I am considering buying a petrol sedan within a budget of Rs 8 lakh, ex-showroom. My usage is around 650 to 700 km per month, with my daily commute being 14 km at an average speed of 40 kmph. I make weekend trips of around 600 km once in two months. Keeping this in mind I have decided on a petrol car and within this framework am considering the Hyundai Verna 1.6 base version and the Honda City. I am concerned about the Verna’s stability at high speeds and driving dynamics. I am also concerned about the smaller rear glass as it might be a problem while reversing. What do you advise?
Sunil Rao, Bangalore
For us, the City is the benchmark sedan of its class, in terms of design, reliability, efficiency, driving pleasure and more. But it loses out on features, ride quality on bad roads and ground clearance. It is a good car for city use and is good on the highway at decent speeds as well.
Now the Verna, on the other hand, offers several things — design, rear seat comfort, reliability etc. It also gives you more bang for the buck, especially with the many features that come as standard. Where the Verna loses out is in the dynamics department — the steering feel is vague while it does not handle well. Handling stands for several attributes — the most important being the car responding to your steering inputs and following the trajectory in a predictable manner. On a straight road, you wouldn't notice this weakness of the Verna, but when you are going around corners you will realise that you need to compensate for its weak handling by reducing speed and making steering corrections. However, 100-110 kmph in a straight line in the Verna is not a problem. Reversing is something you will soon get used to. Or else you can visit the local car accessories store to get yourself a reversing aid. But do check whether your warranty is affected by it. Else you can get the dealer to fit that for you at an extra cost. In the city, the Honda returns about 10 kmpl, while the Verna will give you maybe slightly less than that. So you can go for the Verna keeping in mind what we have said above.
I want to upgrade to a diesel hatchback from my Maruti 800. I am not keen on buying a Tata Motors product. I have a budget of Rs 5 lakh and would like a car that has low maintenance cost and running costs too. Decent power under the hood would be appreciated. Which car would you suggest?
Paras Gupta, via email
The best option in that case is the Chevrolet Beat diesel — it is low in maintenance as well as running costs, and is perfect for low-medium speeds.
I am looking to purchase a petrol sedan but am confused between the Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire and the Toyota Etios. I travel around 8-10 km daily and also go for the odd weekend trip of around 180 km. I want to choose the car that offers better pick-up, economy, leg room and engine power. What is the overall fuel economy of the Dzire? Please help!
Shashvat Agarwal, via email
For good pick-up, economy, and leg room, the Etios is very good. The Dzire also offers good pick-up and economy (which is about 12.5 kmpl in Mumbai’s crowded city conditions) and its engine is also good. Both cars are evenly matched, with the Dzire offering better quality interiors and fitments. If rear leg room and large bootspace is not that essential for you, then you can go for the Dzire.
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