The second-hand market for cars in India is brimming with different models that are available at a fraction of their showroom prices. But you may want to know which is the best small second hand car to buy in India. Just as new models are introduced by manufacturers, simultaneously, the second-hand used car market is growing.
The problem with buying a brand-new car is the high depreciation, cost of insurance and high initial cost. Many people are on a limited budget and not everyone has the funds to buy a new car from the showroom.
This is where second hand cars come to the rescue. The initial cost is less, insurance costs are minimal and the car doesn’t depreciate as much as a new car.
Best small second hand cars to purchase
Let’s have a look at the best second hand small cars to buy in India today. There is a huge selection of quality second hand cars for you to choose from. When making a choice, look at the initial cost as well as the cost of maintenance and spares, because you will want to save money in the long run too.
Maruti Suzuki Alto 800
The compact hatchback segment is always in demand and the Alto 800 leads the pack. It is an extremely popular car because of its versatility and pocket friendly nature. This tiny car is great for someone looking to purchase it on the second-hand market.
The engine is an 800 cc, 3-cylinder petrol unit with 48 PS of power and 69 Nm of torque. The transmission is a 5-speed manual which is slick and slots nicely. The car is not very costly to maintain due to its simplistic mechanicals.
Hyundai Santro Xing
The production of the Hyundai small car has been stopped, but there are many well maintained examples available in the used car market. The car has an affordable second-hand price tag and is a reliable vehicle.
If you are looking for a cheap car outside the Maruti stable, then the Hyundai Santro Xing makes for the perfect choice.
Maruti Suzuki Wagon R
In the small car segment, the Maruti Suzuki Wagon R is a popular model due to its spacious cabin and affordable price. It comes with a frugal 1 litre, 3-cylinder engine producing about 68 PS of power. They come with options of a 5-speed manual and 5 speed AMT gearbox. The Wagon R is also available in CNG format offering even better fuel economy than the petrol version.
The Wagon R offers stress free driving as an everyday commuter. It benefits from Maruti Suzuki’s unbeatable reliability, low cost of maintenance and excellent resale value when you feel its time to upgrade.
Maruti Suzuki Swift
Since it entered showrooms in 2005, the Swift has been leading the sales in the premium hatchback segment for years. It's no surprise that the Swift is equally popular in the used car market as well. It has won over many drivers due to its looks and brand image.
The Swift relies on Maruti Suzuki’s hot hatch status at the same time being comfortable and spacious. It is called the easy drive hatch because of its refined engine and impressive ride quality. The Swift offers good fuel economy too and can be picked up on the second hand forums for an affordable price tag.
In the entry level hatchback segment, the i10 scores points for its looks and smooth engine. The list of features available for this car is also quite impressive and offers a decent package for the price you pay. Maintenance costs are also on the low side with spare parts being readily available and inexpensive.
The Hyundai i20 is a big contender in the premium hatchback segment. People aspire to move up from an entry level hatchback to the i20 because of its looks, features, refinement and comfort.
There are many well maintained used Hyundai i20s and finding one at an affordable price tag is not a difficult task. It is a good buy for a city runabout, because its smooth engine is quite economical and won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
Additionally, the i20s resale value is good, so you can always upgrade to a bigger car without worrying about depreciation too much.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno
The Baleno is one of the biggest sellers overall in the Indian market. People just love its looks, features, ride quality and spacious cabin. It is an excellent choice in the premium hatchback segment for the driver looking for a sporty drive. It comes with a very capable 1.2 litre petrol engine with 83 PS and 113 Nm of torque. Gearbox options include a CVT and a 5-speed manual unit. Fuel economy is above par for a car in this segment and features include LED projector headlights, a touchscreen infotainment screen and automatic climate control. The Baleno also benefits from safety features like ABS with EBD, parking sensors and dual airbags.
The Volkswagen Polo is one car that can stand its ground against other used car big sellers like the Swift, Baleno and i20. The engines from VW are some of the best in their class and so are the refined transmission setups. The Polo’s maintenance costs may not be as affordable as Maruti’s or Hyundai’s but the VW is bullet proof when it comes to cabin sturdiness and durability. As a premium hatchback, the Polo comes with features like a touchscreen infotainment system, automatic rain sensing wipers, dual airbags upfront and cruise control.
Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire
This entry level sedan had entered the Indian market back in 2008. Since then its popularity has risen due to its cabin space, reliability and high mileage engine. The Dzire has all the modern safety features you can expect like ABS with EBD, airbags, etc. For engine options, both petrol and diesel units are available along with manual and automatic transmissions. One of the benefits of the Dzire is its low maintenance and service costs.
