My company introduced a new vehicle lease plan and that’s when I started to think about buying a new car. Later after a bit of research, we dropped the idea of going with the company car plan, but as my Wagon-R was completing 7 years (was still going strong though ) in July 2012, we decided to go ahead with the decision to upgrade. Dilemma 1: Petrol or Diesel Well, my running is not very high (My Wagon-R completed only about 46k Kms in 7 years). However, I was planning to drive more. Though it may still not have been sufficient to make diesel purchase economically viable, I was leaning towards diesel. The most important contributing factor being the smile you can have on your face every time you can tank up for about Rs. 2k. I did not want any worry the fuel cost to influence my decision to drive or not in a particular trip, i.e.. However, I was not completely averse to petrol too. Dilemma 2: Which Car Budget: 10-11 lakhs on road Vehicles considered: 1. Honda City: This was the first vehicle I test drove (Yes, Petrol!). It offers good space, has an excellent engine and extremely easy to drive in the city. No real negatives, except that it is pricey for the feature set (no ACC even on highest variant for its price!) it offers and the drive is not so involving at high speeds. 2. Nissan Sunny (Diesel): Again, I felt a car very comfortable for City drive. I had read reviews that it runs out of breath on highways. My TD was limited to city traffic and did not get any chance to drive on empty roads, anyhow I did not find the vehicle very appealing and did not explore much further. It provides lots of space, but most of the time, the car will be driven by me and the back row is likely to be empty. So rear space was not a criteria that could have had an effect in my decision making. 3. VW Vento/Skoda Rapid (Diesel): Pleasure to drive, both at slow speeds and short bursts I could do during the test drive. Main negatives were the expected high maintenance costs and fear about after sales services. Also, both the Rapid and Vento I test drove, I felt the clutch very heavy and had lots of vibrations too. Probably its only the test drive vehicles, but both on Vento and Rapid? 4. Ford Classic (Diesel): Test drove the vehicle and very easy to drive, though felt lack of power. Space is at a premium (with a co-passenger, your elbows will mostly touch him if you are not extremely careful!). Again did not feel like belonged to the class of other cars considered here and did not consider further. 5. Ford Fiesta: Considered pricey and did not test drive. 6. Maruti SX4: Probably a good all-rounder as per many reviews in different automotive forums. However, did not excite me much and did not test drive. 7. Maruti Ertiga (Diesel & Petrol): Lot of positives. Both Petrol and Diesel (our on MJD ) felt good to drive. You have the convenience of 7 seats for the odd trip and its Maruti. You cannot go wrong with Maruti, can you? Negatives: Sea of beige and no ACC. However no deal breakers and lots of positives. Strong contender. 8. Fiat Linea (Diesel): And here comes the Linea . For me, its the best looking Sedan out there in the price range. Tank like build quality. There is turbo lag, but sure can get used to it and just one trip on the highway will more than compensate for any slightly additional effort that is needed in the city. Negatives: Not so impressive reviews about service and of course the dismal numbers its achieving in India month after month. Final contenders were the Honda City, Maruti Ertiga and Fiat Linea. I could not take a quick decision. There was a huge waiting period for the Ertiga. As it was difficult to decide, we thought we will book an Ertiga and continue to evaluate our options. This was July 2012. Nov 2012 Come Nov’12 (1st week). I knew the waiting period on Ertiga was coming down and we needed to make a decision quickly. At the same time, I was also a bit unhappy that I did not get much of updates from Pratham Motors about delivery of my vehicle (ZDi without Alloys). When I called up I was told that the vehicle could come any time. The waiting period mentioned in Pratham notice board for Ertiga Zdi without Alloys at that time was one month and for my booking done in Jul’2012, I get an update only after enquiring? Did not look fair to me (Anyway OT and lets leave it at there). During the last few months of search, the Linea experience was slowly growing on me. I had also been reading Fiat/Linea reviews in different automotive forums in the mean time and had seen many positive comments about Fiat Bangalore service experiences. So fear of Fiat’s after sales also had become a non-issue. My wife was already a fan of Linea looks and we decided to reconsider Linea again. Had been following nkrishnap’s thread (Petrol Sedan to Diesel Sedan) and inspired by his good experiences, decided to call up Prerana motors Bangalore. During the discussions, Mr. Karthik (Sales Manager) told me that they have a 2011 Fiat Linea Emotion Pack and is available at good discounts. It was a colour we liked (BNW) and quick checks did not show me any signs of the vehicle being used as a TD vehicle (I hope I am right here ). Following factors, combined with good feedback from nkrishnap’s thread on Karthik and Prerana, we decided to take the plunge: - Odo showed H 82 (so thought there is no foul play with Odo) - No visible structural damages/dents/scratches/rust - There was another test drive vehicle (T-jet+) and display vehicle also they wanted to sell but without concealing their status. - The deal sounded (at-least we thought so) pretty good though it’s a car which is more than 1 year old - I am still getting 2+2 years warranty - I plan to use the car for 5+ years. So during resale a 2012/2011 price difference will not be even a fraction of the money that I am saving now. - I can live without rain sensing vipers and auto head lamps (not deal breakers). GC upgrade is possible in the 2011 linea as well, if needed. Booking While discussions with Prerana was ongoing, I got call from Maruti saying that my Ertiga is allotted and will be dispatched soon. Told him that I am reconsidering the decision and wrote the cheque to Prerana on 13th Nov (Diwali day) for the Linea booking. Expected delivery date: 18th Nov. Accessories: 1. Normal free accessories (Mats, mud flaps, Idol). 2. Reverse park assist, with camera (paid). Show room experience: People appeared honest and straight forward. However, every time I visited the show room, I had to wait long to get things done (may not be completely their fault, but still they could have made things a bit faster) . Anyway, I would give them the benefit of doubt and would not fret much over it. Delivery experience too was ok overall. Vehicle cleaning was only very average. Also number plates were not ready. Anyway would say overall experience is satisfying. Apologies for not posting any pictures. I did not take a camera along and forgot to capture pictures even on my mobile . Will share few snaps later, but will not be from the time of delivery. Niggles: 1. The Right Rear power window would not go down (identified during delivery). Corrected later at Prerana Kudlu service center. 2. Reverse park assist display (on IRVM) stopped working after few days. Wiring re-checked and replaced the display from the accessory shop. Fixed. 3. Some noise from the steering column. Its some sort of very light metal to metal contact noise (not sure of its from the key hole). Comes on and off. Its very irritating when it comes. During my visit to service station to rectify issue 1 above, we went for a long test drive on bad roads to identify this problem, but it just wouldn’t come that day. It has again come and gone many times. I hope the service folks would be able to identify and fix it during my next visit. Few things that happened over last few months: 1. My wife travel restrictions for the time being (so no long drives for now ) 2. My office is moving near to my residence. Again less driving . I guess I will have to rent out my house and take a house for rent somewhere far, just so that I can drive a little longer :-( ODO reads ~1060 Kms today (only) and the experience has been very satisfying so far, in spite of the small niggles mentioned above.