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Old 18th May 2008, 10:27   #1
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Default My First Car in India (Verna Diesel SX ABS)

Warning: This a going to be a long rambling post on the thought process that went into deciding which car to buy and how I ended up where I am today.

After having spent a few years in USA and deciding to come back to India, the first thing I realized that having a car is slowly becoming a necessity rather than a luxury if one has a family. The incredibly hot summer in hyderabad only served to strengthen the feeling. So my car hunting started in earnest about a month ago.
I stumbled onto t-bhp via a google search and I could not believe the amount of information available here. So my sincere thanks to all t-bhpians who have spent their valuable time in giving feedbacks and reviews about various cars. Without the help of you guys and gals, I don't think I would have been able to get so much information about cars in India.

So car hunting started in earnest and I don't think I was confused so much even when I bought 2 cars in USA. The first point that needed to be decided was Hatch v/s Sedan. I saw a lot of hatches in hyderabad and decided that hatch is the way to go. I narrowed down my choice of hatch to i10 and swift petrol.
Other cars that were crossed off the list were

800/Alto - Too small and underpowered
Zen estilio - Wierd looking car
Santro - Old technology/model and not so great interiors
Chevy Spark and U-VA - I would not but a chevy in US , so why would I buy it in India
Fabia - Overpriced and not so great engine. Also never heard of skoda in US.

So the only cars that remained in the list were i10 and Swift. Test Drove and i10 and liked the interiors, the looks etc. But further research showed me that it is the same engine as santro and I felt it was little bit underpowered and not great VFM. And also I was told that while i10 is good for city driving, it was not very great for highway driving.

Test Drove Swift petrol and liked the engine, the exterior looks of the car but horrible interiors. Also there were too many complaints about rattles and quality of interiors. In spite of these issues, likes the car and wanted to get a zxi petrol since diesel wait times were insane (4-6 months). Liked the petrol zxi because it had all safety features and the interior was a little bit better than the other models. But to my surprise I found that even getting a petrol zxi was difficult and add to that the "Take it or leave it" attitude of Maruti dealers left a bad taste in the mouth.

So now it was time to move up the ladder and find a Sedan. I wanted to stay under 10 lakhs and that ruled out the corollas and civics. The choices were
Honda City -Way overpriced for what it had to offer. The model I wanted, vtec with ABS and airbags was coming close to 10 lakhs OTR and I did not feel like it was worth the money. Also the current model was going to be discontinued soon.
Chevy Aveo - Again, no way I will buy a chevy.
Mitsu Cedia - Very underrated car lots of good reviews in t-bhp. Seemed like good VFM with all features. Strong Candidate.
Hyundai Verna - I have seen the same car in US (sold a Accent). It is funny how a entry level cheap car in US was marketed a near luxury car in India
Ford Fiesta - Lot of bad reviews about A.S.S and parts and historically I have an version to ford products because of a couple of bad experiences.

So the final decision came to choosing between Cedia and Verna Diesel.
Test drove both and loved cedia. The quiet cabin, excellent pickup and low end torque, lots of features etc etc. But I was very wary of buying a mitsu because of resale value, A.S.S. Also the fact was that the cedia was previous gen lancer in US and it did not sell very well. I was not sure if I wanted to buy a car that has been discontinued all over the world except India.

So the final decision came to verna diesel. Hyundai has come a long way in the world of car manufacturing and it does put out some quality products. My friend owns a santo and I was impressed with the level of service he got from a local dealer. Also verna was a current gen car which was being sold worldwide. The diesel engine in verna had got some rave reviews from t-bhpians and when I test drove it, I was also impressed. Very quiet, fantastic pull once you hit 2k RPM and looks like it is pretty fuel efficient too. Some concerns were its lack of stability at high speeds (exceeding 120 km/h) and also the need to shift gears constantly in city driving conditions.

So after lotsa research and head banging, I decided to buy the Verna Diesel SX with ABS. Took delivery of the car from KUN hyderabad yesterday. The color is midnight grey.

Cost me 9.14 OTR with the 3rd year extended warranty.

More driving experiences and pictures to follow.

