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Old 8th August 2010, 14:51   #61
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I used to have a beeper/audiable alarm for the turn indicator on my bike during my college days. This helped me to remember to turn off the indicator switch. Also it functioned as a horn to warn the pedestrians that the bike is turning in their direction.
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Old 9th August 2010, 14:52   #62
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Originally Posted by Dr.AD View Post
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?
Shreeps: I have the same problem. Not sure if anything can be done about it. I have also noticed that you have to do almost a 90 degree turn for the indicator to go back to its original position after a turn. It used to be significantly less in my WagonR. However, I am not sure what if anything can be done about it. I have gotten into the habit of looking at the dashboard after turns to ensure that the indicator is off again.
Quote:
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, ....
Shreeps: +1 to that. I agree. The horn is real loud and commands instant obedience from people.
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Road presence: The car has tremendous road presence, especially compared to my Palio. ...
Shreeps: I agree again. I guess when they see the SX4 with the "mean smile" headlamps getting closer and closer in their RVMs, discretion sure appears to be the better part of valour.

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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.
Shreeps: Yes, this is normal. My car behaves similarly.
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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 could not sense any relation between the AC compressor and radiator cooling fan in SX4. Any comments, guys?
Shreeps: Same here. On the brighter side, once it quickly reaches the half way mark, it doesnt budge from there very easily. Even 4+ hours of continuous driving in the summer didnt faze it.

If you do keep the AC on for a long time while idling, the fan does start up every once in a while.
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Ride quality and load: 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?
Shreeps: The body roll does decrease with a full load in the boot + passengers.
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Headlights: Now this is a serious problem ... 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?
Shreeps: I dont think any stock 60/55 can compare with the 90/100s so if you really want nice bright lights, I'd suggest you talk to the dealer. If he fits the relay, bulbs etc then he will not say anything about voiding the warranty. The downside is that it will work out much more expensive than if you get it done from outside.
Another option is for you to change the stock bulbs with better quality "legal" ones. Though probably not as good as 90/100, I have heard good comments about the Philips CrystalVision and Osram Nightbreakers. Search other threads in the tech/modifications areas.
Quote:
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.
Shreeps: You've got miles and miles to go before you sleep
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Old 9th August 2010, 16:41   #63
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Originally Posted by Dr.AD View Post
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.
This function needs to be enabled by you. The car has got the sensor system which detects any attempt to open the doors/bonnet/boot. Once you enable this, the LED in the Alarm button on the dashboard blinks every couple of seconds once you have locked the car. If this LED is off, it means that the car is in valet mode and the security features are switched off.

You can switch this on and also adjust the features (like sensitivity to external noise for pre-warning) using a series of switching the key to on position/switching off/pressing the alarm button etc., The sequence and the number of times this has to be done is mentioned in the security system manual which comes separately.

Do not turn on the anti-hijack feature though! It essentially starts the alarm if the doors are opened while the engine is on and you cant switch it off with the remote. You need to go through the switch on/switch off/alarm button pressing routine which is painful.

Hope this helps
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Old 11th August 2010, 11:13   #64
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Originally Posted by Dr.AD View Post
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.
I felt the horn is too loud inside the cabin. I wanted to check if there is a way we can correctly position horn to reduce the inside noise.

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Originally Posted by Dr.AD View Post
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.
I find it is quite OK. May be because I an not an audiophile

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Originally Posted by Dr.AD View Post
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 a major put off for me. At times and if it rains, I feel like lights are not working at all. I used to double check if it is switched on or not. I do not want to go beyond legally allowed limits. Thinking of going for a Phillips crystal vision or something like that.
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Old 11th August 2010, 12:22   #65
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Congrats Dr AD.

I love the SX4 and also had gone through the same comparo between SX4 and Linea and ultimately the engine/hunky looks/16 inch alloys made me decide to go for the SX4.

Had changed the stock JKs to Michelins.Can try that,the handling and road noise would change drastically.

Enjoy the drive.Have already done 13K in 10 months.
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Old 11th August 2010, 18:50   #66
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Shreeps, thanks for your confirmation on my observations.

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Originally Posted by shreeps View Post
Shreeps: You've got miles and miles to go before you sleep
Yes, I know. Unfortunately, I did not get much time to drive around since that one drive on NH7. I am planning a longish road trip soon and looking forward to getting lot of miles

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnrajdeep View Post
This function needs to be enabled by you. The car has got the sensor system which detects any attempt to open the doors/bonnet/boot. Once you enable this, the LED in the Alarm button on the dashboard blinks every couple of seconds once you have locked the car. If this LED is off, it means that the car is in valet mode and the security features are switched off.
Thanks. Yes, I had seen this in the manual. But I did not enable it or in any way changed the factory setting. Yet the alarm worked when I opened to boot with doors locked. So it looks like the default setting has some alarm functionality enabled.

