No doubt Fiat cars have segment topping handling and dynamics. But, is this what we expect from SAs?
I had called them for a TD on Monday (1 day in advance) but they didn't come. I called them again and they have still not come with a TD vehicle. I called another Fiat dealer for Punto Evo TD but their 10 minutes are yet to finish (They had promised to callback within 10 minutes yesterday).
On the other hand, Honda dealer has called me 3 times (for a TD at my home) after I enquired about the Amaze. This is what makes or breaks brand image. If this is the attitude before selling the product, what can I expect after buying the product? I have other alternative better brands if they are not interested, if they also have other alternative customers, then all the very best to them in selling that car but I am not an idiot.
And I fail to understand why I shouldn't have TDed the Swift if I am concerned with safety? Or am I getting it wrong?
Yesterday and this day was a hectic one for me. Yesterday I did a TD of Elite i20 and checked out the Xcent in person. Then I went to the Tata showroom to check out the Zest and Bolt. Today I called up VW for the Polo 1.5 TD and they promised me to bring the car at my home tommorow. Then I visited the Ford showroom to check out the Fiesta Classic.
I will wait for the Polo 1.5 TD before I decide anything. The Xcent is a good car but I didn't like it. It would suit a family person more than a teenager. Also, I was getting everything the Xcent had in Elite i20 except the boot and sedan status. So, I rejected it straight-away as the Elite i20 felt modern and more premium than the Xcent.
I checked out Bolt and Zest also. The Zest looked really aggressive in the pictures but in person, I didn't like the stance. It looked so tall like a WagonR and the shape felt really odd, thanks to the sub 4m construction (and the high GC). The Bolt looked substantially better than the sedan counterpart but failed to ignite a spark in me. The showroom display car had the power window switches coming off. I just touched the power window button (just for the feel of it and not closing the window) and the freaky part came off. Plus, at the showroom I realised that I couldn't drive a Tata car (no offence to anyone) because of the Taxi image associated with it. Also, I had quite an argument with the SA when she insisted that the wheel size was 16" in the Bolt. Finally had to show her the brochure!
The Ford SA was very courteous when I came in inside the showroom premises. His reaction suddenly changed (while giving the price quote of the Fiesta) when I told that I am interested in the Fiesta Classic and not the Fiesta. He gave all the reasons to go for a Fiesta and not the Classic. But, finally agreed to show a customer's Fiesta Classic. I didn't like the feel of it. The car felt a segment lower than the Elite i20 that I had TDed. The design was pretty basic and I felt similar to sitting in a Liva. The SA (instead of giving the pros of the car) was explaining how the Fiesta was better than this Fiesta Classic. I rejected the car after sitting in it for quite sometime. I didn't seem to hold a candle in front of the Elite i20 as far as Premium-feel is considered.
The Amaze TD is scheduled for tommorow. The Honda SA is calling every now and then "Sir TD chaiye na? (Sir, you want the TD right?)" "Sir Diesel bola tha na? (Sir, you had asked for a Diesel Amaze, right?)". I will TD the Polo and Amaze tommorow and post my experience here.
Here goes the short & crisp
Elite i20 TD Report! Hyundai Elite i20 TD
A red Asta CRDi with 3.6k kms on the odometer and in good condition. Exterior (9 out of 10):
- Neat design, better than the Swift. Fluidic language toned down. Looks like a concept car when compared to my Liva! The front grill is unique and the headlamps are sleek. Rear horizontal taillamps are also well-designed.
- No DRLs, although they looked cheesy on the previous model. Design is sharp overall, with thoughtful styling (C-pillar cladding) unlike the front and rear design mismatch of the previous i20.
- Alloy wheels look great in the diamond cut finish. Almost resemble aftermarket wheels. 16" size filled the wheel wells better and the tyre was wider (195mm) than the Swift. Tyre brand - Bridgestone.
- Stubby antenna would have been preferred over the current long unit. Sloping roof is made more prominent due to the increased height of the window sill.
- ORVMs are sleek. Taillamps resemble the LED ones, due to the reflector design, but are not LEDs.
- Rear bumper does not protrude out and damage to the boot door is possible. The boot door itself protrudes outward and makes for the tight rear look.
