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Old 5th March 2012, 15:32   #1
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Default A driver's perspective : Maruti Ritz, Chevrolet Beat and Hyundai i10

The scenario

I did get an opportunity to drive the petrol versions of the Maruti Ritz, Chevrolet Beat and Hyundai i10 back-to-back for more than 150 kms each. I own the 5500 km run Beat LT, driven over 5000 kms of my in-laws IRDE 1.1 i10 and my driving-lazy friend lets me take up the wheel of the Ritz Vxi on such occasions where we travel together. To give an idea of the age of the cars, the i10 being the oldest being close to 4 years with 26k on the odo, the Ritz next with 1.5 years and 23k on the odo, the Beat being latest with 5.5k on the odo and 8 months old. All the vehicles are maintained as per schedule, by the respective service centers.

The disclaimer

I am putting up this report for the prospective buyers ('aam aadmi' who really don't care too much about performance and enhancements) to get a realistic view of how they will have to live with these vehicles on a daily basis. My focus will be specially on driving comfort and ease of ownership. This report is not much into spirited drives and modifications. This is more of detailing my experience with these cars rather than comparing the cars based on pure facts alone. Wherever I have passed comments, I have tried to explain the logic behind it. I will be glad to correct any comments without explanation, if pointed out. I felt that back-to-back drives over long distances are a real tool for comparing cars. Please do not get offended by my verdict as I am just airing my personal views. Caution that I might get a bit too expressive at times. I would definitely advice a prospective buyer to test drive the cars, if possible back-to-back, over sufficient distance and traffic conditions.

The report

Crank up the engines and you might mistake the Ritz to be a diesel engine as it takes a bit longer time and vibrates more. The engine of the Beat and i10 comes to life on the slightest turn of the key. But hey, once the engine has started running, all 3 of them settles down to a quite buzz with the Ritz engine sounding the best, instilling confidence in us about the engine. Rev up the RPM, I vouch for the cliched 'gem of an engine' of the Ritz. Keep on revving and one might feel that the Beat's engine would tear apart and the Ritz still holding strong. The apparent strain on the engine is observed mainly by the noise it makes across different RPMs. This makes a lot of difference in the confidence of the person who revs. I felt the IRDE engine of the i10 just a notch below the Maruti's. Now take your foot off the pedal and observe the NVH. Here, Chevrolet has managed to reduce the in-cabin NVH better than the other two. People new to the Beat has even cranked the engine not recognizing that it being already on. I will come to, the NVH observed on driving, a bit later.

Find the gear lever and engage into first. Wait. I found the position of the gear lever not great on the i10 and Ritz. On the i10, my left elbow muscle aches (due to stretching out for the gear. Though my legs are not very long, I prefer to sit away from the steering maximum. This adds to the lack of support for the left elbow) on long city drives with constant gear changes. If it was the left elbow that ached in the i10, it was the left knee on the Ritz and the right foot on the Beat. More to it in a short while. People who sit close to the steering might feel less strain on the left elbow. Though the slots are fine on the Ritz, it took some muscle power to shift gears as the lever felt a bit stiff. While the gear shift is just a bit rubbery on the Beat, it is nothing to complain of. I have not once had any difficult correctly slotting the gear on the Beat. Even though the left elbow suffers stretching on the i10, shifting gears is a pure delight. The gates are wide open for the slots and shifting from 3rd to 4th is a finger job.

Taking them on, I felt a bit shorter first gear on the Beat than others. Pulling on half clutch, on un-avoidable situations, the Beat jerks. These jerks definitely add to my view that the Beat is puny. We feel the whole car shudder and the noise is such that it is not heavily built. Make the Ritz shudder or lug on purpose, and we feel it to be better built. Just hit the bonnet and side panels of all the cars with closed fists (not with too much force that it caves in) and feel the build quality of the panels. Hit on the bumper similarly. I felt that the Beat is a notch below the others. Even while turning the steering, breaking, driving over potholes, though the Beat has less rattles, we feel that the Beat is a bit flimsy overall. Rattles were more on the Ritz.

