It has been a little over a year since Covid-19 majorly disrupted all of our lives. However, after a few weeks of lockdown, with the restrictions easing out, a lot of people started to buy their dream cars once again, and amidst the uncertainty, the auto sector started sigh of recovery. One segment that saw the most excitement among the buyers was the segment under INR 15 lakh, which consists of some best in the industry vehicles. Hence, if you are in the market looking to buy one such vehicle in India, here are the best bets.
In its current generation, the Hyundai Creta packs a host of features. The Blue Link feature that debuted on the Venue compact SUV comes with added functionalities in the new Creta. This includes several in-car functions that can be controlled using a smartphone or a smartwatch. Functions including remotely starting the car, live tracking and real-time traffic information among others. Additional features in the car come in the form of a voice-enabled smart panoramic sunroof, drive mode select, traction control modes, Bose premium sound system packed with 8 speakers, air purifier and paddle shifters.
On the outside, the updated Creta gets a new grille, a new set of alloy wheels, and new colour options. In terms of powertrains, the new BS-VI options on the Creta include a 1.5-litre petrol engine and a 1.5-litre diesel engine that can be availed with either a 6-speed manual transmission or an automatic transmission. There is also a 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine available with a 7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT). The car comes with three driving modes (Eco, Comfort & Sport) and traction control modes (Snow, Sand & Mud) that are aimed to optimise driving across different terrains.
There's still a big market for sedan buyers in India and one segment that people appreciate is the mid-size sedan, their entry level vehicle for chauffeur driven vehicles. After the launch of its successor, Honda also launched the fourth-gen City only in two variants: SV and V. Both the new gen and old gen models can now be bought in India basis of your need. The new gen model gets some segment first features like Alexa Voice integration among others. In India, the car takes on the likes of Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, Skoda Rapid, Volkswagen Vento, Toyota Yaris and Hyundai Verna.
The Honda City is available with both the 1.5-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel engine options while the old City only has a petrol motor that outputs 119 PS and 145 Nm of torque through a 5-speed manual transmission. The new City also offers CVT automatic option. In terms of features, the City still stands as a worthy contender in the sedan segment with inclusions such as auto AC, touchscreen infotainment system, height-adjustable driver’s seat and power-folding ORVMs, sunroof, leather interior, and LED headlamps. Safety features in the car include dual front airbags, ABS with EBD, and rear parking sensors.
No arguments here as the Kia Seltos is easily one of the best looking SUVs out there. Unlike the Tata Harrier brings sheer size to the table, the Seltos sports sharp lines and crystal-like LED lighting to ground a solid road presence. The car sits on a set of 17-inch wheels, which comes with a red-brake calliper in the GT Line variant. The Korean manufacturer has built the Seltos in accordance with global standards making it feature-laden up to the brim. In addition to the standard features that are now a common thread among all SUVs, the Seltos gets a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, an 8-speaker Bose sound system with sound mood lighting, electric sunroof, a 7-inch LCD multi-info display (MID) in the instrument cluster, automatic climate control, ventilated seats, and reclinable second row with a USB charger.
Like the BLuelink in Hyundai Venue, the Kia Seltos ships with UVO connect that works with the help of an e-SIM embedded in the infotainment unit enabling features such as starting the SUV remotely with the help of a smartphone, start the AC, track the car’s location, set geofencing, time-fence, speed, valet and idle. The Kia Seltos comes with a wide range of engine and transmission options. There is a 1.5-litre petrol engine that comes mated to a CVT, a diesel engine outputting through a 6-speed torque converter. The company is also offering a 6-speed manual with all the 1.5-litre offerings, both in petrol as well as diesel. In addition to this, the ace of the deck is the new 1.4-litre Turbo GDI petrol motor that is offered with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.
If you are looking for a fully loaded and powerful smaller car under INR 15 lakh, the new i20 is your best bet. In its new avatar, the i20 comes with features loaded to the brim. The car now comes with Hyundai’s Blue Link connectivity system that comes along with 50+ connected features along with OTA updates. The new version gets 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay. Also on offer are 7 speaker Bose sound system, sunroof, a wireless phone charger, ambient lighting and much more.
In terms of safety, the car gets 6 airbags, ABS with EBD, electronic stability control, vehicle stability management and hill start assist, to name a few. The diesel option in question is a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder unit that is also present in the Venue. As of now, Hyundai only provides the engine with a 6-speed manual gearbox in the new i20. The unit delivers 99 bhp at 4000 rpm and 240 Nm at 1500 rpm. In terms of petrol powertrain, the car gets a 1.2-litre 82 bhp at 6000 rpm and 115 Nm at 4200 rpm. However, there's also a more exciting 1.0-litre turbo engine to avail as well.
Mahindra launched the second-gen Thar to an eager crowd. In its second generation, the new Thar comes with two engine options – a 2.0-litre mStallion TGDi Petrol engine and a 2.2-litre mHawk Diesel engine. These will be available with the choice of a 6-speed torque converter automatic transmission and a 6-speed manual transmission mated to an authentic manual shift-on-the-fly 4x4 transfer case. Mahindra has also come out with three roof options that include a Hard Top, a first-in-class Convertible Top and an optional Soft Top. In addition to this, one can have the Mahindra Thar in two seating options - 4 front-facing seats and 2+4 side-facing seat configuration.
In an attempt to make the car a bit more appealing to a wider audience, the Thar has been updated with modern features like a drizzle-resistant 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system. The Thar will also come with cruise control, roof-mounted speakers and adventure statistics displays. It has got an update in terms of safety too as it gets things like ABS with EBD, dual airbags, ESP with rollover mitigation, hill-hold and hill descent control. There are a total of 13 variants to choose from, depending on engine, gearbox, roof type and features. Designed and engineered in India and manufactured out of Mahindra’s Nashik Plant, the all-new Thar is available in 6 colour options - Red Rage, Mystic Copper, Napoli Black, Aquamarine, Galaxy Grey and Rocky Beige.