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Old 2nd January 2012, 19:29   #1
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Default From upcoming 2012 launches to a decade old model - my Chevrolet Optra Magnum thread

Caution: This post is long - I really did not have the time to shorten it, so please pardon me!

So, how does one go about purchasing a car? For most people like me, buying a new car is a significant investment - one that requires detailed preparation, reviews, evaluations, making trade-off & financial decisions, et all, before one can take the plunge. On my journey towards buying a new car as a replacement of my 7 year old warhorse - my Ferrari Red Fiat Pailo nv Sport 1.2 - I have gone thru a lot of research. And without any doubt, the SINGLE BIGGEST influence on my eventual choice was, by far, this exalted forum. Team-BHP members, I doff my hat to you for your love towards your machines, your passionate debates and your own quirky opinions...oh, what would I do without your passion?

From a hatch, my upgrade had to be a sedan or an SUV. And since it was Nov - Dec by when I started seriously considering my decision to upgrade, I was poring over the net for the new launches in 2012. My requirement was a diesel car under Rs 10 lakhs and so, these were the upcoming launches I was considering:
Renault Duster (great previews - but nobody seems to have got the pricing bracket right; I saw quoted prices ranging from 6 to 12+) | Ford EcoSport (another possible winner - I believe we are not going to see a launch till late 2012) | Maruti Ertiga | Hyundai's proposed new compact SUVs...

Quickly, I realized that there were no exciting sedans (sub 10L) in the launches for early 2012!, and I turned my attention towards what cars we have on the roads at present.

And before I proceeded, I started taking a scientific approach towards making the right decision: I created a new Excel file (I love spreadsheets) and jotted down my requirements. The top asks I had were: Diesel (fuel price advantage), Diesel (great new engines), Diesel (oh, for that turbo kicking in!), Cabin space (I am 6 ft tall and on the plus side!), Beige interiors (yes, way up there in my list), Value-for-money (willing to sacrifice performance), Ride quality, Decent looks, and all the basic comforts (power windows, adjustable steering / driver seat height, etc). Then I listed down my nice-to-have features: ACC, MP3 with USB & Aux-in, Steering mounted controls, a good DIS, and safety featurs like ABS and Air bags. Alloys & leather were in a third bucket - 'Not required but will love it if I had it'. Once done, I started listing down the cars and matching their features against my requirements.

Thinking of diesels in the Rs 10 lakhs range, these were the cars that I considered, and ignored:
(Note: These are my personal opinions and no offence meant to any other car fans)
  • Hyundai Verna 1.4 CRDi: Great looks, but mixed reviews and a long waiting period killed this from the list
  • VolksWagen Vento: A German car! But over-priced and perhaps a bit over-rated
  • New Ford Fiesta: Exciting car, but again very over-priced
  • Skoda Rapid: Loved the TD, and a sensible alternative to the Vento - this one is a better driver's car than the Vento in my opinion. But Skoda A.S.S and reputation of expensive spares left me skeptical
  • Toyota Etios: M/s Toyota - what happened here?
  • Suzuki SX4: Hmmm...but did not like the looks
  • Nissan Sunny: It's a caaar! But I did not like the griege interiors, and Diesel was some way off
  • Fiat Linea Diesel: I did think of this but having enjoyed a beautiful Palio already, I wanted something different
  • (New Honda City: Love this car but it did not meet the top 3 needs that I had - diesel, diesel and diesel...)
  • (Suzuki Swift Dzire: No, I was just joking. I never even considered this for a moment. Looks can be subjective I agree, but then...)

The most sensible car that fit my needs was the Tata Manza Quadrajet, particularly the Celebration Edition!
If this car was launched by any Japanese or European manufacturer, I am willing to bet that the sales numbers will have been significantly better. 'Value-for-money' means Manza (no, I did not mess up my English here).

My head was telling me go for it.
And then, the inevitable happened.
It was time now for me to pore thru the Team-BHP forum for test drive reports, ownership reports and what-car suggestions.
And then, I stumbled upon this link: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/sedans...-upto-12l.html (Choosing a Spacious Diesel Sedan upto 12L)
The rest - as they say - was bound to happen!

