Compared to earlier times, car buyers in India have a lot of unique choices these days. All the new cars in India offer something for everyone and every budget. Among all car models though, SUVs or similarly shaped variations across segments have become popular.
Traditional body forms are still popular though because the bestselling Indian car for the longest time has been an entry-level hatchback. Since India is a price-conscious market and the majority of sales come from products which are priced under the INR 10 lakh mark, we’d take a look at the top 10 Indian cars in this price bracket. We’ll segregate the candidates in intervals of 2 lakh in descending order. For all car models, we’ll consider their ex-showroom price.
Cars under 10 Lakhs
The Hyundai Venue made every other candidate in the compact SUV segment take notice when it was first introduced. With its feature-packed cabin, multiple engine-gearbox choices and segment-first introductions like a dual-clutch gearbox and connected car technology among other things, all of it helped the Venue achieve high sales numbers. The Hyundai Venue is offered with three engine choices – two petrol motors and a diesel. In addition to the dual-clutch gearbox it offers with the turbo petrol engine, the Venue also introduced Hyundai’s clutch peal-less IMT gearbox which allows the driver to shift gears like one would while using a manual gearbox, without the need to press on the clutch pedal.
Inside the cabin, the Venue offers loads of high-tech equipment like ventilated seats, a wireless charger for cell phones and connected features which allow remote operation of some of the car’s functions. With all this, the Venue is offered in multiple variants in a wide price bracket, ensuring buyers can pick from a wide choice according to their budget and requirements.
Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza
What used to be offered with a diesel engine only before the new BS6 norms kicked in, the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza is now a petrol-only carline. With this change, the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza is now the only compact SUV in the segment to be offered with a proper 4-cylinder engine which suits the size of such kind of vehicles. The Sonet and the Venue do offer a 1.2-litre, 4-cylinder petrol engine but it’s only suited for applications within urban conditions. It is certainly the most refined petrol engine if you consider all of the Brezza’s rivals. Also, for being naturally-aspirated, the motor offers the best throttle response across its operating range.
Couple this with Maruti Suzuki’s service experience which is the without a doubt the best among all the mainstream automakers, and easy on the pockets too. If all that isn’t enough, when it’s time for a change, Maruti Suzuki is still the king when it comes to holding a great resale value in the used car market.
Along with the two options listed above, if you’re after something is styled to please and offers great space along with modern bells and whistles inside the cabin, the Tata Nexon is a great compact SUV to buy and is also the safest among all its rivals. If you wish to be behind the wheel of something powerful and just as safe, the Mahindra XUV300 should do it for you. If you’re after driving pleasure, the Ford Ecosport builds a strong case for itself and if you want a little bit of everything, the Kia Sonet is a new entrant you should be checking out if you are looking to buy a compact SUV among all car models under 10 lakhs.
Car under 8 lakhs
The current-gen Hyundai i20 will soon be replaced by a new-generation model and if you wish to buy the best petrol car under 8 lakhs which is a hatchback, you should wait for this one. The Hyundai i20 has been the segment leader in the premium hatchback segment in the country for many years. Now, with the presence of Maruti Suzuki Baleno and Tata Altroz, the competition has remained steady. However, the i20 has always been ahead of its rivals in terms of cabin quality, features and refinement. So with this new generation, we can expect this Hyundai to build on that.
The 2020 i20 incorporates the South Korean automaker’s new Sensuous Sportiness design language and looks much more dynamic as a result. The new i20 has grown in length as compared to its predecessor and also gets a lower roof, broader body, a bigger wheelbase, and new alloy wheels. The list of visual changes includes revised bumpers at either end, a redesigned grille, a new design for the C-pillar, modern-looking LED headlights, LED DRLs, etc. The rear also gets an extensive update, including new taillights that look quite sharp, horizontal reflectors, and more.
Much like the exterior, the interior also carries forward the sensuous sportiness design language. There’s a sleek new dashboard that positions the infotainment screen high up. Horizontal blades that link the central and side air-con vents, à la the 2021 Elantra, add flavour to the design while enhancing visual width. In continuation of the theme, the door pads sport horizontal slatted elements as well. Four-spoke steering should be a part of the package.
