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Old 15th October 2010, 18:46   #1
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Chennai
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Default My First Hatchie


I am a new member and I would like to take this opportunity to elaborate on my car buying experience. I like to blog and so my first post could be really long, so if it gets really boring feel free to exit midway. I intend to go through with the flow of how my decisions have changed over time with no specific reason and how small factors or quips have influenced my decision. Owners of cars mentioned in the thread, please do not take any offence as the views are just mine and very subjective and not indicative of public perception. This thread could be useful for someone looking at consumer insight.

I have been an active reader of team bhp for the last 3-4 months and I should really thank the moderators and the members for helping me out with my decision indirectly.

Now coming to the Car,I recently returned from abroad and wanted to buy a hatch to help me maneuver in today’s maddening traffic. We have a sedan at home , so it was just going to be a hatch. My requirement was I needed a good looking hatch with good VFM propositions and good A.S.S . (Learnt the above term from team bhp)

The priority was

a) Looks
b) Features and Price
c) Good Sales Network

While in the US I used to wonder which car I need to buy and I was really bowled over by the looks of beat. So 2-3 months prior to coming to India I used to be reading all the posts in team bhp to get an idea about the cars. I am no speed junkie or autophile, a normal average driver who has the propensity to find dividers, gates and stationary vehicles while driving on Indian roads. I believe my dad can never claim the no claim bonus on insurance .

Every day I used to visit the test drive thread and look at the Red Beat. My heart really skipped a beat when I saw it. I Decided it was going to beat and some other car had to really “Beat the Beat” out of my mind and heart to make my change my decision. The decision is always taken in consensus with my Parents, wife and Bro. Wifey and Bro were dead against the beat, but I was silently hoping that over time I could convince them. Everyone was veering towards the RED SWIFT. Dad was a bit more open to the beat considering the VFM proposition. Beat at that time had an introductory price of 3.34 which was very inviting. Was looking at the option pack for less than 5 lakh. ABS at that time seemed a definite must as I believed safety is paramount. ( Having driven at speeds of 80+ mph I thought I could do the same in Indian highways )

I started scouring the forums, talked to friends and was considering all the possible hatches.

Cars in Consideration:

Instant Rejection: Maruti Cars

If you had asked me six months back which car I would buy, without any hesitation I would have said Maruti Swift red colour. But after coming to India and seeing the number of swifts on road, I did not want to be one among the many. Despite threats by my family members to denounce me for not booking swift, I was firm that I am not gonna buy it and have not even done a test drive. I looked at Ritz and it looked fantastic from the side, but from the back at a 10 metre distance from the car, I hated the looks. It looked like somebody chopped off a part in anger. So no Maruti for me! Influenced a cousin too against buying Maruti.

Incumbent Effect: i10

We had a santro earlier and I felt the bonnet of i10 reminded me of santro especially the old version. Drove a friend’s car and loved the ride quality, but sadly the i10 could not make the cut on my looks wish list and so was an instant rejection like the maruti.

The Dream Car: But Pricey!!

Honda jazz was the car I wanted to buy but the price completely put me off. Even with the 51k discount I felt it was overpriced. Honda clearly missed a point here. 5.5 base version for jazz would have set cash registers ringing for a longggg time. Luxury hatches start at 5 + and not at 7.5 Honda ! Love the looks though and would have bought it had the price been 6 odd lacs on road.

First Level Rejects: Polo, Skoda Fabia

By the time I came to India the Polo had also been released and it definitely caught my fancy. The entry level price was not way too high but definitely in the higher segment. I loved the red color looks and couldn’t wait to see it on road and as luck would have it somebody had purchased it in my office. I went to have a look at it and since it was not a red one I was not very impressed. On closer inspection the polo looked very ordinary to me. That was definitely a turn off for me and I came to know that the base variant had just two colors and I would have to settle for just the highest variant. Somewhere I felt this was a cheap marketing ploy and taking the customer for granted by giving a car for 4.7 but having so much minimal features that people would not go for it. They could have come up with a mid variant , but refused to do so. Besides the inordinate delay of 4 months for delivery and skoda brand tag and after sales service nightmare experience made me cross off polo.

