Go Back   Team-BHP > BHP India > Team-BHP Reviews > Long-Term Ownership Reviews


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 12th April 2012, 23:56   #376
Senior - BHPian
 
architect's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Ghaziabad, U. P
Posts: 1,275
Thanked: 448 Times
Default Four Years’ of Ownership—and 84,000 km behind the wheel

Year after year, I sit down and write about the past year with my car. Why do I do so? I don’t shampoo and polish my car every other weekend like some people. I don’t get a minor heart attack with every scratch and dent on my car—I might have been dead many times over even assuming every third heart attack was successful in finishing me off!. Just like me, my car has to be reasonably clean but a few battle scars only add to the allure, no? In short, I am not devoted to my car like many people I know are. Despite this, some people on Team-BHP.com, the Palio Users Group and MyFiatWorld.com take great interest in these reviews, so here it is.

84,000 km in four years—that’s between one and three hours in the car every day, depending upon the speeds you can average. A lot of driving, even for a vagabond spirit like mine. Now that we’ve got those figures aside, let’s get on with it and talk about the car.

The last of the 178 platform cars in India, this car mates perhaps Fiat’s oldest currently-produced platform with one of Fiat’s most recent masterstrokes in the powertrain department—the 1,248-cc Multi-jet Diesel engine. A small engine with a big heart, this “national diesel engine” is quite a performer both in the city and the highway. True, there are engines with lesser turbo-lag, wider power-bands and lesser NVH, but this one seems to have become a darling with manufacturers, especially with Maruti Suzuki, due to its generally trouble-free nature and economies of scale in production achieved by usage on multiple cars.

Save for the engine, most of the endearing qualities of the 178 platform remain almost unchanged (Thank God!). Excellent medium- and high-speed ride quality over bad batches, balanced handling and superlative steering feedback from a pure hydraulic unit. Capable of doing 150+ kph comfortably with more powerful engines, the 120-130 kph speeds that one can cruise at with the MJD engine is easily managed by this chassis. One may be at the limits of the engine’s performance (and also due to the drone in the cabin thanks to poor NVH) but the chassis is capable of more. Given the inherently fuel-efficient and torque-rich nature of this engine in the 1700-2400 RPM band, one can cruise at triple digit speeds all day on highway trips and shift at around 2200 RPM even in the city. Highway Fuel Efficiency ranges from 17 kpl to 23 kpl and city FE ranges from 15 kpl to 21 kpl based on the car’s odometer.

Why do I write “based on the car’s odometer”? Because my car odometer repeatedly under-reads as compared to my GPS trip meter as well as Pulsar odometer by 10% to 15%. Fiat probably messed up the odometer calibration again! In short, that 84,000 km is actually more.

The much-criticized short gearing in the first and second gear is actually quite a boon for crawling without any pedal input on all three pedals in bumper-to-bumper traffic. For those looking to smoke other cars off the traffic signal, there’s the Swift diesel with the same engine, tuned for better acceleration by Maruti Suzuki. What blows away the competition is the 50-80 kph and 80-120 kph in-gear acceleration figures—many a sedan driver has been surprised at the way this car can widen the gap. The operating range on the tachometer for such antics is small, but one doesn’t mind nice throttle input occasionally, does one?

This car was launched in India at a time when the amount of automotive real estate one could purchase with the money was a concern only for the Indica buyers. The subsequent years saw more and more tall-boy designs being launched, and people soon found the relatively long and low Palio to be cramped in terms of interior space. Personally, I have found this car to be spacious for four adults of heights below 5’10”. Anything beyond that upsets the “elbow-territory” equation. As a friend of mine pointed out, the third person on the back seat could end up falling in love with either of the two people on his or her side! The fifth passenger fits reasonably well in terms of seat design and can leave the car without a new attachment in life, but long trips are still a potential chance! Boot space is good, especially compared to current hatchbacks. I travel with my laptop bag, my gym bag, my shoe-bag, a box of spares and an electric air-pump all the time, apart from the amplifier fixed in the boot. There is still space for two more bags, at least.

The only criticism with this car in terms of design and engineering is the turning radius. This car needs more space than a Force Traveler and as much as quite a few SUVs to complete a U-turn. Still, if one knows it, then one plans accordingly. Like all cars with longer front overhang and shorter rear overhang, reversing into a tight space is easier than going head-on.

