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Car and bike questions? We have the answers

I drive 1,500km every month, with 1,000km on highways. I am looking out for a saloon or SUV which should be comfortable for over six to eight hours of driving. Between the Audi A6 and the new BMW 5 Series (525d) which one should I opt for? Also, among SUVs, I have shortlisted the Audi Q5, Q7 and a Land Rover basic model.

Sunilkumar Chilukuri

If your car is purely for highway driving, then we suggest you go in for a saloon and not an SUV. A saloon car as a general rule has better ride quality, more comfortable seats and is easier to get in and out off. It's only on very rough or bad roads that the SUV has an advantage.

So, if you stay on the main highways, you should be fine in a saloon. The BMW 525d offers the latest technology and is nice to drive. The only downside are the run-flat tyres which degrade the ride quality and in the event of a puncture can leave you stranded if you are far away from home as it doesn't come with a spare wheel. For highway driving, we would recommend that you carry a spare in the boot.

I have recently purchased a Skoda Laura 2009 model. It is shod with 235/40Z-R18 tyres. This, the young owner said, was done mainly to catch eyeballs. The car's tyre size as recommended in the owner's manual is 205/55-R16. The car has clocked over 23,000km on the present tyres. Do you advise a change over to the original size or can I wait till the present tyres run down?

Unni CPG

The 235/40Z-R18s are low profile performance tyres. While these tyres would give you good road-holding at high speeds, they would make the ride very uncomfortable.

Normally, the life expected from performance tyres is around 30,000 to 35,000km. Since the tyres have already run for 23,000km, assuming they are not over three years old and if you are comfortable with the ride, you can continue with the present set for another 10,000km. Changing to the original 205/55-R16s will require a change in the wheel rims to 16-inch rims.

Does Audi plan to launch any car in the Rs. 20 lakh to Rs. 25 lakh price range?

Charan Dev

There are no plans to launch an Audi in such a price range in the near future. However, the company is evaluating the launch of the Audi Q3 in a few years' time and this mini-SUV could fall in that price bracket.

I drive a Maruti Alto. I now want to buy another hatchback priced within Rs. 5 lakh. It should be spacious with ample legroom and fuel efficient. My annual running is 100,000km.

Satish Sundaresan

An annual mileage of 100,000km is a lot and you should ideally look at a sturdy diesel car.

The Figo diesel is the one you should go for as it is very spacious, has a big boot and is quite fuel efficient. Also, it comes closest to your price range.

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