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Old 1st April 2010, 10:53   #1
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Post Optra - 40,000 km Review

Optra Magnum Diesel – 40000Kms Review

Got my Optra Magnum around 3 years back from Sundaram Motors, Chennai and used it as our family car ever since. I want to share my 2 cents with the forum about my experiences with optra.

Why did I buy an Optra?

I was looking for a sub 10L diesel with lots of rear space and decent mileage/looks. Choice was between Fiesta, Verna and Optra. Fiesta and Verna have ridiculously poor back seat space when compared with the Optra. Optra has enormous leg room and has an excellent ride quality. Plus ofcourse there was the rather insignificant issue of 120 horses…..

My concerns when I bought an Optra ..
1. Why buy an American car ? – Poor after sales service, low resale price etc etc
2. New product and unproven in the market
3. Expensive spares and reliability issues.


My car is driven 90% in the city with the AC on 150% (if you live in Chennai, you know what I mean) by a driver and with me taking over the cockpit over the weekends. Today 3 years later with 40K on the odo here is my opinion.

I will list out the Optras performance over some important parameters,
Service/Reliability/Spares – I am regular with all my services and oil changes at Sundaram.
a. Normal service interval is 5000Kms, with a 10,000 Km oil change. The first few services costed me around 2-2.5K with the current 40K service costed me around 3.5K. Pretty decent for a car in this segment. Sundaram Motors are a competent bunch overall, but they tend to ignore/forget smaller things like cleaning the interiors/exteriors etc when delivering the car.
Major Problems
a. Clutch – My Clutch went kaput at 25K, don’t know why it happened. I have a very experienced driver and he has driven almost all my cars for several years and it has never happened. It costed me around 18K for a complete clutch replacement including labour. Was very expensive for a car that was barely 2 years old. I was quite disappointed.
b. Fuel Pump – My fuel pump (inside the fuel tank) conked off around 30K. I have never heard of a fuel pump conking off in cars that have done 200K kms. Was quite shocked to learn it costs another 20 grand. When my fuel pump conked off my vehicle was stranded in a mall in Chennai and it took Sundaram 6 hours to send their repair team to the car. 6 hours to come to the car inside the City. Was quite angry and sent an email and written letter to Sundaram and to GM india. I guess they got the message and offered a 50% discount on the fuel pump.
c. Rear Shock absorber – Looks like it has developed a leak, it is doing ok for now, will have to relook at it a little later.
d. AC – Over the last few weeks keeps shutting off by itself. Problem is apparently ice formation because the thermostat is not doing its job. Have to put a new one in – Cost 3K.
e. Brake Pads – the front pads need to be replaced, they have done 40K km. I guess it is a little early but not too bad. Cost – 2.5K for a pair.
f. Tyres began to break down around 35 Kms, changed them to Michelins. And WHAT A DIFFERENCE. The car handles so much better, tyre noise is much lower and is something I should have done a long time back.

Overall service costs are low, but reliability is definitely an issue with my car. I have owned several maruti’s before this and certainly all of them were more reliable than this. I have never had a car stall/breakdown before in my life. My first experience was in my most expensive car ever – The Optra
Driving Experience – A fantastic car to drive. There is a lot of lag, but above 1500-1800 revs, it is a blast. I am sure you have read enough about Optra’s power so I wont dwell too much.
Comfort – I think the OPtra has an excellent ride quality – rear seat on long drives is fantastic, quite composed, absorbs bumps very well and overall an excellent back seat drive. From a handling perspective it does not handle as well as say a Fiesta or a Punto. The rear end does not behave itself when pushed around corners. As long as you are not really pushing the car, you should have no complaints.

Overall – I love the optra for the sheer driving fun. It is a very spacious and comfortable car for your family and gets your adrenaline pumping every time you hit an empty stretch of the road. Reliability is an issue and frequent repairs are highly irritating. I don’t know if this is the experience of all Optra owners or just mine. I intend to keep this car for 5-6 years so resale value is not that big of an issue for me.

Bottomline – As long as you take good and regular care of your Chevy, you can have a lot of fun with this baby. Spares are not too expensive, after sales service is manageable and the car has nice interiors and good ride comfort. Reliability (I mean frequency of unplanned repairs) is definitely an issue here.
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Old 1st April 2010, 17:15   #2
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A review without pics? Come on!!

Do you think your driver might be riding the clutch? Diesel clutches are more sensitive to riding, more so because of the added torque these mills generate.

Where do you fill in the Diesel? And when do you fill (ie, when the tank is almost empty or when there is enough fuel left)? Make sure your fuel station is reputed and reliable. CRDi engines are a lot more sensitive to fuel quality than their non-CRDi counterparts. For this reason alone, I fill in at Shell exclusively when in City. And fill up at 1/4th mark itself, will reduce the load on the fuel pump as well as keep at least some sedimented contaminants from the fuel filter (which is again costly for Diesels).
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Old 3rd April 2010, 12:01   #3
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Normally i fill fuel before it hits the 1/4 mark... and i fill it from a reputed bunk near my home almost 100% of the time. Will post some pics soon



Quote:
Originally Posted by ph03n!x View Post
A review without pics? Come on!!

Do you think your driver might be riding the clutch? Diesel clutches are more sensitive to riding, more so because of the added torque these mills generate.

Where do you fill in the Diesel? And when do you fill (ie, when the tank is almost empty or when there is enough fuel left)? Make sure your fuel station is reputed and reliable. CRDi engines are a lot more sensitive to fuel quality than their non-CRDi counterparts. For this reason alone, I fill in at Shell exclusively when in City. And fill up at 1/4th mark itself, will reduce the load on the fuel pump as well as keep at least some sedimented contaminants from the fuel filter (which is again costly for Diesels).
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