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Car and bike questions? We have the answers

I want to change my car, a Tata Safari, for an SUV or MUV that offers easy maintenance, good after sales service, low service costs, comfortable seating for five to six, decent interiors and good looks. I have narrowed my options to the Tata Safari Storme and the Maruti Ertiga. Please guide.

Sunil Beri

Unfortunately, there is no one car that meets all your requirements. The Safari is certainly spacious than the Ertiga, but when it comes to after-sales service the Maruti scores. The Ertiga is also not too bad as a five to six seater if you play around with the adjustable front and middle rows. So you could go for the Ertiga.

I want to buy a used BMW 3-series or Mercedes C-class. It should cost not more than Rs. 20 lakh. Could you tell me how much it would cost to maintain such a car through the year?

Mishal

Buying a used 3-series or C-class can be quite expensive in terms of maintenance and you might end up spending a good amount of money keeping your car in good shape. A regular service costs around Rs. 25,000 which, depending on the mileage you do, will need to be carried out at least once a year. Also, these cars are prone to giving trouble the older they get and replacing parts can be exorbitant, especially if the used car you buy has been subjected to abuse you are not aware of. However, if your heart is still keen on one of these prestige brands, we suggest you stick to the C-Class because you can still pick up the current-generation model in the used car market. A used 3-series within your budget would be the earlier E90 model, which was discontinued last year. It’s always advisable to go in for a model that’s still in production as it makes for easier servicing.

Does Skoda have any plans of launching the Yeti automatic here soon? Also, I currently own a 2010 Polo petrol; will it support a CNG kit?

Abhimanyu Toshniwal

Skoda could launch the automatic version of the Yeti later this year along with a facelift that will include a few cosmetic changes. However, the launch depends on the overall demand for the Yeti, as this will determine how viable it is for Skoda to launch the automatic version. It is possible to fit a CNG kit to your Polo, but you need to go to reputed brands such as Lovato, Landi Renzo or Bendini. You will face a drop in performance and the cylinder will eat into your boot space.

I am planning to buy a car that costs less than Rs. 6 lakh. I’ll be using it as a tourist taxi, so my priorities are good fuel economy, decent comfort levels, capable air conditioning and low maintenance costs. I have shortlisted the Tata Indica Vista and Ford Figo.

Savio Reno Raju

The Figo is a good car overall but if it’s for use as a tourist taxi, we feel the Indica is the better choice as it is easier to service and the parts are cheaper. The Indica may not feel as well engineered as the Figo or as nice to drive, but it’s quite a capable vehicle in its own right, with spacious interiors, and decent ride and performance.

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