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Honda Elevate: An 80-year-old's buying experience & initial ownership

I did think of EVs and Hybrids. The EVs were rejected on cost considerations and teething problems. The good ones are the Hyundai and the BYD/MG which are again too expensive. Hybrid is a good compromise and a great solution but the added duty takes them out of reach.

BHPian ashokabs recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

There are ownership reviews of the Honda Elevate already. I will narrate the salient features of my buying experience and initial ownership. I'm trying to avoid duplication of content already in the Forum. Some basic facts that might be useful in making sense of my comments are given here. I am almost 80 years old, living in New Delhi, and have extensive experience owning Fiat, Ambassador, the original Baleno, Maruti 800, Esteem, Hyundai Santro, 1st Gen Honda City, 2nd Gen Honda City, 3rd Gen Honda City, Honda Accord, Tata Tiago.

I had two cars at the start of 2024. A Tata Tiago XZ 2016 model and a Honda Accord 2009 Oct model. The Tata Tiago ownership experience was duly compiled and posted in late 2016 and early 2017. I did a detailed review since I felt this car by TAMO was a cut above their usual mediocre cars till then. It has given me good service with only one breakdown - loss of acceleration. This occurred on numerous occasions. I suspect it is fuel pump malfunction though it has never been noted by the computer analysis. In fact, all Tata Motors Service Centers were also foxed and couldn't resolve it!

The Accord is on its last legs in NCR. Thanks to constant background noise by my better half about the Tiago - she was badly let down on three occasions I had to take drastic action to get rid of it. I had to choose a car which would be reasonably spacious with ease of entry and egress. It should be very reliable, safe, and have decent mileage. It had to be easy for my wife to drive. There should be decent luggage space for shuttling to the airport and railway station or visits to nearby towns and hill stations. A decent entertainment system was essential as we both like to hear music on the radio. Provision of phone charging facility - wired was alright and wireless charging was not necessary.

I also wanted a car with good ASS for servicing and repairs. I have had a bad experience with the Tata Motors ASS in both Delhi and Noida. At my age must ensure that my wife doesn't face any problems when I am not around. I was quite clear about not wanting black shiny surfaces on the instrument panels or outside as they are a pain once they get scratched. Before they get scratched you have to wipe your hands with alcohol before touching the panels for fear of leaving fingerprints all over. I also did not want too much electronic gadgetry since this possibly results in poorer reliability. That is my experience gleaned from reading so many user reviews of some of the fully loaded cars. I am also wary of DCTs and don't like AMTs.

A cursory glance at my list of essential features and you will see that only a few cars would fit the bill. Tata cars were definitely ruled out since they have very poor initial quality and their panel gaps and poor finish leaves a bad taste in the mouth. I'm sorry to miss out on one variable which is needed to select a car and that is the cost. In Delhi, I was unwilling to spend more than Rs 17-18 lacs. Hyundai Seltos and a few others like Verna were possibilities but rejected thanks to their not-so-good dynamics or hard suspensions and their safety record. My friends who have bought the M&M range had sad stories of poor initial quality. Besides, their best cars have diesel engines and the XUV700 was outside my budget.

I did think of EVs and Hybrids. The EVs were rejected on cost considerations and teething problems. The good ones are the Hyundai and the BYD/MG which are again too expensive. Hybrid is a good compromise and a great solution but the added duty takes them out of reach. They also have smaller boot space. The Grand Vitara was considered but I am not much of a Suzuki fan. I must admit their after-sales service is probably the best with the exception of the luxury brands.

In 21-22, I was very excited by the Nexon. Not the first model but the second avatar where the very polarizing features of the exterior were toned down. Unfortunately, I had to give up on Nexon thanks to the numerous rants about their quality and poor performance of the ASS.

One other requirement which some might find surprising, especially in Delhi, and considering my age. I wanted a manual transmission. I love driving cars and especially enjoy the great experience of working through the gears to keep the car running efficiently. Hence, the clutch had to be light. My wife too is quite happy with manual transmission. Once, we cannot drive it doesn't matter as the driver will take over!!

You will all see that I inevitably ended up with just the Honda car lineup. I had a great experience with the brand on multiple occasions. I rejected the City as it is too low and as one gets older it is difficult to get in and out of it. The Amaze was discarded as they had a new model coming out with lots of enhancements later in 2024 and I needed to also replace the Accord before the end of Sept 24.

