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Old 18th November 2007, 00:45   #1
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Default Magnesium Grey Fiat Palio Stile 1.6 Sport: Owner's experience EDIT: Now at 45,000 Kms

Car: Fiat Palio Stile 1.6 Sport
OTR price: 4.35L Gurgaon including 18+18 months extd warranty
Color: Magnesium Grey
Delivery Odo reading: 58 kms (30th Oct 2007)
Current Odo reading: 2230 kms (17th Nov 2007)
No freebies at all by the dealer. Not even mud flaps!

My buying experience is at
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...tml#post601499 (Buying a Palio Stile Sport from Dhingra Motors, Gurgaon)

@ mods if you feel like please merge both the threads.

After getting confirmation on the phone, I reached Dhingra Motors, Gurgaon on 30th Oct at about 3 pm. After all the escalations to Fiat, sales guy was sounding very friendly that day. He asked me for tea every 15 minutes while telling that your car is arriving in a while. After a wait of about 1 hour, I came to know that while driver was bringing car to the showroom from workshop (their workshop is around 7-8 kms away from the showroom) petrol finished on the way. That made me laugh instead of getting angry.

At last the car arrives. Me and my brother do a thorough check based on the checklist on Team-BHP. We were not allowed to do road test of the car. The first thing I matched was the chassis/VIN no. with the transit report that they had faxed to me one week back then. When I asked them to fill up some more petrol, I was told there is no petrol left in the showroom and car must be having 3-4 litres. After all the formalities, took the papers, gatepass, sweets and waved them goodbye for good by 7 pm.

We straight away drove to a petrol pump, got a tank full and reset the trip meter to zero. After that got ICE and gear lock installed at Elegant Car Interiors in Sec-14. They are the distributors for Blaupunkt in Haryana so got straight away discount of 10% without asking.

ICE Setup costed INR 13,500/- with B&W.

HU: Balupunkt London MP37
Rear: Blau GTx 693 tri-axials
Front: Blau GTc 542 components
Tweeters are still lying on my table as I don't feel the need for them.

AutocopXS gear lock (U-type): INR 1250/- with 5 years warranty.

One good thing of going with Blau was they are OEM for Fiat and no wire cutting was required to fit anything. No harness or adapter sockets were required as car alraedy has Blau connectors already wired for HU and 6 speakers. It was really plug and play.

Then we headed straight away for IFFCO colony where puja was performed. My relatives were literally sitting on a dharna outside the temple so as to not allow pandit ji go home before we arrive there. We entered the colony gate with all the 6 front lamps on (1+1 pairs of headlamps & 1 pair of fog lamps) and found my cousin dumbstruck. She told us that when all the headlamps are on, it looks like some big car is coming.

There I met a person who admired Palio a lot. He had even brought a Palio home but his wife had forced him to return it back and at last he had to *settle* for a SX4. Now, that's when you feel elated. We went for a drive with full load - 5 people sitting comfortably with AC on. There was no lack of power at all and it cruised at 75-78kmph @ 2000 rpm in 5th gear.

I had learned driving on my father's Premier Padmini way back in 1996, drove M800 many a times, zipped Delhi and Gurgaon roads in my friend's Santro Xing and tried hard to keep up with the traffic in a friend's Alto. I had always praised my father's padmini in terms of comfort that it provides - it has seats with springs like you find in a sofa and suspension is too good.

And finally when I test drove a Palio, I straight away fell for it. That moment I realised how different a Fiat is. All I wanted was a comfortable, road gripping ride with a lot of power and sufficient space.

Things I like about it
Space: Comfortably seats 5 with a pretty big boot.
Build: You can't keep the hood held high with one hand for more than 45 seconds, so heavy it is.
Ride: I love the way it rides, no bumps at all and smooth landings on speed breakers. You don't feel like driving a hatch. Its really fun to drive in bumber to bumber traffic, car moves without pressing accelerator pedal even in 3rd gear. Just to check the anti-knocking sensor, I tried the same in 4th gear and engine adjusted itself within 2 knocks.
Headlamps: They give it a looks of a big vehicle and it helps a lot during night drives on a highway. On-coming vehicles don't come in your lane scaring everything out of you.

