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Old 15th December 2010, 19:25   #1
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Default Stop at nothing. Not even gears. The 1st A-Star AT ownership on Team-BHP

Finally, after a loooong wait of 2.5 months, we got the A-Star AT on 8-Dec-2010. Got a chance to drive the car last weekend and hence this initial ownership report.

Where it all started :
After owning an Amby in the early seventies, my FIL was mostly happy with 2-wheelers. Or atleast he tried to pretend happy. For years, I would hear him discussing various cars that he thought he liked and which he would like to buy. He moved from Santro to Spark to Alto to any new car that was the flavour of the season.

But it was only recently that he became more serious and then we tried to narrow down the options. They wanted only a hatch. And preferably one that had easy ingress/egress. That's how the Alto went out and the Estilo came in. It helped that the Estilo had some good deals on it.

The Search :
We TD-ed the Estilo, Spark and Beat. I know the Spark is a good car, but somehow the TD left us unimpressed - maybe because of the TD car being old/dirty. The Beat was SIL's instant choice and I liked the way it drove, but we wondered if such a 'funky' car would be good for him. The Estilo is no looker, but with the K-series engine and discounts, it became our choice. We booked the Estilo Vxi on 31-Aug-2010.

Around that time the Alto-K10 was launched and I did a TD and loved the way it drove. In-laws did not like the looks and that was that. We were told that the Estilo would be with us in 3-weeks - every other color than the Black colour we wanted, was available ex-stock. Inspite of my telling them how much of a pain it is to maintain a black car, they wanted it in black. But then they have a covered garage and the car will mostly stay parked - their usage is low.

Meanwhile, FIL decided to brush up on his rusty driving skills at the nearby driving school. One day SIL accompanied him and on their return she mentioned that while he had no issues with steering control, gear-changes seemed to be an issue. Meanwhile MSIL had launched the A-Star AT on 15-Aug and ajmat had done the official TD/review. There seemed to be a strong connect here.

I have never felt the need for an AT car since I am comfy with gears and like it that way instead of the car making the decision for me. Plus the extra cost and reduced FE did not make the case any stronger. But this time I had a rethink. Its an A-Star, which is renowned for FE - I read in the brochure that it came first in some FE competition in Australia. So, even accounting for a few kmpl drop in FE, I reckoned 14-15kmpl should be easy in Kollam (Kerala).

Regarding the price differential, you do need to pay for the convenience. Plus the attraction was ABS and seat-height adjustment being part of the deal. There were no TD cars at Kollam and so I just went by ajmat's review - looked like a good car for our needs. Some more discussion at home and we decided it is worth changing to the A-Star.

Changed the booking to A-Star AT on 20-Sep-2010 and were told it would take 25 days. We were fine with that. But a rude shock awaited us 3 weeks later - the dealer told us that there is delay from MSIL side (CWG etc etc) and that it will take 2 months.

This was not what we were promised and I could not believe that a car which just about sells 3K units all over India a month, would have demand enough for its AT version. Anyway, raised a ruckus with Maruti who confirmed that the waiting period for the car was indeed 2 months. They could not explain then why the dealer quoted us 25 days initially. Or why another dealer (Hercules) was promising 25 days.

Anyway, we somehow reconciled ourselves to another wait, hoping the car would be with us around 20-Nov. And that was when the dealer again says it would be end-Dec or early-Jan to get the car. This was not funny anymore and after some emails back and forth with MSIL, we are told that the Black color we ordered would take time. Instead we were given an option to choose from 1 of 4 colors all of which sounded crappy to us. But since we did not want to wait any further, we chose Healing Green.

Keenly followed shipping from factory and the car reached Kollam on 6-Dec-2010. After registration and stuff, we got the car on 8-Dec-2010. After discounts of 22.5K, the onroad cost came to around 4.65lakhs. The dealer gave mud-flaps, steering grip, floor mats and seat covers as free accessories. But given the quality (lack of it actually), they need not have bothered.

The stiches of the seat cover is already coming loose after just 150kms and the front mud flaps were creating a racket everytime you did a reverse - the flappy part would rollback and get stuck between the wheels and the wheel well. I tried folding it back into place, but after another reverse, it was the same story. Finally cut off the flappy part.

The Odo read 32kms of which some 15-16kms would be the run from yard to dealership to RTO and back. The salesguy said the remaining kms is driving around done by MSIL as standard practice on all new cars, which frankly sounds like a load of bull. I find it tough to believe that MSIL drives around each of the 1lakh cars they roll out every month. Anyway...

The car parked on the sandy yard of the church at my in-laws place.
Stop at nothing. Not even gears. The 1st A-Star AT ownership on Team-BHP-dsc03384.jpg

One thing I noticed is that there is no "Automatic" badge at the rear of the car. This badge is there in the car ajmat TD-ed. Not sure what is the reason here.

