Engine & Transmission
Timely services will keep a motor efficient and in top shape.
The official title given by the manufacturer in terms of the name of the engine, the displacement and the number of cylinders.
A bigger displacement and more than four-cylinders generally indicate a performance-oriented engine.
All cars in India either run on petrol, diesel, CNG, LPG or electric power.
Gives a good idea of the performance of the vehicle under full thrust. A higher figure here usually means a higher top speed as well.
Higher the power, the peppier the engine but it can also affect fuel economy.
Relates to in-gear acceleration. A higher figure here means better roll-on acceleration, fewer gear shifts, and possibly better fuel efficiency.
The more torque at low RPM range makes the engine feel more responsive. It also allows the engine to run smoothly without too many gear changes.
This is the maximum fuel efficiency that an engine gives. All numbers are provided by the manufacturer based on tests conducted and specified by the standards of the ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India)
Such fuel efficiency attained while driving in special conditions makes it unlikely to get it in real-world conditions
Approximate maximum number of kilometers which can be traveled on a full tank of fuel or fully charged battery
Cars come with different drivetrain configurations depending on the segment.
Front-wheel drive (FWD) is most common in mainstream cars while expensive cars or SUVs come with rear-wheel drive (RWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD).
Type of transmission used to transfer power from the engine to the wheels
A manually operated transmission is the most popular type, thanks to its simplicity and low cost. Varied types of automatic transmissions are also available.
Set by the Indian Government, this governs the amount of air pollutants released by cars to make the atmosphere safer for humans.
Manufacturers today offer turbochargers to boost engine power without affecting its fuel economy. Superchargers are found in more expensive cars but on the downside, they are not very efficient.
Turbochargers are more effective but require plenty of heat management. Superchargers, meanwhile, offer linear bump in power but they are comparatively more complex.
Dimensions & Weight
The length of the car decides its segment. In India, cars that are less than 4 metres in length enjoy reduced excise duties.
Longer length results in more cabin space. It also adds to straight line stability.
A car's width is defined as its widest point without its mirrors.
Although more width gives you more lateral space inside the cabin, it makes the car more difficult to park in narrow spots.
The height of the car denotes the highest point of the vehicle from the ground.
Taller the car, the more headroom there is on offer inside the cabin. However, a tall boy stance also affect the car’s centre of gravity which can cause more body roll.
The space between the center of the front and rear wheels.
The longer the wheelbase, the more space there is inside the cabin.
It’s the space between the lowest point of the car and the ground.
If the car has a good amount of clearance, it’s easier for it to clear big speed breakers and overall, deal with bad roads.
The number of doors define the category of car. For example – four door means sedan, two-door means coupe while five-doors usually refer to a hatchback, MPV or an SUV.
The number of people that can be seated comfortably in the car, which has also been mandated by the car manufacturer.
Smaller cars usually have two rows which can seat five, but some SUVs and MPVs have three rows and can seat around 7-8 passengers.
Boot space defines how practical the car is with respect to how much luggage it can carry.
A boot with a large and wide opening is ideal for loading heavy items. Additionally, a lower loading height also makes it easy to put in luggage.
The official volume of the fuel tank of a car, usually denoted in litres.
If a car has a large fuel tank, it can cover long distances without refuelling.
Suspensions, Brakes, Steering & Tyres
Almost all cars in India use an independent front suspension which is usually the MacPherson Strut type.
The rear suspension can either be non-independent or independent.
Most of the budget cars have non-independent suspension while the more expensive ones get independent rear suspension which offers better bump absorption.
Most of the vehicles sold in India get ventilated or non-ventilated disc brakes upfront.
- The ventilated discs are more popular thanks to them providing better stopping power and it also works well in hot conditions.
In affordable cars, drums brakes are fitted at the rear as they are cost effective.
Disc setup at the rear is now getting more popular as cars are getting faster in the real world.
The official kerb-to-kerb minimum radius a car takes to complete a 180-degree turn.
Shorter the turning radius, the lesser space you need to make a tight turn or to take a U-turn.
