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Old 20th May 2007, 03:39   #1
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Default Cielo Replacement Suggestions - Under Rs. 20L

Hey Guys,

So the aging Cielo has to go - It has served us well since 1998 and has begun to show its age and is at the end of its lifecycle. The car will be for my Grandparents and it must be comfortable and spacious. Don't care if its super quick or anything but a nice drivable engine is a plus.

It will be garaged in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand which is a 5 hour drive from Calcutta. If my memory serves me correctly the only dealers in town are - Toyota / Ford / Maruti / Tata / Hyundai / Honda setting up soon but the Calcutta Dealer sends a Roadside service team every month (That’s how we get our City serviced) / Mahindra / Fiat / GM-Chevrolet.

It should be easy to get into and should not be hard on the knees. It will be drive 90% of the time by a chauffeur but my Grandfather will also drive it short distances occasionally. (At 83, he is still very independent and loves to play golf everyday and still travels on business throughout the country! - A real role model to me.)

The Car should be contemporary and a new model that will not be phased out for at least 6 years as we plan to keep it for that long at the very least. It should be very safe (Airbags, EBD, ABS etc.) and have convenient interior features. Don't mind waiting 6 months or so for a good product.

I was thinking of the SX-4 but want something a class or two bigger. Plus we might get the SX-4 later this year when the kinks are ironed out and we replace our Indica so no point having two similar cars

So based on the requirements, I would appreciate your suggestions!

1. Cars short listed (Please feel free to add anymore that you think might fit the bill)

- Toyota Camry - Underpowered / Over the budget but we can be flexible.
- Honda Accord - V6 or 4cyl - Model will be changed in a year.[/FONT]
- Nissan Teana - Looks to fit the bill but A.S.S a worry as no dealer in Calcutta.
- Hyundai Sonata Embraer - Not a fan of Hyundai
- Honda CRV - Nice features but might not be the easiest car to get in and out off.
- Skoda Octavia Laura - Closest dealer in Cal and I think its overpriced and see the price coming down when the Octavia gets phased out.
- Toyota Corolla - Model too old in its lifecycle.- Honda Civic - Giving this a serious thought.
- Suzuki SX-4 - Might be too small.
- 2007 Ford Mondeo - I think this is a fantastic car on paper - Any idea on when we can expect an India launch? - Don't mind waiting 6 months or slightly more for this.

2. Maintenance & After Sales Service (A.S.S.) expectations

- Prefer to have to serviced and repaired in town but being in Jamshedpur, I understand that this is not always possible. Would not like to travel furhter than Calcutta / Bhubneshwar (Orissa) to get major work done.

3. Average distance traveled per month

- Less than 1500 Kms

4. Where car will be mostly used (city / highway / rough roads etc)

- A mix of city and the occasional highway trip to Ranchi (Closest Airport which is 150Kms away). Some stretches in town are what I call Urban Rough Roads which every city in India has.

5. Chauffer driven / self drive

- 90% Chauffer driven and 10% by Family. No Pref. when it comes to ATX or MTX.

6. Whether the vehicle will be shared by other members of family

- Yes

7. Any specific requirements from car (ex. Better luggage space, responsive engine, rear seat comfort)

- Rear Seat comfort big plus a decent engine. Nothing too zippy needed but its a plus.Need something sage. Overall - A good rounded package.

8. How long you intend on keeping this car (and how important resale is to you)

6 years. Resale is important but Unfortunatley, Don't expect it after the offer price on our Cielo which is 9 years old

Last edited by vcash : 20th May 2007 at 03:50.
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Old 20th May 2007, 04:59   #2
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Wow, a 20L upgrade to a Cielo?! I'd suggest the CRV, if your grandparents are comfortable with the ingress/egress thing.
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Old 20th May 2007, 05:25   #3
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Originally Posted by v1p3r View Post
Wow, a 20L upgrade to a Cielo?! I'd suggest the CRV, if your grandparents are comfortable with the ingress/egress thing.
Back in 1998, the Choice south of an E-CLass was the Astra, Cielo, and Escort. The Cielo was the only one with Airbags and since we had a local Daewoo dealer - the choice was made. The Car has been due for a change in the last couple of years but kept getting pushed due to other priorities.

CRV would have been good - but its too high for my Grandmother - Ingress / Egress would be an issue.
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Old 20th May 2007, 09:19   #4
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You could also consider the innova. That's a pretty comfy car and I dont think it's that difficult to get in and out of.

What I noticed is that these lower car's like the Laura/accord/camry are actually more difficult to get in and out of.

the higher cars are easier for ingress and egress. The newest CR-v doesnt seem to be very high especially since its GC is at par with most saloons.

