I am sure you all may have felt the happiness and pride in owning the 1st luxury car in your family. Same is the case with me. The car which I shall discuss here is the daily ride of my father i.e a Maruti Esteem Vxi with Silky Silver color. To begin with, my paa has been a man of principles and never fell for unnecessary expenditures. He was fine with the 2nd user Premier Padmini that we owned from 1991 to October 2006. I too grew up while sitting and enjoying my Premier Padmini's ride. My whole schooling and good part of my college life had involved the "FIAT". Since it completed the 15 valid years of road presence it was time for us to decided about a new alternate car.
Then began the search for a car which according to my father should be easy to drive and maintain. He was interested in buying a TATA Indigo and felt it would be suffice for his needs but after taking certain 2nd opinions from other members of the family we struck off the Indigo from our list and instead started looking for a better option. That's when my dad's colleagues told him to take a drive in their newly purchased Esteem (though Lxi). After driving it he was very impressed with the functioning of the car and really liked it's looks. Even today he says that Esteem is best designed sedan by Maruti.
After returning from the office that day, Dad discussed with me and mom about the car. As he was very sure about it so both of us too supported him and then began the job of getting it financed. In the 1st week of July 2006, we spoke to a nationalized bank here in Noida and went to discuss the tenure and EMI of the loan that we intended to take.
Finally, a tenure of 7 years was fixed with the EMI being accordingly calculated. All was going well until my dad's organization went into a financial crisis and we as humble working people did not have much choice left choice except for going in for a smaller hatchback like an Alto or Wagon R. I was pursuing my graduation when I got to know about this and felt heart broken.
Then one day my dad went to drop me at the college and while getting out of the car he said "Chalo aaj shaam ko Esteem ghar laatey hei
" (Lets bring the Esteem home today evening). As he is a Cancerian, my ded is really concerned about the happiness and well being of his loved ones. So, when he said this, my eyes became wet and I hugged him. He then had said "Chup ho ja yaar, koi ladki dekhegi to kya hoga tera?"
I was uncontrollable.
After attending my classes and bunking the lecture of my History class I reached home had lunch with Dad after which we went to the bank to collect the draft. Next day, Dad called up Vipul Motors Noida to inform that the draft is ready and we would like to take the delivery on 19th July (his birthday). I was eagerly waiting for the day and finally the sun came out on 19th July 2006. Did not go to college that day and straight away went to Vipul Motors on my Blue splendor plus bike (sold in December 2007). After reaching there I met Mr. Pushpendar who was our sales adviser. He was one person who did not make any effort to cross sell anything by force or pressure or by cleverness. A person like this is really hard to find in today's time. But my perceptions about him changed entirely when we met in June this year regarding my Ertiga's purchase.
Moving on the with purchase experience.
We had decided to buy the top-end Vxi model of Esteem and chose the Silky Silver color as Paa said this color is sober and very elegant. It is the easiest to maintain in Delhi. So, the Vxi model of Esteem was delivered at the Noida sector 18 showroom of Vipul Motors.
Here is the list of the specifications of the 2006 model Esteem Vxi which I own.
Fuel Type: Petrol
Color: Silky Silver OEM
provided features include
All 4 power windows OEM
fog lamps OEM
Kenwood 4 speaker audio system with power antenna OEM
spoiler with brake light
Cigarette Lighter (Which my Honda misses)
After checking the car I rang up dad to come and complete the purchase formalities. He came and had a look at the car and went to have a feel of it. Being 6 ft 2 in he wanted to have good legroom which he ultimately found in the Esteem. He requested for a small test drive just to get acquainted with the car's control. After completing this he discussed about the security accessories with Pushpendar. This guy was really faithful that time and told us to get the following done;
1) Leather seat covers (Beige)
2) Gear Lock
3) Central Locking (Nippon)
4) Body Cover
Apart from the above he did not approve of any other add-on accessory. These 4 items costed us around 19k at that time. In today's time it will be rather very expensive. After fixing the above dad checked the car's papers. We were told that the registration number will be allotted within a week and so it was. I wanted a number similar to my Premier Padmini's number so without any hassle was given that at no extra cost. A big thanks goes to Pushpendar who helped us in fulfilling all the requirements with a smile. He used to be a gem of a person.
As formalities were completed it was time to take our 1st luxury sedan home. At home it was nothing less than a celebration. A puja was done by mom and then the car was parked in the drive way. Till the time the registration number was not provided dad used our Premier Padmini to commute to office and drop me to college.
After a few months, My life took a U-turn, It was impossible for us to maintain 2 cars at that time as earnings were limited. So, we had to forcibly sell off our Premier Padmini to a mechanic who betrayed us by getting it scrapped. When I got to know, I kept thinking how much pain my car would have felt? , where would it be now? , I knew I could do nothing to save her and win her back. Her scrapping to me was like a demise of a loved one
. Since then there is a strong will of winning back a loved possession in me. I will give back my dad the 1st car of his life. I had kissed her for the last time in October 2006
My dad always has made sure that this car shall not get serviced at any after-market shop and I have the responsibility to keep both cars in immaculate condition. He is not a big fan of after market modifications so has told me not to play around with his car. Hence, till date the car is in stock condition but few small add on accessories have been placed with his permission.
