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Old 22nd January 2017, 22:18   #1
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Default Marathon Mile Muncher: Ford Aspire TDCi TAXI @ 50,000 km

This will be the ownership review of my Ford Aspire 1.5L TDCi (Diesel), registered as a Taxi and driven solely by my drivers. The most I get to drive this car is only during fuel fill-ups. I'm trying to write a short review of the ownership experience and the pros and cons of this car.

Since most of the points are covered in detail in the official review, I will concentrate on the review only from my perspective.

Reasons for choosing this car:
Being a taxi, the primary requirements were
• VFM
• Fuel efficiency
• Reliability
• Low maintenance
Having owned the previous-gen Figo TDCi, I was confident about the reliability and low maintenance of Ford cars. Except for a couple of instances, my Figo has performed flawlessly and this was one of the strong reason for choosing another Ford car. One more convincing reason was that my BIL has a Aspire, my close friend has a Aspire and I have received very positive feedback from them (It's a different matter that I was the one who advised them to go for the Aspire during their respective purchases) Also, going by the official review on T-BHP and other ownership reviews on the forum, Aspire was a no-brainer for me.


Some pics of the beauty
Marathon Mile Muncher: Ford Aspire TDCi TAXI @ 50,000 km-img_4053.jpg
Marathon Mile Muncher: Ford Aspire TDCi TAXI @ 50,000 km-img_4052.jpg
Marathon Mile Muncher: Ford Aspire TDCi TAXI @ 50,000 km-img_4054.jpg


Likes:
Apart from the reasons mentioned above for choosing this car, the things that I like are:
• Dual airbags even on the ambiente variant.
• Chilling Air-con.
• Suspension tuned for a comfortable ride.
• Spacious and airy interiors (Compact sedan standards)
• Awesome looks


Dislikes:
• One of the major irritant is the colour of the interiors. Beige colour or for that matter any light coloured interiors are the biggest grouse for us tour operators but, even bigger downer is the colour of the carpet. I mean what was Ford thinking when choosing the colour of the carpet - A beige-ish coloured carpet
• No rear power windows(Ambiente variant).
• Tyre noise. The MRFs that came with the car are terrible and make a lot of noise even at moderate speeds.
• Driver seat height - According to me, Ford should have fixed the driver seat base a tad higher because even though I'm 5'11", I find myself sitting 'down' instead of a bit upright position.


Alternatives considered: Literally None
Some of alternatives were considered just at the back of my mind but none of them worthy enough to even go for a TD.
1. Hyundai Xcent: The biggest downer was the mediocre 1.1 diesel engine which will have limited highway cruising abilities.

2. Honda Amaze: Honda's diesel mill is not the most refined of the lot and is very clattery. Amaze' brake-pads and discs are also known to wear out a lot earlier than expected and going by the reviews on Tbhp, I was not very confident about it.

3. Maruti Suzuki DZire: Well, rejecting this is quite debatable but, first thing is the FE. The FE which I get in the Aspire is too good to ignore. I mean 18+ kmpl in city with the air con w.r.t. 15+ for the DZire is simply marvellous. Secondly, Ford cars are quite cheap to maintain when compared to a Maruti. Having owned multiple Ford and Maruti cars within friends and family and going by their service records, Ford spares are quite durable and thereby saving a lot of time and money on repairs and maintenance.

Other Options: Didn't even think for a Tata Indigo CS, Zest or for that matter any other car. Major deterrent was non-availability of 'compact sedan' by other manufacturers.


Cost:
The OTR was 6,75,000/- including zero depreciation insurance. This was including the additional expense of approx. 15k that is charged towards higher insurance and RTO as the car is registered as a taxi. I managed to get a discount of 65k on the OTR in addition to the 16k saved on the insurance which was done by me, so that brings up a total discount of nearly 81k.


Freebies:
Standard accessories kit that included 5 piece floor mat, mud-flaps, tissue box
ORVM and door handles were body-coloured.


Extended Warranty:
Didn't go for the EW because Ford offers two year 100k kms as standard warranty. In EW, it's only the months that are extended and not the kms so no point going for the EW as the car will cover the 100k kms interval well before the two year mark.


Booking and Delivery experience:
The booking experience was good but post that was a real pain. At the time of booking, I was assured by the sales manager that the car will not be older than a month or two but when I got the VIN, the car was 5 months old. I flatly refused to accept the car. But they were admant on providing me with that car only. This raised my doubts whether the car was used as a demo or display vehicle by the dealership. To top it all, the GM of the dealership instigated me to accept that car only within a day or two or else they will withdraw the offer and I'll have to purchase the car at full price after that. I had even mailed them a pic of the pay-order that was ready with me but they would not budge.