Shortcomings as I feel
Lack of lumbar support and arm-rests: I felt their need on long drives exceeding 4-5 hours.
Double crank prevention system is pain sometimes.
Brakes: Still I am not sure if it was my fault, but I had to brake hard from 60kmph to 0kmph once and all the wheels jammed on a properly pitched and tarred road with no loose gravel at all. There was a mild fish tailing but car stopped within a safe distance. Otherwise, brakes make me feel confident.
Gear shift: Initially 3rd gear was a little tough to engage - used to take 2 tries most of the times. But after first service gear shifts are smooth and lever slots into correct place.

Doubts that I have
A mechanic told me that its ECU is under the hood and if water gets into it, engine will go for a toss. He has advised me not to get engine bay washed in any case.

Power Steering and turning radius
Unlike Santro or Alto, power steering can not be turned with a single finger. At the first instance you don't feel if it is a power steering at all but the moment you push a little, its altogether a different story. Because of this, you don't feel like driving in a zig-zag manner cutting lanes between moving vehicles.

U-turn needs prior planning because of 5.1 meters of turning radius. Even then I did not find any problem in putting the vehicle in parking slot in a single go.

Mileage calculated on tank full to tank full basis with AC on all the time:
City: 10.4 kmpl - including 2 hours traffic jam with average speed 5 km/h.
Highway: 15.5 kmpl - with 4 adults on board and boot filled up to the brim.

But I am not able to convince "mileage kya hai" type people who straight away tell me that WagonR is a better choice. I tell them that you can not compare 1100 cc and 1600 cc engine's mileage. There is no point in explaining them that Palio 1.6 does not compete with M800/Santro/Alto/WagonR.

And when I knew beforehand what I am going for, why Suzuki lovers keep telling me "royega tu baad me", "hindustan me kewal maruti ka naam chalta hai baaki sab bakwaas hai", "ye ladka pagal ho gaya hai". Even someone had commented "Ye buddhi ghodi kyon khareed li, outdated model hai and its not on sale in EU anymore". Why should I worry if its not for sale in the EU, when in the first place Fiat designed this car for 3rd world countries and its still selling in Brazil, South Africa, Argentina etc??

I am still taking care of not revving it beyond 3000 rpm. Kept it within 2000 rpm for the first 500 kms, after that slowly pushed till 2500. Today pushed it to 110 kmph @ 3000 rpm for 10 seconds and still found it in full control. I am planning to get oil and filter changed at 2500 kms while Fiat recommends first oil change at 7500 kms.

As I had to go on a Gurgaon-Lucknow-Gurgaon trip on diwali, I decided to get the first service done at 700 kms. Left the car with Dhingras on 7th Nov at around 11 am and got a SMS at 3 pm that vehicle is ready for delivery. No engine oil or filter change. Only visible body checks, a good car wash, no fluid top-ups were required. Servicing cost was INR 250/- and that too for a bottle of System-G.

Now the sad part. I had an accident with a UP roadways bus coming from the opposite side. We were driving 1 foot inside our lane on a 2 lane highway in a row of vehicles. There was a similar line of vehicles in the opposite lane. Suddenly the roadways bus turns to us just after driver crosses B-pillar and hits my right ORVM, rear right door and rear right fender with a loud bang. There were cyclists on my left so I could not have cut left. We were moving at 40kmph and bus should have been at 50 kmph. Car kept going straight in full control with no jerks at all. People in the vehicle ahead us were looking astonishingly at us while we drove some distance. On checking the damage I was heart broken.

But I think, once you are on the road, you should be mentally prepared for such mishaps. The only fact that hurts me is that while driving other people's cars for last 10 years, I never got a single scratch and when it came to mine I am like

Today went to Dhingras to get an estimate and they told me that rear door and the part behind rear door needs to be changed. ORVM assembly would also be changed and in all it should cost around 14-15k. If I claim insurance then I would be required to pay 2k as they will settle cashless with New India Assurance Company. They don't have any part in the stock, not even the ORVM.

