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|29th November 2010, 23:04||#16|
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Coimbatore / Bangalore / New York
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@ACM - Congratulations! on the car and also on your first novel
Wonderful write-up. Waiting for more chapters.
|30th November 2010, 00:32||#17|
Distinguished - BHPian
VI Price and Delivery Negotiations and the Wait:
VI Price and Delivery Negotiations and the Wait:
Fundamentally for a new car there are no deals, no freebees, no offers, no discounts and all that one can hope for is fast delivery.
The Aria was launched at an odd time of the year and this was typical of TATA, they had done the same with the 2.2 Dicor as well, and the customer is in a fix deciding to taking deliveries in the same year for the snob value associated with a new car or waiting it out for the new year for better prices and discounts. Infact though they lauched in the festive season they could do hardly any deliveries before Diwali, was given to undertand that mine was the first Pride in Night Shade Black in Mumbai so got it as soon as was possible.
On the extreme other hand - What if they simply could not make enough to meet the demand just like in the case of the Fortuner and closed bookings? They actually couldn't make enough but because they had planned for the wrong variant - pleasure and presitige in place of the Top Pride model.
Need one wait for the initial report and bug fixes like in the case of all TATA vehicles? This one I concluded in the -ve myself as the Aria had been extensively tested, possibly even more than most Japanese cars.
So the negotiation was at one level all about deliveries, in parallel, one of the dealers (actually agents) mentioned that he could get me a 5-10k discount and the bookings would be from any two of the three dealers that I had already been to. That was all I need to get the three dealers to fight it out, but there seemed to be strict instructions from TATA on both over
commiting deliveries as well as on giving any discounts. All the dealers mentioned the same lines - clearly indicating an instruction from TATA. Yet when the time for making the booking itself came up they did budge to various extent, some gave carpets and mudflaps free along with a bottle of perfume, someone else gave some minor bit of cash. What I was actually
looking for was not money but faster delivery.
In the end got the agent to get one of the dealers to give 3K off from the booking amount and also got the insurance done from the same agent for Rs.31,080 (NIA - New India Assurance)- which was about half the original price that the dealers had quoted of Rs. 61,000. A cool Rs. 30K off. HDFC Ergo was at Rs. 33K approx.
Booked on 30th Oct, (Last day of the month - being the best day for getting a good offer as per the TBHP manual) and delivery was comitted for 15-20th Nov. Was out of India from 11-14th and bang - on 13th received an SMS giving me the Chassis and Engine number alloted.
Car was available for PDI on 18th when I did go to the Bhiwandi warehouse and confirmed the acceptability of the piece for registration for myself. Delivery was taken on 22nd.
There was one more tricky bit left which was getting the special number that I wanted and the agent arranged for that for another Rs.5K, taking the landed cost of the car to about Rs.17.65L OTR Mumbai. - This caused a couple of days delay in getting the vechicle.
The Dealer and agent delivered more or less on time and were both quite pleasant to deal with.
Aria indeed has a special and seperate team focused only on the Aria and sent for prior training for it. They did not necessarily know a lot but then they asked the guys at TATA on the phone when stuck and seemed to be getting a fast response.
The Delivery experience on D-Day itself follows next:
PS: WILL RESPOND TO ALL THE COMMENTS ONCE I HAVE A FEW MORE CHAPTERS DOWN ON THE BOARD.
Last edited by ACM : 30th November 2010 at 00:34.
|30th November 2010, 14:34||#18|
Join Date: Jun 2010
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ACM, hearty congratulations on the vehicle, and a heartier round of thanks for this narrative. Really helpful to read this process and understand the overall SUV market today. I might be in the market for similar requirements soon, and I will definitely be referring to your useful notes from this thread.
May you have an amazing experience with the Aria. Do keep posting. Thanks.
|30th November 2010, 14:51||#19|
Join Date: Nov 2010
Thanked: 141 Times
@ACM, Congratulations on your new vehicle. Your write-up is simply awesome. You seem to remember each and every point that happened
And, this is where T-BHP stands out - the way the review/narration happens. I guess there will be lots of BHP-ians glued to this thread.
|30th November 2010, 15:53||#20|
Distinguished - BHPian
VII Delivery Experience;
VII Delivery Experience:
Contrary to the suggested practice of taking deliveries in the morning or afternoon, (so that defects in the body line and elsewhere are better visible) I did end up taking delivery of the Aria in the Evening. It's not the Ideal thing to do, but it was a Tuesday (considered a good day - Ganpati's blessings) and someone (actually my agent) also told me that it was a good day as per the charts as well, well so i started pushing him itself towards getting me the car paperwork done on time.