Coming to other gears on the cars, the second and third gear of the Beat is really under-powered. It is absolutely useless in emergency overtaking situations. Yes, I may seem harsh, but it is the truth. Imagine you are overtaking a trailer, and you face an emergency to downshift the gear from 3rd to 2nd or from 4th to 3rd to zoom past the trailer. If the oncoming vehicle is a Volvo bus or a speeding Audi, you are a sitting duck. Take my word for it. You wont zoom past. The engine just makes a huge cry, but you wont reach much anywhere. I had to pull off my overtaking maneuvers many a times in my Beat, to save myself. At least in the i10, you can be sure of an overtake if you down the gear and scream the engine. I am wondering where are the 81 horses of the Beat gone to? Comparing to the IRDE i10 which only has 65 or 67 bhp. Coming to the Ritz, I will be a bit reserved on my comments as I doubt that the service center has not serviced properly last time. For downshift overtaking, I felt an initial lag on the Ritz which was not felt on an earlier drive. Bottom end torque is just that bad on the Beat, which has to be seriously re-considered by Chevrolet, if the Beat is to be successfully sold as a city-car. You need oogles of torque for bumper to bumper driving comfort.

Enough bashing the Beat and we will discuss an USP of the Beat. If you are a sedate driver, you drive mostly on good roads and highways, and NVH and rattles are an important issue for you, Beat is the car you have to put your money on. One fact I think will stand against this is the vibrations creeping in from the clutch and accelerator pedal. One of my friends has complained about these vibrations the first day he took the Beat for a spin, but I am feeling these only recently. I had first driven my in-laws IRDE when the car has done close to 16k kms. I felt it still to be a new car then, as the rattlings were less. Down the line, the rattlings has increased a bit. Since the Beat feels flimsy overall, I have apprehension whether the low rattling on the Beat will stand good as more miles are crunched. Ritz, and even a Swift of one of my other friend, had rattlings as early as 5k kms.

Coming to an important aspect - braking. I had real issues with super sensitive brake of the i10 initially, but got adjusted to it slowly. It was so sensitive that the wheels could get locked if we were not careful. Braking on the other cars were felt to be adequate, but the Beat's braking not confidence inspiring on the build quality and the Ritz have a heavy pedal. All the pedals on the Ritz felt heavy and I had my left knee paining after the 150 km drive on the Ritz. The effort one has to spend on the clutch pedal felt like that of the old Mahindra Major's. I wonder how the female folks find the drive-ability of the Ritz, considering the tight gear shift and clutch pedal. Talking about drive-ability, the i10 scores hands down on the Beat and the Ritz. The tall boy aspect adds to the drive-ability on the i10, while the seating position is too low on the Beat with a high dashboard! The Ritz' dashboard is also a bit high. The steering on the Vxi Ritz could not be tilted and I felt the position to be a bit high and the steering to be bigger in size. Turning the wheel on the i10 is a breeze. It is very light yet have good feedback. If the feedback was a bit low, the steering could have been dangerous. Just take caution that you don't play with the steering. I felt more effort to be applied on the highly acclaimed hydraulic steering of the Beat as it had more feedback. Turn the steering on the Beat to the extremes and you hear a grinding noise, which will again make you loose confidence in the build quality. While we are still on drive-ability, we will check out the front and back visibility. I hate the beat for the front and back visibility, thanks to the low seating position, the highly placed dashboard, small back window, puny inside-rear-view-mirrors, bulging wheel arches all around and the protruding front nose. You will be constantly worrying about the perimeters of the Beat on parking and bumper to bumper driving. We have to do a highly anticipated driving on the Beat. In my opinion, the i10 scores most on the visibility point.

Coming to the pedals, the pedals on the Beat is a placed at a bad angle that I got cramps on my right foot, and took constant breaks, driving for 200 kms. I hate the integrated head/neck rests on the i10 as it does not give me an opportunity to stretch my head/neck backwards. The A-piller on the Beat is one thing to be taken care off on sharp curves, especially towards the right. It can blind on-coming traffic. How I liked the horn on the Ritz. It sounded really effective. Coming to cooling, the A/C is a real chiller (literally) on the i10 and on many occasions, I had to switch off the A/C as my nose, hands and feet get too cold. The cooling of the A/C on the Ritz is just adequate and inadequate on the Beat. I never had to switch off the A/C or higher the temperature ever in my 5500 km ownership. Also, the compressor felt much draining on the engine power on the Beat than on other cars.

