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Which Car? - May II

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Fun Factor

I want a car that offers good power and handling. Which car is better in terms of pure driving fun — the Skoda Laura 1.8 TSI or the Chevrolet Cruze? If you think another car fulfils my requirements in this range, please do suggest it. Also, for a small car with similar requirements, which one is better — the Maruti Swift diesel or the Hyundai i20 diesel?

Nik, via e-mail

The Laura 1.8 TSI is the hands-down winner. It’s a thoroughly entertaining car to drive with its 160 bhp motor and is one of the best handling cars in the country. The gearbox helps you get the most out of that rev happy motor, while strong brakes keep things from getting out of hand. What’s more, it’s spacious and rides well too. As for your other question, the Swift diesel is fun to drive because of its chuckability, but the i20’s diesel motor is more punchy and powerful — and that makes it quick. So when it comes to the two hatchbacks, you will have to decide between handling and outright power.

Tough upgrade

I have been driving a Honda City GXi for the last four years and the experience has been too good. Its headroom, rear legroom and boot space are all good, the seating position is high and maintenance costs are low.

I have been trying to upgrade for the last four months but have not been able to decide on the car for me. I have seen the Honda Civic, Skoda Laura, Toyota Corolla Altis and the Chevrolet Cruze. I found out that each of them has both good features as well as certain drawbacks. The Civic has low seating (it’s difficult to get out of the car) and poor ground clearance. The Laura has the tunnel separating the rear seats making it difficult for the third passenger to sit.

Besides, I have heard about its high maintenance costs and poor after-sales. I found the Altis to be the best, with many features and scoring on everything except for its cramped rear seat that makes stepping out very difficult. I cover about 70 km a day to work but am mostly chauffeur-driven. We are a family of five and I need a car that takes care of these requirements. I am confused and not able to make a choice. Could you help me out on this?

Ramana, via e-mail

The Corolla Altis is more or less the best car for you, but have you checked out the Hyundai Sonata Transform? It is a large car, comes with both petrol and diesel engine options as well as automatic and manual gearboxes and is well loaded with features.

It may be a bit expensive compared to the quartet of cars that you have shortlisted, but considering all things, it’s good value for money. Why don’t you have a look at it?

Accent on change

I’ve owned a Hyundai Accent for five years now and my monthly mileage is around 1,000 km. I’m looking at replacing the Accent and am inclined towards the Verna petrol. Is there any other car that is better in the Rs 7 lakh range?

Rohit Mehrotra, via e-mail

The Verna is a good car for you to upgrade to. It offers decent performance, space and is a good all-rounder. Besides, since you’re considering the Verna for purchase, it appears that you’re happy being part of the Hyundai fold which is all the more reason for you to buy it. However, should you want to look at other options, there is the Maruti Suzuki Dzire. It’s another popular, no-nonsense car which will provide you with hassle-free motoring for years to come.


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