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Old 5th June 2008, 04:50   #1
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Talking Upgrade from the Santro to... the Verna CRDi SX with ABS

Its been almost 4 years with my Santro XS and it has served me faithfully without a hitch. Its been with me for my daily run and has never let me down even on long drives such as Mumbai to Goa or Chennai to Mumbai (27 hours non stop driving!). But with almost 80 Kms driving every day with the lovely Mumbai roads and the ever increasing petrol prices, this car was just not cutting it. To make matters worse, I had upgraded from a Maruti 800 to the Santro and that time, it was a decision made purely due to money or rather lack of.

So this time, I thought and then contemplated and then did some more of the same.... till I finally drove my wife mad too! Finally... the decision was made... a new car was in the works. This decision was also helped greatly by the fact that my Santro had faithfully completed 50000 kms and was now in a real need of a thorough service along with tyre change. So I thought... why don't we just get a new car... not that it was a valid reason... but when you are trying to make your wallet understand what the heart wants... any reason will do!

One decision was simple... with my daily travelling the only choice was a diesel car... I would just not be able to afford a petrol car with the petrol costs of running almost 2500 Kms per month. So I zeroed in on the following cars:
  • Ford Fiesta
  • Mahindra Logan
  • Fiat Stile MJD (I know its not a sedan, but still wanted to try it out)
  • Toyota Innova
  • Swift Dezire
  • Skoda Octavia (2nd Hand)
  • Hyundai Verna
The first car to be test driven was the Mahindra Logan. There are three things which hit me within 5 mins of driving:
  1. Its extremely spacious
  2. Its extremely bland to look at - both inside and outside
  3. It drives quite well - NVH was low, Pickup & Handling was quite good
Although I quite liked the car, the showroom people were a little bit disinterested e.g. the brakes were not working well and the clutch seemed too hard... upon mentioning this the sales man promised that he would get the car serviced and bring it around for another test drive... however that was 2 months back and I am still waiting. I and my wife are people who place a great deal of importance on customer service - so this treatment helped me cross out the Logan from my list (the bland looks also helped).

The second TD car was a Second Hand Skoda. I loved the car:
  1. Very responsive,
  2. NVH + Materials used were top notch
  3. A commanding presence on the road
But upon doing more research on websites such as Team BHP, found that Skoda's A.S.S is notorious for its high costs. I am generally someone who would run to the service center at a slight squeak from the car. With that mentality, it would be quite hard to maintain (on the wallet). Hence crossed out again. Also the second hand car loan rates helped me cement my decision.

The next on the list was the Swift Dezire, however could never get over the feeling that it was a Swift with a boot attached. However, I went to the showroom with an open mind, however, the non responsive sales staff (Test Drive vehicle is not available) + the huge waiting period (Zdi - the one I wanted to buy) crossed out this vehicle from the list.

The next was the Ford Fiesta. Liked the car but was not floored by the performance. The interiors were quite good and the pick up was nice, but somehow I felt that I could just not bond with the car. For all you car enthusiasts, you know what I mean. The special Ford Finance schemes were enticing, however, it the end decided to go with what my heart said instead of my head... crossed out the car.

The Fiat Palio is a car that I was very impressed with when I had bought my Santro. The overall fit and finish plus the rock solid stability on the road really sold the car to me. However this was before the TATA tie-up and did not end up buying the car due to A.S.S. concerns. Now that things have improved, I could not let a chance to TD the Palio Stile MJD go by. I again liked the car (brought back memories from 4 years back), however, the interiors now look dated and the car was not as responsive as I would have liked. The major factor which made up mind again was the driver's seat height. I do not know whether anyone has noticed, but the Stile comes with quite a low seat and it becomes a hinderance while driving. So... this car was crossed out too.

Next came the Toyota Innova. A special mention to the top notch service we received even when we entered the showroom post closing time. Just absoluetly loved the fit and finish of the entire car. I was amazed at the different permutations and combinations one could do with the seating arrangement. Took the car out for a TD and everything worked well - the response was good, the NVH was low...but... again the bonding feeling was just not there. With a heavy heart... I crossed this out too.

I and my wife were exhasperated now as really nothing was clicking. We had not really looked at the Verna as:
  1. The Hyundai showroom near my house never had the car for a TD
  2. The car had quite a high price point, which again I felt could become a problem
However, upon checking with some one dealers in Mumbai, I was finally able to take the car for a TD. Boy oh boy.... As soon as I sat behind the wheel, I just knew that this was something special. Loved the understated interiors, the seats were excellent and the feeling of quality was all around. Slotted it into first and pressed the accelerator... and it just brought a smile on my face. I knew I had found the one! For the 20 mins of the test drive...I found the feeling I was looking for... the feeling of oneness with the car. I knew that my search for my next car - had ended.

Have now given my loan papers for processing and am waiting with my fingers crossed that everything clears smoothly. The dealer has promised delivery of the car two weeks after booking. The color that my wife and I chose (again after days of deliberating) is the Real Earth color.

I must say thanks to all the Team BHPians who have helped me make up my mind on this car.... the various reviews on the Verna CRDi helped me not only make my decision but was also instrumental in making sure I go in for the ABS version.

I would really appreciate it if some of the gurus could help me out on a last couple of questions
  1. I need to change the tyres and the alloys I intend to put at 14" (not planning on an alloy upsize). What would be the best upsize of rubber on these wheels - Priority wise - Comfort, Performance, FE
  2. I believe the stock headlights are inadequate - Can someone help me in what upgrade I can get for this? I live in Mumbai, so some Mumbai addresses or contacts would really help once I know what I need to get done.
Thanks a lot for reading and I shall keep everyone posted...
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Old 5th June 2008, 12:16   #2
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Congratulations on the Verna, Siraj! What counts is that you have evaluated all other options and only then, signed on the dotted line. I think the Verna suits your needs well.

Look forward to a review of the car and pictures after two weeks.

Quote:
So I thought... why don't we just get a new car... not that it was a valid reason... but when you are trying to make your wallet understand what the heart wants... any reason will do!
Classic! I find myself in that situation many a time and somehow, the heart always rules.

Quote:
I need to change the tyres and the alloys I intend to put at 14" (not planning on an alloy upsize). What would be the best upsize of rubber on these wheels - Priority wise - Comfort, Performance, FE
You are correct. Ride quality obviously matters to you and thus, there isn't a need to upsize the alloy wheels. A 195 patch tyre will be perfect for the Verna. Do read through Rehaan's excellent article (ARTICLE: Choosing The Right Set Of Tyres for your Car) on recommended upsizes and the various factors to be considered.

Quote:
I believe the stock headlights are inadequate - Can someone help me in what upgrade I can get for this? I live in Mumbai, so some Mumbai addresses or contacts would really help once I know what I need to get done.
Why not ask the showroom itself to carry out a bulb upgrade for you?

EDIT : Do also read the other articles from this section. There is a ton of valuable info in there.

Last edited by GTO : 5th June 2008 at 12:21.
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Old 5th June 2008, 13:41   #3
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Siraj,

Thats an exhaustive search.

Verna is a beautiful car and good of you to go for the ABS version. Congrats! :-)
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Old 5th June 2008, 14:51   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirajbose View Post
I believe the stock headlights are inadequate - Can someone help me in what upgrade I can get for this? I live in Mumbai, so some Mumbai addresses or contacts would really help once I know what I need to get done.Thanks a lot for reading and I shall keep everyone posted...
the stock headlight would have been adequate in an ideal world. in our country, its an arms race with headlights.
see if the dealership will install 100/90s or 130/100s for you.
I've got the latter.
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Old 5th June 2008, 15:02   #5
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Siraj,

Congrats on your new car, welcome to the Verna Club

Verna is a beautiful car and good of you to go for the ABS version. I have a ABS version and happy about my decision as its a great help in the rains.

About the lights, i have the 90/100 Philips with roots ceramic holders and upsized the tries to 195/60R14 Bridgestone Potenza G III on the same rim not alloy.

Waiting for the pics and good color choice, mine is the same color,Real Earth.

Regards,
Sajan.
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Old 5th June 2008, 17:16   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirajbose View Post
However, upon checking with some one dealers in Mumbai, I was finally able to take the car for a TD. Boy oh boy.... As soon as I sat behind the wheel, I just knew that this was something special. Loved the understated interiors, the seats were excellent and the feeling of quality was all around. Slotted it into first and pressed the accelerator... and it just brought a smile on my face. I knew I had found the one! For the 20 mins of the test drive...I found the feeling I was looking for... the feeling of oneness with the car. I knew that my search for my next car - had ended.
I quite know the feeling. This is what got me hooked and I never looked at any other car after that.
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Old 5th June 2008, 17:37   #7
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Welcome to the club. I am picking my White Verna also this Sunday Hopefully

Excellent write up I must say. Verna does leave the competition wayyyy behind. It's 110 horses after all.
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Old 5th June 2008, 17:57   #8
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verna is a nice car, and in the forum i have seen many positive feedback, so it is a good choice.. drive safe, happy riding
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Old 5th June 2008, 19:05   #9
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Be carefull with the Verna.
It can give you some very (enjoyable) neck pain once the turbo kicks in and the car takes off.

Great choice.
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Old 6th June 2008, 14:13   #10
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Thanks everyone for all your comments. I am still waiting for the bank loan to be approved... seems there was some mix up with the documentation. I hope to get an answer from them tomorrow. Will update everyone once I hear from them.
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Old 6th June 2008, 17:21   #11
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Sirajbose
Dont worry about the documentation. All will be sorted out, one way or the other. If you really want your dream car, nothing can stand in your way

Quote:
The major factor which made up mind again was the driver's seat height. I do not know whether anyone has noticed, but the Stile comes with quite a low seat and it becomes a hinderance while driving.
The Palio does come with a low seat. If you put the driver slightly behind, there is a sweet spot with a nice view of the road and comfortable steering/gear grip.

Or is it that you felt the seat to be low, coming from a Santro?
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Old 6th June 2008, 18:32   #12
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@sirajbose - thats one good decision you have made and make sure that you check out on the five year extended warratnty hyundai is offering, will definltely hold you in good stead i belive ...

Wish you safe and happy driving my friend...
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Old 6th June 2008, 18:49   #13
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Siraj
Excellent writeup.!!!
Keep the updates coming..

Quote:
Originally Posted by vkochar View Post
Verna does leave the competition wayyyy behind. It's 110 horses after all.
Forgot the neck breaking torque? or just being modest??

I just can't wait....
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Old 6th June 2008, 18:52   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kpzen View Post
Siraj
Forgot the neck breaking torque? or just being modest??

I just can't wait....
No Prajesh, I have that completely / fully in mind.

I get my rocket on Monday. It's rock'n'roll then Babbbyy
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Old 7th June 2008, 05:46   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arajand View Post
The Palio does come with a low seat. If you put the driver slightly behind, there is a sweet spot with a nice view of the road and comfortable steering/gear grip.

Or is it that you felt the seat to be low, coming from a Santro?
Arajand:

No. I really did try fiddling around with the seat but it just didn't work for me. Although its true that I am upgrading from a Santro...hence used to its seating posture - but I never felt this problem with all the other cars (including the sedans) that I test drove.
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