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Old 23rd July 2009, 00:13   #1
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Default Back 2 Back Ritz Vdi and Vista Quadrajet Test Drive

Well, in a sudden turn of events my friend landed up in a situation where he needs to maintain a dedicated car for personal uses (We are a startup and have a Safari 2.2 DICOR that we lunge around a lot!). He got engaged recently and now his fiancee is changing job and moving to Bangalore, and his mother as well is joining them. Considering all aspects, we were primarily scouting for a vehicle that keeps pace with driving atyle we have developed over SAFARI, and be docile enough to be driven by a lady. Petrol was bever an option !

I have been in a dilemma regarding my car purchase itself (saving up for Punto, a minor setback and postponing of plans by few months), so laid down the options bare in front of my friend: Indica Vista Quadrajet, Ritz VDI, Punto MJD, Palio 1.3 MJD. Backseat comfort was also of critical importance. Owing to his prior experience with his brother's purchase of a Palio 1.6 and *** experiences, he had his preconceived notions about Punto. Swift was out primarily because of over exposure in Bangalore !

We had not been able to find time to fix up a TD for either vehicles because of overloaded schedules. However one lucky day, a meeting at Peenya ended prematurely, and we hit the Mandovi and Prerna motors in those parts of city.

First we went to Prerna Motors Workshop where they had a TD vehicle: Indica Vista Quadrajet Aura. The car looked appealing, and we just started discussion as to how much TATA Motors has improved, when we noticed the roof of the vehicle. It was clearly misaligned with pillar on one side in comparison to other ans corner was a good 5 mm offset! Anyway, we took a TD for 16 km through free highway stretch (5 km), bumper to bumper traffic (4km), more potholes and less of road (2 km), and 5 km of regular traffic. Here are my observations:

1. Although the trim offered seat adjustments, I was unable to find a confident driving position (I did find a comfortable position though). It could be attributed to prolonged driving on Safari and Gypsy, I must mention here that I find a Getz seating, without any adjustments, quite commanding and confident. The issue primarily was that apart from height adjustment, there was a valley to the bottom of seat that enhanced the low slung seating position. Absence of a dead pedal is a shame!

2. Steering response is quite accurate (however, steering feels a tad poor in quality).

3. Although the third gear offered good driveability across 20-75 speed band, the car seemed to jerk whenever throttle was pressed or released.

4. Suspension is a beauty and performs wonderfully for rear seat passengers.

5. I am 5'11'' and my friend is 6'2'', and we used to sit in a column, and even then none of us felt any lack of legroom (or headroom).

6. Plastic quality is fairly varying across components. Instrument console and primary dashboard of decent quality. However door plastics and lock/unlock levers were pathetic.

7. AC is too effective.

8. Visibility all around is good.

9. Glove Box Compartment is huge of functional utility.

7. Gear knob and lever are comparable in size to that in Safari and feel a bit odd to hold ! The gearshift is precise but a little hard. Fifth is a little tricky to engage.

8. NVH is fairly good.

9. The stock ICE is an absolute sucker and reminded me of the system my father had in his Padmini Premier in terms of sound quality. However it does offer USB support; those with softer acoustic responses might be OK with that, but someone even mildly recreating bass and guitar strings would just whack the system out of car. Checked with salesperson if it could be replaced but he seemed low on confidence.

10. The braking though decent might offer compromises in rainy conditions. For latter half of drive roads were wet with rain, and I managed to screech the vehicle with braking that I would definitely not call harsh. This vehicle requires an ABS atleast of not EBD. I asked the salesman if TATA is offering an option on ABS in ner future and I was told that by October they would.

11. The stock wiper blades were not veyr good. Either the vehicle gad defective/worn wipers, or else they are generically of poor quality in Vista. Someone with ownership experience may clarify.

12. The fifth gear engaged with cruising at 100 kmph was a luxury saloon like experience on highway, although absence of ABS will tend to keep you on toes. The steering again needs a mention and weighs in beautifully.

13. I had anticipated that central instrument cluster might be of a little issue, but it turned that it was not much of an issue.

14. Build quality in terms of strength and steel guage feels good. The boot seems a little smaller, say in comparison to that of Ritz. The wheel housing intrudes significantly into the boot.

15. Front seats could do well with a little more thigh support (again in comparison to Ritz).

16. Tilt adjustment on steering doesn't come low enough, and is a little weird to operate. Safari's is much better.

17. The seatbelt released by itself twice during the driving. Could be a one off issue.

Followup with Ritz VDI observations soon.
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Old 23rd July 2009, 12:31   #2
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Originally Posted by shobhit View Post
Backseat comfort was also of critical importance.
Spot on driving impressions there! The Vista may have its flaws in outright build quality & some ergonomics, but as a package, she's hard to beat (especially with that Fiat 1.3 diesel under the hood). Backseat comfort that is not only class-leading amongst hatches, but can also put some sedans to shame. Great ride quality too.

