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Old 15th November 2013, 15:48   #1
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Default My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold

Thank you for visiting this thead! This is my first longest post so far. And the first ownership report on TBhp - the thread that I started!

I joined TBhp in May 2013 and waited so long to think through how I will tell my silver steed story! Sorry for the delay, but I am sure this won't be too late, too little. I am going to talk about the car, experience and things I like/ dislike, recommend for others. This thread will also be a place to post regular updates on the car, my quick and short travelogues as and when time permits, interior/ exterior modifications, accessories I have fitted or will be fitting. And last but not the least - a thread where I will ensure I answer all your questions to the best of my knowledge about anything and everything on this car and me in particular!

So, here we go -

Background
Let me quickly talk about my old cars, pictorial and few anecdotes if I may. Sorry for some shady pics, I did not have the DSLR then

Maruti 800 - It's not about car but driver! First ever car I owned and drove, hence super special to me.
My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-m800lowres.jpg

Maruti Esteem - nothing else I have loved more than this car! Of course, family first, so no silly questions please.
My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-esteemlowres.jpg

And then we moved to uncle sam's country. The first car I bought there - Mazda Protege - the stopgap arrangement. I wouldn't like to talk more about this car in very first post but will cover the story somewhere down the line.
My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-protegelowres.jpg

And then the last one in the same country that served me very well - single owner, certified - Toyota Camry LE with cool sunroof
My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-camrylowres.jpg

Well, by now we have survived the itch for foreign country stay and the desi me craving to return homeland! Enough of that NRI nonsense, I say. Since my beloved daughter is 5 yrs now, we have decided to move back to India with a joint family environment where she will learn, enjoy and excel. Her education is our top priority. And to have second one, we need to stay closer to our parents too. So the first thing after basic needs such as school, house etc is vehicle! Thus our quest to acquire four wheels begin!

Need for the new, my requirements elicited
Since I returned to home soil, the first need was a home that is owned by me so obviously the car was secondary. Having said this, we still needed a car that is reliable, three box and with high ground clearance, safety gadgets as much as possible, easy to maintain when it goes to garage! The budget is around 9 Lakhs INR. (Why odd figure? That is left with me after planning for house and contingency funds!) I commute only 10 Kms every day for work (to and fro included) but the highway sprints would be many. On an average, one trip every three months to the land of sun and sand (Goa) or the green field in my native place - the village in Maharashtra! These are two homes I have and a trip 4-5 times a year is for sure. My work also involves overseas trips pretty often like two week meeting every two months and sometimes continuous stay overseas for 2 months or so. That means there would be time when the vehicle will be not be used at all (I am the only driver in family) or it will be used too much. This actually ruled out diesel cars as I had always thought they needed a lot more maintenance and not sure - if not used continuously how much I will spend in maintaining them! By the way, I don't have a bike so this will be a vehicle to use in city as well as highway. And who knows, like all my past cars, I may part way with this one for a fav car or something new in around 2-3 years!

So to summarize, my requirements were -
  • Less than 9 lakh (Of course 25K should be fine +/-)
  • Three box is a must
  • An ABS and two airbags are must
  • High ground clearance, Easy on repairs and services
  • Petrol only, Mileage is not an issue but reliability and durability is
  • Should never back me down when comes to consistency!
  • Quick Delivery, No waiting Period
  • Easy to drive in City as well as highway
Alternatives considered and rejected
So with these requirements in mind, there came only few options - City, Verna, Lina, Aveo and SX4. I was not member of TBhp then, and my only source of information were - friends and colleagues. I was a frequent visitor to manufacturer sites though. Then began my search through literature and experiences people have narrated about their cars. When I read through the specs, service experiences, Aveo automatically fell out. Linea was good but I figured out that in my parent's place (or nearby) the fiat does not have good servicing centers. Even in Bangalore where live, the closest one is at least 45 minutes away. So Linea was erased from the list too. This essentially left City Vs Verna Vs SX4 decision for me. When I called for City test drive from one of the dealer in Bangalore, came too many questions and saw clear hesitation in giving me test drive at my doorstep. That actually rang bells about Honda might treat me in future. After all I am buying an executive class car, right? Imagine, sales rep dishonors your requests for test drive! The big "E" kicked in. That erased City off my list. And then one day I was about to check Verna, I found that recently someone in my relation also had a Verna. I don't like to be related myself to that person in any way and so Verna goes off list too! Big "E", I know. But it was then, now i am a changed person!

You see, with not too many details on technical stuff etc, the decision is very easy!

Why SX4?
The last thing that came to my mind is - when I have owned Camry, Mazda in the past, driven for more than 200K ams so far, damn this car won't be the last one too! The dream won't be complete unless I own a Merc ML series (Preferably 360D, thanks to Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park - remember the scene how merc was holding the trailer off the cliff in slush? Yeah, I am fan of that car for no other reason!) So if anyway I have to buy something that will not cause trouble for 4-5 years, lets get SX4. And it fulfills my needs stated earlier -
  • On Road Price around 9 lakhs
  • Its a three box with largest boot and ground clearance in the class! Side Note I can now relate to - Need for high GC - (Underbody Hit & Cracked Sump : Implications, Vulnerabilities, Responsibilities)
  • Top end variant has ABS + Airbags
  • Maruti Suzuki - nothing needs to say when I have happily owned an Esteem and M800 in the past
  • It's VVT engine is BS4 compliant and reliable. There could be few niggles but will never get me stranded on the road! I should be able to turn on the ignition without issues even the engine is cranked after parking 6 months in my garage!

So here we come to the formalities/ rituals - the money part and delivery!

Booking and Delivery Experience

Dealer Experience
Since Kalyani has the nearest showroom to my home, I went to them on BG road and asked for the quote + Test Drive (yeah, just so that they know I am just any other customer) + possible delivery options. Quote as expected was very well in budget, so felt good. They gave the test drive of a SX4 automatic. I had asked for manual and they shown me automatic. I didn't like that thing. When asked about billing and delivery options, the sales manager said 2 weeks or so. That "so" and automatic car test drive made me feel as if I will not get delivery ASAP! And I am not good at having patience in these matters! So the deal is off.

