I live in Mumbai and I am looking forward to buying a car in the range of Rs 3 to 4.5 lakh. I will only travel about 50-odd kilometres on weekends and a getaway once in three months or so. I did test drive the Tata Indica Vista Safire and the Chevrolet Beat. Though the Vista has a luxurious cabin and good space, the driving aspect of the Beat surpasses that of the Indica. I will drive the car myself. The Maruti Suzuki Ritz is a bit on the expensive side for same features as that of the Beat (LS model). Kindly help me in this dilemma. Animesh,, Mumbai
Since the car will be self-driven, we suggest the Beat for you. It isn’t as spacious as the Indica Vista as you rightly pointed out, but it is a bit more easy to manoeuvre, a more fun car to drive and given that Chevrolet have improved their service quality levels a fair bit, a good buy overall. Unless of course you require the additional space and ride quality of the Indica Vista, we think the Beat should suit you just fine.
I have to choose between the following: Porsche Cayenne diesel, Mercedes ML Class, BMW X5 and the Audi Q7. The SUV will be driven by me and at other times my wife and my chauffeur. My questions are:
1) Space: My requirements are for five seats only. Hence Q7 with seven seats is not an added attraction. Which amongst the above has the best space for five passengers? I want proper space for back seat passengers; no compromise here.
2) Comfort/suspension: My driving takes me outside the city on the expressway as well as the not-so-well maintained state highways. If I consider the Cayenne, do I need to buy the add-on called PASM (air suspension package)? Does ML have the best suspension for Indian conditions?
3) Service: Porsche has only two centres and they might have opened three satellite centres recently. I hear a rumour that service is a problem in the case of Porsche. Is this true? How come Porsche doesn't sell in large numbers considering that the entry level Cayenne can be well specced and come at a price comparable to the ML or Q7?
4) Fuel: The new Cayenne brochure that I received from the dealership mentions that the diesel can take a 7 per cent blended diesel type. But in India I think the fuel companies are blending diesel up to 10 per cent. I haven’t got a comment from the dealership on this but something doesn’t feel right on this front. Should I change my option from the diesel to the Cayenne petrol V6?
I feel it’s the best time to buy an SUV since all the new models from all the firms are available — the second generation Cayenne, the 2011 X5, the facelifted ML and I believe the next-gen Q7 is coming by year end. Nikhil Kapur, via email
Since you have a big selection of SUVs to choose from, let’s whittle that list down. The BMW X5 is great to drive and has decent ride quality, but doesn't have the best rear legroom of the lot and feels a bit stiff when the roads are imperfect. We haven’t driven the current generation Cayenne yet (we will though, soon), but the last one had a slab-sided rear seat and the legroom wasn’t all that hot too, even though it drove and handled like a dream. Porsche’s service setup, as you rightly pointed out is limited but they can despatch mechanics to any part of the country if the need be. The ML has a slightly stiff suspension setup and like the Cayenne the rear seat isn’t as comfortable. We think the best choice for you lies between the Audi Q7 4.2 TDI and the Mercedes-Benz GL350 CDI. The Q7 recently received a facelift while the GL has just gone on sale in the country. Both are seven seaters but don’t compromise on space and the ride quality is pretty much the best of the lot. The Q7 has a bit more legroom for the middle row passengers and the V8 diesel on the Q7 is more powerful too. It is available at a special price currently which makes it a great value deal. Choose from either and we think you would like them.
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