With the growing population in India, everything is going compact. From houses to cars, people are giving more preference to Compact products and we certainly understand the change in trend. And now, we will dive into explaining the sub-4 meter sedan and who is it for?
What is a Sub-4 meter sedan?
We won’t bet on it but we believe India is the only country with a segment for vehicles that measure less than 4 metres in length and this is because of a 2006 legislation that allowed cars under the length of 4 metres to be qualified for lower excise duty.
The first company to seize this opportunity was Tata and they immediately chopped the length of the Indigo and gave India’s first compact Sedan – The Indigo CS (short for Compact Sedan). This was the start of an interesting segment which was initialised by Tata with their Indigo CS but popularised by Maruti Suzuki with their Swift Dzire. After looking at the impressive sales figures of the Swift Dzire, all the other car makers jumped on the bandwagon.
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The rise of the Sub-4 Meter sedan
The segment saw a huge jump in sales and most of the credit goes to Maruti Suzuki of course but many other products like the Honda Amaze, Hyundai Xcent (replaced by the Aura now) and Ford Aspire(R.I.P) saw good numbers too. We understand that the design of these sedans is not to everyone’s liking since all of them look just like an extended version of their respective hatchbacks that they are based on:
- Swift Dzire from the Swift
- Xcent from the Grand i10
- Aura from the i10 Nios
- Aspire from the Figo
- Amaze from the Brio
- Tigor from the Tiago
But looks are subjective and some of them have aged really well and our pick from them would be the Maruti Suzuki Dzire (now called Dzire and not Swift Dzire) and the new Honda Amaze. The new Honda Amaze especially looks more like a toned-down version of the Honda City than the previous version of the Amaze which looked like an extended version of the Brio.
The maintenance costs of these sedans were pretty less and even now some of them are easier to maintain when compared to Compact SUVs too.
What is the Target Group?
The sub-4 meter sedan segment is basically for those who like sedans that are easier to maintain and more practical or usable in cities. This falls into the middle-class zone and also as a favourable choice for those looking for a second car to travel inside the city with more boot space and a wee bit more luxury than hatchbacks.
As stated before, they are easier to maintain than C-segment sedans, offer more boot space than hatchbacks and with a slightly longer wheelbase than the hatchbacks, they offer ample amounts of legroom which increases the comfort factor. They are also tuned towards a softer suspension setup for a plusher ride when compared to the hatchbacks which is an advantage for your parents resting at the back.
Fall of the Sub-4 meter Sedan segment
Unfortunately, what goes up must come down and it did come down hard for these family-friendly sedans. And what brought doom to this segment and pretty much all other segments are the Sub-4 meter SUVs. These SUVs come under the same dimensions, offer more space in the interiors especially headroom and almost the same amount of boot space if not more. Moreover, the Compact SUVs with relatively higher ground clearance are better suited for the Indian road conditions making them a preferred choice over several other segments.
Right now, while there are only 4 models in the sub-4 meter sedan segment, there are almost 10+ models in the sub-4 meter compact SUV segment, which shows how popular they are. There was more trouble when the premium hatchback segment with products like Baleno and i20 started eating into the sales of the sub-4 meter sedan segment further. Some of them like the Hyundai Xcent was discontinued for a short period of time until they launched the Aura as a replacement.
No matter how good the compact SUVs are, they are not the only solution available for your requirements. More importantly, do not fall into the trap just because everyone is buying it, and you might probably have to stretch your budget when you compare it to the compact sedans. When you sit down and list your requirements, unless and until you live in a place where there are no roads or rural areas with broken roads, you don’t really need an SUV. A compact sedan will definitely be enough and well within your budget as well.