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Old 5th August 2013, 21:26   #1
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Default The Grey Hound: My Renault Duster 85 RXL

The Grey Hound: My Renault Duster 85 RXL-20130719-18.38.30rf.jpg
What stated as an search for a replacement for our aging Maruti 800 5 speed ended up with the Duster upgrade. It was a long patience research and search for over 3 months. I'd like to credit the T-BHP members for the great writeup and reviews to help make me aware of the pros and cons of the various choices. I was open for any car below 12.5L that best matched all my requirements.

What I needed:
#1- Seating - We are 4 adults and 2 children below 10. So something that can take 5 adults comfortably will work. Seating width and shoulder room was essential.
#2- Ground Clearance - is essential with low body roll and bounce. I like to drive at a consistent speed and enjoy the ghats. The roads or lack of it in Kodagu makes it an essential.
I've added spacers or leaf to every car owned till now. I hate to scrape the floor. Even the Bangalore Mysore highway has humps the trucks are scared of.
#3- Luggage space - if it were possible we would see the house traveling along. In short bigger the better. Roof rack is not an option. My parking wont like it.
#4- My drive - mostly city. Something that can keep the needle stable at 100 for highway is fair.
Been there done it! No more crazy driving; even done 160+kph in M800.
#5- Features - rear windshield washer (a part of my brain keeps an eye on the IRVM, I am not comfortable when there is a block), good A/C performance, Electric ORVM
#6- Ex-showroom price below 10L. I could use that extra tax money on after market . Thats the max I would push for.
#7- Diesel - Have been driving petrol/LPG all along, this one should be a Diesel. Compared to Petrol, Diesel is 40% more efficient by design.


The TDs:
I wouldn't TD unless my requirements were met, no point waiting for the Car for a 15mins ride. Did physically check out many and got loads of brochures. The techy in me opened up an excel file comparing features, price, FE, Petrol to Diesel price break even on a variant.,etc.
To name a few that were on my favorite fell a bit short on my requirements; Skoda Rapid (#1&2), Xylo-Quanto-Scorpio (#2&4), Tata Aria (#6)
There were talks of EcoSport in the horizon as a challenger for mighty Duster, but the specs fell short on #1&3

Finally narrowed down to a few for TDs:
Mahindra Verito from Logan experience I know it is wide, spacious, comfortable and good GC. May be its the cab perception that I couldnt shake off my head. To add to it the sales guy brought a white car for demo. The variometric A/C does its job exceptionally well. This could save me loads of cash too. The cab feel was just too strong. The wife shot it down.

Tata Aria - Dealer response wasnt great my TD car never arrived. Tata started losing my trust. By the time they woke up, I had already booked the duster.

Nissan Sunny
- I was very excited about the caar. The feature list, the price band, GC, user reviews, all were falling in place.
Then the TD caar came home. Parents and wife got in, then there was the shock of my life. They said the space is same as our Spark. Loads of leg room and a massive trunk what about width. This was not expected. It was unbelievable, but then the ladies occupy the rear bench, I had to give them the benefit of doubt.
Got the measuring tape and voila! they were right the seating width translated only 2"inch more than my Chevy Spark. What a disappointment it was. My heart broke. All my research time wasted. Now I had to look for a new car. I wont spend money for the trunk space.

Scala CVT - dropped it after TDing the Sunny (#1). I find Scala CVT more value for money than the Sunny CVT for the default OEM equipments.

Fiat Linea
- this was not on my radar because of few ASS. But after Sunny/Scala debacle this was on No.1 position. Tank like build quality, wide seats. Liked the way the interiors are designed the door arm rest caves into the door to make more seating room. The media console is angled to give a cockpit feel. The TD was well rounded, the sales team have found a good route to showcase their handling and ride quality. Frankly, I tried my best to scrape the bottom, there were many opportunities, but it didn't happen. The Fiat glides on bad terrain. Barring the approach angle the new Linea can go anywhere in comfort. Came out of the car impressed. Only grouse was the slightly stiff ride, still better than the CAAR.
Although it fell short on #5 (no rear washer only defogger). The color choice is very limited. We liked the colors on 2012 models, very trendy. I would go for the suspension kit to fix #2 on 2012. Sad it was out of stock. Black was the only color we liked with 2013.
For some reason my younger daughter gave it a thumbs down. There went a brownie.

