PS: This will be a long post.
My interest in cars is not hidden from people who know me. In the past I have written about the new Jetta from Volkswagon and the Fiat Linea. So when me and my wife got in to a discussion about upgrading our existing car, I decided that I’ll evaluate all prospective vehicles before finalising on one. I’m done with it now and I have put a comparison chart below based on the parameters on which I evaluated each one. I hope this helps to other prospective buyers like me.
Apart from the above table, here are my two lines on each of the vehicles. Please note that except for Vento and Fiesta, I drove petrol versions of all other models.
1) Honda City: Honda is renowned to produce all-rounders. Without doubt, City is one of the best vehicles on the roads today. Had it not been the high price, it’d have been a clear winner.
2) Fiat Linea: Linea gives an impression of a really big and high value car… and it indeed is. With the features, the look and the kind of comforts it provides, Linea is a great value for money. It is a car you can sit at the back and enjoy. But it you are looking for a great driving pleasure, better look else where. Add to that the poor resale value.
3) Maruti SX4: SX4 is truly a drivers car. It is big, heavy, powerful and extremely steady on the roads. It is also easy to drive and had one of the best ride quality. Having said that, the looks, finishing, upholstery and overall feel does not give an impression of a luxury car.
4) Hyundai Verna: I guess the earlier Verna was better looking than the recent version. Although the car is decently designed and is powerful, the suspension is a bit poppy. I have had feedback from people that it is not very stable at high speeds. My take was no different.
5) Volkswagen Vento: I can not comment on the engine performance as I drove the diesel version. Besides that I found the car to be average in all respects. For the car priced well over 9 lacs, it disappoints when it comes to features. Only place where Vento covers is the mileage and ride quality.
6) Chevrolet Aveo: Many will argue that Aveo is not right option to compare. But I guess Aveo is a much better car than its elder sibling Optra. At little over 7 lacs, it does not provide many great features. But it is certainly good to drive and soothingly comfortable from inside. In fact, Aveo’s engine performance was better than Linea.
7) Ford Fiesta: Fiesta, to me, was a big let down. One, it is the smallest of all the cars falling under this budget. Two, the car doesn’t even look rich. The feature list looks good. But the car is also lightest of all. So ride quality is also not very good. I guess Ford should rethink their strategy with Fiesta.
So in my evaluation, SX4 pips City by a slender margin whereas there is little to choose between the third to the seventh car.