Cars under 3 lakhs – Maruti Alto @ Rs 2.87 lakh to Renault KWID @ Rs 3 lakh

If you are in the market for a new car and have a limited budget of Rs 3 lakh, you have only three options to pick from. These include the Datsun redi-GO, Maruti Alto 800 and Renault KWID. We are not including the Tata Nano here as production of the car has been halted. 
Under Rs 3 lakh, you can only opt for the lower trim levels which are offered with a 800cc petrol engine mated to a 5 speed manual transmission. Lets have a look at the cars:

1) Cars under Rs 3 lakh : Alto 800

Price: Rs 2.85 lakh onwards (on-road, before discounts)
Current Offers: Upto Rs 30000 cash, upto Rs 30000 exchange bonus (October)

Launched in 2000 as the replacement for the good old Maruti 800, the Alto is India’s most affordable car (Tata Nano’s production has been halted) and the largest selling car in small towns and rural markets. Maruti has sold 35 lakh (yes, 35,00,000) Altos since then in the Indian car market. There is no denying the fact that the Alto 800 is a car for the masses! Bullet proof reliability, low running costs and ease of driving is that the little Alto offers. Powered by a 800cc engine and mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox, the Alto 800 offers surprisingly brisk performance for city runs. Maruti also offers a company fitted CNG kit for even lower running costs – but this is over 3 lakh.
The cabin, though not as spacious as the Nano, offers a clean design with durable materials. Higher spec models offer integrated audio system, front power windows, keyless entry and a driver side airbag is optional across all trim levels. You can even personalise the car with accessories online and get the same delivered via your nearest showroom.
At this price, the Alto 800 offers an unbeatable package. Its long in the tooth but is still winning thousands of hearts across India each month. For under Rs 3 lakh on-road, you can pick among the base standard or the LX Option trim. In case you are taking exchange bonus, you can even have the Lxi trim.

Pros:

  • Value for money, factory fitted CNG option
  • Driver airbag optional across all versions
  • Light controls make it easy to drive
  • Efficient and cheap maintenance cost

Cons:

  • Not a good highway companion
  • Not as spacious as say the Nano or redi-GO
  • Average road presence

Sales (not available as figures are clubbed with Alto K10)

Latest update: Alto Utsav edition launched in October 2017

2) Cars under Rs 3 lakh: Datsun redi-GO

Price: Rs 2.85 lakh onwards (on-road, before discounts)
Discounts: 1st Year Insurance + 2 Gram Gold Coin + Rs 12K Exchange Benefits + 3 Year Road Side Assistance (October)

For under Rs 3 lakh, you can pick the base model of the redi-GO. However if you are opting for exchange bonus, you could even have the second trim, the ‘A” model. The redi-GO AMT offers shattering value for money considering the features it comes equipped this. For example, the A model gets body coloured bumpers, left and right outside mirrors, premium seat cloth, power steering, air-con with heater, driver information display and even a charging outlet.
The redi-GO looks pretty nice for a small car and with generous dimensions, manages to stand out in the crowd of hatchbacks on the road. On the inside, the redi-GO gets an all black color theme that is broken well by silver inserts at places. Practical points include open space above the glove box, under the air-con and multiple cup holders. That said, all four doors do not offer any storage space at all. However Datsun claims the redi-GO has the roomiest interiors for the segment. The 800cc engine offers more than ample performance for city runs and though a bit rough, is light on the pocket.

Pros:

  • Most affordable automatic
  • Modern interiors
  • Easy urban car (tall seating, good visibility, light steering)
  • Peppy and fuel efficient

Thumbs down

  • High speed manners
  • Interior fit and finish
  • Limited network, poor resale value
  • Cost cutting evident (single front wiper, non retractable belts)

Sales:
July: 1623
Aug: 1674
Sep: 1658

Latest update: Limited edition model launched in Sep 2018

3) Cars under Rs 3 lakh: Renault KWID

Price: Rs 3.02 onwards (on-road, before discounts)
Current Offers: 50% Off on 1st Year Insurance + Rs 15000 Exchange Bonus + 4 Year Warranty on Select Model (November)

Like the redi-GO, for Rs 3 lakh, you can only get the base Kwid model. If you factor in the exchange bonus, for just over Rs 3 lakh, you can buy the RXE version that comes with foldable rear seats, better looking fascia with silver contours, air-con, engine immobiliser etc. Launched in September 2015, the KWID has been Renault’s largest selling car in India for several years. SUV inspired design has gone down well with buyers and the car looks upmarket, from a higher segment. The cabin too excels over rivals when it comes to a premium feel, ditto for class leading features like a touch-screen infotainment interface, full LCD speedometer console, rear arm-rest, rotary knob for gear selector (AMT version) et al – but do note all these cost over Rs 3 lakh.
Renault offers the KWID with a choice of two engine options. These include a 800cc and a larger 1000cc motor: the latter is also offered with an optional automatic transmission option. The KWID rides like a mature, much larger hatchback and this ups the comfort quotient by a good margin. Renault has been on their toes to launch limited edition versions and new trim levels every few months and this has kept the KWID fresh in the market. With 8 versions on sale today across a price difference of 2 lakh, this car manages to attract a wide set of buyers.

Pros:

  • Multiple engine and transmission options
  • Baby SUV looks go down well with buyers
  • Segment leading ride quality
  • Segment first features (rear arm-rest, touch-screen etc)

Cons:

  • Small tank: only 28 litres
  • Huge turning radius of 5m!
  • No visual difference between base and top-end
  • Lowering market demand = poor re-sale

Sales:
July: 5015
August: 5541
September: 5529

Latest Update: 2018 edition with added features

Also Read: Cars under 3 lakhs – Maruti Alto @ Rs 2.87 lakh to Renault KWID @ Rs 3 lakh