So I decided to give Duster one try before booking the Fiat.

Duster 85 RXL
- I was not very enthusiastic/keen on this one. I had initially looked at the interiors while I went to check out the Scala. The cost was at the stretched out end of my budget. There were no offers (they even charge for standard fitments which are usually waived off by others). So, finally waked into the Renault Whitefield for a TD. The Demo car was available and they arranged for a TD in no time. The Duster obeyed all my commands and felt good. Rough patches were not a problem any more. Most cars will smooth out a hump, the duster can dismiss potholes with ease as well. I got out of the car impressed. It ticked all my requirements. Next was to get it home it home for a drive with family. It was arranged promptly. I really liked the way the Renault Whitefield guys presented themselves. They were professional in their approach, valued time. My queries were answered by people from appropriate department who knew what they spoke and no-nonsense or beating around the bush. I also got to tour through the multi-level service station and compare the various Duster colors.

The choice of colors:
Woodland Brown - 7 of 11 cars at the parking lot were Brown. Opted out of it.
Fiery Red - We already have a Red car so had to ditch it.
Galaxy Black - This was our initial choice. Looks great when shiny.
Graphite Grey - It has a bluish tinct to it and looked better when dirty along side the Black.
Moonlight Silver - Shiny even when dirty.

The Grey Hound: My Renault Duster 85 RXL-20130418-11.54.42.jpg
Left to right; Grey, Black and Silver
Note: None of the cars is washed and have similar level of dust and rain dried marks.

I kind of liked the Grey black combination of RXL better than the silver railings and mirrors of RXZ. Anyway the RXL(O) and RXZ were failed on #6.
So the final verdict was to come between Silver and Grey. This was a tough fight. There was a divide in family between colors. Finally came down to voting and Grey won by a small margin.

What I liked apart from (#1-7):
- The boot space can expand into space for kids. Baby seat available as accessory, can seat two kids. (Future expandability)
- The wheel and body look very proportionate. Very few vehicles on our roads look that way.
- For some reason I liked the stupid ergonomics. Felt very practical. Was used to it by the time I drove home from showroom.
- The road presence. People tend to maintain safe distance.
- The presentation and demo by sales person.
- The floor of boot space is solid metal as the wheel is housed below. No weak spots on cardboard over wheels of sedan.
- Looks big but can get into some tight spots. Turning radius is small compared to its dimensions.
- One of the few vehicles that look good when dirty. Less cleaning.
- No turbo lag, drives like a petrol.
- The 85ps is a lean mean machine with enough power on the go.
- Trunk space is solid sheet metal as the spare wheel goes under. You can keep heavy load and also seat children without worrying about the board over the spare wheel, as in cars.
- AC performance is per my liking. It chills pretty well.
- The large window and light interiors give the car a very large and roomy feel. Actually feels larger than it actually is.

What I didn't like:
- The power window switch on the rear seat is not placed right. It gets pressed unknowingly by the resting elbow.
- No automatic door lock (ignition or speed sensing). It does lock on its own if the key is not in ignition.
- No burglar alarm. (car wont be stolen, but everything from inside can be silently cleaned up)
- Its a dust magnet. No wonder its called the Duster. Like the Thar this is one of the cars that looks good with dirt.
- Hard clutch. Being a petrolhead this was a little odd for me Initially. But fewer gear changes makes up for it.
- On Highway you get a feeling of a missing 6th gear. Could be because we know they got it in 110ps.
- The floor mats provided by the ASS are pathetic. Didnt even last for 2months/2000km. Already getting bald.

