This is my debut write-up and request you to bear with me for the lengthy one.
Just to give a background, i was owning a Swift Vxi from August 2011. Car driving was learnt post booking of the car and there was no idea to take on for long drives at the time of purchase of Swift. However for a family marriage have to take the car from Chennai to Madurai which was my second long drive, the first one was from Chennai to Tirupati. Hired a local Taxi at Tirupati to travel up to the hills as I was not confident of driving in the hills. This experience of travel to Madurai gave me huge confidence though my friend also shared the drive. It took me to the next level where I drove alone on my own from Chennai to Kodaikanal with my family. Further with Swift have visited places like Guruvayoor, Yercaud, Coorg, Kanyakumari, Munnar and finally to Northern Karnataka and Maharashtra - Jog Falls, Murudeshwar, Karwar, then to Goa and to Mumbai. All this was possible only with the support of my wife and 8 year old son who travelled with me to all these places.
As we started exploring many places, one accident during my last trip from Goa to Mumbai made me think about the need for security features in the car. There was a frontal collision while climbing up the Sawantwadi Ghat in the afternoon wherein other Swift which was climbing down a steep curve lost control in spite of hard braking by the driver. There was no injury to the family or third party as Swift took the full impact. There was also a thought to look for a SUV type for drivability factor like good view from driving position, higher seating and also with large boot space. Thus the search began.... Search begins....
Even before this accident, took test drive of Duster in December 2013 and was fully put off by the pricing and hard clutch factors. Then was looking for Scorpio and took test drive of the vehicle. The view was amazing from the driving position and the steering was very light to maneuver. However again put off due to clutch and during the second test drive, the body roll in the middle row at high speed seems to be high. The dealer offered a test drive of Quanto too which was re-launched with yoga seat, I was not impressed with the vehicle though it was meeting all my requirements and was well within my budget. The search began in internet and could read reviews about niggles faced in Scorpio. Hence it was stroked off my list. During test drive of Scorpio and Quanto, inspected XUV 500 and was amazed with the features it had and also VFM
factor. For budget constraints as well as the vehicle being huge, XUV was also stroked off from the list. Then came the budget announcement wherein all the car manufacturers reduced the prices to some extent. Also the reviews about Duster were good and the niggles reported at the time of launch of the vehicle seems to have been addressed to a greater extent. Was checking for Mobilio lauch and did enquire with Sundaram Honda who informed that booking is likely to start from June.
However the version from Honda Contact Centre was different wherein the launch is likely to be in second quarter of the FY, i.e post Jul14. Even though there was Honda brand but my mind was telling me to go for Duster. During Swift purchase, i almost booked Estilo however cancelled it and booked Swift as i wanted go with my heart. Then finally took test drive of 85 PS Duster on 12Apr at Khivraj Pearl Nandanam showroom in Chennai as there were budget constraints for 110 PS RxZ. The test drive vehicle was impressive however my mind was inclined towards purchase of 110PS for more power in highways. Was reviewing features of 85 RxL (O), 110 PS RxL and 110 PS RxZ and found that all security features were available in 110 PS RxL except for Alloys and Seat height adjustment. SA guy was mentioning about the hard clutch in 110 PS has been resolved by Renault and new 110 vehicles come with a soft clutch, which also came to my mind. The decision was made to by 110 PS RxL, Red Colour. Buying Process...
Swift was in Car Lease and has to be closed before booking a new Vehicle, the search began and was not getting competitive quotes for the reason vehicle met with an accident earlier though it has run around 6000 kms without any issues after that and also being a petrol version. Satyanarayana Raju, SA of Khivraj Pearl did an excellent job in getting leads for my old Car, without his great support, would not have been possible to sell my Swift. Raju's efforts lead to selling of the car in one day's time which i was struggling for almost a week. The process started on 10May 14 and during the discussion understood that colour of my choice was readily available and with decoding of VIN was able to ascertain that it is a Apr14 manufactured vehicle. I was overwhelmed and paid a booking amount of Rs.10,000/-. Started coordinating with Lease Company and also with Khivraj for a delivery by 26May14 as i had planned an outstation trip. After a week, it was looking like the delivery would be made only by 30th and not earlier due to various formalities involved. Sent a mail to Lease Company stating that have sold my existing car and have to travel next week to outstation, hence the delivery should happen atleast by 27th. This triggered a chain of events wherein all the formalities got completed in two days and the vehicle was sent for registration on 23rd and was told to take delivery on 24th May. Delivery of the vehicle
Took delivery of the vehicle on 24th May, Saturday evening with minimum accessories - seat cover, full floor mat and Wurth Windshield screen. The other accessories were extra Hella horn, reverse camera with parking sensor and navigation which was fitted 2-3 days post delivery. The kilometre reading at the time of delivery of the vehicle was 66 kms. My observations: Positive:
1. Higher seating positions provides good road presence
2. Butter smooth clutch. Felt there was no difference in the clutch between my Petrol Swift and this Diesel Duster. Very happy to notice this during my bumper to bumper traffic felt on 9th June due to sudden rains in Chennai. I used to feel some sort of pain in my left foot in bumper to bumper traffic in Swift however did not get that in RD.
3. Wide Wheel base leading to drivability comfort wherein bumpy roads were not felt much inside the cabin. However, some amount of impact is felt inside in potholed and in uneven speed breakers
4. Light steering and easy to maneuver
5. AC is good though i was skeptical due to the size of the Car and the city being Chennai. Knob can be kept at 3 on hot days and the entire car gets cooled in 10-15 mins after which you may switch it to 2.
6. Though the controls were not steering mounted and they were behind steering, i liked this very much as it was easy to access.
7. Large boot space which was meeting one of my requirement
8. Though i have decided on changing the HU to MediaNAV provided in some models in Duster and changed my decision as the speakers were effective. This was very surprising to me as many of the reviews rated speaker effects were average. Purchased MapmyIndia ZX 350 model and got it installed in the front wind shield.
9. Though Khivraj has got monopoly in Chennai, was surprised with the Sales experience wherein they were very fast in completing all the formalities and was very comprehensive in explaining the features at the time of delivery.
10. Ingress was good even elderly people were finding it very easy to get in and out of RD. Negative:
9. Pricing could have been lesser by 80-90k
10. Non availability of Auto Central locking above certain speed limit
12. Option to stretch the rear passenger seat would have been nice
13. Fitting of all Accessories could not be done due to some communication between dealer's staff.
14. Automatic Climate Control Option would have been good to have
15. Cruise Control should have been provided for this price range. Pricing and discounts:
At the time of booking, decided the accessories and bargained for discounts. Though initial discount from Renault was only 10k with hard bargain it got extended upto 22k which was converted as accessory fitments. Some are being electrical in nature, stuck to the fitment through dealer rather than doing it outside and getting the warrant void. Btw
, extended warranty for another 2 years and up to 80k KM was provide free.
Ex-Showroom Price of the Car at Chennai is Rs. 10,88,700/- and OTR around Rs.13.1L.
The initial mileage which was only in City bumper to bumper traffic was only 9kmpl
Will write a detailed review about my trip to Ooty during first week of June wherein RD was just 10 days old.
Some interior pictures of the car. Request you to bear with the image quality as it was taken with a mobile camera.