We are a joint family living in Mumbai. At present, we have three cars with us — a Maruti Suzuki Swift petrol (about 30,000 km), a Tata Indigo diesel (about 50,000 km) and a very old Maruti Suzuki Zen. We are planning to replace the Indigo and the Zen. We are looking only for petrol cars now. We would like a sedan replacement for the Indigo and either a large hatchback or a sedan to replace the Zen. We were thinking of a Maruti Suzuki SX4, Swift Dzire or a Hyundai Verna for the former and a Hyundai i20, Volkswagen Polo or a Swift Dzire for the latter. We will cover approximately 10,000 km a year in both the cars. The cars will be driven within the city by various members of the family and will be taken quite often to Lonavla also. Internal space is important. Is our shortlist correct? What is your opinion? Ghanshyamdas Agarwal, Mumbai
As regards your first choice, the SX4 is a large car and brilliant value for money. If you want performance and driving pleasure, the SX4 is a good car to have. The automatic version is something you can opt for if you are looking for convenience. However, the Dzire is a capable car on its own and if you are operating within a budget, it makes sense. The Verna is an all-rounder but if you are happy with the ownership experience of the Swift, then why not go for the Dzire? Then the second car can be one of the large hatchbacks, like the i20. It is a good-looking, well-engineered and reliable car. Again, it comes with a 1.4 petrol automatic option, if you are interested. Else the 1.2 is good enough. The Ritz is also something you can look at — its tall driving position may be of help to all members of the family. However, if you truly value space in a hatchback, though it’s pricey, nothing beats the Honda Jazz.
Me, me, me
I am a huge driving enthusiast — to give you an example, one of the cars I still own is a Chevrolet Forester! I have a weekend house in a hill station close to Mumbai and go there quite often with my family. I was thinking of getting myself the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado but I realised that it has the same engine, but in a more powerful application, as the Fortuner. Then it struck me that for the money it’s asking, I could buy a performance sedan — something I have been dreaming of for so long, but now it’s possible. I had a stint in the States and used to drive BMWs there. So I am tempted to buy one here. It could either be an entry-level petrol new 5 Series or the top-end 330i. The 5 is more sensible because it’s bigger while the 330i is a riot to drive. I agree that the steering is tough especially in the city while its ride is harsh. I feel it’s time to indulge myself, but what do you think? KK, Mumbai
The last people to stop you from buying a 330i will be us! Yes, the Prado is a notch more powerful than the Fortuner. But the point is that it’s an SUV and not a performance sedan. Anyway, between the new 523i and the 330i, the new 5 is indeed the more rational purchase. The new 5 has become larger and is not as much a driver’s car as the last-gen 5er, but we are sure your family will prefer it. The 330i, however, is like a mini-M3 and terrific to drive. If you (and your family!) can put up with its ride, then you might as well go for it. It is a great car to head out in... What an indulgence — enjoy!
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