Need a comfortable car (new/used) for city use to replace my old Civic

My budget is Rs 30 lakh for a pre-owned vehicle and Rs 40 lakh for something brand-new.

BHPian Highflyer recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Hi Friends.

I currently have a Honda Civic, 2007. It was a pre-owned one bought in 2012 from Kolkata. That time I was working there and it worked out for me. It has completed 15 years in 2022. It did a wonderful job over the last 10 years. Apart from minor issues, I never faced any major problems. Its suspensions were changed about two years back and the ride became a little hard after that. It is a little too low and scrapes almost all speed breakers (car wreckers) on our roads. The seating is too low which makes entry/exit a problem for old-age parents.

It was time to become a little aspirational and acquire something from the lower luxury segment. Having been bitten by the per-owned bug and realising the exceptional value proposition that they bring, I have decided to walk that path again.

My budget is plus minus 30 lacs, for pre-owned cars. If I decide on buying something new then plus minus 40 lacs, is the budget. Now, this might confuse you a little bit, but new cars aren’t completely off the charts. In case, I am unable to get what I want from the pre-owned category, then new ones would need a minimum of that amount to get one. That too not from premium ones aka BMW, Merc and Audi. 40 lacs is for brands like Hyundai, Škoda, VW etc etc.

My Usage

  • 99% within the city.
  • Approx 5-7K per year.
  • I stay in Hyderabad now which has decent roads but considering the growth of traffic and deteriorating roads, I would prefer something with suspensions that take care of bad roads.

My Requirements

The new car should have the following:-

  • Automatic transmission. Hassle-free drive. Not looking for a raging performance but something that works for comfortable city drives with traffic.
  • Very easy to ingress and egress. Neither too low like my current Civic nor too high, like Scorpio or other big SUVs. Basically, the occupant should be able to slide in or out, with ease.
  • A 5-seater would do. Shouldn’t be very big. Considering driving and parking within the city can be challenging. Smaller the better.
  • Features. Creature comforts like cooled seats, electrical seat adjustments, 360 camera (not a deal breaker), lumbar support, steering with both reach and rake adjustments etc etc. I am not a fan of sunroofs considering Indian climate conditions. Problem is that it has become a must-have feature due to customer demand. Good NCAP safety rating would be great.
  • Safety features-wise, most of the contenders (listed later) are quite loaded. Safety features-wise, Q3 and C5, were lacking in a few, while Tucson appeared to be punching way above its weight.
  • PLIANT SUSPENSION. The drive would be mostly within the city. The way our roads are getting speed breakers and potholes I want something that can soak them, at low speeds. High-speed driving dynamics aren’t going to be a deal breaker, since long highway drives would be very rare and far in between.
  • Independent suspension. This flows from the previous point. Only an independent suspension can give a truly comfortable ride and negotiate imperfections with perfection. That’s where many cars like Creta, Taigun etc and similar ones went out of contention. After driving Tiguan and Tucson, there was no going back.

The Search

While trying to find the features listed above, I realised that Sedans are out of the picture, and so were all big SUVs. It narrowed down to MUVs/MPVs. The independent suspension requirement further narrowed it down to luxury brands since independent suspensions are available in only anything north of 30 lacs.

XUV700 and Harrier do have independent setups but were ruled out because of their height.

The models that meet most of these criteria are:-

  • Mercedes Benz GLA (2017-20)
  • BMW X1(2016-20)
  • Audi Q3 (2017-20)
  • Volkswagen Tiguan (previous and current versions)
  • Škoda Kodiaq (previous and current versions)
  • Hyundai Tucson (current version only)
  • Citroen C5 Aircross (current version)
  • Volvo XC40 (2018-22)

Electric cars were ruled out due to very less driving and the extra premium for these didn’t make sense.

In the process of decision-making, I drove all Hyundai models from the i20 N line to Tucson. Creta met most of the requirements, except the ride quality. Loved driving and the comfort of Tucson. Drove Tiguan and found it to be a tad too firm but decent.


I compared the features on various websites and threads on team-bhp.

