Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Shopping for a Small Car

Gone are the days when buying a small car meant choosing between a Maruti 800 and a Zen. In a market full of choices, buying a small car can be quiet a trial for the first-time buyer. Let alone first-time buyers, even people looking for a car change are left downright confused in a market full of small cars, where each manufacturer is vying for the jingling thing in your pocket. Read marketing gimmicks like MUV, NV, Xing thing, German engineering, and More Car Per Car, and the prospective small-car buyer in you sits down to the floor, helplessly.

What do I want from my car?
So what are you looking for? You need a car that is stylish, has enough space for your family of four, is fuel-efficient, has low running costs, is backed by a network of easily accessible service stations, and one that would fetch good resale value five years down the line. So how do you decide which car is worth your money? Read on...

How much can I afford?
At your first peek into the small car market, you will find cars starting as low as 2.6 lakhs to as high as 5.5 lakhs. For this reason, the first thing to do is decide how much you want to invest on your new baby. Setting your budget not only helps you think clearly, but also picks out the cars that fit in your budget. Don't let those loan companies stretch you beyond your budget.

Petrol or Diesel?
Next, you decide the type of car you need: Petrol or Diesel. Choose Diesel, and your choices are fairly limited. Also, you decision for a diesel car should be so only if you have a lot of driving to do.

Diesels in the small car segment can literally be counted on fingers - namely Zen D, Indica Diesel, and Palio D. Although the bestseller in Diesel is undoubtedly the Indica Diesel, customers have their own reasons for going for each one of the other cars.

Choose petrol, and you are back to the sizable list that includes Maruti 800, Indica Petrol, Santro, Zen, Alto, WagonR, Palio, Getz, and Corsa Sail. Adding to this are soon to be launched Ford Fusion and Honda Fit.

Entry Level Cars
If you are migrating from a two-wheeler or a Premiere Padmini to a new car, the Maruti 800 and the Alto LXi are great options. These cars are absolute value for money, have incredible fuel efficiency, perform commendably, and most of all, are very easy to drive.

Premium Hatchbacks
Throw in a few more lakhs and you have the flesh of the league in small cars - the Hyundai Santro, Maruti Zen, Maruti WagonR, Tata Indica, and Fiat Palio. Besides being more powerful than Segment A cars, these cars are aesthetically designed and are available with a host of options and subsequent pricelists. Options include power steering, power windows, body-colored bumpers, booster-assisted brakes with ABS, rear wipers, rear defoggers, leather seats, wood-finish interiors, and sporty gear knobs. These cars have plush interiors and are generally very appealing to the eye.

Big Small Cars
The top-of-the-line cars in the small car segment are the Hyundai Getz and Opel Corsa Sail. These cars, although smaller than mid-sized cars, are meatier than small cars and provide the power that motor enthusiasts crave for. Being small, these can be driven around the city with ease. Being powerful, these cars offer both breath-taking acceleration and breakneck top-speeds. These cars are most suited for the buyer who wants good power and performance in a small package. Fuel efficiency of these cars is best left not discussed.

So what’s my decision?
Summing it up, choosing a small car can be quiet a crucial task, especially if you make an uninformed decision and realize that another car is better than yours. So take your time, do the market research. Get feedback from existing owners. Read up reviews on popular motoring mags. With the correct information and your finest choice, nothing stands between you and your dream small car. Happy small car shopping!


At 1:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

good story. i would like to add that owners' feedbacks of their cars can also be got from the respective car companies' sites.

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