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Old 9th March 2014, 15:56   #1
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Default From Beat to Beast: My Pre-worshipped Optra Magnum

The thought process:

All started when I went with my cousin to test drive a Skoda Rapid. A thought started processing in my mind to look for new car. Well, a Used “New” car. Cut to the past – I was driving a Chevrolet Beat, 2011 model, LT petrol. Bought it new from showroom and have been doing really good, except the fact that it’s a small car and I always had a liking for bigger cars.

I loved diesel machines for the torque and turbo feel. But again was keeping myself happy with the Beat saying that I would not need a diesel engine for the monthly driving I do which is around 1200 kms with some occasional long drives. But this time, having made up my mind to change my car, I wanted to go for a diesel just for the “push me back to the seat” feeling. So a decision was made to sell off Beat.

Initially I shortlisted Fiat Linea, Honda Civic (though a petrol, looks great and plenty available in the market), Skoda Laura L&K. Wife did not like the front end of the linea much and I did not like the 1.3MJD much, so linea was put on the back seat. Then was on look out for Civic and Laura. Read some reviews on Team-BHP for both and decided Civic could prove heavy on my pockets being a petrol and my drive being most in the city, I could not have managed the running cost. Found out couple of Lauras but with DSG gearbox in the market, now the question was – what if the well-known skoda horror especially with the DSG gearbox haunts me! So I put all 3 cars on backseat. Now what! No cars on the list! I started the thought process again. Read some reviews of Optra magnum and understood that people are praising the engine a lot and looks to be reliable and promising. Though the car is dated and nothing much exciting in it except the engine, I added this car to my list and made it a front runner. My wife sounded positive about the looks and premium feel of the interiors. So both of our check list was ticked for most of the questions. Went through all the ownership threads on TEAM-BHP and finally made up my mind to go for Magnum.

A few days of ad posting and responding - I got someone to do the business for my beat. Now, at the same time I was looking out for Optra magnum. There were plenty of them available in the used car market with impressive price tag. Main criteria was to look out for a less driven, single owner, beyond 2008 vehicle.

The search process:

LT TCDI, 2009 - Came across a white Magnum with 40K on the odo genuinely driven with records. The deal was through a dealer. Took the test drive and did best to my knowledge inspection and back ground check. Car looked clean except that the bumpers and trunk were repainted. It was early 2009 model with well-maintained body line. All research and discussions done, I sat for the negotiations. It did not go that well, since the car was genuine, the dealer wasn’t negotiating much. This went for a couple of weeks and I decided to increase my budget and seal the deal.

LT TCDI, 2010 - Just on the day on making the payments, I saw an ad on a website – 2010, Red magnum with 36k on the odo but the price tag was way higher than mu budget. But still dropped a message to the seller asking if he was ready to negotiate. I think luck swerved my way, he was up for it. Put the white magnum on hold and looked at this car. This is directly through the owner, so the ray of trust was higher. Saw the car and loved the color. Very well maintained, serviced every 5k, genuine odo and very neat bodyline. The owner explained all the history of the car. Took a drive and it was as good as new. Negotiated hard and the owner obliged to it. Got the deal finalized for a price little over the white magnum and paid the advance. Next day, made the full cash payment and got the vehicle home on 7th Jan 2014.

• 2010 Jan Optra Magnum
• LT (top) variant. OEM leather seats, fog lamps, ABS, chrome door handles etc.
• 36,379 kms on the odo
• Velvet Red Colour
• Single owner. Sedately driven. Bangalore Registered.
• Service history
• 1 year of insurance still left (until Jan '15)

Initial impression -

Likes:
- Amazing torque and BHP in a stock tune. There is always life available in the engine when you press the throttle.
- Spacious and comfortable inside. Enough space for 3 people at the back with good leg room.
- Spacious boot, enough for a family for a weekend trip.
- Car looks very well designed. The design flow from one end to another is neatly curved, no abrupt ending.
- All independent suspension. The ride is comfortable. A tyre upgrade might be needed though for better grip and ride quality at highways.
- Hides the speed. Doing 100 kmph would give a feeling of 70 - 80 kmph.
- ABS – gives you the confidence to handle the power it delivers
- Cooled glove box.

