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Old 21st June 2013, 11:44   #1
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Default Your *unconventional* Automotive Preferences

Ask any enthusiast what he / she likes in a car, and the answers will be predictable. A sweet engine, slick gearbox, sure-footed handling, well-weighted steering etc. A layman would tell you that he values fuel economy, brand value, cost of ownership, image & styling, among others.

However, I'm certain all of us have a list of automotive preferences that go against the tide. Here's mine:

Clean, proportionate designs: I'm the kind of a guy who won't give a second look to the W221 Merc S-Class, but will take a u-turn and follow a W126 / W140 home. The market loves swoopy, futuristic styling. I happen to love them straight & clean. Think Vento over fluidic Verna. You could say that I have old-fashioned tastes.

Excessive rear legroom: The more the legroom, the better. Or so it seems for the aam junta. While I like my car to have adequate space, I absolutely detest super-long cars. The last time I drove a Skoda Superb, I felt like a damn chauffeur!! Irrespective of the money on hand, I'd pick a Jetta / Laura over the Superb, and a 5 Series over the 7. Any which day.

SUVs: The country's appetite for SUVs remains insatiable, and you'd think Indians can't have enough of them. Sorry, but I prefer equivalently priced sedans that are generally faster, better handlers, fun to drive and offer more bang for the buck. Related Thread (Should you buy an SUV? The definitive Sedan vs SUV debate).

Service Quality: As long as a car is super reliable, I'm okay with acceptable levels of service quality. I'd rather pick a reliable car with mediocre service backup (e.g. Honda) than sub-par reliability with outstanding service (e.g. Mercedes). Durable cars only require rare garage visits for the simple stuff (oil changes, filters). And after the car's warranty expires, I have dependable after-market sources to take care of the maintenance. Ordinary levels of service quality are rarely a deal breaker for me (evidenced by my choice of cars).

Petrol engines: The market has majorly tilted in favour of oil-burners. Not me, I'll still buy a Laura TSI over the TDI, Linea T-Jet over the 1.3L MJD and Fiesta 1.6 over the 1.4L TDCi. I like my motors super-refined, high-rpm friendly and with plentiful engine braking on tap. Did you know that petrol is cheaper than diesel in Goa? Yet another reason to consider moving there

Parking Sensors: Never used them, not even in the long wheelbase 7 Series. I prefer parking cars the old school way.

Climate Control: Sure, I appreciate the convenience of specifying a certain temperature and letting the electronics maintain that. Equally, I do think climate control is a highly over-rated feature. Give me a powerful air-conditioning system and I'm happy with the manual blower + temperature controls.

Low-Slung Cars: I absolutely relish a low-slung driving position. The masses, on the other hand, like it high & practical.

CD Players: Haven't used a CD in over 5 years now. Most manufacturers continue to offer CD players, else customers are put off.

Thin Tyres: While I love my cars to have fat, grippy tyres, sometimes, I actually enjoy a slippery automobile with thin OEM rubbish. Ghat drives in the Alto K10 & ol' Honda City Vtec come to mind. A li'l bit of sliding can be fun when you're in the mood.

Fuel economy: Marketing consultants will tell you this : If your car isn't fuel-efficient, it's better you pack your bags and go home. To me, fuel economy isn't important. Driving pleasure is.

Temperature Gauge: Related Thread (Good 'ol Temperature Gauge : Yes or No?). Enough said.

Engine Sound: The quieter the engine, the better it's considered to be. Not the case with me when it comes to petrols. I like them loud (as long as they sound nice). Of course, with diesels, I'd rather have them silent.

Safety: If I were to put a number to it, I'd guess that less than 1% of Indian car buyers give any weightage to safety in their purchase decision. If a car doesn't offer 5 star safety, I won't buy it. It's that simple.
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Old 21st June 2013, 11:54   #2
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Default Re: Your *unconventional* Automotive Preferences

Electric ORVMs: I feel it is highly over-rated. How many times in a day do you have to do adjust the ORVM? Once, at most twice! Why waste a switch and motor on it!

Automatic headlights: I guess it is the new fad these days! How much intelligence does one need to switch on lights while entering a tunnel! or when it gets dark!

DRLs: Seriosuly! And I do not understand why it is sold as an exclusive feature on high-end cars (of course, these days even the premium hatch and ordinary sedans are getting DRLs as OEM).
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Old 21st June 2013, 11:54   #3
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Default Re: Your *unconventional* Automotive Preferences

Couldn't agree more with you GTO. I also prefer the vento over the verna, Laura TSI over the TDI...The designing is clear and subtle..Specifically about the safety features, I sometimes don't understand why do cars come with ABS/Airbag variants.. Manufacturers shouldn't have differences between the base variants and the top variants in terms of safety features like the top variant has one air bag extra or the top variant comes with ABS..
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Old 21st June 2013, 11:56   #4
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Default Re: Your *unconventional* Automotive Preferences

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
...

