Renault Triber

Car Segments in India: Decoded

Cars are more than just machines; they are an integral part of our lives. From compact cars that cruise you through the city, to sizable SUVs that your family can rely on, cars fulfil a purpose that is unique to each buyer. This is the reason why there isn’t a single segment that fits all, especially for a market that is as large and diverse as ours. Each car segment caters to different needs and that is what makes them all unique. In order to pick the segment that suits you the best, it’s crucial for you to know them all. So without further ado, let’s delve into the various Car Segments in India and what they offer.

A Segment – Hatchbacks

A1 Segment – Entry-Level Hatchbacks

For those who are looking for entry-level cars that come with a highly affordable price tag, the A-Segment is what they should look for. Cars in this segment have a length of under 4 metres and are equipped with frugal engines with decent power figures that make them highly suited for the city. 

Since the transition to BS6 standards, cars in this segment are offered purely with a petrol engine. Nonetheless, due to the smaller engine size generally ranging between 0.8 to 1.0 litre, high fuel efficiency is ensured. For added comfort and ease of driving, A-Segment cars are also offered with AMT transmissions. Talking about onboard features, cars in this segment offer the basics along with a few premium ones such as touch infotainment, digital instrument cluster, keyless entry etc. here and there. This helps keep the costs in check.

Frontrunners of this segment include cars such as the Maruti Suzuki Alto, Renault Kwid, Marut Suzuki S-Presso and Datsun Redi-Go among others.

A2 Segment – Mini Hatchbacks

Next up is the A2 Segment which includes mini hatchbacks. Cars in this segment are sub-4 metres and generally measure around 3.8 metres in length. Much like the A1 segment, cars in the A2 segment also include cars that are offered with small engine sizes generally in the range of 1.0 to 1.2 litres, which makes them highly efficient and suited for the city. 

In terms of features, these cars bring in ample modern-day features, along with good safety features and overall comfort with the comfort of AMT automatics as well. In addition to petrol, this segment now also offers electric powertrains with cars like the Tiago EV and Citroen eC3.

Frontrunners of this segment include cars such as the Tata Tiago, Maruti Suzuki Celerio, and Maruti Suzuki WagonR amongst others.

B-Segment – Premium Hatchbacks, Compact SUVs and Compact Sedans

Primarily meant for the city, but equipped enough to hit the highways as well, the B-Segment comprises mass-market premium hatchbacks, compact SUVs and compact sedans. In terms of dimension, the B-Segment comprises cars that are under 4 metres in length but are longer than A2 segment cars with lengths generally above the 3.8-metre mark.

While the premium hatchbacks in this segment cater to buyers looking to get the best in terms of features, looks, and feel, the compact sedans in this segment are for those who are looking to enjoy the practicality of a hatchback but with added luggage space and a bit of extra space with no compromise on regular features and safety. 

This segment is also home to compact SUVs that cater to buyers who aspire to own an SUV on a budget that doesn’t burn a hole in their pockets. Cars in this segment are easy to manoeuvre through the city even in heavy traffic and give the user a true-blue SUV feel.

Mid-sized engines ranging from 1.0 to 1.5 litres are what powers cars in this segment, with both diesel and petrol powertrain on offer. In addition to AMT, cars in this segment offer advanced automatics such as CVT, DCT and iMT as well. Post the BS6 transition, EVs have also made their way in these segments. 

Frontrunners of the premium hatchback segment include cars like the Maruti Suzuki Baleno, Tata Altroz, Hyundai i20 and Citroen C3 amongst others. For the compact SUV, cars like the Maruti Suzuki Brezza, Tata Nexon, Hyundai Venue, and Renault Kiger are considered to be the most popular choices. Finally, for the compact sedan segment cars like the Honda Amaze, Tata Tigor and Hyundai Aura lead the way.

C-Segment – Mid-Size Sedans and SUVs

Known for offering a more engaging driving experience blended with spacious interiors and ample features, C-Segment cars are perfect for both cities and highways and are best known for the comfort they offer. This segment comprises both mid-size sedans as well as SUVs. Cars in this segment are longer than the previous segments and generally measure from 4 to 4.5 metres in length.

What makes the mid-size sedan and SUVs in this segment different from compact sedans and SUVs is their high-on-luxury approach, spacious interiors and comfortable driving dynamics. Being longer and heavier, cars in this segment are powered by bigger and more powerful engines, generally ranging between 1.0 to 1.6 litres, with even turbocharged petrol engines being part of the engine offerings. 

Both petrol and diesel engines are offered in this segment along with advanced automatics such as DCT, CVT and even torque converters. They offer the best and most advanced features with a prime focus on comfort features and added safety.

Frontrunners of the mid-size sedan segment include cars like the Honda City, Hyundai Verna, Skoda Slavia and Maruti Suzuki Ciaz among others. For the mid-size SUV segment, cars like the Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos, MG Astor, Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara and Toyota Hyryder lead the way amongst others.

D-Segment – Large Sedans and SUVs

What makes the D-Segment distinct from the C-Segment sedan is its added length, luxury-oriented features and higher price. Cars in this segment measure above 4.5 metres in length. However, for those looking to enter the luxury king-size driving experience at a relatively affordable price, the D-Segment is the perfect segment. 

In terms of D-segment sedans, what makes them unique is the interiors, which are plush, modern, premium and ultra-luxurious. Topped with all kinds of creature comforts and features, these cars are bliss both in the front seat as well as at the rear.

