Need buying advice: Which SUV or MUV to replace a Volkswagen Vento

I want to keep my house to a single car household. So consider this car for all type of use.

BHPian kmadhok recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Background:

I currently own a pre-owned VW Vento 2011 Highline AT. This was our first AT car purchase (and our first pre-owned), and was when I was in Mumbai travelling from Chandivali to Malad each day for work. I had had enough of using the clutch on the Alto and wanted to move over to AT. Influence from my brother-in-law and team-bhp I started scouting for a pre-owned car. Finally settled on, VW Vento 2011 AT, which we bought from a Toyota U-Trust dealer. The car was 1 year old when we bought it in end 2012, had already done 24K Kms and the first owner was VW Company. I was told was used by executives, though lately I have been wondering if it were a test-drive vehicle. Anyhoo, it served and continues to serve me well. I have since moved to Bangalore, and paid the road tax here as well, not re-registered it though. Haven’t done loooong road trips on it, but have used it for trips upto which are 600kms one way. For longer trips (or trips where we have a full load 3 adults and 2 children) I prefer to have a more spacious car for which I rent from Revv/ Zoom. Gives me an opportunity to try out other cars as well.

Last Christmas, a last minute train cancellation meant we had to do a Bangalore – Chennai trip using the VW (no rentals available) with full load. As a driver the drive was enjoyable, cant speak for the passengers. I am most comfortable with the car and my driving style.

Experience with the VW:

The car just crossed the 66,666 Kms mark. So have done approximately, 42000kms in the 9 years I have owned it. Significantly dropped since I moved to Bangalore because, when I moved I had an option to choose where I stayed, and in Bangalore you stay close to work. I proudly cycle into office. The car has given me no trouble whatsoever. Only once, did the ignition coil need to be replaced. When that happened I took it to the VW service center, where they desired to change the entire internals of the car, which I politely refused. My FNG, Automechs Koramangala, picked from team-bhp directory has been my go to point. He simply said if you feel it drives well and nothing feels wrong then nothing is wrong. He was right. I used him for my regular oil changes etc. (which also I do probably once in a couple of years) and before I use the car for a long trip.

The car feels butter smooth (knock on wood!!). Just love to get it into 6th and then with a light foot keep it there. The car feels well built, and the car’s boot is spacious.

Desire to change:

  • I have had the ‘urge’ and desire to change for a while now. I have probably posted in the forum earlier to seek advice, but did not action on it. Till now it has been a want to change rather than a need.
  • Couple of reasons for the urge getting stronger:
  • Father is getting older, and getting in and out of the sedan seems to be getting more troublesome. This is the strongest reason. Others are additional excuses.
  • Kids are getting older, though still 8 years from becoming adults legally. As a driver this doesnt bother me, but I imagine as passengers folks would like if the car is more spacious.
  • I am getting older.
  • VW Vento is getting older – the last I check I was offered 1.5Lakhs in Bangalore in 2019 (it is still MH registered). No major niggles. But may have to invest about 1L to get some bodywork sorted out.
  • Fully loaded, with passengers, the car needs to be handled with utmost care. Else the bottom of the car scrapes the speed breakers and some time even when getting on or off a slightly steep incline.

Driving behavior:

I am a sedate driver. Not an enthusiast. I love to not use the brake. Prefer to lift the foot off the accelerator pedal and use engine braking to slow down well ahead. I rarely go beyond 100 kmph on highways even if the car can. I feel, anything faster does not give me enough time to react. This is not a take on the capability of the car, but my own capability. And I truly don’t think we save as much time going any faster. I do not care about 0-100, gear shift ratios. I use the car as a tool to get from point A to point B. Don’t remember when was the last time I went out just for a drive to enjoy the car itself. Having said that, when I am getting from point A to point B I would love getting there in comfort.

Needs are simple:

  • Easy to get in and get out for old folks. Essentially high seating. – Will help my father get in and out without much effort.
  • Automatic: In the rare occasions I do take out the car, I am sure the rest of the city will want to take theirs out on the same day. I prefer to exercise my knees by cycling rather than using the clutch.
  • Rear AC vent: This one comes from my wife. Our VW comes with it and now we cannot live without it.
  • No longer than 2 months waiting period. I have been considering an upgrade for a while, and now it has got serious. So serious that its playing on my mind. I am ok with suggestions for therapies to get my focus of it.

So I am thinking SUV, or MUV.

Want:

  • Equally good boot space as the VW Vento.
  • If pre-owned not more than 2 years old.
  • Preferably TATA / Mahindra – Will make me feel patriotic, and I believe they made proper SUVs.

While money is not a concern (thank you god! and knock on wood!) I cannot digest an expense of upward of 20L on a car. Especially when cheaper options are around. Though I am trying to come to terms with the fact I may have to.

I want to keep my house to a single car household. So consider this car for all type of use. Given our usage pattern, we do not warrant 2 cars. We are also dead against 2-wheelers for safety reasons. So this car will need to do all duties. The VW may not go out immediately, however its usage will reduce and not make sense to keep long. Will also let me psychologically offset the price of the new car. (Blatant advertising: Anyone from Bangalore moving to Mumbai and looking for pre-owned car can reach out to me).

The car will primarily driven by me, occasionally by father and wife, and eventually by son and daughter.

Options considered:

Truly speaking, nothing is off the table. Well not nothing. But from an S-Presso to a new Innova Crysta everything has crossed my mind. I will talk about what we have seriously considered and/or test driven.

