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Old 22nd July 2005, 21:25   #1
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Cool 9000 km (in 145 days) report on the palio 1.9d

Wow, it’s been some time – since I’ve attended to the forum…for various reasons. I’m back now with some meaningful material – namely a 9000 km report on the palio 1.9diesel. So here goes. As usual, expect this one to be long.

Purchased feb 2005. Average of 60kms / day

Purchase price Rs5.4lakhs + 20K for 5 x 14” alloys and Goodyear Eagle NCT5 185/65R14 tyres.

Purchase Decision:

Well, I guess, most of this post will be read by existing and potential palio users. Since I drive 50-60 kms a day – love the weekend outdoor trips and generally like to drive a good car –

I eliminated most sedans, because I had one, the esteem – and was really uncomfortable driving it in the city where I needed to get into those tight parking spots. However, I did check out the ford and the new esteem – and also the ubiquitous indigo.

Then the smaller cars, the indica diesel, the getz was also on the check list – but somehow, once I sat in the palio d, it really spoke to me! Call it personality or what, there was really no other car once I test drove the little beauty around worli sea face.

The Driving Experience:

Since this is what the palio is supposed to be about, lets get down to this first. The palio doesn’t disappoint in any way in terms of the driving experience. A seamless pull from start to top speed - smooth, controlled and very precise. Doesn’t feel sluggish at all, even with the a.c on, on full load and climbing up steep slopes – but it won’t win any drag races.

The palio d is more of a refined cruiser than a monster petrol car – that having been said, it’s no slouch in the acceleration department – strangely, even though the bhp numbers are lower than the 1.2 petrol, it’s easily outperforms the petrol 1.2 in terms of the driving experience.

The city driving is wonderful – as compared to my old esteem – I find doing much less gear changes and get good pull from any gear – once the rev band is above1500 – easy to pull away from the slouchy drivers on their mobile phones, whenever I need too.

The out of town trips are where the fun begins though – and the real reason why I love this car. It sure is a confident performer and I find it easy to overtake most cars – not because of its top speed – but because of it’s precise road dynamics. I remember on my way to surat – I had this long race with a ford endeavor. We jostled each other for more than 3 hours – every time he would hit a straight road, he had the speed to overtake me – but every time I headed into a curve, I easily outdid him – it was fun, and I’m sure, quite a surprise for the guy in the ford – of course this is not too say that the endeavor is bad per se – it’s just the beauty of the palio d that’s outstanding. My outdoor trips to palghar, pune, mahabaleshwar, surat, ganapatiphule, have all been delightful – thanks to this little wonder of a car.

For the driving experience alone, the palio d is wonderful and highly recommended.

Engine, gearbox and other stuff:

Well, as you may have realized, the engine is a marvel, though it is a tad noisy – not too much. You know it’s a diesel – as my friend said – it sure sounds like a diesel, but performs like a petrol – but with that extra torque from the 1.9 engine, climbing and cruising is virtually stress free and the car seems absolutely comfortable in whatever it does. I have done a top speed of 130kmph (Speedo reading) – but constantly get surprised by guys who tell me that they do 140-150 in their Santros and their Zens…possible maybe – but safe?

The gearbox is good, but definitely not as slick as the esteem I had – 10% notchier and clunkier –but not something to be bothered about, and definitely needs no concentration when you need to gear in a hurry – though I seem to sometimes go 1 gear lower than I should on some overtaking moves – that’s perhaps the habit of driving the esteem – which needed lower gearing to get speed and torque.

More importantly, the gear ratios are very nice and provide good, smooth acceleration and gear changes are not jerky whatsoever and change of speed is spot on. The high torque in the lower part of the rev band is surely responsible for this as well.

The clutch is one of those long throw types, and I suspect that I don’t always hit the pedal all the way to the end – because the rest of my driving position is too far back. That’s not too good.

The brakes are good too, no complaints – though I’ve never really had to slam them at 120 to stop, they provide excellent confidence and feel – once again though, very different from the esteem and take some getting used to. At first I didn’t like the feel of the brakes – but now I’ve gotten used to them.