So now I turn to my old dealer - Sagar Automobiles, further ahead and away from my home. The Sales Rep (Rohit) and Sales Manager (Kavan) were very friendly. Gave the test drive of right vehicle, explained all the procedure and formalities, assured of delivery within 15 days without fail for the color my better half had chosen! We wanted Azure Grey. To make the deal sweeter, I had already negotiated - Bluetooth Handsfree, Mats (including boot), Sunfilm, Reverse Parking Sensors and some miscellaneous things like idol and air freshener. Its good to buy the car that none buys especially when you know it won't be head turner but definitely dependable. An apt thread here (I bought a car that no one is buying! Maruti SX4 with factory-fit CNG!).

So we booked the car on Feb 12, 2011 by paying 1,00,000 booking amount by cheque. You can't imagine the happiness I experienced. The whole story of search for the car and booking one has finished in just less than two weeks! It has taken more time to think through this blog than buying the car itself!

On Feb26, I get the call from Rohit stating he wants to discuss something with me. That gave me first shocker news. The car that I had booked and built just for me had a dent on it while offloading from the container in their stock yard! Two options were provided - dealer will repair dent at their cost and give some discount, or wait for another 15 days for the new car! Actually both of them were out of question for me. So I ruled out both options.

The manager chipped in - offered to give me another new car in less than 5 days if I am ok to change the color. My wife's sense prevailed here - lets buy a different color to avoid even thinking if they gave the same damaged car with dent removed! And I agreed to it as I had not received the VIN number to validate the claim later. So instead of taking chance, we decided to change color. So the fast moving common color - silver, we settled for. And in turn, asked for a loaner vehicle as they failed to deliver vehicle in less than 15 days!

I got the old well maintained zen to use while my vehicle arrives from factory. And additional seat covers as compensation accessory! I actually liked Rohit and Kavan's honesty. They could have any time repaired the dent and sold the car to me and probably I wound not have noticed it as according to them it was small. But still we decided to change color to rule out that possibility. And finally I saw my vehicle on Feb 28th to perform PDI and complete other payment formalities etc. Satisfied with vehicle, formalities, I paid all money and returned home only to collect the car on March 1 - Mahashivartri day while they make the car ready with registration and accessory fitment!

As promised, the car was ready. Along with my daughter I went to showroom and picked the vehicle. With delivery formalities (demo, handover, quick dealer sponsored puja, contact numbers, 5ltr free petrol coupon and key handover) completed, we headed back to home! No frills, no huge fanfare, we brought the silver steed home! Pretty plain and simple acquisition. The only thing that came on next day was the vehicle number plates!

In a nutshell, Sagar Automobiles Sales is good and I will love to go back to them again if at all. Highly recommended too. Not as highly as their routine vehicle service station thug - more about that later.

About SX4 ZXi VVT
- Its a top end variant.
- 1.6 Ltr VVT engine with 105PS power
- ABS, Airbags (2), All alloy wheels
- Automatic Cliamte Control, Steering mounted controls, Three way adjustable driver seat, and many other small things like electrically adjustable ORVMs, music player with good speakers and tweeters etc.

Here is the detailed spec sheet -
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Courtesy - Google Search!

Cost break up -
Rs. 6,98,527.33 - Price of One SX4
Rs. 26,432.00 - Minus Discount
Rs. 90.732.86 - VAT @ 13.5%
Rounded Off Ex Showroom Price is thus Rs. 7,62,828.00.
Life Time Road Tax - Rs. 1,22,097.00
Insurance Cost - Approx 25K (Sorry misplaced the original receipt somewhere)
Miscellaneous Costs - Around 10K (For Extended warranty of 2 more years or total 80K Kms, Handling Charges etc)
Total Cost - Rs. 9,20,000.00 - Just about my budget!

And before I conclude the post to be continued for more details, here are few pics of the silver steed - See the terrain I visit often, they aren't tarred! Hence the sedan that will make sense in city, highway and village.
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My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-ltd.jpg

To be continued...

Last edited by Rehaan : 15th November 2013 at 16:02.
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Old 15th November 2013, 15:50   #2
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Now here is what I like and dislike in car -

Likes:
  1. Great handling. Steering is inspiring to maneuver
  2. Easy to drive in city, highway as well as village roads
  3. Good engine - just what the least was needed. City driving is as fantastic as highway.
  4. High seating position. High ground clearance.
  5. Maruti's A.S.S - I know them very well since my past two ownerships.
  6. Every time I took it to the service, all parts, repairs were extremely affordable and always lower compared to other similar segment cars.
  7. I love driving this car. Comfortable position and posture. I have never sat in the passenger seats or in the rear but my wife who uses those seats says she is very comfortable.
  8. No frills exteriors design. Interiors are OK, nothing to complain as well as praise about!
  9. Automatic climate control is great. Keeps the car interior temperature as you need.
  10. Ride quality, Finish is just what I need.
  11. Interior space and comfort is god for occupants - all in my family are slim, trim except me!
  12. Engine always behaved well and responsive when I needed it. Like overtaking on highways, or on a traffic light. I can see all two wheelers left behind as soon as green light comes on - even if i start late, i can finish first without stressing too much.
  13. I have driven on numerous rough roads but not even once I felt uncomfortable for me or passengers about overall ride quality.
  14. Fantastic braking capabilities! I have occasionally touched to 160Kmph marks and it never felt out of control.
  15. I feel this car is very much practical.
  16. After sales service is great - did not like Sagar Automobiles SA response but my usual SA at Mandovi does a fab job!
Dislikes:
  1. Poor fuel efficiency compared to other rivals.
  2. After two years, I hear many noises in cabin.
  3. Headlights are not strong enough.
  4. Does not have driver's hand rest - a must for long drives
  5. Lacks better music player with phone features?
  6. No rear AC vents.
  7. Should have foldable mirrors and integrated blinkers on ORVM.
  8. Gears are good but sometimes the reverse gear feels like stuck, won't engage.
  9. Fuel economy goes for a toss when fully loaded and/ or in city with ACC on.
  10. Its not loaded with too many gizmos and electronics like other rivals in this category and is kind of outdated in today's context!
  11. There are couple of niggles I faced and are worth individual posts with incidence narration, so it shall be written in subsequent posts.

