Finally, it’s decided that we need a big car and the hunt begins! Jotted down the set of requirements which included: 1. Safety features like ABS, EBD, Airbags. 2. Good ground clearance and driving dynamics. 3. Good external looks preferably but not much of a concern if it isn’t. 4. Good interiors a must. 5. Alloy wheels a must. 6. Steering mounted controls. 7. Leather seats, good to have. 8. Petrol car: I drive around 900 kms a month, last 4 years average, so diesel was not a necessity. Not a big list and not being unrealistic, I suppose. A sedan was to my liking and was not inclined for a SUV/pseudo SUV. So, Ford EcoSport and Renault Duster were not in the fray at all. The choices available in the market: Honda City, Ciaz [not launched then but worth waiting?], Verna, Vento, Rapid, SX4, Sunny, Scala. P.S: These are my own views and do not intend to offend any brand or owners of these cars. SX4: Stood no chance as it was an outgoing model and Ciaz was on the anvil. Honda City: A very serious contender. A call to one of the dealers in Noida for a test drive and guess what, no follow up from the dealer after a week passed. A call to the other dealer and bang, he comes with the test drive vehicle on agreed schedule and punctual at that. Impressive but can that be said about the car is to be seen. Well, Honda City [V Model] passed the criteria for safety features, alloy wheels, steering mounted controls, acceptable external looks. Not so good interiors, I found them pretty bland actually but not a deal breaker. It’s time to take it for and evaluation. The car was pretty silent during startup and drive, and was peppy too. Good mileage figures claimed through ARAI figures. As long as the road was smooth, drive was pretty much compliant. However, on undulating roads and speed breakers, I found it a bit bumpy and felt that GC was inadequate as I had to really slow down the car. I also sat at the backseat to check the drive for rear passengers. That was where I found it lacking and not sturdy enough. The ride felt bumpy and left me surprised. Test drive for 10 kms ends and I check the bonnet, boot space, wheels, interiors[yes, once again]. Thanked the Honda guys and asked them that they can revert back after two weeks. Started reading about reviews on Honda City on team-bhp and other portals and they indeed mentioned about the bumpy ride. Read other things on the skinny tyres, cost cutting areas, wheel cladding, etc. Still, was not convinced to rule it out. Next step: Take another test drive and this time take my wife along. This time, wife also not impressed by interiors, though she liked the oodles of space inside the car. Finally, it got out of the reckoning. Hyundai Verna: Being a Santro owner, wanted to check out Verna though didn’t like it much before also. Cool interiors, nice exteriors but the back seat was a big problem. Again an outgoing model as the refresh is around the corner. Gave it a pass. Vento: I had driven a diesel Vento of my relative and that’s how it came into reckoning. Diesel is a rocket in truest sense and has an amazing turbo pull which leaves you grinning actually. I wasn’t looking for a diesel car but a petrol head. Took a test drive for petrol and handling was pretty nice. Back seat comfort was ok, though not spacious and the big hump was a no go. Didn’t like the interiors and found them plain, though the quality looked good. Skoda Rapid: I like the plain looks it carries off but Skoda brand and after sales experience read on blogs meant it was frightening. Scala/Sunny: Simply didn’t like them and didn’t spend any effort on these. Fiat Linea: Ok, so it’s a Fiat. Why go and take a test drive even is what each of my well wisher asked? Well, the heaps of praise I read about TJet and pleasant experiences of my fellow colleagues [Linea diesel, Punto Diesel owners], a short drive of TJet earlier made me request for a test drive. Someone in my office was taking a TD of New Linea and both petrol and diesel versions were right in front of me. I got bowled over by the stance and looks, asked the sales representative if he could let me drive the TJet. He obliged and the subsequent drive was when the love for Linea started growing. Nice and pleasant interiors, alloy wheels, safety features, good exterior looks [though it was not a must], comfortable seats, good GC and all 4 disc brakes. Suddenly, all the requirements were automatically getting check marked. And the DRIVE, it was a short drive as I was getting late for a meeting but it was an enjoyable one, wanting me to ask for more! Spoke to a couple of friends about my new found love for Linea and talked to them about features, safety, good looks. Were they impressed? Not at all. You are going for a Fiat? Honda City is the king, good ownership records, hassle free and trusted brand. Then comes a twist. One of my friends who recently bought a Duster recommended me to test drive it. I used to like Duster though hadn’t driven it. I wasn’t looking for a SUV but thought to check it out. Drive was good but didn’t find interiors and ergonomics to my liking. Wife also didn’t like it and always wanted a sedan, so gave it a pass. It was time to wait, take a step back and do more research. Spoke