Need buying advice for a safe and reliable used car in a 7 lakh budget

Though I got my driving license 14 years back, the only driving I do is an annual refresher course in driving school for one week every year.

BHPian Arwin07 recently shared this with other enthusiasts


I am 32 and we are family of 3 with my 3 year old kid. I barely know how to drive. I am a safe, sedate rider with 80000+ kms in motorcycle with no accidents (touch wood). My family has never owned cars. Though I got my driving license 14 years back, the only driving I do is an annual refresher course in driving school for one week every year.

Strange commute:

Due to a recent relocation, my commute is 40+40 km once a week (on weekends) and my car will be idle for 5 days a week. With miscellaneous drives and 500+500km drive to hometown, it comes to around 5000 km a year. The drive will be 75% in wide, city roads (Chennai), 25% in 2 lane state highway with heavy truck traffic.

I do not want to go for Ola/Uber though it will be far cheaper. This age won't come back and I am keen on owning a car.


  • Budget 5 lakhs, pre-worshipped car. Stretchable to 7 lakhs by taking a loan.
  • With my very low running and weekly two days running, Petrol car will be sufficient. (Exception is it is my last chance to own an Ecosport Tdci.)
  • As it is my first car and with no prior experience with cars, I need a reliable, fuss free ownership.
  • Need a safe car. 4 or 5 star safety rating.
  • Though 75% of the drive is in city, as it is my first car, I want to master Manual transmission before going to Automatic.
  • Minimum 2 airbags, ABS. Additional airbags, ESC are good to have.
  • Not keen on performance in my first car. Just a sedate, relaxed drive.

Options considered/ Thought process:

Though all the above requirements scream Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai hatchbacks, I don't consider them for lack of safety.

I am searching for pre-worshipped cars through Spinny, Cars24. The values given below are based on Spinny, Cars24 and OBV.

Cars with 4,5 stars in Global NCAP:

  • Tata Nexon (5 star)
  • Honda City (4 star, unstable body shell)
  • Honda Jazz (4 star, stable body shell)
  • Volkswagen Polo (4 star)
  • Toyota Etios (4 star)
  • Mahindra XUV300 (5 star)

Tata Altroz, Punch, XUV300 are recent launches and not readily available in used car market yet.

Cars with perceived good build quality but untested in India:

  • Ford Ecosport
  • Toyota Yaris
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Skoda Rapid
  • Volkswagen Vento
  • Honda WR-V

If Ford had not exited India, the Ecosport would have been my default choice. But now unsure of maintenance, parts availability as my first car.

Toyota Corolla, Etios, Yaris are all out of production. Same doubts of maintenance, parts availability as my first car.

Ownership reports of Volkswagen, Skoda cars doesn't inspire confidence as a reliable car- Vento, Rapid, Polo.

Of the above cars, preworshipped 2015-18 Polo, Jazz, Etios and 2013-15 Ecosport, City comes to 5 lakhs budget.

Polo: Great solid built car but got ABS, airbags only on top models in old cars available in used market.

Jazz looks promising, though sold in low numbers relatively.

Etios in used market all have 80000+kms on odo.

  • 2016-18 Honda City, 2017-18 Tata Nexon comes to 7-8 lakhs, stretching my budget.
  • 2018-19 City and Nexon come to 8-10 lakhs.
  • 2018-19 Yaris comes to 8-9 lakhs.
  • 2010-14 Corolla comes to 4-7 lakhs.

Honda City looks premium with good interiors. Wonderful 1.5 i-vtec NA Petrol engine, reliable, fuss free ownership. Cons:Unstable bodyshell in NCAP.

Tata Nexon: 5 star rated, good all round car.

I do not have enough knowledge and experience to select my first car. My choices are not restricted to the above cars. Please guide me towards selecting my first car, fellow Team BHPians.

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

The 2016-18 Honda City and 2017-18 Tata Nexon should be your top choices. New enough & not too old, proven reliability, family-friendly and great first cars. Don't go for cars older than this, even if its a Corolla. Because its your first car, reliability & a certain amount of freshness are important.

Here's what BHPian Swapnil4585 had to say on the matter:

I recommend the 2010-11 Corolla (price below 4) and 2011-14 (price below 5).

Not sure of the Etios and Yaris, however you can source most major parts of a 2010-14 Corolla without any issues - more so since you are based in a metro.

I have a 2010 Corolla along with many senior BHPians and on that front, you can be assured that maintaining it won't be difficult.

The only two negatives related to this car are the 15-year rule and the size required for parking / driving in congested areas traffic (if at all you would).

It is a great highway car and does not require any untoward maintenance most of the times provided the previous owner has maintained well.

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

Hello , for sedate cruisers, the CVT box is perfect. Look for a Jazz r Yaris CVT. both are very reliable and ' fill it and forget it " type.

Since your usage is less, go for a C segment sedan or SUV . A S- Cross or a Corolla will be a steal if u get a clean car.

A City will really stretch your budget.

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