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Old 18th January 2010, 13:01   #1
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Question Innova GX or Maruti Esteem LXi? -- Essential advice needed

Folks, I seriously need your help with this...

My wife drives a 2004 Maruti Esteem LXi. She switched companies recently and her new employer is now 15 kms away. Her monthly commute works out to 1,000+ kms a month, mostly on the Outer Ring Road.

We have been thinking about changing our car ever since the loan was paid up in August last year. But when we checked the prices we were shocked to discover that cars smaller than the Esteem cost much more than what we paid for it 5 years ago. My wife is adamant that she doesnít want to buy a smaller car.

We were quite content with what we had until someone suggested the Innova. We went for a test drive last Saturday and she liked it. However we can only afford the diesel GX model.
The price quoted by Ravindu for GX 7 is:
  • Ex Showroom: Rs. 9,77,065
  • Comp. Insurance: Rs. 28,321
  • Road Tax & Handling: Rs. 1,45,221
  • Smile Package: Rs. 7,000
  • Total: Rs. 11,57,607.

There is no discount on Innova even though there was an offer of 50K in insurance & freebies just last month. I was surprised to find that the Smile package would cover consumables for 20K kms because even though the service is free, the consumables arenít. I half-remember not paying anything for the Maruti free services, not even for consumables.

The question I am trying to grapple with is:

Should she buy the Innova GX model now or
  • Wait till the end of the year so that we might afford the VX,
  • Continue with the Esteem?

Between the VX and GX, what we would miss are:
  • Chrome grill, Chrome in other places & Wooden finish: None of these we liked to begin with, and I personally feel it doesnít go well if the car is in silver color.
  • Alloy wheels, Fog lamps, Audio system: These I could do later when I have the money, canít I?
  • Parking sensors: Can someone validate if the camera is better than sonar for the Innova? This I should probably get right away.
  • Keyless entry: We have AutoCop on the Esteem and the remote buttons came off in the first few months itself. I wonder if there is a rugged aftermarket keyless entry system.
  • ABS & Airbags: This really is the kicker.
My wife doesnít wear seatbelts no matter how much I tell her. I know that airbags without seatbelts are meaningless and probably dangerous. Could someone tell me if the Innova gives out any annoying sound rather than just an indicator if you start it without seatbelts?

About ABS, I havenít got much of a clue. All I know is that in the aftermath of a snowstorm in the US, I braked my C-Class at a traffic light where ice had formed and the brake pedal started kicking back at me and there was some pumping action. That terrified me more than the car drifting on the ice and I somehow got it to a stop. Was that ABS? How essential is it in India?
So the bottomline is: Would you send your loved one in an Innova GX if thatís all you can really afford?
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Old 18th January 2010, 13:29   #2
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For one, I wouldn't mind sending her to office in an Esteem LX if she is comfortable in for it is a no nonsense, reasonably comfortable car suitable for Bangalore traffic.
Now, if I had to upgrade for other reasons or if she is getting bored with the Esteem, I would opt for a trendy hot hatch like the i20 or the Punto. If she doesnt want a small car at all for reasons best known to both of you, I d go for a sedan like the Linea or the Manza as they are fuel efficient, comfortable, safe and easy to drive.
If you have zeroed down to buying only the Innova again for reasons best known to you (I cannot fathom any so far), then it is the variant that has all the safety features that makes sense for an upgrade. When you are upgrading, go for the best you can afford even if it means a wait of say, an year or so.
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Old 18th January 2010, 14:02   #3
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one assumes that your esteem is a well maintained one. therefore keeping it is a good option. however, it has been phased out now and over time, you will only experience a drop in its re-sale values. also a 5 year old esteem can start giving some niggles- suspension, tie rod ends, tyres etc etc, all of which will require a little investment to keep in good nick. the cost of petrol is one thing more that you may need to consider if the commute/ city usage is high. however, do bear in mind that if you put your esteem up for sale now you may not really get all that much back in terms of value.

if cost of petrol is high amongst your considerations, then by all means think about the Innova GX - it is a good reliable vehicle with strong re-sale values and is diesel driven too. however, the acquisition cost of an Innova is high - but it appears that you can afford it from the post you've made.

ABS and Airbags are now considered essential safety features even in India. With these added in, you may start feeling much better about taking those occasional long distance trips and driving holidays - also because it is a Diesel driven vehicle and is extremely comfortable. remember however that the innova is a much longer and larger vehicle than an Esteem. Your wife may find it difficult to park in smaller spaces where an esteem can squeeze in.

However, if she is chauffeur driven, it is an absolute no brainer - the Innova it is!

your query about the brake pedal kicking back is definitely the ABS system kicking in when you trod on the brake.

this is somewhat similar to the older method of braking when on wet surfaces - one was always advised to lightly pump the pedal regularly rather than JAM the brakes, to minimize/avoid aquaplaning and skidding.

