It is no news, that driving in India is a pretty daunting experience, more so for the inexperienced. Even on the best days, the traffic is infuriating.
The concept of lane discipline is unheard of, to many motorists, buses and three-wheelers, as they religiously cut in front of you out of nowhere and then of course, there’s the usual gathering of cows, sitting idle - bang in the middle of narrow city streets or even on the national highways.
Not to mention, the state of roads themselves are in a state of disrepair.
For all these reasons and more, it becomes imperative to spend a good amount of time in making sure that the car you are buying packs in a decent number of safety technologies to keep you and your loved ones safe.
We pick out the top five safest cars for under Rs 10 lakh that are currently on sale in the country.
The EcoSport is among the most sophisticated vehicles one can buy, this side of Rs 10 lakh. With standard safety features in top-spec variants including ESP (Electronic Stability Program), traction control, ABS and six airbags (for the driver and passenger and side curtain airbags for front and rear seats) there are lots of reasons to feel safe in this compact crossover.
What’s more, the Microsoft-developed SYNC tech will not only make and receive calls, play music or have your text messages read out to you, it will even make an automatic call to the emergency service number - 108, if the car has been involved in a serious accident and airbags are deployed.
Ever since it hit the market, the i20 is well known for being one of the safest cars in its class. The new i20 takes the game forward with the addition of usable gizmos like rain sensing wipers and automatic headlamps. Besides automatic headlamps and wipers, the i20 offers up all the usual set of safety features expected from a car of its size. You get six airbags - dual front, side & curtain, ABS with EBD and reverse parking sensors.
The Duster offers a good mix of size, safety features and robust build quality to make it one of the safest affordable cars to be in, should there be any mishap. Safety features onboard include dual front airbags, ABS, EBD with Brake Assist and a protective under guard for the engine.
Hyundai continues its streak of safe vehicles with the Verna, which, like the i20, gets as many as six airbags. ABS with EBD and disc brakes on all four corners ensures that the Verna sticks to the road and stops efficiently come rain or shine. Other safety tech includes seatbelt pretensioners, rear parking sensors and an electro chromic mirror which automatically senses and reduces light interfering from vehicles following you, thereby reducing glare.
The Micra is nearly all new for 2013 and even the most basic petrol and diesel variants come equipped with a driver-side airbag and speed sensing door lock system. The top-of-the-line XV Premium diesel variant is brimmed with safety tech. You get four airbags, ABS, EBD, speed sensing door lock system, immobilizer with alarm and some more.
While the fact remains, that carmakers are busy coming out with new models every other week, it should be noted that they are also rapidly blending performance and creature comforts with cutting-edge safety technologies.
It is however, a sad fact that most of the safety features are put in the options list, which quickly add to the overall cost of the vehicle.
Hopefully, this scenario will change in the years to come as safety tech becomes more and more economically viable, so as to let automakers provide those features as standard. But until then it is up to us, to cough up an additional premium for our own safety and of those we love.