Even the Civic is a low car and difficult to get in.
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Old 20th May 2007, 10:29   #5
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I think your needs will be accomodated within the Toyota stable itself:

1. Camry : Fantastic allrounder. New. Comfortable. Overpriced due to CBU, but what the heck....this is for an 83 yr old hard-working man.

2. Innova : The one with captain seats. Darn comfortable. Will accomodate him, his golf buddies and all their equipment. Easy to service in Jamshedpur. Go for the fully-loaded and I am sure your Grandpa will love it.
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Old 20th May 2007, 10:53   #6
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Do consider the SONATA EMBERA from the Hyundai Stable. Inspite of your saying you are not a fan of Hyundai, I would suggest you take a look - rather drive & deciede. I was not a fan of Hyundai myself, till a friend bought the EMBERA & I drove it or rode with him as well.

Plus Points:
01. Value for Money
02. Top of the line features.
03. All possible safety features (by Indian Standards)
04. Huge discounts
05. Rear legroom very good
06. Great Airconditioning
07. Decent engine (smoothness/ power)
08. Diesel option available
09. Great After Sales Service (Embera owners get VVIP treatment)
10. Relatively inexpensive repairs
11. Costs about 11.0 Lacs post discounts
12. Manual / Automatic variants available

Negative Points:
01. HYUNDAI badge - none or little snob value
02. Low Resale Value (does not matter if you keep your cars for long periods of time)

Most people - (me included) are not even inclined to look at this car, simply because in the D segment it has the least snob value factor. But I surely changed my mind about Hyundai after I bought an Accent VIVA CRDi - and had a first hand experiance of Hyundai A.S.S.

No harm - give it a shot.

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Old 20th May 2007, 10:58   #7
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Innova suits your requirements perfectly. Its very easy to get in and out, rear legroom is best in class. As GTO mentioned, top end fully loaded Innova suits you best. You will save some money too!

OT: There is a car modifier in Delhi who makes rotating seats for special needs. Like in the picture below. If Innova's seats can be done this way, imagine the comfort of getting in and out then!
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Old 20th May 2007, 11:02   #8
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Camry should fullfil your needs
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Old 20th May 2007, 11:45   #9
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I would really like to suggest the Camry cash but time & again I've compared it to the Accord and found no reason in the world to justify the 7-odd lakh premium over the Accord. I simply cannot see why we should be paying so much extra for a car which does not have anything substantially great to offer over it's main competitor. Yes it looks good & the interiors are nice but they alone can't justify that premium.

My suggestion would be Accord 2.4 or if you like it the 3.0 V6! It's a nice, comfortable car & is very spacious, but you already know that. IIRC it has equal/more rear seat space than your E-class! Should be very comfortable for your grandparents to travel in. And of course there are the usual benefits like reliability, no quirks, local dealer etc. As for your concern over the phasing out, it's not really an issue since Honda parts are easily available at the dealers/aftermarket. Some friends who have the previous gen Accord till today have no problem for parts, even I have no problem with the parts availablity for my car which was phased out nearly 4 years ago.

If not then the other good option is the Innova V-spec. It's nice to drive, ingress/egress is very easy & is a very comfortable car. The V-spec model has Airbags/ABS etc. so that should take care of that requirement and as usual with the Toyota badge comes the service & reliability.

As for the Ford Mondeo, if I were you I would be steering away from it based on experience from Ford India with the previous gen model. The service was poor, parts were exhorbitantly expensive (each headlight costed over 50k) and often unavailable. For eg. the stereo conked out, could not be fixed & Ford told us they would order one from Europe (Netherlands IIRC) and give it to us soon. When after months it didn't turn up we had to junk the OE hu and get an after-market one installed. Service was part of the reason the old Mondeo bombed, badly.

My last suggestion would be that you should shortlist 2 or 3 cars and then get your granddad to drive/ride in them & then let him decide what he finds best. Since it's meant for him I think that the final decision should be for the car that he finds the most comfortable to drive/ride around in.

Good luck with the car hunting!!
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Old 20th May 2007, 11:56   #10
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May I suggest... Indigo XL ?

Before you ignore this post, and scroll down, let me tell you the biggest problem with the high-end cars in Jamshedpur - Repairs and servicing. Lets face it, the mechanics and the infrastructure in the town isn't going to be the kind required by cars like CRV, Laura and Camry... even in the authorized service stations. So, these cars might take longer to 'heal', if a particular component has to be 'ordered' from somewhere. You'll be surprised to hear that Sai Service station (Maruti dealer) in Pune didn't have the control panel for the power windows for my Zen, and I had to wait for a week for it to arrive from Mumbai.

So... what you should be looking at is 'desi' manufacturer like Maruti/Tata who have a good reach in all parts of India. Maruti cars, being small aren't suitable, hence I suggested the Indigo. And.. you can't complain about the space, rear-seat comfort, safety etc.

