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BSM Which Car - March 2011 - Edition 3


Fuel Stop

I own a four-year old Maruti Suzuki Wagon R LXi and it is amazing when it comes to seating position, engine performance, city driving and last but not the least, fuel economy. I am now planning to purchase a more spacious hatchback with the same advantages at hand, but keeping in mind the increasing price of petrol. I have shortlisted the Maruti Suzuki Swift VDi/VXi, Ford Figo petrol and diesel, i20 Magna, VW Polo and Chevrolet Beat. I’m looking at the new Swift, of course. Please update me on when I can expect it in the market, as I wouldn’t like an old model with me after spending Rs 5 lakh and then seeing my neighbour get his hands on the new one! As you can see, I am very confused. My daily driving is about 50 km. Please help.

Pravin N, Pune

For the kind of running you have indicated, a diesel just about fits fine. It may mean a slightly longer period to justify the premium, but typically over a period of three to four years you should have recovered that difference. The new Maruti Suzuki Swift is expected around May-June and is expected to be a keener handler and just as enjoyable to drive as the outgoing model. The diesel motor is quite refined, efficient and is well tuned for city and highway use. If you are happy with the Wagon R and like the tall-boy stance, we could also recommend the Maruti Suzuki Ritz VDi to you. Ensure you opt for the ABS version in either case.


New versus old

I am desperate to buy a four-wheeler at the earliest. As this would be my first car, I have the old dilemma of whether to go for a used car or a new one. My current commuting is around 20 km on weekdays and 80-100 km over the weekend. Purchasing a new car is motivated by Maruti and Hyundai dealers who are offering decent discounts, free accessories etc this month. On the other hand, the idea of looking at a second-hand car is backed by upcoming launches like the Honda Brio, Toyota Etios Liva etc hitting the market sometime in June so that I don’t lose much on my resale whenever I want to sell my vehicle. Can you help me with this dilemma?

Vinay, via email

It’s not necessary that you need to consider an older vehicle as your first car. It was a belief based on the fact that new drivers tend to put scratches/dents on a car in the first few months and therefore an old car should be purchased instead. Eventually, the expenses of getting an old(er) car fixed versus a new one are not quite different and a new car will tend to be more reliable than an old(er) car of similar size and performance. The Brio and Liva are a few months away, but if you must buy a car right away, look at cars like the Hyundai i20 and Maruti Suzuki Ritz which offer good space, performance, reasonable efficiency and low maintenance costs. But if you do want a car for the interim, until the Liva and Brio hit the market, we suggest a used Hyundai Santro or i10 which shouldn’t cost much and would be easy to dispose with little to lose in terms of depreciation.

Distance dreams

I am looking for a sedan for my dad in the price range of Rs 8-10 lakh. He drives an age-old, dilapidated petrol Hyundai Accent. The Honda City and Volkswagen Vento seem like good options. Is Honda planning a facelift for the City this year? The top priorities are good leg room, less maintenance and good mileage. Diesel is preferred.

Jayasudhan Jayachandran, via email

You seem to be keen on a diesel and since Volkswagen is the only one from the two that offers a diesel option, we’d suggest the Vento. The diesel Vento is the best diesel sedan under Rs 10 lakh, not only because it’s powerful, but because it’s extremely driveable and fuel efficient too. In fact, with our own long-termers, we’ve found the heavier and more powerful Vento diesel to be more efficient than the lighter Polo diesel! Overall interior space is good and the boot is quite large too. Honda should be looking at a City facelift sometime next year, but it will be more cosmetic than anything else.

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