The automobile industry in India has increased multi fold in the last two decades. The pre-2000 era has gone when people from the middle class or upper middle class car buyer was confined to choosing from just 2-3 models. At present the scenario is completely different. Now with the growing competition in the auto industry and new reforms introduced by the government, the consumer is spoilt for choice and has a variety of options in each segment to choose from. Quite clearly, the segment that has witnessed a substantial growth is the entry-level segments. If you are someone with a budget of Rs 5 lakh and looking to buy a new car, then You surely may get confused with the decision-making process from an extensive options of car in the market.

What one must look for

Good ownership experience and good mileage are two basic factors mainly looked by people while choosing a car and many of you may just blindly put your money down on a Maruti Suzuki citing the former factors as the reasons. But if you could actually carry out some real research, you may see there are some pretty decent cars out there.

 

List of cars and features

 We've made the process of selecting your first car much easier by charting out the top entry-level hatchbacks under Rs 5 lakh:

 

Tata Nano GENX

The list starts with one of the most inexpensive and affordable small segment car in the world, the Tata Nano. The small Indian car has gone through several updates since its launch, making it more of a user friendly car than before. Tata Nano now has improved interiors with enhanced quality and finish levels. The Nano’s ease of use can't be matched by any other car in its segment.

The engine is powered by the tiny 624cc petrol engine producing 37bhp and 51Nm of peak torque. With the introduction of an AMT gearbox and  the newly inducted power steering, the small car is now more endearing that makes driving the Nano in urban traffic effortless.

 

Main Features: Front Fog Lamps,Central Locking,Music System+Bluetooth

Overall Experience: Extremely spacious cabin, large seats, plenty of legroom and head room, now has a boot,Well profiled, looks appealing,Efficient powertrain,Comfortable ride,Good real world driveability

Price-Range:2.06 -3.03 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)

Claimed Fuel Efficiency:22.9 kpl

Some useful links:

Check Car loan EMI calculator

On-Road Price in your city

Dealers in your city

 

Maruti Suzuki Alto

The second in the list is the country's largest  carmaker’s bestselling model – the brand Alto. With almost more than 20,000 units sold every month, this heavyweight in the entry level segment has even surpassed the iconic Maruti 800 sales figures too. That definitely says a lot about the brand Alto. 

The car comes in two variants – the Alto 800 and Alto K10. Alto 800 employs a three-cylinder petrol engine replacing 800cc and producing output of 47bhp and 69Nm in the process. The K10 series is the most powerful of the lot and gets a refined 1.0-litre K-Series unit that produces a modest output of 67bhp and 90Nm. 

The new variants of Alto K10 comes with AMT options that is capable of  giving a fuel average of 24.07kpl, which is a  commendable figure produced by the model with the 5-speed manual gearbox. 

Backed by the reliable -everywhere service network that Maruti offers,Alto 800 and K 10 series is undoubtedly one of the best options available to the India customers in the extremely competitive small car segment.

 

Maruti Alto K10

Features: Automatic Gear Shift, Driver Airbag, Piano Finish Stereo

Overall Experience: Low cost of maintenance and after-sale service,competitively priced and economical

Price-Range:3.48 -4.34 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)

Claimed Fuel Efficiency:24.07 kpl

Some useful links:

Check Car loan EMI calculator

On-Road Price in your city

Dealers in your city

 

Maruti Alto 800

Features: Driver Airbag, Remote Keyless Entry, Integrated Music System Piano Finish Stereo

Overall Experience: Excellent mileage figures, Refreshed interiors and features list

Price-Range:2.70 -3.90 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)

Claimed Fuel Efficiency:23.7 kpl

Some useful links:

Check Car loan EMI calculator

On-Road Price in your city

Dealers in your city

 

 

Hyundai Eon 

The Korean company is not too far behind when it comes to cars in the entry level segment. Eon,the most afforadble hatch from India’s second largest carmaker is the most fuel efficient and stylish car from the house of Hyundai.

Engine: The car is powered by an 814cc, three-cylinder petrol engine that is capable of producing  55bhp and 75Nm of torque. Eon stands out in terms of practicality and storage space  with the boot having 215 litres of capacity. The mileage of the car is claimed to be at 21.1kpl.

 

Based on the feedback received by the customers, the car manufacturers sorted out the less-than-inspiring driving characteristics in its new offering Eon 1.0. This model has more power delivery and the driveability is improved to make the overall driving dynamics a  pleasant one. The engine is powered by a new 998cc, three-pot petrol mill producing enough power especially within the city and leaving no room for complaint on the highway. The new Eon 1.0 mileage stands at 21 kpl.

Features: Bucket type front seats, Remote keyless entry, iPod and USB connectivity, Overall Experience: Smooth ride, Best-in-class looks and Quality interiors

Price-Range:3.29 -4.58 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)

Claimed Fuel Efficiency:21.01 kpl

Some useful links:

Check Car loan EMI calculator

On-Road Price in your city

Dealers in your city

 

Renault Kwid

Renault made a grand entry in the segment with its SUV-lookalike-affordable hatchback, Kwid.  The car turned out to be the game changer for Renault, and what a way to turn the tables down.  Kwid snatched  the tag for the new low maintenance small car from Maruti and has now become the best-selling model for the company.  Customers were impressed by the  ground clearance and the boot size offered in this small beauty.  Step inside and you will be welcomed by a superior interior that features a touchscreen navigation system. You may even love the light steering that makes it easy to manoeuvre in traffic. Renault definitely know how to put up a small car with the butch looks of an SUV.

