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Old 22nd October 2012, 16:39   #1
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Default Honda Brio - Found someone to love me back!

Note: Absurdly long post ahead.
TL;DR: I found someone to love me back!

My hunt for a car began a few months back.

My requirements, in no particular order, were as follows

a) A car to drive around in the city.
b) Good and economic service
c) Good mileage
d) Brand and looks
e) Petrol engine - looking at my usage pattern, this works cheaper.

The initial choices friends and colleagues gave me -

Maruti Suzuki Swift (Duh!)
Ford Figo
Chevrolet Beat
Nissan Micra
VW Polo
Skoda Fabia
Fiat Punto

I am not a great fan of American cars (not talking about muscle cars here. Just commercial cars on Indian roads.) So Figo and Beat exit rather early.

Two of my colleagues from my previous company drive the Fabia. I have been in both the cars (though I haven't driven either) and I loved it. One quick look at Team-bhp and I could see that negative reviews about the service overshadow the positives. I then made some quick inquiries about the Polo. Whoever I asked had the same response - great car, but pathetic service. One more off the list. Next came the Punto. What a car! I have always loved the Punto and the Linea ever since the respective launches. Beautiful and graceful. The way cars should be built. Unfortunately, the Fiat too received the same responses from owners as that of the other European cars in my list. Fantastic cars, poor service.

Finally what was left in the list were two Japanese cars - the Swift and the Micra.

I have been eyeing the Micra for quite some time and I can safely say that I would love to own the car.

I dropped in Sherif Nissan to take a look at the car and for a quick test drive. I was eyeing the mid variant and quite liked the design. Lot of people find the Micra feminine, but I like the huge bug eyes and the buggy design. Now, the folks at Sherif Nissan probably thought that I wouldn't buy the car for whatever reason, but they just weren't interested in selling the car to me. The sales guys at the showroom were lethargic, they were asking each other to attend to me and I actually felt like an uninvited guest. I collected the brochures and quicky left. No test drive done. Just one thought was lingering in my head - if the sales experience is this bad, what about the after sales experience? The very thought sent a shudder and I bid my Micra dreams goodbye.

The beauty of the entire Nissan episode - there has been no follow up calls till date.

I still love the Micra.

My next stop was Khivraj Motors (Maruti Suzuki) to check out the Swift. This was a few weeks after the Manesar incident and my hopes weren't high. There was no test drive car and the sales person promised to bring the car to my home or office for a test drive. I was eyeing the mid variant again and the waiting period was close to a month (This is for petrol. Waiting period for the diesel variants was six months.) I got a call from Khivraj a couple of days later and was told that a new shipment of cars was on the way to Chennai and I would get delivery within a fortnight if I booked soon. And then I heard about the faulty braking (in bumper to bumper traffic) in the Swift and I started getting second thoughts. This good friend of mine who writes for Autocar India told me that Maruti had changed the brake vendor. I somehow wasn't convinced. When I finally decided to go for the Swift anyway, the entire shipment that was earlier en-route to Chennai was booked. Delivery period was back to 1+ months.

I was back to square one.

I was considering going back to Micra (with a brave heart of course) or to check out Figo/Vista/Beat.

And then the Autocar India friend said something that would change my life.

Autocar India Friend (AIF): Macha, have you checked out Brio?
Me: No da. But honestly, I am not a great fan of the full glass hatch.
AIF: Dei! Don't judge the car by the looks da! It's a bloody VTEC!
Me: Hmm. I'm not sure da. The car looks small and puny.
AIF: Dude. Take a test drive first.
Me: I.. er..
AIF: Trust me. I test drove the car and I was smiling the entire time. Fantastic engine. It purrs like a kitten.
Me: No dude. I think I will skip it.
AIF: You're such an @$$.
Me: Okay da. I will test drive it. But I don't think I will buy it.

In the meantime, I was considering the Polo. Built like a tank, they said. The car does look well built. Good looks too. But the after service horror stories were too much to digest.

Cars came. Cars went. i10, i20, Ritz. Heck! I even considered checking out the Eon. Not that the Eon is a bad car. But it was not in the segment I was looking at.

And a few days later, AIF DMs me on Twitter again.

AIF: Dude.. wasup with your car search?
Me: Nothing major da. Still searching for the perfect car.
AIF: Did you test drive the Brio?
Me: Me.. er.. Yes.. I did.
AIF: You didn't test drive now, did you?
Me: Er.. hehe.. well.
AIF: I repeat, You're such an @$$.

And then I thought, maybe he is right. I shouldn't write off the car without even test driving it.

