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Old 21st April 2010, 11:58   #31
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I also went to check another diesel Uno at a nearby used car dealer's place. He informed me the car is selling for just under a lakh, has been maintained and cared for extremely well, with the owner recently replacing the clutch plate, pressure plate and many other things. The car has covered more than 80K, and the owner is a sworn Fiat afficianado, this being his fourth Uno.

If parts are available, even though made in India, I don't see why the Uno being an outdated car would matter. Of course I am going to check with a few places if really ALL the parts are available, such as doors, windscreen and everything else that goes into a car.

The test ride I took was in a 9 year old Uno, not much cared for by the owner, but the suspension was still superb. Where the Santro would have made me slow down when going over any irregularity, I found the rear seat comfort in the Uno was much better. You just can't beat this car with any modern hatchbacks.
Hey Honeybee, seems you are quite fascinated with Fiat

I would not advise you for Uno. The car is quite old and I personally think the service and parts might still be an issue. By parts I relate to the smaller ones and not the standard doors, etc.

Stick to Santro or else go for Palio sports
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Old 21st April 2010, 15:29   #32
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From Santro to Palio to UNO. All the best Honeybee, you require lot good wishes.
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Old 21st April 2010, 15:40   #33
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A question to everyone: What do you think of swapping a Santro Xing for a Palio 1.2 EL ?

I came across a 2003 single owner Palio 1.2 EL that's going really cheap. The car should be better than the Santro in terms of performance, which is a plus in my opinion. Most of the comforts should be the same, and I would expect a better ride quality from the Palio. FE may be lower but since I don't use the car every day, a drop of 1 or 2 kmpl would be ok, if the car is in really good condition.

The Santro Xing is now more than six years old and apart from the whine above 110 kmph, haven't had any trouble with it yet. For the record, it was damaged in the Mumbai floods and has been refurbished. And still running as good as new with only the ICE and the tyres being replaced.

Does it make sense to do the swap? The interesting point is I would stand to make a good amount of money in the deal. Question is vehicle wise is it worth?
You will defenitely find a big difference if you swap, positive to me. I have owned a Santro earlier and presently own a Palio back home. ride quality, stability, engine refinement, gearbox, suspensions, aesthetic appeal, power & torque, are the key positive differences that you will find.

Key -ve differences, of course they are trivial in my eyes, would be A.S.S(you wont have the same level of treatment that you had from Hyundai), harder steering(for me its Feel, so I love it hard !), FE(slight dip), abnormally low resale value.

Overall, if you dont have budget for a new FIAT car, go for this !
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Old 21st April 2010, 18:30   #34
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Thanks S3va for the inputs. I am well aware of the legendary Fiat ride quality and performance, and the cons associated with its service centres. I used to drive a Fiat Uno diesel from 1999 for about three to four years.
I had started looking for a Palio fearing an even older Uno might not be serviceable at all. However as I go into the market checking stuff out, I am getting a few pleasant surprises.

The first is 10-year Unos are available at very cheap prices (30K or so), which may come down by hard negotiations.

The second is I happened to visit a used car dealer who has put up one of the partners' diesel Uno up for sale. This partner has recently overhauled the clutch and brake system (the car has done more than 80K). This means the parts for the Uno are still available somewhere.

The third is just on a hunch I went to the Fiat website and dropped them an email regarding the spares and servicing of the Uno. Got a reply by afternoon asking me for a list of parts that I am looking for. I have sent them a list containing most of the exterior parts I would have to change on the Uno I saw yesterday, with a note on additional parts may be required for AC/Engine/Tranny/Brakes etc. The fact that they asked me for a list of parts means they might be able to source them either locally or through imports. I am now waiting for their replies and if they can give me the prices, I shall be able to better judge the situation.

Something tells me if I can get the Uno serviced and maintained, it would be a better car than the Santro.

