This is going to be long post with lots of pictures and details of all the cars I drove before finalizing on Dzire Tour LDi and explanations for why I went for Tour even though new Dzire was readily available.
Owning a car was a dream that i started dreaming the very first time i drove a car back when i was studying in 10th standard. Back then our car was Peacock Green 94 model Maruti Suzuki M-800
which was one of the best car we ever owned. We had a trouble free ownership experience of 15 years with our cute M-800. In 2009 we made back to back purchases one being my bike Honda Unicorn and other being my Dad's Hyundai i10 which replaced our beloved M-800. Decision on purchase:-
Passed out of college in 2010. During my college days my parents strictly forbid me from ever taking our car to college. Dad would say - "No need to show off to friends with our car. Get a job after college and buy one for yourself.". I would reply (in my mind of course) "Thinks He owns a Ferrari. After all it's just a normal family hatchback". Moving on, after college i did networking courses for 2-3 months and then got my first job. Salary was very low and even maintaining my bike with my salary was very difficult. Life went on for almost a year and one fine day on May 2011 got a call from HR of my current IT company that they have an opening and want to schedule an interview. By next week got the offer letter and had an excellent offer that till now i thought only big MNC would be ready to offer. Joined their in June 2011 and within 6 months found i had some good saving as i didn't have to spend on food or lodging and the only expense was commuting which came at 1k per month due my very efficient Unicorn. Within 10 months i spoke to my parents about owning a Diesel car as my running has increased to 50km/day. Initially both Dad and mom rejected the idea outright saying i am too young to own a car. At 24 years of age no one in the family owned a car so no need for a car now. I found this reason too unfair and would shout back "I didn't ask for your advise. I just said I am going to buy a Diesel car. Just wanted to inform you both"
But in reality i would never cross my parents and will never do anything that would hurt them or make them sad. So thoughts of owning a car was dropped but i was in for a big surprise.
One fine day dad told me his bank had an offer for managers and there was an attractive scheme for car loans. Being Chief Manager of reputed Nationalized Bank he would get a car loan upto 7Lakhs @ 6% simple interest. The EMI would also be very attractive. He asked me to checkout the cars that came with ex-showroom price in range of 7Lakhs. Shocked and surprised i went happily to dealers for inquiry from the very next day. Priorities:- Parent's Priorities:-
Should be below 8lakhs OTR strictly not a penny more
Needs to be good looker
Should have adequate space in rear seats
Good resale value
Must be cheap to maintain and spares shouldn't be costly
Good fuel efficiency My Priorities:-
Should be a looker and should be modifier friendly.
Rear seat comfort should be very high(My main consideration for my dear parents)
Should have good driving dynamics and steering feel
Should be easy to maintain and service
Should have adequate features and should be VFM
My running of 50km per day means it should a diesel.
Should have good ride and handling along with adequate performance
Should have large boot as in future i am planning for twin SPL subwoofers
Should have good built quality. Test Drives:-
Initial inquires made it very clear that all diesel sedans where out of my budget. Heck even some of the hatchbacks were also out of my budget like full option i20 and Fiat Punto 90HP. My budget was 8 Lakhs OTR. So test drove the following cars:-
Maruti Suzuki Swift ZDi
Fiat Punto 75HP
Tata Vista MJD
VW Polo TDi 1) Maruti Suzuki Swift ZDi:-
One of the best all rounder currently available in India. I wend to checkout the Swift on a Saturday with my friend. Swift had the backing from my parents as it was known to be very reliable and cost of spares and maintenance would be very low. Resale value would be very good for Swift, being in an IT industry i might get a chance to relocate abroad and my parents don't wish to maintain a diesel car. Swift had an added advantage of 4 dealers in Trivandrum and more than 6 service stations between them. Being a Maruthi it would be cheap to maintain and Swift being very popular had good resale value. On reaching showroom SA attended me promptly and we took a TD after initial chat on price of the car. Car was really good to drive, handling was very neutral and also was a bit sporty in nature. Interiors felt very sporty and i felt Swift was overall a very attractive package. Negatives i felt about Swift was that the Turbo feel that came after 1800-2000 rpm in Old Swift was absent in the new one. Also rear seats felt very cramped after i had adjusted the drivers seat for my height which is 5feet 11" and boot space was comparable to our i10 which was not acceptable to me. OTR of 8 Lakhs was a shocker considering old Swift VDi with ABS
sold at OTR of 6 Lakhs and I somehow felt Swift to be overpriced. But Swift still remained an option in my list due to a long list of advantages it possessed. 2) Fiat Punto 75HP:-
