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Old 5th August 2010, 19:41   #46
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I have come to believe that preventing dashboard reflection in the windscreen is an art. Why do I say that?

The Maruti 800 has a grey-black plastic dashboard but the reflections in the windscreen are still annoying, because of the very shiny plastic.

The Indigo doesn't use shiny plastic, although over time it develops stickiness and thereby some sheen. But it's the beige colour that results in horrid reflections in the windscreen.

So I've had one instance each of grey/black and beige in the family where reflections are a problem.

And this is where the Civic really impresses once again. Most of the car is beige, but the top of the dashboard is all non-shiny grey. The best part is that it isn't flat. Part of that could be to prevent reflections. The weired contours and angles mean you can't make out much of the dash in the windscreen. The added purpose it solves is that you could keep small things such as parking stickers and tickets on the dash without them falling/sliding off, and they remain clearly visible to people outside without you having to stick stuff on to the windscreen.

Do you remember the days of old when people would carpet the top of their Ambassadors' and Marutis' dashes? I think that must've been to prevent the reflections from those shiny surfaces.

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Old 5th August 2010, 20:11   #47
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Dr.AD: Congrats on your new purchase. I was in a similar dilemna some 6-7 months back and chose the SX4 as well. I had a third contender - Fiesta as well which I dropped because of the same reasons you mentioned. However the engine responsiveness and overall driveability of the Fiesta is awesome to say the least.

By the way, excellent writeup. Detailed yet to the point and the narrative style is spot on. Leaves the reader wanting more!
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Old 5th August 2010, 22:16   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allajunaki View Post
May I suggest a good polarized sunglasses
Thanks for the suggestion. Yup, I have read on some other threads as well that polarized sunglasses are useful for this. Maybe I will 'invest' in some good polarized glasses. Actually I already have one good RayBan but I am not sure if they are polarized. Sorry if this is a stupid question, but is there a way to know if they are polarized?

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Originally Posted by vasoo View Post
Excellent review Dr. Loved to read the comparison and factors that determined your final decision. After all the feeling you get after making a tough decision is really exhilarating. Wish I could write something like this regarding the events that led into buying my car. I am somehow not so good at writing and too lazy as well
Thanks vasoo! Well, I think cars is a topic so close to heart (for the writer as well as readers on this forum) that my writing looks good. If you ask me to write about events leading to other decisions in my life (not related to cars), I will not be able to write a signle paragraph.

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Originally Posted by spadix View Post
I have come to believe that preventing dashboard reflection in the windscreen is an art. Why do I say that?
Yes, very true. Good to hear that Honda has taken care of this problem in Civic. I also agree with you that shiny black is as bad as beige. Even in my Palio the dashboard is black and usually does not reflect. But when I give it for servicing they usually polish it to shiny black and then for next few days it reflects very bad.

Anyway, now I have got used to the mild reflection and it does not bother me anymore. I guess since it is somewhat cloudy and not very sunny in Bangalore, the reflection is not that bad. But when it will become bright sunny some day after the weather change, that will be the real test of this.


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Originally Posted by shreeps View Post
Dr.AD: Congrats on your new purchase. I was in a similar dilemna some 6-7 months back and chose the SX4 as well. I had a third contender - Fiesta as well which I dropped because of the same reasons you mentioned. However the engine responsiveness and overall driveability of the Fiesta is awesome to say the least.

By the way, excellent writeup. Detailed yet to the point and the narrative style is spot on. Leaves the reader wanting more!
Thanks a lot, shreeps. Yes, Fiesta has an awesome engine for responsiveness as well as drivability. Also, Fiesta's HPS is in a class above SX4's EPS. But unfortunately, due to other reasons I mentioned, I could not buy a Fiesta.
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Old 6th August 2010, 10:41   #49
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Originally Posted by Dr.AD View Post
Thanks for the suggestion. Yup, I have read on some other threads as well that polarized sunglasses are useful for this. Maybe I will 'invest' in some good polarized glasses. Actually I already have one good RayBan but I am not sure if they are polarized. Sorry if this is a stupid question, but is there a way to know if they are polarized?
Yes there is!
If you have a digital watch, or the clock in ur car, wear ur glasses and tilt ur head upto 90 degrees in either direction. You should see the LCD darken, or distincly change the level of brightness.
You can even try this, if u have an LCD tv. By Distinct I mean 50% or more.
This is because, LCD's themselves use polarizing filters.
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Old 6th August 2010, 14:28   #50
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Originally Posted by allajunaki View Post
Yes there is!
If you have a digital watch, or the clock in ur car, wear ur glasses and tilt ur head upto 90 degrees in either direction. You should see the LCD darken, or distincly change the level of brightness.
You can even try this, if u have an LCD tv. By Distinct I mean 50% or more.
This is because, LCD's themselves use polarizing filters.
Thanks a lot. This is very interesting information. I will try this out.
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Old 6th August 2010, 14:57   #51
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I feel the best way to see the sx4 is as an suv that can handle well!!and not as a car that handles badly!!
First and foremost, don't even think of it as SUV, its no where near to SUV, except the Ground Clearance.

