Thursday, December 8, 2011

My Blue Boomerang - Ritz VDi

My Blue Boomerang - Ritz VDi

This is my first ownership report here on Team – BHP. Glad to be sharing with you all fellow BHPians.

I’m currently driving a Maruti Suzuki Ritz VDi. My BLUE BOOMERANG!

The review will be divided into the following parts:

1) Brief History;
2) Buying experience;
3) Life with the Ritz till date.



1. BRIEF HISTORY:

Started driving since I was 18 and before that I wasn’t allowed to drive or ride anything that had an engine. Learnt driving myself and at that time we had a WagonR LXi (2000 model). We used it for 8 years (52000kms) after which we sold and bought another WagonR in 2008 (2008 model). Frankly speaking I was tired of seeing and driving WagonR but my dad loved it. Since I finished my studies and got a job which was around 70 kms from home. So daily travelling was around 140 kms. Used the wagonR for a month and the petrol prices had increased and it was being difficult to fill it. So the need for a diesel arose.

The search began.

I had listed:
1) Swift VDi;
2) Ritz VDi;
3) Figo TDCi;
4) Fabia TDI.

We ruled out the Figo since dad was not happy with Ford’s dealership experience and spares are known to be costly. Coming to Fabia, indeed a very good car, strongly built and has that appeal needed in a car but Skoda services were little skeptical about and since my neighbor has a Fabia we drove it back – to – back with the rest it didn’t impress me much. The diesel engine clatter is too much loud and clearly audible from a distance.

After a lot of Test Drives and a lot of discussion and reading on Team – BHP, I concluded that it will be a Maruti only. Now the battle was between Swift and Ritz.

On the Swift there was no discount and since we were going to exchange the WagonR the dealer offered 10K discount as loyalty bonus. Moreover there was 6 months waiting period for VDI of any colour. This had me to change my decision and move to Ritz which was available in all colours except the green one. I chose the Blue Blaze!

On the Ritz we got the floor mats, stereo with two speakers (seems to be Nippon ones), remote locking, seat covers and mud flaps as freebies from the dealer, a 10K discount as loyalty bonus and 45K discount on the car. This was a good deal and I personally wanted to see the car in all shades before finalizing the colour. We were taken to the stockyard. The dealer had told the delivery date would be 5 days from booking and it was delivered as promised.


2. BUYING EXPERIENCE:

Varun Motors, Begumpet was where I purchased the car. All the PDI was done day before by me as by the checklist available at Team – BHP. We were greeted by the sales person who was in-charge for us in the whole dealings. All the papers and needed checking to be done on the WagonR before the exchange was fast. Once they accepted the exchange and signed the papers we were taking to their delivery area where the Ritz was waiting to get delivered. Before signing the papers I had a thorough look at the car and checked the odometer reading which was 8 kms. It was clean, shining and decorated with balloons and ribbons. After all the formalities we were given a brief explanation of the car and control, service intervals and run – in driving method. Lastly a picture with the sales in-charge, Dad and me with the car was clicked. We were then handed over the car keys.

Accessories given free from Maruti:

Remote locking: Autocop XS
Music system: Sony with front speakers only (upgrade planned, Help needed)
Floor Mats

3. LIFE WITH THE RITZ TILL DATE:

It has been almost a year since purchase and has travelled 40649 kms till date. Love the diesel engine (thanks to GM & Fiat for such a gem). This car is an absolute cracker from Maruti, especially for the state of tune it’s maintained than the competition.

Looks department:

The car looks refreshing and is having a different kind of appeal. Boomerang tail lamps look nice and the design on the front end looks little resembling from an Audi. Large grills with the Suzuki logo look imposing and neat. Coming to rear end it gave me mixed feelings but now I like the shape. It grows generally.

Interiors

Classy is what came into my mind when I sat in for the first time. Migrating from the wagonR the interiors and the quality is a very big leap for me as well as from Maruti’s side. The water fall console with the gear level attached is one the best and comfortable designs I have come across. Very well put together and no panel gaps seen. The interior design is very ergonomic. The only downside on the lower models (LXi, VXi, LDi and VDi) is the missing of electric ORVM adjustment. Only the ZXi model has that feature which is very annoying. Every time I have to adjust the LHS mirror I have to stretch. Even the wagonR has an electric ORVM adjustment!! The tacho is the best part of the package. The placement is very unique and first of the segment. Looks very cool in night and the placement are correct in the line of sight.

