“LIVE TO DRIVE” The hatch of my Zen says, It pretty much sums up how cars have become second to oxygen for me! I would like to introduce myself as a amateur car enthusiast following cars right from the days I learnt about them.
I remember as a kid my best hobby was to stare at the traffic, I knew each car by names and it used to leave fellow friends and family amazed. And it still is, I am still very much capable of drooling over the marvellous exotics around. For some cars are just a mode of transport for others they can be life?. I am proud to be in the latter.
The article which follows is concerned with Indian Hatchbacks! Choices to get spoilt or choosing economy is what it tries to explain.
It will have the following indices covered,
1. What makes them Popular in the Indian context
2. What’s expected from them, In short Value for Money
3. How to choose
4. A small list to get started.
What makes Hatches DESIRABLE?
If we look at current scenario there are two types of Hatches on offer. The Fast with loads of power or the economist wonders. But what is a current hit in the market are those which give you the best of both worlds. For eg. The Swift took off never to look back with the Diesel heart which changed the game. When chosen properly hatches are easy on pocket and at the same time keep the Racing DNA in you alive.
Another aspect is their nimble size making parking in the Traffic studded cities relatively easy. This segment makes the A, B and now so called B+ (for larger hatches) segment of Indian car scenario which is the most crowded of all segments on offer. Key to success is easy, Pack as much as you can at a market driven RIGHT price and go a little easy on maintenance packages, close your eyes and expect a hit?.
How much Happiness can 5 lakhs get you?
Anyone wants the best his money can buy. The hatches hover around the Rs.5 lakh area. The Current market hits like Ford Figo and Hyundai i10 start at around Rs. 3.5 lakhs, and stretch up to Rs.6 lakh.
As I mentioned at the beginning there are two types of buyers, the enthusiast and the economists.
Enthusiasts are a little tough to please but economists come easy.
The bottom-line is a reliable car with the checklist ticked in the right places makes the choice for economists. Car ownership is just initiated with the buying process, what follows is a journey with the after sales and the ever increasing fuel costs.
There are well settled Brands like The Maruti Suzuki which monopolized this segment from the past, but with the advent of Companies like Hyundai, Ford and the latest entry Toyota fight to sustain the Heat.
To sum it all here’s a list of what is expected
• Right brand at the right price
• Best fuel economy with great looks
• Space to feel at home in the world on wheels.
How to choose?
The segment is overcrowded is an understatement. The question is a bit tricky, but definitely the solution can be arrived at, here’s a list of how to go about it.
But it requires a few pre-requisites
An average Internet based research and the time for brainstorming along with some driving experience.
Step 1. Fix your budget. At least the upper limit needs to be set to start with and decide if you want a weekend enthusiastic car or a daily workhorse .If you opt for the enthusiastic driver, the choices can be narrowed down easier.
2. Based on usage intended look for size and engine options.
It’s no brainer that diesel is cheaper to run than petrol owing to the generous price difference. With the number of engine options on offer this is a crucial step. In petrol there are two prominent engine choices;100hp 1.6 or Humble 1.2 which does its duty well .In diesels there are turbo charged ones with different varieties like 1.3 DDIS or 1.3 with VGT. Have a look at all and choose wisely.
3. See if you are inclined towards a particular brand, If not start with one, For Eg .Suzuki or Hyundai.
Read about the cars on internet websites and forums.
4. Check the cars in person, what’s brilliant for one can be just average for others and take a through test drive. In test drive check how comfortable you can be considering an average day Scenario.
See the feasibility and affordability of after sales service for that brand. When brand and car is chosen the right variant is relatively easy.
5. Safety can’t be something which we can afford to compromise. If our money can save Lives, why go the miser way? A few thousands while buying can make a BIG difference if the ill fated incidents occur. Sadly in India safety features like ABS, Airbags, and EBD are not standard for all cars and offered only on highest variants on offer. The trend is changing with Nissan Micra and Toyota Liva offering safety for mid-Variants.
A new addition to this list is a checklist of electronic gizmos on offer, from USB to Bluetooth, from simple trip meters to Multi Information Displays, There is a lot more to cars other than wheels and engine. Make a list of must have gizmos and proceed.
The bottom line is if there is a choice to be made between the head and the heart, Go with what your heart says!
Coming to the choices, there are many as per market preferences a few leading one’s are
• means the car is available in that fuel option
It’s a brief Peek into the world of Hatches; there are lots more to them then what meets the eye. Keep all your senses active and make the smartest choice. All the very best. ?