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Old 17th December 2008, 14:23   #1
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Default My Forza - Fiat Palio MJD Report - 3000 Km and 2 months

Ok...its probably too early to launch into a long-term test, but I just had to!

I love Fiat...no question about it, and I will defend their cars' fun driving quotient till the day I hang up my car keys. I've driven a diesel Uno for the better part of 130,000 km., and a Petra 1.6 for another 35K km. And Fiat does it for me - holds true for my latest example (my Forza) as well.

I've recently moved to Bangalore, and the Octy just didnt cut it here. I was too worried about errant motor-cyclists and wrong-way autos causing me a 5 figure repair bill. And then the decision to switch was made in a day. Usual Tuesday..work..then Koshy's for a quick bite (among other things). I parked my Octy on St. Marks road, and lo and be behold! Someone had bestowed a deep, nail-parented scratch from bumper to bumper on the right-hand side of the car. Repair: 25K...thanks but no thanks. Leave car in Chennai with dad, book Palio MJD SDX after consulting confluence of great minds (read:Team BHP), and do car-swap in Chennai. Which is where the story begins.

Specs:
1.Tyre upgrade: Bridgestone Potenzas
2.Horn upgrade: Extra horn fitted - Roots Vibrasonic
3.ICE: Kenwood KDC MP 339 HeadUnit, with 5-way flush-mount Kenwood speakers on the rear parcel tray, and 4 way round speakers in the front (on the doors)
4.Lights upgrade: 80W H4 Philips bulbs on all 4 (each headlamp unit has 2 bulbs - main & high beam)
NOTE: All upgrade except ICE done by VST motors before delivery...so no issues with warranty

KM 53 – 390: New Car, Old Highway
My wife and I drove Forza from Bangalore to Madras via the old road (Chithoor - Palamner). I Was very impressed with the acceleration, and the handling. The way the car held on to the road at 160 reminded me of the Uno (albeit at 140), and the tyres definitely helped in the twisty, ghat-like Palamner section. The car returned a decent mileage of 13, considering the engine was new and there was a lot of luggage.
KM 390 – 970: In Bangalore
Mundane city driving. Regular jaunts to office and back (30 minute drive one-way), plus the occasional late-night drive. Nothing to complain about – no rattles, squeaks, or shudders. Mileage still remains in the 12-13 kmpl. category – writing this off to my driving style*.
KM 970: First Service
Took the car to Prerana Motors (erstwhile Tata dealers in Bangalore) for the first service. Was pleasantly surprised by the warmth of the welcome, considering all that I had heard about Tata dealers’ apathy for Fiat’s diesels. Total charge: Rs.67 (for consumables). All fluids were topped up – oil change is required only during 2nd (7500 km) service. Very impressed with the quality and speed of Prerana Service – the car was ready by 2.30 PM the same day, gleaming with a good wash and some interior polish.
KM 970 – 1500: Return of the Prodigal Son
Went back to Chennai for the weekend. Took Old Madras Road again, and the car performed admirably. It was raining all the way, so didn’t go much above 120. Wipers worked really well – I appreciate the fact that the windshield washer has 2 sets of 3 spouts. This ensures that the windshield is evenly sprayed. Also, the rear wiper/washer was a boon! Drove around Chennai for a bit when I was there – nothing interesting to report. On the way back to Bangalore, the AC started behaving a little weird. It cooled really well (as always), but the blower froze over every half hour. I’d then have to switch the compressor off while still running the blower, and the ice would melt in a few minutes (indicated by a whoosh of warm air). Then, turn the compressor back on. Nothing serious, but it was a little irritating. Also, whenever the ice melted, a couple of drops of water would plop faithfully on my left foot, which was on the clutch. I stopped at Prerana on the way in to town (much to the wife’s displeasure) and showed the service advisor the problem. Left it at Prerana the next day, and he changed the compressor relay (free of cost, of course). This has seemed to fix the problem. Basically, the compressor was not cutting off when it was supposed to, and eventually froze the moisture in the blower. Moisture in the blower came from some very humid air that we encountered on the drive. Mileage: 14, despite continuous compressor syndrome!
KM 1500 – 2000: Same Old, Same Old
Bangalore city running. No rattles despite despicable road conditions. Got caught in the infamous JDU-related traffic jam. Car was stationary for nearly 3 hours, and no signs of over-heating. Got into some random pangas with a Swift VDi and a Lancer…long live Forza!
KM 2000: Power Hungry
I am hungry for more power. I have been evaluating Pete’s box as well as Racing Dynamics’ piggyback ECU this week. Pete’s is probably going to win, thanks to the sheer level of support the product enjoys at TBHP. Will keep you folks posted!
*driving style:
-change gears frequently to utilize engine –braking as well as max power and torque
-use the brakes as rarely as possible (When slowing down, 1st line of defense: accelerator modulation 2nd line of defense: gears 3rd line of defense: brakes)
-frequent bursts of speed interspersing bouts of sedate motoring
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Old 17th December 2008, 17:30   #2
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great review ice!!
i was thinking about the mjd myself but i wont be able to tolerate the same interiors again.
have you by any chance checked the 0-100 timings?
i have read about insane figures of 19 secs and 20 secs.does it really take that long?

