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Old 8th April 2007, 14:00   #1
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Default Corsa Sail 1.6 29k review

It was early 2004 when i decided to go for a car. Remember, this is my first car and i was also bit naive at time w.r.t car and related things.

Requirments: daily city driving. Freq weekend getaways(thats what i thought i will do) from Bangalore. Freq trips to CBE. Budget was 5 - 5.5lkh and preferably a hatch.

Cars shortlisted...
Palio, Corsa sail and a peep at "all new" esteem.

Palio. Haa... how i hate those fiat executives.
I Was at their koramangala showroom. It was the tiniest of all the showroom that i have ever been to. But then it had the sexiest of all the cars. The NV sport. It had me drooling all over it.

At that time they had just launched Petra. And guess the the paper quality of adv tamplet that was lying in the showroom??? I couldn't believe in fiat and left the showroom with a heavy heart, even with out taking a test drive. All the bad news that was doing rounds regarding fiat also played a major role.

In my later escapades with my friends NV, I felt the Only -ive point with that car was that engine. Every thing else was so perfect. Ohh... also that turning radius and those skidding "i am on ice" skinny goodyear tyres. But then its not difficult fix these things.

Corsa Sail. Went to both sundaram and garuda. Garuda sales guy was pathetic, atleast with my exp. One of his lines where like, sir, sail is our low end model sir. And also like, GM will retain this model for next 5 years sir... I ditched them. Sundaram was little bit more helpfull. They also took me around their impressive "looking" service center. Which was huge pretty clean(!!!). Then MB showroom ,next door, also gave some confidence. The sales guy told that paint shop is shared between MB and GM, of which i had nice(???) experience of, later.

Took the test drive of corsa sedan 1.6 on the inner ring road. Was completely floored by the way the car drove on a less traffic and a high way like road. And this when the car was decided. Also that "Germen" thing did a little bit here. My big mistake was not to test drive under heavy traffic.

I also had a look at esteem. It was then launched under "All new" banner. The sales guys pitched in saying that with new look, its looks very similar to honda city. haaahahahahaha... I was there with a 97 carb owner friend. I learnt the city traffic driving in that esteem. We could actually find nothing new in that new model, compared to his 97 model. I was some how not impressed and left.

One car I didn't give a thought about, was Flair. Guess with the knowledge I have now, and if go thru this all over again, then it should have been flair. Mainly for its VFM package.

At the end of july, I went in and booked for a black sail 1.6. Took 50% loan from abn amro. Though i have savings bank ac and demat ac with icici, and calling them up first, they turned up at my office just days before the car was to be delivered to me. Infact, once i was even scolded (kind of rough, irritated tone) by the icici cal center rep.

Due to the floods at gujarat the delivery was delayed by 2 weeks. Abn amro also screwed up a little bit and delayed by another 2 days. At last min found that, if i give a cheque, sundram will deliver only after they got it cleared. Had to run around a bit to draw money from my acc.. from friends acc (50k withdrawl limit, atm withdrawl limit etc) to pay the rest of the sum.

Finally managed to own a black car on 13th, Friday (august, 2004). Is this the sign of things to come!?!? Read on...

Did regular service at 10k(Cost 2.5k) and 20k(4.5k) and engine oil/filter change at 25k kms.
Scrapped the under body once, the silencer went out of position.
At 10k the AC gave some tick tick noise, which was fixed without any fuss.

The clutch is giving some kind of "tork, tork" noise from some where near the pedal. This was at around 18k. During the service, sundaram, told that it was some kind of lubrication problem with a "cable". And the sound has disappeared, only to show up after 2k kms and its still there.

For the first 1.5 years i used to do the wax job, every now and then, on my own. Did all the required shopping with our own Rudra. But for past one year, it is just water service after every highway trip or at about a months interval. Needs a 3M detailing badly.

Upto 20k, the fuel was normal(BPCL coco) + iftex. After 20k it been 91 oct(HP,BP) or shell super.

On a recent trip to hogenakal, the temp shoot up to red mark. Found the coolant container empty. Reached to bangalore, by filling it with water. Service guy found a leaky hose. Total cost 1.5k (includes the coolant, 2 hose pipes, vat, labor charge)

Accidents and other such things...
Bangalore traffic police is famous for their unique way of handling the traffic. They have a traffic signal on a fly over. They allow the traffic to flow on both lanes, the left(the correct) and the right(the wrong)), when the light turn green at traffic junctions. Hope the non-bangaloreans got the picture of this...

