Well, it is a long story which started 3 years ago.
My first car Indica vista (October 2008) has served me rather well. It has taken me to several places in India on 4 to 25 days trips. It has never broken down or stranded me on innumerable highway trips. Over the years , the low GC of the car was a problem with car bottoming out at every speed breaker. Further the Leh travelogues in the forum has made me to yearn for a trip to Leh. Hence my search for a car with high GC started. Requirements
1. High GC with good ride quality and 5 seater(occasional 7 seater) with good luggage space.To me, what comfort car gives to me and family while traveling is more important than the external appearance.
2. Ex Showroom price below 10 lakhs (Road tax in Karnataka -15.4% for ex showroom price up to 10 lakhs and 18.8% above 10 lakhs)
3. Service costs( lower the better) Shortlisted/ test driven cars Renault Duster Positives
Good GC, very good mileage, ride quality Negatives
Only a 4 seater. No second row AC in entry and middle level model. Even the top end gets only a blower without cooling coil. Again top end price more than 10 lakhs ex showroom. In addition service costs. Service interval @ 10K , high spares and labour cost once free service's are over. Free services are only upto 20K. Ownership threads in the forum mentioning brake pad change @ 20K with a cost of 10K. In my Vista i had to change brake pads at 54K and it cost me just Rs 1300/=( TASS cost is 3 K).
Warranty of 2 years/40K which can be extended up to 4 yr/80K is the lowest warranty offered by any manufacturer in this segment. Maruti Ertiga Positives
Very good mileage, reasonably good GC @ 180mm, but less than competitors Negatives
Again a 4 seater. One has to push the second row fully to the front to fold third row, thus reducing the leg space for the second row occupants. Otherwise third row can not be folded. Even then the space available for luggage is very much less. Pulling power when fully loaded is low. Toyota Innova Positives
Reliability, good space, resale value, ride quality Negatives
Cost, entry model with no features except power steering is above 10 lakhs. Low GC @ 170 mm, 5 K service intervals. Engine hoarse above 100 kmph speeds. Driven my brother in laws Innova for almost 1000 km. No second row AC in entry model makes it difficult for second and third row occupants. Mahindra Xylo
Test driven it 4-5 times. Positives
It is almost a complete package Negatives
Ride quality. Refusal of Mahindra dealer to give longer test drives on uneven roads. India Garage guy even claimed, I am lucky to get the 4 km test drive around MG road. Uneven service intervals, like service @ 5K, oil change @ 10K. Low GC compared to Duster, safari etc @ 180mm. Mahindra Scorpio Positives
Resale value, sturdy car Negatives
Ride quality with bouncy ride, less leg space, unequal service intervals , GC @ 180 mm less than competitors. TATA safari Positives
Cult status, space, good GC Negatives
Steering does not have any feed back at all.
News about new safari kept me waiting TATA Safari Storme LX Positives
Space, GC, 4 discs, ABS
, longer service intervals @ 15K Negatives
Prominent nose dive on hard braking. Absence of 2nd row AC big NO. TATA ARIA Pure LX Positives
Space, comfort, 2nd & 3rd row AC, 4 discs, almost all the features of mid level Innova at the price of entry level Innova, long service intervals at 15K.
Ride quality is much better than Safari. Took 4 test drives of almost 30 km each, from Concorde, Dairy circle. Tested the braking at 120 kmph on E-city flyover. Not much worried about TASS as i already have first hand experience with them. Known devil is better than unknown devil. Negatives
in entry model, Zero/very low resale value, problems in procuring spares in future, if TATA discontinues the model. Mahindra XUV Postitves
Too many features Negatives
Too many reported niggles, ride quality, base model priced above 10 lakh ex show room, uneven service intervals, service costs, low GC. Test drive car was rattling like hell. Compared to XUV, Scorpio test drive car from same dealer was in much better condition with no rattles. Scorpio test drive car was more than a year old as against few month old XUV. Buying Experience
Finally zeroed on ARIA. Almost bought a Pure model from Prerana motors in 2012 ( Experience the ARIA drive cars) It was offered at 11.5 on road. Mother vetoed it stating why to buy a used car.
Again in 2013 finalized a Pure model at 11.75 from Concorde, Hosur road. But a TATA motors engineer asked me to wait for new model with better clutch.
New refreshed ARIA with 148 Hp and 320 nm torques released in February 2014. Wanted to buy one just before my 25 days long trip across north India, but there is no stock available with Concorde. Finally did the trip with Indica Vista only.
