Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Dark Knight has arrived : Pearl Black Vento TDi Highline.

The Dark Knight has arrived : Pearl Black Vento TDi Highline.

It's been 9 months and 2700 kms since our car arrived. Many a times I thought for writing up my ownership thread but for the want of time couldn't. So better late than never, here it goes. This is my first ownership thread so please excuse if I made any mistake. Suggestions are always welcomed.

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It all started as discussion for a need for change in Nov 2010. We were having a Kinetic Honda DX Jan'96 and a Tata Indica DLS May'04 as our daily drive. Indica was used by dad for his daily commute to office and Kinetic was used by me and my mother for our daily need for going for shopping, grocery, etc. Navi Mumbai was getting hotter and hotter and dusty all the more. It was becoming tedious to use Kinetic as our sole means of transport. This ignited a spark for a need for a car.

1st Decision: Petrol or Diesel?
As with our low mileage of 300kms per month it was decided it would be petrol and not a diesel. But my thread reads TDi, the twist in the later part.

2nd Decision: Hatchback or Sedan?
Second was the discussion whether it will be a sedan or a hatchback? We were already having a hatchback and some time it happened be needed more boot space for airport transfers or because of our international relatives who really used to bring huge sized luggage. So Indica never used to suffice. It was then decided that we would purchase a sedan and the car would be a proper C segment and not some CS(Compact Sedan).

3rd Decision: Which car?
It had been known for years that if there is King of C segment than it is the Honda City. The car which set the benchmark for other cars to follow. But as a thought process gave a try for other cars but there weren't many.

Fiat Linea:
Dad rejected it without a test drive because Tata handled Fiat's aftersales. Dad already owned a Tata, the affairs at the Tata workshop were nothing to write home about. So we didn't want to take that risk either. Another factor which didn't work out in Linea's favour was its interior which may look classy to some but appeared quite old and boring to us.

Hyundai Verna Transform:
The car was getting old and we knew a new one would be coming soon. The transformation left the car very much undesirable. The car's handling was also not good and because of highway drive we didn't want to purchase a car which didn't handle well. So ultimately it was too rejected without a test drive.

Honda City:
Oh boy I was so desperately waiting to get my hands onto it. I always used to admire this car and who didn't. It was the best petrol C segment car.
On 5 Dec 10 we went to the nearest Honda Dealership which is Hallmark Honda Nerul. As it was Sunday there weren't that many SA around. We told the lady at the reception that we were looking for purchasing a Honda City and if someone could help us with it.
We kept looking around the dealership and 5 minutes later, a lady comes over. She takes us to the 1st Floor of their dealership as that's where the display cars at. There weren't many SA around so the manager steps in to help and assist us.
The first part was which variant to decide over and as it was a personal purchase we were interested in only the V variant. We asked the manager for a test drive but as luck has it, there were no test drive car available.
Dad is busy all through the weekdays, so told the Manager to arrange for the test drive on the weekend. Come next Saturday, one of their SA turns up at our house with a brand new Honda City V MT. The car hardly had 1000 kms on the odo. After the test drive the car felt good but dad didn't like it much. I was like :eek:.
The engine surely was good but the interior seats weren't that good. The under thigh support was not good and the car seats were very firm and not soft. Might be because as it was new car. The car ground clearance was also a problem. As it was having a soft suspension the car with 5 passengers on board, car would sack too much. The SA even told, "Sir before parking the car please ask everyone on board to get down as your parking has a small ramp and it may happen the car might scrap its belly". It was not a real deal breaker, but in the end we knew it was the best C segment car and you couldn't get anything better.
The only thing which left a sour taste was that the SA was demanding booking amount then and there as he had promised at the office, he would bring in one booking that day. We told him we will think over and let him know.

Dad had some official trips and the new car plan was but on the back burner. During that time the SA called up dad 25 times just for asking when you would be booking sir. After dad's trips were over, the new car thing was again up and running.

The Twist.

With the increasing petrol prices we started having thought whether it made sense to purchase a petrol or diesel car. Diesel prices were remaining the same and petrol prices were hitting the roof. So it was decided to even look at the diesel option, but Honda City doesn't come in diesel.