I'm eager to read up on your Ritz test-drive and see which hatch you finally end up choosing. If self-driving alone is the criteria, the Ritz diesel will emerge the winner. But bring space & the backseat into the picture, it all changes.
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Old 23rd July 2009, 12:42   #3
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Good observations, the only thing I don't agree on is the AC part, which I felt was weak compared to the Ritz AC, and weak generally.

I have driven both, as my brother is looking for a hatch, and has almost settled for the Vista Saffire, as it's true VFM according to us.

The Ritz feels quiker and is more fun to drive of the two and the AC in the Ritz is really good, but as far as space is concerned, Vista is miles ahead, the back seats in the Vista are fantastic.
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Old 23rd July 2009, 13:33   #4
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Excellent details Shobhit, even Ritz doesnt have a dead pedal and was very irritating. But, from driver's point of view, Ritz diesel is certainly fun to drive.
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Old 23rd July 2009, 13:42   #5
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Default Vista Quadrajet


Originally Posted by shobhit View Post
7. AC is too effective.
Most of the Vista Quadrajet ownership threads have been mentioning poor AC. You seem to have a different opinion.
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Old 23rd July 2009, 13:49   #6
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shobhit, great impressions there for your vista qdj test drive, surely there's nothing to say when space andmore space is talked and vista wins hands down to all other cars in this category, butyes with few plastics and *** issues, if looked for driver's prospective Ritz surely would be fun to drive, looking forward for Ritz part.
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Old 23rd July 2009, 14:27   #7
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Originally Posted by trrk View Post

Most of the Vista Quadrajet ownership threads have been mentioning poor AC. You seem to have a different opinion.
Probably, AC wasn't tested by me in toughest of conditions. It was an overcast cool day, and I was even wearing a jacket that day! We will be going for a second round of drives this weekend when his fiancee is in town. Apparently my friend is too attached to his Thunderbird and she is going to be the primary driver. I will keep in mind to check out the AC performance a little more minutely.
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Old 23rd July 2009, 16:01   #8
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Default Ritz VDi Impressions

We headed off to Mandovi after Vista TD, and they did not have a TD vehicle with them. We looked around the stockyard and checked out the interiors of Ritz. Starting off with our impressions there:

1. I was not much impressed by the rear looks of the vehicle, but they did not bother my friend much so we started looking inside.

2. There are no seat adjustments except on Zxi end, and I was a little taken aback by the same. However, on seating myself, found the driving posture/position better than Vista. Ergonomics of all controls are fairly good esp. positioning of gear shift knob. The spacing between the pedals is spot on (at least to my liking).

3. The interiors quality is much improved but a darker tone (say the tone came with Safari earlier ?) would have been more pleasing. Seat fabric is also of decent quality. However would not matter much as would be owner has a fetish for leather.

4. Absence of a stock stereo is welcome ! I know the perfect setup that could go with the configuration.

5. I let my friend adjust the driving seat to his comfort (He is 6'2''.) and sat at the back. The legroom although not comparable to Vista seemed adequate. You would be comfortable seated here as long as you do not want to slide low and stretch out your legs! Seat support at back is also adequate.

6. There are certain things that are very specific to Maruti/Suzuki ! The rear seats are foldable and the mechanism operates by a nylon strap ! Instead of any plastic lock or anything, they have a 3 inch black nylon strap coming out of seat backwalls on wither sides, you tug hard at them and some internal lock releases. Feels very cheap.

7. Boot size is again adequate for city as well as 2-3 persons highway usage.

8. Instrument Console seems a little awkward with just an analog speedometer and digital fuel gauge. Too many warning lights.

Subsequently we were told that there is a demo vehicle close to our office (Jakkur) providing TD to someone; we requested that it be sent to our office and we headed off. I have never driven a Swift yet, and hence no comparisons, the only exposure I have to our national engine is with Palio 1.3 MJD and prior Vista TD. The subsequent observations follow herewith:

9. I took the command first and found the engine sound very endearing. There is just a faint sound of engine within the cabin (till about 3k rpm), and at higher rpms the sound that does come in sounds sweet. The odometer looks more like a after fit and adds appeal.

10. Gearshift is pretty nice and significantly better than either Vista or palio. I almost heard a click every time. Its effortless to operate and gear reductions match fairly well with intuition at various sppeds. Third gear is phenomenally good for city driving. The route we took was Jakkur->Devanahalli->Jakkur->Mekhri Circle->Cantontment->Cunningham Road->Jakkur.

Even at third gear, at speeds as low as 15-20ish car pulls up beautifully when throttle is worked upon. Aerodynamics seem a little off, as wind kept rushing in too hard at speeds 80 kmph on NH7 (Probably Bangalore weather is also a culprit for this; there have been sustained winds of 25 knots for past few days). I compare this to my friend's HC IVTEC, which with windows open at 120kmph does not let too much of winds in to the cabin.

The clutch seemed just a little hard.

