The Indian car market has over 30 different options under Rs 8 lakh (on-road price) and that can put a prospective like you in a sheer dilemma. The entire exercise of picking the best car as per your preference of budget and body type can be a mentally challenging exercise. But fret not, as we have done the homework on your behalf to come up with the best cars you can buy for under Rs 8 lakh (on-road price) in India.
We filtered the list into different categories and picked a winner each depending on various parameters. Some of the car segments like compact SUVs do not allow you to buy all the versions under Rs 8 lakh and hence we have listed the best possible scenario in such cases. Lets start with the segments then:
Best Cars Under Rs 8 lakh : Small hatchbacks
Name: Renault KWID
Price: Rs 3.02 onwards (on-road, before discounts)
Current Offers: 50% Off on 1st Year Insurance + Rs 15000 Exchange Bonus + 4 Year Warranty on Select Model (November)
Versions under Rs 8 lakh: All
Launched in September 2015, the KWID has been Renault’s largest selling car in India for several years. The SUV inspired design has gone down well with buyers and the car looks upmarket, one that belongs to a higher segment. There is even a funkier looking version, the CLIMBER and Renault keeps introducing special editions from time to time. The cabin too excels over rivals when it comes to a premium feel, ditto for class leading features like a touch-screen infotainment interface, full LCD speedometer console, rear arm-rest, rotary knob for gear selector (AMT version) et al. Though the rotary knob does away with a gear lever and hence frees up space, you cannot shift gears manually unlike other AMT cars.
Renault offers the KWID with a choice of two engine options. These include a 800cc and a larger 1000cc motor: the latter is also offered with an optional automatic transmission option. While the 800cc motor is very efficient, we recommend you pick the larger engine due to the extra performance on tap for a small premium. The KWID rides like a mature, much larger hatchback and this ups the comfort quotient by a good margin plus helps a lot while driving on broken roads outside city limits. Renault has been on their toes to launch limited edition versions and new trim levels every few months and this has kept the KWID fresh in the market. With 8 versions on sale today across a price difference of 2 lakh, this car manages to attract a wide set of buyers and remains our pick in the lower end of the Indian car industry. Icing on the cake comes in the form of the standard warranty that covers the car for 4 years or 1,00,000 km!
- Multiple engine and transmission options
- Baby SUV looks go down well with buyers
- Segment leading ride quality
- Segment first features (rear arm-rest, touch-screen etc)
- Small tank: only 28 litres
- Huge turning radius of 5m!
- No visual difference between base and top-end
Latest Update: 2018 edition with added features
Best Cars Under Rs 8 lakh: Mid size hatchbacks
Name: Hyundai Santro
Price: Rs 4.44 lakh onwards onwards (on-road, before discounts)
Current Offers: None
Versions under Rs 8 lakh: All
Hyundai entered the Indian car market twenty years back with the launch of the Santro. The model was taken off the production lines in 2014 but four years later, it makes a come back and how! The Santro got as many as 30,000 bookings in less than a month of its launch and is it already among the top 10 selling cars in India. Launched from Rs 3.8 lakh onwards, Hyundai aims to set their foot strongly in the small car market and also enjoy a first mover advantage in front of the upcoming all-new WagonR that will be launched in 2019. The new Santro is longer and wider than before and has a new design language that would appeal to a wider customer base. It isn’t as tall as before though and alloy wheels on top spec models are surely missing.
The new Santro gets an entirely new cabin that certainly doesnt belong to a small car. It not only offers segment best quality, but a practical no-nonsense cabin with features like a IGNIS lookalike speedometer console, large touch screen interface, retro-modern side air-con vents, rear vents et al. Space is a major highlight here and Hyundai clearly wants to keep their target audience’s families happy. The old 1.1-litre petrol motor makes a comeback but has been revised heavily for increased performance and far lower emission levels : the Santro also offers the most affordable four-cylinder engine in India. This in turn means that on the move and under hard acceleration, the Santro is the most refined with the least vibrations in the segment. That said, it isn’t as efficient as some of the rivals, offering about 10-15% less fuel economy. Available in five versions, Hyundai is also offering their first ever AMT gearbox here on two mid level versions fo Sportz and Magna. There is no doubt that till the new WagonR arrives, this is the car to buy in the Rs 5-6 lakh bracket and ticks all the right boxes for someone looking at a proper mid-size hatchback.
