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Car and bike questions? We have the answers

I want to buy a diesel-engined C-size saloon. Has Toyota dropped plans for a 1.4-litre diesel engine in the Corolla Altis? Will the Maruti SX4 offer a 1.6 or 1.9-litre diesel anytime soon? Is it true that the Suzuki Grand Vitara is likely to be assembled in India shortly. Will there be a diesel offering? Does Hyundai plan to offer the i30 with a boot to replace the Elantra? And will the VW Polo saloon be equivalent to the new Honda City in size and rear legroom?

K. P. Singaravelu

Toyota plans to launch the diesel Corolla by mid-2010, a 1.4 diesel developing approximately 100bhp. While there has been talk of Maruti launching the SX4 diesel, Suzuki is not enthusiastic towards ‘dieselisation' of its cars simply because it has to rely on outside suppliers (Fiat in this case) for diesel engines. Outsourcing engines from a third party also works out to be expensive. The volumes for the Grand Vitara are too small at the moment to justify assembly and the Suzuki SUV will continue to be imported. Hyundai's i30 is unlikely to come to India as large hatchbacks have very limited demand. Lastly, the VW Polo saloon will have a longer wheelbase than the hatchback to give it more space which, we hear, will rival the Honda City.

I am looking to purchase a C-segment car within Rs. 8 lakh. I love driving, and most certainly would put my money on Ford Fiesta. But I've just learnt about the upcoming Fiat Linea 1.6. Would it make sense to wait for it or should I go ahead and buy the Fiesta?

Bharat Dua

The Fiesta is without doubt the best driver's class for the money today, and one of our favourites. The 1.6 Linea that you have mentioned is a more powerful diesel version but it isn't expected till end of 2010. Besides, diesels don't quite give the same driving pleasure as petrols.

However, what is expected in early 2010 is the Linea with the 1.4 Turbo-jet engine that boasts direct-injection and turbo-charging. This motor develops an impressive 118bhp and promises a thrilling drive.

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