I was looking now at the Elevate and pretty much went through all the reviews on YouTube, in the media, and Team BHP. I got an email, around this time (early Dec 23), from ACKODrive. I bought car insurance from ACKO and found their service very direct and simple to access. They were offering the Honda Elevate with a 50k discount and I immediately booked the Elevate ZX MT in silver colour at Rs 11000. The waiting time was about 3 months and this suited me as I was sure I would be able to fund it at that time. Later in the third week of Dec 23, they said that a car was available and would I please take it. I repeated to them that I wanted this car on Mar 24 as originally offered by them.

In mid Mar 24, I got a phone call that the car had been allotted and asked that I please nominate a dealer in Delhi. I selected Courtesy Honda with whom I had dealings during my earlier Honda purchases. I got the invoice details from ACKO and the contact number of the Courtesy Honda salesperson in South Delhi near my residence. I thought the car would be available for inspection in Delhi but was told to contact Courtesy Honda, Panipat from where my car would be delivered. I arranged with the Panipat dealership to have the PDI in Panipat at their showroom/workshop. They have a very large parking space so it was easy to do the PDI there. I fixed up 24th Mar to visit Panipat and conduct the PDI. Prior to the PDI, I requested and was promptly sent the chassis number. From this, I could work out that it was Feb 24 manufacture.

I drove to Panipat showroom which was about 100 km from my house. I went early to reach there before 10 am. It was quite pleasant when the car was offered for inspection. It was cleaned and ready. I checked all the required PDI items and found the car in perfect working order. I signed the required documents and made a token payment of Rs 25K in addition to the 11K I had given as the booking amount. I was offered and examined the full list of accessories. However, I only bought the floor mats and the mudguards. In no way was I badgered for buying any of the accessories. Yes, I was told about the Warranty extension and took an additional warranty to cover 5 years of ownership. The entire experience was first class. I got the invoice - handwritten at this time so I could arrange for funds.

I had taken the Tiago ZX and agreed to sell it in exchange for Rs 2 L. We agreed that I could not leave the car there as I had to return to Delhi. The car would be collected when the Elevate was delivered. I opted to take delivery at my house in Delhi on 27th Mar. On Monday and Tuesday morning, I wired the funds, and the delivery was scheduled for after lunch on 27th Mar.

The driver arrived on Wed around 2.30 pm. I took delivery. The usual ribbons etc had been cellotaped and plastic was covering seats, flooring, and visors in the interiors. The driver gave me the papers i.e. manuals, invoices, etc and his assistant took a photo of the keys being handed over to me. The two things that were left were the RTO registration which would be done in Delhi, fixing of the numberplate, and activation of Honda Connect.

About 10 days later I got the number plate fixed in Courtesy Honda near my house. The Honda Connect was delayed as there was a problem with the Honda Connect server.

The entire sales and delivery processes were trouble-free. The folks at Panipat were all young and were very helpful and direct. Every query was patiently answered.

The only problem that I faced in this delivery was that after removing the plastic cover on the passenger seat in the front I found a 2 sq inch oil stain under the plastic cover. I hope it can be removed in the next service.

The car is running fine and I am keeping to the limits suggested to run in the engine and brakes. I have driven it around 400 kms so far. The mileage in the city is around 13.4 km/l and the drive from Panipat by the driver showed 16 km/l.

I am going to give pros and cons based on my needs and actual experience. My brief ownership observations are:

Pros

  • Easy entry and egress
  • High road clearance
  • Smooth almost noiseless engine up to about 2500 rpm.
  • Good comfortable seating at the front and back
  • Excellent driving dynamics and suspension - good cornering, bumps are taken with aplomb.
  • Steering is light at a standstill and nicely weighted as the speed increases
  • ADAS features (barring Collision Mitigation) work well given the constraints on Indian roads.
  • Fit and finish are excellent though there is a larger panel gap in the bonnet area.
  • Gearing is excellent for city driving. One can start from a standstill in 2nd gear. Engaging and changing gears is very smooth. There is a good acceleration in 5th gear as well.
  • Value for money for sure.

Cons

  • My golf set and golf trolley barely fit in the boot without putting down any of the seats. There is enough space for a family's travel luggage - suitcases etc.
  • There is a higher noise level over 2500 rpm. More insulation is needed.
  • The music system is satisfactory but other competing cars have better quality of sound.
  • Spare tyre is smaller in size.
  • The Collision Mitigation System is not entirely suited to Indian road conditions especially in the city. People cut in front and drive too close as do cyclists and two-wheelers. One is almost getting back-ended all the time as the following vehicle is hardly two or three yards away. There is too much scope for being back-ended when CMS operates.

It is nice driving the car as it gets some looks - not many Elevates in Delhi.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

 
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