In terms of features, there are going to be some major additions in terms of equipment. For starters, there are not one but two 10.25-inch screens in the new i20’s cabin. Besides the landscape-oriented central touch screen with Display Audio; Android Auto and Apple Car Play support, the i20 gets a 10.25-inch digital cluster behind the steering. Additionally, the infotainment system will now feature connected car technology called BlueLink, which is present in all the latest Hyundai launches. Also included is a Qi wireless charging pad which, when used in tandem with wireless Android Auto and Apple Car Play, would essentially make cables redundant. Other new additions are Drive modes, front-seat ventilation and blue LED ambient lighting for the door bins, central console and footwell.
Thanks to the increased wheelbase, the car offers better space for occupants in its latest avatar. So, in addition to increased space in the rear row, the 2020 Hyundai i20 also gets a bigger boot and improved visibility for drivers enabled via the decreased beltline and a small, quarter-fixed glass window behind the rear door. A lower window line and the addition of a quarter glass are also said to improve visibility.
In terms of powertrains, the model will get 1.2-litre petrol, a 1.0-litre turbo-petrol and a 1.5-litre diesel. While the range-topping 1.0-litre motor will most likely be available with a manual gearbox or a 7-speed DCT if pricing allows, the higher displacement petrol engine is expected to come with a 5-speed manual transmission and an auto box. The 1.5-litre diesel unit is expected to be mated with a 6-speed manual transmission only. Expect Hyundai’s new iMT gearbox to make an appearance for the new i20 too.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno
Like the i20, the Maruti Suzuki Baleno has been around for quite some time too. However, unlike the Hyundai, there is no news about a facelifted Baleno making it to dealerships anytime soon. As of now, like all other Maruti Suzuki cars, the Baleno too is a petrol-only model and is now offered with a new Dualjet Dual VVT engine that is BSVI compliant and comes fitted with mild-hybrid technology.
This new technology with a smart hybrid system feeds power to the drivetrain when the driver demands brisk acceleration. The mechanism features a ‘Torque Assist’ function, where the system stores energy in its Lithium-ion batteries. This stored energy is then harnessed during acceleration, delivering optimal performance without compromising on fuel efficiency or adding additional load on the engine. The system is paired with a brake energy regeneration function. When the vehicle decelerates, the system intelligently charges the batteries, which in turn trigger the engine’s idle start-stop and torque assist functions.
The ARAI certified fuel efficiency of this updated engine has been certified by ARAI for 23.87 km/l. This increase in efficiency is a result of the adoption of an idle start-stop function which automatically stops the engine when the car is at idle and silently starts it again when the optimal conditions are met. The updated Baleno gets an enhanced exterior, which includes a 3D Grille and distinctive Fog Lamps. The car gets new 16″ Precision Cut Alloy Wheels and LED Projectors with DRLs. On the inside, the New Baleno gets a black interior with blue highlights for a fresh new appeal. The upholstery gets a Two-tone treatment and the interior is also better ornamented than before.
The biggest change to the interior, however, is the inclusion of a new 17.78cm capacitive touch screen Infotainment System which accepts voice commands, called the Smartplay Studio Infotainment System. It is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible and gets navigation with live traffic updates. The new screen also functions as the display for the parking camera, streams audio via Bluetooth, allows hands-free calling and relays vehicle information & alerts (low fuel, parking brake etc.). Just like all other Marutis, expect a truly impressive ownership experience which is easy on the pockets and stellar resale value. If it’s the best petrol car under 8 lakhs you are after, the Baleno is a strong contender.
Along with these two, the Honda Jazz is a really strong product in the same class. However, in the same price bracket, if you want something which can carry more than 5 passengers, the Renault Triber is a fantastic value-for-money product. On the other hand, if you love driving, look no further than the Ford Figo. The Ford Figo is one of the last remaining cars in its segment to be offered with a diesel engine which is BS6-compliant. The 2020 Ford Figo is available at a starting price of INR 539,00 and two engine choices are on offer – a BS6 1.5-litre TDCi diesel engine that delivers 100 PS power and 215 Nm of torque and a 1.2-litre Ti-VCT petrol engine that delivers segment-best 96 PS of power & 119 Nm of torque. Both engines are offered with a 5-speed manual gearbox. Along with 6 airbags, the Figo offers driver assistance features like automatic headlamps, electrochromic mirror, rain-sensing wipers, push-button start and scores of other intuitive features.