Clean, proportionate designs: I'm the kind of a guy who won't give a second look to the W221 Merc S-Class, but will take a u-turn and follow a W126 / W140 home. The market loves swoopy, futuristic styling. I happen to love them straight & clean. Think Vento over fluidic Verna. You could say that I have old-fashioned tastes.
...
I like the clean proportionate design to be on the inside - I know I will spend 2 hours per day looking at and working with the interiors and maybe couple of minutes a day (on average) looking at the outside. The new Ford Fiesta and Ecosport are a turn-off, as are cars like the current Elantra. I don't mind the swoopy, edgy, new-age designs on the outside at all. I equally appreciate the designs of the Vento and Verna!
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Old 21st June 2013, 12:22   #5
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Default Re: Your *unconventional* Automotive Preferences

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
SUVs: The country's appetite for SUVs remains insatiable, and you'd think Indians can't have enough of them. Sorry, but I prefer equivalently priced sedans that are generally faster, better handlers, fun to drive and offer more bang for the buck. Related Thread (Should you buy an SUV? The definitive Sedan vs SUV debate).
Agreed for the full sized SUV, but I would prefer good crossover anyday.
I feel more relaxed in X Trail than 520 D. We wont do high speed cornering and drifting on public road
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Old 21st June 2013, 12:26   #6
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Default Re: Your *unconventional* Automotive Preferences

Some from my preferences

Unconventional Design/Styling - I simply like cars which are sleek and there are curves across the bodyline. Fluidic Verna and Fluidic i20 impresses me a lot. For me, the Headlights and the rear window, which swoops into the front door window impressed me while buying the Beat.

Electric ORVM with Blinkers - This is simply fascinating for me !! I love the press of a button and the mirror folds smoothly. The blinkers on ORVM's looks jazzy and beautiful to me. Since none of these are present in Beat, I opted for aftermarket ORVM with blinkers on the Beat. Although the finish is not as good as a OEM would be, but I love it.

Low Ride Height - Am absolutely gaga over vehicles which have low sitting position. I have driven Optra, Beat, Wagon R, Nano and Santro. I felt like I was sitting in a truck when driving the Nano and Santro. When I drove the Beat and Wagon R, it was better. The only sedan I have driven is the Optra, and the moment I sat in the driver seat, it was amazing. I felt like sitting on the floor. I didn't feel much difference in the ride quality (since it was a very short distance), but the feeling on almost sitting on the road is so mesmerising !!!

Automatic AC - While the trend has been that this is one of the highlighted features in a car, I simply don't like it. I have it in my Beat and I can count on my hand, the number of times I have used it. Once the temp is set in, the blower switches to fresh air mode, which pulls pungent smell from the outside. Follow a garbage truck and the cabin is full of garbage smell.

DRL - Ok, so there are different places where you can put a DRL. Integrate it in the headlight cluster and it looks nice. Put it on the front bumper and it looks like a Happydent White ad, completely out of place smiling white on the road. For me, if someday, I buy a DRL, I would love to integrate it in the headlight cluster.

Exhaust Tip / Muffler - I absolutely hate those loud noisy cars. There is a difference between an Original Ferrari Engine Roar and a Fake Maruti Zen Roar (by removing the muffler or fitting a FFE). For me, when its' not an original racing car, please don't make the public deaf with the pathetic roar by using FFE.
PS: I know half of the community would probably beat me up for saying such a thing against FFE.

Can't think of more unconventional likes and dislikes at this moment, but I sure do have a long list of em'.
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Old 21st June 2013, 12:51   #7
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Default Re: Your *unconventional* Automotive Preferences

Automatics - The market seems to moving towards Automatics. But I my car to be have a manual transmission.

Sedans Style -I like the old style design of the Old Honda City or the Lancer better than the super curvy Verna/Civic. But sadly they don't seem to make them anymore.

Changing Gears - My friends suggest to upshift as early as possible. But I like to upshift to as late as possible.

