Virtual Mechanic

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I have a budget of Rs. 7 lakh and drive close to 1800km every month. I am keen on a saloon which is high on style, image and comfort. Low running costs will be a bonus. I have shortlisted the Fiat Linea Emotion 1.4 petrol and the new SX4 VXi but am unable to decide between the two. Also, does Fiat plan to introduce a more powerful petrol engine in the linea?

Sumeet Singh

The SX4 may be cheaper to maintain and offer better service, thanks to Maruti's superior dealer network. However, in terms of fuel economy, the Fiat Linea petrol is more economical. Even in terms of style, image and comfort, we feel the Linea is good. Yes, a more powerful version of the Linea is expected — a 118bhp turbo-charged petrol engine with direct fuel injection. However, this will be quite expensive.

I would like to buy a 150cc bike and have short-listed the Hero Honda CBZ extreme, and the Honda Unicorn. I would like to know more about the Unicorn. Is there a better bike I should be looking at besides these two?


The Unicorn comes at a marginally cheaper price than the CBZ Extreme. The rear mono-shock housing Unicorn is fractionally shorter than the dual shock (rear) CBZ extreme. From the two, we suggest the Honda Unicorn — mainly for its smooth ride on mostly any given Indian road condition and its higher overall fuel economy figures (52.1 compared to 46.8). As for the better 150cc bike, we suggest the beefy looking FZ-16 — this provided that your budget is slightly flexible.

I'm keen on buying a diesel SUV. This car will be driven on my proposed journeys across Southern India. As you know the terrain and climate vary, and the vehicle should perform well in terms of comfort and fuel efficiency. The car's price should be under Rs 10. lakh. I would greatly appreciate if you can guide me in selecting an ideal SUV that is economical to maintain and easy to drive.

M T Narayan

The Mahindra Scorpio SLE, should be right down your alley. Plus points of the Scorpio are its strong engine and good feedback on driving. The SLE returns decent fuel economy figures of 10.6kpl in the city and 13.6kpl on the highway. The Scorpio will also adapt well to the Southern climate and road conditions.

I own a 4-year-old Santro Xing which I wish to replace with a higher end hatchback in the next 3 to 4 months. My budget is around Rs 5 lakh. I drive around 12,000 km every year which includes two or three long drives of around 1,000 km each. I am looking for a sturdy car with drive comfort, low maintenance, fuel economy and value for money. Please suggest a car.

L Raghavan

The Hyundai i10 should meet your requisites. The standard i10 will definitely fall within your budget, but you'll have to stretch it a bit if you're looking to go in for the top end version. You are sure to get your money's worth by spending on this car. The i10 has good interior space, doesn't burn a hole in your wallet with maintenance and fuel costs.




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