Buying a car is just one part of the whole story. Owning and maintaining the car forms the second part. Manufacturers highlight features, space, and styling, but are generally silent on maintenance/service cost of their vehicles. In India, the automobile revolution started with the introduction of the Maruti brand in the early 1980s and it is generally believed that Maruti vehicles are cheap to maintain probably because the cars are being manufactured in India, even though in collaboration with the Japanese carmaker Suzuki.
The aim of this post is to compare the maintenance costs of cars of a few other brands with that of specific Maruti models and see if the belief that only Maruti cars are cheap to maintain is really true or a myth. This is because maintenance cost is an important aspect to be considered when buying a new car. The maintenance/service costs under normal running conditions are worked out for comparison purposes.
Let us now compare the maintenance costs of a few brands to understand this aspect a little better.
#1: Maruti vs Toyota
When it comes to the mid-range cars, the two models that can be compared are Maruti Ciaz and Toyota Platinum Etios. Whereas the price of the base model of Ciaz is INR 7.66 lakh, the base model of Toyota Platinum Etios comes to only INR 6.80 lakh. The mileage claimed by the manufacturers for these models are 28.1 kmpl and 23.6 kmpl, respectively. In terms of engine capacity, Maruti Ciaz is powered by a 1,248 cc engine, while Toyota Platinum Etios has a 1,364 cc engine.
When it comes to the maintenance cost, it runs up to INR 23,631 in the case of Maruti Ciaz petrol variant for six years and eight services. For the diesel variant, it is INR 30,377 for the same number of years and services. The regular maintenance cost for Toyota Platinum Etios is less. For six years and seven services, it works out to around INR 18,200 (INR 18,176 for Petrol and INR 18,196 for Diesel) for both petrol and diesel variants. So the diesel variant of Ciaz, the maintenance cost is almost double that of Toyota Platinum Etios.
Now, if you are wondering as to how Maruti Swift and Toyota Etios Liva fare, it is as follows. Both the cars share the almost same specification, price, and mileage. You have to spend about INR 21,103 and INR 28,312 on regular maintenance for eight services over six years for Maruti Swift petrol and diesel variants, respectively. In the case of the petrol and diesel variants of Toyota Etios Liva, it is INR 18,200 (INR 18,176 for Petrol and INR 18,196 for Diesel) for seven services over six years.
#2: Maruti vs Mahindra
Maruti’s Wagon R and Mahindra’s KUV100 are comparable models in terms of price range, mileage, and engine capacity. The price of the base models of KUV100 and Wagon R is INR 4.51 lakh and INR 4.14 lakh, respectively. While the KUV100 is powered by a 1,198 cc engine, Wagon R’s engine capacity is just 998 cc. The fuel efficiency claimed by Maruti and Mahindra for these models is almost the same.
Now let’s talk about the maintenance cost of both the vehicles. The total estimated maintenance cost of Wagon R (Petrol Variant) for 6 years and 8 services under normal running conditions works out to INR 27,000 and for the CNG variant, it is INR 25,257 for six years and eight services. In the case of KUV100, the total estimated maintenance cost for six years and seven services it is just INR 18,580. Even for the diesel variant of KUV100, the maintenance cost comes to only about INR 19,570 for six years and seven services. So here Mahindra KUV100 won hands down.
The maintenance costs of even Maruti Celerio variants, which can be included in the same category as Wagon R, is also higher than KUV100. Another aspect that is worth mentioning at this point is about the availability of OEM spare parts. Both the customers of Mahindra and Maruti can get the OEM parts from their authorized service centers, but only Mahindra customers can enjoy an additional benefit of online OEM spare part purchase.
#3: Maruti vs Hyundai
Among Hyundai cars, the model that can be compared with Maruti models Celerio, Wagon R, and Swift is the Grand i10. The base model of Hyundai Grand i10 costs about INR 4.70 lakh and has an engine capacity of 1,197 cc. The fuel efficiency claimed by the manufacturer is 24 kmpl for the diesel variant.
When it comes to the cost of servicing Grand i10 petrol, petrol automatic, and diesel variants eight times over six years is INR 14,274, INR 14,522, and INR 20,599.00, respectively. Which means you can get your Hyundai Grand i10 serviced at a half price when compared with Maruti Wagon R.
#4: Maruti vs Tata
Finally, how does the Indian brand Tata Tiago fare against the Maruti models discussed above?. The base model of Tata Tiago fitted with 1,199 cc engine comes with a price tag of INR 3.26 lakh. The manufacturer claims a fuel efficiency of 27.3 kmpl for its diesel variant. Tiago is rich with engine spec, mileage and badged with competitive price while comparing with Maruti’s Wagon R and Swift. Now let’s check with the maintenance cost.
The cost of servicing Tata Tiago seven times over six years works out to INR 21,980 for the petrol variant and INR 23,860 for the diesel variant. It is obvious that the maintenance cost of Tata Tiago is lower compared to Maruti models. One can enjoy good spec and less maintenance cost vehicle with less price if opt Tata Tiago over Maruti equivalent model.
Another important factor needs to be considered is that the price and availability of OEM spare parts. The well-known place to get OEM spare part is the authorized service centers. The availability of parts will be higher if the number of service center is more. Maruti is not the only maker which covers a nationwide service center. Manufacturers like Hyundai, Mahindra and Tata are also delivering a nationwide service support to its customers with a great number of service centers. With the emergence of E commerce platforms now Mahindra customers can get OEM parts through their online platform as well.
It is now very clear from the above that Maruti brands are not the only ones which come with low maintenance cost as is being commonly believed even now. We have now so many Indian and foreign brands delivers less maintenance cost, some even give less service cost than Maruti models. In general, the maintenance cost of Maruti cars was low when the long-gone Maruti 800 model was in vogue. Over the years, a number of Indian and foreign brands have introduced entry, mid-range, and high-end cars. Now some of the models introduced by these brands can definitely be categorized as low maintenance cost cars as is evident from the above discussion.
(Elizabeth Mathew is an entrepreneur, digital journalist and a photographer. A life-long generalist, she writes for various blogs covering digital entertainment, social media and tech. She can be followed @raisamathew)