Value – now there’s an interesting word. It’s a word that us Indians absolutely love; before making a purchase (any purchase), value for money is king. We roll the word around in our mouths, like a fine wine, and when we pronounce it, we do it with feeling – it comes right from the gut. It doesn’t matter what end of the economic scale we may be from – someone who barely makes ends meet will think long and hard before buying one brand of soap over the other. Someone else who has plenty of zeroes in their bank balance will compare the features in two different brands of multi-crore luxury cars before signing on the dotted line. The core question remains the same – ‘Am I getting the best possible bang for my buck?’
What’s most interesting about the word is that the goalposts that represent value keep moving. Five years ago, a person who wouldn’t have dreamed of buying a TV costing Rs 60,000 is the same person who’s now kitting out their living room with a home theatre system. Value for money, therefore, is both a constant (in terms of being a core concept) as well as a variable, in terms of the boundaries that encompass it.
The cars you see here, the Mercedes-Benz B-Class and the Audi Q3, aim to take advantage of this fact, slotting themselves into the market as luxury products that also provide comparative value for money. Both manufacturers want to catch ‘em young, as it were, and attract newly affluent buyers into the fold and hopefully keep them there – let’s see how the cars stand up, and if the Q3 can hold on to the crown it won after beating the BMW X1 in our previous shootout.