I am looking for a car for a family of 5. In my shortlist are the Figo, Beat and the Ritz. My priorities are good mileage in city (usage 1,000 km a month), space and comfort, low cost of service and repairs, and reasonable price. Please advise.– Ankur
Since space is a major criteria, we suggest you go for the Ritz. It’s the most spacious in your list. It’s also a Maruti, so servicing won’t be an issue anywhere.
I am planning to buy the Maruti Wagon R CNG, but I don’t like its shape. The vendor suggested the Estilo. My monthly run is 500 km. Is there any major performance difference between the two? —Vinit Jhaveri
The WagonR is more spacious. If you’re okay with the looks and interior of the Estilo, you can buy that too as it’s reliable and easy to use.
I am confused between the Quanto and the Ertiga (petrol/diesel). Which one will give more value for money? My usage is not much, but I drive to weekend outings. Monthly run is between 1,500 km and 2,000 km. — Ajaykumar Yadav
The main question is whether you’ll really be using the last row often. Only then buy it. Also, go with the one you think looks better. They are both good cars.
We bought a new Honda City VMT model last week. It’s giving a mileage of 15 kmpl in Bangalore city. Is that ok? Was our pick a good one? —Ananth Kini
That’s fantastic mileage. The City is a great choice for a petrol sedan.
I want to buy a sedan for Rs10-12 lakh. My usage is such, I will need a diesel. Please recommend. —Shreerang Taparia
If you’re set on diesel, pick up the Hyundai Verna or the Skoda Rapid.
One of my friends owns the Ford Ikon which is 7-8 years old. He intends to buy another sedan but wishes to keep the old car (since he is getting only `50,000 for it). Can the Ikon be converted from manual to automatic? Is it recommended? If yes, what would be the cost? —Pushkar Gadre
Manual-to-automatic is a very expensive process, so the better thing to do would be to have an auto-clutch installed, which will make driving in traffic easier and will be much cheaper and easier to install as well.
I bought a new Maruti Suzuki WagonR VXi model six months back. Can I install a CNG or an LPG kit in it? Which one is a better option, and what would it cost? Will the kits harm the engine? —Imtiyaz Kalsekar
If possible, ask your dealership to install a kit for you so that warranty issues don’t arise. Maruti offers factory-fitted kits, so if installed properly, there’s nothing that will go wrong here.
I drive a Hyundai i10, about 75 km daily on the highway. I want to switch to a diesel that’s low on maintenance and has best-in-class warranty. I have narrowed down to the Swift Diesel, Skoda Rapid and the Hyundai i20. Of these, Maruti’s authorised workshop is next to my home. Could you recommend me a suitable one? —Akhil Saraf
With a workshop next door, the Swift should be your choice.
I want to get new hatchback. My criteria are looks, performance, low maintenance, better mileage and space in a petrol variant. The Swift ZXi or i20 Asta? —Suraj Khabale
Looks are a matter of personal preference. Both cars come with great engines and mileage. So choose the one that you think looks the deal.
I have seen a Hyundai Verna 1.6 VX of April 2008 make. Colour, ac, engine and tyres are all good. What would be a good price for it? What kind of mileage can I expect? My usage will be very low – 120-150 km per month. Should I go in for a CNG kit? —Dr Ashok Prajapati
For your usage, if you don’t mind getting a slightly smaller car, like a brand new i20, it will be better. It will come with a warranty too.
I want to install sun film on my car. Please advise. —Shashvat Agarwal
Any branded one like Lumar will be fine, but make sure the transparency levels are within the RTO/state govt specifications or there could be trouble.
Is Tata Motors planning a diesel Nano?– Sanjay Bhavsar
Yes, but it will take time is what we hear – likely in the latter part of next year.
I am 68 and 5’5 tall. I want an automatic transmission car. I drive on alternate days, just 2-3 km a day. Looking for space, mileage and low maintenance. Any suggestions within `12 lakh (except the Honda)? —J L Bhadani
We would suggest the automatic DZire for you and the automatic i10. Both offer easy ingress and egress; plus, they are very easy to use in the city.
Sir, I’m planning to buy a used Ford Mondeo, 50,000 km done, second owner, for `1 35 lakh. What parts should I change, apart from air/oil fuel filter? Should I replace the engine with a new 1.2-litre Figo one?– Amey Khedekar
A Mondeo for that little has trouble written all over it. And since it wasn’t sold much, parts will be an issue too. Instead, get something newer and with less km on it. Maybe an Ikon.
Congrats for the job you are doing! I would like to buy a 4-wheeler, CNG variant, mainly for office use. Budget is around Rs5 lakh and usage around 500 km a month. I have in mind the WagonR and Estilo. My concern is mileage and maintenance.—Yogesh Daudkhane
It’s best to go for CNG fitted from the factory itself. So the WagonR will be the one for you.