Think of it as car which can handle huge bumps well than other sedans.
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Thanks. Your travelogues and your SX4 stories also played a part in my decision making!.
Glad that I could help in your decision in some way. Engine noise is definitely high at high RPM
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Old 6th August 2010, 15:11   #52
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Glad that I could help in your decision in some way. Engine noise is definitely high at high RPM
Actually it is not that bad at all, especially for VVT version.

The engine is of course not silent by any definition, but the sound is well below annoyance levels. In fact, I am enjoying the engine noise and I think it is at optimum level for me. I do not like very silent engines which feel very boring.

I do have other issues with SX4 (as I mentioned in my review), but engine noise is certainly not one of those
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Old 6th August 2010, 17:24   #53
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Congratulations, Dr. AD! I have driven the SX4 more than 16K km after buying it last August, and have a similar usage profile to yours. Love the way I can rely on it while driving on the highway and on bad roads. Great car for India!
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Old 6th August 2010, 18:29   #54
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Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post
Congratulations, Dr. AD! I have driven the SX4 more than 16K km after buying it last August, and have a similar usage profile to yours. Love the way I can rely on it while driving on the highway and on bad roads. Great car for India!
Thanks, nilanjanray! Actually I have read your thread and was highly impressed by your usage. I realized that I have the exact same requirements as you and threads like yours made me feel assured that I was making the right decision.

It is amazing how our requirements and liking (including our color choice) are so similar. When I went to the stockyard (in Sarjapur) to do a PDI, I remembered your photos at the same venue.

Thanks for your very informative thread that helped me a lot!

Regards,
-AD
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Old 6th August 2010, 18:50   #55
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Dr. AD, congratulations on your new SX4. You deserve a Dr. for your excellent research and analysis if you did not have it already

An important takeaway from your post for me: before arriving at a decision, best to run your requirements in a live environment, i.e. while driving. Lot of times your requirements are based on external influence and information overload does mislead you.

Will wait for detailed reports on your ownership experience.
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Old 6th August 2010, 19:08   #56
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Originally Posted by Meer View Post
Dr. AD, congratulations on your new SX4. You deserve a Dr. for your excellent research and analysis if you did not have it already

An important takeaway from your post for me: before arriving at a decision, best to run your requirements in a live environment, i.e. while driving. Lot of times your requirements are based on external influence and information overload does mislead you.

Will wait for detailed reports on your ownership experience.
Thank you, Meer. It feels nice to hear from fellow SX4 owners, and thanks for your kind words.

Your observation about "running the requirements in live environment" is spot on! This is what solved my dilemma in the end. When I sit in my armchair (so to speak) in my study room and think about what I want in a car, I may get a wrong picture. What appeals to you in your armchair thoughts may not matter to you once you are behind the steering wheel. Therefore, I realized that the best way to gather all my requirements is to observe every detail of what I like and what I do not like while I am driving it.

Some more detailed reports are coming soon, hopefully this weekend

Thanks,
-AD
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Old 7th August 2010, 00:12   #57
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Default Miscellaneous observations

Having driven this car for a week now, here are some miscellaneous observations. In some cases, the observation also includes a question or two to fellow SX4 owners and it will be a great help if they could please answer those.

Turn indicator "kat-kat" sound: In most cars I have driven (both in India and US), there is a clearly audible "kat-kat" sound when the turn indicators are ON. This is to remind the driver that the indicators are ON. My Palio also has a nice audible sound and thanks to this there is very less chance of the driver forgetting to switch off the indicators. However, in SX4, this sound is so weak (what is a good antonym for loud?) that it is barely audible. In fact, with AC blower on, this sound is inaudible. I observed this during multiple TDs as well. Is there a way to increase the volume of this sound?

