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Old 2nd May 2009, 21:21   #1
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Default Palio Multijet SDE : Initial ownership report

I had become a proud owner of a Fiat Palio MJD (SDE, Furnace red) on December 23, 2008. Prior to that I had driven my father's M800 of 1995 make and had very little experience with diesels. In fact, the only time I drove a diesel was, for about 5 kms, a Bolero way back in 2004 maybe. I did not enjoy the experience much. However, I was always intrigued by the common rail diesel engines and wanted to drive around in an affordable car with such an engine. By the early part of 2008 I had started researching for my new/first car.


With my monthly income, the limit of my budget for a car (all inclusive) would be 5 lakhs. Though Indica Dicor was well within that limit it was sort of unconvincing. I has been a regular visitor of TBHP by and was greatly influenced by the positive feedback on the Swift DDIS and Palio Multijet. By then Indica Vista was released and I promptly took a test drive of the Quadrajet. But any of those cars would then exceed my budget limit (cars cost a lot more here in Assam due to higher transportation cost and taxes). Decent petrol cars were also in my mind. In fact, driving my brother's U-VA in Gurgaon was a good experience. When i10 kappa had been launched, following a test drive, I almost booked one.


Then two things happened. Fiat announced a discount in November/December for Palio MJD and Govt. of India reduced excise duty by 4% a few days later. To sweeten the deal even further Fiat also announced free music system with the car for the December customers. That was the clincher and I booked the Palio SDE without even a test drive. The car was with the dealer, ready for delivery, but the bank took its own sweet time to process my loan application. I was informed that I could take the delivery of the car on 22nd December. That morning I became a TBHP member and took delivery of the car the next day.


Although I had been using my father's 1995 Maruti 800 since 2004, I had not gone for any long car trip (self driven). I could not hold myself back any longer after I got hold of my furnace red Palio MJD. My brother-in-law and family were also game enough to accompany me and my wife to Kalimpong/Gangtok/Darjeeling in the new car, with temporary registration only. So we set out for the whirlwind 4 day trip on 28th December. We were back on 1st January and the 1st free service was overdue. In this free service my dealer/service-centre just washed the car and did some routine check and did not change the engine oil in spite of my request stating that they would follow exactly what is written in the service manual/coupon.


The time I get out of home the roads are generally not choc-a-bloc with traffic. Also, when I come back from office the traffic flow from the opposite side is relatively low. So, my car during daily commuting does not have to contend with bumper to bumper city traffic. On weekends I either visit my parents or my in-laws which involve some stretches of highway driving. Also, I drive in a more or less sedate manner. That is why perhaps I am getting above 21 kmpl on an average consistently. Although most comparisons give the Palio MJD 3rd place regarding mileage I think with my style of driving I would not get any better mileage from the two supposedly better ones, the DDIS and the Quadrajet.


On 12th of April my Palio got hillbound for the second time; to Cherrapunjee in Meghalaya on this occasion . The drive to Cherrapunjee from Guwahati is wonderful. The Meghalaya roads are very well maintained and there is virtually no dust once you are into the hill state. Compared to Guwahati, I observed that the cars in Shillong (capital of Meghalaya, on the way to Cherrapunjee) are maintained better by their owners. Almost every second car, be it a Maruti 800 or whatever, is on alloy wheels. In fact on the way back I spent all the time meant for sightseeing/shopping at Shillong by counting alloy wheels in cars!


Today was the day of my Palio's second free service (7455km in the odo). It was booked well beforehand so that the Tata-Fiat service centre could make available Fiat trained service personnel for this important servicing. I noted down the 16 point checklist on a piece of paper before handing over the service coupon. From then on it was a nightmare. I am not saying that the service centre people were dishonest but it was impossible to get all the points in the checklist covered inspite of myself being present there from the morning till 6 pm. There were so many Tata vehicles and only one Fiat! And there were no distinction between Tata and Fiat service personnel. The technician in charge of my car failed to locate/remove the oil filter. Then another came with some Fiat training.


He was indeed very honest. He said that Fiat cars coming in for servicing were so few and far between that they forget some nitty gritties. I wondered if the service centre did not keep technical service manuals for Fiat cars. Finally I had to come back without the first point of the second free serivce being attended to: check tyre and wheel alignment. Not that it was the only point the service centre failed to attend to ... in all of 8 hours from 10 am till 6 pm. Aah! That is how life is if you want some passion.


