The automatic gearbox can be considered as one of the most important innovations in the field of automobiles as it made more women to take up driving. Car driving ceased to e a male bastion as women were able to drive without the pressure of changing gears every now and then. Automatic gearboxes might have arrived late in India, but are soon catching up with urban car buyers, especially women.
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The automatic transmission is comparatively more expensive than the manual gearbox. Hence we saw it mostly in high end cars. Maruti Suzuki ended this trend by launching the A-Star with an automatic transmission. Hyundai Motors followed it up with the i10 AT. There are few more contenders in the form of the Hyundai i20 as well as the recently launched Honda Brio AT.
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Sujatha, a Bangalore based housewife with two children recently asked Drivespark.com which was the best entry level small car with an automatic transmission and in our quest to answer her, we ended up writing this story.
So which is the best automatic small car in India?
Drivespark.com is comparing three entry level small cars with automatic transmissions. The contenders are the Maruti Suzuki A-Star VXI AT, Hyundai i10 Sportz 1.2 AT Kappa2 and the Honda Brio S(O) AT. We will rate the three cars based on their price, features, design and performance.
Price: The Maruti A-Star is priced at Rs. 4.7 lakhs, followed by the Hyundai i10 which costs Rs.5.27 lakhs and the Honda Brio is priced at Rs. 5.86 lakhs. There is no beating the Maruti A-Star when it comes to pricing and service costs but buyers will also look at other parameters such as looks and performance.
Design: The a-star is the next generation model of the Alto and the rear design is very similar to the alto. The front design has evoked mixed responses from people. The Hyundai i10 on the other hand has a sharper and more attractive design. But the Honda Brio with its latest design highlighted by its transparent rear cover has been appreciated by more people. The Brio is a clear winner when it comes to looks alone.
Features: The price of a car is sometimes decided by the number of features it has. The higher priced Honda Brio AT comes with Dual airbags and ABS. The Maruti A-Star is available with only the ABS while the I10 does not have ABS. The Brio is a much safer car followed by the A-Star and the i10.
Performance: The A-star is powered by a one litre engine capable of delivering 68bhp. The i20 gets a larger 1.2-litre engine that delivers a peak power of 80bhp. The Brio AT is capable of churning out a more impressive 88bhp despite being powered by a similar sized 1.2-litre petrol engine. This added power will mean quicker acceleration in city traffic and better performance on the highway.
Mileage: This is probably the most important aspect; a car buyer will look in to before making a final decision on buying a car. Automatic cars are said to deliver slightly lower fuel economy than similar cars with manual transmissions. Hence there is a sizable drop in on road mileage of all the three cars we are comparing today. Looking in to the technical aspects, the I10 could deliver a slightly lower mileage on the highway as its automatic gearbox has four gears as well as the A-Star. The Brio gets a five speed gearbox.
Final Verdict: looking in to the above discussed points, the Brio has a slight advantage over its counterparts thanks to its better safety rating, power and design. The A-star is a close second due to its lower price, fuel economy and the availability of ABS. The Hyundai i10 is at a not so distant third position. The Honda Brio AT clinches this race also due to its novelty factor. The Brio is fairly new car compared to the A-Star and i10 which have been launched several years