kms in the year. 75% city driving and 25% highways.

BHPian SSD2212 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Dear fellow BHPians,

Pardon me for a long post.

It's been quite sometime that I have been thinking of buying a new car. While I do all the analysis and stuff, at the end I listen to my heart and it has always been so with the cars I land up with. Now the issue is that our forum has such lovely official as well as ownership reviews that after every review I start liking that car! And that starts more confusion.

So now I am putting down all details that I have in my mind and would like recommendations from fellow bhpians to help me start my search with some good choices.

Why a new car?

I have 2 cars in my garage. New Fiat linea Tjet (top variant) and Nano twist. Both from 2014 and very well maintained with no major issues till date. Both have clocked around 24K kms each. However since both are out of production, I find it difficult to maintain the Tjet and going ahead it would bother more. Not even speaking of resale. That's a heartburn. Every SA I have met says "Sir you have maintained it so well." But I know nobody will pay big bucks for it.

Also due to my shoulder and knee surgery I am now finding it a bit difficult to drive Tjet with its long dimensions and clutch which has long travel and it's not light.

Regarding Nano, I am thinking of keeping it but may sell it off in next 2 to 3 years. It would make space for a 2 wheeler for my son. If selling both Tjet & Nano can help in lowering the price of the new one, am all for it.

I am a sole driver in my family. My usage pattern is daily 30 to 50 kms. 3 to 4 trips of 100 to 200kms in the year. 75% city driving and 25% highways. I am a disciplined driver (I do use indicators!). I hate slowpokes and can say that I munch miles a bit faster than the average joe. (Having a Tjet says all).

What I desire

1. Engine

Free revving engine. Good bottom end torque. In other words no lag in lower rpms. Decent pull in mid and top range.

2. Diesel or Petrol

Either diesel / petrol is fine.

Should be economical hence I would prefer diesel. (Rising fuel costs). Also never owned one so want to try.

3. Good chiller AC.

4. Egress and ingress should be easy. (Am a sedan guy but open to try Compact SUV or an SUV).

5. Manual or Automatic

Automatic preferred. (no AMTs or DSGs which I see are prone to failures). Never been an automatic guy but that is the need of the hour. If manual then clutch should be very light with less travel.

6. Safety

Has to be 4 or 5 star. If 3 star then prefer front and side airbags. (I guess this will kill many available options).

7. Strong build quality. I never had any rattles in either linea Tjet or even Nano.

Family needs

We are a family of 5. 2 senior 70+ parents and a tall teenager. Usually we 3 travel most of the time and on some highway trips all 5 of us travel. So need decent boot space.

Budget range

Max upto 15 L on road.

So guys please help. While I am in no hurry but want to start now as prices have been increasing every year.

Here's what BHPian VWAllstar had to say on the matter:

If you dont mind pre owned then go for a well maintained Innova from 2016-2018. Since you have time, you can research and look for a good Innova. If luck permits, you may get the 2.8L AT. Innova will be a great car especially for your parents. Since you mentioned a tall teenager, assuming most of you to be tall as well. Compact SUVs wont be really comfortable and for new cars you can get hold of only those around 15 Lakhs.

Here's what BHPian swaminathan had to say on the matter:

I have a similar family (me, wife, 2 elders and a tall teenager)

3 years back, I had a Terrano and wanted to get a 7 seater but had budget constraints. Now, I have an XUV500 W3 variant, no regrets. In fact, my kid don't even get to the 3rd row. Elders and kid are comfortable in the second row and we have done long drives (600+ kms one stretch). Just wanted to share my experience.

Since, you mentioned you all don't travel together frequently and liked Sedans, you can check the Verna and the City. both these cars have become better over the years and also offer petrol AT. Having said that, SUVs are getting popular and if SUVs then you can check the Tata Nexon or the Creta.

Here's what BHPian CarWorld had to say on the matter:

While 15L today seems good amount, it is good for sub compact SUVs only. Since your running doesn't seem much, I would suggest you following petrol automatics.

Kiger 1.0L RXZ turbo CVT

This car is spacious inside for 12L on road Pune price. It will definitely give you minimum 10-11 kmpl mileage in city and 14-15 kmpl on highway. It will give you 405 litre boot space too. CVT transmission is reliable for long term.

Ertiga ZXI AT / XL6 Zeta AT

For both these cars, you get Maruti fuss free ownership, 6 speed reliable torque converter AT and you may occasionally fold full last row in Ertiga to increase boot space and 1 seat in last row in XL6 for the same purpose when you travel together. I think in 15L budget, this is the best option.

Verna SX IVT

This is CVT petrol automatic, so should be reliable for long term and efficient in mileage. Prices for this variant have not increased substantially in past 2 years, so well within your budget. Cramped rear seats is a bit downer but again tall people from family should occupy front seats to address that issue. You may go through this thread which quite impressed me.

Sonet HTX diesel AT

You will get convenience of 6 speed torque converter AT with diesel means good mileage. Boot space is also decent at 392 L. Only disadvantage is cramped rear seats leg room. If you ask your son to always occupy front seat, the problem may be solved partially.

Brezza 6 speed torque converter AT

You may wait a bit for its launch. It may solve your needs. Only if you are ready to increase budget to 20L, l would recommend Seltos HTX diesel AT or Seltos HTX IVT. Same with Creta SX diesel AT or Creta SX IVT. For both of them, GNCAP 3 star rating is a downer but Kia / Hyundai should be reliable for long term.

PS - Automatic is a need of time and long term boon. Traffic situation will only worsen each passing day. So please don't compromise on it.

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