Dislikes:
- No fancy gadgets or gizmos. Not even a MID on the dashboard.
- Though the center console looks fair enough, overall it’s a dull looking dashboard. A green calculator style backlight doesn’t impress me much.
- Engine clatter. Not as silent as MJD or Hyundai.
- Turbo lag and the low end torque makes it a little difficult in Bangalore city traffic. A tuning chip should help here.
- Average OEM ICE setup. Could have been better.
- Behavior of the AC. It’s quite weird compared to my other cars. More on this in “issues” section below.

The driving experience so far:
At the time of writing this review, I have completed driving around 4000 kms. So the total odo stands at 40k now. So far the driving experience has been excellent. The car apparently is in good condition. I have not got a chance to take it on a long drive but a couple of 20 kms free stretch drives have given me a good experience. I am enjoying the torquey motor a lot especially after moving from Beat to Magnum. It is making my ride fun and I just find a reason to take her out. Be it sedate or spirited, the car has got it all. Driving it below 2k RPM is also a pleasure as the car cruises steadily and smooth. It could become a pain if the RPM drops to 1k as you need a gear change and it cannot pull even in 2nd gear when I cross speed breakers. Serious problems with the low end torque here. Hopefully this should be solved to an extent with the planned RaceChip. But the beast would be unleashed if the RPM crosses 1800. The speedo just keeps on climbing in no time and all of a sudden I can see cars in RVM with some good distance. I have been shifting gears around 2000 - 2500 RPM in 2nd and 3rd gear which is giving me a great pleasure with a balanced feel of sedate and spirited drives.

Mileage:
The efficiency so far on a few tankful to tankful has been satisfying and varying from 13 to 14.4 km/l. This has been in city with AC on for 70% of the times and with moderate to dense traffic. My usage patter is mainly in the city with around 1200 to 1500 kms per month and with occasional long drives.


Design, build and transmission:
The exterior design is quite good though not as stylish or fluidic as the cars available in the market at present, but it is like a no non - sense car, it is simple. I quite like the build quality, the car looks solid and elegant. The chrome door handles gives it a good touch. The car is lengthy and gives you a feeling of driving a bigger car. The transmission though felt a little stiff initially particular shifting from 1st to 2nd but over the time, I have got used to it and now it feels manageable.

Interior, features and comfort:
The color of the dashboard could have been better and to my liking, I would have liked it black with some piano black touch. The quality of the plastic inside is good. It will not give you the feeling of cheap materials. It gives an airy feeling for the people sitting in the car. I do not like the plain looking interiors and feel Chevrolet doing a good job with Beat and Cruze could have done something better in Magnum as well. The seats are comfortable and being and LT variant it has the OEM leather seat in beige. It goes well with the dashboard color. The driver’s seat is height adjustable and there is a storage tray below the front co passenger seat. There is enough legroom for all the occupants in the car quite surprisingly in the back bench, even with the front seat pushed all the way back. As I mentioned, there are no fancy gizmos to excite you. It’s a basic layout with only the basic required information being shown to you. Nevertheless, the MID feature can be compensated by using an OBD2 reader and a smartphone app. Integrated Bluetooth can be compensated with plenty of aftermarket options available. The OEM audio is not that great but not bad either. I am planning to do with it for some more time before I upgrade the speakers.

Engine, performance, brakes:
No words here! Its top class. Though the turbo lag is evident and is quite painful to drive in the city with frequent gear changes, it is just a false hope before the turbo kicks in. Once it crosses 1800 rpm, it just takes off. The speedo meter zooms past all the numbers and you will be at 60 even before you get a chance to look at the speedo. The engine always has some power available whenever you need it. Press the peddle and she delivers! Overtaking is a breeze. The breaks are good and has ABS. Feels good enough to handle the power it delivers. The car lacks outright power if you are a light foot driver as the burst happens beyond 1800 but I have got used to it now barring sometimes when I don’t want to shift to 1st gear. The engine clatter is a lot in cold start compared to the Hyundai and MJD motors but gets a bit refined once the motor heats up. Nothing much of a complain here as it’s a diesel and the sound inside the cabin can’t be heard much.

