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Old 7th January 2009, 19:33   #1
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Default never ending search for mile munching machine

Almost a year back, when I was doing pretty well in stock markets and Job, I have planned to dispose my Accent and buy a new car. During the time I took for evaluating various options, I was in deep trouble in stock markets. As my losses kept on mounting, I kept on delaying my purchase. But my evaluations and test drives didn’t stop and I test drove everything I liked (Hatches, Sedans, SUVs, Fusions etc). My criteria for selection is

1. I really wanted to go on long road trips, like from Hyd-Kanyakumari-Hyd, Hyd-Goa-Hyd, and Hyd-Jaipur-MP-Hyd etc. All this while, I couldn't take time from my work and my Accent is also not a great mile munching car in terms of driving ergonomics, suspension and pickup. But now I took an oath that I will do these long trips with the new car once in every 6 months. So, car should be absolutely fatigue free and safe for very long drive.
2. FE shouldn't pinch my pocket, anything that gives below 10kmpl of petrol is absolute no.
3. I like cars with high torque at low RPMs.
4. I really like driving fast, so ABS is Mandatory for me. Airbags are preferred.
5. I hate Beige interiors however good in quality they are.
6. Anything VFM in Budget of 5-10 Lakhs. I can compromise on boot space only if price is below 7 lakhs. Anything above that should give me good space at rear and a boot.
7. Looks matter a lot to me. I hate cars like SX4, City ZX, Logan and Dezire (in profile and from back). No offense to current owners. I give 40% weightage to looks.

I went to test drove cars in one year by each manufacturer:

Maruti:
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Swift - We already has one in family (Dad). It has a Gem of an engine. But body parts like fenders, interior plastics, bumpers etc are very thin. There is no competition to its rattling. We can safely give title of 'Rattle King' to it. I have observed the rattling is more pronounced because of its hard suspension. EPS steering is too light and vague. No Airbags.

SX4 - Don't like looks, so 40% negative to start with. It has peppy engine and comes loaded with good features. But, having experienced Swift, scared of bearing the same rattling and same EPS steering in future.

Mitsubishi:
-----------
Cedia - I could test drive Cedia Sports that belonged to owner of the showroom. Sports version is damn good with black interiors, but is not available. Normal Cedia is also good, only gripe is availability of spares across India and beige interiors. If you consider the way Indian Mitsubishi is run, doesn't give you enough confidence to invest 11 grand in that vehicle.

Chevrolet
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Optra - Good overall package. Excellent drive and ride due to high torque engine, hydraulic steering and all independent suspension. I didn't like the treatment of front with headlights that are borrowed from SRV. Front design doesn't gel with overall shape. Slightly above my budget and Beige interiors drove me away from it.

Skoda
------
Fabia – Diesel is good in all areas. But I feel it is overpriced by at least 2 grand. I would have considered it, if it is around 7.

Octavia Ambient - Even though of old design, for me it still looks better than other diesel sedans in this price range. Fantastic build quality and doesn't give you any lag even with only 95BHP on tap. Steering and interiors are good for me. But my Budget needs to be stretched a lot for this decade old car. Keep it on hold.

Ford
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Fiesta SLX- It looks like a small car with a boot. Handling and suspension are good. Engine is only 70BHP which might loose steam on open stretches and become lethargic on long drives. Not overtly beige interiors, with Black and Aluminum here and there. I can adjust with that. But OTR is around 9 odd lakhs for a interior space like a hatch, especially width is too less. Overpriced and didn't like its shape in profile.

Fiesta S - Same like SLX but with very good engine, better interiors and lesser price. Have to adjust with small car profile and shape. Keep it on hold.

Fusion Diesel Plus- I can adjust with its beige interiors with violet/magenta top and inserts. I like its different proposition of small SUV, with good seat height, space in boot, ground clearance etc. No Airbags. It comes at a OTR price of above 8.5 lakhs, which made me run away from it.

New Ford Ikon – It comes with same fiesta engine, old looks and very good price. No ABS, Airbags and beige interiors drove me away.

Hyundai
-------

Verna - I have seen two non ABS Vernas in our family and friends, which have toppled at high speeds. One has toppled on a curve of empty highway when driver got blinded by headlights of oncoming vehicle and swerved steering violently while braking. People came out of car while it is in inverted position after toppling twice. In another incident driver could not see a pot hole and drove one side of tires through them at high speeds while braking. Only driver is there in the car when this happened. I agree both the incidents are due to poor driving, but presence of ABS might have avoided these incidents. Luckily in both the incidents passengers and drivers only got some bruises and peeled skin. It shows car structure is strong and safe, even though toppling itself made those people weary to get into any car several days after the incidents. I think the powerful engine of Verna is not suited for its body and suspension, especially without ABS. I went and test drove it with rejection in my mind right from the start. The odd shape of boot, lack of any good features for a price of almost 10 lakhs for ABS version only made my thoughts on rejection strong.


Mahindra
---------
The only vehicle that interested me in this showroom was Scropio. It looks good from front. But I hate it from back. Those tail lights and extra large body claddings are quite an eyesore. 2.2 mHawk engine is really peppy and smooth when compared with Safari 2.2. No problem in interiors for me as some color variants in Scorpio come with black interiors and some with camel- beige combination. The clutch in test vehicle was very hard and for its size and height, it definitely requires ABS. Internal space is very limited for this size of vehicle and ride in middle row is bumpy. VLX with ABS comes to around 12 lakhs is not VFM and out of my budget.


Tata and Fiat
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Indica Vista - Good hieght and view from inside. Anniversary edition has good audio, alloys and seat fabric. Engine pickup is same like Palio and Swift but sounds smoother in this avatar, maybe because of better dampening. Ride is bit rough and some interiors parts are of poor quality. I am OK with external looks, but not 100% satisfied. For me, old Indica looks better and classic in non white color to me. Again beige interiors are last nails that drove me away.

Fiat Palio SDX - Good and enticing looks even for a decade old design. Paint quality is top notch. Interiors are old, especially instrument cluster and center console. Quality and looks of interiors are okay for me. I have observed something while test driving this. Palio door is full metal inside and has door pads with cup holders attached. Even though its old style, this design will induce very little rattles. Most of the other hatches I have seen have full plastic door claddings inside. If plastic is weak, it will expand and contract in our tropical climates, and will induce a hell lot of rattles. Sales guys is pitching for Palio over new Indica, even though its a Tata dealer, listing out differences like Independent suspension at back, diagonal braking, two step doors, fire protection etc. I could feel all those difference while test driving. I liked the way he said, ‘Now Palio and Indica look similar, Indica might slightly give you a better feel of new car, but after 2 years of usage Indica will be nowhere to Palio’. I have seen many old Palios still running without squeaks, cracks rattles and faded paints. It might show the quality of car or the passion of people who bought it. My only grouse is that engine is rough and audible inside the cabin. There is no variant with ABS and Airbags is stopping me to buying this car for now. Sales guy says Diagonal Braking is equivalent to ABS, hardly believable though.

Fiat Linea - Only saw a demo car. No test drive available for now. If sale guy has to be believed, top end diesel comes to 9 lakhs OTR. It is a absolute cracker of a package for that price. It has looks, space and features of a big sedan in price range of 15+ lakhs. Everything is damn good. I almost paid the booking amount, only to decide in last minute to wait for test drive of both petrol and diesel for their 90BHP engines and final price.

Safari 2.2 VTT - Design is outdated and too tall. It doesn't look very good when viewed from some angles, especially the rear overhang. Interiors quality is pathetic in color and finish in VX and EX models. You only need to look at window beadings to see the quality of rubber and plastic used in this SUV. Have anyone observed this? Windows sills and beadings don’t even form straight lines, lot of curves and bumps there. But, a big BUT, difficult to resist this mammoth due to its metal for money, VFM, sheer size, ride and looks from front. But variant is a big problem for me. Interiors in LX with grey and aluminum inserts looks better than fake wood and beige in EX and VX. Even Black LX with Grey cladding looks better than all other body colored bumper variants. Grey bumpers save you from scratches in Jungles, Villages and City traffic. But LX doesn't come with 4X4, ABS and Airbags. Remaining all other accessories in EX and VX are better done outside.

Used Cars
----------
In used cars I thought of only Elantra and Octavia RS. Earlier I use to think Octavia RS must be one hell of petrol drunkard. But, TBHP has changed my view and started searching for good used RS. I could find one silver RS with lot of body stickers which I don't like. Owner cum Dealer says they are vinyl stickers and can be peeled off without damaging the paint. It also has very high end music system which costs a bomb. I am much of a music guy. A local radio and few old CDs is what I keep in my car. It is of 2006 make and Speedo says it ran for 40K KMS. It has new Yoko tires and dealer is ready to give it for 8 lakhs. I am slightly worried as dealer is also owner of a car accessory shop and might have fiddled with electric wiring to install that fancy and exotic music system. I could not find a good used Elantra until now.

I have narrowed down my choice to following three in 2009

1. Fiat Linea Emotion (If engine proves good in test drive and price is around 9 lakhs)
2. Used Octavia (Further negotiation is required)
3. Safari EX 4X4 (Have to adjust with beige interiors)

I am still not out of woods in stock market, but more or less decided to go and buy one of them above in this month with loan. I need your suggestion in the following two:

