Monday, October 30, 2006

Yehi hai Right Choice Baby!

I was doing some research for buying a car for a friend of mine. Thought it would be good to share the li'l homework i did and hence this article.

Well lately, the Automobile industry has had a terrific boom. The automobile market in India has come long way today. Looking back I remember when we had only a few choices to make when one had to buy a car. Infact buying a car in itself was such a Big thing. There was Fiat, Ambassador and Maruti 800. My father owned a Fiat himself which he loved very much to sell for a very long time until we refused to sit in it :-( and he bought a Fiat Palio. Today I understand the attachment he had for the first he bought. I dont wanna sell off my scooty too. It is my first mo-bike. I have practically grown using it.

Anyway moving on.. what I want to say is... Today the market is so different. You have a whole list of cars you can buy from and a whole long list of manufacturers. Like, you not only have a choice to buy a car from its make but also depending on the Body Style. You have "n" choices if you want the Sedan, some more if you want hatch-back type of body style. Then you have vans, SUVs. U name it and we have it all in the market.

Frankly speaking, I dint study the auto market and the requirements/specifations much when my dad was buying a car. I did look at the various options in terms of their make since hatch-back was the body-style decided as it was suitable for my family of four. Also considering I had just learnt to drive, I dint wanna test drive on a big car with sedan body style even though i'd loved to have one. My dad of course did alot of research and we soon bought the Fiat Palio.

Today, market has much more to offer. Buying a car is not an easy affair at all. A friend of mine wants to buy car and asked for my suggestion. Knowing that its his first car and would be using it daily, that too in Mumbai, without any much research done by me, I was suggesting Maruti Alto all the time. I have read a lot of reviews and yes its the best amongst all. But for my own interest, I thought, lets take this one step forward and do an optimum research before comming up with a car for him.

Driving on the roads in a stylish car with posh looks, smooth engine to just sail you through, comfortable seats and some good music playing is what one would love to have. But this is not the only thing you would look out for when buying a car especially when buying a car becomes a requirement than luxury. Yes, I would give anything to get such a car. But when you want to get the best out of your car and its you first car, I am sure you will want to spend some more time and think about it.

Its defintely a game of matching your Requirements and Cost. Its a matter how u can fit in all the features u want an yet get it in a the budget you've alloted for it.
So as i started reading about various cars available today, I must confess it was getting more n more confusing with every next car specifications I read. So I had to restart and this time did it the right way!

I asked myself what kind of car i wanted.. Then saw various models the market had to offer. Now with all the specifications, I made a list of all the features I want in my car. Slowly all the odd ones were out and I think i made my selection.

So what is that I would look out for in a car:

1. Performance
2. Fuel Economy.
3. Low maintance cost.
4. Safety.
5. Comfortable for all to sit. Leg space and space to fit in 5 people comfortably.
6. Brand and its Support & maintance.
7. Resale value.

As studied, as of today the avilable cars for hatch-back are:
Tata-Indica, Hyundai-Santro, Maruti-Alto, Maruti-Swift, Hyundai-Getz, Ford-Fusion, Fiat Palio and coming soon: Chevrolate-Aveo.

Now for daily purpose when you go drivng to your office, first thing you would look out for in your car is fuel economy. Given the fuel-efficiency for the cars listed as per site "Carwale", the milage for all above cars are like:

This is for overall milage (average of city + highways)
Tata-Indica: Bearable but could have been better

Hyundai-Santro: Good enough
Maruti-Alto: Best
Maruti-Swift: Good
Hyundai-Getz: Not that good.
Ford-Fusion: Forget it!

Maruti offers the best milage. If you look closely (on the site), engine power is also pretty neat. In this case its Swift that gives that added advantage while Alto is lowest amongst all. Re-sale value for Maruti has always been the best or as per what i read what most people had to say.
Hyundai-Santro apart from lower milage, has another bad point which is seating space. The leg space for the seats behind is very bad.
Indica is more like a rough vehicle. Its not sophisticated. Hence out it goes.
Ford Fusion is worst in milage especially not worth for its cost.
Hyundai-Getz has good looks. Its stylish. But fuel economy is the lowest after Ford Fusion. And as we know, the word "but" negates the statement made before it, so now, looks don't matter anymore and out it goes.

