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Automatic rough use resistant car in India

I am looking for an automatic car purely as a commute tool. So after a bit of reading and talking to friends I have come up with a list of requirements

srirang recently shared this with other BHPians.

I am a first time car buyer and I am what TBHP would refer to as a "non-car guy". I am looking for an automatic car purely as a commute tool. So after a bit of reading and talking to friends I have come up with a list of requirements:

  • It should be an automatic. I am mostly going to use it in the city (Bengaluru). I might use it for outstation travel but it will always be a distant second use case.
    • I have previously driven a Tata Indica Petrol for 2+ years in the city and occasionally an Alto. But I have almost never driven outstation for more than 100-120kms
  • After a bit reading I have zeroed in on CVT or TC.
    • AMT - I am told is jerky and a low cost option.
    • DCT - Sounds very complex and service / repair costs scare me.
  • Would prefer to avoid Turbo
    • Same reason as DCT. Plus refer to point 6 below.
    • Plus I am not so much of a ride enthusiast. I am more of a "Slow and Steady"
  • Lots of boot space is highly desirable.
  • It should withstand rough usage. (This is one is my wife's requirement)
    • I am not a very proficient driver. I manage.
    • My wife will also be driving and she has not driven in Bengaluru before. Otherwise also, her driving experience is nominal.
  • Reliable brand which gives us Fuss-Free ownership
    • In line with the previous point, we do not want to be running to the service center often.
    • Any repairs that might come up (and the regular service too) should not be very costly.
  • In most cases the top variant is what I would go for primarily because of the additional electronic driving aids that come with it :
    • Hill Hold assist
    • Rear camera / Parking assist
    • ECS
    • Better tyres
  • Safety : As safe as it can get. More on this below along with budget.

About the budget, I thought of setting it at around 10L after one round of study of the available cars. Here is my comparison output in a Google Sheet.

Filtering out the AMTs I arrive at these cars

Further, if I ignore the Datsun brand (new, not consistent, not reliable especially for a non-car guy), I am left with these cars.

Amongst these, Honda Amaze kind of ticks the most boxes (with max boot space) until I start considering the safety aspects. From what I have read:

  • The metal body feels very light with depressions seen on pressing with a finger.
  • Only 2 Airbags - which seems to be the case until I increase my budget to 14L.
    • Even after that several next segment cars still offer only 2 airbags!!
    • This made me wonder if no manufacturer places safety high enough in India instead optimizing for cost.
    • So while on one hand, I am considering increasing my budget, on the other hand, even amongst expensive cars, very few offer 4 or 6 airbags.

So here are the questions for the TBHPians:

  • Comments on my rationale and filtering logic. Is the paper knowledge in line with the real world?
  • What brand / model would satisfy the "Withstand rough use" criteria?
  • How do the 3 brands in my shortlist stack against my requirements?
  • How do the 3 models stack against my requirements?
  • Am I missing any brand / model that I should be considering?

Btw, not really looking to buy a used car. So that option to find a higher end car in the budget mentioned above is out.

Thanks to srirang once again! Check out BHPian comments for more insights & information.

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