Can we have wider Indian cars please

Make no mistake, I am comparing the dimensions of these vehicles only from the perspective of space management, not taking into account the purpose, performance or other technical aspects.

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The world of automobiles is a fascinating one for an auto enthusiast. We have cars of different body styles – hatchbacks, notchbacks, sedans, SUVs, MUVs, crossovers and so on. Each category of cars further has sub-categories and segments. We have cars that are tall, short, long and wide. WIDE? Really?

In India, sub 4-meter cars are classified as small cars and such cars enjoy certain tax benefits (strange rule!). If I am not wrong, Tata Indigo CS was probably the first “proper” sub 4-meter car and Mahindra Quanto, the first (im)proper sub 4-meter UV. With the inception of this rule, manufacturers got busy either truncating bigger sedans/UVs or stretching smaller hatches by affixing boots. The “small” cars that have been conceptualized and built from scratch carry more mature/proportionate design and are indeed really good. Honda Amaze, Maruti Brezza, Tata Nexon, Hyundai Venue, Ford Ecopsort, Kia Sonet are few such notable examples. The manufacturers these days are striving hard to design spacious cars within 4-meter length. One such worthy example is Renault Triber IMO. Renault probably has the best real estate managers in the country! They have managed a 7-seater UV with decent amount of space in a sub 4-meter vehicle, commendable!

As is the norm, most of the manufacturers use a single platform to manufacture vehicles of different body styles, sizes and configurations just by extending or shortening the platform. Of all the different types of cars that have been manufactured till date, 6-seater cars with 3+3 two rows seating configuration are a rarity. Mahindra experimented with KUV 100 and did not find much success. Outside India, probably Fiat Multipla and Honda FRV are the only mainstream 6-seater cars that have come out of the production line. Not to forget our good old Amby with column shift transmission, which could accommodate 6 adults with decent amount of comfort.

It is important to note that most hatchbacks and sedans are classified as 5-seaters in our market. It is understandable and obvious that the comfort levels are incomparable, but, if a small hatchback like a Wagon R can accommodate 2 adults and a kid comfortably on the rear bench and if a bigger hatchback/sedan like a Baleno/Sunny/Ciaz is spacious enough for 3 adults in the second row, why can’t we have a 2-metre wide car with 3+3 or 3+4 two rows seating configuration!? Or even a 3+3+3 three rows seating configuration? What really restricts the manufacturers to design and manufacture WIDE cars and accommodate more seats transversely than otherwise? Is there any regulation that restricts the manufacturers from doing so? With added width, also comes added boot space without comprising the legroom for the occupants. Surprisingly enough, a Force Traveler or a Tata Winger, which can seat 3 people transversely in a row, are only a wee bit wider than the cars considered for discussion and in fact, they are even narrower than some of the UVs in the list! Make no mistake, I am comparing the dimensions of these vehicles only from the perspective of space management, not taking into account the purpose, performance or other technical aspects.

Can we have WIDE cars, please!

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

Just wide won’t do. Following factors matter a lot:

  • Shoulder room
  • Head room
  • Roof line (slanted vs straight)
  • Height of the seats
  • Recline angle
  • Length of the bench
  • Design of the door trims (your legs need to rest comfortably)
  • Placement, presence and design of head restraints
  • Presence & absence of floor humps

To me, there are very few cars where 3 can sit comfortably over long distances for hours together without rubbing their shoulders and thighs. But few do this job quite satisfactorily and hence 3 in the rear seat is better in such cars.

Personally, for my kind of long distance trips, I prefer just 2 at the rear bench. One reason why I even voted for captain seats.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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