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Old 12th June 2010, 10:21   #1
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Default Xeta 1.4 after 4 years and 32K on ODO

Being the first one my salary has bought me, Xeta is always one of my favorites in the species of cars. My journey with her from March 2006 was a mix of 90% love making times and a 10% of troublesome times.

My Requirement:

Myself was working as an IT professional in the garden city of India at the time when I felt I can buy a car with my salary. I was planning to buy it at my home town. The expected running was some trips around my home by parents and some weekend trips when I am home, thus turning out to be below 600 km/month. So regarding the fuel variant I decided upon petrol without much of thinking. Now which model was the next question.

Selection Procedure:

The cars which I had in my mind was the following.

1) Hyundai Santro
2) Maruti Wagon R
3) Maruti Alto

Alto was ruled out in the first shot as I felt it underpowered for family of above average weight persons. Between WagonR and Santro, I had almost decided upon Santro, when I heard about the launch of a new petrol variant of Indica. I was never jumping high with a WOW, but decided to give it a try. I called up Kulathunkal motors branch in Kottayam and the next day morning they came to my home with a Lagoon Blue Xeta. There was nothing to be surprised of the exteriors as it was as same as its diesel variant. But when I opened the driver door, was stunned to see the beautiful beige interiors. It seemed as refreshing as a garden walk. I got into the driver seat and turned the ignition. The engine was as silent that I never felt it was running while idling. I drove her to the main road and had a couple of kms drive with the sales person at my co-driver position. Even though never felt like driving a 1.4, the pick up was impressive and I really felt in love with the low end torque. Also the A/C was very good.

Now it was a decision making time between the decided Santro and the new comer, Xeta. The price quoted for GLS variant with a/c and power steering was 3.2L on road with a lot of goodies. An MP3 player, a keyless entry, teflon and under body coating. It was very impressive to me. When I discussed this with my friend, he told to think once more for the bad impression Indica diesel had made in the mind of private car owners. My mind was swinging hard between these two cars. At the same time when I enquired about any corporate offer for me (as I was working with TATA at that time) I got to know another 20K offer for employees of TATA family. WOW that seemed to be a good deal and I decided to give it a try. Booked a Salsa red Xeta the next day itself.

I was told salsa red needs a couple of weeks to arrive. Exactly on the 14th day I got a call from them saying the car is ready. And thats the story of adding her to the family with a cost of 3.05 L with all the accessories.

Experience on the 1st year:

The engine seemed to be having decent refinement. During the honeymoon period she was as good that I fell really in love with her. I had a great time with my friends who gave me applause for the decision. Regarding the FE, I got only around 12 till my first service and after that it really increased to a couple more to settle around 14-15 kpl. I never had any issue with her during the first year other than puncture on the front left tyre. Also the NVH levels and rattles where within the tolerable limit. But the parcel tray seems to gave up after I fixed the rear speakers on them. I had done a lot of DIY experiments to settle the issue which finally worked with a rubber bush and super glue technique . From the mechanical side of the car, there were no issues during the first year. She had to ran only 7000 kms till her second birth day.

Experience on the 2nd year:

In April 2007 I got transferred to Kochi, which is just 65 kms from my home town. So she had to take up the role of a daily commuter rather than a sparingly used one. I was staying for rent in Kochi, which was around 4.5 kms from my office. So the daily use during weekdays remained to be around 10kms and weekends around 200-300 kms including my trip to home town and a couple of one day trips. Even though that was my plan I ended up doing a neat 9000 kms in the next 6 months. Worry of FE started haunting me as I felt like spending too much on fuel costs. The FE still was hanging around 14-15 with and without a/c. I started enquiring about the possibility of an LPG conversion and got it converted from a very reputed retrofitment center in Kochi. My goodness, that itself was a nightmare for me for which I will be putting up another review regarding my experience with LPG . After this it seemed like Xeta never liked the minor surgery done to her. Problems started occurring frequently. Exactly after a week of LPG retrofitment I noticed frequent back fires on long trips. That turned out to be horrifying. Some how corrected the issue after a couple of visits to the retrofitter. But the happiness never lasted long. The problem of low RPM misfiring started occuring which still persists. The A.S.S people always shouted at me whenever I tell them about this that LPG is the culprit. I too am thinking the same way. Even with all these issues she consistently gave me an FE of 14-15 on petrol and 12-13 on LPG.

Also I had my first accident on the car during this time when an Alto banged from back. For my surprise I ended up only in a couple of scratches above the number plate and as expected Alto's bumper broke into pieces and had a neat damage to the radiator and bonnet.

Experience on 3rd and 4th year:

On the 3rd and 4th year she was just doing neutral. But the problem of rattling became worse that I started hearing noise from almost all known parts in the interiors. Again no issues with the engine other than the low rpm misfire problem occured after LPG fitment which I started ignoring. From March 2010 I had to become a day scholar to my home town due to some specific reasons and even with the FE of LPG I can't withstand the fuel bills and decided to go for a diesel.

Experience with the T.A.S.S:

It was always horrifying stories I heard at that time when I bought the car. However I never had to face really serious issues with them, but only with one. Once I had a problem while cruising through my home town. The engine started misfiring heavily on petrol and I called up the T.A.S.S people. They diagnosed it to be the ECU complaint and felt very much eagered to order a new one, that too without warranty. I told them to wait and some how ran the car to my place where a local mechanic diagnosed it to be a loose contact on the ECU simulator part for LPG section. I was terribly stunned by the fact that I might have ended up paying a neat 15K for the ECU without knowing this. That happened to me from a reputed T.A.S.S in Kottayam. Other than this incident I was happy with the service I got.


Cost of ownership:

As I said already I always got a decent FE of around 14-15 with and without ac. Other than that I had problem with the wiper blades giving up very frequently (at least once in 6 months in my case). Also had to change the suspension bushes a couple of times. Other than these two there were only routine services done to the car. Routine service includes the rattle work around also.

Overall experience:

I can say that my decision to buy a TATA car was not wrong after 4 years and 32K with her. With an overall cost 3.05 L on road I can never expect more from her. Engine was having decent power that I had no issues taking her to 130-135 km/hr on highways. I really felt like the car was underrated when I heard the low resale value in Kerala. But I never had another option other than selling her off and fetching a diesel. But for sure, will miss her.

Positives I felt:

1) Really VFM
2) Decent power and FE
3) Neat low end torque
4) Good interiors
5) Adjustable intermittent wiper (Small but very useful where small drizzles are common)

Negatives I felt:

1) Rattles
2) Comparatively small boot
3) Too rubbery Shift
4) Lack of handling on corners
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Old 12th June 2010, 14:02   #2
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Nice review buddy!
The indica xeta offers great VFM.The engine is smooth too.
LPG spoils the entire feel of any car.You may have a few engine problems in the long run.Be sure to drive on petrol for 4-5 kms everyday.
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Old 12th June 2010, 14:44   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shantyrocks View Post
Nice review buddy!
The indica xeta offers great VFM.The engine is smooth too.
LPG spoils the entire feel of any car.You may have a few engine problems in the long run.Be sure to drive on petrol for 4-5 kms everyday.
Exactly. What I used was the normal closed loop LPG kit with a lambda controller which did the damage for the car. But I would suggest a sequential injection kit for any serious Xeta owners out there who need to travel more. I have a friend here who installed it and running without any niggles for the past 3 years. But the initial cost was around 45K at that time. Also, SI kits will ensure the smooth operation of injectors since they run on petrol for relatively longer time as the switch over is based on coolant temperature and not mere RPM.
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