My first accident, after about 6 months, happened at one such traffic signals. I was taking a right from the left(correct) lane. I completely missed the school bus that was also taking right, but from the right(wrong) lane. I felt big jolt. Got out and noticed deep scratches on my right rear wheel arch. Not much damage, but will never be able to explain the pain i felt.

Next one. Courtesy BMTC. It was one of those swaraj mazda bus. The bus has already hit a scooter in middle of the road he was in argument with that scooter guy. The traffic was flowing thru the left side of the bus. Not knowing what was happening in front of the bus, i was also flowing with the rest of the traffic. When i had just crossed the bus, felt a big thud. The bus guy, has turned the bus to left, with still the scooter in front of him, and with out watching for the traffic flowing on the left. The damage this time was big, the metal parts had deep scratches and has caved in, on the right rear fender, and the door, near the fuel lid. Had to fix the metal and paint job needed, this time. On this accident i was still furious and had long drawn word duel with the driver of the bus.

Third. On the way to hampi, on the GQ, a stone hit the front wind shield at about 120 and developed a crack. I was like, ok, got the insurance to cover this.

Fourth. A month ago, few kids in the apartment, though the bonnet was a play ground. Result, several deep scratches on the bonnet. Had to turn my face away and walk out, when the security guy started hitting his kids, after i proved that it was his kids who did it.

Fifth. Days back, A skidding palio landed on my back. The boot door has caved in. The metal has to be fixed and repainted. Yet to do it. At least by what the driver told, it was his first car and 6 months old. haa... full circle. This time no bad feelings... no road rage. His palio was broken. The front bumper has caved in, radiator broken with coolant liquid leaking all over the road, more damages to fender, drive side door, and that bonnet. I told him call the garage and tow it down and pacified him for about next 30 mins and then left after exchanging the phone nos. And i was actually smiling through all this. Ohh... except for my take on the bike guy who was responsible for all this.

These above incidents have been the most painful part of owning this car in bangalore city.

A word about Sundaram
They carried out paint jobs here for the accidents listed above. The parts on which they worked on came back as good as new. But they manage to always screw up the some other parts, nearby, by not properly covering them up. Now in deep thought if i have to go to them for this fourth, fifth.

The silencer got out of its normal position when the under body scrapped once. They fixed this after about 5 visits.

I normally take the car to sundaram at about 8:30am for service. It will take about an hour to complete the formalities and for me to leave. When i take delivery, it will be even worse. The car will be still waiting for a wash. Or worse even awaiting some service routine after their promised time of delivery. The worst case was waiting for about 1.5 hour after their promised delivery time. I normally go there after conforming over phone that the car is "ready".

Less said, the better, about their billing process. Overall, Sundaram feels like a govt company.

  • The excellent ride quality and a silent one too.
  • The front seat. I have set the inclination of the driver seat at about 110degree And pulled back the seat such that, when clucth is fully depressed, the knees are slightly bent. This driving position has been so comfortable. I am 5,10.
  • The tightness of the car, not a single part feels like loose or shaggy.
  • Turning radius. Along with that narrow nose, one feel like driving a small inside the city.
  • The interiors. The quality and materials in general used. Those wiper, high beam stalks behind steering are the most impressive ones. Never come across such good quality stalks in any car(that i have checked so far) in this segment.
  • The gear shift initially was hard. But after about 5k kms and after u get a hang of where the slots are, its been pretty good. The throw is pretty short too...
  • Lack of second hand market.
  • Heavy steering and clutch. Most of the heaviness you will get used to it and might even start liking it, but the clutch has always remained a pain in traffic.
  • Huge steering wheel.
  • Mileage on high way. It gives 16 for a trip after a service(guess they clean off some carbon deposit some where inside!!!). but drops to 14(pretty consistent) and even to 12.5(rare) thereafter.
  • There is decent torque below 2k on tacho. But no power band. For example, I can take hairpin bends at around 1500 rpm on 3rd gear with 4 people, but the speed gain after that part is slow.
  • Heavy, thick metal sheets used. Not sure this is a positive or negative.
  • Rear leg room. Once five of us went to goa. 2 of them where 6 footers. hahahaa... they never enjoyed that trip . GM could have sacrificed that boot space little bit.
Wish list
  • Mobile 1 at 30k service.
  • 14inch alloys and 185 tyres... at ~35k. The stock 175 s322 tube tyres are actually pretty good. The wheel lock up has happened couple of times, only on loose gravel surface.
  • Leather interiors.
  • 3M Detailing.
It has, so far, has served faithfully with out much cry. Its a pain in traffic, but then once you know how to handle her, then the pain kind of eases off. On highway its a bliss. On a t-bhp meet, long long ago, i did a 165 on GQ.
Only grouse i have today, and never got over it was, the heavy clutch. And inability to slot to first gear at slow speed. i have to bring here to a complete stop, to do this.

