Let me start with my usual phrase - "It all happened all too quickly". Well, very true to an extent. My wife joined a driving school, got the license in March and we thought of adding a car to the garage.
1) Small and nimble
2) Priced under 5L
4) Good low end torque and easy to drive in city (this will purely be a city car)
5) Decent kit (Parking sensor, camera etc)
6) Safety kit (atleast airbag)
7) Decent boot
We started looking out for second hand cars. Santro was our choice but wasn't able to find a decent one. I wasn't too keen on getting the 1st gen Santro even which was priced above 1L. There were many sweet deals on some really good sedans but she didn't want to try out a sedan at first. Since I preferred to get a new one, we started our search for an entry level hatch. We also had an option of getting the car through CSD.
Competitors: (The points mentioned are directly taken from my wife who is not an expert. So not necessary that all agree to it )
Hyundai Eon: (Popular Hyundai, Vytilla)
Went to the Hyundai showroom to test drive the Eon. The car had the right size and decent kit but wife wasn't impressed with the drive. The front seats were too small and I could brush my shoulders with the co-passenger. She wasn't comfortable finding the biting point of the clutch too. We decided to turn this down as she wasn’t too happy with the drive-ability.
1) Perfect size.
2) Decent kit.
3) Hyundai's known fit and finish. It was all well put together.
4) Wife liked the way it looked.
Not so good:
1) Interior space was not great.
2) Car did struggle on the highway.
3) She didn't enjoy the drive-ability in the city.
Tata Nano and Tiago: (RF Motors, Kalamassery)
The showroom didn’t have the test drive vehicle of the Tiago but checked out the display car. Was impressed with the way it looked and loved the HU. But it still showed signs of cheap and tacky plastics and I knew this will sound like a rattle box in the future. Wife showed the Nano parked next to it and decided to check it out. We had to wait for the test drive vehicle to arrive so to kill time, I decided to hop into the Hexa and feel accustomed. Fearing that I would cancel the plans of buying a car for her and get one for myself, she quickly pulled me out and asked me to comment on the Nano. The test drive vehicle was sort of abused and had few niggles. Was impressed with the ample room inside the cabin and the SA could easily sit behind me. In short, my wife was really impressed with the Nano but I wasn’t since this was a dying car and had its end almost visible. For that reason, I had to convey the heartening news to her. She was devastated. Also, the showroom experience wasn’t all that good even though they treated us well and took us for a pretty long test drive. The follow up isn’t good – I am still waiting for the call to test drive the Nano AMT. They had some good offers for the 2016 models and the on road price they quoted was around 3L.
Pointing out Nano's points since we didn't get to drive the Tiago
1) Interior S-P-A-C-E. Loads of legroom in the rear seat.
2) Visibility was great.
3) Drive-ability was really good.
4) Small and easy to drive around in the city.
Not so good:
1) Absolutely no kit on offer.
2) TD car had a lot of rattles. Showing signs of the things to come.
3) Dying car. Sales numbers showed all that.
4) Dealership experience.
5) According to my wife - Me, since I had to convince her to go with another car.
Ford Figo: (Kairali Ford, Edappally)
I always loved the Figo but was not impressed with its sales numbers. Also, Figo Aspire is one hot car in the local taxi market and I didn’t want anyone to hop into our car when we slow down near someone’s house thinking it came to pick them up (Joking). I totally loved the way it looked. It was a breeze driving through the city and we almost finalized on it. Here’s the CSD price list.
1) Exterior styling.
2) Best drive-ability among the cars we tested.
3) AC was very efficient.
4) Good NVH levels.
5) All black interiors.
Not so good:
1) Space inside wasn't all that generous.
2) Steering wasn't all that light for city use.
3) Even though it had a decent kit, there were many features missing when compared to it's competitor.
4) The black interiors looked good but gave this claustrophobic feel inside.
