Best compact-SUV option in India under Rs 15 lakh

While not an absolute necessity, an automatic transmission would be a good to have feature.

BHPian Engine_Roars recently shared this with other enthusiasts.


We are a family of four, two of us in our mid-thirties & senior citizen parents with knee & back problems. We currently own 7 years old Hyundai Xcent petrol which has been a very good companion for all these years. The usual running is approximately 10,000-12,000 km a year at max which is 80% of city driving (Pune traffic) & 20% highway driving (This is post covid numbers). I love highway drives & intend to take on at least one road trip each year which we have been doing every year with Xcent.



  • Cruise control
  • Comfortable ergonomics
  • Good driver seat ( I am 6'1).
  • Easy on the pocket in long term - do not like to spend too much of my time at service centres.
  • Long term reliability/support from the manufacturer - intend to keep it for 7-10. years at least.
  • Good on safety, can do with less than 5 stars though.
  • Budget < 15 Lacs

Good to have:

  • Auto
  • Aspirational value
  • Good fuel economy

Options Considered:

  1. Kia Sonet HTX (DCT) - Took a test drive, loved it. Had it not been for unreliability reports on the DCT gearbox, I would have already booked this one. Diesel AT is the next option but I do not think my usage justifies a diesel(Open to considering this if members feel otherwise). Manual could be an option but I am confused since I can afford an Auto for this.
  2. Mahindra XUV300 - Took a test drive, did not love it (No offence intended). Somehow this did not feel like an actual upgrade apart from the height difference. Not being considered further.
  3. Tata Nexon - Love the package but am a bit sceptical about TATA's image & AMT gearbox. Again, the manual could be an option but not sure if TATA can be trusted with long term usage as hardly see any old TATA car's that are niggle or rattle-free in long term. - Still open.
  4. Nissan Magnite / Renault Kiger - Not being considered due to lesser presence of network, especially after what happened to Ford, Chevrolet and also because there are hardly any service centres around.
  5. Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza / S-Cross - Not a fan of their looks neither a fan of the auto gearbox. Can afford manual but they feel too outdated as a whole package. Long due for a facelift.
  6. Hyundai Venue - Missus is not a fan of how this one looks, also the DCT gearbox is not confidence-inspiring.

As it is pretty evident, we are pretty sold for Sonet but are unsure about the gearbox & Nexon is pretty close to being the next choice. The need is not an urgent one per se, we can wait till next year if there are some good upcoming launches.

Please do your magic & help us make an informed decision.

Here's what BHPian libranof1987 had to say on the matter:

Do consider the XUV700 as well; the base variant (MX) will fit right under 15 lakhs.

If 80% of your driving is going to be in the city, Cruise Control will add negligible value (since you've listed it as a must-have). There are only a handful of highways in India where you can use it with at least some peace of mind.

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

The Sonet violates the safety point that you have listed as being important to you. If you do not mind that, it is a good feature-laden type of car S-Cross definitely is the only real spacious, reliable, safe car but since you have dismissed it (hope you took a test drive), perhaps you can check out the MG Astor? It is also loaded with features and might catch your fancy.

Here's what BHPian shashi792 had to say on the matter:

If I am recommending, safety is my first priority.

I would suggest XUV300 or Tata Nexon. Both in its Manual avatar. More inclined towards Nexon.


  • Both are rated best for safety.
  • XUV 300 Petrol Engine is really powerful.
  • Top End/Feature loaded within your budget.

I would always prefer to buy a top-end car rather than a mid/lower variant. e.g., XUV 700 AX3 variant. If you drive with your family, then a feature-loaded car keeps them entertained than a base variant.

Brezza is due for an update. But I'm afraid, if they go through their Heartect-platform then, I doubt its safety (too early to comment). Sonet/Venue, though good has not been crash-tested. Kiger and Magnite are good products, ASS might be a bit difficult. If you leave in metros then do give it a try.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

A helmet will save your life