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Old 27th May 2017, 12:15   #1
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Default Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise

BALENO RS : A Compromise

The heading "Baleno RS: A Compromise" has hues of negativity. It is not that I was forced at gun point to go for the Baleno RS. Let me explain.
To put it simply we wanted to shift our 6 year old Honda Brio and were on the look out for a "hassle free" car with our other car being a Jetta TDI MT. (It is a gem of a car but cannot be termed as a hassle free car. It is black in colour but can be compared to a white elephant).
Here is a picture of my White Elephant
Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise-img_2267.jpg

Buying a Car: Beware of Spondylitis
Hypothetically speaking, in a lifetime a Shyam or a Ram would be in a position to buy a maximum of 10 to 12 cars. It is a different matter that if you are "Mukesh" or "Ratan" or for that matter "Sachin" then you may add a zero to "10" or "12"! In view of this and given the choices that we have taking a decision on buying a car can be quite tedious.

In fact when one ventures to buy a car and starts looking around, the state of mind is always happy. However factors like the number of choices available in varied segments, colour options, variant options, finance selections, insurance options, service pack choices will drive the hell out of you.

I may reiterate that with the choices around buying a car can also be a pain in the neck. In fact I developed spondylitis by constantly reading reviews of one car after the other on the mobile phone!

Since this forum suggests that buying a car is the 2nd important financial decision of our life I began with all earnestness.

Cars Considered
My requirements were of a hatchback which was fun to drive. It should feel like an upgrade from the Brio. The cars we considered were:

A. Fiat Punto (Abarth) & EVO Urban Cross
B. VW GT twins (TSi & TDi)
C. Ford Figo
D. Baleno & Baleno RS
E. Tata Tiago

The brief reasons for not considering the respective vehicles are given hereunder:

A. Fiat Punto (Abarth) & EVO Urban Cross
Me and my wife took a test drive of the Abarth Punto and simply loved the drive. The deal breakers were poor sales of Fiat cars and the fact that it cannot be considered to be a "hassle free" vehicle. I remembered a famous quote of a stock market analyst (Ashwini Gujral) who had once said that one should not gamble in the markets and buy risky stocks. He then proceeded to give the example of cars. He said that when you are out to buy a car you do not go and buy a FIAT.Period.

This somehow remained etched in my memory. I am sure that car connoisseurs would be squirming, but at times strange things influence our decisions.

So thanks to Mr. Ashwini Gujral FIAT cars quickly went out of the radar even though the Abarth Punto is completely a drivers car and is VFM given the sheer power (145 bhp) at your disposal.

B. VW GT twins (TSi & TDi)
Since I already own a VW the GT twins were not considered even though IMO the GT TDi fitted the bill perfectly. Having a Jetta for more than three years also made me realise that VW cars are good to drive but when it comes to service and after sales, the two market leaders (Maruti & Hyundai) are a class apart. The long term ownership of the DSG gearboxes has always been suspect and GT TSi was thus out of consideration because of the said issue. However for a person who does not own multiple cars the GT TDi would be my choice!

C. Ford Figo: The Reluctant Sellers
Gem of an engine in the Diesel variants. I almost bought this car. However the following aspects made me say a reluctant no:

1.The jaded look of the entire sales team at BOTH the showrooms at Bhubaneshwar. Simply put, they were extremely reluctant to sell a car. Not very enthusiastic for giving a TD; not sure about the features each variant has. At least in Odisha Ford needs to have a close look at what is happening about the dealerships.

2. No reverse sensors/camera

3. Lack of clarity of availability and waiting period of the Titanium+ (Fully loaded with six airbags) variants.

4. IMHO Gearshift quality was better in the Baleno.

5. Fear of poor after sales; Especially with the poor initial impressions of the sales team.

6. Poor numbers of the Figo/Aspire.

7. Lower tyre sizes (Even though the recently launched Sport variants have rectified this)a

I must mention here that my constant visits to the Ford showroom and after talking to the marketing team at Chennai I could unravel that they were coming up with a "Sports" variant. This helped me break the news first On Team-BHP. Here is the link - http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...-32-lakhs.html (Scoop! Ford Figo "Sports" variant coming up. EDIT: Launched at Rs. 6.32 lakhs)

D. Baleno & Baleno RS
When I started hunting for a new car the RS was yet to be launched and the Baleno had a waiting period of about six months. Me and my wife test drove the Baleno Diesel alpha variant immediately after the TD of the Figo and probably on that very day the deal was clinched in favour of the Baleno.

The car was roomier, had all the bells and whistles and most importantly had the key aspects that we were looking for. Deep down I knew that a Baleno was not the perfect car.