@Poitive, @Keyur, @drive_or_die, @Torquedo, @brraj and many others: Seldom have I come across more die-hard fans of any car, even in this vast cesspool of gearheads on Team-bhp. Your passion is just awe-inspiring. Your conviction is very infectious. And your writings simply pushed me towards buying THE Chevrolet Optra Magnum 2.0 TCDi!

I will not go into the virtues of my decision. If others are wondering how I - who started by looking purely at the yet-to-be-launched cars of 2012, ended up with a decade old model - I would simply point you to the existing threads on this forum.

Perhaps the most under-rated car of the past decade, the Optra Magnum is a hidden gem.

Note: My next 3 - 4 posts are about my dealership experience - please skip the same if you want to. I am eager to get hold of the keys to my black beauty by Jan 7 - I will keep you posted on my ownership experience too later

Last edited by chetan_l : 8th January 2012 at 21:46. Reason: To shorten the text
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Old 2nd January 2012, 22:14   #2
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Default Re: From upcoming 2012 launches to a decade old model - my Optra Magnum thread

My buying experience - Part 1 - Got a great deal via the phone!:
Having decided on an Optra which has a (debatable) reputation of yielding a low resale value, I thought the most sensible decision I can make is to buy a pre-owned car! With that in mind, I scoured the net, looked thru the classifieds and went knocking on the doors of used car dealers.

I found a well maintained 2007 LT with a mileage of 57k and took a TD - I loved the car, but the flip side is that it had already seen 2 owners. I was not too keen on being a third owner. But then, there wasn't any other used car easily available. The truth is - you will not find a relatively new Optra with low mileage. At most, you will see a 2007 / 2008 model with about 40k - 60k clicks on the odo. There is no Optra owner who wants to part with his/her vehicle too soon!

So, a brand new purchase it had to be.
And by now, I was in the last week of December. There were threats of car prices going up in Jan and so I decided to close on a deal ASAP.
I got the numbers for Trident Chevrolet, Kropex Hosur Road and Kropex Indira Nagar. My first two attempts were to the two Kropex showrooms with very little response.

Since I was doing the tele-calling routine, I thought of checking out the Manza again (yes, my head was still doubting my heart's reasoning). I got a few dealers and spoke to them. I played one against the other and the best offer I had was from Concord Motors, Rajaji Nagar. The offer was: Rs 9.15 lakhs on-the-road for Tata Manza Celebration Edition Tyrian Wine color, with Garware tints, all four windows Up-Module, Car cover, the mandatory mud flaps & floor mats, and an idol & Perfume thrown in. His bonus was a reverse-assist visual module (Manza comes preinstalled with an audio feedback only). That is, if I were to do a full cash settlement before 31st.

With this deal in hand, I then called up Trident Chevrolet and spoke to a sales person - Mr Ram Prasad. I've got to commend Ram Prasad - within half a minute of the call, he understood where I was coming from (cash in hand, decided to go for Manza, but heart yearning for the Optra, cash down the next day...). Without much crap, he requested for time to get back. And he called me back in 10 minutes with an offer of Rs 9.77 lakhs for the LS and Rs 9.88 lakhs for the Diamond White LS (Oh, I forgot to mention that it was the LS and not LT for me!). I nevertheless told him that I was inquiring with Kropex too and he confidently said that his price could not be bettered. I loved his no-nonsense approach and decided to close the deal the next morning.

One problem! He had only a Diamond White LS with him and a Red car was available at the manufacturer's stock yard - which meant there was no guarantee that I would get it for sure. I was not keen on the white car, and this was the only dilemma I had.

[ Side note: On this very day, a good friend of mine met with a personal health tragedy. I almost dropped my plans - cost savings be damned! Thankfully, he is doing well now and only when I learnt that he was out of danger, did I continue my plans]

Last edited by chetan_l : 8th January 2012 at 08:39. Reason: To shorten the text
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Old 2nd January 2012, 22:18   #3
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Default Re: From upcoming 2012 launches to a decade old model - my Optra Magnum thread

My buying experience - Part 2 - From White to Black, from Trident to Kropex!:
30th Dec - morning:
I call up Ram and tell him that I would like to do a PDI of the LS and then place the order. I had already done a TD of an used Magnum and so was familiar with the car. Nevertheless, family had to see the car and so, I asked Ram to bring over a TD vehicle to my house first. We discussed all aspects of how to transfer the money, what documents to bring, etc. All set!

