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Citroen C3 vs Tata Punch vs Nissan Magnite vs Renault Kiger

I would prefer the Kia Sonet Diesel / Petrol AT. It's expensive, but the best of the lot IMHO. Among the MTs, I'd go for the XUV300 or the Nexon.

Citroen C3

What you'll like:

  • Striking design! Very funky, yet likeable at the same time
  • Good-looking cabin that is practical too
  • 1.2L turbo-petrol is punchy, while the 1.2L naturally-aspirated engine offers excellent driveability
  • 6-speed MT is slick and light to operate. Definitely one of the better gearboxes in the segment
  • Sorted suspension offers a very good ride & handling package
  • Compact size and light controls are perfect for the urban environment
  • 10-inch touchscreen with wireless Android Auto & Apple CarPlay is excellent to use
  • Lots of customization options and accessories to make your car truly unique

What you won't:

  • Missing plenty of features = electric ORVM adjustment, IRVM dimmer (not even manual), climate control, rear wiper & defogger, reversing camera, alloy wheels, tachometer!
  • Just 2 variants at launch (no true top variant)
  • No automatic transmission on offer - a big miss when ATs are rapidly gaining popularity in India
  • Quality of cabin materials doesn't feel great; cost-cutting is pretty evident in certain areas
  • Some ergonomic issues like the placement of rear power window switches, unusable rear headrests…
  • 1.2L NA petrol’s highway performance is mediocre; 5-speed MT is notchy too
  • Cabin width makes the interiors suitable for 4 adults, not 5
  • Long-term reliability & after-sales service quality are big unknowns; the dealer network is tiny

Review Link

Tata Punch

What you'll like:

  • Snazzy styling! We love the mini-Harrier face and tight rear end
  • Well-designed & practical cabin with enough space for 4 adults
  • 366-liter boot is accommodating
  • 1.2L NA petrol offers good driveability in the city. Performance is acceptable <90 kmph
  • Sorted road manners & reassuring high-speed stability
  • Enjoyable Harman 6-speaker ICE. One of the better systems in this segment
  • Features such as auto headlamps & wipers, cruise control, Traction Pro (AMT), cooled glovebox…with factory customization packs too
  • A full 5-stars in the GNCAP! The safety package includes dual airbags, CSC, brake sway control, ISOFIX etc.

What you won't:

  • 1.2L NA petrol’s highway performance is weak. At 100 km/h & up, more noise than action
  • Suspension has a firm tune (R16 variants). It is compliant & liveable, but you do feel bad roads
  • Jerky and slow AMT gearbox when competitors offer you smoother CVTs and torque converters
  • 3-cylinder petrol cannot match the competition’s 4-cylinders in refinement & NVH
  • No turbo petrol or diesel option. Period. Rivals & other Tata cars offer both
  • Cabin width makes 4 adults welcome, not 5
  • Some missing goodies such as an auto-dimming IRVM, split rear seat, rear AC vents, full-size spare…
  • Tata's after-sales service quality is a hit or miss. Remains a gamble

Review Link

Nissan Magnite

What you'll like:

  • The Magnite looks really good…that handsome face is a head-turner
  • Sheer value-for-money pricing. Turbo-petrol with a proper AT under 10 lakhs!
  • Peppy performance from the Magnite’s 1.0L turbo-petrol engine
  • Smooth well-tuned CVT in a sea of jerky AMTs. Has Sport and L modes too
  • Healthy legroom for rear passengers. Space packaging is brilliant
  • Impressive kit (cruise control, LED headlamps, rear air-con vents, 360-degree camera, wireless charger, wireless Android Auto & Apple CarPlay)
  • 205 mm of ground clearance is more than enough for any kind of bad roads
  • Safety kit includes ESP, TPMS, ABS, EBD & hill start assist
  • Base variant also gets a reasonable kit, including a rear wiper. It’s not poverty-spec

What you won't:

  • Stiff & basic ride quality. You feel each and everything on the road
  • The Magnite is built to a cost and it does show, especially in the budget-grade cabin
  • Lower variants’ 1.0L naturally-aspirated petrol is a boring, unimpressive engine
  • Clunky, firm MT gearshift & a clutch pedal that has more weight than it should
  • No diesel option available on the Nissan Magnite
  • Cabin is narrower than some competitors. The narrow width makes it best for 4 adults
  • Missing features such as an auto-dimming IRVM, full-size spare tyre…
  • Doesn't have the finesse or quality of premium crossovers like the XUV300, Sonet etc.
  • Nissan's tiny dealership network & lousy after-sales quality

Review Link

Renault Kiger

Driving Report

2022 Maruti Brezza

What you'll like:

  • Good-looking Compact SUV with improved road presence & mass appeal
  • Well-rounded product. Takes a successful formula and improves upon it
  • A competent BS6 petrol with Smart Hybrid tech and excellent fuel efficiency
  • Smooth 6-speed torque-converter AT comes with paddle shifters
  • Well-mannered suspension setup riding on 16-inch wheels and 215/60 section tyres
  • Decent cabin space for a sub-4 meter car. Lots of storage & a powerful air-con too
  • Now gets a sunroof, 360-degree camera, head-up display, rear A/C vents, wireless charging, ambient lighting, tilt & telescopic steering adjustment, connected car features etc
  • Long feature list includes dual projector LED auto headlamps, LED DRLs & foglamps, auto-dimming IRVM, cruise control and a 9-inch touchscreen HU paired with an Arkamys sound system
  • Safety kit includes 6 airbags, ESP, hill-hold assist and ISOFIX. Built on the same platform as the outgoing car, which had received a 4-star GNCAP safety rating
  • Maruti’s excellent after-sales service, wide dealer network & fuss-free ownership experiences

What you won't:

  • Feels more like a significant facelift rather than an all-new product
  • No diesel option like its rivals! Petrol-only as of now. CNG may be offered in the future
  • 1.5L petrol engine lacks outright grunt. Tuned for fuel efficiency and suitable for relaxed cruising only
  • Expensive! AT variants are priced higher than competitor turbo-petrol with more advanced transmissions
  • AT option commands a stiff Rs. 1.5 lakh ex-showroom premium!
  • Interior quality and fit & finish are underwhelming for the price. The game has moved on
  • Short gearing of the 5-speed MT and lack of 6th cog results in an unusually busy engine at 100-120 km/h
  • 328-litre boot is among the smallest in the segment
  • Some missing features like ventilated seats, leather upholstery, TPMS, drive modes, auto wipers and front parking sensors

Review Link

Hyundai Venue

What you'll like:

  • A mini-Creta in almost every way! Same formula, in a smaller package
  • Precise build & quality (including interiors) are easily among the segment's best
  • Competent engines mated to slick gearboxes
  • Fast shifting dual-clutch Automatic gearbox available
  • Balanced road manners. Very easy to drive as well
  • Loaded to the gills with equipment (paddle shifters, drive modes, sunroof, BlueLink telematics, cabin air purifier etc.)
  • Top safety equipment includes 6 airbags, BAS, ESP, HSA, ISOFIX and more
  • Hyundai's competent after-sales & fuss-free ownership experiences

What you won't:

  • Diminutive street presence. Looks more hatchback than SUV from some angles, especially the rear
  • Strictly a 4-seater; the rear bench has very awkward seating for the middle occupant
  • Missing kit (auto wipers, auto-dimming IRVM, steering reach adjustment...)
  • Long-term reliability of the DCT is a concern
  • Engine noise is very prominent, more so in Sport mode
  • AT only on the petrol, not the diesel. Kia Sonet gets a Diesel AT

Review Link

Kia Sonet

What you'll like:

  • A mini-Seltos in almost every way! Same formula, in a smaller package
  • Sharp & handsome styling. In our opinion, this is the best-looking Compact SUV
  • Excellent spread of powertrains including a fast & enjoyable turbo-petrol
  • Diesel AT is fantastic; the only smooth torque-converter gearbox in a sea of AMTs
  • Well-tuned suspension offers a good balance between ride & handling. 205 mm GC too
  • Top safety package includes 6 airbags, ESP, HSA, TPMS etc.
  • Very enjoyable 7-speaker Bose sound system
  • Impressive kit (ventilated seats, sunroof, auto LED headlamps, cruise control, wireless charger)

What you won't:

  • Rear seat legroom is just adequate, while its limited width makes the Sonet a 4-seater
  • Top variants are pricey! More expensive than its sibling, the Hyundai Venue too
  • Some misses ( 60:40 rear seat split, auto wipers, steering reach adjustment, illuminated window buttons, full-size spare tyre on top trims…)
  • Dual-clutch ATs (like the Petrol DCT) have a history of poor reliability in India
  • As always with Kia, the variant spread is tough to figure out. Good luck finding your perfect Sonet!
  • Waiting periods are a couple of months long for some trims

Review Link

Tata Nexon

What you’ll like:

  • Very well-priced for what it offers. Undercuts all rivals
  • Funky styling ensures that the Nexon stands out from the crowd
  • 5-star NCAP safety rating & a solid build, unlike many of its flimsy competitors
  • Nice, spacious cabin with comfortable seats. You get a practical 350-litre boot too
  • 1.5L diesel & 1.2L petrol offer good performance. Diesel is especially impressive
  • Balanced road manners for such a tall car. Fine EPS & 209 mm of ground clearance!
  • Loaded with features: Driving modes, LED DRLs, reversing camera, 8-speaker ICE etc.
  • Dual airbags, ABS & Isofix child seat mounts are standard on all variants

