Having read the title of this post, am sure you know by now what I am going to rave about. But, before that, wanted to dedicate a paragraph for my earlier beast and king of India Road, the Mahindra Scorpio.
What do I say? In one line, there is nothing to beat a Scorpio for the price range and for the comfort even today and I am also sure that there will be no competition in the near future too. Mahindra struck the right chords when designing that car. When I was buying it, friends and family said that it is too big a car to drive in Bangalore, but I did not give in. Went ahead and today, I have no regrets of having bought it. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the last five years. As I was closing in to 80,000 KM, the only thing I was not enjoying is that the Clutch was getting heavy (or rather the traffic is increasing). Read all about my drives and maintenance schedule on my blog (Scorpio Maintenance
I wanted to move to a car as there are no SUV’s in the price range I was looking 🙁 Started my research in January 2011 and it took me five months to close in to Cruze.
Not many, but just three – VW Jetta, Honda Civic, Skoda Laura and Chevrolet Cruze.
Check out the video comparison between the three cars from AutoCar.
VW Jetta – Apologies, but a straight NO. They do not have an automatic variant in Indian market and does not even come with 50% of the features what its competitors have to offer.
Skoda Laura was always out of my lists as I personally believe that it’s prized high above it’s true value. Also, the reviews I have been reading of the after sales service kept me away. Adding to these, the maintenance costs are High too. Also, Automatic transmission is close to 20 Lakhs, which is way above my budget. Also, the true comparison is with the L&K 2.0 TDI AT which is way beyond in the price for me.
Honda Civic was in my mind. Like many other reviewer’s, I was also skeptical about the ground clearance. Let me share my experience. One day, in December 2010, I went to Magnum Honda at Mekhri Circle and was speaking to their sales person, Mr. Santhosh, a wonderful sales person. When I talked to him about the ground clearance, he said only one thing, “I will give you the complete list of Civic owners in Bangalore and Bellary (a mining area in Karnataka where the roads are very bad and this I heard and I have never been there), you randomly pick any 10 numbers, call them and ask them if they have spent any money on the car maintenance because of the low ground clearance and even if two out of the ten you choose say yes, then I will get you the car at an unbelievable price for you” are the exact words he told me. I was really impressed with his challenge. Also, if there are people spending around 15-17 Lakhs on the car and if this was a real big problem, there would not have been any sales for the car was my thought. Also, he bough the car and took me for a long drive and made me drive in places where there is no road and also ensure that i went on all the speed breakers. I did hit the bottom of the car when was crossing few speed breakers, but it was only scratching my heart and not the car 🙂 I was very impressed with the confidence of Mr. Santhosh. My parents liked the car and especially, my mom was very impressed because it had a very large rare door which was making it very convenient for her to get in and out. My mom loved the silver colour and her pick was the Civic with Silver colour.
Chevrolet Cruze – I test drove this car way back in November 2010 and was very impressed in the first ride. My heart went to it, but somehow could not relate an American Car with a Diesel engine; Didn’t know the history of Cruze by then and now, I know. So, accepted 🙂
What I was looking for?
In the order of priority:
4. Ability to do long drives without tiring me 🙂
5. Value for my sweat and blood
Before I go into details of each of my requirements, let me share my shortlists – Honda Civic and Chevrolet Cruze.
What is Sturdiness and why have I rated this on the top?
sturdiness is the state of being vigorous and robust or the property of something that is strongly built or resoluteness evidence by strength of character.
- Civic fails to impress me on this. It is delicate (looks delicate though).
- Cruze looks like a leopard sitting on the ground with all four legs stretched (Not comparing to BMW et all)
Body Structure (Civic Vs Cruze)
- Read the Civic Skeleton/Body structure details here. Honda introduces the Advance Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure with the Civic.
- Read the Cruze Skeleton/Body Structure details here.
I am sure you got the synopses of both the structures, both are well engineered and crafted to be sturdy. With my limited knowledge of detailed design of the structure, I rate Cruze 1 point more than the Civic in this category.