In terms of build quality, the Tata effect is seen in some issues with certain components. There is a rattling parcel tray. A minor rattle from the stereo created during its installation which the installer himself has not been able to rectify. Some minor squeaks and rattles have developed over time from the dashboard and the seats. There is some sound from the door rubber beadings in some seasons. The plastic cover over the engine has cracked. Some of these issues have arisen due to poor execution and fitting at the factory. The others could be due to the abuse the car suffers on the highways of this country, since nearly 20% of its time is spent on the highways.

Which brings me to the three great lessons in Automotive Maintenance I have learnt with this car: “Keep your eyes and ears open”, “If there is a noise or an irregularity, find its source” and “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.” Indian mechanics have a long way to go, both in terms of understanding the customer’s needs and even more so in understanding their complex cars. By following these three rules, you ensure proper identification and also avoid unnecessary heartache as a by-product of an over-zealous joint-effort between customer and mechanic to play Bob the Builder (“Can we do it? Yes, we can!”…. disaster.). This car has a good habit of warning you with uncanny sounds and behavior when something needs replacement. This is fortunate considering 90% of my highway driving is solo. The only time I have had to push the car was when the battery gave up. Touch Wood!

As far as highway usage is concerned, apart from the expressways and toll roads in town, I have travelled to Nainital and all its surrounding lakes, Khajuraho, Orchha, Kanpur (twice), Lucknow, Bikaner (twice), Jaipur, Bir-Billing-Palanpur-Kangra, Shekhawati, Sambhar Lake, Rishikesh and Lansdowne (thrice) in this car, apart from the usual runs to Mathura, Karnal, Neemrana and the like. There is a lot of travel left, but there’s so little time for it.

In terms of Fiat’s biggest Achilles Heels: Parts and Service, I have been reasonably fortunate. Elegant Cars and now Him Motors in Patparganj have taken care of this car very well. Mr O. P. Sharma (well-known to most Fiat car owners in Delhi NCR) knows Fiats inside out and also knows my car well, so I am in good hands. I only wish he was better supported by Fiat India Ltd themselves. Things can get a little trying with other Tata-Fiat Service Centres. Parts waiting time is about a week or two for parts which are not regular replacements. Filters, suspension components etc are usually available on the spot or at a day’s notice. When you consider that the chief attraction of this car has been its general reliability and zero down-time, you don’t mind a minor waiting period. This car has never had to spend a night at the service centre except for accident repair.

For those interested, there is a list of replacements attached at the end of this review. Warranty and Extended Warranty replacements are marked with a ‘W’ and ‘EW’, respectively.

So that’s about it. I am keeping this car for a while. I feel it will take another 1,00,000 km without much ado. Amen!

List of replacements:

Electrical:
  • Combination Switch (changed unnecessarily) at first service. (W).
  • Wiper motor due to timer malfunction (EW). Timer malfunctioned again recently.
  • Four headlamp low beam bulbs, three fog lamp bulbs, one rear stop lamp bulb and one number-plate illuminator. My car does 50%+ of its mileage at night / evening, so a higher rate of usage of lamps.
  • Battery (after 3 years, 63,000 km)
  • Battery holder-clamp (a plastic part fixed to stop the battery from moving on its tray).

Mechanical and Drive Train:
  • Radiator water pump due to bearing noise (EW).
  • Alternator Tensioner Adjuster due to bearing noise. This was valid for EW but paid due to urgency on a crazy Christmas day of 2010 when three A.S.C.s and an independent mechanic located the part which was wrongly labelled as a 1.6 engine part and finally fixed to make my Lucknow trip next morning possible. All this thanks to a Tata CRM server that is often down in some A.S.S. or the other.
  • Clutch kit consisting of pressure plate, clutch plate and clutch release bearings (EW for manufacturing defect, not wear and tear). Clutch Release Bearings (second time) due to bearing noise.

Suspension and Brakes:
  • Left Front Shocker mounting.
  • Disc brake rotors machined at 50,000 km and replaced at 84,000 km. Three sets of brake pads (currently running on fourth set put in with new rotors).
  • Caliper pins (both sides)
  • Lower Arm or Control Arm (left side)
  • Boot lock clamp (EW), for an irritating rattle due to a bad spot weld.

