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Old 22nd February 2017, 11:11   #31
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Talking Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
My questions in this thread are addressed to those who own premium brands like BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Jaguar, Volvo & Land Rover - but preferably, those who also own & drive a mainstream brand car (like Hyundai or a Toyota) daily or on weekends.
6) Are there any mainstream models that can offer 90% of driving experience (power, refinement, acceleration, steering feel & feedback, features, build quality, ride quality, noise insulation) at 50% of the cost?
Own a Thar and a Tiger XRX so am technically NOT qualified to reply to your questions. Attempting since found the question rather interesting and i have been fortunate enough to use all sorts of cars over the years, so here goes...

1- XUV Vs Q3 HUGE difference, in real life all those small things add up to make a HUGE difference.

2- Depends on the person, if you are a car person DEFINITELY YES.

3- Again yes, one should atleast rent one of those super expensive stuff and go on a holiday

4- Yup a 50 bhp difference is a huge difference in real world. If you ever decide to buy a high end car, pick the most powerful and feature rich that you can in your budget. You will not regret it.

5- Yes even in a typical Indian highway (barring say non existent road types), you tend to have a much higher average speeds while having the confidence that these cars can make the overall experience also safe. The way expensive machines handle emergency situations gives you a great deal of buffer, even in our indian roads. ps: always keep an eye out at the rear lol

6- Current lot, i found HEXA the best bet as an answer, may the breed grow!

See though point 6 is happening more and more, the gap is still phenomenal. At the end of the day you get what you pay for, being the only rule when you get into commodities like cars.
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Old 22nd February 2017, 12:02   #32
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium Vs Mainstream Brands / Models

I own a Toyota Fortuner 4X4 and a C250D.
Here is my 2 cents.
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
aah, dark side of the Force. I almost never go there. If I've ever crossed 110 kmph, it was by mistake (not looking at speedo, for example).

Can cruisers like me enjoy a powerful premium car? I do enjoy the 20 to 100 kmph dash.
You can. But,when you need that extra power on tap, like when you are overtaking a long trailer and see an oncoming traffic at a distance, POWER is the decision making factor. Can need not necessarily mean will. You can, if you want to.

That's why I specifically mentioned DRIVING EXPERIENCE (all the things GTO mentions in the above post plus driving pleasure) in the thread title and not just DRIVING PLEASURE (power, steering, suspension, handling etc)
Driving experience also includes road presence. The respect you get when you are behind the wheel of a Merc is different from what you get in an Etios. You get the looks, you get the extra space and as mentioned in one of the previous posts, when you get the pole position at the signal, leaving everybody else with a taste of your exhaust is something special.
The other advantage with premium cars is the service. When my Merc had some issues, it is resolved at the best possible way, with minimum disturbance to me. I can't say the same about my Toyota.

On the question of 'Reaching early and reaching fresh'
Fresh is already discussed.
Late or early depends on traffic conditions, but you will definitely arrive in STYLE
Just think of throwing keys of your Merc/BMW to a valet at a 5* hotel, as against doing the same of your Etios. There may be some dropped catches and just check where your ride is parked.
All these small things add upto the experience.

Last edited by FORTified : 22nd February 2017 at 12:04. Reason: Want to add my ride details
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Old 22nd February 2017, 12:34   #33
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

Since we're talking about the experience, here are some disadvantages of owning a premium car:

- You can't park anywhere. It has to be safe parking. Wherever I park, a tip of 50 - 100 bucks is mandatory for the valet to empty a safe spot.

- You can't afford to hit a speed breaker at speed. Or a pothole that might damage your low profile tyre. Your alertness levels have to be very high while driving.

- People will cut you in the city because they know you are in an expensive car. There's a world of difference in the way that I drive my Jeep & Sunny vs the 530d in the city. To put things in perspective, if I drive in traffic from Nariman Point to Worli, I'll get there faster in my Jeep.

- They gather too much attention. Never drive one to a business meeting (there goes your negotiation power). I drove my Jeep to a recent property dealing . It just helps to arrive in a 50,000 rupee car when you're the buyer.

