Which car? March edition 3


Small wonder

I plan to buy a new car within a budget of Rs 4.5 lakh for my parents, who have a daily commute of 40 km. I reckon it is safe for me to opt for a petrol car. I have taken a look at several cars and am now confused. Is the new Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 better than the Hyundai i10? I've noticed that Hyundai claims the i10 delivers 20.36 kmpl, however regular users tell me it delivers an average fuel economy of 11-12 kmpl. This is the main reason I was planning to stay away from the i10. Will the Alto 800 be better on this front? Also is the iRDE motor better than the Kappa engine? Is there a new i10 being launched that I must wait for instead?

Kumar Shashank, via email

Please don't go for the 800 when you have a budget that will get you better built, excellent small cars. The 800 is only if you have an extremely tight budget, which, as I can see, is not the case with you. As regards your queries, the answer is yes, the i10 suits your needs very well. It is a well built and good quality hatchback. It is tall which means it is easy to get in and get out of, while it makes for ease of manoeuvring in city streets too. The engine is efficient yet peppy and the gearbox is smooth. Inside space is decent for a car of its size. As regards fuel consumption, yes, 11-12 kmpl in the city with the AC is what you will get -" the ARAI figures are an ideal figure. Most cars in this segment give you this sort of figure anyway. The iRDE motor is newer and more refined. Yes, a new i10 is on its way but it will be priced slightly higher than this one, and will be available only later this year.

Beefy autos

I am considering buying an SUV with automatic transmission. I am rather curious to know how the Mahindra Scorpio automatic is. Have the braking and handling issues been sorted out? Are there any other SUVs that have good and reliable automatic transmissions? Will the Skoda Yeti be getting an auto 'box any time soon?

Venkatraman S, via email

The Scorpio automatic is a good city car with its high seating position, good ground clearance and overall visibility, as well as well sorted gear ratios. It brakes and handles decently as long as you don't intend to drive it like a car. Your could also consider the Ford Endeavour automatic that is nearly Rs 20 lakh. Skoda doesn't offer the Yeti with an auto 'box yet.

Good Fortune

I am planning on buying a Toyota Fortuner, but am confused between the 4x4 manual and the 2-wheel drive automatic. I don't plan on going off-roading with it, though, and am going to use it in the city. There will be occasional highway drives as well. Which of the two do you think has a better 0-100 kmph timing? Also, is the 4-speed automatic enough for my usage?

Rahul Agarwal, via email

If you would like to do serious mud-plugging, getting your axles into muck and all the associated things, then you will need a four-wheel drive. If your off-roading is strictly limited to bad, unpaved roads and light slush, the two-wheel drive Fortuner will be capable enough. If you want the best of both worlds (that is, an automatic) as well, then why not try the Hyundai Santa Fe automatic that's even got four-wheel drive. It isn't as good as the Fortuner off-road, but it is very competent.

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