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My Maruti S-Cross Zeta: Buying & initial ownership experience

I think that a 4-metre plus long car, that costs less than Rs 11 lakh on-road, is actually an astonishing package.

BHPian knrn recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

A very warm hello to all the esteemed members of the forum. This is the initial ownership thread of my latest purchase - the S Cross Zeta petrol K15B in granite gray.

Disclaimer

Long emotional posts. This thread encompasses my journey to attain automotive nirvana. Also, the various thoughts processes going on my mind and how I bought the car and my journey leading me to it. Also, it is an ode to my father who taught me so many things. He put the love of cars in my life and hence deserves a worthy mention. So please bear with me.

Prelude

As I had mentioned in my intro thread - I got hooked on cars for as long as I can remember. My father used to own a Maruti van in around 1988-89. Playing inside the car, moving from one row to the other and pretending to go on long drives was my favourite pastime. I had managed a trick to open the glass on the middle sliding door back then. Would open it up and climb/crawl into my favourite playground. Papa would wonder how I did that. And frankly, even I don’t remember it now. But I remember the puzzled look on his face when he would come in the evening and find me playing in the car.

He has got the driver’s genes. Keeps playing in the car all day - he would tell my mom. What I never realised then was that he never got the window fixed- perhaps he liked the fact that I discovered that small trickery myself and indirectly encouraged me. ABC on pedals. It’s the same as in studies. You just have to know which one does what. I would listen so attentively when he would lecture me on the finer nuances of driving. I didn’t understand much, but the words were imprinted on my mind.

Then in 1990, the van was sold. I was heartbroken. I would look at all the cars of our neighbors and miss the one I played in. Papa noted that- said nothing. But I still remember that warm look in his eyes- one day soon son. One day. Just wait.

Time moved on. I got involved in school. Started riding a bicycle. But in my mind, it was not the handle I was holding- it was a steering - all those years. And even my father said nothing, he knew. It was that silent conversation where no words are spoken- yet all the thoughts flow across.

Then one fine day- a few years later, my dad got me an auto mag. Either I was in 8th class or I was 8 years old I don’t remember well. However, the magazine had an article on the Skoda Octavia. I looked and ogled at those pictures day and night. Even took the magazine to bed every night. Dreaming about holding a round wheel in my hand someday. I can’t recall where I lost that magazine but that red Skoda was all mine in my thoughts to play with.

When my grandmother finished her life’s journey and we bid her final adieu in Haridwar, my uncle had also come in his brand new Esteem 1.3L. Dad was the designated driver always in our family. He took the wheel on the return journey. Drove slow while getting out of Haridwar. Out on the highway, he drove slow for a while, was getting a look around of things, looked over to me, smiled, then he huffed and puffed and let a calming breath out. Zoooooooom. From 40-100 in 3rd gear, the Esteem ripped and it flew (only it didn’t have wings else papa would have taken it to the skies). Cars can do this also- I thought in mind. That’s when I learned how to do a slingshot.

Fast forward and I joined medical college. It was in my first year 2001 that dad purchased a second or rather a third hand Hyundai Santro in dark green. And boy did I feel alive again. I would skip Saturdays to come home every weekend to experience the car.

One fine day- dad took me out on a drive- and asked me to get into the driving seat. Remember the ABC he said. The words that he lectured me on so many years ago blossomed in my mind and started making sense. Over the next two days, he taught me how to go about. And I started driving. A dream of so many years lived and brought to fruition.

Then one day, while taking out the car through a narrow alley, I scratched the passenger side door. I tried correcting the steering, overcorrected; and scraped the driver’s side as well.

SMACK- got a big one on my head. During the 36 years of life with dad, that is the only time he hit me ever. Not before that and never ever afterwards. I came home crying- threw the car keys on the bed and yelled- I will never drive your car again, papa. You love it more than me. That’s when he melted. Put his arm around my shoulder and said in the calmest and sweet voice (felt that God was speaking to me), Son- like today, you will come across many scrapes and scratches in life. Let today not be a lesson in driving but it should be a guidance in life. You cannot just throw away everything. I will not be here forever. So learn to get up and get going again. Hurdles will come. Some you will cross. Some will make you falter. But you have to get up every time you fall and start anew. Come let’s go again.

Since then, dad always sat in the rear seat passenger side and would lookout for the car’s width and tell me what to do. Overtake from the right. Brake- honk and flash the lights. Gear down and push. No- you don’t have enough width. Now you have a gap- close in. Let the car in front get across. Look this one is trying to cut in- slow down and let him in. And that is how he became my guide and navigator. And that is how I became a driver.

