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|19th February 2009, 23:04||#16|
Senior - BHPian
LTR Report: 300 Miles into it
Date Bought: 12th Feb 2009
Mileage when bought: 65,159 miles (104,200 kms approx.)
Ever since I came to the States to study, I always wanted to get a car. My reasons for one were quite simple:
- I needed one out here as the public transport isn’t properly developed where I study. In fact, even my sister who was initially opposed to the idea changed her mind when she saw my campus’s location!
- I LOVE cars, like many of us here.
Initially, my family and I decided on a budget of $15,000 for the car and I started my research. That budget allowed me to look at cars such as the 2006 Audi A4 1.8T, 2005 BMW 3 series. However, I felt those cars were too flashy for a student to drive, especially since the car was funded by my parents and not by me.
That started my search for a less subtle and therefore newer model car within the same budget. I ended up deciding on a 2005 Nissan Altima SE-R with a 3.5 V6, 18” alloys and everything! I even paid a $100 booking amount on the car and called me sister (as she was coordinating between me and my parents) to inform her.
While talking to her, she said she would check out the KBB value and go through the Car fax and get the opinion of a few others and get back to me.
After waiting a few days, she finally got back to me with some bad news. According to many of her family friends out here, she learned that the ideal budget for a college car is around $6000-$8,000 and also told me that the insurance would be expensive for such a car. She brought out another valid point, the one that actually convinced me, saying that if I got used to having the best in everything at this age, I would not be motivated to try harder and do better in the future to earn for what I want. After all, I would enjoy the Nissan more if I earned it with my own money than if my parents paid for it.
Though disheartened, I agreed and with a newer enthusiasm, I set out on my search for a car that fell into my new budget. After a lot of visits to multiple dealers, driving various cars, and receiving hundreds of voice messages every time I came out of class, I ended up short listing a 2004 Lancer Ralli Art for 9K, done 58K miles. While I liked the car and paid another $100 booking amount on the car, I began having second thoughts and the dealer pressurizing me didn’t help either.
It was at this time that I saw an advertisement for the 2002 Galant GTZ (that you see here), While I liked the Galant, I only saw one that had low miles and that car put me off as the fan belt was loose and the car refused to start (no fuel). When I saw this ad, I was like this is the perfect car for me. It was safer than the lancer, while being more powerful and had more features. It was also much more spacious and it had a very simple design that I loved!
I took a short test drive of the car on the 10th of February and was completely floored by it. It seemed well maintained and though it was slightly over my budget, I knew this was the car for me. I came back and did a Car fax check and saw the KBB values, both of which I emailed to my sister. She got back to me the next day at 6PM and gave me the clear chit and I immediately called the dealer and told him that I would be coming the next day to pick her up.
In the meanwhile, I went online and got all the information that I needed in order to register the car and also got my insurance work finalized so I could drive her back. The next day, the 12th, I went to the dealership with all my paperwork, a banker’s note and got the car checked by Firestone before I paid for her. Once that was cleared, the dealer slapped on the temporary registration plate and gave me the keys.
I hurriedly drove to the D.M.V. and got there barely 5 minutes before it closed. I got my car registered and drove home and filled petrol. Since that day, I have driven around 300 miles and here is my review of the whole experience. I know it is long and I apologize for that.
Out of all the dealers that I have visited, this dealership (Auto Choice Car and Truck Sales in East Providence, Rhode Island for those who are familiar) was one of the best. The salesmen didn’t force me to decide on the spot and deposit some money against the car. They didn’t even call me every 5 minutes asking me whether I had made up my mind on the car. In fact, they even arranged for me to take the car to Firestone for a checkup without any hassles or objections and were confident the car would come out clean, which it did. They also delivered the car on time as promised and offered a 30 day/1000 mile warranty (standard here).
The registration process went off smoothly as well and the dealership helped me get the paperwork done as well and even offered to get the car registered for me. However as I wanted the car registered the very same day, I didn’t take them up on the offer.
When I first walked up to the car, I couldn’t help but think of our lancer. From the front, the cars are very similar in design and even inside, the steering design reminds me a lot of the lancer and given that the lancer was a beautiful car to drive, I knew that this wouldn’t let me down. So far, I am in complete love with the car! She is powered by a 3.0 V6 producing 195BHP, has a stiffer suspension, Power everything, a sunroof, leather and 16” alloys and a 7 speaker Infinity music system.
