I had always been interested about cars since my childhood and the first car whose driver seat I stepped into was the good old Ambassador (Dad's office vehicle at that time). Our family had never owned a car.
After I moved to Mumbai and had settled into my job, I started contemplating the thought to buy a car, just for the heck of it.
Joined a driving school in 2009, got my license done, and was poised to buy one. But as they say, nothing happens till its supposed to happen, and iI continued being car-less for various reasons.
A few months back, around June 2012, a couple of my friends bought their first cars. This sparked the desire to own a car again. Us, about to become new parents in around 8 months time also was an added incentive as I wanted to give my baby a plush ride
Got my hands on a 2006 Esteem and sharpened my driving skills on it. The purpose having been solved, the Esteem was transported to Odisha by-road (1450 kms), and now is being used at home by my Dad.
I decided on buying a new hatchback for my small family, however, as I was almost certain to change states within a year, I decided to not go for a new car as I will have to pay road tax again in the new state and getting a refund from Mumbai would be a pain in the backside.
So, it had to be a pre-loved hatch this time around. I checked out a few Wagon-R, Swift and Getz but none of them were good enough to keep for at-least 3-4 years. On a lazy Friday afternoon in office, while browsing through the classifieds on various websites, I came across a quite well maintained Chevrolet Spark PS 1.0, registered on Nov 2007 with 31000 kms on the ODO on BHP. I immediately contacted the seller and fixed up a meeting over the weekend to go and have a quick spin.
I had always liked the Spark for it's build and stability on rough patches, and boy this car was lovely to drive. Quite poised, agile, quiet and soaking in the bumps, potholes and undulations of the road(no one knows to build a smooth road). The icing on the cake was that the 2007 model comes with grey dashboard and hence doesn't have the issue of the reflection from the beige dash on the windsheild.
Well, I had found my new ride, the deal was done, payment formalities completed and I got my hands on this black beauty on 21st May, a day before my birthday. A nice present to gift yourself, I must say
. Initial Ownership Impressions :-
> Exteriors and Design:
The car is in a good condition, spare a few dents here and there (On the bonnet, near the Chevy logo), a small hole in the bumper, minor dent on the right fender, everything else is good. The car needs some polishing and waxing which will be done in a while.
> Interiors and Features:
The car though small from outside is quite spacious inside and can seat 4 adults very comfortably(fifth would be a squeeze). The seats offer decent comfort level.One needs to get used to the center mounted console, although it is a boon that the indicator lights are in front of the driver. The boot is really tiny and is good for only shopping bags or a weekend trip.There is no creaking/rattling sounds anywhere and this is one solidly built and well maintained car.
> Engine and Performance:
The 995CC 4 cylinder unit doing duty under the hood is one of the most silent engines ever. Its so silent that one tends to re-crank the engine. (have done this twice already). Acceleration is linear and is really fun to drive in the city. The front disks and rear drums are one of the best braking systems in it's class and stops the car in its tracks. I need to get used to the brakes and brake gently. The clutch is very light and gear shifts are smooth and slot perfectly making it a pleasure to drive.
> Ride and Handling:
The car is very stable on the roads considering its size. It soaks in almost all the minor bumps and has the best suspension in the class. NVH levels are the least for a car in its class. It has a EPAS but is quite weighted and offers good feedback. The turning radius being just 4.5m, the car is really very good to manoeveure around small roads and sharp turns. Its is fun to drive in the city and easily touches triple digits on the highway, though it is advised not to push Spark beyond the 100 Kmph mark. Good bits:
Not so good bits:
- Very low NVH
- Easy to drive
- Quite spacious
- Good all around visibility, the quarter glass helps a lot
- Very big ORVM's offer good visibility.
- Solid build quality
- Good ride over bad roads
- No need to open the boot for building security guards, according to them "Bahar se sab kuch dikhta hai".
- Driver side footwell is not very spacious, the dash touches the knee (Although a good place to rest the knee when not operating the clutch)
- Light stalk on the left and wiper on the right takes time getting used to
- Tiny boot, is expected with a car of its size
- Accelerator offers very little feedback. This along with a silent cabin and missing RPM meter, makes it difficult for new drivers to gauge the amount of accelerator applied.
The car being the low-end model needs a few accessories. The process of converting Spark PS to Spark LT has begun. The items on my list are as below
- LHS ORVM - Spark PS does not come with it and I am not sure how he drove in Mumbai traffic without that
- Front power windows
- Central locking with remote (doesn't even have manual central locking)
- Sony DSX-A30 HU
- Soundtrak 350W Oval speakers in separate boxes at the back (removable in case I need luggage space)
- Soundtrak 120W 4" components in the front
- Sandisk Cruzer Fit 8GB (hideaway pen drive, actually should be called nail drive)
- Pair of Philips XtremeVision
- Jopusa duster set
- Car cover
- Wheel covers, it looks naked without it
- Car mobile charger
- Steering cover
- Neck pillow
- And finally a nice wax polish and interior cleaning
Cost of Car : 1,40,000
Total cost of accessories + fitting : 18,436 Final Cost: 1,58,436
PS: More pics to follow right after the accessorizing and polishing is complete