I am quite late in starting my ownership review after nearly 14 months into the ownership but better late than never.
The need for a new vehicle arose in September 2014 when one fine morning, I decided that this would be last time I am going to the Tata Workshop with my Aria as my work started to suffer because of the repeated useless visits. I could have either spent my time in getting the issues rectified again & again or brought a new vehicle and moved on even if meant an immediate loss. I chose the latter and was supported by the family.
A little background on the Aria first – an excellent product from Tata Motors with the best ride I have experienced in any of my vehicles. Brought in June 2011, it turned out to be a lemon vehicle replacing another lemon vehicle (Scorpio Vlx AT 2WD). Frustrated with the repeated repairs, the statistics I had made in February 2014 showed that in 38,376 Kms covered from 20-06-2011 till 14-01-2014, I had spent Rs. 76,478.23 on parts and labour while Tata Motors had replaced parts under warranty worth approximately 4,50,883.82 (including VAT @ 12.5% which is not accounted for in the bill). During this period, the Aria had spent 81 days at the workshops with longest time being 18 days. All this without a single accident related repair. After sharing this with management of Tata Motors, the issues were resolved in March 2014 and I even invested further on 4 new tyres (damaged due to repeated alignment issues) as I planned to use it 2-3 more years. But, the same issues started surfacing again and by August 2014 I was back to the previous state of March 2014. That’s when it became clear that I was trapped in a vicious circle which was affecting my work.
The requirement list was pretty short – a new vehicle with good ride and fuss free ownership with-in a budget of 25 Lakhs to be brought in the Navratri.
I considered the following vehicles: A. Hyundai Elantra Diesel Auto
: The Showroom was nearby and after picking-up my Aria back from Concorde Motors Delhi, I went straight there. The Elantra struck all the right chords in my heart during the test drive especially the ventilated seats. The only drawback was I would be changing my driving style from what pothole to slow for every pothole. B. Hyundai Santa Fe 4WD Auto
: After the Sales person came to know what I drive, he showed me the Santa-Fe. A test-drive of the Santa-Fe was enough to change my mind from Elantra and I liked it overall. Somehow, I was not ready to put down 30+ Lakh on a Hyundai. C. Audi A4 / Q3
: This was the result of the Santa Fe test drive which made me realise that if I extend the budget, it has to be for an Audi only. Went to the nearby Audi Showroom and checked out both Audi A4 and Q3. I did not take a test drive as somehow I could not convince myself into getting into the world of Germans with their maintenance costs. Discussed with the family and outcome was that my heart was more inclined towards Audi A4 but mind and family said Audi Q3. Dropped the idea in the dilemma. D. Mitsubishi Pajero Sport
: Having a Pajero SFX already at home, I was overly enthusiastic to have another Mitsubishi at home as the maintenance was not going to be an issue. I had sampled the Pajero Sport (CBU model) shortly after it’s launch during one of the service of the SFX and that impression, which indicated all good, was still fresh with me. Arranged for a test drive for the family and the dealer brought home the vehicle a day later. During the test drive, the sales person informed that a limited edition in dual tone had been launched sometime earlier which also has a rear entertainment package and chiller / warmer. The pictures from the dealer looked interesting but the opinions were divided on the colours – whether dual tone or single tone. While discussing colours, my father returned from his round of the test drive and immediately uttered to me a firm NO. The reason – clutch was too hard, brakes were dull, air conditioner had whistling sound, one of the air vent was stuck and the front passenger seat was too low for his liking. I too had noticed these issues but was biased to admit them. Couldn’t have imagined such poor state of test vehicle – after all first impression is all that counts. I wanted to have another test drive but some how got convinced to try a Toyota. E. Toyota Fortuner
: A couple of months earlier had a ride in the middle row of a friend’s Toyota Fortuner. The ride experience was not good in comparison to the Pajero SFX or the Aria. After the Pajero Sport was off the list, I wanted to sample the new variant for any improvement in the ride quality. The dealer whome I visited simply said they don’t provide a test drive for Toyota Fotruner as it is selling without one that too with a long que. Sent an email to Toyota Kirloskar informing the attitude of the dealer and in parallel took a test drive from another dealer. The response from Toyota on phone was ‘we will investigate’. The family was not entirely satisfied with the test drive and it would have been a half hearted buy as the ride was not better than the Pajero SFX or the Aria and incomparison to it’s competition, the less said about the brakes the better. A gentlemen looking after Sales from Toyota who got the notified of the email tried all combinations (2WD Auto, Manual 4WD, with or without TRD Kit) but there was simply nothing which could be made available in 10 days even when reluctantly I asked him to include white colour which was never my choice. Finally, I concluded booking was the only way forward as the ‘Tatkaal’ amount on the Toyota Fortuner (which I got to know from another source), was a cool 10% of ex-showroom price (that too for white colour) which would be charged in form of accessories. On the last Navratri, I was about to book a Blue 4WD when came a shocking reply from the dealer that a committed delivery date can be given only for white colour and for ‘odd’ colours (which included all other colour excluding white), there would be no commitment. They will ‘try’ to get the vehicle delivered in 6-8 months. The answer was a firm NO. The Dealer and Toyota jointly ensured that I do not buy a Toyota Fortuner after wasting nearly 15 days. F. Mahindra Rexton Rx7
: The test drive vehicle was brought home the day after the Toyota Fortuner was sampled. I didn’t like it much and lack of roof or pillar mounted middle row air conditioning vents was not acceptable for rear seat comfort.
