How to choose a car that suits your needs

Buying a car can be a harrowing experience. With all the various models and makes that are currently available on the Bangalore market, it is not always the easiest of tasks selecting what you want.

One of the key point to be looked at while choosing a car is to look at your routine. For example, if the primary use of your car would be to get to work and back and not much else, you might consider getting a smaller car like the Maruti Alto 800.

If you need the car to haul a large amount of cargo, consider getting a larger car with more storage space like the Ford Ecosport, a mini SUV, which has seats at the rear that can also be folded down to provide more space for luggage.

Hatchback or Sedan?

A sedan is a four-door car with frames around the windows. A sedan seats four or more people and has a fixed roof that is full-height up to the rear window. The back door is separate and unattached to the roof and rear window. This allows for more luggage space. Example: Tata Manza, Chevy Sail.

A hatchback has the extra door at the back either hinging at the top or the side to allow for extra cargo space. The rear window itself is the part of the back door. The backseat can usually be folded to provide more space for cargo. Example: Santro Xing, Tata Nano.

Sedans usually have more leg space and cargo space. They are spacious and have elements that appease those looking for comfort and luxury. One can choose from Chevrolet to BMW, depending upon one’s budget. They are bigger in length and width and require more parking space.

However, hatchbacks are the cars for everyday use, and cheaper too.

Big car, or smaller one?

In a city like Bangalore, smaller cars usually work best. The heavy traffic and the general difficulty in finding parking spaces in a lot of areas attest to this. Of course, smaller cars do have their downsides. You may not, depending on the model you choose, have enough space for more than between two to four people and very small amount of cargo space.

Larger cars do have the disadvantage of not being able to manoeuvre through traffic with as much ease. However for those with larger families to haul around, they do seem to be the better option. They can range from five-seater cars to cars like the Toyota Innova which seats seven to eight people. These cars also have much more storage space for luggage.

Car Model Body Type LxWXH (metres)
Maruti Alto 800 Hatchback 3.39×1.49×1.47
Honda Amaze Sedan 3.99x.1.68×1.50
Mahindra e20 Microcar 3.28×1.15×1.56
Ford Ecosport Mini SUV 3.99×1.76×1.70
Volkswagen Polo Comfortline Hatchback 3.9×1.68×1.45
Toyota Innova Compact MPV 4.58×1.76×1.76
Tata Nano Microcar 3.10×1.49×1.65

Petrol or Diesel?

One of the main points of discussion whenever you choose a car is to pick between a car that runs on diesel, petrol or electricity, each having its own set of pros and cons.

In India, diesel is usually a lot cheaper and diesel engines provide a better fuel economy. However, diesel cars are priced at a premium, when compared to the petrol variants. These cars also have higher tax rates.

Diesel cars also have higher maintenance costs. However, in more recent times, the gap in terms of fuel economy and noise and heat levels of engines between petrol and diesel cars is starting to close significantly.

When you see diesel cars on roads, you will almost always notice the thick black smoke emitted from the exhaust. Greener diesel has been introduced in foreign countries but we are yet to see a single refinery; at the moment, petrol is the more environmental-friendly choice.

To choose between the two fuel types, the mileage could be the criterion. Petrol cars are much more cost-efficient for shorter commutes, while long-distance commutes can be economical with diesel vehicles.

Environment-friendly cars

For the environmentally conscious, an electric car is a great way to reduce the carbon footprint. Such cars have zero emission. Noise pollution also is almost nil due to the silent engines. The most popular make on the Bangalore market is Reva by Mahindra. Latest model is e20 – a three-door hatchback.

The car can be charged at any 15 amp plug point and has a mileage of around 100 km per full charge. It also has a maximum speed of 80 kmph. Considering its size (the e20 is a microcar and is only 3.28m long) it is possibly the best car in terms of dealing with the city’s traffic.

If you are ready to shell out around Rs.7,34,000 to Rs.7,70,000 for the sake of the environment, and don’t mind sacrificing owning a spacious car for the same price, this really may be the perfect car for you.

Mileage decreases with usage pattern

When you plan to use your car regularly, it’s important to have a car that gives a mileage worth the fuel you put in. Factors such as using air conditioning and other electronic accessories, quick acceleration and heavy or sudden braking, excess weight such as something in tow and cargo racks, driving at extreme high or low speeds, half clutch driving, stalling the car, leaving the lights on – all these tend to negatively affect your car’s mileage.

Car Model Fuel Mileage (city/highway) On Road Price Range Approx (In lakhs)
Honda Amaze Petrol 15.00/17.00 kmpl  6.22 – 9.31
Honda Amaze Diesel 23.00/25.00 kmpl  7.58 – 9.40
Ford Ecosport Petrol 13.10/16.10 kmpl  7.37 – 10.81
Ford Ecosport Diesel 19.30/22.70 kmpl  8.86 – 11.73
Chevrolet Beat Petrol 15.20/18.60 kmpl  4.76 – 6.16
Chevrolet Beat Diesel 22.50/25.44 kmpl  5.75 – 7.33
Tata Manza Petrol 10.30/13.70 kmpl  6.80 – 8.96
Tata Manza Diesel 18.60/21.02 kmpl  7.15 – 9.70
Maruti Swift Petrol 15.60/18.60 kmpl  5.49 – 7.10
Maruti Swift Diesel 18.10/22.90 kmpl  7.72 – 8.44
Hyundai i20 Petrol 13.30/18.50 kmpl  5.82 – 9.54
Hyundai i20 Diesel 18.40/21.90 kmpl  7.36 – 9.25
Polo Comfortline Petrol 14.12/17.24 kmpl  6.88
Polo Comfortline Diesel 19.03/22.07 kmpl  8.22
Toyota Innova Petrol 7.00/11.40 kmpl  12.78 – 17.14
Toyota Innova Diesel 9.00/12.99 kmpl  11.63 – 18.00
Santro Xing Petrol 13.45-14.45/17.92 kmpl  3.76 – 4.85
Santro Xing LPG 8.44/11.88 kmpl  4.83 – 5.09
Hyundai Eon Petrol 17.00/21.10 kmpl  3.57 – 4.80
Hyundai Eon LPG 17.00/21.10 kmpl  4.25 – 4.79
Mahindra e2o Electric 100 km per full charge  7.24 – 7.70
Maruti Alto 800 Petrol 17.00/22.74 kmpl  3.05 – 4.33
Maruti Alto K10 Petrol 15.00/20.20 kmpl  4.19 – 4.35
Tata Nano Petrol 22.20/25.40 kmpl  1.97 – 2.73
Honda City Petrol 12.30/15.60 kmpl
13.40/16.80 kmpl
 8.86 – 13.25
Maruti Wagon R Petrol 17.08/20.51 kmpl  4.65 – 5.63

Before buying a car:

  • Check the actual mileage. Dealers tend to give you the mileage under optimum conditions, which is not practically achievable.
  • Check user reviews for the cars that you want to go for. Check for the negative aspects and weigh them.
  • Consider your practical conditions, like the usage, the parking space you get, frequency of use etc.
  • Check the user reviews about servicing. Many car companies have attractive models, but they don’t come to help you in case of breakdown always.
  • If the price of a car model you are eyeing on decreases suddenly, check the reason. There might be a newer variant replacing it.

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About Swetha Padmanabhan 0 Articles
Swetha Padmanabhan is trainee journalist, interning with Citizen Matters.

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