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Which car? - August Edition II

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 Fuel for thought

Is the Skoda Laura petrol any good? Or is the Laura diesel a better bet? I understand that it also depends on how much a car is run, but overall which one is better? I plan to buy in a couple of days’ time, so kindly suggest. Gaurav Gupta, via email

We are pure petrolheads! If it’s primarily self driven and will be mostly around town, then the Laura petrol will catch your fancy. Its 160 bhp, 1.8-litre motor is a joy to play around with and it has very good shove to keep you entertained. However, if it will be chauffeur driven and you do intend to drive quite a bit every month (>1500 km), then look at the new Laura diesel. The 2.0-litre diesel motor is strong, refined and efficient and isn’t far off from the petrol on performance either.

 T-Jet set

I am looking to buy a car with a budget in the range of Rs 8 to 9.5 lakh. I drive about 40 km in the city every day and do a few trips in a year outside of the city, with around 8-10 hours of driving. My priorities are a comfortable ride, reasonable power and overall cost of ownership. I have test driven the Suzuki SX4 and found it okay overall, but it does not offer a very comfortable ride experience as the suspension seems to be quite stiff. Also, I am not yet sure about its fuel efficiency figures. The Ford Fiesta I felt was good to drive and felt pretty stable in terms of handling, but again I did not find it very comfortable in terms of suspension. I am also worried about its overall cost of ownership, especially due to the reports of its fuel efficiency being on the lower side. The diesel Fiesta I thought was overpriced, as the only advantage it seems to offer is good fuel efficiency. Would you recommend the Hyundai Verna or the Fiat Linea? Is a Honda City the only option? I am not really considering it as it is beyond Rs 10 lakh and I am not a great fan of its shape. Are there any other cars that I should wait for? I am not keen on the Vento, as again the cost of ownership may turn out to be higher. Abhay Deshmukh, Mumbai  

Volkswagen have worked hard to keep the cost of ownership of the Polo and Vento in check, and the spare parts and servicing costs are reasonable. However, if you still aren’t comfortable with that thought, then we suggest the Fiat Linea T-Jet for you. It is expected to be launched anytime now and will have a turbocharged petrol engine with about 112 bhp and an automatic gearbox. The Linea is very well loaded, priced competitively and has the best suspension of the lot in terms of ride and handling balance. It also feels quite tough, looks good and Fiat have made an honest effort to keep cost of ownership under check. We suggest you look at it seriously.

Pre or post

After using a Honda CR-V for 5 years, I am considering upgrading to either a BMW X5 or a Porsche Cayenne. I would look at the pre-owned option, restricting myself to a car that is less than two years old and has not more than 15,000 km on the clock. The car will be self and chauffeur driven, mainly in the city, and will do approximately 7000 km a year. Would you rather suggest a new Audi Q5? It could become interesting if the price is adjusted for lower duties on the CKD route. What would be your preferred choice and why? Gaurav, Mumbai

Despite being assembled in India now, the Audi Q5’s price hasn’t been altered for the change, since Audi claim that the price it was originally offered at was the CKD price from day one. There are a host of pre-owned luxury cars hitting the market, though the Cayenne is now a generation old and the facelifted X5 is around the corner. If pre-owned is still how you want to go, we suggest you go for the X5, since it at least won’t feel as old as the Cayenne, the diesel engine is strong and it’s quite easy to use around town. Ideally, we’d suggest you look at the Q5 due to the fact that it is a new car, is compact and nimble and you get the advantage of enjoying warranty benefits on it.

Any automotive questions? Ask us at bijoy.y@bsmail.in