Had been driving a Chevy Optra 1.8 LT (super powered petrol) for the last 3-4 years. Loved every aspect of this car – the space, comfort and the power is amazing. The only issue had been it’s low ground clearance and parking it in my tight parking spot at home. The parking issue became more and more profound as it led us to only use the car for long trips and not city chores.
Early this year – March’13, we began a hunt for a hatch back for a couple of weeks visiting car dealers and doing TDs – this went on for a couple of weeks and we decided that none of the hatches come close to an Optra. I know it’s silly to compare a sedan to a hatch but who would want something less than what you have been used to when you are spending so much of vitamin M. Finally, ended up changing the 5 tyres on the Optra to a higher profile that made a really good difference on the GC – after this we decided we will keep the car for another 3-4years atleast.
Fast forward to August’13, I was bitten by the Ecosport bug – did two TDs, the first TD was a disaster with my wife & mom unanimously rejecting it. The second TD was a better one and I ended up paying 50k as booking to Metro Ford. The wait began and I was always thinking Ford will be able to deliver the new car by end of 2013 – all that was wrong. The first shocker was a 40k price hike (OTR Bengaluru) on the Titanium model that I had booked and 2 key/jazzy features were removed. All along Ford was only interested in exporting the car than fulfilling the needs of the local market. Add to all of this, no transparency on how the dealer’s were doing allotments. This made my worst fears come true that I will get the car by only mid-2014 hopefully.
Thus began my new round of dealer darshan’s of every possible manufacturer and TDing almost every other hatch available.
I was concerned on 3 factors for each car I TD:
Ground Clearance - as Bangalore roads are full of potholes
Turning Radius - since the parking at my place is congested, I can't afford to sweat everytime to park.
Below is what I found / opinion-ed.
[P.S: All prices quoted are OTR Bangalore and top-end variants] Fiat Punto
? OTR: 9L - On the higher side.
+ GC : 185 - The best in class ground clearance and ready to soak Bangalore's roads.
- TR : 5m - Turning radius of 5m but given it has the longest wheelbase, it is also one of the toughest to take an U-Turn.
+ Good equipment list, liked the MID that was superb and also the solid build. VW Polo
? OTR: 8.5L - For a 3-pot engine it is a little high.
+ GC : 168 - On paper this seems good, but on my 3rd test drive I took it on a really bad patch - lo, I felt so bad for the TD vehicle. It constantly kept hitting it's belly with just 3 adults on-board.
- TR : 4.9m - Was easy to turn around and having a EPS (Electronic Power Steering) made it a breeze.
+ 15' alloys look very good, the 3 pot is still peppy to drive in the turbo range. Etios Liva
? OTR: 7.8L - The cheapest car I TDed.
+ GC : 170 - Handled bad roads well too.
- TR : 4.8m - Comes with EPS so it is a breeze to drive around.
- It feels so cheap in quality right from the thinnest possible sheet metal used to plastics. The top-end diesel even lacks a tachometer - which age are we at? Hate the center instrument cluster too. i10 Grand
? OTR: 7.91L - No discounts, even corporate discount since it is a new launch.
+ GC : 165 - Has a very low seating feel that didn't go well, especially for the rear passengers.
- TR : 4.8m - This EPS is way better than the i20 (coming up next) but everything is small - including the steering wheel.
+ Has some segment firsts - but that's about it.
- The engine seems to be tuned only for the city, it will run out of breath in highways easily. i20
? OTR: 9.4L - The costliest hatch.
+ GC : 165 - The ride is like sitting on top of an elephant, you are swaying around.
- TR : 5.2m - Turning radius of 5.2m equaled my Optra that was a sedan. But the EPS is very pathetic - did 4 TDs and even till the end felt it lacked even a little feedback.
+ Good equipment list, but simple features like DTE, avg. fuel efficiency missing. Honda Amaze
? OTR: 9.7L - No discounts but stocks readily available during Diwali (speaks a lot about the initial crazy booking period that is done).
+ GC : 165 - Handling was very good.
- TR : 4.8m - Turning radius of 4.8m for a sedan - think again. It was fun to TD on Bangalore traffic.
- Lacks even the basic equipment list - no climate control / bluetooth phone connectivity even in top-end
+ Drive was very good and also the space. TATA Vista D90
? OTR: 8.4L - Good pricing.
+ GC : 165 - The stiffer suspension is best suited for Bangalore roads.
- TR : 5m - Turning radius of 5m - though lacks EPS, but found it easy to do U-Turn.
+ Good equipment list - touch screen + on-board navigation, climate control.
This time I was very clear that I needed a diesel hatch that did not compromise on quality or power. Meanwhile was lucky to get the Ecosport booking cancelled with no cancellation charges – thank you Metro Ford!! Test Drive Experience:
When we first visited Concorde Motors, Dairy Circle in early August – there was a massive renovation project underway and the poor SA’s had to operate from a make-shift shamina in front of the showroom. Lijo was my SA – he did a fantastic job in explaining the car and infact also pointing out the concerns other owners had. My first TD experience was nothing short of amazement. The engine clatter was so silent that I could hardly make out it was running – this was a diesel engine. The AC was a chiller and the car was so effortlessly pulling from standstill with no acceleration – I was thrilled.
But got more inclined towards the Quanto as it has a SUV feel and the good GC. Told the TATA SA that I was looking at Quanto and no longer interested in the Vista D90. But Quanto struggled more than my Optra to enter into my parking space. Given that my house is at a height and the car needs to come in reverse to park – rear wheel drive of Quanto made it even worse with the spins. Went back again to Vista, i20 & Liva for a 2nd round of TD. TATA folks & Hyundai very very welcoming but the folks at Nandi Toyota, Hosur road were acting weird as I was coming back after saying no. As it is, Liva was the cheapest in my list and the instruments it carried in the top-end were still basic. Can you believe it – the top-end Diesel lacks a tachometer!! Don’t expect me to do a DIY project for it!!