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Originally Posted by marathp View Post
I felt the horn is too loud inside the cabin. I wanted to check if there is a way we can correctly position horn to reduce the inside noise.
Although I also felt the horn is too loud inside the cabin, I don't find it so annoying. Maybe because I have an "upgraded" horn (the OEM horn failed repeatedly, so I was forced to upgrade) in my Palio and that is pretty loud inside the cabin too. Therefore, maybe I am used to the loud horn.

Quote:
I find it is quite OK. May be because I an not an audiophile
Even I am not an audiophile, and hence did not care about sound quality during TDs. Anyway, I am getting used to this sound now and I don't find it that bad anymore. I am quite OK with it too now.

Quote:
This is a major put off for me. At times and if it rains, I feel like lights are not working at all. I used to double check if it is switched on or not. I do not want to go beyond legally allowed limits. Thinking of going for a Phillips crystal vision or something like that.
I know. I need to find some solution too. Even I do not want to go beyond legal limit. I am also thinking of Phillips crystal vision or Osram nighbreakers (I assume they are within legal limits). If you find some legal solution, please let me know. Thanks.

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Originally Posted by joy_swift View Post
Congrats Dr AD.

I love the SX4 and also had gone through the same comparo between SX4 and Linea and ultimately the engine/hunky looks/16 inch alloys made me decide to go for the SX4.

Had changed the stock JKs to Michelins.Can try that,the handling and road noise would change drastically.

Enjoy the drive.Have already done 13K in 10 months.
Thanks, joy_swift. I also had plans of changing JKs to Michelins or CPC2. However, for now, I think the JKs are not too bad. I am going on a long drive soon and will find out more about how they behave. But I certainly did not feel they are so bad that they require instant disposal. Maybe they are OK now because they are new and maybe they will degrade faster. But I have decided to use them at least till they are new enough and do a decent job, and I may go for an upgrade sometime around 15k mark.
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Old 16th August 2010, 18:29   #67
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Congrats Dr. AD for the new SX4. Sorry to wish you late. I really like your writing style. You have precisely done the comparison of both the cars to suit your needs. I have also bought a Pearl White SX4 from Pratham Motors in May 2010. I have already completed 4.5K Kms on my car with frequent highway drives and can only confirm with you the fun I have while driving this beast on open roads.

As a suggestion, for the first 3K Kms on the odo, religiously follow the driving tips mentioned in Team BHP forum by GTO and you will be surprised by the excellent mileage the car returns on the highway.
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Old 28th August 2010, 17:08   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abanka View Post
Congrats Dr. AD for the new SX4. Sorry to wish you late. I really like your writing style. You have precisely done the comparison of both the cars to suit your needs. I have also bought a Pearl White SX4 from Pratham Motors in May 2010. I have already completed 4.5K Kms on my car with frequent highway drives and can only confirm with you the fun I have while driving this beast on open roads.

As a suggestion, for the first 3K Kms on the odo, religiously follow the driving tips mentioned in Team BHP forum by GTO and you will be surprised by the excellent mileage the car returns on the highway.
Thanks, abanka. Yes, I do plan to stick to the driving tips for first 3K kms. However, I anyway don't rev the engine too much (except for the occasional short bursts), and hence, it is not very difficult for me to stick to the prescribed rules.
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Old 28th August 2010, 17:45   #69
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Default Review after first road trip

What do you like to do when you get a new car in your hand? In my case, I like to put it to a real test as soon as possible, to take it out of the city and to drive it on the real roads and to real destinations. Load it the way it is designed to be loaded, drive it the way it is designed to be driven, and use it exactly the way it is meant (and purchased) to be used. In the past, with all my cars, I have put them through rigorous real life situations as soon as I got my hands on them, and the SX4 was never going to be an exception. I find it lame to take a car to the first service without having really stressed it, in which case the first service becomes just a meaningless routine.

I was itching to put my SX4 to such a rigorous test, and the 150km test-run on NH7 on the second day of owning it (described in my earlier post) was not enough to qualify as a rigorous test. Thankfully, with a quick and impromptu email exchange, a friend from Pune and his family decided to visit us and a road trip to Wayanad (Kerala) was planned. Drive from Bangalore to Wayanad has it all: nice four-lane highway stretch, beautiful ghats, innumerable twists and turns, some healthy climbs, some slippery downslopes, and in the end some real bad stretches as if they were the icing on the cake. One could really test a car here. No flaw will remain hidden. No strength will go unnoticed.