The skoda threads definitely scared me from looking at skoda fabia and also cast doubts on Polo. Besides the dealer experience of people who went to polo showrooms made me get the feel that consumer is no king for Polo. If I am spending some money, I expect the sellers to show some sort of willingness or respect . Here T-BHP definitely influenced my buying behavior. Poor skoda experience, long waiting time , doubts over spares and A.S.S and arrogance of some polo dealers described in forums made me shun Polo completely such that I was not even keen to do a test drive. About Fabia, loved the looks but in all a Skoda. So chucked it.

New Kids on Block for consideration: Fiat Punto, Nissan Micra

I liked the reviews on GTO for both these cars and loved the pics of micra and Punto. Loved the Punto Blue color that we saw on roads and the looks started to get on me over a time. But was too worried about FIAT’s after sales service and also did not like the interiors. So Punto was ruled out. When I saw a micra in my office I felt it was too girly. Felt like a chick car. Absolutely hated it. Sorry Micra folks ! that’s purely my personal opinion.

New Entrant for Consideration: Ford Figo

I never had this in consideration. It looked like a very poor car on first glance and the name ford did not excite me. Don’t ask why ! Chevy sounded hep but Ford was nah !! mebbe it was the josh effect of Jr. Bachan… But as I started reading the monthly car sales report I started developing a liking to figo. I felt there must be something in figo which make people buy a Figo. I started seeing lot more figo’s on road and I started to fall for the rear headlights in Figo. I saw the Sea grey Figo in my campus and absolutely fell in love with it. The more I saw Figo the more I started to like it. Besides my mom loved figo too. So she was also very keen on Figo and my Bro felt Figo would be better than a chevy. He felt ford was a better brand than Chevy unlike me. I should say my opinion about ford slowly changed over a weeks time from negative to extremely positive. I started to furiously read the ownership threads on Figo and I noticed that there was a surge in Figo ownership while Beat was stagnating. I also read some story about beat catching fire. So was not sure. After reading and also talking with people realized ford diesel was the best VFM product available on market. Figo Pterol was ruled out when my cousin said his friend was getting FE of 7-8 kmpl. Nail on the coffin for figo petrol and hence my budget was automatically pushed to 5 .5 lacs on road.

Destiny’s Cars : Spoilt for Choices

Was now gearing up to decide which cars to test drive. Figo was definitely a frontrunner the duratorq diesel one. I wanted to buy the car for less than 6 lacs on road. So the figo diesel seems a perfect fit. Besides it had the added advantage of diesel being cost efficient. My dad was not too keen on diesel because of maintenance cost and anyways I won’t be driving more than 1000 kms a month as we have another car. But I loved the Figo and Beat,
so was a clear fight between the Red Beat and the Sea Grey Figo.

Test Drive - Beat

After visiting an auto expo, I and my cousin booked a test drive for Beat on the same day. The car was fun to drive, looked funky, but on closer looks it was not that appealing. After seeing the beat for more than 4 months, the novelty factor was gone and I found the taillights to be awkward now after finding it fantastic 2 months back. The rear leg space was brilliant but headroom was not convenient in the rear. The Music system truly sucked. I hated the music system and I would be listening to hip hop a bit and wanted the bass effect. But it was stuttering at mid volume levels. This was a BIG BIG turn off. I could ICE the car with a better custom system. But I did not want to do it right away after my purchase.

If 3 people sat then the people on both corners would find the head hitting the roof. At certain angles the beat was not looking impressive and they had also increased the price of beat by 25 grand and with the 2% increase in registration charges, the beat was costlier by 35 grand. The person who came for test drive was a newbie and hardly knew anything about the car nor was he aware of the controls. A definite turn off for both of us. This raised doubts about their service and spare parts. Though the dealer sells Hondas too, was a bit skeptical based on the kind of importance they were according to a chevy? Have not even received a feedback call till date. Beat was ruled out after the test drive. Now it was time to go “Figo”.

Test Drive - Figo

Booked the test drive for Figo Last Saturday. Drove the diesel version. Loved the exteriors. Fell in love with it. Interiors were okay. Plastic quality felt a bit bad. There was no vibration in the diesel car. not much noise and vehicle was smooth. Only complaint was A/C was not all that great. Maybe too many test drives and the car was getting old really fast. Car was also not cleaned and was very dirty on the inside. But I loved the boot space the rear space, the steering control, gear shift. This was the car I was going to buy. Had dark interiors and I wanted a beige one. So would have to request the dealer to fit it free of cost. They were not providing any discounts sans a corporate discount of 3500 rupees.

