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The new Palio Stile 1.1 SLX

Saturday, April 14, 2007

/ by Srikanth Eswaran




Its my pleasure to post here my experience with the test drive of the
new palio stile. Without bragging much about anything, let me start off
to the point. I has spoken to one Mr.Subbiah the manager of Prerana
motors, next to urvashi theatre (lalbagh road) expressing interest in
the test drive. since the car was still unavailable in the showroom
around April 1st, he said he will contact me once its there. Maybe due
to his busy schedules, he never did that. We all are busy, and we can’t
expect others to be proactive when we ourselves are not! So I decided
to call him up again, and this time he remembered me, and asked me to
come on Good Friday morning for the test drive since the car was now
available in the showroom.

And what a good friday it was !! There was no traffic whatsoever in the
morning, and I promptly presented myself in their showroom spot on at
10am. They were just opened for the day and without any surprise i
found the Palio Stile parked there. The lady who received me was very
courteous and to the point, and she said she “doesnt know” for whatever
she “didnt know” Me already having owned a palio, starting checking out
the car by myself. The driveable car was another piece which was
getting ready, so i indulged in the one in the showroom.

Here a few salient points:

1. The double barrel headlamps are a thing of beauty and is master
crafted to a perfect shine! it simply blows you away when you stand and
observe it from the distance.

2. The beige treatment within the car is sort of dirty, but you get used to it after a while.

3. The power window switches are now part of the door lock mould, instead of the previous door handle mould (if i am not wrong)

4. The rear indicators are vertical (the ones in the earlier photos
from shineshine are not the indicators, its the reverse lights) and are
clear lens. Needless to say, the remote fuel cap release and boot
release are there as well.

5. The seating position is not the greatest (i found the indigo to be
better in terms of back support and sitting straight, whereas the palio
is more of a slide-back-relax-and-drive kind of seat), but its the same
since the older model. overall the changes mentioned above makes the
car looks refreshing.

6. while sitting in the rear seat, i shook myself a lot, and found that
the car too shakes on this impact. well this only means that you can
notice the weight shed from the times of the old palio. nothing to be
anxious about since the reassuring door thud still is there! (if you
know what i mean)

After drooling over the car much, the car was ready for the test drive,
and no fuss, the key was given to my by one mr.thimmiah and he said
lets go!!one point though is that i feel the cars going to be delivered
to someone are the ones being offered for test drive, which i feel is
cheating on some unsuspecting person! the one i drove already had 57kms
clocked on it. i can understand their yard is in peenya, which is far
far away, but come on for 57 kms i wouldve crossed hosur even!!being
familiar with the car, i started it and there is only a faint feeling
that the car is on. quite impressive. i had a drive from lalbagh road
onto krumbeigal road upto rv road circle, u turn, and then to jc road
and via poornima theatre road back to lalbagh road (about 1-2 km with
all kinds of traffic and empty stretches today being good friday) my
observations:

1. the clutch is a hydraulic clutch, you have to press it fully with
your might to engage the gear (this is specially so for 2nd gear which
does not slot in properly if on half clutch)

2. on the first gear you cant even go a few metres, you will have to
change. this car has the ability to give a feedback on when it requires
a gear change (much like the santros i have driven), which is good.
onto second gear and I dreaded the sluggishness that was there in the
earlier palio nv’s will repeat. I cautiously pressed the accelerator,
intially without a/c with two people in the car, i was NOT confident
the car is going to pull, just marginally 2 seconds later, the car much
to my expectation, just started pulling magically! definitely the
sluggishness of the previous version is much lesser now. as reported
earlier, trying to take the car upto 100 on second gear is quite
foolish with such a beauty, and i went into third gear quite easily
much before a 100!! (remember i had traffic)

so the moral - you expect the car not to pull, but the car shows who it is! so have confidence and step on the gas!

3. i happened to stop once due to early clutch release, and had a bus
blaring its horn behind me. thanks to avoidance of multi cranking, i
had to fully switch engine off and recrank again (this is a waste of
time in busy traffic, but its best for the engine itself)

4. onto third gear and the car is just a beauty to drive! it just sails
on third gear effortless pulling all it can! oh boy i really thought i
was on cloud nine! i pressed the gas pedal much more confidently this
time, and the car surged forward just as i wanted! fourth gear was
pretty much the same experience. one thing to mention is that i fully
well tested the torque in third and its just great!! the guy even told
me sometimes when we come to almost dead stop in second gear, i can
confidently move on in the same gear with this car! (i atleast
appreciate his liking to a palio considering he was mr.ratan TATAs boy
- and his honesty in his liking!)

5. Finally I was in fifth gear, the car is capable of pulling well in
fifth gear, though the feedback received on gas pedal press isnt
exactly matching the expectation of this capability. perhaps then this
is the effect of 57bhp and only if i crossed 100+ would I have known if
it was exactly like my old horse!

6. the brakes - this is a department i was not exactly comfortable
with, and just like the older model, the brakes here too was very very
rigid! you know this is exactly also why the palio stops where you want
it to stop and makes other cars behind it paranoid and bang into it anyways, i d rather have tight braking than a loose one. after all i want the car to stop where i want it to!

7. a welcome addition is the dead pedal which i dont think was there in
the earlier one (maybe i m getting too forgetful of the old horse now!)
though in the city i dont think it will solve any useful purpose!!

8. the a/c is mind blowing as before, and one flick of the switch and
in seconds you already feel the chill! good job fiat! i love you for
making me comfortable in this scorching summer! (a level 1 of the a/c
is more than enough if you are only one or two people in the car. and
hey guys, always leave to office early, much early in the morning, not
only are you kept cool by nature, you also save on fuel by not using
a/c!!)

9. the storage space on palio isnt exactly impressive.for the driver to
reach the shelf on the left seems too far off. and absolutely nothing
can be kept on the dashboard (personally i like this since otherwise,
we indians will think its an almirah and start stacking so many things!
a dashboard is a dashboard, use it like one!)

10. fiat provides wiring for either 4 or 6 speakers, but not the stereo
or the speakers itself. personally again, thats the best, i mean why
must i pay and accept whatever given by the company! fiat does what its
best known for, the car! i ve also heard before that its difficult to
fit certain stereos on palio, dont know whether thats true!

11. the boot is quite good, but no 40-60 seat split only full. some
cars i notice have vertical storage like swift or indica, while others
horizontal with getz being the best and then palio!12. the wheels
are
the same radii but tubeless this time, but somehow the gaps between the
wheel arches and tyre remind me of the earlier indicas. it removes a
certain composed figure of the car that was there in the old horse.

i expect this car to be frugal with fuel and atleast 14 without a/c is
assured. and for the price and features as earlier posted in this
forum, nothing matches this car. so then what about colours, i liked
the red and green the most, since i already own a blue maruti 800, the
other good colours would be black and blue, though white and silver are
known ones to be sedate looking! but i d anyday vouch for the fact that
NO ONE will have the heart to call a white palio a taxi!!

Please note that the colours mentioned in the brochures exactly match
that of the actual car which is good.fiat have worked on all these
changes themselves and not with tats support. tata only do sales!
prerana has a service center next to big bazar on old madras road.
their showroom team is 100 times better than the disorganized manipal
motors. there is also a prerana showroom on sarjapur road next to hsr
layout entrance (27th main)

finally as i exit the car, i listen to the reassuring thud one last
time before heading off to my maruti 800 again. what a dramatic change
once i enter my maruti. its unbelieveable that i ve been driving this
car for 2 yrs now! but a few minutes with it and i am back to normal.

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