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Confused between Carens, XL6 & XUV700: Replacement for my Toyota Etios

My requirement is driving pleasure, safety and low ownership cost & prefer MT over AT any day.

BHPian RRU recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Thanks for the detailed review by experts and insightful discussion by members. Tracking this thread for a few weeks as lately, I have developed an inclination towards upgrading to a new vehicle. I have been using Etios 1.5 Petrol NA since 2013 and am quite happy & satisfied with this no-frills, no-nonsense classic and basic sedan that has always lived up to (actually more) my expectations.

My desire (not need) as Etios is running perfectly fine: An upgrade but not sure what - sedans are fading out based on the current trend. C segment SUVs are hot and getting hotter (so many models and growing). MPVs gradually becoming lifestyle vehicles filling the gaps that compact SUVs miss. Beyond this, my budget will not permit it.

What did I try so far? Had a good look at Seltos, Creta, Brezza and the likes, but found these somewhat a compromise on space and don't feel an upgrade truly (other than price perhaps). The heavier ones like Innova, Safari, Alcazar and the likes appear pretty big (and costly as well) for daily office commute. So, tried Ertiga, XL6 and Carens. Here is my take on each of these based on my limited understanding:

Maruti Ertiga

TD the K15B (K15C 2022 is not available for TD). Good and reliable MPV. It will more than serve the purpose, but seems too common, lacking a premium feeling and gradually becoming a taxi vehicle in Bangalore (already have one in Etios, petrol though). It's now the official vehicle of Bangalore Police, as well. HM just felt like downgrading. So, discarded.

Kia Carens

Looks pretty good (a very personal thing), feature-rich (sales folks here call it "futures") and can be a true recreational vehicle. Way too many options (both engine and variants) to choose from - very typical of Korean companies operating in India. Exploring 1.5 petrol NA (but no TD vehicle available as it is not in the top variant). So, had to do the TD on 1.4 petrol MT - did 3 times over 2 weeks. First impression - superb comfort and ride quality, very quiet engine, little NVH and being someone who rides Etios - found it "futures" rich. However, discovered one lacuna that will impact the daily commute to the office in Bangalore (dubious for its B2B traffic). The turbo 1.4 lags in response in lower RPM and speed (1st, 2nd and even in 3rd gears). Expert opine it is typical of turbo-charged cars (i have a different experience with another car - will mention later). Once you cross 40+ with a little A, it's a treat to ride up to any speed. Other aspects of the vehicle have already been explained in detail by members here. The recent NCAP rating dampened my spirit, but unfortunately, the alternatives are not better (Ertiga, XL6, Creta, Seltos, etc.) The 3rd TD I took setting the trip meter at 0 and after a cool ride of 12 km. in Whitefield, the Carens eked out a mileage of 13.1 km/l - I consider it pretty good for such a heavy vehicle with 4 people on board. Spoke to a proud owner of the 1.5 petrol NA. An extremely satisfied owner with 2 complaints - poor mileage in the city and lack of power or grunt. Meanwhile, just for a lark, took a TD of Seltos as well - found the ride quality and comfort wanting and inferior to that of Carens'. I suspect the 1.5 petrol NA Carens may not be as fun to ride as the 1.4 turbo petrol is. Also, I am not sure about the reliability of this complex turbo engine. (experts please advise).

Maruti XL6

My first choice is given I am a Japanese auto cos. (Toyota, Honda and Suzuki) fan, reflecting my risk-averse nature. TD both manual and auto XL6 2022 facelift in city condition (near Sarjapur road) and was really impressed by the ride in well nigh all aspects. Almost decided this is the car for me. The first TD of XL was done after TD 1 of Carens, and XL6 felt overall a much better package on a like-for-like basis (Carens 1.5 petrol NA prestige vs XL6 Zetta). Just to make sure I was right, did another TD of Carens. My thought was reinforced. However, somehow felt I must do a test ride on a long highway kind of a stretch to test its power and performance. I am not a performance freak. Prefer cool, sedate driving, but would be wrong to say never do excited aggressive driving. Sometimes do - my Etios never disappoints - rides comfortably at 140+ km/h and carries an NCAP rating of 4.

Did the second TD of XL6 on NH44 international airport highway. As averred by almost everyone (including expert reviewers and Sashi, the encyclopedia of XL6), the driving experience was totally different and in stark contrast to what I felt on the city ride. It was literally struggling for power beyond 70 km/h with 4 passengers (this is a comparative reference, not per se). I had to work hard to push it to 100 km/h but did not dare to push further as by that time I had already crossed quite a distance. Did the TD with both MT and AT - the only difference is that - at 100 km/h, the AT was cruising seamlessly while MT was asking me to move to 6th gear, which was missing. Not a very exhilarating experience. As I did with Carens, tested the mileage of XL6 petrol AT, it delivered 13.4 km/l with a mix of all kinds of rides over 18 km. Pretty decent.

