My car was bought in 2007 under very remarkable circumstances. I had just the budget for an M800 but my wife pitched in with Rs. 77K more and wow..the alto was now affordable.
there was a company scheme and my first car was registered in the company's name; the ownership would subsequently be transferred to me in about 5 years with a soft loan at 6% p.a. Sounded nice.
Unfortunately my job was absolutely dull and I left the company in November 2007; got Alto transferred to my name by paying the remainder amount to my company - dad helped me with a lump sum
Yes, more about the driving and ride experience: So this bright spanking new car was parked for about a week in the basement while I took driving lessons in a Santro !.. well, after a week I mustered the courage to take the vehicle out for short drives.. after about 10 days of continuous driving in Nov, I was confident about handling the car... very unlike most owners I guess.
A couple of remarkable drives must be mentioned. My first long drive was quite uneventful. Bangalore-Chennai-Bangalore. this was in June 2008. My dad had come along and we did the distance BLR-CHN in about 6.5 hours with 2 short breaks. All along we drove at max speeds of 90-95 kmph. the mileage was about 20 on the highway. the return proved to be more difficult since we got stuck at Electronic city for about 2 hrs. My 4 month old toddler was really suffering despite the continuous a/c. the return drive took about 8 hrs.. whew!!..
another slightly difficult trip was in 2008 when we went to Tiruppur, a town about 300 km away to the south of Bangalore. this was actually an official trip and a colleague who was passionate about driving accompanied me. at night the driving was really scary with poor road visibility due to absence of road lights..somehow we managed well. my colleague was an excellent driver and he made good progress. Here too, the mileage was in the region of 20 or so.
The finest achievement for my Alto was the Bangalore-Lucknow drive in June 2010. I had joined a long term program in Lucknow and had planned to drive there along with my dad. This took 3 days of driving with overnight halts. Day 1 - we covered 550 km - Bangalore - Hyderabad - absolutely dreamlike roads. But we halted at Hyd since I had an aunt there. this took about 9.5 hours of driving with a 30 minute halt in between. We reached Hyd at 3 30 p.m. and halted there for the night.
Day 2 was a mix of the beauty and the beast. The Hyderabad - Nagpur distance was about 500 km and we covered this in about 9 hours along 4 lane highways with very less traffic. But the temperatures were rising and the heat was terrible. the second leg of this day was the real tough one. we had planned to reach Jabalpur by 9 p.m. we ended up reaching by 10 40 p.m. completely exhausted and worn out. The roads beyond Nagpur were really slow ones. 2 lane state highways with best possible speeds of 70-80 kmph.. but we passed through beautiful forests in the evening. At Jabalpur due to lack of clear directions, we were lost for about an hour.
Day 3- an absolutely tough one.. temperatures hovered in the range of 45 C and our A/C was on full time. we had to do Jabalpur-Katni-Rewa-Allahabad-Rae Bareli-Lucknow. Somewhere along the way both of us had spells of dizziness due to the heat, but by God's grace we survived. we had to take the left fork at a place called Mangwan to proceed towards Allahabad. the road after this was pure horror. broken highway - where we could manage speeds of only 20-30 kmph.. After we crossed this stretch of road which was about 20-25 km, the roads were manageable. we crossed Allahabad by 6 p.m. and then reached Rae Bareli by 10 p.m. Some of our folks at Lucknow had advised us that the roads are unsafe at night. So we halted at Rae Bareli. Did the last stretch of 90 km from Rae Bareli to Lucknow in the morning. Reached our destination in Lucknow at 9 a.m. 1940 kms covered in 3 days, 2 hours. A stupendous drive - in hindsight, it created memories, but perhaps not so worthwhile because of the roads in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
May 2015 - my car has done 65000 km and I have not yet changed my tyres. My service guy told me to change it soon. Decided to take his advice this year. Two punctures in the year 2013. During the last 2 years, I have taken the car to Chennai during the Dec break and also during short breaks in May. Planning to do a few more long drives. Would love to change seat covers too.. not enough spare cash this year.. may have to postpone decision by about a year. My car was serviced at intervals of 5000-6000 kms during 2008 and 2009 since the maintenance was taken care of by the company. Subsequently I have been getting the annual maintenance done only once a year.. after about 10000 kms.
the car delivers comfortable mileage of 14-15 in city. With a/c it may be at about 13 kmpl. On the longest drive Bangalore-Lucknow it returned figures of 21.4 or so. I am happy with the mileage
and I also know that none of my future cars would be mileage warriors.
Having said that, I am not too fond of the ride quality, it transmits road noise too much. If there is even a small stone on the road, it will inform you through appropriate sounds !!
Have changed the clutch assembly twice during these past 8 years. It is due for another change this year; I think the problem persists with most of Maruti's small cars. Perhaps that pushed Maruti to try out the AMT in their celerio.
Yes, I would most likely trade up to another car two years from now.