| | My White (Work) Horse: Maruti Suzuki Ritz
My first car was the Hyundai Santro Zip Plus LS bought in January 2003.
Itís been the only car in the family and has truly been the work horse/ donkey/ mule. In the past 13 years and 95,000 kms, it has failed to start, on only two occasions.
And on both these occasions, it was some random wire getting loose. The cost of repairing it was Rs.120 and Rs.300 as far as I remember.
I used to get my car regularly serviced at the Hyundai Authorized Service centre until 2010. However it has been five years (yes, you read it right) since I got my Santro serviced. And the ONLY reason for this is that during every service visit, they would carry on some repairs they termed as super urgent. And I had no intentions to pay for the same because my car would be working fine until I drove it in for service. And a simple service would end up costing me anywhere between Rs.8000 to 15,000.
For example, way back in 2009, they strongly advised me to get my clutch overhauled. And that failing to do so would result into a very expensive repair job in the near future. I didnít let them proceed with it. It has been more than six years and my clutch is still working fine.
Ever since the year 2010, I have got the air filter, oil filter and engine oil replaced once a year in January. And my car has been running without any issue.
My car definitely doesnít look its age. To those who donít know the year when my carís production got discontinued (old shape Santro), it looks and feels less than 2 years old to them.
My car has been with me right through my late teenage years to me entering into the 30s.
However my car needs its suspension to be completely overhauled. Along with a new set of rims and tires. The suspension has never been overhauled. The tires have been replaced only once (in 2010 at 64,000 kms). The rims are the original ones. The approximate cost for these repairs would be Rs.42,000. I do not see financial sense in opting for these repairs. Head wins over the Heart.
The only real disadvantage of owning the Santro has been the pathetic mileage. I get anywhere between 7 to 10 kmpl in the city. And that is seriously bad for a small car.
I have no plans to sell my Santro. It has way too many memories attached to it. However I felt the need for a new work horse that can take over the daily mile munching. The Santro will be used for the daily trip to the tennis court and gym which is less than a km away.
I had a few requirements in mind.
Diesel: Due to the high running.
Hatchback: To navigate narrow lanes and for the ease of parking.
Extremely High Reliability: The Santro has spoilt me. It HAS to be reliable. As simple as that.
Comfort: Relatively comfortable front seats with decent thigh support (I am 6 feet tall).
Tall body design (ideally): After experiencing the benefits of a tall body design, I am absolutely okay with the quirky looks of a tall body design. Function over Form.
Although the Indian market has numerous cars, my list of requirements doesnít really offer me with much choice.
These are the shortlisted cars and the reasons as to why I rejected them:
1. Chevrolet Beat Ė The car was good. A little short on space and thigh support, however the dealershipís attitude was a deal breaker.
2. Ford Figo Ė Not a tall body design, I still wanted to give it a look. However the dealership informed me that they werenít taking any orders for the Figo anymore.
3. Maruti Celerio Ė Too small and basic. Iíd rather use my Santro with the bad suspension.
4. Maruti Swift Ė Overall a very satisfying all rounder. However the waiting period put me off. Also the premium they wanted to charge for the car being a runaway success was not justified.
5. Tata Indica Vista Ė I was hoping that Tata Motors would be selling this car at a huge discount. However I was surprised to know that they werenít and somehow had this belief that customers would prefer this car over Japanese rivals.
6. Toyota Etios Liva Ė EXTREMELY comfortable. But the interior quality was such a major turn off. I would have repented sitting in it every day. I can ignore its pathetic exterior design but the interiors were way too crude and basic. The dealership experience was by far the best though.
7. Tata Nano Gen X (AMT) Ė Not a diesel. But I wanted to give this car a chance mainly because of the automatic gearbox. And the initial saving of around 2 lakh rupees would be enough to justify not buying a diesel car. After an extensive test drive, I realized that this car would and could ONLY be driven in cities. And I would have to avoid the highways that run through Mumbai because of its serious lack of power and safety. The test drive car had run less than 4,000 kms but seemed to have aged much more than my Santro. Decided to stay away from this car although it did pull at my heart strings.
Not exactly a replacement, as I still have the Santro. I finally put down my money to get the Maruti Suzuki Ritz LDi.
I wanted to buy it in red or blue (similar to the Polo). But I was seriously unimpressed with the choice and shade of colours offered by Maruti. Finally chose white.
