Good cars & SUVs that deserve your attention

Looking at the recent sales charts, it’s easy to pick the segment leaders, owing to their four/five digit sales. The same can be said about the products that don’t work at all — negligible, almost zero sales. However right in the middle are products with three-digit (less than a thousand) monthly sales. We pick a few of the good ones that deserve the market’s attention now; we also look at why you should still consider them.

Given that they aren’t the market’s favourites, you are more likely to get handsome discounts on these, which just adds to their pros.

Starting with the smallest:

Chevrolet Beat

Chevrolet Beat 2015

An appearance in the Transformers movie franchise might have helped get Beat the global publicity, but it was the diesel engine that made the city car relevant in the Indian market. With 700-800 monthly sales, the Beat sadly no longer enjoys the attention now.

Chevrolet needs to bring a newer version to keep it fresh, but as a product, the Beat still has a couple of tricks up its sleeve: a concealed rear door handle, an instrument cluster that looks straight out of a motorcycle, and sharp styling in a compact package. The 936 cc diesel engine is very efficient, too — it’s claimed to deliver 25+ kmpl — but without being short on poke — 57 hp and 150 Nm isn’t bad for a small car, is it?

Why should you buy it?

Good styling, frugal diesel engine, and all that in a small package that doesn’t take too much space in the parking lot. It also happens to be one of the least expensive diesels.

Honda Brio

Honda Brio

The smallest of the Honda is also a great tool in and around the city. The 1.2-liter petrol engine likes to be revved, and the light controls and not to forget the small footprint in conjunction ensure the Brio is an easy yet fun to drive city car.

Sadly, the market doesn’t seem to understand that — the Brio hasn’t managed to cross the 500 units mark in the last few months. While the lack of a diesel engine is a concern for most, with tightening environment norms, it clearly makes more sense to get the petrol. And only a few engines can trump the one this Honda offers!

Why should you buy it?

Comfortable yet fun to drive in the city; the 1.2-liter petrol engine is an enthusiast-favourite. JD Power ranked the car as best built in 2015 as well as in 2014.

Nissan Micra

Nissan Micra India

As far as mid-sized hatchbacks go, the Micra brand name is huge, especially in European markets.  However the current version has somehow failed to take the legacy forward, although as a product, it’s a neat package.

Monthly sales figure of about 600-700 units is certainly less than what it deserves. The 1.5-liter diesel engine is peppy, and while not exactly a highway cruiser, it’s claimed to return about 23 kmpl, which makes it very efficient, too.

Why should you buy it?

Neat styling, and the peppy yet frugal engine make the Micra worth a second look. It also happens to be the most exported car from India, which talks at length about its performance as a product.

Tata Bolt

Tata Bolt

The Vista-replacement is one of the most refined Tatas you can buy, and the improvement in quality is visible, too. The 1.2-liter turbocharged petrol engine is smooth while the Fiat-sourced 1.3-liter diesel has enough torque to enable fewer gear changes irrespective of the driving conditions.

In terms of sales figures, the Bolt barely crosses the 1,000 monthly sales mark. And that is a misery considering not only is the vehicle a huge improvement on whatever Tata has sold in the segment but also a good product even when compared to others in the segment.

Why should you buy it?

Good amount of space inside, ride comfort is good, too.

Fiat Punto Evo

puntoevo

With a design, solid build, and the charm like that of the Punto, it’s hard to imagine why the hatchback hasn’t done well in the market. Given that the Punto Evo and Avventura aren’t really old, they work well as products, especially if you’re looking for something driver orientated in the segment.

The regular versions (Punto Evo and Avventura) manage less than 500 units every month. With an improved sales and service network, Fiat can surely do justice to the car, which happens to be one of the best products in the segment.

Why should you buy it?

Even in the regular, non-Abarth avatar, the Punto Evo is one of the most driver orientated offerings in the market. And it’s really well built.