If you are in the market for a new car and have a limited budget of Rs 4 lakh all inclusive, you still have ample options ranging from the most affordable Alto 800 to the all-rounder Tata Tiago. In all, there are nine different cars on offer and you can even pick an automatic (redi-GO) for just under Rs 4 lakh! The list also includes workhorses like the good old Omni and the versatile Eeco.
We have only included those models and their versions which can be bought for under Rs 4 lakh on-road price. On-road price includes ex-showroom figure, insurance, road tax, registration and other charges. As a rough indication, for smaller cars, on-road price is approximately 8-10% higher than the ex-showroom quote.
We have not included the Tata Nano in the list as production has come to a halt. That aside, you can pick from 7 different hatchbacks and two MPVs. All of these come with a petrol engine with the Tiago being the only one to offer a diesel option, but not under 4 lakh ofcourse. Lets have a deeper look into each model – note that the listing below is sorted by price.
1) Cars below Rs 4 lakh on-road price : Alto 800
Price: Rs 2.87 lakh onwards (on-road, before discounts)
Current Offers: Upto Rs 30000 cash, upto Rs 30000 exchange bonus (November)
Versions under Rs 4 lakh on-road: All
Launched in 2000 as the replacement for the good old Maruti 800, the Alto is India’s most affordable car (Tata Nano’s production has been halted) and the largest selling car in small towns and rural markets. Maruti has sold 35 lakh (yes, 35,00,000) Altos since then in the Indian car market. There is no denying the fact that the Alto 800 is a car for the masses! Bullet proof reliability, low running costs and ease of driving is that the little Alto offers. Powered by a 800cc engine and mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox, the Alto 800 offers surprisingly brisk performance for city runs. Maruti also offers a company fitted CNG kit for even lower running costs and this too can be had under Rs 4 lakh due to the massive discounts on offer.
The cabin, though not as spacious as the Nano, offers a clean design with durable materials. Higher spec models offer integrated audio system, front power windows, keyless entry and a driver side airbag is optional across all trim levels. You can even personalise the car with accessories online and get the same delivered via your nearest showroom.
At this price, the Alto 800 offers an unbeatable package. Its long in the tooth but is still winning thousands of hearts across India each month.
- Value for money, factory fitted CNG option
- Driver airbag optional across all versions
- Light controls make it easy to drive
- Efficient and cheap maintenance cost
- Not a good highway companion
- Not as spacious as say the Nano or redi-GO
- Average road presence
Sales (not available as figures are clubbed with Alto K10)
Latest update: Alto Utsav edition launched in October 2017
2) Cars below Rs 4 lakh on-road price: Datsun redi-GO
Price: Rs 2.83 lakh onwards (on-road, before discounts)
Discounts: 1st Year Insurance + 1 Gram Gold Coin (800 cc) / 2 Gram Gold Coin (1 Litre) + Rs 10K Exchange Benefits + 3 Year Road Side Assistance (November)
Versions under Rs 4 lakh: All manual versions
The second car in this list comes from Datsun and looks rather cute! The redi-GO offers a lot more for a lot less at this price – certainly offers shattering value for money considering the features it comes equipped this. This includes power steering, air-con with heater, drive computer, audio system with Bluetooth connectivity, driver side airbag, front power windows, keyless entry etc.
The redi-GO looks pretty nice for a small car and with generous dimensions, manages to stand out in the crowd of hatchbacks on the road. It even gets slim DRLs or day time running lights up front! While the manual version comes with both 800cc and 1000cc engines, the AMT gets the latter. Its good for 68 PS of power and 91 Nm of torque and has a rated fuel economy of 22.5 kmpl. We like the way this AMT set-up works and this combined with a light steering and high seating makes this a very sorted urban car. It gets a creep function which allows the car to move ahead by releasing the brake – very useful for slow moving traffic. As expected, you can also take over the automated shifts by shifting the lever to the left while in D mode. However, the AMT models start at just over Rs 4 lakh post all discounts and hence do not qualify in this list.
On the inside, the redi-GO gets an all black color theme that is broken well by silver inserts at places. Practical points include open space above the glove box, under the air-con and multiple cup holders. That said, all four doors do not offer any storage space at all. However Datsun claims the redi-GO has the roomiest interiors for the segment. Overall, the redi-GO is a very good automatic urban car that can handle the occasional highway duties too.
- Most affordable automatic
- Modern interiors
- Easy urban car (tall seating, good visibility, light steering)
- Peppy and fuel efficient
- High speed manners
- Interior fit and finish
- Limited network, poor resale value
- Cost cutting evident (single front wiper, non retractable belts)
Sales: redi-GO (AMT+MT)
Latest update: Limited edition model launched in Sep 2018
3) Cars below Rs 4 lakh on-road price: 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 4 lakh on road: All 800cc models
Launched in September 2015, the KWID has been Renault’s largest selling car in India for several years. SUV inspired design has gone down well with buyers and the car looks upmarket, from a higher segment. 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. The KWID rides like a mature, much larger hatchback and this ups the comfort quotient by a good margin. 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. Note that for a budget of Rs 4 lakh on-road, you can pick between the base STD or higher models like RXE, RXL or the 800cc RXT. The automatic (AMT) or the larger capacity 1000cc motor can’t be had in less than Rs 4 lakh including all taxes.
- 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
- Lowering market demand = poor re-sale
Latest Update: 2018 edition with added features
4) Cars below Rs 4 lakh on-road price: Maruti Omni
Price: Rs 3.07 lakh onwards (on-road, before discounts)
Current Offers: N/A
Versions under Rs 4 lakh on road: All
Believe it or not, the good old Omni continues to sell in great numbers in smaller towns and even in popular hill stations due to its small size, large cabin and extremely low running costs. Maruti sold more units in Omni in October 2018 that what Volkswagen and Nissan together managed in the same month. We kid you not! At an on-road price of Rs 3 lakh, the Omni offers you a lot of bang for your buck. The design hasn’t changed at all since its introduction decades back though Maruti has given minor tweaks in the form of matt black inserts up front, clear lens headlamps and better looking wheel covers. The cabin though has got major updates and looks good for the price. Its a very practical place to be in too – for example the high mounted cup holder on the right side, lockable glovebox with an open space on the top, wide front bench with a little central padding for a third person! Space at the back remains impressive for a small car and the Omni can be had in two versions of 5 and 8 seater. The latter option is what we will discuss here and this comes with two rows at the back, facing each other. Feature wise though, the Omni lets you down – no keyless entry, no air-con, no power steering or power windows. The Omni continues to be powered by a super reliable 3 cylinder 800cc engine that offers one of the lowest maintenance costs. Yes, given its placement, it does heat up the front seats but that simply frees up so much space on the inside. The Omni is still a very popular choice for family users looking at a cheap means of transport. No, its not safe but provides ample A to B performance. At this price, you simply cannot ignore the Omni for the versatility and space it offers.
- Long term reliability and running costs
- Ample space four adults and luggage
- Easy to drive – peppy motor, excellent visibility
- Feature stripped
- Not safe at all – no safety aids here
- Engine location means front seats very hot in summers
Latest update: Maruti Omni to be discounted from October 2020
5) Cars below Rs 4 lakh on-road price: Datsun Go
Price: Rs 3.68 lakh onwards (on-road, without discounts)
Current Offers: None
Versions under Rs 4 lakh on road: ‘D’
Datsun recently rolled out a heavily revised version of the Go hatchback with improvements done across all parameters. The car indeed has improved massively and retails for less as compared to the outgoing model. This includes dual airbags, ABS and rear parking sensors being standard across all versions – a segment first. The Datsun Go looks much better on the outside with revisions done to both bumpers, new DRLs and inclusion of alloy wheels. And there are even more changes on the inside – the entire cabin is redesigned and looks nice for a Rs 4 lakh car. Higher trims also get a segment leading touch screen interface that sounds good and works well to inputs. Space up front is nice though at the back, cars like the Santro fare better.
We like the way the Go drives and the reason for this is the 1198cc engine : this is bigger than all other rivals in the price band and similar in capacity to the Tata Tiago. Sadly, no optional AMT is offered and the engine is about 15-20% less efficient than other cars.
The Go comes with a 5 year warranty set-up and 2 years of ’Datsun Care‘ comprehensive all-inclusive car service package that offers peace of mind to customers. Do note that for a budget limit of Rs 4 lakh, you can only buy the base D model that comes with central locking, rear parking sensors, dual airbags, ABS, front power windows and follow me home headlamps. Even air-conditioning and power steering are not offered on the ‘D’ trim – hence its best to ignore the Datsun Go if you have a limited budget of Rs 4 lakh (on-road).
- Looks great for a small car
- Feature on offer : dual airbags, ABS standard
- Powerful engine
- Revised cabin looks upmarket
- High speed manners
- Engine gets rough / vibey at higher revs
- Limited network, brand appeal
- Not as efficient as rivals, no auto option
August 2018: 490
September 2018: 597
Latest update: Launch of new Go model in September 2018
6) Cars below Rs 4 lakh on-road price: Maruti Alto K10
Price: Rs 3.71 lakh onwards (on-road, without discounts)
Discounts: Rs 20,000 cash and upto Rs 35,000 exchange bonus
Versions under Rs 4 lakh on road: All except VXI AGS (O)
Maruti’s most affordable automatic car is the Alto K10. This current generation K10 got a major facelift in 2014 and even four years down the line, looks fresh and appealing for this price. Not as tall as the KWID or the redi-GO, but in smaller towns, the K10 is quite popular. The AMT version gets the same 1.0-litre three cylinder engine as the MT one. This one puts out 67 PS of power and 90 Nm of torque, more or less similar to that of the other two cars in the same price band. However, it feels a tad smoother at idle and on the move. The AMT too seems to have been calibrated better here in the K10, making it perform the best here. Fuel economy too is similar to the other cars.
The cabin of the Alto K10 is a weak point. It isn’t as modern as the rivals and the AMT gear lever takes up a lot of space which means this version comes without cup holders up front – storage space is lacking here.
In terms of space, the Alto K10 cannot match up to the rivals either. Likewise, the AMT is available in one version only and this comes without features like front fog lamps, keyless entry, body coloured outside mirrors and even side moulding. ABS too is missing. This is one area where the rivals score higher points. The only point going in favour of the Alto K10 is Maruti’s widespread network and long term peace of mind factor. For under Rs 4 lakh on-road, you can buy the LX, Lxi or Vxi models after taking into consideration the current discounts on offer.
- Peppy and efficient
- Peace of mind, resale value
- AMT works better than rivals
- Best high speed manners here
- Cabin design is outdated
- No storage space due to AMT lever console
- Limited cabin design
- Missing features (fog lamps, keyless entry etc)
Sales : Alto K10 (not available separately, is always combined with Alto 800)
Latest update: Alto K10 Plus launched in March 2017
7) Cars below Rs 4 lakh on-road price: Hyundai Eon
Price: Rs 3.71 lakh onwards (on-road, before discounts)
Current Offers: Rs 45K Cash + 10K Exchange Bonus (November)
Versions under Rs 4 lakh on-road: D-Lite, Era
A flat cash discount of 45,000 makes the Eon an irresistible purchase in the segment. It continues to look cute and charming in a way with the angular bumper, huge headlamps and even roof rails! The cabin design is still one of the best in the price band. Well laid out with high quality materials, the dual tone theme is broken well with the massive central console with silver inserts. That said, space is not in the league of other spacious small cars like the redi-GO but has practical touches like ample storage spaces, generous front door pads, open space above the dashboard and even a 15.75cm touchscreen interface with phone link. It even features a tilt adjustable steering which its expensive sibling, the Santro does not. The Eon comes with both 800cc and 1000cc engine options. The latter is recommended as it provides ample performance to match the big car feel of the Eon and even fuel economy is satisfactory. Hyundai also offers a factory fitted LPG option, a rare find in this segment of cars. Sadly, unlike rivals, Hyundai is not offering an optional automatic with this car and even the driver informational display is basic. The ride quality is impressive and the car feels like a much larger hatchback on the move. No agile handler this but does the job of a small family car. Light steering, easy clutch and good visibility works well. Hyundai is also offering 3 years of warranty (for 1,00,000km) along with 3 years of roadside assistance. Note that for a budget limit of Rs 4 lakh, only the base D Lite and one up Era can be bought.