For me it was either the evening of a day supposed to be a good day or the next day - an unknown entity. Had already done the PDI at the Wasan Motors Bhiwandi warehouse earlier so going in the evening was kinda acceptabe.
Was asked by the showroom person who handled my account to come in between 5.00 - 6.00 pm. I reached at 5.15 pm and managed to leave the showroom at 6.30 pm
- I think that is as good as it gets.
Was asked to sign on some paperwork, was given a demo by the Aria specialist at the showroom, pointed to a cable that seemed loose below the passenger front seat - got a clarification for that. Was shown the tools in the car. Bought the Mats (only front two rows covered) - Rs. 987. Received the car documents.
Was handed the keys by what seemed to be the Head of Wasan (An elderly Gentleman) , Received a bouquet from the Aria specialist; he, the Sr. Head and the guy who managed my account all had photographs taken of me taking the flowers in a camera arranged by them. They gave me a Ganesha Idol, A box of Chocolates (Branded Wasan), the flowers were really nice orchids.
I had not managed to arrange for pooja stuff as wife was not able to come along. Was pleasantly happy to see the Showroom guys had arranged for a coconut for me to break, for a flower garland to be put on the car, and for a pooja thali. They guided me on where to mark the swastik sigh on the engine and how to do it. No chance of the paint work being spoilt as the swastik mark was put on the engine.
Seeing the coconut remembered that it is considered inauspicious to not break it at one go, and with my heart in my mouth gave it my all. It did break appart and that was all the tension I encountered while taking delivery of the car.
All seemed really/ genuinely happy to deliver the car to me. They clapped as I received the keys. Something that adds to the feel good factor.
I gave out some small gifts (wallets) - 1 each to 3 main guys at the showroom, and some money to the Wasan driver and the guy who cleaned the car out there.
They filled 3+5 Ltrs of Diesel in the car and instead of giving me a coupon the wasan driver took the car and got it filled.
On time smooth delivery. The number plate was done well? and the car wiped well, the tyres could have been cleaned better but seriously - What more does one ask.
Was the delight factor there - Yes.
Were they fully aware of the vechicle features - No - but I already knew that and was prepared for it. Have not read the manual and am sufficently aware of the do's and dont's. While leaving asked them to show me how to open the fuel cover.
Left the dealer, headed straight to a fuel pump and filled the Tank to the top, checked tyre pressure. Got it filled up incorrectly to 33 front and 35 rear (basis safari values) the correct value would have been 33 front and rear. But could not find the tyre pressure sticker anywhere near the fuel flap or the driver door. (Checked the values later in the maual)
Use ordinary Diesel was the final directive along with wishes for a pleasant experience.
Overall a nice experience.
|30th November 2010, 16:18||#21|
Join Date: Oct 2010
Thanked: 56 Times
I have an yellow Tyre Pressure Sticker on the driver side door inside(next to bonnet release on body panel) with values 30/32 front and 35 rear. Didn't recollect the values from the manual and had used these for filling.
Last edited by LobsterB : 30th November 2010 at 16:24. Reason: Updated location
|30th November 2010, 16:36||#22|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Can one refuse this photo ?
|30th November 2010, 17:02||#23|
Distinguished - BHPian
VII The car itself:
VIII The car itself:
Yep I know that snaps are eagerly awaited - they follow a couple of posts later.
The vehcile stands out among all cars, however much it may look similar to an Innova, it is noticed while the Innova isn't. It has an elegant look about it, and does not demand the one moves out of the way like in the Safari, but yet here too vehicles do move aside - probably more out of respect for the elegance and bulk of the vehicle. If fills up the rear view mirror with its huge grinning grin grill.
Lets start with the overall car without getting into either the interiors or exteriors.
Horn: The only other thing that makes a noise besides the engine.
The Horn is loud, really loud but not like the Skodas royal PAA PAA, but is more like a loud PEEE PEEE - yes this can be changed as per ones taste in due course.