Current Odometer Reading as on 12th Nov 2013
While this post is getting created, the odometer reads exactly 37950 Kms! And various ratings I have for mileage, economy and expenses from the GasCubby iPhone app are below -

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To be continued...

Last edited by Rehaan : 15th November 2013 at 16:01.
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Old 15th November 2013, 15:52   #3
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Well, don't be overwhelmed by the stats on the earlier post - the first year I did not religiously fill the data in the app and hence the stable line. But nevertheless, tried adding all kind of details I already knew from various payment receipts. The spike you see on service expenses are including the insurance cost, Caska HU cost etc and hence may be more. For someone who is looking for average expenses, these must be omitted. Looking at the fuel economy, you see those bursts? When i travel with fully loaded boot to the grim and 5 adults in the car, it surely goes down. There was only one occasion when I was alone in the car, no luggage and ant on to drive to Goa. Maintained average speeds of 120 or so and the FE was 15.6 kmpl! I am sure if i would have driven in 80's range and RPM strictly below 3K, I would have got much better FE. So to conclude, its not the car but driver again to be blamed for the kind of abuse i expose the vehicle to and FE it returns!

Now let me put some service updates -

First Garage Visit
Why - The stock headlights are very dull, needed more light as i would be venturing out on highway soon!
When - 3 weeks after purchase, Odo reads 919Kms
What - Headlamp Relay & Philips bulbs for 100/90 wattage
Where - Prithvi Motors, BG Road
Spent - Rs. 1136.07

Only a MASS can do this job as dealers won't change anything that is not part of stock specs on the car - headlight relay included.

The SX4 manual says the service must be done at 1K, 5K, 10K and every 10 K thereafter. But what I have chosen to do is - visit service station every 5K, rotate tyros and change engine oil. This would go a long way in keeping the engine in good shape. thanks to Tbhp, I have learned this by now.

First Free Service - 1K Kms
Why - Silly question. Maintenance Schedule.
When - 1021Kms, April 1st 2011
What - Free Service (Engine Oil and Filter Assembly related things as per schedule)
Where - Sagar Automobiles, BG Road
Spent - Rs. 1617.00
Yes, its not actually free. Only labor is free. The car wasn't ready on given time, and I was not properly explained about the service needs etc. So didn't like them much. Nothing bad, but nothing good too!

Second Free Service - 5K Kms
Why - Silly question again. Maintenance Schedule.
When - 4970 Kms, 16 May 2011
What - Free Service (WA, WB as per schedule, Front fog lamp assembly on one side, Rotate Tyres)
Where - Sagar Automobiles, BG Road; Yes, everyone deserves the second chance.
Spent - Rs. 2023.00

While I was returning from my home town to Bangalore, I parked at Kamath on NH4 just after Hubli. There was a hoarding fallen down which had a piercing pole at one end. While parking with nose in, I hit the extend pole. It broke the left side fog assembly. That needed to be replaced along with bulb. The cost was Rs. 983 (exclusive of taxes, included in above spent figure.) The first blow! I now have a peace of mind as the car has got the beauty spot (aka dent)!

Also during the service, I had similar experience as first one. Not one person there keen on attending you well. I mean look at them - they sell 18 lakh Kizashi and don't even know how to treat that customer. Why the hell they would bother about the SX4 owner? I had waited for more than 15 minutes in the queue to have a SA come and greet me! For them i think, all that is part of process will be done with mechanical precision, no human touch! No tea, coffee while I wait? At least water - waiting outside win morning sun may be good for health but not good for me. I have to report to work, many others are waiting for me! Well, also the Sagar Automobiles service center is also far away compared to Moandovi where I will be going next.

Third Free Service - 10K Kms
Why - oh, come on, This is a template tag. Maintenance Schedule of course.
When - 5 Aug 2011, 9163 Kms
What - Free Service (WA, WB, Engine Oil, Rotate tyres as per schedule)
Where - Mandovi Motors, JP Nagar
Spent - Rs. 6566.09

Had used synthetic oil, Cleaned entire upholstery. That's what caused extra 3.5K INR or so. Great experience - AC customer lounge, full attention to you. Constant updates over phone. And by the way they had solved my complain about some noise in the cabin. Actually it was a idol on the dashboard that was touching the clock background and making noise. No one could resolve this at Sagar but here the SA found it in just few minutes! Good job. I will keep coming to you now.

To be continued...

Last edited by Rehaan : 15th November 2013 at 16:00.
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Old 15th November 2013, 15:54   #4
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In this post, I will cover the paid services to date and other garage visits. The Caska accessories will be covered into the next one. It was done sometime after third free service but will cover it at the end of all service notes.

First Paid Service - 15K Kms
Why - Not on maintenance schedule, but i want it.
When - 7 Nov 2011, 14995 Kms
What - Paid Service (WA, WB, Paid Service - advance for 20K)
Where - Mandovi Motors, JP Nagar
Spent - Rs. 2,121.0

As usual, the service station has fabulous service. The good thing is i could get inside the service bay and watch people working on the cars, ask silly and straight questions. Learn by looking at them. I would drop in there 30 minutes ahead of time to pick up the vehicle and they wouldn't mind it. They gave me drop off and pick up facilities as well.

