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Old 30th September 2007, 07:14   #1
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Default Optra-second hand-initial experience


I bought a second hand 2004 Optra 1.6 base version (30,000 kms usage) about a couple of weeks ago from a friend and here is my experience with the car so far. My earlier car was a Palio 1.2L.
I have driven about 250 kms so far - mostly to Lonavala and back. Till now, the car has really impressed me. Though it is not a high performance car, it is definitely easier to drive compared to the Palio. I do not have to constantly downshift gears at low speeds or when climbing. It easily picks up from 30kmph in the 4th gear or from 20 kmph when in the 3rd gear )(unlike the Palio which was a pain). So this makes city driving a lot easier. On the highway, I limited the speed to a max of 110kmph and it was purring. However, I did notice that at 100kmph, the RPM was 3,000. For the Optra 1.6 owners out there, is this normal for the car? Should'nt it have been around 2,500? At 80-90 it was at around 2,500RPM. I have yet to take the car for servicing, but is it possible to get the RPM down with the servicing? I generally change gears at around 2,000 RPM.

Anyway, the engine is quite except on starting when there is a growl before settling down (this is contrary to what I experienced when I test drove the car earlier before delivery, when I thought the engine was noisy, so this is good). There is hardly any intrusion of noise in the cabin when the windows are rolled up. However, when the windows are rolled down, tyre noise was perceptible.

Another problem I had was the car pulling to the left. The earlier owner had done the wheel alignment just before handing the car to me, and at that time the car was tracking fine. But on my trip to Lonavala, the car just wanted to go to the left. So on my return from Lonavala, I got the tyres checked and according to the tyre dealer, the tyre treads had worn off. I got the Pirelli P6000 tyres fitted (I came to know later that these tyres do not have a great review) and the car now seems to be moving straight but I have not yet done a proper test drive yet. I did notice that one of the wheel rims was dented slightly which was rectified by the dealer on putting the new tyres. Does this cause air to leak with tubeless tyres and is therefore causing the car to move to the left?

Apart from the above problem, the car seems to be fine. Ride quality is great with potholes being despatched without any problems to the occupants. The car is extremely well built and comfortable with no rattles whatsoever. There is ample space for the passengers and in the boot. Handling did seem to be a problem, though, on sharp turns (with the old tyres) when I felt the grip was not up to the mark but this could be the tyre problem.

I have not checked the fuel efficiency yet but a little less than 1/2 the tank was used up in these 250 kms.

I am taking the car for servicing on Oct 10th at National Garage and am planning to do an engine decarb, oil change etc as suggested by BUSA.

I have installed parking sensors and I must say this is a boon when parking.


Adil Gotla
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Old 30th September 2007, 12:43   #2
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congrats adil

yeah i agree to you optra is not a driver's car but its very easy to handle in the city, the gear ratio really helps in easing out the pressure on the driver and one does not have to downshift regularly. I think a servicing would help in the higher rpm case you mentioned. just try it pulling to around 150 and you would start loving the car all over again (i have driven the palio deisel at 140, you'd feel the diff ) , the car is just so stable at those speeds..

about the car pulling to the left is a bit strange because both of my chevvy's love moving forward in a dead straight line and it really helps on the highways especially at high speeds. i don't think it would give you a FE of more than 12 (an okay FE for 1.6, 1.8 gives around 10-11). BTW for the FE i am personally considering the CNG module provided by GM for the optra (and the warranty of the car would also be intact) and it would be a boon for this sweet car

noise reduction (deadening) is one the best in optra no doubt

enjoy your car

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Old 30th September 2007, 12:53   #3
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unless it happens to be merely an instrumentation error, there's no way a service can change the rpm for a certain speed - that being a function of only the gear ratios used in the transmission.
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Old 30th September 2007, 12:54   #4
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hey afg, nice review.

About the car moving left, its a issue about alignment, jsut get it 4 wheel aligned properly and the issue will surely be resolved. Had faced the left drift issue and was very difficult sorting it out since Optra has AWIS, it needs 4 wheel alignment and very few workshops get it right.
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