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Old 7th May 2012, 12:29   #1
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Default A Beautiful inFLUENCE - My Renault Fluence ! 5,000 kms Update

Catching a FLU

After a 10month 24,000km long love-hate relationship with my Scorpio VLX, I was itching to change my vehicle. I loved the high seating and 'tackle any road condition' demeanor of the Scorpio but absolutely loathed the Build Quality and the Ride.

After the Scorpio I was pretty certain my next car would be an SUV. An SUV's ability to tackle bad roads in Mumbai and to bully rickshaws and bikes out of the way was incentive enough. I had taken a look at the XUV 5OO, but honestly I was very put off with Mahindra. The Endeavor was too long in the tooth, cramped and expensive. I didn't like the Fortuner's image. I craved for an X1, but finances weren't permitting. The Duster's launch just kept getting postponed and I wasn't sure how long it would be before it launched. This is when I started thinking of getting a Sedan again. I had been driving my colleague's Fluidic Verna CRDi and the acceleration and smooth gearshifts made me crave a sedan again.

I was in anticipation of the Union Budget and expecting some reduction in vehicle taxes, but the reverse happened.
The increase in the taxes, brought out a flurry of cars advertisements from manufacturers and dealers for cars at Pre Budget Prices. Among these ads was the Fluence Diesel at 11.99lakhs. Now I had test driven the Fluence while we were looking for a Diesel Sedan as the family car. At that time it seemed too expensive for what we were paying for and so we ended up buying the VW Jetta TL. I loved driving the Jetta whenever I had the opportunity, but the car in its TL trim was too sparse and looked too Plain Jane for an automobile costing 17lakhs.

Inspite of the 11.99lakhs ad, I was a bit skeptical about the final price and models available so I rang up the Renault Showroom Navi Mumbai.The showroom took my number and details and arranged a call back, and gave me the On Road Price of the Car: 13.81lakhs (Navi Mumbai). They had introduced an “Advantage Edition” which was basically the old E2, without the engine upgrade and tax increase. This didn't seem like a bad deal, considering it was nearly 1.2 to 1.3lakhs lower than what I had been quoted 6months back.

The Incubation Period

So I set up a test drive and meet at the showroom on 18th April 2012.

The showroom had a Black E2 and a White E4. The Black looked Gorgeous and I felt the color really enhanced the looks of the car. I was smitten, and decided I wanted the car. Sat inside though and the interiors were again a let down. I had perhaps forgotten about how plain they were. The E4 interiors were much better. The E4 cars were the ones with the engine upgrades and newer lot so under the higher taxed range. This bought the onroad cost of the E4 car in the 17lakhs range. I felt this was definitely not worth it. Also there were no discounts, so I decided to settle for the E2. I convinced myself that black interiors were more practical.

The Fluence had a really comfortable rear seat when compared to the Jetta and the Laura. Infact it felt almost as big as a Passat. This was a very big advantage. I also loved the fact that there were very few Fluences on the road, so it carried an air of exclusivity. The fact that the car was only a year old in the market meant that people weren't driving around used examples of the car at half the price of the actual car (quite common with the Laura, Civic in Mumbai now). The quirkiness of the car was also quite fascinating for me. I know it's weird, but I like cars with character, something different, that you have to explain to people. The card entry was a nice party trick!

Medication - VITAMIN M

Now that I had mentally prepared myself that I really NEEDED the car, it was down to the finances. The price list of the car was as follows.
1.Ex Showroom Price: 12,12,176/-
2.Comprehensive Zero Dep Insurance: 53,044/-
3.RTO Charges: 1,06,974/-
4.Handling Fees: 9,000/-

The Total came up to 13,81,194/-.

Now I had a few problems with this quote initially. The first being the Handling Charges, so I told the Sales Executive that charging handling charges was completely unacceptable and there was the Delhi High Court Order preventing Dealers from charging such charges. This tactic worked and they agreed to take the charge off when I book my car. Secondly I also felt the Insurance Charges were too high and I offered to get the same done myself. The Dealer accepted the same. The Sales Executive also informed me that the Motor Vehicle Tax was going to increase from 1st May 2012 after the state budget by 4% for Diesel Vehicles above 10lakhs. This meant a 48k increase and to avoid that I would have to pay for the car by 28th of April 2012. This gave me about 10days, to make my decision, sell my existing car and get a loan on the new car disbursed.

