Need a fuel-efficient & safe car for city driving under Rs 10 lakh

The new vehicle should be easy to drive & park in the city. It will replace either our ageing Maruti Dzire or WagonR.

BHPian busydrive recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

What Car

I used to think I am a car expert. Having successfully advised my family and friends in selecting the right car for them, multiple success stories are there, but boy, when I landed on this scenario even I am struggling to find out the right car. Hence, thought of taking inputs from you guys.


We have two cars which are going to hit 15 years soon. We thought of replacing one of them and getting a new car.

  • Car 1 - 12-year-old Dzire Petrol. Mileage around 70K. Has crazy power but bad mileage. Took out the remapping still mileage hasn't come back to decent levels. I get a max of 10 Kms per litre. Issue with this car - No airbags. Feel scared with the increasing number of rash drivers on the road these days. Also, has some sound coming in from differential - will need repairs of 50K in another 10K kilometers, plus new tyres in another 2 years.
  • Car 2 - 11-year-old Wagon R. Very less used. Needs body work. No airbags. No technical issue but then it’s a very light car and lack of airbags makes me feel unsafe taking this out. New Tyres. Mostly does city duties but again we have to hit national highway multiple times given the location of our home.

So coming back to the query, we are planning to get a small car (Budget max 10 Lakhs) that will replace either Dzire or WagonR and can fulfil the following requirements:

  • Easy to drive and park in the city.
  • Dual airbags (it's there almost on all cars nowadays).
  • Can see bonnet from the driver's seat. Yes, this is an ask from my wife and my father who aren't comfortable with cars where you have to drive purely on judgement like the i10, Baleno, Altroz. No offence to any owners here this is just how they feel comfortable.
  • Good mileage needed as it's a city car and will do at least 1500 to 2000 kms in the city per month. Should I consider CNG?
  • Manual and Auto - both are fine but if it is a manual, the clutch should be light and have a short throw.
  • A car with slightly high seating is preferred as it will also be used to take my mom for doctor visits. She prefers the Wagon R to the Dzire for these runs.
  • Not considering used cars at this stage.

Cars Considered

  • Nexon EV- meets our requirements but is rejected due to budget. Didn’t consider Tiago or Tigor electric as they don't meet our criteria #3.
  • Bolero (wild card entry) meets #3 but rejected due to size. Dad has a liking for this car.
  • New Wagon R - Rejected. Though fits into the budget, too expensive. At 8.6 Lakhs on road for the top-end, this is insane pricing.
  • Celerio ZXI Plus - Similar case like new Wagon R. Almost 8 Lakhs on-road. Has height adjust in ZXI Plus. Considered.
  • Magnite. Too much cost-cutting evident. Wheel well cladding visible directly through the engine bay, no insulation for firewall area, minimal door rubber insulation. Any mild rains might make the engine bay very dirty - need to check with existing owner reports. Clutch - medium throw but hard. Still considering (XV executive - 8.4 on-road Bangalore).
  • S Presso - Meets most of the criteria. But looks are not being favored in the family. Have to add accessories worth 70-80K to make it presentable. On verge of getting rejected but I felt this car fits most of our requirements.
  • Eeco - Surprise entry. Almost everyone liked it due to the ease of driving. Plus CNG option is available.
  • Kiger - Same as Magnite. Family preferred Magnite.
  • Honda Amaze - 10 Lakhs on-road for S AT and less for other models. Has seat height adjust. Not sure of mileage. Top contender now. Manual has a light clutch but a slightly long throw. Rear headroom is in short supply but that's ok for us.

Additional Questions

  • Should I go for CNG? Given petrol prices are going up and up. Amaze and Magnite aren't available in CNG but Eeco and Celerio are.
  • Keep both and add aftermarket CNG to the Dzire and use it for a few more years till we get an affordable EV? Safety worries will remain.
  • With Ethanol blended Petrol coming up does it make sense to buy a current-gen BS6 Petrol car now?

Requesting the members to share their thoughts here. Thanking you in advance.

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

Why haven't you considered the Ignis? I drive one and it's a pretty good car.

If going for the Alpha model, with height adjust, you can see bonnet. I am 5'11" and can see half the bonnet. And mine is a Delta variant without the height adjust.

I get around 14-15 km/l in the city without AC and 12-13 km/l with AC on. Considering your running, I would highly recommend going for the CNG option.

With CNG, the manual will be a better option.

Expect around 13-14 km/l in the city. Considering the price, I think this is VFM but again, your running is too high for a petrol-only car.

I would strike out the EECO considering the point that your replacement needs to be a safer car than your current one.

Here's what BHPian jigar1791@gmail had to say about the matter:

Your requirements directly take you to a desirable city commute - which at this point can be anyone from WagonR to Altroz to the Baleno.

I doubt WagonR to be too highly-priced. That brings it dangerously close to the Swift and Baleno territory. Carwale shows OTR for 1.0 CNG topping up at INR 692,000/- in Mumbai. If you can wait it out until the rumored launch of Tiago CNG automatic, it should be worthy of your selection process - India's first CNG automatic.

Go for the S-Presso if the weird looks are not a concern to you. It's basically 85% WagonR at about 80% of its price.

Your monthly running of about 1500-2000 kms screams for a CNG commuter. Per kg CNG cost is at around INR 3/-, whereas petrol will be at about INR 10/-. Monthly running of 1500 kms translates to a straightaway saving of INR 10,000!

In a nutshell, you can think of WagonR for now, with a serious thought to be given to S-Presso as well. If you are ready to wait out a bit, the rumored Tiago CNG automatic can also be considered once it is launched.

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

I hate to be this blunt, but these are Maruti cars, the cheapest cars on road today. The prices will only go up and not down.

It would be better to sell both cars right now, much before the 15-year mark and go in for a safe car as per your preference. Wagon R also has a factory-fitted CNG kit.

Waiting for a cheaper EV is also pointless because cheaper won't mean in the range of 5-8 lakh. The most conservative estimates will put the number in the 8-10 lakh range OTR.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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