Replacing my mom’s Swift: What are my options for a safe & reliable AT

I’d prefer a DCT or a CVT at the very least and have to keep reminding myself that this car is for my mother and not me.

BHPian RSM_TorqueZoner recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I’m in a major dilemma. I live in the US, and our community is my only source to make an informed decision.

Need to get a new car for my mother, who currently drives a 2007 Swift. This was my first car and was fully restored in 2018. I’m among the most emotional folks around, and I find it hard to let go of my cars, ever. It serves as a memoir of my past, my favorite people who crossed over to the other side, and my journey to what I’m today. The restoration story is long due and I hope to put it up someday. Back home, I also have a 2013 Renault Fluence, that mostly serves chauffer-driven long drive duties. That car is an underrated gem which was a marketing disaster. All the details and the ownership experience for another time.

The Need:

  • An Automatic
  • Compact enough for my mother to handle
  • Perfect city commuter (90%) with occasional long drives
  • Safe and reliable – I don’t want my mother to be dealing with repairs from time to time, and of course I want her to be safe.
  • Gizmos – Not something I like, but it brings a smile to my mother’s face

I’ll cut to the chase with the list of cars that are ruled out, for various reasons:

  • Swift & Ignis : Already have a Swift and the Ignis, though a decent product, doesn’t excite me
  • Honda Amaze: The CVT works in its favor, but not happy with overall product quality. And it is too long in the tooth
  • Baleno/Glanza: I don’t want another Maruti, and again, lacks the overall quality I’m looking for in a product.
  • Citroen C3: Only if it had an Automatic transmission and more than just barebone features. I’ve waited long enough, it’s time to move on
  • Magnite/ Kiger: Screams build to cost, and bigger than what we need
  • Venue/ Sonet: Outside of budget and again, bigger than what we are looking for
  • Altroz: Kudos to TATA for having come a long way and how! But I cannot get to trust them for my mother, else Altroz would have been in contention.

I’d prefer a DCT or a CVT at the very least and have to keep reminding myself that this car is for my mother and not me. So, some compromises are in order.

After all permutations and combinations, the final list only has Hyundai!

  • Grand i10 Nios : Ticks most boxes. Yes an AMT, but it isn’t that I am spoilt for choice. Practical and the top end is within my budget.
  • Exter: I’ve for now booked the SX(0) variant. Some bells and whistles on top of what the i10 offers, plus a different body style for my mother! I won’t call it an SUV by any yardstick, but the Tallboy design is helpful. It’s different

i20 (iVT or DCT): This is the real dilemma. Sports iVT is within budget and the Sports DCT, though a little bit of a stretch, should still be okay. However, higher variants are insanely expensive and I doubt if it’s worth its purpose. Plus I lose out on the gizmos my mom might fancy

I am so inclined towards the DCT, but I’ll probably be driving this car once a year, max.

It would have been so much easier if I could visit the showroom and make a call, but this is now a dilemma I’ll need our community to resolve! Looking forward to your insights, thanks a ton!

Here’s what BHPian shankar.balan had to say on the matter:

Simple. Buy an Exter. Its a really well thought out, well executed package. Great pricing and great value for a good product with good features and essential gizmos. Decently Responsive, spacious and comfortable, great view of the road, good size, will Not be dismissed and bullied as another ‘hatch’. And yes, paddle shifters too. The Khaki looks nice (thats just me and my militaristic penchant). The red looks lovely.

(Im also considering this Exter for my 80 yesr old Dad as a replacement for the Glanza. But he has to agree.)

I test drove it and put out my impressions on the Exter thread. And here are some pics:

Here’s what BHPian bijims had to say on the matter:

Considering the fact that you are looking for a compact sub-4-meter car, the options which are safe, reliable, and come with enough gizmos definitely would come from Hyundai only, as they have trickled down most of the features from their larger cars, like Creta to their cheapest offerings as well. This makes them feel more upmarket than the competition as well.

So, with your requirements, I was sure Hyundai cars were the best fit for you, now it is not that other manufacturers are not worth the shot, but they have more desirable features lacking and Hyundai ticks most of the boxes.

Considering your needs, I find your budget is around 10 to 11 lakhs on-road, and are willing to stretch upto 12 lakhs (i20 DCT)

So with this budget in mind, and you are considering an upgrade to the Swift, the Grand i10 Nios would feel like a lateral upgrade, the Exter is basically a Grand i10 Nios made to look like a crossover/SUV, while the i20 would be an upgrade over the Swift.

Now the Grand i10 and Exter have a lot in common including the AMT gearbox, which I should say is the best implementation of the AMT in the segment, but it’s still an AMT after all, and can’t match the smoothness of a CVT or TC or DCT.

As regards engine and transmission, all f them excluding the i20 DCT come with a 1.2 litre engine producing 82 bhp of power and 114 nm of torque in the Grand i10 and Exter whereas the i20 IVT produces 87 bhp of power and 115 nm of torque.

As regards space and practicality, the i20 is definitely the bigger car with better length (3995 mm vs 3815 mm), better width (1775 mm vs 1710 mm (Exter) or 1680 mm (Grand i10 Nios), and better wheelbase too (2580 mm vs 2450 mm) which translates to better room inside, the Exter, however, is the taller of the trio, has the better ground clearance and a bigger boot as well.

With the Grand i10 Nios and Exter coming in their fully loaded trims, they get 15-inch alloy wheels over the 16-inch steel wheels in the i20, 6 airbags vs 2 in the i20, ESP, Hill Hold Control and Traction Control systems, Rear wipers, a sunroof (only in the Exter) etc.

So, if you want a fully-loaded vehicle in the hatchback form, the Grand i10 Nios would suffice, else the Exter can be an alternative for the SUV-like stance, squarish exteriors and with a few more gizmos to play around with,

However, if you want a more spacious car with an adequate feature set and a CVT gearbox, the i20 IVT would be your best bet, the i20 DCT is for those who seek much more performance.

Since all of them are available under one roof, I would recommend your mother take a test drive of each one after another and then finalize based on her priorities.

Hope this helps!

Here’s what BHPian abaliga had to say on the matter:

Grand i10 and Exter are the default options based on your criteria, it has high quality interiors and will be reliable, AMT on the Grand i10 is smooth but for the head nod when shifting from 1st to 2nd, Exter may be similar

I20 is a good option too, both IVT and DCT should be easy to drive, however IVT with its 4 cylinder NA engine will be more refined and will be easier to drive without the turbo punch, only flipside here is that it’s a relatively low car and ingress and egress may not be as easy as i10 or Exter

Two other options you could consider are Honda Amaze CVT and Hyundai Venue DCT, among these Venue may be slightly over budget, but has the perfect height for good ingress and egress and has a nice DCT option.

Good luck with the hunt!

Here’s what BHPian bansal.sushant had to ay on the matter:

I see you have not even considered Maruti Fronx. I think it satisfies your needs to the T.

From what I have read on the community, while the platform is the same, the built quality feels more superior than that of Baleno.

It is not too large, has gizmos, is nimble in the city, and is cheaper than Sonet/Venue.

Also, why do you say Sonet/Venue and bigger than what you need? i20, Baleno, and Altros are practically the same dimensions as these.

Here’s what BHPian aniketi had to say on the matter:

Try Ignis before finalizing anything. I purchased one for my wife last month, Ignis Zeta Automatic. I am really happy with my purchase. I got very good deal as well. It’s compact from outside yet spacious from inside, has enough features you need and best 1.2 L engine available. Build quality also very good compared to other Maruti cars. Being Maruti, peace of mind is guaranteed for long term. All the best.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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