To begin with, let me make it clear that I am not a Doctor but I have maintained and driven my car with care. 12th August, 2009 was the happy day for me when the first car of my entire family lineage was delivered. The Maruti Alto was our original pick (due to its ultra-low cost) but one look at its interior color and space made us think otherwise. Being 6-feet tall meant that anyone sitting behind me as the driver would have a crunch of a time. Chevrolet was the showroom a couple of miles away, so we decided to go there and BAMM!! the beige interior just clicked. Although it was about INR 60K more than our budget, we just went for it. We had a wonderful experience with the Chevy team and felt at home (in the showroom).
The car came, in all its white glory being the apple of my eye and the envy of my neighbors. Back then, there were not many flashy cars on the roads. All of us in the family were pretty inexperienced when it came to owning a car, so things like mileage, road noise, seat comfort, etc. were all over-looked.
As I grew up with the car, I started to notice how much more comfortable the ride was when compared to the WagonR (owned by a friend). Although the interior space couldn’t rival the “Tall-boy”, the interior quality sure did. It felt like a step-up when it came to the interiors and by some means the exterior as well (I was always a fan of those candy-like red tail lights).
Ahh but then the warranty ended and boy did it take a turn for the worst. The marketing gimmick was a “Three-year, no service charge warranty” which they did deliver. What they failed to mention was that the dividends you earned during those three years were going to leave your pockets at warp speeds.
It started with the AC. The AC unit in my Spark was so bad that I got it fixed 3 times before just giving up and getting the whole thing swapped for a new unit. It cost a bomb! The power window system is pretty bad as well. Thankfully I had manual rear windows which I now feel proud of. (FYI : The driver side power window failed and I haven’t repaired it in over a year.) That’s how frustrated I am with its electrical system.
The one thing that hasn’t let me down is the engine performance. Its strong and linear although it is a puny 1 litre. It’s not as noisy as the other 1 litre units I’ve driven and has never given me any issue whatsoever. The ride quality is still plush, comparable to some of today’s similarly priced rivals.
Its been seven years running and being driven around for about 15K Kms, I fell I have under-used my car (part of it being a very competitive on-road parking). But as much as I have used it, I feel it was fine-old fella. The joy of your first car can never be replicated or repeated (unless your second or the tenth car is a Lambo) but then I feel I’m ready to depart from my friend. I guess it makes sense to stick to industry norms and go with the best selling brands in the business. After all, there is a reason why Maruti is no.1. The after-sales service was not up to my expectations and nor was my car.
Maybe I should have just kept it for the “three-year, service free” period..as advertised.
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