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Old 20th May 2008, 18:13   #1
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Default Need feedback to choose a utility vehicle

Recently I started to browse car scene in India and that is when I stumbled upon bhp forum. It is indeed nice to find a very informative forum with wonderful people, contributing and moderating. Thank you for sharing all that information.

I have been out for almost 12 years and plan to come back to India - plan to start farming - sometime in 2009. Need your feedback to choose a car which meets my requirements. Apologies in advance, if a similar requirement is already discussed. Please find the details.

Usage:
Daily usage: Around 30 kms trip (both ways), of which 10 kms stretch leading up to the farm is not pucca road – no extreme off-road conditions but quite bumpy. Local people tell me there is no need for 4WD.

Occasional usage:
a) Quarterly trips on highway to visit surrounding destinations covering less than 100 kms (not much of hilly terrain).
b) Semi annual, long trips covering around 1200kms (both ways). I expect long potholes filled stretches.

Priorities
Reliability: I expect to be in remote places most of the time (small towns in south India). Engine and other mechanical/electrical reliability cannot be compromised.
Comfort: We are a family of 5. No extra large size requirement but my elderly mom (who loves farm might join me occasionally) has back problems. So I’m looking for a decent suspension to compensate all those bumps/potholes.
Fuel efficiency: Very important factor both for environmental and monetary reasons.

I tried but cannot sort. All the above factors have equal and very high priority.

Budget: around 10L.

Thanks in advance for your valuable feedback.
Cheers.

Side note: Currently living in Japan and driving Subaru Forester (turbo charged with AT) for almost 7 years. This car’s impeccable AWD makes you feel at home everywhere – doing high speeds on expressways or driving without chains on snow covered roads or negotiating extreme hair pin bends on alps. Wish I can bring it back along with me but not sure how practical that would be – given my requirements.
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Old 21st May 2008, 13:27   #2
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The Scorpio nearly meets all your requirements, except that of middle row comfort for your mother. Mahindra's are easy to maintain and, chances are, it will be easiest to find after-sales in your neck of the woods. Even though you don't require 4x4, I highly recommend this option to you. Monsoons make for challenging terrain in rural areas. Heck, you could go offroading and discover mother nature too!

You could also consider the fantastic Innova. Good for broken roads and is reliable to the T.
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Old 21st May 2008, 14:41   #3
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I would suggest the Innova since you said engine & other mech/elec reliability cannot be compromised. And the comfort levels of driver & passengers are the best in its class.
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Old 21st May 2008, 15:04   #4
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if you don't need 4x4 and don't mind the looks, Toyota Innova is the best bet in your price range. But me personally can't get over them minivan looks !!

If you are keen on SUV looks, I'd recommend the new Safari 2.2. It has one of the most comfortable middle row seats it it's class.
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Old 21st May 2008, 19:02   #5
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Thanks for the feedback so far.

Functionality will be the key. Looks will be treated as part of the package. I will also add 2 factors not mentioned in my original post.
a) Engine: Diesel (preferred)
b) Driving: 95% self

Called up the folks at the farm and found that Innova cannot handle the last 5km stretch (10 kms both ways). Vehicle currently used by them is Bolero Camper. Very sad that Innova is eliminated. Though I have never driven Innova in India I can imagine the reliable quality experience that Toyota promises and has been delivering.

Can I safely assume all sedans and (comfortable) mini vans can be eliminated?

Can I also eliminate Bolero for comfort reasons?

So that leaves only Scorpio or Safari?
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Old 22nd May 2008, 00:12   #6
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Scorpio DX2 (4WD). Speak to anupmathur saab about his leh et al jaunts.
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Old 22nd May 2008, 10:25   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bliss_now View Post
So that leaves only Scorpio or Safari?
Correct. When you are in India, take a test drive of both with your mother in the back seat and I am almost a 100% certain that you will pick the Safari over the scorpio.. or atleast your mother will
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Old 22nd May 2008, 10:48   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bliss_now View Post
Called up the folks at the farm and found that Innova cannot handle the last 5km stretch (10 kms both ways). Vehicle currently used by them is Bolero Camper. Very sad that Innova is eliminated.

Sad. I was thinking about it last night & was about to suggest SX4 over the innova for better comfort & also since you will be driving only 30kms a day.

The bolero need not be eliminated, it offers good value for money, is also comfortable. It is a personal choice between the bolero, safari & the scorpio, test drive all of them & decide.
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Old 22nd May 2008, 10:56   #9
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bliss - request you to check out the reviews I ve written on my use of Bolero as well as Scorpio - in the plains, hills and elsewhere.

If you have the budget, the Scorpio is a very good option for you.
If you dont, then the Bolero SLX is also a good option for you.

These vehicles are proven and tough - also - for the most part of their lives my parents also have lived on remote tea and coffee plantations - most of the time they used Mahindra Jeeps.

Now since theyve retired, they still visit their friends on tea and coffee plantation areas - and they used my Bolero (when it was there) and now use my Scorpio since it is there.

Ive tried to give objective feedback on both these vehicles and I do believe you will benefit to an extent from that.

good luck and hope this helps you make the best choice as per your requirements.

cheers


Quote:
Originally Posted by bliss_now View Post
Thanks for the feedback so far.

