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Old 9th April 2006, 22:41   #1
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Default what car - Fiesta/Aveo/Baleno/... ? my story

I started looking for my second car around a month ago. I have a 2005 NHC CVT. Great city car. Goodbye gears and clutch. Comfortable interiors. (and FE 11.5 kmpl). What more do you want (perhaps a little power on the highways)?

My criteria. Want something not very big (garage length is 4400 cm). Should have decent legroom. Should have decent power. And FE 10+. [Prefer an automatic - but this criteria leaves only two cars, Santro and NHC CVT]

Started with a "good" small car in mind. So the usual question, Getz or swift? Thanks to TBHP reviews and the general hype, went and checked out Swift first.

What a disappointment. It is so cramped. (I am 6'2"). Boot space is even less than a Santro, cant do airport drops and pickups in it, a large size luggage may not fit!
And yes, unimpresive interiors. Besides safety (airbas + ABS), no standout positives.

Getz was similar - a bit smoother to drive. A bit more space to sit and boot. But nothing exciting. Both Getz and Swift top end models dont have power ORVMs or height adjustable driver seats (if I recall right).

So, "Good" small cars still dont exist. Raised the budget, enter 7-8L territory. Contenders: Fiesta,Aveao,Baleno (already have an NHC, so trying to avoid).

Aveo: If you are 6' plus, and will be driving, save yourself sometime, ignore this car. Your left knee will never like you driving this car. It touches the right bottom "smoothed" edge so bad that I didn't even test drive the Aveo.

My first post on TBHP, dont know max post length allowed. Let me continue in the next ...
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Old 9th April 2006, 23:08   #2
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Welcome to Tbhp dude.

Nice writeup; waiting for Part II

Who won....
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Old 9th April 2006, 23:08   #3
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Default my search - continued

Next up, Fiesta.

Decent looks. But 1.4 engine seemed a bit sluggish. Felt a lot like getz. Smooth to drive, nice gear shifts. I havent been able to TD a 1.6 yet. Interiors - not very impressive. Rear seats are bench-like, not much recline. Very weak thigh support. And front seats - better than Aveao, but car's width seemed a lot less than NHC, and a bit less compared to Aveo - seemed a bit narrow.

A small but worthy point. Why the hell do they have indicator/wiper controls the other way? Ford/GM, how can you say you made these cars for India when you missed this simple trick? Hope its cost cutting and not your attitude.

Now - when we had gone to check out Swift, an ignored blue Baleno parked nearby invited attention. Having heard so much about it on TBHP, we test drove it. Cool! Quiet ride. Great suspension. Responsive engine. Good speed range in 3rd gear. And a minor point - there is a front seat center arm rest - handy for long drives (NHC/Aveo/Fiesta dont have it). Climate control seemed very handy. What we liked the best though - very comfortable seats - both front and rear. Usual negatives: plasticky interiors, and looks bad from rear, even with the spoiler.

So, after two new mid-sizers and a lot of hulla and hype, it seems this dated car is still a match. I have almost made up my mind on a Baleno VXI. If it had ABS, it would be a done deal. Fiesta 1.6 + ABS is the only competitor, only because that gives it a leg up in safety department (I assume Fiesta 1.6 will be a simliar engine to Baleno). Baleno VXI, around 7L OTR, Fiesta 1.6, around 8L, add 30K for ABS.

I got to decide if 1.3L premium justified for ABS + so called modern enigne and looks. I will, in a day or two.

However, I was disappointed. If you want it all - decent legroom, decent engine, safety, 10+FE, there perhaps still isn't a clear winner in this 6L - 8L category. No wonder most folks end up with NHC.
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Old 9th April 2006, 23:42   #4
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Yet another guy whose smitten by the baleno inspite of its dated looks and blah blah ... I see that the only thing thats holding u back is the lack of ABS .. Still no matter what u decide its good to see that ur views on a baleno are very straight forward and honest and accurate .. It does make sense to go for the fiesta if ABS is a must for u ..


Welcome to the forum and im sure u will enjoy ur stay here ..
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Old 10th April 2006, 13:15   #5
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Default decided

So Baleno VXI it is. Cant justify Rs 1.3 L just to get the ABS. And cant go down to Getz either, Baleno is a lot better to drive and much more comfortable inside.

I must admit though, if I wasn't a TBHP reader, I wouldn't even have looked at Baleno. Now dont ask me to go drive a Petra as well. Fiat has a serious image problem, one has to be a serious enthusiast to try them.

Somehow, I feel that years 2006-2007 to mid size (so called C?) segmant will be what late 90s were to compact cars. Santro/Indica/Matiz came followed by WagonR, and people moved up from M800. Arguably, C segment has not seen concentrated action only now. If GM/Ford/Suzuki/Hyundai put put VFMs in this segment, we could see volumes swell.

Yes, when Santro/Matiz/Indica/Uno came, there was just one existing option - M800. Mid size has a lot of cars already. But there are no "clear" winners. No jack-of-all-trades - closest is NHC (hence it sells this much). Concentrated action means: 3-4 VFMs: all around 7L (= 2 times price of avg compact car). Think of it like this. Till recently, even after paying twice that for a Santro (7-8 L), there wasn't a car that had space, safety and not so bad FE. Now there are a few.

