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L.Srikumar Pai
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Does Ford import spare parts for its Figo for its customers in India? Also, what is your opinion about the external plastic used on the B-column in the Figo? Will it age and discolour rather fast.

Ford imports certain components of the Figo but almost 90 per cent of the car is localised. Hence, spare parts are largely available from Indian suppliers. The plastics in the Figo and not just on the B-pillar are quite hardwearing though they may not have an upmarket feel . However, that shouldn't be a reason not to buy the car.

I am looking for a seven-seater SUV/MUV priced within Rs. 13 lakh. I have shortlisted the Toyota Innova and the Tata Aria. I like the Aria but it is beyond my budget. Is Tata planning a two-wheel-drive Aria that will cost less and is Mahindra's new SUV worth waiting for?

Yes, Tata is launching the two-wheel-drive Aria later in the year and Mahindra too is launching an all-new SUV by the end of the year, which promises to look stunning. These are good options to the Innova, so it's worth waiting a bit.

I am looking for a petrol-engined hatchback for city commuting, priced within Rs. 5 lakh. It should have quality interiors, comfortable ride and good performance. Among the Maruti Wagon R, Honda Brio and Volkswagen Polo, which one do you recommend?

The Wagon R would be too basic for your requirements as the cabin, though reasonably spacious, isn't very well made. . The VW Polo is a good option as the cabin is solidly built and well finished. The Trendline version of the Polo, which is closest to your budget, is however sparsely equipped and you may miss some essentials such as an audio system and rear power windows. And Honda hasn't launched the Brio yet.

I am six feet tall and wish to buy a sports bike priced below Rs. 5 lakh in the 250cc segment. Between Honda's CBR250R and Kawasaki's Ninja 250R, I prefer the Ninja's styling and exclusivity, but am not so happy about its price and old-school speedometer. While I like Honda's CBR250R, it's a new model that is yet to prove itself; so I am still unable to decide which motorcycle to go in for. Is there any other bike in this same segment that might be introduced this year and is worth waiting for?

The Honda CBR250R will suit all your needs, including your height and budget. Having ridden it, we can assure there are no problems with the bike. There is little chance of any other bike being launched in India soon to match the Honda. So we suggest you go ahead and book one.

I am planning to buy a saloon that is in the Rs. 5 lakh to R. 7.5 lakh range. My priorities are safety (ABS, airbags) and low maintenance. I prefer the Swift Dzire. Which one should I go for petrol or diesel? Abid T. Sariya

The Dzire is a car you can't go wrong with. Like most Marutis, the Dzire is reliable and the cost of ownership is relatively very low. However, if you want airbags and ABS, then you could in for the ZXi or petrol version.

I am 61 years old and 6 ft. tall. I have been driving a Bajaj Caliber for the past 10 years. I want to go in for a new bike with electronic start which is suitable for my height and is good at manoeuvring. The bike should be priced around Rs. 55,000. Kindly suggest a suitable bike. R. Sivakumar

You could either go for the Honda Shine or Bajaj Discover 150. The latter could be slightly costlier but will offer a good ride, fine manoeuvrability and is perfect for your height.

I drive a 10-year-old Corsa. Is replacing it with a Volkswagen Vento a wise decision as GM has phased out the Corsa and VW is producing the Vento in India? Also, will maintenance costs be the same? Prasanna Joshi

The Vento is a logical replacement for the Corsa as it will offer you the same tough German build quality and a good ride. The Vento should be significantly cheaper to maintain than the Corsa which, like other Opels, has earned a notorious reputation for high maintenance costs. VWs are not cheap to run but the spare parts pricing and maintenance costs are unlikely to burn a hole in your pocket. And, after the Corsa, looking after your Vento will feel like next to free!

I want to modify my 1990 Maruti Gypsy with 265/70 R15 tyres and three-spoke alloy wheels. Will this impact fuel economy? Also, how can I soften my vehicle's bumpy ride? Sankar

265/70 R15 tyres are too big for the Gypsy and you will need to modify the bodywork to accommodate a big-sized tyre. Also, the steering will become unduly heavy and you will require strong biceps to turn your Gypsy at parking speeds. Larger tyres will have an adverse effect on mileage as the rolling resistance increases, leading to increased fuel consumption. By modifying the rear leaf springs, you can soften the ride of the Gypsy to a small extent but this job has to be done by a specialist.

I am looking to replace my Ford Ikon 1.6 Zxi, 2002 model, with a car priced within Rs. 15 lakh. I am considering the Honda Civic and Skoda Laura. I am also considering the Toyota Innova. Can you advise a buy? Neeraj Gupta

The Skoda Laura with the 1.8 TSi engine is the most enjoyable car in its price range. However, Skoda's reputation for its aftersales is poor. But Skoda is now cracking the whip with its dealers and hopefully the aftersales experience will consistently be good

We are a family of four and want to buy a car that does not cost more than Rs. 5.5 lakh. Our monthly average run is 2,000km. We have zeroed in on the Swift, but are confused between the petrol and diesel variants and the model (LXi/LDi and VXi/Vdi). Which would be suitable in terms of comfort and low maintenance?

Subrahmanyeswar Rao

For a monthly running of 2,000km, it is better to go for the diesel Swift. It will be cheaper to run in the long run and the resale value will be good too. The VDi is obviously better as it has more equipment than the LDi, but it eventually boils down to cost.

I want to buy a luxury saloon. My priorities are low maintenance, good performance and mileage. The car must have safety features and should be spacious. My monthly usage is between 200km and 300km. I have shortlisted the Chevrolet Cruze and Honda City.


Both these cars belong to different segments. The Cruze is the one to go for, if you do long-distance driving. But given your limited running every month, go for the City, which is easier to handle, has good performance, and is a very reliable car.

I am smitten by the expensive Tata Xenon XT and plan to buy it in April 2011. Does Tata plan to introduce a new version with a new engine and updated suspension?

Sonal Roy

The Xenon isn't a very practical choice. However, it is one of Tata Motors' best products and made with a lot of parts that are meant for the export market. This is one reason why the price is high but so is the quality of most parts. Tata is unlikely to launch the Xenon with another engine in the future.

I work in Bangalore and need to visit my parents in Chennai once or twice a month. Which car is suitable for this type of motoring? I have shortlisted the diesel versions of the Fiat Punto, Tata Indica Vista and the Maruti Ritz.


Go for the Grande Punto as it is good on the highway and will make those trips to Chennai less stressful. The Grande Punto feels solid, has a terrific ride and is stable at highway speeds. It's a decent city car too and quite economical to run and maintain. If the price suits you, go in for the 90bhp model. It will make overtaking on the highway effortless.

I want to buy a diesel-engined saloon that costs between Rs. 8 and Rs.10 lakh. It should be spacious, strongly built and equipped with safety features such as ABS and airbags. Please guide.

Dilip Kumar V.

The Volkswagen Vento diesel is here and will be a suitable car for you. This could be the compact diesel saloon everyone has been waiting for.

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