Best Cars In India For Long Drives
Published On May 8, 2020 8:57:59 PM
If you are a road-tripper or travel long distances for pleasure or work by cars, they ought to meet certain prerequisites. These cars should be reasonably powerful, spacious enough to accommodate both passengers and luggage comfortably, and fuel efficient enough to make mile munching enjoyable and easy on your wallet. Above all, they should be reliable and safe enough to put you at ease during your long distance travels. Here’s a look at the best cars to consider for long drives across different categories.
Picking a car from this segment wasn’t easy. Hatchbacks aren’t usually known for their road-tripping capabilities. However, we settled on the diesel Jazz because of its decent set of features, cabin space and frugal yet punchy engine. The one drawback is that the Jazz’s diesel engine can get a bit clattery when you hustle it.
A close second in this category is the Volkswagen Polo. The Polo GT TSI has a smooth engine, an excellent gearbox and handles well. The rear seat is not the most comfortable, though. This shouldn’t be a concern if you go on long drives alone, but if your family or friends accompany you, their experience may not be as comfortable as it would be in, say, the Honda Jazz. After the BS6 update, the Polo is now available only with a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder, naturally aspirated MPI engine in two states of tune. We’d recommend opting for the more powerful 1.0-litre TSI unit that makes 110PS and 175Nm though it’s limited to the Highline+ and GT variants. There’re a new 6-speed manual and 6-speed torque converter automatic transmission to choose from -- again, only with the TSI units.
Perfect. That’s what the Civic is. It handles excellently and offers a comfortable cabin. Any qualms we had about its diesel engine being underpowered were quashed when we drove it during our road test. It does high triple-digit speeds with remarkable ease. You won’t like the Civic if outright power is what you seek. However, if a comfortable cabin, excellent ride quality, highway manners, and the capability to make that chassis obey every whim of yours on ghat sections is what you seek, the Civic will forge a special place in your heart immediately.
The Skoda Octavia is our second choice in this category. It has loads of power to offer, but in terms of ride comfort and handling, it comes second to the Civic.
We had to rack our brains to decide which MPV made for the best long-distance vehicle. In the end it’s the Kia Carnival that had everyone nodding in agreement. Sure, it’s expensive, but it’s also as close to a business-class experience as you’d get for the money. There is nothing we can fault the Carnival with as a long-drive car, apart from the fact that we are yet to see how it tackles bad roads.
The Maruti Ertiga comes a close second and, if the Carnival hadn’t arrived into the scene, would have taken our vote for being the best MPV for long distance travels. The Ertiga has redefined the seven-seater layout in India and while it can’t match up to the Carnival in any regard, it holds its own quite well. It’s also significantly cheaper.
Where does that leave the Toyota Innova Crysta then? It’s undoubtedly one of the most reliable and comfortable vehicles out there but the Carnival is more feature-rich, and the Ertiga’s value-for-money proposition is unbeatable.
Ford Endeavour. There, we said it. The Endeavour is so good that if we had to pick one car from the entire list, it would be a toss-up between this or the Honda Civic. Eventually, you would have to decide between the Endeavour’s go-anywhere capabilities and the Civic’s corner-carving ability. Ford has downsized the Endeavour’s engine to comply with BS6 norms, which has led to an indirect benefit to its fuel efficiency. While we miss the power the older Endeavour offered, the current engine does a sufficiently good job of cruising comfortably on the highway. And if you’re in the mood to take it off-road, it can do that too, quite easily.
A close second here is the Toyota Fortuner. It may be the more popular choice, but the Endeavour’s sophistication and excellent ride quality gives it an edge over the Toyota.
Now, let’s get to my personal favourite car for long drives: the Skoda Rapid. Having driven this car extensively, I have to say its ride quality is superb. The diesel engine coupled with the DSG gearbox makes things interesting on long, open stretches. However, with the BS6 era, the diesel has been discontinued. I just hope the new 1.0-litre petrol TSI delivers as much punch as the diesel version.