Q: I'm planning to upgrade from my range-topping Verna to the new Hyundai Elantra or the Skoda Octavia. My only concern about the Octavia is the service and cost of maintenance compared to the Elantra. What do you advise?
A: Abhishek, if you have had a pleasant experience with Hyundai so far, you won't go wrong remaining loyal to the brand and upgrading to the Elantra. It is a lovely car and comes with quite a few usable features and creature comforts. The Octavia certainly comes with better equipment and sharper dynamics aimed at the enthusiasts, but being a premium offering it is likely to have a higher cost of ownership. The quality of aftersales, however, is improving so you can rest assured that you should go with the Skoda. Between the two, we would put our money on the Octavia 1.8 TSI.
Q: I would like to know if there are any new compact SUVs headed for our market this year like the Honda HR-V/Vezel or the Hyundai Kona?
A: As far as we know, Honda doesn't have plans of bringing in the Vezel or the HR-V to the Indian market any time soon. The compact SUV is quite premium in its build and equipment, and pricing it competitively in our cost-sensitive market will be a big challenge for the Japanese carmaker. As for the Hyundai Kona, we expect to see the compact SUV at the Auto Expo in New Delhi early next year. It will present a completely new design direction for Hyundai and could be worth looking forward to.
Q: I'm looking for a petrol automatic within a budget of `9 lakh. I have shortlisted the new Dzire and the EcoSport, and my priorities are space, comfort, good ride quality and low maintenance. Which one would you suggest?
A: If the roads you will usually drive on are broken or potholed, the EcoSport will make a lot of sense. There is a new one on the horizon though, which will come with a lot of new-generation features and class-leading safety technology. If you can't wait any longer though, or if the roads you drive on aren't worrisome, then you won't go wrong buying the Dzire. It's specced quite well, is spacious, safe and comfortable despite its small size, and comes with the typical low-cost ownership of a Maruti Suzuki.
Q: I'm looking for the best hatchback or crossover for use in the hilly terrain of Sikkim. My priorities include a good ride over bumpy roads, good performance from the drivetrain and decent rear seat comfort.
A: Achumesh, we would strongly recommend looking at the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza. It was the winner of the OVERDRIVE Car of the Year Award for 2017. It is also the winner of our recent compact crossover comparison which incidentally happened in and around the north-eastern states of India. It impresses with its engine, features and space. The ride is a bit on the firmer side, but takes on broken roads without breaking your back. It also comes with Maruti Suzuki's strong service network and that should ensure a peaceful ownership experience.
Q: I want to buy a bike. I'm confused with RS200 and 200 Duke. Which would be a better one? Priority is performance, mileage, VFM and durability.
A: Ansh, the two bikes you've listed here are quite different. The KTM 200 Duke is a lot more focused, and if you are looking for such a bike, the KTM 200 Duke is what you should book. It is also slightly better finished than the Bajaj RS200. That said, the Bajaj RS200 is also quite a capable machine and offers better fuel economy.