Last edited by safari_lover : 21st June 2013 at 12:53.
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Old 21st June 2013, 12:58   #8
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Default Re: Your *unconventional* Automotive Preferences

Quote:
Originally Posted by vasanthn21 View Post
Electric ORVMs: I feel it is highly over-rated. How many times in a day do you have to do adjust the ORVM? Once, at most twice! Why waste a switch and motor on it!
.
To each his own,but i find it really useful,especially while parking alone in tight places,where i can adjust the mirror while sitting and take a full view of the left side,got it in 2 of our cars,and whenever i have to drive a car without one,it becomes such a pain.
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Old 21st June 2013, 13:07   #9
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Default Re: Your *unconventional* Automotive Preferences

My unconventional list:

1) Clean lines as GTO mentioned. Love the Lancer, Baleno, even the first generation Honda City. They had very honest and firm lines as against the confusing ones on the arrowshot/fluidic designs.

2) Steering wheel without buttons. Many like the steering mounted controls, but I absolutely hate them. What I need is a nice feeling steering wheel with good feedback and it must not be light at speed. Steering wheel without buttons = uncluttered design, something I like.

3) High revv engines. Baleno, Honda City or even Esteem, the Ford fiesta classic have engines which love to revv. The current City motor or even the K series cannot match the effortless manner in which those motors would climb the rpm needle.

4) No Autolock. I think I know when to lock and unlock my car. I don't need that over smart system of autolocks.

5) Temp Gauge and Analogue meters. This might be age of digitization, but I love to have a temp gauge and also love the analogue meter for fuel. I abhor the digital tachometer or fancy tacho like the one in beat. Simple, clear and easy to read gauge are the ones for me.
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Old 21st June 2013, 13:13   #10
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Default Re: Your *unconventional* Automotive Preferences

Quote:
Originally Posted by vasanthn21 View Post
Electric ORVMs: I feel it is highly over-rated. How many times in a day do you have to do adjust the ORVM? Once, at most twice! Why waste a switch and motor on it!
May not matter much for driver side, but actually, its a huge boon if you drive solo and need to adjust the passenger side mirror position. Without this aid, I'd have to do a yoga stretch from the driver's seat to reach that joystick on the passenger side window every time.

For people who park multiple times through the day, this feature is useful since he/she can just adjust the mirror position N number of times to point up/down looking for obstacles on the ground when parking, just with a finger-touch of a button.

P.S - the non-electric adjuster joystick is very prone to breaking (and hence replacement); had this happen a couple of times in my Swift and later in the Accent. I'd much rather prefer button-based adjustment which is less prone to wear and tear via direct (human) abuse .

Last edited by KarthikK : 21st June 2013 at 13:18.
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Old 21st June 2013, 13:16   #11
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Default Re: Your *unconventional* Automotive Preferences

Hot Hatch: I'd prefer a hot hatch over a sedan any day. !@#$ with the social status. I did that in 2010 when I went for the Punto at a time when I can actually buy the Linea/Manza (no offences to these sedan owners. In fact, my jaws dropped to the showroom floor when I saw the interior space and the legroom of the Manza.).

"Smiling" cars: I hate cars that come with a smile, or grille designed like a grin. Example: Etios. The Punto has no grin in its face, but occasionally I do grin, especially on a curved road.

Sunfilm and names/ phone numbers on windscreen: Absolutely hated it. Thank God (and the Supreme Court) one is history...

Puny tires: I prefer chunky, macho tires.

Also for some unreasonable reason, I don't like any vehicle made by Maruti except the Gypsy. None of them. I don't know why so don't ask me to explain. Surprisingly or not so surprisingly, my wife too hates their cars.

Last edited by sandeepmdas : 21st June 2013 at 13:19.
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Old 21st June 2013, 13:17   #12
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Default Re: Your *unconventional* Automotive Preferences

My preferences are so precise, i often end up buying a trim level/engine-trim level combination which is not my first choice- but a compromise (because the Manufacturer does not make a certain engine in a certain trim level and vice versa).

Body Shell- I am a big fan of clean straight taut lines or at the most a mixture of straight lines & medium curves. No 'fluidics' or excessively swoopy curvy designs for me. A car that is defined by straight lines for me wins the beauty contest. (the Fiesta 1.6 S, The Accent, The Optra, the Lancer, the Original Elantra)

Suspension- Speaking of the 1.6 S, I love my suspension to be 'hard'- so hard that my back breaks (exaggerating ofcourse- but you know what i mean). The reason behind it is- believe it or not- Steering Feedback. I currently own a Bolero with leaf springs all around which gives me really precise steering feedback and the ability to stick to a straight line as compared to the Bolero with an IFS which would pitch too much in the front and would need to be given corrections.

