Entry-level sedans in India : Comparison

At the eve of Honda's first ever sub 4 meter sedan launch in India we take a closer look at all of its closely priced competitors, namely the Toyota Etios, the Mahindra Verito, Tata's Manza, the venerable Maruti DZire and Chevy's rookie the Sail sedan. Many of these have already taken on their next generation avatars and in doing so evolved into more flattering products based on customer feedback of their previous versions. Let's see how they compare...


Honda Amaze



The craze for tiny, small, mid-sized, large and every other size of hatchback has made the B-segment offering in India a rather diverse and glorified one. While small car buyers face a new-found dilemma of finding the most suitable prospect amongst a heap of options, a large chunk of buyers are now showing a growing interest in the entry-level sedan space, which like its smaller counterpart, is expanding with assured pace and vigour.


The refreshed Toyota Etios, an executive version of the Mahindra Verito, the Tata Manza Club Class and even Chevrolet’s debutant the Sail sedan are all serious players in this segment and with the advent of the Honda Amaze things are only going to get a lot more cut throat than ever before.



Honda Amaze



Styling it like a Sedan

Honda’s done a good job of adding a boot on the Brio hatchback to come up with the Amaze. The differences are subtle as compared to the Brio like the twin-slat treatment in chrome, the blackened air dam from the Brio gets replaced with a body coloured treatment on the Amaze and so on. All in all, the Amaze could just be the best looking sub-4 metre sedan we’ve seen in India yet. Things are rather roomy on the inside and it sports the same familiar treatment as in the Brio hatchback. Driver and occupant comfort is top notch and ergonomically, the Amaze is right up there in the class with good touch and feel qualities.


Its most recently face-lifted competitor is the 2013 model version of the Toyota Etios. The newer Etios, in its second generation, has received mere cosmetic upgrades like a more stylish looking front grille, two-tone interiors, a swankier entertainment console and ORVM mounted indicators.



Tata Manza



The Tata Manza (Read : Tata Manza First Drive) and the Mahindra Verito on the other hand went the ‘white collar’ way not too long ago with the launch of their top-of-the-line Club Class and Executive Edition models. Both very comfortable and spacious cars, the Executive Edition of the Manza in particular flaunts unique exterior paint jobs, Bluetooth-enabled stereo systems, touch-screen navigation system, leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, automatic climate control and blue vision headlamps, the sort of upmarket features that make these budget sedans very desirable long term investments.


Chevrolet’s first ever contender in this compact sedan space, the Sail isn’t the most loaded model by a large margin, but like the Manza prides in its spacious interiors and smart storage facilities, features which are quite frankly comparable to cars selling a segment higher. 


But then, let’s not rule out the Maruti DZire altogether. Now selling in its second generation guise, the DZire naturally takes the lower excise duty advantage and offers most of the creature comforts that have now become the norm with vehicles competing in this segment, not to mention the perks that come with carrying the Maruti badge.





Maruti DZire




Performance to the litre


Different shapes and sizes being offered at different prices, the battle of the entry-level sedans has become quite fierce and giving muscle to these foot soldiers are an array of power plants.


The full specifications of the Indian-spec Honda Amaze have been declared and the numbers would delight most potential buyers. First up is the 1.2-litre, 4 Cylinder, SOHC, i-VTEC engine that dishes out 88PS @ 6,000 rpm and 109Nm of torque @ 4,500 rpm. A separate and a first of its kind from the Honda stable is the 1.5-litre, 4 Cylinder, DOHC, i-DTEC diesel engine that produces 100PS@ 3,600 and 200Nm of torque @1,750 rpm. The diesel version returns a massive 25.8 kmpl IDC fuel efficiency figure.


Like the Amaze, all of its competing models are also on sale in both petrol and diesel options. The 1.5 litre petrol model of the new Toyota Etios produces 90PS and 132Nm of torque, while the 1.4 diesel dishes out 68PS and 170Nm of torque. Both the petrol and the diesel power plants on the roomier Tata Manza models, however, produce identical outputs of 90.24PS.




Mahindra Verito




The new Maruti Dzire is available in both petrol and diesel options. The K12M VVT petrol engine model delivers 87PS of power @ 6,000rpm and a decent 114Nm of torque @ 4,000 rpm. It goes from 0-100kmh in just 12.6 seconds, and offers a company claimed fuel efficiency of 19.1 kmpl. 


The diesel model 1.3litre DDiS engine generates 75PS of power @ 4,000rpm and a solid 190Nm of torque @ 2,000rpm. It completes the 0-100kmh sprint in just 14.8 seconds and achieves a company claimed efficiency figure of 23.4kmpl.


Engine options on the Chevrolet Sail include a 1.2-litre unit that develops 86 PS @ 6,000 rpm and 113 Nm @ 4,400 rpm, while the diesel Sail sedan is powered by the Fiat-sourced 1.3 litre Multijet engine which develops 78 PS @4000 rpm and 205 Nm @ 1750 rpm.


The Mahindra Verito (Read : Mahindra Verito Road Test) is also available as both petrol and diesel models. The 1.5-litre diesel model produces 65PS and 160Nm of torque, while the 1.6-litre petrol model produces 76PS and 110Nm of torque. Fuel efficiency figures stand at 21.1 kmpl for the diesel and 13.87 kmpl or the petrol model. 




Toyota Etios



Playing with prices


The Mahindra Verito is available in two variants priced at Rs 5.32 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) for the base version and Rs 5.54 lakh for the higher spec version. Diesel options are as many as four, prices starting at Rs 6.31 lakh for the base model and stretching all the way to 7.75 lakh for the top end variant.


The Chevrolet Sail apart from starting at a very attractive price point of Rs 4.99 lakh is one of the few entry level sedans which between its petrol and diesel models sells in as many as eight different variants. While the top end petrol goes for 6.42 lakh the price of the diesel range stretches from Rs 6.29 lakh to 7.52 lakh.


The Toyota Etios (Read : 2013 Toyota Etios and Liva First Drive) trumps the Sail even in its total variants on offer. An astonishing ten in total starting at Rs 5.45 lakh going all the way upto 7.09 lakh for the full loaded version. Things get steeper when you put your hand in the oil with the diesel variants starting at Rs 6.71 lakh and topping out at 8.16 lakh for the high end variant.




Chevrolet Sail sedan


The Maruti DZire may have lost some of the spotlight with the arrival of so many other models in this segment, but sales are still strong and after it revised model hit the streets things are looking on the upside. At Rs 4.92 lakh theDZire is surely one of the most competitively priced base petrol models in the market today. The three other variants operate in a range between 5.53 lakh and 6.75 lakh. 


The Tata Manza gets the most balanced distribution of variants between the petrol and diesel models as compared to the other, four to each kind. Though starting off a little on the higher side at Rs 5.92 lakh for the base petrol model the top-end Manza at Rs 7.53 lakh is ironically a far more suitable prospect considering its price as compared to the competition. The diesel versions sell at a starting price almost identical to their petrol counterparts and stretch to a maximum sum of Rs 7.58 lakh for the full loaded version.



Honda Amaze



Last word

It will be interesting to see Honda’s strategy in terms of pricing its petrol and diesel models once launched in India. Having said that the strategy should undoubtedly stretch far beyond getting the pricing right and also address the fact that the variants on offer, irrespective of their asking price, offer buyers more value for their buck as compared to the other tried-and-tested models already etched in the consumers mind.


Recommended Variant : Amaze VX i DTEC