And then, I get a call from Rajesh, a sales person from Kropex Indiranagar. I tell him about my story (cash in hand, ready to make a purchase today, blah, blah...). He says he can close a deal for today for Rs 10.05 lakhs OTR. I give him one more chance and tell him about my Rs 9.77L deal from Trident. A 10 mins wait. And then, he calls back with his best offer of Rs 9.75L OTR! Good...

But for Rs 2k difference, I did not want to switch over from Ramprasad of Trident to Kropex. However, here was the deal clincher: Trident did not have the Red car (@ 9.77); they only had the white LS @ 9.88. But, but, Kropex had a CAVIAR BLACK LS!! Whoow, that was a color I love!

So, the decision was made! I called up Ramprasad and apologized - he was graceful. I then called back Rajesh, asked him to bring over a TD car for the family and then we could go to his showroom to close the deal on the same day!

Sharp at noon, Rajesh lands up in front of our house with a while LT for the test drive. This car had 57k on the odo and was a 2007 model. I took my family (wifey, daughter, dad, mom, sis, neice) for a TD in turns and they just fell in love with the cabin too. My sister remarked: "It's like sitting in a bloody moving sofa!" - the exact same comment from a few Team-bhp members on the forum

Wifey also associates the Chevy brand as an aspirational value - you can understand this if your childhood was in the 70s seeing Plymouths, Impalas and Chevys grace the roads with the paisawalas inside

I was glad my family liked the car very much! Else, I would have had to do some convincing. Anyway, throughout the ride, I kept answering all queries from my passengers about the car. The salesman did not have to open his mouth. I reeled off the specs too and I saw him take a sneak peak at his flyer to cross-verify my claims! Can't blame him - he does not get too many Optra lovers at his showroom. Talk to him about the Beat, and he can go on endlessly...

TD done, I was all set to make the booking. Now, I had another idea to save some more money. I had checked online insurance rates and I found the lowest quote to be around Rs 19k. I spoke to Rajesh and asked him to match the insurance price - they could not and so I just decided to buy an online insurance. So, that meant the final price for the Black LS on the road was Rs 9,41,751! The best online price for insurance was for Rs 19,001 (from Tata AIG General, brokered via easyinsureindia.com

Net-to-net, the final landing price for this black beauty will be Rs 960,752/-; a discount of Rs 76k OTR

For those of you residing in Pune or Delhi or most other cities, you may not be thrilled with this final price. But when you consider the OTR price (without discounts) at Bangalore is higher than Delhi by Rs 51k, higher than Pune by Rs 80k and higher than Chandigarh by Rs 152k, it is like getting this deal for 9.1L at Delhi; 8.8L at Pune and a whopping 8.1L at Chandigarh! (This information ivaries from website to website - I have used quotes from a single website for all the comparisons)

Bangaloreans - what crime have we done?

Last edited by chetan_l : 8th January 2012 at 08:46. Reason: To shorten the text
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Old 2nd January 2012, 22:23   #4
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Default Re: From upcoming 2012 launches to a decade old model - my Optra Magnum thread

My buying experience - Part 3 - "When you pay peanuts, you get monkeys"
Yes, this statement is true quite often. But thankfully, a Chevy Optra Magnum is a Chevy Optra Magnum - the cost savings ended up showing in my dealership and insurance brokerage experience.

At Kropex Indiranagar, the initial paperwork went thru quickly. Then I had to make an online transfer of the payment. Puff- there is a power outage! And, horror of horrors, there is no working generator backup for the car showroom! (Apparently, something went wrong with the backup genset). Ok, so we wait a bit while the showroom manager and the sales guy run around with the janitor trying to fix things up. No luck.

The manager comes back to his cabin and gives me his laptop to make the payment - this is good, but then the Wi-Fi runs on AC power! Grrr....

So, the salesman takes me around a couple of streets in search of a cyber-cafe - as luck would have it, none had power backup too. Back to the showroom now!

