Thursday, April 29, 2010

Why should I buy Chevrolet Beat? Review

Question:  I have five Options. What To Choose from them? No Other Car!

·    Chevrolet Beat 1.2l LT (Option Pack)
·    Hyundai i20 1.2l Asta
·    Tata Indica Vista Saffire Aura+ 1.2l
·    Volkswagen Polo 1.2l TSI (Highline)
·    Ford Figo 1.2l TSI Platinum

The main thing is that my dad is willing to have only few important things to consider while making the decision:
1) Fuel Efficient (Most Important) with compliance to BS-IV Norms (No Lesser Than This)
2) Total Cost should be under 5 Lakhs (Maximum 6 Lakhs)
3) Long Term Ownership (Meaning this will be the only replacement after our beloved Fiat Padmini 1100 Deluxe BE dies out after 2010 in which I am learning how to drive!)
4) And Silly Thing - Only Hatch!!! (Due to parking woes in the capital).

After rave reviews and hell lot of R&D daily with websites, car magazines, friends and many more, I have limited myself to BEAT, Vista A+ & Figo!

I am in love at first sight with Hyundai i20, but Asta is crossing 6 lakh mark and budget has rose that even more! VW Polo demo cars have arrived from 10th of March but it might also become over budget for me to purchase, lets wait & watch!

Taking these facts into consideration please tell me what to select, but I forgot to tell one thing! Indica Vista Aura+ Engine are BS - III Compliant so again my dad will reject the car. So only two choices left:

Beat & Figo.

But the twist is that a lot of rave reviews has said that they are unsure of the Figo's Petrol variant and its also 10 ps less than Beat too! One thing to say that I want green color as the paint of the car, which is present, both in FIGO & BEAT!

Ultimately it's the Chevrolet BEAT!!! which is left. So Everyone common what you all think about this? Should I go with the BEAT or i20 or Figo!

An Expert Opinion Is Required! All BEAT owners please reply back since mileage is important in whole decision, please suggest which car to go for?

Answer: If its going to be a long term ownership like your Fiat Padmini, you can wait for Polo, it comes with a 6 years anti corrosion warranty, which means the body should be well built with top class quality materials. Its has five star EURO NCAP safety rating. Figo is specifically made for economy conscious markets like India. Both Figo and polo misses on automatic climate control on top end variants. Beat is high on equipment level, you will have almost all features that you imagine. i10 has an extremely refined engine and super slick gear box with short throws.

I hope you have only petrol options in mind. If then, go for Beat or Ritz (though it is not in your list). I am a beat owner and I previously had the following cars in mind:

·    Skoda Fabia 1.2
·    Beat 1.2
·    Ritz 1.2
·    I20 1.2
·    Figo 1.2
·    Polo 1.2

My preferences were VFM, mileage and minimum cost of ownership, so immediately I crossed Polo, Figo and Fabia. This is because like WW, Ford & Skoda provide premium cars, so does they charge for service and parts. Just an example: a small crash with my relatives Ford Fusion resulted in shedding 1 Lakh INR, for Headlight (1 side) was around Rs12000. Similar is the case with my uncle's Icon. One of my friend have a Fabia and he says it is a good car until his dad's rich! WW & Skoda has very poor service network and their bills are not affordable to common people (many parts are still imported and not made here), so now I have Beat, Ritz & I20 in my option. Beat starts from 3.36 lakhs onwards. Why should I go for an underpowered and costly I20 (I can almost buy 2 Beats for that price or an ugly but otherwise good Ritz? So I finally ended up in Beat, a true VFM. I am getting a mileage of 18 kmpl on highways and 15 in heavy city traffic (both without AC) till now. Today is my car's first service and it clocked 1300 km in odo. Oil change is on 15000 kms so there are no charges for my first service. The only problem I faced is the noisy rear suspension in bad roads and potholes. When I asked the service guy, he said Chevrolet has rectified the sound with new suspension bushes. They didn't receive the replacement bushes from the company and will correct it once they are on stock under warranty. You said your dad is conscious about mileage. Ask him about cost of ownership too. Beat & Ritz have the minimum cost of ownership in its class. Your decision is final man

