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Old 18th March 2010, 09:47   #1
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Smile Fiat Palio 1.9 D: 7 years, 65000 km review

10th Feb 2003.

I was looking for new car. For 7 years I was using 118 NE which I had sold and I started looking for a replacement. I had limited budget of Rs. 5 lakhs. Looking at prices - I test drove – Maruti Alto, 1.1Palio 1.2 and 1.6 Petrol, Santro Xing & Tata Indica, I was not very happy with either of them for one reason or other.

Alto space as too less, Palio controls were not very smooth, Santro I found too flimsy and Indica build quality was not upto the mark, Zen was being considered but not test driven as my partner owned one and I had driven it in city as well as on highways. I was generally happy with Zen but it had long waiting list.

As I was about to finalise for Zen and preparing myself to wait for a while for delivery, I received a phone call from Ashwamedh motors, dealers for Fiat to come and test drive new Palio Diesel. I went and drove it and I was impressed. Controls were much smoother than petrol version – much lighter steering and clutch. Cabin noise level was acceptable and torque was phenomenal.

16th April 2003
I took delivery of Palio 1.9 D white ELX, from Jay Vijay Motors, Pune.

Cost on road – 4.93 lakhs

Accessories fitted – ICE – Nippon make (one that was offered in S10 limited edition Palio. Actually transferred from S10 of my friend who purchased the car with me but opted for higher end ICE)

Freebies – Mud flaps

Other extras (at payment) – Mats, Teflon coating, 2 years extended warranty.

My initial drive experience was very pleasing. I did not found the diesel engine as any handicap as I had expected. It behaved very much like petrol car. In fact, city drivability was better than many petrol cars. In city, air conditioning, particularly in summer, was not very satisfying so I got the windows covered with simple Garware grey film. I wanted to put V-Cool but that was hugely expensive.

First time I took it to Mumbai on expressway I was happy with its road behavior. I also realized that climbing up the Ghats was a strong point of car. Thanks to huge torque offered by the 1.9 litres engine.I did found certain drawbacks but they were not very serious and I will talk about them all at the end. During first few months, car offered FE of 11~12 km/l in city and 14~15 km/l on expressway. First servicing and car became smoother and FE also improved to 13 and 18 respectively.

I was also watching S10 purchased by my friend with me and I found good difference between the two. S10 steering was very heavy and clutch/ throttle pedals were hard. Going into details it was revealed that Diesel versions had ‘fly by wire’ technology that petrol Palios did not had. FE of S10 was also an issue. It returned 7~8 km/l (petrol) in city.

First whole year was happy motoring for me. I took the car to Mumbai, Aurangabad, & Nashik. No hiccups, no problems. The co-passenger seat was automatically getting reclined but was promptly replaced when brought to notice at the time of second service.

During the second year some issues cropped up. At the time of checking Pollution, the PUC center advised cleaning of injectors as smoke level was more than expected. The service center told me to change the pump from where I filled up diesel as they found some sticky substance on the injectors while cleaning. I usually filled up from one of the most reputed pumps in Pune but just before I had tried premium diesel from other pump as the same was not yet available from my original pump. I suspect the problem was related to premium brand diesel. (I do not know if it is alright to name the brands since I have no test data available with me to confirm my suspicion, however, once I switched back to normal diesel at old pump no problem was seen ever again.)

During the third year for the first time the fuel pump symbol on instrument panel started flickering and I was told that fuel pump had lost its calibration. I had to change the Pump for which the vehicle was at service station for four days. Setback – 12k

Around same time one khat-khat rattle sound from right rear suspension started. It was heard particularly on bad roads. Service center tried to find out but could not diagnose the source and reason. It continued for good one and half year and then vanished.

During third year, left head lamp connection went bad. After trials the mechanic simply removed the connector and connected the wires directly. Reason - the connectors were not readily available for a while.

In November 2006, I had a sad experience. Water pump of my Palio jammed near Sawantwadi and I had to leave my vehicle there for couple of weeks. I think I should describe it in detail in a separate post.

After this episode I was little concerned every time I had to drive out from Pune for quite some time. I chose to drive my partner’s Getz once to Panchgani and couple of times to Mumbai. That’s when I realised the beauty of my Palio.

