To start with: A bit about myself and my desire
My first learning phase of driving :
Started to learn to steer while I was on 3rd std, on my Dad's driver seat.
Vehicle: Fiat 1100 - Italian make (A Vintage now)
I never knew what comfort was. I never knew how to shift gears. But I knew how to steer and what happens when we steer (With supervision) and the purpose of brake. Years passed and the next car in our family, where I learnt to drive:
Vehicle: Maruti Omni
I still did not know what comfort was. I started to stretch my legs and started to drive before I entered college. (High school vacation).
I was driving for 2 days in isolated roads to get control on gears, clutch & brakes. The 3rd day, I managed to hit the main road with my skills of maneuvering developed in years and i was successful - A dream came true. The next car in my family: Honda City 1.3 (The old beauty)
I started to know about what comfort was. I started to vroom!
It was a dream machine for me after moving from a Maruti Omni. That’s where I started to love Honda: "The Power of Dreams”
We never paid high on maintenance (Honda is maintenance free) and it is still fuel efficient after 97,000 KMs done (13-15 on city & 15-18 on highways)! The hunt begun:
I started my hunt for a new car - for myself about 2 years ago.
It started my hunt with a Maruti Suzuki Swift, Hyundai i10, and i20. But, I then changed my mind from a Hatch to Sedan.
I had no specific budget in mind when i started my hunt. All i wanted is comfort and luxury similar to my dad's city.
My usage will not be more than 1000KMs per month. So I was not much into going for a Diesel car.
Swift Dzire, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Verna were the options in my mind. I never wanted to go for a Honda first. I wanted to try any other brand.
I took a test drive of Ford Fiesta. Likes:
1. The elegant look
3. Stylish dashboard Dislikes:
1. No luxury in rear seat
2. High maintenance (as far as i heard)
3. Engine noise even when the vehicle is standstill
I then decided not to test drive the Swift desire and Hyundai Verna.
1. I did not like the looks of the desire. (Big Back, front look similar to swift)
2. My BIL had a worst experience with his new Verna. There was a leak in the ignition chamber and they had a miraculous escape during a long drive
I then revisited my options and decided to try the ANHC and VW Vento.
Firstly, i took a test drive of ANHC - AT (I did not require it but thought of giving a try), as it was the only test car available at that time of day.
I loved the looks, the comfort and the suspension.
The dashboard stole my mind all time. The bright Orange color was fascinating and i could not take my eyes off.
The demo car was about 400 KMs done and it was smooth.
There was no engine noise –I felt the car was not started!
I liked the boot space and the turning radius in my first test drive of ANHC.
I was not really comfortable with the paddle shift (I was very new to it and it was the first AT vehicle i drove).
Then, I scanned the models in the showroom and liked the S-MT.
The dealer promised me a test drive the next day with the MT. I agreed and left. I then thought of TD a Vento the same day so that i can make out the differences.
Later I went to the VW showroom and checked out the Vento and it was good in ground clearance and the look was impressive!
I did not like the way how the rear seat was positioned on a big hump in the middle. It was not at all comfortable for 5 people.
The features like rear AC and climate control was new but i did not feel the need of it.
The Highline model was the one to compare with the S-MT of ANHC.
I took a test drive. I liked the steering comfort but i did not like the arm rest. I felt it was little awkward when compared to City. I was not sure if i would have got adapted to it on a long run.
The boot space was more or less the same in my comparison. The safety features did not take over my mind. It sounded more or less the same except for the crossover in the boot.
The alloy wheels were good. The look was inspiring with them.
I felt the vehicle a bit rough and rigid (European car & German engineering) in the petrol version. Few may love the roughness though!
I was not happy with the turning radius of the Vento.
I decided to give a try the next day too while comparing the City's MT - TD. The VW dealer was not much cooperative as they had too many test drives scheduled but somehow they managed to get me a slot.
I researched in this site and other site about the reviews and comparisons. New ideas came into my mind like maintainance costs, service, value for money, dealership, warranty, road side assistance, resale value & trust.
Honda took an edge over Vento apart from the value for money - yes, you need to pay a premium of about a lakh.
I then took a test drive of the City MT for about 40 km (roads ranging from best to worst in the suburbs). Likes:
1. Power & quick pick up
2. Gear shifting ratio
4. Rear passenger comfort - space under the rear seat to change seating position for long drives
5. Ride quality
control during a break in a sharp turn
7. Steering comfort & control
8. Volume & Channel control in the steering
9. Adjustable driver seat
10. AC coverage
11. Inbuilt music system's quality & usage of USB port
12. Engine smoothness even while on drive at around 2500 – 3000 RPM Dislikes:
1. Ground clearance
2. Interior plastics
Now came the time to test drive the Vento but did not find much difference compared to my previous TD in it. This test drive was also in the same road that i took the City for a TD Likes:
1. Ground clearance
2. Body and interior quality
3. Climate control
in the same kind of testing with City Dislikes:
1. The engine was quite rough & noisy
2. Pickup was not as expected
3. Rear passenger comfort level was less
Even though VW Vento is arguably a good competitor, i did not feel the ride quality, smoothness, comfort & power in it apart from service & dealership coverage.
After thinking for about a day i decided to pay a premium and get the City.
I enquired with Honda and they had a good offer with One year free insurance, corporate discount of 7.5K with on stock cars.
My choice was "Urban titanium" and it was unfortunately not in the stock.
I made up my mind to push them further and get my choice with the offers and finally got it. I got them to get me other good offers along with the offer they had:
1. Full tank petrol on delivery
2. Body cover
3. Backup sensor
4. Any TVS HONDA service (Got my car from TVS HONDA, Coimbatore & will be driving it in Chennai)
5. All other charges waived off (Delivery charges, Regn charges)
6. Additional RSA after 5 years
I just had to pay the Ex. Showroom price + Road tax + fancy number charges.
The car has been delivered today and i was quite unfortunate to get stuck in Chennai. My parents took the delivery.
"It goes like a beast" was the first drive comment!