All test driving in the world is inadequate to make you really understand your car. The first real drive with a new car is always an eye opener. This, roughly about 710km of trip, was going to be the first real drive in my new car, and I was about to really understand the virtues and vices of my new car. It was time for the reality check. The hyperbole and the overexcitement of the initial reviews was going to be quickly forgotten. It was time for the car to do the talking.

So, having completed this drive in my new car, it is time for me to update my review. This post is about my updated thoughts on various aspects of the car. Some of these will match with my initial thoughts, and some will not. But before I go on to write my review, I will state the conditions of this "experiment" in order to set the appropriate context for the results to be interpreted.

Conditions: The car was loaded with 4 adults, 1 child, and enough luggage to fill the 500 liters of boot space. The ambient temperatures were nice and cool (about 21 to 25C) throughout, with intermittent rain and throughout cloudy weather. Automatic Climate Control was used almost all the time with the temperature set to about 24C. Given that the outside temperatures were close to this, the AC compressor did not have to do much work. The tyre pressure was 31 psi in all tyres (still running the stock JKs). I chose to overinflate the tyres by 1 psi than the manufacturer's recommendation, given the amount of load in the car, the high-speed highway drive on the first day of the trip and the relatively cold weather.

Route and road types: The route we took was Bangalore-Mysore-Gundlupet-Gudlur-Meppadi-Vythiri-Kalpetta-Sulthan Bathery-Gundlupet-Mysore-Bangalore. As most of you would know, Bangalore-Mysore is a proper four-lane highway where only thing that prevents you from driving 100kmph+ all the time is the traffic. The rest of this route also had good roads (except for some occasional bad patches). However, the route beyond Gundlupet is essentially a mountain drive with lot of twists and turns, and good climbs. In addition, we drove on some small private roads to reach the resorts we stayed in, and those roads were really bad. I got to test the fully loaded SX4 on some real bad patches thanks to these small roads in the end. And yes, I forgot to mention those huge speedbreakers in and around Bangalore and Mysore, and also on the Bangalore-Mysore highway. Further, many of the roads were wet due to the intermittent rains, and the bad private roads I mentioned had turned into proper muddy roads. At some portions, we were actually driving through a lot of mud and slush.

Overall, we got a mix of all possible road conditions. This was exactly the kind of drive that I bought the SX4 for: to be able to load it fully and go anywhere without having to worry about the road conditions, and I got to properly test my hypothesis on this route.

Driving Style: The car was driven by me for about 70% of this route, and was drive by my friend's wife for 30% of the route. Both of us are relatively sedate drivers, and the intention was never to push the car to the limit. There were no hard accelerations, and thankfully no panic breaking (I do not remember the ABS kicking in at any time). Overall, this was your typical "comfort mode" drive with your family in the car, and not the "sport mode" drive that will test the handling of your car to the limit.

Now here are our observations (both from the driver's and passenger's points of views) about how the car performed in this test (in no particular order).

Ride Quality: A lot has been talked about SX4's ride quality with those hard suspensions. On the highways, I found the ride quality to be completely acceptable. In fact, I appreciated the lack of undulations in the car thanks to the hard suspensions. I hate the undulating boat-like rides on highways that many cars with soft suspensions provide. This is one of the reasons I like the hard suspensions. On the rough patches, the ride was still acceptable in the front seats, thanks to the relatively better independent suspensions in the front. However, the rear seat ride got pretty bad on rough patches. The difference between front and rear seat rides on bad patches was very noticeable. I had to constantly apologize to the rear seat passengers whenever we drove over some nasty speedbreakers or some potholes. However, apart from the stiffness over bad bumps, the ride quality was acceptable. I had observed earlier as well that the ride quality of SX4 is better when it is fully loaded than otherwise. The "getting thrown around" feeling that many have experienced in the rear seats of a lightly loaded SX4 vanishes when you load it fully. During this trip, thanks to the load, we never felt that general bumpiness and "getting thrown around" feeling. The ride was pretty well settled (again, thanks to the load) except for the momentary but painful bumps you receive when you go over a sharp pothole or something like that.

By the way, we traveled at low speeds on most of these bad patches, because the general conditions were not conducive to even mild speeding. I know that the SX4 ride is much better at higher speeds and I could have tried to go over these patches at higher speed to improve the ride, but that option was not available because the roads were very narrow with frequent sharp (and blind) turns, and were mostly muddy and wet.