The other noticiable bit about the horn is that the button (pad) is quite light unlike the horn pads in most cars with drivers side airbag, where in the hord button tends to be stiff. My first reaction to the horn button feel was that it did not feel rich like in my Laura or ealier Cielo with Airbag. (The Safari model I have does not have Airbags). But later on remembered that the hard button in the Laura and Cielo had actually been disliked by me and here TATA had solved the problem and done a better job than the germans and koreans. I was complaining just out of the memory effect that we humans have when we are confronted by something new even if better.
Engine: Very Refined, and yet one does get some minor vibrations on the steering wheel and gear shift knob (compared to petrols). Likes to be revved but since it's the running in period am restraining myself. It pulls strongly from around the 1800 rpm mark. One does need to shift gears more than in the Fortuner which has a bigger engine delivering more power from lower in the rpm band, but once one is used to it one can manage with lesser shifts. I stalled the car three times the first day, six times on the second day, once on the third day and twice on the fourth day, and finally once on the 5th day. The problem is that I did make errors of thinking that 3rd gear was 1st and my hand is yet not set, also misjudged the gear while turing at low speed and tried to do it in second with zero cluth and no acceleration at places where 1st was more suitable. My fault - haste makes waste.
The Engine gets one beyond 100 kmph very easily and also climbs steep slopes even with a loaded car quite easily. There is some sort of wind noise at speeds close to 100 kmph.
It pulls in 3rd even from 25 kmph, but struggles and requires half clutch effort if the speed is lower. Similarly it pulls from about 35 in 4th gear.
Ride: There is the Safari and there is the Aria a close second, nothing else on 4 wheels this side of 30L comes anywhere close to the Safari and the Aria in terms of ride. It absorbs all the bumps, potholes, ragged roads, and not only is one does one feel isolated from the road, but the suspension noise too is absent. In the Safari the suspension does make some noise and the interiors even more, but in the Aria it's quite irrespective of the road and all one hears is the engine grump. It was this that behaviour had impressed me the first time I took a test drive on the Aria. Felt it would be much better for my back than the Laura had been. The fortuner though better than the Endy is nowhere as comfy as the Aria on rough roads. This road behaviour is maintained at all speeds.
Roll - There is a bit of roll, and though much less than the Safari it could have been lesser, it is similar to that in the Fortuner, or possibly the
fortuner could be a bit better - not too much.
Braking - Superb - Straight line, confidence inspiring, used ABS once and it did make some noise as it is supposed to. The nose does dip in the front under emergency braking, but not too alarmingly. The braking distance is similar to that of the Innova with almost 600 kgs more to lug and that is commendable. The Break distance is much better than in the Fortuner, Endy and Santa Fe and the brakes do NOT feel spongy nor do they loose feel with constant use. 4 Disks do help.
Lights: The illumination is similar to that of the Safari and the fortuner - Imposing and decent, can be better on one hand, but already better than in case of most other vehicles and acceptable in general for a 18L vehicle.
Feel Good - There are enough feel good touches all around that I would mention while talking about the interiors and exterior for one to feel that the car is worth this much and more. There are some rough edges as well, like the place below the steering where one moves the lever for steering height adjustment, or the levers for moving the middle row seats or the way the chiller and the front glove box close or the way some joints are finished on the doors in normally not too visible areas. The quality of the material is great overall, and better than in the Vitara etc. The vertical and rectangualar lines in the interiors look inspired from the Land Rover Series, while the rear 3rd row glass seems to flow the desing flow of the R class Merc and the CRV, though the Aria sported this design in shows even before the other two were launched globally.
Cornering - better than in the Safari and similar to that in the fortuner, but this is no SUV, the Innova corners with more confidence, but the Aria though it matches the Innova and even exceeds it, gives a feel of going off on the round abouts due to it height and GC.
Bonnet Lever - Yes the bonnet has hydraulic lifts as also the boot, what needs to be noted is the position of the lever that releases the boot from the outside (once we release it from the inside) is thoughtfully located at the top of the grill before the first slant unlike at the bottom in case of most bonnets. This is a small touch that indicates the thought process in making the car.
I guess that's it for today, more on the car tomorrow.
Last edited by Technocrat : 10th December 2010 at 03:43. Reason: Highlighted some text for better readability :)
|1st December 2010, 11:53||#24|
Distinguished - BHPian
I have to tried to use all I learnt on TBHP and more in this buying process.
