Different Car Segments in India Explained
Indians are fond of cars, be it for the purpose of the daily commute or traveling, or being fond of them, or even owing ones that are head-turning pieces of luxury or power. By now, it’s clear that there’s no one category of cars, there are well-sorted in different segments. Following some automotive blogs, us maybe? You might have rested your eyes on terms like C-segment sedans or subcompact SUVs, or the one most popular these day, crossovers.
As you can see there are various segments, and these segments fulfill a different purpose or satisfy different requirements of power, performance, hauling people and cargo, or sheer luxury. Whatever your demands are, there’s a segment of cars that will surely fulfill them. But unlike other countries, our car segmentation is slightly different. How? Well just read along with us and we’ll explain.
In India, car segments are often size or dimension-oriented, which means they are segregated on the basis of their size and lengths. So let’s jump into a fascinating read about car segments:
Different Car Segments in India
A-segment (Mini Hatchbacks)
Mini Hatchback car segments are the smallest cars in the market and are leaned towards urban commute, also in tight-packed traffics of metropolitan cities. Because of their size, they are fitted with punny engines that thrust out enough power to move around with people seated in the cabin. With small engines, the efficiency is perfect for daily-commute.
In India, this car segment is often showcased with petrol engines, for their smaller size and incredible efficiency. Hatchbacks of this car segment are way less than 4-meters in length. This means the easiest maneuverability, and actually getting into tight spots and parking. For convenience, these can be availed with automatic transmission.
The only downfall of this car segment being the lack of fancy features, as mini hatchbacks are just basic, for traveling from point A to B efficiently. Cars in this segment include Maruti Suzuki S-Presso, Renault Kwid, Datsun Go, and more.
Sitting just above the mini hatchback car segments, the small hatchbacks, yeah you guessed it right, are bigger in size. These are perfect companions for city travels or picking up longer routes or also some long-distance trips. These car segment participants are just under 4-meter length, which means easy maneuverability. But compared to the mini hatchbacks, these are wider and taller, which gets them a better, stronger presence on the roads.
Being bigger, these fit bigger and punchier engines, and diesel options are also available by some brands. Engine size in these car segments ranges from 1.3L to 1.5L or even bolt-on turbo-engine blocks for more juice. The drivetrain option is also a wide, automatic transmission option including CVT, DCT, or even AMT.
Contrary to the mini hatchback, cars in B-segment are slightly upscale and hefty with better options, with premium quality interiors. Cars in this segment include Tata Altroz, Maruti Suzuki Swift, Maruti Suzuki Baleno, Honda Jazz, and more.
C-segment(Small Sedans or family cars)
Coming on to the C-segment, this car segment is sub-categorized to a wider array of cars. This car segment is one of the most demanded in the Indian automotive market.
Car segment like the subcompact sedans prioritize cargo space and for comfier commute in or between cities. Generally, they are sized in sub-4-meter platforms shared with the B-segment and comprise better safety aids with more comfort in the cabin.
These often carry over the powertrain from their B-segment hatchback siblings. With better proportions, the sub-compact sedans can be a better ride, and be a gorgeous buy to flaunt. The sub-Compact segment of a car includes Hyundai Aura, Honda Amaze, Maruti Suzuki Dzire.
Till now, car segment participants were small, manageable in-city commutes, and easy maneuverability, but no more. Small sedans are larger than the subcompact sedans hence offer the luxury of breath-free headroom and legroom and because they don’t share their platforms with any other segments( remember the sub-compact sedans sharing counterparts with small hatchbacks) these have unique platforms, designed from the ground. With decent length and size, they are spacious but often cause hindrance in city commutes and while finding a parking spot.
The small sedan car segment offers punchy engines, offering both petrol and diesel options, and automatic transmission attachments like CVT, DCT, and even torque convertors. The cars in this segment include Hyundai Verna, Honda City, Toyota Yaris, Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, and more.
D-segment(Midsize family cars or sedans)
If cabin or cabin space is still small for you, this car segment should do fine, but also lack easy maneuverability like car segments till now have been offering. The D-segment is a step-up to C-segment cars, bigger in size, and often carry a heftier price tag.
This car segment is focused on interior opulence and luxury, prioritizing ample headroom and legroom. How much you ask? Enough to make the 6-foot passengers happy, that might feel claustrophobic in the car segments we have been through up to this one. The D-segment cars or midsize family cars offer the best experience in the back seats.
So if you’ve plenty of those green buck lying around, and are looking for a relaxing drive, where the chauffeur does most of the work,(without price tag shooting for the skies) this is the car segment for you my friends. Honda Civic, Skoda Laura, Hyundai Elantra, and BMW 3-series are some of the cars that are a part of this family.
E-Executive segment(Executive luxury cars)
The E-segment Executive segment cars are often considered as luxury on wheels, or even 5-star hotels on wheels. Well naming things isn’t our thing, but there are the best experiences money can buy. Fold your legs, have a glass of champagne in your hands, and head down from your CEO-office to your big-lawn mansion.
This car segment offers some big and large vehicles, while some also offer a long wheelbase of these luxurious rides. From the letter E, these shout excellence and luxury making them famous among the business class.
After you, one of these, forget about making easy 3-point turns on roads in countries like India.
With luxurious interiors, premium materials, and extravagant options like a cooling compartment of reclining rear seat, these Executive cars pack potent engines. Enough to groan and propel these elegant pieces of machinery with ease, but none of these sounds penetrate to the cabin, luxury indeed. Cars that come in this segment are Audi A6, BMW 5-Series, BMW 7-series, and more.