Walked into the showroom of Fiat-Tata dealership and found a Fiat Punto Emotion in display. Hard to believe this is a 5-6 year old design. Stunning looking car which will stand out in any crowd if maintained properly (regular washing and polishing). SA showed me the car and went on about it's tough built quality, good feature list, fuel efficient engine and over all stunning Italian design. I was mighty impressed by the car but when i had a look at the interiors i was totally let down. When exterior design of the car looked stunning interior design shouted this was designed 5 years back. This became a big negative for me about Punto but still asked SA for a TD and he brought the TD car home next week. My dad has stayed back just t have a look of the car. The TD car would probably be the worst maintained Punto in Kerala. Was covered i mud from top to bottom and i felt like car had gone off roading for some time. Dad didn't even get into the car for TD and went off to office disappointed. Reluctantly i took the TD and it also started off badly. I felt Punto had very average performance and didn't feel like it had the same engine as Swift. Had very noticeable Turbolag and the car was very sluggish to drive. I took the TD car through some turns and immediately understood why Punto is a favorite among car enthusiast. This car loves corners and has awesome steering feel. Hydraulic power steering was way ahead in this aspect to EPS. Also Punto felt far stable to drive at high speeds. Parents told me a strict No towards Punto but i still had her in my options list. 3) Ford Figo:-
Most affordable car in this segment but Dad told me not to thing about Figo any further as He felt it was way small compared to others. Also he felt Ford doesn't have any resale value and are very expensive to maintain. I also felt Figo to be outdated for my needs and even in full option doesn't come with power windows for rear doors. Dropped off the list. 4)Tata Vista MJD:-
Had good features and was very VFM
for all it offered but Dad told me not to even take a TD as he didn't want me to own a Vista due to Taxi image associated with the car. Also TASS was very poor in Trivandrum and my colleague himself had lots of issues during his ownership of Vista. Dropped off the list. 5) Nissian Micra:-
Dealer had just setup shop in my city and didn't have TD vehicle. Still i went to check out the car but SA attitude was very poor and he was least interested in showing me the car. Dropped off the list. 6) VW Polo TDi:-
Looked understated but very stylish. Excellent built quality and interiors shouted quality everywhere. Dad was mighty impressed for the first time felt we had a better option than Swift. We immediately went for a TD and this is were all wend wrong for Polo. Once we fired up the TD car and Dad who was standing outside with SA immediately had a change of expression. I also felt the engine to be noisy because i could feel the engine sound inside the cabin. On inquiry SA told me it's due to abused TD car and normal Polo wouldn't be noisy. I immediately asked him to start a nearby Polo which was a customer's car which had come for first service and it also sounded very noisy. SA didn't say a word and i asked dad to proceed further with TD. Everything went well, Polo had very neutral handling, good stability and good ride. Dad also liked the rear seat comfort. After TD we checked out the prices and was shocked to find the OTR price of Highline model was 8.6 lakhs. We both came to conclusion that for this price it offered to little features and was very overpriced.(Within a month or two VW launched the revised Polo with lots of new features and revised price tag). Also a very close friend who installed a small ICE in his Vento was told his warranty is totally void because he had installed parts from outside the dealer and the arrogant attitude of thinking about themselves to be a high value brand made me drop plans for Polo. Dropped off the list. Purchase postponed:-
One fine day when i was at office after all the TD had been completed, SA from Tata-Fiat dealer called me to inform me of offers available for Fiat Punto 75HP. I bargained a lot and was amazed by the offer they provided. Apparently the car is not selling well because they offered me discounts close to 1 lakh from OTR price and the final OTR price came at 6.70 Lakhs for the fully loaded Emotion variant. I persuaded my parents and was was finally able to convince them on the purchase.. Next day as i was off to showroom for booking Fiat Punto Dad called me and asked me to meet him at his office immediately. On reaching their i found out this -Our loan couldn't be sanctioned because our current car needs to be 4 years old before we can apply for a new car loan under the employee scheme and our i10 would complete 4 years by March 2013 only. So dad asked me to wait till March 2013 and i was totally heart broken. Fast Forward to January 2013:-
With just 2 months to go before i started the TD process all over again but now my priorities changed. I am spending this much and the car would stay with me for a long time so why not look at some entry level sedan? Also paying 8 lakhs for hatchback was not a VFM
option my any means.
My options were:-
Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire VDi
Tata Manza MJD
Fiat Linea MJD 1) Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire VDi:-
Myself and dad went to dealer to check out the New Dzire. On seeing the car we both felt it didn't look like a proper sedan compared to Fiesta, Linea or Manza. TD was ok and it had all advantages of Swift but somehow it felt very similar to a hatchback and dad also told me "From some angles you won't differentiate Swift from Dzire then why spending 75k extra on this?". So dropped this from list. 2) Fiesta Classic:-
We were greeted by an SA who was least interested in showing us the car. Also told us TD vehicle is not available he doesn't know the reason behind this. We told him that we will come again and he also assured us that he will contact us when TD vehicle is available. Till now he has not contacted us. So dropped this from list. 3) Tata Manza MJD:-
Very same to Vista - Had good features and was very VFM
for all it offered but Dad told me not to even take a TD as he didn't want me to own a Manza due to Taxi image associated with the car. Also TASS was very poor in Trivandrum and my colleague himself had lots of issues during his ownership of Vista. Dropped off the list. Dad forced me to drop this from list. 4) Fiat Linea MJD:-
Felt the same with Punto TD and also had lots o boot space and looked very stylish. Also was slightly more stable than Punto at high speeds. But even bas model active costs 9 lakhs OTR. Discounts were available but this car was simply not in my budget. So dropped this from list.