Interiors:

The driving position is higher than the esteem – and the seats of the palio seem more solid and supportive, I was definitely more comfortable as far as driving position goes in my esteem. The esteem seat is soft and immediately folds around you, keeping you wrapped up and feeling nice – the palio seat is exactly what it is – a seat, a separate entity from the rest of you…I think, it can be improved.

The same for the steering wheel, has the right size and diameter, but the feel is v v slick and slippery, not happy, even after it has got a little worn after so much of driving. Sometimes, I feel, that my hands would just slip around the steering when I make some really hard turn.

The rest of the interiors are good and on par with the rest of the cars in it’s class – if not better.

FE:

Well, exactly as expected – the last 4 tankfulls have given me an average of 10.5, 11.0, 11.5 and 10.8 kmpl, so I’m not complaining – giving the complete city driving and the a.c on all the time in the summers – on high setting (3) – even on the many outdoor trips – the a.c is on always – and I’m constantly pushing bet 80-120 – so the FE is about the same. Maybe now, with the rains and a slight cooling in the temperature – the a.c may be used less – so FE will get pushed up…

Maintenance:

Well, so far the car has been trouble free – notwithstanding the fact that she’s been pushed hard into service from day1. Total maintenance cost Rs0. the mandatory oil / filter change at 7500kms cost me what it was supposed to. A word about problems though – the car suffers a definite noisy cabin – this is only my car. My bro – who drives a palio as well, has no such problems. The chair creaks and the roof and doors seems to have some ‘clicking and vibration’. This is not a problem of the mechanics or anything major – it’s more of the way the final car finishing has been done – and it’s a tad disappointing that Anuroop has not solved any of these problems in spite of 4 trips to the workshop just to get these checked out – it’s now a major irritant and I’m on my last straw of patience…

Overall:

After driving this car, I wonder what the diesel vs petrol argument is all about – is it just the FE? Well if it isn’t, I suggest, you take a look at the palio diesel as you next option for choice of car if you are in the market for swift, getz, sail and any entry level sedan. The palio diesel is an out and out beauty of a car – forget about the fact that it’s a diesel – that will make you happy when you get to a petrol pump. Beyond that – the comfort, the driving experience, the space, the handling and dynamics of the car and the apparent feel of build quality and safety (hopefully, I’ll never need to test out this aspect though) – IMO, make it a best buy in this segment – diesel or petrol –

To fellow bhpian hell_rider , who I met because he wanted to check out the car – go for it…and if you do – push for the abs, ebd and airbag option – as well…I did feel the need once for the abs, when on the slippery slopes on the trip to ganapatiphule – on a rainy afternoon.

Here’s hoping for a speedy revival of fiat’s fortunes and in particular, the palio’s sales…I am incredibly happy – I still smile – every time I walk to my car in the morning to get into it…

Things I Like:

1) Handling and driving dynamics
2) Ride Comfort and Suspension
3) Easy Cruising ability – city or highway
4) Great Looks – esp with the alloys and the tubeless
5) Easy on the pocket for those out-of-town trips
6) Great A/c
7) Great cabin / boot space

Things I dislike:

1) Anuroops inability to solve cabin noise problems – pathetic
2) V Large turning radius…
3) Ultimate smoothness of clutch and gear not the best
4) Steering wheel feel – very clammy
5) Somewhat dubious ergonomics of wiper and indicator levers

Things to do:

1) Get that music system going – a diy project especially the speakers
2) Prep up the engine – with a turbocharger – or whatever else – ideas here are welcome
3) Complaint and fight with anuroop to get rid of the cabin noise – especially the creaking chair

Lets see how this baby fairs in the v long term…


at mahabaleshwar - hotel fedrick...


and a closer look at those tyres


at wai - in the mahabaleshwar valley boating club


and a closer look at that gorgeous profile


what's life without a little pride ... and joy?


the beach at the back - a perfect setting


the perfect virgin beach - bhandarphule 350 kms from mumbai


that's me in the spotlight - losing my religion

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 23rd July 2005 at 19:57.
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Old 22nd July 2005, 23:42   #2
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Great review there and with superb pics too....I am really wishing to go for a drive in Konkan right now !!! Most people know that the Palios are great cars (petrol or diesel) and I myself am a fan of it and would have bought it too if not for its higher price.
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Old 23rd July 2005, 00:31   #3
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Hey cream. I was just thinking that you became invisible after you bought your car. I guessed it true, you are enjoying every minute with your car.