Last edited by amu1983 : 20th May 2007 at 11:57.
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Old 20th May 2007, 12:15   #11
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Originally Posted by vcash View Post
It should be easy to get into and should not be hard on the knees. It will be drive 90% of the time by a chauffeur but my Grandfather will also drive it short distances occasionally.
Why not 2 cars. One that is perfect to be chauffered in and one for grandpa to drive. For 20L you can get a Honda City CVT and an Innova with those nice second row seats (like GTO described). The CVT is smaller than the Civic or Embera and a breeze to drive.

Last edited by navin : 20th May 2007 at 12:28.
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Old 21st May 2007, 01:46   #12
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I would suggest the Camry or the Teana over the Accord.
Camry v/s Accord -
- The Camry is much more stable at high speeds
- The Camry is much more comfortable at high speeds
- The Camry is new and should not be replaced for atleast some time
However, the camry is a bit overpriced.
If you are spending so much, why not look at the Skoda Superb?
It seems to fit almost all your needs perfectly.

I would advise against the Civic because its too low and you can afford other options which are safer and more comfortable.
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Old 21st May 2007, 05:39   #13
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Thanks for the great responses guys.

@GTO / Vid6639 / DCElite - Will Keep the Innova in mind but I feel that it may be too high and hard on the knees. I think a sedan with the most comfortable ingress / egress is the best bet.

@Ricky_63 - Thinking about the Sonata - Hows the interioir quality? Comparable to Accord / Camry?

@ Ishan - I agree - The Camry is not worth the 6 Lakh premium. Honestly my vote right now would be for the Accord but owning a car that is about to be phased out is not that pleasing a thought espescially since we will hold on to it for 6 years. This happened with the Cielo as in a year or two, spare parts were not available and that made things difficult. I don't expect Honda to be as bad as Daewoo but still. And I know what you saying about the city - We still have the City Limited from 2002 and I dont think we have had a problem sourcing parts till now (Not that it has ever arised!). I have heard about the Mondeo's expensive spares and terible A.S.S. but now that Ford has revamped itself with new products - Do you think that they would not try and repeat their mistakes with the new Mondeo, their flagship in India? Any ideas or speculations know when this will be launched? Even if we don't buy it, I'd still like to check it out. Also, he will be Tding the cars, but I just want to get a sense of what to look for.

@amu1983 - If Maruti had a bigger sedan than the SX-4, we would have really considered that. No Tata - Quality is not in the same league as anything we are considering. On a side note, I know that repairing and servicing is a tougher task for these cars, but based on my conversations with the Hyundai dealer and the Toyota dealer in the Jamshedpur a few years ago - they told me how both companies almost arm twisted them into getting diagnosis and serviciing computers for the top end models. If I remember correctly, Hyundai was ready for the Tuscon, Elantra and Sonata and Toyota for the Corolla, Camry and Prado (They said that they sold it and could service it easily).

@Navin - Don't need 2 cars! We already have 5 in India right now and no more garage space. Just want one good one to replace the Cielo.

@Lambo - Superb is too expensive at 25Lakhs and Camry as you mentioned is overpriced and as Ishan said is it really worth the premium over the Accord?

So having heard all - this would be the preferences:
1. Toyota Camry (Overpriced compared to competitors)
2. Hyundai Sonata (Quality or ownership appeal issues)
3. 2008 Accord (Will have to wait 1 year)
4. 2007 Mondeo (Expensive spares / No clue of a launch date)
5. 2008 Corolla (No Clue of a launch date)
6. Honda Civic

P.S. On a side note I played golf (randomly) with the GM of the the new Lambo Dealer in town and the SM of Porsche / Audi. Both have given me open invitations to come and check out all the Lambos that they have - 640 / Spyder etc. (Test Rides included but no Drives ) and the Porsches / Audi guy offered drives of the new S5 when it comes to town as well as a ride of the R8. So expect some juicy pictures soon!!!

Last edited by vcash : 21st May 2007 at 05:44.
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Old 21st May 2007, 09:10   #14
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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
1. Camry : Fantastic allrounder. New. Comfortable. Overpriced due to CBU, but what the heck....this is for an 83 yr old hard-working man.
Very indepth suggestion there, the camry has almost everything your grandparents would really desire; class, comfort, reliability, dealer network and it is a pretty young model too.
The only downside you mention is the strength of the motor, but i doubt thats what your grandparents would require.
Stretch that budget of yours for the camry and make that delay of a couple of years well worth it.

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Old 21st May 2007, 10:21   #15
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I think the Honda Civic would suit you just fine without burning a big hole in your pocket and would be quite comfy for your grandparents.

The only change that may happen to Civic is a cosmetic upgraded expected later this year. If you can live without that, this car should be just fine considering the aspect that you plan to hang on to it for 5+ years.
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