everyone!, this thread is about my first experience with a pre-owned Fiat Palio Adventure Sport 1.6(2004)
.Even before I start with the intro, A few words of caution to the veterans here at T-Bhp, this is my first review, my first car, and I've only driven a car around for just over a year as I'm 19 years old. So please do pardon me for all the mistakes and the wrong assumptions that I'll make. In short don't kill me please, and i shall try my utter best to cover all the points of the car, and hence start at the very beginning of things. A BIT OF BACKGROUND
Ever since I was a kid I was fascinated by cars, as I'm sure all the members here would be. Particularly I would love to see cars go offroad, and hence developed a keen passion for watching rally. While most of my friends were either watching soccer,cricket or even F1, I would hunt around the internet for Group B rally videos. So to put it briefly, the best dance performance I have ever seen is ' Climb Dance ' by Ari Vatanen driving a maniacal Peugeot 405 Turbo 16 GR at the 1988 Pikes Peak International Hillclimb.
Coming to the cars in my house, my dad had a Maruti Suzuki Gypsy
which he had bought in 1990. I had absolutely fallen in love with the car ever since I was a kid. And I would always dream of driving it once I was 18. My Uncle took it regularly to Corbett national park as well. In my child's mind, the car was a hero of sorts. But by 2004, the car had started to create problems, and was turning into a rust bucket. It was a time for upgrade. With eyes full of tears I watched her go away, and I believe she's still in some village, running, with a CNG fitted into it.
The next car we had was a Santro. I still remember going down to the showroom with my dad and deciding the model and color. We had two options, the cheaper one without the PS and then the other with it. I remember telling dad to take the non-PS because I must've heard some guy on the TV say that PS doesn't provide a good feedback, but is easier to operate as it's assisted( I had just heard it, had no idea about it as I was only 10 then). Anyway we bought the PS model ( I then realized that parents DO NOT listen to children while buying cars ) but somehow I could never really appreciate the car. It really was a commuter car, and I never felt excited or enthusiastic about it. But no offense to the Santro, as it did what it was meant to do, and gave a niggle free, 'fill it shut it' experience for the next 5 years. By this time Dad had another car in mind, the budget sedan- Tata Manza
Well my Dad has barely any running done in cars, so petrol was the choice. But why a Tata Manza? Because we were getting a sedan for the price of a hatchback, we also bought one of the last BS-III models so we got a really sweet deal. (I'd like to add that I wanted my dad to buy a Gypsy again, but no one listened to me again) My dad would have to carry lots of stuff too, so a big boot was needed. And now it's still with us, our daily driver. It has it's niggles, but overall the car is a brilliant package. By a brilliant package I mean soft ride, acres of leg room, powerful AC.. Dear God! I must be getting old, as I'm thinking about such things! Again I'm not particularly enthusiastic about it, but it's not that bad a car either. PROLOGUE
Fast forward a couple of years, and I've joined college. The delhi metro covers most of the journey to college, but the connection between my house and the nearest station is quite bad, it's about 4 km. Buses are irregular and autos charge quite a lot. So my dad would usually drop me in the morning, and I'd take a bus back home. Suddenly one day my uncle visits me and tells me that there is a 1996 M800 lying with him which he'd want me to use. ( My uncle is a complete grease monkey, and very knowledgable about cars). So I started taking the M800 with me to the station.
I just loved to drive the M800, the feeling from the steering was great, throttle response was brilliant, and the suspension was nice and stiff. Comparing that to my Manza, the M800 was a brilliant car. Small and agile, very responsive, perfect for city driving. But as my uncle told me, the engine was on it's last legs. So we'd have to think of some other car. And hence the search began. REQUIREMENTS
The car would be used to go the metro station, back again, 6 days a week. Not a long distance, and since we already had one car in the family, it wasn't going to be driven much, apart from it's daily duty.Technically any car would fill the bill, so it actually boiled down to just two things which would be the deciding factors
ZEROING IN Maruti Gypsy
- A budget of 2 lacs.