The V6 engine is a beauty to drive and offers power throughout its power band. It is also quite refined and has a nice note to it as the revs climb. Personally however, I felt that the engine is missing some low end torque, but then again, I attribute that to the fact that I have driven only diesels mainly. If there is one area of dissatisfaction, it would be the gearbox. I don’t know whether it is a 4 speed or a 5 speed gearbox and while one wouldn’t notice anything on normal drives but whenever I need to shift down a gear, the car takes a while for the shift to happen. This maybe because I have driven only stick shifts my entire life, with the E270 being the only auto I have driven enough to get comfortable with.
On the other hand (no pun intended) the steering has a very nice feel to it and the one thing I really appreciate is that I don’t get the artificial feel that was there in so many other cars. In fact, that is one of the things I really like about the car, the way she handles and feels when I drive her. Though there some body roll, I am not complaining because if I wanted a car that handled well, I would’ve gotten the Ralli Art. I really like the way she handles and I am sure once I get new tyres put in, the handling will only improve. However, the ride quality isn’t the best. While it isn’t bad, it isn’t like that of a Fiat and once can definitely feel a few bumps which I am guessing are mainly due to the poor tyres and stiffer suspension.
So far, the car has proved to be very reliable with only a few problems that I didn’t notice before delivery:
- The Air Vents don’t blow out a lot of air
- The electrical output doesn’t work (mostly a blown fuse)
- I was given only 1 key, which GTO says is typical of auctioned cars
- No Owners Manual.
Luckily for me, the dealers told me that they will try and source the Owner’s Manual and will repair the problems as well (I only have to pay 20% of the labor and parts). They will also assist me in getting a spare key for the car and I will mostly get the work done by next Tuesday.
Apart from that, the car has been very reliable and I didn’t have to think twice before I took it for a 80mile (150kms approx.) drive at 2am in the morning, on completely deserted roads.
Here’s a sum up of the pro’s and cons that I have experienced so far:
- Dealer experience was good
- Amazing engine
- Amazing Value for Money
- I love the sober looks, both inside and outside
- Fuel Guzzler (19MPG!!! Should improve)
- Poor gearbox
And here’s are my future plans for her:
- New HU (Sept 09)
- New Tyres (Sept 09)
- Full polishing and detailing (Mar 09)
I will update you’ll soon on the cars progress and add more pictures once I drive her more and get to know her better.
Sorry for the long post.
|12th March 2009, 08:56||#17|
Senior - BHPian
More pics coming up. Planning on getting the car polished properly and once that is done I shall take pics.
For now, I plan on getting the car serviced. The Oil was changed when I got the car, however, I am not too impressed with the performance/FE of this car and wanted to get it serviced.
Given that it has done 65K miles, what do you guys recommend?
I was thinking of getting the engine flushed out there. Is it recommended?
|23rd March 2009, 00:33||#19|
Senior - BHPian
Here's an update: Plan on getting oil changed in September with a proper engine flush.
Also planning on a proper detailing (if it is within my budget) in May.
Till then, here are some pictures. I have also washed and polished the car on my own:
During the first snow with the car:
During the first snow storm:
The Window regulator broke, forcing me to tape the window to stop it from opening on its own:
Pics of the HKS Hi-Power Muffler that I intended to put on the car. Still tempted to:
Pics of the car after I washed and polished her:
The Paint that is peeling off the A pillar and ORVM:
Stone chippings on bonnet:
These were there from before I bought the car.
Overall, I love this car! Have done nearly a 1000 miles since I got her last month.
|27th July 2009, 11:48||#20|
Senior - BHPian
The car has crossed the 70K miles mark, and has done 71K miles before I left for India.
That is nearly 6K miles or 10Kkm in a span of 5 months.
Here are my observations:
- FE has improved once I started using Premium fuel. It is now around 21-22 in the city and 28 on the highways.
- The car is very reliable!
- Light steering, but the car feels planted on the highways. Steering is so light that when I came home and drove the fiesta, I found the fiesta's steering HEAVY!
- Poor lights (upgrade planned Sept '09)
- Good power. However top end feels strained. Mid-Range is simply superb!
- Interiors have some poor quality bits here and there. The area near the front has soft feel plastic which is quite good, but the rear part of the dash has cheap thin plastic. I noticed a crack out there
- Poor paint quality. The Paint is peeling off in a few places
- Small boot space and poor legroom
- Still an amazing drivers car!
I have attached 2 documents which list all the work done on the car, as well as the FE.
Pics have been updated in my gallery.
Also, she was scratched at a petrol pump, and it really hurts me every time I see the scratch. It happened the week before I left.
However, overall, I am very happy with the car, and now I am working towards some basic mods when I go back, which include:
- New tyres, stock rims.
- New HU
- Fitting in the Muffler
If possible, maybe a K&N filter too.
Also, will be switching over to synthetic oil and if the dealer recommends engine flushing, would get that done as well.
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