Snapshot – Budget cars are necessarily small or compact in size. The compact size has to do with two things. 1. Lower cost of manufacture. 2. Excise duty considerations. So, compact cars sold in India operate under the 4 meter length cap. Now, small doesn’t have to be cramped. Examples of spacious cars abound in the Indian car market. We have the likes of the Tata Nano and the Bolt, and the Hyundai i20, which deliver spades of interios volume despite sticking to sub-4 meter footprints. On the other hand, we have compact cars that are really cramped for space, especially when it comes to the rear seat. Today, we’ll take a look at 5 budget cars with the most cramped rear seats.
Maruti Alto 800
The Maruti Alto 800 is India’s best selling hatchback, but buyers clearly don’t opt for this car for the amount of space it offers its back benchers. With an average leg room of 625 mm (maximum+minimum legroom/2), the Alto 800’s rear bench seat is a very cramped place to be in. The likes of the Hyundai Eon and the Tata Nano do better than the Alto. However, the Maruti Suzuki badge on the bonnet, great reliability and low running costs mean that the Alto 800 still holds the aces over its rivals, rear seat space notwithstanding.
Maruti Suzuki Celerio
The Maruti Suzuki Celerio was introduced to replace the A-Star, a car whose rear seat was quite cramped, and that didn’t win it many sales as far as the Indian market was concerned. The Celerio does better than the A-Star when it comes to space offered by its rear seat, what with an average leg room of 650 mm. However, the Celerio is still a laggard when compared with its rivals such as the Honda Brio and the Nissan Micra. With the AMT option in tow though, the Celerio outsells the Micra and the Brio put together.
The seats that the Volkswagen Polo is endowed with are very comfortable. In fact, the Polo’s seats are segment leading as far as comfort is concerned in terms of ergonomics. Where the car is heavily let down though is in terms of packaging. Since the car comes from Europe, where the rear seats tend to be folded to increase boot capacity, leg room of the Polo isn’t its strong suits. Averaging just 670 mm of leg room, the Polo’s rear can get very uncomfortable for taller passengers.
The Fiat Punto is another cramped B+ segment hatchback as far as its rear seat is concerned. With just 720 mm of leg room, the car’s rear isn’t a happy place to be in for taller passengers, especially on longer journeys. One reason for the smaller leg room can be acsribed to the thick front seats. Perhaps Fiat can take a leaf out of Honda’s book and add thinner seats that allow for better leg room. A good bit on the Punto though is its rear AC blower, which does its bit to cool down the occupants of the rear seats.
Maruti Suzuki Swift
Maruti Suzuki bumped up the wheelbase of the second generation Swift, and this resulted in leg room improving. With an average legroom of 760 mm, the Swift is a happier place to be in when compared to its first iteration. However, the car is still quite cramped. The tall window line and the small windows don’t help either. Many find the Swift’s rear seat to be quite claustrophobic. The all-black interiors further amplify this effect. On the whole, spacious interiors doesn’t sell the Swift. There are other reasons for this car’s best seller streak.