I enquired for a Trade In for my 10month old Scorpio VLX Airbag and the Renault Dealer Gen Next offered me 8lakhs without looking at the car. This was a big turn off for me.

Anyways I left the showroom wondering whether I should buy a new car at all, and lose 2.6lakhs on the Scorpio.

The Waiting Period

19th April 2012

By now the bug to buy a new car and in particular the Fluence had bitten me. I called up a couple of dealers and enquired about what prices they could offer me for my Scorpio everyone offered me 8.25 to 8.3lakhs.

Now I had 2 options, list the car on carwale and look for a private buyer or sell off my wife's Beat and take a bigger loan. My wife liked driving (not parking) the Scorpio. Anyways I decided to list the car on carwale and see the response.

My friends urged me to consider a second hand Passat or BMW 320i. It was tempting and we checked up a couple of Car Dealers, but I was somehow unhappy with the fact that the cars wouldn't be in warranty and spares were expensive.

20th April 2012

I listed my Scorpio on carwale for 9.35lakhs. Immediately I started getting calls from dealers, private buyers and dealers posing as private buyers. Dealers again started quoting me 8.3 to 8.5lakhs after seeing the pictures of the cars. There were 3 or 4 Private Buyers who were ready to come down and see the car. This was scheduled for Sunday, 22nd April 2012.
Late evening Dad rings in and says he is flying into Mumbai for a couple of days.

21st April 2012

I pick up Dad from the Airport and explain to him that I was trading in the Scorpio. Though my Dad isn't the kind to change cars too often, he was never fond of the Scorpio so doesn't voice his opposition. He only asks what I'm planning to buy and whether the car is reliable and fuel efficient. I answer in affirmative to both.

22nd April 2012

Wake up late in the morning, and one of the buyers for the car calls me. He happens to live near my house, so drops in within half an hour. By this time two other people had called to get my address.
The 1st Buyer comes with his son and wife, checks out the car drives it for 200metres and is extremely impressed with the condition of the car. He immediately offers me 8.9lakhs. I was tempted to take it immediately but clarify that if I agree, the payment will have to completed by 27th of April 2012, since I needed to pay for my other car. He agrees, and pays me 30% of the car price on the same day. I call up the other buyers who were supposed to come to inform them of the sale. One of them tells me on the phone to give the money back and that he'd better the offer by 15k, and pay the entire money the same day. But I stick with the 1st buyer.

Now I'm going to be left without a car in a couple of days. So its either a Fluence or a pre loved German. Dad as always vouches for the quality of the German cars, having owned a few, and we check out a few cars, but none to our liking. I take Dad to the Renault Showroom and have a test drive. He isn't impressed with the interior quality but is happy that the rear is comfortable and the car is fuel efficient. We decide on the car, me for its looks and quirkiness and Dad for its efficiency. I hadn't carried my cheque book so couldn't book it. Color Options are limited to White, Black or Golden. They have 1 car in each color in stock. I tell them I want a white car. White we decide is the easiest to maintain in India and also the easiest to resell. I let the Sales Executive know that I will come back the next day or 24th of April (Akshay Trithiya to book the car).


23rd April 2012

I go back to the Renault showroom to book the car with the cheque in hand, and get into a verbal duel with the Dealership. In my analysis at the time of the booking I realize that are charging me 10,000 extra as charges for Registration of my Vehicle. I check with my RTO guy and he quotes me 3k for the same, so I tell the Dealer that I'll get the same done myself. They refuse to reduce the charges or let me do the registration myself. Very irritated I tell them to give me in writing they are charging me 10,000/- as incidental charges, which again they refuse. By now I have reached my wits end, and threaten them that even if I buy the car I will sue them for charging me incidental expenses and also report them to the RTO. They don't budge. So sitting in the showroom I type out an email to the Dealership with the CC to customer@renault.com and customercare@renault.co.in detailing out how they are fleecing me by charing me 10k, and that they should let me do the registration myself or reduce the charge to 3k.
After this I pay my booking cheque. By this time both the white and black Fluences are sold out, and the option is to wait for a new car to be shipped from Chennai or take the Beige. I tell them to let me know what can be arranged.