Tyres:
  • O E tyres (Good Year GPS 165/80/13) replaced at 21,000 km. They were okay but too hard and too narrow. No punctures, though, and went for a good exchange price.
  • Yokohama A-Drives 185/70/13 lasted from 21,000 to 51,000 km. They were good for more but one tyre developed a crack on hitting a stone and another developed a sidewall bulge. Sold off the other two which were in good condition and retained the best one as spare.
  • Michelin XM1+ 185/70/13 have lasted since then. They have 10,000 – 15,000 km life left.

I am closing with two photographs of the car. One taken at the famous paragliding spot at Billing Top in Himachal in Dec 2009 and the other at one of my work sites in Lansdowne in Uttarakhand (the person in this photograph is not me but a site staff).
Attached Thumbnails
Fiat Palio Stile Multijet: 196,000 km, 9 years & 8 months up! EDIT: Sold to Palio lover-img_3144.jpg  

Fiat Palio Stile Multijet: 196,000 km, 9 years & 8 months up! EDIT: Sold to Palio lover-img_0199.jpg  


Last edited by architect : 13th April 2012 at 00:03.
architect is offline   (7) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 13th April 2012, 00:25   #377
BHPian
 
lloydofcochin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 436
Thanked: 180 Times
Default Re: Fiat Palio Stile Multijet: Four Years of Ownership—and 84,000 km behind the wheel

architect,

Thanks for a balanced & direct from the heart review. 84k kms in 4 yrs is a lot.

I too have a Palio SDX and in close to 18 months the Odo reads 49700 kms. This Car eggs you on to drive more! Esp on the highways were it is a Superstar

Last week a Pvt Bus banged my Car while trying to overtake from the Left and my Palio ended up with big dent on the Left fender and some scratches on the door. Hoping to get it repaired next week.

I will take inspiration from you and hopefully will write a review pretty soon
lloydofcochin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th April 2012, 12:19   #378
BHPian
 
tortoiseNhare's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Guwahati
Posts: 527
Thanked: 45 Times
Default Re: Fiat Palio Stile Multijet: Four Years of Ownership—and 84,000 km behind the wheel

Congratulations for an eventful and generally satisfactory ownership of 4 years of a good car that could have been made great by better market response.

Quote:
Like all cars with longer front overhang and shorter rear overhang, reversing into a tight space is easier than going head-on.
You very nicely expressed what is an everyday experience at my parking space.
tortoiseNhare is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th April 2012, 12:27   #379
BHPian
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Gurgaon
Posts: 83
Thanked: 46 Times
Default Re: Fiat Palio Stile Multijet: Four Years of Ownership—and 84,000 km behind the wheel

4 long years...congrats mate, hope the car keeps you happy for many more years to come.
This 4 year review is a really nice read, it lists down the +ves and the -ves of the car.
Will try meeting you this weekend, for yet another drive in your car
bruiser is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th April 2012, 16:00   #380
BHPian
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 828
Thanked: 113 Times
Default Re: Fiat Palio Stile Multijet: Four Years of Ownership—and 84,000 km behind the wheel

Nice blogging! If I had read your posts years back, I would have certainly picked up a Palio as it was a top contender in my wish list

--Rahul
Ragul is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th June 2012, 10:02   #381
BHPian
 
Ravi Yadav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: UP-15
Posts: 136
Thanked: 10 Times
Default re: Fiat Palio Stile Multijet: 5 Years & 6 months - 1,16,000 kms

Architect,
Great review and 84k in 4 years ,that's a lot of driving. Hope the car keeps running problem free for years to come. Its high time to come up with a review of my baby multijet too.

Architect , i have a few queries hope you may be able to help me out.
1.Does the multijet have a cabin filter and if yes where is it located.
2. Where can i locate the color code for the vehicle. Couldn't find one .
Ravi Yadav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th June 2012, 23:17   #382
Senior - BHPian
 
architect's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Ghaziabad, U. P
Posts: 1,275
Thanked: 448 Times
Default Re: Fiat Palio Stile Multijet: Four Years of Ownership—and 84,000 km behind the wheel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravi Yadav View Post
Architect,
Great review and 84k in 4 years ,that's a lot of driving. Hope the car keeps running problem free for years to come. Its high time to come up with a review of my baby multijet too.
Thanks, it has already done 87,000 km now. I hope to keep it till 2,00,000 km but who has seen tomorrow?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravi Yadav View Post
Architect , i have a few queries hope you may be able to help me out.
1.Does the multijet have a cabin filter and if yes where is it located.
2. Where can i locate the color code for the vehicle. Couldn't find one .
By Cabin Filter you mean AC filter? It is a mesh filter (not a pollen one) which is located inside the the main centre dashboard console behind the centre AC vents. It needs a bit of effort and contortions to locate and remove it. You can wash it once a year.

