New small car for 85-yr-old dad: MG Comet, Punch EV or something else

He currently uses a 2015 Ford Figo automatic. He likes to try out new stuff and is in great health but I don't want him to encounter hassles with the new vehicle.

BHPian goacom recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

First of all, let me preface this by saying that this car would be for my dad. He is 85 years old, but still in great health. He currently drives a 2015 Ford Figo with an automatic (DCT) transmission. He does not drive very much - maybe 10 km a day. Hence range is not an issue for him.

One key requirement for him is that the car needs to be small as parking can be a challenge. Two EV cars that would seem to fit the bill are the MG Comet EV and the Tata Punch EV. The former is just too small, as there are times when the trips could involve having 5 passengers.

The Tata Punch EV seems in theory to be the perfect size, with the LR having a decent amount of range. It actually is shorter than his Ford Figo and the added height should make ingress easier.

However, I understand that Tata vehicles are prone to having a lot of bugs and issues that apparently never get resolved. I don't live in India and am not too familiar with Tatas. Checking online, it seems that some folks have complained about the Punch EV having all kinds of software issues, with the shifter and some basic controls. The last thing I want is for my dad to encounter hassles like this as he is too old to deal with nuisances like this.

Folks may ask if an EV is absolutely necessary. The answer is no. Still, I think, the refined nature of EVs within this small size would make his experience much better. It would also in theory reduce his need to service the car and eliminate the obvious need to fill it up at a petrol station. Plus, my dad likes to try out new stuff, so this would perhaps keep his motivation to continue being active into his twilight years.

We are not in any rush to get a replacement car, but I would still like to get it done by the end of the year. What do folks think? Is that sufficient time for Tata to fix the various issues, or are my expectations of Tata too high? Thank you.

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

This is the biggest reason to get him a new car. After driving a Figo for so long, let the man enjoy something new! Give him one more thing to smile about.

  • I love the idea of the Comet, but find it too barebones & basic. It will be a massive downgrade from your Figo. Avoid.
  • Punch EV is very good. If you can wait just a year (fresh new launch), nothing like it. The 2025 Punch will be a better car.
  • My question is, why stick just to EVs for him? The Figo is anyway now 9 years old. Instead of a 15-lakh rupee Punch EV, how about a great Compact SUV like the Kia Sonet?

I'd pick between the Punch EV & Kia Sonet for him. Let him test-drive both.

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

I am a fan of the MG Comet, the sheer space they have managed to squeeze inside that small footprint is genius. The car can actually seat 4 adults comfortably, something the Nexon EV struggles to do. MG has been running buyback schemes on the Comet, which makes it a fantastic value. The car is Nano level good for driving and parking in tight spaces. Pls take another good hard look at this little gem.

As for Punch EV LR, it is the default option if the MG is deemed too small. It’s a mighty fine city car, and the rear seating is not compromised like it is on the Nexon EV. More importantly, the ride quality is much better than the Comet. Now, the thing is that all niggles, real and not so real, get blown way out of proportion when it comes to Tata. I am a happy owner of a Nexon EV LR and will recommend the Punch LR wholeheartedly. Go for the top variant with the bigger screen and 360 camera. They are the best in class and make reversing/parking much easier.

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

I bought a Tiago EV for my father as he rarely used his current car.

I would recommend that you get your father to take a longish test drive of the car before committing to this. I made the mistake of making the decision without getting my father involved (was sort of a birthday surprise). Since your father is already used to an automatic, it would be easier for him. My perspective on EVs has changed now. I wouldn't recommend a Tata EV for senior citizens now because of the following reasons:

  • Tata after sales service is not great. A Tata vehicle will have niggles and an EV will have niggles that will be hard for the service center to diagnose and fix (my father asked me to sell the car off, but due to poor resale value it didn't make sense. Plus, I enjoy the performance of the car so thought I'll keep it). If your father has help to keep the car sorted, it might be fine.
  • The car behavior changes based on SoC%. Full charge? No regen (it would feel as if the breaks are suddenly inadequate). Limp mode? Car struggles on inclines and you can't execute an overtake. Then there is the issue where the car leaps forward when you have slowed down for rumble strips or gutters (It is as if the regen suddenly turns off - it takes you by surprise even if you half expect it).
  • The car does a lot of audio cues for stuff and sometimes you miss things. The light on the rotary dial of lower variants is hard to see in daylight. You need to make sure the car is in drive by looking at the MID. I have got myself into some tricky situations when I was in a hurry. Sometimes you might think the car is in drive and merge into the road only to be stuck in the middle of the road in neutral (especially if you were parked on an incline). The car wouldn't let you shift to drive till the car came to a standstill. Nobody expects you would stop the car in the middle of the road suddenly and fiddle with the rotary dial. I don't use the car frequently and that might be why I'm still not used to this.
  • Expenses? I bought the car thinking that the per km expenses would be on the lower side and my father wouldn't be worried about the expenses and would be using the car more. An accident will offset this pretty quickly. The EV insurance scene is still muddy.
  • The car doesn't have a spare tire and one has to use the inflator with a puncture repair kit.
  • Your home wiring and electric supply have to be sorted. Otherwise, that is another thing you'll have to be worried about.
  • You need access to a 2nd car if the EV is in the service center. Diagnostics and repairs related to batteries take a long while (perhaps months). There are no clear telltale signs of an impending failure so no preventive maintenance is possible either.

My father also likes trying out new stuff (especially gizmos and tech) and he never liked the Tiago EV because of the niggles and the EV traits (he doesn't love the sudden acceleration - which I absolutely love. My father used to drive pedal to the metal when he was young - now he can't).

As GTO suggested, since your father has low usage consider ICE ATs. They might be more predictable (and reliable compared to a Tata). Cars like Sonet are loaded with features so there are a lot of things to try and have fun with.

Here's what BHPian KA20NexonEV had to say about the matter:

Having driven Nexon EV for more than 2 years and being aware of some of the minor issues in EVs, I would strongly suggest you buy a petrol automatic car for your Dad considering his age. The reasons are:

  • The charge level needs to be regularly monitored and the car needs to be charged at the right intervals. Connecting and disconnecting the charger to and from the car itself needs a lot of patience, which senior citizens might not have.
  • The charging gun sometimes gets stuck even with slow chargers which will need manual unlocking, which senior citizens won't find it easy. Sometimes the charging process itself will not start due to earthing fault, plug overheating or some other issues.
  • EVs do not have mechanical parking gear, which makes the use of hand brakes compulsory while parking. Senior citizens might forget to pull hand brakes when parked.
  • As EV technology is fairly new in India, the charging and discharging patterns need to be continuously monitored using apps to be sure that the battery is charging and discharging as per specifications. The range shown on the odometer is not accurate and might suddenly drop in the end.
  • Certain features like hill assist will behave differently while navigating slowly on speed breakers which the driver should be aware of. (For eg. in my EV I have observed that the car suddenly accelerates while reversing slowly on a hump in my parking, assuming it to be a hill).
  • Most of the fast chargers in India behave unpredictably while charging, either by refusing to charge or by refusing to release the charging gun after charge. Using different apps for different makes of chargers is also frustrating.
  • Long-distance travelling needs careful planning due to the limited availability of fast chargers on the route.
  • The torque/pick-up is too much in an EV so the driver needs to have good control on the accelerator pedal.

If not for senior citizens, I would strongly recommend EVs over ICE.

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