E. Tata Tiago
In terms of price and segment it was much lower than the Baleno. However since it was the new kid on the block showing a lot of promise it came into my zone of consideration.Undoubtedly it is a VFM product and has turned the fortunes of Tata Motors. For me the deal breakers were the quality of plastics inside and the huge reluctance of the showroom staff to make test drive vehicles available!

INITIAL PICTURES
Putting the best foot forward
Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise-img_3159t.jpg

At the Showroom
Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise-img_20170324_163429.jpg

View from the rear: Day OneMaruti Baleno RS : A Compromise-img_20170324_1948432.jpg

Side View: White Cars usually look biggerMaruti Baleno RS : A Compromise-img_20170324_163450.jpg

The Odometer on Day One; After a 35 Km trip from the showroom
Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise-img_20170324_194320.jpg

Last edited by raichoudhury : 17th June 2017 at 13:48.
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Old 31st May 2017, 16:42   #2
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Default BALENO RS:A Compromise

Colour Choices of the Baleno RS:
The colour choices are plenty and the most popular colour is Ray Blue and with black alloys it really looks good. However IMO the black alloys do not gel well with Granite Grey as the side skirts and accents are get lost with the body colour. The following are the colour choices:
A. Ray Blue
B. Pearl Arctic White (My Car)
C. Fire Red
D. Premium Urban Blue
E. Granite Grey
F. Premium Silver
G. Autumn Orange

Thus the same colour choices (as in the regular Baleno) have been repeated for the RS with no special offerings for the RS. IMHO a slightly different colour option would have made RS owners feel special a' la the recently launched Figo Sports variant.

I considered the Pearl Arctic White because it was a "safe" choice even though the Ray blue looks better. The black alloys look nice on white with black and white being contrasting colours. Of course some people may like the Fire Red and as they say colour is a matter of personal choice.
Here are a few more pictures:

The black and white rear gives the RS a distinct look.
Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise-img_3168t.jpg

View of the side profile; Black coloured alloys stand out; Wish they had been similar to the "Atlanta alloys" you see above in the Jetta.
Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise-img_3160t.jpg

Closer picture of the black alloys and the side/rear profile; IMO the looks of the rear end are one of the stronger features of the Baleno RS
Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise-img_3165t.jpg

The side skirts look good with the contrasting white.Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise-img_20170520_1618142.jpg

With the Bay of Bengal at the background
Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise-img_20170520_1617573.jpg

Granite Grey: Was one of the first cars the dealer got. Looks good when squeaky clean; Difficult to maintain in the longer run.
Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise-img_20170311_1849142.jpg

Fire Red: Projected as the "flagship" colour
Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise-img20170304wa0002.jpg

Another view of the RS in Red.
Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise-img20170304wa0000.jpg

Red and black alloys gel well.
Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise-img20170304wa0001.jpg

Side Profile of the RS in red.
Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise-img20170304wa0003.jpg

Last edited by raichoudhury : 18th June 2017 at 13:56.
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Old 31st May 2017, 18:47   #3
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Default BALENO RS:A Compromise

Booking and delivery experience:
Originally I had booked a Baleno Zeta Variant and the waiting period for the said vehicle was six months. In fact it was the Relationship Manager who suggested that I go for the Zeta variant as the same has all the necessary bells and whistles and is the more VFM offering. At the time of booking, I was also intimated by the Relationship Manager that the waiting period for the Baleno RS would be substantially lower and the original booking for the Diesel Variant can be converted for the RS Variant if desired by the customer simply by giving an e-mail. At that time the launch of the RS was just round the corner.

Keeping such a scenario in mind, I booked for a Diesel Zeta Variant and in case the initial reports of RS were good, we had the choice of converting the booking for the same.

As the launch date neared I only had a few online reviews to take a decision and here are a few links-



It would be worth noting that the Baleno for the European markets gets the 1 litre engine and has been reasonably well received there.

The overall booking and delivery experience was reasonably good except for the fact that the huge waiting period for the car takes a toll on the customer. I am not sure about others, but the response of the sales guy when one enters the showroom does make a lot of difference. IMHO the Ford lost out in the race vis-a-vis the Baleno due to this aspect. Undoubtedly it is a better built car but over the long run there are other aspects to owning a car apart from good driveability and build quality.