Engine Racket- The bigger the racket the better. But at 'idle'. I dont really like 'loud' cars which scream at high rpm (probably because i do not own one and dont really go beyond 125 km/hr). But i like the clatter of my DI Bolero which goes clack-clack-clack and sounds like a lorry


Steering- If it is well weighted, contoured, grippy and gives me feedback as to whether i am driving on the 'head' or 'tail' of a coin- i like it.


Brakes- I like them to be wanting for more bite. Keeps me engrossed and interested in the drive. Precise adequate braking forces with ABS and EBD which stop the car well in time and in a straight line is a good safety measure for sure, but i like to think that i can control my unadequate brakes and get the same results.

Tyres- Like GTO said- grippy tyres are great! But sometimes the rubbish OEM's are worth their weight in gold! Especially in the rains.

Audio Controls on Steering wheels- A must have (not that i do have them on any of my cars)

ABS, EBD, Airbags- I fall in the 1% that GTO was talking about

Engine Technology- I prefer old school proven engines which are rugged and can take abuse as compared to the new-kids engines which are highly refined and brimming with technology but sensitive to fuel quality/abuse and have too many bells & whistles that can go wrong
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Old 21st June 2013, 13:21   #13
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Default Re: Your *unconventional* Automotive Preferences

I will list out my preferences later but I disagree on Parking Sensors. They are a very important feature especially, sedan's. I would not term them un-necessary.
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Old 21st June 2013, 13:22   #14
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Default Re: Your *unconventional* Automotive Preferences

My preferences:
Body Style: While the mass likes the 3 box versions for various reasons (prestige being one of them), I prefer a hatchback style. They offer so much flexibility and also provide roomy feeling. I also prefer crossovers in place of a sedan or a full blown SUV as they offer the best of both the worlds.
Styling: While majority of the buyers seem to prefer 'heavily styled' cars, I prefer a design which is simple and utilitarian. I like SUV/hatch backs which are mostly boxy with subtle details on the surfaces. I don’t like cars which are designed 'outside-in' i.e. come up with a sleek looking exterior design first and then try to fit humans inside . That will end up with a high set dashboard which compromises visibility, raising window line which makes the rear seat claustrophobic, thick/split A pillar, no or tiny quarter window at the rear (I like cars with large quarter window), tiny rear windscreen etc.
Drive Type: While the majority prefers FWD cars for the economy and some prefer RWD cars due to fun factor, I prefer AWD even while they impact fuel efficiency, because they are relatively safer on slippery conditions and on winding roads.

Last edited by Guna : 21st June 2013 at 13:25.
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Old 21st June 2013, 13:22   #15
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Default Re: Your *unconventional* Automotive Preferences

Absolutely fantastic thread GTO.

Looks: I always think many of the common people buy a car with the primary thought "What would the people around me think of my car?" rather than "How will I feel with my car?". That why many settle for a Swift than say a Ritz.

When two cars are almost same at heart, choose the one which impresses more from inside.

Service: I would tend to agree with your point here. But the question I had to face almost every other day while owning a Palio was, "Why the hell a Fiat?"

Feedback: I generally value the feedback I get from my vehicle while driving, than the ones I get from people I talk to.

Thats the main reason I bought & lived with an un-reliable, un-serviceable car for 40000 kms rather than buying a Wagon R(which every T,D & H around me vouched for). And still having the RE Thunderbird.

ACC: I still prefer to have the option of just pressing a button to choose fresh air /recycle air and another button for on/off ac and a simple rotor for choosing fan speed than allowing the car itself to decide everything. I don't feel I'm the boss.

Safety: I would prefer all manufacturers making ABS & Airbags standard in all variants. I do not want to pay close to 1.5 lacs more for the top end variant. Which means, "you dont deserve to be safe if you dont want the gizmos".

Speed: Though I like the occasional hair raising drive, I almost always prefer to do safe controllable speeds , enjoy how the car communicates with me and reach my destination with a smiling face, rather than losing a few pounds with high G-Force driving(Just exaggerating a bit). There is a difference between driving fast and driving risky.

Parking Sensors & Rear Camera: After having driven for so many KMs and in almost every nook and corner of Chennai and parked my cars almost in all possible places, I'm yet to find a place where I would really need a parking sensor or camera.

If I'm able to digest & realize the dimensions of a car after a while, why at all I need them. And if I still cannot realize after a while, why am I still driving?

OT: Though we say aam janta this, aam janta that, what we all have to unanimously accept is that, we all are aam janta in most of our decision making(as long as we are salaried & depend on someone else to decide our raise next year) and deviate only when it comes to automobile.
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