Again thanks to all t-bhpians whose reviews and inputs helped me make this decision. Hoping it turns out be the right decision and not a 9 lakh mistake
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Old 18th May 2008, 22:13   #2
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Default Kotler was right

Sometimes price dictates the mind, not the product and the brain supports with odd reasons.

Apologize for being so wooly but the topic is almost surreal.

But your heart says, Verna is the best. And that's important.
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Old 19th May 2008, 09:37   #3
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Congratulations and welcome to Team-BHP. Verna is a very good car.
When are you taking the delivery? What color? Please post some pictures too.
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Old 19th May 2008, 10:14   #4
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Hey Etrast75,

Welcome to the growing Verna fan club

Congrats on your new car. nice writeup. Verna is indeed a nicest car to drive. I recently bought the Verna base model with ABS totally content with it. Waiting for the pics of your beast. did you upsize your tries and what the ICE setup on your car.

Happy Motoring.

Regards,
Sajan.
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Old 19th May 2008, 11:29   #5
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I took delivery of the car on saturday. The delivery process was pretty smooth although I did end up pissing off the salesman who I was in touch with. Through a friend of mine, I was able to get a little bit more discount than what the sales guy could promise me and so I guess he lost his commission. But you cannot please everyone, I guess.

This, being my first manual transmission car, the initial driving experience was not very enjoyable as I was concentrating on not stalling the car and not getting into any accident. I did manage to stall the car a few times in traffic and it was not funny for a lot of cars behind me . Overall, my initial impressions of the car has been positive. Pretty easy to drive in hyderabad traffic. Power is available when u need it. No rattles so far..

I am enjoying the automatic climate control system. The car came with a 2-DIN factory fitted music system (I think it is kenwood). My only grouse with the system is that the buttons are too small and sometimes distract you from driving.

The interior and the quality of plastic are of good quality although I see signs of cost cutting here and there. Not a big fan of the light color of fabrics as it will get dirty quite easily. Need to figure out if I can get some dark color seat covers.

More driving impressions and pictures to follow..
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Old 19th May 2008, 11:55   #6
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Hello Etrast,

Welcome to T-BHP!

And congrats on the buy. Yes, the reviews over here, all from actual owners about the vehicle that they have brought with their own money, give us all an access to some very hard-to-get and ground-truth information.

Did you get any freebies?

Hope you have many more miles of happy driving.
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Old 9th July 2008, 12:06   #7
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Hi etrast welcome to Team BHP !

Congrats on your choice of car , i also own a Verna CRDi, the very first version without the ABS .

You have a gem of a car especially the SX with ABS rocks my friend , and yes if you driving pattern is heavily tilted to highway driving then it would be very advisable to upgrade yor headlights.

And if no one has suggested to you yet , you should seriously consider adding a Petes Tuning Box to your car , it makes a hell lot of difference without affecting your fuel bill. But given the fact that this is your first manual transmission car , if the Pete's Box is to be done it should be done only after you are completely run in with your new car .

Wish you a happy and safe experince with your verna...

And do post some pictures of you car for all of us to see...
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Old 9th July 2008, 14:36   #8
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Congratulations on your buy.

I do agree with you how in the US this is marketed as a low end car and here in India its marketed as a near luxury segment car. But that same can go for the Civic / Corolla as well... you know what I mean.

Couple of questions - as I too just picked up a Verna SX w/ ABS on Monday:

+) Does the car drift to the left (with your hands off the steering)
+) Have you been able to resolve the problem with the Climate Control going to the "fresh air" mode automatically after getting to the desired temparature?

Enjoy your car and do let us know what your driving imnpressions are.

Cheers!
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Old 9th July 2008, 17:56   #9
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Congratulations etrast, after all that head banging, youve gone in for the right car. Cedia too is a good car, but as you said its discontinued in U.S. , india may follow suit, as cedias sales here have been meagre. With verna youll enjoy the added diesel bonus & high efficiency. ABS version is the best choice as its a high speeding car.
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Old 14th July 2008, 14:17   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirajbose View Post
Congratulations on your buy.

I do agree with you how in the US this is marketed as a low end car and here in India its marketed as a near luxury segment car. But that same can go for the Civic / Corolla as well... you know what I mean.

