A fun-to-drive sedan under Rs 35 lakh budget

The car won’t be a daily driver as we both mostly work from home. It’ll be for all long trips and short city trips. We barely do 10,000 km in a year.

BHPian Gaboonviper04 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Hello all,

I’m here seeking your advice/suggestions as to what car to get if we’re willing to spend about 30-35L for it.

I currently own a Baleno RS (2018) and I’ve been looking for an upgrade. The RS was a wedding gift, so this car would really be our first car. This is a big deal for us!

I’ve never been interested in crossovers and CSUVs, which is unfortunate as I see the market majorly shift in that direction in recent years. I love sedans, and I want to live that experience while I still can.

In terms of requirements:

  • Has to be a fun-to-drive sedan. I’m a huge fan of BMW 3 series especially their Li versions. Ideally, if I had the money, I’d pick the new 330Li, no questions asked. That car made us feel great when we sat in it, without even driving it. And it’s much more practical than the 330i. But it’s just way too expensive for us at close to 60L on-the-road here in Bangalore. I’m looking for a car that can compare with the 330i in terms of power and driving dynamics, or at least come close to it.
  • Decent legroom. One of the things the Baleno RS is really good at is legroom. My folks and in-laws are in their late sixties, and while I understand that ingress/egress is hard with low-slung sedans, I’m willing to work with that but legroom and the seating comfort need to be decent once they get in. We only do occasional long trips or city commutes with them, so it’s not a daily affair.
  • Good build quality and safety features. Reliability too, needless to say.
  • The car won’t be a daily driver as we both mostly work from home. It’ll be for all long trips and short city trips. We barely do 10,000 km in a year.
  • I’m willing to compromise on certain features such as a sunroof, ventilated seats, wireless charging, etc. But we need at least wired Apple CarPlay if not Android Auto as well.
  • We plan to keep this car for as long as it lasts (hopefully at least 10 years if not longer).
  • I’m open to picking up a used car.

With these in mind, and based on considerable research, I feel I’m limited to either the new Skoda Octavia (with the more reliable gearbox), or a used BMW 3 or 5 series. A used Audi A4 seems tempting too. I love Volvo as a brand too, but I don’t see great used options.

The new Skoda Octavia seems like a great choice as it gives one so much in terms of driveability, practicality, safety and tech inside (refer to GTO’s quick take (Skoda Octavia 2.0 TSI DSG Review) of it). We can wait for some discounts or go for it outright.

There’s only one 2020 330i GT on our classifieds here but priced at 40L and it’s been there for a while now. On OLX, I see

  • 2015 320d Luxury Plus, 51,000 km, 21.5L.
  • 2017 320d Sport, 15,000 km, 31L.
  • 2017 Audi A4 35 TDi, 17,800 km, 30L.

There’s also a Volvo S60 D4 Momentum, 23,000 km, 30L. But the 20in wheels on it scare me!

I’m not looking for pre-owned cars with too many miles as we’d like to keep this car for long.

All these cars on OLX seem to be dealer cars, and deciphering the user car space has become quite a nightmare.

Not to confuse anyone, but in terms of hatchbacks, if there was a new Polo that was also practical, I’d have seriously considered it as the better half would surely be more comfortable driving a smaller, “less-fancy” car. But the Polo actually seems like a downgrade from the RS except for driving pleasure and build/safety.

The 2021 Octavia is doable, even if it seems a bit pricey. Not too many other cars would beat the practicality or features. And there’s no hassle of dealing with a user car.

I’m looking for other ideas from the community. I know this specific topic has been beaten to death, but it’s a little frustrating that we’re willing to plonk that much on a car and yet seem limited to just one new sedan given my requirements! Or what am I missing? Our budget is set at max 35L, ideally lesser is better.

No offence to anyone, but I just don’t find crossovers or SUVs exciting, or not at this point in life. I’d appreciate it if the suggestions are limited to sedans unless you feel I’m clearly missing out on your point.

P.S: We won’t be selling the RS, so no exchange discounts, if any, apply.

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

35 lakhs is an excellent budget for a sedan, whether new or used. Since you are open to pre-worshipped, that’s what we should stick to as you will get enormous car for the money.

Used BMW 3-Series, whether petrol or diesel. Vid6639 recently picked up a spectacular 328i for <25 lakhs. With 35 in your pocket, you’ll easily get a newer beast.

Be warned about the Bangalore used car mafia. That being said, some BHPians are buying cars from MH and shipping them down to KA. Recently heard of a 330i that was bought this way.

Used Octavia vRS will be well within your budget and you’ll have lots of money left over for fuel & mods.

Be open to well-maintained 5-Series as well. While the 530d is an exceptional machine, even the 520d will do as your first luxury car.

Go drive it NOW. If you like it, buy it, but be sure to follow all the best practices from our used car buying article.

All good options to check out. The reliability of BMW will pleasantly surprise you. Audi A4 35 TDi is an excellent workhorse and its 2.0 diesel is good for 2 lakh km minimum.

If your used car search ends up fruitless, buy a new Octavia and keep it for 10 years. You might also consider a new A4 which BHPians from other states are buying for 39 lakhs.

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

For the best value as well as fun to drive option at 35 lakh, I’d say two things:

Go Used.


I would feel more secure buying a less than two year BMW than a brand new Skoda.

Given the kind of usage you have in mind, I would actually suggest a used 3GT if you are open to a discontinued model. For touring on KA roads as well as dealing with Bangalore’s infamous speed breakers, I believe the 3GT is absolutely brilliant option – you can go petrol or diesel as per your preference although I feel with your limited running the petrol will be the superior engine option.

It will give you the slightly better leg room that you liked in the LWB 3 although I have to say the under thigh and related comfort will be closer to 3 series than the LWB 3 series. Most importantly it will handle the rough and tumble of Indian city roads as well as highways / B roads with far more aplomb than a regular 3.

Here’s what BHPian Kosfactor had to say on the matter:

Some of my friends have started having cars like BMW these days – so the impression is this.

Smaller (in comparison) BMWs with petrol engine and without very thin profile tires is the way to go. You can have fun too and come back in the same car.

Here’s what BHPian Shreyfiesta had to say on the matter:

3 Series GT is the best car to get. Compared to the regular F30 3 Series, the GT offers crossover height seating comfort along with the sportiness of a sedan. Inside the cabin, it has right amount of space, and the ride quality is just superb. Unlike the 3 Series, the GT delivers a much better design from a usability standpoint. Frameless side windows, pop-up rear spoiler, sporty old-school hand brake, etc are really gorgeous. Although the GT is not a popular choice among premium used car buyers, it is still a very practical option.

Under the budget of ₹ 35 lakhs, a pre-owned S60 Polestar also would be a good option to consider. Its turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder unit produces around 360bhp or something which makes it good enough for 0-100kph in under 5 seconds. For that kind of performance on offer, it offers incredible value for money in the second-hand market.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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