Originally Posted by th2 View Post
Question for folks who have driven the Figo and high-end cars - are any/all of the more expensive cars better in the steering department?
Unfortunately, more & more cars are moving to electrically-assisted steerings, with luxury cars taking the lead. While the 530d's steering is a great EPS, my Civic & City Vtec's pure hydraulic steering wheels felt much superior.

Originally Posted by rrsteer View Post
Have never driven the Liva 1.5, but own an Etios 1.5, I am curious to know how different or better is Liva 1.5 to drive compared to Etios 1.5?
No more off-topic posts, but I'll answer this quickly . I love the Etios 1.5L too; named Liva as it is smaller & lighter, and had a sweet looking 'sporty' edition.
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Old 22nd February 2017, 12:36   #34
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

Okay, be it Skoda/VW closing the gap between the premium and mainstream segments, let's just all of us agree the nobody makes better cars than the Europeans(Germans in particular).
Our first family car was a Maruti 800(first car), A Ford Ikon and a Mahindra Bolero followed later, and the latest entrant was a Skoda Rapid which was a replacement for the Ikon. As the other two cars are getting aged and often we talk about replacement for our cars, we never have looked or even tried considering any other brands other than the Euro brands. that's how influential just a Skoda Rapid has been to all of us in our family. And i'm very sure that most of the Euro car brand owners fell the same and can relate to this.
Yes, there may be other brands which may be good or specialize at one or two departments, but with a Euro car the thing that makes it good is the way all the aspects which makes a good car are in sync with each other.
If there was ever a question mark about the Europeans it would be the ASS and the high maintenance costs associated with them. But look at it in this way, how was the Skoda ASS 5 years ago and how is it now? from my personal experience, atleast things have changed from the past three years that I've been a customer at Skoda, and it will only get better.

Yes, its gonna cost a bomb to replace a set of Tyres on say a 530D, again see the other side of it, what do you think is the main reason for it being glued to the road while you are gunning it around a twisty road? and the reason that it is able to put almost most of its power down onto the road so that you could savor the car to the fullest.
You get what you pay for in this world, simple as that!

Buying either of the car's mainstream or the premium is a a personal preference. A rich person with money to spend might be able to choose between a mainstream and a premium(personal preference), whereas a person who is not as equipped may just settle for a mainstream brand(VW/Skoda included).
But, when it comes to enthusiasts like us, things are different.
To us its the DRIVE that matters and not so much the RIDE!

PS:-Just my views, not trying to be biased here.
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Old 22nd February 2017, 13:09   #35
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

I have recently owned the C200 (2013) and the Skoda Laura (2010). The difference between these two on the highway, city roads and even arterial roads is marginal if any. That the Skoda had a super engine added to my driving pleasure. The features were almost the same but the quality of some were better (obviously) in the Merc.

Given a chance today, would I buy the C250 or the Octavia L&K, I would go for the latter.
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Old 22nd February 2017, 13:53   #36
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

Originally Posted by GTO View Post
- People will cut you in the city because they know you are in an expensive car.
+1 to this!

I had hired a GLA from zoomcar for a day and though the car was great (I won't say amazing) but it was a super difficult to drive on a busy route with peak hour traffic on it. People were super adventurous and cutting into my lane knowing I am bound to be careful and won't afford a scratch on my car. All in all it was a nightmare in traffic.
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Old 22nd February 2017, 14:06   #37
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

Post deleted by the Team-BHP Support : Please do NOT post messages that add little or no informational value to the thread. We need your co-operation to maintain the quality of this forum.

Please read our rules before proceeding any further. We request you to post ONLY when you have something substantial to add to a discussion.

Last edited by GTO : 22nd February 2017 at 18:02.
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Old 22nd February 2017, 14:06   #38
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

I have to say that apart from the prestige factor or the brand image, the premium cars are still more desirable for multiple reasons. I drive an e350 or a 520d most of the time but also drive a honda city very often and the differences are very evident.