Maintenance:
I have not visited the ASS yet for the routine service. The car was serviced just a few hundred kms before I took over, so will run for another few thousand kms and then go for it. Although based on my previous experience with Chevrolet, the routine service should be less than 8k. But the service interval is what something I am sure about. Every 5k or 7.5k!? That’s too soon for a diesel vehicle considering the running it will do.

Potential issues I am facing:
I see in the RVM that the car emits a cloud of black smoke when the turbo kicks in and the throttle is pressed. Initially I thought it could be the soot collected in the exhaust as the previous owner looked to be sedate driver, he might have never let that soot get out the smoke pipe. An interesting thing here is that the smoke settles down after high revving for 5 – 6 times. I do not see it further for a driving of ~40 kms and it starts building up again. So eventually the same repeats. Not sure what issue is this!
The AC cools a lot at night even at temperatures like 31, so much so that I have to switch the AC off at times to feel a bit normal. But during daylight, I have to run at 20 degree to feel the cooling and if the car has been parked in the sunlight then it would take considerable amount of time to cool down even as temperature is set at 18 degree. So I sense something is wrong here, especially the cooling at night!

Modifications planned:
RaceChip tuning box - More on this later.
Attached Thumbnails
From Beat to Beast: My Pre-worshipped Optra Magnum-_dsc0648_bhp.jpg  

From Beat to Beast: My Pre-worshipped Optra Magnum-_dsc0642_bhp.jpg  

From Beat to Beast: My Pre-worshipped Optra Magnum-_dsc0651_bhp.jpg  

From Beat to Beast: My Pre-worshipped Optra Magnum-_dsc0652_bhp.jpg  

From Beat to Beast: My Pre-worshipped Optra Magnum-2014309143420.jpg  

From Beat to Beast: My Pre-worshipped Optra Magnum-2014309143526.jpg  

From Beat to Beast: My Pre-worshipped Optra Magnum-2014309143501.jpg  


Last edited by DriveToLive : 12th March 2014 at 12:16.
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Old 13th March 2014, 15:08   #2
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Default Re: From Beat to Beast: My Pre-worshipped Optra Magnum

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 13th March 2014, 15:32   #3
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Default Re: From Beat to Beast: My Pre-worshipped Optra Magnum

Congrats on owning such a great car! My brother-in-law owns a Petrol Optra and one of his friends has the diesel one. The first time I drove the diesel one, I had no idea how different the engine was, its a true beast!

You are right on the interior part, its a bit dull with absolutely no gizmos compared to what's in the market in cars worth half the price of this.

Are you okay with the IRVM though? In both the cars that I drove, the IRVM was like a magnifying glass. I've seen that in other cars as well but the ones I drove, I think they overdid it.
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Old 13th March 2014, 16:22   #4
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Default Re: From Beat to Beast: My Pre-worshipped Optra Magnum

Congrats Mate, the car looks very neat. Appears that the previous owner has kept the car really well. How does the car behave on highways? I take it that you are yet the explore the beast on the highways. The car for some reason did not do quite well, not sure if it was due to the approach by Chevrolet.
Well put up thread
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Old 13th March 2014, 19:25   #5
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Default Re: From Beat to Beast: My Pre-worshipped Optra Magnum

Quote:
Originally Posted by fine69 View Post
The first time I drove the diesel one, I had no idea how different the engine was, its a true beast!

