Need a budget automatic hatchback as a local runabout

Primary driver would be the better half, who has learnt driving, but is out of touch. Also, she would potentially be taking the two kids along always. Me driving would only be if we go to crowded markets.

BHPian LegalEagle recently shared this with other enthusiasts.


Currently, we are using a TUV300 T10 (The Truck), which is sufficient and comfortable for me and my family consisting of myself, better Half, and two angels aged 7 and 3. The TUV is my daily drive, for office and all other runs, and has to remain so, because I suffer from a lower back problem. We take a small holiday every 3 months, mostly by road, and two major vacations, one of them preferably by road. The TUV runs close to 10,000 kms a year, and we have absolutely no complaints whatsoever.

The conundrum faced:

With the offices, and potentially schools opening during the first quarter of the next calendar year, the TUV will be relegated to regular office runs. And as known by all members, the current schooling system is such that the parents play an equal role in the education of the children, with the requirements of making multiple short trips increasing daily. In addition, the office timing(s) and potential extension into home hours make it impossible for me to attend to any of these requirements. Coupled with all the above, the size of the TUV makes it a bit cumbersome to drive in the nearby markets, (People based in Hyderabad would know the awesome Ameerpet/HUDA Maitrivanam marketplace; for the Chennai group, it would be close to Parry’s, Delhi Karol Bagh, and Mumbai, the equivalent electronic/grocery market).

Thus, the requirement for a second car for doing the “Dhaniya, Pudina, Mirchi” runs becomes essential.

The requirements:

Below are the requirements in descending order of preference:

  • Hatchback and automatic.
  • Needs to be purchased and ready for delivery by February 1, 2022. No delays possible whatsoever.
  • Primary driver would be the better half, who has learnt driving, but is out of touch. Also, she would potentially be taking the two kids along always. Me driving would only be if we go to crowded markets. Else the TUV is the first choice.
  • Must be within Rs. 6-7 lakh ex showroom Hyderabad, If OTR even better.
  • New vehicle only. Personal belief, no offence.
  • Will be retained for 10 years, and would rarely, if not ever, see the highway. Max highway drive would be the city - airport - city run, and that too on a emergency.
  • A.S.S maintained only, so should be reasonable in maintenance. (Definition of reasonable - I currently maintain a TUV300, and do major maintenance remotely for a Maruti Dzire 2017 ZXi. I have also personally maintained a Ford Figo Zxi (First Gen) and a Maruti Swift Ldi (Second gen facelift model). All vehicles maintained at A.S.S. only.
  • Needs to be the top or top - 1 variant. Don’t want to miss out on too many features.
  • Two driver airbags, front power windows, central locking. (Note: Not listing ABS as it is now mandatory)
  • Rear wash wipe, rear power windows and split rear seats.

Other options but not important at all:

  • Fuel type: Not relevant at all, as I don’t see the vehicle running more than 5,000 - 7,500 kms per year.
  • Gizmos and gadgets: No preference to touchscreen(s), sunroofs and others. We have our TBHP recommendation, Indian DeCars for all those things.

The current options: (In no order of preference)

Note: No test drives have been taken. Will start taking test-drives only after seeing responses on this post, due to time constraints, and inability to be open about this. (Married men would know how hard it is to keep a secret with the family).

  • Tata Tiago: Liked it only for the AMT option from the Tata family, and being present for quite some time. So ideally, glitches should be ironed out. Neutral on engine performance. Worried about the Tata A.S.S.

  • Maruti Suzuki WagonR: Liked it for the Tall Boy design, and reliability. Neutral on ride quality and performance. Worried as it is no longer the Maruti Suzuki from 2000 - 2010.

  • Hyundai Santro: Liked it for the  Tall Boy design, and being present for some time. Neutral on ride quality and performance. Worried as no experience with Hyundai A.S.S.

Not considered:

  • Maruti Suzuki Celerio: Pending next generation, and too outdated for current time (but open to the same).
  • Maruti Suzuki S Presso: I just can’t fit in the car and have a person sitting behind me while driving. (Yeah, I am too big for the car).
  • Tata Altroz: No auto box.
  • Renault Kwid: Not sure about the company’s future, as they have a limited lineup.

Based on this, need the help of members to decide which is a good choice, based on the requirements. I am open to other options also, which meet the criteria listed above.

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

If the AMTs work for you, and you want to save time, TD the following :

Maruti Suzuki Ignis Zeta AMT and Tata Tiago XZA about 7.84 on road Hyderabad.

Hyundai Santro Asta AMT and Maruti Suzuki WagonR 1.2 ZXi AMT about 7.65 on road Hyderabad

Some more points :

Maruti Suzuki WagonR: Fits your needs at the lowest price point.

Hyundai Santro: Doesn't have 60:40 split.

Tata Tiago: Safest of the lot, doesn't have 60:40 split.

Maruti Suzuki Ignis: Good city car, reasonably safe.

Hyundai Grand i10 Nios: Good city car, slightly pricey compared to the others.

Don't think the i10 Grand is available anymore, at least can't see it in the listings, seems to have been replaced by the Nios and rightly if it has been.

Whatever car you finalize, check our ownership reports.for niggles and issues.

Good Luck.

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

For this, the small foot print of a car is very important. We have purchased an Alto and it aces this need like a bike. Why not try out the Kwid, RediGo, Celerio and revisit the SPresso? (Tata A.S.S is something I'm worried about, that's why I'm not including the Tiago). Anything more than these will become an overkill for the above needs. All these entry level hatches are very much pocket friendly to maintain with almost nil A.S.S woes. It doesn't mater if Renault or Nissan closes, service is guaranteed. Buy a -1 variant from top and add more fun to it by installing a component speaker setup with a nice quality Bluetooth audio player that supports component setup.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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