dude..how about some pics??

Last edited by shantyrocks : 17th December 2008 at 17:31. Reason: forgot an important point
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Old 17th December 2008, 17:42   #3
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Originally Posted by shantyrocks View Post
great review ice!!
i was thinking about the mjd myself but i wont be able to tolerate the same interiors again.
have you by any chance checked the 0-100 timings?
i have read about insane figures of 19 secs and 20 secs.does it really take that long?

dude..how about some pics??
Interiors are ok..i am not a huge fan of the beige.

0-100 feels 14-15ish. The Octy feels marginally quicker, and that's about 13 seconds. Definitely feels quicker than 19 seconds, Shanty...those are Indica V2 times you got there!

Will post pics tomorrow - have a couple of hours in the morning. Hopefully the sun doesn't play spoilsport
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Old 17th December 2008, 17:44   #4
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Congratulations on your acquisition, and welcome to the Palio world.

Some pictures could do some justice.
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Old 18th December 2008, 18:46   #5
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Thumbs up Congrats ICE.

Hey ICE congrats for owning the beauty. Nice review there!

What was the OTR? Any Freebies offered by the dealer?
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Old 18th December 2008, 20:03   #6
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Congrats mate on your new ride. I have a question for you mate, how do you find the braking after the Octy? Miss the ABS?
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Old 26th December 2008, 13:06   #7
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Well written review indeed,Long live the Palio Mjd
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Old 2nd January 2009, 18:39   #8
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Folks,
News! Got Pete's magic box for the car. One word to describe performance: STONKING! No great difference in 1st and 2nd, though the 'pull' exists till the red-line, which is definitely post-Pete. However, 3rd has officially taken my breath away. The car pulls faster than most petrol cars, and even the diesel Verna. My friend (armed with a stop-watch) and I did a low-tech 0-100 run, and Forza delivered consistently below 11 seconds. Results ranged from 10.2 to 10.7 seconds. Performance is astonishing, to say the least. Pete's promises an increase to 90 bhp, and I think they're spot on. Would love to get my hands on the torque curve though!

I fitted the box last week at Hot Tracks on Residency Rd, Bangalore, after much hemming and hawing. It set me back by 28k. Also, Forza had only 3,300km on the clock at the time of installation. The installation took a little over 30 minutes, because the stock ECU lead to the engine took some coaxing to unhinge itself. I was very impressed by the service at Hot Tracks - the service guys and the manager/owner were as excited as I was!

Tomorrow, I take Forza to Shaklespur via Mercara. It promises to be an awesome drive, littered with amazing photo-op locations. The wife should sleep well enough to allow me to push this baby for all its worth. I realize that I have not uploaded any pictures - shall rectify this as soon as I get back from this trip. Till then, cheers and enjoy 2009's first weekend.
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Old 2nd January 2009, 18:42   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Volt View Post
Congrats mate on your new ride. I have a question for you mate, how do you find the braking after the Octy? Miss the ABS?

