Battle of Saloons

Ahh … these morons and their keke dance… chocolate girls and twerking, now that’s perfect. Things beyond that are redundant…. Sshh.. just an observation.

Good day ladies and gents. Lets talk about my love affair with saloon cars. Yes off course! this is an automotive blog.

“Are you riding?

Say you’ll never ever leave from beside me

Cause I want ya, and I need ya…”

Toyota 2000 GT ‘one of the most beautiful cars ever made’ 

Alright alright, concentrate. So yeah. Saloon cars or sedans as they are known, are my favourite type of cars. They sit low, they have sexy aesthetics, only shape of car that has a bottom. The most beautiful cars ever made are of three-box shape, but since they are produced around the globe every saloon will have an essence of its origins. One of my all-time favourites is something called a Toyota 2000 GT. It is a vintage car but one of the most salivating designs of its time. Co-built by Yamaha for all you bikers. The interior on these especially is an absolute homage to Yamaha music instruments. Sheesh! I repent for selling my guitar. I could go on and on but I have limited wording. And that brings us to the topic in question. Is the new Toyota Yaris better than its competition? I drove it and came back impressed. I will have a different take on this. Less specifications, more banter. I will compare it to its competition, each one being a hypothetical female. This is no review, just a laugh. Reviews? there are too many out there.

Hyundai Verna as College Girl

Probably the most valuable car in the segment. Loaded with features. Price range also desirable. Comes with a plethora of engines and gearboxes. Nothing can go wrong with the Hyundai Verna. That’s why it is one of the top selling sedans. It is almost perfect but there is a big BUT.

Why college girl then?

Hyundai Verna, quite urban in its aesthetics

It looks sexy. Every detail is well designed. It is modern and exciting in its appearance. Both cabin and exterior. The other bit is that it is rich in technology. They offer it with ventilated front seats, auto headlights and navigation system along with a lot of safety kit. One of the best in car touch systems. The only element that irritates me, actually drives me mad is the lack of sporty genes. The steering is lifeless. No feedback at all. Same with the rest of the controls. The drivetrains on offer are very competent but don’t seem to exist. You don’t feel connected to the car. The Verna drives well but feels detached only because of the amount of electronics. See? College girl appeal. Very proficient but needs a Wi-Fi connection to communicate.

Specs as driven
Engine: 1.6 L Petrol
Power: 120 bhp Torque: 150 Nm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Price ex-showroom: 9.8 lakh; 14.2k USD (SX trim)

Volkswagen Vento as Gold Digger

If I was a buyer for a vehicle in this range I would call the VW a great package. Where to start. Unmatched build quality. It won’t have any criticism in the looks department. Good set of engines, trims and badge snobbery. People do think high of you in a German car. I do not know the concept of German cars but everyone just praises them. Nobody minds paying the extra.

Volkswagen Vento
VW Vento Understated and boxy

There was one in my family, so I had the chance of an occasional drive at times. One of the best driving cars on Indian roads period. Very well calibrated and rigid chassis combined with the torquey motor and steering feedback is just right. Unfortunately, the one I drove had a major engine failure which meant overhauling it entirely. The damage cost was worth more than an average Indian salary.

That’s what makes it a gold digger. The perception is too high. Just a fake image that is. And that image does cost a handful. As for me I never felt an emotion to the car. It’s too plain and bitter. Good instrument from A to B. Quite literally.   

Specs as driven

Engine: 1.6L TDi Diesel

Power: 100 bhp Torque: 250 Nm

Transmission: 5-speed manual

Price ex-showroom: 10.0 lakh; 14.4k USD (Comfortline trim)

Honda City as Fiancé

Ahh… The Honda City, the one with the throne ehh. Everybody yearns to have one of these. The Japanese firms bread and butter. Lot of heritage in the Indian market meaning the resale value always stays high. Lets start with the looks as I always do. It is not the best but not the ugliest looking either. Wonder why I said fiancé? The city has good proportions with curvatures in the right places. The addition of DRL lights adds some lustre to the front.

Honda City
Honda City still on the throne

The city has become a mature option with time. One of the most comfortable cars, well-built and good ambience on the inside as always. Its more sensible. But then the engine is a gem. Probably the only enthusiastic part of the car which draws some attention from the younger audience. You rev and rev till the redline at seven thousand rpm, slot it into gears which is more delicious than ice-cream. This is the real deal.  Steering is light but has decent feedback to drive enthusiastically. And Oh my lord ! when the cam comes in play…. Yippee !!  VTEC baby.  

So what’s up with the fiancé thing. Well, it has become costlier than the competition. But it is desirable. It feels complete, no fuss whatsoever. People who hate a Honda city are the ones who do not like ice cream. I should have said dessert. Would have painted a completely different picture. Hahahah… I genuinely love the City. 

Specs as driven

Engine: 1.5 L Petrol

Power: 118 bhp Torque: 145 Nm

Transmission: 5-speed manual

Price ex-showroom: 10-11 lakh; 15.5k USD  (VX trim)

And finally

Toyota Yaris as Aunty in a Sari

Don’t be pissed with me for calling the Yaris ‘aunty’ but it is just dowdy for my taste, bulbous in appearance. It is so frustrating because Toyota can produce stylish automobiles, I said before. Check the 2018 Camry. Launched in the same year as the Indian Yaris but miles better.

Toyota  Yaris, the new entrant

I had a test drive for a few minutes and came back impressed. To start with, it is a very comforting car. Hospitable I may say like an aunty. Toyota has introduced roof mounted air vents, first in class that is. The interior is decent in quality but lacks oomph for me, very pleasant though. Touchscreen infotainment is the norm, so you have that. There is some kind of gesture control with the radio.

Sitting at the wheel you feel cocooned because the dash peaks high. Engine is very smooth and refined mated to a sweet gearbox. You sense the weight of the car while driving. The motor has enough pep but feels lethargic, in a good way that is. The steering wheel itself is meaty to hold and has assuring weight. Nothing to complain about the car as a purchase option. If anyone is interested, please choose the variant with minimal chrome. The bling is like an aunty with stilettos. Nobody wants to see that. Hahaha…. That image is going to haunt everyone.

Toyota Yaris interior is a pleasant place to be seated in   

Just to add more. Toyotas service. What a wonderful experience. We had a female sales person. Sat there for a while and were offered refreshments. Poor girl struggled with the feature list on each variant. There was no manual car for test-drive but they managed to go around the back, fetch a base model customer-car and get it for test drive. We were expecting an unlucky day but managed to drive it. Hats off to Toyota.      

Specs as driven

Engine: 1.5 L Petrol

Power: 105 bhp Torque: 140 Nm

Transmission: 6-speed manual

Price ex-showroom: 10.5 lakh; 15.2k USD (G trim) 

There’s one car missing from the list. Yes, the Suzuki Ciaz. Very competent offering in the class. I couldn’t just think of a character. I’ll leave it up to you to decide. Okay?

Oh wait maybe I got this. It is affordable and efficient in probably every aspect. Looks much better than the Toyota I reckon. Hmm …. Side chick? It will always be deemed as a tin-can and undesirable. Sad truth.

So folks. The Honda for me. I have other reasons for choosing it. We’ll chat on that some time in future.

So long!