In April 2015, found out ARIA is again being sold through all the dealers. TATA stopped selling it from all the dealers in 2012-13.
Sent a mail to Mr Ranganath of Prerana Motors. Test drive car was bought to my office with half an hour. Concorde was telling me no test drive cars for almost one month.
Got a total cash discount of Rs 50K including exchange bonus, cash discount etc etc, without actually exchanging my old car.
Zero depreciation insurance was from United India Insurance for 26.5 K. This includes PA cover of 2 lakh's each for seven passengers.
Ex show room price: 994388
Registration charges: 7500
Extended warranty: 7000
Road tax: 154528
-Cash discount 50000
Net Price: 1106416
Insurance (UII): 26500
Final cost: 1132916
Car comes with 3 year/1 lakh Km warranty. Engine and its components are having 1.5 lakh Km warranty. Accessories
Dealer has given just idol and floor mats.
Bought Pioneer 2690BT and JBL speakers from Snap deal. Head unit cost was 15K and speakers cost was around 5K (front components and rear normal ones). Installation by Prerana motors guys. Not fully satisfied with the installation. Purchased Amritas reverse camera @ 1.8K and facia for DVD system @ 2.2 K from the Prerana Motors installer. Reverse camera was connected to Head unit. Total cost of Head unit with speakers, reverse camera and installation was 25K.
Total price of the car including everything is 11.57 lakhs on road.
The Car comes pre wired from factory for speakers, tweeters and radio antenna is also prewired. The installer has to just connect the items like speaker/head unit.
Iam not fully convinced of AMC packages and hence did not opt for them. Did not even inquire about them.
Subsequently fitted the side foot rest outside in March 2015. Cost was 6.5K including installation. Brand was Mtek. Loan Process
Took OD car loan from SBI. SBI took a two days to sanction the loan. Processing fee was Rs 500. Rate of interest is 10.95%. I had to go once to SBI, JC road to sign the papers.
Took delivery on 9th May 2014. Features
The car is reasonably packed with features compared to base trim of Innova.
It has all 4 power windows with express down feature. Power windows work for 30 seconds after key is removed from key fob. ORVM are electrical with heating feature, which gets activated whenever rear demister is used. Key has follow me home feature. Remote central locking includes tail gate and fuel lid, with specific door open indicator including tail gate, on the speedometer console. There is manual unlock on the dash board . All doors lock once the car attains a speed of 5-10 kmph. Car does not lock itself , if the key is in key fob. No worries of getting locked out.
If car is unlocked with remote and owner did not open any doors for 2-3 minutes , it locks itself automatically. Car has theater style white led dimming lights in both front and second row. Unlocking the car with remote switches on these lights. They switch off 15-20 seconds after locking the car. All the doors have puddle lamps. The door pockets can easily take 1.5 liter bottles and are spacious. Boot gets a lamp which is also linked to car central locking.
Like all other TATA cars , ARIA also comes with two trip meters.MID has display for average mileage for both the trip meters, instant mileage, distance to empty, outside temperature. One can choose unit of measurement as Km or miles, temperature as centigrade or foreign heat.
Car has second row cooling unit but not heating element. All three rows has cooling vents. Cooling was superb. It chills the entire cabin in very quickly. It has audio alarm for low engine oil, water in fuel, driver seat belt not fastened, key-in ignition and driver door open, Key out with parking lamps on and driver door open. The inertia switch present in the car gets activated in case of collision. Once activated, it unlocks all the doors, switches on hazard lights and cabin lights also.
Car is equipped with all 4 disc brakes. In addition, rear wheel has drum brakes, which gets engaged as and when hand brake is used. Two glove box's, one with lamp. Reasonably spacious. There are two 12 V sockets one at front and another in the middle row. There is a provision to fix another in the boot. Middle row socket also acts as cigarette lighter. There are two cup holders in the front and one in the middle row. It also comes with coin holders in gear console. Missed Features
Rear wiper is a must. Badly missed it in rains and in dusty conditions of Leh-Ladakh. ABS
would have been great. Tata should have included ABS
in place of Power windows and hydraulic bonnet lift's which can be fitted outside. One year experience
The car has completed one year and has done 24,850 km till date.
During this period , I had done five long trips.
Bangalore-Hyderabad twice - 2400 km
Bangalore-Vizag once - 2300 km
Bangalore-Leh-Bangalore - 8750 km over a period of 26 days.
