Which large sedan should I buy?
This is a tough question because there are a number of very good choices available today. Modern cars all offer excellent reliability and fuel efficiency and such a huge array of gadgets for entertainment, convenience and comfort that they are too numerous to enumerate in a short column. Readers are also seldom very interested in the huge package of safety features that they all feature.
Maruti Suzuki, which commands the market of small cars, has only recently been able to make a significant mark on the sedan segment with their Ciaz that is a very sleek and classy-looking saloon. It is also very spacious inside and has an excellent ride. Its only weakness is that the 1373cc (92 hp) petrol and 1248cc (90 hp) diesel engines are not very peppy, but many sedate older buyers of saloons do not always want performance. The Ciaz offers a 5-speed manual transmission but also a 4-speed automatic on the petrol model. It is generally an excellent sedan that most buyers like.
The Honda City has long been the king of the larger sedans and offers pleasurable backseat comfort with a great driving experience typical of most Honda cars. The 1500cc (119 hp) petrol and 100 hp diesel plants deliver excellent acceleration transmitted through 5-speed manual and CVT (continuously variable transmission) gearboxes. Honda has somehow combined spacious inner space and a huge boot as well. They are great cars though a little expensive.
The eye-catching new Hyundai Verna now has a huge ‘cascade’ grille and comes with a dozen innovations. The 1600cc petrol and diesel engines belt out 123 and 128 hp of smooth but peppy power respectively through 6-speed manual gearboxes. The ride and handling does not disappoint. The sporty roofline does however make the rear seat space a little tight.
Nissan and Renault, who share the same production line offer the spacious Sunny and its twin the Scala with 1500cc (124hp) petrol and 1461cc (85 hp) diesel plants. The rear seats offer great legroom but are a little low for passengers who have gotten used to taller cars.
Volkswagen and Skoda also share common production facilities but their Vento and Rapid saloons offering solid value are expensive. The 1200cc (75 hp) petrol and 1500cc (110 hp) diesel engines offer good performance in very solid feeling sedans. The ride is on the firm side of comfort and the cars are well finished.
The success of these spacious sedans has impacted the still larger sedan segment where the Honda Civic has bowed out. There is the solid Skoda Octavia with its 2000cc petrol and diesel engines and the Toyota Corolla Altis that are now the main choices. The completely redesigned Altis has also been stretched a bit to meet the needs of buyers who had earlier been patronising still bigger sedans. Its small 1364cc (88 hp) diesel engine delivers surprisingly goodacceleration and there’s also a powerful 1800cc (140 hp) petrol plant. These have a 6-speed manual transmission and a CVT in the petrol models. The Altis is a great looker with huge interior space and many features for comfort.
The author is the region’s most celebrated automobile columnist.