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Car and bike questions? We have the answers

I am looking for a small diesel-engined MPV priced between Rs. 5 lakh and Rs. 7 lakh but I won't buy it for another year at least. Is there anything interesting coming by mid-2012? What is the Maruti RIII like?

Pranjlal Gulati

The Maruti RIII which will come with a Fiat-powered 1.3-litre engine is an MPV which is expected to be well-suited to the Indian market and coming later this year. However, the RIII will cost more than the price range you have mentioned. It will be closer to the Rs 8 lakh to Rs. 10 lakh range. However, Chevrolet is launching a mini-MPV known for the moment only by its code CN100, which is expected to send shockwaves with its pricing. It is expected to cost between Rs. 5 lakh and Rs. 7 lakh with a full three-row searing option. Using a similar 1.3 diesel engine to the RIII, the CN100 promises to offer decent performance and efficiency.

My Matiz SA (2001) has done 53,000km and now needs proper tuning/timing adjustment by an expert. Whom do you recommend?

Reshu Jain

Why don't you try taking it to an independent facility? It should have the expertise and equipment to sort out your problems.

For the past four years I have been driving a Maruti Alto. I like its fuel efficiency but feel it is underpowered. Will fitting a K&N air filter increase the horsepower of my car and will an iridium and a freeflow exhaust improve the pick-up? Also, what is the difference between a muffler and a freeflow exhaust and which one makes less noise?

Methna Michael

A free-flow intake will definitely improve engine efficiency leading to some horsepower gains and a raucous intake note. A free-flow filter comes in several types — from a simple one that drops straight into your existing air-box (known as stock-replacement K&N) to the more performance-oriented cold-air intake system (CAI) which has a conical air filter at one end and additional piping that does away with your stock air-box completely and offers much higher power gains compared to a drop-in filter. For some performance gain you'll have to install a complete free-flow exhaust system (commonly known as headers) that will replace the stock unit completely. Care needs to be taken to get a header designed by a reputable tuner or otherwise you may end up losing power. Noise will be by-product of an aftermarket system (headers/muffler). However a branded muffler used in combination with headers should still be able to keep the hike in decibels to the minimum. The amount of power you stand to gain from these two modifications depend on how well both systems are designed but you can expect at least 10 per cent hike in output from the above combo (headers+cold air intake). Iridium plugs on the other hand, offer no gains and you should stick with factory plugs.

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