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Old 5th September 2010, 09:15   #1
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Smile Azure Grey SX4 ZXi VVT - MT comes home

I drove my new SX4 ZXi VVT - MT Azure Grey home on 2nd September, 2010.
What better day, than Mom's birthday and Janamashtmi to take the delivery of a new car.

Here is some background:
I had a WagonR VXi Pearl Silver 2005 model which had been giving some niggling issues since the last 10 months or so. I spent quite a substantial amount on my last service to get these issues corrected but after 4-5 months the issues re-appeared again so I thought its time for a new one. The "badi gaadi" factor came in and we decided to go for a Sedan. There were some initial thoughts of going for a SUV/MUV too from the likes of Scorpio, Safari and Innova but then decided to go ahead one step at a time (SmallCar->Sedan->SUV). What if I did not like driving a bigger vehicle (SUV) in city traffic? What if I get frustrated with problems of parking these big SUVs? So, we said lets start with a sedan first.

List of requirements I started with:
Must Have:
- Airbags
- ABS
- Powerful engine with a good pickup
- Easy city driving
- High reliability and low cost of service
- Good ride quality and stability
- Big boot space
- Sufficient leg room for 5 people
- Good looks and "Badi gaadi" feeling
- Wanted a trouble-free experience was the next 4-5 years

Nice to have:
- Automatic climate control
- Steering mounted audio controls
- Alloy Wheels
- USB support music system
- MID
- Good ground clearance

My average driving is about 1200kms per month.
Budget was upto 10 L.


So, the search begins.

Cars Rejected even without a test drive:

Ford Fiesta: Rejected purely on the basis of its looks and concerns on Ford quality and reliability. My brother-in-law had bought a Ford Ikon some years back and it started giving issues within the first year itself. The AC used to throw-in hot air and the Ford service guys took at least 3-4 visits to figure out the problem. Also, the looks did not attract me so I did not consider it.

Hyundai Verna: Again, the looks did not appeal much so did not decide to test drive. The Verna transform also got launched and I thought the front looks of that were even worse (personal opinion).

Maruti Suzuki Dzire: Wifey did not like the looks at all although I had heard such great things about this car that I was willing to consider it. But, guess who is the boss at home !!

Tata Manza: Looks are great and no issues with reliability and after sales service. But, the TATA factor and the history of niggling issues with Tata cars in a few years went against this. Had a look at this in the TATA showroom and did not like the interior plastic quality, etc.

Chevy Aveo: I liked the looks of this car although the 14" wheels give this car a smaller feeling. Visited the Chevy showroom and got a feeling that the sales guys were not even interested in selling this car. It was surprising to see that the showroom had 3 Chevy Cruze (same variant - different colors) and 2 Beat on display so looks like Chevy wants to focus on selling these two cars only. They did not even have a Optra Magnum on display. I was also disappointed that the 1.6LT variant was discontinued in Aveo. Asked them for a test drive of 1.4LT and they did not have a TD car. They offered me a TD at my home in a few days. I came home and just decided against it - if the dealer is not interested in selling it then why should I consider it?


Cars Considered and test drive experience:

Fiat Linea: Both me and wifey just loved the looks of this car so this was the first one we had gone to test drive. I had gone through many threads in T-BHP on Linea experience and how people felt that the engine was sluggish and under-powered so decided to check it out myself. We visited the Fiat-Tata showroom and had a look at the Linea on display. It has amazing looks, great interiors, solid build quality, great features. My wife had spent quite a few years of her childhood being driven in a HM Ambassador (VIP number) and as soon as she sat in the Linea, she said it gives her the same Amby feeling of a solid car. She just fell head over heels for this car. Now, the test drive begins - first the Linea petrol Emotion. It did not look like a TD vehicle to me (no Fiat stickers, etc.) - may be just a car which had come in for a service (the thought just frightened me). My worst fear did come true - the engine really felt under-powered and sluggish especially in 2nd gear. I pressed the accelerator in anticipation and it responded in its own sweet time. Also, there was a "tak-tak" sound coming from one of the shockers I guess. I am not sure if this was the same sound which quite a few Linea owners have talked about on T-BHP threads. Anyway, the drive was smooth and the ride quality was great. The car felt much better and happy above speeds of 50kmph - did not get a chance to test it on higher speeds. Then, came back and decided to try out the diesel. The diesel engine seemed a little better and torquey. This was my first time ever driving a diesel so not sure if this is how all diesel engines feel. But, it still felt a little under-powered especially at low speeds. I asked the sales guy about the not so-impressive (read pathetic) pickup and he said that Fiat has an intelligent engine which tries to maximize the FE - I thought that was a lame reason. I took the diesel one on some rough roads and it gulped the pot-holes well. The ground clearance was ok on most of the bumps but it did hit the under-belly on one of the bigger dumps (my WagonR used to go over that bump easily). We came back to the showroom and I was confused - I was "maybe" willing to accept the under-powered engine and I was convincing myself that I will learn how to drive this car and get used to it. My 4.5 year old daughter and wife are deciding on the color - they like the blue color (Fox Trote Azure). I asked the sales guy about the much-talked about launch of the new T-Jet engine and he said it is all speculation and rumours floating on the net. On my way back from the showroom, I felt my WagonR had much better pickup that the Linea - so by the time I am home I am much more confused now !!! Talked to Dad in the evening and told him about the test drive and he says dont even think about buying a Fiat because of the issues with A.S.S. - surprising to hear that from my Dad who had driven two Premier Padminis (Fiat) till about 10 years back. Wifey still likes the Linea - asks her brother on Facebook and gets a lot of comments against the Linea.

Maruti SX4: I was not very keen on going for another Maruti car this time but then could not ignore the SX4. Got an approval from wifey that the looks are fine. Dad is a huge fan of Maruti, he got some very positive feedback on SX4 from his contacts, so asked me to try it out. I called up Motorcraft, Ghaziabad for a test drive of SX4 and they said it can be arranged and offer to send it to my residence. I said we will come over to have a look. We saw the SX4 in the showroom - I like the macho look and high stance, wifey likes it, daughter loves sitting inside and starts exploring the interiors. The sales guy explains the features to us – safety features (ABS and dual airbags) and the ACC impress me but the MID is missing. The plastic quality of the interiors seems good to me at least equivalent to the quality in the Linea. The wooden finish panels on the doors are kind of the odd man out – I feel they should have given some matching wooden finish around the music system or the gear stick. The legroom in the front is great and the high sitting position is just awesome. The legroom at the rear is sufficient even when the front seats are pushed back to the limit. The boot space is huge. It turns out that the TD vehicle is not here yet and we wait for sometime before the sales guy tells us that it is stuck in traffic in Delhi and would take a while to reach. So, no TD that day – sales guy promises to get a TD done at our home in the next few days. The TD vehicle was a ZXi – MT and a proper TD car with Maruti stickers all over it. The car felt powerful and big and the pickup was great. The gear box was smooth. The steering felt a little hard initially but it was very easy to take turns. I also took a few U-turns and the turning radius seemed just fine. The high seating position was awesome and you get a good view of the road all the time. The ride quality was good and the car had no issues tackling some of the big potholes and bumps. I was very impressed with the ground clearance and the handling of the car. I could not test it out at high-speeds though so I took a second test drive with another dealer – this time near my office. It was again a ZXi – MT and proper TD car. I took this one to the Noida-Greater Noida expressway and tested it at speeds of 130-135 kph. The handling was just amazing. Wifey felt the car was at 80 until she had a glance at the speedo which was reading 120 at that moment – thanks to our WagonR experience which used to vibrate like hell after 100. Overall, I was very satisfied with the test drive, build quality and high ground clearance.

Honda City: My wife never really liked the looks of the ANHC and also the fact that it is so common on the roads. I convinced her for a test drive since this car is the market leader in this segment. We reached the showroom and are impressed by the looks and interiors. The quality of the interiors feels a little better than SX4 and Linea. The space inside is also good and the boot is big enough. The test drive vehicle was a normal one without any Honda stickers etc, so not sure if it was really a TD vehicle. The engine felt very smooth and the ride quality was great. The pickup and power was also good at all points – never did it feel underpowered. But, it did feel the ground clearance was going to be a big issue. So, I decided to test it out on some rough patches. On a few bumps, there was some kind of squeaking noise – I asked the sales guy and he said that this is the noise from the shockers and is common in the rainy season – sounded quite weird to me. On one pothole, it did touch the under belly and hit it hard with quite a noise. I felt bad for the car but realized that I would always be scared of hitting the under belly of this car whenever I am driving it on rough roads. I have to accept I am the kind of driver who does not really like to come to a complete stop before going over a pothole so it seemed like a big compromise to me. My uncle owns a ANHC VMT and he also mentioned that the biggest problem is the low GC. Also, getting in and out of the car never felt easy for me especially after the WagonR experience. The on-road price of the top MT model (VMT) was almost 1.5L more than the SX4 ZXi MT and no discounts at all offered by the Honda dealer. I read many T-BHP threads on ANHC and how it is believed to be over-priced. I had also heard that the prices of spares are quite expensive.

Special Mention: Volkswagen Vento
During this time, the Vento was announced and the launch in the first week of September. It did add to my confusion as it has the snob value which is present with ANHC as well. I read the detailed and very well-written review by GTO on the VW Vento and was even more willing to consider this option as well. But, then the car is totally new in the Indian market and has not had time to prove itself yet. I was looking for a car for a long term (4-5 years) so did not get that kind of confidence with a new entrant into the market. VW service and spares are also believed to be very high. Also, the low ground clearance would still be a problem with Vento. So, decided to give this a miss.

Final Decision: So, it was finally boiling down to ANHC vs SX4. I read many initial ownership reports, long-term and short-term ownership experiences of both these cars in the T-BHP forums. After a lot of discussions, we finally decided on the SX4. It was quite funny that the last item in my “Nice to Have” requirements list became one of the most important factors in my decision-making. Looks like I have to get my priorities right in the future.

Which Color: My daughter was still stuck on the blue color she had seen in the Linea. So, we first thought of getting the Oyster Blue in the SX4. We had never seen a SX4 in this color before but then when we were returning from the Maruti showroom after the TD, we saw this color in the SX4 and it looked a little dull to me. Daughter and wifey still preferred the blue. I wanted a dark color – so got them convinced on the French Éclair which we saw in one of the parking lots. When we asked the dealer, he said French Éclair would take a good 30-45 days. The sales guy took us to his warehouse to show us the Azure Grey. Daughter sees this color and we tell her that we can get it quickly so she starts to like it. Wife also agrees and we finalize the color.

So, we finally booked the SX4 ZXi MT Azure Grey on 24th August, 2010 (Rakhi day) with Motorcraft, Ghaziabad and requested the delivery on 2nd September, 2010 which was Janamashtmi and my Mom’s birthday.

Here is the detail on the pricing and the deals I got from the dealer:
On-Road price in Ghaziabad: 8,45,057
Total Cash discount: 22,000
Exchange bonus (for WagonR): 25,000

Freebies from the dealer:
Seat Cover
Reverse parking sensor
Gear Lock
Teflon
Anti-rust
Floor Mats
Steering wheel cover
Perfume
Ganesha Idol
Total cost of accessories: 17,050

Have clocked more than 200kms on the odo till now.
Pictures, delivery experience and initial ownership experience to follow.
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Old 5th September 2010, 14:37   #2
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Congratulations on your new SX4! I also compared Linea and SX4 and eventually ended up with a SX4 just about a month ago.

Just like in your case, I had my 'must have' and 'nice to have' lists and eventually some of the 'nice to have' became more important than some of the 'must have'.

Enjoy your new car and happy motoring, and looking forward to seeing some pictures and your ownership experiences.

-AD
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Old 5th September 2010, 15:48   #3
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Some photos of my Azure Grey SX4
Attached Thumbnails
Azure Grey SX4 ZXi VVT - MT comes home-sx4front1.jpg  

Attached Images
    
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Old 5th September 2010, 15:51   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.AD View Post
Congratulations on your new SX4! I also compared Linea and SX4 and eventually ended up with a SX4 just about a month ago.

Just like in your case, I had my 'must have' and 'nice to have' lists and eventually some of the 'nice to have' became more important than some of the 'must have'.

Enjoy your new car and happy motoring, and looking forward to seeing some pictures and your ownership experiences.

-AD
Thanks Dr. AD, I had gone through your post "Beast prevails over beauty" also and it helped me a lot. I really liked the black color and would have also gone for that but I am not allowed to use black - some astrology stuff !
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Old 5th September 2010, 17:44   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mseth View Post


Hyundai Verna: Again, the looks did not appeal much so did not decide to test drive. The Verna transform also got launched and I thought the front looks of that were even worse (personal opinion).

Maruti Suzuki Dzire: Wifey did not like the looks at all although I had heard such great things about this car that I was willing to consider it. But, guess who is the boss at home !!

I feel the same too, the old Verna looks far better compared to the new one.

About the Dzire, its a no-nonsense ugly duckling. I have clocked 6k km on it and its been absolute fun.


Congrats on the car, drive safe and happy mile munching
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Old 5th September 2010, 20:01   #6
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Congrats on a very sensible choice ; The SX4's low cost of maintenance will see you smiling for years
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Old 5th September 2010, 21:39   #7
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congrats on sx4, do keep us updated on FE figures mainly :-) stability is great, GC is great, torque is so-so but still manageable. Enjoy long drives!
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Old 5th September 2010, 22:11   #8
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Congratulations on your new ride.

Drive safe and have fun. Any plans for tints to the car.

Any FE figures to share?
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Old 5th September 2010, 22:58   #9
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Congratulations buddy, I am sure you wont be disappointed with the beast, it is the king of the Indian roads!!

Enjoy the stress free ride (never need to worry about bumps, speed breakers etc) and peace of mind (low cost of maintenance).

Now you can focus on the accessories / mods. All the best!
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Old 6th September 2010, 12:36   #10
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This is the best colour available on the SX4 imho. I think MID is really required in a car of this segment.

mseth, since you are in NCR - did you consider the CNG version and also is the limited edition SX$ Royale offered in Delhi?
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Old 6th September 2010, 12:40   #11
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Thanks guys for all your good wishes !

Quote:
Originally Posted by raghu230506 View Post
Congratulations on your new ride.

Drive safe and have fun. Any plans for tints to the car.

Any FE figures to share?
Thanks. I think I would delay the tints till March next year because it has been raining quite a bit lately in Delhi area and then it would be winter so I can do it just before next summers.
Had done a full tank till auto-cut a few days back, have driven more than 150kms after that so planning to fill it up again today evening and provide some initial FE figures.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Meer View Post
Congratulations buddy, I am sure you wont be disappointed with the beast, it is the king of the Indian roads!!

Enjoy the stress free ride (never need to worry about bumps, speed breakers etc) and peace of mind (low cost of maintenance).

Now you can focus on the accessories / mods. All the best!
Thanks buddy, on the accessories, I already got the reverse parking sensor as freebie from the dealer.
I am thinking of a few things to add:
- Sun film: might delay it till March next year to enjoy the winter sun.
- Bluetooth support in music system: Is there a way to add bluetooth support in the OEM music system? I miss this feature which was present in the Linea. Are there any bluetooth devices available which I can plug into the USB port which will make it work with the music system?
- DVD player: I want to explore if this is a good idea to keep my 4.5 year old daughter occupied during long highway drives. Do you guys suggest the roof mounted player of a portable one?

Please stay tuned, the delivery experience and initial ownership report is coming soon.
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Old 6th September 2010, 12:54   #12
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Congrats on the SX4. It is now better with the VVT. Nice color as well.

Enjoy many more miles with the SX4. By the I like this alloy design than the non vvt version of the SX4
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Old 6th September 2010, 21:08   #13
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Thumbs up Ownership experience: 300km update

Delivery Experience:
I took delivery of the car on 02nd September 2010. Mr. Nikhil was the sales person in Motorcraft, Ghaziabad. He was very helpful and professional throughout the booking and delivery process. He never tried to sell anything extra to me or push me to buy the 4th year extended warranty, etc. I had requested him to check out the car once before the delivery date and he happily agreed. When I went to check the car, he had already brought the car to the showroom from the warehouse. I checked the odometer and it read 8kms and I was happy. I had a look at the exteriors and interiors and made sure everything was proper – no scratches, breakages, defects, etc.
For delivery, I was given a time of 10:30am and we reached there a little late. Mr. Nikhil had already prepared all the paper work for my WagonR exchange as well as the new car. He got all the accessories (reverse parking sensor, gear lock, mats, idol, etc.) fitted and ready. The seat covers were not done yet since the dealer did not have them in stock. They have promised to provide the seat covers as soon as the stock arrives – probably sometime this week. He explained me the features of the car and gave a demo of the reverse parking sensor. He diligently went through the checklist – showing me everything from the stuff present in the boot to the interiors and oil levels, etc. I checked the odo again and it read 10kms.
The dealer has offered me a free 4th service if the first three free ones are done at his workshop. All formalities complete and we were ready for a quick snap. We were promised delivery in 1.5 hours (including exchange formalities) and we were out of the showroom in 1 hour.

