Date : April 2010
Location : Ahmedabad
On a trip to Mt Abu, the A.C. of my M800 could hardly keep up with the sweltering heat of Gujarat, and this after getting the compressor gas filled up a week back. Then, and right there was the decision taken - it was time for a new car. I had absolutely no idea on what segment of car I was looking at or what were the options available in the market. There were only three cars in my head then - the ubiquitous Maruti Swift, the lovely Honda city and monster Tata Safari.
That made an interesting debate with the lady during the rest of the trip. While my choice was the Safari, she wanted a Corolla! The only point we could finally come to an agreement was that the car should be a sedan & preferably Maruti. By the time we returned back to Ahmedabad, the discussion was forgotten, but it had ignited the spark in me. I was hooked on to cars. This was when I got introduced to TBHP. My Faithful 800 taking a long rest
Date : May 2010
A close friend of mine purchases the Swift Dzire. This is the first time I drive a diesel car with the CRDI engine. I am completely floored by the turbo burst the car offers in the middle gears (anybody remember the recent Tata Xeta ad? That was the reaction on my face
). Prior to these my memory of diesel cars were noisy, laggard & heavy buffaloes that were primarily meant for taxis, SUVs and blocking up the highways. I inquire a bit about the waiting periods for Dzire in Ahmedabad - I am gleefully informed by an over-enthusiastic jumping jack SE that the waiting periods have come down to 6-8 months, provided I go by the color they provide!!!
Date : August 2010
GTO comes out with the Vento test drive & review
. I am floored by the car. IMHO, like @GTO I was blown away by the simplicity of the design and the powerful diesel engine under the hood - you could see his love for the car in the review. I start wondering if this is the
car. But then people start putting up their experiences of the VW dealership and their shoddy (pre-sales) service. To add to it an impending job change & a shift to Pune keeps me away for close to a year.
Date : April 2011
Location : Kolkata
The Diesel SX4 is out with @sidindica providing a detailed review
about this car. Although I could sense a level of disappointment in his review with the car, I still feel happy as now I have a diesel sedan in the Maruti stable that I can look forward to. For a few weeks I had to work out of Calcutta, and talk about co-incidence, another close friend here had the Swift Diesel. I had the luxury of doing the TD of the SX4, with the Swift in direct comparison. Boy, was I disappointed or what! The SE could see the dejection on my face - he offers me a heavy discount plus hints to me that he could give me a discount on the insurance too. I thank him and head out to try the other cars.
(For anyone who plans to have a look at this sedan - please do remember to compare it with the Swift. The SX4 is a lovely car, but IMHO the Swift is an overall better deal in terms of the power to weight ratio & VFM
The Ford showroom is close by, so I head over there to have a look at the Classic and also to get details about the new Fiesta. Although the showroom is empty, it takes close to 10 minutes for the sales guy to speak to me. In a very un-interested manner, he informs me that he has absolutely no idea about the new fiesta, and after indicating that the Classic is right in front of me, he heads back inside. I run after him to request for a TD, he shrugs and states blatantly that there are no TD cars available.
Completely disgusted, I then head over to the VW showroom on EM Bypass road where I have a look at the Vento for the first time. But before even I have a look at the car, I am blown away by the showroom. While the Maruti & Ford showrooms looked as if they were selling groceries and not cars, the VW showroom was impeccably grand. With white being the background color all over the showroom, the cars on display looked even more gorgeous in that setup. (Let me go a little further on this - even the VW showrooms at Mumbai & Pune displayed similar setups - as a marketing professional I could only applaud VW for differentiating themselves from others!
I finally had the Vento to drive. I made it very clear to the SE that I would be requiring multiple runs over a route that has several bumps, a good number of craters and an empty stretch where I can push her to touch 3 digit speeds. He smiles at me, and points me to start the car. Voila, we have a perfect testing ground - the Salt lake campus is just adjacent to the showroom. With a long stretch that was undergoing metro construction, I had the perfect road conditions. Man, can she run! The car just glided over the potholes, and by the time I reached back to the starting point, we all were
; me, my friend and the SE.
But I wasn't finished; asked my friend to take over while I sat in back seat. The only regret I had was the lack of a remote for the ICE. Otherwise it was all "Mai toh saab ban gaya
" feeling, what with the plush seating and comfortable arm-rest, not to speak about the rear AC vents.
(Point to note here - cars like the Optra might have a better backseat (read:sofa) but maybe due to the beige color setup, the backseat of the Vento feels huge and airy! Except for the ugly hump at the center, you get this feeling of sitting in a premium car and not a C segment car!
Inquired about the waiting periods, was informed 2 months. Had this been in Pune, I would have booked the car right away. My friend who till then had been pestering me to go for the Swift didn't speak a single word during the entire return journey. On reaching home, he sheepishly grins at me and admits that the Vento is the
car. EDIT in November 2017:
View my 5 year summary at this link