I have known women who can bring a broken-down engine of the Ford Endeavour down, mend it, put it back without any assistance, and then drive it to the remotest hinterlands just for the kicks of it. I’ve known women who have participated in endurance rallies, and finished on the podium. I’ve also known a girl who has travelled the length and the breadth of the world in a Land Rover Discovery. So the purpose of writing this article, by no means, is to have a sexist view about driving in general. I have utmost respect for women drivers, and I believe they can drive the biggest cars as adroitly as men, and in some cases even outclass them.
Not every woman is a Nellie Bly, though, who would travel around the world in 72 days and leave a trail for women adventurers to follow for ages to come. The lack of masculine physicality along with their mild mannerisms and a taste for things which are gentle and convenient leads to a clear distinction in their tastes of metal on wheels as compared to their male counterparts. Easy to drive cars which aren’t a pain to manoeuvre, with good fuel efficiency, great reliability, tastefully appointed interior and a distinct sense of styling should be the top draw for most modern women. Of course, a tech laden, safe machine with an advanced automatic transmission, ISOfix mounting points for infant seats and a bevy of sensors should make the perfect women’s car, but unfortunately most of those requirements, more often than not are addressed in the premium segment. Premium features come for a premium price, and on a sub-10 lakh rupee budget you cannot have everything.
So here’s our list of the best mainstream car models (only hatchbacks) for the fairer sex. The list comprises cars that are easy to drive, look good, in some cases come with an automatic transmission and would not break on you in middle of a jungle.
Volkswagen Polo 1.2 GT TSI
This one has to be the absolute range topper for an everyday woman driver. To start with, the Polo being a Volkswagen, an authentic German brand, would give you the bragging rights in those kitty parties. The 1.2 litre TSI turbo engine on the car is one of the peppiest and smoothest around. What takes the cake, however, is the 7-speed dual clutch DSG transmission which by far is the most advanced automatic transmission in the segment. In a nutshell, city driving does not get any more hassle free than in the Polo. Another high point is the segment topping boot space of 285 liters, offering the most amount of space to load those shopping bags. Well proportioned, smart looking exterior makes the Polo look like a more premium products than its peers. The interior is equally well appointed, and the audio quality is fantastic too.
Price: 8.15 lakh ex-showroom
Hyundai Grand i10
The Santro and the i10 have been traditional favourites amongst Indian ladies and the Grand i10 is no exception. Offering a smart, European looking compact exterior, the Grand i10 comes across as a premium offering in the first look itself. The rich exterior feel extends itself inside the cabin with tasteful selection of materials. The simple, yet feature laden dashboard is one of the most elegant in among the small car models we have here. The Grand i10 also comes with a 4-speed automatic option for the 1.2 petrol variant. Boot space at 256 litre is one of the largest, too. The ultra light leather wrapped steering wheel wrapped in the softest leather makes manoeuvring this hatchback a breezy affair. A well designed, well-equipped and reasonably priced car with a choice of two exceedingly good petrol and diesel engines – the Hyundai Grand i10 makes for an extremely compelling case for itself as a car for the gentler sex in its segment.
Price: Rs 4.4 – 6.4 lakh ex-showroom
Maruti Suzuki Swift
The Swift has always been a hit with the women, and it still is. Most of even those who didn’t like its oddball looks eventually bought it for its sheer value, convenience and with some insistence from their husbands. Both petrol and diesel engines leave nothing to complain about, the car is priced as competitively as a product like it can ever be, and there’s hardly anything it does wrong. Maruti’s cars are known to be reliable, efficient and are backed by the company’s unmatched sales and service network. A no-nonsense car with can do almost everything you throw at it on a daily basis – the Swift is hard to ignore for the ladies. An automatic transmission would have added tremendously to its appeal for the ladies though.
Price: Rs 4.4 – 7 lakh ex-showroom
The Ecosport is a compelling product whichever way you look at it. Even after carrying the rugged attitude and angular lines of an SUV, it manages to be an incredibly compact, smart looking and manageable vehicle. Driving the Ecosport is not any more difficult than piloting your everyday hatchback, probably easier, with its high seating position aiding all-round visibility. The relatively light (for a Ford) steering and fantastic road manners add further to its refined appeal. Even with its unusually high ground clearance, the Ecosport can give can give some of the best handling hatchbacks a run for their money. The interior is feature-rich, if not the most spacious or elegant. Ford is offering the 1.5 liter TiVCT petrol with the option of a 6-speed Powershift automatic dual clutch transmission, which is by far the best among all the compact SUVs. Naturally, the feature makes the Ecosport one of the breeziest cars to drive in any environment. This is one car which should appeal to the girls who want to carry an attitude of adventure around, without having to pilot an agricultural piece of equipment.
Price : Rs 6.5 – 9.7 lakh ex-showroom
Alto K10 AMT
If you want the convenience of an automatic transmission at an unbeatable price, there isn’t a substitute for the Alto K10 AMT. At Rs 3.80 lakh ex-Delhi, the Alto K10 is officially the country’s cheapest automatic car. The Alto may not be much to look at, even with the recent upgrade, which made it look a bit better and added a few more features to the cabin, but it’s an utterly reliable and easy to drive car, especially in the city. There is absolutely nothing that comes close to this proven workhorse in terms of fuel efficiency. Resale value, too is quite unmatched, and spends on service and repairs are minimal. Want to gift your wife the most convenient city runabout on a budget? Look no further than the Alto K10
Price: Rs 3.8 lakh ex-showroom
Honorable Mention 1 : Honda Brio
Pros – Honda refinement and reliability, automatic option, a design that suits ladies’ taste, easy to drive
Cons – Not feature rich, small for the price, spartan interior
This is our Top 5 list of the best mainstream cars for ladies. You might want to differ, though. Do let us know your picks. Drop in a line about why the specific model of your choice should have been included here. We might just add your suggestions in our list as honourable mentions. Get commenting!