  • GLA/X1/Q3. Considering the budget, only the previous versions and pre-owned ones are being considered. I haven’t driven anyone of them though.
  • GLA has a very nice suspension setup. Interiors are premium. Few features are lacking. X1 is good, but is supposed to have a firm low-speed ride. Q3 has mixed reviews. Couldn’t find anything great or bad.
  • Tiguan. Solid car but the ride is a little firm at low speeds. The previous version lacks in few features.
  • Kodiaq. Very nice car. Meets a lot of criteria. Plush and full of features. A little expensive compared to a similar crop of vehicles. Škoda after-sales service is a hit or a miss.
  • Tucson. Amazing car, with features galore. Fun to drive and the suspension is great. Rear seat space is great. Considering the pricing of C5 and Tiguan, it appears to be a better value proposition. Hyundai, after-sales and cost of ownership are great.
  • C5 Aircross. Best ride quality in this category. Lacks quite a lot of features considering its price and others in this segment. Long-term support and services aren’t yet known. Not very many are available in the pre-owned market yet. Not sure if it’s worth it, to go for a new one considering the lack of basic features. @GTO’s comment on another thread rings a bell, where he says that it is better than entry-level luxury cars that are listed above.
  • XC40. Ticks all the boxes. Couldn’t find any negative reviews. Full of features, solidly built. Rear seat space is not as great. I couldn’t find a definitive review on its low-speed ride quality. Very few are available in the pre-owned segment and are snapped up by connoisseurs as soon as one comes into the market.

The Dilemma

In my quest for this purchase, I have scoured the net, spinny Max, local dealers, Olx etc and have come to the following conclusions:-

  • Pre-owned X1/ GLA/ Q3 of 2018/19 with 20-35 k on odo are available for 25-29 lacs.
  • Spinny prices are on the higher side but the information provided is best. The buying experience is also mostly decent.
  • Local dealers can be hit or miss. They all claim their goods to be of the highest quality but people have faced issues later. Few lucky ones got good deals and experience.
  • Olx could be similar to normal dealers.
  • Delhi is most dicey in terms of things going bad and fraud.
  • Kolkata offers the cheapest (the lowest price) for all cars in this segment compared to other cities in the country. The odo readings were also the least on these cars. Am I missing something here?

Need Help

Need help from FMs on the following aspects:-

  • Is it a good idea to buy from any part of India and then take the car to Hyderabad? What are the likely issues?
  • If X1, GLA and Q3 are available, with similar readings on odo and the same year of manufacturing, then which one to choose and why? Just remember that only the previous versions of these have been considered.
  • Have I missed anything important in my assessment of various aspects?

Here's what BHPian Jangra had to say about the matter:

Skoda Kodiaq and Hyundai Tuscon meet all of your requirements - even though you may have to shell a couple of lakhs over your budget for new. Nothing like the peace of mind that comes with a warranty and since you have a history of keeping cars for over a decade, the extra premium upfront will pay off.

I did not suggest Tiguan, even though it's more value for money than the Kodiaq, due to your specific requirements for softer suspension. I have seen in many forums talks about the bone-jarring ride of Tiguan, but I did not find it uncomfortable in my test drive. I had booked Tiguan but got a Kodiaq for a different reason.

Citroen C5 - even though a competitive product, scarce Service stations could be an issue.

Had you not been open to spending 40lakhs on a new one, I would have suggested X1 over Q3 and GLA on the reliability front. Also, previous-gen GLA looks like i20 on steroids.

Here's what BHPian kosjam had to say about the matter:

Please keep in mind that even if you are spending lesser upfront, you have to factor in costs that you will have to incur to bring the vehicle to your comfort. With premium luxury cars, for example, a service with some parts changed will cost you at least Rs. 1 lakh, interiors cleaning/refurbishment, etc. On top of that, some amount is reserved for any breakdowns, at least in the first 6 months, which could be considered "gifts" from the previous owner.

All in all, the 30 lakh figure approaches the 40 lakh figure quite quickly. Granted you have gotten a premium badge on it. My point is, a 30L pre-owned luxury and a 40L premium new vehicle overall cost the same. All you have to consider is the features you get with either because the cost overall is the same.

Here's what BHPian Eco_boost had to say about the matter:

  • Personally, I’m not fond of the GLA’s design. It looks too sheepish for the money it demands. Audi Q3 would be a better pick amongst the three Germans.
  • Honestly, I would recommend you to go with a new car since you keep your cars for a long time. As per your requirements, Tucson in its petrol avatar would suit you best. Since your running is limited to a few thousand km within the city, you will love what the 2.0 Litre NA engine has to offer. Hyundai Tucson is a perfect blend of German quality and Japanese trust and realisability.
  • Since you’ve also mentioned you need your car to be compact, Compass can be a very good alternative for you. Cheaper than Tucson, tank-like build quality, independent suspension, punchy diesel engine and superior driving dynamics.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

A helmet will save your life