Second Paid Service - 20K Kms
Why - Maintenance schedule.
When - 23 April 2012, 18933 Kms
What - Paid Service (WA, WB, Synthetic Engine Oil Change, All other fluid changes, K&N Filter, Nitrogen Filled, Upholstery Cleaning)
Where - Mandovi Motors, JP Nagar
Spent - Rs. 14,880.0

The K&N Filter was very costly - 5K plus the synthetic oil and upholstery cleaning. This is largest service expenses for now. Not all was required but you know, some time you feel good about spending on the car! And I just did it.

Then this thing happened. While I was going on the rough roads, I used to hear a strange thud noises from somewhere in the car. You might have by now figured how irritating it is to me. Remember the idol noise? So when after the service was done, I still noticed that my concern of noise is not addressed. During the feedback call, I mentioned about. That prompted their A team to reach me within 2 hours. The workshop manager himself got in touch and an expert technician came to my home to see. We test drove on various roads and at least concluded that there is a noise. Step one is always acknowledge of the problem. Solutions will follow. The vehicle was taken back into the garage. They did everything -suspension check, various nuts and bolts, bushes etc but couldn't find the solution. So in the evening the expert technician (Rajesh is his name) called me to say that he is sorry but hasn't been able to detect the problem yet. Then came the sweet surprise. He said - I won't return the vehicle unless the problem is solved but will give you a loaner car. Great, I picked up the dezire petrol same day. The next day, they started fresh investigation on my car problem and guess what they arrived at a solution! The problem was a loose element in the exhaust pipe that was making that thud noise - as if you put few pebbles in a tin and roll it gently! Simple tightening of screws solved the problem and car was with me the very day. They just got a patron who will speak very highly about them. Greatly impressed with Mandovi staff. Not even a single member had troubled me.

Third Paid Service - 25K Kms
The plan is, we shall visit our home town and few near by pic mic spots in this month itself. I haven't taken leaves for very long. So the travel is must and well prepared car will give us peace of mind. hence did early servicing than predefined odo mark.

Why - Not on maintenance schedule, but i want it.
When - 14 Aug 2012, 23K Kms (Performed earlier as the long trip os on cards)
What - Paid Service (WA, WB, Paid Service)
Where - Mandovi Motors, JP Nagar
Spent - Rs. 1,897.0

Running Repair - 23K Kms
One day I was at Shell pump in Gottigere and they offered free fluid check. I noticed that the coolant has gone below the min mark. Alarmed with that, I immediately bought coolant there and put it in the car. next day morning, took it to Mandovi and explained the situation. They looked at the car and investigated that there is some HVAC heating coil that has caused the liquid to evaporate after the hose was cut. They replaced the coil, hose pipe and toped up the AC gas. this was all done under warranty and car returned to me within a day. Again, happy to see all work done professionally and with ZERO Rs bill. Rare sightings I must say.

Why - Has the engine coolant leaking.
When - 18 Oct 2012, 23729 Kms
What - Warranty Service (Replaced all leaky hose, General checkup, AC gas top up)
Where - Mandovi Motors, JP Nagar
Spent - Rs. 0.

Fourth Paid Service (Repeat) - 25K Kms
This service was not really needed but I had lost the count of every 5K Kms and months equation as per the manual. So just thought of starting fresh account by doing service at 25K and tyre rotation. So from this time onwards, whatever come may, I will service at every 5K. This is not because of maintenance schedule, but I wanted it after the coolant leakage episode too.

Why - just like that!
When - 08 Jan 2013, 25716 Kms
What - Paid Service (WA, WB, Paid Service, Engine Oil replacement, Tyre rotation)
Where - Mandovi Motors, JP Nagar
Spent - Rs. 3457.0

Fifth Paid Service - 30K Kms
I had gone overseas again for some meeting and it got extended. I told my family member to take car to nearby Prithvi Motors and get properly washed, run for 20-25kms and park back. But Prithvi actually performed the servicing on the car mush ahead of the time! Got fooled actually. But its ok, extra service/ early service won't harm as much as delayed one will!

Why - Maintenance schedule, done in my absence.
When - Don't remember well, Must be around 28K Kms
What - Paid Service (WA, WB, Engine Oil Change)
Where - Prithvi Motors, BG Road
Spent - Rs. 3K Approx

Running Repair, 5 Point Paid Service - 31.4K Kms
When I returned from overseas and started using the car regularly, i noticed the screeching noise from the breaks. So took it to Mandovi again and asked for reason. They checked it shown me the break pad thickness. They needed to be replaced. So I asked them to replace it. I must be using breaks more than others I think. And yeah, monsoon is coming and I need windshield clear so new wipers please.

Why - Break pads making noise.
When - 02 July 2013, 31440 Kms
What - 5 Point Service and Maintenance (Break pads, wiper blades)
Where - Mandovi Motors, JP Nagar
Spent - Rs. 2,650.0.

Running Repair - 33.3K Kms
We then went to my home town in Maharashtra for Ganesha festival. the road after Kolhapur until Sangli is horrible. With repair work going on and horrendous traffic, I had lost all my patience. I drove on those under construction roads without worrying about anything. It took its toll. Maybe it was on the cards but this became the reason. I started hearing the noise from front left wheel. When I checked at Sai Service station at Jaysingpur, they told about having more play in the suspension link rod on left. It can be replaced now or after another 1000 Kms as well. If I keep it as is, I will continue to hear that noise. And thats really irritating. So I decided to change. Unfortunately they did not have the spare and hence directed me to go to Sangli - Chowgule industries workshop. Actually both these workshops (Sai, CIL) are rivals in the area but they helped with without getting that thing in between. being local and knowing their key people helped as well. I got the repair done in less than an hour and returned home happy. This is exactly why I needed a Maruti in first place!

Why - Noise from front left suspension
When - 10 Sept 2013, 33389 Kms
What - 5 Point Service and Maintenance (Break pads, wiper blades)
Where - Chowgule Industries, Sangli.
Spent - Rs. 1,120.00

Fifth Paid Service - 35K Kms
Early in Oct this month, I had to take the trip of BLR-GOA-PUNE-SANGLI-GOA-BLR. Around 3K Kms. So preps have begun.

