Test drives is something I like to do. Whether I am planning to buy a car or not. So there are hardly any cars Iíve not driven. I was thinking about replacing the i10 for a while since I was doing a lot of driving and a Diesel was required.
So this is how I went about it. Started with the Test Drives of the Diesel Hatches.
Maruti Suzuki Swift: Rejected without a TD. Reason, it was a Maruti and I hate Maruti. Verdict: Rejected
Maruti Suzuki Ritz: Donít even want to look at it, let alone TD it. Verdict: Rejected
Toyota Etios: The exterior (sides & rear) look quite nice. The front, I can live with. The drive was nice. I actually enjoyed the handling. But the interiors were just yuck. Also at the price it was just not worth it. Verdict: Rejected
Hyundai i20: Didnít want another Hyundai just because of the handling. Besides the i20 isnít really VFM
. Verdict: Rejected
Tata Incica Vista: Wife said no. Besides I had TDíd it a year ago and was not impressed with the handling. Verdict: Rejected
Fiat Punto: My favourite hatch. Was on top of my list. I had driven all variants (engine) of this car. I was willing to live with all itís negatives just for itís handling and Fun to Drive factor. Verdict: Shortlisted
VW Polo: My brother has a TDI HL. So didnít need a TD. I had driven his car. Verdict: Shortlisted
Skoda Fabia: Nice car. Not the best handler, but a nice comfortable car. Aslo was already dreaming of giving it a VRS look. Verdict: Shortlisted
Nissan Micra: Again a nice car. Proven engine but nothing special about the car. Verdict: Shortlisted
Renault Pulse: No dealer in Goa. But then this was just a Rebadged Micra and the dealer was due to start operations soon. Verdict: Shortlisted
Ford Figo: Comfortable car, good handler but quite underpowered and dated design. Verdict: Shortlisted
Finally shortlisted the Punto, Polo, Fabia, Micra, Pulse & Figo.
Meanwhile one of the dealers sent a broker to evaluate the i10. The best he could offer was 2.5 Lakhs. Inquired with a few other brokers and the best I could get was 2.65 Lakhs. I was really shocked. Less than 2 years old and such a low resale. I was going to loose around 2 Lakhs. Did a quick calculation of the resale and the new car investment vs the diesel savings and it didnít make any sense. Then the government decided to reduce petrol prices. With the difference now only Rs.5.5/- , it made more sense to retain the i10 for some more time.
While all this was going on, my sister called to tell me that her Wagon Rís AC had stopped working. I told her to bring the car and I showed it to an AC mechanic who was known to me. As soon as we opened the bonnet, there was a shower of rust. A closer inspection revealed that the bonnet was totally corroded from the inside. Besides there was a lot of corrosion in the engine bay. Looked like the engine would fall off any moment. I got the AC fixed and told my sister to immediately sell off the car and buy a new one. Now I was already doing a search for a diesel hatchback, so I offered to help her with a new car. She decided that she would be ok with a petrol even though her usage was quite high.
Her requirements were a bit different from mine. The main usage was home to office and back, dropping the kids to college, weekend trips to the village house and the occasional outing. She needed a spacious car. There were budget constraints too. Based on this, I shortlisted the Micra and the Figo. I took her for the TDís and she liked both cars. So it was going to be whoever gave a better deal. Ford was offering just free insurance whereas Nissan was offering 50K off. We finalised the Micra. I refused to pay any booking amount as the car was in stock. We put in the papers for a loan. My sister works for a bank so she was entitled to a special interest rate. I told the dealer that we will pay the booking amount once the loan is approved.
During this time I had to join the ship. But all the work was done so I just gave her the TAI
checklist and told her what to do. Once the loan was finalised she went to pay the booking amount. The dealer then said that the offer has been withdrawn. My sister immediately called me and asked what to do. I told her to call off the deal and she did it. Nissan never got back with any other offer and Ford was not giving anything better. My sister decided to wait till I returned to buy the car.
