SURVEY& DECISION Since 2009, I wished to sell my Fiat Uno Diesel Dlx of 1999 and was on thelookout for a new 3-box car. The Uno was still going great guns without anyindication of a heart trouble. Still, since support was waning, and the newTata Fiat dealerships were not servicing it, it was time to change after almost11 yrs of very delightful ownership, having driven 1.5 lac km across the length& breadth of the country on all kinds of roads - National Expressways,National Highways, NHDP (GQ, EW Corridor), State Highways, BOT Roads, MDRs,PMGSY Roads and of course city roads. I did a lot of research on review websites Mouthshut, Autocar and other userreviews at TeamBHP, TeamFiat etc. After considering almost a thousandvariables, I finally decided on Fiat Linea Tjet Plus. It was a very complexLinear Programming problem fed onto my head's super computer, with probablesolutions of Honda City, VW Vento Highline and Fiat Linea PL & Multijetvariants. FIAT CONFIDENCE One very major influence was my younger son who is an auto enthusiast from hischildhood and in 2009, at the age of 11, he had advised me to go for Fiat Linea!He had even predicted that Tjet will be launched in 2010, and we should go forthe same. At that point I had not been serious towards his advise, which wasinfact, a very informed one after doing lot of research of his own. Another major factor was of course my ownership of a Fiat car and no one wouldknow better than me, what a pleasure it has been to own it for 11 years. It wassuch a reliable car that the concept of service network was a non-issue to me,after doing the regular maintenance as per schedule. My confidence in Fiat is despite thefact that Fiat as a company is struggling in India for past 15 years and brandimage is still at a low ebb, in spite of a stable full of good cars. But thereviews have instilled confidence that Fiat will establish itself thrucollaboration with Tata. Its also come out thru the reviews and forums thatFiat buyers are making informed decision despite the odds, and not in a madrush of “status” cars.<o></o> AFTER SALES SERVICE So the Tata-Fiat A.S.S. is a non-issue to me even now. I know, if I will takemy car to the workshop for the scheduled maintenance, I need not worry toomuch. Still, I have the confidence of FIAT Road Side Assistance (RSA) for 50months and a 50 month warranty which have come free with the car. The RSA is awonderful concept, wherein I'll be offered free assistance within 100 km of aTata-Fiat dealership in case of a breakdown. I am sure, with the list ofdealers already under Tata-Fiat collaboration and the growing nos. will assureme I am within 100 km of at least 1, whenever I leave my city. FEATURES Linea Tjet Plus is the Top-end model of Fiat in India. If Engine capacity nos.are ignored, the car meets eye to eye with cars like Civic, Altis, Skoda, Jettain pure statistics wrt larger dimensions, large wheel base, all 5 Alloys (16”dia), large 205mm wide tyres, all 4 disc brakes, dual parabola headlamps,turbocharged engine, leather upholstery. Still its pegged against Honda City& VW Vento by price segmentation. Rather than going thru the host of usual features which one can compare onwebsites, I'll list the most amazing unique features offered by Tjet Plus,which normally are proving very handy during ownership: 1. Non-Intrusion type boot hinges - means boot opens thru 2 hydraulic damperson the sides and leaves the entire boot space clear for luggage. With no largehinges inside the boot, pushing large suitcases to the rear or stuffing theboot to the top is enabled. Boot switch on Key Remote is also very convenientat many a times. 2. Vanity Mirror on both front seats & not only on passenger side. Both arewith lights - the moment the mirror flap is lifted, 2 small lights on eitherside of the mirror illuminate your face, removing the requirement for switchingon the main light. 3. The rear arm rest has 2 cup holders which can be pulled out. Moreover thecover can be opened to reveal a smart storage space for small change, specs,mobile, a small note pad/pen etc. 4. The front arm rest also has a large space below the cushion, which can beused to keep your cell phone, which is already connected to Blue & Mesystem thru bluetooth.<o></o> 5. Blue & Me is amazing, wherebythe system talks to you for configuration of the phone and then acts on yourvoice commands to dial phones or play music. The calls can be picked up thru asmart phone button on the steering. Steering mounted Microsoft button initiatesthe system. All the passengers in the car can communicate with the person atthe other end, as the microphone picks up the voices from rear seats equallywell.