Seating

The seats are good but not as comfortable as the wagonR. Some may not agree with me at this point but personally I felt the WagonR had comfortable front seats. Saying this I don’t mean that the seating is bad and uncomfortable. The front seats have a good travel range and the best seating position can be easily found by any driver (irrespective of the height). Coming to rear seats the ride gets little bouncy and uncomfortable. With the adjustable head restraints it is comfortable (not like the i10). Thigh support is what I found it to be deficient. Slight more of thigh support for me would have it comfortable and with the absence of dead pedal it is little uncomfortable to rest the foot beside the clutch pedal. Space for 5 adult passengers is good and the car doesn’t get uncomfortable with 5 onboard. The rear seat is placed higher than the front seats which is good since it doesn’t make it claustrophobic for rear passengers.

Space

The cabin is roomy and has a lot of space when compared to wagonR. Boot space is average and the provision for a boot light is missing (Present in wagonR VXI). Legroom at the rear is average with 6 footer in the front. Headroom is very good and identical to the wagonR. The dashboard is large it feels that the bottom part of the windscreen is too far and gives a feel of a BIG car. Legroom the front is not an issue. Spaces for storage are very good and lots of points ergonomically given. Thanks to the design it doesn’t make things claustrophobic as in the swift. Windows and both the windscreens being large it gives a brighter look and visibility is the best. Since the gear lever is attached to the dashboard the space generated is utilized properly and gives a sense of spaciousness.

Engine

Coming to heart of the car, the 1.3 DDiS is a class act with 190Nm of torque to play. This is the best part of the whole car. The state of tune is just different as I have driven Indica Vista, Fiat Palio with the same diesel engine. Somehow Maruti have done a good job in tuning it and making this such a beauty. Yes the turbo lag irritates but it is how the driver learns to keep the engine in the power band which is short and powerful. Post 2000 rpm it is a different situation. Not many cars can keep in line with the acceleration that this car gets. Fuel efficiency is not a problem at all. Migrating from wagonR, this is a big leap for me. With 84Nm of torque to 190Nm it’s like driving a super carlol:. At 80kmph it hard to know whether it’s a diesel or petrol under the hood. The rpm at 80kmph is around 1900 and just in the turbo range. Light press of the pedal at this point will push you back in the seat and car leaps forward like hell. That feeling is unmatchable ! for me. Smoke from the exhaust is low and is visible on hard acceleration or on flooring. The car shakes mildly while starting and switching off the engine. The shaking is felt more while switching off and no vibration from the pedals is felt.

Gearbox

The gear lever in the wagonR used to shake like the ones of RTC bus which is not seen in the Ritz. Short, slick and precise shifts. It just doesn’t shift false with the shift gates being nicely designed. The gear lever tends to move little forward and backwards on accelerating/decelerating while on 3rd. I haven’t seen it on any other diesel car. Why did they have to put that play in 3rd and why not any other gear?! The gear lever is nice to hold and fits nicely in the palm and placed very comfortably. I love resting my hand on the gear lever though I know it’s a bad habit and I’m trying to get rid of that habit. Cruising at 80 – 100kmph is pretty effortless and doesn’t give a feeling of the engine getting strained.

Brakes

Adequate is what I feel. Not that it is best in class it is decent for day to day use. Since I’m running on 165’s the car screeches sometimes under hard braking but it doesn’t skid on panic braking. The feel will be better once I upgrade to 185’s. Since I have the habit to use engine for braking purpose there is not full pressure on the brakes. I use both engine as well as brakes for braking use.

Handling

I’m impressed the way this car handles itself on corners and on emergency maneuvers. Since I drove a wagonR before this, the body roll being controlled so beautifully that I can take corners at speeds of 90 kmph and its stable, doesn’t lose the line. Yes with the skinny 165’s I do get worried in pushing the car harder. I’ll be upgrading to 185’s and bolt on alloys too. Fellow BHPians please help me whether to choose stock ZXi alloys or aftermarket ones.

Ride

It rides very well when seated in the front. The ride is felt harsh when sitting at the rear. All the road undulations are clearly felt at the rear. The car doesn’t jump or bounce if taken at high speeds over any pothole but makes ‘THUD’ sound if the speed is too high (this feature is common on all the Maruti’s. Felt on the wagonR as well as SX4). The suspension is stiffer than the wagonR so encourages hooliganism to a certain level (not that I drive like a Hooligan).

Fuel Efficiency

The whole and sole reason that got me to this car is the mileage that I’m getting. Within the city (non Bumper-2-Bumper traffic) I get around 17 – 19kmpl. On the highway it stretches to about 23kmpl. Cruising at 80kmph @ 1900rpm is best for me as well as the mileage point of view.

Top Speed:

The highest I have touched this car is at 170kmph on the ORR near. The car was not going any further after 170kmph.

So basically now will be giving the car for the 40K service soon.

Likes:

Visibility (SUV-ish feel)
Diesel engine characteristics
Gearshift and the position of the gear lever
Fuel efficiency
Seating position

Dislikes

Absence of rear wash/wipe
Not so good headlight
Skinny tires

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