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Car queries answered: The Renault Duster is perfect

Friday, 7 December 2012 - 2:17am IST Updated: Thursday, 6 December 2012 - 10:36pm IST | Agency: dna

The expert guides you through all your car related woes.

What is the maximum price I can pay for a second-hand Maruti Alto LXI model (March 2009) that has run 23,000 km under a single user and is in a good condition? The owner is asking for Rs2.2 lakh.— S Harikumar
For a 2009 model, maybe you can try getting the price down to Rs2 lakh which will make it a great deal.

What’s crucial for good pick-up and speed/mileage — cubic capacity (cc) or torque? For low maintenance and fuel efficiency, which is better — XUV500 or Innova? Do all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicles consume more fuel and give less mileage, good pick-up and speed? In gear and transmission, which is better — automatic or manual?—Shraddha Ghatkar
More than the cc, you need torque at low revolutions or “rev range” for good pick-up and speed. For low maintenance and fuel efficiency, go for the Innova. AWD vehicles do consume more fuel, but the pick-up is dependent on surface. If it’s a loose surface that slips, then an AWD vehicle gives better acceleration. Otherwise, the lower weight keeps the two-wheel drive version ahead. As for gears, it’s more of a preference thing. In heavy city traffic, automatic is less taxing, but for those who need driving fun, the manual is more useful.

By force of habit, I shift my car and bike straight to the second gear from stationary position. This saves me the trouble of shifting up constantly in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Also, I do this because I understand that for good fuel economy, one should always drive in higher gear. My friend said this may damage the clutch plate and also ruin the vehicle in the long run. Is this true ?—Aditya Hatkar
Yes, it will damage your clutch and more. Always start in first gear.

I want to buy a car for Rs10-12 lakh on-road. Daily drive is 30 km. Looking for diesel or company-fitted CNG. Please advise.—Hardik Patel
Go for the Hyundai Verna or the Renault Scala diesel. If you want CNG, the SX4 should do fine.

I need an SUV which can drive my family of three on highways for about 5,000 km a year. It should be good for the occasional city drive, too. Budget is Rs12 lakh. Looking for low maintenance with enough safety features.
—Ayan De
The Renault Duster is perfect for you.

Recommend an automatic SUV in the range of Rs20-25 lakh on-road price for 40 km daily city driving. I have used a Honda CR-V for six years. Also, I wish to buy my daughter, who will turn 18 next year, an automatic car in the Rs4-5 lakh range.—Amit Shah
Your have many options these days. The B-Class Mercedes is now available — if you don’t mind a crossover, rather than a pure SUV. It’s a fab, well-appointed car. Or, if you can stretch the budget a bit, you have the option of Renault Koleos or Hyundai Santa Fe. Both are excellent.  As for your daughter, look at the Hyundai i10 automatic.

Recommend the best car from the Alto, K10, Eon or the Maruti Alto 800.– Pratik Taware
Engine-wise, the K10 is ahead. In terms of contemporary features and total package, the Eon is better.

I have booked a Hyundai Eon Era+. What are the things I should look into while taking the delivery in the first week of January?—Nitin Kadam
Check the body work and paint and make sure everything’s in ship-shape. The mechanicals will be taken care of in warranty if there’s something wrong. Happy driving!

I am a final year student of mechanical engineering. I would like to be in the automobile field. I wish to know more about the courses I need to enroll in to become an auto expert.—Mayur Choudhari
Well, there are hundreds of colleges offering automobile engineering courses. You can take one of them. At the same time, develop your writing / verbal communication skills, too.

I want to buy a car for around Rs6-6.5 lakh. Daily use 40 km on city roads. Seeking absolutely low-maintenance, value-for-money and most fuel-efficient car with lots of leg room. Please recommend.– Dr Chetan Desai
Buy the Swift petrol with CNG fitted.

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