Finally, I had to resort to reporting the matter to Ford India. After the intervention of Ford India and a few con-calls and mails later, the matter was sorted out but I refused to accept the delivery of the car from that particular dealership. Since Surat had only one dealership at that time and because of territorial issues, Ford India could not arrange a car from any other dealership.

And as a special case, on 5th Aug. 2016, I got the delivery of my car directly from the Ford factory at Sanand, Gujarat


Driving experience in city:
As far as the driving is concerned, I must admit that the engine is very much tractable in the city, much better than my first-gen Figo. The in-city driving is simply effortless. You can cross speed-breakers easily in second gear and at times in third gear too. The car is eager to pull, be it any gear or at any speed. Just a tap on the throttle is enough and the car leaps forward eagerly. I haven't come across any car which is more tractable in city than the new Figo/Aspire twins. The drivability is directly reflected in the fuel efficiency figures and, if driven sedately, the car will easily give fuel efficiency of 20+ kmpl in the city with the A.C on at all times. Engine refinement is at par for the course, neither too intrusive nor too silent. At low RPMs, the engine is quite audible and only at cruising speeds is the car super silent (A major contributer is that the tyres make a lot of noise, thereby shielding the noise from the engine)

Some of the owners complain of notchy gearshift but personally I found them to be absolutely perfect. The clutch pedal though has a very long travel range and is quite springy as well. It doesn't cause any pain in the knees driving in traffic but it certainly causes discomfort to the driver.


Driving experience on highways:
This car is more like a mini-rocket on the highways. It has abundant power in reserve even at triple digit speeds. It has more than enough power for the highways too. I say more than enough because the steering feedback is no match for the power on tap. Whilst overtaking on highways is a breeze, the steering feedback is nowhere close to the first-gen Figo. I had my share of fun with the Figo, be it on the open highways or while cornering at speeds but I can't do the same with the Aspire. Even the straight line stability is not on par with the Figo. This is only while I compare the Aspire with the Figo but it is on par with majority of the cars out there.

But you expect a 'enthusiastic feedback' from a Ford, don't you?


Fuel Efficiency:
The average fuel efficiency is:
City(During daytime)100% A.C: 18+ kmpl
City (During night) 30% A.C: 21+ kmpl
Highway (Daytime) 100% A.C: 25+ kmpl. (FE on highway goes up to 27+ kmpl depending upon the roads and the driver)
Speed on highways is between 80-90 kmph and strict warning not to exceed 100 kmph.


Exterior design and styling:
Since the car will be primarily used as a taxi, exterior styling was not of much importance. It looks very stylish though and is one of the best looking compact sedans out there. My personal favorite being the front-end. Though the sheet metal gives a 'tinny' feeling, the car is holding up well even after 50,000 kms and there are no squeaks or rattles and the car feels as good as new.


Interiors:
Space is one of the highlights of the Aspire, both at the front and the rear. I'm 5'11" and a person of my height can comfortably sit behind my driving position. Space is abundant and there are lot of cubby holes at the front, in between the seats, as well as ahead of the gear lever. Each of the front doors has space for two bottles and map pockets but nothing for the rear seat passengers. They only have access to one bottle holder located behind the hand brake. The rear doors should have at least one bottle holder, if not more. The seats are supportive and offer a decent level of comfort. One grouse that I found is that the driver's seat is a tad lower than what I would have preferred.


Aftermarket accessories:
Since the ambiente variant doesn't come with an audio unit, I've installed Pioneer HU along with pioneer speakers on all four doors.
Leatherette seat covers and steering wheel cover were also installed. One downside of installing leatherette seat covers is that it eats up the space at the rear created by scooping of the front seat's back.


Problems/Issues faced:
After completing 1,000 kms, whenever I used to accelerate the car in 5th gear, there was vibration and humming noise felt around 80-85 kmph and after crossing 95 kmph the vibration reduced and the car behaved normally. This happened when I drove spiritedly or even if there was moderate acceleration. Only when I used to accelerate very slowly, I didn't feel the vibration or the humming. The technicians at FASS were clueless about it and could not provide me a satisfactory answer. Finally, the matter was reported to Ford India and a senior engineer was specially assigned the task of rectifying the problem. He test drove the car and after being convinced himself, assured me that the humming noise would subside gradually in a couple of thousand kms. He also mentioned that this same issue is present in other cars as well. We drove another new car and the noise was even greater in that car. After being fully convinced that this is not a major issue, I drove the car regularly and after the car crossed 2500-3000 kms, the humming noise had reduced considerably. But I must admit that though not very intrusive, the noise is still there. The other irritant is the rattling glove box. This has been fixed a couple of times by the service centre but crops up again after a few days.