After that called up Vivek Automobiles in Delhi and they quoted 1150/= for ORVM assembly which is available off the shelf. I am more worried about ORVM because it is very difficult for me to drive without it in Delhi traffic. I am planning to get ORVM fixed real soon without waiting for insurance claim and get an estimate from Vivek Automobiles too.

All in all, the car has started to grow on me. It makes you a rebel of sorts when people try to discourage you every now and then and you even have to fight with Fiat and the dealership for your love called Palio.
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Old 18th November 2007, 00:58   #2
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love the color man i love the looks too hate the interiors and u managed to wreck it too, sad man hope u fix it too. i had a very similar one like urs in my case it started from the front fender till the end. take care
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Old 18th November 2007, 01:14   #3
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Fantastic choice. Sad to know the about the mishaps, enjoy your car
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Old 18th November 2007, 02:00   #4
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Great choice. Sorry to know about the accident. Its part of the car owning experience and take it in the right spirit. I am sure you will have many happy years in your palio. The build quality is excellent!!

The grey colour looks good on the Palio.
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Old 18th November 2007, 08:41   #5
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FIAT is a different kind of a love Story!! The engine is a class apart!
The highway drives would definitely thrill you and bring about a huge smile in your face!!

Love my FIAT, Respect the Esteems and Balenos
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Old 18th November 2007, 08:54   #6
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15.5 kmpl on highways is good for a new palio 1.6.
You may get even more once Car comes out of second service.

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Old 18th November 2007, 09:05   #7
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great car and color dude. I know how it feels when new car gets damaged. Anyways get it repaired from good Fiat Workshop and it will be same as new.
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Old 18th November 2007, 10:47   #8
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congratulations on your new car. You are going to love every moment you spend with it . I wish Fiat does something about the interiors. They just about passed the muster in 2003 but we are now in 2007.

I had to brake hard from 60kmph to 0kmph once and all the wheels jammed on a properly pitched and tarred road with no loose gravel at all.
While getting your brakes checked will be a good idea, possibly the tyres had a role to play in that too. I say this because the Bridgestones on my S10 made the car skid under slightly heavy braking a couple of times. But after I switched to Michellin's the car no longer skids. Once I had to jam the brakes from 90 kmph and the car was rock steady.
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Old 18th November 2007, 11:16   #9
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Really well written review i must say.
sorry to hear about the accident. and i totally agree with you on the milage argument. when people say the same to me i tell them they are comparing apples and tomatoes.
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Old 18th November 2007, 11:18   #10
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codemarauder, I'm very impressed by your thorough approach to car buying. You've ensure happy driving for next 5 years. I too own a Palio Stile 1.6 Black. When I bought in August, they only had black and red. How did you get grey? What colours are now offered?
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Old 18th November 2007, 11:42   #11
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A very mature review. It felt like reading abt a brand new model altogether. Congrats and take good care of her.
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Old 18th November 2007, 11:47   #12
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I guess 14.5k is a decent repair cost for a damage like this and shows that Fiat's are not that expensive to maintain. Availability of some spares could be irritating some times though
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Old 18th November 2007, 11:50   #13
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excellent color...great price, good mileage...i wonder why ppl still dont buy the palio !!

nice pic on ur avtar with the padmini alongside the palio...

did u say, the dealer says change the rear door ? or just repaint ? dont thing the damage is large enuf to change the door
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Old 18th November 2007, 11:52   #14
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Originally Posted by codemarauder View Post

But I think, once you are on the road, you should be mentally prepared for such mishaps. The only fact that hurts me is that while driving other people's cars for last 10 years, I never got a single scratch and when it came to mine I am like
Hey code, that is a very beautiful ride! I'd never seen this color, she looks stunning.

Based on my personal experience, I can tell you that being over-cautious with your brand new car is not a very good thing. I had a similar experience with my Baleno and later I realized that driving casually helps.
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Old 18th November 2007, 13:05   #15
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CodeMarauder, Congrats on your new car and the color really looks cool. I can understand your pain but in a place like ours where traffic is unruly we just have to maintain a zen like calm in such cases!
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