There, the manager goes on his knees (no, not to me, but to the computer setup). With some effort, he manages to plug in an UPS outlet to the modem. Bingo! I could now complete the transaction. But then, another problem. The car they sold me was in transit and so I could not do a PDI then. So, I was left with no choice but to trust the dealer to complete the PDI before the invoice as I was going out of town.

We left the showroom 2 hours after we got in.

Now, the insurance.
I had checked a few options and found Tata AIG quote to be the cheapest, brokered thru easyinsuranceindia.com. I made the payment online the next day, after speaking with their sales person. Post that, I got an email with a link...
I click the link and I get *mandatory* files to upload:
1. R C Book copy
2. Old insurance copy
3. 5 photographs of the car!


I call up their service line and after a little bit of back-and-forth, their representative - Suresh - assured me he will issue the insurance if i could at least upload the invoice.

Fair enough.

I call up Rajesh asking for the invoice copy, which was anyways due.
He tells me that their entire IT infrastructure at their head office is down!! So, no invoice for me yet!

I gently remind him that in a similar situation 2 days back, he had made me - his customer - walk the streets of Indira Nagar in search of a cyber cafe to make the payment. So, I ask him, can he not ask his HO staff to walk to their nearest cyber cafe and upload the invoice copy to me? I wait for him to get in touch with his HO and revert with an invoice copy. He calls back after five minutes with the excuse that he cannot get anyone from his EDP department to walk to a cyber cafe to send the invoice copy over...!

Guess being an easy customer is not good after all!

It took me a couple of days to sort things out, but finally, I had everything in order. Hindsight, saving about 15k was worth the hassle I suffered for a couple of days. My car was registered on 5th Jan and I was all set to take delivery on the 7th

Rajesh, from Kropex, was really helpful in tying up all loose ends and very importantly - he kept up on all his promises on deadlines, despite the lack of adequate infrastructure support from Kropex

Last edited by chetan_l : 8th January 2012 at 21:51. Reason: To shorten the text
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Old 5th January 2012, 18:22   #5
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Default Re: From upcoming 2012 launches to a decade old model - my Optra Magnum thread

My buying experience - part 4 - Redemption, and great fortune!
Finally! One week post booking, it was time to take delivery of my Black Stallion! Handing over of the car was a relative breeze...the whole paperwork, demo and handover was over and done with in about 45 minutes.

The black beauty looked absolutely stunning in the foyer of the showroom!
From upcoming 2012 launches to a decade old model - my Chevrolet Optra Magnum thread-black-beauty-low-res.jpg

Driving the car thru the choc-a-bloc city traffic was quite unnerving - I had my heart in my mouth as I did not want any scratch the first day of the delivery!

And then, I had a near disaster! At one of the signal lights on the 100 ft road in Indira Nagar, I was about to stop in the right most lane, behind a row of cars, but I switched lanes at the last minute - why, I will never know! Just then, an idiot in an old beat-up Jeep just rammed into the car in the right-side lane - at full force and at the exact place where I was supposed to have stopped!

Instead of me, it was a poor i10 owner who turned unfortunate...

We got home safe, with no more panic.

I had thought of fitting a reverse cam & putting sun-film the same day - but due to paucity of time, I deferred it. Nevertheless, I did find the time to stick Team-BHP stickers

Some more pics of my car, taken on the NICE Road:
From upcoming 2012 launches to a decade old model - my Chevrolet Optra Magnum thread-img_3430.jpg
From upcoming 2012 launches to a decade old model - my Chevrolet Optra Magnum thread-img_3441.jpg
From upcoming 2012 launches to a decade old model - my Chevrolet Optra Magnum thread-img_3443.jpg
From upcoming 2012 launches to a decade old model - my Chevrolet Optra Magnum thread-img_3449.jpg
From upcoming 2012 launches to a decade old model - my Chevrolet Optra Magnum thread-img_3461.jpg

Last edited by chetan_l : 8th January 2012 at 21:52. Reason: To add text between photos
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Old 8th January 2012, 20:59   #6
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Default Re: From upcoming 2012 launches to a decade old model - my Optra Magnum thread

My initial ownership & driving experience
With all that said and done on my buying experience, here's my initial experience behind the wheels.