Horn: The horn is loud and clear, both inside the car (unfortunately) and also outside (Thank God for this!). It is a bit embarrassing to admit but given our traffic conditions, I like loud horns. The horn is loud, but the tone is not very good. It almost sounds like a truck horn, which is not really a bad thing. Most people (and surprise, surprise! - even the auto drivers) get out of my way much earlier than what I am used to. This is cool! I had a funny incidence that I would like to narrate here. I was driving on a nice wide road which did not have any traffic (yes, I know, this sounds impossible in Bangalore. But trust me, if you get the right combination of time and space this is possible) but unfortunately one lady on a scooter was going so slow right in the middle of the road that it appeared as if she had just stopped there. I wad a good 100 meters behind her and was going quite slowly myself. However, when I reached about 50 meters behind her and it still appeared as if she had no intensions of either moving on or making way for me, I just gave her a casual, mild horn. And oh boy! She got completely scared. She was shocked. She thought some truck had come right behind her. She got so shocked and confused and looked back with a dead scared look and within a fraction of a second cleared up the road. I felt sorry for her and felt very apologetic, but nonetheless, started laughing out loud. It was real funny.

Road presence: The car has tremendous road presence, especially compared to my Palio. Whoever is in the way (including the auto drivers) tends to get out of my way sooner now than compared to Palio. Palio is a sweet little car. Nobody takes her seriously. Even the dogs do not move out of my Palio's way unless I go very close to them and threaten them of dire consequences such as running them over. Pedestrians think that I have no right to drive my Palio on the road and ignore me completely and keep walking right across or even in front of me. Auto drivers start hoping that Palio will break down any moment and I will get out and get into their Autos. But the point is, nobody makes way for my sweet little Palio. But the story is different in my mean and rude SX4. I go a bit close, give a nice little honk, and everyone moves away. And yes, all street dogs are scared of my black beast. They run away the instant they see me coming. I am loving it.

Idle RPM: Once warmed up, the engine idles at 700 RPM when the AC compressor is off, and idles at about 800 RPM when the compressor is on. Seems normal to me and I have no problems whatsoever with this. But just wanted to confirm with fellow SX4 owners. Any comments guys? Does 700 sound a bit too low? Ideally I love my cars to idle around 900-1000 RPM, but this is a bad habit I got in good old days in US where I used to rev the car and dump the clutch for a clean take off. Higher idling RPM helps that process. Now that we need to worry about fuel economy, clutch wear, environment and other such things, I don't think I can complain about idling at 700 RPM. Nevertheless I am curious about this.

Engine temperature: Almost within first kilometer of driving, the engine temperature reaches the middle of the temp gauge and remains constant there regardless of what I do. I have attached a picture below of my typical temperature reading. Again, I am pretty sure this is normal, but just a quick confirmation from fellow SX4 owners would be great. I am also amazed at how soon (after a cold start) it reaches that position.

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In my Palio, the temperature reaches only about 1/4th of the gauge, and that too after about 10 minutes of driving. Then it remains at 1/4th for majority of the time, but keeps fluctuating a bit depending on the relationship between AC compressor and radiator cooling fan. As has been discussed to death in various Palio threads, Palio has a funny relationship between AC compressor and cooling fan. However, in Palio 1.6, the temperature is all the time at 1/2 mark or a dash above that. Thus, it seems that SX4 1.6 behaves similar to Palio 1.6 in this aspect. Also, I could not sense any relation between the AC compressor and radiator cooling fan in SX4. Any comments, guys?

Radiator cooling fan noise: Thank god it is not there. Why am I even mentioning this? Ask any Palio owner and they will tell you how loud this fan noise in Palio can get. As correctly written in Team-BHP official road tests, "All Fiats have a disproportionately loud engine cooling fan". In my Palio, when idling at a traffic signal, this fan noise is very irritating. I am very glad and relived that SX4 has no such fan noise.

Driver seat height: I am enjoying the "vantage position" more and more every day. I am not very tall, and hence I can sit with the driver's seat at the highest position. This is a phenomenal position and the view of the surrounding traffic is just great. This helps a lot in bumper-to-bumper traffic because you can see a lot more around you than in a Palio (for instance) and try to avoid those nasty touches and scratches. Palio itself is not very low, which means if compared to other low cars, SX4 is way better in this aspect.

Music System: I complained about this earlier, but that was with all factory settings. I messed around with Bass and Treble settings and that seems to have helped matters a bit. The sound is bearable now. Definitely not as bad as I had though at first, but still it is not of any great quality - just bearable.

Ride quality and load: I have talked a lot already about ride quality in SX4. During all my test drives, I kept on having this feeling that for some reason, SX4 should ride better with load in the car. I had my own theory in mind for that. I thought some extra load may help the shocks and the springs to settle down a bit. The main problem with the ride is that it is never really settled, and extra load may help there. Now I think I was right. Whenever I travelled with some passengers in the car, the ride was better than when I drive alone. I can notice significant worsening of the ride when I drive alone. What do fellow SX4 owners think? Any comments, guys?