I own a Hyundai Eon (Magna +) and wish to install a navigation system. Which is the most reliable make and which size?—Jitendra Mhatre
In the Magna +, the music system is integrated into the dashboard, so it will be a little difficult to fit one in that slot. You’ll have to change the whole set up. Instead, go for a portable MapMyIndia one with a 3-4 inch display that can be vacuum pressed into the windscreen. They work pretty well.
I want to buy my first car. We are four in the family and our travel is 50-60 km a week. My criteria are ease in handling, comfort, fuel economy and long-time usability with low maintenance. Budget is up to Rs3.25 lakh. Kindly advise. Also, should I go for petrol or diesel? —Shobha R
Buy the new Alto 800 or the Hyundai Eon. Petrol only since your usage is very low.
I just love your column, which is so helpful! We are a family of four. My dad wants to buy a used hatch and convert it to CNG. Budget is `3.5-4.2 lakh. Need good ground clearance, low maintenance and lots of space. Please advise.– Aakash Shah
Buy a second-hand Hyundai i20.
You recommended the Nissan Sunny and pointed out that for more luxury interiors, I must think of Scala. I liked both. Which one is better in terms of performance and fuel efficiency? Friends say the Scala is a Sunny with improved suspension. Is it true? Also, since my job is transferable (not only metros but in rural areas too), which one will be better in terms of service availability?—S Harikumar
They are basically the same car. Scala is positioned as more premium due to its better trims. Since they are the same car, servicing at either Renault or Nissan dealers wouldn’t be an issue.
Kudos to the DNA Drive team for this informative section. I want to buy my first car and need help in choosing between the diesel hatchbacks; the Volkswagen Polo 1.2 TDI and the Fiat Grande Punto 1.3 multijet diesel. I have also heard of Fiat launching the Punto Evo in India shortly. Should I wait?– Sridhar RR
If you’re looking for a slightly fun hatchback, then yes, wait for the Punto Evo. If not, go ahead and book the Polo.
I am planning to buy a two-wheeler for my wife. I would use the vehicle occasionally. My choices are the Honda Activa, TVS Wego, Suzuki Access 125 and the Mahindra Rodeo RZ. I prefer the TVS Wego, but I don’t know how good a scooter it is. Please recommend.– Samir
If you like the Wego, go for it. No issues there.
I bought a Pulsar 150 in January 2012. The bike has developed gear-shift problem. When it’s in neutral, it makes a crackling sound. When I shift to 1st, and sometimes while shifting, the gear gets jammed and then I have to decelerate and shift. What’s the problem?– Sushant Koyande
Yes, it seems like a gearbox problem. Get it repaired fast.
I am about to buy a gearless scooter. My queries are regarding the Suzuki Swish. Do the ABS plastic/ fibre body panels on the Swish have any disadvantages compared with metal panels? Compared with the Honda Activa, how does the Swish fare? At the time of delivery, what are the things that need to checked and noted?– Shadab Master
The ABS plastics make it lighter and easier to use in the city and a little more fuel efficient, too, so that is the advantage. Also, you can replace individual panels instead of dent repair and such. The Swish is a great scooter and definitely one worth considering.
I’ve been driving a car for more than 10 years now, but my total bike riding experience is only a few hours. I’m now contemplating buying my first bike. I quite like the Ducati Monster and Kawasaki Ninja, in that order. I’m 39, 5’5 tall. Budget is Rs4-7 lakh. Daily commute would be 25 km. I intend to drive only 2-3 times a week to work. Should I directly go in for a 650cc+ bike or practise on a lower powered bike first? Are there any bike training schools in Mumbai/India? Is the Ducati 795 good for Mumbai roads and traffic? How is their after-sales service? Which other models would you recommend in this bracket?– Fredrick V
If you’ve not ridden a bike before, we suggest on starting off with something a little more tame and then moving on to the big bikes, something like the Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS will do brilliantly as a training ground for you and after that, you can move up from there.
Which one is better – the Vespa LX 125 or the Suzuki Access 125?– Sameer Gadkari
The Access is a lot more value for money while the Vespa is fantastically stylish and a performer. So depending on what you value more, the answer is pretty much decided.
I need your help to choose a bike. I will be travelling around 50-60 km a day, and have shortlisted the Avenger, the CBZ-Extreme and the Pulsar-150. I want a vehicle with low maintenance, safety and good mileage. My budget is Rs 78,000-80,000. Which one will suit me? You may suggest any other bike not in my shortlist.– Mahesh Subramanian
The CBZ Xtreme or the Pulsar both will be great options for you, so depending on what you think looks better, you can go ahead and book that one. Also, the Unicorn or the Hunk are worth looking at as well.