Till the time of registration the car was driven only by me ensuring that it gets a proper running-in. The car was pressed into service on 24th Aug. 2016 and has covered a distance of nearly 50k kms till date. The taxi business is mainly dependent on three things - Driver. Driver. Driver. They are the most integral part of this business and can make or break a business. A good driver is key for this business and is also crucial for maintaining and upkeep of the car. During the initial days the car was not driven much but now it covers a distance of 6k-7k kms a month. Nowadays the car is rarely being taken on highways and it does duty mainly in the city catering to Uber customers. Two drivers drive the car in shifts and the car is literally 'On Duty' round the clock.

Recently I concluded a 1500+ kms trip to mahabaleshwar and the car has performed brilliantly without breaking a sweat and hope that it continues the marathon run in the years to come.

Last edited by auto_enthusiast : 15th June 2017 at 19:21.
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Old 25th January 2017, 11:48   #2
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Default re: Marathon Mile Muncher: Ford Aspire TDCi TAXI @ 50,000 km

2500 kms service update:

This service has nothing much to write about. All the fluids were checked and everything was found to be normal, except the vibration and humming noise for which I had previously reported. The car was washed and we were out of the service centre in two hours flat.

Amount paid: Nil
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Old 25th January 2017, 12:35   #3
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Default re: Marathon Mile Muncher: Ford Aspire TDCi TAXI @ 50,000 km

10,000 kms service update:

The 10k service was carried out on 5th Nov. 2016 when the odometer reading was 9,980 kms. The car was enroute chennai, so carried out the service at Ford A.S.S, Unique Automobiles, Kolhapur (Maharashtra) which is situated on the road adjoining the national highway.

Since the service was free, paid only for
• Engine oil
• Oil filter
• Air filter (company recommends change every 20k kms but I opt for every 10k kms)
• Sump plug gasket

Didn't go for wheel alignment and balancing cause I never get them done at any of the scheduled services. I don't go by the theory that alignment should be done at every 5k or 10k kms. I get it done only when it's necessary and that too from a specialist alignment shop only. My reasoning is that when the alignment is perfect, what will the service centre do?? Instead, some of the ill informed guys may even misalign the factory settings and ruin the set up which was fine earlier. BTW, I get the 5 tyre rotation done every 7-8k kms. IIRC, during the total running of 50k kms of my previous gen Figo, I got alignment done only once or maybe twice at the most. The OEM tyres on the Figo were good for another 20k+ kms.

One incident worth mentioning here is that whilst changing the oil filter, the spring of the housing in which the oil filter is encased, broke off. Even the technicians were perplexed as to how can that part break off but even more worrisome was that they did not have the part in stock nor was there any other Ford dealership in that city. On requesting the service manager, he agreed to replace the complete housing with a new one from one of their brand new cars at the stockyard. A big thumbs up to unique automobiles for understanding the gravity of the situation and going out of their way in solving my problem and that too for a customer who won't go to them again. (Because I stay at surat which is nearly 600+ kms from their place)

I discussed with the service manager and he too agreed that the housing should be covered under warranty but since the approval would take sometime and we were already very late, I agreed to pay 3714/- towards the deposit for the housing and if Ford approves the warranty, then they would refund me the amount by cheque. Next day morning, without my follow up, received a message that the part has been approved under warranty and my deposit amount would be refunded within a week. One thing I would appreciate is the way in which Ford India handled customer complaints/warranty issues All in all it was a very good experience.

Total amount paid: 1,900/-

Last edited by auto_enthusiast : 6th June 2017 at 14:08.
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Old 25th January 2017, 12:41   #4
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Default re: Marathon Mile Muncher: Ford Aspire TDCi TAXI @ 50,000 km

20,000 kms service update:

The 20k service was carried out on 30 Dec. 2016 when the odometer was 19,400 kms. Only the first two services were free and this being paid service, I did not opt for the standard 'Periodic Maintenance Schedule'. Instead, I took the 'Happy Pocket Service' in which they replace the following items:

• Engine oil
• Oil filter
• Sump plug gasket
and prepare the vehicle report card.

Apart from the above mentioned parts, Air Filter was also replaced for which I paid them over and above the 'HPS' charges.

The Happy Pocket Service of 2199/- is inclusive of labour charges as well.