Driving impressions to follow.

P.S. : Any other A-Star AT owners on the forum ? Would like to share notes.
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Old 15th December 2010, 22:07   #2
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Default re: Stop at nothing. Not even gears. The 1st A-Star AT ownership on Team-BHP

Congrats on the car. So finally after 2.5 months of waiting you got the car, even though not of your choice.

Mileage kitna hai ? And how is the gear shifts ? Is it gradual OR one can feel gear shifts ?
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Old 15th December 2010, 22:59   #3
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Default re: Stop at nothing. Not even gears. The 1st A-Star AT ownership on Team-BHP

Congrats on the new car. Do update us on the FE. BTW any plans for a tyre upgrade and alloys?
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Old 15th December 2010, 23:08   #4
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Default re: Stop at nothing. Not even gears. The 1st A-Star AT ownership on Team-BHP

Congrats on finally getting the car! ( I read about your experience on the Astar AT TD thread).
One request - please do not start taking the FE seriously in the initial months. Drive at least 2000 kms and then the FE curve should start to flatten.
All the best - drive safe.
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Old 16th December 2010, 08:39   #5
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Default re: Stop at nothing. Not even gears. The 1st A-Star AT ownership on Team-BHP

congrats on the astar ,supremebaleno.Pleas put some more pictures.Yours is the first astar AT.
Drive safe
SHK
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Old 16th December 2010, 10:08   #6
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Default re: Stop at nothing. Not even gears. The 1st A-Star AT ownership on Team-BHP

Congrats on the car. Get rid of those hideous mudflaps and get MGA from the dealer.
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Old 16th December 2010, 10:40   #7
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Default re: Stop at nothing. Not even gears. The 1st A-Star AT ownership on Team-BHP

Quote:
Originally Posted by tanwaramit
Congrats on the car. Mileage kitna hai ? And how is the gear shifts ? Is it gradual OR one can feel gear shifts ?
Thanks. Did not check FE yet - just did a full tank. At the next tank-fill, I should have an idea. I hate the digital fuel-gauge - wish it had the usual needle gauge. Regarding gear-shift, when we slot into say D or R, you do feel the shift, if that is what you meant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Live To Jive
Congrats on the new car. BTW any plans for a tyre upgrade and alloys?
Thanks. No plans to upgrade wheels. I am yet to upgrade tyres on my Baleno, so you can imagine.
BTW, after driving around for some 30kms, happened to check the tyre pressure and found all tyres having 50psi , while the recommended pressure is 32 or so. Reduced pressure to 35.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackasta
Congrats on finally getting the car! One request - please do not start taking the FE seriously in the initial months. Drive at least 2000 kms and then the FE curve should start to flatten.
Thanks. Frankly I am not too bothered about the FE of this car, which is odd because FE is one of the main criteria for me when it comes to cars. Maybe because while opting for an AT, I got mentally prepared for lower FE. Will post figures here as soon as I get around to calculating them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shk 8896
congrats on the astar ,supremebaleno.Pleas put some more pictures.Yours is the first astar AT.
Thanks. More snaps coming.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sidindica
Congrats on the car. Get rid of those hideous mudflaps and get MGA from the dealer.
Thanks. Yeah, need to do something about the mudflaps.

Last edited by supremeBaleno : 16th December 2010 at 10:42.
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Old 16th December 2010, 11:42   #8
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Default re: Stop at nothing. Not even gears. The 1st A-Star AT ownership on Team-BHP

Congrats SB. I went and drove a i-10 AT a few days ago. was a breeze to drive.

How about a driving impression from your and your FILs POV?
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Old 16th December 2010, 12:40   #9
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Default re: Stop at nothing. Not even gears. The 1st A-Star AT ownership on Team-BHP

Congrats on the star, SB!

How does your FIL, find the all round visibility?

Any reason for not considering the i10 AT?

Please post more pics of the car
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Old 16th December 2010, 19:11   #10
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Default Looks, interiors, space etc

Looks : The A-Star would not have people drooling over its looks. While I like the rear, the front could have been much better. To me, it looks like a smaller Swift - with the same squat look.

Some snaps :

1) The rear view - parked at home.
Stop at nothing. Not even gears. The 1st A-Star AT ownership on Team-BHP-dsc00042.jpg

2) The zoo zoo frontal view
Stop at nothing. Not even gears. The 1st A-Star AT ownership on Team-BHP-dsc03380.jpg

3) LHS profile - can you see the sea in the distance ?
Stop at nothing. Not even gears. The 1st A-Star AT ownership on Team-BHP-dsc03385.jpg


Interiors : Am not too much into interiors, beige etc, so the A-Star does not disappoint here. Unlike many here who would dump the stock ICE, I prefer it stock - dont want to run around to installers, just to listen to FM and the occasional CD.

