After debating and discussing for almost a year, we had made up our minds to buy a new car for which we had worked out the budget as well. At that time 20 lakhs wasn't that big a problem. So we started our visits to the showroom in late 2010 with our eyes peeled for cars in the 15 and above category. We glanced at the cars in the sub10 lakhs category and walked past them. But then there was no harm in discussing about them. I mean, why would one TD an i20 would when you have your eyes fixed at the Fortuner. "OOOOHHHH!!! Thats NOICE!!! "was the reaction from her everytime a Fortuner would go by and we sitting in our OHC straining our necks to look at it. Why?? When the OHC is parked next to the Fortuner the roof line is either in line or slightly below the window sill of the Fortuner . So started day dreaming of it even though the bookings were closed (Toyota, i mean c'mon, increase your production of the Fortuner). We joked about fixing a Bull Bar and bullying all the smaller cars and autowallahs on the road with our massive SUV. Why not!!! we get bullied too . Our selection criteria: 1. Has to GO as my wife has been driving the Palio 1.2 for the last 9 years. As you might be aware, its not one of the quickest car on the road. 2. Has to be good looking. Everytime you walk to it you should be proud of owning one for e.g. Palio . After so many years, its still looks so good. 3. Has to handle brilliantly. We keep hitting the highway every now and then so driving on the highway should be a pleasure. 4. Mileage: Yes, that is a consideration but not the definitive one. I would happily skip a meal to feed my car . Helps both of us. 5. Boot space: The bigger the better, but not one of the deciding factors. 6. Has to be a sedan or an SUV. HYUNDAI: Nope, not the manufacturer for us. We both aren't too fond of Kimchi-esque designs. Santro: No way. Period. i10: Its hideous (sorry, no offense to i10 owners but thats our personal opinion). I wanted to TD one in order to figure out why it sell like hot cakes. My wife bluntly refused to even sit in it saying "I can't be seen sitting in an i10 ". i20: Good VFM but then, everyone seems to have one. Everytime you turn your head, you find one. It was impressive at once upon a time, but not anymore. Accent: Why don't they kill the model now?? Its been ages we have been seeing it on roads. Do you ever notice when one just passes by you?? I dont think so. Verna: The earlier one was ugly enough, how did Hyundai designers manage to make it even uglier?? FIRE THEM . Sonata: In simple words, we call it a Lala gaadi. Bling and then blink away. Santa Fe: Had just been launched and at almost 25L, was way over our budget. Didn't look impressive either. MARUTI: Sorry but we arent big fans of Sushi-Q(uality) either. But anyways still I went through the deliberation process anyways. Alto: Not even in our dreams. A-Star: My wife finds it cute calling it a "Basset Hound Puppy”. To me its has a stunned expression as if someone just BOOOOOED the car . Swift: Pretty old now, not exciting to look at anymore. SX4: Extremely good VFM but never rings the right bells. Its way too laid back, confused SUV-Sedan crossover vehicle. Not the prettiest of the lot as well. Grand Vitara: Its a nice SUV from what I've read but then again its petrol. I said I can skip a meal. Not fast for a 15 days a month . HONDA: City: From the front end it’s a stunner. Rear is quite boring. Interiors are a big disappointment. It’s so plain and boring. Handling!!! The less said the better. Its a Honda afterall. Civic: Stunning looking car even after so many years its one of the best looking car on the road. But, its underpowered for the money one spends. Did a TD and my wife was extremely disappointed by it. Nothing great about the engine as well. If you want to spend that kinda money, buy the Cruze anyday. Accord: Not an option with the single digit mileage it gives. CRV: Its repulsive, the way we look at it. And then, its a petrol again . NISSAN: Micra: Very nice looking car. Extremely spacious from inside. Packed with features. A brilliant product. Doesn’t fit our criteria though. X-Trail: Not the best looking car on the road. But my God, its practical and made for travel freaks like us. The space it has is not funny at all. And the sunroof is MASSIVE. Started our search on youtube to see the off road videos and its bloody impressive. It doesn't look that the X-Trail is capable of doing things off road but it sure as hell is. Problem, exceeding our budget so we had to re-calculate our finances for it. TOYOTA: Innova: I like it. I very much like it. I have driven one quite a bit. Its a brilliant product from the Toyota pool. My wife didn't approve of it. Somehow she doesn't like it. Corolla: Its too boring and makes us feel 10 years older than we are . Give us a car which makes us feel like eighteen again, thats what we are looking for! Fortuner: Went to Infinium Toyota for a TD. The sales executive promptly arranged the TD vehicle and we were off. Its silky smooth again. The engine is brilliant and the way it pulls is unreal. Loads of torque and minimal turbo lag. Makes it a fun to drive even in the city. Didn't test the off road ability but it pretty clear that its a capable off roader. The only problem with the Fortuner is the interiors. If doesn't make one feel sitting in something costing 20+ lakhs. A 7segment LED clock!!! Are we still living in the 90's?? Bookings closed so no point discussing things any further. CHEVROLET-GM: Spark: I'd rather not say anything about it as people will either kill me or ban me for what I think about it. Beat: Nicely packaged for city driving. But we were looking at something bigger. Optra: Dated looks. Cruze: Now thats one aggressive, powerful, fast car. Its a diesel as well so its not that heavy on the pocket too. So we were ready for our TD. Went to Gallops Motors and had a first hand experience of the Cruze. In simple words, Its COOL. Other than minor hiccups like the seat scraping the center console when all the way up front, lack of room when I'm sitting in the passenger seat and low head room, its excellent. I personally am completely sold to the automatic transmissions. The ease of mind in city driving is just incomparable. So we wanted to TD and automatic which unfortunately Gallops motors didn't have. My wife promptly contacted GM India asking them a reason for unavailability of the model which we plan to buy. If we are buying a car worth 15 lakhs we sure would like to TD one. Its not a cosmetic difference that could be overlooked. I must say, GM India was prompt enough to ask Gallops motors to arrange one which they immediately did. Now thats what you call customer service. We were mighty impressed and felt in safe hands if we would be buying one. So there we were, at around 6:30pm on a November evening, for the TD of the auto version of the Cruze. First was my turn. Excellent car to drive. Its pretty fast to respond and the gear shifts are silky smooth. Tap the throttle and it surges like a rocket. I was completely sold to it. Now was the turn for my better half to TD it. This was her first experience with an auto transmission. Not a surprise it takes some time to get used to as I had driven my friends Corolla Auto. Firstly, one paddle is missing. Unlearning conventional driving isn't that easy. So we hit the road and were doing around 100 going all ga ga about the car and reached the rumble strips. Instinctive reaction, her left foot reaches for the clutch which is absent and lands on the brake paddle. The whole car shudders and came to a halt immediately. She had inadvertently tested the ABS!!! Pretty effective, I must say. The ABS, not her method of testing. The service executive and I almost had cardiac arrests.... Thankfully no one was behind us as later on we were informed that it was a delivery car due to be delivered next day. Who so ever has that car now, our sincere apologies but we did test the ABS on your car and it works. Hope you never need it though . Finances had been worked, color was finalised and we were fully ready to book the car. Then a sudden change in plans as we came across a beautiful apartment which we just couldn't refuse to buy. We mulled over the car and the apartment and decided we should take the better investment opportunity the flat offered.Took the giant leap and bought it Result?? The car budget had to be cut down and delayed.