Virtual mechanic

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Car and bike questions? We have the answers

I own a Tata Sierra 1998 model and want to upgrade to a new car that is more spacious, fuel efficient and low on maintenance. My budget is around Rs. 11 lakh to 12 lakh.


Right now, there are few cars in your price range that can compare to the Sierra on space. Your best options, however, are the Scorpio and the Innova, both of which are reliable and fuel-efficient.

I own an Alto and I wish to sell it and purchase a new car. I considered the Tata Indica, Chevrolet Spark, Wagon R or Santro. I want a spacious car. I travel around 1500 km per month. What would be a suitable choice for me?

Promil Choudhary

If your priority is space, look no further than the Indica, the other cars on your list cannot match it. It is also the only one of these available with a diesel engine, which would be ideal for you, given your usage. The diesel engine option bumps the price up a bit, though, and this may put it slightly out of your range, but make the stretch for long-term savings.

I want to buy a car in a budget of Rs. 5 lakh. My priorities are low maintenance and good mileage.


Within your budget, there are a number of good cars to choose from. The main hatchback contenders are the Maruti Swift, Chevrolet U-VA, Tata Indica and Hyundai Getz Prime. If you’d prefer a saloon, you can get the Maruti Esteem, Ford Ikon and Mahindra-Renault Logan 1.4 within your budget. We would recommend the Marutis — Esteem and Swift — for their reliability, efficient engines and easy maintenance, or the Tata Indica for its diesel advantage.

I want to buy a car in the small segment and my budget is Rs. 4 lakh to 4.5 lakh. I am considering the Xeta, Santro, Wagon R and Spark. Which one would you suggest?

Anirudh Kashyap

If you want maximum cabin and boot space, opt for the Indica Xeta. Otherwise we would recommend the Santro as a good all-rounder, and the Spark comes very close. Test drive both and see which suits you better. The Wagon R has the advantage of an LPG kit option, so if you live in an area where LPG is readily available, this would be an excellent long-term saving.

I bought a Wagon-R about two months ago because of its large boot capacity, good service and satisfactory performance of my earlier M-800 and Zen. My average monthly driving is 250km. At the time of purchase, I was informed that I will get a minimum mileage of 12kpl with the air conditioning on in city driving conditions. However, I feel I am getting only around 10kpl, that too, without the air conditioning. I am not happy with the suspension and gear shifting either, especially with reverse gear. What should I do?


12kpl for a Wagon R is a difficult number to achieve, even with the air conditioner off. Even so, it will vary according to your driving and gear-shifting habits and also the amount of stop-go traffic you have to drive through every day. The gear shift on the Wagon R is known to be a bit rubbery and uncomfortable, unfortunately, and is something you will have to adjust to. The unsatisfactory suspension is down to the car’s packaging and construction, which are oriented towards interior space.




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