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fastest Car - Diesel vs Petrol

Winning a race does not depend on the car alone but on the driving skills too. I never said petrol would win against diesel in city. In fact I wrote that in the city most of the time, the diesel would win. But city driving does depends a lot on individuals driving skills. Forget beating diesel with petrol, I may not be able to win if you were on the petrol and I on the diesel. It depends on the driving skills. But yes within the operating range in the city, diesel does pack in more power than the petrol. On the point of being a fastest car, I just say petrol would reach 100 km/hr faster from rest. On braking, well I am still not very sure but I would probably go by what is mentioned in the previous blog post. Braking distance does depend on the momentum of the moving body and diesel being a heavier car would have more momentum at a particular speed than the petrol.

I am not good at very fast driving but what I am trying to say is when you drive both, you feel the huge difference. I tried to be unbiased when I wrote about the difference but not sure I was really unbiased or not. Not sure if you have test driven Swift Diesel. If not, just try it once and let me know the experience. Petrol or Diesel, Swift Rocks.

Racing Swift VXI or VDI

I am not 100% sure about technically which one is capable to reach high speed sooner but when you drive you feel the difference. I have driven both and I am not ready to believe that petrol will beat the diesel in the city as mentioned in the previous posts in this blog. I will accept it if you beat me in city.

About the braking distance:

My understanding is torque is there even when you are not pressing the accelerator (idealing torque) which is higher than petrol. On a practical note, try the braking in both and you will certainly say that petrol's brake is quick and instant compared to diesel. If not torque, there may be some other reason but check that out. The diesel Swift weighs more than the petrol and the brakes in both cars I am sure are the same. So if you think braking distance of D is more than P, it could be due to that alone.

Swift Petrol or Diesel - Who Wins the Race

If there is a race between Swift Petrol and Swift Diesel, then a petrol car will only win in the race track or a drift because it has higher RPM ranges but it takes time to reach there. In city roads Swift Diesel is a clear winner. If you need power, go with Swift VDI.

A petrol car like Swift does not take more time to reach speeds. That’s only case if you consider same gear acceleration. Otherwise, it reaches 100 km/Hr a good 2 sec before diesel car. and on the quarter mile, the difference gets higher, so Swift VDI would not  be able to beat Swift VXI if both start from rest. Power would not be the right term I guess because theoretically it is the Swift VXI Petrol that has more HPs and HPs are the units for power. Yeah, if we substitute that with pulling power, well yes Swift VDi Diesel has more pulling power (i.e. torque) which is not exactly the same as power because you can vary the useful torque of an engine with gearing but the thing that remains constant is HP and that is what called as real power of a car.

One more point someone said, “VDI has higher torque and even though both use the same brake, braking distance will be a little more in VDI."

No, I don’t think torque has to do anything with braking because when you apply brakes, you are not accelerating. and the engine is not producing torque or rather transferring that torque on to the wheels because you either let go on the pedal or press the clutch. In either case, no torque is being transferred to the wheels.

Bolero GLX - 2000 Model Coolant Problem

Question:  I own a Bolero GLX - 2000 model, has run 70k kms till date. I having no problem at all, free sailing, and the only thing is it drinks too much of coolant. What can I do about this?

Answer:  Now you are in a state where the engine needs to be a cared a bit more then what you have been doing before. You absolutely HAVE TO change the oil and other fluids working directly on the engine once in 5k kms, especially be very careful of the engine oil grade stick to 20W40 come what may. Recommended brands- The Mahindra Maxilube or the Castrol GTX Diesel, both are 20W40 and rated CF-4, don't use or rather try to avoid Castrol GTD it is CD-4 and not highly recommended.

Get the coolant checked once in a week and always top up the bottle with distilled water and the radiator with coolant, but don't be too generous with the coolant. Every 10K kilometers drain the coolant and fill it up with fresh one. The Bolero now needs a bit of TLC, but if you don't miss out on the routine maintenance, the vehicle will easily go another 50K without a major rebuild. Hope this helps.

