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Which car? September Edition 2



I would like to buy a premium diesel hatchback within a budget of Rs 6 to Rs 8 lakh. I am considering the Volkswagen Polo and the Hyundai i20. In terms of features, the i20 is leagues ahead of the Polo, but I am not able to decide whether to go in for a petrol or diesel car. While safety is my biggest priority, the diesel variant of the car only has two airbags on offer, while the petrol variant has six. Could I purchase the diesel and then retro-fit the airbags onto the car?

Arunpreet Singh, via email

It is a good thing that you have put safety first. That mindset is what is lacking in the Indian automobile market and people like you are needed to make our country’s roads safer. Unfortunately, retro-fitting of airbags is not advisable. The electronics and hardware involved make it a very complicated procedure, if it is possible at all, that is. These things are designed to save lives, and keeping that in mind, it makes sense to let the car manufacturers do all the work. Besides, an incorrectly fitted airbag could kill, instead of save a life. We suggest you go in for the petrol car, instead of buying a diesel and retro-fitting the four extra airbags. The fuel costs might be higher, but then again, there’s no price for a life saved.

Diesel needs

My brother and I are both looking to purchase a car each. As we drive quite a lot, we are considering buying diesel cars. I am looking at the Hyundai Verna CRDi 1.6 SX manual, the Skoda Rapid 1.6 Elegance manual and the Volkswagen Vento 1.6 diesel Highline. The next query revolves around the Hyundai Elantra CRDi 1.6 SX manual, Skoda Laura Elegance 2.0 TDI manual, Volkswagen Jetta 2.0 TDI Highline manual and Chevrolet Cruze 2.0 LTZ manual. The cars must perform well, be good value for money, comfortable and have good mileage too. Please advice.

Yogesh, via email

The Rapid and Vento are virtually twins, so their attributes are almost the same. Between these two cars and the Verna, have a look at either the Skoda or the VW in terms of what deal you get from the dealer. The Rapid and Vento diesels are good cars to drive, they are comfortable as well and should return good fuel efficiency too. For the second query, choose between the new Elantra or the Cruze. Both cars offer good value for money and are also good to drive and efficient too. The Elantra is overall the better car when you consider parameters like rear space, comfort and features.

City runabout

I want to buy a car within a budget of Rs 6 to Rs 7 lakh for my average daily commute of 40 to 50 km of city driving. The car must be comfortable for four people, deliver good fuel efficiency and also have low maintenance costs.

Amit Arora, Chandigarh

A diesel car makes sense for you — you can look at either the Maruti Suzuki Swift or Ritz or the Nissan Micra. The Swift and Ritz are overall excellent cars — they are great to drive, fuel efficient and are not maintenance intensive. The Ritz has the added advantage of being a tall car allowing you ease of navigating city streets. The other option you have is the Micra — it is also efficient and is comfortable for four people. It is also an easy car to manoeuvre in the city.