Aria in white too needs to be seen to be believed - better than Silver in my view.
More chapters follow today.
|1st December 2010, 12:12||#25|
Distinguished - BHPian
IX Impact on other - Reactions in office and on the Road
IX Impact on others - Reactions in office and on the Road
To start off:
The Chairman of a Company with the Merc GL as his ride goes like "My GL Merc is overpriced 3 times - this is great value, On top of that the Merc
satnav does not work in India, it's a waste of money". I of course explain to him that his GL is exclusive and than we have to pay 106% customs duty ++ extras on CBU imports so that the Indian Automobile Industry grows and we are not neck down in fiscal imbalance. He also liked the easier entry and exit in the Aria compared to the GL. He just could not believe this was from TATA on seeing the quality hearing of price and thought it is a Toyota vehicle.
This definately will have a brand image change rub off effect on TATA if they play the cards well, and are able to hold back the plus version for about a year.
The same company chairmans driver - who does all the driving loved the car, and felt it was as easy to drive as the Innova with the features close to that of the GL, he also like the side view mirrors and the fact that you can see two lanes on both sides.
What do Innova owners do on the road: Try to race ahead with necks turned back and eyes in the rear view mirror all the time admiring the beauty. Some others on ground thought it is the new Innova.
A Captiva followed me / rather kept close to me for 20+ kms. I used to keep close to capitivas while driving my Laura and Safari earlier. Tables turned!
A fortuner owner straining his neck muscle to look at the Aria while it was parked next to him was the iceing on the cake. This one was totally unexpected.
Was once parked outside Jaslok hospital in South Mumbai (Peddar Road) and seated in the drivers seat while waiting with the engine on for almost 30 mins to pick someone up, found people not just checking out the car, but in the rear view mirror even saw them bending down towards the rear to check out the round clearance or the dual exhaust. One gentleman asked me to roll down the mirror and asked me about my thoughts about the car, and said he loved the car and gave a thumbs up.
Was once parked outside a small restaurant at Talav Pali in Thane - waiting for pav bhaji from the restaurant to be served in the car, 3 different individuals approached me and asked me my view of the car in apparant admiration as well as asked the price.
Some people I met on their own mentioned that the price must be close to 16 OTR and I would correct them that it is actually 17.8.
Those in office who joined me for a ride in the car (and there were multiple such rides) loved it, the fell in love with the chiller (which I think is a gimmic) , the phone features, loved the seats, loved the overhead storages etc. One guy from the US did question - No Sunroof - Moonroof? with all the other features present. I simply pointed to the 8 overhead storges boxes and showed him what i could stuff in it and then mentioned that Sunroof and Moonroof are not suitable for the Indian climate, though I have them on the Laura, I have rarely used them and would not miss them. A panaromic (full roof) Sun/Moon roof could be a good Idea. Webasso any one?
Another observation of those sitting in the car was that the AC was quite powerful, and they loved the fact that one can adjust the Ac for the rear rows from the middle row itself irrespective of the front row.
Once we travelled with 7 loaded, two at the rear were average sized Indians and they were comfortable during the 2X45 minutes return journey - with the middle row seats at max front position.
I tend to drive focused on the road and that is good I guess. But on
occations where I have travelled with my colleagues or Wife they have pointed out that every few minutes someone or the other points at our car, and if driving tries to keep pace with it and see it better.
The Only -ve has been that quite a few find the looks closest to the plain jane Innova, that is actually the truth, even my wife finds this to be the case and yet she selected this over the fortuner and has never given the Innova a second glance. This has just the right proportions to look attractive, while the Innova gets the job done, this does so in style and one is comfortable self driving the Aria but not as much the Innova.
Did not anticipate much snob value with the Aria but have been pleasantly surprised. The TATA guys have done a decent job of creating the Aria brand equity till now.
|1st December 2010, 15:41||#27|
Distinguished - BHPian
X Exterior View:
Thought it best to do the exterior view before the Interior views and swapped the chapters. There has been quite a bit of late November drizzle in Bombay making the car quite dirty. Also am using a HD Camcorder in Photo Mode rather than a D90 type SLR camera for the photography currently. Planning for multiple trips in the next few months and should be able to get some nice outdoor photographs with the car in natural surroundings then. Till then request all to bear with my photography. As mentioned earlier Night Shade Black becomes quite dusty and water marks are easily visible in close up.