Drove that green Santro over 80,000 kms. Then after 2 years dad got a relatively new silver Santro deluxe model from my uncle. I was thrilled to drive a newer car and it had power steering too. The guidance and the navigation from the back seat across continued to pour in. Did so many trips. Drove that car for more than 1,85,000 km.

Then one night, dad dropped me at the hostel and was driving back home. It was night. He misjudged a curve and landed in a ditch. The car rolled three times over. Luckily dad was well. Seatbelt saved him. The person in the car following him saw the Santro toppling and came over to help my dad. I got the news the next day. The car was declared a total loss. Both of us were heartbroken.

Next, we got a brand new Santro- again (dad loved Santros, didn’t he?) white rlx model in 2007, which I own to date. Did so many trips and drove it well. It’s done more than 1,50,000 on the odo at present and still runs flawlessly. I got married in 2014 and this car brought my wife home. This car came with me wherever I went- like a faithful knight’s steed. Time moved on and I settled in Jalandhar. And papa got sick. He had renal failure. The faithful steed took us on many hospital trips. I saw the man who was as big and strong as a mountain, crumble and fall to the forces of nature. It’s heartbreaking. Often when I took him to the hospital, I would come down to the parking and sit alone in my car- cry my heart down; let the sadness within out and would go back up to his room cheery faced. Getting up from the scrapings of life’s hurdles and going at it again. Dad knew. Never said anything.

He was on peritoneal dialysis which meant he had to carry the dialysis bags wherever he went. With family, that would add up to a lot of luggage. I wanted to buy a bigger vehicle now. Was looking over to buy an Innova Crysta. Even started collecting money for the same. 2 months before his last- papa said- I know you want to buy a new car. But take an old man’s advice- use this money to buy a house. I heeded his saying. After all, he was my navigator and guide. Dropped the idea of buying the Innova.

On 31st Dec 2019, the last day of the last good year we all had, dad passed away. He was not doing well. I started from Jalandhar to pick him up from our ancestral house in Batala- 80 kms away. Intended to take him straight to the hospital from there. Dad was happy that I was coming home to take him. Let me get some rest before my son comes he told my mom. He laid down to get some sleep while mom got busy packing. And never got up.

2020-covid- the world in lockdown and a state of turmoil everywhere. It is as if he knew, and left before it got worse. He always knew when to leave a party. The way I know him, he must have gotten down to 3rd and revved his way up, slingshotting past everything in his way up to the heavens.

Goodbye, dad. We had a fantastic run. Given a chance, would love to do it again.

I heeded my father’s last wish. Bought a house.

I know that I am not supposed to divulge personal details but a petrolhead like my father deserved a special mention. He did not know Team-BHP. But had he- he would have been a distinguished Bhpian by now. I write this on a very emotional note as a final grace to a befitting soul who deserved this. And somehow my heart feels light as I do. It is the first time in nearly two years that I have opened up about him. If you read this- I thank you.

Introduction

As I had mentioned that I was looking over to buying a bigger vehicle to ferry us around. Had gotten a chance to drive my brother in law’s Crysta and I was smitten by the power mode. Anyways. During this time- before the covid lockdown, after my Sunday morning rounds in the hospital when I would get free by 12 or 1 noon, I would drive out to a car dealership showroom. Any showroom and have a look at the cars there. I would request the salesman to give me time alone with the cars around. Would make mental notes and come back. Now the next entire week would be spent reading Team-BHP reviews, test drives, ownership threads, watching YouTube videos. Armed with all this information, next Sunday I would again go to the showroom and take a test drive. I only drove one vehicle at a time and put my acquired knowledge to test. Would come back and plan for the next model next Sunday. And so it went on like this for 2-3 years extending till when the lockdown opened. It was my love for cars that kept me going, or perhaps somewhere in mind, I was paying a homage to my father. Whatever but that’s how I used to pass my weekends since it was the only free time I would get in the entire week. During those 2-3 hours with the car in the showroom or on road- I felt alive. I felt free. Took test drives of all available vehicles starting from the Maruti S-Presso to the mighty Fortuner. Only the German giants- Mercedes, BMW, and AUDI were spared since I knew that they were out of my league. Well, even the Fortuner and Endeavour were out of my league but still, it was something I could have bought. Would have needed to pull a few more strings.

