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|31st May 2010, 19:48||#1|
"Lady Lightning"- My trusted Japanese companion, the Baleno
Ladies and gentlemen, please don't draw any conclusions. Looking at the title please do not presume the that I drive like lightning. The fact is I am really bad in naming cars and all that sudry stuff I own. In fact all three dogs I ever owned (over the time) had the same name. So, "lightning" is nothing but english translation for my car's name- Baleno
Why the Ownership thread?
It has been raining TBHP with ownership threads on new gen cars, which is a sign of changing times. Three years back, every other thread would have somehow got dragged to a Baleno Vs OHC fight. And this is the car I wanted to own for sometime, and I have owned (and in love with) one for some time. I hope people would appreciate the story about my oldie.
Here she is
And here are some facts to begin with
Baleno Lxi- 2005 Dec
Odo- 53000 Kms
Next: The dream and the hunt
|31st May 2010, 21:26||#3|
The Dream and the Hunt
I do lot of interstate trips between my home and workplace/temporary home. Simply put I had been getting a bit frustrated by my "Old Lady" a 2000 model Carb Esteem. My dream car once, which I owned for more than three years, it served me well. Then the "Old lady" was, well,
getting really OLD. Add to that, roads were improving and highway speeds were picking up, and I was getting older too. SO, one day I woke up and decided I need a car that is a faster and more stable on highway. I also need to clear the hurdle of the car being comfortable for the ladies in the family. For the point, I am not allowed to use my negotiating skills, I
would have to take them for a drive and then they would vote- no other way. I have also decided this being my third used car purchase, I'd do it without anyone from my family of Auto-experts stepping in.
To beging with, I had my "A team" assembled. Team consists of
1) Me- The running man
2) A close friend, who is SAARC sales head for an MNC- He would be my ace negotiator
3) My Friend who is a mechanic and ownes a Garage- My tech guru.
3) Another friend, who is also an auto dealer- My Procurement specialist and firewall from bogus deals
4) The ladies= High priests who would bless (or curse) the deal.
Being in hunt for used car, usual car buyers' preferences such as choice of color, versions etc were ruled out. We quickly arrived at the list of probables
1- Baleno Vxi (if not, then) Lxi- Euro III only
2) Elantra CRDI- On a stretched Budget
3) Corolla- Post Oct 2005
4) Optra- Since it is quite cheap
5) Pre 2004 Lancer- My all time favorite.
Here is a brief take on each cars by my team
Me- Fits my bill all the time. Free service at cousin's garage is added bonus
My Sales friend- Ugly, plain Ugly, and it is not German
My Mechanic- Spares can be sourced, not as cheap as Esteem
My dealer- Bhai, buy an Accord
The ladies- Loved the backseat, AC and ride. Can live with interiors- after all they are living with that of Esteem
Me- Amazing to drive. Stretched budget. Shares are on all time low. So, why not re-route money so that I could buy bigger car soon.
My Sales friend- Ugly, plain Korean Ugly, and it is not German
My Mechanic- Spares can be sourced, definitely not as cheap as Esteem
My dealer- Bhai, buy an Accord
The ladies- Hated the backseat. Interior and ride is nice. Scared of the sheer size, as she needs to drive it too.
Elantra CRDI plan didn't workout as there was none well maintained. Most of those were clocked or had el chepo sun films, chinese tyres etc, indicating owners' state of mind. The should meet our tbhp Elantra owners.
Corolla was ruled out as the quotes were quite high for post-2005 cars
Optra was ruled out as it doesn't excite me on the drive. I am not that old too.
Me- I loved it for the looks. Always wanted to own one
My Sales friend- Too old to consider
My Mechanic- Sourcing spares would take some time
My Dealer- For once, no commets as he ownes one
The Ladies- Loved the looks. Liked the backseat too.
To put a long story short, the hunt went for 6 months exact. Takeaway- I learned a lot about Wikimapia and Bangalore City streets. My knowledge of local language went up a few notches.
The Bonus- I landed up with a Baleno Lxi which is Dec 2005 regd. Odo-37000 odd Kms.
My sales friend was in Europe when the deal was done, so I doubled up as Negotiator, eventually making myself poorer in the process.
Last edited by WhiteKnight : 31st May 2010 at 21:30.
|31st May 2010, 22:59||#4|
Join Date: Oct 2009
Thanked: 13 Times
very neat car bro.baleno is a very good car.i am huge fan of baleno and using the same since past 5 years.and when i think of upgrade the car comes in my mind is altura!
|31st May 2010, 23:48||#5|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Sep 2006
Thanked: 789 Times
whiteknight looks like you really have clinched yourself a sweet deal.Congrats !!With 37k on the odo am sure she has oodles of driving pleasure to offer you. How much did you pay for it btw ?
|1st June 2010, 08:16||#6|
I do take time to build friendship. This one was no different either. I kind of found it hard to let the Esteem go. Whatever Esteem was capable of, Baleno was able to do better. But the problem was Baleno was not so intimate. There is less drama. This car is silent, even when going fast.
