A SAFE BET
Im deciding between the Cruze LTZ and Laura Ambiente. I had almost finalised the Laura when I read about a few people who had narrowly escaped accidents because of DSG failure. Most of the horror stories were about the Superb, but does the Laura also face similar problems? Also, when is the new 163bhp Cruze arriving in India? Is it worth the wait?
Yes, the Laura is much better to drive than the Cruze and there have been many horror stories about the Superbs DSG gearbox. However, this gearbox problem was only with a certain batch of cars some years ago. It was caused by a sharp fluctuation in the electricity output on the assembly line, which damaged the mechatronics that control the gearbox, and not the gearbox itself. Hence, you should not have this problem in the Laura. The Cruze with the more powerful engine is expected next year, but theres no definite date for it yet.
THE NEXT STEP
I drive a five-year-old Honda City, which is in great condition. I am very happy with the car and after-sales service from Honda. Now I am looking for a new car between Rs 12 lakh and Rs 14 lakh; a bigger and better saloon with good performance, reliability and mileage. I am ready to wait for eight to 10 months.
If you are happy with your City and Hondas after-sales service, its best you stick with the Honda family as you already have a high level of comfort with the brand. I suggest waiting for the new Civic, which is likely to come in mid-2012; it will be a logical upgrade that fits your budget too.
AN INDIAN AFFAIR
When are the made- in-India Land Rover Freelander 2 and the Mitsubishi Pajero Sports expected here? Also, when is the Tata Safari Merlin due to go on sale and do you have any information about it so far?
The Freelander 2 is already available in India and is in fact being assembled at the Tata plant in Pune. The Pajero Sport and the Tata Safari Merlin are both expected in January 2012 after they are launched at the Auto Expo.
I need a gearless scooter for riding in the city. Between the Honda Activa and the TVS Wego, which one do you recommend?
Go for the TVS Wego as it is a better all-round scooter that offers more value for money and better specifications than the Honda Activa.