Palio D is such a nice car that I every day plan the longest route to work even when there is an urgency. Earlier when me and my friends went out for luch we used to share all our cars, one at a time. But in the last 11 months after I got my Palio, there was not even once we took out others car except my Palio. My wife doesn't think twice when she wants me to take her somewhere because she knows that I love to drive my car.

I can go on and on if I am let to talk about my car....
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Old 23rd July 2005, 01:00   #4
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Excellent review. Confirms that Palio is a dynamite performer as well as being a dynamite looker. Only complaint is FE which is thought was pretty low for a diesel.

Did you say your bro has an identical Palio which does not have the squeaks? Not sure I understood that.

As far as turbo, try the one from the old Sienna 1.7TD should be a direct bolt on, but its not going to be easy to calibrate the ECU since your engine has a drive by wire electronically controlled pump.You're gonna need some expertise there.
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Old 23rd July 2005, 01:18   #5
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...Or how about a Pete's box to consider as well... should definitely be a cheaper job than fitting a turbo...

Revv
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Old 23rd July 2005, 01:39   #6
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Pete's box only for turbodiesel's Revv. He's mentioned in Rtech's review.
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Old 23rd July 2005, 02:25   #7
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Oh sorry sorry my bad... yup.. its turbodiesels only. Thanx for pointing it out RJ.

Revv
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Old 23rd July 2005, 04:47   #8
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@ cream
i have also had these small vibrations from the door trim(only i notice it),but only on poor surfaces and let me tell u they are much better than what i heard in a Zen(2-3 infact).it was rattling like the whole dashboard was lose.but no use of going to service center or for that matter any mechanic.if u want to solve the problem it is a DIY.remove the trim.paste thin foam on its edges and refit it.most of the noise will dissapear.remember the screws on Fiat cars are different and u will most definately need a toolkit.also remember if u are doing it,one has to remove the PW controls on the door as there is a screw inside it.
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Old 23rd July 2005, 19:41   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvmaster
Oh sorry sorry my bad... yup.. its turbodiesels only. Thanx for pointing it out RJ.

Revv
Once you fit the Sienna's turbo, it will be a turbodiesel.
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Old 23rd July 2005, 20:00   #10
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Hey Mr Audioman, nice review. Pics are nice and I've removed one because it came twice (car's profile shot).

Why don't you check out some other service center for your cabin noise issue?
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Old 23rd July 2005, 21:29   #11
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I still feel like trying to pursuade my father to pick up one of these in favour of the Tata Indica. Choices, choices......
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Old 23rd July 2005, 22:55   #12
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yes, i did disappear for some time - but i had to get back, the forum has helped me with so much info, and reassuarance when i purchased the palio - it had to be my duty to give something back...

merv - have u done the noise reduction yourself? maybe i'll pm you for details...
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Old 24th July 2005, 02:19   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cream
merv - have u done the noise reduction yourself? maybe i'll pm you for details...
yes i have done it myself.i have done it for my door trims.its easy but u should know how to take the trim out.if wrongly done u may break the trim mountings.u may go to a some mechanic or service center and tell them to try that idea if u are not comfortable with it.
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Old 24th July 2005, 12:23   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mpower

Did you say your bro has an identical Palio which does not have the squeaks? Not sure I understood that.
yes, believe it or not - the seat on the petrol palio is different and has a diff mechanism...it doesn't have the same problem that the diesel seat has - can u believe these fiat guys - the same car...and the same seat - but different mechanisms!!

fiat guys called me yesterday - i told them about this problem. they said they would insist with anuroop to get it done - now 1 more trip to them...hopefully the last one.

and of course - surprised that some of you guys actually remembered me...after so many months. and thanks rudra - for the pm...asking where i was...thoughtful.

merv - one more trip to anuroop - then maybe your advi ce on the trim fittings will be handy
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Old 25th July 2005, 11:59   #15
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Hey Cream,
welcome back.
Apparently,
even our GTX's passenger side door handle is a bit squeaky but for a 3 year ols car, it is holding up well, even better the the Corolla.
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