Though I wont comment much on handling and speed, here are my views on ride quality. As everyone else has commented on the tires on the Beat felt inadequate, I too agree with it. The tires squealed on the slightest opportunity. As for the ride quality, many might not like the boat like feel on the i10. But for me, the boat like feel on the i10 absorbs more imperfections on the road than the stiff suspension on the others. The ride quality on the Beat is good if going on good speeds. I felt the Beat to be better on small consecutive speed breakers which can be driven without slowing down, but when you reduce the speed on potholed roads, you get thrown from one side to other constantly. Though the Beat has the best hugging seats on the front, the ride quality on bad roads at reduced speeds is average. In my books, the Ritz score the lowest on the ride quality as I could feel every single imperfection on the road with the Ritz. The Ritz have the best back seat with good support, but lacks in leg room than the i10 and the Beat. Though the Beat has the least under thigh support for back seats, the leg room is far better. This is more made possible by the shorter back seat.

Coming to aesthetics, the Beat scores heavily on looks. The design is futuristic as Chevrolet claim. If you do not like the looks, just look again and again and think. There is no other car with such futuristic looks, a potential not well complemented with other goodies by Chevrolet, to make the Beat a huge hit. I personally do not like the curves of the Hyundais, Hondas and Toyotas barring a few cars from them. I hate the back of the Ritz and this is one reason I did not go for it. And, looks are the same reason I went in for the Beat. But now I learned that not to fall in for looks alone. The beat has a snazzy interior with a blue led lighting for the center console. Some would feel the rear bench of the Beat to be claustrophobic, the black theme, the lowly placed rear seats and the highly placed rear door handle adding to it. I do not have much issue over it. Try bending the air con vents which point towards the quarter glass portion of the front windows. You can feel the difference in plastic quality between the vehicles. The Hyundai is felt to be better than the others.

Speaking of after sales service, the Maruti's were perceived to be the cheapest of the lot. But comparing these cars, cost wise I would hold all equally cost effective. The Huyndais are no behind in service quality, but there is a bit of laziness in effectively servicing in all the three service centers. The Chevrolet service center being the lowest in number. There have been no major issues faced by all the three vehicles, except for the below. A broken steering column replaced by Hyundai under warranty on the i10. A rusted muffler on the i10 due to non-use. Caliper rattling issues on the Beat corrected after several prompts. Longer cranking issue on the Ritz corrected by changing spark plugs. The fuel efficiency observed by my friend on the Ritz is anywhere from 14 to 18 kmpl overall. The i10 used to give extra-ordinary mileage till recently where it has dropped to 13-14 kmpl in city conditions, which was earlier 16-17 kmpl in city and 20-21 kmpl on highways. I am totally frustrated by the low FE on my Beat which is just 10-11 in city and 14-15-16 on the highways. Have taken the Beat couple of times for complaining for low FE, but to no avail. Will have to check out with the service center, the low FE very recently given by the i10. We use the A/C most of the time.

The verdict

Check your blood pressure after driving all the cars and you will find that it has shoot up after driving the Beat, thanks to the bad low-end torque and poor visibility. Imagine you are on a rush to the office or hospital. Count on me, you will just get frustrated by the Beat. The Beat is a vehicle for the really patient and the laid-backs. How good the i10 is made by Hyundai to be a smaller and lighter car yet not turning to be more of a toy type like the beat. Those factors make the i10's 65 horses to be highly practical on road than the 81 horses of the Beat on papers.

If you are a student or a first time car owner, maybe the looks, low NVH and high VFM of the Beat may lure you. You will not be bothered much by the servicing costs too. If you are a skeptic of after sales service in our country and want to stick to a safer manufacturer, the Ritz is a fine fit for you. It has a beautiful engine and will serve you for long years. Though with lesser horses under the bonnet, driving the i10 is a breeze and the IRDE i10 1.1 is my verdict for the topic.