That's true, even I had no idea untill I drove it. Though I read a lot of good reviews about the engine before going for it, I wasn't expecting the feeling it gave me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fine69 View Post
Are you okay with the IRVM though? In both the cars that I drove, the IRVM was like a magnifying glass. I've seen that in other cars as well but the ones I drove, I think they overdid it.
I didn't feel it much, may be because I moved from Beat to Magnum, all chevrolet are on same lines!? Will compare with other cars and put it up in the thread if I get that feeling.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ku69rd View Post
Congrats Mate, the car looks very neat. Appears that the previous owner has kept the car really well.
Quote:
Well put up thread
Thank you very much ku69rd. It is apparently a well maintained car. Looking at the previous owner, I could not imagine him abusing it. That was also a reason for me the decide on the car even before driving it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ku69rd View Post
How does the car behave on highways? I take it that you are yet the explore the beast on the highways. The car for some reason did not do quite well, not sure if it was due to the approach by Chevrolet.
Yes you are right. I have not got a chance to take her on the highways yet. A couple of trips are planned this month and next. Will post the experience after that. I think people who knew the positives of the car bought it first hand. The car did not quite reach out to the masses. Even I wasn't aware of the car untill I went through some threads on our forum.
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Old 14th March 2014, 15:00   #6
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Congrats on the new car !! Can you post or PM me how much u paid for the car, ownership transfer, insurance transfer, etc as i am planning to get a used beast for my self. If you are in doubt about the excess smoke, why don't you visit the SVC once? The service can wait and if it is a small issue, u can get it fixed asap.
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Old 14th March 2014, 17:25   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rohit_Quad View Post
Congrats on the new car !! Can you post or PM me how much u paid for the car, ownership transfer, insurance transfer, etc as i am planning to get a used beast for myself.
Thank you. I paid 5.85L for the vehicle. Checked with different dealers and they were selling an year lesser model in the same price range. So considered myself lucky to get this. Currently the papers are under hypothecation cancellation, the NOC had expired when I submitted the papers initially so things are getting delayed. The RTO has given a turnaround time of a month to get the process done. Hopefully I should be getting the RC in a week. Once I receive it, I will go for ownership transfer. All works are done by me without the help of any RTO agent. So as of now, I have spent Rs. 138 for hypothecation cancellation.

Quote:
If you are in doubt about the excess smoke, why don't you visit the SVC once? The service can wait and if it is a small issue, u can get it fixed asap.
Had been to ASS to check on the smoke issue. They said it could be the soot collected over a period of time that is getting out under hard acceleration. For any further diagnosis they require 1 full day. I did not have time to leave the vehicle there, so I am doing some high revving at the moment the clear the soot. Apparently the smoke has reduced now and it’s not as much as it used to be. May be the case of some adulterated fuel as well. Will drive for few more days and head back to the ASS if things are not resolved.

Last edited by aah78 : 10th March 2015 at 18:09. Reason: Post edited on request. 4.85L -> 5.85L
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Old 16th April 2014, 19:09   #8
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Default Re: From Beat to Beast: My Pre-worshipped Optra Magnum

Finally, the much awaited packet has arrived. The car is now Race Chipped! Thanks Keyur for all the detailed installation process given in the below thread.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/techni...rojects-2.html

Followed the step by step guide given in the thread and it was an easy install. A 15 min task!

Initially impression with the chip shows a great improvement in the low end torque, which was very much needed. The car used to be dead in second gear at RPMs around 1k and a shift to 1st gear was very much required. Now, it easily accelerates from there in 2nd and the turbo lag has reduced noticeably. I feel it isn't there. The car do smoke a bit more in lower gears than it used to be in stock. But otherwise, there is great improvement in the drivability. Have not pushed her much at higher RPMs, but I feel a wheel spin in a shift to 3rd at peak torque is very much possible. It really takes off from the word “go” and goes on until 100 KMPH in no time before I realize the speed. I see a slight increase in mileage too when driven sedately. It’s too early to comment on mileage as I have driven only around 80 kms with the chip on, but OBD reader says so! I will write more on it once I crunch some good miles with the chip.
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Old 16th April 2014, 21:36   #9
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Default Re: From Beat to Beast: My Pre-worshipped Optra Magnum

Congratulations on the new Ride! The car looks in great shape as the pics suggest. Even I wonder why the car did not do well on the sales charts.

How much did you get for your Beat and how much did you pay for this Beast?

Wishing you many happy miles.
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Old 17th April 2014, 08:55   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skyrocket003 View Post
Congratulations on the new Ride! The car looks in great shape as the pics suggest. Even I wonder why the car did not do well on the sales charts.

How much did you get for your Beat and how much did you pay for this Beast?

Wishing you many happy miles.
Thanks a lot. I got 3.6L for my beat and added another 2.2L on top of that to acquire this beauty.

Last edited by aah78 : 10th March 2015 at 18:09. Reason: Post edited on request. 12.L -> 2.2L
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Old 14th October 2014, 12:52   #11
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Default Re: From Beat to Beast: My Pre-worshipped Optra Magnum

Hello Drivetoleave,
How much did the racechip cost you? How was the experience using the chip for the past few months?

for the record, I too drive an optra magnum diesel. Brought preworshipped at 38000 Kms and currently at 61000Kms
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