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Which Car? October edition 1


I want to purchase my first car. My daily running is about five kilometers only, but in heavy traffic. Will the Tata Nano serve my purpose, or I should go for the Suzuki Alto? Is the Nano as safe as the Alto in case of an accident, and does the former have a risk of fire?
Ravi Pandey, via email

Tata Motors have resolved the issue with the Nano, and it is a safe car to buy. It also has more interior room than the Suzuki Alto. However, if you want a car with more features and a more powerful engine, we would suggest the Alto for you. The new one is fun to drive, very fuel efficient and fresh-looking, and you will have the back-up of Maruti Suzuki's extensive service network.

POLO POSITION                                                     
I am mighty impressed with the design of the Volkswagen Polo hatchback. I want to buy it, but I'm facing a dilemma in going for it as this will be my first car and I want to keep it for at least 8 years. I am not bothered about power delivery. Please guide me about the Polo's long term ownership costs, maintenance and reliability and whether it is worth going for. Will the fuel efficiency of the car remain constant over the years, given that fuel costs will only go up?
Srikanth M, via email

You can go ahead and buy the car that's impressed you so much! It is a well-built car, with excellent ride and handling, and there is now a more powerful 1.6-litre petrol engine as an option. Its main drawback is a lack of space in the back seat. If you maintain the car properly, you should get good fuel economy from it over the years - expect around 11-12 kpl from the 3-cylinder petrol. Parts and service are likely to be more expensive than, say, Maruti or Hyundai, since Volkswagen is still relatively new in the Indian market, but they won't be prohibitively so.

I am looking for a car to drive in the city and am currently confused about whether to buy a hatchback or sedan. Could you recommend the best cars in both categories? My budget is Rs 9 lakh. I drive about 100-200 km a month. My main concerns are styling, comfort and mileage.
Apanjot Singh, via email  

It all depends on whether you need a boot or not. In the hatchback category, the Hyundai i20 is a great all-round car, and the new Volkswagen Vento is a worthy addition to the fray in the sedan category. There's a third option - why don't you consider the Honda Jazz? It's a great- looking car, has a refined, frugal petrol engine mated to a superb gearbox and its seats can be folded down in various ways to create a lot of storage space. We think it's the car you may be looking for!

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