<o></o> 6. Very smart driver informationsystem, which gives you many info on the centre display - Date, Time, OutsideTemp, Main odometer reading, 2 Trip distances, Mileage and much more. Mostexciting is the instantaneous mileage for current trip. The figure keepsfluctuating from 0 to 50 kmpl as you drive, and gives you a fair idea when youare driving the most fuel-efficiently. You can fine tune the driving in longrun to get the best mileage. 7. Defogger for rear windshield andORVMs is very helpful in rainy season to quickly clear the water & mist onthe rear glass for better visibility. 8. Front & rear fog lamps - Frontlamps are helpful even during normal night driving by throwing additional lightwhen the high beams are off. 9. Rear AC Vent is a very desirablething for the rear passengers of this premium vehicle. 10. Automatic Climate Control isreally helpful in setting the cabin temperature to your desired no. as you areused to these nos. even in your home or office. The air distribution can alsobe controlled by switches on the panel. 11. Smart option for accelerateddefogging during winters is also part of the ACC. 12. The front panel tells you exactlywhich door is not closed properly. 13. The passenger door handle is alsoenabled to operate central locking. This comes in very handy when drives goesout and children in the car are advised to lock the car from inside. They canopen it for you when you return, as the key is already in the ignition forleaving the stereo on.<o></o> 14. Roof Lighting with dimming effect– A wonderful feature, whereby the moment you press the door open switch on theremote, the lights in the cabin automatically switch on, allowing you to seethe seats while sitting after sunset. After all doors are closed, the lightsslowly turn themselves off. The roof lights have 2 very minute spot lightswhich keep throwing faint light beams on the gear lever and makes it convenientto be dimly visible during night driving. 15. Follow me home headlamps – Anotheramazing feature when you park the vehicle in dark. After removing the key fromignition, pulling the high beam lever once will light up the headlamps for 20seconds. You can give 2 or more pulls to keep the lights on for 40 sec, 60 secsand so on, after locking the car and moving away towards your destination inwell lit conditions. 16. Rear Curtain – The factory fittedrear curtain is a delightful feature, not available in the other cars of sameprice range. This is something, which I had always got installed in my previouscars. 17. Dead Pedal near clutch pedal –This is a standard Fiat feature, which I’d enjoyed in my Uno too. The clutchfoot rests at the same level and prevents fatigue in the ankle & shinregion in city driving. 18. Rear leg room – When my driver isdriving the vehicle on long trips, I can actually sit cross legged on the rearseat, stretch and move around the legs quite comfortably. The rear armrest is awelcome addition. However, I do feel the lack of cushioning on the same as inManza or Corolla. DEAL I had negotiated and booked the car inApr-2011, when Fiat had just stepped on the sales promo pedal. Overall, on thelisted price incl Registration & Insurance of Rs 10.23 Lac, I could getalmost 70 grand chopped off in form of Exchange & Loyalty bonus, InsuranceNCB discount of my previous vehicle, Free Extended Warranty & Free RSA,Corporate Discount. I’d gone for TD of Vento Highline andthe VW team was very aggressive in selling the vehicle once I told them I had finalisedLinea Tjet. But before that they had played the waiting game very slowly and Igot the impression I was not a very important customer for them, since Vento isselling like hot cake. But my decision was based on the features as well asreports on websites, car magazines & channels. Here I'd like to mention that I did not go for any TD or enquiry of Honda City. The overall experience at Tatadealership was also quite pleasant, barring some hard bargaining in the initialstages. DRIVING & HANDLING The car is an absolute delight todrive. I’ve done 2500 km in first 3 months with 3 long trips. City handling isexcellent. The 4 disc brakes have saved me on many a tricky situations in thecity. And the driving experience isaccentuated by the continuous surrounding of the smart features of the carmentioned above. I’m sure I’ll enjoy Tjet’s company for at least 5 years withpride & delight and with the contentment that I made a very wise &sound decision, despite the low brand image of FIAT in India.