The car was ready in 3 weeks, I had to push it a week more for delivery as the celestial bodies didn't permit for the arrival.

The D day, me and wife took a Rick and Volvo ride to the showroom. I had informed of our time schedule, the car was gleaming and ready for delivery.
They had kept it inside the showroom floor. I was promptly given a demo of the various equipments and spare tire lowering. The SA meticulously showed all the things that came with the car (Mats, Mudflaps, Jack, Spanner, reverse parking sensor, tail pipe finisher etc)

Quick stats:

Delivered: Jun-2013
The seats had bar code of 11-May-2013, So I believe the car was assembled around this date or later.
Color: Graphite Grey
Dealer: Whitefield Renault
Model: HP RxL (85PS)
Odometer: 55km

Total Damages: Rs.11,73,962/-

- Ex-Showroom: Rs.9,81,000/-
- Road Tax: 1,52,449/-
- Insurance: 25,800/- (Bumper to bumper zero dep Tata-AIG)
- Handling: Rs.7,000/-
- Standard Fitments: Rs.2,913/-
- Accessories added before delivery: Rs.4,800/- (Reverse parking sensor and Tail pipe finisher)
The reverse parking has 4 sensors and a little digital display conveniently sticker-ed to dashboard left corner.
Sensors are pretty effective, starts displaying message from object distance of 1.6meters.
The Grey Hound: My Renault Duster 85 RXL-img_20130820_105807.jpg
The Grey Hound: My Renault Duster 85 RXL-p8090357_cr.jpg

Four weeks from booking The Grey Hound comes home. We did a small pooja at the showroom and brought it home. A second round followed by Dad.
The Grey Hound: My Renault Duster 85 RXL-20130612-16.26.17.jpg

A looks from the top
The Grey Hound: My Renault Duster 85 RXL-20130718-18.21.19.jpg
I prefer the smooth roof of my Duster and Spark compared to the ribbed roofs of many new generation cars.

Under the hood:
The frugal 85ps k9k engine is a lean mean machine with enough power on tap. During the steep hill drive to Ooty (36 hairpin bends), the Duster could climb with ease and no fuss keeping RPM below 2500 all the while in 2nd and 3rd gear (with rare 1st gear to stay with slow moving traffic). While most cars would stop and open bonnets to cool down or risk getting roasted, the Duster moved on with enough energy on tap for overtakes. The engine did not feel strained at any point. It is fun to drive around 2k-2.5k rpm, the turbo has kicked in by then. The engine temperature remained normal through the journey, went a notch up during the hill drive then came down. That behavior was expected.

Mileage:
I haven't done a full tank to full tank analysis yet as I felt it was premature to do that yet.
Anyhow, to reach the 2000km mark for the first service, we drove to Ooty. Ooty experience with pictures will come up shortly in Travelogue.
Since the purchase, I've done 6 trips to the fuel station out of which only two were full tanks (auto stop)
I've been capturing the stats since purchase on Carango Pro (thanks to 9thsphinx). The app has options to capture all expenses, including service and insurance. Only thing is, like all other apps, the kmpl calculator only works from full tank to full tank so the results might be skewed.
Name:  Screenshot_2013-08-19-23-34-16_cr.bmp
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However, as per the on-board trip computer, the worst mileage I see is 11.5kmpl and best mileage goes up to 22kmpl with an average display around 16.9kmpl.

My drive is mainly within city limits. The drives can be broken into 25% highway and 75% city/town and hill roads. All this while, I've been maintaining RPM below 2500 with A/C On most of the time and engine idling during short stops. I was doing this for seasoning the engine. As per manual the engine will settle down by 6000kms so should avoid rpm over 3500 till then. The current performance is itself good, still sticking to the routine for longevity of the machine parts.

