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Old 14th October 2005, 17:11   #1
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Default Petra 1.6 EL

I am going to Pune to give my Petra for it's second service. All workshops in Mumbai are full with backlogs. I thought that I would post up my views till now on my baby. And then top it up with my impressions post service.

Buying process
Well, what can I start with? I started out wanting to buy an NHC, because as a fresh out of B-School graduate I had stars in my eyes and two sets of rose tinted glasses. I had read rave reviews bout the NHC and just believed those fuel economy figures of 27kmpl from Overdrive. But instead of the posting in Bangalore that I was hoping I ended up in Mumbai. Which is wear the two rose tinted glasses fell off - after hearing the price of an NHC in Mumbai. And then I found the forum. That is when I decided to look at the Baleno. Maybe, just maybe if the dealer I was speaking to was a bit more responsive, I would have been driving a Baleno. I had already discounted the Fords and the Accents. And was not too impressed with the Indigo petrol.

And then the Petra happened. I was floored. The value proposition was just too good. That is how I ended up with my Hazel Grey Petra 1.6 EL. And I have a lot to thank this forum for.
Engine and transmission
A 1.6 litre 16 valve DOHC four cylinder inline petrol churning out 100 horses - at less than 5.3 L - pure heaven na? The engine is awesome. The rush it gives you lurching from start through 100 kmph in third accompanied by that muted roar is the best feeling I get while on road. Gear shift is race car like notchy, and slots in neatly. I am a bit disappointed with the power delivery at lower revs in the third gear. But it is all good once you get used to it and hey I like changing 'em gears.
Build Quality and interiors
The body feels solid. There is always that lovely thunk when you slam the doors. And that bonnet feels so heavy. Typical European car.

The seats are comfortable, though the height adjustment does not exist for the front seat - not that I need it, but it is good to have all the same. All round visibility is okay, though the A pillar is a bit too thick at times. Ergonomics are good though the dashboard looks a tad bit out dated. Fit and finish are very good though Fiat should pay more attention to the plastic trim.

There are those ubiquitous rattles which are a pain som times, but then looking at the state of the roads and the places I have been too, I think it is forgivable. I will look to see how the second service at Ashwamegh solves this. But I must say that on a smooth road the rattles disappear.

The boot is enormous. Double fold the rear seats and you have a mini playground at the back. Lighting is good. Side rearview mirrors are manually controllable and the rear de-mister is a nice feature to have (this is one area where the Baleno LXi seriously sucks).
Fuel Economy
Please do not let tales of bad F.E. sway you. The car performs very respectably despite the weight it lugs around. The best I have got on the highway is 15 kmpl all things up and running. In city I get 10-11 kmpl with the AC fully running and the best I have got in Mumbai's traffic (from Vikhroli to Lower Parel) without the AC is a whopping 12.96 kmpl.
Dealer Support
Anuroop is the best dealer for Fiat in Mumbai. Period. Right from the selling to the after sales, they have been courteous and attentive. It is true that there is a problem of parts, but on the ocassion that I have required them, they have been proactive enough to get them with the least delay. My rear tail lamps were replaced within a few hours. My LH rear door was replaced within 4 days despite the rush of 26/7.
Accessories
1) JVC 12 CD changer with an FM transceiver made it possible to preserve the factory fitted system (which I daresay is good).
2) Auto cop

No alloys and tubeless tyres yet. I wanted to be absolutely safe wrt warranty. I plan to go in for a K&N after my third service. Will ask at that time.
Grouses
1) AC performance has been bad of late. I dont know if the coolant has leaked off.
2) Wipers have a mind of their own. This is rare.
3) Fuel other than HP Power cause auto revving.
Overall
I am very happy. I just dont care if Fiat folds up and dies etc etc. My only regret wrt to this car is that I did not wait long enough for the ELX.
Will leave you with some pictures that I took of the car at Malshej. Please forgive the picture quality - it was heavily overcast and I dont have the skills Rudra Sen.



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Old 15th October 2005, 20:07   #2
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TypeO, I wonder how I missed your post. But, where is other thread if this one is duplicate? I couldn't find any. BTW, what happened to your second car servicing?
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Old 15th October 2005, 20:22   #3
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Hey TypeO great reveiw of a wonderful car there. The pics at Malshej ghats look good. Let us know if all your problems were solved in the second service. The pune dealer is supposed to be one of the best fiat dealers. Neverthless, good review of a car that really makes you passionate about it. I miss my Palio.
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Old 15th October 2005, 20:29   #4
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hey typeO
great review of the petra.very well written detailed review.
get the ac coolant checked and what do you mean about the wipers ??

rev
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Old 16th October 2005, 01:57   #5
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good write-up budd. Hope this gets Fiat some sales in the right meaning.

I love Fiat cars too.
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Old 16th October 2005, 04:09   #6
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Dude you should be a poster boy for FIAT. We need more level headed guys like you.
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Old 16th October 2005, 11:17   #7
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Well I am not a Fiat fan. I just like Fiat and its sad to see them go down.
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Old 19th October 2005, 21:25   #8
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Hey TypeO,
really wonder how i missed this post.
Nice to see you enjoying your car. Shes a real beaut. Jus like our Palio.
You really seem flored with the car.
As for the rattles. Don't worry, travel on the highway after the rains everyday and the car will still last longer then a corolla facing the same conditions would.
BTW,
when you press the acc. after shifting into first and are just leaving the clutch, does your car revv really fast to 3K rpm? Pressing the gas just a teeny bit.
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Old 20th October 2005, 15:35   #9
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Good write-up TypeO, I really liked the second photo.
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Old 20th October 2005, 18:11   #10
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TypeO did your problems get resovled at the service? Do let us know the reasons behind the "wipers with a mind of their own" and "revving engine".
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Old 24th October 2005, 12:03   #11
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Oh hello hello.

I had been away in B'lore for some work hence the delay. Will have to wait for some more time for the detailed review to be finalized. So a quick one should do for now. The second service in Pune was good, at least the car seemed good after I took it. But the rattles have returned with a vengeance. Maybe there is no cure for the really really bad roads. The car was taut and silent after the service, but two days on those infernal potholes were enough to bring the rattles back. Will be seeing them again this Diwali ... so there might be a few fireworks. AC is fine, though I have a funny feeling that the coolant is still leaking. Ride has improved.

No problems with the wipers yet. They used to stop in an intermediate position after they were switched off. No over-revving so far. I think it was the ECU error that they claim to have rectified. also could be the fuel. Have decided to stick to HP Power.

Lambo, no I have not noticed that problem.
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Old 25th October 2005, 16:31   #12
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well rattles prolly wont go yeah...:( My car has developed a few rattles too but with the state of roads here I guess it could be worse!...btw nice review typeO
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Old 26th October 2005, 00:50   #13
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Hey TypeO,

Nice one there.

Makes me miss my petra.... :-( totally agree about those solid thuds and those nice 0-100 kmph and that engine grunt....

That auto revving has to do with the fuel is it? I used to have the same problem every now then.... it wasnt very frequent so didnt break my head over it.

anyway, have been having a bit of fun out here in london. drove a ford focus and renault laguna sport wagon (aka estate). but you cant thrash around a rented car like you can thrash around your own....

have fun...

regards,
rahul
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Old 27th October 2005, 11:44   #14
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Nice review there!

Might help if you also mentioned when you bought the car and how much it has run (couldn't find this anywhere so apologies if I missed it).
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Old 21st November 2005, 19:29   #15
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Whenever you go in for Tyre replacement, go in for 185/65/R-14 Goodyear NCT-5 tubeless. I have them on my Petra and they really make a lot of difference.
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