India has the weirdest laws when it comes to automobile taxes. Taxes are directly proportional to the size of your car. Cars up to four metres in length are categorised as small or compact cars and are taxed less. Thus, car manufacturers created new segments such as compact sedans and compact SUVs exclusively for India. Compact sedans have become one of the best-selling segments and every manufacturer is bringing a product or two to grab a share of the pie. Let's look at some of the compact sedans on sale to let you decide which sub-4-metre sedan is the right fit for you.
By the looks of it
The thing about making a compact sedan is that it is hard to design a good-looking sedan under 4 metres (for example, the first two generations of Maruti Dzire). Ford Aspire looks good with the boot neatly integrated, while Honda Amaze, Hyundai Xcent and Volkswagen Ameo—all look the part of a compact sedan, but they are neither good-looking nor bad. Maruti Dzire should be the best looking car of the lot while Tata Tigor offers a unique body style with its Styleback theme.
Size matters, even for compact sedans
Even though they are categorised as compact sedans, they are not small. Manufacturers have worked around every possible trick of the trade to give the customers maximum space.
With 2,491mm, Ford Aspire has the longest wheelbase, which should translate to better space at the rear. The new Maruti Dzire is the widest at 1,735mm and Tata Tigor is the tallest. At 3,990mm, Honda Amaze may not be the longest but gets the shortest turning radius (4.5m). If you are going on a vacation, Tigor offers the best boot space with 419 litres while Volkswagen Ameo will take you further the road with a fuel tank capacity of 45 litres. Hyundai Xcent, despite getting the narrowest cabin in the crowd here, finds the middle ground happily with 43 litres of fuel tank capacity and 407 litres of boot space.
Packing a punch
When it comes to engine, Ford Aspire takes the honour, with three engine options. The Aspire offers two petrol engines, 1.2-litre and 1.5-litre, both leading the power outputs in this comparison, followed closely by Honda Amaze. Except for Tata Tigor and Volkswagen Ameo, all models offer automatic transmission in one way or another. Maruti Dzire offers the best fuel economy, returning 22km for every litre.
When it comes to diesel versions, Volkswagen Ameo gets the best power and torque outputs in this class followed by Ford Aspire. The Ameo is also the only diesel sedan in this comparison to offer an automatic gearbox. Here too, Maruti Dzire takes the best fuel economy award with 28.4 km/l, followed by Aspire and Honda Amaze at a similar 25.8 km/l.
What’s in it for you?
When it comes to features, every car in this list has a wide range of equipment list but some shine more than the others. Volkswagen Ameo and Maruti Dzire offer both ABS and dual front airbags as standard across all variants, while Hyundai Xcent offers dual front airbags standard. With Honda Amaze and Tata Tigor, these things are either optional from the base variant or you will get it standard excluding the base variant.
Volkswagen Ameo further proves to be feature-rich by offering first-in-segment features like cruise control, front and rear one-touch operation power windows, opening and closing of windows with key remote and automatic rain-sensing wipers. Other features include cooled glove box, tilt and telescopic adjustable steering wheel, auto AC, rear AC vents, hill hold control and touch screen infotainment system with MirrorLink.
Ford Aspire’s feature list includes Ford MyKey, MyFord Dock, SYNC AppLink with voice control, side and curtain airbags, perimeter alarm, Hill Launch Assist (HLA), Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and auto AC.
The new Maruti Dzire adds more to its value with features like LED projector headlamps, engine push start/stop button, auto headlamps, rear AC vents, Smartplay infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Hyundai Xcent comes loaded with engine push button start/stop, rear AC vents, auto AC, touch screen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, voice recognition and LED daytime running lights.
Tata Tigor’s specialisation comes with its exclusive ConnectNext touchscreen infotainment by Harman, voice command recognition, multi drive mode—ECO and City, auto AC and a wide range of apps with AppSuite.
Honda Amaze offers nothing new but covers all bases with most of the comfort features.
How big a hole in the wallet?
As the price list shows, Tata Tigor burns a lesser hole in your wallet and also offers better value for money. Volkswagen Ameo offers several first-in-segment features and German build quality, while Maruti Dzire comes loaded to the teeth and Maruti’s unmatched sales and service network. Hyundai Xcent and Honda Amaze are settled in the middle ground, doing all the things to satisfaction, while Ford Aspire will appeal to the driving enthusiasts. Take your pick and enjoy the scaled sedans.