PS. I'll post pics later. The power situation here in Guwahati is awful at present. I have to shutdown now, hardly 5 min. or so of battery left.
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Old 2nd May 2009, 22:43   #2
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Nice write up , hope the service situation improves for you though

and even here oil change was not done during the first service at 1.5k , was it mentioned in the manual ? I thought that first oil change was only done at 7.5k /2nd service
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Old 3rd May 2009, 00:21   #3
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nice review dude.

all the best to you for future servicings.yeah the 1st oil change for the MJD is in the second service.
with sedate driving it will consistently give you 20kmpl plus but please do rev it and enjoy it too at not a great loss of fuel economy.
plz post pics too
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Old 3rd May 2009, 09:35   #4
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Thanks bottle and shantyrocks.

To describe my ownership experience in detail I have taken the review of great_guns as base (http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/test-d...km-report.html (Fiat Palio Multijet 1.3 Diesel (MJD) - 3200 KM report)).

1> Engine The engine noise is on the higher side both from inside and from outside. During my test drive of Vista the inside was super silent but outside noise was as high as in Palio MJD. I haven't heard the engine sound of the Swift ddis from inside but outside noise is much lower. The Fiat provided stereo does take care of the noise but somehow I have developed a liking for the engine roar that filters inside the cabin; I find it manly!

2> Interiors The interior plastics are not pleasing to the eye. The instrument panel, especially the printing, looks bad during daytime. However, at night when the instrument cluster lights are on, the interior looks good. The support for rear passengers in the form of a handle on top of the doors are not standard fitment. I wanted to buy them but my dealer does not have stock. The fabric quality on door and seats are good. I have fitted the seats with two-tone (grey+beige) rexin covers. They are not comfortable on hot days. The back sweats even when the AC is on. I am now using a cotton towel as a cover of the seatcover.

3> Ergonomics I fully agree with what great_guns had to say about this.

4) Ride quality I have little experience of riding bigger cars. The ride quality compared to other small cars is several notches higher. But I am not happy with the braking. In my M800 I had a bitter experience when I had to brake at 70 kmph. In this car I thought wheels will not lock till about 90 kmph. But on more than 3 occasion when I had to brake hard at about 80 kmph there was skidding. I don't know if faulty tyre pressure could be a reason. I trusted the local tyrewallah about correctness of his pressure gauge and I generally kept the pressure on all wheels at 30 psi. Before the trip to Cherrapunjee I asked him to check tyre pressure. He said that pressure was low on all four wheels and then did the needful. Throughout the trip I felt uncomfortable in corners and at bad stretches of road. I checked tyre pressure after coming back on a different tyre shop. Horror of horrors! Pressure on all wheels were 40 psi.

5) Build quality To use the cliche, built like a tank. To stress on the point to my friends I generally open the bonnet and ask them to lift it. Their expression tells the story louder than words.

6) Steering The power steering is much heavier than those in Altos, Wagon Rs and Sparks. I don't feel uncomfortable due to the heaviness. But I woul have prefered a smaller one both in terms of diameter and in terms of thickness of the wheel. In fact, the addition of steering wheel cover has rendered it a truck like feel. The large turning radius initially was a problem (because of my 800 antecedents). Now I am used to it.

7) Gearbox I have no issues with the gearbox. I have seen some reviewers commenting that they couldn't feel the slotting of the gear in position. I honestly don't think it is soooo rubbery. The long throws in fact ensure that you are trying the correct slot. Amongst the cars I have driven till now (there are not many) the gearbox of i10 (kappa) is the one I found most likeable.

8) Service As mentioned before I have no doubt about the honesty of the servicemen in the service centre but they are a rather short of training and experience. As one of them said, the small number of Fiat Palios they get to work on is a hindrance on their gaining of experience. Same is the case with spare part availablity. They don't keep ready stock of any accessories because they are not sure if those will sell. I am yet to get the right side ORVM and the shoulder mouldings (those black plastic strips which are standard in SDX and Sport models).

9) Space Here my consideration was not the maximum width available. In fact the the Indica Vista in the parking lot in my apartment would be a tight squeeze. Between two pillars there is just about 13 feet to accommodate two cars. The owner of the other half has an M800 till now. I will try to dissuage him for an upgrade to Vista. The interior space is generous for 5 people of our smallish size. The boot is more than sufficient for my occasional trips. I tried double folding of the rear seat during my sis-in-law's marriage to use the car as a van. The space you get that way is comparable to what you have in an omni.