A day after Dushehra, I decided to give Mitsubishi another shot by getting a test drive from a different dealer at a different place altogether. Got in touch with multiple dealers and one of the sales person confirmed that they had Yellow-White Pajero Sport in stock which I can see and one of them can be spared if I am interested in an immediate buy. The only catch was buying it meant there was no time getting a loan. Immediately we went to Delhi and enroute it was concluded that if another Pajero is coming, it has got to be Yellow-White or Blue. As the ladies in the house were already satisfied with the comfort and features, they left the final verdict with me and my father.
The next morning upon reaching the dealership, both of us could see the Yellow-White Pajero Sport from the front glass of the showroom. Even before entering the showroom, the colour choice was concluded to Yellow-White. It was simply love at first sight as the combination looked far better than what the pictures suggested. A short test drive concluded that the issues experienced (barring the low front passenger seat height) in the previous test drive were indeed vehicle specific. A final price including the accessories (MID, Door Visor, Bug Deflector and Rear Guard) was concluded after deliberations and in the mean time, the Yellow-White Pajero Sport which could be sold to us was brought from the stock yard for my PDI.
As it was a Bank Holiday, the vehicle could not be delivered on the same day. Gave a cheque for full amount to the dealer and got the vehicle billed with a special request which benefited in claiming additional depreciation expense and fulfilled my earlier desire of Navratri purchase. All this was concluded in 2 hours and my father took the delivery of the Pajero Sport, drove it a couple of metres and we returned it to be collected the next day after PDI and accessories fitment. The next morning the bank transfer was complete by 9:45 A.M. and stop payment was issued for the cheque issued to the dealer. This enabled the dealer to proceed with the temporary registration and the delivery was scheduled for the evening. Reached there around 4 P.M. and everything went smoothly and I was on my way back by with-in an hour.
I had tried so hard with all available approaches to get the Toyota Fortuner but couldn’t succeed and a casual call one day yielded fruitful result with the Pajero Sport. In all probability, it was destiny itself that ensured I do not buy a vehicle which meant compromising on the short requirement list.
The best joke happened on my way back when I got a call from the CRM of Toyota Dealer asking about the plans for compromising again on colour and booking white colour to get it by November. Informed her that it was the first call I had received from the handsfree of my new Pajero Sport and after a moment of silence, the call ended with a round of exchanging pleasantries.
The Dealer experience was far better than what I had experienced from other brands. Coincidentally, this was the second purchase from Excel Motors as my Pajero SFX was also sold by them. It further ensured that I knew some of the people in the showroom as we were in touch over the years. This helped the purchase process go smoothly. Likewise, having another Mitsubishi ensured that the relationship built-up with the people entrusted with service would ensure a smooth ownership experience. EDIT : First Service Experience EDIT : Additions Part 1 - 3D Mats, GPS tracker, Dashcam Installation EDIT : Additions Part 2 – Cruise Control Installation EDIT : Second Service Experience and issue in between EDIT : Additions Part 3 – K&N Air Filter EDIT : Additions Part 4 – Cabin Air Filter + Lights EDIT : Third Service Experience and issues in between EDIT : Additions Part 5 – Switchback Day Time Running Lamp Turn Indicator LED EDIT : Additions Part 6 – TPMS EDIT : Fourth Service Experience and issues in between EDIT : Filters cleaning before 5th Service EDIT : Fifth Service Experience EDIT : Additions Part 7 – Dieseltronic from Race Dynamics EDIT : Getting the shine back EDIT : The confusing slip EDIT : Sixth Service Experience EDIT : Tyres upgrade – bitten by 4 Scorpions EDIT : Seventh Service Experience