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Which are the sub Rs. 20 lakh cars that don't reek of cost cutting

These cars were generally thought to be overpriced because the cost cutting measures were relatively few.

BHPian Mclaren Rulz recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

The Indian market has seen some really well-engineered cars for relatively cheap money. Examples are the Palio, first gen VW/Skoda products, the S-Cross, the Punto, the final gen Fiesta, the Yaris, the Jazz etc.

If you read the reviews for these cars, they always had the longest "small but significant things" section. For instance, this quote is from the Yaris' review.

The big wipers have a good sweep and the wiper + washer are whisper silent in their operation. They are more silent than even Audis, BMWs & Mercedes':

Unfortunately, these cars were generally thought to be overpriced because the cost cutting measures were relatively few. It also usually translated into mediocre/poor sales figures. A lot of manufacturers also learnt that this formula doesn't work in India and started downgrading quality levels. VW has been among the worst offenders with the new generation cars having a lot of cheaper parts.

So what cars on sale today have that polished feel-good factor and depth of engineering while still being relatively affordable (sub 20L)?

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

Good question! I've also pondered this too, and only one springs to mind - MG Astor. While it may not be flawless, it outshines other cars in its price range when it comes to fit and finish.

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

MG Astor comes to mind. There is no cost cutting as such. But there are other compromises - the powertrains are average and the suspension tends to gets bouncy at speed.

Mahindra XUV300 is another car with minimum cost cutting. It has superb mechanicals and solid underpinnings, the cabin is well put together with good ergonomics and insulation and the engine is also best in class. It’s only let down by its dated design and ambiance.

The two big Mahindras - ScorpioN and XUV700, there lower variants provide incredible value under 20L ex showroom. Not the most loaded with features, obviously, but you get all the essentials. More importantly, the mechanical package is the best you can buy for this price. The Z4 4x4 diesel ScorpioN and AX5 petrol XUV700 are standout variants in terms of value for money. I have great things to say about both Mahindra engines, which are best in class, best under 20L and also under 30-35L. Refinement levels are very good, suspensions are sorted, insulation levels are proper and road noise is also kept in check.

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

In this imperfect world, our perspective on the Indian car market often revolves around Maruti, which may not be a prudent assessment. While the early Baleno Alpha was once considered an excellent choice, the MG Astor has undoubtedly surpassed it in terms of comfort and technological features. However, I've heard people express concerns about the Astor being overpriced in showrooms, which, in my opinion, is not the case.

If I were to invest my money, I would have opted for the Ford EcoSport again, but unfortunately, it has been discontinued now. The Polo, which used to be renowned for its fit and finish, has lost some of its former glory. Those who remember the first Zen manufactured in India by Suzuki in the early '80s may recall it as a collector's piece. Many of my relatives who owned these Zens would frequently receive inquiries from interested buyers. However, in today's automotive segment, the prevailing trend is value for money (VFM), leading all original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to adjust and scale down their product qualities. Although this is not openly acknowledged, it is an undeniable reality.

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

Hi, If I consider ex-factory price, then Hyundai Verna, MG Hector, MG Astor, Mahindra XUV 7OO, Mahindra Scorpio N & TATA Harrier-Safari come to my mind.

Tata twins may have some QC flaws but they don't seems to have cost cutting anywhere inside out. While MG & Verna hold the most VFM badge & top notch quality inside out, in my view.

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

I think Jeep Compass Sport is worth a mention. When I purchased it, ex showroom was 18.69 with On road @ 22.5. There is an obvious lack of features being the base model but whatever available is of good quality. I couldn't observe any cost cutting during my 3 years of ownership. It is still running on it's original wiper blades which is a first for me considering all the vehicles I have owned till date.

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

Many examples from the 2000-2015 era - the Innova, Corolla, Corolla Altis, first gen Fortuner(except for the brakes and ride), pre - Fluidic era Elantra, Sonata transform, Getz, Accent (in fact almost all Hyundais were there), the old Baleno, Esteem, Zen, Swift, sX4, even the Versa. VW's newer Jetta minus the problematic DSG, and the older Skoda Riders were also good except that they weren't built for our harsh climate.

From whatever I've seen, the MG Astor, Maruti Jimny, XL6 (except for sheet metal thickness) qualify today as well engineered affordable cars despite the heavy GST levy. Toyota is now sadly off these parameters - too pricey for what they offer.

Here's what BHPian 84.monsoon had to say on the matter:

I would add the Mahindra Thar. When it was launched the LX top end was 13.75 lakhs ex-showroom (now 16.93 lakhs) for my Diesel AT with Hard top. Sure, there are some cheap bits here and there but overall, the interior is a pleasant place to be in and everything is rugged and hard-wearing. I have not heard a single rattle in all these 2.5 years, the whole car is very solidly put together. Yes some bits are missing compared to mainstream cars like leather wrapped steering or push button start, but in a hard core off-roader which can also be a daily driver, these are not much missed. The seat fabric is good to look at, the plastics are hard but not cheap and scratchy and doors have a solidity that is reassuring. The hardtop is robust and leak proof and the switchgear is tactile and solid. One of the 4 AC vents is the only thing that has broken and I got it replaced with a Benz-style ones aftermarket that also come with ambient lighting.

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