Before I share my experience here, first a big shout-out to this forum, it's creators and members. For without them, it would be difficult making choices and gathering information related to these mean machines. A big thank you to all the contributors.
So, the search for a new car started as offices have started opening gradually and day to day commute was getting difficult with increased unpredictability of cab aggregators (read multiple cancellations, longer waiting time etc.) Thus, the decision to buy our own car.
Our search criteria:
- A sub-4 m SUV (since we already have hatchbacks and sedans in the family and have driven them enough).
- Budget of max 15 Lakhs.
- Automatic, since majority of our driving is going to be in the city, and Pune being one city where we can sometime find speed breakers at an interval of every 100 meters. (Not kidding here. It's true for many parts of the city, though not everywhere.)
- Petrol car (since we donít yet know how much we are going to run as its our first car in the city). It would be used mostly for office commute and occasional out station trips.
The cars under consideration were Maruti Brezza, Hyundai Venue, Tata Nexon, Kia Sonet and Mahindra XUV300. I will share my opinion about each one of them based solely on my test drive(s). Brezza AT:
- No of test drives taken: 4
i. Very refined and reliable 1.5L NA Petrol engine
ii. Good mileage, all thanks to the smart hybrid system
iii. Feature rich car (ZXi & ZXi+ variants)
iv. Comfortable seats & Good cabin space
i. I felt it struggled in the mid-range. The power delivery was not immediate due to NA engine.Venue DCT:
ii. Suspension not smooth enough in the bumpy roads.
iii. Long waiting period up to 5-6 months for AT transmission (Though the sales executive said it could be delivered in 3-4 months, still too much for me). Hence this was a deal breaker.
- No of test drives taken: 3
i. Really loved the 1.0 L Turbo engine
ii. Quick power delivery
iii. Ample features with most options (all possible combinations of iMT, DCT, Petrol, Diesel)
iv. Smooth gear shifts due to DCT
i. Seats were not comfortable enough for me.
ii. Cabin is not very spacious compared to the competitors.
iii. Not enough room in the rear seat for 3 people.
iv. Poor ride quality as the suspension didnít absorb the undulations on the road well. This was the deal breaker here.
I didnít test drive Sonet considering it similar to Venue based on multiple reviews & discussions on different forum. Nexon:
- No of test drives taken: 0
My cousin owns this car, and I donít really like the stance of it. I feel it looks more like a raised hatch back. Also, headroom in the rear seat appears to be less. The AMT transmission and engine refinement is not up to the mark. XUV300 AMT:
The showroom visit experience was poor as the sales people appeared least interested in attending to the customers. Upon arrival, we were asked to wait for 30 minutes till a sales advisor could see us. We could see many sales people roaming around here and there and just chatting with each other but no one came to attend to a waiting customer. Probably a typical show of Tataís sales team. We ultimately walked out of the showroom expecting a call back since we had filled the enquiry form but that never happened. However, I have heard from a lot of people that it is the most value for money car in this segment.
- No of test drives taken: 5
i. 1.2 L Turbo engine with best in segment torque
ii. Best in segment wheelbase which leads to comfortable seating space in second row
iii. Best in segment safety
iv. Most comfortable ride quality with sufficient features
v. Proper SUV like stance.
i. Lowest in segment boot space. Manageable for me.
ii. AMT features in 2nd base and top trim only. Its not available in 2nd top trim.
iii. Limited color options to choose from (just 3 in AMT)
iv. Excessive omission of features despite the price rise in lower variants.
After all the test drives, we were tied between Brezza and XUV300. However, the ride quality, performance and safety trumped over mileage and reliability, and we zeroed down on XUV300.
I know AMT is a compromise here since the lower gear shifts are not very smooth and it appears confused sometimes. I hope we can get used to it with time.