There was some technical glitch in their system so I could not opt for 'HPS' package as a whole and each item was billed seperately

Here's the link: https://www.india.ford.com/owner/happy-pocket-service/

If I had opted for the standard Periodic Maintenance Schedule, the total charges would have been 4783/-

Apart from one or two minor things, I don't see any major difference between these two type of services but cost-wise the difference is more than double.

As stated in the previous post, I did not opt for wheel alignment and balancing and the car has been running fine on the original alignment.

Rest everything too is perfect and the car is performing brilliantly.

Total amount paid: 2300/- (for this service)
Total amount paid till date: 4200/-

Last edited by auto_enthusiast : 11th June 2017 at 20:13.
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Old 19th February 2017, 17:26   #5
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Default re: Marathon Mile Muncher: Ford Aspire TDCi TAXI @ 50,000 km

30,000 kms service update:

The 30k service was carried out on 12th feb 2017 and the Odo reading was 30,097 kms. As always, the car has been performing brilliantly without any problems whatsoever. Like in the previous service, went for the 'Happy Pocket Service' this time too. The following items were replaced:

• Engine oil
• Oil filter
• Air filter
• Fuel filter
• Sump plug gasket

There was nothing much to report apart from the rattling glove box which was fixed, again. Everything seems to be repetitive and skipped the alignment an balancing this time too as it was not at all required

Total amount paid: 4,000/- (for this service)
Total amount paid till date 8,200/-

Last edited by auto_enthusiast : 15th May 2017 at 21:36.
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Old 15th May 2017, 21:23   #6
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Default re: Marathon Mile Muncher: Ford Aspire TDCi TAXI @ 50,000 km

40,000 kms service update

The 40k kms service was carried out on 8th April 2017 when the odometer was at 39,600 kms. This is proving to be a monotonous ownership review but I'm not complaining

As in the previous services, this time too I went in for the 'Happy Pocket Service' (HPS) and got the following items replaced:

• Engine oil
• Oil filter
• Air filter
• Cabin filter (A.C. filter)
• Sump plug gasket

Alignment and balancing were perfect and are still on factory settings. Till date haven't touched the alignment one bit, neither at FASS nor at any of the alignment shops. On inspecting the tyres, approx 6.8 mm to 7.0 mm of tread was still remaining.

Total amount paid: 2,300/-(for this service)
Total amount paid till date: 10,500/-

Last edited by auto_enthusiast : 11th June 2017 at 20:14.
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Old 11th June 2017, 20:08   #7
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Default re: Marathon Mile Muncher: Ford Aspire TDCi TAXI @ 50,000 km

50,000 kms service update

The 50,000 kms service was carried out on 10th June 2017 when the odo reading was at 49,500 kms. The parts replaced during this service were:

• Engine oil
• Oil filter
• Air filter
• Brake pads
• Sump plug gasket

Since the brake pads had a thickness of 4.xx mm only, got them replaced for the first time. The new brake pads will bed-in after a few hundred kms. Regarding the alignment, the car is on stock alignment even now. Though very noisy, the tyres still have a tread depth of 6.0 mm to 7.00 mm. Went for the Happy Pocket Service this time too and the labour charges were at it's minimum. Paid approx 800/- for total labour inclusive of HPS and for brake pad replacement. The brake pads costed around 1,650/- only. As usual, everything else was running fine and the car still runs like new

While the sales experience at King Ford, surat was pathetic, the service at their 'Quick Lane' at udhana, surat is very good. And true to it's name, the service is really very quick, every time. This time too we were out of the workshop in two and half hours flat. The SA, Tausif, is reasonably knowledgeable and has never pestered me to go for unnecessary replacement of any parts nor for any unwanted treatment (engine waxing, cosmetic enhancements, etc). I was very satisfied with the entire service team even when I used to get my first-gen Figo serviced from them. Also the services are performed right in front of your eyes and you can keep a watch on literally everything. All in all a very good experience.


Total amount paid: 4,500/- (for this service)
Total amount paid: 15,000/-(till date)

Last edited by auto_enthusiast : 12th June 2017 at 10:45.
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Old 20th June 2017, 10:10   #8
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Default Re: Marathon Mile Muncher: Ford Aspire TDCi TAXI @ 50,000 km

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 20th June 2017, 10:24   #9
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Default Re: Marathon Mile Muncher: Ford Aspire TDCi TAXI @ 50,000 km

Wow;Auto Enthusiast ! Congrats on Aspire even though it's a 50,000kms delayed wish

Wonderful to know that it's working like a typical workhorse with zero major issues. And, since I own the same car, I can only concur and feel glad that I can expect at least another 20K kms of trouble free ownership

Look forward to regular updates and pictures on this thread as you race your way towards the 100,000 kms mark
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Old 20th June 2017, 10:32   #10
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Default Re: Marathon Mile Muncher: Ford Aspire TDCi TAXI @ 50,000 km

Thank you for sharing your ownership details! This helps to make people educate about the reliability and cost of ownership of Ford vehicles. It's a shame that Ford is not able to sell a lot of those, but then they have to blame themselves for their past actions.

