Being a developing market, the Indian car scene has seen a shift in buyer preferences. While the economy conscious still hunt for the most kilometers per litre, the invasion of manufacturers like Hyundai and VW has made buyers expect a long list of features and good build quality (respectively), and even safety, too. Listening to inputs from enthusiasts and fellow automobile professionals, we’ve made a list of the vehicles that, according to them, offer the best build quality, priced under Rs 15 lakhs.
Editor Note – When we say build quality, we mean how solid the structure of the car feels and also how well put together the interiors are. Essentially, the car should give buyers a “built-to-last” feel, both outside and inside. Some cars have brilliant builds on the outside, but the interiors feel flimsy. This explains why the Punto and Linea aren’t in this list.
Hatchbacks – VW Polo and Hyundai Elite i20
This isn’t about the most feature rich vehicles, but both the VW Polo and the Elite i20 top the list in terms of build quality. The Polo feels solid, not just from the way it feels on the inside, but also the way the doors shut and how solid it feels while on the move.
The Hyundai Elite i20 offers a selection of high quality plastics on the inside, and the feature-laden cabin ensures it feels from a segment (or two, maybe) above. It might not feel (it’s still a subjective matter, especially at the level we’re talking) as robust as the Polo but is very close.
Sedans – VW Vento
Based on the same platform as the VW Polo, the Vento too comes with the build quality often referred to as ‘tank like’, so it’s not surprising that the Vento made it to the list. It’s mostly identical, except for more space, and the availability of a diesel automatic.
MPV – Toyota Innova
While the Ertiga (among its competitors) offers most car-like interior, it’s the Innova that gets the vote from both enthusiasts and customers. The fit and finish inside the cabin might not look as premium but the fact that it continues strongly for lakhs of kilometers on the odo, is a testament to the quality.
Mechanically, it’s one of the few vehicles that continue to gobble long distances tirelessly. Much like the Toyota Qualis that it replaced, the Innova too has a reputation of not giving any issues to its users in spite of huge mileage.
Compact SUV – Hyundai Creta
The latest entrant in the compact SUV segment offers a couple of segment first features, and while the waiting period is a bit troublesome, the Creta seems to be a well-rounded product. And being a Hyundai, it had to have the most feature rich interior, which it thankfully does.
Prices of the top end versions might have hit the roof, but there’s a decently long feature list, and a very nice looking interior to back that. In fact, the Creta not just boasts the best interior, it makes most full-size SUVs (from the segment above) appear a bit lacking.
Full size SUV – Mahindra XUV500
Mahindra products, although nicely made, aren’t generally considered the best built. The use of hard plastics is to be blamed – remember the first generation Thar was a disaster! The use of faux wood didn’t help the first generation XUV500 either, but the updated version is some improvement.
In comparison to other seven-seaters, it excels in terms of fit and finish. Whether or not could it hold on as long as a Toyota Innova is something that remains unseen, yet.