Cutting down of features in W6 (2nd base) variant was a huge disappointment. Some important features such as adjustable head rest for rear passengers, rear spoiler, 60:40 split rear seats and touchscreen infotainment system have been removed. Absence of height adjustable driverís seat is a major miss. So, we had no choice but to opt for W8 (O) variant which is on the higher side of the price spectrum. And even this variant hasnít been spared the feature omissions: 3-point seat belt for 2nd row middle passenger, request sensor on passenger side front door, ajar lamp on door etc. have been removed. Donít really know what Mahindra was thinking while removing them. But I fell for its ride quality and comfort. No other car comes close to it in the segment.
So, from this car hunting experience what I have learnt is that no car is perfect. None. We just need to find the right compromise based on what we are looking for. XUV300 ticked majority of our checkboxes and we booked the W8(O) Petrol AMT on 10 January, 2023 and awaiting the delivery. The sales team said the official waiting period in Pune is 7 weeks, but they would try to deliver it as soon as they can. I had also made two bookings just to ensure that I get the car as early as possible. Delivery update
Received a call from the SA on 22nd January, 2023 that the vehicle would arrive in the stockyard within 2-3 days so we should keep the payment ready. I told her that I would make the payment only after I conduct the PDI and she agreed to it. Next I got a call on 25th January, 2023 that the vehicle had arrived and I could come for PDI.
I reached there with the PDI checklist that I had downloaded from team-bhp and made sure to cover as many points as possible. The SA kept waiting patiently as long as I did the inspection. I checked the VIN to ensure it was freshly manufactured and all the features were working as expected. Though I wanted to test drive the car, but couldn't do so since the SA said we couldn't take the car out of the stockyard. But I was satisfied with whatever inspection I could do.
Grin on my face after completing the PDI.
I made the payment then and there and asked the SA to get the vehicle delivered ASAP. Amount paid to the showroom:
Ex-showroom Price: 13,06,001FASTag
TCS @1%: 13,060
RTO: 27,000 (approx. for BH-series)
Dealership discount: 25,000
Final payment made: 13,21,061
The dealership quoted INR 600 for it. However, I checked online with a few banks and found the price to be lower. However, I got it from IDFC First Bank for just INR 99 with 99 balance in the FASTag. So technically I got it for free. I ordered it immediately from their website and got it delivered to my address in 4-5 days.
I know it's a small amount, but the point is why should we pay even an extra penny to the dealer. Insurance
I had purchased insurance online from Acko. The price difference was huge between what was quoted by the showroom and what I got from Acko. I took a RTI, Zero_dep coverage with couple of more add-ons for INR 25,307. The showroom quoted close to INR 52,000 and said after some discounts they could bring it down to max INR 46,000 which was still good 20,000 more than Acko's. For the record, we have been using Acko for insuring another car in the family for close to 5 years now and haven't faced any issues related to claims etc.RTO
This process took the most time. My documents were not in place so the registration was delayed.
First, I wanted a BH series registration for which I had taken the required documents from my office (Form-60 with office address in more than 4 states), but the dealer's RTO team said some information was missing in the letter and I had to re-do it.
Second, even though I had local address on Aadhar, that wasn't sufficient. The RTO team wanted some more documents such as electricity bill and Index-2. Since these documents were not in my name I had to get a registered rent agreement.
Third, the process for BH-series registration is still manual in Maharashtra. After filling up all the forms online, the dealership sends all the documents in-person to the RTO and it has to be approved by the RTO inspector. Only then the registration number is generated.
All this process took a good 15 days and on 9th February, 2023 I received the message from Vaahan portal with my registration number. I was elated to see that message and immediately called the SA to make arrangements for the delivery. Final Delivery
Having read so many posts to get the delivery in bright day-light, I asked the SA for delivery before sunset. The vehicle was readied by afternoon and we took the delivery in by 4 PM. Got a goodie bag from Mahindra during delivery which contained a keyring, a microfibre cloth, a coffee mug and folder for documents and a box of Ferrero-Rocher chocolates. That added extra sweetness to the whole process. The delivery process was smooth and didn't take long. We distributed some sweets and headed straight to the accessories shop
Car ready for delivery:
Performing the Puja:
That mandatory pic with the new car:
The goodie bag: