Looking for a safe car under Rs 20 lakh for daily use

Have the MG Astor & a few other used German cars in consideration.

BHPian himanshu_j recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Currently driving a BMW F30 ‘14 320d primarily and occasionally ‘14 Audi Q3 2.0TDI and ‘18 Jeep Compass Limited Plus 1.4 DCT. Recently relocated to Mumbai from New Delhi and the new purchase would be a daily driver with occasional highway use.


  • Safety, must be rated at least 4 stars on GNCAP or Latin NCAP.
  • Electric adjustment for driver’s seat (preferably with memory) as a wife and I often switch driving duties.
  • Sunroof (good size if not a panoramic)
  • Good audio system and NVH.

Seems it is impossible to find all of the above in one car without looking at the pre-owned segment.

On my radar:

1. MG Astor:

As tempting as it is, it’d be wrong to assume it is as safe as its CBU cousin, the electric ZS.

2. Late 2013-early 2014 Mercedes-Benz W204 C-class

Ticks all the boxes except its age. Long term ownership costs are questionable however these cars are only 11-12L on the market.

3. 2014-2015 BMW 320d

Hydrostatic lock concerns in Mumbai rains keeping me at bay especially with a car of such vintage not being eligible for zero dep insurance let alone engine & transmission cover.

4. 2017-2019 Jeep Compass 1.4 DCT

Overlooking the dull interior, I found the lag annoying while driving in the city. FE though not a concern is abysmal, which translates to the poor range. A good remap anyone might know of?

5. 2015-2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA

Baffles me why these do not have automatic climate control or rear AC vents. The Petrol motor is nice. Same as the C-class. Looks like a hatchback on stilts. Rear bench thigh support is lacking.

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

Given you're currently driving European brands, and are happy with them, I would stick to the Europeans over the Asians.

Given most outstation trips will be towards Nashik, Pune, or on the NH8/48 (there really aren't too many options) - traffic and road conditions aren't great at the moment & unless the driver is good about avoiding potholes and manoeuvring over large speed breakers consider going the SUV / crossover way as an option.

At home, we generally take the Tiguan or C for our highway trips and thankfully they've both managed just fine, but the C does require a little more care on a full load especially at the speed breakers so nowadays we stick to the Tiguan if it's a family trip (less changing lanes, smoother trip which they appreciate) or the C if it's just my wife & I.

In new cars, I would look at the Kushaq - subject to NCAP tests since safety is a priority, while also keeping a keen eye out for a pre-owned X1, Tiguan, Kodiaq. The GLA IMO is a little too cramped and the X1 may be a nicer all-rounder with a better engine, more space and practicality.

In the sedan space, look for the F30 3 Series / F10 5 series: in terms of reliability, fun, and features it gets my vote over the C Class (which has a stiffer ride too which may be a bit annoying on our roads here), & the Passat too can be considered. I would have suggested a Superb but I haven't come across any tempting examples of a Superb TDi (just because it has a better DSG gearbox) as compared to Passat's available + Passat will be easier to manage in city traffic & parking as it's slightly smaller.

A fun vote would also go to an A3 TDi & practical vote for the A4 if you're able to haggle with the dealers and bring down the prices to more realistic levels (asking 30+ for a 3/4-year-old example when a brand new one base trim is available at 45-46!)

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

If you're serious about the crash rating requirement, that leaves you with very few new car options. The only GNCAP tested 4 or 5 star rated cars are Tatas, Mahindras, and the Suzuki Vitara Brezza. The Jeep Compass, the Skodas and Volkswagens or bigger Tatas, the MGs and Hyundais, none of them are tested.

The XUV 700 best satisfies your requirements, but it's more of an idea than a reality at this point. I doubt that you'd want to wait a year and a half for one.

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

If you can stretch your budget by 5%, MG Hector fits your requirements. It doesn’t have published NCAP ratings but the car is really well put together. I have experienced it over very long driving holidays and through some unfortunate accidents/situations. It gives the feel of the segment above and rides is super smooth and peaceful on our pothole-ridden and chaotic roads. So if you go for a test ride of Astor, do check out Hector. Also, it comes with a 5-year warranty and service package. Panoramic sunroof and music quality are a big plus. For legal speeds, its suspension works well on highways though not tuned for high-speed cornering manoeuvres. I would say, after-sales service is also segment best.

Happy Hunting.

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