When the Indian government passed a law in 2006 qualifying small cars for a significantly lower excise duty, it inadvertently laid the foundation for one of the biggest segments in the automobile industry – the compact sedan. The biggest beneficiary of this segment has to be Maruti Suzuki. Though the Swift Dzire wasn’t originally a sub-four metre sedan, the second generation model was tailored to that specification, becoming an instant hit.
The third generation Dzire was launched earlier today with a price tag of Rs 5.45 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), which is just Rs 10,000 more than the outgoing model. The new car retains all the good bits from the old Swift Dzire while improving on areas like styling, space and creature comforts. We take a look at the Maruti Suzuki Dzire’s competition.
The Hyundai Xcent is the second most popular sub-four metre sedan in the Indian market, after the Dzire. Hyundai cars are known for their exhaustive features list, and the Hyundai Xcent is no different. Its biggest strength is the list of creature comforts and the comfortable ride. The Xcent was updated last month with a minor facelift and a slew of new features. The range begins with the E petrol variant priced at Rs 5.38 lakh while the top-spec SX CRDi diesel costs Rs 8.42 lakh (both ex-showroom, Delhi).
The Honda Amaze, just like the Dzire, has been consistently outselling the hatchback that it is based upon. Being a Honda, the Amaze demands a premium over its competitors. Prices start at Rs 5.6 lakh for the base petrol 1.2 E i-Vtec going all the way up to Rs 8.53 lakh (both ex-showroom, Delhi) for the top-spec 1.5 VX i-Dtec. Nevertheless, the Amaze has proven to be very popular in India and comes very close to the Xcent as far as sales numbers go.
Tata was the first to move when the law for excise duty cut was announced. The Indigo CS was the pioneer of the segment and had a good run in its initial days. But once the competition caught up, Tata had to give the compact sedan a major overhaul and a new moniker. The Tata Zest boasts of the most spacious cabin and comfortable seats. The base XE petrol costs Rs 4.79 lakh while the top-end XT diesel will set you back by Rs 7.43 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). Tata’s other sub-four metre sedan, the Tigor starts at Rs 4.7 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) making it a really good value-for-money offering.
A disproportionate design is every compact sedan’s curse. A compact sedan is basically a redesigned hatchback with a boot which looks as if it was added as an afterthought. However, the Ford Aspire is the closest any car manufacturer has come to making a proportionate-looking compact sedan. The Ford Aspire also gets the most powerful engines of the lot, both diesel and petrol. It even boasts of a six-airbags system, available in the top-spec variants. Prices start at Rs 5.45 lakh for Ambiente 1.2 Ti-VCT going all the way up to Rs 8.29 lakh (both ex-showroom, Delhi) for the Titanium 1.5 Ti-VCT AT.
The Ameo is the first Volkswagen car to have been developed specifically for the Indian market. It gets a cracker of an engine under the hood, both the diesel and petrol. And the cherry on top is the DSG gearbox. The sprightly handling and the engine makes it the perfect compact sedan for the enthusiast. The Trendline petrol costs Rs 5.53 lakh while the Highline diesel will set you back by Rs 9.88 lakh (both ex-showroom, Delhi).