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Which car? - June III


City light

I have to purchase a new car within the next couple of days. My budget is around Rs 5 lakh. Mine is a family of four and driving is limited to about 3,000 km per year only in the city. I was considering the Hyundai i20 and the Maruti Suzuki Ritz, but some friends have suggested I go for the Ford Figo or the Chevrolet Aveo. My main criteria are comfort for four, manoeuvrability in city traffic, easy servicing and availability of parts when required.

Rajeev Gupta, Indore

The two cars you have shortlisted — the i20 and the Ritz — are excellent city runabouts. The i20 is more spacious than the Ritz and is quite feature-rich, while the Ritz is a more fun car to drive. Both of them meet all your criteria, so you can opt for either one.

Capital punishment

I want to switch my two-year old Chevrolet Aveo U-VA for a new car. I live in Delhi, where people drive badly and park poorly. In parking lots, my car is put into neutral and squeezed into unimaginably tight spaces. To get into the driver’s seat, you have to push the car back into open space.

At home, in common areas, my neighbours use big stones, thick chains and their driver’s motorbikes to mark their territory, so I make do between a tree and an electric pole. Dents, bumps and scratches are par for the course. I can afford to upgrade, seriously upgrade, but I cannot think big. When are the Toyota Etios hatch and Honda small car expected? How about the Fiat Punto or Ford Figo for the moment? I do 2,500 km of city driving a year with an occasional passenger for company. All I want is value for money and peace of mind.

PS: No Hyundais or Marutis, please. I am not keen on the VW Polo or the Skoda Fabia, while I consider the Honda Jazz to be not an expensive but an over-priced car.

Ami Singh, New Delhi

Both the Etios hatch and the small car from Honda are expected sometime next year. For the moment, either the Figo or the Punto should do well for you. The Figo is excellent value for money, while the Punto is good-looking and offers great ride comfort.

For your kind of driving, the petrol versions of either car should do well. And both are built to take a fair degree of abuse!

Ring in the new

I’m interested in buying a sedan that costs less than Rs 8 lakh. Since many new models such as the Toyota Etios, Volkswagen Vento, Nissan Micra sedan and 2010 Ford Fiesta are about to released in the next six to twelve months, would it be better to wait for these? Which model would you recommend? I travel about 4,000 km a year — about 3,000 km on daily trips and about 1,000 km long distance. Should I buy a petrol or a diesel car?

G Venkatarathnam, Indore

If you cover only 4,000 km a year, a petrol car should do fine. As far as the new cars are concerned, the Vento should be unveiled as early as next month, so you could check it out then.

The Etios sedan is expected by the first quarter of next year. The other two will take a bit longer. Otherwise, the options available readily in front of you are the Tata Indigo Manza and the Maruti Suzuki Dzire. If you are in no hurry, why don’t you wait for the new cars?

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