If you are the kind who enjoys rear-seat comfort more than being behind the steering wheel, you need a car that has the best rear seat comfort. Chauffeur driven cars are all about comfort and to a certain extent image value too.
In corporate India, executives of different ranks use chauffeur driven cars. And then there are those who want to make more productive use of their time, and prefer the rear seat instead of driving, as they can get some work done on the drive to and from work.
CarToq looks at some of the cars in India across price segments that are the best chauffeur driven cars. We look at all the cars on two parameters – rear seat comfort and image value. Also read: Best chauffeur driven cars between 7-10 lakh
Entry-level and compact sedans
Compact sedans are entry level sedans that just about cut it on image value. They have a boot and in the corporate world, that translates into a status symbol of sorts. Among compact sedans you have the Maruti Dzire and Tata Indigo e-CS that are under 4 meters in length and are true compact sedans, and are relatively inexpensive due to lower excise duty costs. But in the same price bracket of between Rs. 5 lakh to Rs. 7.5 lakh, you also have other entry-level sedans such as the Tata Manza, Toyota Etios and Ford Classic.
If you take image value and rear-seat comfort into account the Tata Manza probably has the best rear-seat in this segment, with ample legroom and shoulder room. The Toyota Etios comes close on internal space, but does not feel premium on the interiors. The Ford Classic is a good mix – with higher image value, but not that great on rear-seat space and comfort compared to the Tata Manza.
When you look at the mid-size sedan market the choices are even larger. Most of the mid-size sedans also try to please rear seat passengers to some extent. However, if you want space and comfort as well as image, the choices get narrowed down to the Fiat Linea, Nissan Sunny, Renault Scala, Volkswagen Vento and Skoda Rapid.
The Vento and Rapid score high on image value. The Fiat Linea is a good mix of both – image value and rear-seat comfort. The Nissan Sunny and Renault Scala offer plenty of rear seat legroom – something many buyers would appreciate. However, the Scala and Sunny offer a rear comfort fan, while the Vento, Linea and Rapid have a rear AC vent (that blows air directly from the HVAC system). The Linea gets better rear seat upholstery, with an armrest with cup holders and a sun blind. But as far as sheer rear seat comfort and space go, with a premium image – the Renault Scala probably has an edge here, especially the top-trim with leather upholstery.
Among the premium sedans or cars between Rs. 10 lakh and Rs. 18 lakh, there is quite a range of choice to choose from. Cars in this segment that offer good rear seat comfort include the Hyundai Elantra, Renault Fluence, Toyota Altis, Skoda Laura and Volkswagen Jetta. All cars in this segment have rear AC vents. Cars like the Chevrolet Cruze get left out as they are primarily driver-oriented cars and are better self-driven.
The Hyundai Elantra offers good rear seat comfort and leather upholstery with some added touches like audio controls integrated in the arm rest. However, the Renault Fluence with its larger rear-seat legroom, leather upholstery and blinds for the rear and sides integrated into the doors feels really luxurious. It also has a more distinct image compared to the Elantra. The Fluence probably has an edge over the Elantra when it comes to being a good chauffeur-driven car.
Premium luxury sedans
Among the cars between Rs. 18 lakh and Rs. 25 lakh, the focus is primarily on rear-seat comfort among most of the cars features. This segment includes the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Hyundai Sonata, Volkswagen Passat and Skoda Superb. All the cars here have something unique to offer. The Camry for instance has electric controls to move the front seat forward for more legroom. The Sonata has cooled rear seats – with independent airflow control through the seat back and base. The Skoda Superb scores on fantastic legroom and retractable sun blinds, and a feeling of luxury. The Accord is more of a driver-oriented car.
Choosing one car here is a tough choice between the Hyundai Sonata and the Skoda Superb. When it comes to image, the Skoda Superb probably has a slight edge over the Sonata. But in terms of comfort, there’s no arguing with those chilled rear seats in the Sonata. But it misses out on blinds for privacy. And then there’s that additional legroom available in the Superb as well, which gives it an edge here as a chauffeur driven car. Also read: India’s top five best-selling sedans
Which of these would you choose as a chauffeur driven car? Share your thoughts with the CarToq community.