1. Is 2006 Octavia RS worth 8 grand with with 40K on Speedo ?
2. Can I buy Safari LX and fit ABS and 4X4 outside?

Note to Moderators: As our “What Car?” has separate sections for hatches, sedans, and SUVs, I don’t know where to post this. Please move this to appropriate section.
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Old 7th January 2009, 21:46   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rach View Post
1. I really wanted to go on long road trips, like from Hyd-Kanyakumari-Hyd, Hyd-Goa-Hyd, and Hyd-Jaipur-MP-Hyd etc. All this while, I couldn't take time from my work and my Accent is also not a great mile munching car in terms of driving ergonomics, suspension and pickup. But now I took an oath that I will do these long trips with the new car once in every 6 months. So, car should be absolutely fatigue free and safe for very long drive.
2. FE shouldn't pinch my pocket, anything that gives below 10kmpl of petrol is absolute no.
3. I like cars with high torque at low RPMs.
4. I really like driving fast, so ABS is Mandatory for me. Airbags are preferred.
5. I hate Beige interiors however good in quality they are.
6. Anything VFM in Budget of 5-10 Lakhs. I can compromise on boot space only if price is below 7 lakhs. Anything above that should give me good space at rear and a boot.
7. Looks matter a lot to me. I hate cars like SX4, City ZX, Logan and Dezire (in profile and from back). No offense to current owners. I give 40% weightage to looks.
Make a car for yourself
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Old 7th January 2009, 21:58   #3
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Hi Rach, pretty detailed query!
You sound a lot like me, even Im in similar kind of a dilemma, you can also refer to a thread started by me - "Comfortable high miler", might give some insight.

Regarding your last points, leave a second hand vehicle & the idea of aftermarket ABS fitment.

The ones which appeal to me out of the choice given are:
-Skoda Octy
-Optra Magnum
-Safari

But Linea tops the charts as far as requirements go.
Did you consider Innova, its a comfortable vehicle.
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Old 7th January 2009, 21:58   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srh View Post
Make a car for yourself
that is so correct
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Old 7th January 2009, 22:27   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srh View Post
Make a car for yourself
Quote:
Originally Posted by jassi View Post
that is so correct
Do a Little better guys!
He needs help not sarcasm!
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Old 7th January 2009, 22:40   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srh View Post
Make a car for yourself
Hahaahahahaha - That was really well said srh

Jokes apart:- I think the best car that you can look for is the Safari and with the kind of trips that you are looking forward too, it will surely be a mile muncher that you want without even bothering of space and occupants, I mean you will not have to restrict to only 2 or 3 or 4 people travelling as in a safari you can have atleast 6 travelling in total comfort.

Also it has a gem of an engine which is reliable and also gives good FE.

Other option that you can wait for is the Linea, but again with our highways where "Size does matter", Linea will stand no chance with those truckers on the highway. Hence Safari - Le Loooo !!

Regards,
Kailash
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Old 7th January 2009, 22:40   #7
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Its so much part of our generation! The problem of plenty and our need for THE best.

Go for the Safari or invest in a used Endy.

BH.
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Old 7th January 2009, 22:43   #8
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if you really hate beige interiors with a vengeance, get them painted some other shade
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Old 7th January 2009, 22:45   #9
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Rach, when you say "grands" I suppose you actually meant 100,000 Indian rupees?

Question for the mods: Imported lingo & jargons are no problems on forums i suppose? However, there's a potential for confusion (slim chances, albeit!) when these are used in different geographic regions and contexts. For instance an Indian may read a "grand" as Rs. 1,000 whilst an American may interpret as equivalent of US $1,000.

I know
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Old 7th January 2009, 22:48   #10
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1) Swift has airbags IIRC, but in the high end version.
2) Its next to impossible for us to have a car that ash everything we need.
3) Consider Toyota Corolla Altis.
4) Consider Toyota Innova.
Both the toyota cars are very comfortable high mile munchers.
5) Consider the G3HC. Its horribly overpriced, but will match the needs as far as engine and FE are concerned.

Please also mention if your preference is diesel or petrol.
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Old 7th January 2009, 23:34   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srh View Post
Make a car for yourself
Quote:
Originally Posted by bhp1 View Post
Do a Little better guys!
He needs help not sarcasm!
Well to put it in a better way, there is curently NO car in the market that satisfies all his requirements.

Prioritize and compromise - thats my advice.

Elito

Last edited by Elito11 : 7th January 2009 at 23:35.
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Old 8th January 2009, 07:33   #12
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You can also consider
1. Toyota Innova
2. Sumo Grande
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Old 8th January 2009, 09:11   #13
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i also recommend the Innova. the top end also has ABS.
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Old 8th January 2009, 09:20   #14
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A rock stable car for the indian roads, the quintessential mile muncher and the one that meets almost all your demands is the Tata Safari!!!!! but considering you are so fussy about lots of things, it will be out of reckoning as it is not built like a passenger car, and most plastics inside feel like they would be better off on LCV's or HCV's!
i'd put my moolah on the following, not in any particular order.
1. chevrolet captiva diesel
2. skoda superb diesel
3. skoda laura/octavia diesel
4. toyota innova
5. toyota camry
6. hyundai verna crdi
7. volvo b7r
8. bajaj autorickshaw

ok the last 2 are jokes :-p
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Old 8th January 2009, 11:03   #15
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For me the obvious choices would be:

1. Find a second hand palio GTX/SP which has ABS. (Rare but must be there somewhere!)
2. Go for the Linea as the handling and drive-abilty has been praised in a lot of reviews.
3. If all else fails, try the Safari or even the Bolero.

All the best for your decision.
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