Thanks Keyur and Ajay, I know it's a challenge to decide, let's hope I make a knowledgeable choice. Here's an update: I called up the customer support number and talked to a guy who said most of the parts should be available on order at local dealers within 3-4 days time, if Fiat India has these parts in stock. He also said there are some parts which Fiat India does not receive from the parent Fiat company itself (maybe the production has stopped). He is going to send me a list of parts which are not available with Fiat India. So I need to check if these parts will be available in the aftermarket.

Last edited by honeybee : 21st April 2010 at 18:38. Reason: Deleted the part referring to Top speeds on Public Roads. Please refer the rules. Thanks.
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Old 22nd April 2010, 15:51   #35
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Though am an ardent fan of FIAT and the UNO too, I wouldnt go for the UNO at this point of time, as parts availability of UNO & PALIO is not that easy. Sourcing Palio parts would be an easier job out of the toughest jobs (What an oxymoron eh ?). And then be prepared to call Mangesh, I sometime think what will happen to the FIAT fans here if Mangesh chooses to join Mahindra
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Old 22nd April 2010, 16:19   #36
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T I called up the customer support number and talked to a guy who said most of the parts should be available on order at local dealers within 3-4 days time, if Fiat India has these parts in stock. He also said there are some parts which Fiat India does not receive from the parent Fiat company itself (maybe the production has stopped). He is going to send me a list of parts which are not available with Fiat India. So I need to check if these parts will be available in the aftermarket.
Sir, this would be a very dangerous proposition. I do not fully trust the quality of parts in aftermarket as a lot of counterfeiting does go around, especially in the northern part of country. And the packaging, etc is made very well, that we cannot distinguish easily. Would strongly urge you to not consider these cars given the circumstances.

On the otherhand, your Santro if is not giving you any major troubles, suggest you stick with it. Just my advise.

Anyways, I hope you are able to decide well and soon.
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Old 22nd April 2010, 17:51   #37
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Both of you, thanks once again for the posts. Keyur, with all the complications involved, I am sure the decision will not be a quick one.

While the Santro doesn't have any niggles, the car definitely lacks the poise on bad roads. And I am well aware that going into a parts sourcing/servicing nightmare just to get a comfortable ride may not be worth the hassles, that's why the decision will take time.

Got a call today from the salesman at the Hyundai showroom where I had seen an Uno with its doors rusty. He said a customer is coming down today to close the deal and had I made up my mind. I said no, go ahead with the deal if it happens. Just call me and let me know if you sell the car, so I can strike it off my list.

Still waiting for Fiat to respond with information on parts it cannot source and parts it can source.

Keyur, long time back when I started driving a diesel Uno (not mine, a friend's), I once broke its headlamp in a bumper to bumper traffic, misjudging the distance. I tried getting it replaced from the Fiat authorized centre at Malad (Spectra compound), where they tried to push the headlamp as well as the sidelamp, calling it the entire assembly. After some arguments the works manager suggested I look for the headlamp alone with some other shops. My then boss asked me to go to Opera House. At Opera House I got the original Uno headlamp assembly at almost half the price quoted by the dealer. It was working till I last saw the Uno.
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Old 23rd April 2010, 00:15   #38
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It was working till I last saw the Uno.
Glad to know that. But yet, I am really skeptical. Well, not all parts sold in open market are bad, but off late there is a lot of those in circulation. Better to be safe than sorry, IMO.

Infact, that is one reason why I dont give my car to a small garage (even if it is company approved) even for minor issues with my car and prefer going to larger ones. Though they charge more, I am at a peace of mind.
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Old 24th April 2010, 20:42   #39
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As a former owner of the UNO, i`d say that the car is extremely competent. However now the After sales will be a HUGE issue. It was a big issue back then!!
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Old 26th April 2010, 12:31   #40
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Another update: Decided to check out a couple more Unos available with some dealerships. One of them looked to be in good condition overall, but does not have AC. The other seemed good mechanically, but again its roof and rightside rear door have huge portions of metal missing. Including the costs of refurbishment, the price seems quite prohibitive.