Bangalore-Kukke-Dharmasthala-Udupi-Murudeswar-Kollur-Sringeri-Hornadu-Bangalore - 1200 km 4 days.
Daily commute to office was around 28 km though the CBD areas of Bangalore.
On the highway ride comfort was superb. Car reaches 100 kmph around 2100 rpm and the cabin is super silent. Up to 120 kmph cabin noise is fine and not noticeable. Clutch is very light and gear shift OK. Very easy to drive in congested urban areas. I did not find any difference between ARIA and my earlier Vista Qjet. Heated OVRM's are a boon in rain. Headlamp throw is good. High beam especially.
Did not change the stock tyres (Bridgestone Dullers) No punctures till now. Got the tyre rotation done @15K as per manual. Braking even at 120-130 kmph speeds was fine. car stops without any fuss. Panic braking inside city at normal speeds was good. No issues there.
Boot space was adequate with three rows in use. It is enough for 2-3 day trip. But never had to use the third row in trips. Maximum persons on long trip was 5. With third row folding flat, there more than enough space. Never felt the space constraint in 26 day Leh trip. I had carried two 35 liter fuel cans, stove, 5 ft Oxygen cylinder and luggage of 3 adults and 13 year old boy.
In city mileage was consistently around 10.5 kmpl with AC always. Highway it was around 10.5-15.6 kmpl with AC. Mileage was around 10.5 to 11 when the car driven entirely in first and second gear in hilly areas of Leh. I got the highest mileage of 15.6 per liter in Jhansi-Nagpur section. Range on Full tank is approximately 750 km if driven around sedately. Likes
Superb ride quality especially on Highways. It feels like the car is just gliding over the road at 80-90 kmph speeds. One does not feel that speed at all. 80-90 feels like 50-60. One does not feel strained/fatigued even after traveling for days together. Highly comfortable seats and very good leg space are major pluses for the car. AC is damn good. It chills the cabin even at 1-2 blower speeds. Superb visibility from driver seat. Dislikes
Mild vibrations at low speeds is irritating especially in city traffic. . At half clutch , mild humming noise is heard.TASS claims they are normal. The noise goes away once car reaches 1200 RPM. Vibration of gear lever while stopping the car.
Dust accumulation on the rear door, which is due the door design. TATA has provided extra door beading to prevent dust entering the cabin, nevertheless while opening rear door, one can see dust accumulation. Service
All the services were done at Concorde, Dairy circle. Main reason for opting for this TASS, it is very near to my office (around 2 km) and I know almost all the staff there. I generally stand there and get the service done. First free service
@ 1000 km : just routine check up, top up of fluids. Nothing else. Cost is Rs 0/- Second free service
@ 5000 km: Again check up with no changing of fluids. Cost Rs 75/- Third free service
@ 15000 km: Change of engine oil, oil filter, sediment filter. Cost 3593/-
Engine oil 7.5 liters: 2155
Oil filter: 211
Sediment filter: 700
Rest is Taxes Fourth free service
is due @ 30K
Service satisfaction good. Issues
During third service it was found that power steering pipe was leaking slightly. Same was replaced under warranty. Cost of power steering cable was around Rs 1000/-. Driver side power window switch broke, same was replaced under warranty. Approximate cost is 2.5K Accident
Car met with accident on 7th May 2015 while going to Vizag at Srikalahasti in Andhra Pradesh. Lorry hit the car twice from behind. I was traveling at 50 kmph, all of sudden felt the jerk. Driver ran away leaving the lorry. The inertia switch got activated and unlocked all the doors. Got the inertia switch off at Nellore TASS. Damage
Rear bumper and rear left tail lamp cluster broke and also rear left quarter panel and tail gate got dents. Lodged a police complaint and moved on to Vizag. Returned to Bangalore on 14th May. Gave the car for repair to Concorde @ Kudlu gate after the arrival of spares from Pune. Concorde provided a spare car for the duration of repair.
Rear bumper,tail gate and tail lamp cluster were replaced.
Total estimate was Rs 52500/- odd. Concorde is levying a work contract tax @ 10% on labour, which insurance company is not refunding. I had to pay 6700/- ( 4000 compulsory deduction + work contract tax). Insurance paid 45700/=
Special thanks to Dhabhar Behramji for ensuring speedy supply of spares and also to Mr Jayaram, Service Head at Concorde
1. At Zozila Pass
2. Near Dalhousie
3. At Hunder sand dunes
4. At Parkachik glacier
5-6. Accident damage
7-8. After repair
9. Leaking Power steering cable