This is my first review. Apologies in advance if the write up is not up to the mark!! Also, this being my first car, there are a lot of emotions, so the post might be a little lengthy!! Scene 1:
So the story begins from June 2014. I finished my MBA and joined my first job in Mumbai. My office was 16 kilometers (but an hour) drive from my place. By now I was fed-up of Mumbai Locals especially during Summers and Monsoon. Also, I had this childhood wish of buying myself a car within the first year of my first job joining. I had no savings. So, the only option was to depend on parents. No bank/NBFC will give me any kind of loans unless I complete 6-8 months in my job. So the plan got postponed. Instead, I started planning for a bike (Pulsar 200 NS). I was a bike-freak back in my engineering days in Bangalore. We used to have numerous short to long road trips in and around the city. That craze inside me for bikes will never die, be it a 100 CC splendor or the 500 CC thump machine. However this decision of buying a bike got criticized from every corner - family, friends, colleagues. So the plan had to be dropped (although one day I am surely going to get myself the Desert Storm).
Months passed by and I kept researching online and during this period I can say (and it wont be like bragging) that there was no car available in the Indian market in the 10 lac range which I wouldn't have researched about. Across makes and across models and across variants!! Mumbai was witnessing a boom in the CNG (Green) vehicles - Wagon R, Ertiga, Alto, Celerio etc from Maruti and why not, running cost of Rs. 2 per km is indeed fascinating. Scene 2:
8 months had now passed and the time had arrived when I had a flurry of banks ready to offer me car loans/personal loans and what not!!
The Decision: After my thorough research backed by the extensive running (almost 40-50 KMs a day) and opinion of the same set of family, friends and colleagues, I set of to book a new Wagon R LXI CNG. The added cherries were consumer discount of Rs. 25000 and corporate discount of Rs. 5000 that MSL was providing on Wagon R and Alto 800. Alto 800 was never an option.
The Booking: One fine Sunday afternoon, I went to Spectra Motors in Thane and did a TD of the Wagon R LXI CNG. It felt really good!! Smooth, quiet, spacious, good look and feel and comfort of driving. Booked it by paying Rs. 25000 up front as I was too sure that this is going to be the car that I will buy.
The Turning Point: The delivery was promised after one week. In between I had to complete the loan procedure. The very next day of booking, we had a team outing at office. We were going to Manori Beach in Mumbai. One of colleagues had brought his Swift LDI. I got a chance to drive it for about 10 KMs. I was stunned by the ride quality. The rawness of the diesel engine felt superb. I had never before had a chance to drive a diesel vehicle and I had this opinion that diesel engines are good for cabs and SUVs only. One night of sleeping on it and my mind took a U-turn. Took a leave on Tuesday and went to Spectra Motors. Inquired about the Swift LDI/VDI. The price difference was huge and I was on a budget. There was only a limited stretch that I could afford in the EMI.
That day I had a friend of mine, the Swift Guy with me. He gave me the idea of going for a pre-owned car from a reputed dealer like Maruti True Value/Mahindra First Choice etc. I was not in favor of that but just for research's sake, I went to the Navneet Motors True Value in Ghodbunder Road, Thane. They had a good number of cars in the 5 lac range - Swift LDI, VDI, ZDI, Dzire, Ritz, SX4 etc. I was pretty sure about buying a hatchback. I took a TD of a 2010 Swift VDI (57000KMs), 2011 Swift LDI (54000 KMs)and 2010 Ritz VDI Genus (Anniversary Edition) (42000 KMs). Although there weren't any noticeable differences drive quality wise (all the engines being the same), the comfort and build quality of the Ritz really stood out of the three. I agree that not many agree with the rear-view of the Ritz but I happened to like it. Being the Anniversary edition, this was an emerald blue color with dual-tone dashboard (mix of grey and blue). To add to it, it had really good looking alloys with upgraded tyres which were 90% new. My mind started playing games. I called up Spectra Motors and cancelled the booking. They deducted Rs. 1000 and that was reasonable. I got my trustworthy mechanic and my experienced brother and the Swift friend, did and 15 KM long TD and got the car mechanically checked. Although it was certified by both True Value and Car Wale, still I did not want to take any chances. Everyone gave me a Green Signal.
The Re-Booking: I booked the car after negotiating the price to Rs. 350000 from initial quote of Rs. 370000. I paid Rs. 100000 in down-payment and the rest was financed by the ICICI used car loan.
The Delivery: The delivery was made after 3 days of booking. ICICI disbursed the loan real fast this time, it being the month end. With the car, I got a one year warranty on almost all the mechanical things - engine, gearbox, suspensions, steering, brakes etc. In addition to that, I got a one year Road Side Assistance by Absure (AXA and Carwale combined). The car was properly serviced, washed, rubbed and polished. Three free services were also on the offer. I paid Rs. 7000 extra and got a 1 year extended warranty from Absure on the same lines as for the first year. Over and above all of this, I got half tank diesel pre-filled. Just to mention as accessories, the car already had the following:
- Pioneer AVH 2690BT Touchscreen Head Unit
- Front Door JBL Components
- Rear Door MSL default (Nippon) speakers
- Pioneer 600W ovals on the rear parcel tray
- Xenos 4 channel amplifier
- Hot Leather Seat Covers
The Experience: All in all I was one delighted customer driving out from the showroom. Picked up my brother and sister in law from home on way and went to our favorite temple neat the Thane East Station. After the pooja, we took the car for a drive on the highway. It was sheer pleasure. The entire experience - the drive quality, the raw power, the tall built, the superb interiors (beauty added by the Pioneer Head Unit), the 2000 RPM turbo boost, the superb music and above all the rush inside me. After a 60 KM drive we came to a restaurant in the vicinity and I treated my brother and sister in law. After that, I started using the car for my daily commute to office and clients. The car is performing excellently. The AC is very very effective. The upgraded tyres provide a superb grip. Most of my movement consists 50% highway (80-100 KMPH) and 50% bumper to bumper traffic (10-30KMPH) with 100% AC use. I have received an FE of 15-16 KMPL and I am pretty satisfied with it (considering the kind of traffic and AC use), experts please comment on this.
The Accessories and Packages: As I already had most of the accessories already in place, this did not require any research. I went to a local accessories dealer, Indiana Motors in Panchpakhadi, Thane (our old and trustworthy shop). Got my Ritzy a set of new Door Visors, Steering cover (stitched one), AmbiPure (Aqua), Fog lamps (just for the look), JBL 1250 Watts Bass Tube. I also got packages for teflon coating, antirust coating, engine coating and interior treatment for Rs. 5000. All of this took an entire day but the car now looked new (read brand showroom new).
The Trips so far: Apart from the general daily commute, I have took the Ritzy for 2 short trips - One was an off-roading on the beach side (the tyres worked like charm) and one was a highway trip to Kelwa Beach near Manor on the Ahmedabad highway (where I was able to touch 150 KMPH). The performance of the car was Legen----wait for it----dary. It was totally stable, gripped to the road and returned great FE (19-20KMPL).
For those who are not aware of it, the Ritz VDI Genus (Anniversay Edition) has the following in addition to the normal Ritz VDI - A unique color (emerald blue), remote locking, rear wiper and washer and integrated ICE (which the previous owner had replaced with the Pioneer HU and was a good decision I would say after knowing the pathetic quality of the Nippon integrated ICE).
I am posting a few pictures now as I did not get time to click many. I will post more soon. Also, will keep updating my ownership experience at regular intervals.
I seek comments and suggestions from you regarding the car, my decision, tips as well as the quality of the write-up!!