Had to cancel my BMW X3 booking, now looking for an SUV under 50 lakh

Our earlier budget was Rs 70 lakh but luck had another plan. Now, we are considering cars like the Jeep Meridian & next-gen Hyundai Tucson.

BHPian marinerandy recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

So it all started after I came back to India after sailing in the first week of April 2022. Till now we had an S Cross 1.3 alpha, which was bought after moving to Bangalore in 2016. It was a hasty decision as we needed a car in desperation due to the nature of my job and having 2 kids under the age of 10.

Now the itch of getting an automatic is going out of control.

As soon as I was back on land, the hunt for a suitable car was on. The budget was mutually fixed (between me and my wife) to 70 lakhs. That means some models from the big 3 German brands were also within our reach.

Cars considered

  • VW Tiguan
  • Skoda Kodiak
  • Fortuner
  • Audi A4 (although sedans are not on our preference list)
  • BMW X1 S20d
  • Merc GLA 220d 4 Matic
  • Volvo XC 40
  • BMW 3 Series 330li M sport

Once the list was sorted, we started inquiries on phone. The first and only showroom we visited was Deutsche Motoren BMW. Went there to TD X1 and 3 series. Ended up TD’ing X3 also. After experiencing X3, there was no going back. Since this car was stretching my budget by another 15 lakhs and my wife was adamant against leasing (BMW 360° plan), we took our own sweet time to seek our finances. Once done, we paid the token money and booked X3 30i M sport in Brooklyn grey shade.

Now looks like the luck has another plan. Last week a society in which I was eyeing a flat in resale for a very long time, suddenly was available with unbelievable price. The owner was insisting on a good chunk of cash to be paid upfront to close the deal as he needed it urgently. So the cash which was kept aside for car purchase was spent on down payment of flat.

Now I am back to square one. Of course, X3 is out of the question! Now our budget has been restricted to 50 lakhs with a slight stretch of a couple of lakhs.

When our budget was in the north of 70L then X1 and XC 40 were looking as good deals. Suddenly when the budget was trimmed down to the south of 50L, then these don’t look like viable purchases anymore (power of perception). X1 and XC40 being on the extreme of our budget, don’t look like VFM products due to either space crunch or missing features once compared to other products in a similar price range.

Now with the new budget, my heart and mind are only fixated on 2 offerings:

JEEP MERIDIAN or HYUNDAI TUSCON (new gen). And to make matters more complicated, both of them are not available right now. Today got a call from Advaith Hyundai to prebook the new Tuscon, even when they themselves don’t know the launch date. But since I have to join back by June start/mid, I am contemplating doing the advance booking.

So please help me out:

  • Is it advisable to do advance booking of a car of which, except for the exterior looks and engine specs, I don’t know anything about?
  • Tucson or Meridian?
  • Is any other suitable car in this price bracket except the ones already mentioned?

Hope to get my split thoughts settled down from your helpful inputs!

Here’s what GTO had to say about the matter:

Glad you spent money on an apartment rather than an X3. Between a property investment & a car, I will always go for the former and buy a nicer car later (hopefully with the property’s appreciation).

For 50-lakhs, my suggestion to you unfortunately will be to wait. Am not happy with any of the current options, including the bumpy Fortuner or the Meridian which is really a Compass with a small 3rd-row of seats (good for people who need it for kids, but you don’t). The best SUVs under 50-lakhs:

  • Skoda Kodiaq 2.0 TSI with adjustable suspension. Sold out for this year. Check with your Skoda dealer on the next availability. This should be your top choice.
  • Next-gen Hyundai Tucson. Great international reviews. Will be worth the wait.
  • In the meantime, test-drive the Volvo XC40 (stylish, competent, but small), Camry (brilliant luxury car) and BMW 3-Series (family-friendly & fun).

Waiting might be the best for you. Kodiaq & new Tucson might become available and after a year, perhaps your budget might increase again to 70 lakhs. Never know, that a more expensive car could work out cheaper in the longer run. Want to know how? Read this article – How a more expensive car can work out cheaper (if you hold onto it for longer

Here’s what BHPian bharanidharang had to say about the matter:

Golden days of real estate are all over in most places (From an investment perspective). If you are buying a flat to live in, then it’s worth the pain you have gone through in terms of the down payment.

Why not the used car route? Quite a few BHPians have picked good used cars which are only a year or two old. You might be able to pick an X3 in the 50 lac range.

Here’s what BHPian Axe77 had to say about the matter:

I am exactly in the same position, left to choose between these exact two options. I want an abuse friendly SUV and while I would have wanted it to be great to drive, the Meridian just leaves it wanting on a few crucial fronts.

While the Kodiaq is clearly the best vehicle from a finish, sophistication and performance perspective, I want something that I can take the rough and tumble a bit, with full peace of mind without having to baby the car or be mindful as I would with an expensive German vehicle. I am simply not a full-fat BOF customer either. I would prefer the sophistication of a monocoque package which is a little more car-like to drive than the Fortuner.

That primarily leaves me only with exactly the above two options.

I am also torn between either taking the plunge with the Meridian right away if I find it even “acceptable” or alternately waiting for the next-gen Tucson but then there is no guarantee when it will actually launch. Outlier options could be this all-new Toyota petrol hybrid that is supposed to come through sometime around the festive season, depending on how it’s packaged. I intuitively expect that car to be underwhelming to drive compared to the Meridian.

All in all, not a great price point to be in, if one doesn’t one to break the bank and stretch to the 75L segment.

To answer your point on advance booking, I see no harm in it as long as it’s not a massive amount and if it’s FULLY refundable. I had also placed a small token with Jeep on this understanding as far back as Feb / March IIRC but I got both these points clarified in writing from them.

Here’s what BHPian CrAzY dRiVeR had to say about the matter:

Yes. A rare one at that – the Citroen C5 Aircross.

Overpriced, yes! But better in ways that the Meridian or Tucson cannot match – stuff like ride quality, cocooned build quality, etc. Competent in other areas like a well-matched Diesel AT combo, five-year complimentary maintenance package, good space and practicality, etc.

Worth a TD.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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