24th April

After 2 stern emails to Renault India and the dealer, the Sales Executive calls me visible shaken and offers to take off 5k from the Registration Charge if I remove my complaint with Renault India. I agree. Renault had obviously called up the Dealer for his malpractices. They later called me and asked me whether the issue had been resolved to my satisfaction.
The Bank guys come and collect my papers for the loan and approve it within a day. I go back to the Dealership and now there is a problem with getting the car in before the Road Tax in Maharashtra rises. The Dealership informs me that they can pay the Road Tax even if they have the Chasis and Engine Number, which they manage to get from the Renault Factory. The clause being that I have to pay off the entire money for the car before they pay off the Road Tax

28th April

I make the entire payment for the car and send a confirmation email to the Dealership, and inform them to pay off the Road Tax on a Urgent Basis to avoid any increase in taxes. The Dealership calls and cofirms that the car will arrive on 30th of April and they can schedule a Delivery by 4th of May 2012. I can take that!

30th April
The car arrives in Mumbai, the road tax is paid.

1st May
The Maharashtra Govt increases tax on Diesel cars by 4% officially.

04th May 2012

By now the excitement is killing me. I reach the Dealership for the Delivery by 12.30 and the car is decorated and ready for Delivery. I am made to sign some Delivery Forms and given copies of Reciepts. The Sales Executive doesnt bother to explain any features of the car. I didnt mind, because I had already read about it all. What was most surprising is that the Service Booklet was a bunch of stapled paper print outs! There was no book. Also the manual was the European Version with little or no changes. Also she doesnt have the Road Tax Reciept! Says she will courier them to me when she recieves it!

After an Initial Spin Around in the car with my wife and friend, I check the car into the friendly neighbourhood accessories shop for the Sun Films/ Tints and Reverse Parking Sensors. The car is a extremely difficult to manouvere without parking sensors.

She looks more beautiful with the Dark Tints. The Black and White look with silver (wheels and door handles) looks amazing. I had earlier thought about painting the black door cladding to white (like the E4 model) but refrain from doing so.

Post inFLUence


Looks:
The Car is extremely spacious and looks sleek and amazing on the road. People look at the car appreciatevly at Traffic Signals and Toll Plazas even though it is a year old product. I have had people step out of their cars and examine the car when it is parked. But everyone who sat inside the car was a bit taken aback by how sparse and simple the interiors were.

NVH Levels:
While driving NVH levels inside are pretty decent, though outside there is an obvious Diesel Drone. The Engine Fan Noise is extremely loud.

Initial Drive:
There is a complete lack of pick up when Engine Speeds are below 2000rpm, but post that mark it does well. You have to learn to keep the engine on the boil to get the best of the car. But then again when Engine rpms are high, it makes a wailing sound that I'm not very happy about. After a couple of days running around in the city, I took the car to Lonavala on the expressway. The car felt quite planted and I had no problems with the handling. It is a bit soft, but not unmanageable. On the Expressway it was easy to keep up with most cars. Acceleration wasn't as good as the Jetta, but not bad either. Wind Noise and Road Noise are quite low.

Ride Quality:
This car offers a really nice ride quality that both driver and passengers will testify to. It absorbs bumps and road undulations really well. On both my city and highway drive the ride quality was impressive. The seats are comfortable both in the front and the rear.

Interiors and Ergonomics:
All the quirks bite you in initial phase. The Steering Mounted Controls are difficult to understand and are fiddly. The Volume Colume Control on the stereo are soo small that you can't find it. The handbrake is placed and angled towards the passenger. The bonnet release is in the passenger side, which is a real problem whenever you go to a Mall or Hotel solo and they require you to open the bonnet for security checks. The Steering Wheel hieght and rake adjust lever is literally hidden and took my a good 5mins to find! Not only is the AUX input outdated but the positioning is also difficult to use.