4) An inside view
Stop at nothing. Not even gears. The 1st A-Star AT ownership on Team-BHP-dsc03366.jpg

5) A view of the ICE
Stop at nothing. Not even gears. The 1st A-Star AT ownership on Team-BHP-dsc03377.jpg

6) The instrument panel - shows the gear you are in, which is helpful. There is also a door-open indicator. Only grouse is the digital fuel-gauge and the temp-gauge that is now digital and which goes off once the car is started.
Stop at nothing. Not even gears. The 1st A-Star AT ownership on Team-BHP-dsc03378.jpg


Space : There is ample space upfront, but tall people in the back would face issues. Most of us in the family are of average height and so this should not be an issue. Comfort will be known when we do a planned long drive to Wayanad (400kms one-way). Wifey and MIL sat in the back for 100-odd kms spread over 2 days and did not find space to be an issue. Wifey did mention it being claustrophobic at the rear.

7) Front seating space - enough for most people
Stop at nothing. Not even gears. The 1st A-Star AT ownership on Team-BHP-dsc03376.jpg

8) Rear space - could be tough for tall people
Stop at nothing. Not even gears. The 1st A-Star AT ownership on Team-BHP-dsc03374.jpg


Boot : Bootspace is almost nil. Just 2 travel bags and you would be out of space. Suitcases would be tough.

9) The pseudo-boot - Alto would have more space here.
Stop at nothing. Not even gears. The 1st A-Star AT ownership on Team-BHP-dsc03372.jpg

10) Stowaway jack : There is a close-able compartment on the right side wall of the boot for the jack.
Stop at nothing. Not even gears. The 1st A-Star AT ownership on Team-BHP-dsc03375.jpg

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mpower
Congrats SB. I went and drove a i-10 AT a few days ago. was a breeze to drive. How about a driving impression from your and your FILs POV?
Thanks. It surely is a breeze to drive an AT car - no wonder Americans are hooked to AT. Driving impressions to follow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anekho
Congrats on the star, SB! How does your FIL, find the all round visibility? Any reason for not considering the i10 AT?
Though FIL did not specifically mention visibility issues, it surely does exist. As he starts using the car more, he will become aware of it, I guess. Did not consider i10 because I don't fancy Hyundai cars and also because of some adverse reports about low FE for the AT model.

Last edited by supremeBaleno : 16th December 2010 at 19:15.
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Old 16th December 2010, 19:20   #11
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Default re: Stop at nothing. Not even gears. The 1st A-Star AT ownership on Team-BHP

Congratulations on the Maruti A-Star!

If you don't update this this very soon, I will for sure report this thread, requesting the moderators to close this thread for a while as booking experiences are no longer allowed in the 'Test Drives & Initial ownership section'.

Yes, this being the only and the only ownership report, I'm eagerly looking forward for your detailed report with special emphasis on driving impressions. Don't forget to share more pics with us!

Does Maruti A-Star Auto come in ZXi trim?

And yes, I wish you many many happy miles with your new car! Drive safe.

PS: I guess, I didn't sound harsh!

EDIT : I just read your detailed report! My bad! Apologies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by supremeBaleno View Post
The stiches of the seat cover is already coming loose after just 150kms
Quote:
The Odo read 32kms of which some 15-16kms would be the run from yard to dealership to RTO and back.
^^

This seems to be very contradicting! (Yes, I'm referring to the kms that you've clocked so far!!)

Last edited by Klub Class : 16th December 2010 at 19:23. Reason: Added a note.
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Old 16th December 2010, 19:28   #12
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Default re: Stop at nothing. Not even gears. The 1st A-Star AT ownership on Team-BHP

Congrats SB.
Quote:
6) The instrument panel - shows the gear you are in which is helpful.
Yeah that's a nice touch. Is it available only in AT? Where is the tachometer? Is it in that small MID?
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Old 16th December 2010, 20:38   #13
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Default Driving Impressions

The only other AT car I have driven is the ANHC-AT. So my experience is limited here. I did read the manual from start to end the previous night. Feel free to correct me where I go wrong. I did go through the other thread on when to use Neutral/Park in AT cars, but it left me more confused than I was before reading it.

Initial driving impression :
Start the car and the engine comes to life with a sound so unlike a petrol car - sounds awful. Not sure if this is an AT thing or common to all A-Stars. Due to the 3-cylinder engine ? Anyway, I hated the initial sound. It does settle down once the engine is started.