First occasion when I took Getz to Panchgani, soon as I started climbing Khambataki ghat I realized I need to slow down and be more careful on turns. I was accustomed to behavior of my Palio which I used to just throw into any corner and come out easily. Getz did not do it. Handling of Palio is a class in itself. Very few cars I have driven come close to it.

In 2007, Fiat had tie up with TATA and both old service centers in city (Jay-Vijay and Ashwamedh) ceased to exist. This posed a problem. Particularly in November when fuel pump calibration went phut once again. This time I took it to a TATA Fiat dealer and it took 15 days to get my car back. The service center also suggested engine de-carb which I agreed to. This, however, gave birth to new issue. Engine started knocking. Few visits again to the dealer and finally their computer declared the clogging of EGR, but they had no solution to it. The team there simply did not knew how to clean EGR. I called my old mechanic from Jay-Vijay who asked me to bring the car, inspected it and did something to temporarily bypass EGR and suggested taking it to other TATA Fiat service center where apparently team from other defunct Fiat dealer (Ashwamedh) was employed to handle fiat section. The service station was far off from city but it worked and I was happy with the work done.


Around same time after completing 50000 km I changed the shoes to Michelin tubeless variety, filled with Nitrogen. I could see a distinct change in behavior of the car and my confidence again boosted to original level.

Beginning of 6th year was again a series of problems. I had to replace fuel filter out of turn. Pulley on alternator went ‘out’ and I had to replace whole alternator. The cooling grill of A/C developed leakage and I and to replace the grill that was a four day job. I believe these were routine. But I could also hear the change in firing notes over the years, see little drop in pulling power of the car. May be it was the sign of ageing and I should now look forward to replace this car.

It was a hard decision as I and my family had developed great affection of this car. It was still harder to find a buyer. When I checked with FIAT for exchange with Grand Punto they offered me so paltry sum that I decided to keep the car as second car and proceed to buy new. I never understood why a Santro of same age and having done almost double running and not in as intact condition as my Palio could fetch the same price in used car market.

Finally, I have found a buyer who is ready to pay me decent price and I have now booked a Polo (petrol) realizing I don’t move around enough to sustain a diesel vehicle. More about the Polo experience in another post

Summery -


What I liked -
  • Sturdy vehicle built like a tank. When you shut the door it gave you a feeling of being in safe environment.
  • Excellent handling and road behavior.
  • Reasonably priced spares and service. Even with all those mishaps I must not have spent little more than 1 lakh rupees including tyres replacement.
  • Excellent power and torque with good FE.
The problems -
  • Servicing and maintenance need patience and time. You have to locate right person.
  • Spares not so readily available, even with authorized dealers.
  • Fit and finish good but some small misfits are evident. Particularly, parcel shelf.
  • ORVMs not folding completely. In our roads sometimes you need that badly.
  • No flat area on dashboard for oddments.
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Old 18th March 2010, 12:05   #2
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Wow what a journey. Pics are missing. Pls add them.
For how much did you sell the vehicle?

Why not GP? any reason behind?

Good choice, Polo is the ideal upgrade and GP is a replacement for Palio.
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Old 18th March 2010, 12:32   #3
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It is a great car. You have got the pro's and con's spot on. Whenever I see a Palio D on the road, I feel jealous.

I think you should not go for Palio petrol as it is really outdated now with poor resale value and maintenance issue. As you are used to Palio build quality, Punto or Polo would be an ideal upgrade.
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Old 18th March 2010, 12:37   #4
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Hey Nice writeup!
And yes, congrats on your Polo!
Do post some pictures of your Palio.
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Old 18th March 2010, 12:44   #5
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Nice review, being a Palio owner myself I could echo most of your observations.