This time, I made a wrong thing of asking opinion on Facebook stupid: – there was so much of free advise that I was forced to look at Polo again. The poor TATA SA even offered to bring the Vista to the VW dealership for me to do a back 2 back TD and gauge the real power. I declined this offer and said I had made up my mind for a Polo and my mom was happy too (a funny excuse you would say). But when I took the Polo for a long TD on the bad roads of Bengaluru is when I realized it was constantly scrapping it’s belly with just 3 of us on-board – this was much worse than what my Optra used to do before the tyre upgrade. I really can’t drive so sensitively everytime – what’s the fun then? Polo went off the list.
I was finally confused between the i20 and the Vista. i20’s vague steering made me think again but the features were very tempting. Here I was the third time (remember the last 2 times I had said no to Vista after TD and speaking on pricing) at Concorde Motors – for yet another TD of Vista D90. This is when I decided that this was a car that I will get. I loved the power that the car delivered especially on the turbo range – sweet music I would say, Wife loved the gadgets it carried especially the navigation system (I used to use her phone for MapMyIndia navigation earlier in Optra) and Mom loved the acres of back seat space – end of the day I can’t be selfish if I only like the car – the family must like it too. Booking Process:
It was a simple form to fill and paid 20k on 15th October. Bugged the SA for the inventory. Unfortunately as I was looking at the top end D90 – ZX+ which was about 1.2L costlier than the lower trim VX – sales was very flat. ZX+ comes with 3 major extras – Dual Airbags (a must for us), Alloy Wheels & Touch Screen Music system with Navigation. We decided on the Spice Red color – he was able to only find a March’13 manufactured car. Requested for a PDI at their stockyard (20kms away from showroom) on the same day – it was quite difficult for them to get the necessary approvals but they managed. We were not happy as the car had from two alloys damaged and also a spec of paint that had chipped off.
The SA assured to get the issues fixed. But meanwhile was able to get another car that was also March’13 manufactured but was blocked for another customer who hadn’t turned up to take delivery for over a month. This car cleared mine & my wife’s stringent PDI checks – only the interiors were dirty at a couple of places. Loan Process:
During my 2nd visit to Concorde in early September Lijo asked me to fill the loan application to get the process started with SBI as it could take a while. He assured that the process will not involve any commitment from me and no payment of charges if I decided to not take the Vista – which I did when I told him that I was going for a Polo. But the loan application was approved at that time.
When I decided on the Vista finally, the loan process was a lot smoother as I had to spend half day at SBI PBB branch, Kormanagala. Mr. Kantharaj was very helpful in the entire process. SBI had an offer going on – which had only Rs. 500 as processing fee but I had to get the papers e-stamped for Rs. 400 & Rs. 50 which was a pain running from one office to another. SBI has the best car loan deal giving the flexibility of daily interest rate and no charges on part-payment / foreclosure. Pricing:
This was a long drawn discussion which initially had no use since Concorde Motors was a direct TATA subsidiary so apart from the offers there wasn’t much they could offer. Only free mud flaps and mats was offered. The offer in October included a 1gm Gold coin + 3years Insurance free + a chance to win 1Kg gold.
Ex-Showroom : 691305
Insurance : 25641
Road Tax : 107429
Handling Charges : 6500
Extended Warranty : 5950
AMC : 7668
On-Road Price: 844493
I had to pay 8,15,652 (minus 1st year Insurance and the 1gm Gold coin 3.2k). Since we were talking of a March’13 car I was able to squeeze a spoiler (8k) into the deal and all fluid changes including engine oil before delivery. Delivery Process:
Had to visit the showroom early in the morning on 31st October to do another PDI and sign a paper to say it can goto RTO – I found this really a waste of time as there was nothing much changed on the car since my last PDI. Interior and exterior cleaning was planned later in the day.
Had asked for a delivery at 4.30p but this was dragged till 5.45p – since the road tax papers from RTO got delayed as there was a huge set of deliveries before Diwali and RTO had a 4 day holiday after that. Had a 45mins session on the features of the car, warranty procedure and other paper work which was very boring – I wanted to drive my car!!
Immediately drove down to Shiv Shakti tyres in JC road to get the tyres changed from the stock Bridgestone B250 175X65 R14 to Yoko Earth 1 185X65 R14. Ended up paying 5.5k for the difference – had earlier got my Optra tyres changed here too – so know the guy here who’s friendly. It’s been only about 100 Kms driven in city but I am already loving the comfort of the new tyres. What I like:
What I dis-like:
- The ride quality and the super peppy 90bhp VGT quadrajet engine.
- Ergonomics and space in rear seat – very welcome interiors.
- The auto AC has been a chiller – I had to turn on only 1 or 2 fan level.
- The smooth and sure-shifting gearbox.
- Build quality is good – I can get a thud from the door.
- OVRM’s don’t close completely neither are they electrically foldable.
- The badging still reads Indica.
- Seats are more stiff for my comfort.
- The instantaneous FE is a funny one that can jump from 7kmpl to 25 kmpl in seconds – no use I must say.
- Leather seats from Karlson’s.
- Horn upgrade to Hella Red Grill supertone (DIY).
- DRL (DIY).
- Reverse Camera – been following up with Concorde, I am educating them with my wiring diagrams lol:.
- Reverse Sensors.
Will be adding pics soon. Here's a teaser.