It was November 2013, when a random thought passed my mind to find a replacement to my Dad's boring, though legendary, Maruti Suzuki Omni and get ourselves a better car. Little did I know then that I would be owning a 'Big fish' exactly a year later.
November 2013 - The online casual research Begins:
I call it 'The Online-Window-Shopping' ! In search of a car that would perfectly suit a family of 4 (My parents,sister and myself). A car that would personify style, comfort, class, solidarity, elegance and everything that a middle class man could think of. There are so many cars out there in the market and it gets really tough and confusing to pick the right one and especially when its going to be your first. When there is choice, there is lots of confusion. Indeed ! I decided to ask myself a few questions that would help me to zero-in on one.
A Hatchback or a Sedan or a compact SUV ? and budget ?
Sedans were always my personal favorites. There were around 7 cars falling instantly within my budget - Hyundai Verna, Volkswagen Vento, Skoda Rapid, Honda City 2014, Ford Fiesta, Nissan Sunny and Fiat Linea. The list grew to 10 after my dad shared his preferences - Volkswagen Polo and Fiat's Punto along with Renault Duster. I wanted to consider all of them and keep all my options open, slightly being biased towards sedans. Thankfully the list just stood at 10 because my mother and sister are not too keen about them and their role came in only while deciding a color.
Petrol or Diesel ?
The answer to this solely depends on once need. My office is around 30Kms(One way) from home and my Pulsar does the job of carrying me to and fro. My dad commutes on his Activa. The daily running was going to be much lesser than 50kms/day and the car will be used occasionally and mostly during weekends. Hence, the choice of deciding on the type of engine was easier. It had to be a petrol drinking machine. Moreover, I am in huge favor of the refinement of petrol engines when compared to the noisy grunts of their diesel counterparts.
What did I want in a car?
1. Looks play a major role. It had to be a head turner. 2. Good Comfort, drive-ability,safety and a premium feel. 3. Features like reverse camera, rear parking sensors, rear air con vents, keyless entry, cruise control, fog lamps etc ... 3. Fuel economy. 4. Less maintenance costs. 5. Good after sales service and brand reputation.
Jan 2014:The Elimination Method
Volkswagen Polo,Fiat Punto and Renault Duster:
These 3 cars were immediately out of contention. The primary reason was because they were not sedans. I had earlier considered them because of my dad's opinion. I knew at one point or the other that they would be eliminated from the list. I managed to convince my dad about the awesomeness of a sedan that no hatchback or a SUV could ever match(IMO).
Fiat Linea,Nissan Sunny and Ford Fiesta:
These 3 were the next to face rejection. Both Fiat Linea and Nissan Sunny were too big and bulky for my liking. A deal breaker! I felt that the Ford Fiesta has a futuristic and bold design, the front looks like an Aston Martin. The boot was out of proportion. It did not strike me enough and therefore this too was out of contention. Eliminating the above cars was easy. The tough part started when the list stood at 4, comprising Hyundai Verna, The All New Honda City 2014, Skoda Rapid and Volkswagen Vento.
Skoda Rapid and Volkswagen Vento:
Both the European sedans are smart and well built. The design is clean and appealing. I took a test drive of both the cars and came out impressed. The drive quality on both these cars was good. Excellent handling, safety and good driving dynamics. These two are no non-sense cars and good at getting the job done. However, the negative side was that the interiors were too simple and features offered were minimal compared to the feature rich Verna and the new City. After sales service of these two Germans is not up to the mark. Verdict : Both Skoda Rapid and Volkswagen Vento were out of contention. Now the list came down to 2 from 10 - The New Fluidic Hyundai Verna and The All New Honda City 2014. Things got very tough and confusing. Read posts on Team BHP about these two cars, comparison reports on other portals, watched multiple review videos repeatedly. Ended up getting even more confused.
The All New Honda City 2014 Test Drive:
I decided to take the TD of both the vehicles. First, I dropped in at the Dakshin Honda Showroom on Lavelle Road,Bangalore. The moment I stepped into the showroom, my eyes fell on this majestic silver colored Honda City which was on display. It was love at first sight. That was the first time I had seen her live. Instantly I knew that I must own his beauty(forgetting that I had Verna in my consideration list). I asked for a TD of the petrol variant, but unfortunately, the petrol variant had not reached the shores yet, clearly indicating that Honda were leaving no stone turned to market and give preference to their first Diesel Engine. The SA at Dakshin told that the Petrol variant will be launched only in the month of March and also told that the waiting period will be a minimum of 3-4 months. Took the TD of the diesel top end and the only drawback I felt was the engine roar that was audible in the cabin. Returned back in March to drive the petrol City and made the booking soon after.
To be continued...
She finally comes home: (Mobile Image)
This is how she looks now :