1st Service at Whitefield Renault, Bangalore:
The car was ready for first service with 2009 on the Odo. I had pre-booked my service, so my name was written on a white board when I arrived at the A.S.S. The lady at the reception got my vehicle number and paged for the adviser. Although the appointment was pre-booked and I was right on time, it took an hour for the Adviser to reach me. This is my only grouse. Apart from that I am happy with what followed.
The SA Mr.Thyagraju gave me a quick summary of the service that would be undertaken (see checklist). While inspecting he gave tips on general maintenance and running of the vehicle. Advised to have the Lacring done. Some senior BHPians on the forum had advise to go for it, so I didnt have an objection.

The job card was made quickly. I was offered to go for LBLACH79 Engine Lacring and 3MEC Engine Coating. The total damages for which including taxes was Rs.683/-

This is purely optional. I went for it has its benefits, specially when the engine is not supposed to be water washed. A water proof and anti-static coating has its advantage. It is just being a little extra cautious with the expensive electrical.
The Grey Hound: My Renault Duster 85 RXL-1stservicebill.jpgName:  1stServiceCheckList.jpg
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The Grey Hound: My Renault Duster 85 RXL-20130820-09.32.56.jpgThe Grey Hound: My Renault Duster 85 RXL-20130820-09.35.56.jpg

Now 2079km down the line I am happy to have chosen the Duster.
View My Garage for more pics and specs.

The running costs and FE is maintained in this spreadsheet.

Last edited by HillMan : 21st August 2013 at 21:22. Reason: Including 1st service experience
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Old 5th August 2013, 21:40   #2
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Question Re: The Grey Hound (my Duster 85 RXL)

Congrats on your new Duster, its been raining Ecosport purchases for the past couple of weeks, and finally a Duster again.
I have one question - Did you factor the Ecosport in your purchase decision? When majority of buyers opted for the Ecosport, what was the positive factors in the Duster that swung your decision to buy it?
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Old 5th August 2013, 22:53   #3
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Default Re: The Grey Hound (my Duster 85 RXL)

Bringing home the Grey Hound
On delivery my initial ODO stood at 55kms which is pretty much the distance from Nelamangala to Whitefield, Bangalore.

A cousin of mine took care of getting me a nice number from RTO. I took delivery with a REGD. tag and drove 100kms right from showroom, making a trip all the way to Bidadi and back home in Bommanahalli.

My expense on Duster was not limited to the on road cost.
My parking space needed a major revamp. Currently occupied by my trusted Chevy Spark, I felt sad to put it out on the road. Anyway, you gotta do what you gotta do. The best way to do up the garage was to extend it by 2 feet. So it was done. Hired a car wash guy to wet wipe the Spark on alternate days.

The height including the root mounted antenna was already calculated before buying the vehicle so I had no doubt of it making into the parking space. The antenna angle had to be pushed down a little. Luckily it doesn't bang the roof on rough roads.

Extended garage to make way for the extra bulk.
The Grey Hound: My Renault Duster 85 RXL-20130731-17.58.40.jpg

Thats how the Grey Hound parks, just enough to alight on the right
The Grey Hound: My Renault Duster 85 RXL-20130722-12.37.00.jpg

My guide on the floor, go no further.
Name:  20130722 12.34.12.jpg
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The parking is very tight, so to protect the ORVMs, I went for 3M Scotchgard Paint Protection Film

Left ORVM
The Grey Hound: My Renault Duster 85 RXL-20130722-12.08.06.jpg
Right ORVM
The Grey Hound: My Renault Duster 85 RXL-20130722-12.09.02.jpg

Its a plastic like film that can be polished and can take some amount of physical torture. Cost Rs.1190+tax for the two mirrors.
Name:  20130722 12.08.19.jpg
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Size:  113.9 KB
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Old 5th August 2013, 23:03   #4
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Default Re: The Grey Hound (my Duster 85 RXL)