Why - On my custom maintenance schedule.
When - 03 Oct 2013, 34502 Kms
What - Paid Service (WA, WB, Engine Oil Change, Brakes overhaul)
Where - Mandovi Motors, JP Nagar
Spent - Rs 5,809.00

I just completed the trip BLR-GOA-PUNE-SANGLI-GOA-BLR through great, good, bad and worst roads. And vehicle is still holding good. I will post few pics about this trip sometime but for now, thats servicing history so far!

The next comes, Caska Story. To be continued...

Last edited by Rehaan : 15th November 2013 at 16:00.
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Old 15th November 2013, 15:56   #5
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Three things happened to me during August 2011.
  1. Friend narrated story of a close shave with tyre burst
  2. The long drives were boring with just audio music
  3. The roads we were exploring were unknown so a guide was must
  4. Laid my hands on an overdrive magazine with Caska advertisement in it
When you want something, you can cook up all the stories. I needed the change in the vehicle interiors. So combining the bullet points I mentioned above, I convinced my wifey to let me spend some hefty sum on safety device I told her that I know something that helps in all the three scenarios mentioned above and more.

So I searched the google maps to find out AutoMatrix store in Indiranagar. Decided to pay a visit and check out the gizmo. They are the only dealer for Caska in Bangalore. Based on the internet literature and product brochure, advertisement I had already decided to buy the Caska Unit for SX4. So all I needed is good price to go for it! After speaking to the proprietor of the AutoMatrix, I got a deal - 54K including base unit, MMI maps and TPMS system! Wifey expected I would not spend more than 30K but I disappointed her badly!

For academics, here is the feature list for the Caska HU:
  • Manufacturer like (even superior) fitting, compatible with steering controls
  • 8" LCD, 800X480 HD digital screen
  • DVD, CD Player, Radio, 6 Virtual CD Storage
  • iPod & MP3 Compatible
  • Bluetooth hands-free with control
  • Navigation (optional)
  • Sensible GUI operation
  • USB port, dual zone, screen saver, SD card port
  • Digital TV (optional)
  • IPAS (Optional)
  • TPMS (Optional)
  • Rear camera, Parking sensor, Handbrake Control (all Optional)
This unit is built using Windows Mobile 6.5 variant of the mobile operating system that Microsoft invented in late nineties. So you know this is old stuff, yet took so long to come to us! The SatGuide maps were default offering but I bought MMI maps for obvious reasons of usability and practicality.

The TPMS is two part add-on. There is receiver module that sits behind this HU and the sensors that goes into the tyros. The usual tyre valve will be replaced with these sensor valves. The fitting of HU or feeding of reverse camera input or GPS etc does not need any breaking/ altercation anywhere in or on dashboard.

And here are the pictures from the car - sorry couldn't take any while fitment was taking place.

Fit and Finish - it fits just perfect, no brackets or additional stuff required. made for each other!

My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-fitment.jpg

Powering up - you can setup the default Caska logo or choose your car manufacturer logo!

My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-powerup.jpg

Main Menu - You see a lot of options, all touch screen. I don't have TV and Dual Zones implemented though.

My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-mainmenu.jpg

Radio Menu - Three FM and 2 AM bands memory storage available.

My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-radio.jpg

Allows you to change the spectrum display in colors and one touch settings for audio.

My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-spectrum.jpg

DVD Menu - When you press DVD twice, USB shall come up. I can setup a custom startup and screensaver pic when DVD starts!

My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-dvdfireup.jpg

The DVD menu browsing is same as usual home DVD players. Supports many file formats.

My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-dvdmp3menu.jpg

iPod Menu - connects iPhone as well through the cable that is opened up for attachment in glovebox.

My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-ipod.jpg

The cables that originate in the back of HU are ended up here so that iPod when connected can be left without noticed by external onlookers.

My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-ipodusbcables.jpg

Maps - The Micro SD card slot has Maps SD card. SatuGuide was default but I bought MMI separately.

My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-mmimaps.jpg

Settings - There are multiple settings related to video, audio, setup of zoning of the audio experience, 5.1 channel etc. It also has settings for touch calibration and steering mounted button mapping.

My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-settings1.jpg
My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-settingssteering.jpg
My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-dualzoneheadrestdisplay.jpg

Reverse Cam - Very clear with night vision too.

My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-reversecam.jpg

Bluetooth Phone Interface - the second best i like after maps in this unit! It shows last 5 numbers with names from address book of the phone. Can play music through bluetooth as well.

My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-bluetoothphone1.jpg
My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-bluetoothphone2.jpg
My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-bluetoothphoneab.jpg
My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-bluetoothphonecall.jpg

TPMS screens - You can setup desired high and low temp/ pressure values to be alarmed when out of range. Since the sensors in each tyre are mapped onto the system here, every time you rotate tyros, either reset the pairing of sensors to the right tyre or rotate as suggested here.

My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-tpms.jpg
My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-tpmstyrechng.jpg

Here is what I like and dislike about Caska HU.

