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Which car is ideal for you? A checklist

September 24, 2009 15:14 IST

Planning to buy a new car? Confused as to what type suits you and which model to buy? This is a ready reckoner for models available in India.

In choosing the right car for yourself you need to answer two fundamental questions:

  • What is the main need for your car?
  • What is the budget you have to buy your new car?

Once the above two questions are answered reasonably, it easier to zero-in on the model that will satisfy your requirement.

What is the need for the car?

Some of the answers for the above question could range from; for basic transportation for one individual, as a family car for a family of four, for adventure activities like mountain driving et cetera, for a big family of 8-10 people, for commercial uses like a taxi, as a luxury statement, for using on weekends or leisure travel.

A very Indian concept is that the above mentioned uses might overlap as we are still to become a society where we have 3 cars in the house; each for a specific purpose.

The answer to the second question could be broad ranging. Rs 1-2 lakh, Rs 2-3 lakh, Rs 3-4 lakh and so on. With the influx of numerous car manufacturers in the country and the huge number of models that they have launched, it has become possible even to have multiple choices in a price band of Rs 50,000. Say 450,000 to 500,000.

Let's now take a closer look at the choices we have.

Basic usage: A car for a single user. Say an executive of a company driving on company work, a student going to college, a housewife using a car for household purchases and dropping children at school. This requires a compact car, with space of four people to sit comfortably and also one which is a no-hassles car.

The ideal car would be one of the entry level models as the car usage will not justify a big/expensive car.

The models available in India to satisfy this need in the sub-Rs 4 lakh range are:

  • Maruti: M800, Alto, A-Star, Zen Estilo, Wagon R
  • Fiat: Palio, Punto
  • Chevrolet: Spark, U-VA
  • Hyundai: Getz, Santro, i-10
  • Tata: Indica, Nano

Similarly for the same need if the budget is around Rs 4-6 lakh, then the models available in India are:

  • Ford: Ikon, Fiesta (basic), Fusion
  • Maruti: Swift
  • Chevrolet: Aveo
  • Hyundai: i20, Accent, Verna
  • Mahindra Renault: Logan
  • Skoda: Fabia
  • Tata: Indigo
  • Honda: Jazz
  • Mitsubishi: Lancer

Big family car: Van or Pick-up?

If the number of members in the family is above four, then it would be more apt to go in for a larger car or a Van. This will ensure that everyone can sit comfortably and there is also space for any luggage or shopping which can be kept in the car.

The options available in the Indian market for this category are:

  • Tata: Sumo, Safari
  • Toyota: Innova
  • Maruti: Versa
  • Mahindra & Mahindra: Xylo, Scorpio, Bolero
  • Chevrolet: Tavera

Style statement

When you have quite a bigger amount of money to spare on buying a car or rather as they say, you have arrived in life; it's time for a luxury sedan or at least a sedan.

The price range could be Rs 8 lakh to Rs 15 lakh for this category. The cars are longer, more spacious and the price tag is higher on account of the luxuries included and for the designs of the car.

The seating would mainly be suitable for four people comfortably. This is the second biggest category of cars available in the Indian market.

The choices available in the Sedan category in India are:

  • Fiat: 500
  • Ford: Fiesta (higher end)
  • Chevrolet: Optra, SR-V
  • Honda: City, Civic
  • Mitsubishi: Cedia
  • Skoda: Laura, Octavia
  • Tata: Safari
  • Toyota: Corolla

Man among machines

If the need is only a car that is a macho statement and the budget is not much of an issue, then the segment suited for you is the SUV segment.

SUV stands for Sports Utility Vehicle and the cars are usually mean looking machines with a macho touch. The space for passengers is larger and can usually accommodate at least 7 people comfortably. The price tags range from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 50 lakh on average.

The models available in India in the SUV segment are:

  • Volvo: XC90
  • Volkswagen: Touareg
  • Toyota: Land Cruiser
  • Nissan: X-Trail
  • Mitsubishi: Pajero, Outlander, Montero
  • Mercedes: M-Class
  • Hyundai: Tucson
  • Honda: CR-V
  • Chevrolet: Captiva
  • Maruti: Grand Vitara

Load bearer

Some of us may need vehicles which are only for lugging loads from point A-B and not to be looked as a car. Ideally this is a vehicle with a lot of space for keep material and capacity to seat 2 persons at the max.

The car might not be taken/driven to a function's front entrance but might be suitable to carry material to the rear gate. Some models available in India in this category:

  • Maruti: Omni
  • Mahindra: Getaway, Bolero
  • Tata: Sumo, Xenon
  • ICML: Rhino

As seen from the above discussions, the Indian customer is spoilt for choices when choosing a car to satisfy his/her needs. There are many models in the Rs 30 lakh-plus category which are vehicles which are purely brought for the luxury of style value than purpose of use.

The reasons why people will buy these vehicles are for the fact that they have arrived in life many years ago and it's time to splurge on luxuries. Keep an eye on this column to get an analysis of cars available in that segment too. Happy driving!

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