So on the Uno front, there are three candidates:

1. With AC, selling for the lowest price so far, but requires major bodywork and repairs/replacements of other oddities.

2. Without AC, sells for a little more than #1 above, body seems to be in acceptable state and mechanicals seem to be on par.

3. With AC, the costliest of the lot, requires major bodywork (involves the roof also, so I am a little paranoid about it). Mechanically looks ok.

So much for the cars. Now an update on the Fiat story. I sent a reminder email to Fiat India on the parts details. Within an hour I received a call from a Fiat person who probably oversees the parts supplies. He said if I could provide him with the part numbers, he could tell me the availability and price of the same. He also suggested I take the car to a Tata-Fiat dealer (not just Tata) and get in touch with the parts manager there, who could help me with the part numbers. I can then send the part numbers to Fiat and get details on availability and prices. What about parts that Fiat India cannot source for the Uno? He was surprised to hear this bit of news and assured me he would dig out the details and let me know. From his reaction, I am slowly getting the impression Fiat India might after all have all the parts of the Uno.

Has anyone tried getting the part numbers of different parts of the Uno? Can anyone suggest a friendly and helpful parts manager/Tata-Fiat dealer in Mumbai/Thane/Kalyan region?
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Old 26th April 2010, 14:19   #41
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Can anyone suggest a friendly and helpful parts manager/Tata-Fiat dealer in Mumbai/Thane/Kalyan region?
Try Wasan Motors @ Deonar/Chembur. Contact person Mr. Bhatti.
Another is Fortune Cars which was at Powai and now at Andheri E. Dont recall the name of the person.

Try these two.
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Old 26th April 2010, 16:15   #42
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It is fairly clear that you want to own a Fiat because of the virtues that make it an appealing buy over your existing Santro, apart from the fact that you stand a chance to make a good amount of money on the sale. So it does seem like a win-win situation. Get an (arguably) better car and also earn a decent amount of money.

I think rudrah touched on probably the most important point -

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Yes service is not upto the mark as Maruti or Hyundai but they are improving. If a critical issue crops up, you may need to spend some time with Service guys as the electricals are complex and advanced than the Maruti and Hyundai wheelers. Even a local mechanic who has never worked on FIAT cars will not touch the electricals and if he does, he may goof up!
I have had the opportunity to own two Palios in the past 8 years - the 1.2 ELX & 1.6 S10. And I can tell you that if you planning on getting your car serviced outside the ASC network, you have to get hold of someone who knows his Fiats very well. I have never had the courage to do so and hence have always got my cars serviced from the dealers.

Point is, if you are looking for hassle free service that you can get from your Santro, say, if you get the car repaired / serviced at a decently reputed garage in or around your locality, and get a good job done at a low price, the same may not be possible with a Fiat. So upkeep and service will be better with the Santro. Period.

But, it also seems from the posts that you are willing to go all out and do the extra bit of running around, so maybe you do know what you are getting into.

About the cars -

Palio 1.2 - When you are evaluating the Palio 1.2, do check the ECU that is placed near the battery area. Check what it says on top. If it says D8, it is a BS 2 (Bharat Stage II) model Palio. If it says D9, it is a BS 3.

Now how does it matter whether its a BS 2 or BS 3 ? It matters a hell of a lot. The earlier car, i.e. the one with the D8 ECU was a good car to drive. It was just perfect and had the right balance of power and economy and was definitely not underpowered. Infact, it could do wheel spins at will. Now the one with the D9 ECU was re-calibrated for economy and the changes made for Bharat Stage II norms meant that car now suddenly felt underpowered.

I, unfortunately had the one with the D9 ECU. And I can tell you with some conviction that it makes for a very sluggish drive in city conditions, even frustrating at times. The D9 variant was a lot more smoother and refined than the D8 though, the clutch was also lighter. But it lacked the low end throttle response of the D8. I once drove my car back to back with D8 and that car just put a smile on my face.