- My preference from the sea of second hand cars.
. There was no question about it, I had decided it had to be the car I always wanted to own and drive. So the hunt began to find a good second hand Gypsy. Went to Gurgaon to test drive a 1.0L 199x model, loved the steering feel, 4wd, and the overall mechanical nature of the car. Loved the rock hard ride due to the leaf springs. But being a 1.0L we skipped the deal.
After much searching around we realized that a good 1.3L of a relatively recent age would cost about 2.5L. Now that would be over budget. The final nail in the coffin was one day while coming back in my non AC M800, I realized I couldn't buy a car without AC in the Delhi heat, which I'd be driving 6 days a week. The child inside me fizzled out. Coming back home I realized what a toll a hot day had taken on my age. It was time to go back to the drawing board. NOW WHAT?
I must be the lousiest buyer the second hand auto world has ever seen. I didn't have any particular choice, and I'd be just looking at the classifieds for random cars. Some cars appealed more to me, like the Fiat Palio S10, Ford Fiesta 1.6S
to name a few. But either I couldn't find them, or they were above budget.
The reason for all this chaos was that I didn't really need a Maruti or a Hyundai for reliability, we already had one car. So I could therefore look for something out of the box for my needs.So the random surfing about the sea of second hand cars continued.. Until one day.. THE ADVENTURE BEGINS
I vaguely recalled seeing the Fiat Palio Adventure Sport
when I was a kid,as my dad's friend had one. And I started to research about this car on the internet. T-Bhp was my main source of information( Thanks again to this wonderful forum) and I found out that it was an amazing car to have. Looked at the few ads on Team-Bhp classifieds and the car did fall in our budget. Finally I went and asked my uncle( the one who gave me the M800) about how the car is, and a resounding 'brilliant' was his answer.
My dad had lost contact with his friend who owned the Adventure but somehow we managed to get his number. I told dad by any freak chance ask him if he's about to sell his Adventure, or at least ask about how the car is and behaves etc. So dad called him and to my utter joy he was indeed willing to sell his car, as he had just bought the Renault Duster
! You can imagine I was running around the house like a retarded puppy as I was so happy. THE TEST DRIVE
A few days later Uncle came to our colony with his car. It had done 90k kms but looked absolutely stunning in orange and without a doubt is a head turner. He told me to have a go in it and have a test drive. I was all timid and careful, hardly revving the engine, to which he laughed and replied that It'll go to much higher revs. But I just loved the way the car behaved on the road and had my mind set on it. The clutch seemed a bit hard, but the handling was amazing, the engine felt butter smooth. Needless to say, the deal was done. THE DELIVERY
I was pretty excited on the day of the delivery, and finally Uncle gave me the keys of the car, and told me to "take good care of her". I felt really amazed as well as humbled by the fact that such a great car would be my first drive. As always, me and my parents went to the nearest temple, where in true middle class spirit my mom said "Pundit jee second hand kar hai, saste vaali pooja karna
" ( It's a second hand car, so do the cheaper pooja), and finally the Adventure was part of our family. WHAT I LOVE ABOUT IT Looks
-I really like the way the car looks. Understated and classy. In this era of DRLs and 'fluidic' designs and chrome splattered all around the car like ghee in a punjabi dhaba, it's nice to see a car that is simple and elegant. You may call me old school, but personally I do not like the way cars are designed now, they look like a show-off to me. Engine
-A mighty heart that can make this tank accelerate really fast. The power to tap is immense and I love the responsiveness and growl of the 1.6L. In an era where engines are getting smaller and turbo charged, I'm glad to have experienced such a great NA engine with it's brilliant response to your foot on the gas pedal. It feels as if your foot is directly attached to the tachometer, it's that responsive. Creature Comforts
-All power windows, adjustable seat belts, decent AC, rear defogger, electronic ORVMs(that's more than enough for me!) Handling
-Love the way it grips the road and inspires confidence in the corners. Even at high speeds, the car is well planted on the road, seems really well sorted, however it does feel a little tail happy, If taking a corner at good speed, one gets the feeling that the tail will come out if I press the gas pedal a bit more. Space
-Immense space in the boot. WHAT I DON'T LIKE Brakes. or Marshmallows. It's the same thing. ORVMs
are quite small and not at all adequate for a car this size. Steering
- provides with only decent feedback, I'd prefer more inputs from the steering. Clutch
seems a bit hard. Mileage
she gives about 9-10 Kmpl with AC. I shouldn't be complaining about it, as I had already known about the mileage, but well just for the sake of it.
