Monday, November 14, 2011

My Romance With Cars

My Romance With Cars

Way back in early seventies when I had just turned 09, my father attempted to teach my elder sister (who had turned 18) how to drive a Car. Typical girl of those days, she was shy and timid and instead I picked up the lessons and Started driving around in deserted roads, ofcourse with my father besides me. The learning was on FIAT 1100D 1965 Model bearing Registration Number DLI 9333. Trust me my legs could stretch till the accelerator, clutch and Brake but all front view was through the Centre and top arc of the steering wheel.
In 1975 my father changed to beige coloured Ambassador Mark II and my stint with driving on deserted roads with occasional driving on less traffic roads continued. Those days RTO people were not very particular on Birth Certificate and Identity Proof etc. and because of my good height I managed to get a driving license after passing the test at the age of 16 itself.

Passion for cars pushed me into formal degree in Mechanical Engineering and started my career with an automobile company. But passion cannot be your career came as a realization and I satrted my own business in Personal Computers. As business grew buying and changing cars became an incentive. Maruti 800, Maruti Esteem 1.3L, Maruti Zen, Tata Sumo, Tata Estate,Maruti Omni, Fiat Siena, Toyota Innova, Skoda Fabia etc. have and are owned by me.

Buying a new car these days is more difficult than owning and maintaining one. It is hard to believe by my children(Otherwise Adults now), when I tell them that my father had to wait for good Five Years before he could get his coveted FIAT 1100D in 1965 (Please do not mistake D for Diesel, still wondering what that D signified) and I patiently waited good three years to get my Maruti 800 in 1988 and they take it as a joke now. The choice was limited hence easy to select,but today with a new Models being launched every fortnight by various world class brands and over and above long list of variants with choice of Diesel and Petrol, finding the right vehicle is difficult task.

Need for new Car in the Family was generated by ever increasing petrol prices and daily run of 40 Kms of my daughter to Law College on our Fiat Siena 1.6ELX (100BHP). The fuel bill had climbed upto INR6500.00PM with ever increasing traffic jams in NCR of Delhi and petrol consumption measurement changing from KM per liter to Liters per hour. One thing was clear that we required a Diesel Car and the budget was not exceeding Rs.5Lacs as it had to be Cash Down to avoid hazels of EMI.

FIAT Punto Active, Ford Figo TDCI, Ritz LDI and Chevy Beat 1.0LS with its new Diesel avatar were the shortlisted Cars.

FIAT Punto was the first choice owing to high satisfaction levels with FIAT quality and reliability in FIAT Siena. But the budget was overshooting by Rs.45,000.00 and the length of the car also was a little more. Hence dropped from the list.

Ford Figo TDCI was good to drive but looks were not contemporary and found the sitting to be a little low and the Budget also overshooting by Rs.50,000.00

Ritz LDI was outright dropped owing to waiting and being out of budget.

Beat 1.0LS was test drove, found it within the budget with trendy exteriors, funky speedometer and Tachometer, Extremely Frugal Diesel engine with low NVH. This was locked as a family decision.

Now began the hunt for the Dealer offering best deal with a promised delivery on Dhan Teras (Festival Two Days before Diwali). Called up all dealers here in Delhi and received replies ranging from waiting of 10 Days to 30 Days. Regent Automobiles at Mohan Cooperative Industrial Area confirmed ready delivery of all variants PS, LS and LT with a wide choice in colours. A trip to the dealer on the evening of Friday 21st October 2011 and excellent behaviour of the Sales executive Mr.Sunil Gupta we confirmed the booking for Super Red Beat 1.0 LS with an assurance of delivery on Monday 24th October 2011. No discounts were offered except usual Floor Mats, Divinity etc. but was promised a thorough PDI. Verified the VIN number and FORM 20, confirming date of Manufacturing as Sept. 2011 and date of despatch from Talengaon as September 30 2011. Vehicle Insurance I opted to buy online and save approximately Rs.2500.00.

As promised Car was ready for Delivery on the Dhan TTeras day with Registration Number etc. Delivery process was prompt and professional. Have had an opportunity to drive 300Km, the new acquisition around the town and formed following opinion-:
  1. Exteriors are extremely trendy and appealing. Paint job is glossy and stands out amongst neighbors RED POLO and RED FIGO.
  2. Black Interiors contrast well with RED color and the Seat Fabric is good quality and well matched.
  3. Steering Wheel with funky speedometer instills confidence of youth and life.
  4. Silver on steering Wheel with Goiden Chevrolet emblem are ornamental to the Beat interiors.
  5. Front Seat Stance is Comfortable with all controls e.g Gear Shift, Combination Switch to control the turn signal, wiper and Head Lamps ergonomically placed.
  6. Front view is slightly raised hence bonnet is not visible even to a 6ft like me. Reverse view is extremely clear and short overall length makes it extremely convenient to park in a city like Delhi otherwise suffering from paucity of parking space.
  7. Engine cranking is short and smart with idling extremely silent.
  8. Driving is peppy with quick gear shifts to achieve highest fuel average and lowest NVH.
  9. First Tank Full (30L) is now just over half with 300Km of city driving. Do not have average statistics ready yet.
  10. Steering Wheel is extremely light but not as responsive. Apt for city parking and maneuverability.
  11. Ride Quality appears to be comfortable with most of the pot holes and undulations going unnoticed.
  12. First Service due 1000Km or One Month.
  13. First Service after on 1000Km was only visual inspection followed by washing and cleaning.

Looks like this 936CC Diesel Engine from GM is going to set standard for competitors.

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