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Old 13th May 2008, 13:46   #1
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Smile Estilo - Way to Go

Warning : This is a rather big writeup - please bear with me.

For a middle class family in India, owning a car was mostly considered an unnecessary luxury that only the rich can afford. But things are changing and more and more middle class families end up not just dreaming but actually owning a car. We are one such family.

I have spent most of my life on a cycle and even a 2-Wheeler was a luxury to me which I could afford only 4 years back (after 2 years on my job and just before my marriage). But things have changed and we could afford a car and our search began.

Used Vs New Dilemma
The most important problem that we had to overcome was to convince ourselves in spending 4 Lakhs on a depreciating item. So as could have expected of us we decided that we better take a used car which will not dent our pockets. But then we were always afraid of some bad item being passed on to us. We then thought we would go with Maruti True Value cars , but then those with less than 25k km on ODO were closer in price to their new counterparts. And as our car was supposed to be the first in both the families we did not want to limit the joy by going for a used car. Finally the warranty (peace of mind) with a new car and the smell of a fresh brand new car was something that we did not want to miss. So off we went in the new car direction

Alto - Let's Go
As soon as we decided that we will take a new car our choice automatically fell on the Alto. Somehow we could not muster the courage to talk about other pricier cars. The Alto is a fine car, nimble and extremely city friendly. Good mileage and dead-cheap maintenance. But once we sat inside an alto in the showroom we immediately rejected it. The space inside was very less and did not suit us. Still it is a good contender for a first car, just remember the space and the fact that since the AC is extremely powerful (+) the pickup drops dramatically (-). We moved ahead.

WagonR Vxi
I liked the looks of Wine Red new WagonR but my wife hated it like anything. She would not consider it as a car in the first place though she liked the space it offered. So we dropped it.

We had a look at Indica diesel since one of our friends too had it and was quite happy with it, but I did not want a diesel with my running of below 1000 km per month. Indica Xeta (petrol) was also ruled out due to poor dealer/service , but personally I feel that for 3.3 L OTR the Xeta is a very good car and people should try it out before deciding.

We did not consider this as I did not like the looks (rear view especially) and I was not comfortable with the sales/service team in Bangalore for GM cars.

This was the toughest. We both were happy with the looks of Santro and since we had used it for our driving classes we were pretty familiar with the car too. It has good lower end torque and will be a breeze in the city. It is better built than the Marutis and has a good gear box. So why we dropped it. Move ahead to Estilo

Estilo - Way to Go
I had been closely following the estilo - right from its launch and heard that it had WagonR's engine (Good), WagonR's gearbox (bad) and Alto + WagonR platform (good). Its engine was slightly refined for better fuel efficiency. The owner's report was also good. I checked the car and found that the space was a bit less compared to WagonR but with our family of 4 (which will become 3 in the long run) it did not worry us. But those with 5 need to check the back seats for space (Better do a test drive with your entire family). In the end we decided to go for it. It was newer compared to Santro and comes fully loaded for the price. We took the Vxi version. See a complete list of what is extra in Vxi compared to Lxi below in a separate section

Estilo Looks - Caution:Subjective Area
It depends on people. To me Estilo looks excellent from rear, rear-3-quarters, front-3-quarter and side. From the front it was just ok. My wife also liked it a lot, slightly more than Santro but extremely happy compared to WagonR.

Estilo Space
It depends on your needs. The front 2 seats are very spacey. You can easily step in / exit to / from the car, the seats are wide enough to comfortably hold medium to slightly built people. If you are generous with your food you would find it out in test drive. The rear as I said holds 2 comfortably. If you need to fit in 3 then it has to be 3 medium built person. The car looks cute from outside but is quite spacey from inside. The boot space is generous too and larger than Santro.

Estilo A/C
It comes with AC and heater. The AC is just remarkable. It cools within seconds and does not eat too much into the car's power. All in all a perfect AC and the best in its class.

Estilo Interiors
The interiors are of completely beige color in Vxi and this helps to brighten the car. It also gives a high end look to the car. The plastics are of a decent quality too. The instrument cluster looks trendy with the Orange/Yellow combination. There are 2 digital trip meters and a digital odometer. There is a tachometer too which is missing in Santro. The centre silver console also adds to the beauty. The steering wheel is 3 spoke and of Beige as well.

Estilo scores big time here. The top end comes with all 4 power windows (driver's auto roll down). It has a wonderful Power Steering for effortless driving. It comes with OVRMs which means the side mirrors can be adjusted internally (electrically). There is Central locking with keyless entry.

Gear Box
We were waiting for issues with the Gear Box. There were horror stories about the gear box being very rubbery. We did not find any such trouble in our car except that the gear shift is slightly longer and it might even brush the co-passenger's leg sometimes :-)

Estilo - Mileage
Our car seems to give 14 km/litre with AC on 70%.

Estilo Lxi Vs Vxi
1. Defogger in Rear
2. Body Side Moulding
3. Wheel Caps - Full
4. Black out Film
5. Front Fog Lamps
6. Body coloured side door handles
7. Body coloured Outside door mirrors
8. Tachometer
9. Lights Off and Key Reminder Chime
10. Accessory Socket
11. Power Windows Rear
12. Remote Keyless entry
13. Electrical OVRMs
14. Vanity Mirror
15. Full Beige Interiors
16. Wider Tyre
17. Silver Centre console Finish

Pratham Motors - Bangalore
We booked our Champagne Beige Estilo Vxi on 13th of September in Pratham Motors and the car was delivered the very next day complete with registration and number plate. They were very professional and friendly. One Mr. Hemanth Kumar handled our case (on a strong recommendation from another friend in our apartment). He helped us and took great care to answer all our queries. I am extremely happy with them.