Like:
  • The most important thing I loved about this accessory is its superior look and feel. So much so that the face lifted 2013 SX4 music system looks inferior compared to this.
  • Bluetooth Phone, navigation and TPMS makes "paisa vasool" proposition for me
  • A lot of convenience in terms of use and safety
  • All in one kind of setup - no need to carry multiple devices like navigator, Audio thing etc.
  • Never tried the dual zone displays or assisted parking system but the video quality is great for the size of unit. The reverse camera works perfect too.
  • There is a TV function but never used it since it required data card/ internet card to be hooked into it.
Dislike:
  • Sometimes very unstable. Like the audio will mute during the phone call and radio won't resume. Or while you switch between navigation and entertainment services, the audio can be lost! Needs reseting.
  • The GPS antenna for navigation needs to be kept such that the signal reception becomes easier. Since it was fitted near A pillar on the dashboard, some rubber things needed to be pulled out and fit back. Nothing is harmful but when you touch the original rubber fitments, it won't be same again.
  • Not uniform behavior with all phones - best suited Windows Phone followed by Android, iPhone and the least - Blackberry. For BB it won't even let me touch screen to accept or reject the call. Only thing i could do is set it to auto answer and no chance to reject!
  • The TPMS sensors or receiver has gone kaput! There were only 4 sensors as part of unit. It worked perfectly for almost a year and then suddenly none of the sensors are showing any data. Just the * symbols. I have the stopgap arrangement now. I use external visual sensors worth 500rs only! they are basically the valve caps and change colors as pressure increases or decreases. Flip side, you need to get down to check the color
  • Limited or no service network. I have started believing that the hardware is good but the software (OS ROM) has bugs that must have been fixed in the later releases. May be there could have been a good chance to ref lash the OS and get everything back again. But due to lack of dealer network, its too difficult. A good DIY Project with risk of 55K INR or so!
  • At the mercy of dealer when you need support. The dealer i bought this unit from runs two businesses and doesn't not fit into regular JC Road shop list. So obviously has limitations on customer service!
  • Not a convenient location of dealer for me. I would need at least half a day of my time and still its not assured if i would be served well.
  • The USB and iPod interface cables are open and hence needs to be left hanging. I chose to put them in glovebox so that an iPod can be connected and kept there in glovebox safe. I would have loved the single interface wire that connects to the car's original audio system USB input. Should have been only one cable for USB drive or iPod like the original system does.
  • The DIY project is on the cards to connect the Caska Usb input to the car's inbuilt socket that is besides the cigar lighter. Need some IC guy to help me though.
Recommendation:
Having said all this, I feel its still worth the investment. For maps and phones that work perfect to date and have been hugely helpful the money is well spent. The finish and fitment it has would put the manufacturer fittings to shame as well. So in a nutshell, its a very good unit. There is new model for SX4 in market and expected to work far better. If you can spend that additional 10K than the competitors, go for it!

Quick note about ELM 327 OBD Device and Tool
Reading about fun2drive Bosch application thread on TBhp I had thought of someday buying this just for fun and added knowledge about engine. And may be to convince myself that thing is cool and works! I searched through forum and threads but no-one confidently said that ELM 327 OBD II v2.1 Bluetooth device works with 2011 SX4 VVT BS4 engines. So I was not sure if I can buy it. Money is secondary but what if it damages something?

I gathered some information and suggestions from @Diesel_Convert and @Audioholic. Then I started looking at protocols and basics of readers. Came to know that these are just readers and unless explicitly written code for writing back, won't make any harm to engine. Searching on ebay, I reached a seller in Kangeyam (TN). Exchanged many emails but still couldn't get definite information if that will work for my car. The seller finally game me the local customer reference to whom I called and enquired. Still no details about if that will work for my car. Finally last week, I spoke with the seller and told that I will buy item from him directly and pay. In the return he will leave on brokerage to eBay and must give me options to try out multiple devices. He agreed. I got the device and voila, in first attempt it worked! I did not have an Android smartphone handy and used one from friend to test.

So its official now that 2011 models of SX4 VVT BS4 engines comply with OBD II protocols and I could read a hell lot of data. Used the Bosch fun2drive android app for this. Now the task is to find out a suitable app that will work on my iPhone.

The flip side of this device is though its a great utility, you can't keep this hanging to the OBD port all the time. Its risky as it protrudes out from underneath the steering column almost onto the A pedal. If you are not carful while getting in or out your feet in the driver's seat, you can break it in few attempts for sure. For now I have deeded to use it only when I see the engine check light or I need to show off car-tech to someone!

Having walked you through all my experiences, my ultimate wish is - Caska HU should be flashed with Android OS and all the relevant apps, interfaces including fun2drive should be made available on it!

Mea Culpa (with reference to my choice of silver steed):
Since this is the car that is serving well me and my family, I plan to keep it with me for even longer durations like 100K Kms or more. The thing I have learned from this car is - you expect less, and you will be always happy. I never thought this would be a great car to own. And bought just something that suits my basic needs. It has actually exceeded my expectations.

My recommendations to prospective buyers - Yes, its definitely worth owning. But if you are urban persona with a lot of styling, looks, emerging brand need and next generation thing, this car is not for you. Or wait until you see YL7 next year!

With the promise to keep this thread updated with my experiences, small trips worth mentioning without making lengthy TLogs and fun things about cars, let me request this thread to be taken out of assembly line.

This is my first detailed ownership report to date on any sites and so I may have missed some points. Your help and guidance to add more details, interact and discuss about this car and ownership is very much appreciated! And now I am hoping that I will keep munching miles and miles on my silver steed with broad smile.

Last edited by Rehaan : 15th November 2013 at 16:00.
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Old 15th November 2013, 16:02   #6
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Default Re: My Silver Steed - Maruti SX4 Zxi VVT (2011, BS 4) 38K Kms - Has never let me down

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section). Thanks for sharing!
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Old 15th November 2013, 20:27   #7
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Default re: My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold

I really appreciate your drive to keep your car niggle-free to this extent. It would make your car the most desirable 2nd hand buy, atleast on T-BHP! I wish you and your family lots of joyful miles in you 'Silver Stead'. Cheers to that!
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Old 15th November 2013, 22:39   #8
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Default re: My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold

Congratulations Avinash,

SX4 is indeed a reliable car. I have a June 2010 zxi and has done 74,000 kms. I use it for my monthly drive from Kerala to Bangalore and it has never let me down. It has got best brakes in the class and ground clearance which is a boon in the non-existent roads in the part of Kerala where I stay.

How is the tires holding up. My car is on the last legs of 2nd set of tyres. I haven't changed from JK so far, I never had any punctures or any drama while hard braking during these 74000 kms on all sort of roads.

