Commuter Car Performance: What Are People Squabbling About?
There is more to a normal car and apart from performance numbers, they need to do well at other fronts too.
Whenever petrol heads speak about “performance” figures of a commuter car which is made in India, the conversation then goes on to become a row, as each would try to drive home their point.
The Indian automotive world is filled with mostly drab cars, with notable exceptions, and I cannot fathom why people fight over such vehicles.
To me, it seems juvenile that some have a vile attitude towards those who might prefer a certain vehicle from a brand that they do not like. Well, why is that all people should think alike? Some just prefer to stray away and buy something else.
Let us be frank, we are splitting hairs here. Almost all the affordable commuter cars offered in any segment in India are unfortunately very similar. Heck, I find it hard to even differentiate the previous generation Honda City from the current model.
For such vehicles, all that matters is how efficiently and comfortably they transport their passengers from point A to B. For sure, it is a bonus if they handle well, and many cars do, but thinking that they are “sporty” is just lying to oneself. Take them for what they are, no matter how hard the manufacturer or anybody else tries to convince you.
Puerile arguments will be made by people about the car having 0.1 BHP or 2 Nm more. But, the “difference” does not make any difference. Instead of squabbling over such commuter car performance numbers, I reckon people must ask some real questions.
Let me give an example. People buy compact SUVs by the bucketloads nowadays. But, why do they not ask about how easy it is to load things onto the boot, if the seats fold down flat to the floor, if the car comes with disc brakes all round or about its stability during sudden direction changes?
These are real questions that need to be asked by buyers and yet, somehow, they are directed towards things that do not matter, like if the turbo petrol makes 110 HP or 111 HP, as if that makes all the difference.
Then there is the hate that few people have towards certain brands. We do not dare ask how many people could have been saved had carmakers provided proper safety equipment, available at the time, in their products. But, here we are, fighting over the fact that a vehicle comes with only one engine and a gearbox option.
In my viewpoint, many good commuter cars have been wronged here because people did not look at them for what they offered. Instead, they were seen through eyes with filters and minds with preconceived notions.
Most owners do not care about commuter car performance, except, maybe for a few petrol heads. They just want their vehicle to not burn a hole in their wallet and keep them comfortable during every journey.
There is a solution to this. Buy affordable performance models, that actually deliver some fun, when they are put on sale and create a demand for them. The market goes where the demand is and if people go crazy for say a warm or lukewarm hatchback, then manufacturers will start providing more such models.
Until then, I am afraid people are going to keep talking about the “performance” of tall-riding models that do not excel at anything. To be honest, I just want to get rid of the useless twaddle surrounding the matter and think it should have long been derided as bunkum.