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Old 26th April 2008, 00:24   #1
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Default A Swift Shift: Hydra's Hatch II

Yep. I finally did it. I sold my 2002 Fiat Palio 1.2 and bought myself a Swift ZXi. It all happened pretty fast.

Why I said goodbye to my Palio
About a year ago, I had firmly decided that the Palio was a keeper. I had decided that I would not sell it, ever. The Palio gave me everything I wanted in a car and I was a very very happy Palio owner. I had upgraded to 15" Alloys and Pilot Precedas. I had spend quite a bit on my ICE, I had got a really good set of seats done, and in general I had reached a point where I did not want to do anything more to the car, but to just enjoy it for ever and ever.

I'd had no major issues with the car. My experience with the A.S.S. was so-so (I tried out TVS, and two TATA A.S.S. joints, and had finally settled on one TATA joint), but nothing that bad. I had not had the scary experience of having to wait for weeks for a part to arrive. The only major gripe I had with the TATA folks was their BAD paint-shop and pushy attitude about getting this and that done when I didn't want to. I had not reached a point where I wanted to look around for an independent workshop.

Over the last year, I needed to get some suspension work done (lower-ball-joint replacement, replacement of a strut). I also had some issues with the radiator and the radiator fan for which I had to visit the A.S.S. about thrice, and leave the car overnight thrice. The Radiator fan had to be replaced (I replaced it with a genuine FIAT spare) and some welding work needed to be done in the radiator. The car came back really fine every time, but mucho $$$ got blown. I hate having to leave the car overnight at any service/repair joint except my installers'. And I hate spending money on repairing stuff, when that money could have gone into ICE or something else. Smaller niggles started coming up over the last few months and kept preying my mind.

I also heard of a few people who had sold their 5 year old Palios for 1.1 to 1.2L. I knew that if I do not sell the car in the next 4 months, It would make sense to keep it, rather than sell it. Now I don't have the space to keep two cars at home, and since I'm the only person (mostly) in my family who drives at all, keeping 2 cars is anyway a waste. And I'd still be keeping a car I was increasingly feeling uneasy about.

One morning I was talking to my Dad about something and the topic of the car came up just like that. And the decision was made in my mind just like that. in a few minutes. (There are a couple of personal facts also in the mix, but they did not weigh that much in the making of the decision, but one the decision to change was made, those factors fell right into place, supporting the decision).

I sold the car within 4 days. The car was about 5.5 years old and had done 46000 kms when I sold it. I had all the ICE removed. But I gave away everything else with the car. I sold it directly to somebody I met through a Maruti dealership I visited 2 days after the decision to sell the Palio was made. The sale was very smooth and I got a decent price for the car. Not too much, but better that what I'd been offered by various dealers. I said good-bye to her 14 days ago.

Why I decided on the Swift
Well, I wanted a car that was fun to drive, a hatchback, about the size of the Palio (anything longer or wider will not get into my driveway/garage) would give around 12kmpl (if petrol), had ABS (and Airbags if possible) and could be maintained without hassle (money-wise and irritation-wise).

I have a (unreasonably) negative attitude towards tall cars and towards cars with small wheels in general. I'm not generally a fan of Hyundai. I'd driven an Aveo a while back and I absolutely hated the gear-shift. I'd have considered the Fabia (my budget was very flexible, upto 7.5-8L OTR) petrol if it were priced more reasonably (in terms of what-I-get-for-my-money) and if it were available quickly. I considered the Ford Fusion, but did not like the way it drives, felt it to be a bit bigger that wat I (and my driveway) wanted, and ABS was pricey.

I'd always like the way the Swift looked, right from the time it launched. And then it is a Maruti. Service and maintenance is (supposed to be) the best. I'd driven a couple and I liked the way they handled.

So the Swift it was.

Why Petrol and no Diesel. Or, Why Zxi and not Vdi.
This was an easy decision.
- I wanted ABS, period.
- I wanted immediate (or within-a-week) delivery.
- I drove only 500-60kms MAX a month.
- Airbags were desirable (though not necessary)
- I wanted White.

I scouted all the Maruti dealerships in the city. Three had White VXis-with-ABS for ready delivery. Two could give delivery of Red ZXis in a week. One had a White ZXi for ready delivery. Nobody could guarantee delivery of a White VDi within a month. All expected a minimum wait of 2 months for a VDi (with colour not guaranteed). VDi with ABS? Hah! You'll need to wait for 4 months, sir!

So I finalised on the the White ZXi. Now, this dealership is the farthest from my house. And they are also the newest kids on the block. But they also tried the hardest. They were pressing but not pushy. They did not keep asking me when I would be booking the car. They did not call me 4 times a day. They offered (without my asking) to take me to the car and let me inspect it before I paid them anything. They refused to let me test-drive the car until the time it would be ready to go for registration. They did not have petrol Swifts to test-drive, but the Marketing Manager offered to let me TD his personal Swift Vxi. And the Palio got sold through their contact.

