Thursday, December 15, 2011

Company for my 1.6 Stile

Company for my 1.6 Stile

Starting my ownership experience thread for the latest addition to the household :D

Background story – Around May, I decided to retire my Palio 1.2, bought early 2004 due a bunch of minor niggles that kept cropping up and was becoming expensive to fix.

Selection Process - Obvious upgrade choice – Having owned 2 Fiats in a row, it would be the Fiat Punto, had also been in a couple of Bhp'ians drives and pretty much liked what I saw.

I also decided however to scout around and look at other options as well and VW was one of the first places I looked. Visited on a Sunday and sat in the car and found it decidedly cramped with my knees knocking the dashboard and a bunch of uninterested salesmen and walked out.

After this a few personal events made me postpone my car purchase, so forward to September and I started the process again after selling the 1.2 for a decent price. I was looking around at pretty much every hatch and was planning to take a test drive. Then one evening was driving past VW (Sundaram) again with a friend and decided to have a look one last time.
This time surprisingly found the front quite comfortable, narrowed down the cause to the height adjust system which I wasn't aware of during my earlier visit which increases the height by pushing the seat upwards as well as diagonally forwards (thus the knee knocking) Was attended by a polite and not pushy salesman who was quite helpful and unhurried even though it was 7:30PM. Made an appointment for a TD.

Have to note that is a surprise that they had a Test Vehicle in the variant I wanted. I guess visiting Tata Showrooms has lowered my expectations a lot!

The Test Drive

Moving on to the actual Test Drive, was impressed with the torque since the car was able to pull from a standing stop in 3rd gear without effort. This was an error on my part since I had assumed the gearing to be something like Optra where you reverse was on the extreme left and 1st next to it as opposed to pushing down and engaging 1st gear on the Polo. Other than that the biggest thing you notice is how isolated you are from the outside. NVH is at an absolute minimum and the suspension soaks up almost anything. It really felt like you were isolated from the world outside. Gearshift was another positive with its short throw and felt great to use. Main negative noticed at this point was the horrible lack of rear legroom.

The Competition

After this I was somewhat sold on the Polo but wanted to take a look at the Punto before I finalized anything. I requested for a TD at VST Motors. They did not have a TD car available when I visited and said they would bring on home the next day. The next day the car that came was a 1.2 instead of the 1.4 that I had asked for. I took it for a spin anyway. First thing I noticed is that even though it is only a 1.2 it's a very enthusiastic/responsive engine and can put a smile on your face. Another plus is the steering and handling and you really feel connected to the road in short a real driver's car. I am not sure about the exact torque figures but I was able to slow down climb a speed up and accelerate again without any fuss in third gear. So I assume the 1.4 would be even better.

The Decision

I also was considering Fabia but discounted it almost immediately hearing the horrendous stories. The main decision would be between the Punto and Polo. VST offered significant discounts making the Punto a very VFM option and being a real drivers car. Polo on the other hand impressed with its isolation. I felt that this would be a better car to say ferry around parents and family around with slightly better comfort. Another thing that made me nervous about the Punto was the number of niggles reported in new cars in various Punto/Linea ownership threads. I was trying to avoid another experience like my Palio 1.6 where I had to run to a service station every month. VST is close but mostly over capacity from what I have seen and Concorde is a bit too far for comfort. So decided to take a chance on an unknown entity here and booked the Polo.

Buying Experience and Delivery

Buying experience was pretty smooth. Delivery was promised in a week after making full payment. I handed in the cheque on Friday (Nov. end) and payment cleared on Saturday and I think they received the vehicle in their yard on Monday. My dad has asked for delivery on Wednesday since it was an auspicious day. However they couldn't do that and their reason was that their yard turned into slush after heavy rains and they are reluctant to take any cars out!. My dad postponed delivery to Tuesday the following week. They got the vehicle registration and other formalities done Monday and did the installation of accessories (Sun film, Mud flaps etc that came with the bouquet offer) and delivered on Tuesday. I was tied up with work and was not able to go get delivery so that experience went to Dad. I was able to make it later and we did the Pooja and the car was ready to start its life. :)

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