Virtual mechanic

Car and bike questions? We have the answers

I am confused choosing between Volkswagen Jetta and Skoda Laura 1.9 TDIs. From a maintenance / comfort / performance point of view, which one would you suggest for a long run?

Iqbal Khuraishi

We can understand your dilemma as both cars are quite evenly matched, and in fact, share lots of parts (both Skoda and VW are under the Volkswagen group). For us, the Jetta wins simply because its service quality is better than Skoda’s. The VW is likely to offer you a better ownership experience.

I plan to buy a hatchback from the Maruti stable, preferably the Wagon R. I believe Maruti is going to refresh its existing model range and use the new KB-series engine in its cars, including the Wagon R. Is this true?

Arunav Chowdhury

Maruti did consider shoehorning the KB-series engine in the Wagon R, but the motor, which is all-aluminium and has twin cams, is too wide for the Wagon R’s narrow engine bay. As a result, Maruti is upgrading the existing F10D engine in the Wagon R to meet BS IV norms, which come into effect in April 2010.

I had decided to go in for the Maruti Swift VXi until I test drove the i20 recently. Now I’m confused. My parameters for a new car within Rs. 5.5 lakh are decent mileage and very low maintenance costs. I travel around 20km daily in the city and around 400km on weekends, on the highway.

Lagnajeet Raut

Go for the Swift as it is overall a cheaper car to maintain and is better on the highway. But it’s a good idea to upgrade the tyres to 185/70-R14 (the same as on the Swift ZXi) for better control on the highway. In terms of maintenance, the Swift will be cheaper than the i20.

I saw a Fiat Palio Adventure 2002 model which has clocked 80,000km. It is now with its second owner and in very good condition except for some noise from the blower fan. What is the best price that I should quote? I plan to keep it for at least three years. Will it be a worth a buy? Please advise.


Tempting as it may sound, it’s not a good idea to go in for the Palio Adventure as very few were made and getting parts for it won’t be easy as workshops don’t readily stock parts that are not fast-moving. Also, with 80,000km on the clock, problems are likely to crop up quite frequently, and you could end up having a white elephant on your hands. Stay away from this one!

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