Please give a summary of the Pulsar 200 NS in terms of design, engine, gearbox, ride handling, braking and fuel economy. Is it true that the Pulsar 350 NS will be launched by the next year?– Vishal Rodrigues
The Pulsar 200 is one of the better bikes in the market right now and is worth a test ride to really feel the changes that they’ve made to it. It’s true that there will be a bigger engine Pulsar out, so keep reading to know more as the latest updates come in.
I am looking to buy a scooter for my father who is 65. It should be easy to ride and park, have comfortable seating for two, good service network and is easy to maintain. Have shortlisted Honda Activa. Would you recommend it or have any other suggestions? We did not like the Suzuki Access. – Anshu Vijayvargiya
If you found the Activa to your liking, then check out the Honda Dio as it will be lighter and lower. So, your father might have an easier time with it in the city, and it’s as reliable as the Activa. So, no problems there.
Your previous suggestion for the 4-wheeler worked perfectly for me. Now, I want to buy a 2-wheeler for my dad. I had a look at Bajaj Avenger, and seems a good one. Could you please suggest any alternatives. The primary factor is comfort/leisure ride and the budget is up to Rs 1 lakh (on road).– Sagar Kalantre
For riding comfort, the Avenger is pretty good, considering the relaxed riding position, and in that range, also look at bikes like the Hero Karizma and the Honda Unicorn. They are also quite comfortable and reliable as well.
I follow only your guidance. I have purchased Suzuki Access and use it daily for office commuting, which is nearly 45 km. It’s a very good scooter, but I am feeling backache for the past few days. Shall I purchase a bike to avoid backache ? I had shortlisted the Yamaha SZ R, the Honda Unicorn, the Suzuki GS150R and the Pulsar 135LS. I need your advice to select the bike. My height is 5.8” & weight 70 kg. My priorities are comfort on bad roads and highways, good mileage, low maintenance and high reliability. Please advise.– Satish DK
Rather than spending more money on a bike, try changing your posture on the scooter and see if the paineases. If that doesn’t work, buy something like the Yamaha Fazer, which has a better riding posture.
I am planning to buy a scooter in 3-4 months. My priorities are good mileage and low maintenance. I have shortlisted the Hero Maestro and Suzuki Access. Are there any new models that are going to be launched next year?– Rohan S Surve
For good power, the Access is the one to go for as it’s got a larger engine. But for mileage, it’s the Maestro because of its smaller and more efficient engine.
I am planning to buy a Honda CBR 250R MC 22, 1999 model, imported in 2003. It has four cylinders, 45 bhp and done 23,000 km. It’s in a good condition, complete with new rear tyres, battery, and orderly papers. The bike is registered in the name of the first buyer but has transfer papers signed by him. What other papers are required to buy the bike? Asking price is Rs2.3 lakh. Fine? – Savio Buthello
The shrill sound of the four-cylinder engine sure does make your hair stand on end, but really, for a bike that old, having done that many km, it’s due for an engine overhaul. Papers may be clear, but finding spares for these will be a huge hassle. So, instead of going through all that, wait a few months and get the upcoming Ninja 300 or the current 250R even and you’ll have a great time with it.
I want to know the actual mileage of the Duke. Does it lead to cramps or back pain?—Nikhil Agarwal
On the roads, with a mix of city and highway riding, the Duke manages to get a decent figure of around 42 kmpl. It’s a brilliant bike overall, and since it’s a standard design, the riding position is more upright, which puts a lot less stress on your back compared to something like the R15.
I read your review about the Honda Dazzler. But I have changed my mind and am planning to get a bit sportier. I have two options: the R15 and the CBR150R. I am a big fan of the Honda CBR150. That it is Rs 10,000 costlier is not a concern; mileage, too, is not a concern; but what is important to me is low maintenance. Please let me know what is the initial period after which I need to get the CBR150 serviced. What is the cost per service? Also, give your opinion about the R15 and the Suzuki GS 150R which my brother booked two days ago. —Dhruven Mehta
Between those two, the CBR is the more comfortable bike to ride and will be reliable as well, so go ahead and book the CBR, it’ll be worth it. As for the GS150, it’s as good as, if not better than, the equivalent Unicorn. It excels on the highways.
I want to buy a gearless scooter for myself. Daily use would be 10 km on average. My requirements are good mileage, safety, comfortable sitting and low maintenance. Please recommend between the Hero Maestro and the Suzuki Swish 125. – Pratik Jain
For better mileage and comfort, the Hero is better than the Swish, but if you want a little more power, then the Swish is the one to go for. For your requirements, the Hero is the one.