Almost all steering systems in cars today have an assist to help park them better at low speeds - these can be hydraulic, electro-hydraulic or electric.
The wheels used on cars are either steel rims with plastic wheel cover hub or alloy wheels on higher spec models or expensive cars.
Razor cut, or diamond cut alloy wheel design are not getting more popular. Manufacturers usually offer these in top-end trim of their car models.
Important in a country with varying quality of roads, spare wheels ensure one doesn’t get stranded when one of the main tyres gets damaged.
Select premium car models feature space savers (smaller than the stock wheels) to save on boot space.
The profile/dimension of rubber tyre that fits on the front wheels.
The profile/dimension of rubber tyre that fits on the rear wheels.
Mandatory safety system for cars sold in India, a single beep is emitted after 80kmph and continuous ones after 120kmph
The brake lights flash in a quick intermittent fashion to indicate to the following vehicles to slow down quicker than usual
These enable users to repair a puncture effortlessly, saving the time/effort involved in replacing it with the spare wheel
Avoid driving on a flat/deflated wheel too long as it can cause expensive repairs
The official crash test safety rating given to a car by one of the many testing agencies around the world
Blind Spot Detection systems use sensors to detect and alert the driver of any sudden movements in his/her blind spot
Safer three-point seatbelts for passengers seated in the middle of the second row of seats.
Budget cars are usually fitted with more economical lap belts for the middle-occupant.
A headrest for the middle occupant of the second-row of seats.
Budget cars are usually not offered with headrests for the middle occupant of the second-row to save on costs. Headrests are instrumental in reducing whiplash injuries in case of an accident
A digital gauge that provides the live status of the air pressure in every tyre of a car.
For accurate readings, ensure that the sensors on the rim are not tampered with during any wheel/tyre repairs
Anchor points or strap systems built into car seats to keep child seats in place, especially during a crash
ISOFIX is an international standard for child seat anchor points, but not all car manufacturers follow this standard
Mandatory fitment in cars sold in India, emits loud beeps when it detects that occupants are not wearing their seatbelts.
Seat belt warning is mandatory for front-seat occupants, but it is recommended that all occupants wear seat belts.
Braking & Traction
An electronic system that prevents the tyres from locking and skidding in emergency braking situations by pulsing the brakes (quickly releasing and reapplying the brakes)
ABS is a great accident prevention technology, allowing drivers to steer while braking hard
An electronic system that redirects braking forces among the four brakes to stop the car as quickly and stably as possible
A system that increases brake pressure to help the car stop quicker
Even when emergency braking, it is observed that drivers don’t apply maximum brake pressure through the pedal, the BA system provides additional pressure to help stop the car quicker
System designed to improve car stability and control, especially when the car is accelerating.
ESP or ESC cannot increase traction but rather improve control or help regain control in slippery conditions.
A feature that prevents the car from rolling backwards when stopped on a slope
This system cuts power to those wheels that are spinning without grip/traction
Given the option, keep traction control on all the time.
A feature that limits the car's speed without any driver input while traversing down descents
Locks & Security
A security device that prevents the engine from being started unless the key is present
This feature let's one unlock all the doors remotely or with a key
This feature automatically locks the car's doors when it reaches a preset speed
A convenient feature for those who can't remember to lock the doors
Such locks are built into the rear doors to prevent rear seat occupants from opening the doors
Comfort & Convenience
The different types of air-conditioning systems used to cool the cabin
Maintaining the lowest temperature and first blower speed offers the best results.
This feature allows warm air to pass through the air-con vents for heating the cabin
Compact mirrors fitted to the inside of the sunvisor
The option of being able to access the boot space while sitting inside the car
These mirrors negate the glare from headlight beams of cars behind you
Since a large chunk of people love driving around in their high beam, these mirrors come in handy
A feature that aids drivers park with ease and greater precision using sensors/cameras
It comes as a boon for drivers who are not used to parking in tight spots
Sensors that are usually located on the bumpers of a car to assist/alert the driver while parking
It takes the stress out of manoeuvring in confined spaces
A system that automatically controls the speed of the car
An alert that warns one from leaving the car with the headlight and ignition switched on
When fitted, this system allows the car to be switched on without removing the key from the driver’s pocket or vicinity.