Renault Kwid: (Renault Kalamassery)
They had the Kwid 1Ltr and the Climber edition on display. I loved the Blue color which was only available on the Climber edition but those orange add-on was an eye sore. I should point out that the sales executives weren’t well informed and the follow up was very bad. They didn’t have the test drive vehicle and we requested to call us when it’s ready. Come on, I know it’s doing well, but a week’s wait for a test drive? Finally, we managed to book for a test drive. It was pretty good to drive but the quality was bad. The accelerator pedal was of low quality (flimsy and flexible) and and I knew that it would give way in couple of months. The AC was bad. The car was in the shed and still didn’t cool the cabin well.
Kwid Price list
1) It looked a lot larger than all it's competitors.
2) Good to drive around in the city. Had a decent punch too on the highway.
3) Generous boot.
4) Steering was good to hold and pretty light for city use.
Not so good:
1) Quality. Was evident in many areas especially the accelerator pedal.
2) AC was not good and was very loud.
3) Dealer experience was bad.
Hyundai Grand i10:
Back to the Hyundai showroom to check out the Grand i10. The facelift model didn’t excite me much. Luckily they had Magna, Sportz, Sportz (O) and Asta available in the yard for us to check it out. Loved the gear position (like the first gen i10), gear shifts were smooth and overall we loved the way it drove. Magna and Sportz had decent kit but Sportz (O) looked VFM to us. It had all the essential kits like airbag, rear parking sensors, camera, 7” touch screen with Android Auto and Apple Carplay and few others. Got the CSD price list and the quotation required to process the CSD approval.
Original Price list
1) Fit and finish
2) Loaded with features.
3) Light steering and easy to drive around in the city. Decent highway performance too.
4) Interior space.
Not so good:
1) Although the steering is light, it was very vague and unexciting.
2) Some essential kit missing (DTE, avg fuel consumption etc).
3) Service cost on the higher side when compared to it's competitors.
4) The previous gen Grand i10 looked better. This seems that it's crying for attention.
CSD Approval Process – Kochi:
Not going in detail on this as there’s a dedicated thread on this. Just posting my experience and details of the Kochi unit that will be helpful for anyone coming here.
1) CSD 2/4 Wheeler section is located in the main campus next to Naval Kindergarten (First floor next to Dena Bank).
2) Vehicle approval will only be done on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9.45am to 4pm.
3) Make sure you reach by 8 or 8.30 as it will be crowded. This process is done only in Kochi and Trivandrum (Kerala) but 90% of the crowd will come to Kochi.
4) Give one copy of the quotation to the concerned person and collect the application form and the token number.
5) Fill the application form with all the necessary details and wait for your call. They call around 5 applications at a time.
6) During this verification, you will need to submit all the required photo copies and also present the originals.
7) You will need to pay the INCS charges. Things will be easier if you choose a card payment. Once that’s done, they will hand over 3 forms (white, green and yellow). All these 3 forms are the same.
8) Submit these forms at the counter and you will need to furnish the original documents for verification.
9) The forms will be collected to be signed by the Naval officer in charge. You will need to wait as they collect around 40-50 forms at once to get this done.
10) Once this is done, they will call out your name and you can collect all these forms which will should be submitted at the dealership.
1) Make sure you carry all the originals, 4 photographs.
2) They ask you be seated in the next room and the concerned staff will come there and call out the token number. This may not happen and many people missed their numbers. Make sure you visit the office and check on the numbers being called.
3) It’s better that you give the final 3 forms for approval before 3pm after which they collect and ask you to come the next day to collect. I could see few people shouting at the officers as they were asked to come the next day. Those people were coming from distant places.
4) The staffs here can be rude so carry/present all the documents on time.
Couple of days later, I get the call that the car has arrived. Immediately went to the yard to check it out in flesh. Here are some pictures of it.
Vehicle Price (Ex-Showroom) – 562,091
B2B Insurance – 19462 (Free)
Road Tax + Registration – 45917
Basic Accessories – 1400
Extended Warranty (3rd year) – 4686
On Road – 617,094
1.2 Kappa Petrol
Power – 83ps at 6000 rpm
Torque – 11.6kg.m at 4000 rpm
Fuel Tank – 43L
Length – 3765mm
Width – 1660mm
Height – 1520mm
Wheelbase – 2425mm
Tyre Size – 165/65/R14
The loan was approved in a day and the money was transferred to the dealer the next day.