Last one month has been busy in deciding my new car. Buying a car ( is a hard decision. As I had now bought my new car, an Indica Vista Aura ABS QJ, I would like to share of experiences of trying out 3 cars before deciding to buy this car.
I was looking for a hatchback big enough car where 3 people can sit comfortably in the rear seat. Sedans are ruled out for the parking problems in my apartment. In the Maruti Wagon R that I own for last 7 years, it is always a struggle to fit 3 people in the rear seat. Apart from that, the Wagon R has been a fantastic car because of the upright sitting position of the driver and I had enjoyed every bit of driving whenever I took it to the highways. But the new Wagon R looks terrible. Maruti have killed it. Neither had I liked the look of Ritz. Swift’s look is 6 years old. Therefore after owning 2 Maruti cars, I wanted try something else. Further I wanted to try a diesel this time as my petrol bill has gone up considerably in last few months because of the spiraling oil prices. You can’t get out in Delhi’s 40+ heats without the AC on. When I bought the wagon R, petrol was selling for 33 a liter or so. Now it is 50+.
As usual the search started with searches on the net on various websites and forums. Car buy / sell sites have flourished in last few years. It is big market and a source of information. Many a times these forums will make you go made. Honestly most people in the forum are making comments on cars which they had hardly driven. Driving a car for a couple of KM does not make an expert on that car. So most of these so called auto experts writes in the forums borrowing knowledge from auto magazines.
My choices were zeroed in to three new cars in the market. Punto, Fabia or VW Zeta could not be considered because of my transferable job, I need service backup. Thus my choices were the Hyundai i20, Ford Figo and Indica Vista QJ. The first one I tried was the Hyundai i20. I targeted the new Sportz version. The car has killer looks and anyone will fall for it. Driving was also pleasurable with many inbuilt features. The on-road price for me would have been 5.95 lakh. But even at this price for a petrol car which does not have a very good mileage, I was not getting ABS. Only the Asta version of i20 has ABS and it would have cost me 6.3 lakh. The diesel version is beyond reach.
The next vehicle I tried was the Ford Figo. Actually Figo is a small car pitted against cars like Wagon R, 10, etc. I tried the Titanium diesel version. Driving was good as is most new cars. The on road price in Delhi was 5.82. This had a Bluetooth enabled 2 DIN music system. But surprisingly did not have tilt steering. The features were very little as compared to other new cars. The plastic of bumper felt so soft. Cost cutting was apparent. The look is good. But the costs of ownership of Ford cars are high. There was nothing so appealing for me to go for this car.
Then I tried the new Indica Vista. Despite all the negativities about a Tata car, when I sat on the steering wheel for the test drive, it felt a little overwhelmed. I never thought that such a big diesel car would move around so easily. The power steering, though not as smooth as my Wagon R, was smooth. It had a host of features, mostly borrowed from the Fiat Punto. Tata’s has a JV with Fiat and thus has fitted this car with almost every feature of Punto. The engine used for Vista QJ is same as that used in Punto or Swift. Vista had host of features like lumber support for both front seats, Bluetooth enabled 2 DIN music system, driver seat height adjustment, tilt steering, rear wiper and demister, both front and rear fog lamps. I found that at 5.5 on road price Vista is offering what others are offering at around 7 lakh. The car was being offered with 3 years free maintenance package and an assured buyback at 60% price after 3 years. That is 2+2 years warranty with 3 years free maintenance which literally means no cost for maintenance. This was too much for me to drop the idea of i20. The i20 Sportz was costing me 5.95 lakh, that is 45K more, that too without ABS. Vista was diesel whereas i20 was petrol. i20 Diesel at almost 8 lakh was beyond reach. If I discount the cost of alloy wheels, the i20 is still costlier by 25K, which would be enough to buy diesel for 3 years. The mileage of Vista is around 20-21 on highway as against 15-16 of i20.
The Vista has 3 engine variants. The Safire is 1172cc petrol and is an underpowered car at 65PS. The TDI version uses Tata’s indigenous 1405cc 71 PS diesel engine which is the familiar noisy Indica engine. The drivetech version with Fiat’s 1248cc 75PS diesel engine and gearbox had just been launched. There are 5 variants with different features in each engine type. That is lot of variants, typical of Tata cars. It starts with Terra (earth), then Aqua (water) and Aura (air). The top end Aura had 3 variants – Aura, Aura ABS and Aura ABS +Airbag. The engine used for Vista QJ is same as that used in Punto or Swift. The new ad looked impressive (follow the youtube link in my earlier post).
Like most of us I also did not have a very positive view of Tata cars for personal use. This despite my working as a trainee engineer at Tata Motors a decade back at their Pune plant. Tata have been known for generations for making vehicles for commercial use. Almost all commercial vehicles launched by Tata’s has been a success, be it the 407, 207, or the 609. But personal cars was a different story. The Indica has been on the road for now almost 10 years with n number of versions. Tata had even launched a limited edition Vista to mark the 10th year of Indica launch. Indica has always been perceived as a taxi car. Thus when they launched a car with all new look and features, even size, they named it Indica Vista. This is done while retaining the old Indica the price of which is much lower to kept it attractive for cab / taxi use. But what baffled most is why they retained the word Indica for the Vista. The only similarity may be the back of the car. Even that is different from the old Indica, though not very distinctively different. They why named it as Indica. As most people would write on the net, an Indica is an Indica. They should have removed the name Indica from Vista to make it more appealing.
Thus I made a practical decision. I finalized on model AURA ABS QJ. I had consulted a neighbor who owns a Vista for almost a year. His feedback was positive. By that time one more Vista had arrived in the society. But I had to convince my wife on the Vista who could not forget the look of i20. Once the car was decided, it was about deciding where to buy new car ( . The bargaining started with two nearby dealers. I received the car after 20 days of placing the order, despite having no official waiting time. We had our first long drive yesterday around Delhi. The car rode majestically, taking care of potholes very easily. The wagon R being a couple of hundred kg lighter felt flying through air 100+ rather being on the road. Being heavier and with wider tyres, this one felt always remained on the road. My wife is now convinced we made a good choice. When I bought the Wagon R that was the only Wagon R in the colony. Here I have company. While out on the road, I get to see many Vista indicating the increasing acceptability of the car.
Here is some more info in case you want to research about cars :
Here is some more info in case you want to research about cars :