Anyway, lets see. All subjective thoughts!
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Old 10th April 2006, 14:06   #6
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Hey nice writeup and a great choice.
Two questions though...
1. Did you try Ford Fusion+?
2. What about Accent? I believe some variants do come with ABS.

And its great to see indian consumers putting safety features high up in the list of priorities.

By the way, if you go for Baleno, keep in mind the cost of upgrading the wheels.

Cheers
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Old 10th April 2006, 14:18   #7
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There isn't any need to upgrade the wheels. The VXi comes with 14" alloys and 185/65 tubeless tyres which is more than what the Fiesta has (175/65).
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Old 10th April 2006, 14:22   #8
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Default thanks guys

Thanks Amit/McLaren/JKDas.

Amit - I ignored Fusion+, as I hear its not being produced anymore. Incidentally, Fusion+ was the first car I looked at, though didn't mention in my posts. Ditto for Accent, it is (almost) out of production, see another thread here. Besides, rear legroom isn't that good, perhaps even less than Getz.

Yes, safety should be a criteria. And I hope that Swift forces all cars (NHC, Baleno etc) to provide ABS/Airbags as options. IMHO, demand for ABS/airbags will shoot up once more people start getting hurt on these new highways/expressways. I would really like to know the accident rate per vehicle per day on these expressways.
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Old 10th April 2006, 14:30   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floyd de Souza
There isn't any need to upgrade the wheels. The VXi comes with 14" alloys and 185/65 tubeless tyres which is more than what the Fiesta has (175/65).
Ah VXi... my bad for blindly assuming he is going for Lxi and then doing it up with the spare cash!

Quote:
Originally Posted by cutthecords
Ditto for Accent, it is (almost) out of production, see another thread here.
Actually, in the same thread, someone was shown a letter from Hyundai stating that its a rumour. But the legroom at the rear does go against it, specially for 6 ft plus people like you.
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Old 10th April 2006, 18:34   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cutthecords
So Baleno VXI it is. Cant justify Rs 1.3 L just to get the ABS. And cant go down to Getz either, Baleno is a lot better to drive and much more comfortable inside.
Welcome to the club cutthecords.....The TREND....

Before doing analysis (or visiting Team-BHP) people will have NHC, Accent, Fiesta, Aveo on their list.

But after analysis (or visiting Team-BHP) Baleno and Optra suddenly become strong contenders.

PS : Facts are stranger than fiction
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Old 10th April 2006, 19:39   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cutthecords
...IMHO, demand for ABS/airbags will shoot up once more people start getting hurt on these new highways/expressways. I would really like to know the accident rate per vehicle per day on these expressways...
Hey cutt..., Nice choice, wonderful screening logic... Congratulations, and welcome to the Big B club!

A lot of discussion on the utility of ABS (and lack of it) is available in this forum (pl search). In a sentence, I fully endorse your judgement about the value of ABS in Indian cars at present.
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Old 11th April 2006, 21:31   #12
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venkat/prabhakar, yep, I am looking forward to joining the B club next Tue when the pearl silver VXI gets delivered! But the car search was bit of a disappointment - what when you have to settle for a model that has not changed in last 6 years Ford/GM - you disappoint us. Hopefuly Tata/Hyundai can launch something enticing in C/C+ segment. American cos dont have it in them to survive in tough VFM markets, I am almost convinced.
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Old 12th April 2006, 11:42   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cutthecords
I am looking forward to joining the B club next Tue when the pearl silver VXI gets delivered!
Congratulations on getting the Baleno.
Everyday as I drive to work and back, I can see the change that seemed to have happened just during the course of a year. Early last year, I was in the market for a Baleno, but they were almost invisible on the roads. You can't imagine the trouble me and my wife took to check out the available colors on the Baleno. The showrooms would have just one display car (mostly white or Beam blue) and we wanted to check out the black, P.Silver and S.Silver. We did the rounds of dealer warehouses and even checked out cars parked in private property.
And today, I see Balenos here, there and everywhere. A good car getting its due after 5-6 years. Amazing rebirth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cutthecords
But the car search was bit of a disappointment - what when you have to settle for a model that has not changed in last 6 years.
You said it. I am also surprised that the competition has only different looks (not really better) and better interiors to offer in the so-called new-to-market cars. The heart (engine) of the 6-year car still does not have any significant competition in terms of performance, FE or being more environment friendly. As you highlighted, MUL could add safety features to the car (ABS, airbags etc) even if they do not modify the ugly rear (which the buyers have anyway learnt to ignore or even love).
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Old 26th April 2006, 17:39   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cutthecords

I ignored Fusion+, as I hear its not being produced anymore.
Hey I also heard this rumour about the Fusion being out of production but called up the FORD Cust care who told me that there are no such plans. Don't know whats the truth.... anyways, I loved the machine, its power and space, and will be getting one next week....
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Old 26th April 2006, 18:33   #15
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Hey cutthecords, congrats buddy. Great choice of a car. BTW, which shade have you selected for your Baleno? Just asking out of curiosity buddy.

Cheers
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