Which car? December Edition 4


Small wonder

I plan to purchase a diesel hatchback for my daily commute of 50 kms. I have a budget of Rs 7 lakh. Given that diesels tend to have more frequent service intervals and spares cost more too, when compared to petrol cars, I am concerned about the long-term ownership cost. I plan on keeping the car for a long while. Please suggest the best diesel hatchback for my requirements, keeping in mind low cost of ownership, good driving dynamics and driving pleasure.

Manoranjan Panigrahi, via email

Your best bet is the Maruti Suzuki Swift diesel — it is pretty efficient, and brilliant to drive. Modern diesels are pretty good now in terms of costs of ownership and maintenance. Also, given that it’s a Maruti, sales and service is generally pretty efficient and cost-effective. The Swift will serve you well over the time you intend to keep it.

Auto stuff

I am interested in purchasing an automatic hatchback, preferably a diesel, within a budget of Rs 5 to Rs 7 lakh. My daily running is 25 kms. Will I be able to recover the premium that I will have to pay for a diesel version? I would like the car that I select to have the latest features, comfortable interiors, and a good engine and mileage too.

Madan M Mohanty, via email

If you cover only 25 kms a day, then there is no reason to go for a diesel car. Besides, a diesel automatic is well beyond your budget. But you have some good options among petrol automatics — one is the Hyundai i10, which is good city runabout and it is reliable, proven and nice to drive. The other is the i20, which is feature packed, well-built and spacious — but it will be beyond your budget. There is also the Maruti Suzuki Dzire automatic — which is a great overall car. The Dzire is nice to drive, the quality inside has improved and it is a fuel efficient and capable car. You could also opt for the new Maruti Suzuki Ritz Vxi that comes with a 4-speed auto option. If we were to recommend one of these to you, based on your requirements, look at either the Dzire or the Ritz.

Polo position

I have been using a second-hand Hyundai Santro for the last one year. My daily or weekly commute is rather limited. I plan on buying a new car within a budget of Rs 5 to Rs 7 lakh. I am considering hatchbacks, and have zeroed in on the Volkswagen Polo. Could you please let me know what to expect from the Polo in terms of features and maintenance cost?

Anup Sakhala, via email

Yes, the Polo is a well-engineered and smart-looking hatchback. It is well built and offers good quality both inside and out. It is a fun car to drive as well. Though it has excellent boot space, rear room is a little cramped. It is a competent hatchback with a fuel-efficient three-cylinder engine that is reasonably peppy too. Maintenance costs are not excessive and are in tune with industry standards.