Keyless entry and start/stop (KESS) systems in some cars also include operation via a smartphone.
A function where the steering wheel moves up/down, in/out as per the driver's requirement
When both rake and reach adjustments are incorporated, it makes for a tailormade driving position
This socket provides current to a cigarette lighter style 12 volt plug
It helps charge smartphones, tablets, laptops, rechargeable batteries and other USB chargers. It also powers a compressor that inflates tyres and the humble cigarette lighter!
An app based feature that allows one to find where their car is located/parked
The requisite app will provide information regarding various functions such as speed and fuel alerts
A service that triggers actions like notifications and security alerts when a car enters/leaves a set location
A call that's made automatically by the car to the local emergency services in the event of a crash
Similar to how smartphones receive updates, a vehicle too (if equipped with connected car features) receives updates over the air via a cellular or WiFi connection
Timely installation of updates keeps the system up-to-date
The smartphone app turns on the car's AC to attain the required cabin temperature even before one boards it
More so comes in handy when cabin temperatures are extreme before you board the vehicle
The smartphone app allows one to remotely lock/unlock the car's doors from just about anywhere
This function is helpful when the key fob isn't working properly
The smartphone app lets you remotely open/close the sunroof of your car
This function saves valuable time by not having to be physically present to shut the sunroof, which could otherwise result in the interiors getting damaged by rain/intruders.
The smartphone app sounds the horn and flashes the headlights of your car so that you can locate it
Alexa is a virtual assistant technology that allows voice interaction to perform various tasks
An invaluable function that allows the driver to keep their eyes on the road
Seats & Upholstery
Rear seat adjustments make for an enlarged luggage space when there's lots of baggage to haul.
When it's time to replace, use a fabric that grips and are inherently cool to the touch
Leather not only grips your palms well, but it also offers a premium feel
The armrest located between the front passengers which helps comfort the driver's arm while driving
Cooled air from the AC system passes through the perforations on the seat to comfort the occupant
Depicts if the cabin comes with a single or dual-tone colour scheme
The various color shades used within the cabin
Some rear seats have the option to be be folded to offer more practicality
Sections of the rear seat are capable of being folded down separately
This function bumps up practicality as the boot space increases when required.
The pockets behind the front seats which help rear seat occupants store their stuff
The portion extending from or fixed to the seat that supports the head
The storage space within the armrest that's located between the front passengers
A feature where cool air from the air-conditioner is diverted to the glovebox
Doors, Windows, Mirrors & Wipers
Mirrors that are placed on the car's exterior, around the door, to aid the driver see behind the vehicle
Placing/sticking wide-angle mirrors on the ORVMs can enhance the rear view tremendously.
This is fitted where the door meets the frame to protect it from scratches and dust
Not using scuff plates may result in the door sill giving away prematurely.
When the car's windows can be raised/lowered by pressing a button/switch
In emergencies where the power window electronics have jammed, exit the vehicle by kicking out the windscreen
This feature allows a user to roll down the windows with a single press of a button
This feature reduces the time your hand is away from the steering wheel
This feature allows a user to roll up the windows with a single press of a button
This feature reduces the time your hand is away from the steering wheel
Different ways of adjusting the door mirror to suit the driver's requirement
Tremendously aids driving judgement in a variety of tight situations.
Turn indicators are fitted to the door mirrors for improved visibility
A feature that removes condensed water droplets from the rear windscreen to improve visibility
Turning air recirculation off helps gain faster results.
Although a seemingly minuscule feature, it negates the hatchback's/SUV's inherent ability to retain dirt/water on the rear windscreen.
When the system detects water droplets on the windshield, it activates the wipers to improve driver visibility
This feature can be intrusive especially while you are negotiating a tricky bend at a higher speed
These protective shields keep the sun's rays from affecting the occupants
With restrictions on darker sun films, these blinds are a huge relief on sunny days.