Quote:
Originally Posted by P76 View Post
Congrats on your new Duster, its been raining Ecosport purchases for the past couple of weeks, and finally a Duster again.
I have one question - Did you factor the Ecosport in your purchase decision? When majority of buyers opted for the Ecosport, what was the positive factors in the Duster that swung your decision to buy it?
My review came late, I got my beast in June. I had ruled out EcoSport for its 4meter length. While EcoSport has its advantages. The Duster rules for me. The EcoSport cant ship my family in one go (4 adults+2kids) For lesser pax and short runs I use my Spark which feels good on city roads and finds parking spots with no fuss.

Also the massive look give a feel good factor.

Last edited by HillMan : 5th August 2013 at 23:04.
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Old 6th August 2013, 03:10   #5
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Default Re: The Grey Hound (my Duster 85 RXL)

Congrats for the Grey Hound.
Color looks great,and that is some really tight parking space.
Also what kind of M800 was the one on which you managed 160+
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Old 6th August 2013, 03:39   #6
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Default Re: The Grey Hound (my Duster 85 RXL)

Accessorise:

As recommended for new cars on TBHP, I got myself LusterLeather covers.
Easy to clean and child proofs the seats to some extent. Mild detergents can be used. I am planning to get a Waxoyl cleaner for leather sometime later for keeping the seats in good health.

Imperial Leathers did a fantastic job with the fit and finish. They have all types of leatherette and genuine leather available out there. Have to order a week in advance.

But was worth the wait. Comes with a 2yr warranty on material and workmanship.

Please excuse the picture quality, it was raining heavy and night while the work was in progress.

Seats removed for fittings

Rear bench of Duster. Its all foam with embedded metal frame.


Men at work



Shivakumar owns the factory. Simple hardworking guy


Finished product


Pros:
* Easy to clean and maintain. Don't bring bullpen into the car thou.
* Minor water or juice spills are not an issue.
* Look and feel is premium.
* Touch, Feel and visual is similar to genuine leather.
* Comfortable for daily use.
* Does not heat much under direct sunlight.
* The padding to shape the seats provide little extra height.
* As you are getting a custom fit you can as well get the extra padding done as per you body contour to suite.

Cons:
* The seat off-course feels stiffer than fabric.
* Driving in hot weather without A/C might cause back to sweat. Haven't got there yet.

Fabric is any day better in comfort, but the Pros of Luster Leather over-weigh its Cons in long run

Last edited by HillMan : 20th August 2013 at 15:49.
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Old 6th August 2013, 06:30   #7
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Default Re: The Grey Hound (my Duster 85 RXL)

Congratulations on the ride, great to know that you only had to wait for 3 weeks to take delivery. Reading your thread, you have covered all bases and picked the car that suited you best, excellent education for me
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Old 6th August 2013, 08:20   #8
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Default Re: The Grey Hound (my Duster 85 RXL)

Thanks for sharing the review. Congratulations!

Quote:
Originally Posted by HillMan View Post
- The boot space can expand into space for kids. Baby seat available as accessory, can seat two kids. (Future expandability)
Ö
Ö
- Kids loved their space in the trunk. It future proofed my investment. On long drive I can put them there on a mattress
One suggestion. Use the boot for what it is meant for. Itís definitely not the space for kids. The folks at Renault may market the optional jump seats as a space management marvel, but in actual fact it is a big safety hazard IMO. Please get the kids seated in the rear seat, belted up with age-specific child/booster seats. Drive safe!
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Old 6th August 2013, 08:27   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vb-san View Post
Thanks for sharing the review. Congratulations!
The folks at Renault may market the optional jump seats as a space management marvel, but in actual fact it is a big safety hazard IMO.
haven't opted for it either. It is available as an accessory which I understand is not approved by RTO as well, for safety reasons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by akshay4587 View Post
Also what kind of M800 was the one on which you managed 160+
2000 Model 5 speed MPFI running on LPG (AutoGas). You can manually play with the gas mix on the vaporizer. The petrol cant hit that speed 130 at the max that too on a good stretch. Also the car needs to have some luggage to keep the momentum or it will decelerate rapidly and the light weigh will throw it off balance.