Now for the Good Bits - After initial acclimitization the Steering Controls work quite well. Scrolling through songs, radio stations are a breeze with the roller. The Rear Centre Seat is comfortable useable and the Centre Tunnel/ Turret doesnt make it too difficult for passengers. (This is quite a big problem on the Laura and the Jetta). The Keyless sensor entry works really well and is quite useful when you are carrying bags in your hand. The mini MID works well, and gives you options like whether the door should lock automatically when on the move. The display is quite user friendly.

Fuel Efficiency:
The MID shows am average 12kmpl over the 400kms I have driven. This includes 2hrs of the car being stationary with the A/C on, while fixing the Sun Films. I think she should settle down to a 13.5kmpl on a mixed driving cycle. Thats much better than my Scorpio and slightly higher than our Jetta.

Overall:
Am I happy with the car?! It is a resounding YES! Looking at her every morning parked in my garage is enough to make me happy. The fact that she is a diesel, frugal, rides well and turns a hundred heads is just an added bonus.

Will keep you updated as and when the kms rack up!

Last edited by mohandasnikhil : 7th May 2012 at 16:37. Reason: continuation of topic
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Old 7th May 2012, 14:30   #2
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Default A Beautiful inFLUENCE!

Here are some pictures. Will upload some more in time to come!
Attached Thumbnails
A Beautiful inFLUENCE - My Renault Fluence !  5,000 kms Update-img_2820.jpg  

A Beautiful inFLUENCE - My Renault Fluence !  5,000 kms Update-img_2833.jpg  

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A Beautiful inFLUENCE - My Renault Fluence !  5,000 kms Update-img_2823.jpg  

A Beautiful inFLUENCE - My Renault Fluence !  5,000 kms Update-img_2827.jpg  

A Beautiful inFLUENCE - My Renault Fluence !  5,000 kms Update-img_2832.jpg  

A Beautiful inFLUENCE - My Renault Fluence !  5,000 kms Update-img_2838.jpg  

A Beautiful inFLUENCE - My Renault Fluence !  5,000 kms Update-img_2844.jpg  

A Beautiful inFLUENCE - My Renault Fluence !  5,000 kms Update-img_2855.jpg  

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Old 7th May 2012, 20:50   #3
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Default Re: A Beautiful in FLUENCE!

Moderator's note: Moving out to initial ownership section from Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 7th May 2012, 21:16   #4
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Very well written report, with all the details including the resale process of the scorpio. So you lost 3L on the scorpio ?
Your wife will use the beat, you will use the fluence, who will use the JETTA ?

Looks like the ergonomics are messed up in the fluence and rear seats are comfortable, as noted in the official team bhp review.

The car looks good,especially the rear and side profile.

Last edited by F150 : 7th May 2012 at 21:35.
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Old 7th May 2012, 22:10   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F150
Very well written report, with all the details including the resale process of the scorpio. So you lost 3L on the scorpio ?.
Thanks! Actually lost lil less than 2lakhs on the Scorpio.
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Old 7th May 2012, 22:24   #6
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Default re: A Beautiful inFLUENCE - My Renault Fluence ! 5,000 kms Update

Well written and unbiased report Mohan. Its a beautiful car. How do you find the driveability in the city traffic given the initial turbo lag?
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Old 7th May 2012, 22:38   #7
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Default re: A Beautiful inFLUENCE - My Renault Fluence ! 5,000 kms Update

Congrats on your purchase and happy motoring ahead. Stay around 2000 rpm, and you would love it in the 3rd and 4th gear.
In a few months,we hope you would give us a comparison between Jetta and Fluence.
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Old 7th May 2012, 22:49   #8
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Default re: A Beautiful inFLUENCE - My Renault Fluence ! 5,000 kms Update

Congrats on your purchase and white is looking good. It is an awesome car. Wish you many happy and safe miles. Little off topic but could you tell me what you did not liked in the build quality of Scorpio?
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Old 7th May 2012, 23:14   #9
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Default re: A Beautiful inFLUENCE - My Renault Fluence ! 5,000 kms Update

Congrats on acquiring the French flu. Very well written ownership report and nicely detailed with details. Please put up more pics of the interior as per your convenience. Don't know why but I have always quite liked Fluence styling and in white color it looks quite majestic. Certainly black color would have bought out the lines & curves more but maintaining would have been more difficult, this advice comes from a pearl black Vento TDi owner.