Diesel Car Maintenance Tips

Question:  Would like to know after how many kilometers, it is advisable to replace the following items, engine oil, oil filter, diesel filter, coolant, steering oil, and brake oil? Also there may be few things that I may have missed out, which I would like to know.

Answer: Best place to look for this information is the owner's manual, as it has periodic maintenance listed in a table with approximate kilometers required for a change in consumables. Regarding engine oil, I change engine oil at every 5K kms and diesel filter at 20K kms.

Question: Do you need to change coolant, steering oil, and brake oil periodically unless there is a problem or do you need to bleed the old one, fill in new? Actually I need to change my coolant frequently within a span of 3 months. Is it okay?

Answer: There is something wrong with your car. get your radiator, fan and hose checked. The coolant level dips very sharply and hence top it with plain water, but ultimately within a span of 3 months only water remains, hence, you need to fill the coolant again and no top up after 3 months.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Xylo vs Scorpio - My Two Cents

Question:  Tell me which vehicle Xylo or Scorpio is more comfort. I don't want the style matter, especially which one have much legroom in the third row seating. Is Xylo reliable like Scorpio? Can we drive Xylo in rough roads often? You might have played with both Xylo and Scorpio. Please share your suggestions.

My Two Cents:  First and foremost they both are two different machines from two different segments, one is an SUV and the other is a mini van. I have a Scorpio and have test driven the Xylo. The scorpio has a lot of body roll which is very well controlled in the Xylo. There is still noticeable body roll though. The Scorpio has better pick and acceleration compared to the Meagle engine on the Xlyo, but it is not bad, it pulls well, has a slight noticeable turbo lag, but in the right power, it really moves well.

Now coming to the leg room, it has loads of space in the form of leg room as compared to the Mahindra Scorpio, the third row even beats the Toyota Innova in legroom. Then, there are so many bells and whistles that are offered for the price and a lot of nick naks spread all over the car. I think the Xylo is also more mileage oriented. Xylo is a better tourer than the Scorpio any day. Go for it if you want comfort and don't want to be tossed around, but again here the Mhawk has a lot of suspension issue sorted out, so it is not as bad as the CRDE that I have.

If you want road presence, command of view, and the butch look with SUV owner tag then Scorpio. Value for money Xylo every rupee of it. Now all you need to do is a test drive of Xylo and Scorpio and decide for yourself.

Bought New Swift - Now Upgrade It

An important point is whatever you are buying, you should think of following upgrade:

1. Lights: factory fitted 55w light is insufficient and very poor. You have to upgrade to Philips rally 90/100 which requires an additional wiring. Total cost is 1000. There are some lights like Osram night breaker and one Philips mode which claim to provide more light without the need of any realy or wiring. It costs around 1200.

2. Horn: It is very soft and nobody moves. You should put Skoda horn (Made by hella) 700rs.

3. Steering wheel grip is not good. Good one cost 450 INR.

4. Tyre : Factory fitted tyres and not suited for high speed driving. You should upgrade to at least 185/70 (Michelin energy xm1)

5. Sunfilm. The best sunfilm V-Kool costs around 5.5k

Unbiased Review of Maruti Swift VXI or VDI

Monday, April 26, 2010

Which Maruti Swift Should I Buy - VXI or VDI

You don’t need to be an automobile engineer or a maruti swift engineer to have a good knowledge about VXI AND VDI. I think the below steps will surely help many Swift lovers to decide on VXI or VDI.

Very simple
Petrol= 11 km per liter mileage
Diesel=15 km per liter mileage

Petrol = Rs 48
Diesel = Rs 37

Petrol more fun on high revs
Diesel fun enough on low revs

More rev = more fuel consumption = higher running cost.

Vdi has a turbo which kicks in at about 1800 RPM that is as close as you can get to feeling NOS in India, so go for Swift VDI

Read in more detail here:

Which Maruti Swift Variant Should I Buy - Compared Swift VXI or VDI