One of the segments that’s showing good growth in an otherwise slow car market in India this year is that of compact sedans – a segment that was created because of stringent excise norm requirements and the Indian buyer’s fascination with three-box cars or sedans over hatchbacks.
What is a compact sedan?
A compact sedan in India is a three-box car that measures under four-metres in length (bumper to bumper), with distinct compartments for the luggage, passenger cabin and engine. These cars have to have a petrol engine capacity of under 1.2 litres or diesel engine capacity of under 1.5 litres to qualify for the discounted excise duty of 12%, compared to 24% to 30% for sedans that are over this length and have higher engine capacities. Also read: Upcoming sub-4 metre sedans
Since excise duties are lower, it allows carmakers to price cars cheaper as well as cater to the Indian buyers fascination with sedans. Unfortunately, this has led to some decently proportioned cars being hacked to fall within this limit, such as the popular Maruti Dzire, that went on to becoming one of the Game Changer cars of 2012. The Maruti Dzire has been selling over 15,000 units a month on average since its launch in February 2012. Also read: Five upcoming sub-4 metre cars in 2013
First mover advantage
The car that actually first complied with the sub-4-metre rule was the Tata Indigo eCS. The car did not have any competition for three years since its launch in 2008, but it got a facelift and engine improvement in 2011, with a higher claimed mileage of 25 kmpl, just before the compact Maruti Dzire came in.
Competition hots up
That highest fuel-economy claim has been shattered by the launch of the Honda Amaze. This is Honda’s first diesel and it could give the competition a run for its money. Read: Honda Amaze VX Diesel vs Maruti Suzuki Dzire ZDI: Features and specs compared! Considering the price it has been launched at, the Amaze makes a good value for money package. Also read: Honda launches Amaze at Rs. 4.99 lakh.
Maruti is likely to hit back later this year with a Facelifted Maruti Dzire coming to counter Honda Amaze.
Upcoming compact sedans
Other car companies are also keenly eyeing this hot segment. Hyundai is apparently considering a compact sedan based on the Hyundai i10. Read more: Hyundai to build i10 based sedan.
Mahindra is gearing up to launch, not exactly a compact sedan, but a notchback – which is one up on a hatchback, based on the Mahindra Verito. Also read: Mahindra Verito notchback launch in April, only in diesel . This car will apparently be called the Mahindra Verito Vibe, and will slot in below the full-size Verito sedan.
Road tests and reviews
At CarToq we’ve done comprehensive road tests and videos of all the compact sedans in this segment. Click on the links below to view or read more about the Amaze, Dzire or Indigo eCS.
Maruti Dzire diesel road test: Maruti Dzire road test – pocket sized fun
Honda Amaze diesel road test: Honda Amaze VX diesel road test and review: An amazing package
Honda Amaze petrol automatic road test: Honda Amaze petrol automatic first-drive review
Tata Indigo eCS road test: Tata Indigo eCS, a penny-pinching sedan
Watch video: 2012 Maruti Swift Dzire video review
Watch video: Tata Indigo eCS VX video review