Last edited by Rehaan : 8th August 2013 at 17:41. Reason: Posts merged. Please use the MULTIQUOTE button instead of making multiple consecutive posts in the same thread. Thanks.
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Old 6th August 2013, 10:23   #10
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Default Re: The Grey Hound (my Duster 85 RXL)

Congratulations on your Duster. Amongst the now boring brown Dusters, I am glad you opted for something else - Grey looks fresh and different!

Just a thought - You could have let the kids take a toll on the fabric seat covers and only when they get really dirty (and unmanageable), get the PU Leather covers on.

Anyway, happy motoring! Drive safe.
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Old 6th August 2013, 10:44   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 9thsphinx View Post
Just a thought - You could have let the kids take a toll on the fabric seat covers and only when they get really dirty (and unmanageable), get the PU Leather covers on.

Anyway, happy motoring! Drive safe.
LOLz. More than little ones the elder kids were preferring to sit on plastic covers. Had to get rid of those.
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Old 6th August 2013, 11:11   #12
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Default Re: The Grey Hound (my Duster 85 RXL)

Quote:
Originally Posted by HillMan View Post
Cons:
* The seat off-course feels stiffer than fabric.
* Driving in hot weather without A/C might cause back to sweat. Haven't got there yet.

Fabric is any day better in comfort, but the Pros of PU Leather overweigh its Cons in the long run

Congrats on the new purchase, any particular reasons for choosing 85 Duster or you went solely by the 10L upper limit. But I heard that 85 Duster has zero turbo lag and easy to drive. Now after a few kilometers on the odo, you can go for a remap to make it close to 115 bhp, then you get best of both worlds.

The sweating of the back is the sole reason for removing the seat covers in my car, it used to spoil the shirts like crazy. Also, with a/c the covers used to sweat.
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Old 6th August 2013, 11:38   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motomaverick View Post

Congrats on the new purchase, any particular reasons for choosing 85 Duster or you went solely by the 10L upper limit. But I heard that 85 Duster has zero turbo lag and easy to drive. Now after a few kilometers on the odo, you can go for a remap to make it close to 115 bhp, then you get best of both worlds.
10L was one. But then I liked the drive. I felt natural while driving the 85. No learning curve for Diesel.

All other Diesels TDed had the feel of grasping for breath before the leap. I am not used to turbo lag.

I had checked reviews on various tuning box, these are plug n play. Can be removed anytime.

Race Dynamics seem to be promising with good service. Their office is also close to me. They claim 30% increase in power and torque. I'll wait to add a few kms before playing with the electronics.

Remap will void warranty, not worth losing on extended warranty. So won't go for it.
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Old 6th August 2013, 14:53   #14
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Default Re: The Grey Hound (my Duster 85 RXL)

Quote:
Originally Posted by HillMan View Post
Attachment 1122071
What I needed:
#1- Seating
#2- Ground Clearance
#3- Luggage space
#4- My drive
#5- Features
#6- Ex-showroom price
#7- Diesel
Did you consider the quanto? It ticks all your boxes. You can remove or retract the rear-most seats, and use that as luggage space.

Plus, the ex-showroom was definitely well within your budget.
Anyways, the purchase is already made.. so Congratulations!

Thanks,
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Old 6th August 2013, 15:16   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simple_car View Post

Did you consider the quanto?
Yes. The Quanto ticks most boxes. Good looks and VFM proposition.
Except for the bounces on normal roads. Highway stability is questionable. It went down on #2&4 for me.

Drive behind a Quanto and you will know what I mean.

Last edited by HillMan : 6th August 2013 at 15:20.
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