10) Looks I still feel that the old Palio looked better but among the competition only Getz can match its look (my feeling again).

11) Road presence Same feeling as great_guns.
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Old 3rd May 2009, 10:26   #5
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Default Some pics

Palio Multijet SDE : Initial ownership report-p1020409.jpg

Palio Multijet SDE : Initial ownership report-p1020305.jpg

Palio Multijet SDE : Initial ownership report-p1020189.jpg

Palio Multijet SDE : Initial ownership report-p1020191.jpg

Palio Multijet SDE : Initial ownership report-p1020192.jpg

Palio Multijet SDE : Initial ownership report-p1020304.jpg

Palio Multijet SDE : Initial ownership report-p1020260.jpg
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Old 3rd May 2009, 10:45   #6
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nice report tortise..

By changing the tyres your braking and ride will deft improve...

I was very used to the OHC PS but i feel the harder or heaver steering of fiats is much safer and i like it!
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Old 3rd May 2009, 11:07   #7
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Really nice pictures , is that Cherrapunjee ?

For the seats you could probably look at perforated seats which would be better . I have art leather seats from stanley but dont have any issues with sweat though. You probably need tints as well
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Old 3rd May 2009, 12:11   #8
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Nice pictures of a nice car! One comment on interior though is that I personally find a high-contrast two tone much attractive only on the dash and not anywhere else inside the car. In this case I think one-tone seats would have looked much nicer - either plain tan or beige - with a two tone dashboard. This is how it is in Linea and it looks dashing!!! But that's me. On and all, the car is a beauty. Enjoy!

PS: Please post some pictures from your trips to the hill stations. Have not seen much of these on these forums. Thanx!
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Old 3rd May 2009, 14:38   #9
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Nice review of an awesome car - that would've been the color I would've bought

But anyways, my best wishes.

Yeah, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance - so they said for India - so it is for Fiat unfortunately!
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Old 3rd May 2009, 15:09   #10
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a nice review and even better pics!
what headunit is in there? looks different.
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Old 3rd May 2009, 15:21   #11
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good review. really good backdrops for the photos. enjoy the car mate and 21kmpl is not bad at all
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Old 3rd May 2009, 18:43   #12
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@lohithrao, bottle, allroad, phamilyman, white_vdi, pranava999


Thank you all for your encouraging feedback. I fully agree with allroad regarding two-tone seat covers but at the time of making a decision the more-light-colour-area-will-get-more-dirt type of silly logic made me go for the grey part.


Yes, the shots except the ones showing the interior of the car and my parking space were taken at Cherrapunjee. The HU was supplied by Fiat India (free for all December customers). It is branded TATA but actually a Clarion unit with FM Radio and USB, SD Card and Aux-in inputs. The sound quality is good enough and there is no distortion at the highest volume. The highest volume is not ear-splittingly high though.


Here are a few snaps taken during the trip to Kalimpong/Gangtok/Darjeeling/Mirik

Tea estate in Dooars District (West Bengal) Palio Multijet SDE : Initial ownership report-p1010655.jpg

Rafting in Teesta river Palio Multijet SDE : Initial ownership report-p1010733.jpg

Sikkim-Manipal University on the bank of river Teesta Palio Multijet SDE : Initial ownership report-p1010726.jpg

Rhumtek Monastery near Gangtok Palio Multijet SDE : Initial ownership report-p1010708.jpg

Toy train in Darjeeling Palio Multijet SDE : Initial ownership report-p1010764.jpg

Orange orchard at Mirik Palio Multijet SDE : Initial ownership report-p1010785.jpg

The sleepy township of Mirik on the bank of Mirik Lake Palio Multijet SDE : Initial ownership report-p1010808.jpg

Tea estate on hilltops on the way down to Siliguri from Mirik Palio Multijet SDE : Initial ownership report-p1010823.jpg
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Old 3rd May 2009, 20:00   #13
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i liked the last two pics very much .
mirik looks like a town in the switzerland or any scandanavian country .the pan of the tea estates with the winding roads is very enticing
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Old 3rd May 2009, 21:08   #14
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Amazing Car, Amazing Review & the finally Pictures are the Best!
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Old 3rd May 2009, 21:36   #15
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Nice pictures. I just wish my company had opened up some offices in those parts.
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