Slot into D and if the brakes are not pressed, the car moves forward at about 10kmph. Noticed this on the ANHC too and I guess this is common to all ATs. After that it is a breeze, with the left leg taking rest - they could have provided a dead pedal. Being a new car, I did not take it above 60-70kmph. You can putter around town alternating between the A and B pedals - life is simple with AT. At signals, I would put it in Neutral (needs brakes to be applied to keep car from rolling) instead of being in D and keeping brakes pressed.

Slot into Reverse and again the car moves in a small trot without accelerator input. Gear changes were smooth - unlike normal Marutis. But I guess the MT version also has smooth gears. I did slot into 3 (a shift to the right from D), but did not notice much difference. Got a chance to use L, while climbing a steep incline from my sister's home onto the NH47 - provided the power required without any fuss with 4 of us in the car.

The steering felt good and comfy. I hear many people on tbhp mention the Swift's steering to be toy-like, but my experience has been the opposite with our Swift. I find it to be kinda harder than my Baleno, though its EPS for the Swift. A-Star also has EPS, but I felt it comfortable - wifey and FIL agreed that they found it comfy.
Brakes provide good bite and never felt inadequate. I understand brakes in AT are more sharper than in MT.

Ride and handling :
We drove around for about 25kms with 50psi in all tyres. Still I did not feel any bumpiness - maybe because car was fully loaded. Anyway, reduced pressure to 35psi. Could not notice any drastic difference in ride-quality though. Ride-quality seemed decent to me. I did not try any drastic turns which could provide an idea of the handling, but being squat-built, handling feels to be good. More on this when I get a chance to really test the car - after 1st service.

Since I had only 1.5 days there, during which time I had to get both FIL and wifey comfortable with the car, I did not really get to drive it much. Wifey adapted pretty quickly to the car and drove through city traffic without any issues. FIL decided he first needs to get comfy with the car in a huge open area and so we hit the Asraamam grounds near Kollam city-centre. The huge open ground had many people learning riding/driving and after many kilometres of driving around the park, he felt comfy enough to get on to the road. Had him drive on the main road for some 10-15 kms and again some the next day.

No rolling back on inclines :
An advantage of the cars rolling without accelerator input in D mode is when you are stopped at an incline. Most newbies find it tough to move an MT car forward without it rolling back, especially without using the parking brake. This problem does not exist with an AT. Just remove legs from the brake and the car will move forward - no worries about rolling back and hitting the car behind.

Summary : I found it to be a good city-car. Since the target users are more than happy about the convenience provided by the lack of gears, I would think it is money well spent. The only unknown currently is the FE.

Things to keep in mind with the AT :
1) Never use the left leg. Subconsciously my left hand goes for the gear and left leg occasionally tries searching for the non-existent clutch.
2) Always have a leg on the brake, while shifting to D/R to avoid the issue of car rolling off.


Some more snaps :

1) The engine bay
Stop at nothing. Not even gears. The 1st A-Star AT ownership on Team-BHP-dsc03369.jpg

2) Another closer view
Stop at nothing. Not even gears. The 1st A-Star AT ownership on Team-BHP-dsc03370.jpg

3) Is this the diagnostic port ?
Stop at nothing. Not even gears. The 1st A-Star AT ownership on Team-BHP-dsc03371.jpg

4) Car parked at the church with all doors open so that the priest can drive away all the bad spirits.
Stop at nothing. Not even gears. The 1st A-Star AT ownership on Team-BHP-dsc00054.jpg

Quote:
Originally Posted by Klub Class
Does Maruti A-Star Auto come in ZXi trim?
This seems to be very contradicting!
Nope. Only VXi trim. Not sure what the contradiction is here. 32kms was the reading on odo when we took delivery. Since then the car has been driven around with odo reading 150-odd and within this short duration, the seat-cover stitching is giving way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HammerHead
Yeah that's a nice touch. Is it available only in AT? Where is the tachometer? Is it in that small MID?
Yes, only in AT, AFAIK. No tacho for AT - I would have loved to have the tacho.

Last edited by supremeBaleno : 16th December 2010 at 20:49.
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Old 16th December 2010, 20:42   #14
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Default re: Stop at nothing. Not even gears. The 1st A-Star AT ownership on Team-BHP

Congrats on the car. AT just makes life so much easier. BTW I dont think you need to put it into L etc when climbing up. You should put it there when going downhill (probably in 2) so that you get engine braking. Also put it in N only if the signal is longer than a minute or so.
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Old 16th December 2010, 20:43   #15
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Default re: Stop at nothing. Not even gears. The 1st A-Star AT ownership on Team-BHP

Congrats for the AT A-Star. It certainly looks good in that green guise.
And yes, MSIL does conduct drives on random cars coming from their plants.
How is the driving experience so far?
@HammerHead: The company has decided to let go off the tacho for the AT version.
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