OT: If I'm not wrong, you have taken delivery from Renault Navi Mumbai dealer near Palm Beach Galleria Mall. Didn't knew Renault dealer existed in Navi Mumbai but looking at the pictures did a quick Google to find out there does exist one. Good to know another fellow bhpian from Navi Mumbai, increasing count huh. Well I'm based at Sanpada. Need to plan a meet sometime.

Enjoy many more miles on it and keep us updated with ownership cost and after sales experience.
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Old 7th May 2012, 23:20   #10
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Default re: A Beautiful inFLUENCE - My Renault Fluence ! 5,000 kms Update

Congrats on the new ride, looks pretty sweet in white!
BTW, did you ever consider a suspension upgrade to improve the ride of your scorpio?

Also, totally love the pic with the ganesh idol.
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Old 8th May 2012, 00:38   #11
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What a gripping story - my eyes still hurt a bit because I didn't blink enough while reading the report!

I have checked out the interiors of diesel Fluence and frankly, I like the dark colours. Beige is boring
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Old 8th May 2012, 08:33   #12
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Default re: A Beautiful inFLUENCE - My Renault Fluence ! 5,000 kms Update

Congratulations, and thanks for the review! Even though the features are bare-minimum on the E2, I feel the black interiors look pretty nice compared to over-kill of beige in the E4 (even the steering is beige!).
Since you own a Jetta TL as well, it will be nice if you can do a comparison of E2 v/s TL.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mohandasnikhil View Post
I check the car into the friendly neighbourhood accessories shop for the Sun Films/ Tints and Reverse Parking Sensors. The car is a extremely difficult to manouvere without parking sensors.
Oops. So are you now in the process of removing the tints due to the SC ruling?
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Old 8th May 2012, 09:43   #13
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Default re: A Beautiful inFLUENCE - My Renault Fluence ! 5,000 kms Update

Hey Mohan,
Congratulations. The car looks absolutely stunning! White is clearly the best color in the Fluence. Keep updating this thread and it would be great if you could post some more pictures of the interior.
Also, make sure you put up the whole driving experience as you keep piling on those miles on the odo.
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Old 8th May 2012, 09:47   #14
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What a write up !

I think the dark interiors look just great. Its just that people seem to be associating beige with luxury and hence the feeling of sparseness.

By the way you could add some beige carpets so that tyhe interior brightens up a bit if the need be. Enjoy your ride. Hell of a ride for sure.
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Old 8th May 2012, 09:59   #15
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Default re: A Beautiful inFLUENCE - My Renault Fluence ! 5,000 kms Update

Quote:
Originally Posted by C300 View Post
How do you find the driveability in the city traffic given the initial turbo lag?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rameshdude View Post
Stay around 2000 rpm, and you would love it in the 3rd and 4th gear.
.
Well like Ramesh has mentioned in his ownership post and msg, the approach to driving this car in the city or the highway is to keep the engine above 2000rpm. Its opposite to what we tend to do usually and upshift to keep the car in the lower rev range.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyRoadie View Post
Little off topic but could you tell me what you did not liked in the build quality of Scorpio?
Here is a link to my post of my 1st week ownership of my Scorpio.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/test-d...x-mhawk-2.html (SCORPIO VLX mHawk)

Let me tell you my ownership experience never improved even after the initial problems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Macfreak7 View Post
BTW, did you ever consider a suspension upgrade to improve the ride of your scorpio?

Also, totally love the pic with the ganesh idol.
I considered the Bilstien B6, but considering the cost and the fact that I wasn't keen on keeping the car for too long never got down to doing it.

All photo credits to the missus.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vb-san View Post
Since you own a Jetta TL as well, it will be nice if you can do a comparison of E2 v/s TL.

Oops. So are you now in the process of removing the tints due to the SC ruling?
I am considering doing the comparison. And the tints will remain till the ban is enforced by the local authorities.
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