I want to buy a diesel hatchback for my sister that I will present to her on her wedding day. She is likely to have a daily commute of between 35 and 40 km in Delhi. The car must be reliable, fuel-efficient, reasonably comfortable and well-loaded with features too. I am considering the Toyota Etios Liva GD, Ford Figo Titanium and Skoda Fabia 1.2 TDI Ambiente. Which car do you think I ought to buy?
Siddhartha Pal, via email
Toyota Etios Liva GDYes the Liva does meet your requirements, plus it is spacious. The only thing going against it are the quality of the plastics that feel cheap compared to its more established competition. The Figo is good value for money, but it does not offer as much space as the Etios does at the rear. The Fabia is a good overall car — the quality inside is good and so is space. But the three-cylinder engine is slightly vibey, though efficient. So of the three you have shortlisted, go for the Toyota. It should serve you well.
Four wheels please
I am looking for an SUV or a premium small car with a budget of Rs 15 lakh and above. I have considered the Toyota Innova, Volkswagen Polo, Skoda Yeti 4x2 and the Hyundai i20. What do you think of the performance of the Yeti as compared to the others? As you can see, I’m quite confused. Please point me in the right direction.
Subash, via email
Skoda Yeti 4x2We can see you’re confused just by looking at your shortlist! The Innova is a vehicle that we would recommend without thinking twice. It is proven and it is the benchmark among all people carriers sold in the country. What’s amazing is that it still holds its value over the years. On the other hand, the Yeti is one of our all-time favourite vehicles — amongst cars, UVs or SUVs! We like its brilliant dimensions — which make it easy to drive on city roads — and the flexibility of space on the inside. Its 4x2 version is perfectly sorted, as it brings the cost of the vehicle down. The 4x2 version may not be powerful, but it is more than adequate for virtually all needs. The steering is great, it rides and handles well and it looks nice too. The only downside is the transmission and a heavy clutch. The Yeti is up for a facelift in the near future, but that is still some time away. If you like it, do go for it. But if you want to play it safe, the Innova it is.
I am confused as to whether to buy a petrol or diesel sedan. I am planning on buying the car from the army canteen, so the discount that I am getting will negate the premium I would have to spend on a diesel car. I am worried about the maintenance required for diesel engines though — is it true they are liable to need more repairs? My monthly commute is 1,500 km. I have heard that the Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire diesel has one of the best engines in its class. Should I go for a petrol or diesel Dzire?
Addy, via email
Maruti Suzuki Swift DzireConsidering you cover about 1,500 km a month, you can go for the diesel Dzire. As regards costs and maintenance, diesel engines have now become as good as petrol engines. There could be the nominal extra cost for oil consumption, but it should not pinch your pocket. The Dzire is an excellent car and the diesel motor is reliable, efficient and good to drive .
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