Chevrolet Cruze:
As now diesel too was in the contender list, so why not a diesel rocket? The car is surely expensive considering it's a C+ segment car compared to Honda City, but a test drive won't hurt. Called up Chevrolet dealership Nikhil Automobiles and a test drive car was arranged at our house.
The car surely is a diesel rocket but there is the turbo lag which would make it difficult for driving in bumper to bumper traffic of Mumbai. The best part I liked of the car was the brakes, they were just too good. The interiors had Corvette feel very much evident.
We were looking at the Cruze LTZ variant but it was exceeding our budget so was ultimately dropped out of the list.

Next Test Drive: Volkswagen Vento
Volkswagen was a new entrant into the Indian market and had launched its Vento sedan based on Polo in Sept 2010. So let's give VW a try.
The nearest and the only VW Showroom in the whole of Navi Mumbai is VW Navi Mumbai KSM Motors at Nerul. We went to the showroom on 18 Dec 10. The showroom was buzzing with people. As we entered, we told the lady at the reception we were looking for Vento. She called up the Sales Executive Anil Naik, who would be dealing with us all throughout.
We asked him if we can first have a test drive and discuss pricing later. Already read the Team-BHP review of Vento, so most of things were known already. We knew diesel engine is much more powerful but wanted to test drive the petrol first.
Both the petrol and diesel car were available for test drive. Test drove the petrol first, but it just didn't connect. The car is not that quick compared to Honda City. For every overtaking you need to downshift.
Next came the diesel, dad took it for the spin first. Oh boy the torque was just awesome. After driving a Tata Indica DLS it was a revelation. We were sold onto the TDi.

There are only two variant available in Vento Trendline and Highline. Trendline seem too basic and it lacked safety features like ABS and Airbags which were present in Honda City most basic variant. Highline had all the bells and whistles with safety features and ACC which is missing in Honda City. So if it's a Vento than it would be a Highline.

So which one to choose VW Vento TDi Highline or Honda City VMT?

Next came the biggest surprise, pricing. Honda City VMT in Dec'10 costs Rs. 9,13,000 Ex Showroom which fits perfectly in our budget. The VW Vento TDi Highline costs the same. Yes, you read it right VW Vento costs Rs. 9,13,000 Ex Showroom. So there is no break even period and only savings in fuel cost plus unadulterated torque feel.
There were than discussion regarding, whether it will be right to have a diesel even though the running is so low. Earlier myths were, the diesel needs to be driven daily and only if you had a usage of more than 1000 kms a month, the diesel was favoured.
All these myths were busted and VW Vento TDi Highline was the final choice.

The pricing was discussed and the booking amount was Rs. 75000. The waiting period was told to us as 4-5 months. The manager said "Sir we don't want to give you a false date and later you would question us. We will try to deliver the car as early as possible, but frankly the waiting period can be anything between 4-5 months". We weren't in any hurry and it wasn't a deal breaker. We were ready to wait.

Booking Experience:

On 25th Dec 2010 we finally booked the VW Vento TDi Highline by paying a booking amount of Rs. 75000. The colour choice was a bit difficult. At the time of booking only white, red, silver and pearl black were available. The Terra Beige and Shadow Blue weren't in production. If we chose the latter ones than the waiting period would be more and frankly parents didn't like either of the two.
So the colour choice was Pearl Black. Our very first black colour car. The booking was smooth with a final test drive to seal it.

Now the waiting started.

Fast forward 3 months.
On 19th March 2011 my mother receives a call from VW Nerul and she hands over the phone to me. The lady on the phone confirms Sir your Vento has arrived and we request you to process the payment for delivery of your car. I was so happy that day, finally the D-day has come and the waiting was just 3 months as compared to 4-5 months previously told to us.

PDi and experiencing the car for the first time:

Next weekend decide to do a PDi first before making the final payment. VW Nerul stockyard is 30 kms away from their showroom. Sales Executive gave us the address of the stockyard and there we were checking out our Vento for the very first time at the stockyard. Took the Team-BHP PDi check list along and did the PDi.
The best part was the car was having 0 kms on the odo, kudos to VW. There was just a slight scratch on the front bumper and rest everything was fine. Fired up the engine, checked the AC, all working as expected.
Came back to Showroom from stockyard and made the final payments. The Sales Executive told us that he would be bringing the car the very same day from the stockyard. As a wild idea rather than their driver bringing the car from the stockyard why not we drive the car all the way from stockyard to their workshop.
So it was final we were again off to stockyard to drive our Vento for the very first time. As we took the car ourselves to the workshop, we were able to get the accessories directly done. Otherwise it would mean, first we tell the Showroom guys than they will convey it to the workshop.