- The large bumper area at the back gives an odd stance when viewed straight from the back. Same case as the Swift.
- Washer jets hidden from view, both at the front and the back. Rear wiper looks significantly sturdier than the unit on the Swift. Creases on the bonnet look nice unlike the Swift's bonnet.
- Paint quality was at par with the Swift, if not better. I had expected better quality. The paint gets damaged easily with slight pressure (like shirt button rubbing against the doors makes light scratches). Panel gaps are better and tighter than the Swift, and uniform for the most part.
- Longer wheelbase is evident from the side, Elite i20 looks taller and wider significantly from the previous i20.
- Built quality felt at par with the Swift. No flimsy panels like the Swift's integrated spoiler, though.
- Reverse sensors and camera provided. Only a single reverse light on the right. Interior (8 out of 10) & Space (7 out of 10):
- Black and beige combination looks airy and fresh, but would be hard to maintain. Thankfully, the cabin is not overdone with beige like in the Dzire and Ertiga. Full black dashboard of the Swift looks better.
- Part quality is better than that of Swift. Also, dashboard, stalks and buttons are better to touch. The Elite i20's dashboard looks like that of a premium D-segment sedan, with all sorts of buttons arranged in a very neat manner.
- Dashboard reflection is bad. Swift didn't have this problem.
- A pillar is thick but does not block the visibility too much. Same case as the Swift.
- The overall design of the Swift felt more sportier, though the Elite i20 trumps it when it comes to quality, fit and finish.
- Instrument cluster looks nice and remains lit during the daytime also. In the Swift, only the needles remain lit. No guages for engine temperature and fuel. MID isn't as useful as the Swift's, though. Average speed, exterior temperature and other irrelevant information is shown instead of the useful instant FE and DTE counter. An interesting feature was that the MID shows you the position of the wheels, when you switch the car on, and guides you to straighten them. Thoughtful touch!
- Start/Stop button is convenient. The HU looks really sophisticated with lots of buttons. But, this unit looks typically OEM
, unlike the Swift's HU which looks far better integrated. The SQ was strictly average, especially in the bass department. A total of 4 speakers and 4 tweeters are provided, leading to a treble-friendly soundstage. I would definitely need an upgrade. The HU display was easy to read under direct sunlight also.
- A/C now gets a powerful compressor, according to the SA. It chilled the cabin within minutes on the hot afternoon. The exterior temperature was ~34 degrees, yet the interior temperature was pleasant. The blower wasn't noisy and the rear A/C was also effective. The front vents had good air flow and direction control. Rear occupants will get 2 seperately adjustable vents for direction control but the height setting is common for both of them. Pretty useful. Glovebox is also cooled. Overall, effectiveness was better than that of the Swift, especially at the rear.
- The stalks and buttons are of superior quality and miles ahead of those provided in the Swift. Buttons make a soft click sound, which adds to the feel-good factor. The central locking button is awkwardly placed over the hazard light button. The placement like that of Swift would have been better. More so, because there are no auto-locking doors and you will frequently use the central locking button during a drive. Fog lamp control is also integrated on the stalk, unlike the Swift.
- Storage space was better than the Swift. The door pads can accomodate water bottles. There is storage space below the armrest. Glovebox capacity is more or less the same as that of Swift. Cup holder is provided near the handbrake. The storage area near the Aux/USB slots has dual power sockets.
- The armrest is fixed and not joint with the driver seat. Not a problem though. The grab handles are fixed and have a coat hook also. Progressively opening ones would have felt nice. Driver sunvisor gets ticket holder, passenger one gets vanity mirror.
- Theater dimming cabin lamp provided at the front, along with a sunglass holder. IRVM is auto-dimming and gets integrated rear camera display. The display shows direction in which the car will move, according to the steering position. Really nice and useful!
- The front seats offer good support, better than the Swift. The compound is perfect but the neck restraints felt really soft and not that useful. Back support is good, and so is the under-thigh support. The Swift provided a better experience due to slightly better lateral support. Healthy height adjustment range. The steering is rake and reach adjustable, Swift has only rake adjustable one. The adjustment range of both functions is nice and helpful in getting the perfect driving position. The steering feels nice to hold, though a beefier one would have felt even better.
- Elbowroom and legroom is better than the Swift, due to the obvious increase in width of the cabin. The seats have long travel range, and make some good amount of legroom in the farthest position, but the seatbelts are not height adjustable. Footwell is wide and dead pedal is also provided.
- The ingress/egress is better than the Swift, both at the front and the back. The front doors open in 3 stages and close with a premium and assuring "thunk", unlike the coarse "thad" of the Swift. The rear seatback is perfectly reclined and the rear seat is lesser claustrophobic than the Swift. Bigger windows would have helped though. Seat is wide and the seatback is comfortable. 60:40 split provided. The headroom at the rear was restricted, though the condition was not as bad as the Swift, where the lack of legroom ensured that you have to sit perfectly straight. The floor hump is equally sized as the Swift, and equally troublsome for the fifth passenger. Overall, space was adequate and far better than what the Swift offered.
- Boot space was also better than the Swift. Loading bay remains high, as the Swift, though. Loading would be a trouble. Gotta put those dumbbells back to use! The opening mechanism was similar to that of the Swift. No lever provided on the inside.
- The fabric design was nice and the quality felt better than the Swift. The armrest didn't have the fabric insert, like the Swift, sadly. The limited size of the armrest made them useless.
- Parcel tray had dedicated spaces to keep items secure. Boot light felt more useful than that of the Swift. Bag hooks provided on both sides, unlike the Swift (which has only on the right side).
- Space wheel was a steel wheel. Drive (7 out of 10):
- The 1.4 CRDi diesel was super-silent, refined and didn't sound rough even at 4000 RPM. The NVH levels are superbly controlled and I had to frequently check the tachometer to confirm that the engine was running. The Swift had a slightly louder engine as compared to the Elite i20. Wind noise and tyre noise are also well controlled, better than the Swift.
- The engine lacked punch, though. The turbo lag is reduced (though my Liva has better drivability) but still exists. A very light surge from the turbo is felt at 2000 RPM and continues in a linear manner till ~4000 RPM. There is no sudden push and the engine revs free like the 1.3 unit of the Swift. In the highways, the engine really shines. The engine doesn't feel strained at triple digit speeds and acceleration in the 5th and 6th gear is surprisingly good. The Swift does get out of breath in the 5th gear, but the Elite i20 still has some grunt left when you think this is the limit.
- 1st, 3rd and 6th gear were short and the 2nd, 4th and 5th have good range. 2nd gear is the most usable and paired with the short 3rd gear, makes city overtaking better. The engine felt definitely powerful and more responsive than the Swift.
- The gears were easy to slot, with well-defined gates but the clutch travel was long. The downshifts felt rubbery and I could feel vibrations on the clutch pedal at high RPM. Swift has a smoother and lighter gearbox and clutch and was a delight to use. Brakes were at par, if not better, with the Swift. The absence of rear disks was a dissapointment but the braking was effective even with drums at the rear. The bite is not as sharp as the Swift and the pedal is not very well modulated.
- Steering was super-light at city speeds and weighed up at higher speeds. The Swift provided a more weighed up steering than the Elite i20 though. There was some lateral movement on undulations at the rear and the handling was also average. The Swift handled the cornering and lane-changing department much better and without any drama. The body roll is more pronounced in the i20 than the Swift, but still controllable. Overall, the Swift's handling and highway manners were better than the Elite i20, even though the engine characteristics of the latter were better. At hard cornering, there was a wobble in the steering and the experience was not as pleasant and enjoyable as in the Swift.
- The outside noise is very well controlled and the engine noise was fair even at extreme RPM levels. The traffic noise stays outside.
- The suspension did its work quiet and the ride was plush in the city. The highway rides required much stiffer suspension like in the Swift to control the lateral movement at high speeds. The undulations were taken care of and there was a mild thud in the cabin even at high speeds.
- To sum it up, Elite i20 had a better engine, but the Swift has got better dynamics, control and composure to handle speeds. The i20 would be more preferred by a family person and not an enthusiast. The sharper steering response of the Swift, paired with a smoother clutch and gearbox made it more fun to drive than the Elite.
The Elite i20 has good features, space and NVH levels but loses out on dynamics, handling and FTD levels, where the Swift excels. Waiting for the Polo to help me out.