Three variants, and two cars to avoid
In our highly competitive market, carmakers are unlikely to make bad cars. So there are nice cars, and some cars that are not as nice; but no bad cars per se.
We point out some variants, and some cars (yes, all variants) that unfortunately make no sense to buy, maybe because their replacements or higher variants offer much more at a slightly higher price.
Maruti Suzuki Omni
Avoid all variants
Sadly, the Omni is way too old, and isn’t a classic, either. Its underpowered, small, and the safety aspect is questionable. If you’re really looking for a cheap people mover, then the EECO makes way more sense, at a slightly bigger price tag. While the Omni continues with a 796 cc engine that makes just 34 hp and 59 Nm, the EECO’s 1.2-litre unit makes double the power – 73 hp and 101 Nm – for an additional Rs 60,000.
Is there any reason you should buy it? Yes. If you do not to go as cheap as possible. Or, you want to own a piece of history. You can still walk into one of the regular MSIL showrooms and walk out with a brand new Maruti Omni. We won’t advise it, though.
Fiat Punto Evo 1.2
Avoid. Too underpowered.
The Punto Evo 1.2-litre has a naturally aspirated engine that makes 67 hp and 96 Nm of torque. That might not sound too bad, but for a car that weighs almost 1.1 tonnes, it’s not really adequate. And since the engine has to be worked hard to make any progress, the fuel economy also takes the hit.
If you’re looking to invest in a petrol powered Fiat Punto, then choose the 1.4-litre unit instead. Or, pick the diesels, they are not that bad. Keen drivers can also look at the Fiat Abarth Punto, because the 1.4-litre T-Jet is a clear match to the brilliant chassis and suspension.
One of the best looking cars, the Fiat Punto Evo, also has one of the best ride and handling package in the segment. But away from the glorious Abarth avatar is
Avoid all variants
Mahindra introduced a twin-scroll turbocharger in the Quanto, which made the vehicle quite quick to drive. However it was the dynamics that took a toll – the Quanto handles bad, and you have to stay away from all variants that don’t have ABS. ABS is the minimum required to keep the Quanto on the road. We’d say, dump the Quanto completely. Instead, opt for the TUV300. The TUV300 might not be as powerful (84 hp compared to the Quanto’s hundred) but it looks slightly better, has a hugely improved cabin, and can also be specified with an automated manual transmission (AMT). At a premium of just Rs 20,000, the TUV300 makes for a better buy than the Quanto.
Mahindra Scorpio S2
A bit underpowered. And smaller wheels too.
Upgraded thoroughly in 2014, the new Scorpio is a better handler now. But the 2.5-litre, 75 hp engine available in the Scorpio S2 isn’t the best powerplant in the line-up. The S2 comes with smaller wheels, too. In comparison, you can spend Rs 60,000 more and get larger 17-inch wheels, a slightly longer feature list, and of course, the 120 hp producing 2.2-litre engine.
Tata Safari Storme
Avoid Safari Storme VX 4×2
There’s nothing wrong with the Storme, really, it’s a good product – a huge improvement over the previous Safaris – and looks good, too. Apart from the improvements made in the chassis department, and fit and finish, the VariCOR unit is carried over from the Dicor, but the refinement levels are better, as well. But it all changes in the middle of the line-up. You see the Safari Storme VX 4×2 costs Rs 13.10 lakh, ex-showroom, and if you add another 16 thousand to that, you get the Safari Storme VX 4×2 with VariCOR 400. Now that’s not just fancy digits added to the engine’s name, it represents the amount of torque the engine produces. So for Rs 16,000 – the price of an entry/mid level Android smartphone – you get 80 Nm of extra torque and 8 hp. Not only that, the more powerful engine comes mated to a six-speed manual gearbox and not the regular 5-speed unit. If that’s not a bargain, then what is?