Given the higher speeds that our vehicles are capable of nowadays and the less than perfect road conditions we face here, I would say ABS has become an essential rather than a luxury.

last but not least - compared with an Esteem, an Innova is light years ahead - new technology, backed by Toyota reliability and sheer quality. The upgrade will be worth while for these reasons alone in my opinion. If you do, you will have moved to a different level of motoring comfort/ pleasure.
having said all this, if I were you, I d wait to buy the VX Innova next year and chug along in the esteem for a bit longer.

the esteem wont depreciate below a certain base value, so having already used it for 5-6 years, you would have been able to extract a great deal of usage value from it and still get a reasonable sale price which in effect is likely to be more or less around what you paid for it as downpayment in the first place - assuming you went for an 85% funding over the 5 year loan.

devdath has a good point - the Punto, the I 20 and various other hot hatches are well worth considering as well.
Or hang on a bit and wait for the VW polo and the Ford Figo - they may suit you very well too!
Why not check them out before deciding?

Last edited by shankar.balan : 18th January 2010 at 14:09.
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Old 18th January 2010, 14:17   #4
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The Innova is way, way better than the Esteem. But considering you have kept the Esteem for so long, you can continue with it. The ride ain't that harsh! Living with a Maruti is far more economical.

Try telling your wife to wear seat-belts in the first place. If she is still adamant, let her watch this (How to make one 'want to' wear seat belts?) thread. That should make sense!
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Old 18th January 2010, 15:33   #5
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Honestly there really isn't a good reason to ditch the Esteem except that I am scared that it will turn into a rust bucket and bits and pieces might start falling off. Somehow to me it doesn't seem as sturdy as a Maruti 800. But a paint job and treatment can fix the rust problem for a fraction of the tax I would pay to the Karnataka government if I buy the Innova.

My wife never wanted to sell the Esteem but now her brother has expressed interest to buy it.

We are a small family of 3 and don't usually ferry too many people. One reason we looked at the Innova was that feeling of space, but somehow I half-remember the Ford Fusion that we test drove some years ago as being more spacious, especially in terms of headroom.

Having said all this, I know my wife will not consider the i20 or the Punto as she considers both puny. She has been driving longer than I have, for more than 18 years, so I can't win any argument there. However I will still try to get her to test drive the i20 since it is nearby.

She found driving the Innova to be no problem at all. Parking too is not a problem as she has ample space at home and work.

@Cartman: Thanks for the thread. Will definitely show her.

So far it looks like
  • +3 to the Innova V later
  • +3 to the Esteem now
  • 0 for the Innova G

Thanks a lot for your perspective guys. This is exactly the reason why I posted. At times I tend to get carried away and end up doing stupid things.
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Old 27th January 2010, 22:03   #6
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1) About Esteem and Innova.
Go for Innova if you can. Esteem is now discontinued for quite sometime. Next, as the car gets old, it will ask for more maintenance. The powertrain will not eat money, but body, suspension will eventually ask for higher maintenance.

Esteem was one of the best bang for the buck car and is still better to drive than some so called " premium " and " Exciting " and " sporty " cars.
But its no longer in production.
Go for Innova, its more practical if you have parking space, both at home and at work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nowwhat? View Post
2 ) But when we checked the prices we were shocked to discover that cars smaller than the Esteem cost much more than what we paid for it 5 years ago.
1) My wife doesnít wear seatbelts no matter how much I tell her. I know that airbags without seatbelts are meaningless and probably dangerous.

3) About ABS, I havenít got much of a clue. All I know is that in the aftermath of a snowstorm in the US, I braked my C-Class at a traffic light where ice had formed and the brake pedal started kicking back at me and there was some pumping action. That terrified me more than the car drifting on the ice and I somehow got it to a stop. Was that ABS? How essential is it in India?

4) So the bottomline is: Would you send your loved one in an Innova GX if thatís all you can really afford?
2) Even we are shocked for the prices. We had bought Baleno in Oct 05, right now for similar money, no car is offering good things. The cars that come in price range of Baleno are mostly hatches, and they cant even move effortlessly. If you go by the earlier standards, most of the cars are highly overpriced, except Dzire, Ikon, Manza and SX4.
But times have changed and one cant do much about it.

3) If its just for city driving, IMHO ( purely IMHO ), there is no need of ABS. ABS actually increases braking distance in wet and slippery conditions. And what is max speeds one can do in city ? With increasing traffic, speeds are going lower, so no need for ABS for city.
But the moment highway driving comes in, ABS is strongly recommended. This is why I believe that all manufacturers must give ABS as an option on all models. If I am driving a car both on highways and in city, I will prefer ABS over PW, ICE and leather seats, alloys. This is what manufacturers must provide. Right now if you needs, you have to spend on other features also.

4) YES. What can one do if that is all one can afford ?
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