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Reliable & safe car under Rs 40 lakh for travelling post-retirement

We currently own a 2009 Toyota Innova diesel that has covered 2.75 lakh km and would want our next vehicle to last 15-17 years from now.

BHPian CJP recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Hello folks,

Our 14-going-on 15-year-old Innova Diesel has covered over 2,75,000 KM this year, I bought it in 2009, upgrading from an Accent CRDI and a Mahindra Bolero before that. We've been Diesel fans in the family and would love to continue with a Diesel car into the future as well.

Some background:

I am getting close to retirement age, and perhaps have a couple of years of service left, and would like to replace our 14-15-year-old workhorse with something that is a bit more luxurious and can serve as a companion from post-retirement to when I am about 75 years old (isn't that the upper limit for driving in India?) - that's about 17 to 15 years from now.

My wife and I have ambitions of travelling around the country, mostly driving, staying in places which interest us for a few weeks or even months and then moving on to the next destination. We intend to do this hopping for the first few years after my retirement. At least that's the plan, not sure how all of this will work out.

The car (rather companion) we need:

Hence a companion on our travels needs to be built to last, reasonably free of drama or need for roadside assistance - reliable as our Innova has been, simple enough to fix in most states without the need for brain surgeons or rocket scientists. Fairly cheap to run (hence the preference for Diesel), torquey enough and have basic 4x4 capability to drive on relatively bad roads without having to replace our teeth or reset our bones.

We are aiming here for being able to get from point A to point B at relatively decent speeds, safely. Safety is a priority. Something that does not stand out and screams 'look at me' is also another factor.

Good seating, front row for the most part, quiet cabin, sorted suspension and air conditioning. Space to carry a couple of cases and some bits and pieces. And of course full-size spare too!

And finally of course the price - under Rs.40L would be great, even at Rs.40L we will be splurging, but our IFA (independent financial advisor) says that is ok and we will not be left in penury after this purchase.

With all these in mind, we (my son and I) built a short list, with some inputs from my wife. And the list looks like this, in no order of preference:

  • Jeep Compass
  • Mercedes GLA220D (blew our budget - perhaps used?)
  • Citroen C5 (FWD only - cushy ride though, lack of country-wide support)
  • Hyundai Tucson (not particularly fond of this one)
  • Fortuner (too big, too heavy and we will need to replace our bones/teeth at some point)
  • Audi Q3 / Skoda Kodiaq/Kushaq, VW Tiguan (petrol)
  • BMW X1 (will blow our budget)

What we did not consider

  • Tata Safari / Harrier
  • Mahindra (XUV 700 or Scorpio)
  • Force 1 Gurkha

Looking for advice based on the massive experience and expertise here and also whether a used/pre-worshipped car from a higher segment would make sense.

Thank you very much for your time. Any and all help on this is much appreciated.

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

Looking at your preferences and the list of likes/dislikes about the cars in your shortlist, only the Compass stands out. It is a good car and will give you a feeling of luxury. Go for it as long as you are comfortable in foregoing the Toyota hassle-free experience. I am not saying that the Jeep will be bad in terms of reliability or service, but only a few brands can match Toyota in these factors. You can also have a look at the Meridian which offers you all that the Compass does along with a size advantage and will 'visually', look like a proper upgrade over the Innova.

If you can stretch your budget, the GLA220D is the one to go for but it is definitely not inconspicuous. My pick would be the GLA followed by the Meridian and then the Compass.

Any reason for not trying the XUV 700? Is it because of the niggles? If yes, then it is quite a fair decision though I have to say that it does provide the best 'kick' among all the diesels in its segment. I would suggest taking a test drive at the very least.

Here's what BHPian libranof1987 had to say about the matter:

Just get the Fortuner; it is not the best choice, but it is an ideal one. Given your intent to travel the country post-retirement, the Fortuner will get the job done without a hassle or worry. A close second could be the Compass.

The Q3 / Kodiaq / Tiguan / GLA are all nice options, but for a 10-15 year horizon - I'm not too sure. Also, given the anti-diesel climate prevailing globally and within India, are you sure you want to place a decade-long bet on another diesel. You wouldn't want to be stuck not being able to drive into a state/city, say if they (eg. NGT) revise the rule from 10 years to 5 (as they do so randomly in Delhi).

PS: Apart from the Compass and Tucson (and of course, Safari / XUV700), I doubt any of the cars from your shortlist will be <40 lakhs. Or did you mean 40 lakhs + Innova resale?

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

There is no clear long-term future for private cars with diesel engines in urban India anymore. You never know which hare-brained policy from Delhi NCR or Chandigarh gets implemented in other Tier 1 cities. Between 10-year age caps, selective targeting of private diesels and rampant DPF issues on modern BS6.2 diesel engines, buying a diesel car today is not going to be anywhere as stress-free as it was when you bought your Innova a decade ago. Then there is the upcoming ethanol blending into diesel fuel, which is another can of worms. Already, you can see all kinds of E10-rated cars having fuel pump issues with E12 petrol. Diesel cars currently on sale cannot handle ethanol at all.

Net net, from a peaceful long-term ownership perspective, I will strongly suggest that you reconsider your choice of fuel. Petrol and petrol hybrid is the way to go.

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

I would suggest the Maruti Vitara Hybrid AWD. You will save a lot of money upfront which can be used for travel purposes. Gives good mileage and Maruti service network is good. Give it a thought.

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

For all the features and luxury that the cars in the list offer, I will still say - back to Hycross. The Fortuner can be the reliable upgrade there, but like you said - it's too big. The Innova again, top end, and you can do a deja-vu of the audio upgrades if you want to.

Driven well, those Innovas can take you to the Himalayas and back. Just go and check the number of cabs that do duty there. I don't think you are into off-roading, to be looking for a 4x4.

I know it'll be a repeat, but the new one will definitely be a better and newer version of the good old Innova that you have.

I could have suggested the Hilux as a change in body style but with the same muscle and bone underneath, but I don't think you are looking for another Fury to carry in the back to use when you go touring.

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