They need to go belting on ads about the cheap ownership costs and also provide a 5 year standard warranty on their offerings to make people feel confident - not sure why they can't do it.

I'll definitely look forward to the 1,00,000 report and am sure that will come our way pretty soon. How much do you plan to keep the car for - 2,00,000 kms??
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Old 20th June 2017, 10:38   #11
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Default Re: Marathon Mile Muncher: Ford Aspire TDCi TAXI @ 50,000 km

Quote:
Originally Posted by auto_enthusiast View Post
50,000 kms service update
Total amount paid: 15,000/-(till date)[/b]
You have spent only 15K in last 50K KM I am sure this is much cheaper than 1.3 DDIS which needs EGR cleaning every 30K KM
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Old 20th June 2017, 11:27   #12
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Default Re: Marathon Mile Muncher: Ford Aspire TDCi TAXI @ 50,000 km

Thanks for sharing your experience. What is does for us is that it just fast-forwards the car life-cycle for us and lets us know what to expect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by auto_enthusiast View Post
10,000 kms service update:
On requesting the service manager, he agreed to replace the complete housing with a new one from one of their brand new cars at the stockyard.
Now this is something to worry about, if it means what it reads. So someone is going to get a brand new car that is not really brand new and has been fiddled with. There is no equivalent of factory fit. This I think is not correct on the dealer's part and it is scary to know dealer is trading off your car parts.
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Old 20th June 2017, 11:47   #13
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Default Re: Marathon Mile Muncher: Ford Aspire TDCi TAXI @ 50,000 km

Great review! Thank you for sharing.

I am amazed at how less Ford services cost (~30p per km run). Just to put numbers in perspective, I have spent around 60p per kilometer for my i-Dtec Jazz. Can you please share how much is the amount of Engine oil that the engine takes and whether you just topped up the Engine oil or drained/replaced oil oil every 10,000 kilometers? How hard is the clutch in your car - one reason I went for Jazz over Aspire diesel.

Perspective of the common man is what is hurting Ford in India. Low service cost, excellent mileage (at par with the i-Dtec and more than 1.3DDiS) and reliable cars, what more is needed by Ford to sell cars in India?
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Old 20th June 2017, 12:12   #14
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Default Re: Marathon Mile Muncher: Ford Aspire TDCi TAXI @ 50,000 km

Quote:
Originally Posted by auto_enthusiast View Post
And as a special case, on 5th Aug. 2016, I got the delivery of my car directly from the Ford factory at Sanand, Gujarat
I'd feel the same about the dealer. Trust is something once lost cannot be rebuilt again so easily. Good job by Ford to take care of your situation. Do you have pictures of the delivery at the factory?

Quote:
Recently I concluded a 1500+ kms trip to mahabaleshwar and the car has performed brilliantly without breaking a sweat and hope that it continues the marathon run in the years to come.
Since this is a commercial registration, I'm guessing you got the permit for 2 states? How much did it cost?

Quote:
Originally Posted by auto_enthusiast View Post
50,000 kms service update
...
Total amount paid: 4,500/- (for this service)
Total amount paid: 15,000/-(till date)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.Naren View Post
You have spent only 15K in last 50K KM I am sure this is much cheaper than 1.3 DDIS which needs EGR cleaning every 30K KM
Hell, this is cheaper than my petrol Alto K10
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Old 20th June 2017, 12:45   #15
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Default Re: Marathon Mile Muncher: Ford Aspire TDCi TAXI @ 50,000 km

Wow .. Ford is really doing great when it comes to pocket friendly ownership experience. I also vouch for the driving experience of earlier gen Figo what a machine it was.
One of the experience I would like to share is I used to own Alto Lxi(2010 model) and whenever it is serviced through MASS, I used to get bills in the vicinity of 5k. Once i serviced my friends Figo on his behalf since the service center is near my office and i was surprised to get the bill of 4200 (60,000 Service) for a diesel car which is way less than my expectation.That was an eye opener moment for me, Maruti is no where cheap to maintain.
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