Driving experience:
The car feels roomy and seats are comfortable, though slightly low in position.
All controls are within easy reach and you can learn their operation easily. The big put-off though is that the indicator and the wiper stalks are inter-changed! Come-on Chevy, you should treat right-hand driven cars and Indian markets more seriously!

What I liked the most:
  • Large cabin space! This one is a real caaaaaar. I have experienced the back seat of the Corolla, Laura & Jetta; this car out-spaces them all!
  • Fantastic build quality and fit & finish! Absolutely no gaps between panels, no loose ends, nothing! Doors shut with a reassuring THUD
  • Regal, under-stated looks - nothing flashy, no bling
  • The torque and power - this beast is restrained when needed, but it is waiting to be unleashed. Driving on the NICE roads was a revelation though I was careful not to exceed 2000 rpm in any gear! Never once did I have to press the acceleration more than a few cms...
  • Plush feel interiors - the quality of materials used is absolutely top-notch
  • Hydraulic steering feedback is just about right
  • Stock music system (Oberon) is very liveable
  • Suspension manages to smoothen out even Bangalore roads to a good extent

What I crib about:
  • Dated interiors - (kinda timeless though - this one will age gracefully)
  • Light tan dashboard surface reflects on the windshield
  • Interchanged light and wiper stalks
  • Lack of modern equipments - like DIS, Bluetooth/USB, steering mounted controls, etc
  • Clutch is quite hard - will take some getting-used-to
  • Remote door lock and boot lock only available on one key! The second ey is just plain and simple

These are my initial observations, after driving 40 kms in the city and 60 kms on the NICE road. I will try and keep giving updates periodically...

Happy mile-crunching everyone
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Old 9th January 2012, 02:28   #7
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Default Re: From upcoming 2012 launches to a decade old model - my Optra Magnum thread

Thread moved from Assembly Line to Initial Ownership Section. Thanks.
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Old 9th January 2012, 09:35   #8
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Default Re: From upcoming 2012 launches to a decade old model - my Optra Magnum thread

Congrats on your latest Pick chetan_l.

Optra Magnum was one car I Test drove without any actual intention of buying it, but ever since, have really not had any intention of buying any other car for now!!!

Truly a wonderful machine. One of the only reason (if any) that I would not pick up a Magnum now is due to a bit dated looks on the inside as you have mentioned.
I dont like the dashboard colour as well and something about the design feels out of place.

Nevertheless, a Wonderful Machine and Wish you many many Happy and Safe miles ahead.
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Old 9th January 2012, 11:14   #9
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Default Re: From upcoming 2012 launches to a decade old model - my Optra Magnum thread

Congratulations Chetan & Welcome to the Optra LS club !!!!

All the Optra owners are a bit possessive about their machines and I would assume you'll be the same.

Wish you many a Happy Miles with her, sure it looks a head turner in Black.

I was not keeping a watch on your posts, but a beauty is what you have got on your hands.

I am not a firm believer of going in for used cars and especially Optra is not something that you wanna pick from the used, you never know you might land up with a Lemon.

A few tips that I have followed during my running in of the beast.

1) Keep the revs below the 2K RPM mark till 2000 Kms, Keyur if he is reading this will give me a sound beating but I stuck to it.

2) Let in the engine warm up and settle down after cold starts and before you call it a day respectively.

Step on the GAS and you'll forget about the dated interiors and stuff !!

Enjoy the Beast !!

Happy Motoring.

Last edited by Torquedo : 9th January 2012 at 11:20.
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Old 9th January 2012, 12:07   #10
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Default Re: From upcoming 2012 launches to a decade old model - my Optra Magnum thread

Chetan, welcome to the Optra Club. A fantastic car is all I can say. I have a black Optra too and heads up on the following

1. Please use the right cloth to clean the car, else you would be left with swirl marks. Most easy places for these are the bonnet and boot.

2. Try and check if you can get a good paint protection. I am not very sure if 3M is serving the purpose. Can some one throw light on Polymer coating?

3. Black attracts dust like crazy, be sure to dust properly.

4. I have experienced some improvement in ride quality using Nitrogen. I personally recommend it.

5. I go with Torquedo to say, maintain the 2K rev mark until atleast first 1000 kms. It is very tempting to go beyond it, hold it for now before you can unleash the beast later.

