Purchased a 5-year-old Tata Zest from OLX Autos for my dad

It's a diesel car & overall, I'm quite happy with the purchase. The total cost (after changing the tyres) is expected to be Rs 4.25 lakh.

BHPian AlQuazi recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Hi Folks,

Recently, I purchased the Zest for my Dad. Here's a little explanation of the selection process and the background.

Our usage/requirements

The car would primarily be used by Dad at home in coastal KA and was expected to see minimal usage there (~50 km weekly). However, I would use it more whenever I'm home (bi-monthly) and also do Pune-Home and vice versa (650km one way) every couple of months.

My criterion for car selection were:

  • Budget - 4L (Stretchable to 5L max)
  • More preference for Diesel. Torque, baby!
  • Manual transmission only
  • Max odo limit - 70k
  • Min model year - 2015
  • Body Type - No hatchbacks (neither entry-level nor premium). C-SUV or a compact sedan preferred.
  • No. of owners - Max 2
  • Decent ground clearance. This automatically eliminated C segment sedans.

I scouted OLX for Lineas/Puntos/DZires/Xcent/Dusters etc. Notable finds and realisations after the first couple weeks of OLX/Cars24 searches:

  • Except for the Ignis, no other Maruti Suzuki vehicles fall under this budget/model year/km driven criterion. Wasn't really interested in the Ignis because of its short width and also because it misses a boot.
  • Couple of Linea Classics and Punto Evos were available in this range. However, the Linea would be too big and Punto lacks a boot. Moreover, Fiat parts/service could be an issue.
  • Renault Triber was a personal favourite for its absolute versatility. I would have to stretch the budget to 5.5L at least for this. Found a clean, barely used 2019 Triber with 25xx km on Cars24 for 5.9L. However, dad wasn't too enthusiastic about the 1L petrol engine or the price it commanded. One test drive of the Triber from Renault showroom confirmed his apprehensions on the engine and Tribers were out of contention. A brilliant car, nevertheless!
  • Used Duster/Terrano. Found a 2015 Duster petrol with 35k km on odo for 4.75L. Also found a 65k km run Diesel Terrano (110 PS) for 4.99L. I loved the 110 PS Diesel's pickup and handling. Ended up rejecting the Duster/Terrano because of the bare-bones interiors and cramped legroom in the middle row.
  • No Fords were considered because of Ford's exit from India. Didn't want to end up with a spares problem so soon.
  • Couldn't find any Honda diesels in this price range/model year. Petrol Amaze and (slightly older) Citys were plenty. I've always been a fan of Honda's interiors. The engines were nice and free-revving too. No doubt the petrol Hondas are a hoot to drive! However, I didn't pursue them further because of the low GC.
  • Did not evaluate any of the Polos/Ventos/Rapids available because of maintenance costs associated with VAG ownership.
  • Tata Zest - I liked the Zest. The car is well equipped for its time with a nicely designed interior and decent sound system. It is quite wide and spacious on the inside. The sturdy build and 4-star safety rating are additional advantages over comparable Marutis & Hyundais. I did scout through the forum for any major issues/gremlins and could not spot any. A genuine successor to the *More Car per Car* Indica/Indigo without the quality & reliability issues of the latter.

For a used car connoisseur like me, the lesser resale value (vis a vis used Dzires) made the Zest absolute VFM and the perfect fit to my requirements and budget.

Multiple Tata Zests (petrol/diesel) were available in the 3.5L to 5L range. Most were petrol with varying mileages. Almost all the diesels had 80k+ on the Odo. Weirdly though, only 2014-2015 models were up for sale in Pune. There were barely any listings for 2016+ privately registered vehicles.

I found the turbo-petrol's top-end performance a little underwhelming. The mid-range and drivability were excellent though. The 90 PS diesel was the better engine hands down for its frugal nature and versatility.

I missed out on a Mumbai registered 2017 XT Petrol with just 17k on the odo by a whisker. I was out of town the day the car came on sale and it was sold by the time I returned to Pune two days later.

I checked out a 2015 Diesel XM with 55k on the Odo. Everything seemed fine till I cross-checked the odo reading at the Tata ASC. The car had come in for some minor repairs at 131k on the odo a year ago! Meter tampering was a genuine concern with the diesels.

Finally, after months of casually scouting the classifieds, I managed to get a clean car (XM Diesel with Alloys) in Pune with 49xxx genuine reading on the Odo at an OLX Auto dealer in Hadapsar. After verifying the odo reading at Tata ASC I paid the token amount on the first inspection and brought it home 3 days later.

Here she is in all her glory!

Side profile

Taking delivery

The final settled price was just a tad over 4L. Post-purchase, I got the vehicle serviced with all fluids/filters changed as well as front brake pads change at an FNG. Costed me 7k with the pads (at 1.7k) being the most expensive component. The oil hadn't been changed in well over a year according to the mechanic. The oil filter had gummy residue inside the casing from being so old. The mechanic suggested the next oil change be early (at ~3k km) along with an engine flush to clean the engine out. Post this, I can resort to the usual yearly/15k km oil changes.

Existing brake pads vs the new ones

The only other expense required on the vehicle now is a change of tyres. The car is still running on stock rubber after 5 years and 50k km. The thread is fine but there are visible cracks on the surface due to the hardening of the tyres. Since I don't plan on highway runs for another month, I've decided to defer the tyre change to a later date.

The Bridgestones which came with the car are a goner!

Any suggestions for which tyre to upgrade to? Local tyre dealer has everything from Apollos and Bridgestones to Michelins and Yokohamas in stock size (185/60/R15). He suggested Yokohama Earth for the low road noise and good grip. Quoted price for the Yokos is 5100 per tyre. I do not mind the additional premium over the Apollo Aglac (4600/- per tyre) or any other tyre for that matter if the pros overweigh the cons. Suggestions from Bhpians would be welcome!

Overall, quite happy with the purchase. The total hit to pocket (after the change of tyres) is expected to be 4.25 L. Now all I need to do is to ride this beast enough so as to justify buying a diesel over a petrol despite the minimal usage!

Here's what BHPian Meph1st0 had to say about the matter:

Congratulations, the car looks quite well maintained. Red colour looks good.

I have Michelin XM2+ 185/60 R15. The Bridgestone stock tyres on my Zest lasted only 44K. After that, I switched to Michelin XM2+. Compared to Bridgestone, Michelins are silent. Looking at the wear after 20K km, I think the Michelins will last longer despite being softer.

One thing you may want to check is if the timing chain has been replaced. Multijet engine at 90 PS tune needs this replacement at 60k km.

Wishing you many happy km.

Here's what BHPian gandharjc had to say about the matter:

Congratulations on your new ride!

We just tearfully sold our Dec 2014 XT Diesel in Nov 2021 to make way for our next - in Pune too, coincidentally. 96k on the odo, and never once did she break down on us. You have a gem on your hands.

A few words of caution:

The Zest tends to rust in a few places. We used it in Pune all these years, but still found rust under the hood, and under the boot lid. Please keep an eye on the boot lid, because there was some water ingress through the boot lid in ours.

Secondly, ours developed a MINOR fuel pump leak. Never fixed it, it was that minor. It would've done another 20k before needing to look into it. Those pumps used to be manufactured by Bosch, who have stopped doing so. So make sure you have a trusted FNG you can take it to, in the event of a leak post 95k.

Enjoy your ride!

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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