The story built-up
I never really had the attraction towards cars. Nor did I ever bother to learn car driving, as I was pretty contempt riding bikes and was actually obsessed with Bullets. My dad and everyone in my family did scold me for not learning to drive car, and was ridiculed by a many outside as well. I always told myself and my Mum-Dad - "I'll learn it on my own car. One that I have earned on my own"
And it followed with another banter of words from my dad :DMay 2015 : My best friend's marriage at a marriage palace in city's outskirts and I don't have any conveyance to go there. I literally felt like a looser when I didn’t have a single friend who can take me to the venue on his car. Nor did I knew driving to borrow someone else's . All city cabbies had refused to go so far outside the city limits. This incident changed my opinion towards cars, and made me realize cars have become more of a necessity now than a luxury.And right in the next month, a late night medical urgency required me to take my wife to hospital and I was again looking for cabs which took more than 1 hours to reach my place. I, in fact, had convinced myself to buy a second hand car. But before that, I had to learn driving. For which I was too lazy a person to wake up early in the morning as that was the only available slot in my daily schedule. Nevertheless, I started looking for second cars within my shoe-string budget and negligible knowledge on cars. Fast forward - September 2015:
The same best buddy Gaurav, called me up to ask me if I would like to take his 2004 make Standard Maruti 800 as he has now purchased a Verna. I agreed readily, as it was the vehicle which gave both of us some really awesome memories on our tours and on our commutes between Delhi and Ludhiana. My family also readily agreed as it was a steal at the cost he gave it to me and the great condition it was in.And now the funny situation built-up -"I own a car. But I can't bring it home because nither do I know how to drive it, nor do I have anyone in my family who knows driving as well"
Gaurav has started living in Noida and his 800 is parked in Ludhiana, having no one to drive it. All my friends are now living in other cities because of their jobs and I don't have anyone in my family who knows how to drive.
Somehow, I managed to bring it home begging an acquaintance to do me the favor. It was parked and I was relieved.Next day, I joined a driving learning school, and two days later I decided to take my 800 out. After initial hiccups, I was quick to learn and was not afraid to take it on crazy ludhiana roads (at par with Delhi and Bangalore crazy driving), highways or crazy bumper-to-bumper traffic. The Hunt Begins & the Shortlist!
October 2015 - Now that I was confident of my driving skills, I wanted to buy a better drive. Lack of AC and my fear of maintenance costs for a 12 year old M800 were the main factors.
My requirements were - Safety (Highest Priority), Hassle free ownership, comfort for 5.
Petrol made most sense as my monthly driving stands at no more than 500 KMs
I started following forums like TAI
and Team-BHP religiously. I am a fast learner and was learning about cars very fast.
Now, I had already a shortlist of options in my cars. Not because I knew things about cars. But because I didn't knew anything about cars. I just was going by the sales numbers and what Online reviews had to say. My initial shortlist was:
• Alto K10: For the popularity. Never really drove it, but knew that you can't go wrong with Alto in terms of ownership experience. Didn't get to TD it as SA said, "Sir! It's such a popular car for some reason only. We don't offer TDs for Alto" Alto was out in the first round itself due to the lack of leg-space for the driver itself. I hate it when my legs are touching the steering.
• Celerio: I visited Maruti Suzuki showroom for the first time and Iiked Celerio very much - again not because I knew the car. But, Because I didn’t knew anything about the cars. This holds true for celerio in the best way. Celerio entered my shortlist. Didn’t get to TD for the same reason specified for Alto.
• Ford Figo 2015: Figo was a really good package. I visited showroom on the same day I visited Maruti guys, and the guys gave me Diesel variant to TD. I wanted a Petrol one, but they said, petrol variant is out for maintenance, hence only diesel variant is available. I realised a couple of months later, that they don’t offer petrol TDs at all in my city, thinking that they don’t really stand a chance when it comes to their petrol motor. However the diesel one was damn awesome. I instantly fell in love with its looks, overall packaging. So much so, that I made up my mind to go with Figo. I took the quote for mid variant (Trend, I guess) and it stood at 5,60,000 on-road.
• Baleno 2015: Drove the vehicle and again fell in love with it. The mid variant had everything I was looking for - Safety, Comfort, Hassle free maintenance. In fact, I loved the NVH levels so much, that I wasn't even able to differentiate if it was on or off.
However, there were three things standing tall between me and Baleno:
a. Over-budget: It was out of my budget by full one lakhs
b. Waiting period: I was quote a waiting period of over 4 months
c. Size: No matter what, Baleno is a big car when it comes to driving. I didn’t really feel comfortable taking it into tight spots and felt that could have been a problem with my relatively new driving skills.
• Tata Tiago : Tata revealed the Tiago in December 2015, and I was actually appealed by the car. It's looks, safety, comfort, features, and reviews - Everything seemed so just perfect! The reviews were so impressive, that I decided to hold on till the launch of this car. I was waiting for this car and was excited whenever there was a rumour about it's launch date, and whenever the launch was delayed.
