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6 reasons why I sold my Safari Dicor and 5 reasons why I got an i20 IVT

Even after deciding to replace our old Tata SUV with a petrol automatic hatchback, I was confused between the Altroz, Hyundai i20 and Maruti Baleno / Toyota Glanza.

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Downsizing and upgrading from a Tata Safari Dicor VTT 2.2 diesel to a Hyundai i20 Sportz (O) IVT was one of the most difficult decisions I had to take till now. It took me about half a year to convince myself to take this decision and say it out loud to my wife.

The amount of space on offer, the high-speed stability, the sheer road presence and lastly the grunt of the engine post 1750 RPM was phenomenal. On the open highway, there was no other car which could match up to this. I had bought it as it was my dream car since childhood. However, as I was using it for my commute primarily in the city, driving this behemoth in the ever-growing Pune traffic was taking a toll on my left foot and back.

The main factors due to which I took the decision to let go of my Safari were:

  1. A mere half an hour's commute which I used to previously enjoy turned into a nightmare and I used to be exhausted driving it. Almost 70% of the travel time I’d have to struggle on half clutch in the bumper-to-bumper traffic and this is where the size of the vehicle was felt. I noticed that I started using the Safari less and less and chose to use either the bike or the Alto instead to enjoy the easy manoeuvrability in the city traffic for the past 1 year.
  2. Due to the car’s age and less use, the maintenance cost per km was going up day by day.
  3. The year of manufacture being 2010, the registration was valid till 2025 and would come to re-registration and honestly, I was not sure if I would continue to use it for another 5 years.
  4. No safety rating – Now I know that people will tell me that the Safari was a tank and doesn’t really need the fancy safety features like Airbags, ABS with EBD, Traction control, etc. To which I agree and I had the same opinion, but it all changed when I was travelling with my 6-month-old daughter and having all these safety features was for my peace of mind.
  5. Diesel phase-out plans initiated by the Government.
  6. Lastly, the car being 14 years old, was starting to show its age. Basically, there was no problem with the engine or transmission or even the Air Conditioning, but the rattling or squeaking noises from all over the cabin were starting to get to me.

The Safari was immensely enjoyed by me and my family for almost 5.5 years (I was the second owner). I clearly understood that I was not letting the car live up to its true potential and that it needed to be driven more. Hence I finally took the decision to stop being selfish and let someone else have a chance to explore this beast. Possibly someone who drives more on the highway. Fortunately, I found the right match for my Safari. Although I had difficulty parting ways with it, it was the best alternative.

Nevertheless, I decided to replace my craze of owning a diesel manual SUV with a more convenient petrol automatic hatchback.

Now moving on to the second part of this write-up:

Considering my daily commute and occasional long drive I was looking for a premium hatchback with an automatic transmission. With these criteria in mind, my research narrowed down my search to 3 contenders.

  • Tata Altroz – XZA Plus (s) (DCT)
  • Hyundai i20 – Sportz (O) (IVT)
  • Baleno/Glanza – Alpha AGS (AMT)

Why I chose Hyundai i20

  1. Good space and Premium interiors – the Baleno/Glanza interiors have started looking a bit dated and even the new head-up display is more of a gimmick for me. Further, out of the 3 contenders taking into consideration the interior design, layout, rear seat space, premium feel of the cabin, the i20 was just a better place to be. The Altroz with its dated instrument cluster, smaller infotainment screen, the ambient lighting did not cut it. Specifically, I was not expecting the back seat of a 4 mtr hatchback to be that cramped. I20 had the best of both worlds - interior design, quality and space.
  2. IVT Transmission – I had also read that DCT transmission tends to overheat when driven in bumper-to-bumper traffic and the maintenance cost is a tad on the higher side as compared to CVT/IVT. I understood that DCA has wet clutch technology which solved the overheating issue and I attempted booking a test drive but ‘Tata’ being ‘Tata’ they never had the DCA model available for a test drive, and I wasn’t going to take a decision to buy an automatic based on a test drive of a manual. All other features can be imagined, but transmission is something that you have to take a feel of before you make the decision. Baleno was struck off from the list as soon as I understood that it is no longer offering CVT transmission, only AMT was falling in my budget and having driven AMT before, I was not a fan of it. Although CVT/IVT doesn’t have the same level of punchiness as a manual but what does?
  3. Extraordinary customer service – I have always been a fan of the new range of Tata cars but reading the reviews online I was not confident about their After Sales Service. The fact that they could not arrange a test drive with the DCA version for almost 2 weeks did not help nudge me towards Tata. It felt like ‘I’ wanted to buy a car from them that they didn’t want to sell. On the contrary, I was really impressed with the Hyundai Customer acquisition process. It felt like they were eagerly waiting to welcome me to the family. The entire journey from the scheduling of a Test drive on the Hyundai website which happened at the scheduled time at my residence till taking delivery of the vehicle at the showroom, the entire journey was very flawlessly executed by the Hyundai salesman. I agree that it’s the car that’s important, but these are little things that make a huge impact and aid in customer acquisition.
  4. 1.2 L petrol engine paired with an IVT was promising decent punchiness and mileage. Turn it to sport mode and the revs go all to way to the red line (but the engine gulps down fuel like water). I am not an engineer, so I don’t understand whether there are any gears in IVT or not, but whatever there is or isn’t for a normal driver like me doesn’t really matter. All that matters is that I barely noticed any gear shifts.
  5. Safety and other features – 6 Airbags, ABS, EBD, Traction control, Drive modes, Sunroof, wireless charger, wireless Android auto and Apple carplay, etc. The i20 feature list far exceeded my expectations and minimum requirements.

In the end, although I feel sorry for letting go of my childhood dream, I am happy with how things worked out for the Safari as well as for me. I will soon be posting my overall experience of owning and maintaining the i20 as well.

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