Financing the Car
After having heard enough scary stories, I had decided that I would finance the car through a Nationalised bank, and that I would pay only by post-dated cheques. My options were SBI and SBT. The day I saw and checked the White ZXI, I called the SBI guy first. That day was a friday and I called home at 2.00PM. The next monday was a holday (vishu). The gentleman who took the call was quite busy attending a wedding and he was not sure how fast he could let me have the DD. He was sure it would take at least 7 days, though. I thanked him and called the SBT guy.

And that called changed a lot of impressions. He arranged for a loan for for me in 30 minutes from my call. I had most of the required papers with me. I photocopied them and met him at his office at 5.00PM. We filled in the forms together, he took me to the a branch (he was in the Zonal office) and got the papers processed at the branch level on the spot (at 6PM). He collected the papers for processing at his end the next day. The next day (saturday), his boss who had to do the approving was on leave. the next 2 days, sunday and vishu were holidays. Tuesday morning he got the loan approved and sent the papers back to the branch. I visited the branch in the evening and the papers were signed. Wednesday morning at 11.00AM I had the DD with me (I would have got it at 10.00AM, but I was late due to some pressing issues).

I reached the dealership at 12.00PM, and was too late to get the car prepped for Registration that day. But all the formalities were completed and I TDd the car I was going to buy. They took my list of required accessories and got the stuff done that day. The next day (Thursday) the car was registered and I did my PDI and took delivery at 5.00PM.
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Old 26th April 2008, 00:31   #2
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Congratulations on the new car Ashok. White seems to be a favourite across Swifts. What all goodies did you get with the car? And yes some pictures please.
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Old 26th April 2008, 00:43   #3
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Default The first Mod :)

Planning the first Mod
In the days before the delivery, I'd also visited my tyre-dealer quite a few times, pored through his catalogues, spent quite a bit of time driving him mad, making him make innumerable calls checking availability of various designs, etc. Finally I decided on Lenso MW 16" x 7J alloys and placed the order.

The problem turned out to be with getting tyres. The dealer only had Good Year Eagle GSD IIIs in 205/50 R16. No Yoko S-Drives. After a bot of waiting I decided I'd try a bit myself (egged on by our resident tyre-dealer) and called Yoko India. I was directed to the Kerala dealer, who directed me to a shop which had the last set of 4 Yoko S-Drives (205/50 R16) in the state. Luckily the shop was just a km away from the Maruti Dealership. Due to various, uh, issues, my dealer could not source the tyres from the shop on which the Yokos were available. So I bought the tyres and transported to my dealer, who fitted them on the Alloy rims (they arrived pretty fast) the day before I got delivery of the car.

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(Tyres and rims waiting for the car)

During my PDI, the only issue I found was that the keyless entry wasn't working. I thought that would be a big issue (Murphy and his Laws) but the program was reset and it was all ok.

The car came with the new design alloys. The new design is pretty good (I didn't take pics, sorry). If they were 15" I might have kept the rims and just upgraded the tyres.

After delivery, I drove straight to the tyre-dealer and had the rims fitted. I got a good price on the stock alloys (x 5). I gave him all five alloys and tyres and took a puny brand new Vxi steel rim and tyre for use as the spare tyre.

I drove next to my Accessories shop and got floor mats and a chrome tip for the exhaust.

Some pics of the car:

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Last edited by hydrashok : 26th April 2008 at 00:47.
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Old 26th April 2008, 00:50   #4
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Congrats for your new ride buddy. White is my personal favourite. And good selection of alloys and tires. Drive safe.
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Old 26th April 2008, 00:57   #5
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congratz and cant wait to see what you will be installing this time around
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Old 26th April 2008, 01:03   #6
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Very the nice car Ashok Singh! Have fun & keep us tuned on further upgrades!
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Old 26th April 2008, 01:05   #7
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Congratulations Ashok. Great looking alloys too. How much did the alloys and tyres cost you? When are you going to ICE the swift up?
I had really liked the seats of your Palio.
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Old 26th April 2008, 01:08   #8
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Thanks for letting us in on your thought process while zeroing in on the trim and dealer.

Nice car choice and sweet alloys. My Baleno sports the Lenso NX, which is like the long lost twin of MW

So whats the ICE plans
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Old 26th April 2008, 01:12   #9
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Default First impressions

First Impressions - Mostly 2002 Fiat Palio ELX 1.2 Vs. 2008 Maruti Swift ZXi
Now for the controversial part. For the first week I had the car, everything was being compared with the Palio.