Handling: The handling of this car is just about acceptable, again more or less thanks to the hard suspensions and the 205-wide tyres. However, the grip levels were lower than I expected, but more about that later when I discuss the tyres. A big factor that affects handling is the body roll, and in this trip, thanks to the load in the car, the body roll was pretty much eliminated. We never felt any body roll even on those sharp turns. In fact, while driving reasonably fast on the mountain road between Gudlur and Vythiri (the good road surfaces and lack of traffic allow you to indulge in some mild speeding here), and taking some fast turns, my friend who was sitting in the front passenger seat mentioned that he felt secure and stable and that he did not get any feeling of swaying around on those turns. These are the moments where the hard suspensions make your life better, especially give the high ride height. If the car had any softer suspensions and the same high ride height, then I could imagine how badly it will roll during these turns.

Basically, only way you can get better ride and handling and even make the suspension softer is to lower the ride height. But on Indian roads, this proves out to be a fundamental problem. SX4 addresses that problem by maintaining a good ride height. Given the ride height, the only way you can reduce body rolls and instability is to make suspensions harder. I feel those who approve of this design philosophy will like SX4. Of course, this design philosophy will be irrelevant if our driving conditions and roads were good. In better road conditions, I will never subscribe to this philosophy and will always prefer a low-riding car with minimal body roll.

Stability: The car felt solid and stable at speeds around 100kmph on highways. We never drove above 100kmph, and hence I won't be able to comment on that. However, we took some sharp turns at about 60kmph, and the car still felt very stable. I know some cars which would make the driver feel very nervous on these turns, but thankfully, the SX4 never made me feel nervous.

EPS: On highways, as the speeds build up, the EPS weighs up (which I prefer) and I found the EPS acceptable between 50 to 100kmph. I had read comments about the vagueness of the EPS at high speeds, but at least at 100kmph, I did not find it that bad. Maybe it becomes worse after that. Overall, no complaints from me about the EPS at the highway speeds I drove at. However, as expected, it disappointed me on the low-speed mountain drives. There is absolutely no feedback at low speeds, and the steering feels totally vague and disconnected at low speeds. It is too light for my taste on low speeds. On some slow but sharp turns, it feels so disconnected that I had no clue where the front wheels were going. The total lack of feedback makes it worse. In fact, I really missed my Palio on those sharp turns. As is evident from the thread about best and worst steering feedback, Palio has one of the best steering feedbacks and it is so directly connected that the driver feels total oneness with the car. I missed that oneness with the SX4. It never felt like a part of me, like my Palio feels.

My rides for last 10 years were two cars with awesome steering (one car with absolutely legendary steering and handling). On that background, the EPS of SX4 has left me totally disappointed. All I can hope for is that I get used to it.

The really annoying experience (to the extent of being funny) of this lack of feedback from the EPS came during reversing of the car. On two separate occasions, I had to reverse the car on turning roads, because the road was just narrow enough for one car and another vehicle came in front of me. I had to reverse back enough to find some free space to allow the other vehicle to pass. On both occasions, unfortunately I was in a turn and had to take these turns back in reverse. Here, on both occasions, I found that I was not able to negotiate the turns properly. The steering was so hopeless in providing me with any feedback as to where the wheels were and what they were doping (and the rear visibility was just not enough to show me what was happening in the back), that I had a nightmare in maneuvering the car there. In normal forward driving, your visual feedback compensates (to some extent) for the lack of feedback from the steering, but while reversing with no visual feedback as well, it was a sadly comical experience. Maybe my lack of experience in driving cars with poor steering feedback caught me by surprise in these situations. I would have taken all these turns in reverse without any issue in my Palio!

Engine performance: I am happy on this front. The engine pulled cleanly in 1st gear with all the load in the car, even of steep slopes. The 2nd gear was very weak which I had already known and commented in my earlier posts. Apart from the weakness in 2nd gear, the car pulled cleanly in all other gears. If the RPM is maintained around 2.5k, then the engine is in nice power band and pulls cleanly whenever required. The key is not to let the RPM fall below 2k mark. Apart from occasional short bursts, I did not push the engine beyond 3k mark, and found that the range between 2.5k to 3k is sufficient for all your power needs (again, remember this was a sedate drive and not a spirited sporty drive) even with a fully loaded car. As mentioned in earlier posts, the engine sounds very smooth and refined between 2.5 to 3k, and this drive just reconfirmed that. I love the note of this VVT engine at about 3k. Really nice!