Last edited by thoma : 5th March 2012 at 16:12.
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Old 6th March 2012, 15:59   #2
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Default Re: A driver's perspective : Maruti Ritz, Chevrolet Beat and Hyundai i10

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Test-Drives section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 6th March 2012, 16:37   #3
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Default Re: A driver's perspective : Maruti Ritz, Chevrolet Beat and Hyundai i10

Thats a great comparison of cars, from a layman's perspective.

I've always felt that most car buyers get too influenced by expert reviews and don't realise what their requirement really is.

While most expert reviews may like to highlight 0-100 timings, high speed cornering, steering feedback etc, they conveniently forget the factors that really matter in everyday driving like low end torque, front and rear visibility, interior / exterior build quality and most importantly - ergonomics.

As a proud owner of i10 1.1, I can personally vouch for each and every comment made by you for this car. It is a joy to drive even in the maddening city traffic.

If you felt that gear shifts in i10 1.1 were good, you should try the i10 kappa. Its gearshifts would leave you speechless.

Rohan
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Old 7th March 2012, 10:57   #4
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Default Re: A driver's perspective : Maruti Ritz, Chevrolet Beat and Hyundai i10

Quote:
Originally Posted by rohan_iitr View Post
I've always felt that most car buyers get too influenced by expert reviews and don't realise what their requirement really is.


Though the following should have gone into the suggestions thread, I'll put it here. Wouldn't it be nice if Team-BHP could do some long term review and comparisons like in the magazines? If that is up, we might at least a couple of our views in the Official New Car Review.

At the very least, can we have a section inside the Official New Car Review report checking out how comfortable the car is over a longish bumper-to-bumper city drive.
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Old 7th March 2012, 11:17   #5
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Default Re: A driver's perspective : Maruti Ritz, Chevrolet Beat and Hyundai i10

Hey thoma,
Great write up. I am presently looking to by a second car and have narrowed it down to the i10 kappa 2 and the ritz. While i know that the car under review was the i10 1.1, your take on the ride, A/C is definately a big help.
Cheers and keep up the good work.
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Old 7th March 2012, 11:20   #6
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Default Re: A driver's perspective : Maruti Ritz, Chevrolet Beat and Hyundai i10

I have to agree the biggest problem with the Beat is drivability. Till 2000 RPM it is rubbish. 2000-4000 is livable after which it strains. You are absolutely right. This is not a car to be driven enthusiastically.

The gearshift is not good either. There is nothing to complain about but it feels wooden.

You are wrong about one thing though. The built quality. Our car has crossed 20K Km. It does not rattle. Not even a squeak. If I may it is driven over the most pathetic roads in this country. By the way I never found any grinding noise with its Steering wheel. Do get it checked.

What impressed me about the Beat is the ride quality. Any the reason for buying it is, well Looks & Price. Period!
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Old 7th March 2012, 11:36   #7
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Default Re: A driver's perspective : Maruti Ritz, Chevrolet Beat and Hyundai i10

@Thoma, that's quite a useful comparison there, thanks for the same !

By chance, have you driven the Eon as well ? I am curious to know if the Eon absorbs the imperfections of the road as well as the i-10 does, from your perspective.
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Old 7th March 2012, 11:57   #8
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Default Re: A driver's perspective : Maruti Ritz, Chevrolet Beat and Hyundai i10

@thoma, how tall are you? this would help with a better perspective.
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Old 7th March 2012, 12:12   #9
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Default Re: A driver's perspective : Maruti Ritz, Chevrolet Beat and Hyundai i10

Ride and Handling:
I do not agree that i10 has the best ride quality. It might 'absorb' one bump but the counter effect is it shakes the car like hell for the next 5 seconds. Body roll is excessive too. So effectively, it neither has good ride quality nor good handling because of the incompetent chassis. In contrast, the Gen 1 Swift (I haven't driven the Ritz but its the same platform) has a 'harsher' ride quality but one bump will shake the car just once (or twice) and not shake the whole car for the next 5 seconds. I believe this is because of the tight chassis. The newer Gen 2 Swift achieves a perfect balance between ride and handling. Ride might not be the best but its right up there.