One thing which greatly attracted me to Figo was the music system. It rocked. I was looking at the mid range diesel version which came to 5.5 on road. I was very keen to book that when the service rep informed me that the paint on the mirrors would not be body color and would be body color only for the 5.8 on road variant. I felt a bit cheated with that, but I wanted the mirror exterior to be in sync with body color. So now budget increased to 5.8 lakhs. Still was within my budget and I loved the figo looks. Was ready to book the figo next Day.

The Naradar Effect : Next gen i10

After test driving and having been satisfied with figo and almost having decided on Figo, Fate played its part in creating doubts in my mind in the form of a call from my cousin. My cousin had called the Hyundai folks for a test drive and they had bought the next gen i10 to his home. I thought though the decision is that of a figo, it would be fun to drive and checkout the i10. What harm ! The new i10 was completely different with freaking good mirror lights, redesigned headlights and tail lights. The tail lights looked gorgeous. The deep red color also looked rocking. I sat in the i10 and test drove it.

The driving experience blew me off. It was freaking good. The new kappa engine was so damn smooth. The steering was also fantastic and I could just veer across the roads. I felt like driving an automatic and the clutch release was not so hard as in ford. I prefer it that way and for a newbie like me on Indian roads, my first preference would be that the vehicle should not stall frequently due to improper clutch gear balance. The beige interiors also gave me a kind of big car feel and the plastic quality was also way too good in comparison with the figo. I loved the i10 if not for the bonnet which still reminded me of santro but the headlights and front grille and rear spoiler brought back the kinda feeling which I had when I first saw the beat.

The rep had an i20 brochure too and I glanced at the prices and realized that the i20 was not that overpriced in the 1.2 petrol segment. I never had any preference for petrol or diesel so I thought why not go and check out the i20. Despite the better driving comfort of the next gen i10 I picked out figo as the winner as I still did not like the bonnet of the i10 .

Battle Royale: Figo vs i20

It was now decided that I would do a test drive of i20 just for the heck of it. I have read reviews complaining about the A/C , poor steering and handling of the vehicle. So was not too enthused, but wanted to see the car. I have actually loved the looks of i20 and was 2nd in my list behind Honda Jazz. I had a wrong presumption that i20 was a 7 lac + car and did not have it in my criteria list. I went for test drive and there was a sportz version. I turned the engine on and first thing I tested was the music. By now, you must be wondering what kind of an insane person I am to have my priorities in completely wrong order. I revved the volume and voila ! it was brilliant. I loved the dashboard of the i20 a hell lot. Especially the front digital display which showed temperature and the music system display. Wow! it reminded me of my Nissan Altima. The Dark and light tone on the car doors on the inside was also brilliant. The chrome door handle reminded me of my door knob on my city. Classic indeed ! I was beginning to like the car even before driving it. The leather wrap on the steering gave an added premium feel , and the beige interiors made it look spacious. My wifey and driver were on the back seat and they were comfortable.

I was hoping that the Achilles heel of i20 does not torment me. Namely the Steering and A/C. I changed to first gear made the first push, then the second and third and the shift was like unbelievable. I was literally looking like an excited 4 year old who has been to a fair for the first time . The shift was freaking smooth, much better than the i10. The cardinal rule is never let the sales guy know your emotion. But I just couldn’t hide it . I was literally driving the car as if I owned it. The steering had no issues. It was so light and maybe that’s what I wanted. It was so easy to maneuver . the A/C cooling slowly started to fill in and within 3-4 minutes it was really cool and pleasant and I just could not believe that Hyundai had actually had these problems earlier. I also could not feel that it was underpowered and it seemed to be brilliant for the city. Highway driving would be limited to 10 % and either ways we have the city if required. The premium feel with stunning exterior european looks and price that was not too premium made me sway my decision towards the i20 and

Yes Folks I have booked the “Berry Red - I20 Sportz petrol vehicle.
Will post pics once I get the car which is due in a week’s time. This post was more to let know about the purchase decision. Would elaborate about the i20 in a later post.
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Old 15th October 2010, 19:41   #2
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Congratulations on the car! Please note that Team-BHP does not permit booking / buying experience threads in the Test-Drives section anymore. For the benefit of members & guests alike, it is now imperative to include a complete report on the car (the driving experience / comfort / features, what you like, what you don't like etc.).

This thread is temporarily closed. Please PM me or report this post once you are ready to update with a complete driving report; that's when it shall be re-opened. Thanks for your support.
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