I love writing and so let me put my buying experience in the form of a story.
I already own a 2008 Wagon R and that car is my first love, no matter what. Its like the house we grow up in. Even if we buy a big posh house later, the place where we grew up is always closest to our heart. Same thing with my Wagon R. It still serves me very well after 3 years 10 months and 60000 kilometers. But it is not possible to go on long drives with this car. That is the primary reason I decided to upgrade.
The things I considered in my upgrade were that it should be a diesel car (petrol prices in our city are Rs 73/litre), it should be bigger than my wagon r and safety features ABS EBD
and air bags were a must. I had kept an open mind not particularly decided about a premium hatchback or sedan.
The cars I considered i20 CRDi, Fluidic Verna, SX4 Petrol (diesel was way over budget). August 2011
I test drove an i20 1.4 CRDi. The car had a good solid feel and interiors and equipment level was good. But the huge price (8.28 lakhs on road) plus some news about rattling issues with the steering wheel put me off. The Fluidic Verna was looking good but the tyres were skinny and high speed stability was doubtful. Also the waiting period of around 11 months was ridiculous.
I also tried the SX4 petrol but somehow was not convinced to pay 9.16 lakhs for a car which was a failure in comparision to other Maruti cars. 20th August 2011
In all this confusion one morning a piece of news in TOI caught my eye.
Honda Jazz prices slashed. The deal was tempting. Jazz - though a petrol hatch - was without doubt a wonderful car. The only turnoff earlier was it shuge price tag. Alomst touching 8.4 Lakhs. But with the correction in prices things seemed to fall in place. I took a test drive, liked the car and its features and booked the Jazz X MT
model Silver color for a price of 712,000 (on road) on 29 August. I was promised a delivery on Dassera i.e., 6th October. I was all excited about being a Jazz owner and the wait was killing. I called the Honda people on 29 September (after Pitru-Paksha) to enquire about the delivery status and was in for a rude shock when they told me that the car deivery will be delayed to mid November because of over booking. I found this a little unprofessional. Mind you I came to know of this delay only when I contacted them and not the other way round. Anyway I prepared myself mentally for this. After about a month I called them again and was told that because of floods in Thailand the delivery will be by January 2012 end. I was irritated but still told them that I will hold if they give me a written commitment for that, Honda flatly refused to give me anything in writing.
The final nail in the coffin was the petrol hike by Rs 1.84 (now almost touching 75/litre). Thats when I seriously started considering other cars. In the meanwhile I happened to go to Pune with a friend in his car. He drives a Punto MJD. I have always liked the looks of Punto but never been inside one. Also another friend who happens to own a Linea Emotion Pk has horror stories to tell about ASS
of Tata-Fiat, so had never considered a Fiat in the first place.
Anyway the ride to Pune was smooth. I was surprised by the stability of the car even at 140+ speeds. Not a single bump felt. Of course the interiors were not as plush as a Jazz and also the rear legroom was less compared to Jazz but performance wise this car was no less - plus it was a diesel.
Then I visited many forums and websites and found that the Punto was a much loved car by its owners and the number of features they had packed in it will put some bigger cars to shame. Like someone said "The only people to have problems with Fiat are those who have never owned one". 14th November
I took a test drive of the Punto 90 HP from Om Sai Motors Kandivali. The sales guy - Rajesh - was very helpful. Surprisingly he did not push me for a Vista or Manza (Thats what sales people at Tata-Fiat do, I have been told).
I liked the car and the power it offered. Though I test drove on the crowded S V Road, I was pretty sure that on an open road this car will be a scorcher.
I have booked the car yesterday - Fox Trot Azure - for 745,000 and have been promised a delivery in 15-20 days.
I had never in my wildest dreams had thought of owning a Fiat. But here I am.
To summarize with an analogy of Harry Potter's wand "The driver does not choose the car. The car chooses the driver"