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Old 10th April 2008, 16:45   #1
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Default 16000 kms with Fiat Palio Multijet

Being passionate about automobiles and having a restricted budget for your first car can be quite painful! However, after a lot of deliberation I realised that it could only be big hatch for me! The list obviously narrowed down to the Swift, Getz, U-Va and the Palio (largely because of 4.5 lakh budget). I will not bore you with the long story of endless research and near-agony (mental largely) over the choice of the Palio Stile Multijet, but here I am writing this after 4 days and 200 kms of owning the Palio...

This is my first car but I have been driving (irregularly) for the last 12-13 years. Being a serious biker, though, I appreciate ride, handling and the fact that a powerful and comfortable puts a driver in a better position to drive safer and better! Now about the car....

Exteriors: Subjective topic. The Palio is a handsomely proportioned car and also utilises the larger external size efficiently to give more space inside, very much like the Getz and U-Va and unlike the Swift. Fit and finish are acceptable and maybe just a notch below its competitors.

Interiors: If you consider space, seating comfort and ergonomics, this is the car. One of the major reasons for me buying this car was the fact that this was the first car I felt totally comfortable sitting in. All other cars, especially the Hyundais didn't somehow get the correct geometry between the back, the posterior and the pedals. Quality of finishes is not as good as the others (being an Architect and Interior Designer, I would note that more than others, i guess). If you want a car that looks and feels great inside, this is not the one. Joints are somewhat poorly finished and plastics look strong and durable but downmarket. For me, ergonomics is more important. Each to his own.

Performance and Efficiency: Too early to comment, but I am trying to keep the revs below 2100-2400 rpm for the first 1000 km. The manual or any other source does not mention what is the max engine speed during running-in. I am typically downshifting at 1000 rpm and upshifting at 2000 rpm. That also means that I can't really enjoy the turbo "kick" which comes largely after 2000 rpm. Would request for informed opinion about the max rpm during running-in period from other members. In Delhi with the speed limit at 50 kph (and me broke after buying the car) I am driving in 4th gear most of the time but have tried 90 kph once at about 2400 rpm in fifth (I think!). Sorry for all the rpm talk, but being an old Pulsar rider, I end up watching the tacho more than the speedo!
After about 220 kms, the fuel tank has gone just below 3/4 full. Out of 47 litres, that should be about 12-15 litres so a mileage of about 15 kpl. But I am not sure till I fill up again! So I am not committing to that. The AC has been on at a max blower speed of "2" for about 30-40% of the time.

Since the first 100 Multijets including mine have an imported engine and gearbox, I find them smooth and precise. Though I think this engine is noisier than the diesel Swift and the gearbox doesn't go "khat-khat" like the Swift but its still generations ahead of the vague, rubbery WagonR and the Indica gearshifts. I have driven my friends Indigo DICOR a lot and I would definitely rate both engine and gearbox much higher.

Ride and Handling: I am a sedate driver and with my first car I am more careful. But I love the steering feedback! Power Steering feels heavier than other cars at Parking Speeds (some people used to driving Altos have told me "Power Steering nahin hai kya?"), but I am fine with that, because high speed steering feel is much better than the Getz. The Palios ride and handling quality does not need description and its still as good. I can take potholes like an SUVs and corners faster than I could on other small cars, so that's that.

One problem is the size. I am still getting used to twice the number of maneouvres required for parking as against my sister's Alto! Rear visibility is bad due to the C-pillars and the A-pillars hamper the "around the corner" visibility. A lot of reversing is by guesswork and the feeling that its a very strong sheet metal body! However I have faced the same issues with the Swift which is worse in this regard. And the Swift bulges near the wheel arches making it more scratch-prone. But I suppose a good driver could easliy tackle all that. I am not that experienced so for me, its still an issue.

