Tata Altorz front three quarter view

Best cars under Rs 10 lakh in India

The Indian automotive scene is bursting with new car launches every other week and even the pandemic could not stop the onslaught of the new vehicles that were launched, albeit virtually. If you are in the market looking for cars under Rs 10 lakh, you can get easily confused with the available options in your budget. We, at Wheels for Thought, have compiled a list of the best in all the segments to make your buying decisions easy.

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Hatchback – Volkswagen Polo

Prices start at Rs 5.87 lakh (ex-showroom, India)

Let’s get some negatives out and then focus on the positives of this car. Yes, the Polo is a 10-year-old car and the design has largely remained unchanged. Step inside and the interiors feel a bit dated, nay, it pales in comparison to its rivals. Space is not its strong point either. No diesel as well, as Volkswagen wants an image makeover. But the car has a charm about it, a design which feels elegant and still relevant. And when it comes to the build quality, the Polo maybe second only to the Altroz as the latter scored five stars in the Global NCAP tests compared to the four-star rating of the former. Consumers have little to complain because VW has revamped the prices after the onset of BS-6 and introduced a new engine and transmission option – the award-winning 1-litre turbo petrol engine and a torque converter automatic, along with the existing 1-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine.


Polo side view, white colour
Still the most fun to drive car in its segment

For purists, there is the combination of the 1-litre turbo petrol engine paired to the 6-speed manual. If you are a fan of the automatic, then you have the 1-litre turbo-petrol engine mated to the torque converter automatic with a GT moniker attached to it. Yes, VW has ditched the DSG in favour of the torque converter automatic and this has brought the cost down as well. If you like a fun-to-drive car with a peppy engine and sporty gearshifting experience, then the Polo will keep you happy.

Rivals worth checking out – Tata Altroz, Honda Jazz, Hyundai i20

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Hatchback/Compact Sedan – Tata Tiago/Tigor

Prices start at Rs 4.70 lakh and Rs 5.39 lakh (ex-showroom, India) for the Tiago and Tigor respectively.

One look at Tata Motors’ stable and you will notice that all the cars look good. Nailing the design is half the battle won and it shows in the sales numbers as well. Add to the fact that the cars tested have got good ratings in the Global NCAP (the global car safety watchdog), this is superb news for the masses. No longer do manufacturers compromise on safety in a budget car. Tiago and Tigor, in their BS-VI iterations, look eye-catching and both these cars are powered by a 1.2-litre petrol engine that makes 84.8bhp and 113 torques. Strengths of these cars include good build quality, space, ride comfort and a decent amount of creature comforts. On the downside, dealership and after-sales service experience need to be relooked and improved if Tata Motors want to take on the market leaders – Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai.

Front three quarter view of the Tata Tiago
The facelifted Tiago has hints of the Altroz in the front facia
Tata Tigor front three quarters view
Underrated car in this segment

Rivals worth checking out for the Tiago– Maruti Suzuki Swift, Hyundai Grand i10 Nios

Rivals worth checking out for the Tigor – Hyundai Aura, Maruti Suzuki Dzire

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Sedan – Skoda Rapid

Price starts at Rs 7.49 lakh (ex-showroom)

Did you know that the most affordable new sedan is the Skoda Rapid Rider? And no, it is not sub-4m. It is well above that, 4413mm to be precise. And it starts at just Rs7.49 lakh (ex-showroom). For that price, you get the BS-VI compliant 1-litre turbo petrol engine (that also does duty in the Polo) that develops 108.62bhp and 175Nm. The engine is mated to a 6-speed manual. Strengths include solid build quality, fun-to-drive quotient, a planted ride, good handling and space. The Rider Plus variant gets a torque converter automatic transmission and it is priced at Rs 7.99 lakh (ex-showroom, India). Some key features like a touchscreen infotainment system, alloy wheels, fog lamps and rear AC vents, are available in the higher variants. From a value-for-money perspective, you can’t find fault in the car for what it offers. Also, a good choice if you do not want a hatchback.

Skoda Rapid with tech details around it
Rapid has one of the best driving dynamics in its class

Rivals worth checking out – VW Vento, Honda City, Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, Hyundai Verna

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Compact SUVs

This segment was kick-started by Ford with its EcoSport back in 2012 in the country. Fast forward to 2020, there are now 8 compact SUVs. The Nissan Magnite is set to launch early next month and Renault recently showcased its compact SUV concept called Kiger, adding drama to the crowded compact SUV segment. While sub-4m SUVs have taken the Indian automotive industry by storm, there are a few that stand out in this segment with their lucrative pricing, the way they drive, comfort, practicality and of course, features.

Kia Sonet

Price starts at Rs 6.71 lakh (ex-showroom India)

The benchmark in the compact SUV segment is the Kia Sonet. With a starting price of Rs 6.71 lakh for the base HTE trim and as many as five of engine-transmission combos Kia has thrown everything at the Sonet and it has been rewarded with more than 50,000 bookings as of October 2020, which is a milestone for any car company starting in a volatile market like India. Tidbit: Sonet means Social Networking. Not kidding.

Front three quarter view of Kia Sonet
Kia’s take on the compact SUV segment is the benchmark

Rivals worth checking out – Hyundai Venue, Tata Nexon, Mahindra XUV3OO, Toyota Urban Cruiser, Ford EcoSport, Nissan Magnite.

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Compact MPV – Renault Triber

Prices start at Rs 5.12 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)

One of the most significant launches of last year was Renault’s take on the MPV segment. And what an impact it has made! The Renault Triber is a 7-seater sub-4m MPV knocking at Ertiga’s door. Smart design, practical, VFM, comfort, good ride and handling and space are some of the big talking points of the Triber. The company has recently introduced an AMT option, adding more to the convenience factor. The easily detachable third-row seats and the space offered in the third row is very impressive. It is based on the same CMF-A platform as the Kwid albeit with some tweaks.

Rivals worth looking at – Maruti Suzuki Ertiga.

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Premium hatchbacks – Tata Altroz

Price starts at Rs 5.44 lakh (ex-showroom, India)

It looks stunning; there are no two ways about it. Tata Motors has been acing in the exterior design department and that reflects in all its recent vehicles. Now apart from the looks, the Altroz is a solidly built car with a 5-star Global NCAP rating. It is available in 1.2-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel avatars with a 5-speed manual gearbox. If you like more grunt, then the diesel is the version to go for, as the petrol makes you feel wanting for more. There are 23 variants (12 for petrol and 11 for diesel) for you to choose within a price bracket of Rs 5.44 lakh to Rs 9.09 lakh. And there’s more to come once Tata Motors introduces the DCT for the Altroz. Some say that its highway manners are excellent, given its ability to handle Indian road conditions.

Rivals worth looking at – Hyundai i20, VW Polo, Maruti Suzuki Baleno.

Can it upset the apple cart?

2020 Hyundai i20

Prices start at Rs Rs 6.8 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)

While Skoda Fabia was the car which brought premium in hatchback, it is long gone. Then the Hyundai i20 came along, put back the premium in the hatchback, perfected it, gained quite a following and now it gets a new lease of life for 2020.  It looks quite good as well. Unlike the Altroz though, the i20 packs in a whole lot of tech variants and threatens to upset the segment. That the third generation i20 got 20,000 bookings in two days only adds wind in Hyundai’s sales and cements the fact that Indians love the i20 for its balance of VFM, tech and features that it offers.

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The car is built on a new K platform which uses 40 per cent more high strength and advanced high strength steel to increase stiffness and reduce weight. The new car is up to 100kg lighter than the outgoing model, according to the company. The car, in true Hyundai fashion, gets some segment-first features including a wireless charger, air purifier along with an exhaustive list of tech. It also gets a bunch of engine-transmission options (petrol, diesel engines mated to a 5-speed manual, 6-speed manual, iMT and DCT. Will it set the sales chart on fire? A few more months will tell us.

Rear three quarter view of the i20
The all-new third-generation i20 is here

Which segment do you prefer? What is your favorite car on this list? Let us know in the comments and in the poll below!


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