The Paint work is tremendous and layers of high quality paint is evidently visible.
Starting with the front the Massive Chrome Grill (Actually quite close in size to that on the earlier Endy) typifies the aspirations of the car to be a
premium segment offering taking on the Laura, Accord, Superb, Endy, Captiva, Fortuner, etc head on.
The Projectors look rear cool but Xenon's in the top variant would have added to the lux feel of the car.
The way the bonnet lifts ups and the location of the hidden latch to lift it (just above the top slit in the grill) makes for a nice touch. Very few cars
have hydraulic bonnet lifts (even the Laura doesn't) though the earlier Safari did, and it is good to see the +ve bits being carried forward.
The Rear sports TATA emborssed on the chrome strip above the number plate, and "A R I A" written in solid, seperate and thick chrome letters on the rear.
Most cars have the car name mentioned with linked letter to save on cost and enable easier placement. What TATA has provided on the A R I A is the harder and more expensive way of doing things, it all adds to the richness of the offerings, at no place do we get a feel that cost has been saved. They may not have been able to get the right quality in places but not due to any cost saving reasons.
The Rear also has dual chrome tipped false exhausts. I say False as the actual exhaust vents are located inside the really large chrome rounds, but this is not different from how it is on the Captiva or the E-Class Merc, its a trend that is catching on for high end vehicle to give the vehicle a muscular feel at the rear besides adding to the symmetry.
Then there is the reverse camera below the number plate chrome strip - not centered and the reason probably lies to do with the driver too not being centered, there seems to be a logic to every thing.
The Rear Bumper has a panel that must be removed for the toe hook to be attached as well as provisions a ball joint hook for pulling along a trailer.
The rear third row glass panel between the c and d pillars features the D Pillar sloping down to cut down the monotony of the side and give the car as sporty a look as possible and move as far away from the MUV feel, the R class and the CRV have a similar D Pillar and none have copied from each other as all announced the same look years back at about the same time in various shows worldwide.
TATA have for a change not taken the X'Mas lights right to the top at the rear and that is nice, I shudder to think how the Aria would have looked if the Tail lights had been any longer or higher.
The Front Primary lights give the car a mean look and offset the wide chrome grill. The side indicators built into the front head light make the car look wider due to the visible Amber colour rather than having coloured bulbs.
The Blinkers on the Side View mirrors are a bit different and one would worry about other cars breaking the side view mirrors were it not for the height at which they are mounted. Also adding the look factor is the fact that the mirrors are mounted on the doors rather than on the front quarter panel. This aids visibility around the A Pillar.
The Civic Style Butterfly wipers are unique in the segment but could have done with better quality rubber, the wipers wipe quite well, but don't feel that premium. Swapping with Aero Twins from Bosh is what is required. The visibility is enhanced for both the driver and the passenger who would in case of normally aligned wipers get quite irritated with the view on the passenger side in the monsoons after the windscreen gets smirked with dirt.
Seeing the assortment of unique touches it is evident that a brief to search out for the unique ideas and technologies around the world was give to both the design and technology teams.
Lastly the Goodyear Wranglers are decent looking and the Alloys quite good looking - no immediate need to upgrade to after market alloys. Am tempted to go for even wider tyres post 100k kms in the 3rd / 4th year of warranty just for the look, (am aware that suspension warranty would be void with such a change but it should be fine then.). The current tyres are fairly wide and only the Fortuner has anything bigger / wider among the SUV's. On the usability front they grip fine, are not noisy and are comfy enough.
|1st December 2010, 15:43||#28|
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|1st December 2010, 17:26||#29|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Jul 2008
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I never noticed the reflectors on the rear bumper before. They look good, well placed and integrated (rather than clipped/pasted/screwed on).
The rear three quarters and rear (angled) pic (last one) are the best angles I've seen of the rear of the Aria. Makes it look really good! Maybe the colour helps too.
This is a unique colour alright. Looks like a purpley/brownish black. Great choice, and nice pics.
Thanks again for the D.e.t.a.i.l.e.d review. This (IMHO) will be the definitive thread for people looking for an unbiased and comprehensive ownership report. Looking forward to more!
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