Ownership experience, Dealer behaviour and ASS: To be fair to the much criticised Fiat dealerships, there haven't been any major hitches except three:

1. The dealer staff know next to nothing about the car! I could educate them. They don't have any accessories ready because this car is not selling! No seat covers (with a biege colour, seat covers are important), no Central locking (to keep the warranty, only one Autocop model is valid, apparently) and worse, no left side ORVM (mine is the SDE.) So no accessories except a flimsy looking gear lock which locks only at Neutral! The don't even offer you water to drink in the showroom! No comparision with Maruti or Hyundai or any others, I guess. But, they got the car in a week (for the Swift would have to wait for 2-3 months), just as they had promised! No delays or lies to the customer. Poor Service but no sugar-coated dishonesty so far!

2. They mis-spelt my name on the RTO registration. They have promised to fix it but I am still worried. It's frustrating at times.

3. The left side indicator does not self-cancel! The service staff said its a minor problem and can be fixed by "adjusting" a "ring" inside the steering column when I go for first service. But when you ride a bike, you always remember to switch off the indicators, so I am not finding it so difficult.

I have heard so many horror stories of Fiat service that I am keeping my fingers crossed! Lets see!

Summing up: In the end, it was the same old question by everyone: Why Palio and why not Swift or Getz? Why diesel when you only drive 1000-1200 kms a month?

I believe one should know ones priorities. I love driving and I appreciate driving comfort, as opposed to just seating comfort of, let's say the Accent or the City. I wanted a robust car which is good on the highways. I know ABS and Airbags are important, but I would also want more important passive safety like good build quality. Ergonomics are important but interior finishes are not top priority. After riding a Pulsar for 40,000 kms I have come to appreciate Ride and Handling as very, very important. I have also learnt how to keep a bigger safety margin. Hence the Palio Multijet! I have gambled on the Service Support, but then you don't get everything!

Why Diesel? The Stile and Getz 1.1 are both underpowered and overpriced in my opinion and Test Drive analysis. The Swift VXi with ABS is exactly 5 lakhs on-road like my Palio SDE, but that and the Palio 1.6 is beyond my affordability of running costs. I stretched my budget by 50 k which has pushed up my EMI. The Swift VDi is atleast 60,000 more than my Palio SDE.

So far so good. I am worried about the Service and Parts problems, but everytime I hit a pothole at 60 kph and get a muted thud, it seems worth it and much, much more!

More updates after 1000 km and First Service!
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Old 10th April 2008, 16:57   #2
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Alongwith turbos, it also seems to be raining Fiat MJDs ! Congrats on your purchase.
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Old 10th April 2008, 17:08   #3
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Congrats on your purchase architect,
Take good care of him and he will inturn take care of u as well
i am really surprised to see the number of people buying Palio MJD's.. good for them, Not that i have seen one on road,
However seeing quite a lot of Palio stiles on the road....off late

One thing is for sure, If Fiat gets all things right from now and beef up the marketing and ***, we all would be seeing a lot more of Fiats on the roads

Last edited by gods-envy : 10th April 2008 at 17:09.
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Old 10th April 2008, 17:33   #4
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looking at the mjds on the forum, it would be incorrect to say that the car is not selling. It might not be selling like maruti or hyundai but i feel its better than fiat standards.
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Old 10th April 2008, 17:41   #5
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Congrats on your new buy buddie.Why dint you post any pics?The launch of the MJD has boosted the palio sale not only for the diesel but for the petrol also.Good going from FIAT.
ram

Last edited by ram_hyundai : 10th April 2008 at 17:42.
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Old 10th April 2008, 18:21   #6
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@architect... Extremely well written. Congrats on your purchase. I am sure you wont face any spare part issue atleast for regular consumables. Mine is an isolated case it seems, but I havent faced any spare parts problem till now. But then I havent had any major shunt (touchwood!!!) and routine services required only regular consumables.
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Old 10th April 2008, 18:28   #7
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good review architect.I share your views very much.Dont worry about the ***.I m sure its gonna improve.....at least engine spares you can use swifts
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Old 10th April 2008, 18:38   #8
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good review architect boss dont worry, i guess FIAT will be pulling up their socks and have fun with the car, remeber ur driving a FIAT which is much better than the swift
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Old 10th April 2008, 18:40   #9
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Nice review bro !!! Welcome to FIAT family...
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Old 10th April 2008, 19:29   #10
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Congratulations on your new prized possession Architect. You mentioned there is only one Autocop model is which is valid. Which is that model, and what is the price for the same? One more query to the experts here, Does this mean that if you install any other model, is the warranty invalid ?
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Old 11th April 2008, 00:07   #11
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Thank you all at team-bhp for such a great & quick response to my first post and thread!