Some more pictures-
Rear offers good visibility
The old Fiat badges.
The Hella fog lights that came as OE
Really tiny ORVMs
The huge boot of the estate, that's the 6th wheel on the car
This is the original rubber the car came with
And the rubber it's running on now
The tray area above the boot
The tool area within the boot
If you fold the rear seats, Voila! you get a double bed!
The spare wheel located underneath the boot, and the ample ground clearance of 190mm
Simple interiors(the way I like them). Quality on some of the plastics is really good, while decent on others
Looks like an airplane cockpit, and the steering is great to hold
dead pedal provided
The amazing 100Bhp engine. Very responsive to inputs. DRIVING EXPERIENCE
A few months in, here is what I feel like when driving her. Once you open the remarkably thick doors and sit inside the Adventure
, and when you hear the deep 'thud' as you close the door, you realize you're in a tank of sorts. One is immediately aware of the fact that this car is well built. Start her up and the engine settles to a nice throaty grumble. Slot the gears and you are OFF!.. Well not exactly as it is a bit sluggish in 1st and 2nd. But switch to 3rd and boy, does she pull like a locomotive. The engine feels very rev-happy and going through the rev range is a joy, and even now as I write this, it brings a smile to my face. The needle moving through the tachometer is what I love about this car.The suspension absorbs all the potholes effortlessly, it's like hovering above the road to be honest but the car feels well planted on the road and gives the driver confidence to attack a corner at speed
The only problem is that the brakes seem really weak. Maybe it's only this car that is to blame, although I have heard that Palio brakes are weak. THE PROBLEMS FACED SO FAR
After a bit of drive in start stop traffic and AC on, I parked the car near my house as my mom had to buy something. When she came back,I started the car and the engine would not idle. If I kept my foot on the gas pedal, the revs would go higher and the engine wouldn't shut down. But getting closer to 1k rpm, and the engine would shut down. Anyway we limped the car home, and next morning I started the car again and everything was working perfectly. Once again after a while the same problem cropped up . The engine would not idle. I waited for 2 minutes and fired her up again, and this time she started.
Showed it to a local mechanic and he said that must be some impurity in the fuel, because everything seemed normal when he checked.
Surfing on T-Bhp I realized people had similar problems, caused by the Idle Air Control valve or the Injectors needed cleaning. So as of now, my car is running, but still I'm not satisfied and will probably go to a senior mechanic for a diagnosis and if the members could throw some light on what might be the issue, I'd be ever grateful. A FEW CLOSING THOUGHTS
Am I happy having this car? You bet I am. It's a joy to drive and will always bring a smile to your face. But could any other car have fit the bill? I'm sure a lot many. And being FIAT, one has to be aware of the fact that spares will be an issue, that too having a rare car like Adventure. But one has to bear in mind the amount we paid for her. We paid just 90k
for her. Just 90k for such a brilliant machine. Had it been near 2 lacs, I probably wouldn't have gone for it, but at this price point, it feels great to get this car in our family.The Adventure wasn't much of a success. Probably because it was a FIAT, expensive, and came before it's time. With the sudden urban SUV craze which has started now, this car has it all. Although it is an estate, it has everything an urban SUV needs. Black plastic cladding, ground clearance, alloys, powerful engine.. It just fits into the urban SUV category very snuggly. And that too ten years back.
I drive her six days a week. And whenever I do, I hear the engine note, progressively getting throatier as I see the rev needle dancing, feel the car push me back in my seat.. It always brings a smile to my face.
And you can't put a price to that.