Here are some very practical suggestions for buying cars in the coming year.
First, do keep in mind that fossil fuels are fast depleting. Sooner, rather than later, before they deplete, electric cars will have taken over.
When you buy an electric car, depending upon which part of the world you live in. If your electricity is produced from cold fired electricity-generating power plants you are not making a contribution to the environment. You are still depending upon fossil fuels.
The worst polluting cars are diesel engines. You can make an immediate contribution by not buying diesel engine cars. Now you have no choice, only a petrol engine car. Make sure that the engine capacity doesn’t exceed 1600 cc or maximum 1800 cc. With the latest technology, these cars can be emitting near-zero pollutants.
So the Mantra for the New Year is quite simple, no diesel car, look for eco-friendly cars.
To my mind, one of the cutest cars that should be available in the near future is the Maruti Suzuki Jimny. It is extremely good looking, will give you a 3-door or 5-door option and a petro engine. It is also very sensibly priced. Also very important it is backed by Maruti Suzuki, India’s largest auto manufacturer and they need no introduction.
Also look at the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza. It is an urban SUV.
The Ford EcoSport has had a very successful run since its inception ten years ago. The petrol engine version would be a very wise choice. Priced at Rs.10-12.00 Lakhs.
A little known name but one of the best-engineered cars in the world is Citroen. The C 2 is a brand new compact SUV. It has a 1.2 litre turbo petrol engine. It is reasonably priced, gives exceptional motoring joy and if you are looking for a pleasant change to the run of the mill cars, this is it. About Rs.10.00 Lakhs
Renault has the Triber Turbo, with a 1 litre turbo petrol engine. This is underpowered but then again, this is the only downside of this French car. It follows up the footsteps of the Duster with its versatility, reliance, and performance. Easy on the pocket!
Volkswagen will be introducing the Taigun in mid-2021. It is a mid-size SUV and will have the Volkswagen dependability, style and a sensible price tag for an SUV. About Rs.25.00 Lakhs
While we are discussing SUVs, many sensible manufacturers these days are offering SUVs without four-wheel drive. 90% of the drivers do not need four-wheel drive, 90% of the drivers also do not need an SUV. Buy small, buy sensibly! This will be your contribution to Society and conserving the environment.
Mahindra has an eXUV 300 electric car. It was showcased at Auto Expo 2020 as a concept car. But it will see the light of the day because electric cars are the need of the hour. For the truly committed environmentalist, this should be the answer. And the price hopefully will be reasonable.
One of the best sellers from the Mahindra stables is the Bolero. This year’s model will be called the Bolero Neo, it will be the same tough as nails Bolero with a lipstick and nail polish job. The chunky, boxy design has a macho appeal. It is also very sensibly priced at Rs.8-9.00 lakhs.
The Mahindra TUV 300 has also had a facelift. It is one of their better selling models but comes with only a diesel engine. Again a price is extremely reasonable about Rs. 10.00 Lakhs for a standard model and just over that for their luxury models.
The cars listed above are all in the Rs. 10-12.00 Lakhs, which I consider reasonable.
Cars like Audi, BMW, and Mercedes Benz offer many versions. They start at Rs. 30-35 Lacs and go up to Crores. They also make huge profits on their spares. The electronic rearview mirror on a Beemer costs about Rs. 65,000. The windshield wiper on a Mercedes can cost up to Rs.6,000. Normal service for an oil change, filter change, wheel balance, a tune-up can cost up to Rs.25-30,000! That’s more than the LPG bill for my wife’s Wagon R for a whole year! Most important LPG cost half the price of petrol doesn’t pollute and because LPG combustion has no carbon deposits, in 50,000 Kms of driving I have changed spark plugs only once.
There are any number of cars which are in the Rs. 30-50 Lacs. Anybody buying those cars will be doing his own research. What I am very much against is manufacturers in this day and age are producing cars with 600 horsepower engine and a top speed of 300 Kms an hour.
You have the Lamborghini Huracan. It has a V10 5.2 litre engine, 640 hp and can clock 0-100 in 3 seconds, Price Rs. 4 Crore. Than we have the Ferrari Stradale SF 90. It puts out 1000 hp and does 0-100 in 2.5 seconds. Price Rs. 6 Crore.
Then there is the Maserati MC 20. 0 to 100 kmph in 2.9 seconds and 0 to 200 kmph in 8.8 seconds. Top speed 325 kmph! Price Rs. 3.0 crore.
Now here is a sensible offering from Volvo, the Swedish carmaker. I consider Volvo to be the best-engineered car in the world, ahead of the Germans. The car in question, the Volvo XC 40 Recharge.
It is the first all-electric car from Volvo. It has two 204 hp electric motors, one for each axle. Enough to propel the car from 0 to 100 in 4.9 seconds.
The Recharge has s range of 400 kilometres. Price Rs.65.00 lakhs. This would be a very sensible buy. Expensive, not really! Hardly any service required. 100% environment friendly, no noise, no pollution.
Here is another reason for Volvo being considered the best-engineered car.
One of the fitments on the XC 40 is a Cyclist and Pedestrian Detection System. It warns the driver of these two strays on the road. It would be a lifesaver in India where jay-walking is the normal way to cross the road and cyclists know no rules. Says Volvo, it is for the safety of everyone. I bet you Volvo could not have thought of dogs, cows, and big black buffaloes.
The Isuzu V-Cross is a life-style pick-up truck. With twin-cab seating, offering sedan-like comfort with an open rear deck. Ideal for farmers, actually anyone who needs to transport goods. Diesel-powered, but be assured that Isuzu makes one of the finest engines. Price Rs 28.00 lakh.
Another sensible buy. The Honda City Hybrid. The City has been one of Hondas best selling cars. It is reasonably priced at Rs. 15-16 lakhs with a 1,500 cc engine with a hybrid option.
Toyota Camry also offers a hybrid option. Neither Toyota nor Camry needs an introduction. One of the best cars on the road. Now with a hybrid power train. About Rs.40.00 lakh.
One of the better buys, Hyundai i20. Extremely well put together, both inside and outside. The i20 is for the discerning buyer. The i20 N Line is a souped-up offering with a one-liter petrol turbocharged engine pumping out 120 hp. On offer is a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic or 6-speed manual. Double barrel exhaust, triangular fog lights. Other features, suspension improved, accelerator response improved, exhaust note sporty sounding. About Rs 10.00 lakh.
Hyundai’s Creta SUV which came as a 5 seater will be coming in a 7-seater avatar? Available with diesel and petrol engines. The 1.4 liter petrol is turbocharged. Priced at Rs.15-20 lakh.
No serious off-roader can afford not to look-see the Jeep. It is the most famous, respected, and oldest name in off-road vehicles. Rugged and reliable, it has 80 years of success backing it. It has a 1.4 liter turbo petrol engine. This should be your choice, not the diesel. Price Rs.18-28 lakh, depending upon the model.
2021 promises to be a year of fun-filled motoring. You will have to choose and buy sensibly.
Wishing everybody safe driving and a wonderful New Year!