@Prasidhi, apparently only the AutoCOP 2020 (coupler to coupler) is the only AutoCOP which is warranty compatible with the Palio! But knowing the knowledge of people at the dealership, which happens to be one of the oldest Fiat dealers in Delhi (Vivek Automobiles), I am not 100% sure.

@everyone else.....

Can you suggest where I can find out Running In details about the 1.3 MJD engine? Or should I just continue with my instinct? The Fiat manual is just a translated-from-Italian document which describes tyre pressure in bars (normally used for measuring cabin and atmospheric pressure) and boot space in deci-metre cube (WHY, for God's sake??????) I don't know whether Fiat does it on purpose (my professional work experience with Italians is that they are geniuses and passionate about their work but otherwise complete nutcases at times, no offence meant!) or whether its because most people in India don't read manuals?

Another thing about the Palio is that the break pedal bites at the end of the travel, giving a few harrowing moments to me. Has it always been the case with Palios?

Everyone I spoke to suggests Prem Nath Motors in Delhi for Fiat Service, but they don't figure in the new Authorised Service Centre List and I don't think they will touch the 1.3 MJD. I have a 36 month, 1,50,000 km warranty so I will have to stick to Vivek Automobiles. I am still a little uneasy about a Tata dealerships servicing the Fiat! Atleast Vivek's Service was 90% full of Fiats on a Sunday! Any Delhi bhp-ian and Palio owner reading this, could you please recommend the best Service Centre?

Thanks Again and I am off to sleep before another day of great driving

EDIT: Oops! Sorry forgot to mention, I am also uploading three pictures of the car, but because I have a data card connection and no broadband so I am uploading slightly reduced size pictures!

Last edited by Rehaan : 11th April 2008 at 00:25. Reason: merged.
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Old 11th April 2008, 00:43   #12
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Sorry for the initial trouble in uploading the pics! I hope I have done it right this time!
Attached Thumbnails
16000 kms with Fiat Palio Multijet-orkut-2.jpg  

16000 kms with Fiat Palio Multijet-bhp2.jpg  

16000 kms with Fiat Palio Multijet-bhp3.jpg  

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Old 11th April 2008, 00:43   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by architect View Post

Everyone I spoke to suggests Prem Nath Motors in Delhi for Fiat Service, but they don't figure in the new Authorised Service Centre List and I don't think they will touch the 1.3 MJD. I have a 36 month, 1,50,000 km warranty so I will have to stick to Vivek Automobiles. I am still a little uneasy about a Tata dealerships servicing the Fiat! Atleast Vivek's Service was 90% full of Fiats on a Sunday! Any Delhi bhp-ian and Palio owner reading this, could you please recommend the best Service Centre?
Hi! congrats...Well I've not heard of PremNath service center. Delhi guys please pass on the contact info of PremNath to me as well. However, you can try for Samyak motors at Patparganj. Everyone say its good since they service Fiats only. I'm yet to give a visit there as I also bought a second hand Palio 1.2 very recently.
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Old 11th April 2008, 00:54   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by architect View Post
Sorry for the initial trouble in uploading the pics! I hope I have done it right this time!
Very lovely pics. What a beauty with a monster under the hood!!
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Old 11th April 2008, 09:52   #15
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Architect, Thanks for the Info on Autocop. Your car looks very nice, a real beauty indeed.
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