1) Bumper Guards
2) Door Guards (I pop)
3) Rear windscreen rolling curtain
4) Window visors
5) H4 White bulbs from Philips (A total waste as per dad)
6) Seat covers as leather one's created a hot oven in the car during summers.
7) Ambi Pure Car perfume
8) DRLs from Rediff.com
9) Reverse sensors
There are a lot of plus points with this particular model of Esteem
1) Superb looks. Dad really loves the clean lines of the car and simply refuses to compare it to today's designs
2) Being a Vxi variant it was fully loaded with features
3) Air Conditioning has been superb
4) Rear leg-room is a great feature
5) A car worth 5 Lakhs gives a feel of top class comfort.
6) Best in class fuel efficiency.
7) Very reasonable to maintain in the long run.
8) Good options of storage
9) Great ground clearance
10) Decent Boot Space
Though I hate to mention but this car has it's share of issues
1) No airbags/ABS
in top variant.
2) Audio system does not have a remote control
3) Key-Less entry not a standard feature in the top model.
4) Quality of tinted glass not up to the mark.
5) Brakes are a slight issue. They could have been made more responsive.
As dad has never been fond of alternative fuel systems so he refused to change it to CNG/LPG. He told, "the day I cant afford to fill fuel in this car I will sell it off"
. Thus, On the OEM
petrol engine this car has run 1 Lakh 63 thousand kilometers till date.
The car as mentioned above has been Dad's daily ride to office so in traffic with A/C the car gives 12.5 to 13.5kmpl. Where as when we take it to Jaipur or Bareilly then on highways it gives us 18 to 19 kmpl non ac and 14 to 16 kmpl on AC. He is satisfied with the performance of the car and plans to keep it for another 4 years at least. And he is right because by god's grace it has retained it's looks and strength till date. But as I am coming across the issue of availability of spares, we might have to look for an alternative soon. Anyways, the alternative would be nothing beyond Maruti.
If I speak of it's ride quality and the handling then by far this car has pretty smooth ride and is very easy to drive around in the city and an absolute pleasure on the highways if driven by self i.e me or dad but drivers make a mess of such a nice car. As the roads with pot holes are a major deterrent for the ride of any car so even this is no different and it feels rather bumpy on small pot holes too.
As far as the braking of the car is concerned, it has power brakes, but the braking is accurate but slightly sluggish but we were lucky to have avoided situations many times. I feel this car is better made in technical terms than most of it's present contemporaries. I am not saying that other cars are bad but Esteem's design plays a very important role in it's performance as the car is lighter in body weight and designed to perfection in terms of handling. I feel that even in the absence of today's high end braking technology this car does well on the roads and I or my family have never felt unsafe in it for the past almost 8 years.
As we know, A car's steering is a major component in driving it as a whole so this car has a power steering with a lock. While driving the steering does not vibrate or feels hard even at high speeds. Being power assisted it is very easy to control the car with it and it really makes the car turn easily in traffic and has no issues like off set or giving strain to the driver.
Another important factor in safe driving is the Horn. The OEM
horn is decent and till date I have replaced it only once and that too with a OEM
one. Unlike my Honda the Horn of this car is very much audible.
Adding to the safety are the headlamps. The OEM
headlamps have been serving us well and not even one bulb got fused. Though the relay gave up. The head lamp leveling device is really useful in maintaining accurate light and beam during the driving. After having them since the time of purchase I changed the bulbs to Philips H4 White bulbs. They costed me INR 1100. The lighting has improved further and during winters they have proved to be very helpful.
A car is known by it's performance. A major equipment in car's performance is the engine. The car runs on 1298CC petrol engine. It is super smooth and has got minimal noise on high speeds. The engine is like the icing over the cake and has enhanced the overall persona of this car. The best part is that it keeps a tab on excessive pollution. For keeping it in good shape I use Liqui Moly full synthetic Engine Oil.
Moving on to the transmission, It is a 5 speed manual transmission. The gear shifting is very smooth and all it needs is proper clutch pressing in order to change the gear. I have overhauled the clutch only twice in these 8 years and both times it has been done with Vipul Motor's Noida workshop in Sector 3.
During the rainy season this car has never let us down. Even in worst of roads this car went on safely and never gave up in the middle unlike it's other cousins. Wipers too have played a important role and they actually are good quality one unlike the sub-standard quality of Honda. I replaced them recently with Hella as they showed signs of ageing.
So far I driven this car in every type of weather and almost all types of roads, hence, I am big fan of it's ground clearance as this car never hits the speed bumps unlike my Honda City Ivtec.
Not to forget, I often travel so there is lot of stuff to be carried like bags and pleasantries for the relatives so the big boot never leaves me wanting for more. Very accommodating and easily fits luggage and closes with ease. No need of placing a roof top carrier.
Some pics of my car: