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Which car? July Edition IV

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Off-road dreams

For the last eight years I have been driving a Mahindra Scorpio. My current one is my second. I always have a 4x4 vehicle (earlier it used to be a Gypsy) because I travel to remote places where roads are often non-existent, streams have to be forded and landslides have to be negotiated. I have been quite happy with my Scorpios (M&M have given me excellent service), having forded a stream where the water was up to the wheel arches! But I am thinking of upgrading to a Toyota Fortuner. I have test driven the Fortuner in Delhi, but that does not tell me anything about how it handles in the mountains. I would like your views on the Fortuner vs. the Scorpio, especially where mountain driving is concerned. I assume that there are no issues on reliability, although the service network may be an issue as the M&M dealer and service network is very good. Are there any downsides in the Fortuner that one should be aware of? Is the price difference worth it? I could have considered the Nissan X-Trail, but I think the ground clearance in that vehicle is a bit of an issue. Noni Chawla, New Delhi

The Fortuner is pretty capable off-road too, with its short overhangs front and rear, good approach and departure angles and strong bottom-end torque. However, if you want the complete package, we suggest you go in for the Mitsubishi Pajero 2.8 SFX. It’s even better off-road, has decent on-road performance, the ride quality is good and it feels pretty indestructible. It may be nearly two decades old, but when it comes to going off-road, the Pajero is still top of the pops.

Step on the gas

I am planning to buy a new car, but given the traffic situation in Delhi and the rocketing petrol prices I was wondering if it would be possible to fit a CNG kit on the Toyota Corolla Automatic or Honda Civic Automatic. Please advise what could be the challenges involved? Ajit, via email

You can fit a CNG kit in the Corolla or Civic, irrespective of it being manual or automatic. The immediate advantage would be that the cost of running would come down by a fair margin, there will be a marginal loss in power and pick-up. Make sure you go to an authorised CNG service centre or get it installed at your car dealer and make sure the warranty on your car and the CNG kit stays intact. There are a lot of firms like LandiRenzo and Lovato that provide such kits.   To boot or not to boot

I am planning to buy a car with a budget of Rs 5 lakh. I am looking at either the petrol Tata Indigo CS LX at one end or the Suzuki Ritz, Wagon R and the Ford Figo. It’s primarily for city travel, but the boot is often needed. The ground clearance should be good because Lucknow roads aren’t so great. What would you suggest? Rai Mahimapat Ray, via email

In terms of boot space, the Indigo CS LX is your best bet, followed by the Figo and Ritz. All these three cars have excellent ground clearance too and have robust underpinnings. If it’s a sedan that you want then the Indigo CS will work fine, but among hatchbacks look at the Figo. Any automotive questions?
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