Customers may get the right power with the 800cc and 1L engines producing 53bhp and 72Nm of torque and a revolutionary AMT gearbox that looks like a rotary dial rather than a gear shift.

There is a new CMFA platform to make the cabin spacious. So we have a winner here with Kwid for people who love SUV but can’t afford to buy it.  Our advise is to pick this one without any second thought.

  

Features: Digital Instrument Cluster, Driver Side Airbag and Central locking system, MediaNAV navigation and multimedia system, Power Steering, Keyless entry

Overall Experience: Satisfactory fuel efficiency, Good power and torque output, Impressive exterior styling and features

Price-Range:2.62 -4.53 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)

Claimed Fuel Efficiency:25.17 kpl

Some useful links:

Check Car loan EMI calculator

On-Road Price in your city

Dealers in your city

 

Datsun Redi-GO

If you are looking for a big, spacious car and have limited funds then Datsun Redi-GO is a promising package and a car that makes a strong case of itself.

The Nissan-owned Datsun has a unique funky styling and is known for its refined engine.  Most of its characteristics comes from its sibling Renault Kwid but the car is priced a notch lower than its sibling. You will love the ride in this spacious miniature with the small 799cc engine provides a nature ride quality to make it a driver’s delight.

The cabin however lacks many features and  seems a bit boring. There is ample space inside the car with an extra seat placed between the driver and front passenger seat at the front.

Features:  Driver Side Airbag, Daytime Running Lamp

Overall Experience: Cluster free, fantastic ground clearance and driving manoevure and a neat cabin

Price-Range:3-4 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)

Claimed Fuel Efficiency:25.17 kpl

Some useful links:

Check Car loan EMI calculator

On-Road Price in your city

Dealers in your city

 

Maruti Suzuki WagonR 

The evergreen family car from Maruti , the WagonR is a value for money car. WagonR is the perfect car for someone looking for spacious, fuel-efficient and low-maintenance city car.

WagonR is also the ideal car that can be used as daily commuter with a good ride quality. However, the plastic quality used inside the cabin is a bit disappointing but overall, the car is a good package with an affordable price tag.

Features: Central Locking, Audio system with USB from Vxi variants, Driver Airbag from variant ‘o’, Dual airbags in LXI CNG(o) variants

Overall Experience:  Good city drivability, spacious, low maintenance and fuel efficient

Price-Range:4.36  lakh onwards(ex-showroom, Delhi)

Claimed Fuel Efficiency:21 kpl

Some useful links:

Check Car loan EMI calculator

On-Road Price in your city

Dealers in your city

 

 

Tata Tiago

One of the best options  in the entry level segment  that is based on a new design philosophy and one of the best selling cars for Tata Motors,  Tata Tiago. This hatchback from Tata ticks all the right boxes and  is undoubtedly the most well-sorted cars from Tata. Not many cars in the segment offers  a sufficient airy cabin,  frugal engines, great looks and a low maintenance cost at a very attractive price point as Tiago. The engines in the Tiago, available with both a 5-speed manual as well as an AMT are far more powerful than the competition in the segment. You can get you mid-level variants of both the Petrol- and Diesel-powered Tiago under Rs 5 lakhs.

 Definitely, a well-deserved spot on this list.

  

Features: Touchscreen Naviagtion (XT variant onwards), Airconditioner with heater from XE variants,Multi Drive modes, Driver Seat height Adjustable and Dual Aribags(XE(O) variant onwards)

Overall Experience: Superb design, excellent mileage figures and ample storage spaces

Price-Range:3.36 lakh onwards(ex-showroom, Delhi)

Claimed Fuel Efficiency:23 kpl

Some useful links:

Check Car loan EMI calculator

On-Road Price in your city

Dealers in your city

 

 

Why you should go for an entry level segment car

Almost every mass segment car maker has a presence in this segment that boosts of the small cars like Maruti Suzuki Alto, Tata Nano,Renault kwid to MPV like Datsun Redi-Go, with almost 30,000 – 40,000 units of each variant sold in a month.

 Entry level segment mostly attracts customers who are first-time buyers or are planning to upgrade from two wheelers.

There are innumerable key selling points like the compact size of the car, fuel efficiency that makes the entry-level segment cars  the best-selling cars in the country. In a country like ours with less parking spaces, it is a wise decision to opt for a compact size car. Other benefit of choosing an entry level segment is the smaller engines that causes lower frictional losses while driving. Moreover, the cars in this segment uses a 3-cylinder engine that has less surface area between the pistons to give the engine a mechanical advantage over the 4-cylinder engine. The 3 cylinder engine makes the car more fuel efficient as there is one cylinder less to burn the fuel.The car appears lighter and the overall proportions brings down the manufacturing cost of the car. 

 

Apart from these, the cars in the segment also come with  good interiors and space.