Fast forward 4 months and I was back home. Again I scanned all the offers and Ford had the best deal. They were ready to give the Diesel Figo at the ex-showroom price. That means Road Tax, Insurance, Extended Warranty (3rd year), Underbody coating, Basic accessories and Registration charges (dealer to do the registration). The Petrol Figo had only insurance free. That made the difference between the Petrol and Diesel around Rs.28203/-. So we decided to go for the diesel. The model we selected was the EXi. The final price was Rs.526437/-. They were also offering the Plus Pack for Rs.20106/- extra, which included Fog lamps, Seat Covers and the stereo with USB and Bluetooth (Same model as on the ZXI & Titanium). The final price would be Rs. 546543/-. I decided it was not really worth it. So decided to buy only Fog lamps for Rs.3500/-. I would fit the seat covers outside. For the stereo, I managed to find one on sale in another forumís classifieds for 5K. This was from an old EXI (the old EXI came with a stereo) but did not have USB and Bluetooth. My sister was willing to live with this as she is not an audiophile.
Now the Goa CM had just presented the state budget. Road tax was increasing from 7% to 10% from 1st April (Not an April Fools Joke). Besides excise and insurance was likely to increase. So the car had to be registered by 31st March. Wednesday 27th March was Holi and 29th Good Friday, both public holidays. The Goa Auto Dealers Association requested the RTO to remain open on Saturday. We had to rush if we wanted to avail of the offer. After a lot of running around the loan was approved on Thursday. The dealer had also sent a broker to evaluate the Wagon R (5 years old and done 58K kms). He happened to be an old classmate from school. He offered 2 Lakhs without even opening a door of the car. We tried haggling for more but he wouldnít budge. I knew it was a good offer, so we agreed. On Friday we went to the showroom. The broker also met us there and paid us the cash. He also agreed to collect the car after a few days as she needed the car for going to church in the evening and also for Easter on Sunday.
The dealer had only 2 EXIís in stock when we took the TD. Blue and Grey. We decided on the Blue. However on Friday the SA said that the blue was sold. So only the Grey was left and then a Silver also appeared from thin air. I asked her if she could produce another Blue or Yellow like the Silver, but she said that was not possible. She also said that there was a Yellow available but in the ZXI trim and that would cost an additional Rs. 31002/-. So what do I get for Rs. 31002/-? Well, I get a stereo with USB, Bluetooth and Steering mounted controls, rear defogger with auto cut off, adjustable steering, body coloured handles and a few chrome garnishes. I didnít feel it was worth it but then we would have to live with a Silver Car and my sisters kids really liked Yellow.
Finally we decided to pick up the ZXI in yellow. The final OTR would be Rs. 557439/- . Overall a good deal but Iím always looking for more. The wife of one of my good friends is the HR manager in the Caculo Group. That consists of Caculo Mall, Caculo Ford, Coastal Honda, JCB and until a couple of months ago, Volkswagen Goa. I had met up with her a few days ago when all friends went out for dinner. I had mentioned my intentions of picking up a Figo then but she assumed I was joking. Anyway I called her up (the company phone has a really irritating callerback tune) and told her that I was at the showroom. She asked me what deal they gave. She was quite surprised that no free accessories were given. She immediately spoke to the SA and soon I was offered either Seat Covers or Fog Lamps. The seat covers were around Rs. 5000/- and the Fog Lamps were Rs. 3500/-. Now I could get cheaper seat covers outside but then I would have to really hunt to get similar quality for Rs. 3500/-. So I decided to take the free seat covers and pay for the fog lamps. Now that everything was sorted out, the only thing remaining was handing over the Draft, signing the RTO papers and registering the car. The SA said that she would drop by at the bank on Saturday and do the needful.
The SA Sana dropped by at my sisters office (Bank) on Saturday. By the time all the documents and the draft was ready it was almost 1130 AM. She then had to rush to the RTO (30 Km away) and get the registration done. I called several times to check on the progress as I was worried that we may have to pay the new road tax applicable from 1st April. She said she will call when it is done. I finally got confirmation on Monday that the registration was done. Now they were just waiting for the DD to clear before delivering the car.
Finally got a call on 4th that the DD had cleared and we could take the car. I went to the showroom but had to wait till my sister arrived as she was coming directly from the office. After the arrived, we completed the paperwork. The SA demonstrated the features of the the car and then the customary photo of the delivery followed by a tour of the service area of the dealership.
The car came with 5 litres of Diesel, so went to a nearby station and filled up. I then drove the car to my sister's place, picked up her kids and then took the car to Church for the blessing. After that I took the Figo as my sister wanted to use my i10 and wanted me to do the initial running of the Figo before she started using it.