So I think that the list has narrowed down to a choice between:
Maruti-Alto and Maruti-Swift.

Maruti has good service centers so support and maintainence is no issue there.
Performance for Alto is widely known. After Maruti800 became a National Hit in the small size cars long back, today Alto has got the top ranking.

Now considering the minimal mandatory features we look out in a car like:

1. Central locking
2. Child safety Locks.
3. Power steering.
4. Folding rear seats so that the space can be utilised for other purpose like loading the car wth baggages and stuffs.
5. Power windows (optional)
6. Tubeless tyres (optional)

Swift offers them all. Probably for Alto you will have to re-configure them and pay extra price.
So lowest model of Swift (Maruti Swift LXi) costing a li'l more than Rs. 4Lakhs has most of the features you would want today.
On the other hand, higher end model of Alto (Maruti Alto LXi - BS III) costs alomost Rs. 3Lakhs but has many features you would still want to have. Hence some added cost.

I remember, before i did any research, I kept "advising" my friend, "Go for Alto. Its the best.. cheap and good!". Also coz Sadly i never liked the looks of Swift, I was more inclined to Alto. Of course I don't know how much of my advise he would even take. But now that I had done a li'l bit of homework I think i can backup or justify the suggestion i make this time, than just give one based on the mere looks. I had sorted out what I expect from my car and what the market has to offer, had a good Price vs Features comparsion for the models. And with that, I can only say, "Go for Swift my Friend!"

For all those who wish to buy a hatchback car, a 5 seater, latest, stylish, comfortable and economical car, Swift is a right choice to make!

Btw, for all those who want to do some comparision and a good study of cars, i did find this site Carwale good. Its got some good tips to buy a car and also to carry out research for cars in your price range or specifications. You can compare the cars you like. This is for both Old and New cars it has to offer.
And if you want to sell a car, this place has got all the information for that too.

I had a wonderful time doing this re-search. Hope it was useful to you too!


Suniel Kamath said...

aiy ga kya research kiya hai...U shud have been a consulant i guess :o) .i totally relate to the attachment part ..i was cryin when i had to sell my bike ct100 b4 migratin to aussie land.....hey btw u could have asked me about the cars ....u cud have saved some time cos i wud suggest alto (ZX) i think thats the fully loaded car the true value for money...then there is swift....which was recently launched in india it takes around 6 months in blore to deliver the car after bookin...i dont know wats the scenario now....neway the research was good n how much are the "carwale" paying ya for th publicity :op........have a nice ride of ur life always ....Peace

Arabi said...

another site I liked and which I use is Auto Portal in India

It is simple to use like google;


Shradha Nayak said...

Thanks Arabi for that link. I will go through it too!


Divya said...

Cool research..pretty thorough

Anonymous said...

This simple tool would have eased your efforts

"CarWale Recommend me a Car"

Shradha Nayak said...


Well Yes, you are so absolutely Right! That would have been the easiest thing to do.
But when it comes to, buying "your" car, espcecially when it is not something that is very cheap and you buy most of the time, would you not wanna be sure of what you buy by doing a li'l bit of re-search yourself ?

I mean, Yes, there may be 'N' number of people and sites to advise and give opinons abut what you should choose.. But isn't it better that you not blindly go with what they say or make an opinion based on their sayings and infact do your own re-search to cross check that they are certainly right?

I am sure you don't want to end up buying a car because someone else influenced you so, while you could have been satisfied having bought something you sure felt better matched your requirements !

Anil said...

Theres a slew of new models in the budget hatchback segment coming in 2007, read about them at

Anonymous said...

Hey Shradha,

Thanks for this update.
One factor which you have touched much less upon is the pricing. In anycase good work.