So after I had gotten my hands down on everything available, I decided to set down my requirements, what I wanted as a must, what I can do without and what was available in each. Jotted down a major pros and cons sheet from all the knowledge on Team-BHP and YouTube. Now a big folder adores my study. Anyways my requirements were-

  • Space - you can get anything fitted in a car after buying, the only thing you can’t add is real estate- SPACE- to a car. Coming from humble Santros so far, the car had to be spacious. Preferably 4 meters plus.
  • Engine - wanted to buy a bigger powerful vehicle. Preferably 1.5 or more in petrol. And if diesel had to be 2 litre or more. No replacement for displacement.
  • Ride - wanted a good suspension. Not too tight (Seltos) not too soft and bumpy (old Xuv 500). The right balance. I know this is leading up to the old duster but a balanced suspension was a must.
  • Handling - gone are the days when I would rev my way up to glory and do perfect apex turns on the twisties in Himachal. Had a family to carry, so a balanced but taut handling was sought. Something that could change direction like a butterfly but not body roll the passengers inbound. And still, be liveable as a day to day family car.
  • Boot space - again more the better since we carry a lot of luggage on our trips. The luggage should not spill over onto the seats.
  • Tyres - preferably 16 inches or more. Bigger tyres maketh bumps feel small.
  • Rear seat centre armrest - a must-have so that whoever is sitting in the backseat should have a comfortable stay.
  • Good AC - ACC or manual. Didn’t matter but should provide good cooling.
  • No aftermarket fitments - I have burned my hands with the Santro. Had gotten installed a DVD player with a screen, 7 speakers including a JBL subwoofer, two dedicated amps. Needless to say, I used to get the battery changed every one and a half years. So a good list of accessories factory fitted.
  • Manual only - I love manual gearboxes. Gives you a more controlled feel of the car.

As you can see, most of the requirements are of the mechanical types and not the fancy gizmo/gadgetry. I like the car for what it basically is- a machine to be driven by a man and not a gimmicky video game experience.

After setting up my requirements I sat down to narrow down my choices and finalised the Innova Crysta. It had everything I wanted, plus more power and space. To a practical mind- the Innova Crysta trumps the Fortuner too.

But then papa said- get a house. So there goes all the money. And all the wishes associated with it.

I will not detail down on what are the alternatives I considered since that knowledge was acquired and fortified with my own experience from this forum only. I will only mention what tugged my heart.

I started waiting for a suitable time to fill up my coffers and buy what I yearned. But with each passing day, the Innova was getting expensive. With a heavy heart, I started looking at other options.

Two of my colleagues bought new cars- both of which I was instrumental in the purchase of. Due to my quest of driving and experiencing all cars hands down, I am the unproclaimed car guru in my circle. So one bought an Xuv500 w9 and the other bought a black edition Harrier XT plus. And I got to drive both and enjoy what each had to offer. Sundays were now spent going on long drives with either of them and I got to know the vehicles better.

Not going into many details but mentioning a few strong points of each:

The Harrier is a looker. You can spend hours admiring its beauty. In black- nothing else looks better.

  • Good interiors and a fantastic sound system. Lovely suspension.
  • The only fly in an otherwise good ointment, it is a struggle to find the best seating position. Somehow the centre console always fiddles with your left knee and makes clutch operation more of a tiring chore than a fun experience.
  • To everyone- Harrier XT plus in automatic is the variant to buy if you plan to own one. The XT plus is the most vfm variant.

The Xuv500 has the better engine. Very smooth especially if you come from a Harrier.

  • Looks handsome.
  • Suspension is a sore point.
  • Sound system is average.
  • Sadly it’s no more.

I started waiting for the new Xuv700 to come by. Was thrilled when it launched. I was eagerly waiting for the test drives to start.

Now, something happened. My other brother in law bought a Maruti Brezza petrol. I drove it extensively during my recent trip to my in-laws in Madhya Pradesh. And I liked it.

Moreover with the BSVI norms in place, and what with the DEF/SCR/LNT exhaust tech on the new diesels made me wary. My average monthly driving is around 500-600 kms max. Suddenly diesel stopped making sense to me. Coupled with the fact that I had recently driven the Brezza petrol which I found to be a decent performer made me confused.

Started depth researching the petrol Brezza and on this forum as well as YouTube, discovered that the S Cross is the better product of the two. Moreover, at 4.3 metres it is a whole foot longer than the Brezza. Real estate- checked tick.

Now I was clear in my mind- if were to spend short of 11 lacs, it would be the S Cross. If more then I would straightaway pick between the Harrier and the Xuv700. I was waiting for the Xuv700 to roll out, get tested and pass its niggle lot initial phase.

All of a sudden, 2 weeks ago, wifey came over to me and said that the Santro has really gotten old and makes its age felt. She didn’t feel safe while travelling in it. The same thoughts were echoed by my mother as well. I had a few long trips coming up in October. So they both suggested buying a new car soon. Finance was a worry. There goes my plan for getting a HARRIER/Xuv700. Also since shraadhs were starting a day after put me in a tight spot.

So at 11 in the night the plan was made to get a new car. I made a few phone calls. The car had to come on Sunday only because from Monday shraadhs were starting. So went on Sunday and got the car.

Now it seemed to create a furore everywhere. Everyone in my hospital and the showroom were shocked that how can you get a new car in 4 hours flat without any booking or arrangements or papers. When I went to get the car papers, the owner of the showroom called me to his office and congratulated me. He said that this is the first time in 7 years that he had seen a car being sold so quick. How did I manage? I smiled and said that I have good friends.

So this is the story. All unfolded in a span of one day.

I mean a 4-metre plus car at less than 11 lacs on road is actually an astonishing package. A lot of people have been asking me how I got it so quickly so I thought I will reveal the secret behind the quick buy.

First, I took a loan from HDFC bank and I have a good standing with them since I have my home loan from them too. Secondly, I have been visiting the Nexa showroom for more than a year taking test drives and checking out offers. So the RM there became a good friend.

Saturday night at 11, I called up the Nexa RM and asked do they have any cars in the inventory. The Nexa showroom is a part of Lovely Motors here and they have a huge complex that houses Nexa, Maruti arena, KTM, Bajaj, Hero, Honda and one more agency I can’t recall now. And they have two such facilities here. The RM told me that they have 2 Zetas lying in the yard, a gray and a white. I said that I will arrange the payments provided if he can give me a car on Sunday. He said that if payment is cleared in total, he can give me the car. The paperwork can be done on Monday. Next, I called up the manager of the HDFC Bank. Nice of him to pick my call at 11.15 in the night. He said that he can release the payment since I already held eligibility at the bank. Just send me a pic of the car delivery and an email of the demand letter from the showroom. I will see the rest. He said.

So next day, Sunday, after hospital rounds I reached the showroom at 2. Deposited 2.5 lacs down payment. The car was in the stockyard. The RM then talked to the bank manager and within half an hour, the remainder amount D.O. Letter was emailed to the showroom. Now the RM talked to the GM and requested that mine was a special case. You don’t get such customers every day, he told his GM. And all the payment is received. The GM okayed the handout. The car was washed wiped and parked in the delivery area. Pics taken and I sent them via WhatsApp to the bank manager that indeed I am buying a car. The manager sent an ok and voila- the car was handed over to me. Yesterday I went to the showroom and all the paperwork was done and I was handed everything. I forgot to mention that I had carried the Team-BHP PDI checklist. Checked the car before delivery. Again during paperwork, I had the checklist to see what documents to get. They got the car registered and took a paper printout of the registration number. The HSRP will arrive in 2-3 days. Needless to say that both the showroom authorities and the Bank employees took an extra effort in my case and that’s how I got the car. I had read such stories but to be a part of one- I felt like I was the hero of my own movie.

The best part- the showroom owner it seems was a little furious with the staff but since all payment was clear there was technically no glitch. Tuesday evening my phone got bombarded with messages for car booking, allotments and loan approvals.

The owner of the showroom told that he wanted to meet me in person just to be sure of everything. He was quite enquiring of me when I met him but after a 15 minutes discussion (this was Monday evening when I had gone to get papers), he said- I thought that you must be a big shot to have done everything so quickly but you are a young bloke. He complimented me for my friendly and polite nature and said that his staff made the right choice by rushing up the formalities. Also, he mentioned that customers like me came once in a blue moon and it was a pleasure meeting me. I thanked him and said that your team should be praised for the work they have done. So this was how the entire cookie crumbled and got eaten too. Now when I think about this- I laugh. Indeed- God was kind to me.

The car had 40 kms on the odo. It is a June manufactured vehicle. Tyres made in March. The granite gray looks splendid. Driven 100 kms till now. I really appreciate the planted nature and on-road behaviour of the car. First thing I did out of the showroom was to fill petrol. 40 litres till my heart started pounding seeing the price and I stopped. Got the air pressure dropped to 33 psi from the showroom 45 psi. The bumps that would make me jostle around in the Santro have dismissed aplomb. Still getting used to the dimensions. Good car to drive.

The car is driving well. Not been able to take her out on a highway since I don’t have the RC as yet. HSRP had arrived and is now fitted. So will hold my observations till I take her out.

Thanks to the forum and brethren here. I have learned so much that my mind had the clarity of a sparkling sapphire while talking and dealing with the executives in what and how I wanted all things.

All in all, I paid 10.90 lacs for the car including everything.

Attaching a few pics. The key fob looks and feels premium. Was handed a lovely Nexa branded key chain.

Continue reading knrn's ownership experience for BHPian comments, insights and more information.

 
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