Car and bike questions? We have the answers

My Swift VDi 2007 has done 30,000km and the tyres on the car are almost bald. I want to upgrade from the 165/80/14 tyres to 195/65/14s or the 185/70/14s as on the ZXi.

I'm going for an upsize as looks and handling are important, but not at the cost of damage to the bearings, as I plan to use the car for at least a year. Please guide me.

Sudev Devadas

If you have the normal steel rims, we recommend the 185/70-R-14s. If you plan to change to alloy wheels then the 195/65-R-14s would work just fine.

When is the new Alto with the K-series engine releasing? Is it worth waiting for?

Ishu Guta

The Alto has just been introduced with a Bharat Stage IV version of the existing F8D series engine. There are no plans to introduce the K-series engine in the Alto because that would involve a major engineering change to the car.

The K-series engine takes up more space under the hood and this would entail enlarging the Alto's engine bay to get it to fit.

The next-generation Alto, expected in late 2011, will come with the K-series engine.

My daily commute is 150-175 km. I want a car that costs between Rs. 15 lakh and Rs.20 lakh, and is comfortable to drive, easy to maintain, has reasonable resale value, and most importantly, is safe.

Sehrab Benipal

The Skoda Laura with the new two-litre common-rail engine and DSG gearbox will suit you. It's a great long-distance cruiser.

It is a safe and very solid car, but the only downside is that the cost of maintenance can be high. However, the resale value is good.

I plan to buy a car that costs less than Rs. 6 lakh. I am looking for low maintenance costs, good after-sales service, good mileage, BS IV compliance, some safety features such as ABS and airbags, comfortable rear seating for three, a decent boot, fine ergonomics and excellent ride. Should I go in for a petrol or a diesel car?

My usage will be for weekend trips of 50-100km and 300-500km-long trips once in three months. Do diesel vehicles have lesser running life and are they prone to repairs?

Do they have higher resale value than petrol vehicles? I would prefer a petrol car as my company provides 70 litres of fuel. Lastly, can a BS III vehicle be run on BS IV fuel?

R. S. Chakravarthy

We feel the new Ford Figo diesel would be best for you. The Figo offers lots of space and has excellent ride and handling, especially on long-distance trips.

The rear seats are quite wide and accommodation for three passengers and is good by hatchback standards. The boot is huge and can easily take two large bags. Diesel engines require more frequent periodic maintenance and periodic replacement parts such as the filters are costlier than a petrol engine filter.

Hence, the overall maintenance costs in a diesel are higher.

However, this should not mislead you into thinking that diesels are more expensive in the long run. In fact, it's to the contrary. The low running cost of diesel far outweighs the maintenance costs and there are massive cost savings to be had with a diesel.

Factor in the superior resale value diesels usually have. In your case, given your frequent long-distance trips, a diesel car makes more sense.

If you do not mind a slightly costlier car, then you could also look at Hyundai i20 Asta. It is a good petrol vehicle.

Most cars (and all Hyundais) made after April 1 are BS IV-compliant across in India.

Hence, even in Nellore, you might get a BS IV car.