Cars below 6 lakhs
Maruti Suzuki Swift
One of the most popular choices in this segment, for almost 10,000 over the INR 6 lakhs mark, the Maruti Suzuki Swift VXi is the bestselling variant of this fun, yet, practical hatchback. If you are okay with the base version, the LXi will help you to save some money but cut down on some necessary features. In its new avatar, the Maruti Suzuki Swift has been on sale in India for the last 15 years and with each generation of Swift being crowned an ICOTY winner, it is the only car to win the prestigious ICOTY award three times.
The current generation of the Swift is powered by a 1.2-litre K12 petrol engine that churns out 83 PS of power and 113 Nm of torque. This unit is coupled with either a 5-speed manual or a 5-speed AMT gearbox. In its BS6 avatar, it is still one of the most frugal engines with the ARAI-certified fuel efficiency rated at 21.21 kmpl. But if you wish to buy a hatchback with a petrol engine, Maruti Suzuki’s 1.2-litre K12 motor is the best engine out there in terms of drivability, response, fuel economy and refinement. A slightly updated version has gone on sale elsewhere in the world and is expected to go on sale in India in 2021. All things considered, the Swift arguably, is the best small car in India.
The first-ever Hyundai car to go on sale in India returned in a new avatar and offers itself as a modern, value-for-money car. The hatchback is now BS6-compliant and is offered in four variants- Era Executive, Magna, Sportz and Asta. Prices start from Rs 4.57 lakh for the entry-level Era Executive trim. It goes all the way up to Rs. 6.20 lakh for the range-topping Sports CNG trim (both prices, ex-showroom New Delhi). The hatchback is available in petrol and CNG fuel options.
The Hyundai Santro continues to derive its power from a 1.1-litre four-cylinder petrol engine which is good enough to produce a maximum power output of 68 bhp at 5,500 rpm and 99 Nm of peak torque delivered at 4,500 rpm. The powertrain is connected to a five-speed manual transmission as standard and a five-speed AMT as an option. To address a wide range of buyers, the Santro is offered with a CNG unit as well. With the factory-fitted CNG kit, the five-seater hatchback develops 58 bhp at 5,500 rpm and 84 Nm at 4,500 rpm from the same 1.1-litre petrol engine. However, it is paired only with a five-speed manual transmission. If you are looking to buy an automatic car, the Santo and the Swift both offer AMT gearboxes to fight for the title of the best automatic small car in India.
Hyundai hasn’t brought any other changes to the Santro, and the vehicle continues to feature a cascading grille with chrome surrounds, sweptback headlamps, fog lamps, and a redesigned bumper at the exterior. The interiors continue to feature a dual, black and beige treatment on the dashboard and door trims. The cabin features silver inserts around the air conditioning vents, the gear lever & steering wheel, and features an ‘elephant’ inspired centre console. On the equipment front, the Hyundai Santro gets a 7.0-inch touch screen infotainment system with Apple Car Play, Android Auto & Bluetooth, electronically adjustable ORVMs manual AC, rear AC vents, central locking steering mounted audio controls, foldable rear seats, and a rear washer and wiper. In terms of safety features, the Santro comes with ABS with EBD, dual airbags, a rear parking sensor and camera, a day/ night IRVM, speed sensing auto door locks, impact sensing auto door unlock, and a rear defogger. These are the two most popular cars in cars below 6 lakhs segment.
Cars Under 4 lakhs
What contends with the Maruti Alto with all other small cars in India under 5 lakhs, the Renault Kwid has been a trendsetter in its class, what with its SUV-ish appearance among all other things. The hatchback has been updated to meet India’s new pollution norms and BS6 variants of the Kwid are available across the range, both on the 0.8-litre and 1.0-litre engines. Power output and torque output for these updated engines remain the same as the BS4 version. The fuel efficiency of the Kwid AMT is now rated at 22 kmpl and across variants, the update has resulted in a price increase of INR 9,000.