Couple of questions - as I too just picked up a Verna SX w/ ABS on Monday:

+) Does the car drift to the left (with your hands off the steering)
+) Have you been able to resolve the problem with the Climate Control going to the "fresh air" mode automatically after getting to the desired temparature?

Enjoy your car and do let us know what your driving imnpressions are.

Cheers!
Siraj,
I have not noticed any issue with the car drifting to the left with hands off the steering. As far as the climate control goes, I guess that (fresh air mode) is by design. I have got myself used to switching the mode to recirculate whenever I turn on the a/c. If you do not switch the a/c off, it does retain the previous setting. It is small pain but something I have gotten used to.
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Old 14th July 2008, 14:39   #11
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Thanks for to everyone for their encouragement and replies. It has been almost 2 months and I have driven close to 1500 kms so far. Most of the driving has been in the city with occasional free roads where I have gone past 100km/h. Now for the good, bad and ugly

GOOD:
The car is relatively easy to drive (especially coming from a guy driving manual transmission for the first time)
  • Excellent braking
  • Quiet and smooth engine. good power once you hit 2K RPM.
  • Pretty good space in the in the front and back
  • No rattles
  • Good alround visibility
BAD
  • Questionable build quality. I have had beadings come out already. it looks like there has been a lot of cost cutting as far the quality of interior materials go.
  • Absolutely no communication between steering and the road. The power steering is overboosted and although it makes driving easy, this is not a drivers car
  • Cornering is bad at any speed over 80km/h. There have been very few times where I have been able to drive more than 80km/h and everyone of the times, the car feels unstable when taking any noticeable curve. Yesterday I was driving the road behind KBR park in hyderabad and my wife (Sitting in the back) complained that she felt like riding a rollercaoster and I was driving at 60km/h. This is a not a big deal for me as I tend to drive on the conservative side.
  • The 2-DIn music system has too many buttons and they are small making it difficult to change anything while driving. I have realized that it is not advisable to take your eyes off the road in India for even a second while driving and the music system is not suited for that.
  • No backlit power window switches. Cmon hyundai, this is a 9 lakh car and you could not even provide back lit switches. Absolutely unacceptable.
  • There seems a huge void between 2nd and 3rd gears. I have found myself shifting constantly between 2nd and 3rd inside the city as I find difficult driving in 3rd gear inside the city for any considerable period of time.May be it is just me.
UGLY
  • Headlights for the car of this class are absolutely atrocious. I do not like to drive with high beam on inside the city. Driving in low beam is scary sometimes as the beam hardly travels 10ft in front of you and the power is not good. Replacing the bulbs in on my list of to do things.
I am getting the car for first service tomorrow..

On the whole, I do not regret my decision to buy verna although I feel there are few things that could have been done better.

As for fuel ecomony, I am getting somewhere between 12-14km/l. This is with almost 100% city driving and the a/c on 90% of time.

On a lighter note, hyderabad traffic is a nightmare to drive. People do not follow basic driving rules and most of the traffic jams are not due to poor planning but due to pathetic driving. I had to get this out after battling the city's traffic for almost 2 months.
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Old 14th July 2008, 15:22   #12
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About the handling, the car has loads of traction and will take corners decently, though, nowhere in the league of the cedia or the fiesta.
the sad part is, all that traction is wasted because we dont get any feedback from the steering as to how much further we can push.
for sensible drivers that's good, because they tend to stay well within the cars dynamic limits.

If pushed very aggressively into a corner, the car will understeer, but the rear hangs on well, which I feel is good. It doesn't snap out in a wild tailslide.

Agreed about the rear seat comfort on undulating roads. the ride is bouncy in the ABS version. but, make sure the pressure in the rear tyres is not too high.

PS- your mileage sounds very good.
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Old 14th July 2008, 15:50   #13
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Congrats on your new buy. Take her to highway for a spin and way she handles is terrible with the awesome power and ABS. Get on with some mods on the car...Do post some pics.
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Old 14th July 2008, 15:57   #14
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Congrats on your new purchase and yeah do post pics. Have a safe ride.
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Old 14th July 2008, 16:03   #15
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@etrast75

Congrats on your new buy. Did you by any chance have needed to test the ABS? If yes please do let us know.
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