Power - Yes the premium cars do have more power and torque which is very useful for highway drives or a short spin over the weekends. However in the city one hardly needs the excess power that is available. One can not do justice to the excess power available. There are those one off moments when you step on the accelerator and its nice to see cars dissappear in the rear view mirror but thats not a good enough reason to own a premium car for sure. In todays world you can always modify the regular car to increase the power output if thats the main requirement.

Drive - This is a debatable topic. Yes premium cars feel more stable at speed but if its pure driving experience then there are other cars out there that can deliver that. A fiesta S for example is a very fun car to drive. At the same time a premium car gives you more stability with all those safety aids like ESP, traction control etc.

Build Quality - This is where the biggest difference is. The premium cars are built with much better materials and it shows. They give you a feeling of being in a solid car whereas the regular cars are no match to it at all. Yes the Passat or Superb do come very close but I am referring to the likes of a Honda city or a Toyota Corolla. From the way the doors shut to the materials used in the interior and the way the switches work, everything is leagues apart.

Fatigue- When you go on a long drive in a premium car you do not feel as tired as you would if you took the same drive in a regular car. Since the premium cars are better put together, there is less road noise inside the cabin. This is somehting that really tires you out in my opinion. The premium cars also being heavier mask the speed really well. This is true for both the driver and the passengers. I have done many long drives in both the type of cars and I definitely feel less tired in a premium car. You dont feel the difference much in the city though probably because of the short stints.

Safety - This I am sure everyone will agree on. Premium cars are much safer and you cant really put a cost on safety. There are a lot of cars under 15 lakhs offering six airbags and many other safety features but they will never match the safety standards of a premium car.

Maintenance - This is where the premium cars dont do well. They are extremely expensive to maintain. It is a nightmare for me everytime I find some small thing that has to be checked or repaired. I personally feel with all the electronics that are present the reliability has come down and also makes it way more expensive to maintain. In my opinion, Japanese cars are the most trouble free and nothing can match it. Parts are also extremely expensive and something as small as a side mirror in a premium car will cost over a lakh for sure.

Ease of use - As already mentioned, premium cars need to be taken care of. Parking on the street or in tight spots is something that I hate doing . I dont even like giving my car for valet and end up taking a smaller car if I have to do that. Negotiating traffic is much easier in a regular car. The size is one thing, but also when you are in a premium car you dont want to take a chance and get too close to another vehicle on the road knowing very well that any small scratch is going to hurt you.

This is just my 2 cents!!
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Old 22nd February 2017, 14:41   #39
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

My experience of actually driving and owning both premium and mainstream cars is mostly related to Europe and the USA. In india we had a (Company provided + company driver) Innova.

I have owned, or company leased, a long series of premium cars. Next we have always had mainstream car for my wife, such as VW, Volvo, Ford etc. And I have owned and still own some classic cars. I will leave those out of the equation so to speak.

At the end of the day it is really down to personal preferences and what you enjoy. But I would say that by and large I do enjoy many things on premium cars over mainstream cars. I have always appreciated for instance the finish and level of detailing and the materials used in say Audi’s. Just getting behind the wheel, soaking up the atmosphere, looking at the design etc. is something I enjoy every time.

My various cars are used for various drives. Company car is for business. I don’t drive them for private use at all. (would also incur a huge tax bill). But it will be mostly motorway, long, drives.

My own premium cars we use purely for our own enjoyment and also long drives. The one thing, large cars such as my Mercedes and Jaguar are pretty long and they are a real pain to park in city car parks. On top of that they might get scratched. So we rarely take them into town, or a shopping run.

Currently we also own the latest Ford Fiesta. In all honesty, although it really looks nice, from a driving experience I actually preferred the earlier models. Even so, I still enjoy driving this little car. We use it mostly around town, shopping runs etc. We did take it to the UK several times and it will do happily 130 lm/h for hours on end. But still it’s no comparison to driving the same run with say my Jaguar XJR.

Here is the difference.

I drove to London Gatwick from our home near the Hague, the Netherlands, twice in the last few months. First to drop my wife off and the second time to pick her up from the airport. Those sort of trips, where I drive 600-800km/day, I really look forward to when I’m going to do them in my Jaguar. Love it! I will enjoy every second. Looking at the beautiful dashboard, the long bonnet stretching out in front of me, the huge power surge, if and when I put my foot down.