Engine: Let me add a Kappa (not Kappa 2) perspective here. Kappa is really silent at idle. You sometimes have to see the tacho in crowded traffic to confirm if the engine is running or not. But low end torque is pretty bad. With A/C on, try to tackle a speed breaker and the car just doesn't move for couple of seconds. It seems like a dead spot at that point. Next couple of seconds the car will move slightly. And then it takes off. While overtaking, try to keep the RPM around 3K rpm. Between 2-3K rpm, it generates a lot of power (and torque). But revving above that is totally pointless. The engine becomes vocal and the progress is slow. Its better to up-shift at this point since the next gear will still be above 2K rpm which will have sufficient pull.
To sum things up, a nice silent engine but not revv-happy. Pulls really well between 2-3K rpm.

Gearbox: This is 'the' best part of the vehicle. The gearshift is best in business and doesn't feel like its a mechanical part under it. Its more of an electronic-feel.
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Old 7th March 2012, 17:22   #10
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Default Re: A driver's perspective : Maruti Ritz, Chevrolet Beat and Hyundai i10

Hi Thoma and others.
Your reviews are great.Your visibility issue is bang on.
I own a beat and drove Bombay-Leh-Bombay alone.
The biggest problem I faced was visibility(I am 5'5") and at one place after the jalebee pass over Lamayuru and the sun at a particular angle I could not see the road.Luckily for me a motorist passed and I requested him to lead and followed exactly in his wake.
The pass above Zojila(Zojila was closed) has a lot of sharp curves and to safely do so was difficult,specially when you have a left curve.
Incidentally met a beat owner at *** and he had removed the head rests and that gave him a greater visibility at the time of reversing.(he was 5'9" or thereabout).Has sombody else done that?Would it be a good idea?
Regards
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Old 7th March 2012, 17:40   #11
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Default Re: A driver's perspective : Maruti Ritz, Chevrolet Beat and Hyundai i10

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Originally Posted by faustus77 View Post
Incidentally met a beat owner at *** and he had removed the head rests and that gave him a greater visibility at the time of reversing.(he was 5'9" or thereabout).Has sombody else done that?Would it be a good idea?
Regards
Did he remove only rear or both front and rear head rests? My Beat doesn't have any rear headrest, and the visibility is OK.
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Old 7th March 2012, 20:43   #12
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Default Re: A driver's perspective : Maruti Ritz, Chevrolet Beat and Hyundai i10

Forgot to mention about the super light clutch of the Chevrolet Beat. I have not come across such soft clutch in another car. After driving other cars, you sit in the Beat and press the clutch pedal, you feel like squashing a banana under your foot. Yes, as light as that. Women folks and men who don't want to spend on medicines for the knee joint, look no further.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rohan_iitr View Post
Thats a great comparison of cars, from a layman's perspective.
Maybe the title should be better changed to 'A layman's perspective'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oxyzen View Post
You are wrong about one thing though. The built quality. Our car has crossed 20K Km. It does not rattle. Not even a squeak. If I may it is driven over the most pathetic roads in this country. By the way I never found any grinding noise with its Steering wheel. Do get it checked.

What impressed me about the Beat is the ride quality. Any the reason for buying it is, well Looks & Price. Period!
True about price and looks. Low NVH on sedate driving, soft mechanicals (read pedals - a boon for bumper-to-bumper traffic), rattle free aspect of build quality are also a huge plus over other cars in the segment or a segment above.

Sorry if I sounded confusing on build quality. Panel gaps are acceptable, rattling is very low. But, the quality of the panels (the thickness), be it metal or plastic is a notch below the other cars. I have chipping issues with the paint which I have mentioned else where on the forum. I have not seen such paint quality issues in 4-5 cars in our extended family. Even the engine when revved happily will scream to indicate a not so perfect build quality such as the engine of the other cars. There is a feeling that things might tear apart sooner - it is about the material breaking - flimsiness. Not about the parts getting unscrewed or getting loose like in the Ritz. I can't help change my personal feeling. This does not mean it is too flimsy not to be worthy on the road.

