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Which Car: December Edition 1

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Little runabout

I am looking for a replacement for my wife’s Maruti Suzuki Zen Estilo. She has a monthly commute of 500 km. We were considering the Honda Jazz. However, we have been informed that the Jazz will not be available until May 2013. Can you please suggest a few alternatives, both manual and automatic transmission, that we could consider?

Mukesh Acharya, Pune

A good replacement for the Estilo, if you are considering automatics, would be the Honda Brio Automatic. It is a perky, good-looking city car that is easy to drive. Another decent alternative is the Hyundai i10; it is taller and, therefore, convenient to get in and out of. If you have a bigger budget, then the Hyundai i20 is also a good choice. It is a well-built, feature-rich car and has also received a recent update. You can consider the manual options of these three cars as well, plus you could look at the Maruti Suzuki Wagon R.

Green runner

I am currently using a Hyundai Verna petrol. However, to decrease running costs, I would now like to get a CNG kit fitted in. Is this advisable? And what are the problems that I’m likely to face once I carry out the conversion? Will there be maintenance issues as well? Please help.

Ankush Mittal, Pune

Yes, CNG will get your running costs down and you can have the conversion done at an authorised centre. Please do consult the dealer so that it doesn’t affect your warranty. Driving a CNG car is slightly different. You have to start and stop the car in petrol mode and shift to CNG only while running — this will ensure that your engine does not get damaged. The engine can get affected over time with the use of CNG. We usually recommend that people buy diesel cars rather than buy a petrol car and then carry out the conversion. However, since you are using the Verna already, you can go for the conversion.

Safe sedan

I wish to buy a car for my daily commute of 25 km within the city and occasional family trips of 30 to 40 km out of town. I would prefer a sedan and I have a budget of around Rs 8 lakh. Safety, ease of maintenance, fuel efficiency and good resale value are important parameters for me. I want to keep the car for at least five years. Could you please suggest something suitable? I currently own a Maruti SX4 which is five years old.

Jayanta Roy, Kolkata

It is good that your first priority is safety! For your requirements, you don’t need to go for a diesel sedan — a petrol car should do well for you. You have two good choices that meet your expectations of safety, ease of maintenance, fuel efficiency and resale value. One is the Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire and the other is the entry-level Honda City. Test drive both of them, see what features come as standard and then make your decision.

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