The first trip we took the Jaguar. On the way back I detoured via Southampton to look at a boat, adding another couple of hundred of kilometers to the trip. I was away from home two days and drove nearly 1300km. Loved every minute of it.

A few weeks later, my wife arrived back at Gatwick and I went to pick her up, This time in the Ford Fiesta. Main reason was we were staying a few days in Suffolk, UK. A small car like the Fiesta is much more convenient in the little towns and on the many B-roads. Still enjoyed the drive, but it just doesn’t really compare.

I will definitely go faster in the Jaguar then in the Fiesta. Even so, it is much more relaxing. Sumptuous chairs, hugely comfortable ride, no noise, outstanding stereo. The Fiesta is not bad at all. In its class it’s actually pretty good, but there is simply no comparison.

(The other noticeable difference is the amount of fuel, Fiesta 1:15, Jaguar 1:7)

GTO mentioned things like safe parking, people not letting you pull in etc. In Europe/USA that is less of a problem. Parking is mainly, as I said, about size versus space and or the car getting dented/hit by a shopping trolley or so.

Whether the price difference is worth it? Again, I think that is a highly personal preference on what to do with one’s money.

Personally I think car prices are ridiculous, especially in the Netherlands with huge taxes over and above the 21% VAT. I was looking at the new Porsche Panamera the other day. That car will cost more than an average terraced house. That is not just ridiculous, that is obscene!

GTO started a thread some time ago about buying high end cars second hand. I would say you might want to consider that. Drive a real high end, premium car at the price of a mainstream one.


Last edited by GTO : 22nd February 2017 at 14:43. Reason: Let's not generalise owners of car brands please
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Old 22nd February 2017, 15:32   #40
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

Well, in my opinion, the comparison will have to be done with at least one parameter at level. For example, if we keep interior space, SUV body type as common parameter, you can only compare an XUV with Q5 / GLC / X3 etc. and then you notice the real differences. Comparing XUV with Q3 isnt the right comparison as they dont have anything common (except perhaps, both are being sold in India).
Other bhpians have already said, and I can just reiterate, that the biggest difference is in ease with which power is sent to wheels, when you need it. Comfort over long drives, ergonomics etc. are noticeable, though 'drive experience' is a far more complex function. To explain my point:
"Its like riding a stallion vs riding a mule. Even in a trot, the regal feel you get from stallion cannot be matched by the mule."
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Old 22nd February 2017, 15:46   #41
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

Okay, I drive a 2010 1.2 TDI Polo. The car is great. Park it wherever it will fit, go wherever, feels sufficiently plush inside and has great road manners for a city car. I also drive my mom's Celerio AMT often. The Celerio feels like two steps down from the polo, understandable because it is quite a lot cheaper. However, the Celerio is faster IMO and garners less attention, AND is easier to drive and park.

My father has 2013 Mercedes GL350 CDI. When he is in town, I become the chauffeur since his driver gets early offs. This car is a behemoth. Its wrong to call it a car, or and SUV, it is a truck. The person sitting in the third row really has to shout (even with the cars negligible cabin noise) to make themselves heard to the driver. I'll compare just these three cars on some very brief points.