This segment also features SUVs that are large, bulky and built to last very very long. They are capable enough to handle everything you throw at them. Offering a smooth ride over roads and no roads alike, these cars pack in massive power with engine sizes as large as 3 litres! Offering all modern-day features, these cars are generally offered with automatic transmission for maximum comfort along with 4×4 and AWD systems. 

Frontrunners of the premium D-Segment sedan include cars like the BMW 3 Series, Skoda Octavia, and Superb amongst others, while the D-Segment SUV game is dominated by cars like the Toyota Fortuner, Tata Harrier, Tata Safari, BMW X5 and the Skoda Kodiaq amongst others.

E Segment – Executive Luxury Cars

For those who are in for the best in terms of luxury, and are looking to bring home a car that is nothing short of a hotel on wheels, the E-Segment is the answer. Even longer, wider and more dynamic than the D-Segment, there is no modern-day feature in the industry that these cars won’t offer. The space on board is big enough for even a tall guy to scratch his legs out thanks to the long wheelbase.

Powered by strong, big and power-packed engine and the best automatic transmission technologies, the E in this segment is for excellence, extra comfort, and extraordinary luxury. Highly preferred by the business class, cars in this segment are a rich man’s game.

Frontrunners of this segment include luxury sedans like the BMW 5-Series, 7 Series and Audi A6 amongst others, and premium SUVs such as the BMW X3, Mercedes GLA, and Audo Q5 among others.

F Segment – High-End Luxury Cars

For those looking to bring home the best in terms of luxury, the F segment is the answer. Cars in this segment include a plethora of top-end ultra luxurious vehicles that are meant for the elites. Cars in this segment offer every amenity and feature the carmaker has to offer along with large-sized engines that pack in loads of oomph. These cars are fast, comfortable, high-priced, and lavish in every way.

Frontrunners of this segment include cars like the Mercedes S-Class, Mercedes GLS, BMW 7 Series and Jaguar F Type among others.

J Segment – Sports Utility, Offroading and Pickups

The J segment is home to cars that are known to tackle all kinds of situations offering a driving experience that is thrilling in every way. Cars in this segment are huge, tough, multi-dimensional and powered by power-packed engines that can be as large as 3 litres. What makes this segment unique is its all-terrain, off road capabilities and maximum utility. Features like 4×4, all-wheel drive, differential locking etc. are common for cars in this segment. 

From mid-sized offroad SUVs to sizable SUVs and pickup trucks, this segment is the go-to preference for those who are in for an adventure. Frontrunners of this segment include SUVs such as the Mahindra Thar, Toyota Fortuner, and Ford Endeavour along with pickups such as the Toyota Hilux, Isuzu V Cross and the Isuzu mu-X amongst others. 

The M Segment – Multipurpose Vehicles (MPVs)

Known to offer maximum practicality and a highly comfortable ride, the M-Segment rides a minimum of 6 passengers, making them the perfect family car. However, much like the C-Segment, this segment is also quite vast and is further segmented into 

Small MPVs

Placed at the bottom of the MPV hierarchy, cars in this segment offer great manoeuvrability, as they are typically around 4 metres in length, hence boasting the “small” badging. Owing to their smaller size, cars in this segment are powered by competitively smaller engines that make them affordable and easy to maintain.

Despite their size, cars in this segment do not compromise on the utility quotient and can seat anywhere from 6 to 7 passengers. For the city, small MPVs offer the best practicality, but on the highways, their smaller engine can become a problem, especially at full capacity.

Frontrunners of this segment include the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga and the Renault Triber at present.

Medium MPVs

Enjoying a place in the middle of the hierarchy, cars in this segment offer more interior space, larger headroom, and bigger and more power-packed engines. While cars in this segment too are easy to manoeuvre around the city, their length can sometimes pose a problem, especially in tight parking spaces.

Nonetheless, medium MPVs seat up to 7 passengers in comfort and are perfect for both the cities and highways, thanks to bigger engines that do justice to their size. Topped with premium features and ample safety features, cars in this segment are preferred by buyers that have both city and highway utility.

Frontrunners of this segment include the Toyota Innova Hycross, Innova Crysta and Mahindra Marazzo amongst others. 

Large MPVs

For those looking for a car that seats up to eight in sheer comfort, with all sorts of premium features along with ample power, the large MPVs are the answer. These cars are huge in size with a width that can sometimes pose a problem when manoeuvring through tight spaces. 

Nonetheless, these cars pack a great deal of power that is offered with the comfort of an automatic transmission for maximum comfort. For those who frequently travel the distance, the large MPV segment is the only segment that can do justice. From minibars to TVs, these cars have a whole lot to offer.

Frontrunners of this segment include cars like the Toyota Vellfire and Kia Carnival amongst others.

S Segment – Sports Cars

If you live and breathe speed, then this segment is what will excite you. Known for high-speed performance, mind-blowing 0 to 100 stats, high-performance engines, and luxurious interiors, this segment is home to cars that are a treat for any enthusiast.

Powered by engines that are large, power-packed and torque-rich, cars in this segment do not compromise in terms of performance and offer all premium features along with maximum safety. This segment includes all sports-oriented cars including roadsters, convertibles, sports coupes and supercars.

Frontrunners of this segment include cars like the Lamborghini Huracan Tecnica, BMW Z4 Roadster, Ferrari Roma, and Maserati Quattroporte amongst others.

Car Segments In India: Summary

Cluttered with a plethora of options for every need, the Indian automobile market is one of the most diverse markets in the globe. With different cars fulfilling the different needs of different consumers, it is natural for the Indian automobile market to have several segments. Be it the compact A segment or the sizable J segment, the key to bringing home a car that suits your needs is to have a fair idea of what each segment offers. 

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