The much complained about, huge spare parts cost, I am yet to experience them.

Check the gallery for pics...

Last edited by gkrishn : 8th April 2007 at 14:12.
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Old 8th April 2007, 14:17   #2
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great review and i think this lil-big car is quite misunderstood by the indian comsumer, love the ride and german engineering.. get her fixed and 3 M detailed also make sure to flush before you fill up with Mobil 1
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Old 8th April 2007, 18:37   #3
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Great riview I am so happy with Opel's ride quality, Indian customers never understood good cars here :( I have same feeling.

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Old 8th April 2007, 20:46   #4
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Originally Posted by gkrishn View Post
Wish list
14inch alloys and 185 tyres...
Please do not commit the mistake of upsizing the Corsa to 185 tyres. With a three person load at the rear, the rear wheel will start fouling with the wheel arches.

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Old 29th April 2007, 09:38   #5
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Default 20k service bill detail...

Since there were too many complaints about how costly it is to maintain an opel, i have listed all 20k and 30k service expense here...

Engine oil - 469
oil filter - 88
seal ring switch - 10
3M emry 80 - 5.50
brake cleaner - 240
comsumables - 44
rust off - 80
car cleaner - 153
air cleaner - 192
filter asm ventilation inside - 368
DOT-4 brake fluid - 89
iftex system-g - 222 (this is not part of regular maint)
steering oil - 112
fuel filter - 118
balance weights - 25

Service Charges:
paid service - 600
complete brake system - 390
wheel a/b - (300+300) (i stopped doing this with sundaram as they screwed a/b)

Total - 4300 incl vat
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Old 29th April 2007, 10:05   #6
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Thumbs down

Oil filter - 94
airclean - 205
Filter asm - ventilation inside - 391
spark plug - 341
V ribbed belt - 541 (for every 30k as per manual, not sure what belt this is...)
seal ring - 10
screen wash - 32
split pin - 18
rust off - 77
hhs spray - 80
3M emry 80 - 11
consumables - 40
cable tie - 26
inj cleaner - 13
mudflaps - 224 (One of them fell off... so has to change all 4)
emblem- rear - 214 (some one yanked this away)

Labour charges:
1. Paid service - 600
2. body repair hub greasing - 300
3. body repair complete brake - 390
4. body repair eng garud bend - 150
5. body repair silencer alignment - 150
6. spark plug replace - 30
7. belt air condition driv - 240
8. body repair cl, IAC unit, s/ - 250
9. body repai tighted all bod - 180
10. body repair adj all doors - 180
11. body repair pick and drop - 150

Total bill 5687 incl vat!!!

And this dose not include engine oil, coolant or wheel alignment. Engine oil, mobile 1, was supplied by me. The coolant had leaked and was changed along with couple of hose pipes just 500 kms before. Sundaram alignment dept sucks. Last time they did it(@20k) the steering started vibrating heavily. After that wheel r/a/b are done at the mrf dealer at the starting of double road.

Most of the item in labour section looks dubious. I am already paying 600 for paid service, then why they charged for item 3,6,7,8,9 and 10. When confronted, i didn't get any satisfactory reply, not sure if this is a sundaram thing or opel thing. 4 and 5 are normal nuisance due to low clearance. But this the first time sundaram charged me for this. Usually they use to fix this without charges.

OT: I got to see a cayenne getting serviced at sundaram. Looks like porsche have tied up with them for using their service bay and of course the porsche people are flown down from bombay for this purpose.

After the 3m detailing and the mobile 1 and the service, the car is as good as it was on day one.

