A prEMIUM CHOICE
q: Im looking for a premium hatch to be used for city driving and weekend drives. My main requirement is driving pleasure. A friend has offered to sell me a 2007 black Chevrolet Optra SRV that has clocked only 2,000 km for Rs 5.5 lakh. The car is in excellent condition. Other options are the Skoda Fabia 1.2 and the Hyundai i10 Kappa. Please help.
a: Rs 5.5 lakh for the Chevrolet Optra SRV is a bit too expensive and even if you negotiate a better price, its resale value will be very poor. Also, the SRV doesnt give the expected driving pleasure. The Fabia is a well-built car with outstanding ride and handling but the three-cylinder 1.2 litre engine is a letdown. Its also over-priced. The i10 Kappa is the smallest of the lot and hence the most cramped, but its got a sizzling engine and its compact dimensions make it great for city driving. We suggest you go for it.
q: My father is planning to buy a new car within Rs 12.5 lakh. Our monthly running is 1,000-1,200km. Were looking for a car thats comfortable — especially the rear seat — and hassle-free. It will be mostly chauffeur-driven. I was considering the Laura Ambiente but it exceeds our budget. I love the look and interiors of the Civic, especially the V variant. Since fuel efficiency is also a criterion I am considering the new Corolla. Please advise.
a: The Civic is an outstanding car, is great to drive and has terrific interiors. The new Corolla is less likely to be as exciting to drive as the Civic but it certainly has a better rear seat and is more comfortable too. While the Civic has a spacious rear seat, its too low so getting in and out requires more effort and so is inconvenient for your parents. The new Corolla will also be very reliable and frankly, makes the better chauffeur-driven car.