I called up Capital Honda (Kottivakam/OMR) and dropped in that very evening. I was greeted with smiling faces (something I never saw at Sherif Nissan or even Khivraj Maruti Suzuki). And then I saw the Brio - at close quarters for the first time! And trust me - it was love; at first sight! The car was beautiful. Bold. Revolutionary. And in Red!

Mr. Dharanipathi took charge and explained the car in detail. I was offered massive discounts (in line with Honda's September discount). I was initially eyeing the mid variant - S. I then decided to go for S(O) as it had airbags and ABS. But then Mr. D pointed out that if I opted for V MT, I would only be paying an extra Rs. 10,000.

We went out on a test drive and I found the car to be great. Suspension felt stiff. Lack of boot space was another negative. Lack of a rear wiper and defogger looked bad too, but I guessed I could live without these two. Otherwise, everything was fine.

My heart was almost set. But something at the back of my head felt wrong. It's a Honda. A premium brand. Service would be expensive. The myth (as I later found out) that every brand is bloody expensive to maintain except a Maruti played havoc in my mind.

I returned home and did some googling (read Team-bhp-ing).

And I found out that Honda's service is not that expensive after all.

I was still skeptical. I made a few calls to a few Honda owners (OHC, NHC, ANHC and Civic) and they assured me that though spares are expensive, service is definitely not. And even though spares are expensive, a Honda is so good that it doesn't really require spares if you maintain the car properly.

Later that night, again on Twitter DMs.

Me: Macha! Guess what?
ACF: You're booking the Brio?
Me: Er.. yes.
ACF: I knew it! Test drive done?
Me: Yep!
ACF: Awesome! Let me know! You owe me one!
Me: Of course!

I called up Capital Honda and got another appointment. I needed to get approval from the Home Minister (I'm unmarried. I meant my mom!) and the President (Dad, of course!). I had to take them on a test drive. Since they were outside and had to cross the showroom to get home, I arranged for the test drive at the showroom itself. I reached pretty early and found out the my folks were stuck in a traffic jam at Mylapore. I found out on Twitter that the entire stretch from Mylapore - Adyar - OMR was jammed and it would take them hours to even get out of it. The folks at Capital were sweet enough to be open till night fall for the test drive. These guys just won me over with brilliant experience!

Took a test drive. My folks liked the car. Dad was skeptical about buying a premium brand - he would be happy with an Alto or *gulp* a Nano! Both are great cars no doubt, but I definitely needed more power! I convinced him that Japanese cars aren't really expensive when it came to maintenance. Surprisingly, he was convinced rather easily. I think he too fell in love with the car!

I wanted to take delivery of the car on Nov 5th, mom's birthday. But mom insisted that it would be too embarrassing for her and asked me to take delivery any day after the 18th of October (for non Tamils, mid September to mid-October is called Purattasi maasam and Tamilians generally don't do things that are considered auspicious during this period).

I booked the car the next day - 26th of September. The quote given was Rs. 5,62,000 after cash discounts of Rs. 35,000. They said they would pay for the first year's insurance worth Rs. 20,000.

Freebies -

1) Backup sensor
2) Floor mats

Accessories that I opted for -

1) Side kit protector
2) Corner protector
3) Boot panel lining

They promised to paint the side and corner protectors same as body colour. They assured me that every Honda service station is equipped with a painting booth and the finish would be natural.

And then the excruciating wait began. 22 days. I literally counted the days before I could lay my hands on my shiny new Rally Red Honda Brio V MT.

Last edited by msnarain : 24th October 2012 at 10:36.
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Old 22nd October 2012, 17:15   #2
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Default Re: Honda Brio - Found someone to love me back!

And then the big day came.

I had informed Mr. D that I would be coming by the afternoon to pick up the car. I got delayed elsewhere and informed him that I would be a bit late. Went home, picked up my folks and went straight to Capital Honda. And I saw the car. There it was standing in all it's glory! It had just showered and the drops on the car made it a beautiful sight indeed!

Mr. D wasn't there. he had called me up and told me that one Mr. Vignesh would be attending to me till he got here. Did a quick PDI of the car. At one point, the guys over there asked me what I was referring to in my phone. And I showed them Team-bhp's mobile app.

Everything was in order. Accessories were in place. Electricals were working. Paperwork was perfect except for PUC. When I asked for PUC, they were like PUC? What's that? And I had to explain. They said PUC certificates aren't issued for cars these days. I will need some inputs from you guys here. HELP!

Car demo was given in detail. And the puja was done. And then the big moment - my dad received the keys. I was owner to easily one of the best cars in this segment - a smoking red hot Honda Brio!