I thought you would go for Punto or Linea, anyway Polo is a good choice too.
Awaiting your first impressions on Polo...
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Old 18th March 2010, 13:19   #6
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Quote:
I think you should not go for Palio petrol as it is really outdated now with poor resale value and maintenance issue. As you are used to Palio build quality, Punto or Polo would be an ideal upgrade.
[/quote]

There seems to be some confusion here. He has booked a POLO not PALIO.
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Old 18th March 2010, 13:24   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ramsagar View Post

Good choice, Polo is the ideal upgrade and GP is a replacement for Palio.
Well, how exactly does that work out, an upgrade from 4 cylinders to 3? Or did you just mean interiors (that too plastics only, as the Punto is clearly more feature rich than the Polo)?
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Old 18th March 2010, 13:31   #8
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@PatienceWins : He has booked the Polo only

@CANPUSH : Nice review. The summary part especially is great for an overall look at the car. But pics are missed here.

Congrats on the Polo. Do post your impression of it soon as you take delivery.
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Old 18th March 2010, 14:11   #9
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nice review CANPUSH.

if FIAT had improved their A/S/S this would have been gem of a car. I drool every time i see a 1.9D Palio on road!

Please post some pics. Also do let us know your impression of Polo compared to Palio
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Old 18th March 2010, 14:18   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esteemer View Post
@PatienceWins : He has booked the Polo only
Sorry for the confusion. Polo is a great choice.
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Old 18th March 2010, 20:11   #11
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So sorry! Here are soem exterior pictures. I do not have interior pictures and car is gone this evening. Still I will try and manage. I sold it for 170k.

Not going for FIAT GP...going for Polo.. I think I will soon write a detailed thread on the whole research and opinions.

I am happy to receive encouraging responses for my first ever thread. Thanks.
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Fiat Palio 1.9 D: 7 years, 65000 km review-02012010001.jpg  

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Fiat Palio 1.9 D: 7 years, 65000 km review-02012010b.jpg  

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Old 18th March 2010, 22:13   #12
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Pretty well-summed up review. Not only does the Palio excels in build quality, it also scored high marks on the styling front. The A** is still kinda let down.
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Old 12th September 2011, 23:25   #13
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Default Re: Fiat Palio 1.9 D: 7 years, 65000 km review

Hi BHPian,

I had to replace the pulley of the alternator as there was a noise coming from the belt side and the local mechanic charged me Rs 5800 for the alternator pulley. Its just the cost of the pulley , labour is additional.

Please note that the price of Rs 5800 charged is just for the pulley.( I saw the replaced piece it was a small pulley)

I could not believe the price.

Do you remember how much did you pay for the pulley when you replaced the same?
I am really surprised to see that price, one known spare parts shop owner told me that it will cost only 500-600 rs.
I am not sure if that local mechanic ripped me off.

Pointers are welcome.

Regards


Quote:
Originally Posted by CANPUSH View Post
Beginning of 6th year was again a series of problems. I had to replace fuel filter out of turn. Pulley on alternator went ‘out’ and I had to replace whole alternator. The cooling grill of A/C developed leakage and I and to replace the grill that was a four day job. I believe these were routine. But I could also hear the change in firing notes over the years, see little drop in pulling power of the car. May be it was the sign of ageing and I should now look forward to replace this car.

It was a hard decision as I and my family had developed great affection of this car. It was still harder to find a buyer. When I checked with FIAT for exchange with Grand Punto they offered me so paltry sum that I decided to keep the car as second car and proceed to buy new. I never understood why a Santro of same age and having done almost double running and not in as intact condition as my Palio could fetch the same price in used car market.

Last edited by benbsb29 : 13th September 2011 at 15:58. Reason: Long post quote removed for benefit of mobile users.
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Old 14th September 2011, 12:53   #14
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Default Re: Fiat Palio 1.9 D: 7 years, 65000 km review

I think the mechanic must have replaced the alternator. The cost you quoted is for alternator that has pulley built into it. Please check. I remember having paid similar cost. I got it done from FIAT A.S.S. workshop.

Also, I am not very sure if you get just the pulley without alternator. Further, when the noise starts it is because the shaft loosens or goes out. And the shaft is part of alternator.

Happy motoring !
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Old 7th December 2011, 16:38   #15
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Default Re: Fiat Palio 1.9 D: 7 years, 65000 km review

Heh: Do you still have the Palio 1.9 or have you sold it off.

In case you still have it, please share further about your ownership.

Cheers
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