How many cars did you consider/test drive before buying the current one

If it’s the only car in your garage, it has to excel in multiple departments. It can’t be good in just one or two areas.

BHPian Aditya recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

How many cars did you consider before buying your current one? How many did you test drive?

Honda Civic image courtesy: spadix

Whenever one buys a car, he / she considers various options before getting home the “chosen one”. After all, if it’s the only car in your garage, it has to excel in multiple departments. It can’t be good in just one or two areas.

In my own case, back in 2015, before I selected my current car (9th-gen Toyota Corolla), I considered 6 cars in total. Here’s a look at the list and the reasons for me dropping the other cars from it.

Fiat Linea 1.4 T-Jet

This was my first choice. I loved this car for its looks and road manners. In the past, I had driven this thing hard in the pouring rain and it cornered like it was on rails. The turbo-petrol used to go like stink too. But, the T-Jet was difficult to come by in the used car market, the NA petrol was not really exciting and the interiors were not as spacious as the size of the car would suggest. Then I was worried about Fiat’s reliability and the company’s long-term plans. After a long search, I found one and test drove it. It wasn’t in great condition. So, I dropped the idea of getting a Linea.

Ford Fiesta 1.6 (6th-gen)

I believe that Along with Fiat and Mitsubishi, Ford made the best-driving cars in the sub-BMW / Jaguar category and that made the Fiesta a hot favourite of mine. I had driven the 6th-gen Fiesta and loved its driving dynamics. Unlike most people, I loved the Fiesta’s looks too. However, this was not a very successful car in India, so good examples were hard to come by in the used car market. There were a couple of nice examples available, but they were out of my budget. Again, like the Linea, I was worried not sure about this car’s long-term reliability. I test drove two cars – a petrol and a diesel, but the petrol was run a little too much for my liking and I didn’t want a diesel. So the Fiesta had to go off my list.

Honda Accord 2.4 (7th-gen)

This was the second Accord to be launched in India. It had a spacious cabin and boot. It offered good performance and like other Japanese cars, I was sure it would be reliable too. I had also wanted an Accord for a long time. However, there were two problems. The first and smaller one was that the cars available in my budget were too old. The second and main problem was that the Accord was more than 4.8 metres long. The only car in my garage could not be so large. I test drove two cars for the heck of it. Both were rather good but I had already made up my mind not to buy one.

Honda CR-V (2nd-gen)

This was the first CR-V that Honda launched in India. I have always loved the CR-V. The performance, comfort and reliability it offered pulled me towards it. However, the car had been out of production for a very long time period of time and I was worried about getting spare parts in the years to come. It also had a rather large appetite for petrol. Hence, without test driving even one car, I dropped it from my list.

Honda Civic (8th-gen)

The third Honda on my list and the one that ran my final choice very close was the Civic. It was the right size and the futuristic looks and interior were just “WOW!” It had decent cabin and boot space and a great combination of performance and reliability. The enthusiast in me liked the Civic’s sports car-like low seating. Sadly, that was the car’s undoing. The low seating was not suitable for my ageing parents. With a heavy heart, I had to drop the Civic. I test drove two cars – both were good and within budget.

Toyota Corolla (9th-gen)

This was my final choice. This car is the jack of all trades and the master of two – interior & boot space and you guessed it, reliability. It is more than adequate in all fields that a family man would consider while buying a car. Of course, it has flaws, but they aren’t serious. Over the years, it has been a great friend and even now (it will be 17 years of age in August), it is ready to take on any road trip like a boss. If our laws permit, this car will outlast me. Read my Corolla’s ownership review at this link.

So, BHPians, whether you bought a new or old car, do tell us how many cars you considered and how many you test drove.

Let us know why you rejected the other cars & why you chose your current car over them.

Here’s what GTO had to say about the matter:

Mahindra Thar

I fell in love with it when I drove it for the Team-BHP Review. I knew I wanted one right then & there. Waited for the recommended 2 years (boy, was it a long wait!!!) after a fresh Mahindra / Tata launch so they can iron out the niggles, and brought a Petrol AT home. Alternatives considered = 0.

BMW 530d

I fell in love with it when I drove it for the Team-BHP Review. Actually, I’d driven the 6-cylinder 525d and was so amazed that I knew I will bring an F10 home “someday”. 5-years later, a pre-worshipped 5-Series was mine. Alternatives considered = 0. I am quite decisive and have already decided what car will replace the 530d in 2 -3 years.

Mahindra Classic

Alternatives considered = 0. Bought it based on the Jeep styling, ads and reviews. Checked out an example at a dealer, but there were no test drives available then.

Skoda Superb

My brother considered & test-drove 10 different cars in the 30 – 50 lakh range, before closing on the Superb. It was like a new brand coming down the house every day for a TD. Chose the Superb for being a VFM luxury car, design, space, features, lovely engine + gearbox and comfortable ride. Dropped the Seltos after its GNCAP showing.

