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The best cars under Rs 7 lakh to buy in 2021

The modern car buyer is spoilt for choice with plenty of safe, reliable, and well-equipped options in the market. We take a look at some of the best ones currently on sale.

January 27, 2021 / 03:11 PM IST

In this segment, we look at the cars that offer the greatest value, keeping in mind their performance, practicality and safety quotient. Instead of going with top-end variants of smaller cars, which rarely offer greater value, we focus on some of the best selling cars belonging to more premium segments and pit them against each other.

Maruti Suzuki Swift

The highest selling hatchback of 2020, the Swift has redefined the family car, bringing a certain flair to the segment that was previously missing. The latest one continues to be one of Maruti Suzuki’s best selling models and for good reason – it’s frugal, easy to maintain, offers great leg and head room and along with segment leading boot space (268 litres). However, when compared to the new blood that’s in the market, the Swift does seem to be getting on in years.

Its interiors, while aesthetically sound, with a snazzy flat-bottomed steering, accented gauges and all-black texture (for a sportier vibe), don’t seem as premium when compared to the likes of the Hyundai i10 Nios and the new Tata Altroz. It hasn’t been updated in a long while and so it isn’t the class leader when it comes to offering equipment.

Where the Swift wins out is in the amount of storage space and legroom it offers. A peppy 1.2-litre petrol engine isn’t the most exciting in the business, but it is the most economical. The Swift’s claimed mileage of 21.21 kpl keeps it on top of the sales chart.

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On-Road Price: Rs 6.41 lakh (Swift LXI)

Safety Rating: 2/5

Claimed fuel economy: 21.2 kpl

Value for Money: 3/5

Tata Altroz

With a five-star safety rating, sensational looks the Tata Altroz brings much needed excitement to an otherwise humdrum segment. Even though it’s the base version that makes the cut for our segment, the Altroz does make a case for itself with EBD (electronic brake-force distribution) as standard, along with the mandatory ABS. What the Altroz misses out on are rear power windows and steering mounted controls (both of which can be found on the Nios) however, its emphasis on passenger and driver safety makes it the smarter choice.

On-Road Price: Rs 6.73 lakh (XE Petrol)

Safety Rating: 5/5

Claimed fuel economy: 19kpl

Value for Money: 4/5

Maruti Suzuki Baleno

Offering exceptional boot space and fuel economy, the Baleno is one of the best-selling premium hatchbacks for good reason. The “Sigma” variant also features “Brake Assist” as standard, along with ABS and EBD. With a relatively frugal equipment list, the base version of the Baleno relies on cockpit layout and design to do the talking. Its engine is tuned to eke out a bit more performance than the Swift, which coupled with its generous legroom and relatively better safety rating makes it a potent combination of plush and practical.

On-Road Price: Rs 6.85 lakh (Sigma Petro)

Safety Rating: 3/5

Claimed fuel economy: 21.01 kpl

Value for Money: 4/5

Nissan Magnite

Ever since its arrival, the Magnite has been scorching the sales charts for the sheer value proposition it offers. The base version however, comes with a smaller 1.0-litre petrol engine, which makes less power compared to the Swift, Nios or the Altroz, all of which feature bigger engines. As a result it makes less power than its competition and is a bit dull. So if it’s driver engagement you want, try their turbo-petrol.

However, the marginally more expensive XV version does offer steering-mounted controls, automatic climate control along with front and rear power windows. The Magnite also gets a high safety rating, but if it’s performance and a long list of features you’re looking for, try the more expensive variants. Nissan’s relatively small dealership network and poor after-sales record doesn’t work in the brand’s favour either.

On-Road Price: Rs 6.46 to Rs 7.04 lakh (XE and XV Petrol)

Safety Rating: 4/5

Claimed fuel economy: 18.75 kpl

Value for Money: 2/5

Hyundai Grand i10 Nios

The only other hatchback to have taken the fight to the formidable Swift. The Grand i10 Nios leads the charge when it comes to dashboard quality and equipment. While only the base level “Magna” variant meets our price criteria, it does offer a more premium looking cabin, with finer plastics while being equipped with standard features like front and rear power windows, bluetooth connectivity, electrically adjustable ORVMs, among others.

In terms of driving dynamics, the Swift is a better bet, while greater on-road comfort is offered by the Nios. Since both cars offer equally unimpressive driver and passenger safety, the Swift and the Nios remain very closely matched.

On-Road Price: Rs 6.96 lakh (Magna Petrol)

Safety Rating: 2/5

Claimed fuel economy: 21 kpl

Value for Money: 3/5

Renault Triber

The only entry to offer third-row seating, the Triber certainly has a lot going for it as far as utility is concerned. However, that’s pretty much it. With a sparse features list, poor safety record and underwhelming performance, the Triber is only good as a bare-bones carrier of people. And given how abysmally the Kwid has performed on the safety front, adding more people into the car, isn’t the most sensible of options.

On-Road Price: Rs 6.99 lakh (RXL variant)

Safety Rating: N/A (2/5 for the Renault Kwid) 

Claimed fuel economy: 19 kpl

Value for Money: 2/5

Ford Figo

An often overlooked gem in the segment, the Figo’s base variant offers a 1.2-litre petrol engine that makes a healthy 95 bhp of power. The highest in its class. In addition to that, the Figo gets a four star safety rating. What doesn’t work in the car’s favour is a slightly outdated looking interior, but when it comes to safety and driver engagement, no one comes close to the Figo.

On-Road Price: Rs 6.65 lakh

Safety Rating: 4/5

Claimed fuel economy: 18.5 kpl

Value for Money: 4/5
Parth Charan is a Mumbai-based writer who’s written extensively on cars for over seven years.

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