If you’re looking out for the best diesel car under 15 lakhs budget, then here are the top 5 Indian diesel cars that I feel are truly worth your money, in this segment. I’ve included SUVs as well as sedans to help all the buyers rather than sticking to a particular class/segment.
Actually I had planned to compile a list of cars under 30 lakhs budget earlier, but then the list seemed to be just endless, and I decided to drop the idea for time being; anyway, without further ado, here we go!
1. Mahindra XUV500 – It has been such a head-turner ever since its launch and this cool crossover can most certainly be termed as Mahindra’s trump card at the moment. Initially, the company launched it in only major metro cities across the country, but the response was so overwhelming that bookings were taken for 9 x times the monthly production capacity.
mahindra xuv 500
Mahindra decided to ramp up the numbers to 5000 units/month, and they’re re-opening the bookings across 19 cities in India on June 8, 2012. But, they’ve inflated the starting price to 11.58 lakhs (ex-showroom in Bangalore), which means it’d cost you a tad more than 14lakhs on-road.
You’d most certainly be impressed by its design, posh interiors, great on-road manners, 140bhp output@3750rpm, decent 15 kmpl mileage, along with the 4-wheel drive option – all of that under 15 lakhs!
Initially, I didn’t like its exterior appearance too much (in fact kinda’ hated it at first look), but when I stepped inside, and saw its specs, I started liking this beast, and I guess this is on my shopping over the next 12-18 months.
2. Renault Fluence Diesel – It looks different, and gives you superb mileage of 20+ kmpl (though not on the crowded Indian roads, but definitely on the highways!), and has enough power-punch of 106 PS @4000rpm. However, the acceleration isn’t comparable to the likes of Chevy Cruze and some of the other powerful sedans in this segment.
At a starting ex-showroom price of Rs 13.20L (for base variant), Fluence is a really good bet for those who’re not keen on buying the age old Skoda Laura, Honda Civic, Toyota Altis, and VW Jetta.
However, lack of service stations, and costly spare parts, and zero free-services can be a kinda’ turn-off who don’t have deep pockets to cough out that extra money on regular maintenance and repair.
3. Chevrolet Cruze Diesel – If you want a power performer, with awesome looks, choose to Cruze, as Chevrolet tells you to!
Chevy Cruze not only gives you ample power of 150PS @4000rpm, but it is also one of the nicest-looking sedans below 15L mark. And, the biggest relief is that it’s not a fuel-sucker unlike some of the other Chevy cars such as Optra, Aveo, and Captiva.
Chevrolet claims the mileage to be 17.3 kmpl, but you can expect around 12-13 in city traffic, and it was a really smart move by Chevy to launch the automatic versions in diesel, because I’d most certainly not recommend you to buy a petrol automatic at the time when petrol rates are skyrocketing!
New Cruze – 2.0 LTZ MT (manual variant) comes at an ex-showroom price of Rs 1428875, while the automatic variant (Cruze – 2.0 LTZ AT BS4) is priced marginally above 15L mark, at Rs 1517400.
I might have bought the Cruze if the diesel automatic variant was launched last year before I bought Mitsubishi Cedia, but then I had already owned a Chevy before that, so I didn’t go with it.
But hey, if you who want a diesel automatic sedan that looks cool & is powerful, I reckon Cruze is the best car in diesel lineup below 15L.
4. New Skoda Laura VRS – It is a really cool sedan that gives you the best of elegance, power, and fuel economy in this segment, but the maintenance part is something that you must keep in mind! Sure thing, Laura has attracted folks from all over the globe, with its uber-cool looks and promising performance, but if you know anyone who has owned a Skoda before, you’d find out the ugly part of the story too.
Another big turn off is lack of service stations in most of the cities in India (even Bangalore for that matter), and the spare parts, battery, in fact just about everything, is really costly. On the positive note, I’d most certainly admit that I’ve loved driving the Octavia, and although new Laura has got only 110PS to offer, it sure makes a worthy bet.
5. New Tata Safari – Since we’ve already included XUV 500 in this list, and Scorpio has become kinda’ outdated, I decided to exclude Scorpio, and rather include the new Tata Safari Storme/Merlin, which comes at a really promising starting price of 9lakhs (ex-showroom), which goes up to 13+L for the top-end trim.
It’s yet another great SUV offering 140bhp throughput @ 4000rpm, and decent mileage figures of 14.34 kmpl (claimed by Tata, but in reality you get around 11 kpl in city limits).
However, you need to be prepared to taste the trademark not-so-refined Tata interiors, and handing. On the brighter side, it’s really robust, and ready to take on all kinds of terrain.
Force One is yet another great choice, followed by Tata Aria, and Toyota Innova in this segment, but I reckon, you’d be better off buying a Safari, or XUV 500!
True Value for Money – Best Diesel Car Below 10 Lakhs
Fiat Linea Diesel T-Jet is an awesome pick if you’re looking for cars below 10 lakhs budget, which not only offers you a good 90PS power @ 6000rpm, but also gives you a fantastic city mileage of around 15 kmpl, with decent interiors, and nice boot space – all of that at just Rs 7.98 L (ex-showroom price in Bangalore)
fiat linea t jet
Of course, I’d also recommend you to take a look at Cedia, because it’s a fantastic car under 10 lakhs (we’re talking about ex-showroom prices here, because on-road it falls in 11-12 lakhs range now!), and has got stunning looks, with ample power, and you can tune it up to 500hp to rock the car rallies, or even pump in some nitrous to have an experience of lifetime at a racing track.
If you’re an SUV lover, then I reckon new Mahindra Bolero is the best SUV in India under 10 lakhs at the moment, because it comes at an extremely competitive on-road price of just Rs 7.6 lakhs (mid-trim with all the goodies that you’d need + Rs 10k extra for perhaps a good music system).
new mahindra bolero
It has a powerful peppy m2DiCR engine, aggressive new front styling, and the interiors have been revamped too. Now, it feels lot more refined, especially with the inclusion of all new stylish dashboard, as well as the wood-finish central console. It is a superb choice in 6-7 lakhs budget range (ex-showroom prices are in range of Rs 6.2-6.5lakhs).
My Recommendation Under 20 Lakhs
If you don’t mind stretching your budget by another 5 lakhs, then I’d most certainly advise you to take a look at the new Hyundai Sonata. We had seen SRK drive it in Don 2, and wondered if it’d really live up the expectations, and indeed, the new Sonata is better than ever before.
new hyundai sonata
I had been a Sonata fan all the way since 2004 when they had launched the Sonata Embera automatic VVT 2.7, and I still love it. But, on a side note, If you ask me personally, I’d stretch my budget to 30L, and perhaps look at the new Audi Q3 which has been launched at 26.3L (ex-showroom) today (June 7, 2012)!
And, for those who want a luxury SUV around 20 lakhs, the Hyundai Santa Fe, BMW X1, and Toyota Fortuner are great bets too. (and when I plan my next car purchase in 20-30L segment, I’m definitely going to get terribly confused, because I simply love all of ‘em!)
Ford Endeavor 3.0L 4×2 AT which comes at 19,41,581 with 3.0L Turbocharged Diesel VGT I-4, 5-speed automatic gearbox, and Chevy Captiva are the other options, if you’re keen on buying a diesel automatic SUV around 20 lakhs.