The Honda Jazz didn’t do as well as expected when it was launched, however, it did exceptionally well on the used car market. And it's no surprise because it comes with a gem of an engine and loads of features like a sunroof, infotainment system, automatic climate control, push button start / stop, ABS and a rear spoiler for that sporty look. Safety features include dual airbags in front, seatbelt warning, and rear parking cameras and sensors.
The Tata Tiago has a lot going for it with stylish looks, good engines and great fuel economy. It comes with a 1.2 litre, 3-cylinder engine that gives 21 kmpl. The Tata Tiago is available with both automatic and manual gearboxes. Excellent build quality, cabin comfort and ride quality make this a popular choice on the second-hand market.
Maruti Suzuki Ignis
The Ignis is considered a good choice for the budget friendly buyer looking to get his hands on new technology. The Ignis is actually a premium hatchback and comes with a refined 1.2 litre, 4 -cylinder engine. The Ignis benefits from Maruti Suzuki’s Heartech platform which makes for a lightweight chassis offering good fuel economy of about 21 kmpl. It truly is a good value for money purchase on the used car market.
What are the reasons to buy a used car?
Buying a second-hand car makes sense for first time buyers looking to upgrade their personal vehicle from a two-wheeler to an entry level hatchback. Some of the reasons why people buy used cars is that it saves money, upgrades within the segment for a low cost, provides for tension free drives on Indian roads, is cheap to insure and has slower depreciation.
A second-hand purchase is practical and affordable for those who don’t want to dent their wallet. Many used cars now also come with warranty and certification so you can be assured of trouble-free driving for the life of the car, except for regular maintenance, which, if you choose the right car, will be relatively inexpensive.
There are several websites and apps which you can use to find a second-hand car from the comfort of your home. Gone are the days when you would have to look in newspapers for the used car section or hunt through used car traders for the right car that fits your budget.
Tips on finding the best second-hand car
First decide on your requirement, do you need a small entry level hatchback, or a premium hatchback. Research the maintenance costs of different manufacturers. Some brands have very costly spare parts and servicing can be quite expensive. Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai have reasonable service and maintenance costs.
Make a choice between performance or fuel economy. Cars with larger engines will be more powerful than smaller engines at the cost of fuel economy. With the price of fuel rising so often, it would be a better choice to go for fuel
Keep an eye on the safety features a car has to offer. ABS with EBD are fairly common on cars these days, but look for cars with dual airbags, parking sensors, stability control, and reverse parking cameras.
Check on insurance costs of the car. Insurance is mandatory so have a look at the various plans on offer and choose the best deal for you.
Don’t look out for cars older than 5 years if you can afford it. Basement prices may be attractive at first but you should prefer warranty and checks done on the vehicle even if the asking price is a little higher.
Get a list of service records and avoid cars that have a dubious history. Look out for cars that have had repairs done on them. Check the condition of the vehicle and always take a test drive to make sure everything works as it should. Keep an eye open for signs of rust and corrosion especially if the car was used in a coastal area.
How much does a second hand car cost?
The second-hand car business is big in India because you can get a well maintained car that costs half of the launch price. It gives the opportunity for the buyer to own a premium car without making a big dent on their savings.
The cost of used cars starts from around 2 lakh for a Maruti Suzuki Alto and can go from 5 lakh upto 6 lakh for a premium hatchback like the Volkswagen Polo. It is possible to get a second-hand car for less money, but the service record may not be available, the car could have been in an accident or it could be that it just wasn’t well maintained.
These are cars you want to stay clear off, because you will have problems with maintenance and repairs down the line. It is better to pay a premium for the used car, rather than buy a car with a doubtful history.
If you’re in the market for a car and are currently on a limited budget, then a used car makes perfect sense for you. The best part is when you decide to upgrade your car in the next few years, you won’t lose as much money as a new car in depreciation. It’s a win-win situation for you.
The used car market always stays strong no matter what the new car market goes through over the years. That’s because the second-hand market offers buyers true affordability, low maintenance costs, good resale value and reduced cost of ownership and insurance.
A point to note is that new car owners have a change of car (usually an upgrade) in approximately 5 years, which provides numerous models on the second-hand trade, where buyers are looking to pick up the best deals.
The used car market is projected to grow year on year and more buyers, especially first time or entry level buyers are keeping their eyes peeled on the used car trade.
Hopefully, this list of the best second-hand small cars on the road is going to help you make a wise decision and have many years of happy motoring.