Volt,

Apologize for the late response. The Octy we have does not have ABS so I can't comment on ABS vs. non-ABS braking as such. However, the Octy's braking even sans ABS seems more assured than the Palio's. I think the brakes on the Palio are strong but a little grabby (sudden lock-ups). Had the same issue with the Petra's brakes as well.
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Old 2nd January 2009, 20:29   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ice View Post
My friend (armed with a stop-watch) and I did a low-tech 0-100 run, and Forza delivered consistently below 11 seconds. Results ranged from 10.2 to 10.7 seconds. Performance is astonishing, to say the least. Pete's promises an increase to 90 bhp, and I think they're spot on.
Thats a huge improvement in the 0-100. what was the 0-100 in the stock car? If I remember correctly, its around 15 secs.

Wonder how you went below 11 secs though! best I could do after the Pete's box and CAI was 11.8 secs. Do you stay in 3rd for 100, or do you upshift to 4th?
If you want to see an even more astonishing improvement, have a look at the in gear timings 20-80 in 3rd and 40100 in 4th You will thrash the pants off every stock car on the road!
Congrats on the Box!
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Old 3rd January 2009, 01:01   #11
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woow maan!

this seems to be the first MJD with petes box.
now..will this start a trend?
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Old 3rd January 2009, 17:47   #12
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Thanks Ice, and congrats on the Pete's box. Keep us updated on the performance.

Quote:
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I think the brakes on the Palio are strong but a little grabby (sudden lock-ups).
With the increased performance you got to be doubly careful with the brakes. Safe motoring, mate.
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Old 3rd January 2009, 19:30   #13
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stupid koshun - with pete's box, mileage kya aata hai?
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Old 5th January 2009, 11:18   #14
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Originally Posted by rippergeo View Post
Thats a huge improvement in the 0-100. what was the 0-100 in the stock car? If I remember correctly, its around 15 secs.

Wonder how you went below 11 secs though! best I could do after the Pete's box and CAI was 11.8 secs. Do you stay in 3rd for 100, or do you upshift to 4th?
If you want to see an even more astonishing improvement, have a look at the in gear timings 20-80 in 3rd and 40100 in 4th You will thrash the pants off every stock car on the road!
Congrats on the Box!
Ripper:
0-100 was listed as 15.31 by Autocar. However, I don't recall them ever doing a road-test on the MJD. I cross-checked on their website and the road test isnt there. Wonder where they pulled that 15.31 number from?!

Be that as it may, the car felt quicker than 15.3 secs. to 100. I regret not timing it before fixing the box. I'll test a stock 0-100 just after the second (7500 km) service, as I need to remove the box anyway(read: warranty!)

I shift to 4th just after 90 (at 4,300 rpm). My timings are very rudimentary. We used a stopwatch and the speedo. I could be wrong by 05. - 1 sec. on either side. But the results we got were what I listed, scout's honor.

Dude, you're right about 4th. It just takes off. I didn't touch 5th till 130 or so!

NOTE: Just got back from a wonderful weekend drive. Review and photos will be up shortly!
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Old 5th January 2009, 11:37   #15
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Originally Posted by Volt View Post
Thanks Ice, and congrats on the Pete's box. Keep us updated on the performance.



With the increased performance you got to be doubly careful with the brakes. Safe motoring, mate.
Volt, I hear you. Thank you for your concern. Use the gears and modulate the accelerator as much as possible to minimize reliance on the brakes. Also, with time, I'm learning to modulate the brakes a lot better.


Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
stupid koshun - with pete's box, mileage kya aata hai?
Phamilyman,
Mileage still remains around 14 in the city with the ac on. Also, note that I drive the car when traffic is at its worst: between 9 and 10 in the morning and 6 and 8.15 in the evening, often on the busiest roads in busy bangalore.
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