Functionality will be the key. Looks will be treated as part of the package. I will also add 2 factors not mentioned in my original post.
a) Engine: Diesel (preferred)
b) Driving: 95% self

Called up the folks at the farm and found that Innova cannot handle the last 5km stretch (10 kms both ways). Vehicle currently used by them is Bolero Camper. Very sad that Innova is eliminated. Though I have never driven Innova in India I can imagine the reliable quality experience that Toyota promises and has been delivering.

Can I safely assume all sedans and (comfortable) mini vans can be eliminated?

Can I also eliminate Bolero for comfort reasons?

So that leaves only Scorpio or Safari?
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Old 22nd May 2008, 11:02   #10
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Subaru Forester was rebadged and sold as Chevrolet Forester in India- it was absolutely superb - disadvantage being GM service, availability of spares and being a petrol driven vehicle - thus it never really caught on - it was priced around 12-13 lacs when it was being sold.
India is pretty much a diesel market when it comes to 4WD and SUV type vehicles except for the really well off guys in the Soft Roader Petrol driven club.
You wont be far wrong in picking a utility vehicle with adequate comfort and great by way of toughness - like Bolero SLX or Scorpio - now that there is a new variant of Scorpio called VLS - 2.2 Crde MHAWK (new generation) engine priced at 10.94 lacs OTR BLR, this may be a good possibility for you - since you appear to have a budget of about 10 lacs.

think about it

cheers


Quote:
Originally Posted by bliss_now View Post
Side note: Currently living in Japan and driving Subaru Forester (turbo charged with AT) for almost 7 years. This car’s impeccable AWD makes you feel at home everywhere – doing high speeds on expressways or driving without chains on snow covered roads or negotiating extreme hair pin bends on alps. Wish I can bring it back along with me but not sure how practical that would be – given my requirements.
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Old 22nd May 2008, 11:44   #11
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OT
Shankar: In delhi, even the softroaders have become CNG-roaders

I've seen atleast 3 different Innovas and 2 CRVs running on CNG!!
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Old 22nd May 2008, 12:27   #12
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cleaner fuel - well enforced emission laws - no wonder one can atleast breathe in delhi these days compared to 8 years ago!
Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
OT
Shankar: In delhi, even the softroaders have become CNG-roaders

I've seen atleast 3 different Innovas and 2 CRVs running on CNG!!
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Old 22nd May 2008, 16:37   #13
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The safari 2.2 is a good choice . You can also consider the innova.
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Old 22nd May 2008, 21:10   #14
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Shankar, I have read your reviews on Bolero and Scorpio. THANK YOU. Scorpio is certainly in my budget (10L range).

IMHO, Bolero’s Rear-Parabolic leaf spring suspension is very relevant for handling the terrain it is built for. And if Bolero gets Scorpio’s Crde engine, that would be a great bargain but for the comfort factor (mom has chronic back-ache situation).

Also after reading various reviews I hear a resounding ‘yes’ for Mahindra’s reliability and the point is absolutely taken.
However, there is a nagging concern. Back seat comfort: Scorpio VS Safari. From various posts it seems that Safari has no contention with respect to comfort. But really how cramped is Scorpio’s back seat? I have a limitation as virtual pictures are the only source for my judgment. Really appreciate some feedback on this. Please note we have no extra size situation in our family.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
bliss - request you to check out the reviews I ve written on my use of Bolero as well as Scorpio - in the plains, hills and elsewhere.

If you have the budget, the Scorpio is a very good option for you.
If you dont, then the Bolero SLX is also a good option for you.

These vehicles are proven and tough - also - for the most part of their lives my parents also have lived on remote tea and coffee plantations - most of the time they used Mahindra Jeeps.

Now since theyve retired, they still visit their friends on tea and coffee plantation areas - and they used my Bolero (when it was there) and now use my Scorpio since it is there.

Ive tried to give objective feedback on both these vehicles and I do believe you will benefit to an extent from that.

good luck and hope this helps you make the best choice as per your requirements.

cheers
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Old 22nd May 2008, 21:16   #15
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I did hear about the launch of Chevrolet Forester and its subsequent failure – pricing and many other factors. I understand the SUV diesel story in India. However in Japan, majority SUVs and almost all Crossovers have petrol engines. The price difference between petrol and diesel is not much. Today:
1Ltr Petrol =160yen
1Ltr Diesel=130 yen
(to give perspective, 1Ltr Coke/Pespi = 200 yen; 1 McDonald Cheese burger = 200 yen; 1USD=104 yen)

I did get to drive a rare Japanese diesel SUV. A friend of mine had this Nissan off-roader called Mistral (also known as Terrano) with diesel engine, a fantastic SUV.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
Subaru Forester was rebadged and sold as Chevrolet Forester in India- it was absolutely superb - disadvantage being GM service, availability of spares and being a petrol driven vehicle - thus it never really caught on - it was priced around 12-13 lacs when it was being sold.
India is pretty much a diesel market when it comes to 4WD and SUV type vehicles except for the really well off guys in the Soft Roader Petrol driven club.
Wow, VLS sounds good. Let me take one step at a time. First step is car-maker. Cheers.
Quote:
You wont be far wrong in picking a utility vehicle with adequate comfort and great by way of toughness - like Bolero SLX or Scorpio - now that there is a new variant of Scorpio called VLS - 2.2 Crde MHAWK (new generation) engine priced at 10.94 lacs OTR BLR, this may be a good possibility for you - since you appear to have a budget of about 10 lacs.

think about it

cheers
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