Impulsive car buying means we end up overlooking problems that are possible deal breakers. But by doing so you as a car buyer lose out on a lot of good stuff the competition offers. So if you think the problems can detract you from buying one, the alternatives (and the respective merits) are mentioned as well. Let’s have a look.
Starting with the most popular,
Biggest problem: Claustrophobic rear; Alternative: Hyundai Grand i10
Introduced in 2005 (and then given a major update about six years later), the Swift has been the market’s favourite mid-size hatchback. Good styling, decent handling, and frugal engine options added to the premium feel that the Swift originally brought to the segment. But while accomplishing all that, the rear seat comfort (especially in terms of airy-ness) was ignored. The receding window-line and thick C-pillar add to the claustrophobia at the rear.
But if that bothers you, then the slightly more conservative-looking Grand i10 does it all, but with enough glass around to ensure that you don’t feel uncomfortable at the rear. The interior quality is as good, if not better, and with Hyundai’s wide sales and service network, you are unlikely to feel short-changed in that aspect as well.
Biggest problem: Ride not sorted; Alternative: Tata Safari Storme
The Scorpio, right from the day it went on sale in 2002, has grown to be a favourite among the masses. It’s a step up from the Bolero and isn’t difficult to be drive in and around the city. With about 4-5k units every month, the Scorpio is a very popular choice in the segment, but it lacks a well-sorted ride. That has certainly improved in the second generation version that’s on sale but it’s no competition to the alternative.
The SUV in question here is the Tata Safari Storme. It lacks the snazzy looks of the Scorpio but with its unique styling, has a huge fan following. The rear seat comfort is also insurmountable, and the ride is better, too. Also, although the Scorpio is slightly at ease — in comparison — when driven enthusiastically, the 400 Nm producing Storme VariCOR 400 is the one to go for, if you’re looking for segment-topping power.
Biggest problem: Dynamics, Braking; Alternative: Chevrolet Tavera
With ability to travel on bad roads, unlike any other, the Bolero is the most popular UV in the country. Mahindra offers it in various shapes and sizes so getting one that exactly matches your needs isn’t unlikely, but sadly, the Bolero too has its Achilles Heels. It’s neither very dynamic, nor does it inspire confidence under braking.
The alternative to the Bolero is the Tata Sumo. It’s slightly more expensive but is better to drive, offers more space, and has better on-road comfort.
Biggest problem: Space; Alternative: Renault Kwid
The Maruti Suzuki Alto successfully succeeded the Maruti 800 as the company’s least expensive, and one of the most popular cars in the line-up. While sat at the bottom of the price range, it offers frugal motoring but misses out on interior space.
And that’s where the Renault Kwid excels. Apart from the crossover styling, which ensures the Kwid remains an eyeball-grabber wherever it goes, its more spacious cabin means it keeps the occupants happy, too. Aside from the fact that they’re getting all the attention, too.
Biggest problem: Space; Alternative: Tata Zest
The Dzire is so popular that it sells three times its closest competitor, but sadly it’s still not a perfect car. The Fiat-derived engines bring the frugality and the brand name is almost good enough to buy the car without looking at the competition. Or so you might think, because with a lack of space at the rear, the Dzire is far from the best.
Instead if you look at something like the Tata Zest, which offers the same diesel engine, a turbocharged petrol engine, and more importantly, a lot of space. It’s a great improvement from what Tata has sold in the past, and if you’re looking for something spacious in the compact sedan segment, it’s an easy choice.