Nissan Sunny

Wanted a beater car way back in 2012, so:

Tata Manza: I’m a huge fan of the Manza’s space, comfort & VFM pricing. Plus, I do believe that Fiat’s engine & drivetrain will make the car more reliable than the previous-gen Indigo. The minute I brought up the Manza on the dinner table, I almost had my meal taken away from me. After the shoddy Tata Indigo experience, the family wouldn’t touch another Tata vehicle with a barge pole. End of story. @ Tata: You better realise that you are killing your brand with unreliable, shoddily built products. If the mass market is dissatisfied with your 6 lakh products, who in their right mind would pay 18 lakhs for that premium offering? Tata is truly cutting the branch it sits on.

Maruti Swift: After testing it for Team-BHP, I fell in love with the Swift. Much improved over the outgoing generation, better quality, great engine and superb ride & handling balance. Maruti’s reliability, solid after-sales and highly fuel-efficient engine should have been the deal-maker, right? WRONG. Mom saw the back-seat space and scampered off in the opposite direction. End of the Swift’s innings then.

Hyundai i20: Not as much fun to drive as the Swift (was I buying for the family or myself??!!), yet a lot more practical. The fully-loaded Asta Diesel was the one I had my eyes set on. Superb engine, outstanding quality, top-notch safety and more. Mom & Dad weren’t keen on the i20 either. Too small, they said.

Toyota Innova: Space they said? Well, here’s a football stadium’s equivalent of it. As much of a workhorse as the Innova is, the Toyota simply wasn’t for us. To start with, there are rarely going to be more than 2 people in the car (chauffeur + 1 family member). To lug around seats for 7 when only 2 will be used 99% of the time didn’t make sense. My kid brother wasn’t kicked about the “van” image either. It’s not as easy to drive as a hatchback or C2 sedan, and paying 14 lakhs for functionality we’d use once a year didn’t add up. My theory: For those 2 times a year that you need a 7 seater, rent / borrow one.

Other cars that were considered, but only just: Dzire (same space as the Swift), Rapid (Skoda horror stories) and Etios diesel (too basic compared to the Sunny).

Enter the newest kid on the block, the Nissan Sunny Diesel. I wasn’t impressed with the petrol Sunny at all. On the other hand, the Sunny Diesel appeared to be a sensible, practical workhorse. Folks loved the space, my brother the ease of driving, and everyone felt that Japanese engineering will result in top-notch long-term durability.

Here’s what BHPian Eddy had to say about the matter:

I test drove the XUV500 and Creta before settling in for my S-Cross, primarily because it was the most VFM of the lot.

Ford Ecosport was the other car in consideration and ended up as the runner-up. Ecosport was my longest “test drive”, considering I had rented it from Zoomcar earlier in the year. Got a spanking new car (those were the days!) and enjoyed my drive from Bangalore to Ooty.

Here’s what BHPian tharian had to say about the matter:

My present car, a Ford Aspire S diesel was booked with no other consideration. This was in 2017 and there were plenty of cars to choose from in that price range. The changes in the Sports edition over the normal Aspire is what made me go for it eyes closed. Also having owned the previous gen Figo, I wanted something similar in the handling department although this car comes a distant second to the old car. And the other reason being, the Fiesta S which was one car I would have loved to own, but couldn’t, so the Aspire S was an alternative.

I would have gone for petrol if they had a good enough petrol engine or if they had brought the Dragon series engine earlier and plonked the 1.5 version of it in the Sports edition.

Here’s what BHPian TSI_Exhaust had to say about the matter:

I bought the Skoda Octavia (2.0 TSI DSG) recently and I considered the Tucson (an outside choice) as well, that’s it. Test drove the Octy twice and the Tucson not even once. Why? Here is some insight.

To give a backdrop of where I am coming from, I owned a Hyundai Venue (1.0 SX+ DCT) and had already experienced ‘riding on a horse’ so wasn’t much interested in buying an SUV-ish car as my next ride. Furthermore, although the car had no mechanical issues and never gave me trouble of any kind, I lost the ‘connect’ with the car very quickly. For context, I brought it home in March 2020 (one day before the 1st nationwide COVID lockdown) and sold it in mid-November 2022.

Apart from that missing connect feeling with the car, I faced issues with the boot carrying capacity. I shifted my home base and I had to do 3 round trips to get all of my necessary belongings moved.
In another instance, I had trouble with the boot space while packing for a marriage outing. The luggage wasn’t much but THAT was the exact moment when I came to know how small actually was the boot space of my car.

The 1L engine did not excite me anymore as well even though the DCT was fast and flawless throughout the ownership.

So having experienced the 1L turbocharged engine, the DCT and the fake SUV-ish car body I wanted something different.

Even if it reluctantly would be an SUV, then it had to be something with a good engine-transmission combo. Did not want to spend north of ~35L either as that was my most extended budget.

Looked at the Slavia 1.5 and the Virtus GT but the poor packaging was an eyesore even though the engine-transmission combo was excellent.

Did not even look at the Harrier (QC issues by TATA), XUV 700 (wanted the car in this lifetime only) and the MG Hector (lazy CVT transmission).

Drove the Octy twice. Was love at first sight with the engine-transmission combo, the sedan dynamics, sorted highway manners along with the awesome interiors and packaging.

Eventually, did not even take TD of the Tucson after that, the love was that strong (the petrol automatic was the only variant in my budget).

Have been in love ever since.

Have already gobbled up ~1750 kms courtesy two highway trips with quite a lot of baggage.

So, 2 TDs of the car I wanted and nothing else. Knew what I was exactly after this time.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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