- Best in class cabin design and quality
- Superior 4-cylinder is very smooth
- Good mix of ride and handling
- Segment leading features
- Not as efficient as rivals
- Conservative styling not to everyone’s liking
- Expensive higher spec models
- Missing features (alloy wheels, DRLs, steering adjust, driver seat height adjust etc)
Best Cars Under Rs 8 Lakh : Cross Hatchback
Name: Ford Freestyle
Price: Rs 5.83 lakh onwards (on-road, before discounts)
Discounts: Rs 10K Cash Discount + Dealer End Insurance Benefit at Slight Lower Prices (November)
Versions under Rs 8 lakh: All petrol versions, Ambiente and Trend in diesel
The cross-hatchback segment in India has multiple options. From the most affordable Celerio X to the top end Hyundai i20 Active. But if there is one car that comes across a great value package while being a true cross-hatch, it has to be the Freestyle. It is intact doing brisk business, selling about 2000 units each month. And why not? The Freestyle looks rugged, rides higher, has ample ground clearance of 190mm and even comes with usable roof rails that can support weight of upto 50 kgs – perfect for carrying cycles for example. On the inside, the Freestyle comes with spacious and a practical cabin though we aren’t a fan of the color theme. That said it scores high on storage areas, has great driver ergonomics and gets among the best touch screen interface for the price band.
The Freestyle comes with a pair of excellent engines. It gets the new 1.2 litre Dragon series engine that puts out impressive figures – 96 PS of power and 120 Nm of torque. No auto option but the 5-speed manual works well in terms of shift quality. The engine itself delivers ample poke and is a delight to drive fast without burning a hole in your pocket in terms of fuel economy. The diesel is the tried and tested 1.5 unit that is also seen in the EcoSport and Aspire and excels in terms of low end torque that is necessary for city driving. Infact, the Freestyle is one of the fastest diesel cars under Rs 8 lakh and given ample performance on tap, is good for your weekend drives too. Complementing the engine is the suspension set-up : this Ford loves being pushed around corners or a set of hills and yet can take you to off beat places.
If you are in the market for a petrol cross hatch, the top end Titanium Plus with all the bells and whistles including side and curtain Airbags, rain sensing wipers, auto headlamps, SYNC3 with voice control et al. Thats impressive!
- The rugged design works well
- Spacious and comfortable interiors
- Peppy petrol, smooth gear shifts
- Comfortable and yet agile in terms of handling
- No auto yet
- Petrol engine nowhere as efficient as rivals
Best Cars Under Rs 8 Lakh: Premium hatchbacks
Name: Hyundai i20
Price: Rs 6 lakh onwards (on-road, before discounts)
Discounts: Rs 20,000 cash and Rs 30,000 exchange bonus (November)
A premium hatchback is supposed to offer more space, technologically advanced features, better looks and most importantly, a premium experience that comes from an upmarket cabin, a comfortable ride and classy design. The Elite i20, in our opinion, ticks all these boxes and justifies the word ‘Elite’ properly. Not that the Maruti Baleno isn’t good – but the i20 is just a bit better. Premium hatchbacks are mostly bought by those graduating up from a small car and they do expect a lot!
This is also Hyundai’s largest selling car and got a minor facelift in early 2018 and the top spec model with large alloy wheels does stand out. Step inside and you will continue to be impressed with the quality of materials, far better than that on the Maruti Baleno. And while both cars come feature loaded, the i20 ups the game by providing as many as six airbags, a slide adjustment for front arm-rest, cluster ioniser for the air-con and dual USB ports.
The i20 comes with a choice of a 1.2-litre petrol and a 1.4-litre diesel unit. The petrol offers good low end grunt for city runs though is not as rev happy as say the Baleno. We love the gear shifts from the manual ‘box though Hyundai also offers an optional CVT. The diesel unit is a gem, offering 90 bhp of power and 220Nm of torque. Mated to a 6 speed manual gearbox, it is smooth, has low NVH levels (lower than Baleno and Jazz) and this combined with a mature ride quality makes the i20 diesel an excellent package. It may not be an enthusiast’s car but certainly is a recommended, stylish all-rounder.
- Looks great, especially the top spec models
- High quality cabin with unique features
- Excellent diesel engine, is smooth too
- Hyundai’s proven after sales support
- Still not an enthusiast’s tool
- Like the Baleno, this one too has limited rear headroom
Latest update: CVT option launched in May 2018
Best Cars Under Rs 8 lakh: Compact Sedans
Name: Maruti Dzire
Price: Rs 6.2 lakh onwards (on-road, before discounts)
Discounts: Upto 27.5 cash (special edition) and 30,000 exchange bonus (November)
Versions under Rs 8 lakh: LXI, VXI, VXI AMT, ZXI, LDI, VDI (just about)
Compact sedan is expected to be larger than your average hatchback and should feel like a big car. More features, a better ride, sense of safety, efficient and all this without give you headaches every few months during scheduled services. This is where Maruti knows the country very well and without any apprehensions, we can clearly say the Dzire is the best compact sedan around. And inspite of a limited budget of Rs 8 lakh, you can pick from any of the mid level petrol or the entry level diesel versions. Our pick will be the VXI petrol with AMT ‘box.
