Sedan Cars – Indian Market

Saturday, June 2, 2012

About six month back, we decided to change Hyundai Santro. More than me the demand to change the car was from my wife and daughter. The six plus years old Santro was absolutely fantastic, the mileage I had done pretty less and I did not face much problem with it.

 In the last few years, there are many more choices for consumer for any segment, be it hatch back or sedan or SUV. As a matter of fact, we kept changing our choices, before we finally decided on one.
 When looking at sedan car, we had decided on certain points to look for, 

• Budget – restricted to range of INR 8 Lacs. 
• Elegance and looks.
• Performance in Indian market in last few years and service points post sales. 
• Driving condition and features.
• Mileage. 
• Petrol - I like petrol car pick up, my car usage is pretty less and hence, did not call for diesel car due to higher upfront investment.

 Based on these points had restricted my search to Hyundai Verna, Suzuki SX4, Ford Fiesta and Toyota Etios. There might have been few other Sedan, which could satisfy or even better the above criteria, however due to paucity of time, I did not opt for them.:

Hyundai Verna:
Stunning look and new age design simply ‘sport ......ish’. Nice interiors and many added features, particularly on high end variant. Having used Santro, I was almost hooked to Verna from the time it was released last year.

My budget had to be stretched, as even base model of 1.4 variant was in range of INR 8+ Lacs. Further, to my surprise I did not find many Verna in 1.4 variant on road, it had always being 1.6 variant. The 1.6 variant was costing INR 9 + lacs and definitely not in my expected range. 

The other one, I felt while test driving is that, Verna does not seem to have good ground clearance. The front hood (bonnet) looks longer. With bumper to bumper driving condition in India, I felt there may be issue with ground clearance, particularly the front hood (bonnet) not visible from driver seat.

Suzuki SX4: 
Looks sturdy, can be named .....’man...ish’ or ‘muscle...ish’. Nice interior, seat adjustment horizontal and vertical. Base version, was only in my expected range.

Further, since SX4 is around or more than 6 years, the model change was also in back of my mind. 

Ford Fiesta: 
There are two variant, ford fiesta ‘classic’ and all new ford fiesta introduced last year. The new Ford fiesta have a ‘sport...ish’ design like Verna Fluidic. Like Verna, might have a ground clearance issue, though have not test driven this car. I did not opt for this car on road price was in range of INR 9 lacs.

 The ford fiesta ‘classic’ was in the range of INR 8 Lacs and pretty neat car. Like SX4, Ford Fiesta ‘classic’ model is in market for 5 to 6 years now, hence the model change was in back of my mind. 

Toyota Etios: 
I would say this car was introduced with Indian road condition in mind. The exterior looks good though the same cannot be said about the interior.  However dual colour seat are available from ‘V’ variant, this makes the interior presentable.

 Found this car built with all safety features for the price in range of INR 8 lacs. The 'V' variant is available with alloys wheals, air bags, ABS, which I don’t think any other sedan car manufacturers offers considering the basic points and price, which I had mentioned at the start of the article.

 Importantly, felt it had good ground clearance comparable to SX4 and Ford fiesta ‘classic’. Further, Etios is expected to provide better mileage in Sedan category. Its total weight is comparatively less than most of the sedan, hence naturally one can expect better mileage .

 Finally, decided and purchased Toyota Etios ‘V’ variant and now need to see how it’s going to perform.

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