Compared to WagonR Vxi
1. After considering discounts Estilo is cheaper by 5000
2. Looks trendy compared to the boxy WagonR (subjective)
3. Monoform design can cut through the air, whereas WagonR's design blocks the air
4. Engine and Gear box slightly refined compared to WagonR
5. Interiors are excellent in Estilo
6. Body colored mirrors, door handle
7. Antenna (ariel) for better FM reception
8. Lesser headroom compared to WagonR
9. Rear Power windows (WagonR has only front)
10. Key-less entry (not present in WagonR)
11. OVRMs electric (not sure about WagonR)
12. 4 Speaker provision built in (only 2 in WagonR)
13. Slightly better fuel economy in Estilo

Compared to Santro Xo (top end model)
1. Airbags are offered in Estilo (not in Santro)
2. Keyless entry (missing in Santro)
3. iCats Engine Immobilizer security in Estilo
4. Maruti has more/better service centres and widely spread too
5. Interiors of Estilo too good compared to Santro
6. Santro's Gear Box is one of the best whereas in Estilo it is just ok
7. Santro is strongly built whereas Estilo is like WagonR or Alto
8. Estilo comes with Antenna (aerial)
9. Estilo Mileage is definitely higher by 2 or 3 km/litre
10. Estilo is newer design, and might have longer life whereas Santro might be re-modelled or phased out.

[Update after 9000 kms]
It has been a fun filled 9k. It is a breeze to drive in the city. Excellent power steering comes handy. The gear does not feel perfect at times but still no major issues. Went for a trip to Coorg (will try to pen it down sometime later) and the highway experience has been good. My brother-in-law who owns a travel business was happy with the car but was quick to point out that it is no-where close to Indica in highway stability and especially care should be taken on turns (never above 60 was his advice). The mileage in city hovers around 14 km/lit and on highways it was 17-18 km/lit (both with 60-70%) AC.
There are absolutely no squeaks, rattles etc on the car and it was a pleasant surprise to me as I was more than expecting them (with all those problems that I read about Swift on this forum and everyone pointing out that Estilo feel tinny). That is the story so far. I will keep updating this.
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Old 13th May 2008, 13:51   #2
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One of the best initial reports I have read on the forum. Congrats and enjoy the ride on what is an extremely good buy.
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Old 13th May 2008, 13:53   #3
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A guide on how to buy a car.

Very well written.
You have compared and decided and now very happy with your choice.
Very happy for you, enjoy.
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Old 13th May 2008, 13:55   #4
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Excellent report. I agreee to you on the stability front. I drove a friend's Estilo and it was scary at curves at higher speed. Probably a tyre upgradation is a must.

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Old 13th May 2008, 13:56   #5
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I hate the Estilo's looks.. But Congrats on a well thought out car purchase !! As long as you are satisfied with your choice, It doesnt matter what others think.
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Old 13th May 2008, 13:58   #6
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whoa thats one detailed review.

Thanks for sharing it in such detail I am sure many would benefit from sucha review.

Btw Santro no more has XO model it only has GL & GLS now.
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Old 13th May 2008, 15:32   #7
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Very good detailed report there mate. The joy of owning your own earned first car is priceless. You might buy a lot of cars in your life BUT the first one will always remain a sweet memory for life
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Old 13th May 2008, 15:35   #8
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I feel so good just by reading this post. Can imagine what would the excitement level be when you got your hands on the first car of your life. Congrats and have a safe drive

Last edited by Karandeep81 : 13th May 2008 at 15:43.
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Old 13th May 2008, 15:59   #9
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You should have taken the ride of spark once , as you tried others . Your decision could have been different .
However congratulations for your buy.
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Old 13th May 2008, 16:17   #10
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Excellent. Simple, lucid and very well written!
I found the Estilo very nimble for the city. Even the pickup is good! If your highway driving is a lot, you can try 165 tyres else 155 will do.

Many Congrats!


Last edited by Elito11 : 13th May 2008 at 16:18.
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Old 13th May 2008, 16:18   #11
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First off, congrats on the new ride. Thats a neatly written report. Very detailed and highlights almost every point. Have fun and drive safe.
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Old 13th May 2008, 16:20   #12
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One of the best feel good and objective reports here. Though I am no fan of estilo -- would not be found dead in it, I love the report that you have written here.

If you like the car and are happy with it -- nothing like it.. doesn't matter what others [including me :-)] have to say

The whole process, experience of buying first 'car' is comparable to some other firsts like first job, first salary, first GF first....
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Old 13th May 2008, 16:23   #13
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Well written report. Really happy to see the amount of time/pain taken to analyze each of the car and went with want your heart (and the person in the heart!!!) wanted.
Congrats... And have a safer driving.
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Old 13th May 2008, 16:32   #14
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Well well written ownership report this proves how much homework you have done going for your perfect satisfaction,I somehow did not like the zen estilo,but sisnce ive driven a friends estilo i always take a round when he comes to my building its a fun driving car,ive started liking it..congrats once again and drive safe.Cheers

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Old 13th May 2008, 16:36   #15
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Congrats on your dream car. I am sure your enjoying your first car to the hilt. Lot of people dream about owning cars and you have truly shown that its no big deal if you have the passion and determination.

Personally, Estillo is not a car of my liking but, i am glad your happy with your carefully made decision and wish you many more happy kms on it.
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