Thursday, December 07, 2006

Cars! Cars! Cute lil' Cars!

Maruti has phased out the old Zen and has released a new version - Zen Estilo. The word Estilo technically means style, but for some reason I find the older Zen more attractive. The new one has become a yet another standard-styled car - with the tall boy design, supposedly to attract the youth. Santro, Matiz, Wagon R, Getz, Indica, to an extent, and now Estilo. Tall Boy design is so boring. I used to love Zen's old design. Call it an end of an era. Here's R.I.P to the old Zen!

You just can't stop admiring Maruti's 800 and Zen stable. Both are small, entry level, peppy, and best of all - cheap on maintenance and fuel. I have a huge emotional attachment to Maruti vehicles because I know the difference these cars bring in. We used to spend a bombshell of money on maintenance of our Fiat. 10 years of owning it, we started calling it a white elephant. It really was a mammoth task keeping it up and running all the time. Enter Maruti 800 and the maintenance expense came down to Rs. 500 to 1000 a year and the petrol expense fell by 40%.

After eyeing many models over the past two years, I think I'll either settle down (sometime next year) for a Maruti Esteem or the Renault Logan that's going to come around next year. I was interested in an Opel Corsa, but I've learnt that although it comes at a dirt cheap rate for a entry level luxury car, the maintenance is a bombshell. Mileage isn't anything to write home about. On the other hand, I don't really like Indigo from the Tata stable. The other options are the Ikon or a Fiesta from the Ford stable. Ikon comes relatively cheap but has really bad mileage - 8/9 Kmpl in the city. After getting used to a car that gives 14Kmpl in the city, I can't begin imagining what I'd be spending on petrol with these cars for the amount I drive. Maintenance again is a pain in some corner of the body. A mechanic guy we met last week said, as an example, that if the replacement for an electric part is 400 bucks for the M800, it would cost 600 bucks for an Esteem and 1500 bucks for an Ikon. I simply don't want to venture this into stuff. On the other hand, I've been hearing good stuff about the Fiesta. But I'm actually scared about the thought of maintaining a 7 lac car. One set of trashed rear lights alone would burn a big gaping hole in the pocket. And you can’t possibly avoid stuff like these in Indian traffic since it’s out of your hand.

On evaluating all this, Esteem seems to be a great option. Its design is old and might not get the head-turn of a Ford, but I don't mind that. It gives an amazing mileage of 14KMPL in the city and it comes for 5 Lacs on road. And best of all - it's vintage Maruti when it comes to cheap spare parts and easy maintenance. Don't even start me on the service network. It's got a real peppy engine and its 1300 cc engine, just short of Ikon, is a breeze on the road. More than enough on Indian roads. Its Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is unbeatable. And, after all, you can think about other cars after 6/7 years! The only other alternative seems to be the Logan from the Renault stable, but my father happens to be of the opinion that the European strategy is to sell things cheap and extract the most on maintenance. Something to think about.

Any suggestions, veterans?


At Sunday, December 10, 2006 10:46:00 AM, Blogger Jam said...

Hey there,

Maruti just kicked me in the ba**s when they launched the Tall Boy Zen Estilo. Like you say, RIP Good Ol' Zen. Was planning to upgrade my faithful ol' Zen with a new one, but like you I probably will settle down for Good Ol' Esteem instead now.

BTW, what is this Renault Logan all about and wouldn't you want to wait and watch the vehicle for a while before you actually go ahead and buy it as one of the first few in the country.

I completely agree with your dad with the European strategy part. Sell low and then squeeze on the spare parts and maintenance. I d rather go for Maruti cars, what with excellent mileage and amazing service network all over the country.


At Monday, December 11, 2006 12:58:00 AM, Blogger Govar said...

Waiting, watching and all are gonna take too much time. Can't wait for Logan I guess. Lets see how it works out.

At Friday, December 22, 2006 5:05:00 PM, Blogger Lumbergh-in-training said...

bro, ur not alone in hating estilo... that's what happens when people dont understand other languages but try to use it anyway...
"but for some reason I find the older Zen more attractive"
that some reason is they gave a good name to an ugly car!! they shuldve called it something else

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At Sunday, April 01, 2007 11:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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