Intrusion Alarm: According to the manual, this car is equipped with intrusion detection system and an intrusion alarm. I was not sure if that was true though, because during delivery the dealer said there is no such thing in this car. Furthermore, the LED light (on the alarm switch on dashboard) which is supposed to be in a blinking mode when the alarm is armed, did never blink in my car. So I assumed that dealer was right and there is no alarm system. However, today I forgot to unlock the car using remote before opening the boot using the key. The alarm went off as soon as I inserted the key in the boot. Cool. I was impressed! I opened the boot and the siren kept on going. I had to press the 'unlock' button on the key to stop the alarm. But I was happy to know that this thing works.

Tyre pressure: I had read numerous threads here that said dealers overinflate the tyres. I was aware of this during delivery. Next day morning, when the tyres were cold, I checked the pressure using a pressure gauge with air release valve that I have with me, and found (as expected) the tyre pressures to be above 40 psi in all four tyres. I released some air from all four tyres and brought them down to 30 psi. Thanks Team-BHP for this valuable information, which otherwise I would not have known.

Interior lighting and illumination: This is just average. Nothing fancy to write home about. But the automatic climate control dials look nice at night. I did not like the amber color very much though. I prefer red or green. Anyway, not a big deal.

Headlights: Now this is a serious problem. I had read on several threads about poor OEM lights on SX4. But I thought since most new car owners complain about this (I had read similar complains from Linea owners, Fiesta owners, Manza owners, Punto owners etc.) , this may not be a big deal. But unfortunately, my worst fears about the headlight came true. The headlights are just pathetic, in terms of both brightness and throw. Why, Maruti, Why? Why such poor headlamps on such a nice car? I know they are constrained to give us 'legal lamps' and can't go beyond 60/55, but does it mean it has to be this bad? The fact that I have installed 100/90 bulbs with relays on my Palio and I am used to the brilliant light (both intensity and throw) makes matter even worse. What should I do guys? I feel like I desperately need to install 100/90 bulbs with relays in SX4 too, but I am worried because it voids warranty. Any suggestions?

This is all for now. Any comments or suggestions on the above points will be highly appreciated.

Before I close this post, here is a picture of my dashboard with the odo showing exactly 300 km. Sorry for the somewhat poor quality of the picture.

Thanks,
-AD

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Old 7th August 2010, 01:34   #58
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what is a good antonym for loud?
muted or soft

Quote:
Engine temperature: Almost within first kilometer of driving, the engine temperature reaches the middle of the temp gauge and remains constant there regardless of what I do. I have attached a picture below of my typical temperature reading. Again, I am pretty sure this is normal, but just a quick confirmation from fellow SX4 owners would be great. I am also amazed at how soon (after a cold start) it reaches that position.
I have the same issue in my WagonR. Shoots straight up to halfway or just under halfway pretty soon. Multiple service personnel have said that it's not an issue and I've seen other Maruti cars that behave the same.

Quote:
Ride quality and load: I have talked a lot already about ride quality in SX4. During all my test drives, I kept on having this feeling that for some reason, SX4 should ride better with load in the car. I had my own theory in mind for that. I thought some extra load may help the shocks and the springs to settle down a bit. The main problem with the ride is that it is never really settled, and extra load may help there. Now I think I was right. Whenever I travelled with some passengers in the car, the ride was better than when I drive alone. I can notice significant worsening of the ride when I drive alone. What do fellow SX4 owners think? Any comments, guys?
Dump a few bricks in the boot
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Old 7th August 2010, 12:07   #59
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Dump a few bricks in the boot
I know. Jokingly, I was telling some of my friends that I am going to buy some sandbags and keep in the boot. This also helps a bit in high speed stability.

I remember in the US when some of my college friends had old beaten cars with no technology whatsoever to tackle the snowy conditions, we used to keep sandbags in the trunk. That was a good way to add weight on rear wheels and they offer better traction on snow. This was a common practice in the college campus.
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Old 7th August 2010, 19:30   #60
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Default Anyone interested in 3.2L, 201bhp and 282Nm?

Well, as you probably guessed, it is a joke. These are the specs of unfortunately not one engine, but two engines combined.

Below is a random picture I took of my SX4 and my friend's (who is also a member here) Palio Stile 1.6. Just thought that two 1.6 engines standing next to each other should be captured in a photo. If you see these two cars on some highway near Bangalore sometime, feel free to stop us and say hi. You will know it is just us, two bhpians ;-)

By the way, the Palio 1.6 has recently got new K&N conical filter and it is doing great! I drove that today and both the throttle response and the intake sound has improved quite a lot.

Beast prevails over beauty. Story of my SX4-ZXi VVT-sx4palio.jpg

Thanks,
-AD
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