It was weekend and I drove the car extensively.

I have driven around 100 kms so far and got a chance to drive the car in a thunderstorm, extreme bumper to bumper traffic and highway, all in one day. And to say that the car is mind blowing would be an understatement.

Quick observations:

Positives:

1. Fantastic engine - The engine is super silent while idling, purrs like a kitten while driving and growls like an angry cheetah when revved! And I did what most Brio driving Team-bhpians seem to have done at least once in their lives - I once thought I had stalled the engine and cranked the engine only to realize that the engine wasn't stalled in the first place! The engine is THAT silent!

2. Spacious - Do not get fooled by the exteriors - the car is spacious. And when I say spacious, I mean extremely spacious. The moment you open the door, space seems to spawn out of nowhere! Brilliant legroom and headroom. I'm 5'11" and I find the car to be comfortable over long drives - both in the front and at the back. In this regard, the Brio can be easily compared to an i20. 5 of us drove down to Tiruvallur district and the drive was comfortable. I should however add that everyone in my family is just averagely built. Three generously built people at he back - could be a bit uncomfortable over long drives.

3. Short turning radius - I could take a U turn near Hot Chips, Velachery where Swifts and Indicas usually take a part U turn, reverse a few feet before completing the U turn. Now that's brilliant! No U-turn is too small for me now!

4. Super light steering - With the Brio, parking and navigating potholes is a bliss! You can do impossible turns and park into that tight spot snugly and comfortably. The steering weighs on nicely at highway speeds though I haven't crossed 70 kmph yet. Will update once that happens.

Negatives:

1. Boot space - I wouldn't call it very less. The boot is deep. The only problem is you have to lift your stuff unlike conventional boots. However if you plan to make those airport trips, Brio's boot is a big disappointment.

2. Lack of features - My sister and brother-in-law took delivery of their i10 Asta Auto a few days before my Brio. Compared to the i10, the Brio is spartan. The dash looks minimal. There are no backlit lighting for buttons like power windows etc. Same for the glove box. There is no auto locking once the car gets moving. No CD player. No dead pedal. No driver seat height adjustment.

3. Lack of rear wiper and defogger - As mentioned above, I had to drive the car in a thunderstorm on day 1. That's when I felt the pinch of driving without a rear wiper. However, I guess I can live without one. Actually, I have never ever seen a car driving with rear wiper on!

Some other observations (In no particular order):

1) The car door closes with a nice and lazy sounding thud.
2) The tyre pressures are mentioned to be kept at 29 and 26. Isn't that way too low? Also when checked right after delivery, the tyre pressures read an atrocious 40!
3) Visibility from the driver's seat is brilliant! Way better than most cars.
4) AC is decent. Cooled the cabin within 2 minutes. Now how the AC performs during the infamous Chennai summers would be the real acid test.
5) Bumper to bumper traffic is not a task at all. Smooth and easy steering makes that an easy task.
6) The car literally fits in anywhere!
7) The car is a head turner!
8) Brakes are very good. I haven't really done extreme testing. But I found them to be quite sharp - both inside the city and on the highway.
9) I'm getting a mileage of 13 kmpl. I would blame that on bumper to bumper traffic - used the Vadapalani stretch of 100 Feet Road during peak hour traffic quite a few times. I have driven 350+ km so far. I'm hoping mileage would increase after some more driving and the first service. Will update as I drive more.
10) Head lights are good. Not exactly powerful. But they serve their purpose.
11) Luckily I got MRF tyres. The test drive car had Goodyear rubber and the road noise inside the cabin was awful. If I had gotten Goodyear, I would have swapped them for a Michelin. MRF is surprisingly good.
12) Horn is okay. Sounds too pedestrian. I would expect a better horn from Honda.
13) Ride is comfortable. I haven't really taken the car through extremes. But so far, on decent roads, the ride is comfortable. Had to take the car through the infamous Perungudi Industrial Estate, which currently resembles a dirt track circuit and the ride was stiff - the same stiff ride that I used to experience in my ex-colleague's Honda City on the very same roads. Is stiff ride common across Honda?
14) The rear power windows are an example of bad usability. Now what the hell were the engineers thinking when they designed these?
15) The rear windows roll down to only 75%.
16) The knobs and controls are fantastic. Feels so up market!
17) Gearbox is notchy. I spoke to the Honda folks and they assured that it will be smooth after the first service.
18) There's some rattling sound that seems to emerge from beneath the AC unit. Need to get it checked during the first service.
19) Surprisingly, the boot seems to gobble up whatever we throw in. Space emerges out of nowhere. But those airport trips would always remain a distant dream.
20) The entire rear seat fold down. Unlike Jazz where you can fold down 3/4th of the rear.
21) Music system is decent. Nothing great. Not bad either. Serves the purpose. I have been using it to charge my Android simultaneously.