Overall, the delivery experience was very smooth, pleasant and professional. I would highly recommend Mr. Nikhil at Motorcraft, Ghaziabad.

Initial Ownership Experience:
I feel this car certainly grows on you. In my first TD, I felt the car was ok and not very smooth, steering felt hard and it felt a little under-powered in 2nd gear. The second TD changed my opinion when I tried this car at high speeds of 130-135 kmph – the engine did feel powerful and smooth. Now, when I have my own and have driven it for 4 days and almost 250kms, I find it very smooth and a pleasure to drive in city traffic as well as highway conditions.

On the first day itself, we tested this car in various conditions. As soon as we took off from the showroom, we started looking for a temple but it was afternoon and most of them were either closed or had no “panditji” to perform the puja at that time. We sighted a temple on a side road and it turned out that the road was full of huge bumps. That is where I got the first taste of the amazing GC of this car – with 4 people plus a kid in the car, there were no issues tackling those huge bumps. Then, after the puja, we decided to go for a drive on the highway and on our way back, it started raining very heavily. My brother was driving at that time and he got a feel of the awesome handling and braking of this car – I guess the ABS provides you that confidence. The intermittent wiper speed can also be adjusted which is a very useful feature.

The engine feels super smooth delivering power anytime it is required. The pickup is great although, I have been careful of the run-in period and have not strained the engine much. I have maintained speeds of less than 80kmph and rpms of less than 2.5. The car does test my patience as it seems very eager to go beyond speeds of 100kmph but I have been able to resist doing that till now. Comparing to my WagonR, I feel I am driving in one lesser gear here – the 4th in my WagonR is the 3rd here. The engine is very quite when idling and produces a nice humming sound when accelerated – I am loving this sound as it provides a nice feedback on the power of the engine. The ACC works very well and there is no difference in power while the AC is on. I used to switch off the AC in my WagonR when trying to make tight overtakes but do not feel the need to do it here. Even with 5 adults and 1 kid, the car pulls well without gasping for breath. The ride is smooth and this car gulps the potholes and bumps without any trouble. The high stance coupled with the 16” 10-spoke alloys give this car an amazing road presence. There is always enough head room and leg room both in the front and rear seats. The music system is great – I have tried out FM, AUX, USB and mp3 CD and it works well. I like the interiors and the illumination of the dash in the night looks cool. The high boot is a potential problem while reversing the car but the reverse parking sensors take care of this issue as well.

Things I am not liking so far:
- I have been facing some issues while trying to engage the reverse gear – it does not always engage properly. Will be showing it to the service center when I get the seat covers done.
- I am not too happy about the sound insulation, a lot of outside noise filters in.
- The clutch pedal seems a little hard and I have started feeling some pain in my feet when I have driven in bumper to bumper traffic for 30 minutes or so. Not sure if it will become softer over time.

FE update: Early FE figures are 10.06 kmpl after close to 300kms of driving with ACC set to 24-25 all the time. I am hoping this would improve after the first service. If it reaches around 12, I would be satisfied.
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Old 6th September 2010, 21:13   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aditya101 View Post
This is the best colour available on the SX4 imho. I think MID is really required in a car of this segment.

mseth, since you are in NCR - did you consider the CNG version and also is the limited edition SX$ Royale offered in Delhi?
Yes, I did think about the CNG version but Maruti has put CNG only in the VXi and not ZXi. I wanted Airbags, ABS, Alloys so I decided to go for ZXi. The same was true for LPG version in WagonR as well - LPG is available in LXi but not in top-end VXi. I am not sure about the strategy from Maruti here.

I asked the dealer about the SX4 Royale limited edition and they had no information. Looks like it is launched only in Mumbai and Goa
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Old 6th September 2010, 21:23   #15
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Congratulations on your new car!!! SX4 looks awesome in Azure Grey. IMO, Azure Grey looks awful in Swift, but looks great in SX4. Happy driving!!!
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