Following this, did another TD of Carens (3rd one) - felt better than XL6 as a package now, but only with the 1.4 turbo MT petrol notwithstanding its limitation on lower speed/RPM in city traffic and XL6's limitation in higher power and speed (highway). Interestingly, after driving these two vehicles, felt very proud driving my Etios again - but not the right comparison.

The best part was reserved for another vehicle that was nowhere on my radar, but somehow my better half suggested giving it a try after noticing my ambivalence and confusion with these two competing MPVs.

Mahindra XUV 700 petrol 2.0 turbo AT

Wow - A completely different experience as far as driving is concerned - it responded exceedingly well in all possible conditions - highway, b2b traffic, sedate riding, sporty mode and so on...no complaints whatsoever. I felt truly elated. Its success story and feature-rich, tech-loaded and top safety standard reviews are well documented by everyone. However, I found two primary shortcomings from my perspective. At best it is a great 5-seater full SUV (not a compromised version that C-segment represents). The 7-seater is just a waste unless you want to keep it for those rare occasions. The NVH level was not very good for an SUV worth ~20L avg. Planning to do TD of the petrol MT. Customer feedback on mileage is ~10 km/l in the city and 13 km/l on highways. Not bad at all for 2.0-litre turbo petrol.

All in all, I am still not sure which one to go with among these three or should look for something else I have not even thought of hitherto. My requirement is driving pleasure, safety and economy (ownership cost). Prefer MT over AT any day (XL6 could be an exception). Happy to see features - not so excited to have them all. The preferred budget is 14-18L - can stretch a bit.

Grateful if experts can guide me.

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

I was in the same boat as you a few days ago. I currently own 1st gen Ertiga and was looking for an upgrade. I checked out almost the same cars - XL6, Carens, XUV7OO, Safari and ScorpioN.

With a budget of 20L and looking for a 7-seater with flexibility that the Ertiga offers, we concluded on the Carens 1.4 Turbo DCT Luxury Plus. The other cars, although good in some aspects or the other, did not have the complete package in terms of the features and practicality that Carens offers in that budget of 20L.

Although you are looking for manual ones, I would suggest you take a TD of Carens 1.4 DCT. The Prestige Plus variant would be a fit within your budget. No worries about the turbo lag at low RPMs in the manual. And you will love the convenience that the DCT offers.

Here's what BHPian vnm008 had to say on the matter:

There are a lot of options and online reviews are there to hype each car without mentioning its problems. So my opinion is to write down your requirements (only MUST HAVEs) on a piece of paper; then write the + and - that you felt while driving and sitting in the backseat on each of these; now write down the same for the beloved Etios; then compare and take the call. There is no better way to come out of this confusion.

From your post, I feel you are still in love with your current car and haven't found a worthy upgrade - if so, overcome all the temptation and stick with it. Who knows what all changes our govt. is going to bring - every day we hear about diesel bans, 6 airbags, flex fuels, better batteries for EVs etc. So unless you "need" an upgrade, don't.

I too tried the following cars before deciding:

  • MT: Nexon, XUV300 (petrol and diesel), Brezza, S-Cross, XL6, Duster NA and Turbo (yeah I'm "finalizing" for a year)
  • AT: Kiger CVT, XL6, Seltos IVT, Kushaq, Taigun, MG Astor & Harrier.

Didn't even try XUV700 & Creta cause of the waiting period. And Carens was a no coz I wanted AT (CVT/TC) only and Carens didn't have it in petrol. Didn't want to take risks with DCT in Bangalore traffic and I don't like AMTs.

In the end, finalized on XL6 AT cause of the practicality it offers and the undeniable reliability of Japanese cars.

So about XL6 - I see that your main concern is regarding highway performance - I didn't try XL6 beyond 80 in AT mode, but did that by changing it to MT mode (and using paddle shifters) - take the car above 2700rpm and you'll get a decent acceleration, club it with paddle shifters to get an extremely smooth and quick gear shift - with this combo I reached a speed of 95 pretty quickly. The only catch is, that there were only me and SA sitting in the car, so I'm not sure about the same with a full load.

To be frank, I wasn't much impressed with either of K15B or K15C in terms of performance as the comparison goes against turbo petrol (I feel the same is your case as well) - this is not a fair comparison as NA can never beat turbo petrol in terms of performance. That takes us to the previous point - is the outright performance in your "must-have" bucket? If yes, go for turbo petrol/EV/Hybrids only (if you decide to move away from Etios).

Cheers, let us know once you decide.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

 
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