Final word: A complete package for city driving. The car surprises you. The engine is fantastic. The cabin is spacious. Low on features, but high on attitude. I have found someone to love me back!

Last edited by msnarain : 24th October 2012 at 10:52.
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Old 23rd October 2012, 18:03   #3
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Default Re: Honda Brio - Found someone to love me back!

Exteriors:

Honda Brio - Found someone to love me back!-img_20121020_171210.jpg

Honda Brio - Found someone to love me back!-img_20121020_171256.jpg

Honda Brio - Found someone to love me back!-img_20121021_141234.jpg

Honda Brio - Found someone to love me back!-img_20121020_1712561.jpg

Honda Brio - Found someone to love me back!-img_20121023_144822.jpg

Honda Brio - Found someone to love me back!-img_20121023_144840.jpg

Honda Brio - Found someone to love me back!-img_20121023_144853.jpg

Honda Brio - Found someone to love me back!-img_20121023_144923.jpg

Honda Brio - Found someone to love me back!-img_20121023_145019.jpg
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Old 23rd October 2012, 18:07   #4
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Default Re: Honda Brio - Found someone to love me back!

Inside the car:

Honda Brio - Found someone to love me back!-img_20121023_145259.jpg

Honda Brio - Found someone to love me back!-img_20121023_144423.jpg

Honda Brio - Found someone to love me back!-img_20121023_145444.jpg

Honda Brio - Found someone to love me back!-img_20121023_144320.jpg

Honda Brio - Found someone to love me back!-img_20121023_145527.jpg

Honda Brio - Found someone to love me back!-img_20121023_145110.jpg

What were Honda's designers thinking when they designed this? Brio's back seat power windows. Design fail.

Honda Brio - Found someone to love me back!-img_20121023_145126.jpg

Last edited by msnarain : 23rd October 2012 at 18:11.
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Old 24th October 2012, 11:47   #5
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Default Re: Honda Brio - Found someone to love me back!

Note From Team-BHP Support: Thread moved from Assembly Line to Test Drives & Initial Ownership Reviews section. Thanks for sharing and congratulations on your latest acquisition!
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Old 24th October 2012, 12:27   #6
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Default Re: Honda Brio - Found someone to love me back!

Congrats on the purchase! I am looking forward to the Brio AT for my wife. The only thing that bothers me is the stiff ride, roads around my house are in pretty bad shape.

Could you post pics of the boot with some baggage and the rear leg room? Thanks in advance.
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Old 24th October 2012, 12:28   #7
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Default Re: Honda Brio - Found someone to love me back!

Congratulations MSNarain on bringing home the red beauty. This car will grow on you everyday as you drive it. Do not worry about lack of features, the engine alone is enough to keep you happy. Brio looks best in red and blue (I have a white).

I keep the pressure 32 all around, feels good. Mileage is 13 to 15 depending on traffic conditions, on highway it is 17-18.5. The horn is okay, but I am not happy with headlights, lack brightness as well as the throw. The MRFs are noisy especially on highway drives beyond 80 kmph. Brio is a bit stiffer than its elder siblings, but the ride is planted enough. No wobbling like behavior of tallboys. The music system is good enough for normal listeners.

To sum up, you will love the car!!
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Old 24th October 2012, 12:34   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vasanthn21 View Post
Congrats on the purchase! I am looking forward to the Brio AT for my wife. The only thing that bothers me is the stiff ride, roads around my house are in pretty bad shape.

Could you post pics of the boot with some baggage and the rear leg room? Thanks in advance.
Thanks Vasanthn21. The stiff ride is not all that bad. If you drive carefully over potholes, you're fine. Let me know about your decision. Will post some more pics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PranavDesai View Post
Congratulations MSNarain on bringing home the red beauty. This car will grow on you everyday as you drive it. Do not worry about lack of features, the engine alone is enough to keep you happy. Brio looks best in red and blue (I have a white).

I keep the pressure 32 all around, feels good. Mileage is 13 to 15 depending on traffic conditions, on highway it is 17-18.5. The horn is okay, but I am not happy with headlights, lack brightness as well as the throw. The MRFs are noisy especially on highway drives beyond 80 kmph. Brio is a bit stiffer than its elder siblings, but the ride is planted enough. No wobbling like behavior of tallboys. The music system is good enough for normal listeners.

