Five pre-owned tuner cars in India under Rs 5 lakh
These five pre-owned tuner cars are perfect for Indian enthusiasts to take up as their project cars
The Indian car market is not short of enthusiast-focused cars. Today, with options like the BMW M340i, the Mercedes-AMG A 35 and the Skoda Octavia RS 245, there are more choices than ever before for enthusiasts to splurge on. But apart from all of these being powerful, they aren’t really accessible to the mass market. Thanks to the lovely phenomenon known as depreciation though, here are five tuner-friendly cars that you can pick up for a steal and modify to some really bonkers levels.
Honda City V-TEC
Back in 2003, the Honda City was seen as less of an enthusiast-focused sedan and more of a practical, reliable car, which is why it found a lot of homes in India. Under the hood was the B15C2 VTEC engine which made 100bhp, which was quite a bit back then. Now though, tuners all around the country have pushed that engine to 200, 300 and even 400bhp! Of course that is through the wonder of turbocharging, but even nat-asp Citys can be pushed close to 180-190bhp. In India, the greatest City amongst them all has to be Race Concepts’ ITC dominating silver bullet, piloted by the extremely talented Arjun Balu. Today, you can find pre-owned cities that have gone through two, three and sometimes four owners in the used car market for less than Rs 2-3 lakh, a good one at that, and most tuners will be able to juice it up to 150bhp without much of a hassle. Spare parts are easy to come by and these are certainly very reliable cars. A perfect tuner car if India’s ever seen one.
Skoda Octavia vRS Mk1
The Skoda Octavia vRS introduced India to turbo-petrol enthusiast-friendly cars. At a time where everyone was concerned with the financial crisis that had made the world a gloomy place, Skoda brought the Octavia vRS to India in a bright yellow. Before this, India had only received body kits and stickers in the name of a ‘sports edition’. This packed an entirely different engine under the hood! A 1.8-litre TSI pushing out 150bhp and thanks to it being turbocharged, that figure can easily cross the 200bhp mark. Skodas and VAG cars in general serve as a great base for tuning because they are engineered with a lot of headroom and since engines are shared across many models, a simple tune is all it takes to exploit substantially more power. You can find used Octavia vRS’ in the market for less than Rs 4 lakh and there are enough spare parts available in the market.
Honda Accord V6 (2004)
The standard Honda Accord was a comfortable, luxurious sedan at the time, which came standard with a 2.4-litre engine. But there was also its slightly more well endowed 3-litre V6 introduced in 2004 which produced in excess of 200bhp! Perhaps it's only shortcoming was the fact that it was available only with an automatic transmission, but the J30A4 V6 has immense tuning potential and there are even turbo kits available for it internationally. Finding second hand V6-powered Accords isn’t easy since most people opted for the K24-equipped variants, however you can find some in a price bracket of Rs 2 lakh to Rs 4 lakh. Like with other Hondas, the Accord is reliable and parts aren’t hard to come by since a lot of them were shared with the K24 Accord which sold in very good numbers across
The Volkswagen Polo needs no introduction. We’ve featured it plenty of times in our magazine, on our YouTube channel and right here on the website too, because it is just that great to drive! And while the Polo is already a hoot from the factory, this too has plenty of tuning potential. The models you should keep your eye out for are the first-gen cars equipped with the charming 1.6-litre nat-asp petrol, the GT TSI with its 1.2-litre TSI engine and the GT TDI with the meaty 1.5-litre TDI diesel. The 1.6 is the hardest to come by, amongst all of these, so if you do see one go and snag it, those engines were smooth, punchy and are still being used in the rallying and autocross circuits today. The GT TSI’s 1.2-litre turbo-petrol engine can easily be massaged to make close to 170-180bhp and the seven-speed DSG helps put all of that power down. Finally, like with all diesels, the 1.5 TDI is easy to tune up with a simple tuning box or a remap and the manual gearbox adds to the Thrill of Driving. Another advantage of the Polo is the availability of plenty of cosmetic upgrades including aftermarket bumpers, headlights, taillights and you can even upgrade your interior to the one in the new India-spec Polo fairly easily. Prices range from approximately Rs 4 lakh for the 1.6 petrol variants to over Rs 6 lakh for a well kept GT TSI.
Mitsubishi Lancer Cedia
Without any Evo on sale at the time, the Lancer Cedia with its bright paint options, sporty interior and the 4G94 2-litre SOHC engine was like the poor man’s Evo. It was a great car to throw around bends and with 114bhp of power, it was pretty quick right out of the box. Depreciation has hit it hard though, which means that you can easily find one for Rs 2-3 lakh. These cars also have immense tuning potential as we found out when we drove Race Concepts' 300bhp+ Cedia last year which featured a turbocharger, lightweight cylinder heads, forged connecting rods and a whole lot more. However, spare parts for the Cedia are hard to come by and will probably have to be ordered from overseas.
All of these cars are the perfect choice for any enthusiast looking to go fast on a budget which is why you’ll find hordes of these cars at drag and autocross events across the country. However, there’s so many more great tuner cars in India — the 2008 Honda Civic, the Zen Carbon, the Chevrolet Forester and a whole lot others. Subscribe to the evo India magazine and flip over to the Tuned section to read more about the coolest aftermarket builds from around the country.