BHPians share their thoughts on cutting costs on their current cars

Cost cutting may be a feature/attribute that the specific model possesses elsewhere, or even existed in India before it was ruthlessly ripped out, much to our chagrin.

BHPian GeeTee TSI recently shared with other enthusiasts.

Cost cutting as a car owner can be something the absence of which is even conspicuously noticed!. The main criticisms for me in the past have been model-specific falls (lack of cushioning), a bane the entire segment has suffered (no 3-point seat belts for the 5th passenger).

Cost cutting may be a feature/attribute that the specific model possesses elsewhere, or even existed in India before it was ruthlessly ripped out, much to our chagrin. Typically cost cutting measures are not very obvious to the average/occasional owner, maybe not even a nuisance. But for the enthusiast, it means the whole world to feel the pain every time he comes to his senses.

One has no choice but to live with it unless effort is made by adventurous, hardworking (BHPians) doing DIY/upgrades. In all likelihood, the cost reduction is permanent and there is no official way out by the OEM.

In my 21 CKD Octavia, which otherwise has all ‘nice’ stuff intact, I am appalled by:

No front camera (I wistfully see the plastic case every time I wash the car):

Absolute uprooting of all driver assistance features available in Europe (and also in the b***y manual accessible to me by VIN):


Let’s try to set aside desirable features that were never intended for the car from cost cutting (or “value engineering”) done by the OEM.

What is your cost-cutting grouse?

Here’s what GTO had to say:

BMW 530d: The only thing that really, really bothers me is that there is no keyless entry in this luxury car, at a time when cheaper hatchbacks offered it. Annoyingly, Keyless Go! So you have to take the key out of your pocket, press the button to unlock and then keep the key in your pocket again. This is the most annoying cost reduction on my BMW.

Skoda Superb: Skoda has equipped it very well, but the lack of a full spare wheel can be irritating on a long journey where you have to drive at limited speed (with the spare wheel). Told my brother to upgrade the alloy wheels & tires at some point (we always buy alloy wheels in sets of 5) so we’ll solve it with the same tire width then.

Mahindra Thar: Oh, Mahindra really went all out with his cheap feature deletes on the thar. Compared to the introductory 2020 model, the current Thar loses a second USB port, lumbar adjustment, etc. Worse, the Petrol now lacks a mechanical locking differential. These are other features that were already conspicuous by their absence in a 19 lakh jeep (no backup camera, auto-dimming IRVM, auto headlights and wipers, power-folding ORVMs, rear washer and wiper).

Mahindra Classic: Actually, it was extremely “charged” for the time. A basic Jeep, but disc brakes, comfy bucket seats, 12-volt electrics, automatic glow plugs for the diesel engine, and all of those were big things for a ’90s CJ.

Nissan Sunny: Got the middle variant since it’s a bat car. The biggest cost-cutting mistake is Bluetooth audio. We miss it to this day. The only way to connect your smartphone is with AUX, something phones today don’t even offer!

Here’s what BHPian Saikishor had to say:

GM has locked some features in the domestic variants of the Beat. The Beat’s speedometer has a dummy button which, when unlocked, could be used to toggle between data such as idling, average speed, etc. This would have been a huge standout if it had been offered back in 2010. A simple switch activation but GM decided to play clown and simply replaced that switch with a dummy. I wonder what kind of dollars they gained from this.

Here is an old thread posted by a BHPian about unlocking the dummy button.

Here’s what BHPian Axe77 had to say:

3GT: On my 3GT, the donut spare wheel that sits in the trunk itself comes in a tire cover just deep enough to hold the donut, not the actual full size spare wheel. I mean what if I’m traveling with luggage. Should a dirty used bike rub shoulders with all my luggage without a cover? How difficult is it to provide a spare wheel in a cover where the cover is large enough to also accommodate the standard wheel. Something like even a double zipper to set up like suitcases to expand compartment size.

Jeep Meridian: Without a doubt, the lack of a cigarette lighter charger in the front area. It’s unfathomable why they chose to omit something so basic in the compass and meridian.