The Good:
- Handles very well. I love how responsive the car is to the steering. I've not gone above 80kmph/2500RPM so far, so I'm sure I have more fun left to experience.
- Excellent Turning radius. This is the biggest change I experienced. After driving the Palio for about 5.5years, It feels as though the Swift turns on a dime. In fact, all of last sunday, I was having fun taking U-turns in all those places in the city I used to have to take 3-point-turns before.
- Very good gear-shift. I prefer the slotty shift of the Swift to the more vague one of the Palio. Personal preference. Reverse gear engagement is occasionally troublesome, though.
- Engine feels more peppy, and is more eager to rev.
- Very nice dials and backlighting. I like, I like.
- A lighter clutch is welcome. (A much weaker clutch is not, though).
- Somewhat better visibility to the front and to the sides.
- Nice, big ORVMS.
- Smaller steering wheel feels better.
- Lots and lots of slots/nooks to store/keep stuff in the dashboard/center console.

The Bad:
- The car feels like it is built out of plastic. I couldn't believe how flimsy and cheap and badly put-together the Swift feels!
- Plastics feel flimsy. The Dash pushes in wherever I poke my finger. The doors close without feeling solid (The inside door handle is part of the door trim/pad and the trim/pad flexes like mad). Even the back of the steering wheel creaks and flexes.
- Most plastic panels (inside) fit badly. Alignment problems, gaps etc etc.
- Rattles & creaks. Already (!!!) The rear seat is driving me mad, rattling that way.
- The sound system sucks BIG TIME! But then it is a stock system so I don't expect much. I'll need to get rid of the stock fascia in a clean way, though, when the old gear goes in, in about 2-3 months time.
- NO DEAD PEDAL. I knew this before, but it hit me with the full force of inconvenience within 5 minutes of driving the car. Aaarrrrrgh!
- NO Reverse-gear-lock-ring-thing. I liked this safety feature in the Palio. Feels odd not to have it.
- No remote boot release (from inside, or with key-fob). The magnet release button feels neat, though.
- Seats feel uncomfortable. I'm not sure if this is because I need to get used to the car or not. But I still haven;t been able to find a fully comfortable driving position. And even short drives (not to mention long hours in traffic) are giving me a back-ache at the end of the day. Never happened with the Palio.
- The RVM and the rear-window don't help much with rearward visibility.
- Really miss the 3-stage doors of the Palio. Just a matter of getting used to the "full-range" ones of the Swift, I know, but I think the 3-stage doors are needed.
- I prefer the lower driving position of the Palio.
- Weak reversing light.
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Old 26th April 2008, 01:15   #10
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Wow Ashok, congratulations. Now that you have the 'nayi gaadi', we will wait till June for your 'nayi mrs.' to arrive. :d

By the way, are'nt the vxi rims supposed to be 14"? If yes, won't you have problems of running on it while you use it as a spare? Excuse my ignorance.

What ICE have you planned?
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Old 26th April 2008, 01:16   #11
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Thank you very much, guys

About the ICE, the same gear as before will go into this car. No additions. I will be getting the install done after 2-3 months. I need to budget for extensive damping :(

I miiiight go for 2AWG power-wires for the sub-amp, though (depending on vitamin-M levels at the time of the install).
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Old 26th April 2008, 01:21   #12
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Congrats Anup! I see you made all the arrangements very meticulously - as with everything else about you. I guess the ICE has also been worked out before the car arrived - lets hear it!

Congrats once again. I'll look forward to the CBE meet in June!
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Old 26th April 2008, 01:26   #13
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Congrats man!! The ZXI is a real sweet hatch to own. Great upgrade

Originally Posted by hydrashok View Post
Finally I decided on Lenso MW 16" x 7J alloys and placed the order. 4 Yoko S-Drives (205/50 R16)
Wait till raven see's this! I'd finalised the same setup for snowflake. Exact same combo! Mainly lack of moolah made me settle for the 205/55/15

When these rims roll passed it must look amazing due to the offset of the lip. Waah!
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Old 26th April 2008, 01:39   #14
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@SumitB, Thanks! The overall diameter of the VXi rims and the upgraded setup is about the same. So using the VXi steel rim as a temporary spare (till the next tire-shop where a puncture can be fixed) will be quite ok. But using this spare at high-speeds and using it for a long period of time will not be safe.

@Steer, thank you, macha!

@s0uljah, thank you! The buy-back on the ZXi rims is what helped me go the extra mile on the tyres & rims. Else I'd probably have settled for 15" too.
Yep, the rims look great while on the move. Like some kind of very, very smooth and finely engineered mechanical whirring-thing. Has to be seen to be experienced. (Pity,I don't get to enjoy the sight from inside the car).

Last edited by hydrashok : 26th April 2008 at 01:42.
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Old 26th April 2008, 01:56   #15
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Congrats hydra. Happy to see another petrol swift lover. The seat issue you told, I am sure, will go away as you get used to it. I had some minor probs for a week but now I am really comfortable. But rattles will be there and is a part of swift. Do you think you need those black beedings? I know they protect a bit but IMO they spoil the color and look. How do you feel the 16" ers?

Last edited by redfire : 26th April 2008 at 02:09.
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