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Old 14th December 2008, 01:49   #1
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Default Magnesium Grey Stile 1.1 SLE, now Delivered

After more than a year of agonizing, I took the plunge and booked a car. I always coveted the Palio (retro) and the Stile was no different. But the choice wasn't easy.

Questions:
1) I am getting a Nov'08 car (VIN ends in LRZ), but it has Jul'08 Goodyear tyres. The tyres looked pristine. Is that kind of tyre age OK? Or, given the current state of the tyre industry (didn't J.K Tyres close their Bengal plant recently?), I shouldn't be complaining?
2) The salesperson initially said about the free stereo: "It is Clarion - same model as on Honda City"; today, while booking, he says "depending on demand, we get different models - sometimes, we might get Blaupunkt instead". Should I insist on Clarion? (seen its SQ being praised in the ICE section)

Background:
I have been driving on and off for the past decade. I have driven different cars extensively, including a few petrol hatchbacks, the Indica NA diesel and Scorpio 2.6 CRDe. I am a conservative driver, and don't try to push a car to its limits. Most of the driving has been in Bangalore - it can test one's patience, to say the least.

Requirements:
0) budget constraints imply hatchback
1) comfort for all passengers
2) space for 5 six-footers
3) it should age well (I am spoilt by a 5.5 year old LML Freedom that is as good as new)
Expected mileage is below 10K kms per year, so running costs are not as important as purchase cost. A.S.S and maintenance costs matter, but may not be a deal-breaker.

Cars ruled out:
- "Affordable" sedans like Logan, Indigo CS : not really affordable given the equipment levels, and not too crazy about the visible boot anyway
- Swift : rear seat legroom not enough, least cabin visibility among hatchbacks?
- Skoda : engines not upto the mark set by the price, and not after luxury anyway

Would like to consider, but can't:
- Spark and UV-A : Spark may not be very spacious, but it has enough and is quick and nimble; the UV-A is a favourite at home. But, the recession has made GM a very unconvincing buy (remember what happened to profitable DCM-Daewoo when the Korean parent went kaput?)

Contenders:
- Stile (1.1, 1.3 MJD) : I really, really liked it!
- Vista Safire : difficult to ignore in the same showroom!
- Xeta : price and beige interiors too good!

Stile:
My first impression of the Stile 1.1, sometime last year, was not very good.
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/test-d...tml#post408424 (The new Palio Stile 1.1 - Test driven !!)
A few months later, I tried it again and was blown away by its comfort over bad roads (Kanakapura Road in 2007). It was not a bad cruiser either. Mainly, you have to accept that it cannot do much in low revs (say below 1250 RPM). Above that, it wakes up and can handle sane demands. The A/C does seem like an insane demand and pulls down the performance immediately, but not as much as most other cars. The A/C is good too.

Front seating is good, with everything falling to hand and the driver feeling planted in the seats. Rear seating is good, though the Getz and the UV-A probably best it. Interiors are pleasant and uniform, even after you notice that it is an old design. Nobody bests its boot space, and most of all, its ride quality. Of course, with the current discounts from Tata-Fiat, nobody beats the price either - the top-end well-loaded SLX is just over 4 lakhs on-road, and all variants (even the MJD) get a USB/aux-only stereo with 2 speakers in front (supposedly Clarion).

The MJD was underwhelming, probably because I found neither the torque of an IDI diesel at low revs, nor the responsiveness I had seen on the 2.6 CRDE on the Scorpio on revving. But, it never felt lacking in power, and a shifting of gears always got me what I wanted even with A/C on. With low expected mileage on the car per year, paying 1.5 lakhs more on-road over the petrol did not seem a good idea.

The SLE variant had HVAC instead of the SL's AC, and added fog-lamps and central locking which I thought were useful (added body-coloured bumpers and front power windows too, but I have never seen the point in them). The SLX bells and whistles weren't alluring.

Vista Safire:
This is a different beast than the Stile 1.1; whoever thought 65PS wasn't going to be enough for the Vista was wrong. Its in-gear response is way better than the 1.1 Stile, and beats the Getz 1.1 that's surprisingly good in low revs. It anyway has more space than the Stile and the Getz, maybe equal with the UV-A.