What you won’t:

  • Overdone design will be a turnoff for many of you. The rear end is way too busy
  • Jiggly low-speed ride; bumps are felt in the city (unlike other Tata cars)
  • 3-cylinder petrol can't match 4-cylinder competition in NVH. Has lag too
  • The observant eye will notice some rough edges in fit, finish & quality
  • Concerns over long-term reliability, more so of the freshly developed engines
  • Missing essentials (telescopic steering adjustment, auto-dimming IRVM, proper dead pedal)
  • Tata's inconsistent after-sales experience is far from that of Maruti & Hyundai
  • Shorter service / checkup interval of 6 months & 7,500 km (rivals have 12-month gaps)

Review Link

Toyota Urban Cruiser

Launch Thread

Mahindra XUV300

What you'll like:

  • A truly premium crossover. Nice build, quality & refinement levels
  • Great looking! Smart design has none of the usual Mahindra quirkiness
  • Cabin has enough space for 5. Quality-wise, the interior is more like a Hyundai
  • Fantastic engines. The petrol & diesel, both, offer fast performance & good driveability
  • A compliant ride with neutral road manners
  • Top safety kit. 7 airbags, ESP, ABS, all-wheel disc brakes, TPMS, seatbelt reminders for all & more
  • Loaded to the gills with equipment (front parking sensors, sunroof, cruise control, auto headlamps & wipers etc)

What you won't:

  • The most expensive Compact SUV in India! Not overpriced, but definitely higher than expected
  • 257-litre boot is the smallest in the segment. There are cheaper hatchbacks which have a larger boot
  • Lack of a proper middle variant. W6 trim is simply too bare-bones, while W8 is expensive!
  • AMT doesn’t suit a truly premium crossover like the XUV300
  • Sad audio system by current standards. The bass, especially, is poor
  • Mahindra's after-sales service quality is a hit or miss. Remains a gamble
  • Some important features missing (dead pedal, parcel tray, rear air-con, steering reach adjustment etc)

Review Link

The 2021 XUV300 Petrol AMT

Here's what GTO had to say on the matter:

Am an AT guy now, and would prefer the Kia Sonet Diesel / Petrol AT. It's expensive, but the best of the lot IMHO. Among the MTs, I'd go for the XUV300 or the Nexon, although I have to say = Mahindra & Tata really need to offer proper ATs in their Compact SUVs. Enough with the jerky AMTs. The two Indian brands have done a fabulous job with ATs in their larger SUVs (XUV700, Scorpio, Safari, Harrier); it's now time to offer smooth automatics in the smaller crossovers.

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

Voted for Magnite CVT.

I know it's an unpopular opinion but I somehow find it the best VFM currently in the sub-4m subCompact Crossover segment. My reasons:

Pros:

  • A potent engine(1.0 turbo) transmission(CVT) combo.
  • Great GC & good ride quality for our crater-filled roads.
  • Frugal enough 10-11 km/l in city & 16+ on highways as per owners.
  • 4* with stable bodyshell GNCAP rating.

Cons:

  • Interiors quality is not really great.
  • A.S.S is a hit or miss.

This segment has so many options but sadly not one is really a complete car that one can go for without compromising on an aspect or other. I find this the best compromise in the segment amongst all options. If this were available in 2019, would have been my pick ahead of my Jazz CVT for which I paid a similar price. No complaints with the Jazz as such but for 10-12L I find Magnite is a better value proposition in the current market.

Brezza AT would have been my first choice but for the pricing. 17L+ OTR for a sub4m car is beyond me

Citroen C3 is another option am following which looks promising but in my current avatar won’t make the cut for me. No AT option and missing basics like rear wash/wipe, adjustable front headrests at least and electric ORVMs.

Here's what BHPian Maverick1977 had to say on the matter:

The Kiger is the most VFM car in this segment considering it gets a CVT and not an AMT (and this also makes me wonder how the Nexon is a VFM product?). I have tested almost all cars in this segment (except the new Brezza and the Citroen) and can vouch the Kiger stood above the rest. The CVT is much better to drive compared to all the AMTs. The Brezza and Urban Cruiser were still using the 4-speed TC when I tried them out. Not a bad package then but the GB felt a bit dated.

All those labelling the Nexon a VFM product, please take a test drive and then vote. It will change your views.

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

If it's a primary car, would go for the Nexon diesel because of the VFM it offers.

For a Second car, would go for the Citroen mainly because it is fun to drive and covers the basics a car enthusiast wants. Good ride and handling which reminds me of my first car Figo. Many cars of today have lost the plot of having actual driving fun while loading gizmos to the brim. Citroen covers the basics, would go for it.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

 
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