  • Celerio: Funky AMT and easy to fool around in. Just give it a tap while slowing down and it'll downshift to second no matter what gear you are(Engine noise FTW)
  • Polo: Superb handler. The engine does suffer from turbo lag but its got good mid range. Clutch is a bit heavy but nothing to complain. The cars size makes itself tiny bit noticeable during bumper to bumper traffic.
  • GL350: 600nm. 7 speed gearbox. BUT 2 tonnes of hunkering German metal, riding on 19 inch wheels and air suspension. Its a surreal feeling. The 3.6l Diesel V6 doesn't make itself felt at all. When you accelerate the majority of the noise in the cabin is the various tidbits lying around in cubby holes, sliding about due to the sudden change in momentum. People notice you everywhere. Your destination is often predetermined by the availability of safe parking spots.
  • Celerio: Negligible. Its easy for anything to kill you in a Celerio. A guy once hit the car on his cycle( car was taking a left turn) and the front bumper of the car got ripped so bad it had to be replaced, while the offender and his steed were unhurt. The AMT is notchy, slow at times, doesn't really know when to change gears and the car feels like its knocking in lower gears. There was no sound system from factory and the aftermarket unit is shit. Every single bit in the car is seemingly ill-fitted since there is noise from every single nook and cranny. NVH is through the roof.
  • Polo: Great Quality! My polo is 7 years old and still I can count the select few sources of sounds coming from the cabin on my finger tips. On just one hand. The ride is great still. Feels comfortable. I can go really long distances on it. Mileage is still great, as good as day one. Build quality is phenomenal. I got rear ended once by an alto, lost a number plate to it. The alto on the other had busted its radiator, hood, grill, bumper, one of the head lights and probably some other internals as well (One can argue about crumple zones and all, but I got hit by a car going 30kmph max). Apart from consumables and yearly service, the car has never demanded for anything. At 80k though I feel new suspensions are in order.
  • GL350: There are SOOO MANY LIGHTS! All over the cabin! 50% of the time you will not be able to decipher the source of illumination. Every single bit feels premium, from the little badge that says "SRS" to seatbelt hook. Not a single inch of the interior has been left without someone thinking about 2 or 3 times. On the move you feel the usual "floating" feeling you get when you are in a air ride car. But, the energy to make 2 tonnes of metal move like a hot hatch is palpable. You feel it in you. Multiple people have remarked after sitting in the car, that this is the most comfortable they have ever been. I however feel the ride is on the stiffer side, but its expected from an SUV. The gearbox is a dream. You will never notice it working, and that I feel is truly great engineering. Highway manners are impeccable, almost royal. No one comes in your way(yet you can never be carefree). On the downside, the headlights cost about as much as the Celerio. It costs just about 3rs/km in just tyre cost. One service is about 50k and 15k interval. Mine is a very high mileage SUV, since it is one of the very few GLs who are actually used the way they were meant to be(or not?) and since 2013, the beast has run 1.24 Lac kms. The sunroof gave up once, got covered in insurance, but the SA told us had it not been covered it would have costed 12Lac.
To spice things up further, my family also owns a 2016 Innova Crysta. The ride of the Crysta feels almost like the 1 lac km run GL, out of the showroom. There are not as many gadgets but there are very few things missing. Quality is one of them if compared to the GL. The auto box is downright blasphemy! It is easily the worst bit of technology I have ever encountered. I feel the ride isn't as plush as the first gen Innova, but it could do be improved with 15inch wheels instead of 16. At almost 26 lacs for the Innova, things are VFM (If I'm allowed to call 26 lacs Value ). The competing "luxury" alternatives aren't very far ahead of it. It's got less price and more space and comfort than the A4, C class or the 3 series. Admittedly it doesn't carry the brand value as the big 3, but the feeling comes pretty close. The flagships on the other hand are just wayyy ahead. Ive driven and have been chauffeured around in an S class, and it is just out of this world. So to sum it up, most cars in the 20-45 lac bracket feel quite premium and unlike the lower segments, from 45-85 the divide becomes sketchy, but beyond that is a whole different planet.

Last edited by SDP : 23rd February 2017 at 08:22. Reason: Multiple typos, choice of incorrect words and SMS language corrected. Please proofread before posting.
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Old 22nd February 2017, 16:12   #42
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

I had owned both BMW 325i (E47) and Toyota corolla simultaneously in USA. In daily drive, I could feel a huge difference in the drive, braking and overall experience. Over 80-90 mph, toyota corolla's engine used to strain a lot, but at those speeds, BMW used to be eager with a new energy to go faster. In winding roads above 70 mph, BMW always performed better than corolla. Even in long drives, as other members agree, the tiredness is very less in the premium cars. Regarding reaching faster, does not differ much in either of the cars, since the speed of all the cars are similar in USA.

