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Old faithful

Source : BUSINESS_STANDARD
Last Updated: Sat, Apr 06, 2013 12:00 hrs
Will Maruti 800 be phased out?

I have been driving a petrol Maruti 800 A/C for the past 14 years and it has clocked only 48,000 km. If I plan to continue its usage beyond August 2013, I will need to spend approx Rs 20,000 in getting its registration renewed, mainly because of my visit to the place of purchase in a state other than the state of my present residence (approx distance 1000 km). Should I buy a new petrol car for my use for driving in the city (approx monthly commute 500 km) or get the registration renewed? In case of a new purchase, please suggest a car with minimum price range (except the Tata Nano), maximum fuel efficiency and low maintenance, even in the next higher price range



HEMANT KUMAR, Udaipur


Wow, you really love your car, by the looks of it! We would suggest that it is time for you to invest in a new car, so that you get yourself something more modern and with better technology. Since you appear to be happy with Maruti Suzuki, we recommend the Alto 800 for you. It is compact and lightweight, making it easy to manoeuvre and park, and the engine offers lively performance coupled with great fuel efficiency. Being a Maruti, it is a reliable product, and service costs will not be too hard on your pocket - plus, you will have access to Maruti Suzuki's extensive service network. It may not be the roomiest car in its class, but then if you are satisfied with your 800, you shouldn't find this too much of an issue. If you can afford to spend some more money, the petrol Ritz is also an excellent choice.

BOXSING RING

This might be different from the usual questions you get, but then I believe you're the right people to answer it. I have always loved driving, and my father had a classic British sports car (a convertible), that he drove me around in. Since then, I have always wanted a convertible, and now that I am fortunate enough to be able to afford one, I need your advice about what to buy. Budget really isn't an issue, but I would ideally like a car that is reasonably practical in terms of everyday use, since I am not the kind who will just keep it in the garage. I live in Delhi, so I often go up to the hills, where the roads are nice and curvy, and I prefer petrol cars, even though I hear there are some very sporty diesels out there now. Sheer power isn't a priority - I want excellent road holding above all else. All suggestions are welcome!


Harish Kapoor, New Delhi


Yours sounds like the best kind of dilemma! You can legally buy virtually any exotic sportscar in India now, and the choices are surprisingly many. We think that the Maserati GranCabrio is an absolutely amazing machine, for instance, as is the Ferrari California. Then you have cars like the BMW 650i and the Mercedes-Benz SLK, both of which are great to drive. All said and done, however, we feel that the Porsche Boxster S has no peer at the moment - it is the best sporty convertible you can buy. It looks great, offers ferocious performance and, most importantly for you, it handles like an absolute dream. Don't take our word for it, though - test drive some of these exotics and then take a call, you lucky man!

SMALL WONDER

I currently own a Honda Accord V6 and I now wish to upgrade to an entry-level premium SUV. My usage is primarily for commuting within a 20 km radius and the occasional long-distance trip. Fun driving characteristics are important to me since I don't use a chauffeur most of the time, and I'm also very keen on good ride quality, space, interior fit and finish and reliability. I like the Audi Q3 as an overall package, but I have heard that it has a very light steering - not what the driving enthusiast in me wants. The only other SUV I'm considering is the BMW X1. How does it compare with the Audi Q3, and is it really worth the price tag?


V K Jain, New Delhi


One of the Audi Q3's strengths is its interiors. The quality and features of the Q3's interiors are all very commendable, and certainly better than those of the BMW X1. It looks great on the outside, and although space is at a premium, the same can be said for the X1, too. You are right about the Q3's steering - it does feel a bit too light and electronic, and here is where the X1 scores over it. The recently refreshed X1 has a well-balanced steering wheel that a driving enthusiast will certainly enjoy. In terms of reliability, both cars are evenly matched and in any case, both Audi and BMW have service centres in metros across the country. Overall, the Q3 is the better packaged SUV, but we suggest you do test drive both cars before you make your final decision.

AUTOMATIC CHOICE

My present car is a Hyundai i10 automatic and I now wish to upgrade to a sedan with an automatic transmission. I am trying to choose from between the Renault Scala CVT and the Honda City AT, having ruled out the Maruti Suzuki SX4 since I find it a bit dated. What I primarily want is ease of driving, space and generous interior and boot space since the car will be used on long-distance trips often. Kindly help me choose the best car for my needs.


Nitin Kamble, Mumbai


The Honda City, though slightly more expensive than the Renault Scala, is the better car overall. However, your priorities being ease of driving and space, the Scala is the car that seems more appropriate for you. The Scala benefits from light controls and the rear legroom and headroom are indeed very generous. The City has top-notch interiors and the quality is, perhaps, best-in-class and it has the upper hand in terms of performance, too. However, while it is good on space, it's not as good as the Scala.

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