11. The steering is light at low speeds but does not weigh in adequately at high speeds. I had a minor situation while overtaking a bike with an approaching Scorpio; no harm done. Steering response is absolutely absent. For a one liner, steering is excellent for city and decent for highway. I did try cornering but the limitation there turns out to be the thick pillar which obstructs the view. A 300 degrees turn over road length of 30-40 m (varying radius across turn), with speeds of approximately 60-70 kmph did not ruffle the vehicle worth mentioning (neither the rubber, nor the suspension roll). I keep my Safari at 50ish at this turn, too much of body roll.

12. The TD vehcile was not equipped with ABS. There is a clear need for the same as I was able to lock the wheels on two occasions (once when I missed to see a "carbreaker", and second when I intentionally tried doing that on a dusty surface(Jakkur Airfield) ). The braking itself is adequate.

13. Again it was an overcast day so I wouldn't vouch for AC effectiveness, but I felt it was quite chilling. I kept the fan speed at 1 !

14. We would have loved to see Airbags as options and would have been ready to pay the premium for the same. However, no options at all. I believe Swift D does offer them, right ?

15. A special mention again to the front seat. It was quite to my liking; I did not require any kinds of adjustments. The view in front is confidence inspiring. Rear view howver is not very good. The ORVMs however are large and with slight adjustments compensate for the former.

The rear seat offered adequate levels of comfort but ruffled up once in a while when a major pothole was hit. On continuously rough surfaces comfort levels were fine.

16. Redline starts at 5k and I was unable to take the vehicle beyond 5k. Max was achieved at 3rd gear, 90 kmph, with needle flickering close to 5k.

In city/city highways driving Ritz comes out much better, and on highway each of Vista and Ritz have their pros & cons (steering, outright power delivery, ABS etc.); and considering the fact they we are still at a life stage where we still prefer our enfields for heading out on road, I think Ritz would be a winner here.Finally a lady's likings would rule the decision, but considering that Ritz felt better than adequate in performance and excelling in utility, coupled with our experience with Tata Service Center's issues (dealt regularly with our Safari - tried Prerna Motors and Manipal Motors), we have an inclination towards Ritz.
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Old 23rd July 2009, 22:53   #9
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Thats a real good balanced review of both cars. I never knew that the ritz boot had so much space. Seeing it from outside i thought it would be almost non existent. Its a revelation that it compares to the Vista boot.
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Old 19th April 2010, 20:27   #10
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I was very new to car driving. Have driven 900kms so far with my Ritz VDI. I would like to share my experience on the test drives I had on Ritz VDI & Vista Quadrajet. As per the advice of my father in law I initially intended to buy Swift VDI. He quoted 'people say its a good car with good engine and good FE'. Then I did a search on net(esp.T-Bhp) and got really fond of Fiat Multijet turbo engine. Then reached the showroom for a test drive on Swift. The showroom guy has offered me to have a look at the new Ritz VDI also. Till that time I was not aware that Ritz also had a diesel engine and with the same engine of FIAT's. With the side by side comparision of Ritz against Swift (leaving behind the intentions of sales guy to promote Ritz) with its quality interior, finish, head room, rear seat legroom, 60:40 split, more usable boot, stylish dynamic fresh look, my mind slowly shifted from Swift to Ritz. Again came back to T-BHP and now I'm little more experienced on reading specs. I'm introduced with couple of more options Indica Vista Quad & FIAT grande punto. I finally cornered with Ritz & Vista. I did a test driving on both Ritz and Vista.

For Ritz I visited Kalyani Motors(Blr). The response from sales person in showroom was very good. Since I was quite a new driver(though I had got license couple of years back) I was very nervous. To my surprise I didn't face any problem when I took test driving of Ritz VDI. In fact I didn't feel like I'm a very new driver. The clutch release was very smooth against my anticipation that I would stop the vehicle several times while start moving the vehicle in first gear. I drove nearly 3kms and all through the drive I had an amazing feeling as I'm able to drive the car without any problem.

Now my experience with Vista: I visited concorde motors in mysore road(blr). Once I entered I was free to roam around inside the showroom to see some of the TATA & Fiat vehicles on my own. After some time one lady attended me. She was asking me the details, my name, ph no. Then she realized that I have registered already for test drive by web. She called another lady and routed me to her since web registration is not her area. Finally I was provided with the necessary details(quote, brouchure,etc..) and all set ready for test drive. Since there were no demo cars, I was offered a brand new customer car awaiting for its delivery. I tested my driving skills on cost of some awaiting customer. The test drive was not as smooth as Ritz VDI. The clutch release was sudden. So I had stopped the vehicle few times before I move the vehicle in first gear. When I sat inside the sound insulation was more. Couldn't here any noise from outside. Not sure whether its an advantage or disadvantage. Also I felt the suspension not that better as Ritz. Again I'm not sure because I'm a begginer. Defenitely the plastic quality & finishing was poor in Vista. One thing I liked verymuch in Vista is the adjustable seat height & tiltable steering. Looked more spacious but simillar to Ritz only. Though it came fully loaded, because of some not nice feeling during test drive, seeing the customer service on the spot, based on advices on one of my friend who own Ritz and ofcourse the advice from T-Bhp(including this thread) finally I bought my Ritz VDI bakers chocolate. I think I've made a right decission only.
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