Gear shifts: Very smooth! I liked the way all shifts worked so smoothly. This gearbox is definitely much smoother than my Palio's gearbox, and also smoother than any other car that I test drove over last year. In my initial report, I had mentioned about the slight hesitation to slot in the 1st. Thankfully, this seems to have vanished now and I guess the issue was just due to the newness of the gearbox. It may be that I have got used to this now and hence I don't feel that issue. But my friend's wife who drove the car also did not mention anything about this, and hence I assume that this issue is vanished now. Overall, I am happy with the gearshifts.

Cabin noise: I had heard a lot of negative comments about the cabin noise of SX4. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the noise levels. I found the cabin noise to be totally acceptable during all times and on all types of terrains and speeds. The noise from the infamous JKs was surprisingly within acceptable limits ( although still noticeable) at about 100kmph, the wind noise did not cross the acceptability limits, and the engine noise was always within not only acceptable but also pleasant limits. At no point we had to jack up the music system volume (as I had read in some other threads) to make us forget the cabin noise. None of the passengers complained about any level of annoyance due to the noise. Now I don't believe SX4 is worse than any other sedan below 10L as far as cabin noise is considered.

One funny noise I often heard was that of the mud hitting the mudflaps. SX4 has those hard plastic mudflaps (as opposed to the flexible rubber mudflaps installed on many cars including my Palio), and whenever we drove through some mud and slush, the wheels would keep throwing some mud and slush on the mudflaps for some time, and that often made a racket. I found this a bit funny as well as annoying because I was not used to this type of sound (Palio's soft flexible mudflaps don't make this sound).

JK Vectras: So much is written and said about these tyres on ZXi, and sadly, I am beginning to understand why. In my initial report, I had mentioned that I found the tyres to be OK and was satisfied with them. But during this trip I realized the weaknesses of these tyres and now I believe in some of the negative opinions about these tyres that I had read. Actually tyre noise is not the problem, at least on tar roads. I have read a lot about tyre noise from the Vectras at high speeds, but I did not find anything unusually bad at about 100kmph on smooth tar roads. I believe the tyre noise is much worse on cement roads and I will reserve my comments about that until I drive the car at high speeds on a cement road. The real problem was the lack of grip. I was expecting very good grip from these 205-wide tyres. I have upsized tyres on my Palio to 185-wide Michelin XM1, and I found that the 205-wide Vectras offer not much more (or even a tad lesser) grip than the 185-wide Michelins on my Palio. The problem was not much on straight roads, but the lack of grip was glaringly felt whenever I took a sharp turn, even at low speeds. On some small ghat roads, whenever I had to take a sharp turn and keep engine RPM high in order to climb the steep slope at the same time, I found that the Vectras give up very soon! I hated those moments. This lack of grip coupled with the lack of feedback from EPS made it very annoying to drive on those sections. I kept on missing my 'old faithful' Palio there. I guess a tyre change is on the cards sooner rather than later. I know that financially it would have been best to change the tyres immediately after I bought the car, but I was not sure if that was needed then. Now that I have experienced for myself when and how these tyres show their weaknesses, I will feel better about any future upgrade decisions. I am happier to have discovered the tyre weakness myself.

By the way, some benefit of doubt must be given here before we arrive at a conclusion. Most of the time I was driving in wet conditions, and in some cases in muddy conditions. At one point, the tyres had about a centimeter thick layer of mud on them. I guess only some good all-terrain tyres would have worked well in these conditions. Maybe I am being excessively harsh on these Vectras. Therefore, I will keep my decision pending until I drive them in similar roads but in dry conditions. If I still find them doing equally bad, I will switch to CPC2 or PLC immediately. For now, I am going to "wait and watch" on this front.

Visibility: Again, this is one of those things with a lot of negative comments going around. I found the front and side visibility to be excellent. The front visibility is especially good and I never had to stretch my neck to check out space around the front corners (something I have to do often in my Palio). I had read that the thick A-pillar and the front quarter glasses become a pain (from visibility point of view) in mountain roads with sharp turns. My experience was exactly the opposite. I found that these quarter glasses actually aid the visibility in sharp turns. My friend's wife who drove the car on some mountain roads also did not complain about any lack of visibility. Overall, I was very happy with the front and side visibility and I now believe that the visibility issue of SX4 is a myth! I guess I am used to Palio, which has really bad front visibility. It has one of the thickest A-pillars in any car, and the high dashboard blocks significant portion of the view. Compared to this, the visibility in SX4 is an order of magnitude better!

The rear visibility is a bit low, but again, nothing unusual or worse than any other sedan of this size. Palio has a much better rear visibility, but it is wrong to compare a hatchback with a sedan for rear visibility.

Climate control and demister: The automatic climate control did a good job, but it was never really tested because we set the temperature to about 24C when the ambient temperature was about the same. However, what deserves a special mention is the way the demisters worked, automatically! I drove through a lot of foggy conditions with medium to heavy rains. In these conditions, typically windshields become misty and you have to play around with your demister settings and AC settings to clear the mist on the glass. I know how bad the Palio is in this regard. In such conditions, Palio gets misted within minutes and I have to blow some real cold air on the windshield to clear the mist. Thanks to the automatic climate control in SX4-ZXi, as was discussed in some other thread, the airflow over the windshield (and also the air temperature) is automatically controlled to prevent misting. This worked like magic. At no point was there any mist formation (even when the conditions were most ideal for that to happen), and at no point I had to change any settings to address this. This feature just worked!

Rattles: One of those infamous things about any Maruti! SX4 is one of those cars with a dedicated poll on Team-bhp about rattling! I am very paranoid about rattling in my SX4. As if my worst fears were coming true, we started hearing rattles from the dashboard and the glovebox whenever we drove on bad roads. It was really annoying. I tried to rearrange all the stuff (sunglasses, remote control etc.) kept in a cubbyhole near the music system, but the rattles did not stop. My friend' wife also noticed the rattles and she thought that the display unit of the reverse sensors was rattling. Overall, we were annoyed with the rattles on a new car and I was going to complain about this during the 1st service scheduled immediately after our return. However, after we returned, while dropping my car for the 1st service, I removed everything from the glovebox and the dashboard, and to my pleasant surprise, all the rattles vanished. Then, for next two days I kept on driving the car without anything at all in the glovebox and the dashboard, and not a single rattle was heard. I even drove on some very bad roads (similar to the bad roads where we heard the rattles), and even then I did not hear a single rattle. Of course, I was very happy with this finding.

Thus, there are no rattles in the car, but if any loose item is kept inside the car, it starts rattling mildly. I feel the hard suspensions of the car (which pass all the bumps to the cabin) coupled with lack of soft plastics makes it an ideal combination for anything kept inside the car to start making rattling noises. I wonder if this actually gave rise to the perception that SX4 rattles. Of course, it is not practical to drive without anything kept in the glovebox and on the dashboard, and hence I feel I will have to accept some mild rattling sounds. But I am happier knowing that the rattles are not from the car but from the things placed in the car .

Space: The space was good enough for 4 adults and 1 child. Overall, we did not feel cramped. However, my friend is 6'1" tall, and the headroom was not enough for him. The rear headroom was totally inadequate for him, and even in the front, his head used to touch the roof whenever we went over a bump. It is really bad that the front passenger seat is not height adjustable (like the driver's seat). I guess if we had a way to lower the height of that seat, his problem would have been solved. Many have claimed in various threads that SX4 is an ideal car for tall people because of the height of the car and the spaciousness, but now I am not sure about that. So if you are really tall and thinking about SX4, I would advise you to check it carefully and make sure the headroom is enough for you. In my case, nobody in my family is that tall and hence this will not be any issue, but I really felt bad because this caused a lot of inconvenience to my friend. But again, I don't know which car (regardless of the price) offers more headroom than SX4. I guess only SUVs offer better headroom. He has a Baleno and apparently he does not face this problem in his Baleno. I guess the low seating of the Baleno works well for him.

Apart from the lack of headroom for my friend, there was no other space crunch. The legroom was sufficient for all of us, and even the boot swallowed a lot of bags and still had some room left.

GC: As we all know, high GC is one of the primary appeals of SX4 (especially ZXi with 16 inch wheels), and it worked well for us. We went on some really bad speedbreakers, and even with so much load in the car and without any special driving tricks, the underbody never hit any of the speedbreakers. Even on some really bad patches, the underbody did not hit the road. One question that has been asked in some other threads is that will SX4 ever get scrapped from the bottom? The answer is of course yes, and I found that out on one occasion. After we left the 'normal' roads and started driving on some really bad dirt tracks (full of mud and small rocks) towards our resort, there was one narrow bridge. At the end of the bridge, there was a big step in the road, because the soil (it was all soil road, no tar) at the end of the bridge had got washed away due to rains and the cement slab forming the bridge was exposed creating a step in the road. When I saw that, I was sure that the car can't come down this step without taking a hit, and surely, there was a small hit when I came down. Nothing serious, and later inspection of the underbody (during 1st service) revealed that there was no damage. But nevertheless, this was one of those rare occasions where even SX4 gets hit from below. Apart from this, there was no other scrapping whatsoever. I was very glad to have chosen SX4 in this regard. I can't imagine taking any other car over that road and not getting hit several times during the trip. Not that it would be impossible to drive there in other cars, but it would be painful. I saw one NHC on that road and also a couple of Puntos parked outside the resort. So it is definitely possible to go there in these cars, but I am sure those cars had a painful drive, whereas SX4 made the drive relatively easier.