I got a pretty good deal at 6.15 lakh rupees. The Swift was costing me almost 80,000 rupees more for basically the same car.
Maruti showrooms in general need to get more professional. I was in touch with two showrooms and both of them were extremely unprofessional in almost everything. From not getting back, to not answering my calls, to false promises to lame excuses. It was sad.
I booked my car on 31st July 2015. I was promised a delivery by mid August.
The representative I was in touch with kept delaying the car by a few days. I was the one who always followed up with him. One day he said my car was at Pune. The other day he said that it was at Amravati. Was my car being sent back?
I found something fishy and went two levels up and called his senior. To my shock, I was informed that the car hadnít even left the factory. Five days after this shock, I was finally called by this senior representative informing me that the car had finally left the factory.
I was now promised a delivery date of 10th September 2015. After a few unexpected delays, I finally took delivery of my car on 14th September 2015 at around 5pm.
I should also note that I had received an insurance quotation of Rs.25,000 in the Proforma Invoice. And then a few days before delivery, I got a call telling me that the price of the insurance would be Rs.32,000. I was extremely angry about this. I actually asked them to cancel my booking.
They called me after an hour confirming the final price of the insurance as Rs.26,200. However on checking the policy, I realized that they had reduced the IDV of my car to Rs.475,000. I was shocked seeing this but honestly didnít have the time and energy to argue with them.
The delivery process went smoothly however there was no puja offered by the dealer. Neither was any photo taken during the delivery process. I was simply handed over a box of chocolates along with the car keys. Thatís all. I noticed a Ciaz being prepared for delivery. Maybe they wanted to concentrate on the Ciaz owner (I am a Honda City Vtec 2015 model owner, which they didnít know I guess).
My car came with no number plates, even though I was charged for the same. I had to stop at Milan subway on the way back home, to get the same. Shocked.
I was unable to visit their stock yard to conduct a PDI. I was extremely glad to observe that my car came stocked with Bridgestone tyres and not JK tyres. Also the spare wheel is a full size tyre, which means a proper 5 tyre rotation.
However I must note that the car was cleaned extremely well before the delivery. It was absolutely spic and span when I checked my car. Not a speck of dust. I was extremely pleased.
I did observe some sort of blue lines on the body at different places. It came off easily when I rubbed it with my finger, so I didnít create a fuss about it. Just curious as to what it was.
Maruti offers a fuel coupon for 5 litres. A small gesture, but definitely worth mentioning.
My drive back home was uneventful. My mother performed the puja when I reached home and we went for a short drive. Dad was fooling around. They were proud that I bought my first car. However I told them clearly that the Honda City is MY car :D
This is my first diesel car. And the Fiat engine is truly a gem. Itís an extremely powerful engine for its class and size. And it feels so refined. Yes there is turbo lag, but I prefer it in stop-go traffic. Plus you can easily learn to drive around this lag.
The build quality of my Ritz is satisfactory. It is a strong and confident car. I find the paint quality and finish to be better than my Honda City.
It definitely feels one size bigger than the Santro.
The position of the gear lever is spot on and although the plastics inside the car are hard, itís got a good feel. The MINI-inspired speedometer looks funky in the otherwise plain interiors.
The ride quality in the front is good. However the rear tends to get bouncy.
I crossed 1,000 kms on 21st September 2015 and availed the first free service at 1,124 kms on 22nd September 2015.
The first free service was uneventful. I was at the service centre when they carried on with the work. The car was parked at the washing bay in less than 20 minutes of entering the workshop. Maybe they just checked for leakages and tightened a few screws. Anyway whatís again worth mentioning is that the cleaning of the car was fantastic. I am extremely picky when it comes to the car being delivered clean after servicing. Maruti Suzuki gave me no room to complain.
I availed the second free service on 8th October 2015 after crossing 5,000 kms. Uneventful once again.
Iíve faced only one issue with the car so far. There is an irritating rattling noise from the right side of the dashboard. Itís been there since I took delivery. Iíll get this sorted out in the third free service.
I really donít have much to share as of now. It is a simple no nonsense car. Munching on the miles with no complains. And the engine is an absolute gem. Iíve been consistently getting a mileage of 14 kmpl, which is bound to increase with time.
Iíll definitely keep this thread updated on a regular basis.