But I never liked the overall exterior, and the central console was not as small an issue as I had hoped. And I am even suspecting that the showroom guys have tuned the demo vehicle for vrooming more than the stock Vista Safire! Anyway, the leaning towards Stile and the 35-40K price difference made me bypass this. But its a good vehicle.

Xeta:
I did not even test this one, as I knew an Indica would not be as good an overall car as a Stile. But at 3 lakhs on-road, with a better performing engine than the Stile, and the neat beige interiors, it was quite tempting!

Dealer experience:
After Prerana didn't even pick up the phone at 10:30 AM (?!) and Manipal were very slow only to say they had no car, I tried Concorde at Dairy Circle. From bringing the MJD down to our place for a test drive, to the showroom test drives of the 1.1 and the Vista, and to the final stock-yard visit to look at the vehicle to be alloted to us, the salesperson (Hidayat) was accomodating, courteous and reasonably good at following up. This was an above par experience - no complaints. Maybe Maruti handles customers even better, but Tata/Fiat cars handle customers better than any Maruti dealer or car ever could :-)

P.S:
- the salesperson says Concorde is buying up Green Tracks (Silk Board junction) - he acknowledged that they have built a very good reputation
- he also said Manipal Motors has closed down due to losses
- he also said he recently got trained on the Linea, and was mentioning 7-8.5 lakhs ex-showroom price range from base petrol to top-end diesel - unsurprisingly, he praised the VGT MJD as better than even the Verna; no matter - the Linea looks way better than other sedans anyway
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Old 14th December 2008, 15:31   #2
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You should take a test drive of the Stile 1.6 Sport. This is way better than the 1.1 in terms of sheer torque which you would definitely need and would be more fun to drive.
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Old 14th December 2008, 18:07   #3
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@yatin, seriously thats a good review of the cars you mentioned... man you are very level headed & unbiased... keep it coming...

congrats on the new car...

as usual my comment on FIAT cars is that, it gets better with age , period.. no two opinions about it.. just run-in the new car properly for say 5K kms ( i know u have patience ).. & that 1.1 will become one peppy car...

if concorde takes over GREEN TRACKS, i just hope the labor charges comes down...
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Old 15th December 2008, 02:07   #4
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wow...that's one of the best unbiased test drive report

post some pics please..
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Old 15th December 2008, 03:54   #5
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@yatin... even I would suggest to have a serious look at 1.6
With careful driving it will average 10 kmpl + easily and is probably the last with a big petrol engine.
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Old 15th December 2008, 14:43   #6
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@amaan:
I thought the 1.6 was less than impressive at low revs, implying that it does not have too much low-end torque. Anyway, given that I'm not after equipment levels and bells and whistles, for a few thousand more than the fully-loaded 1.6, the base-model 1.3 MJD Stile is available, and gives more torque.

@extreme_torque:
The power of the 1.6 does not appeal to a conservative driver like me. I agree it has its uses, especially in overtaking situations on the highway, but given that my highway running might be <20%, I am willing to stay stuck behind lorries on busy highways :-( for a price difference of 1 lakh :-)
You seem to be in Delhi, so I can see why power is relevant to you. But in the south, the quality of highways is variable at best, and they are not too wide everywhere either. And at most times, Bangalore traffic makes mockery of all the BHP in your car!
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Old 15th December 2008, 23:49   #7
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yatin..

a damn good and unbiased review dude.
i think you are wrong about the low end grunt on the 1.6 stile.
i feel that the car really pulls well even in third from as low as 1000 rpm.
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Old 16th December 2008, 00:55   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yatin View Post
@amaan:
I thought the 1.6 was less than impressive at low revs, implying that it does not have too much low-end torque. Anyway, given that I'm not after equipment levels and bells and whistles, for a few thousand more than the fully-loaded 1.6, the base-model 1.3 MJD Stile is available, and gives more torque.
Congratulations Sir on the Stile 1.1 ! Its actually surprising that you think the 1.6 lacks low-end punch. As far as large capacity petrols are concerned, the 1.6 in the Palio can pull very well from low rpms. You only realise it once you've driven it long enough. Infact, I distinctly remember the fact that I had to really adjust to the S10's throttle response when I upgraded from my Palio 1.2. A slight prod on the pedal and car picks up very well from 800 rpm in 3th gear with the a/c on and the speedo at roughly 20km/h. There are times when I take 2nd gear turns in 3rd. Maybe you drove a car with a freshly packed "tight" engine.