6. You would have too many eyes, mouth and what ever drooling once you let your friends drive the car...ENJOY it!

Have a fantastic driving experience and keep us all updated.

@ Torquedo....

Finally... how s the vehicle doing matey. Could you PM me please?
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Old 9th January 2012, 15:38   #11
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Default Re: From upcoming 2012 launches to a decade old model - my Optra Magnum thread

@Amartya - thanks for moving it the ownership section.
@vik0728, @torquedo, @visweshkalambur - thanks much for your wishes!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vik0728 View Post
Optra Magnum was one car I Test drove without any actual intention of buying it, but ever since, have really not had any intention of buying any other car for now!!!
he, he, heh...I guess the Optra lovers are not surprised

Quote:
Originally Posted by Torquedo View Post
A few tips that I have followed during my running in of the beast.

1) Keep the revs below the 2K RPM mark till 2000 Kms, Keyur if he is reading this will give me a sound beating but I stuck to it.

2) Let in the engine warm up and settle down after cold starts and before you call it a day respectively.
Quote:
Originally Posted by visweshkalambur View Post
5. I go with Torquedo to say, maintain the 2K rev mark until atleast first 1000 kms. It is very tempting to go beyond it, hold it for now before you can unleash the beast later.
Thanks - I have been conscious to follow this; perhaps, the waiting will add to the fun when I get the freedom to hit the pedal to the metal!

Quote:
Originally Posted by visweshkalambur View Post
1. Please use the right cloth to clean the car, else you would be left with swirl marks. Most easy places for these are the bonnet and boot.

2. Try and check if you can get a good paint protection. I am not very sure if 3M is serving the purpose. Can some one throw light on Polymer coating?

3. Black attracts dust like crazy, be sure to dust properly.
While maintaining a black car is known as an onerous task, I did not know by how much till I got my Optra!

The dealer said he had got 3M paint protection done but I did not get any documents to this effect - however, I can notice the infamous swirls already!

Quote:
Originally Posted by visweshkalambur View Post
4. I have experienced some improvement in ride quality using Nitrogen. I personally recommend it.
Was thinking of this - will give it a go! thanks...

Question:
The windows (and windshields?) come with 70% VLT right? I am not keen on putting sun film as it may not look good on a black body. How is the heat & UV, IR rejection rates of the default tints?
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Old 9th January 2012, 16:10   #12
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Default Re: From upcoming 2012 launches to a decade old model - my Optra Magnum thread

The default one is good enough Chetan. I did have it for quite a while until i managed to get sun film from the dealer. I would keep it with the pre tinted OE glass.
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Old 9th January 2012, 16:28   #13
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Default Re: From upcoming 2012 launches to a decade old model - my Optra Magnum thread

Thanks Viswesh. I am thinking of not adding any sun film.
On the other hand, I liked the OEM window curtains that come in some of the higher end cars like the Skoda Laura & some BMWs I think. I was looking around without much luck.
I found Welcome to Amritras India.com who supply P8 window curtains. Unfortunately, their Bangalore dealer has stopped supplying the same.

Bangaloreans: Any help on this will be much appreciated!
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Old 9th January 2012, 17:31   #14
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Default Re: From upcoming 2012 launches to a decade old model - my Optra Magnum thread

@ chetan_l - Mate you certainly have a way with words, enjoyed reading the post, thanks for sharing your experience and congratulations on the purchase, I am sure she will keep you happy, I share the grouse with you when it comes to the things you don't like about the car, I wish Chevy could improve the interiors especially the dash, its a great car - do plan on retaining the car for sometime to get the best value from your investment.

All the very best - ML
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Old 9th January 2012, 17:49   #15
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Default Re: From upcoming 2012 launches to a decade old model - my Optra Magnum thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by visweshkalambur View Post
The default one is good enough Chetan. I did have it for quite a while until i managed to get sun film from the dealer. I would keep it with the pre tinted OE glass.
+1 to Viswesh on this. The OE glass with a hint of green tinge to it, looks super cool, DO NOT go for any films and stuff, my suggestion.

Cheers.
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