I have recently joined the TAI
forum and have been a regular visitor to this site and this is my first posting regarding my new purchase an Ertiga.
Not so brief History:
Cars have always been my passion though I could only afford one late in my 30s. My first car was a Maruti Esteem VXI black brought in 2006. Having heard a lot and read about this legendary car, its gem of an engine, low maintenance costs, value for money (at that time in 2006) and its accomplishments in the Indian Rally scene, I wanted this to be my first car. The decision was solely from my heart, thoughts of the esteem being phased out and the resale value lingered in my head but I ruled them all out and went ahead and brought one. The onroad price after accessories and offer/discount was 4.85 lakhs.
I really had high expectations on the Esteem but sadly my car turned out to be a lemon.
I had problems with the clutch from day 1 until the day I sold it. It frequently had a slipping problem, which affected acceleration making it very difficult to drive. I dare say Esteem has poor acceleration fearing because I know enthusiasts swear by it even till this day. A Santro or an occasional 800 would smoke me when taking off from the lights. I tried similar esteems (mpfi type) found them to be comparatively better. I thought it was my driving style (usually sedate) but then others opined the same. I tried to get it fixed through authorized centers and mechanics outside but to no avail. They all agreed to one thing it was a clutch problem. I had the clutch changed at 7k and 35 k. The second time the car broke down while shifting from 2nd to 3rd in traffic but fortunately cruised itself to the side of the road. Driving with AC on was another problem; a slight incline meant switching off the AC because of loss of power. These were all amongst the problems my parents faced while trying to get in and out of the car, well but then we got used it and drove along.
Well for the positives, I dunno, it sort of grows on you it in spite all the troubles, driving it alone especially around the twists and turns of the hilly roads in Kerala it was fun unless you don't have to brake often then you will have to work through the gears all again because of the poor acceleration. Then it was the color, "BLACK", though it was a headache to maintain with frequent scratches and all....every time I washed it...it brought a big smile to my otherwise grieving face.
And to top it all the best thing in the esteem I feel was the seating position, you sit low, though I agree many people do not find sitting low to be exactly comfortable especially in Indian roads but you somehow feel bit more control while driving and also less body roll. I still miss the lancer and the old Honda Citys, you feel so confident driving them sitting low. The esteem has excellent driving position and fantastic under thigh support with adequate seat recline.
It was so comfortable that around a few months back I dozed off and ran into an old metal electrical post in an autorickhaw stand at around 4 pm in a small town. Fortunately they saw me coming on the wrong side of the road from a distance at around a steady 30 to 40 km/hour speed and they managed to get people and their vehicles out of the way. I wasn't wearing a seatbelt and was woken up violently shaken, and staring at my black bonnet half raised up and steering wheel all bend and mangled, and loose change from a cubby hole all around me...I was like WTF!!
Fortunately all I sustained was a small bruise to the bridge of my nose from my glasses hitting the nose and that was it !!! Thank you Lord.......although I could not say the same for the car, it was like hot knife into butter. The electrical post had cut cleanly into the car from where the left headlights have been and had stopped where the battery was...and the battery whatever was left of it may have disintegrated into the car I guess, only a slight push of the car was required to free the car from the post...with the post barely touching the sides of the cut.....The old metal post was one of those old thick rail road type I beams that had still remained there even after road widening and the current electric post was a good 5 feet away on the side of the road. The accident had caused the post to bend and dislodge the base of the post underground and the nearby shop owners and autorickshaw drivers were basically happy that I had managed to get rid of that menace for them coz it was in the way for them.
Anyway thanks to God I survived and nobody got hurt and then finally with their help towed the car away to a nearby MASS. Lots of stuff damaged, radiator, suspension parts, body panel, AC, and the list went on. The repairs were expensive, didn’t get much insurance, and lot of out of pocket costs. Got the car back after four months and car had gone from bad to worse; they had done a shabby job. The car was noisy, electrical problems, uneven panel gaps, etc., most of it had gotten rectified at another service center. But noticed one thing, for the first time in six years, it did what it did best, pickup !!!! yeah and some…
Pedal to metal was frightening in fact, tried it once on an open road and the front of the car seemed to lift, pushing me to the seat, the whole cabin starts to rattle, there are noises all around the car, rear view mirror fell onto my lap, car starts to veer to one side, steering does not seem to be connected to the wheels anymore, and the car lands in the bushes on the side of the road, few meters from where I started. All this when the rpm just reached 5K rpm in second gear. A man living nearby came up to me waving frantically and inquiring what happened found me standing by the car with the tyre stuck in mud, smiling with a rear view mirror in one hand. Yes indeed I was smiling, the smile I believe all Esteem and Zen owners would have I guess, well better late than never.
The car got its pick up back but it sure raised hell while it is at it!!!
Family members and friends advised to sell of the car ASAP
and then that’s exactly what I did as soon as I got everything fixed up and a reasonable price was offered. I then moved on to a rental for sometime.
Looking back I really do not regret owning that car though I was apprehensive at first maybe due to high expectations I had. But even though it had its share of problems it puttered on. It never had any major accidents before until the last one and not a single tire puncture for the 50k kms that I had used it. Also as mentioned before, the single break down I had with the clutch when it was in traffic, it helped itself onto the side of the road safely and that too around 100 meters from a Sai Service center, (the mechanic said usually with clutch failure you sit slap bang in the middle of the road). Well that’s plain luck and that’s Maruti I guess.
Now for the ERTIGA……
I am sorry I am prolonging the thread so now moving on to the Ertiga. I had made up my mind that Ertiga would be my next car since it was first launched and I have been reading through the reviews of the Ertiga from various sources since then.
It may seem to be a surprise to some of you that I never seriously considered any other car and I never went to any other brands showroom for a test drive, so no comparison problems here. Having driven my fair share of cars over the years belonging to friends and other relatives I know what to expect.
It is as practical as a hatchback (folding seats, etc), more spacious than a sedan including leg space (second row slid all the way back), occasional MUV (7 seater), compact, good looks to boot, and VFM
Talking about my experience with other MUVs, well to sum it up; Xylo=Bouncy ride but VFM
, Innova=Comfy but pricey, VFM
, reasonably comfy, fuel efficient and compact. This is the conclusion that I came up after going through various reviews in various sites and feedback from owners/taxi drivers, and to close the deal I had one single test drive for maybe less than a km. I had the test drive on December 2012 when I was at an authorized service center getting my Esteem fixed.
The Ertiga is maybe a foot longer than the esteem but it really does get moving from standstill, and that too with AC !!! and it was frugal….oh what the heck, six years of lugging the esteem around and this felt like heaven, I was sold on.
So what I did was, wait patiently till all the initial fuss and booking delays were over, and then on March 2013 got on the phone with a Maruti dealer near our place got a quotation. Also obtained similar quotations from other dealers then found out 2013 had started out bleak for the automotive industry, offers thrown left, right and center, and that too for a diesel !!! Better still, also found some dealers had 2012 models and offering discount, nice; went around checked them out one yard then another. I looked at a couple of them, found one ZDI Ecru beige, December manufactured, confirmed VIN. It has been sitting under the sun now for more than two months, checked it thoroughly nothing seemed to fall off. Another week went by bargaining/haggling, they wanted a sale and I wanted a car and I was not in a hurry; finally settled, on the price and advance given for 2012 ZDI (steel wheels) for the price of a 2013 VDI !!!
Apart from the fact it was sitting in the sun for more than two months and also a 2012 model year in the RC book for a car purchased in 2013 which maybe a problem while resale, I guess the price worked out fine.
I never really considered the top end option. Rear wiper, steering controls, and the different audio system with extra tweeters of the ZDI did not matter much to me but the airbags did since after having an accident.
Loan process was carried out swiftly and rest of the cash payment was made. Opted for few accessories such as spoiler, painted side beading, graphics, and wood interior styling. On road came to 9.53 lakh with above accessories.
The car was delivered on March 22, 2013.
Enjoying every moment of it now, no particular pros or cons worth mentioning after all they are quite familiar with all the members in the forum by now. Completed around 14k km by now, adequate pick up, comfortable ride, no hassles, just fill up and go.
Returns average of 19 kmpl and highest achieved was 21.5 kmpl (70% AC use). However, it can go up to 24 kmpl on (good roads with moderate traffic of course) without AC use and I thought all this while modern diesels returned same mileage with or without AC. (checked mileage with low fuel indicator method)
Other than the seating position (still in favor of low seating position as in the Esteem), I feel it is fairly comfortable. I am getting used to seating position now.
Happened to come across a few accessories such as sun blinds and hand rest when I went to fit rims and I am quite surprised they really serve their purpose well; hand rest especially.
I initially thought of putting in a few words about my Ertiga and now I see that it’s gone 3 pages long, (moderators make changes if necessary)
Let the pictures do the talking now…
Thanking all members once again for helping me to make an informed decision.