Cars that never made to my shortlist (No offence to Anyone):
• Grand i10: It came at the price of Swift but had no security features. Somehow, this car was the epicenter of my hatred towards Japs and Koreans for taking security so lightly in the Indian market.
• Polo: No doubt it was never supposed to be my option for the cost factor. However, I loved the car very much. I was also concerned about the ownership experience as there's only own VW dealer in my city and hence, service and spares could have been an issue
• Kwid - For the interior quality. TD a two months old TD kwid, and it sounded and pulled like 14 year old car. Glovebox and AC controls were broken, gear lever not slotting properly and key refusing to go in the slot. Thanked to god for warning me. Twist in the story
My dad gave a wise suggestion, to
a. Save some money first
b. Gain some more experience with M800
c. Wrap up all existing EMIs that were scheduled to be up my April 2016 Nail in the Coffin - Final Decision:
Test drove the vehicle on 31 March and was mightily impressed by the vehicle. I felt like I was sitting in Polo, except for the ICE was DAMN awesome! Decided to go with it.
Brought my Dad for another round of TD on April 4, and he liked it too. Booked the vehicle on the same day. Was told that I'll be getting delivery by 15 April for Silver color.
Visited Showroom again next day, and the dealership helped me with the Loan Application. Got the loan applied with SBI without any issues and got it sanctioned too. In fact, was so much impressed by the SBI guys that it broke my myth about all the govt banks.
On the same day, I got confused between brown and silver and told them that I will confirm the color by evening. And I confirmed silver again by evening. The Wait:
I realized that there were logistic charges worth 6900 added on the quote. I felt cheated on this and called up SA immediately. He told me that those are not applicable now. He said, I'll need to pay 3900 as document handling charges. I wasn't really satisfied with the clarification for document handling charges, but didn’t really wanted to create a fuss about it, as almost every single dealer charges these now a days.
Then, I was told that I'll be getting my car by 25th April now, as the silver has been sold away and Brown is only available. I didn’t really like the argument and felt as if they are trying to force the brown color on me as it doesn't sell off as easily as silver and white in Punjab.
For your information - I wanted the delivery desperately by 15 April as it's Navratri's in north India between April 8-15. And was actually pissed off at the delayed delivery.
I decided to raise it the Tiago's Facebook page, and got a call from Tata motors after 2 days. They had already passed on their info to their dealership GM in Ludhiana, Mr. Anil Thakur and he got in touch with me and ensured that I have a smooth experience there onwards.
In fact, I was actually appreciative of all the efforts and patience he had while dealing with me.
I went to the bank to collect loan sanction letter on April 18, got it by afternoon. But, then I was told that the car can't be registered as of now, as the RTO guys have not updated the taxes in the online registration portal. I was actually heartbroken, as my entire family was waiting for me to bring home our new prized possession. I went to the showroom, expressed my disappointment (rather anger). I asked to check my car to confirm if it is actually ready and that the reason is genuine. The car was actually ready, and I realised that there's not much that even Mr. Anil could have done. I went home with a heavy heart, knowing I'll have to wait another couple of days as it was a govt. off in my state on April 19.
However, I got a call from Mr Anil on Tuesday evening that I can come and take delivery today, as the taxes are updated on the portal. I felt elated, but couldn't go as I had to work in the evening. I confirmed him that I'll be taking my delivery on the next day. Final Delivery
Went to showroom at 10 AM with my Dad. Mr. Anil, again, was courteous enough to send someone to pick us from our place. The billing and registration process was rather long as Mr. Anil had cautioned me on Tuesday, but it was all taken care off by his team.I got the number registered at around 3:30 PM and opted for 4440. And then got the delivery with celebrations done by 4:00 PM
However, I didn’t get the invoice, EW papers, AMC papers, Second key and Accessories on the same day. I was promised it will be delivered to my place within next couple of days. I realized this was a safeguard against, any loan issues or if my cheque bounced. I am still waitig for it 3 days post the delivery but hopefully I'll get them by next couple of days. The Accessories, including seat cover will be given, once they receive it from Tata Motors.
Overall, a pretty good experience! Initial Observations:
• Solid Build Quality - At par with European brands
• Excellent Paint Quality - Really hard to find any glitches there
• Interiors - Damn. Awesome, though you can find 2-3 rally minor things if you look with a magnifying glass.
• NVH Levels: Good, but not awesome if you compare to 4 pot cylinder cars. I don’t really go with all that fuss about high noise and vibrations. It's pretty awesome for a 3 Pot 1.2 litre engine
• Ride Quality: Damn Awesome
• Performance: Revv Happy Engine. Really eager to take off after furn few hundred km's of running-in
• Mileage: Already had 20 KMs on ODO when I took delivery. Driven close to 300 KMs in 4 days and have achieved an average of about staggering 20 KMPL with mixed around 180 KM Highway and 120 KM City Ride. It's a detailed story given below regarding performance and mileage explained below
• Comfort: Again Damn Awesome! Didn’t feel tired after 200 Kms of almost continuous motoring
• ICE : The world is already abuzz about it. It's that awesome!