Ergonomics: During my test drive and also in my initial report, I had mentioned that the car has fantastic ergonomics. And it was proven again in this trip. There was not a single major ergonomic flaw that I discovered. All controls are perfectly placed. Even the location of the USB port is perfect, and the ideal location of the 12V socket makes it very easy to charge your electronic devices without having the wires going across the gear lever (something that happens with the position of 12V socket in Linea, for example). The bottle holders in door pads were very useful. Special mention must be given to the steering mounted audio controls. These are just great. I was using these control all the time to change the music tracks, to adjust the volume, and to pause the system whenever someone took a phone call. I hate to stretch my hand all the way to the music system every time I want to do something similar. I now think this is an absolutely must have feature in any car and I will most likely not buy any car in future that does not have it.

The only one minor flaw in the ergonomics that I found was that the power windows locking button (to prevent children from playing with the rear power windows, for example) also locks the front passenger power window. This proved to be a bit annoying. This is unusual also, because in most cars I have driven this button only locks the rear windows and not the front passenger window. I guess I have to get used to this now.

Fuel economy: I had refrained from mentioning this word in my selection process story as well as my initial reports. The reason was that I do not like to give over-importance to this aspect. But fuel costs is one of the harsh realities of life, and hence it can't be too long before one starts thinking about it. Anyway, although not an important parameter, here are my FE numbers: I got an overall FE of about 11.5kmpl (about 62.5L of petrol for about 710km). This included highway driving as well as driving on mountain ghats. I am neither happy nor unhappy about this number. I think considering that the car is so new, this number is OK. My Palio (with 1.2L, 72bhp engine) would have given about 12.5kmpl for the same journey, and considering this, 11.5kmpl is quite respectable for a 1.6L, 103bhp car. Of course, I hope this number improves after 1st service.

Summary: Overall, it was a great trip. The car did well on many aspects, and did not do so well on some aspects that I already knew about. Thankfully, there were no nasty surprises. As I mentioned, this drive was exactly the type of drives for which I bought the SX4, and I feel satisfied about my decision now.

Finally, here are some pictures taken during this drive. There are several other (non-car) pictures but I guess it will be more appropriate to post those in a separate thread in travelogues section.

Thanks,
-AD
Attached Thumbnails
Beast prevails over beauty. Story of my SX4-ZXi VVT-picture2.jpg  

Beast prevails over beauty. Story of my SX4-ZXi VVT-picture3.jpg  

Beast prevails over beauty. Story of my SX4-ZXi VVT-picture4.jpg  

Beast prevails over beauty. Story of my SX4-ZXi VVT-picture5.jpg  

Beast prevails over beauty. Story of my SX4-ZXi VVT-picture6.jpg  

Beast prevails over beauty. Story of my SX4-ZXi VVT-picture7.jpg  

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Old 31st August 2010, 10:33   #70
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Default Confirmation on RPM numbers

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Originally Posted by WhiteKnight View Post
Are you sure about the rpm figures? I am disappointed with it. I would have liked the car to have a taller 5th gear that would do ~80 KpH in 2000 rpm. Among the (petrol) cars I have driven, my old Esteem and Cedia could do that. Makes those really relaxed cruisers, as 120 would mean ~2.5 k rpm. It was another matter that Esteem never had the power to pull off such tall gearing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.AD View Post

Anyway, I am planning another highway drive this weekend, and I will ensure to accurately measure RPM information again, and I will post my findings here.

In the meantime, maybe other SX4 owners can comment on the RPM numbers.
I forgot to comment on this in my earlier post. I did check the RPM again and yes, my original observations were correct. In fact, the RMP is a bit above 2.5k (about 2.6-2.7k) at 100kmph in 5th gear. I checked this several times during my recent road trip.

However, I have no complaints about this. The engine noise is still acceptable (at least to me, maybe I have a higher acceptance level for engine noise ) even at 2.5k RPM. Maybe this is one of the reasons why SX4 does not give very good fuel economy even at highway speeds. On the positive side, this means that the car is in power band even at 100kmph in 5th gear, and if you need to get a quick power burst (e.g. to overtake someone) you can get some decent pick-up from that point onwards without shifting down. Of course, if you shift down to fourth, you will get excellent acceleration.

