Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Hyundai Verna NS Test Drive

Wow! what a huge difference in experience and ambience inside the car. Its simply spot on. I now feel a lot of things wrong in the Ciaz that is well done in the Verna. Let me explain..

I was able to reach the pedals with ease. For your reference, I am 5.6 and I did not have any difficulty reaching the pedals, but the clutch did feel a little harder than in Ciaz (same with the gear handle). 

The dashboard is well designed. There is a good view from the driver's seat. In Ciaz, I felt like the dashboard was too high and a tad bulky.

Finish and quality is premium. In Ciaz, you will see cheap plastic being used that is prone to scratches and damage.

Boot space is awesome! This is an important criteria for me, and for some reason it seemed a little more than the Ciaz.. could be because of lesser wheel intrusion???

Engine is super responsive. I don't think I have to add more to this. The cabin is silent and the suspension feels a little stiff. The rear space is descent too.

Overall a good value for money though it costs about 1.5 lacs more than the Ciaz.  I finally feel like I have arrived at a decision. Verna is the car I would opt for. Many would argue that the City is better, but I have not had the chance to test drive it yet. Also, having a Hyundai i10 means I will hopefully end up saving a lot more on Verna than the City. It just makes perfect sense.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Maruti Suzuki CIAZ - Full load test drive experience

I finally got to test drive the Ciaz, Petrol. Having watched so many reviews, the one thing that concerned me was performance. So, I had three of my colleagues accompanying me and the test drive was basically on full load - i.e five of us in the car including the representative from Maruti Suzuki.

Started the engine and pushed the pedal all the way down.. and as I had expected the output was very linear. It was not thrilling to drive and for obvious reasons; a 1400 cc engine and a big car.. what do you expect? But, it is not very boring either. I did not experience any lag, the gear shifts were super smooth and the clutch was light too. Overall, very good for city commute. And yes, we were wowed looking at the boot capacity. Ciaz definitely has loads of space. 

Few other things concerned me. I am 5.6 ft and I had to pull the seat all the way to the front to be able to reach the pedal. Due to this, my head was almost touching the roof and the driver armrest goes way back and out of reach. On the flip-side, the passenger behind me gets ample room and a comfortable ride. In fact, my colleague was shocked to see so much space in the back of the car. Finally, the finish of the dashboard in the centre that leads to the gear handle and the rear vents is prone to damage and scratches. 

I like the car and might go for it. But.. let me test drive the Jazz, City and Verna first. Will update you shortly.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Three Sedans and a Hatchback

Ok, its been a daunting task but I have finally narrowed down to three sedans and a hatchback. The reviews from AutoPortal and AutoCar took a toll on me. Honestly though, I think I am loving the reviews of AutoPortal more than AutoCar as I feel it is more elaborate and covers most aspects of a car. Maybe it is also because most reviews on AutoPortal starts with the boot space; one of the most important criteria for me in a car ;-).

Anyways, my list stands at the new Honda Jazz 2015, Hyundai Verna NS, Honda City and Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, all petrol versions. I mainly considered Jazz and Ciaz for the CVT option. The other two cars offer automatic transmission as well, but way out of my budget. I am ok with a manual on Ciaz too. If its Jazz, then its got to be automatic for sure. Honda claims a better mileage in the automatic version, so it does not hurt to spend those extra bucks.  Lets get to the cars.

Ciaz:


Ciaz is definitely loaded with a tonne of features. In fact it is one of the best of all the sedans and at an unmatchable price. Maruti Suzuki has ticked all the right boxes here. However, it disappoints in performance. 1.4 L petrol cannot be compared to the likes of Vento, Rapid or City. It might not be that bad if your primary need is for a city commute but will be less thrilling on the highway and might struggle on full load. I have not read or watched any reviews of its performance on full load. The last thing I need is a sedan that performs like a hatchback. This car needs more horses for sure. But, with the features that it has, it is definitely worth the money. For an average car enthusiast like me, maybe this car will do just fine, but I will know more only after a test drive.

Good: 
Very spacious and packed with features including projector head lamps. Good airy cabin, attractive dashboard and an awesome boot (510 litres). If power is not a concern, definitely a good value for money. Good ground clearance too. Engine is padded and therefore has very minimal noise intrusion into the cabin. Overall a very relaxed and comfortable drive for normal city cruising.
Bad
Underpowered. Turbo lag.

The new Honda Jazz 2015:

The new Honda Jazz wows a lot. This hatchback has everything you need. The CVT version would cost about 8.6 lacs on road which is pretty descent. The only issue here is, I already have a hatchback, do I need another?  A boot of 354 litres is pretty damn good for a hatchback.  Honda is known for it awesome drivability and it would be a delight to drive this car in city traffic. I have read reviews of this car taking time to amble around when pushed hard, but I believe that is true for any hatchback and also depends on the gear you are in. So yeah, an awesome car, very spacious, has a good boot, different combinations with the magic seats (no CVT though) and looks attractive.

Good: 
Spacious, awesome exterior design (front and rear), biggest boot in the hatchback segment. LED tail lamps. Good driving mechanics.
Bad: 
Will require frequent gear shifts, unless you opt for CVT which is pretty linear with some lag.

Verna and City:

Both the cars tie in my opinion. City has good driving mechanics but Verna's engine is more refined and tuned. City also looks a little more appealing to me than the Verna NS. Somehow I feel like the Verna NS had a nose job that turned out bad. I liked the old design and I am sure a lot of people would still prefer the old styling. The one thing that puts me off in the City is the bulky chrome in the front... why??? why Honda.. why? Also, the boot lid in the city is naked exposing all the wiring and Verna has all the padding needed. What is also disappointing is that Verna does not offer a touch screen in any of its variants.

Verna
Good: Loaded with features. Value for money. Smooth performing engine.
Bad: A flattened front design, looks more like the Ciaz. Nothing much has changed in the rear. No touch screen display. No rear AC vents.

City:
Good: Perfect all rounder. Big boot - 510 litres, matches the Ciaz. One of the best in the sedan segment. Has rear AC vents.
Bad:  Honda has cut costs by not providing the touch screen in the base version and removing padding in the boot lid.

I am confused and the only way I can come out of it is to test drive all the four cars. I shall be doing it shortly in few weeks. Will give you folks an update very soon.