Of course the Team BHP review official review did help a great deal. Here is the link- http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/offici...al-review.html (Maruti Baleno RS : Official Review)

NGT Order vis-a-vis Diesel vehicles:
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) in April, 2015 had initially ruled against the use of diesel vehicles older 10 years in a bid to curb pollution in Delhi. Subsequently in July, 2016, the National Green Tribunal directed the Delhi Government to de-register vehicles that are 10 years old or older. The matter is now sub-judice before the Hon’ble Supreme Court and the last couple of years have seen a steady decline in the sale of diesel cars. These developments even though applicable to Delhi, were hugely instrumental in the decision to opt for the petrol Baleno RS as it appears that in the next few years, the said ban of the National Green Tribunal could be extended to other areas of the country. It also appears that Electric cars are the cars of the future.

On-road price and Extended Warranty
Since there was a huge waiting period for the normal Baleno, the RS was considered to be a “Tatkal” variant by many and it would not be out of place to state that the premium for the “Tatkal” Variant may not be justified.One can also consider the premium pricing for the peace of mind which Maruti offers generally. As there was a huge demand there were no discounts on offer and the on road price was Rs.9,22,227/- which was inclusive of Rs.12,602/- of extended warranty for two years.

Driving the RS
If we go by comparisons the RS drives slightly better than the normal Baleno and if one wants a VFM product then the Baleno with the K-series engine may be a more practical choice. For me the waiting period was huge (6 months) and the price that I was offered for my Brio in exchange made me take the plunge.

The car is easy to manoeuvre in city traffic and does not require constant gear changes. At higher speeds the vehicle feels reasonably planted but one does get a feeling that one is driving an extremely light car. This may be subjective and may differ from person to person. Since the other car that I drive is the Jetta I would never be happy with the driveability of a japanese vehicle. The RS fits the bill for me as it is for primarily city driving with some amount of "fun" quotient. In open roads it is definitely quick of the blocks and driving the car in the 3rd and 4th gear is a pleasure. There is some amount of lag in the 5th gear and it is more suited for sedate driving. Undoubtedly it is not a car for someone who is overtly conscious of mileage, even though the figures on offer are not bad. The NVH levels are good at lower speeds and if you drive at higher speeds in the third gear you hear the engine inside the cabin. However the sound is not unpleasant.

If one adjusts the seat height to the highest available position then the visibility is really good and the seat height of the car is such that you "walk in and walk out of the car". Bumps and potholes are taken good care of and the 16 inch tyres are a welcome step. The all round 4 disc brakes do their job well and make the driver feel confident at higher speeds. The steering offers some amount of feedback and is not like VWs. However, I must hasten to add that whatever little feedback it offers it is reassuring (and does not feel like a toy).

The tachometer is brightly lit and sadly it does not have a gearshift indicator. It only mentions the gear that has been engaged. Furthermore if you opt for the default settings in the Tachometer it always has the fuel economy bar right in front of you and IMHO this runs contrary to the supposed "sporty" feel of the car. If fuel economy is always at the back of the mind and is staring at you from the tachometer you would simply stay away from the accelarator pedal.

I must reiterate that the car does not require constant gear changes and the same is a boon while driving in the city. So far as the highways are concerned the car feels planted upto speeds of 120 Kmph and thereafter it feels a bit wobbly on the highways.On extremely good roads higher speeds may be achievable with a higher degree of sure-footedness.

The tachometer displays the Driving Time and distance after the drive at the time of switching off the engine. Here is a picture after one of my highway drives:
Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise-img_20170615_150757.jpg

(At the time of writing the present review I have driven it for 2000 Kms and the 1st free service is over.)

The Finer Aspects
A. The RS Variant has been slightly more fine tuned from the normal Baleno and the overall weight is about 50 Kgs. more. The suspension has also been fine tuned for the higher speeds. The disc brakes are a welcome change and braking from the normal Baleno has definitely improved.

B. The difference between the normal variant and RS are mostly superficial except the disc brakes and the one litre turbo charged (boosterjet) engine which provides power of 101 BHP.

C. For a car designed within the Central Excise norms of 4 mtrs, the hatchback offers adequate interior space and practicality. However, the driver’s armrest is meaningless, if you pull the seat upfront. The armrest would come into picture for extreme tall persons only.

D. At about 950 Kgs. it is one of the lightest cars in the country of this size. It feels the same at higher speeds. The feeling of absolute surefootedness is not completely present as one would find in the German vehicles.

E. The ground clearance at 170 mm is adequate. With the reverse parking camera and reverse sensors, parking vehicle in tight corners is a breeze.

F. Service at Home:
Nexa Cars have an option of free pick up and drop to the service centres and they also offer the initial service to be done at home. IMHO it is always better to have the car serviced at the service centre as all the minute details of the servicing like tyre pressure and washing cannot be done at home. In any event, the servicing in the instant case at my home was not to my liking as the concerned service representatives switched on the rear wipers in ‘dry’ conditions and such blunders in my considered opinion, are inexcusable. Such actions lead to irreparable damage to the screen.

G. Mileage:
Due to the turbo engine, the mileage is on the lower side compared to the normal Baleno. With mixed usage of city and highway the mileage is around 14.5 at the moment. A sedate style of driving may give higher figures. Here is a picture of the tachometer reading after a highway drive. The mileage has gone higher to 15.7!
Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise-img_20170615_150748.jpg

H. Air Conditioning:
The air conditioning is extremely effective and the automatic climate control works well in temperatures which are mostly upwards of 40 degrees. The absence of rear vents is hardly felt.

I. Key Fob:
The key fob needs some getting used to. At times the same is taken outside vehicle (say in a bag) when the engine is on and this creates complications.

J. Tail gate opener:
There is no tail gate opener near the driver’s seat and the same has to be physically opened. IMHO the absence of a tail get opener near the driver seat defies logic.

K. Fuel to be used:
The engine has been scaled down to accommodate lower quality fuel in our country and even though officially Suzuki does not recommend higher octane fuel, in the longer run it may be advisable to stick to extra premium fuel as the boosterjet engine would require additives as explained by the Maruti Bosses in the initial launch period. It appears that additives have to be used after 20,000 kms. The same may entail in higher service costs. (Kindly see the video of Mr C.V Raman along with the present review)

L. Problems with the reverse gear:
As found with the Swift, at times there are problems while engaging the reverse gear and for rectifying the same one has to engage the first gear and thereafter the reverse gear. These are peculiar problems which are Maruti centric and the engineers at Maruti may have a close look at this issue.

M. Gearshift Quality:
Apart from the minor issue of the reverse gear the gearshift quality is good having short throws. Vis-a-vis the Ford Figo and the Punto it definitely has the better Gearshift. However the same cannot be compared to the VW. The third gear gives a lot of flexibility and higher speeds of 80 to 90 can easily be achieved in the third gear itself.

N. Audio Quality:
The RS has the same ICE set up as the top end alpha variant and the same is decent. The "maps" on offer are above average and do not offer the ease of use of google maps. One must note that there is no Andriod Auto on offer even though the lower priced IGNIS gets it.

O. Fuel Tank:
The fuel tank capacity is a mere 37 litres and with a mileage of about 14.5 it seems quite small IMO. Surprisingly the younger sibling Swift has a capacity of 42 litres!

P. Rear Seat Comfort:
As stated earlier the rear compartment is roomier than most of the competition. However the quality of the seats are just about average in terms of under thigh support and cushioning.
Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise-img_20170615_070228.jpg

Q. No Vanity mirror for the Driver:
The following pictures would indicate that there are no vanity mirrors for the driver. There are also no lights on offer.

Passenger side mirror
Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise-img_20170615_070212.jpg

Driver Side Mirror
Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise-img_20170615_070142.jpg

No lights for the vanity mirrors.
Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise-img_20170615_070147.jpg

R. ICE not to be put on standby mode:
In a Baleno one should NEVER put the music ICE set up in stand by mode and switch off the engine. Otherwise the battery would completely drain out. Kindly look at the picture below:
Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise-img_20170615_063228.jpg
Basically one should not press the standby button seen on the top left hand corner in the above picture. This is also something which finds place in the instruction manual. A mistake in this regard and one could be stranded on the road!

Last edited by raichoudhury : 18th June 2017 at 13:43.
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Old 4th June 2017, 13:38   #4
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Other Points
Now the Nexa logo comes at the right hand corner. Earlier the same was at the centre of the rear windscreen. The rear lights get LED lighting.

The "RS" logo. It is the same as one would find with the Ciaz RS version. It would be worth noting that the "RS" history of Maruti has never been good. Mostly they offer superficial changes and take the Customers for a big ride. In the present case the following are the additions:
A. One litre 3 cylinder Turbo Jet Petrol Engine offering 101 BHP.
B. Tweaks to the suspension.
C. Black Alloys.
D. All round skirts (body kit) in blue/ gunmetal colour.
E. Tweaked rear bumper.
F. Front mesh grille.
G. Rear spoiler (slightly bigger in size)
H. Rear Disc Brakes (The normal Baleno has drum brakes).
I. Wider air dams in the front.

The Reverse Camera. It works really well. In fact it was the reverse camera which made me tilt towards the RS from the Figo which sadly does not offer sensors even. I must mention that at times the guiding bars on the Centre console take time to come up.

