Plain and simple

I am looking to buy a car in the range of Rs 8 to Rs 10 lakh. On an average, I drive about 20 to 30 km a day, with the once-in-a-while long drive. I’m looking for a car with good fuel economy, lowest maintenance cost and easy availability of service centres. Can you please recommend which car should I go for? Rajender, via email

Considering your requirements, you can choose between either the Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire petrol or the Honda City petrol. Both cars are efficient, the Dzire of course being cheaper to buy. Your kind of use doesn’t warrant the need for a diesel just yet. Both Maruti Suzuki and Honda have a well-spread after-sales network with good after-sales service as well. So go ahead and choose from either — you won’t be disappointed.

Goody two shoes

I plan on buying a low-cost, economical car within a budget of Rs 3 to Rs 4.5 lakh. I would mainly need it for weekend commuting. I would like emphasis on passenger comfort, particularly for those at the rear and something that would offer me good value for money. Vicky Chandwani, via email

Suggest you look at the Ford Figo — the facelifted version has just been launched with no change in the price. The suspension of the Figo is very good for a car in its class, so passengers at the rear will be comfortable. Okay it may not offer as much legroom or headroom at the back, but it will be comfortable at the very least. The car has also been given a host of improvements and features too, so it’s decent value for money.

Particularly sensible

I am a light traveller (10,000 km / year) and am presently driving a 2009 Honda City. I would like your advice between the VW Passat and Nissan Teana. I have never driven a diesel engine, so am apprehensive about the Passat. On the other hand I am not sure about the after-sales service of Nissan. Does it make sense to stretch the budget and go for a BMW 3 Series instead? Mitren Thakkar, via email

Okay, that is quite a dilemma, we agree. While your usage doesn’t warrant the need for a diesel, the Passat is quite a refined, comfortable car that is feature packed and nice to drive too. The interiors are well finished, the diesel engine drone is very distant and doesn’t really affect the occupants inside. The Teana is a wee bit more comfortable, the ride is a touch softer and it generally tends to stand out in a parking lot as well. But the issue with the Teana is Nissan’s average after-sales service and a not-so-impressive resale value. While the 3 Series is an excellent car, no doubt, we think you may be more interested in a car that’s easy to drive as well as makes for a competent chauffeur-driven one. In this case, we’d stick our necks out and go in for the Passat. It just makes for a slightly more sensible buying decision. Any automotive questions? Ask us at