This is going to be an unusual and, perhaps, a long question. Please bear with me. I am 60 years old and have been driving since the age of 11. Driving is one of my active hobbies and I have driven all over the country. I used to have a Gypsy and then for the last 10 years I have had a Mahindra Scorpio (4x4). These vehicles have enabled me to travel to the most unusual places and through the most unusual terrain. In the family we have other cars as well (sedan, hatchback, etc.). I would now like to upgrade to a truly international SUV. It may be the last one that I buy. I have been toying with the idea of buying either a Toyota Fortuner or a Land Rover Freelander 2. I realise they are not in the same price category, but I have tested both and have to confess that I really enjoyed the Freelander. I am not a rich man, but as a last fling I am prepared to indulge myself and buy a really capable SUV that is a pleasure to own and drive. I would not buy a Range Rover or a Discovery because the price range is way beyond me, but I do want something that is both capable off road as well as compact enough to drive in town, and is trouble free (I maintain my cars meticulously). So, between the Scorpio, the Fortuner and the Freelander 2 which one do you think is really worth the money? I don’t want to bust money, but am prepared to indulge myself. Or, do you know of another vehicle that is likely to be launched in the near future and might fit my requirements better?
Nripjit Chawla, via email
Yes, the Freelander 2 is a tempting buy — it has all the things going for it. But since you are looking at a vehicle that will give you a flawless experience for years on end, we would recommend the Fortuner. The Fortuner may not have the same badge value as the Land Rover, but it is a machine that is capable on and off the road, well-built and is indeed reliable. However, we recommend you wait till next month, when Mitsubishi launches the new Pajero. Let's hope the new one has all the terrific attributes of the old one and then some!
I want to buy a car, preferably a top-of-the-line model with ABS and airbags. My daily running is 55 to 60 km and I require a petrol car with good space, mileage and performance. Also, I am a tall person and head room and leg room must be good. I am considering the Maruti Suzuki Swift and the Chevrolet Beat. I am also open to any other car you can recommend within a budget of Rs 6 lakh.
Rajendra Patro, Bhubaneswar
You can certainly look at the Swift, as it is better suited to your requirements over the Beat. It may be slightly lacking in the rear leg room department, though. You can also take a look at the Skoda Fabia — it is also frugal and offers decent performance. The plus point of the Fabia of course is that it is roomy inside.
I own a Maruti Alto and want to buy a medium segment car. Which would make a better buy — the Honda Jazz or the Volkswagen Polo? Which one is more fuel efficient and has lower maintenance costs?
Subramanian PV, via email
The Jazz is incredibly spacious while the Polo is of high quality and is well built. Both cars are competent across all aspects and maintenance costs are comparable too. When it comes to fuel efficiency, both cars are comparable, with the Polo having a slight edge over the Jazz. So if you want space, versatility and an MPV-like hatchback, you can go for the Jazz. Otherwise, the Polo should meet your needs well.
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