So the accessories were finalized then and there.
1. Mud Flap Set Rs. 1453
2. Parking Sensors 4 nos acoustic warning function Rs. 3850
3. Sun Film Llumar Solar Control Film Exclusive Rs. 6605
4. Sun Film Front Llumar Rs. 2100
5. Rubber mat Beige Rs. 1815
6. Seat Cover Premium Leatherette Dark Colour Rs. 8186
7. Key Chain VW Logo 2 nos Rs. 860
8. Door Side protector with Vento Lettering Rs. 1585
9. Door step premium Vento Rs. 1445
Total Rs. 27899.
Didn't have the time to get the icing done from outside, so got it all done from VW itself.

Registration and Insurance:
Only after car PDi has been done and all accessories are fitted than only can it be sent for registration and an insurance cover note is needed for it. Worked out the registration charges and they were charging Rs. 5000 more if otherwise done by us.
We even wanted a special number for which the dealership was charging Rs. 11,000. Did it ourselves and it comes for Rs. 7500. So car's registration number was finalized, now remaining was insurance. Turns out even that too is more, so did it ourselves Comprehensive 0% depreciation and got the cover note needed for registration.
Only thing remaining was the registration of the Vehicle with the Vashi RTO. We didn't want the hassle of doing it so let the showroom do it for us even though they were charging a premium of Rs. 5000.

Delivery Experience:
We took the delivery of the car on 4th April 2011 as it was dhanterars an auspicious day. The showroom was having 36 deliveries that day. We were giving time slot of 12:00 pm. We were at the place at 11:45 am but our car was not there. Surprised!
The car was still at the workshop and was getting washed. As there was lot of deliveries at the Showroom, we though why not take the delivery at the workshop itself. It will save us the time and commotion. Took the Sales Executive along with us and took the car from the workshop.
Showroom gave us a 5 lt diesel coupon which could be redeemed at the IOC petrol pump.
Toped up the car and were off to our house for a puja.
Performed the puja and decided to go for the long drive. Did a 250 km drive very same day and enjoyed the car.


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The car looks elegant and has typical German understated styling. This car would age very slowly as compared to its counterparts. From the front it may appear same as its smaller sibling Polo and it's only the air dam which separates them. The car has quite a lot of chrome and we Indians love it. From the rear car looks quite wide and during the night time the rear tail lamp looks fabulous.


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The interiors are of top notch quality. Each and every part is made up of quality materials. My Vento only doesn't have the chrome on the headlamp switch rest all everything made it of the assembly line. The leather cladding on the steering is very good compared to plastic feel in our previous car Indica.
The chrome outlines the interiors and makes it look rich. The car came with OEM music system, which only reads CD, MP3 that's it, no USB or AUX. Managing by writing music to CD's. The sound quality is average nothing great but the bass is good for whatever reasons.
Don't know who gave the idea to VW to have beige carpeting. The VW mats bought weren't good and so bought Kagu 3D mats black colour costing Rs. 4500. Kagu mats are worth purchasing for Vento. The mats bought from VW now do the duty in the boot and keeping the boot clean. Boot space is 480 lt which is sufficient enough.

Other points:

Car delivers a very good mileage of 14 Kmpl in Mumbai traffic condition.
Feels solidly built and the thud is there when you close the door.
Car handles very well on triple digit speeds.
The steering is very easy to use given it is an EPS and weighs up properly at higher speeds.
The torque is instantaneous after 1400 rpm and goes on till 2600 rpm. There is no turbo lag and the car is easy to drive in city traffic.
The car never feels strained and keeps going till it reaches its top speed of 186 Kmph.
The brakes are very good, just tap onto it and car loses its speed instantaneously.
Servicing is at 15000 kms or 1 year, saves you the time from going to service station again and again.

The engine noise is on the higher side and doesn't feel refined.
The car came shod with JK's which give lot of tyre noise.
Stock head lamp bulb is just 60W, needed to replace it with Philips 90/100 W with PMP relays.

Aftersales Experience:
The throw of the left side headlamp was not proper from day one so complained it to KSM Motors VW Workshop. The reply I get was even funnier, "The LHS head lamp throw is less because in Germany it is so". I did not budge from my point and they later accepted it and replaced the head lamp assembly for free. But still it is better but certainly not the best.
You need to take prior appointment and then only go to their workshop's reason being they have quite a lot of cars for service.
Got the AutoLock feature activated in the Vento, thanks to Noopster for pointing it out.

Some more pictures of The Dark Knight:

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Thanks for reading.

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