I have recently booked the SX4 VXi Green from Sai Service showroom in Phoenix Mills Mumbai and I wanted to share my buying experience with you all. I have been continuously following TAI
for any reviews/personal experiences for the SX4 CNG and have found this platform to be extremely helpful. A big thank you to all who have shared their experiences.
Before we start with the actual buying process I would like to give out a background for purchasing a CNG sedan. I own (or use to own as I may refer it as) a Maruti Swift VXi 2006 model which has been my companion during some of the best years of my life (my college days, countless long drives with my girlfriend whom I married recently, and many more of such memories). But the fact was that the car was getting old and had started showing signs of aging. I had a CNG kit fitted in the Swift somewhere around Sept 2012 and to be honest I was more than happy with the performance – especially the fuel efficiency of the car with CNG. I had renewed my love for the car. Frequent trips to Poona and Talegaon with the total fuel expense of around Rs. 400 was mind blowing knowing the fact that I had to shell out almost Rs. 350 for the Toll on a round trip to Mumbai. So in a nutshell I was extremely happy having a CNG car. Only one problem I faced was to replace/modify the electrical parts to cope up with the CNG requirements. Also a 6yr old car meant that the pickup was fairly less. There were a lot of changes on a personal front. I got married in Jan 2013 meaning the family of 4 was now a family of 5. Obviously there was a need for a bigger car which would accommodate 5 family members with their luggage. Also since the petrol prices were rising in Mumbai I thought it was time I moved away from petrol cars. So I was left with Diesel & CNG.
The news came out as Honda was launching a new notchback in the form of “Amaze”. I must say that the car looked to be priced perfectly. A top variant diesel Honda at 8.70lacs was too good a price knowing that Honda cars are priced somewhat higher than their competitors. So my father & I were excited about this car as we were looking for a change anyway. One weekend, I was out on a short trip my dad went ahead and got the pricing details of the car. I have to concede that the I found the looks of the Amaze to be amazing – no two ways about it. We then booked a test drive at Arya Honda (Honda Showroom in Worli, Mumbai). The car was good (mind you it was only "good" and not excellent as I expected it to be). There was engine noise which could be heard inside the car. The interiors were similar to the Honda Brio, which for me was a major turn off. The only difference was that seats were additionally cushioned. The car had all the basic features that its direct competitor – Swift Dzire. But to be honest the WOW factor that I expected was missing. Another aspect that disappointed me was the absence of a CD player in the car. My father has recently completed his transition from cassette to CD, so there was no way he would buy a car without one. If had to replace the stereo system from a local vendor I would lose the 2-year warranty, at least I was told so. We even considered buying the base variant and then getting a company fitted music system with speakers and some other add-ons to keep the warranty intact. But after weeks of permutation & combinations, I realized that it was not worth the effort. To make things worst there were 22000 bookings for Amaze in the opening 3 weeks, meaning waiting period of almost 3 months.
Being disappointed I started looking at other options. Verna, Vento, Rapid were surely out of my budget. Plus I had heard reviews about the Vento & Rapid being high on maintenance. Result – option cancelled. An honest confession here - Chevys, Fords & Tata had some or the other issues i.e. reliability, maintenance, fuel efficiency, driving comfort etc. – at least I was told so. So I didn’t bother doing a check on these options.
So I turned to Maruti who had Swift Dzire Diesel & SX4 CNG to offer. The pricing for both the cars was decent, SX4 obviously being on a higher side. SX4 came into the picture only for the fact that it had a CNG variant but again price was an issue. Priced at 9.29lacs I concluded it was out of my budget. But something that helped my cause here was the fact that my second home was in the octroiless region. I will be honest; I had no clue that I had this as an option. When I asked for the prices I was shocked to see the difference. This had changed the equation completely. Dzire would have cost me 7.65lacs & the SX4 for 8.86lacs, both on road prices. I was also told that if I opted for the SX4 Green, I would be eligible for a consumer bonus + a loyal bonus if I exchanged my existing Maruti car. So that brought down the price to 8.20lacs. The secret Honda aspirant in me provoked me to explore this option with Honda but I never really got any support from them. I even contacted a Honda dealer in Thane to see if they could help me, but I was told that I would have to wait for 4months for the delivery. Clearly didn’t make any sense.
I booked a test drive for both Dzire Diesel and SX4 CNG. Both the cars were powerful. Overall offerings were more than what Honda had to offer (except that Honda offered ABS
for all their Diesel cars, Maruti offered it only in its top variant). The interiors I found to be better than the Amaze and finally the CD player conundrum was over! The Dzire was superb to drive. Had I chosen for a Diesel car I would have surely gone in for the Dzire Diesel. After the Dzire it was time to test the SX4 Green. I was surprised with the power of the CNG version knowing I had pickup issues in my previous CNG car. But that mental block was gone the minute I put my foot on the accelerator. My father, my younger & I; all were impressed by the overall running of the car. Overall handling of the car was easy knowing that it is a bulky looking car. The cabin space was obviously more than others. Since SX4 has only two variants VXi & ZXi (likewise for Diesel) so the VXi variant comes with a good chunk of features which includes Rear Window Defogger, Electronic adjustment for mirrors, keyless entry and several others; but importantly a music system with a CD player. The same features are available with Dzire VDi (with some exceptions) & Amaze SMT variant (but with lesser cabin space & poorer interiors). I think more than the interiors or features offered, it was the performance of the car on CNG that made all the arguments null and void. Obviously comparing fuel efficiency of Diesel vs CNG is foolish. Despite the CNG tank, the boot space can still accommodate an international suitcase with several small bags (hidden spaces if want to put it that way). Maruti also offered me 1.4L for the now 7yr old Swift VXi which essentially brought down the price to almost 6.80lacs. Practically I had no reason to say no the SX4 Green. Just to be sure I went back to the drawing board and re-analyzed my car usage over the last 6-8months. Daily running of my car was approx. 20-25kms. Weekends with short trip do not exceed more than 250kms. A bi-monthly trip to Pune would also be around 350kms. Overall, monthly running of approx. 900-1000kms. I think buying a CNG was the best option.
So with due approval from the other family members I have finally booked a Silky Silver SX4 CNG on 5th May 2013. The expected delivery date is before 18th May. But as of today I can’t wait to get into that car and go for a long drive.
I hope people will find this article to be useful. Do share your thoughts on the article. I will surely post a performance review after a couple of months but till then – this is how the all New Honda Amaze inspired me to buy SX4 Green !!!