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Car Buying Guide - Choosing the right variant

Snapshot: Choosing a car model is simple, but zeroing on the variant takes time and effort. We make the whole process simpler with the latest Car Buying Guide.

Simple it might sound, but choosing the variant for your car could end up being a daunting task. No, we’re not trying to scare you, but unless it’s a money-no-object scenario, selecting the optional extras versus regulating your budget requires some time, effort, and scientific precision to find the best balance. Fret not, we’ve got the latter sorted in our latest Car Buying Guide article.

Budget

Budget is clearly the vital component here, as it makes choosing the variant simple. If you have allocated enough money for your car such that all the optional extras/top most variant could be chosen, you get to have a wider choice on the options you want.

These, the top-end variants, come with all sorts of features that a company could offer, keeping the competition in mind, of course. From cooled gloveboxes and reverse parking cameras to heated rear view mirrors and things like Appstream, there’s something for everyone.

That said, it’s not always wise to choose the fully laden versions. Why, you may ask. Well, because having all the options ticked doesn’t mean you get all the useful ones. Also, since most cars in India (except the premium ones) don’t really give customers the choice to select individual options, selecting the variants becomes all the more challenging.

Features

Sort out the features that are important to you, jot down the variants that have them, and then create the best compromise between the two. To keep the buying costs low, car makers generally keep the entry-level variants free of features, so if your budget is constrained and you are looking for basic (read essential) features alone, these entry-level variants can be considered.

What must also be noted is that some features that you might have not used in your old car could turn to be essential, especially if you’re upgrading to bigger/better equipped model. A Nano, for instance, can do without reverse parking sensors but a Bolt could benefit from those.

Spend some time on reading and understanding how these new ‘extras’ could be useful, and if you could justify their use, keep them on your list. The new intermediate variants help in reducing the gap between consecutive variants, hence offering the customer a wider range of options to choose from.

Safety

Given the increased awareness among customers, an increasing number of manufacturers are now doing a noble job of making airbags and basic safety aids like ABS standard across their whole range of products, right from the bare-basic variants to the range toppers. But until the trend is accepted by all of the car makers, make a point of choosing the variant that offers ABS and airbags at least.

As one moves up the variant range, the number of airbags as well as driver aids continue to increase, too. That essentially means that you get world class safety features (active as well as passive ones) without necessarily buying the most expensive car on sale. As a rule of thumb, keep the safety features high on the priority list.

Offers

More often that not, carmakers have discounts and special benefits available to ensure their brand and vehicle stays relevant even with growing competition. These offers could be variant specific, too, whereas the specific versions which are either priced higher than the competition or are relatively slow in selling. If that’s the case, then under such a deal, a more feature rich variant could be had, but at reduced prices.

Resale Value

While a car’s resale value is largely dependent on its customer satisfaction, image, and the product itself, but there exists a difference among various variants, too. A higher variant will command a better resale value but a entry level version might not. Prospective car buyers don’t mind shelling out a few thousands extra for certain features, something new car buyers aren’t as eager to do.

Lack of options

While diesel and petrol engined versions are offered in identical trims, some manufacturers limit the CNG/LPG models to specific variants. It’s a deterrent for those who want to enjoy the benefits (cost and environment) of alternative power but without leaving out the luxuries.

Availability of automatic gearboxes in just high-end variants means that to make driving stress free, one needs to spend extra on features that he might have not wanted. This, the lack of options, means buyers are stuck with predefined variants, which makes choosing one easy but whether or not it satiates the owner is a topic of further discussion.

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