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Booked a Kia Sonet petrol DCT as a replacement for my 1st gen Ford Figo

The Sonet HTX IMT was cheaper by 70K but then it was a partially equipped auto. I didn’t mind spending more for a superior gearbox and convenience, as I intend to keep the car for 8 to 10 years.

BHPian nihar82 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Hi folks,

Firstly let me start by saying that I am an ardent fan of Team BHP and from being just a blog reader, your team members have inspired me to be a take up writing and expressing my views.

Just to brief, I currently drive a 1st gen Ford Figo Diesel 2014. The car has served its purpose flawlessly over these 8 years of mostly being an A to B commuter in chock-a-block Mumbai traffic. The sparse long distance outings were also enjoyed with this car as offers handling like no other in the twisties or on the highway. Only downside is that the power on offer is slightly inadequate to justify the full potential of a tight chassis and stiff suspension. The car has not had major mechanical problems and is still doing the job. But off late due to worsening traffic & ageing of the vehicle, the clutch has started to feel very hard. And that is a really no-no for me as I end up with painful knee and sore back. Even my wife refuses to drive due to this. Adding to the ageing factor is the paint, and metal has started to corrode. This may be due to my short stay in a neighbourhood where water was a problem and often boring water was used by the security chacha to wash vehicles. So with this situation, I started considering changing my ride. And this time I had decided to go in for an automatic car which we both can drive (my wife is lousy at gear changes and always redlines before shifting – not generalizing any gender). My running currently is limited due to reduced home to office distance as I have moved to a place close by. But yes, I would often make 400 to 500 km round trips every month.

Overcoming the odds:

Investment vs new car is the classic argument you will find on Youtube. There are videos and blogs flooded with thoughts that prove using OLA/Uber is more convenient, you don’t have any ownership or maintenance cost, no depreciation, no attachment to car, no headache etc. I tried Uber for a month when I was facing back and knee issues (thanks to the hard clutch), and found the service almost non-functional during office hours. Most of the time, I would be on the street looking for a rickshaw. And what these financial advisors forget about is the joy, pleasure and convenience of going anywhere anytime which only a self owned car can bring. Also, sometimes you should think from the heart and do stuff that gives you happiness. For me a car is such an expression of happiness. My current car has done all that for me keeping us safe and reaching places without getting soaked when Mumbai used to get flooded. Taking us places or resorts which are in wilderness in the mountains and the enumerable joy times with friends and family which I am sure a 10% annual growth mutual fund cannot bring to you. I had enjoyed 4.5 years of debt free car ownership in the overall 8 year span and don’t mind taking a loan again.

The current Russia-Ukraine war also put me in some spot of bother but then these things are going to happen every now and then. The rising petrol cost is not a big worry as my ride is going to be mainly for leisure and fun.

Option 1: Used car:

A used or so called pre-worshipped car looked very attractive in the beginning due to the price proposition and chance of owning a higher segment car. But I had owned a used Chevy Spark as my 1st self owned car after I moved out after marriage and the experience was not really to be called anywhere near fantastic (With my Figo as a new purchase, the ownership experience was superb with respect to service and durability till date) So I am pretty sure that it is very difficult to find a car which was respected by its previous owner (unless you personally know the owner). With that in mind, the used car option was dropped and hence the search for new car began.

Option 2: New car:

My wife and my 6 year old daughter were thrilled to know we are going for a new car. My wife did rant me for a week though, role playing my mom that I don’t care to save enough, you will after 2 years again say lets go for a new bike. But all that settled within a week and we were out to search for a new car.

Budget: I had confined my choices to an onroad price of upto 12 lakhs. With that I mind, some of the relevant petrol powered options were:

  • Honda Jazz CVT VX or ZX
  • VolkswagenPolo TSI auto Highline
  • Tata Nexon AMT XMS A
  • Mahindra XUV 300 W6
  • Hyundai Venue IMT SX
  • Hyundai I20 IVT sport
  • Nissan Magnite 1.0 CVT
  • Renault Kiger 1.0 CVT
  • Kia Sonet 1.0 IMT

With these in mind, the dealership connect started. A special mention was the Skoda Rapid which was in its almost base variant with sa uperb auto box and engine combo but sadly for me, it was axed by the company to give way for the Slavia.

The contender highlights:

Honda Jazz: I love this body style by Honda and to me, it still looks ageless IMO. The ride experience of the CVT was smooth, unhurried and relaxing. It felt soothing with comfortable front seats and good glass area. The sun-roof was also an highlight to add to the airiness of the cabin. A bit over priced after seeing what the market has moved on to. For example, Honda still used 15” rubber, no turbo or 1.5L engine option. The 1.2L felt very underpowered when you hit the highway and want to call out the enthusiast in you. But still a great city car.