In India, now I own both City and BMW, again the difference is huge. But I reach my office slow with BMW than City. In long runs the BMW rpm does not move above 1200 rpm at 100 kmph, but City's engine reaches around 2500 rpm at 100 kmph.
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Old 22nd February 2017, 16:46   #43
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Default Re: Driving Experience: Premium vs Mainstream Cars

This was a dilemma I was in, couple of years back. After TDing a 3 series, C class and A4, I settled for a fully loaded Octi 1.8 TSI. It clearly had the better engine of the three at about 60% of the price. The comfort as well was better than the 3 series, with the multi-link independent suspension, although the steering and handling was no doubt better in the 3. I thought the Octi almost matched up to the C and A4 in that aspect.

In terms of interiors, the luxury three had the Octi beat hands-down but that was something I was alright with, considering that I was saving about 20 lakhs upfront that I could invest elsewhere. To date it gives me immense pleasure to smoke the luxury three out of toll-booths and signal lights or on dead straights on the highway.

As for reaching destinations earlier and without fatigue, in comparison with my i20, the Octi reaches about 20-25% quicker with about half the fatigue. I would assume the Octi would match up to the luxury three on this front.
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Old 22nd February 2017, 17:28   #44
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Originally Posted by asitkde View Post
I am not sure if the Lincoln Town car qualifies as a premium car in the sense the term is used in this thread. Firstly, it is as American as one can get, secondly it is not a performance car although there was no shortage of power (and space too). It was called a luxury sedan, a special one at that, used by quite a few US Presidents. This car had all kinds of features of creature comfort in the car.

At that time I used to own a Nissan Sentra GXE. We also had an used Ford Escort that my wife used to drive. Whenever we rented, our standard choice was a Toyota Camry because of its ready availability with Hertz and its no-fuss reliability.

The main difference with all these mainstream cars to the Town car was that after this whole drive of more than 5600 kms in 13 days (daily average of nearly 450 kms consecutively for 13 days) none of us were tired at all. The comfort seats, the space, and the comfort suspension did their job unbelievably well.

Another thing I distinctly remember is the following: While overtaking a 18-wheeler truck there was absolutely no swaying of the car, something that was so common in the Camrys or my Nissan.
Oh I can vouch for the Lincoln Town Car's ride too At that time I was working in Dallas and my daily ride was a Corolla. We (four people) decided to drive upto Chicago and back in 4 days (it was a long weekend). It was a total distance of about 2000 miles. The driving part was done by two (me and another guy).

We went to Avis I believe and got the Town Car. As you said it is amazingly spacious, comfortable and stable at speed. I remember hitting 70 miles per hour and feeling like I have gone up to only 40 (since my experience of speed was based on my daily ride of Corolla). Though only two of us drove, we didn't feel any tiredness at all.
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Old 22nd February 2017, 18:01   #45
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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Give me an Alto K10 ......

.....Remember, it's better to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow.
Let me add my 2 paise to add to this. I'm gonna discuss a car on the totally opposite end of this discussion - the humble Alto K10. I get a superb feeling when i stick the K10 in the second gear and go bonkers on the A pedal - the surge is simply mind blowingly addictive on this little pocket rocket.

Yes, the body roll is bad, NVH sucks, interiors feel cheap, bad quality plastics, etc. etc. and the list goes on. But, all this take a back-seat once you are in the driver seat and are redlining the little gem of an engine. Add some synthetic oil and the whine (or the wheeze - whatever you decide to call it) is just awesome.

Why do we have to compare mainstream v/s luxuries; just comparing the K10 to my iVtec brings out such stark differences in the overall experience of driving.

Driving Experience: iVtec is smooth as silk; K10 is like a grumpy naughty kid who just wants to be let loose!

Conditions: In traffic, K10 is a blessing; not so much for the iVtec as navigating it through bad traffic is a little tough. On open roads, iVtec wins hands down (no drama whatsoever) but the K10 retains its spot for the fun-to-drive on the "edge" factor.

Destination Reaching: More or less the same time in our conditions but I feel a LOT fresher and I feel I can drive even longer when its with the iVtec compared to a rather fatigue-inducing experience with the K10

Last edited by vsathyap : 22nd February 2017 at 18:07.
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