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Which car? August 2012 Edition 2

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Four wheels, please

My family consists of three people — myself and my parents. While I use a Royal Enfield for my daily commute of 25 km, I am looking to buy a car primarily for use during the monsoons and summers (around four to six months a year). I might also use the car for an occasional trip with the family around twice a month and the runs to the airport or railway station. Since I won’t be using the car too often, I don’t see the point in spending too much money on it and have a budget of Rs 6 to 7 lakh. I want the car to be reliable and not have trouble starting after a week of standing. Running and maintenance costs are also an important factor. As my parents have spondylitis, I was looking at the Maruti Suzuki Wagon R, which has raised seats. Should I opt for the CNG variant?

Anand Gupta, Hyderabad

Please don’t go for a CNG car — for your kind of usage it is irrelevant. Stick to a petrol car which should serve you well. Since your budget can easily accommodate a car which is overall a better one than the Wagon R, you can look at the Maruti Suzuki Ritz. Its taller seating means it will be easy for your parents to get in and out. That apart, the Ritz is a good car to drive and it is fuel efficient, reliable and hassle-free too. The Ritz is due for a facelift soon, so you can use that as a bargaining tactic to get the dealer to cut down the price. You can also look at the Hyundai i20 petrol — but our recommendation is the Ritz.

First timer

I am planning to buy my first car a month from now. My commute varies from 200 to 900 km a month. I want a vehicle with good seating and space, fuel efficiency and low maintenance. I have taken a look at some petrol cars — I thought the Honda Jazz was a little costly, however, my family loved the space and build. I already booked the car three weeks ago, but the waiting period is two months. So, I am also considering the Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire, but I have read on various forums that it has braking issues and I don’t want to take any sort of risk when it comes to safety, plus the waiting period is long. Should I consider the Hyundai i20 too, or do I just go ahead with the Jazz? Or should I scout for a diesel car, which means I'll save around Rs 30,000 a year on fuel? I assume maintenance costs for a diesel would be higher.

Shailendra Singh, Noida

For your kind of usage, a diesel is not necessary — there is no reason to pay a premium for a diesel car, despite the fact that you will save in terms of fuel costs. If you liked the Jazz and can stretch your budget, then why not go for it? The space inside the Jazz is unmatched by any hatchback and it is a premium car too. The engine is reliable and efficient and it drives well too. You can definitely stick to your decision and it’s worth the wait.

City runabout

I want to buy a compact petrol hatchback for self driven city use. I am looking at the Hyundai i10 Kappa sports or the Honda Brio S MT. My requirements are ride comfort, manoeuvrability, power and engine performance. Which one should I choose?

Pushpa Sankar, via email

Both the i10 and Brio are good city cars. However, you can go for the i10 as it is taller and easier to get in and get out of, plus it is easier to manoeuvre. It is overall a better car. Do read our comparison story between these two cars on www.bsmotoring.com, which will give you a better picture. Any automotive questions? Ask us at srinivas.krishnan@bsmail.in