to more fiat owners, their experiences [some bad, some hassle free], online reviews from team-bhp, teamfiatindia, autocarindia reviews, video reviews. Showed the video review, external and interior pics to wife and kids. What did these do, instead of deterring, the love for Linea grew in the family. The video review of Linea on autocarindia was quite impressive. Time for a test drive again and dealer offered to test drive multijet also due to ongoing discounts. Agreed to that as cost differential was pretty less and there’s no harm in trying out. Took a test drive on Noida’s wide roads, narrow roads, cracked roads and handling was superb. Found multijet to be on the sluggish side and it wasn’t complying with my driving taste buds. TJet surely did. It was stable, felt rock solid, amazing suspension, not a bumpy ride at all and quick to get off the blocks and acceleration at any time was not an issue. Went back home and took wife and kids to the showroom to show them the car. Everyone impressed by the looks and interiors. It was almost final, but before taking the final plunge took a test drive of City again to make sure that I am not committing a mistake by taking a Fiat. This was when I took my wife and took a test drive of City, the second test drive of City I mentioned in the Honda City section. Not impressed with the City, though I tried hard. Buying experience: Little crappy it was. I was in touch with 2 dealers of Noida and finalized the deal with discounts with one of them. Only considerations: good discount, manufacturing month to be recent, atleast June 2014 and Magnesio Grey color. I thought I did pretty well with the discounts [35K + essential kit free] while discussing with the sales rep. Amount agreed and asked him to send a formal quote. There came a surprise and unprofessional attitude of the dealer. The pricing was increased by 10K and the deal died down. Another dealer gave the deal I was looking for and I agreed on it, subject to manufacturing month which he wasn’t aware while giving the quotes. He said he would check and get back. That deal didn’t materialize as manufacturing month was February and I didn’t agree to that even though he pushed hard and offered more discounts. What next? Stars not aligned to get Linea. No way, they had to align. The driving pleasure and huge grin it put on my face wasn’t letting me quit. It had to be the TJet is what the heart said. So, I call up dealers in Delhi, Faridabad, Gurgaon for TJet deals. How often do you see a customer calling up dealers to get the car so badly? I told dealers that test drive is not required and I have finalized on TJet. Told them about my considerations and got a good quote from DRS Motors, Faridabad. The dealer suggested that he needs to procure the car and it will involve a waiting period of 10-12 days. I was ok with that and told him to provide the VIN number first to ensure atleast June as manufacturing month. He got that through from Fiat India and it was a June 2014 manufactured car. Deal finally done subject to PDI once the car arrives at dealer end. Car comes at dealer after 10 days and PDI successfully done, the very next day. There is practically not much to talk about with respect to experience prior to the sale decision with DRS Motors as it just took 2-3 phone calls to finalize and no visits required. Later on, the dealer was responsive to my queries prior to buying it. After the purchase, I did have to follow up on extended warranty certificate and RC a couple of times, but it was not troublesome as such. I would rate my experience as 3.5 stars, out of 5. Car was delivered on time with accessories [skid plates] and essential kit fitted timely before I reached to take delivery. The day was 28th September. Features were explained, spare tyre, toolkit, etc and other paper work checked. Got a photo clicked, though the dealer hasn't provided it yet. Thanked the dealer and sales rep. It was time to enjoy the drive with family and off it goes slowly and cautiously. What I liked: 1. As Fiat aptly says: If you still like driving, We’re still ahead. And Linea TJet surely is peach of a car, and every inch of it!!! Loving every bit of it and hope it continues to charm with every passing day without any hassles. 2. Mature ride and handling, good suspension. 3. Feature rich: Blue and Me, good music system. 4. Good interiors, ambient lights deserve a special mention. 5. Great Safety features and best in class all disc brakes. 6. Seating comfort, front and rear seats. 7. Cruise control. Things which could have been improved: 1. Spare tyre size different from stock tyres, neither an alloy. Providing it wouldn’t have increased the cost too much, probably 4-5K and no reason why Fiat should compete on these flimsy grounds. 2. Light color of leather upholstery, difficult to maintain. 3. Useless armrest. Done a total of 1150 Kms including a highway drive to Punjab. It puts a big smile on my face after every drive and with 3 weeks of ownership, I am fully satisfied with my decision. Thanks to all the members on teamfiat, team-bhp, my friends who own a Fiat and auto portals in helping me take the decision to own a TJet. Thanks for reading my post and drive safely.