Virtual Mechanic

I plan to buy a performance car from the used car market. I have zeroed in on two Skoda RS 1.8. One has been driven for 35,000km, and the other, 74,000km. However, I am skeptical about the serviceability of the car as it has been discontinued and maintenance might prove to be difficult. I am looking for affordable power and performance that this car provides. I intend to modify it using Pete's performance upgrades to enhance it further, and enjoy motoring to the maximum. The other option is a Ford Fiesta 1.6 S, but it costs Rs. 7.50 lakh on-road. Though it is a driver's car, I feel the power it generates is not sufficient, and it lacks a turbo. Please help me make an informed decision.

Deepak Singh

The Octavia RS 1.8 was a true driver's car and you can get some good deals on them. The RS is inherently reliable and possibly the best platform for performance upgrades. The base 1.8 engine is quite robust and can withstand a big increase in power. Skoda will continue to offer service and spares for the Octavia for at least another 10 years. However, parts are likely to get expensive and certain items may not always be in stock. Pete's performance upgrades are among the best, and has quite a few options and stages of performance upgrades for the Octavia. Choose the lower mileage car even if it means spending a bit extra. The Fiesta 1.6 is a terrific driver's car and a safer bet, but it won't give you the same thrills as the Octavia. However, be prepared for high maintenance bills in the case of Octavia.

I plan to buy a Tata Manza, but cannot decide between Quadrajet or Safire. My monthly usage will be around 500-600km, and I will keep the car for at least six years. I usually drive between 50-80kph. Between the diesel and petrol versions, which is more economical in terms of maintenance? Can I expect good maintenance, mileage and ownership experience from the Manza. If I buy the Quadrajet and my running is low, will there be any maintenance required for not running the vehicle? And, between the i20 Asta and Manza Safire Aura (ABS), which is better?

Pranab Kalita

Yes, given your usage, it is a difficult decision to choose between a petrol and diesel car. Though you drive only 500-600km a month, which is less than 20km a day, the Manza Quadrajet (diesel) makes more sense because after six years the resale of the diesel Manza will be better and will compensate for the higher purchase price. Also, the diesel Manza has more torque that makes it effortless to drive. And, let's not forget the fantastic economy (14-15kpl) you can expect from a diesel car. The Safire will give around 11-12kpl for the same driving cycle. In terms of maintenance, the diesel is a bit higher, but it won't dent the overall cost advantage. If you don't use your car for long periods, it won't affect your car. However, it's always good to have it started once in a while to warm up the engine.