The best CVT automatic car under Rs 12 lakh

Awaiting the MG Astor pricing, as that might make me extend my budget to 15 lakhs+

BHPian souvikjana83 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I have been driving my Honda City 3rd-gen for the last 12 yrs. I was happily driving it on the wide-open roads of Pune Suburbs and had no intention of letting go of it even after such a long time.

However 2 months back, I relocated to Hyderabad and instantly the traffic situation changed. Big traffic jams near my place are common due to Flyover construction. Since I am not used to driving in so much traffic, I feel the need for an automatic. Also due to the low ground clearance of my city, it always touches the bumper near my home whenever more than 2 people sit in the car. Hence, I am making up my mind to sell my City for a CVT.

Till now I haven't started looking into options. But some of the must-have features I would like are below:

  • Must be a minimum 4-star rating
  • Good amount of boot space
  • Wide enough to seat 3 passengers at the back
  • High ground clearance due to high bumpers near my home
  • Reliable after-sales service
  • Should not lag or feel lazy on highways

My budget is around ₹12 lakhs. My monthly run is less than 1000 km so would go for the petrol option. The cars which came to my mind are below:

  1. Renault Kiger CVT: My dad owns the Kwid in Delhi and I find the car very practical to use in the City for daily usage. Kiger looks quite good and very practical. I just love Renault for its practicality aspect. Besides, the Xtronic CVT of Renault-Nissan is one of the best CVTs out there. Though I would have preferred some of the missing features in the same.
  2. Honda Jazz CVT: Although its ground clearance is low I love Honda for its smooth engine and reliability. My 12 yrs of fuss-free ownership also helps to put it on my list.
  3. Nissan Magnite CVT: It has some more features than the Kiger but the long waiting time is a bit of a bother. Still, I would want to check it out.

Till now I have thought of these 3 only. There is one more car which I would like to look into before making a decision. That would be the Astor CVT. Although it might stretch my budget to ₹15 lakhs or more I think it would be a great upgrade on my Honda City. I am waiting for its prices to be announced before making any decision.

Any other recommendations please suggest the same??

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

Any specific reason to not include torque converter automatics in your list?

From my experience, a torque converter feels better suited to city conditions than a CVT. The cars you are considering are fine but none of them can be a good upgrade to your 3rd gen City, especially from a performance point of view.

I'd suggest TD Brezza automatic once. Good safety record, decent ground clearance, relaxed NA engine, fuss-free maintenance and a spacious third row.

PS: High chances that Brezza's plastics will disappoint you. In that case, skip it and check out S-Cross.

Here's what BHPian Axe77 had to say on the matter:

I have a gating question that will be useful for you to clarify upfront for everyone’s benefit. Do you mean you are looking for a car with an “automatic” transmission or specifically a “CVT automatic” transmission? If it's the latter, is any particular reason you don’t want other types like for instance a Torque Converter. Some people may want to avoid AMTs and similar tech because they don’t have the smoothness of a “proper” automatic. Others may want to avoid DSG / DCT or similar tech because they have proven to be problematic. But generally between CVT and torque converters (TC), they are both usually equally acceptable.

With that out of the way, a few comments:

Some of your requirements will severely narrow down other options. In the sub 15 lakh bracket to get a car comfortable for 3 at the back, AND with a biggish boot (I am taking your frame of reference as the class-leading 500 litres of the City) AND a 5-star rating - you are going to have to compromise somewhere or the other. You might find some of these options tipping over in the 15-20L range - not sure if that is acceptable. While Renault Kroger and Nissan Magnite are great products, their after-sales could be a hit or miss.

I am going to suggest a few quality used options too for this reason:

  • Astor: Since you asked about this. On paper looks like a very compelling product. The turbo petrol TC automatic should be the pick of the engine although you could consider the CVT as well. It’s going to fall short on your rear space and boot space requirements though if your benchmark is the City.
  • Used BR-V: This is potentially a superb option. It should be available for WELL within your budget - perhaps you can see if you can get a less than 2 - 3 year used option. It will be very spacious, have great ground clearance, great boot space and comes with a convenient automatic. After-sales experience should be reasonably predictable with Honda. This might actually be what meets your requirements the closest (I am not aware of its NCAP rating).
  • Skoda Rapid: Trips up the reliability criteria but in the above options this might be the second closest option to tick the boxes for you. It will feel right up there with the City, will likely not bottom out as much because it has a stiffer tuned suspension - great boot, proper 5 seaters, the relatively safer TC automatic rather than Skoda DSG which can be a bother. The only downside is its length in the tooth and will soon be replaced by an all-new version sometime next year.
  • Creta / Seltos: Whichever regular automatic in their range comes within your bill. This should tick all the boxes you mentioned other than the one on the safety rating. Drive it and take a call maybe.
  • Latest or nearly new City CVT: I’d say don’t rule out this very obvious option either. It’s an extremely capable car and has incrementally only gotten better with every generation. Barring the ground clearance aspect, this will tick EVERY box for you and should ideally be right up there in your options list.

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

It's a very tricky scenario here.

Well for the budget you have most of the cars won't be like 'upgrades' from your existing City (which is eventually a C segment car and today C segment automatics cost 12+).

Few things I would mention about Nissan/Renault siblings:

  • They don't have that build to the last feel. They will always make you feel like made on budget cars. Especially after owning the 3rd gen City for this long.
  • Refinement can be a big setback here. 3 cylinder engines + CVT whine (prominent here) is something that can be annoying.
  • Space+performance+features+GC = they are strong points.

Now, the upgrade from 3rd gen City to Jazz

  • 1.2 vs 1.5. Jazz's low-end performance is a bit weak. Especially in start-stop traffic (0-40 km/h) you will feel lethargy.
  • Jazz's space management is excellent but the rear seat is a bench in literal terms. It is acceptable for hatchbacks but the contour and feel of the City's rear seat won't be there. Yes, it can have 3 at back with reasonable comfort.
  • Jazz's CVT is very smooth. Better than 3rd gen City's TC.
  • GC will be better.
  • Ride quality is better.
  • F.E. despite the CVT thing won't be great. Expect 10-12 in urban traffic at best.

My suggestion would be the Maruti S-Cross auto.

  • G.C. is a strong point.
  • 1.5-litre engine is responsive.
  • Good comfort level. Build quality is better than most Marutis
  • 4 speed T.C. is good for the city. (Btw City 3rd gen is also TC)
  • Fuel economy will be good.

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