So, I finally managed to sit down and write my review of the Ritz VDi that I bought 3 weeks ago. A few things to keep in mind when you go through this review:
- I am a first time Diesel car user
- I haven't driven the Swift Diesel ever
- The other car I had was a (manual steering) Santro
- The other car that I still have is a Civic 1.8S MT
So, obviously, keeping the above in mind, some of the review points might not make sense to people when comparing with other cars in the same category. Nevertheless, let me get going now with the review.
What I liked...
1. The car has fresh looks (never mind how the rear looks, I am sure most people will get used to it) and gives a fresh feel inside as well as driving
2. Quite spacious comaring it in the mid-segment hatches, definitely feels more spacious than a Swift. The view from the front is quite good and gives the feel of a big car - thanks to the high seating, long and wide dash, good view of the road. The interiors are also of decent quality (happy with the quality vis-a-vis money paid for the car).
3. Seating is comfortable, I wouldn't say extremely comfortable, but definitely good. Especially, the rear seats are high, so give a very good support to the back. The leg room in the back seat is decent, even with a 5ft 10in driver in the front seat.
4. Very responsive engine (here I might be comparing against petrols), it's fun to see it zooming past on traffic signals or quick overtaking. Trying to get used to the power of a diesel and enjoying it thoroughly!
5. Responsive steering - I find it rightly balanced, neither too light nor too stiff. Especially for people who'll be doing a lot of city driving, it should be fairly easy to manuevour the car around.
6. Very powerful aircon - have been using it in the peak of Delhi heat, and the aircon would cool the car very quickly (in about 5 minutes or less) even when coming back to the car after a few hours in the sun. I don't recall having used the aircon at the max speed for longer than 5 minutes per run.
7. Several cubby holes in the car to place small items. I especially liked the detachable ash-tray, which can become a nice mobile holder when the ash-tray is taken out (good for non-smokers).
8. Fairly decent boot space. It definitely seems bigger than a Santro / Wagon R (not sure if I should be comparing against these).
9. I can get a 40 lt tank full done in less than 1200 rupees!
What I didn't like...
1. Biggest nag that I could find is the play in the gear-shift in the 3rd gear. I don't know if other Swift / Ritz Diesel owners have experienced this or not, but in the 3rd gear, whenever you either move your foot away from the accelerator, or put it back, the gear-shift moves, almost by a centimeter each time (moves back when accelarating and moves ahead when you move the foot away). It's especially annoying when you're in slow traffic (and tend to drive more in the 3rd gear) and your hand is placed on the gear-knob and it keeps moving back & forth. I got this checked at the 1st free service, the guys couldn't do any thing. The AGM mentioned that this is a "characteristic" of a diesel vehicle, not necessarily an issue and claimed at least all Ritz diesels have this "characteristic".
2. Reversing is a bit of a nightmare, the view is quite obstructed and it's hard to make out much while reversing. Will need time to get adjusted to this maybe.
3. The rear door design is quite odd - let me try and explain this in detail. Basically, if you look at the cut of the door, it's at an angle, which is protuding towards the top and reducing towards the bottom. Typically, you expect doors to be the other way round (or in a straight line, isn't it?). So, when one is standing close to the door and opens it, suddenly the protuding top almost hits your face. Not that it's hit ever, but seems like that and as a reaction, you tend to jerk back! So, still getting used to this. (One of the pictures in the previous post should show this clearly).
4. Engine noise (and again, I am a first time diesel user, ok?!) - I find it to be a bit high, especially when accelerating. Would ideally have liked it to be lesser - I've been told by a couple of people, that this tends to go down when the car's run in a bit, so hoping for this to go down. Also, still don’t have ICE installed - with that, hopefully some of the noise will be less audible anyways.
5. A bit of sway when cutting sharp corners or even switching lanes at high speeds. I guess that's expected with a tall-boy design, but is still something I am still getting used to.
6. I am not fully satisfied with the braking of the car. It could be that I am more used to the brakes in the Civic, but still if I recall my Santro, I thought the brakes were more responsive in that. Could it be that a diesel being heavier has more momentum, hence takes longer to stop?
7. Rear bottle holders would have been a huge help, especially if you're travelling with kids etc.
8. Minor one, but the clock is within the speedometer console. It's fine for the driver, but if it were in the middle of the dash (like the Swift), it's more useful as others in the car can also see it.
Overall, very happy so far with the purchase and enjoying my first Diesel baby. The good thing was that both my mom and wife hadn't seen a Ritz in flesh, before mine got home - and both the ladies approved of the car hands-down.
For the record, I got the 1st free service done - engine oil was changed and costed Rs. 673 (incl. taxes). The FE, although not calculated properly yet, seems to be in the range of 14 - 16 kmpl, with a mix of city and highway driving.
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