Alongside its likeable design, it is probably the best small cars in India among all others in the low price car list, KWID offers a host of equipment and features, which redefine the segment. These include the 20.32 cm Touch screen Media NAV Evolution, first-in-class LED digital instrument cluster, a floor console-mounted AMT dial, one-touch lane change indicator, speed-dependent volume control and a boot capacity of 279 litres. The high seating position allows an excellent view of the road ahead making it easier to manoeuvre. Some of the standard safety features on the Kwid include Anti-Lock Braking System with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (ABS with EBD), Driver airbag and Driver & Co-Driver Seat belt reminder, and speed alert.
Renault Kwid is available in six exciting colour options – Zanskar Blue, Fiery Red, Moonlight Silver, Ice Cool White, Outback Bronze, and Electric Blue. Customers also get an option to customize their KWID with an array of attractive and innovative accessories packs such as Essential pack, SUV pack, Chrome pack and Urban pack. It also comes with an optional extended warranty up to 5 years & 100,000 Km from the date of vehicle delivery. The Kwid is also one of the best automatic cars in India under 5 lakhs and a popular choice among all options in the low price car list.
Maruti Suzuki S-Presso
The Maruti Suzuki S-Presso is the newest ammo in the carmaker’s arsenal and unsurprisingly, has been built to look like a mini SUV, in line with consumer taste. Maruti Suzuki has also launched BS6-compliant CNG variants of the S-Presso with prices starting from Rs 4.84 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) onwards. We can say that it is one of the best small cars in India under 5 lakhs segment. The carmaker has launched the option of CNG powertrain with the S-Presso VXI variant, which gets a price tag of ₹5.07 lakh (Ex-showroom, Delhi). The S-Presso CNG is ₹75,000 more expensive than the standard S-Presso LXI and LXI (O). This is a substantial price hike but the economically viable CNG fuel will more than make up for the premium, especially for those customers who use their car very regularly.
The S-Presso’s body and chassis are based on the 5th generation HEARTECT platform and it uses 40% high tensile steel to ensure a stronger, safer and sturdier structure. Mechanically speaking, the S-Presso is fitted with the tried and tested BS6 compliant 1.0-litre K10 engine from the Alto and is equipped with both Manual and AGS (Auto Gear Shift) options. This engine is capable of producing over 67 HP and 90 Nm of peak torque while providing a fuel efficiency of 21.4 kmpl. If you’re after the best automatic small car in India, with that refined engine and the AGS gearbox, the S-Presso is one of the best automatic cars in India under 5 lakhs. Another machine which joins the list is the Kwid, which offers an AMT gearbox which replaces the lever with a rotary dial.
Maruti Suzuki rules the roost when it comes to cars under the INR 10 lakh mark and there are good reasons behind the carmaker’s dominance in the mass market space. With cars below 4 lakhs on-road price, the carmaker leaves everyone else in the dust. The average Indian car buyer’s priority list has fuel economy listed at the very top and most Maruti cars top the charts when it comes to covering the most distance for the least amount of fuel. Along with that, the widest service network across India ensures repairs are easy and overall cost of maintenance is the lowest, which makes these cars a favourite with the crowd. The surprising aspect though is the service experience which is professional and leaves very little to complain, even with cars below 4 lakhs on-road price. What isn’t surprising though is that Maruti Suzuki cars are the best bet if you wish to buy a car which will hold its value well when it’s time to sell.
The Indian car market has matured in terms of choices, however, it’s still the cars below 4 lakhs on-road price mark which sell the most. Given the traffic condition in urban areas, automatic cars in India under 5 lakhs are also gaining popularity as a quick, economical and easy-to-drive choice. Through this list, we tried to cover the top 10 Indian cars which are popular across various segments and are most favoured by people in terms of specifications, price and features. If you have any questions or would like to be a part of the conversation, leave a comment below.