The dealers themselves would tell you that the Palio 1.2 with the D8 ECU would make a far better car than the ones with the D9 ECU. And the changes made to improve fuel efficiency did not work since you had to really rev the engine quite a bit in comparison to the older ones. After three years of ownership, I decided it was time to sell this car and get something more powerful. I loved my Palio 1.2 for its ride and handling and I still miss that magic carpet ride quality in my Palio 1.6.

If I were you, I'd first check for the D8 or D9 ECU and then see anything else. The D9 will not be anywhere close to even your reasonable expectations vis-a-vis the Santro. But if I were you, I would not bother with the 1.2 altogether.

Palio 1.6 -

There is nothing left to say about the 1.6. Just one thing - My Palio 1.6 S10 is more fuel efficient on the highways than my ex-car, the Palio 1.2 ! Surprising, but true and the difference is evident on highway runs in the Palio 1.6, if driven at sane speeds that is.

If you want a Palio, the 1.6 makes the most sense. The performance will make you forget the Santro completely. The ride is firm at low speeds but improves with speed, but it only improves high speed stability, grip and poise.

Also, the fact that Palio 1.6 was only recently made unavailable, means that spares (apart from the cosmetic ones) will hopefully be available for longer than the Uno's or the Palio 1.2.

Uno -

Well, I have not driven the Uno much, but the 1.2 engined Uno was a great car to drive. But they are difficult to get. Also, the engine is the same as in the Palio 1.2, so sourcing parts for the same might be easier than the other models of the Uno.

Again, at this point in time, I would not dare think about the Uno, even though it made a great car in its time.
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Old 26th April 2010, 20:54   #43
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Well, I have not driven the Uno much, but the 1.2 engined Uno was a great car to drive. But they are difficult to get. Also, the engine is the same as in the Palio 1.2, so sourcing parts for the same might be easier than the other models of the Uno.
Roms and Rudra, thanks for the inputs. I shall check out the said dealer. Meanwhile Fiat have also suggested Fortune Cars on the Thane Belapur road along with address and contact person name/number. I shall check it out later this week. The only problem is to take the car to the service centre is next to impossible as the insurance on the car has expired. Will see what can be done. The dealer's person called up again today to check if I had made up my mind and dropped hints the price could be negotiated downwards.

@Roms and others, I would have loved to have a Fiat Uno/Palio if I had owned it from the beginning. In fact I had tried to buy the diesel Uno of a friend I had been driving, back when I decided to buy a car. Didn't work out, sadly. The Santro has been trouble free (even better than my earlier M800) and doesn't take much money to maintain or run. Owning a Fiat, specially a used one and a discontinued model such as the Uno, may be an entirely different ballgame. I don't regard myself as a Fiat fanatic by any means, though I admired the Uno and admire the Palio as being inherently better than many others. So it's not at all a situation of owning a Fiat at all costs. It's actually an attempt to find out the cost of owning a Fiat, and if it becomes reasonable, only then go ahead and own it.

I am going to go ahead with the parts checking and finding out the cost of refurbishing the Uno. The budget has to be within very strict limits, so it's going to be an interesting call. I don't yet own the Uno, so it works in my favour. If the budget starts crawling up, I shall back out of the deal.

@Roms, thanks for the info the 1.2 litre engine is the same between the Uno and the Palio 1.2. It's a comfort to know this.
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Old 27th April 2010, 15:48   #44
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You can try Om Sai Motors at Kandivali. Their service manager's name is Manoj Shetty. He is really nice and is generally forthcoming in help.
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Old 28th April 2010, 11:52   #45
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You can try Om Sai Motors at Kandivali. Their service manager's name is Manoj Shetty. He is really nice and is generally forthcoming in help.
Thanks Keyur, but I don't think the car can be taken from Thane to Kandivli or have the person come down from Kandivli to Thane just for inspection / estimates. As I mentioned earlier, the insurance policy of the car has expired and legally it cannot be driven on public roads. Right now the safest bet seems to be the person/dealer suggested by Fiat, as it would be the closest, so worst case I can drive over the concerned person from there to Thane and back.
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