- Looks great even 7 years of launch
- Modern interiors, well laid out
- Comfortable ride quality
- Unique LPG option
- No automatic option
- Limited passenger space inside
- Low demand means poor resale value
- Missing features: driver info display, alloy wheels, dual airbags, ABS
Latest update: Sports edition launched in April 2017
8) Cars below Rs 4 lakh on-road : Maruti Eeco
Price: Rs 3.77 lakh onwards (on-road, before discounts)
Current Offers: N/A
Versions under Rs 4 lakh on road: All petrol models
As popular as its own younger sibling the Omni, the Eeco is always in demand in the commercial segment – both for passengers and cargo. In smaller towns, small business owners also rely on the Eeco for their daily needs as well as ferrying their family for outings. For approximately 25% higher cost over the Omni, the Eeco does deliver a lot. Its larger, has more space, a more powerful engine and is overall a much safer car. Plus ofcourse it also gets an optional air-con but sadly that is only reserved for the 5 seater petrol / CNG options.
Powering the Eeco is a tried and tested 1196cc motor that puts out 73 bhp of power and 101 Nm of torque. This engine has proven its reliable nature over the years and is peppy enough for highway usage as well. Infact, the Eeco can hold triple digit speeds all day long!
Like the Omni, the Eeco doesnt get any creature comforts like keyless entry, audio system or power steering. Maruti knows a large chunk of buyers are commercial operators and hence all these omissions. Though the steering is heavy at lower speeds, it becomes manageable above speeds of 20-30km/h. Talking of which, an area of discomfort for family usage is the bouncy and hard suspension. Though this is a good set-up for hauling heavy items or a full load of seven and their luggage, when driven with just a few people on board, the Eeco tends to bounce a lot, thereby making the ride very uncomfortable.
Like the Omni, given the price, the Eeco is hard to ignore but not for pure family use in metro cities.
- Long term reliability and low running costs
- Space on offer at this price
- Factory fitted CNG kit and air-con option
- Design is dated for private usage
- No creature comfort or safety aids at all
- Ride is uncomfortable for family usage
- Engine is not very efficient
9) Cars below Rs 4 lakh on-road price: Tata Tiago
Price: Rs 3.86 lakh onwards (on-road, before discounts)
Current Offers: 1st Year Insurance @ Rs 7400 + Rs 10K Exchange (October)
Versions under Rs 4 lakh on road: Only base XB petrol
The Tiago makes up for almost 50% of the total passenger car sales for Tata Motors. Priced just above small entry level hatchbacks, the Tiago offers you more bang for your buck than any other similarly priced model. And we aren’t just talking about the design that looks upmarket but the interiors that would look at home on a Rs 6 lakh hatchback! Available in no less than 12 versions, 2 engine and 2 transmission options, the Tiago comes feature packed including multiple safety aids.
And then there is supple ride quality that betters most rivals. Drive this car over bad city roads and you will come back with a smile on your face. It also scores over others in terms top notch driving dynamics, good city handling and excellent brakes. The 1.05 diesel and 1.2 petrol engines put out more than ample performance for the segment, while delivering excellent fuel economy figures. Though not under Rs 4 lakh, Tata Motors launched two new versions recently. These include the cross-over NRG and the performance oriented JTP model, thus catering to a wider audience. Note that for this listing, only the base petrol Tiago can be bought for under Rs 4 lakh, on-road – it does not come with air-conditioning but still gets power steering as standard.
- Interior design and quality
- Ride and handling package
- No of variants on offer
- Powerful and efficient engine options
- Petrol engine not as smooth as rivals
- Tata’s small cars are known for long term niggles
- Rear headroom isn’t impressive
- Rivals have better resale value