Vent your mind
For self drive, I have been using a Daewoo Cielo Automatic for the last 14 years and a Hyundai Santro Automatic for the last seven. I have been looking for a new automatic car for quite some time now. My requirements are that the car should be easy to drive, more comfortable, fuel efficient and good value for money. Does the Volkswagen Vento automatic fit the bill? Also what does DSG Automatic stand for?
Suresh Wadhwa, via email
The Volkswagen Vento automatic should be all right as far as your requirements are concerned. In our initial impressions, it is reasonably spacious, has a good features list and Volkswagen claims the engine is among the most fuel-efficient in its category. The DSG automatic means it has a twin-clutch gearbox. Effectively one set of gears are linked to all the odd gears, the other to even gears and that means the next gear is always ready when you want it. This allows you to keep the car in the powerband when you want to and in effect is more efficient than a regular automatic gearbox.
I refer to the article written by you a couple of months ago. It mentioned that instead of investing Rs 4-5 lakh in a Maruti Suzuki Swift or any other new car, we can invest the same in a used car from a luxury brand. I am really interested in knowing if the idea of buying any Mercedes-Benz model at Rs 4 lakh is workable. It’s my dream car. What would be the price tag for a used Mercedes? I would also like to know what would be the maintenance cost of a car like this, keeping in mind it will be pretty old as well as its fuel consumption figures. In particular, you had mentioned a model which you nicknamed the ‘Battle Tank’. If the whole idea is workable, I would like to buy one in the next financial year.
Well, it is quite a brave choice you are making. Yes, there are quite a few pre-owned luxury options these days for the price of a hatch and some of them are quite decent, too. The vehicle we’d suggest the most, as far as our heart goes, is the W124 Mercedes-Benz E-Class. It’s a Mercedes-Benz to begin with, and yes, it’s the one we referred to as ‘built like a battle tank’. Look for a clean example that has been taken good care of by its owner(s) and it should work within your budget. If it feels too much of a stretch, look for an Honda Accord that is about six years old or more and you can enjoy the same benefits for an even lower price.
Two years ago, I wrote to you for your advice on purchasing a new car. Now I seek your recommendation again. I have been using a Maruti Suzuki Swift for the last five years. The car is still giving good service but I want to replace it with a new car in the same segment. I can wait for four to five months if something interesting is expected. I am interested in an automatic variant as my driving is primarily within the city, preferably a petrol car. Please advise.
S Kumar, via email
The choices as far as automatic hatchbacks go are few. There is the Hyundai i10 and i20 automatic, and we’d suggest the larger i20 for you. It is roomier, has spacious seating for five and is loaded with features. It rides decently and is fairly easy to use in town. It isn’t quite efficient, but overall makes the most sense given your requirements.
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