Here’s what BHPian SomenD had to say:

2019 Honda Jazz VX CVT: Lack of adjustable rear headrests is something I’m not at all happy with. While Jazz was great in GNCAP, I’m at a loss as to why Honda was so stingy with something as basic as headrests. Having magic seats would have been great, but even if you removed them as part of a cost-saving, adjustable headrests should have been given.

Here’s what BHPian Cosmic Wizard had to say:

BMW X3 luxury line: No 360 camera, no connected car features (kinda I’m ok if I don’t have keyless entry).

Honda Brio: No automatic door locking after starting the vehicle.

Here’s what BHPian Maxy had to say:

Maruti Swift 2013: Insanely cheap and hard plastic. The protrusion/armrest on the driver’s and passenger’s doors, where the arm can rest from time to time, is hard and squeaks with any meaningful vertical movement. The driver’s side has gotten so bad that I can’t do it anymore, the car that’s aged from the start on a car that’s only a few months old, not a decade later. I also mention door plastics, but it’s not door everywhere.

The car has plastic junk everywhere and is from a top Maruti discount era, our earlier, much older Esteem wasn’t discounted anywhere, despite being a segment above it.

Here’s what BHPian Sanidhya mukund had to say:

Mercedes C200 (W204 Facelift):

Some plastics and buttons have not aged well. The color has faded or the surface has peeled off in some places with frequent use. And that despite the low Odo value (only 36,000).

2021 Innova Crysta GX 2.4 (company car):

A sea of ​​hard plastic in the cabin. Also no air conditioning, no side airbags, no reversing camera, no rear center armrest (8 seater model), no fog lights and absolutely no decorations on the exterior. I know you pay for reliability but some of these omissions are unforgivable for a Rs 20 lakh+ car.

2021 Ertiga VXI Natural Gas:

Terrible paint quality. gets scratched even if you brush against some stray bushes/shrubs. No rear wiper and defroster. Poor soundproofing. The Ciaz with the same engine is significantly quieter.

The interiors: one word: eww. Hard beige plastic everywhere, rough edges that look like the plastic was hand cut, creaking, rattling stuff everywhere. There is no trace of fabric, not even on the door armrests. The cabin of the previous model somehow felt like a better place. This one is so bad that I hate driving long distances in this car.

The Datsun Go certainly deserves an honorable mention here. I don’t own one, but I rode it once. It actually seemed like a cost-cutting exercise on wheels! Every conceivable cost-cutting measure was implemented.

Here’s what BHPian Dicky had to say:

I currently have a car that was a cost-cutting study for the manufacturer and I really don’t know where to start.

Bumpers – To say it’s thin would be an understatement. Even budget Marutis have sturdier bumpers than the Etios. The rear bumper in particular is so thin that it flaps and moves at the slightest touch. Perhaps a small cross member or a piece of plastic costing less than 100 rupees would have sufficed.

Rear armrest – It came in the 2016 Platinum facelift, but before that an armrest was sold separately as an accessory. Just a piece of cushion and lever would have made a big difference for Toyota.

Moldings and thin lenses – our ’09 F10D WagonR had far better isolation from outside noise than this bare minimum.

Open Circuit Fluctuations – A small noticeable voltage difference (?). When I turn on the headlights or use the power windows or fog lights or the heated rear window there is a slight difference in RPM. Particularly noticeable with the parking lights on, and you can see the instrument cluster dim slightly along with the other interior lights when using the power windows or fog lights. Nothing major, just a minor annoyance that’s only visible if you look for it.

Single Reverse Light – With no reversing camera, disabled parking sensors and a useless rear window, really wish there was more lighting on the left side when reversing in the dark.

Stronger Body Panels – Slightly stronger body panels as opposed to the current bare minimum.

But that aside, my worries dissipate when I end up driving most other cars under 12 lakhs and start appreciating the Etios’ well-engineered mechanical underpinnings.

For more insight and information, read the comments from BHPians. BHPians share their thoughts on cutting costs on their current cars

Olly Dawes

Olly Dawes is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Olly Dawes joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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