Every vehicle serves a purpose to an individual or a group of people. The Multi-purpose car segment is fairly large and best for hauling people and cargo. The MPVs offer great value for money.
The smallest in the following car segment, the small MPVs sit at the bottom of the size chart, yet offer an advantage to large families. These small MPVs usually measure around 4-meters making them efficient crowd haulers in daily traffic. The small-size MPVs are propelled by small and efficient blocks and are cheaper to run to big-size MPVs and SUVs.
The seating capacity ranges from 6-7 depending on the configuration of the interiors. While the small engines are efficient tuggers, these are recommended for short distances. Longer routes can often result in early worn-out conditions. In the Indian automaker, this car segment has limited offerings like Renault Triber and Maruti Suzuki Ertiga.
One step up to the small MPVs, these are bigger in size, and less easy to maneuver, compared to small MPVs. With bigger size comes better and spacious interior accommodations and punchier engine options. This car segment has a similar seating capacity to small MPVs but offers better headroom and legroom to the latter.
Effective size is followed by a larger suite of features and safety aids, making them more practical to small MPVs car segment. Cars that come under this segment are Mahindra Marazzo and Toyota Innova.
Large MPVs and minivans are similar, long body-style with the capacity to accommodate 8-passengers. Sitting on the top of the MPV car segment, the large MPVs offer luxury, opulent interiors, ample space, and versatility to fold down seats to ditch crowd for luggage.
They have large footprints and are the hardest to maneuver or making tight turns or even finding an apt parking spot. The bigger size requires them to be fitted with bigger and powerful engines, with great punch. These are fully loaded with luxury and convenience features, even technology bits like TVs or big screens for second and third-row passengers, and even a vacuum cleaner in some. Cars like Toyota Vellfire and Kia Carnival fit in this car segment.
J-Sports Utility Vehicles(SUVs)
The Indian auto market has always been competitive and crowded with the best cars. In these SUVs are a big majority of pick, just after the hatchback segment. These are big, comfortable, and loaded with advanced technology features. SUVs are further categorized into sub-categories.
On the most bottom of the SUVs car segment, the sub-compact SUVs are a great choice for people looking for SUVs driving dynamics, with an affordable price tag and easy maneuverability.
Similar to subcompact sedans, these measures less than 4-meter. This car segment options basic cars, deficit of gimmicks. Sub-compact SUVs offer decent engines mashed with automatic transmission for convenience for a city commute, petrol and diesel options are also available.
For the budget, they are pretty packed with conventional technology and other features. Ford Ecosport, Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Nissan Magnite, Tata Nexon, Kia Sonet, and Hyundai venue are among the top-selling sub-compact SUVs here in India.
The compact SUV market is one of the most crowded car segments in India, and other countries too. These are stylish, bigger than the cramped sub-compact SUVs. The Compact SUVs punchy engines with smooth acceleration and easy maneuverability in city traffic. Paired up to these engines are automatic transmission engines.
Unlike the sub-compact SUVs car segment, the compact SUVs are brimmed with advanced features and some great entertaining bits. Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos, Nissan Kicks, and Renault Duster are among the best SUV in this segment.
If compact SUVs feel clumsy and less spacious for your family, the midsize SUVs car segment is where you should head. This segment sits between compact and full-size SUVs and this intermediate level of SUV is capable of hauling more people than compact SUVs and is easier to maneuver in traffic.
The midsize SUVs are large and best for long routes or weekend trips. Also, these can fit 5-8 people depending on the configuration. But often the third-row seat is hardly practical to full-grown adults and stays reserved to a younger crowd. This car segment is fitted with premium interior accommodations and a long list of features. The midsize SUVs are often offered with 4x4 capabilities for off-roading or penetrating unpaved routes to the heart of some woods. SUVs that come under this family are Tata Harrier, Mahindra XUV500, MG Hector Plus, and more.
The biggest amongst the other car segments, full-size, large SUVs are heavy pieces of machinery capable of various feats. These bulky SUVs are the least maneuverable and can easily cause long traffic jams once stuck at a turn. Even in stop-and-go traffic, these can be irritating to handle without munching the small SUVs just ahead of them. This car segment is prone to various blindspots and thus fits features like blind-spot monitoring and more essentials.
Under the skin are brawny engines that hustle to keep these things moving and are the least efficient to move. The engine is often paired with automatic transmission to lessen the inconvenience to handle them in tight traffic. The hefty price on this car segment is followed by fancy features to attract the buyer crowd towards it.
Ending the list of various car segments, let’s talk about the segment that is on fire in various countries, but not India. Yes, crossovers are a popular thing in popular markets like the US, but why not in India?
These jacked-up hatchbacks are easy to maneuver than large or midsize SUVs and provided with lifted driving positions that buyers are loving these days. Contrary to big SUVs, crossovers have smaller engines, similar to compact SUVs, and are efficient for the daily commute.
In terms of features, they are loaded with various tech bits and safety aids. Cars that belong to this family are the Maruti Suzuki S-Cross and Honda W-RV. B-RV was also a part but sadly it has been discontinued from the Honda’s lineup.
So, we are done with various car segments in India, from small hatchbacks to full-size SUVs. Each car segment has a different target audience and prowess in different aspects. If you thinking about some vehicle that we’d miss, it’s possible that they categorise in the above only. For example, the new Thar, which an exemplary 4X4 vehicle, but is categorized under compact SUV, hosting 4-5 passengers and smaller size to mid or full-size SUV.