India’s largest selling sedan, it garners as many numbers as the next four ‘largest selling’ sedans combined together. This has been the most popular sedan from day one of its launch and the latest version has improved massively. It looks better, though still cant be termed as beautiful, has surprisingly good amount of cabin space and comes with an affordable sticker price. We are a fan of how the cabin looks with the black and beige theme, flat bottom steering, round dials and stand out, tab like central unit. The current Dzire is an all-rounder but remember, the sales figures include the commercial model, Tour, that is very popular with Ola and Ubers of the world. Even then, for private use, its a not a bad deal at all.
The Dzire gets two of the most trusted engines from Maruti’s family – the 1.2-litre petrol and 1.3-litre FIAT sourced diesel unit. Both the engines are known for their trouble free performance and Maruti offers optional AMT with both fuel types, a rare offering for the segment. Infact the top spec diesel automatic is a lot cheaper than its main rival, the Amaze diesel auto!
With the current generation Dzire, Maruti has also improved on the ride and handling parameter tremendously. The steering is light, car agile and yet at higher speeds, the Dzire remains composed. Maruti is even offering ABS and dual airbags as standard across the range. If you want a reliable sedan with space and comfort at this price, look no further.
- Spacious, larger than average boot too
- Highest resale value in the segment
- Peppy petrol, torquey and efficient diesel
- Impressive features, auto in both petrol / diesel
- Base L versions is feature stripped
- Rivals offer better warranty or lower running costs
- Still has the ‘taxi’ image
Last update: Special edition launched in Aug 2018
Best Cars Under 8 lakh: Compact SUVs
Name: Tata Nexon
Price: Rs 7.12 lakh onwards (on-road before discounts)
Discounts: 1st Year Insurance @ Discounted Price of Rs 13000 + Rs 15K Exchange
Versions under Rs 8 lakh: XE, XM, KRAZ in petrol
Moving on from hatchbacks and sedans, you can even look at purchasing a SUV under Rs 8 lakh and our pick has to be the Nexon KRAZ. See, you can’t pick the diesel models but with the petrol unit, the new KRAZ edition is definitely the pick. It looks funky with the new black color, dual tone roof, green accents on the inside and the usual safety kit of ABS, dual Airbags, all four power windows, audio system et al. It is also the safest SUV you can buy under Rs 10 lakh as per the latest crash test results.
The Nexon itself looks big for a sub 4 meter vehicle, essential to massage to the owner’s ego. It also gets a very spacious cabin and Tata has worked hard to deliver the comfort factor. Drive this vehicle over bad roads and you will be impressed with its composure!
The petrol Nexon comes with a 1.2 litre turbo charged petrol motor that delivers 110 PS of power and is mated to a 6 speed manual gearbox – these figures are on par with say the EcoSport petrol. The diesel unit is larger (and over Rs 8 lakh), being a 1.5 unit with 110 bhp on tap. Infact, in the compact SUV segment, the diesel Nexon is our pick. Whats more, its the only compact SUV to offer an optional AMT with both fuel types. Both the engines get driving modes and though aren’t very smooth, offers reasonably good performance for the heavy Nexon.
With the Nexon, you get to own a good looking large vehicle at a value based price. Tata has ironed out niggles and their cars now come with great after sales support too. The Nexon no doubt makes for a good purchase.
- Looks nice for a compact sub 4m product
- Space on the inside, comfort levels
- Drives nice – the modes do work!
- Safe and solid product from Tata
- Petrol engine isn’t as refined
- Might not be as trouble free as the Breeza in the long run
Latest update: Kraz edition launched in Sep 2018
Best Cars Under Rs 8 Lakh: Family MPV
Name: Maruti Ertiga (New)
Expected Price: Rs 7.2 lakh onwards
Maruti will be launching the all-new Ertiga on 21st November in Delhi. When we say all-new, we mean it as the new model not only looks entirely different, it is larger in dimensions and looks far better. The new Ertiga also gets an all-new cabin with new styling and more passenger space than ever before. The new Ertiga will get the same 1.5-litre petrol unit that we saw in the 2018 Ciaz, in addition to the good old 1.3 litre DDiS diesel motor. We will be driven the new Ertiga later this month and do watch this space for more details. But given how good the current Ertiga is, it goes without saying that new model will continue to be the best family MPV under Rs 8 lakh.
Pros / Cons: To be updated once we drive the vehicle
Sales: (old model)