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Which car? February Edition 1


Training wheels

I am a software engineer planning to buy my first car. I will be driving between 20-30 km per day, with an occasional drive to Mumbai or Nashik once in two months. I was wondering whether I ought to buy a 1.0-litre or 1.2-litre engined car, considering the price of petrol. I don’t want to buy a diesel car. I want a car that is not too expensive to own or maintain, fuel efficiency included, and has decent leg room. I’ve tested the Maruti Suzuki Wagon R and Swift, Hyundai i10, and Honda Brio. Which one do I go in for?

Pravin Nehete, Pune

It is easy to recommend the Swift to you. It is brilliant on city roads as well as on the highway. Plus it is reliable, frugal and affordable too. That’s the de facto choice. But the Brio is an exciting new car and its costs, including fuel consumption, are comparable to the Swift. If you don’t need the interior room, then the Brio is a good choice. But if you need a larger car, it has to be the Swift.

Auto love

My daughter just returned from the US and is not able to drive a car with manual transmission. I therefore intend to buy a small car with automatic transmission. The vehicle will be used for about 20 km per day within the city. The car has to be value for money, within Rs 5 lakh if possible. Kindly advise me as to which make and model car would be the best option in this case.

Anil Kulshrestha, via email

You have two good choices in the segment: one is the Hyundai i10 and the other is the Maruti Suzuki A-star. The i10 is a competent, good quality small car that is taller — so it is easy to get in and get out. The A-star is more trendy and youthful and is equally good for the city. Your daughter could go for either, depending on her personal tastes.

SUV for me

I have a budget of Rs 20 lakh and want to buy an SUV. I am considering either the Toyota Fortuner or the Mahindra XUV500. Given the fact that budget is not a constraint, which car would you suggest that I buy?

Siddharth Shah, Pune

Well, both cars are quite different in appeal. The Fortuner is a rugged, no nonsense body-on-ladder SUV that has very good off-road ability, a strong 3.0-litre diesel engine and better build quality. It doesn’t have the best handling, nor is it the most fun-to-drive on road. The XUV500 on the other hand is a great value proposition, has far more features, handles like a car and is cheaper. It isn’t as good an off-roader as the Fortuner nor is it as well finished. If your driving is primarily on-road and you are not too concerned about off-roading, then the XUV500 is the better choice.

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