The colour code could not be located by me anywhere during my repainting for accident and bumpers. They simply matched it visually.
architect is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 11th June 2012, 00:09   #383
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 197
Thanked: 7 Times
Default Re: Fiat Palio Stile Multijet: Four Years of Ownership—and 84,000 km behind the wheel

@ architect:

Congrats and keep munching miles happily!!!

Cheers,
Jagan.
jagan0677 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th June 2012, 08:57   #384
BHPian
 
Ravi Yadav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: UP-15
Posts: 136
Thanked: 10 Times
Default Re: Fiat Palio Stile Multijet: Four Years of Ownership—and 84,000 km behind the wheel

Quote:
Originally Posted by architect View Post
Thanks, it has already done 87,000 km now. I hope to keep it till 2,00,000 km but who has seen tomorrow?



By Cabin Filter you mean AC filter? It is a mesh filter (not a pollen one) which is located inside the the main centre dashboard console behind the centre AC vents. It needs a bit of effort and contortions to locate and remove it. You can wash it once a year.

The colour code could not be located by me anywhere during my repainting for accident and bumpers. They simply matched it visually.
Ya ,i meant the A.C. filter. Thanks for the location. Lets see if i can get my hands on it. Will visit the service centre guys for paint quotation. However i am not very optimistic when it comes to service Centre's .
Ravi Yadav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th July 2012, 23:21   #385
BHPian
 
tortoiseNhare's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Guwahati
Posts: 527
Thanked: 45 Times
Default Re: Four Years’ of Ownership—and 84,000 km behind the wheel

Quote:
Originally Posted by architect View Post
[*]Clutch kit consisting of pressure plate, clutch plate and clutch release bearings (EW for manufacturing defect, not wear and tear). Clutch Release Bearings (second time) due to bearing noise.
Please tell me the part number of the clutch kit if you have the records. My car's clutch system gave in immediately after returning from the 60K service. I will get her towed into the TASS (or a local garage) only after making sure that the part is at hand.
tortoiseNhare is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th July 2012, 23:24   #386
Senior - BHPian
 
architect's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Ghaziabad, U. P
Posts: 1,275
Thanked: 448 Times
Default Re: Fiat Palio Stile Multijet: Four Years of Ownership—and 84,000 km behind the wheel

I do not have the bill with me anymore as it has been sent to my C A with my annual accounts. But I will check with Bubby who recently got his clutch kit replaced I think.
architect is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th July 2012, 12:07   #387
BHPian
 
tortoiseNhare's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Guwahati
Posts: 527
Thanked: 45 Times
Default Re: Fiat Palio Stile Multijet: Four Years of Ownership—and 84,000 km behind the wheel

Quote:
Originally Posted by architect View Post
I do not have the bill with me anymore as it has been sent to my C A with my annual accounts. But I will check with Bubby who recently got his clutch kit replaced I think.
Got the part no. (0071751315: Kit clutch dsl) from Dr. Murali at PUG. The part is available both at the TASS and at a local auto parts store with a price difference of about 1K. The mechanic at the local garage where I used to repair my old M800 (now sold) insists that he can do the job of the Palio as well. I think he can be no worse than the ones at the TASS but can I trust the part sourced from the local store? This dilemma has forced me to postpone the work till Monday. Meanwhile I am making merry with my father's Nano CX.
tortoiseNhare is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th July 2012, 20:06   #388
Senior - BHPian
 
architect's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Ghaziabad, U. P
Posts: 1,275
Thanked: 448 Times
Default Re: Fiat Palio Stile Multijet: Four Years of Ownership—and 84,000 km behind the wheel

