Rs 5 lakh budget: A well-handling used car for the highway

I had considered the 2012-13 Honda City and facelifted Maruti SX4 but I just wanted to confirm if there are any other contenders?

BHPian theAutomaniac recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Greetings fellow BHPians, today I need your advice to help me find a used car for Rs 3-5 lakh which can handle highway duties and has a decent number of features.

Currently, I use a Bajaj V15 for my college commutes and highway duties, while my father owns a 2015 Maruti Suzuki Dzire VXI. We had initially planned to get a mid-size SUV for Rs 15 lakhs (the Dzire would have been mine, in that case) but that won't be possible until mid-2022 due to lack of reliable, VFM and trustworthy SUVs in the mid-size category (Koreans and MG Hector aren't much trustworthy and the German duo and MG Astor are too new to be the Dzire's trustworthy garage-mate).

Now, here are the qualities I desire my new car should have:

  • Should be petrol because diesel is not preferred by my family members and also because my running is just 500 - 1000 km every month.
  • Should have basic features at least- By basic features, I mean power windows, ORVMs with electric adjust, Bluetooth connectivity, dual airbags, ABS and EBD.
  • Should have good driving manners and should be practical enough.
  • The car should be reliable enough, as I plan to keep it for 3 - 4 years before I buy my first new car.
  • Shouldn't be the Swift as we already have the Dzire at home.

I had considered the 2012-13 Honda City and facelifted Maruti SX4 but I just wanted to confirm if there are any other cars that fit the requirement better?

Please, also give a little brief about the pros and cons of the cars you suggest.

Here's what BHPian akshay4587 had to say on the matter:

In your budget, I would recommend what you have already thought of, a Honda City. It's reliable, safe, fuel-efficient and an able performer.

Another option could be a VW Vento / Skoda Rapid 1.6 MPi if you aren't averse to Europeans.

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

Honda City all the way. Mileage can be any amount, just look for a car that is well cared for and in great nick. That generation Honda City was very well built and has clean lines. It's a very enjoyable car to drive. Very spacious with a huge boot. It has poor NVH, low ground clearance and very light build compared to Vento, etc. but that is a reasonable compromise given the overall package.

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

I recommend you to get a well-maintained ninth-generation Toyota Corolla. From my point of view, this is the best-used car that one can buy with a tight budget of ₹ 2-3lakhs. It is a sedate looking car from the outside, you may feel bored of its exterior design for sure. Inside, the overall layout is typical Toyota. Everything feels good to touch and everything is clearly laid out. The beige + grey dashboard, soft-touch materials, wooden-finished centre console and door trims, illuminated key ring, etc., feels premium even in 2021. It is not much spacious as the latest generations of City and Verna, but still, the amount of legroom offered by the Corolla is adequate. The middle floor hump is a bit tall, so the middle passenger has to place his feet on either side of the hump to sit comfortably. Boot space also is fairly decent for an executive sedan from the 2000s.

The free-revving motor develops 125 BHP if I am not wrong. Power comes at higher rpm like a typical Japanese engine, but remember, it was the highest in the C and C+ segments back then. Power delivery is smooth and the engine makes it known that there's lots of juice to play with. Take it to some highways, it will move breezily, touching high speeds without any fuss. Put it in fifth, and the engine ticks along merrily, enough pulling power is there to make it driveable. Speaking of which, in spite of the higher revs, the car is quite manageable in a city's stop-and-go environment. It is quite similar to the Gen 1 City VTEC that way, where keeping the revs high becomes something you get used to eventually. The manual gearbox is sure-slotting, some may find the gear lever placed a little too high for comfort. Also, the hydraulic power steering unit provides great feedback at corners.

Now, let me list down its pros and cons:


  • Bulletproof reliability and trouble-free ownership
  • Premium-looking airy interiors
  • Easy ingress and egress for aged people
  • Decent ground clearance
  • XL-sized boot
  • Superb free-revving petrol engine
  • Mature ride quality
  • All-wheel disc brakes
  • Super VFM buy as a used car


  • Sober-looking exterior
  • Misses out auto-dimming IRVM, rear air-con vents, USB ports, reach-adjustable steering, etc.
  • Spares are not much cheap as that of Qualis and Innova

If you're interested in Corolla, get a post-2005 H5. These facelifted models have LED taillamps, steering wheel audio controls, printed antenna, auto headlamps and improved suspension. Also, additional insulation pads were added for better NVH levels in the facelift.

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

For highway usage, safety & sorted road manners are important. I would consider a Corolla Altis, Honda City, Etios, EcoSport, S-Cross etc. The Altis is particularly tempting as it runs forever. I have yet to meet an unhappy Corolla owner, and that includes those running 15-year old cars like Mod Aditya. Can't go wrong with a Honda City either.

The Corolla & City would be my top 2 choices. I would shortlist Civics as well; will be more fun than a Corolla, but nowhere as practical (poor low end torque, low seating, GC, okay boot).

With a limited budget of 3 - 5 lakhs, the condition of the car is more important than the model. E.g. if I find an immaculate City and an above-average Corolla, I'd go for the Honda. Shop wisely. And if you find a good car, close it fast. It's a seller's market out there.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

Driven by india