The American Brute
The idea behind buying was simple – needed an automatic transmission vehicle as 95% of my drives are self-drives with many of them involving snarling traffic at times. SFX was getting a decade old and getting spares of Aria after Hexa launch was going to get even more cumbersome. Both the vehicles were put-up for sale.
Apart from the automatic transmission, there were some other key considerations as well in the order of preference below:
i. Should be new and body type should be SUV only.
ii. Should be spacious as travelling with entire family with kids in their car seats requires lot of space.
iii. As the AT necessarily becomes the primary vehicle, having a 4x4 would give added peace of mind.
iv. Service cost should be easy on the wallet.
v. Value for money.
I considered the following vehicles:
A. Ford Endeavour 3.2 Titanium: The first test-drive without the family was pretty short but covered all the aspects including broken tarmac. It was compensated by the demonstrations of most of the features including automatic Parallel Park. But the ride was a bit bouncy.
B. Toyota Fortuner AT 4x4: Sampling it straight after the drive of the Endeavour, as I look-up to see the sky from the bouncy seat driving a comparatively lethargic engine gearbox combo, it was a no brainer.
C. Toyota Innova Crysta: An SUV has to have 4x4 but considering we could compromise this, we looked at the Innova Crysta which in my opinion is better alternative to Toyota Fortuner 4x2 AT. The ride was plush and the handling was good but Toyota has messed up with the features in the models in the AT variants. The G variant lacks everything comfortable and the Z variant is overpriced while forcing upon captain seats for the middle row.
D. Audi Q3: Considered on paper just because of the brand value but never took the test-drive as the cabin space was pretty less which didn’t go with my requirements. Also, compared to the similarly priced Audi A4, the interior was nothing to write home about.
The Ford Endeavour 3.2 was natural winner and with Ford pulling the plug on the Trend variant, the choice was even clearer leaving the Titanium variant as the clear winner.
Leaving apart the test drive mentioned above, the family sampled the Endeavour 3.2 Trend once (due to dealer goof-up inspite of specifically asking for 3.2 Titanium and then justifying it with a nonsense response which was escalated) and the 3.2 Titanium thrice on road and once in showroom. Still, the ride was found to be a bit on the firmer side compared to Pajero Sport but we decided to go ahead.
Finally, the sale of Aria and the SFX couple of days apart cleared the way for purchase but the very next day, the GST slabs were announced. It was a no brainer to wait till July while being in touch with dealers incase any discounts popped-up.
01 July came and went by but the official prices were revealed on 07 July 2017 by the dealer. Waited for the same to be updated on the website after which started looking for the best deal. A good friend from Aria days was now heading both Tata and Ford dealership in NCR and after confirming the availability of colour from his team and verifying the VIN for SYNC3 + navigation, a short call at wee hours and we reached a number for discount without haggling. A message on whatsapp was enough for them as a confirmation of booking as there was no way to transfer any payment and next 2 days were Saturday and Sunday.
The dealership experience, although not entirely smooth, was good overall. Reached there by 10am, did the PDI at their workshop which was near-by. By 11am, the go-ahead was there to both the dealer and the bank but finally got the delivery on 10 July 2017 quite late in the evening due to a small hiccup in the complimentary paint protection coating.
At the Showroom
First pictures taken during PDI
First picture after delivery