To sum up, you will love the car!!
Thanks PranavDesai. Indeed. The engine is gold!

I'm planning to experiment with different tyre pressures. Will try 32 next time. I haven't gotten a chance yet to cross 80. Will check it out.

Last edited by msnarain : 24th October 2012 at 12:36.
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Old 24th October 2012, 12:38   #9
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Default Re: Honda Brio - Found someone to love me back!

Hello Msnarain,
Congrats on your Brio !
Brio in Rallye Red color looks cute.
Wishing you Happy miles with your I-VTEC machine.
Drive Safe

Last edited by VishnuNarayanan : 24th October 2012 at 12:40.
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Old 24th October 2012, 14:11   #10
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Congrats on your buy!
Can't agree more on the points you listed,being a Brio owner.
Safe drive.
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Old 25th October 2012, 01:13   #11
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Default Re: Honda Brio - Found someone to love me back!

Hey congrats buddy! I'v been eyeballing the Brio for quite some time. I am simply in love with that car! I love its design and the fact that its an awesome package. Only problem is I'm not planning to buy a new car for at least an year But if I do, I'm pretty sure i will end up buying this little puppy!

Congrats on your car again. Enjoy your car for all the amazing miles ahead! Cheers!
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Old 25th October 2012, 10:32   #12
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Default Re: Honda Brio - Found someone to love me back!

Congrats on the car.

I too have been driving a close friends Brio quite a lot of late. Its a brilliant car no doubt, extremely well packaged and awesome for effortless city driving. A couple of niggles I have noticed till date is roughness in the clutch (possibly due to requirement of lubrication, will sort out at first service), and notchy gearbox. The gearbox notchiness comes as a surprise, since Honda cars usually have very slick gearboxes. In comparison to the gearbox on my 2012 Swift (which is absolutely melting butter smooth, and engages with a rifle shot action), the box is quite bad. However, having said that, I can feel the gearbox slowly smoothening out over the course of the 550 kms odd that the car has been driven.
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Old 25th October 2012, 10:45   #13
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Thanks all for the wishes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thumpingheart View Post
Only problem is I'm not planning to buy a new car for at least an year But if I do, I'm pretty sure i will end up buying this little puppy!
You'll be making no mistake! Go for it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by arindambasu13 View Post
Congrats on the car.

I too have been driving a close friends Brio quite a lot of late. Its a brilliant car no doubt, extremely well packaged and awesome for effortless city driving. A couple of niggles I have noticed till date is roughness in the clutch (possibly due to requirement of lubrication, will sort out at first service), and notchy gearbox. The gearbox notchiness comes as a surprise, since Honda cars usually have very slick gearboxes. In comparison to the gearbox on my 2012 Swift (which is absolutely melting butter smooth, and engages with a rifle shot action), the box is quite bad. However, having said that, I can feel the gearbox slowly smoothening out over the course of the 550 kms odd that the car has been driven.
The clutch in my car is pretty smooth. I have had no issues with it so far. However, the gearbox is notchy. However, I've been noticing slight improvement in the box as I drive more. I have clocked close to 400 kms by now. Hoping for more improvements as I drive and of course, the first service. Will update more on this.
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Old 25th October 2012, 11:06   #14
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Congratulations Narain and a nice read!

I'm happy that you got MRF rubber on your Brio. My Esteem also had them for 4 years and you're right, they're surprisingly good - especially out on the freeways. Unfortunately my cousin too bought the Brio recently and he misfortuned upon the Goodyears. I think the current batch splits rubber from the two OEMs. As is an open secret, the Goodyears are lousy and awfully noisy. With your tires, I don't think you'll be switching to the Michelins in a hurry.

Anyway enjoy your ride and I look forward to a detailed ownership report soon.

Last edited by Omtoatom : 25th October 2012 at 11:07.
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Old 25th October 2012, 12:53   #15
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Default Re: Honda Brio - Found someone to love me back!

Congrats on the new Brio. Of late seeing a lot of Brios during peak hours. Looks like the car will soon become the hot favorite for urban office commuting.
Quote:
Originally Posted by msnarain View Post
Actually, I have never ever seen a car driving with rear wiper on!
Could be because the car moves forward, water doesn't fall as much on the rear as on the front windshield. The same as two wheeler drivers shirt getting wet in the front, but remaining dry at the back during not so heavy downpour. Even i don't keep the rear wiper 'on' all the time during rains. It's switched on periodically for a couple of wipes and switched off for the majority of the drive.
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