Volkswagen Polo TSI auto: It’s a legend and I am not just talking about the last variant, but in terms of the way it does all things right when it comes to the drive experience. Except one thing, that is the space. My family was turned off by this and I had to close my aspiration for the Polo there. The aspiration of owning a German car ended.

Tata Nexon AMT: Safe car, practical, reasonably powered engine ticks most of the boxes. On the intangible bit, the AMT is still a trade off as I wanted a true automatic and not a pseudo auto. Also, the fit and finish and after sales service was still a cause of concern and didn’t want to go through the experiment. I test drove the EV as well… more on that for later.

Mahindra XUV 300 W6 AMT: This was the only variant in my budget as the W8 AMT was almost 15L more. Power and ride comfort were all good. This variant has nothing to offer apart from sun-roof (my daughter loves anything with a sun-roof and that will be a decider to an extent). Also, the AMT I felt had a lag whenever it used to shift and to me that was bothering me while test driving, the same with the Nexon. I feel it is just a matter of time that you will get used to it. But yes, this variant is overpriced and under equipped.

Hyundai Venue IMT SX: Here the experience was marred as the dealer (Modi Hyundai Kanjurmarg) or sales person were very casual & under the impression that their cars would sell without any hard selling. The promised test drive was not offered on the committed date, and that left a lasting impression about the dealer and the brand. Also, the IMT was a trade off for my wanting of a proper auto box. So the Venue IMT was dropped without a TD.

Hyundai I20 IVT: The same above experience and my wife was in no mood to have a hatch back (Low seating car) after the TD of the XUV & Nexon. Also, the above sales person was not encouraging enough to go for the IMT turbo which was coming under 12L saying “ IMT ka result itna nahi hai”. Must be wanting to sell only cars with better incentive for him. The hatchback idea was dissolved there.

Nissan Magnite 1.0 CVT: Magnite TD is still pending, should be a good one, but not very keen on calling up the dealership again as I had TD'd the Kiger. The brand is still evolving(reinventing) and having seen Ford shut shop recently, I didn’t want to dive in even if the prospects are lucrative.

Renault Kiger 1.0 CVT: The Kiger team had a pretty good response and follow-ups pre and post the TD. The car was spacious, felt light to drive, CVT was smooth and the power modes worked as they should. There are some issues with ergonomics like the seat belt lock is hard to reach, power window switches are placed a lot behind, door lock/ unlock switch is on the dash etc. Also like its cousin the Magnite, it didn’t have and active safety features. And yes no sun-roof even on the top trim so my daughter was reluctant for TD.

Kia Sonet IMT: After a not so tasteful experience with parent company Hyundai, I was little reluctant to consider the Kia Sonet. Also had read that its little expensive and had a long waiting period. Still, I decided to give it a chance. We were greeted well and every detail of the car and its variants were explained well by the sales person. Also the waiting period, booking amount( Refund if cancelled) and no discount or freebies were properly explained. My wife and daughter were impressed at first glance. We were shown the HTX variant in IMT. The exteriors were refreshing and stylish. The only missing point for me was washer wiper at the rear. The interior cabin was also cool and tastefully done. The beige and black interior was looking great infact better than the all black in GT line (perhaps I was bored with all black interior in Figo). Rear bench though a bit small in comparison to Kiger, Nexon, XUV was comfortable enough for my family and our sized people. The rear window curtains was a welcome feature. And yes it had a sunroof which ticked my daughter’s check box.

The TD was offered for the HTX 7DCT version and I liked its seamless way of shifting, paddle-shifters and slightly sportier ride (due to stiffer springs). I would like to believe it should be a potent and comfortable highway machine. Soon day dreaming, I started to plan trips to my native in Amaravati (Maharashtra) via the to be opened Samuriddhi highway. Anyways, the budget was now stretched to 13.5L, but my wife had her finger on this one and asked to conclude the search and zero in on the HTX 7DCT. The HTX IMT was cheaper by 70K but then it was a partially equipped auto. I didn’t mind spending that much more for a superior gearbox and convenience as I intend to keep the car for 8 to 10 years. Also, the doubt of overheating of DCT was also put to rest as I was convinced that my office commutes are going to be on my Xpulse 200 as it saves time and cost, and this car is strictly for family outings and long hauls.

After a week, I went with my parents to show them the to be new ride. My dad drives a 2010 WagonR and he was thrilled to experience the automatic for the first time in his life. So with that, we booked the Sonet with Rs. 25k as booking amount. Awaiting the delivery date for my ride.

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