CSUV: The entire segment, have test driven the Venue, Magnite, Brezza but dont think they offer adequate space. Considering we plan to keep this car for 10 years (unless something changes drastically), kids will be proper adults then, and we will need more space. And I think cars in this segment offer lesser space than the VW Vento.

Duster CVT: We test drove it a couple of years back when it was still available. Reading reviews here it seemed a good car, and spacious as well. But was rejected for not having a rear A/C vent. I even have used Duster CVTs shortlisted on Cars24, but keep scrolling past them.

Renault Triber CVT: Visited the showroom when it was launched. Felt like a downgrade from the VW Vento.

Tata Hexa XTA: Again based of the enthusiasts feedback on the forum considered this. Test drove one, no complaints (I am a man of limited needs), however some body work etc indicated that was not the right piece to buy. Now there are a few available, but difficult to get one with the extended warranty on it.

Creta/Seltos: Test drove it a couple of years back. Wife feels back is not as spacious as the VW Vento. Right now, the popularity of the cars just puts me off the looks. The value proposition of these cars is difficult to digest. Hyundia’s in my opinion are more gimmicky than other cars and charge a premium for it.

Taigun/Kushaq: I would consider them part of the C-SUV segment. However, I have looked at them not test driven. My reasoning, the seat height does not seem to be much different from a sedan. I feel they are not as much a VFM proposition as some others in the list. Note I am looking only at ATs.

Carens: Booked a diesel AT on the 16th February, simply to avoid the DCT. Expected delivery in May. Overall happy with the car, but with the recent price increase I am all but certain to cancel. I would either plonk another couple of lakhs and get a Innova Crysta or save money and get an Ertiga/XL6.

Ertiga/XL6: We would have bought either of these a couple of years back. The only reason I held back was the 4 speed AT. After coming from a VW 6 speed AT I could not imagine going to a 4 speed one. I have a booking on the XL6 as well with an understanding that it will be for the upgraded model. Now, we dont need a 6/7 seater, but when we weigh the value proposition with something like a Creta/Seltos this seems more VFM. The updated XL6 is currently a strong contender. The only thing going against it is build quality compared to VW.

Innova Crysta G petrol AT: Dad said he had wanted to have a car like the Innova, but mom (she is no longer with us). Potentially an unfulfilled wish of his. Have considered a pre-owned 2018 7-str, older than our preferred range. While overall the car was ok, I felt there was a constant sound from the silencer coming into the cabin. I was seated in the middle row at the time. There is no Petrol AT available for test drive, so dont know if the sound is acceptable. I would prefer a 8-str. We are 5 on majority of drives. With 7-str one will always be seated in the last seat. Good for long road trips where one can sleep at the back seat should the need be. We found this very useful when we rented an Innova for our trip to Kerala which had a 8hr and 12hr drive as a stretch.

Almost booked a new petrol AT, but wife does not seem so keen as she feels it is a large car. Have to be really sure of it before we book one, because the booking amount of Rs 50K is non refundable. The price is the biggest factor holding us back here.

Tata Harrier XZA+: From the used car market. Found a couple. One of them in mfg 2020 but registered Jan 2022, and already done about 30K kms. Though looks well maintained save the front tyres. Did a quick check on Vahan cursory checks on mfg date and registration date look ok. Is a single owner. Felt odd the car is registered in 2022, and so quickly done 30K kms. If anyone has suggestions on additional checks I can do I am all ears.

The second is mfg and registered in 2020 done 23Kms, but looks more dusty , less shiny and the interiors also have some dirt marks, which can be as a result of kids using the sunroof or playing around. Will need a thorough detailing. This is slightly costlier. No online checks done.

I test drove both. The first thought when I got into the Harrier was it is huge, but once I started driving it felt very easy and nimble. Brake pedal felt soft, had to really press it hard to get the car to stop. Overall eventually I liked it.

Compared to the XL6 it will be easier to get into this.

Newer car, and top end variant feature are tilting the scale towards the Harrier compared to the Innova, which is the base variant. Most significant differences:

  • Harrier 6 air bags vs 2 in Innova Crysta.
  • 2 years old vs 4 years old.
  • Auto climate control missing in Crysta with my VW Vento has.

Wife at this time has given up on choosing the car, since additional constraints are limiting what we can choose. So she hasn’t driven either the Innova or the Harrier.

XUV500 – Yes 500 not 700. A pre-owned. Not test driven yet. Wife is not for looks, but we will need to compromise on the looks should need be.

I would think in the above list, the XL6 and the Harrier are top contenders right now, with me tending towards the Harrier out of complete personal preference, listening to the heart.

Not sure if I have a question for the forum, potentially just writing this down helped getting my thoughts organized. However, happy to hear what folks would suggest.

PS: As a side note I think reviewers should be including a ground to seat height measurement when reviewing. Would make my filtering so much easier.

Here’s what BHPian shancz had to say on the matter:

Good research and specific needs, this is the way to go.

Now your timing might not be the best since the rumours/news of Harrier/Safari being modified to be GNCAP tested is hot and so is the 6 speed TC for MSIL cars starting with the Brezza which would make its way into the XL6 and the S-Cross.

Anyways I would only say that if getting a TML car like the Harrier, get it new since issues keep getting fixed plus the benefits of warranties. If there is a new model expected, do wait for that, this is a learning from how the Harrier has evolved from its first iteration.

Here’s what BHPian Turbohead had to say on the matter:

You’re the perfect candidate for a top end Crysta. All you care about is getting from point A to point B in absolute comfort.

If you can stretch your budget, go and get it. Durability and reliability is a standard feature and you can keep it for years together. Plus you’ll get a great resale value because Innovas hardly depreciate.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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