Quote:
Originally Posted by tortoiseNhare View Post
I think he can be no worse than the ones at the TASS but can I trust the part sourced from the local store?
One way to ensure that the part is okay to do a detailed visual inspection including checking the manufacturer's markings on the parts and comparing it with the original after opening the gearbox. The trouble is that the gearbox has to be opened first to do that.
architect is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 1st August 2012, 11:18   #389
BHPian
 
tortoiseNhare's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Guwahati
Posts: 527
Thanked: 45 Times
Default Re: Fiat Palio Stile Multijet: Four Years of Ownership—and 84,000 km behind the wheel

Quote:
Originally Posted by architect View Post
One way to ensure that the part is okay to do a detailed visual inspection including checking the manufacturer's markings on the parts and comparing it with the original after opening the gearbox. The trouble is that the gearbox has to be opened first to do that.
On Monday I had taken the clutch kit opened from my car to the parts shop to compare with the part being bought and they seemed identical. But I was actually sold a clutch kit for Punto Multijet (package marking FIAT, Turkey; part marking VALEO). When I hesitated to go for it the seller assured that the same clutch kit is used in Palio Stile, Punto as well as Linea. My mechanic also vouched for the genuineness and alikeness of the part. Yesterday the job was completed and in the evening I drove the car back home. Today from early morning I had driven her for about 60 kms before arriving at office. As I have noted in my ownership thread, the clutch has become slightly softer and the travel of the pedal before its actual engagement has also increased a little.

So, until something serious happens, my old M800 mechanic again assumes the role of the family car doctor from now on.

A Footnote: Fiat parts are being made available at Guwahati by Sanjay Automobiles. They actually specialize in stocking parts for cars as exotic as Opel Corsa, Ford Escort etc.
tortoiseNhare is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th September 2012, 01:30   #390
Senior - BHPian
 
architect's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Ghaziabad, U. P
Posts: 1,275
Thanked: 448 Times
Default Re: Fiat Palio Stile Multijet: Four Years of Ownership—and 84,000 km behind the wheel

Except for the minor accident in June 2008 (a brush past a "Vikram") needing a denting and painting, some minor dents / scratches and some lost sub-mirror plates, I had a good run. Till last Thursday 06 Sept 2012 night.

I drove into a divider. I was not distracted or intoxicated. I was trying to judge my way through a gap in the divider and was too busy trying to watch out for traffic in multiple directions (including those going on the wrong side) and I drove into a pile of stones and concrete pavers at 5 km/hr.

The casualties are as follows: Front Bumper, Front left fog lamp bezel, a bent steel extension from the chassis that holds the bumper and the Radiator.

Everything seems to be available except the bezel and the radiator. The radiator has been ordered from Ranjangaon and is expected to take a week.

The costs? Don't even ask! Bumper at about @Rs 8000/-, Radiator at Rs 14,000/- and other things will take it close to 30,000 including painting labour etc. With a generous 50% cost for plastic parts and 60% of cost of metal parts (after 4 years' depreciation) being paid by the Insurance (and that too not cashless), I am going to pay nearly half or more than half of these costs.

So, finally the twin bugbears of owning a Fiat and owning of a Palio Stile have bitten me: long wait for parts (Fiat) and expensive spares (Palio Stile).

The only silver lining I see is that the poor hardworking Dhanno gets a much needed rest for 10-12 days and that the bike gets to stretch its wheels.

However, on a positive note, I am posting a photograph of both my rides on a rainy afternoon.
Attached Thumbnails
Fiat Palio Stile Multijet: 196,000 km, 9 years & 8 months up! EDIT: Sold to Palio lover-img_3957.jpg  

architect is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Fiat Grande Punto: 50 months & 90,000 kms. EDIT: Now sold sidindica Long-Term Ownership Reviews 125 2nd January 2017 08:50
Fiat Grande Punto Multijet 1.3. EDIT: Sold @ 133,000 km sukrit7 Long-Term Ownership Reviews 275 20th October 2016 18:38
Got my red hot hatch, Fiat Palio Stile 1.6 Sport. EDIT: Now sold at 48,000 kms Rahulkool Long-Term Ownership Reviews 215 4th April 2016 10:56
Pics: Track Day MMSC 26th April. EDIT: Videos added (post#196 onwards) pawan Indian Motorsport 207 30th May 2008 14:51
Fiat Palio Stile 1.3 MultiJet anymenu The Indian Car Scene 18 21st January 2008 20:07


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 03:08.

Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks