My Tata Altroz DCA: Buying experience, delivery & initial impressions
Neither of us had ever driven an automatic before this car. Reason we chose the DCA is because of the gearbox smoothness. The AMT implementation in Indian cars, is still not mature enough, is what we felt.
BHPian W.A.G.7 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.
It all began on a lazy Sunday morning in Satara at my in-laws’ place. It was around 6.30 AM in the morning and my wife had just completed a production release. The post-release QC calls and testing were still going on in the background on her laptop when she suddenly said – “We need a new car!”. All traces of laziness vanished in an instant and I exclaimed loudly “What the…!, we don’t need a new car. We already have a 2018 EcoSport and a 2002 vintage Old Honda City (Type Z)”. She calmly responded – “We need a new car” and showed me her laptop.
Sure enough, there was an email from her office, asking them to return to the office in a phased manner starting a week thrice from August. For the record, she works in the EON Kharadi, and those who live in Pune, know how much of a pain it is to travel to Kharadi. Kharadi is approximately 19-20kms from where I live, so travelling ~40kms to and fro every day on an Activa would be a royal pain thrice a week.
“But the office transport is good enough. Why do you need a new car?” One more meek argument. In my mind, I was already excited about the prospect (after all, we are petrol heads and it is the reason why we are all here on Team BHP) but as the man-of-the-house, it was my duty not to show any kind of exciting emotions (at least in the beginning).
“Did you read the email till the end?”
“Then read it once again…”
Silence… You can trust ladies to put you on the wrong foot in an instant. It isn’t even a contest.
The email mentioned that the post Covid office transport was only two buses in the morning and two buses in the evening. Both of these timings were unsuitable for her as this would entail stretching her work life from morning 8.30 AM to evening 9-9.15PM.
I said, “Use a cab. It will still be cheaper than getting a new car.”
“We need a new car”
No contest now. We needed a new car. That’s it. I was overjoyed at this point but still maintaining my composure, I asked “What kind of a car are you looking at? Have you thought about it, or shortlisted anything?” She responded that she liked that Grand i10 Nios in the blue colour. Fair enough, it was a decent choice, so I proposed to her that we go and visit the Hyundai dealer in Satara to check it out. She agreed right away, so the rest of the Sunday was happiness all around, for the fact that there would be a new car coming into the house!
To conclude, this email was the pre-purchase background or the trigger point for the car, let’s continue with the cars that we test drove and our observations around those.
The test drive experiences:
This was the great part in the whole experience. We started with Hyundai, moved on Nexa, then to Maruti Suzuki Arena, then to Tata, back to Arena before finally settling down to Tata.
Hyundai Grand i10 Nios – Corporate Edition:
The first car that we checked out was the Grand i10 Nios at Kanase Hyundai in Satara. They were pretty forthcoming. A sales person was assigned to us in an instant, despite being a Sunday afternoon. Mandatory coffee was offered and we both burnt our palate and tongue on a boiling coffee. The other thing was that it was machine coffee heated up in a microwave oven, so the cold exterior of the cup fooled both of us and the coffee burnt our tongues the moment we gulped it down.
In the meanwhile the sales rep explained us the details about the G-i10 Nios Magna, Corporate edition, Sportz and Asta. We decided we could do with the Magna. He instead showed us the Corporate edition of the G-i10 Nios. It made a strong case for itself, with certain features more over the regular Magna. Plus they were offering some kind of discount for the month, so the corporate edition looked likely. We asked for a test drive, which was promptly arranged for us in 15-20 minutes.
However there came a twist in the tale. Till now we had both driven manual transmission cars. Heck, even our Ecosport is a manual transmission one. Kanase Hyundai said, “Madam, we don’t have a manual transmission equipped test drive vehicle at the moment, can you try the one which has the AMT in it?”
We both looked at each other and agreed. We had zilch experience in driving automatic cars, but we were game. Some day or the other, the transition to automatics had to be made, so we both decided to take the chance and try it out that day. And trust me, that Grand i10 Nios made us converts to automatics. I will come to this later on in the review.
License traded for a position in the driver’s seat, the sales person explained to us how to drive an AMT car. My son and I was in the back seat and as the car took of smoothly, suddenly “Ding!” Our heads bobbed back and forth, and my son & I wondered what happened. While we were thinking this, there was another “Ding!” as the car shifted to the third gear. The sales person was unfazed and said that all AMT’s will have this head dinging behavior.
Till now I was reading about the AMT experiences in various threads, but we experienced it first hand in the test drive vehicle. The rest of the test drive was good, but every time the car changed gears we felt the head bob. Somewhere on the route, my wife and I exchanged the driver’s seat so that I could have a go too. The head bobbing experience was there in the driver’s seat as well, so that was a downer in what was otherwise an excellent package. We took a longish test drive for 15-16 kms on the highway. Post the test drive, we came back to the showroom, got the quotation for the corporate edition and promised to call them back once we had made a decision. A shout-out to Kanase Hyundai, Satara for the quick response in everything. I will still take away one star for the boiling coffee.
As we walked back to the EcoSport, I asked her “What next?” She said – “I want an automatic!” God! That was a pretty instant conversion from a manual to automatic. I couldn’t agree more. Even if the test drive car had the head bobbing experience, it made us re-think about automatics and the ease of driving them. So in a way, it was good that we were thinking about automatics. Plus her everyday commute to Kharadi would be in dense traffic, so the automatic transmission vehicle would make a better sense.
To conclude the Hyundai experience, the Grand i10 Nios is a fantastic vehicle, but the head bobbing experience threw a spanner in the works in what could have been a quickest sales record. This could be probably attributed to the test drive car having been trashed around by all kinds of drivers; but my wife rejected the AMT saying that it was not to her liking.
Once again – “What do you want to do next?”
“Over there!” she said pointing to the Nexa showroom a few hundred meters away.
“Let’s drive the Ignis”
Maruti Suzuki Ignis – Zeta AGS:
We backed up a few hundred meters before (if you have been on the highway traveling towards Pune, you will notice that the Nexa showroom is a few hundred meters before Kanase Hyundai) and went inside. The Nexa showroom (Chowgule Industries) was also bustling with many people, yet we were promptly attended to. They had an Ignis Zeta model for the display. Once again, they explained everything in detail about the car, price, offers etc. However they did not have an AMT test drive vehicle available. Instead they offered a test drive in an orange colored manual transmission equipped Ignis. They said at-least get a feel of the car, we will bring the AMT car to your home when it’s available. That’s the point where they lost the plot.
The orange test drive Ignis, was one of the crappiest cars that we had ever been into. It rattly, and the clutch was on the way to getting fried. A casual glance at the odometer revealed a mileage of ~49k kilometers. I was horrified. I never knew showrooms keep TD vehicles for so long. I had thought that 7-8k kilometers was the tops before they sold of the vehicle at a discounted price. But this orange Ignis blew away all expectations.
The test drive experience is nothing to write about. We barely managed a test drive of 5kms. My wife stalled the car 4-5 times, not because she is a newbie; but because the clutch on the car was already fried. Just to confirm that she was not making any mistakes, I tried the car myself and managed to stall it at least 3 times. Oh! crap! This one was outright rejected there itself by my wife. She told the sales person straight away – “This is way to cramped and is not a 5 seater car by any chance. Plus you better service your car, it is horrible to drive!”
After collecting the quotation from the showroom, we walked back to the EcoSport on a slightly sad note. Both of us had expected the Ignis to be the one of the runner ups in the line up but the test drive car trashed our dreams in 15-20 mins. Ideally it should have been a top notch choice – 4 cyclinder engine, small footprint perfect for the city and the supposed Nexa experience. By the way, the AMT Ignis never made it to my wife’s home in Satara, despite the fact that she was there for a week later on. There was never any follow up from Nexa- Satara. We never followed up with them either. I am guessing that the orange Ignis was a beater car for the showroom folks and not an actual test drive vehicle.
Maruti Celerio – ZXi AGS (plus the Swift Dzire ZXi+ AGS):
Woah! The Maruti Suzuki Arena experience (once again, Chowgule Industries at Satara) was diametrically opposite the Nexa one. The Arena showroom is also bang opposite the Nexa one, so we headed over there to check out the Celerio. This was just on a whim and not much hopes after two downers. They had all the cars on display (Wagon R, Celerio, Swift, Celerio CNG, Swift Dzire, Ertiga). Cool! We checked out the Celerio and my wife liked it very much! She said it reminded me of the Micra that we had sold off in 2018. Cute looks, smiley face and pretty upmarket interiors for a budget hatch back. The VXi and ZXi were both in our budget, but the only possible fly in the ointment could be the K10C engine. My hunch turned out to be right later on.
Being a Sunday, they did not have a test drive vehicle and a skeletal staff to attend to people. But they promised to get back to us with the test drive of the Celerio AGS on a weekday in Satara. The sales person – I don’t remember his name, was a pleasant smiling personality. He was prompt, and even though he was handling multiple people at the same time, was responsive and always available for queries. He promised to get the Celerio to my in-law’s home in Satara on a weekday. We agreed. He offered us to give a test drive of the Swift Dzire AGS just for the feel of the AGS system. There was one condition though – we had to drive within the large compound because there was no one to sign the gate pass on the vehicle. We were impressed – there was the infamous “Ding!” but it was much more subtle rather than rocking your head back and forth. I mean you could make out the car was changing gears, but the effect was much more damped.
We left the showroom smiling – however we later realized why the AGS feels way too better in the Swift, Ignis and the Dzire – it’s because of the fantastic 1.2L K Series engine – a proper 4 pot motor that does it’s job extremely well to mask the shortcomings of the AGS system.
In the interim, I came back to Pune on Monday morning while she stayed back in Satara. The following week was spent in reading Team BHP reviews and in general thinking about which car it will be. The Maruti Arena showroom person called my wife and came to my in-laws’ home with a Celerio ZXi – AGS as promised; on Tuesday. However, that test drive experience turned out to be a downer experience as well.
The 998cc K10C engine struggled on the a ~6% gradient on the approach road to my in-laws place. That’s where she said she realized that it had to be at-least a 1.2L engine. The K10C is good on flat roads, but she found it to be noisy and pretty confused in shifting between 1 and 2 on the uphill slopes. My wife was dejected – after the Grand i10 Nios debacle she had hoped that the Celerio would be the choice of the vehicle for us. Trust me – that car has really good interiors, a great smiling face and very good build quality. The AMT implementation however, is not that good and my wife said that the head bobbing “Ding!” is all the more pronounced. It is amplified by the fact that the engine is a puny 998cc K10C engine – although fantastic by itself to be called a pocket rocket, it’s best suited for a manual transmission; to dart around in the city.
On a whim, I visited Chowgule Industries Maruti Arena showroom in Pune (Taware colony) to check out the Swift on a lazy Friday afternoon in the coming week. Again a superlative service by the folks here at Chowgule. The sales person – Kalappa K was great. We were promptly attended to, explained everything about the car in details and he said – let’s go for a test drive in the Swift ZXi AGS.
Maruti Swift ZXi – AGS – Experience 1:
The test drive vehicle was a beautiful red and black (it was actually a ZXi+ version with a dual tone colour scheme) The interiors were beautiful and it looked quite new and well kept. It had done around 18,000 kms but was in top notch condition. I test drove the car and came back impressed. This car (Swift) has one of the best implementations of the K12N dual jet motor and the AGS system. The K12N is even more impressive than the earlier K12M – it masks the shortcomings of the AGS system so well, that if you don’t look at the R-N-D-<M> pattern near the shifter, you would think this is a proper automatic. The 4 cylinder K12N is extremely silent and the AGS system is way too good. There was only one place where I noticed the head bobbing “Ding!” – those who are Pune will know the steep U hairpin bend on the road to Taljai hills. That’s the only place where I realized it had shifted from 2 to 1 and the engine was audible inside. Kalappa K allowed me to take an extended test drive and said that he would bring the car to my home in the following week, once my wife was back from Satara.
Excited, I called my wife up in the evening – telling her about this new discovery and said we should better consider the Swift. Since I was going there back again on the next day, we decided to consider the Swift for a test drive again in Satara. We headed back to the Arena showroom, but they did not have a Swift for a test drive. We left the showroom dejected, only to enter the Jay motors showroom behind. Read on below…
Tata Altroz – DCA – Experience 1:
Behind the Arena showroom in Satara – you have the Jay motors showroom for Tata. I said let’s check out the Tiago. Funny enough – the Tiago was never on consideration so far, but we both said – what the heck! Let’s test drive the Tiago AMT because by now we were hooked and addicted to automatic transmissions! The experience at Jay motors was a very pleasant one. The showroom was bustling with people checking out the Nexon, Safari and the Harrier. They were pretty prompt in assigning a sales person to us. When we said that we wanted an automatic, he said convincingly – “Try the Altroz DCA – it’s newly launched” That statement was a game changer for us (but we didn’t realize it at that time). He explained the pricing, colours, specifications and all the details. Took our licenses for the test drive and out came a spanking new test drive Altroz DCA in a beautiful navy blue colour. I will keep it simple – they have a fancy name for it, but at the end of the day it’s navy blue or a dark blue colour. It was spanking new, fresh from the factory with only 256 kms on the odometer. The white/beige interiors were still white and not soiled, so we were the lucky few ones to test drive it early in it’s life.
My wife cranked the car and the 3 pot motor thrum was obvious. She shifted to D and moved off smartly (by this time, we had taken to automatics in a big way!). Speed went up to 20-30-40-50 and then it hit both of us like a bolt from the sky! “What the freakin’ hell!” we both loudly exclaimed in unison – there was no head bobbing here! The speed was around 45-46 kmph so it must have been the 3rd or 4th gear but we never felt a thing. That DCA gearbox was magic for us! Absolutely no indication of any gears being switched. Possibly the only way you know gears have changed is because of the 3 cyclinder 1.2 Revotron engine. This car has it the other way round – the gearbox is fantastic, but the engine should have been a proper 4 cylinder one.
Turned to the back seat and found the sales person grinning ear to ear – “I told you, Sir!” He also showed us how to put the gearbox in manual mode and then shift gears. Wow! Wow! Wow! This is a superb car – the best one that we had driven there so far. No AMT, a proper automatic gearbox and absolutely fab looking design. The car is a beautiful to look at – whichever way you see. Impressed – we left the showroom – we were both now pretty sure that we had found our match. The price was well – way beyond what we had initially planned so at that point of time, we were unsure of whether we would buy the Altroz (at that time, I say – later on we did buy it!)
What a bummer! We loved the Altroz but that could be way out of our budget (I will come to that later on). We liked the interiors and shapes of two cars (G-i10 Nios and Celerio) but the AMT/AGS implementation was horrible. My wife hadn’t driven the Swift yet, so she was unsure. We went for the Tiago and came back impressed with the Altroz.
So by now, we had two contenders – Tata Altroz DCA and the Swift ZXi – AGS.
Maruti Swift ZXi – AGS – Experience 2:
The second experience with Chowgule Industries in Pune for the Swift was again fantastic. We gave a time of 3pm on the coming Wednesday 1st June 22 and sure enough at 2.55pm Kalappa K called – he was outside with the red dual tone Swift ZXi+. My wife test drove the Swift and was impressed. This was a proper 4 cylinder engine and the car was small enough for her to maneuver in the city. The car barely had a rattle on it so she liked it all the more. We promised him to come to the showroom on 3rd June 22 which was Ganesh Chaturthi for the booking, with all the documents. At this point of time, we still had a the Altroz on our consideration but it was going out of our planned budget. The booking experience was excellent – we were in and out of the showroom in 45 minutes flat. We rang the customary bell for the booking and were sure that we would be laying our hands on the car in a month or two. We chose the white colour.
Here we are, at the Chowgule Industries showroom, ringing the bell after completing the Swift booking:
That’s when we saw the “Waiting period” board – it said 16-18 weeks for the Swift ZXi – AGS. Huh?!! 4 months waiting period! That’s insane, but it shows the car’s popularity and the reason why so many people buy it. Kalappa said he would try his best to deliver it by August end, but that seemed improbable. A reason we wanted an early delivery was that, my brother in law was traveling to USA on 17th Aug 22, so we wanted to have the delivery of the car before that. In the meanwhile, we could only wait – nothing else to do.
Suddenly there was a huge gap in our schedule now. Till now, we were enjoying the TD experiences, researching hatchbacks online, calculating budgets and price but now that the Swift was finalized and booked, there was nothing else to be done. The Altroz meanwhile kept lingering in the corner of our minds. We both had loved the looks of the car and the superb dual clutch automatic experience. The on-road prices was coming to 11 Lakhs on road for the XZA variant which was way beyond what we had initially planned.
10th June 22 – barely a week later after the Swift booking, both of us couldn’t take it any longer. The 4 months waiting period was crazy and would have driven both of us crazy. We decided to check out other cars outside of Maruti and Tata. We didn’t actually find anything much. The Renault Kwid was never considered because we both did not like the looks of the car. Hence, we never went for a test drive.
Maruti Baleno experience:
Another visit to Nexa – Satara road – it’s the one managed by Chowgule industries; to check out the Baleno. Again, just like the Celerio, it was an amazing car. Fit and finish looked good, plus they had now added gimmicks into the car like a heads-up display. We loved the blue colour and asked the sales person Shivdarshan Borude for a test drive. It was arranged promptly for us. The test drive experience was more or less the same one like the Swift. Except that the car is larger and wider than the Swift so that is something that you need to consider. Also, I feel that such a beautiful car needs a proper 6 speed automatic gearbox from the Ertiga rather than an AMT one. The “Ding!” is very much present in the Baleno as well, and you can easily feel it, especially from 1st to 2nd shifting.
We explained the reason why we drove the Baleno. Shivdarshan said not a problem – we can transfer your booking internally. Since it’s managed by Chowgule industries only, it could be possible. We then started considering the variants at this point. Baleno Delta made the logical sense – it had all the “must have” features, none of the unnecessary ones and most importantly was within our budget. However, my wife wanted the Zeta (she wanted mirrors that would auto fold when the car was locked/unlocked! Huh!?? once again! Trust ladies to want a feature which no normal human being has ever thought of, even in the wildest dreams!! ). Shivdarshan managed to convince her saying that you don’t need anything beyond a Baleno Delta. Plus he promised to deliver the car by the end of July.
He said “Why don’t you sit in the Baleno Delta and see for yourself?” That was mistake no. 1. He did a couple of phone calls and said that they would be getting a Delta variant by Monday in their stockyard so we could sit in that and get a feel, but no test drive (as it was a customer delivery car). The stockyard as it turns out was the open plot next to the Maruti Suzuki Arena showroom for Chowgule industries in Taware colony!
On a hot 13th June 22 afternoon, we followed another junior sales rep to the stockyard. That’s where he committed mistake no. 2. It was his weekly off, (nothing wrong with it), so he assigned someone else to show the car to us. Heart in our mouths, hoping that we wouldn’t run into Kalappa K in the stockyard (it’s common for Chowgule Ind – Arena and Nexa), we went and saw the car. Crap! once again. The Delta variant doesn’t have a height adjustment, so when my wife sat in the car, she could barely see over the top of the dashboard (being 5′ 2″ has it’s own disadvantages! Just don’t tell that to my wife!!). The junior representative was very professional and he did a good job by himself. However, the lack of height adjustment had thrown a spanner in the works. End result – Baleno cancelled by my wife in the stockyard.
That’s where we stumbled upon our next requirement – the car must have a height adjustment for the driver seat. That seriously narrowed down our choices. Fortunately the Swift has it on all variants except the base LXi. So that meant, that we were still on the critical path to get the car. At-least until now.
Sunday – 12th June 22 – Tata Altroz DCA – Experience 2:
Sunday morning, once again my wife said – let’s “Re-Review” the Altroz. Again a round of “What the…!” and by 1.00 PM we were in the Tata motors showroom. This time it was Dev motors on S.B. Road. They seem to be quite new, so the showroom was chock-a-block with families and people mingling around here and there. Again a good experience here – they offered us free water and coffee. We said no to the coffee, because it was playing havoc with the purchase decisions in every showroom. However, we grabbed the free water bottles! (it became a habit, after so many showroom visits, both of us bordering on the verge of being kleptomaniacs and hoarding locally branded tiny water bottles from car showrooms!). Anyway, not hijacking the main story, Dev motors didn’t have either the Tiago or the Altroz for a TD available. Both cars were out on customer visits, so that meant we would lose precious time on the Sunday. We thanked them and escaped from the showroom.
Tata Altroz DCA – Experience 3:
Google maps showed that the nearest Tata dealer from Dev motors was Garve Cars at Wakdewadi. Since it was already 3pm, we hurriedly went to the Garve Tata showroom in Wakdewadi. We were greeted by a tall, serene looking team lead – Rupesh Pacharne. Although he had a pretty grim expression on his face, he was very helpful and assigned a sales rep – Prasad Kulkarni to us.
Prasad was a pint sized powerhouse. He talked nineteen to the dozen and was constantly darting around here and there. Plus he had a huge mullet hairdo that constantly kept covering his eyes and talked with a strange lisp. We asked him for the Altroz DCA. He made a few phone calls internally and said – “Madam, we don’t have an Altroz right now, but I can get one to your home on the coming Tuesday. In the interim, he said let’s test drive the Tiago. Once again, licenses exchanged for the driver’s seat and we were off.
The AMT implementations in the Tiago is also one of the better ones out there. While the same 1.2L Revotron engine may feel underpowered in the Altroz, it felt nimble and sprightly in the Tiago. The infamous head bobbing “Ding!” was very much present, though it was well damped. Second only to the Swift. Where it loses out to the K12N motor is the refinement. That’s obvious because the Revotron is a 3 cylinder engine whereas the K12N is a proper 4 cylinder one. The Tiago experience was fantastic in every other sense. The car felt very light, nimble and was easy to maneuver on account of the small size. It’s a rare Tata car, that can seat 4 comfortably, but not 5. “This is a very good car, but… the quality of plastics is pretty hard. I don’t like it that much!” Oh! Man! Ladies have a knack for successfully doing leg before wickets (LBW). Both Prasad and I looked at each other and shook our heads. “You bring the Altroz tomorrow to our home, she said”
Net outcome of the TD: Prasad promised to bring the Altroz to our home and we (my wife and I) internally agreed to either go ahead with the Swift booking, or switch over to the Tiago, if nothing worked out.
Tuesday 14th June 22 – 3pm, I am just finishing the daily stand up meeting and Prasad called my wife saying that he had arrived at our home. He was outside with the Altroz. Once again a spanking new Altroz DCA in the same navy/dark blue colour. It was a top of the line XZA+. This car had a different mileage than the previous one at Jay motors, around 950 kms; so we both were pretty sure that it was not the same car that was moving around different Tata Dealers in Pune/Satara district. Once again, the test drive we took was a longish one at 20-25kms and came out impressed. This time we paid attention to some of the finer details. The climate control was a chiller – never felt the need to go beyond the blower speed of 1 or 2 inspite of the hot afternoon. We also paid close attention to the DCA gearbox and the engine noise.
The DCA gearbox on the Altroz is a superb one. You don’t feel the gear shifts at all, especially when it upshifts from 1-2-3-4-5-6. Even when downshifting the only reason you realize that the car has downshifted, is because of the vocal nature of the 1.2L Revotron engine. You can make out from the engine note that the car has downshifted. Our observation was that the car (and the gearbox) desperately need the higher powered 1.2L turbo petrol engine from the Nexon Petrol/Altroz Turbo.
That combo (1.2L Turbo Petrol + DCA) would have made it a no-brainer decision. It would have been an absolutely stunning substitute for the departed VW Polo GT-TSi. Tata lost the initial opportunity there, but I am hoping they will add this combination soon.
Again, without getting into much details here, we promised Prasad that we would book the Altroz on 17th June 22 (once again Chaturthi) and he agreed. He called us up almost every day, even on the 17th to ensure that we would come over for the booking.
Finally, after quite a few showroom visits, the whole episode was coming to a conclusion. I felt relieved and my wife felt happy. We reached there on Friday and once again the experience at Garve Tata was stellar. We completed the booking process and were out of the showroom in an hour.
Here’s another picture of us with the Altroz booking. Just to clarify – I am not that oversized. There was a fan above that was blowing all the air inside! 🙂 That’s me, my wife and Prasad with the initial booking docket:
After the Altroz booking completed, we headed over to the Chowgule Industries Arena showroom to cancel the Swift booking. Kalappa K was crestfallen, after all he had made a sale from a casual inquiry to a confirmed booking in a span of one week, so this would have scored him some brownie points in his appraisal. However, being very professional – he agreed to cancel the booking without asking any uncomfortable questions. Probably his sixth sense told him that we were interested in another car. I would give him full credit for the way he managed the whole thing – right from the initial inquiry to the booking to the cancellation. Trust Maruti to setup their showrooms like a well oiled engine. Everything is so smooth that you hardly have any goof-ups in between.
Anyway, to conclude (cramming too much into one post would be boring), the booking had now shifted from Chowgule Industries to Garve Cars Pvt Ltd.
The booking experience and the wait for the car:
As I have mentioned in the previous post, the booking experience at Garve Tata was great. We shared the mandatory Pan, Adhar, Copy of the electricity bill, two photos and paid up 11,000/- as the booking amount. Prasad promised us a delivery 11th or 12th August for the Altroz DCA – XZA variant.
For the colour – we chose the grey colour – they call it Daytona Grey but for us it is simple metallic grey colour. The dark blue colour looks fab in the showroom but would have been a pain to maintain everyday. The black colour is available in the Dark Edition – that would have been an even more of a maintenance nightmare, than the dark blue one.
We did not like the red colour (although it looks really nice, in person rather than in pictures) and rejected the white because we did not want the car to look like a cab in a sea of white cars. Strangely, the silver colour is available in the manual variants but not in the DCA version of the car. Hence, the last remaining option was grey – which we both liked and Prasad said he would receive the car faster because the demand for white and grey was higher. I would take that last statement of his with a bagful of salt – even if we had chose the red colour, he would have said that white and red are fast moving colours!
Little did we know that the government + bank holidays in the first two weeks of August would play havoc with the delivery timelines. The bank holidays and long weekend meant that even though the car arrived in time in their stockyard, the RTO passing and registration was delayed by a week. Garve Tata immediately formed a WhatsApp (WA) group with Prasad, Rupesh (TL), the Finance person, and the accessories person. All receipts were shared on the WA group and they also gave us the physical copies. We also received the mandatory SMSes from Garve Cars and Tata motors congratulating us for the booking and they gave us some kind of booking id. That booking id was important for us to track the booking or maybe for some reference, but we never used it anywhere.
We had booked the car on 17th June 22 and thus began a long wait. Probably it is the most dreary part of the car buying experience so far.
The Twist in the tale – Ignis once again!
We had hoped to receive the car by the end of July. However, by mid of July there was no communication from Tata and Garve Cars. The WA group was dead silent without any messages. Around 16th July 22 my wife developed cold feet. She wanted the car because she was scheduled to start her office from August. “Let’s go out and see the Ignis once again – this time at Sai Service – Nexa”. Once again a round of “What the…?!!” followed at home.
They say you can’t fathom what’s going on in a girl’s mind. I now wholeheartedly concur with whoever has made the statement. Somehow, we were spending a lot of time doing “What the…?!!” statements. To cut the long story short we ended up at Sai Service Nexa on Aundh/Baner road on a very hot and humid Sunday afternoon of 17th July 22.
The Maruti experience is stellar – they assigned a sales rep to us in a few minutes and we traded licenses for a place in the driver’s seat. Once again, an orange Ignis – Alpha AGS was waiting for us. Now; I developed cold feet – because it was an Orange Ignis (the first experience with an Orange Ignis in Satara was a very forgettable one). However, this time the car was superb. This one had done around 35k kilometers but the AGS was pretty smooth on this car.
We took a short test drive for around 10kms or so and came back. Once again the cold feet experience for me.(What if she cancels the Altroz now and switches over to the Ignis?). The sales person said we have a white and a silver Ignis Zeta in transit and if you complete the booking today I can give you the car in 10 days. He was asking us to reserve either of the car by paying the booking amount. My wife was tempted, but she held back; telling him to respond in a 2-3 days.
By now, I was pretty sure that my intuition was turning out to be true. On the way back, she told me and the EcoSport – “Let’s cancel the Altroz and go ahead with the Ignis!” (I consider the EcoSport; because so far, it has been like a silent companion to me in all the buying experience). Once again a bummer – that would mean cancelling the booking at Garve and redoing the process again! Not again, please!
We reached home and I asked her – “Let’s take a final decision, now! We can’t keep jumping car bookings and collecting free tiny water bottles”.
Final shortlist – Two cars:
- Tata Altroz – XZA – Daytona Grey – booking in progress. (Heart decision, no head involvement)
- Maruti Ignis Zeta – White or Silver – ? – (head decision, no heart involved)
I told her that if you don’t like the Ignis but you are just going ahead with it because of the delivery timelines and practicality – then don’t do it. If you love the Altroz – stick to it. There’s no point in spending upwards of 10L on a car that you don’t love to look at, everyday. That Sunday evening, she agreed wholeheartedly saying “Let’s stick with the Altroz!” Good Lord! Finally He heard the prayers!
To conclude the post – we stuck with Altroz come what may now. The Ignis/Swift though practical head decisions wouldn’t have been a good choice because in the back of our minds, we would have always thought of them as some sort of compromise.
For us both, the Altroz was love at first sight. We had loved everything about the car – the interiors, exteriors, the fantastic DCA gearbox. Thus, concluded our booking and Test drive process. All that now remained was waiting till the end of July/First week of August for the car to arrive at the dealership.
The delivery experience at Garve Tata:
Overall, I would rate them 4 out of 5. I will explain why I took away one star from an otherwise perfect delivery.
Around 4th Aug 2022 – Rupesh called my wife and informed that the car had arrived at their stockyard. Elation! At last! He asked her to complete the loan formalities. We took the loan from SBI (I will come to the finance details in a bit) as is the norm with majority of the people. That was pretty straightforward, given that the showroom is bang in between SBI on the left hand side and a BPCL petrol pump on the right hand side (Talk about business opportunities – you know most of the folks will require a loan, so you have SBI covering that and you know that everyone will fill in fuel after taking the delivery of the car, so BPCL has you covered there).
The SBI processing was quite okay in that sense – they had everything ready. Except that my wife had to sign at a lot of places on the application form. The clerk was an overworked young lady. Again, as is the norm, whenever two ladies meet – they find a way to connect with each other instantly. While signing the loan forms, the clerk found a patient listener in my wife – so she opened up quite a bit, about how much overworked they are, how it takes her 10pm to go home everyday, so on and so forth. We lost a good amount of constructive time on a hot and dreary Saturday – 6th August 2022 just to sign off a loan application form . It was 3pm by the time we (rather, they both!) finished off, so there was nothing else to do. I informed the showroom to complete the finance formalities.
With the holidays coming up in the week of 15th Aug, I had asked the showroom to ensure that everything was done quickly because we wanted to take delivery of the car in the month of Shravan. I had also instructed the showroom to share the VIN number of the car and also requested them to wait for the RTO passing till I ran it through the PDI checklist. The VIN indicated a manufacturing date of August 22, so that was a positive thing.
However, man proposes and God disposes. The following week, there was heavy rain in Pune and their stockyard is somewhere near Kasarsai dam. Unfortunately, in the coming week, due to the heavy rains and some personal work, I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it to the stockyard. So, the PDI had to be skipped. We took the chance and gave the go ahead to invoice the vehicle on 9th Aug 22. However, 9th Aug was a holiday, so it was delayed.
On the coming Friday (12th Aug 22), their person called and said they were sending the car to the RTO for passing. “What the…?!!” once again! 15th, 16th Aug 22 were holidays, so the RTO was shut. 17th and 18th we had to go to Mumbai Airport to see off my brother in law. Nothing could be done now, so after a blasting by my wife and a few “Sorry madam!” conversations they finally gave the car for RTO passing only on 18th Aug 22. Again, 19th was Janmashtami, so that added one more day’s delay. I will take away one star for the goof up in this.
Beyond this there was smooth sailing. We got a message from the RTO on 22nd Aug 22 with the registration details. It took the RTO two more days to send the new number plates. We decided to take the delivery on Thursday 25th Aug 22.
What was the bigger twist in the tale?
So far, Prasad who been handling all the things became unresponsive. Then in the week before the delivery, my wife showed me his WhatsApp status. He had joined Nexa, Baner and left the job at Garve Tata. “What the…?!!” once again. But to his credit, the TL – Rupesh managed the whole thing very professionally. He assigned another lady – Shubhangi to complete the formalities. That experience was totally seamless – we didn’t have to bother about anything.
On the delivery day, Shubhangi had kept everything ready – all the papers, the pooja material, garland, cake, etc. etc. All that was left was taking the delivery of the car after signing the forms.
So, here are the pics from the showroom. So far there have been very less pictures in the thread, hopefully this should suffice for now. I haven’t ventured out with the car, so a proper photo shoot is still pending.
The formal cake cutting ceremony in the showroom:
All smiling faces:
Garve Tata requested us for this photo, so that they could add it in their WA status, as well as on their FB/Twitter feed. We obliged:
And here is the happy owner of the new car! Happy to see all the smiles on face – a new car is always special, no matter what:
Continue reading on BHPian W.A.G.7’s buying experience and review of his Tata Altroz DCA for BHPian comments, insights and more information.
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