We had a good long look at its profile, features, interiors etc and came off satisfied. It felt simple, practical, and well put together.
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I’ve long been wanting to pen down our car buying journey and have finally managed to get down to it. Apologies in advance as this is going to be a long one. Also, these are solely my views on the cars we rejected and have no intention of hurting anyone who happily own them.
Just as a background, we have 3 cars in the family a 2006 WagonR, 2019 Last facelift XUV500 (Both owned by my father) and a 2014 Ford Ecosport (Owned by my father in Law). I have extensively driven all these vehicles and my expectations/requirements are all based off my experience from them. As you would probably make out, we keep our cars long and cherish them – the WagonR specifically is almost 18 years old and still running strong. One look at it and a non-enthusiast wouldn’t know he is looking at an 18-year-old car. My father finally before retiring decided to take the plunge and get a “big” car. At that point there was only the XUV500 on the market for 7 seaters, the Hexa had been discontinued and the Harrier had just been launched. As the Harrier didn’t fulfill the 7 seater requirement so we went ahead with XUV500 and its been happily munching miles ever since.
Anyways, the point is work took us away from home and we settled in Bangalore. We knew we would be having frequent runs to Coimbatore (my wife’s hometown) and having a toddler with us we knew it was time to get ourselves our first ride.
I had been very closely following the car launches, reading reviews off team BHP and watching video reviews of cars from the influencers for the past 2 years. After all the research I was able to zero down on the requirements in terms of priority for our car as below:
- Safety – Paramount, and by this point I wanted a car with a good strong chassis and any active safety features were welcome (basically only looking at 5 star rated cars). The only point I wanted to stress on is that we share the roads with other drivers and they may not be as careful as you are and you may end up in an accident for no mistake of yours and in such cases a sturdy stable body shell is the only thing you can depend upon to keep your loved ones safe.
- Reliability – We keep our cars long, so frequent stops at the service centre were a big no. We wanted a Fill it, drive it, shut it kind of a car.
- Performance – I wanted a car which would make me smile behind the wheel.
- Features – All the gizmos, tech, conveniences were last and good to have
- Uniqueness – A little different from the sea of the best selling cars out on the road
With the above in mind, I started looking for cars, initially we didn’t have a particular segment or budget in mind and we started scouting for cars on the road, initially Altroz caught our eyes but it was ruled out by the wifey saying its too low (We have all been spoiled by high seating cars). So the segment then shifted to Compact SUV, the only cars with the required 5 star ratings were Nexon and XUV300. I wasn’t too keen on the Nexon but seriously considered the XUV300 turbosport we even went to the showroom to check it out and liked how solidly it was put together but for some reason it felt like a compromise given how far ahead the competitors were.
So this lead us to moving up another segment to the mid sized SUV’s. By this time we were clear on our budget as well (a maximum of 18-19 Lakhs on Road). So we knew that we had to get a car from this segment for sure. All cars in this segment were very carefully considered and below are our reasons for rejecting/selecting them.
- Creta/Seltos Duo – Rejected due to safety, a lot of active safety features/gizmos/tech but the base (Chassis) did not get good passive safety ratings. Also the areas where they excelled were low on my priority list plus these have become such common cars being best sellers (We did not even visit the showroom)
- Grand Vitara/Hyryder Duo – We went to the Nexa showroom and had a good check of the features, look/feel of the car. Wifey did not like the interiors and I didn’t like the exteriors. I’m not a fan of the trend of the split eyebrow DRL’s. We presumed the safety to be at least 4 stars as it is built on the Brezza’s platform. In the end we weren’t too convinced and rejected the Vitara, didn’t bother with the Hyryder as its just the Vitara in a different skin
- Astor – Its such a beautiful car, but technically it being a Chinese company and the company as such doing very small numbers in India kept us away.
- Kushaq/Taigun – Things started heating up now we visited the Skoda showroom and test drove the 1.5 TSI. I was all smiles behind the wheel and my wife liked the car too. The 5 star safety rating was a cherry on the top of the cake as well. I loved the Monte Carlo Red, my wife though was not fully convinced with the colour, she liked the grey, but I felt If we did not get the Monte Carlo, I would regret buying the grey Kushaq everytime I’d see a Monte Carlo on the road. We decided to pause our car hunting in the mean time as our finances were not in place to be able to afford a car yet. Fast forward to May this year we went to the Volkswagen showroom to have a look at the Taigun, and again both of us loved the car and this time we were able to arrive at a common colour the Lava Blue. So when everything was done and settled we sat down and compared the prices and we found that there was no way we would be able to afford the 1.5 and that left me gutted. The 1ltr is by no means a bad engine, but I was so in love with the 1.5 that I couldn’t bring myself to settle for lesser 1ltr Kushaq/Taigun. Again we went into limbo, paused our car search as things were getting busy on the work front and we got immersed there.
- Elevate – Honda had started teasing about the Elevate around May and it had piqued my interest, I started researching on Honda as a brand and my excitement grew as I learned that it ticked all the priorities I had outline above. Honda as a brand basically stood for Safety, reliability and to an extent good performing cars (the famed Ivtec engines). I eagerly consumed all the teasers, expectations videos, blogs etc that the internet had to throw at me about Honda’s new offering. Everywhere I read there was some mention of this being Honda’s make or break car in India, so everyone expected that since Honda is coming last to the party it will be with all its guns blazing. I kept feeding my wife titbits on how the Elevate was coming along from whatever I could glean from the media. The launch date was announced and if I remember correctly, it was sometime in July. I eagerly listened to all of what Honda had to say about the car at launch, and at the end of it all I was left feeling a little disappointed maybe because of how high I had set my expectations, but I distinctly remember feeling disappointed. So again a limbo, immersed into work.
It was during this time (August 2023) that our organizations mandated us visiting office at least twice a week and that prompted us to finally shift base to Bangalore. After the initial 2 weeks of shifting, settling down, we realised it was high time we had a car of our own. And by this time the media drive of the Elevate had been done, and most of the reviews by them were good if not excellent. So, by the end of August when the showrooms started receiving the cars we decided to drop in to the Honda showroom. There was an Obsidian Blue Elevate on display and immediately my wife and me exchanged looks approvingly, the elevate had made a good first impression. We had a good long look at its profile, features, interiors etc and came off satisfied. It felt simple, practical, and well put together. Now all that remained was how it fared on the test drive. It was around a week later that the test drive vehicle arrived and we eagerly went for the test drive. My immediate feeling after the test drive was it is so easy to drive, the commanding view, the refined engine (Below 2000 RPM) and the famed Ivtec high RPM grunt, my wife too took over the wheel for some time and she came off having the same feeling. I’ve realised over time that being Fun to drive cannot only be defined by how quickly a car does a 0 to 100. Its about the entire package of Ride quality, Handling, Manoeuvrability, Ambience etc that uplifts the fun to drive quotient. Hence it was decided – Honda Elevate – Obsidian Blue – ZX MT is going to be the first car of our stable and will hopefully remain so for many years to come. We proceeded with the booking online and initiated conversation with the dealer.
We received the car on 18th October. I will post a delivery experience/ownership update shortly after I’ve driven the car for at least 1000 kms so that I’m more in tune with the characteristics of the car. Sharing a couple of pictures from a short run.
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