Bottom line- No more city hustles. I have indeed become a more sedate driver, with the lightest foot on gas.
The reward is obviously the city mileage I get- 13.5 KpL (Without a/c).
I have covered ~16000Kms since I bought the car and as expected, ~10000Kms was on highways. Here, Baleno delivered more that what I asked for. Supremely confident and willing to take on the unexpected. For me a good car is the one that saves you on your moment of stupidity and this one does so brilliantly. It handles mid corner bumps, unexpected lane changes, broken tarmac and what not. What I like the most is the subtle hum from the engine when it is on the song. When I am not driving, I'd be on the back seat. Peace!!
Highway Fuel efficiency- ~13.8 with a/c
Upgrades and Maintenance.
In spite of all the "A team" drama, I found this car with Maruti True Value only. They changed the headlights free of cost as there were some damage (due to 100W bulbs?). I have immediately changed the tires to 185/65 R14- Michelin XM1+ on Evo Alloys, which cost me ~33000 Rs. Battery and audio system were swapped with that on Esteem.
On the maintenance front, I had to change the clutch as the previous owner's driver turned out to be a habitual clutch rider. It costs me 1680Rs for Clutch Disc and 1230Rs for cover clutch.
I wish I had.
1) ACC. I searched everywhere for the elusive Vxi. I couldn't find one.
2) ABS. Must for a car these days
1) Driver side power window controls. Poor poor ergonomics. You need a hand made of rubber to use it.
2) Gearshift- Bad for a Maruti. Better than the Maruti hatches though
3) Low speed ride- Pedestrian. Then it gives me all the more reason to level it going fast
The car. As a package, this is unbetable. It also goes well with my personality- Understated. Even the ladies would agree!!
The Lancer. Every time I pass one, I turn back and look. A beauty indeed. But then if I owned the lancer, everytime I was passed by a Baleno, I would have been saying something else too.
Beauty be damned. Let me keep the Lightning- a greased lightning
Last edited by WhiteKnight : 1st June 2010 at 08:20.
|1st June 2010, 10:42||#7|
Join Date: Nov 2007
Thanked: 9 Times
Hey Joji ... you must be enjoying those highway rides, all the more now.
Here's to many more years of happy motoring with The Lady
|1st June 2010, 15:00||#10|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Sep 2006
Thanked: 789 Times
One question, what kind of service bills did it run thru at 40k ? I ask is coz am just trying to do a comparative analysis with a diesel. Apparently as for my older car, I was told by the new owner except for a oil change nothing else.
|1st June 2010, 18:02||#11|
Thank you @kutlee, deetjohn and RufRoc (Owner of the hottest Swift I have ever seen) for the comments.
Disc Clutch- 1643.94 Rs
Cover Clutch- 1238 Rs
Engine Oil- 640 Rs
Oil Filter- 84 Rs
Coolant- 236 Rs
Spark Plugs- 244 Rs (They are Champion ones- don't gimme that look, please)
Brake Fluid- 36 Rs
Total - 1240 Rs
Labor+ Paid Service= 550 Rs
Brake Cleaning - 200 Rs
Total Bill = 1990 Rs
Last edited by WhiteKnight : 1st June 2010 at 18:06.
|1st June 2010, 21:35||#13|
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: New Delhi
Thanked: 115 Times
Congrats WhiteKNight for the Baleno. IMO, Zen, Baleno & Esteem had such nice, uncluttered designs which still stand out.
Happy driving with the car.
|4th June 2010, 16:36||#14|
Distinguished - BHPian
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Weekdays@Chennai, Weekends@Kerala
Thanked: 1,638 Times
Nice review, WhiteKnight. You have to be commended for clearly identifying the good and bad points of the Baleno. So spot on.
Rs.4337 (Parts-2607, Labour-1730). Though one point to note here is that the 20K and 30K services done at MASS cost me on an average Rs2600, but the 40K service was done at Electra (non-MASS).
|4th June 2010, 19:38||#15|
Thank you hillram and Utopian for the appreciation.
@hillram, you got one beauty that was the dream car for every car lover- the 309. Your other beauties belong to an era when I was not born
@supremeBaleno. Thank you for commenting. Your's and rjstyle69's were the posts I referenced over years before deciding on the car. Other Baleno owners were, well, too fast for me
Secondly, in used car market, these gizmos don't matter much. So, all I would have to pay would be 10 or 20k more for the Vxi (If there was one ever) .
Last edited by WhiteKnight : 4th June 2010 at 19:40.
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