Rear Spoiler. Another feature to distinguish from the regular Baleno

More than adequate cubby holes.
Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise-img_20170601_103857.jpg

The floor mats that you see in the picture below were ordered online from Amazon (Auto Stark-Rs.1045/-).The fabric mats having the RS logo were not available with the dealer.
Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise-img_20170601_103802.jpg

The quality of plastics is reasonably good. It would be better than the Figo and at par with the Punto. The VW twins undoubtedly offer better interiors and plastics.
Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise-img_20170601_103843.jpg

Due to the sultry weather in Odisha opted for the Fabric seat covers. Ordered them from Amazon. It cost me Rs.1599/- (Pegasus Premium). The pegasus guys only suggested for grey colour. Ideally black would have looked best. But if you want to be practical (and compromise on looks) go for fabric. I compromised! (The picture would also indicate the dis-funtionality of the Centre armrest)

Parting Shot

What I like:

• Hassle free ownership experience of a Maruti.
• Roomy cabin.
• Ease of parking with the reverse camera & sensors.
• It's quick!
• Comes with all the bells and whistles.

What I do not like:

• Pricing - It's overpriced.
• Interior quality could have been a notch higher.
• Looks similar to the normal Baleno. Nothing special for the RS owner.
• Lacks the build quality and safety features of the European counterparts.

To sum up, no car is perfect;
Every car that we buy is A Compromise!
Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise-img_20170601_104234.jpg

Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise-img_20170601_104206.jpg

Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise-img_20170601_104135.jpg

Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise-img_20170601_104005.jpg

Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise-img_20170601_103952.jpg

Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise-img_20170601_103642.jpg

Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise-img_20170520_161657.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 19th June 2017 at 09:52.
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Old 19th June 2017, 10:14   #5
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Default Re: Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section.
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Old 29th September 2017, 23:11   #6
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Default Re: Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise

Hi,
I could sense some negatavity with the way you've written the article but nevertheless you covered all the aspects nicely.
I am actually confused between the Nexon, Ecosport(facelifted) and the RS. With Nexon, it's the constant Tata problem, poor QC and reliability. With Ford, everything is right, apart from the company. I am not sure if the company will last for a long time.
And that is what brings me to the RS. I just wanted to know more about the ride quality and the infamous rattling issues that Maruti cars are famous for.
You mentioned it's good only till 120, can you benchmark it with some other cars you might have driven extensively?
Also I would like to know you much have you driven the car and if you've any rattling issues or anything.

Thanks in advance,
Sanket.
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Old 30th September 2017, 19:50   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsanket View Post
Hi,

I could sense some negatavity with the way you've written the article but nevertheless you covered all the aspects nicely.

I am actually confused between the Nexon, Ecosport(facelifted) and the RS. With Nexon, it's the constant Tata problem, poor QC and reliability. With Ford, everything is right, apart from the company. I am not sure if the company will last for a long time.

And that is what brings me to the RS. I just wanted to know more about the ride quality and the infamous rattling issues that Maruti cars are famous for.

You mentioned it's good only till 120, can you benchmark it with some other cars you might have driven extensively?

Also I would like to know you much have you driven the car and if you've any rattling issues or anything.



Thanks in advance,

Sanket.

Bang on ! Am in the same boat as you are. Am cross shopping and Heart says compact SUV, but there is no vehicle to satisfy that urge. The Brezza is good but no Petrol, not sure about Fords plans. That leaves only the Nexon, but I don't like the design hence the inclination towards RS. A long term ownership review can really help seal the deal for me. Am also curious to know answers to your questions.
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Old 30th September 2017, 21:54   #8
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Default Re: BALENO RS:A Compromise

Quote:
Originally Posted by raichoudhury View Post
Booking and delivery experience:
Heartly congratulations on the purchase and I believe you have made the best possible compromise given the factors you have mentioned.

While the RS may not excite you, it will definitely give you a peaceful ownership experience being a Maruti.

Quote:
Originally Posted by raichoudhury View Post
In a Baleno one should NEVER put the music ICE set up in stand by mode and switch off the engine. Otherwise the battery would completely drain out.
This is ridiculous. If I lock my car from the outside, all power to the ICE MUST be cut off automatically.
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Old 1st October 2017, 13:28   #9
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Default Re: Maruti Baleno RS : A Compromise

Quote:
Originally Posted by NFS2024 View Post
Bang on ! Am in the same boat as you are. Am cross shopping and Heart says compact SUV, but there is no vehicle to satisfy that urge. The Brezza is good but no Petrol, not sure about Fords plans. That leaves only the Nexon, but I don't like the design hence the inclination towards RS. A long term ownership review can really help seal the deal for me. Am also curious to know answers to your questions.
Let me know if you get any information about Ford's future buddy!
And for me, the problem with Nexon is not the design, but only the niggles and overall reliability.
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