India has approximately a 33 lakh km long road network, the second largest in the world. Out of these 1,11,000 km are highways, 4,67,700 km are urban roads and 26,50,000 km are rural and other type roads. India ranks first in the world in the loss of human life due to accidents. Many factors are involved in selecting vehicles suitable for the Indian roads.
Indian roads run through different type of terrains with a lot of speed breakers, humps, slopes and turns. The ground clearance, the suspension system, the maneuverability and the brake system of the car are very important. The price, the appearance, the cabin and boot space, the comfort and safety features, mileage engine power and the spare parts’ availability are also factors to be considered.
There are above 700 models of cars available in the Indian market from the cheapest Tata Nano to the costliest Lamborghini Arenado. There are mini cars, hatchbacks, compact sedans, luxury sedans, MUVs, SUVs, sports cars and concept cars to select from. Among the hatchbacks the Marti Alto 800 is such a car which is cheap (Rupees 2.37 to 3.49 lakh) and fuel efficient with a mileage of 18 to 20 kemp and is best suited for city driving. High fuel efficiency makes it viable on highways and rural areas. The Alto beats other similar cars like the Honda Brio and the Chevrolet Beat because of the ease in getting spares.
The second rank goes to another Marti product, the premier sedan, Dire. The spacious boot and the comfortable interiors give it an edge over similar cars like the Honda Amaze and the Hyundai Cent. Priced between Rupees 4.85 to 7.32 lakhs the Dire gives a mileage of 23.4 kemp for the diesel versions. At the third place lies the Mahindra SUV the Bolero. At a price starting at Rupees 6.11 lakhs this is the cheapest diesel SUV available in India. A ground clearance of 200 mm and a mileage of 22.9 kemp make it suitable for long drives through rural India. The fourth rank can be given to the Honda City, a premium sedan priced from Rupees 7.19 to 10.99 lakhs. The diesel variant with a top mileage of 26 kemps and a class leading wheel base length of 2600 mm is ideal for long comfortable rides.
The fifth place is taken by the Tata Safari which has a wheel base of 2650 mm and a ground clearance of 200 mm. Priced between Rupees 8.41 to12.63 lakhs it has all the features like airbags, ABS and EBD, a good suspension system and a roof mounted rear AC. Easy availability of spares makes it preferable over Mahindra XUV 500 and Renault Duster.