The stabilizer bar ends are a weak point and you need to be bit careful on bad roads other wise no issues so far. I do regular servicing at 9k-10 K intervals. I have taken a service package from my dealer in Kerala which covers the labor so service cost is always between 2k-3k.

Wishing you many many more happy miles.
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Old 16th November 2013, 08:00   #9
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Default re: My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold

Quote:
Originally Posted by SamarthMehrotra View Post
I wish you and your family lots of joyful miles in you 'Silver Stead'. Cheers to that!
Thank you Samarth. I will keep this car with me always, so possibilities of selling in near term, to say least

Quote:
Originally Posted by S5157 View Post
SX4 is indeed a reliable car. I have a June 2010 zxi and has done 74,000 kms....

How is the tires holding up. My car is on the last legs of 2nd set of tyres. I haven't changed from JK so far, I never had any punctures or any drama while hard braking during these 74000 kms on all sort of roads.

The stabilizer bar ends are a weak point and you need to be bit careful on bad roads other wise no issues so far. I do regular servicing at 9k-10 K intervals. I have taken a service package from my dealer in Kerala which covers the labor so service cost is always between 2k-3k.

Wishing you many many more happy miles.
Thank you S5157 for your best wishes! You are right in your observations about link bars and tyres! I have had numerous punctures - at least one on each tyre! And if I recall it correct, total of 6! The tread depth seems to be still sufficient for another 5-8K Kms and I will definitely need to change gyres by the time I complete 45K or so on odo. I too have same JK Vectras on and they are serving good or say surviving good on the mud, dirt and rough roads I ventured out zoo far.

I am considering Z.Lo and Michelin for now but since I still have some time, will do my homework and then decide. Any suggestions on that front are welcome

Another idea is to change gyres by 40K Kms and retain the older ones even if I fit the newer ones. The old set will still be used if I decide to join TBhpian's meet on MST track some day!
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Old 16th November 2013, 14:53   #10
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Default re: My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold

Excellent write-up, abirnale! I really appreciate the efforts made by you for this detailed review. Regarding SX4, all I would say is that this car could have performed better on the sales chart if the old DZire was priced a bit higher. The SX4 (during initial years of launch) faced competition from DZire because the need for a big boot and considerable interior space from the stable of a leading manufacturer was fulfilled by DZire at ~1 Lac less. But now, since the DZire offers limited boot space, it seems to me the right time to launch a revamped SX4 with all modern features and looks, as the car will be differentiated as a 'Full-Size' sedan.

Regarding your car, it looks beautiful in Silver and no doubt you can clock double the miles without much hassles! Let me tell you, my friend has a 2008/2009 (don't remember exactly) SX4 ZXi in Silver and it has completed 1,50,000 kms till now. The car is driven by his Dad with daily running of 100+ kms. He says that he would keep the car till it breaks apart and it will not be before 2,00,000 kms, looking at the present condition. Such incredible is the reliability of the machine that his Dad (in his 60s) doesn't think twice before coming from his workplace (in Gurgaon) even at 1 AM.

Would like to see some interior pics of the car also!
Cheers.

Last edited by Loud : 16th November 2013 at 14:56.
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Old 16th November 2013, 18:20   #11
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Default re: My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold

Pleasant to find a new topic on SX4 after a long time.

I too have ZXi. It is wonderful car no doubt. I would agree with most of the likes and dislikes.

My work environment is a mixed bag of nationalities though Indian dominance in numbers exists. Cars is a hot topic of discussion in coffee breaks. This is one car that all admit is reasonably good. I haven't come across any critic yet.

I like the subtle styling. I read this thread with a lot of concentration and must compliment that it is quite well written except that now I too am itching to go for in-dash infotainment. 54k is a big expense to commit to as I recently wired the reverse parking system into it.

Hope your car gives you wonderful service in the years to come and hope to see more and more updates from you here.

BTW did you find OBD application scanner really useful other than the novelty factor?

Cheers!

Last edited by sindabad.sailor : 16th November 2013 at 18:24. Reason: typo error
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Old 16th November 2013, 20:01   #12
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Smile re: My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold

Quote:
Originally Posted by abirnale View Post
Thank you Samarth. I will keep this car with me always, so possibilities of selling in near term, to say least



Thank you S5157 for your best wishes! You are right in your observations about link bars and tyres! I have had numerous punctures - at least one on each tyre! And if I recall it correct, total of 6! The tread depth seems to be still sufficient for another 5-8K Kms and I will definitely need to change gyres by the time I complete 45K or so on odo. I too have same JK Vectras on and they are serving good or say surviving good on the mud, dirt and rough roads I ventured out zoo far.

I am considering Z.Lo and Michelin for now but since I still have some time, will do my homework and then decide. Any suggestions on that front are welcome

Another idea is to change gyres by 40K Kms and retain the older ones even if I fit the newer ones. The old set will still be used if I decide to join TBhpian's meet on MST track some day!
Great to find a detailed review by a satisfied SX4 owner. My steed has 55 K on the clock. I have replaced the first set of tyres ( JK Vectras) with Goodyear Assures. These tyres are much better. They offer good grip and low noise and a VFM proposition at INR 5600 a piece. While I was thinking about replacing the car and had even booked the Ford Ecosport, the delay and the subsequent price increase made me change my mind. I have thought about the need to go in for a replacement. There is nothing in the 9-12 Lakh bracket that excites me enough . On the other hand the SX4 is still going strong, and meets all my needs to the T. If you take a rational look, a new car would mean a sizeable down payment and emi. It will be accompanied by huge depreciation every month, not to mention the money that will be spent on Registration/ Road tax etc. All this bother with no real feel good factor is just not worth it.

So the SX 4 stays. I have 4-5 colleagues in my office ( most drive more than me and have converted their cars to CNG). Two have done over 1 lakh KM and I has 1.75 Lakh KM on the clock. None of these guys have been able to find a good successor for their SX4 .