A word about Mobile 1. It retails about 3k Rs here in bangalore for 4 ltrs (but you really dont have to pay for this one, if you can befriend some one like rudra...). I have now driven for about 100km after the oil change. Normally the car used be really smooth after a cold start. The smoothness increases with amount of days it has been lying idle!!! After a session with bangalore traffic, it used to get little coarse some where. Now i didn't get to see that coarse part. Also once thru a thick traffic jam, noticed that the temp needle stayed at just above 1/4 instead of some where close to 1/2th mark.

Not sure all of this is because of mobile 1 or because sundaram really did some thing in this expensive 30k service.

I have put my feedback on 3M detailing here.

Last edited by adya33 : 29th April 2007 at 13:15.
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Old 30th April 2007, 09:43   #7
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Nice review; I guess your short experience with the european build quality sold that Corsa. How did you find the urban driveability since you mention decent torque below 2k rpms? Moderator Navin finds it poor and was looking for ways to improve it.
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Old 30th April 2007, 20:07   #8
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Below 2k,

On highway, when some things slows you down to the extent that rpm dips to 1.5k then things get painful. Big let off if you are fully loaded with a/c on. But that is till you reach 2k, after that it eases a lot. And really starts firing after 3k.

In city traffic, normally I am the only person in the car. Even if it was with 4 people I don't think its difficult to get it going. The big pain here is slotting to 1st gear and the heavy clutch.

So the sub 2k sluggishness, for me, is a pain when something intrudes my highway cruising.
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Old 21st May 2007, 16:28   #9
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The sub 2K sluggishness is a pain...Need to switch off the AC at times to get out of that rut into the relatively free 2.5K + range

Mine is a 2003 June buy and has done 50K kms so far...However, the FE seems to have dropped recently and has gone down to 8-9 with AC on
Maybe I should try getting a decarbonization done

Another PITA with the car (OK, not really the car) is the Sundaram Service center in Chennai. They are the only authorized service station, and boy, are they horrible!

On the good side though, The ride quality is still far better than my 3 week old swift
In fact the build & ride have got me so spoilt that I usually do not slow down for small-medium potholes, and the Swift certainly doesn't seem to appreciate that!

All said & done, if GM were to relaunch the Corsa (the new model), I would pick that up without a secod thought ...

Last edited by abhi182 : 21st May 2007 at 16:30.
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Old 21st May 2007, 17:03   #10
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Originally Posted by gkrishn View Post
On highway, when some things slows you down to the extent that rpm dips to 1.5k then things get painful. Big let off if you are fully loaded with a/c on. But that is till you reach 2k, after that it eases a lot. And really starts firing after 3k..
it does move after 3K but the engine noise goes up too! my wife drives the 1.6, I assume the 1.4 is more lethargic.

Last edited by navin : 21st May 2007 at 22:12.
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Old 21st May 2007, 22:09   #11
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Recently i have started McL suggestions for FE little too seriously. The maximum RPM i am touching is 2k. Nothing beyond that. Using the downward gradient to max, getting into neutral when ever possible etc.

I started this when the fuel guage was at about 1/2 way mark. After almost reaching the red mark, i refueled. And the FE is 10.88 in pure bangalore traffic with AC. So i guess the actual FE would have been near 12. After the next refuel i should be able to tell if this was one time wonder or not.

Only draw back of this method of driving is, indicabs and sumos zoom in the rear view mirror little too dangerously.

Abhi, Is that a 1.4 or 1.6?
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Old 22nd May 2007, 11:02   #12
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For example, I can take hairpin bends at around 1500 rpm on 3rd gear with 4 people
Are you serious ? the ones we find in Ooty ?
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Old 22nd May 2007, 11:56   #13
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Not sure about the Ooty ones. But this was when i went to waynad on a weekend. But then of cource you got to time it. If there is any other vehicle in front of you, not possible.

2 of the passengers were 6 footers and the boot had all of our 2 days worth of requirments. So the car was pretty much full!!!
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Old 22nd May 2007, 13:11   #14
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At 1500rpm... the speed comes to almost 30kmph. Will it be possible to take a hairpin bend at that speed?!?!?
May be it should have been at around 1200 or 1300.
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Old 22nd May 2007, 14:22   #15
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Nice review gkrishn. I am sure you have fun with the European beauty. I like the Corsa too!
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