The various methods of opening the boot lid
Ensure the sunroof is closed before exiting the vehicle to prevent dirt/rain from entering the cabin
The compactness of the roof-mounted antenna prevents its damage in certain situations
Having parking sensors will save your bumper paint if it brushes by obstacles
Functional or purely aesthetic parts added to the car's body such as side skirts and roof/bonnet scoops
A strip of rubber fitted to the sides of the car's doors or bumpers to prevent dents and dings
Opt for quality strips because the cheaper ones tend to come off too soon/look shabby.
Such headlights automatically switch on and off when they sense bright or dark driving conditions
Keeping them switched on at all times gives the user the best results
The headlamps remain lit for sometime when the car is locked/unlocked to aid user visibility in dark surroundings
These lights turn left and right based on steering inputs to illuminate the sides of the car
Inspect tail lamp bulbs at periodic intervals for optimum safety.
Lights that automatically switch on during the day for increased visibility
A type of lamp that improves driver visibility while driving through fog
The yellow/amber fog lights are preferable as they are warm to the eyes and do not reflect from the fog.
Additional lighting apart from the roof-mounted courtesy/map lamps. These are added for a sense of style and luxury rather than utility.
Incorporated into the bottom section of a car's door mirrors, they light up the ground underneath the front door when the door is unlocked
A lamp that's located around the vanity mirror behind the sun visor
Allows adjustment to the height of the headlight beams via a switch on the dashboard
It indicates how much fuel is being used that very instant your car is moving
A screen situated mostly behind the steering wheel displaying information and warning lights regarding the car's various vitals
The amount of fuel consumed by the engine (kmpl) is displayed on the instrument cluster in real time
A glance will help you maintain better fuel efficiency and save money
The total distance traveled divided by the time taken to cover that distance
The higher the average speed, the quicker you were on that journey/trip
The approximate distance a car will run with the amount of fuel remaining in the tank
This alert should be taken as a final warning to head straight to the fuel pump
A warning light that pops up on the instrument cluster when the doors are not shut properly
The brightness of the instrument cluster can be adjusted via controls
It comes in handy to improve instrumentation visibility between day and night by toggling brightness.
It notifies the driver about which gear the car is being driven in and can also suggest down- or upshifting to improve efficiency
Notifies the driver about the optimum instances to shift gears
It comes in handy to derive the best fuel efficiency and engine component longevity
This function allows specific data like 'speed' to reflect/project on the windscreen in the driver's line-of-sight
An instrument that measures engine speed in revolutions-per-minute (rpm)
Ideally, the tachometer helps a driver know when to shift gears in a manual gearbox.
Entertainment, Information & Communication
The ability to connect to the internet and communicate with smart devices to perform various functions
A touchscreen or display that acts as a user's interface to the various functions of the car
The music player that comes factory fitted
Number of speaker units as part of a car’s surround-sound system
The widely-used controls are placed on the steering wheel to ease driver usage
When the car's system responds to the occupant's voice to perform certain features
A system that uses satellite signals to help the driver with directions to reach a destination
Allows devices with bluetooth functionality connect wirelessly to the car's infotainment system
Using Bluetooth functionality offers a cable-free experience
The car's music player can play tracks off a portable device via an aux cable
Bluetooth can make AUX cables look ancient, but unlike the former, there's hardly any loss in sound quality
Is the music system's capability of playing broadcasted radio channels
If radio signals are weak, one can stream music
When tracks can be played from a USB/pen drive
These pads can charge equipped smartphones without using a cable
Given the option, opt for fast wireless charging.
The size of the music system fitted to a car. Traditionally 1-DIN or 2-DIN, are being replaced by touchscreen units of varying sizes.
The storage device within the car's infotainment system
The capability of the infotainment system to play DVDs
The number of years the EV battery is covered under the manufacturer's warranty
More the years, the better
The number of kilometres the EV battery is covered under the manufacturer's warranty
More the kilometres, the better
The automaker can void the vehicle's warranty if the owner has fitted aftermarket components.
The automaker can void the vehicle's warranty if the owner has fitted aftermarket components.