One of the most important factors for me. I got used to a bit powerful car and wanted my next one to be a bit more powerful, not just in the books, but in actual performance too. (Scorpio comes with a 122 PS @4000 RPM Power, but the wheel base and Torque of 290Nm @1800 RPM gives you the feeling of power).
Civic promises a 132 BHP powered petrol engine but losses it’s edge in the torque with 172Nm@4300 rpm.
Cruze comes with a 150 BHP 2.0 Ltr VCDi engine with a displacement of 1999 CC and 327Nm@2600 rpm. However if you test drive both, you will clearly see the difference in the initial pick up itself.
This was the killer. By now, I have almost decided on Cruze 🙂
Two categories to note – Passenger Safety and Pedestrian Safety (Because, it is common in India for people to cross the street suddenly, not because they want to, but because there is no other option).
- Both Cars come with Driver and Passenger Air Bags. Outside India, Cruze also comes with Air Bags for the rare passengers and also the top. Unfortunately, they do not have this in India 🙁
- In Civic, to help reduce pedestrian injuries in the event of a collision, the hood and fender areas are designed to deform if contacted by an adult or child pedestrian. Energy-absorbing collapsible hood supports, wiper arm pivots and fender mounts are designed to allow substantial deformation in an impact.
- In Cruze, the protection design to the hood and relating hinge structure reduces the chance of pedestrians striking the engine block.
I am not going into the finer details, both cars come with ABS. However, Cruze comes only with ABS and Frond and Rare Disk Breaks, where as the Civic comes with ABS, EBD and BA along with Front Ventilated Disc Breaks and Disc Breaks for the Rare.
What is ABS and EBD? Read the definition here
Ability to do long drives, without tiring me 🙂
I love driving and my drives relax me. With the Santro (2003 May – 2006 May) and Scorpio (June 2006 – May 2011), I totally clogged 1,32,000 KM (55,000 KM in Santro and 77,000 KM in Scorpio), averaging about 1,375 KM per month.
Naturally, my next car should be something with should take me further and relax and provide more pleasure. Considering the Psychological aspects of the low ground clearance and not providing enough power to substitute, Cruze won more points.
Value for my sweat and blood…
This is quite natural for everyone 🙂 and I am no exception. I earn my money and naturally, it should not go waste. For me, Car is an Investment (I am sure for any Man, it is), but a little more for me.
Somehow, my heart was not 100% ready with the investment on Civic, but definitely 101% for the Cruze.
Identifying the Dealer
I initially went to Sundaram Motors on Kasturba Road, Bangalore. The sales person was decent. He asked me when I was planning for the car and I said immediate. I told him that I would come back in 2-3 days with the documents required. I was back to research on the dealership and did find few issues with the dealership, sales and service. I live in North Bangalore and was seeing if there was any dealership in this part of the town so that the service center is nearby. I figured out that there was Trident Chevrolet dealership in Kalyan Nagar and called them. Went there on a Sunday morning and Mr. Arun greeted me. I was comfortable with Trident because I bought Santro also with Trident.
Experience with Dealership and the Sales Person
Mr. Arun is a very calm and sober Sales person. He has been with Trident for over 8 Years and ensures that the customer is happy with their selection 🙂 I bugged him to the core with my questions. I used to call him once in a week (I waited for 4 weeks for the Cruze) for a test drive and he patiently used to come and give me a ride…
Call Arun on 97437 86901 if you are looking for a Cruze and you will not regret it. I am in no way marketing for them, but just sharing my experience with Trident and Arun.
If you ask me, no customization required.
Music System – The music system in Cruze is not a very good one. It is decent one. I am still researching on the Stereo, will post after I find out a good fit.
– Cruze comes with JK Tyre, not the best. They should have given Bridgestone or Michelin. I am not changing them now, but if you are looking to customize, do read Choosing the right Tyre for your car
In Dash Multi-Purpose System
– Caska is the one of the best which is custom made for Cruze. It includes DVD Player, Bluetooth Phone integration, GPS Navigation and iPod Integration. One Team BHPian has got it, check out pictures and his review here
Choosing to Cruze
I booked the Car 6 June 2011 and got the delivery on the 30 June. Click here
to check out the pictures.