Factors that influence the variant choice when buying your new car

Many prefer the base variant and go for aftermarket bells and whistles to adorn their car. Though some bells and whistles cannot be fitted aftermarket and are the best only as OE.

BHPian anjan_c2007 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

These days apart from the car makes and their respective models, there are variants galore waiting to be selected either at the showroom or through the 360 degrees view and constant surfing for features and specifications at the manufacturer's website. Even glib talking by the marketing and sales personnel at the showroom impress many buyers, some of these personnel posing as expert automobile engineers.

For instance as a case study the variant choices offered by Tata for its Harrier are many from the XE to the XZA and the Dark edition and so on.

For instance Hyundai for its range does not make available dual horns for its base variants. These come as OE only in their top variant. Fog lights too play truant and are not available for base variants of many car makers. Mahindra is one car maker that supplies dual horn in the base +1 variant of its personal car range. Fog lights too are standard for the base + 1 Mahindra personal cars.

Safety too comes at a premium. The higher the variant the more the airbags. The six airbag norm is yet to kick-in. ABS and EBD too would be OE only for the top variants.

Many prefer the base variant and go for aftermarket bells and whistles to adorn their car. Though some bells and whistles cannot be fitted aftermarket and are the best only as OE. Many other buyers prefer the mid-level variants, while some more prefer the top variants as their choice. Audio systems offered as OE plays an important role as choice for many audiophiles. The OE audio system offered cannot be replicated as an aftermarket accessory. Though some car makers mess up with the audio devices that buyers also avoid preferring aftermarket ones.

It will be worthwhile to know as to what influences your final choice through your vote. Some bells and whistles offered that some feel essential are not cool as aftermarket fitments. Factory fitted are the best according to many.

Here's what BHPian V.Narayan had to say on the matter:

Better a top variant C than a base line D and so on.

My preference always is to go for the top variant of what I can afford.

Features available today in top variant C & D category cars could not be found in an E class Mercedes of 20 years ago. As customers, we are spoilt like never before.

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

Honestly, tinkering after market is a strict no no. The fit and finish that comes with factory installed accessories have spoilt me.

To be honest, with safety features becoming more mainstream in all the variants, going for the top variant has become more of a want than a need.However, the feel good factor that comes with a fully loaded car is always welcome and very enticing however unnecessary it might be objectively speaking.

Since most mandatory features are coming in the lower versions(we're paying for it with inflated price tags), I will never push my budget to have the top most variant if it is above my budget.

Case in point- Harrier. It even comes with a panoramic sunroof in the mid variants because the customer demands it thanks to the ambience it brings (however big a liability it may be).

In all probability, I'm the minority, even on T-BHP!- I give huge importance to the drive, feel, build quality, comfort and space over gadgets and feature lists and thus pick up a variant of a car I'm satisfied with having the required features in my budget.

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

My requirement has been very specific for the last decade or more. I try to go for the variant that has 4WD and the least amount of gizmos. Before that, it was base variant (without compromising on engine specs) with aftermarket improvements.

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

For me, it was the brand value that helped me decide the variant.

It was 2017 and I was deciding between the Hexa XTA and Innova 2.8 G AT.

My heart said Hexa, while the mind said otherwise - Logic being that it was going to be my very first own car purchase, and I did not want to bet 18 big ones on a Tata.

The Innova, while it made sense to my mind, was too boring and bland for my taste. It didn't even come with an audio system and steering-mounted controls at the time.

Finally went for the Hexa XE that was recently launched in Arizona Blue. Back in 2017, even the base variant was pretty decently equipped with a Harman system and sunshades for rear windows - you get the picture. Got the car for a shade under 13L on road, and I haven't been happier since. Puts a smile on my face each time I climb into it.

P.S. - I was a Safari fan boy and had gone to buy the Storme. The sales person suggested I take a look at the Hexa, which is essentially better equipped compared to the Safari.

Here's what BHPian ajayc123 had to say on the matter:

I spend most of my energy 80-90% in figuring out the brand and model (safety, powertrain, basic ergonomics, reliability, A.S.S aspects), and shortlist a couple of options in the target budget +/- 25%. Would involve a lot of TBHP research, and discussions with extended family and friends.

Once the initial shortlisting is done, I would start involving my immediate family (these guys are too busy and don't have the patience to match my rigour) in finalizing the choice of final brand/model. If all options are rejected, then start over again.

Once model is agreed then the focus shifts to colour and variant. I will let them choose the colour, and only hold veto rights in case of a strong concern on a colour.

During the variant selection, I would avoid the question "Why not?" but rather focus on the question "Why?" and brainstorm with my family members about the value those delta features would offer and the ones that are "faaltu" features. Outcome is a decision of the variant.

In the past, such exercise has yielded mid variants.

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

Slightly off-topic but very much relevant to why variant distribution in India is a mess.

Let me highlight a major goof-up that most OEM's do. which is not using common sense when making variant list. Let me share one example.

Let us take KIA.

Seltos 1.4L DCT is 18.2L ex-showroom

Carnival Prestige 6 STR is 29.9 L ex-showroom.

This means the base variant of the Carnival is 11.7L more expensive than Seltos top end.

But this version of the Seltos has the below features that are not present in the Carnival:

  • TPMS
  • Hill Descent Control
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Ventilated seats
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Wireless charger
  • GPS Navigation system

This is the case with many OEM's. They want to keep lots of variants for cars in every segment that they forget to give value to customers who buy bigger and more expensive cars.

Always makes me wonder. what is the thought process of these OEMs.

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

For me, it's been about avoiding unnecessary gizmos and Add-ons.

Gizmos I avoid in versions - Mostly it's stuff related to Touch screens and Android/Apple car stuff

Add-ons I avoid - Sun/moon roofs, Heated/Cooled seats, dual-tone black-topped versions (as if India isn't hot enough already!) etc.

Typically, I end up selecting a version that's 1 or 2 levels below the so-called "top-end version".

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

Redlining the Indian Automotive Scene