Noisy Eco Sedan
As the title suggests, this vehicle is basically for fellows looking at an economical sedan for your family (not for the fast rider!)
Once I decided on going for a diesel vehicle; esp with the climbing petrol rates, it was just a matter of fact on cutting down to a Maruti, given the company's customer-relation reputation.
The car has all the comforts of the standard Esteem petrol version, but with a low powered (57bhp) Peugeot Diesel engine (the same one as in Zen Diesel, but fine tuned for a better torque; given the car's size).
It certainly gets some months to get used to a diesel vehicle since you need to rev your engine to the very top in each gear before you go to the next gear to get the best pickup (I always did wonder why the truck fellows did that!). But once you learn the trick and synchronize your hand-gear-clutch movement, the Di is just about cool as far as performance/pick-up is concerned. But be warned that if you are moving from a petrol car to this one, you might get a gut'less feeling driving this one, esp with the a/c ON. It has been more than a year since I bought mine, and now I drive my Di with A/C on all-time even when the car is loaded with friends.
As for any diesel vehicle, prompt service ensures (every 5000kms) prompt results from this car. [don't underestimate this point!!]. The vehicle starts feeling sluggish as you reach the 5000km mark.
I am pretty happy with the mileage - around 10-12 within the city limits and 20-25 on highways, both with the air-conditioner ON. My trips back home (~550kms away) every other month is always a pleasant one (thanks to the high performing a/c). Its worth mentioning that you get to feel the full power of this engine only on the highways when you can actually squeeze that extra power from each gear. No wonder I reach home in under 9hours!
The only nagging problem I have had faced is that since the radiator, engine and the a/c grill is kind of squeezed into the available space under the bonnet, even the slightest hit on the front bumper would cause the either the radiator or the a/c grill to rupture. I have had to replace the same more than once!
The best part is that of all the passengers I have taken around, not one of them have had any clue that they are riding in a diesel vehicle. Most of the engine's sound seems to isolated from the passenger.
The engine seems to get literally tired and weary during the afternoons, when the engine pickup reduces by more than 50%![intercooler might help?]...another nagging issue being the brakes: they seem to be ineffective at the slightest hint of a rain.
The car seems to more expensive than the esteem high-end petrol versions like LXi; had to spend around Rs5.8lacs with accessories which included the rear wind-spoiler and the pioneer mp3 system. The car without any accessories comes to Rs5.3lac (Jan'2004 price). Even with this high on-road price, your extra investment on this car would be returned in the first couple of years, given the petrol v/s diesel rates.
Overall a nice car to start your diesel experience.