I have checked the grinding noise of the steering with the service center and they told it to be normal!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mooza View Post
By chance, have you driven the Eon as well ? I am curious to know if the Eon absorbs the imperfections of the road as well as the i-10 does, from your perspective.
Sorry about that. I don't think an EON is available with my family or friends. If at all I get a chance, I will pen down that too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by govigov View Post
@thoma, how tall are you? this would help with a better perspective.
True. Thanks for asking. I am 5' 7'' tall or short

Quote:
Originally Posted by blue_pulsar View Post
Ride and Handling:
I do not agree that i10 has the best ride quality. It might 'absorb' one bump but the counter effect is it shakes the car like hell for the next 5 seconds. Body roll is excessive too. So effectively, it neither has good ride quality nor good handling because of the incompetent chassis.
Agree with you that I found body roll more on the i10. Since handling was not too much on my mind I skipped checking out handling in specific. The experts are more expert in checking that out.

Though I respect your personal view on ride quality, my view was formed based on back to back long drives. Just see if your view changes on a back-to-back comparison. I was more comfortable with a bit of body roll than the suspension transmitting each and every imperfection on the road to the passengers. Might be if you switch your daily drive with the other vehicles in the comparison, you might very well be happy about the ride-quality of the i10 and change your comment to 'swaying' rather then 'shaking' .

Quote:
Originally Posted by faustus77 View Post
The biggest problem I faced was visibility

Incidentally met a beat owner at *** and he had removed the head rests and that gave him a greater visibility at the time of reversing.(he was 5'9" or thereabout).Has sombody else done that?Would it be a good idea?
Regards
I think it is a bad idea removing the head rest. The head rest is not only for resting the head, it is used as a safety feature for restraining the head and neck in case of a rear-end collision which might cause a whip-lash effect on the neck.

Regarding visibility on the Beat, I think I have put it elsewhere on our forum. Here it goes again. On the Beat, due to poor visibility in bumper-to-bumper traffic, I always tend to keep at least a car's distance (or might be more to see the road in front) from the car in front. The vehicle in front might dodge any obstacles, like a big stone or a pothole, and if we are tailgating that car too close, we wont be able to avoid it. If it is a truck or a bus in front, they are more likely to avoid the obstacle by taking the vehicle right through. I don't know why, but my confidence levels are less while driving the Beat, in terms of visibility. The result of which is really frustrating - the car at the back or the sides tends to peep into the gap in front of my vehicle and the vehicle in front. This way, I am always pushed towards the back of the herd.
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Old 7th March 2012, 21:52   #13
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Default Re: A driver's perspective : Maruti Ritz, Chevrolet Beat and Hyundai i10

Thoma, that was an awesome detailed comparison. I know only about the i10 among the three, but you summed it up all. Perfect.

The only grouse I have about the i10 is the brakes and the 'swaying'. I switch between i10 and the Palio frequently and it take a bit of time to adjust the brakes. The locking of tyres have to do with the pathetic OEM tyres as well and I repent not upgrading the tyres after buying. The swaying is largely amplified when you take a speed breaker (abundant in Bangalore). If you don't crawl over the hump absolutely perpendicular, you are in for a total body shake up, and the oscillations will continue for some time!

I too looked at Ritz at the time of purchase, but was not impressed with the interiors and fitments. The Hyundai wins hands down here.
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Old 7th March 2012, 23:59   #14
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Default Re: A driver's perspective : Maruti Ritz, Chevrolet Beat and Hyundai i10

Quote:
Originally Posted by ani_meher View Post
Did he remove only rear or both front and rear head rests? My Beat doesn't have any rear headrest, and the visibility is OK.
Ani
Hi
He removed both the front seats head rest but after reading Thoma's post regarding whiplash injury think would be better if I dont remove it.Or remove the left front seat head rest whenever I go on a long drive alone.
My car also does not have them in the back seat.
Regards
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