Overall, having a bit higher RPM in 5th gear is OK with me. I wonder if 6th gear could have made things much better. I am always fascinated by 6-speed transmissions, and regret not having owned any car with 6-speed manual gear box yet. I envy i20 CRDi for this one reason.
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Old 31st August 2010, 10:58   #71
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Wow! What a great writeup. Thanks for taking the time to share your findings. Will surely help many members in deciding what car to buy. Enjoy many more such adventurous trips on your SX4.
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Old 31st August 2010, 16:34   #72
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This is really an amazing writeup. I really compliment you for having such a wonderful writing skills along with loads of patience. I am sure that writeup would have taken quite sometime.
As far as the EPS is concerned, I am personally not facing any issues with the feedback, probably I am used to it now. But I have done quite a few zig zag driving among traffic of B'lore and have never faced any issues with the EPS.
Also, I think the FE you are getting now is a bit on the lower side, maybe due to hill driving. With 4 adults, 1 kid, boot full of luggage and 100% ACC, I got a mileage of ~17KMPL when coming back from Hyd to B'lore. Have even touched a mileage of 20 KMPL without AC on the B'lore - Hyd highway. (did a night drive and it was quite cold; so dint require AC).
Change the gears at max 1500 RPM for the next tank full and give a try.
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Old 31st August 2010, 19:15   #73
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Default Thank you for the 5-star rating!

Thank you all for the 5-star rating to this thread. I really appreciate the interest you guys have shown in reading my extremely long posts. Thanks again!

Quote:
Originally Posted by phantom76 View Post
Wow! What a great writeup. Thanks for taking the time to share your findings. Will surely help many members in deciding what car to buy. Enjoy many more such adventurous trips on your SX4.
Thanks a lot!

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Originally Posted by abanka View Post
This is really an amazing writeup. I really compliment you for having such a wonderful writing skills along with loads of patience.
Thank you very much!

Quote:
I am sure that writeup would have taken quite sometime.
Yup, and this is the reason why this write-up got ready on Saturday evening when in reality I returned from the trip a few days earlier.

Quote:
As far as the EPS is concerned, I am personally not facing any issues with the feedback, probably I am used to it now. But I have done quite a few zig zag driving among traffic of B'lore and have never faced any issues with the EPS.
Well, even I am not facing any issues. I did not mean to say there are any issues with the EPS. What I meant was that while it is very "easy" to use and very light (and hence one may actually find it great to maneuver in zig zag fashion), the feedback is completely missing. If one is looking for a feedback from the steering, then they will be disappointed. Otherwise there is absolutely no problem with EPS.

Quote:
Also, I think the FE you are getting now is a bit on the lower side, maybe due to hill driving. With 4 adults, 1 kid, boot full of luggage and 100% ACC, I got a mileage of ~17KMPL when coming back from Hyd to B'lore. Have even touched a mileage of 20 KMPL without AC on the B'lore - Hyd highway. (did a night drive and it was quite cold; so dint require AC).
Change the gears at max 1500 RPM for the next tank full and give a try.
Wow! 17 kmpl is just great. I don't think I will ever get anything close to that because I like to shift at around 2.5k . But as you have suggested, I will probably give it a try (shifting around 1500 RPM) and measure the FE for the sake of curiosity.

Thanks,
-AD
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Old 31st August 2010, 20:44   #74
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Nice review, Dr.AD!

Noticed you have installed mapmyindia GPS. Can you add a few lines on it?
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Old 31st August 2010, 20:57   #75
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Nice review, Dr.AD!

Noticed you have installed mapmyindia GPS. Can you add a few lines on it?
Thanks, ehco77.

Yup, I have Mapmyindia VX140. I am very happy with it. I am planning to write a review on all the accessories I have, and I will add details about this in that review.

But overall, I think it is very good and extremely useful. The maps are very accurate in most cities (I have extensively used in Bangalore, and also in Pune). I used it all along from a Bangalore-Pune trip and back and worked great all the way and helped me find some hotels/restaurants in towns on the way.

For my recent Wayanad trip. we went in real rural areas and there the maps were slightly inaccurate. It was showing my car slightly off the road when I was actually driving on the road. Also, it did not have some of the hotels and smaller establishments in the database. So maybe the utility is a bit limited in deep rural areas.

But in most major cities, even 2nd-tier cities and towns, as well as on most highways, this works perfectly! I will highly recommend it if you are looking for one.
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