q:I want to buy a new car within a range of Rs 4.5 lakh and Rs 5 lakh but would like to clear a few doubts before buying one. At what speeds are features like ABS and airbags effective and what is their exact mode of operation? Is it advisable to spend on them if the car is going to be driven mainly in the city with only a few highway trips? Please recommend a buy with these features in mind.
a:ABS and airbags are essentially safety features and good insurance behind the wheel. ABS brakes prevent your wheels from locking up under panic or emergency braking and give you better control of your vehicle, which can make a difference between life and death. Its the same with airbags; these balloon-like devices, which deploy under impact to cushion you from injury, are known to have saved thousands of lives. Should you have them? Well, you cant spend enough on your safety and your passengers safety too. Even at low speeds in the city, you could be faced with a life-threatening situation in which ABS and airbags can save you. Go for the Swift ZXi which has all these features and hope that you never have to use them.
the stile factor
q:I want a petrol-engined hatchback with a powerful engine. The Fiat Palio Stile 1.6 seems good but Im unsure about maintenance costs or fuel efficiency. Please advise.
a:The Palio Stile is a very obvious choice and a great car to drive even though its now quite dated and not entirely trouble-free. However, for its price, it is outstanding value and great fun to drive. A much more expensive option that you could consider is the Volkswagen Polo, which would come with a 1.6-litre engine. This Polo is expected to be the first true hot hatch in India since the Palio, and is coming in March 2010. So you have another six months to save and increase your budget. The new Polo will be well worth it!