Last edited by rajneeesh : 16th November 2013 at 20:03.
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Old 17th November 2013, 11:54   #13
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Default re: My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold

Quote:
Originally Posted by Loud View Post
Excellent write-up, abirnale!
...
...
Such incredible is the reliability of the machine that his Dad (in his 60s) doesn't think twice before coming from his workplace (in Gurgaon) even at 1 AM.

Would like to see some interior pics of the car also!
Cheers.
Thank you Loud for your appreciation! I agree with your observations on DZire and SX4. Lets see how things turn out when YL7/1 is out next year!

Reliability - Yes, its really a very reliable car! Like I said, this car will serve me as long as possible!

More pics - I actually gave my car for servicing yesterday hand then followed by a small modification to front seats for hand rests! So as soon as work is over and the car is clean, photo-able, I will post them here. Stay tuned, I will not make you wait for longer

Quote:
Originally Posted by sindabad.sailor View Post
Pleasant to find a new topic on SX4 after a long time
...
...
54k is a big expense to commit to as I recently wired the reverse parking system into it.
...
BTW did you find OBD application scanner really useful other than the novelty factor?

Cheers!
Thank you Sindbad.sailor for your appreciation. I think because there is nothing much to brag about or complain either about the SX4, we don't see many praises and brickbats! But I think as a no noise, simple possession, this car does its job without fuss. And thats the great thing about it again!

About Caska, I think you now have many options including 2013 SX4's in dash double-din system. Please do visit MASS or dealer showroom and see it yourself. It should be much cheaper and reliable as well. Of course if you scout out in the market many other models are available too. What you will not get with any of them is just the fit and finish, rest very much comparable by all standards!

And the OBD chip for now is just a novelty. I have to give away my iPhone to get a reliable android phone to use it. Rather I am thinking to replace the OBD chip with the one that works with iPhone! Lets see.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rajneeesh View Post
Great to find a detailed review by a satisfied SX4 owner. My steed has 55 K on the clock. I have replaced the first set of tyres ( JK Vectras) with Goodyear Assures.
...
So the SX 4 stays. I have 4-5 colleagues in my office ( most drive more than me and have converted their cars to CNG). Two have done over 1 lakh KM and I has 1.75 Lakh KM on the clock. None of these guys have been able to find a good successor for their SX4 .
Thank you Rajneesh for the encouraging words. I will consider Goodyear Assures when I will be in market to buy new gyres for sure. Thanks for the suggestion.

Maruti vehicles if maintained well actually serve for very long. You might have seen Parag S's Wagan R! My brother-in-law too have a Wagon R and it has clocked 225K on odo. Not a single incidence of breakdown or issue on the road. So examples as this and the experiences of fellow SX4 owners like you instills more confidence in owning this car.

I may buy a new vehicle soon (not sure if 2 years is "soon") but SX4 stays as long as both - it and me are trouble free!
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Old 18th November 2013, 10:41   #14
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Default re: My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold

And here are few photographs I took over weekend and earlier. Note that, since the car interiors aren't changed much than the stock car offering, I am not adding too many images but just a few that would give an idea about how my silver steed looks slightly different than others from inside.

Peak into the front seats -
My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-quick-dash.jpg
My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-front-row-1.jpg
My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-front-row-2.jpg

Driver's info display console as sen yesterday.
My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-driver-console.jpg

The rear seats and leg room when adjusted the seat as I need for driving (5'7" I am) - The back seats are generally occupied by my wife or parents and they never complained about anything uncomfortable as such. I have not at all experienced my car in other than driver's seat!
My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-back-row.jpg
My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-leg-room.jpg

I recently fixed the after market hand rests for the front row - one for driver and one for co-passenger. All I did was to remove the vertical back support, open up the seat covers, cushion and attach an Innova like arm rest with proper assembly to the seats. Then put back all the foam and covers as it was earlier with of course a small opening to connect the moving arm to the attached arm rest bottom assembly. They are good with one wrong thing - not adjusted with proper height to suit my need

My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-arm-rest-1.jpg
My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-arm-rest-2.jpg
My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-arm-rest-3.jpg
My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold-arm-rest-4.jpg

If I would have gotten chance to watch the work while it is happening, this little discomfort could have been avoided! The problem is when you fold the arm rest full up, the bottom of it blocks the ash tray opening placed at the end of center hump for rear seat passenger access. Being a non-smoker, I use that tray to keep coins! I also noticed that the choice of covers for the arm rest was too bad. Assumed that the worker will use the matching colors, but alas!

The good thing is that the hand brake and seat belts are still easily usable. So nothing in the original equipment gets affected by this. In city, the hand rests can stand unused (vertical position) while on highway, they will be of good use.

I ensure that the entire work is reversible with small catch - I will only need to unbolt the arm rest and close the seat covers with joint assembly either removed from original seat chassis or as is and close it. Of course, that will leave a small hole on the side of the original seat cushion, but I think the seat covers will hide them anyway when we change next.

Next I think, I might look out for a proper DIY blinkers on the side ORVM or a faux sun roof or a genuine DRL. But thats when there is more boredom with the regular feel of the car or more vitamin M! Or along with new tyre, some classic paint job on the alloys? All I need to ensure is that, none of these would end up in weird and whacky jobs thread
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Old 18th November 2013, 11:34   #15
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Default re: My Silver Steed - 2011 Maruti SX4 ZXi. EDIT: Now sold

Great write-up Abirnale. I have been a proud owner of a SX4 Zxi for close to six years and a lakh km now. It was from one of the intial batches. Bought in Bangalore, has lived with me in Mumbai and Delhi as well! Has done innumerable hill trips, including Rohtang Pass. Several bad roads have been conquered. Its simply a joy to own, and possibly one of the most under-rated cars in its class.
Its done stretches which would have been a nightmare in other sedan. In fact sometimes I wish it was a rear wheel drive sedan which would have made it even more of a mountain goat than it is.
Now of course, Maruti is all set to replace the current gen with the YL1. I would be amongst the few people who would be sad to see it go....
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