And no, the Multijet in the Palio is no match for the 1.6. On the other hand, the Swift DDiS is the pick of the hatchbacks as far as low end grunt is concerned, even the 1.6 is no match for it atleast in city conditions.
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Old 16th December 2008, 09:58   #9
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@amaan, @shantyrocks, @roms:
Wow. Plenty of people weighing in on my misconceptions about the 1.6!

I got the impression that it was less than terrific at low revs, from T-BHP reports that the de-tuning compared to the earlier GTX had taken its toll. Maybe I misinterpreted.
Anyway, I had to stick to budget (IT sector guy, recession, interest rates - you get the picture!) , and the only reason to stretch it was for the MJD's fuel cost savings; I couldn't justify it for the 1.6.
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Old 17th December 2008, 12:42   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yatin View Post
@amaan, @shantyrocks, @roms:
Wow. Plenty of people weighing in on my misconceptions about the 1.6!

I got the impression that it was less than terrific at low revs, from T-BHP reports that the de-tuning compared to the earlier GTX had taken its toll. Maybe I misinterpreted.
Anyway, I had to stick to budget (IT sector guy, recession, interest rates - you get the picture!) , and the only reason to stretch it was for the MJD's fuel cost savings; I couldn't justify it for the 1.6.
Whatever!! Yatin!

Congrats on choosing a reliable, sturdy Car and welcome to FIAT family!

Wear your seat belts always and Happy Driving!

Cheers~
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Old 17th December 2008, 15:05   #11
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Good one mate, post the pics when you can, look forward to it. Would you want to share some of the finance stuff any loans? If so pls share your views on that

Last edited by crn12 : 17th December 2008 at 15:07.
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Old 19th December 2008, 00:28   #12
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And no, the Multijet in the Palio is no match for the 1.6. On the other hand, the Swift DDiS is the pick of the hatchbacks as far as low end grunt is concerned, even the 1.6 is no match for it atleast in city conditions.[/quote]

i really second that.i have driven both the cars and found the 1.6 to be better to drive in city conditions and the swift is a joy to drive on open streches where you can exploit the turbo.but its a pain to drive in bumper to bumper traffic conditions.
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Old 19th December 2008, 16:08   #13
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Yatin congrats on your new car . Well about the 1.6 you just need some getting used to that's all and then you'll love it !
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Old 21st December 2008, 23:15   #14
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I took delivery of my ride on Friday afternoon, and have been pottering around town since! It has been a bit stressful doing 150 km of Bangalore city in 2 days in a big car with a big turning radius - I am used to springing into gaps on a bike!

Question:
1) Is there any accommodation to put a towing hook on the Stile? The executive I dealt with phoned around and gave some vague answer that there is something under the rear of the vehicle, and - get this - he said Fiat engines and vehicles are trouble-free and will never need towing!
2) There seems to be some empty space with wiring inside the lower half of the boot door. Aren't they covered up? Mine is open, and look quite odd to say the least. (I wasn't too observant with this stuff at delivery time)

Delivery experience:
On Friday, I shut shop early on the work front and set up a delivery time of 3PM with Concorde. A cousin of mine had volunteered to join us, and he had a good influence on the proceedings without being overbearing. We got there past 3:30 and found our executive MIA. I could not complain, having come in late, and somebody else started off with the delivery paperwork past 4:15. In the meanwhile, I sneaked down to the garage and found my ride quite clean on the outside, but still missing number plates.

The explanation of the few feedback forms and checklists I was to sign off on was to the point. Some time before 5, our executive appeared. He took over with the demo of the car, and it too was reasonably to the point. The number plates arrived and were quickly fixed.

A photo of us with the car was taken, and given to us in a Concorde-stamped table-stand photo-frame. We got a Concorde-stamped tissue paper box, and a 5-litre coupon usable at the IOC pump nearby. We were flagged off with applause from the entire sales staff. Fine.

Let me see if I can tag along when my friend gets his i10, and compare that experience with this ...

Delivery grouses:
- I had to ask to get the extended warranty documentation (I have the T-BHP pre-delivery checklist to thank for that!); it is almost unscrupulous of them to miss it, especially when they make it a paid part of the deal by default and know that most people pay and take it
- why some manufacturers skimp on mud flaps and door mats in the package is beyond me; it isn't as if they cut their prices to compensate for that (which is what Concorde claims) - they always have their margins. I went to Trident Hyundai to test the i10 for my friend the next day, and these are part of the package there
- the Clarion audio system is still not available; I did complain about the delay, but there wasn't much I could do at a late stage in the process
- there were a couple of minor smudges of grease on the front seats (small enough that I did not observe at first). It just seems careless, and I wouldn't want these guys servicing my vehicle later

Now lets get the part I was really interested in!

Initial experiences with the car:
No amount of time put in various vehicles, and no amount of conservativeness in driving can prepare for your first drive in your own car (atleast your first one). The perception of it being a bigger vehicle than most of the others I had driven plus high traffic made it a bit tough; but things smoothened after a short break to put in a half tank worth of fuel.

I got home in peace, then went around some more for the mandatory 'puja' and some visits. The engine is too smooth for a new vehicle! Kudos Tata-Fiat for delivering it in such condition! I did run into the mandatory trouble in traffic with double-crank prevention, and with U-turns which will be a pain throughout. But, it drives much better than you'd think on reading "1.1L, 57BHP@5250, 92Nm@1750, 980kgs". So much for specs!

A couple of people complained about the racket it makes while starting up; I am guessing I am keeping the key turned for a bit more than necessary and the starter motor is complaining. Inside the cabin, there is only slight engine noise. If you are in too high a gear for the engine, you immediately hear it boom a little and a similar vibe from the steering. There is just-about-noticeable tyre noise too.

1st-2nd gear is very natural, but the engine needs to reach a little to get from 2nd-3rd - I need to get used to that ratio. 3rd-4th and 4th-5th are OK, and you can be in 5th gear at speeds of 50kmph, so it should cruise well. Downshifts are necessary frequently either because you need to overtake, or because you need to climb a half-decent upward incline with 5 people on-board.

I am glad I took the variant with HVAC, because the heater is very effective on the windshield in the misty mornings we are seeing in Bangalore now. HVAC use has to be tactical with 4-5 people on board; with fewer people, you can get by without switching it off. It is effective upto the rear seats at setting 2/4 itself; this is good as 3 and 4 are noisy.

Seating, leg room, the measured steering and pedal feel, the precise gearbox, the gradual braking and the suspension are things I just love! Test-driving the i10 made me appreciate these even more, as the i10 has Hyundai-standard touchy-feely pedals and steering.

Things to get done:
- that stereo from Tata-Fiat (ASAP)
- seat covers
- steering wheel cover, although I am satisfied with the grip of the stock wheel
- left mirror - I have to admit they would be useful on a vehicle of these dimensions
No bling-bling (alloys and the ilk!) - I am yet to recover from putting in more petrol into the car in one go, than into my bike over a month!

the i10 interiors are definitely better quality and feel-good than the competition, but do not justify the media and reviewer hoopla over them; but the Kappa engine is terrrrrrrrrifiC! And that is NOT because I drive a 1.1 Stile!
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Old 22nd December 2008, 00:43   #15
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Sir,

Congrats. It seems you are just now checking up the same features for which I reminded you tot ake thew SLX - ORVM, boot - now soon rear wipper/defogger too

Anyways, congrats. And yes, that power lower down is where it helps! Cheers
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