Initial ownership review:
The car came home almost 3 weeks ago. As I write this, I have completed close to 400 kms of driving my new Verito. The decision process has been written earlier and below are my initial observations, which are subject to change as I get more used to it.
The car is undoubtedly spacious and comfortable to seat 5 adults. The driving position is very good, it is neither very low or too high as in tall-boy cars. It gives excellent view of the road. Having said that, the visibility on the right hand side is at times suspect. I have come across some situations where it was a near blinder. Added to the original design, I added door visor, which is impeding the view further.
The original fabric seats are of decent quality. It was comfortable to sit. As I have recently added "Autoform" the seat covers, I am still getting used to them. The comfort of OE seats were somewhat lost but I was told that it would take a week or so to get used to the new set of seat covers.
The cabin lights are very powerful and it covers the full cabin space. D6 comes with courtesy light, which remains on for 20 seconds or so, even after you switch off the ignition. This is a very nifty feature.
I have got used to the orientation of turn indicators and wiper. I have not even once done it wrongly! The power window switches are on the middle of the console and few times I have scratching around the door arm-rest for this. Not a show stopper so far.
The D6 version comes factory fitted with a Kenwood music system and four speakers, which plays CD and auxillary cable output. It is adequate for me to listen to FM radio. I still don’t get the difference between bass, treble and other terms used and now you can understand the level of interest I have on music systems. I want a functional music system which helps me to break the monotony and it is there. The biggest surprise came when I realized that the auxillary slot is only for output (headphone) and not for input.
The engine under the hood is the famed 1.5 dci from Renault, which is seen in Nissan Micra, Renault Fluence, Duster and Pulse and the erstwhile Logan. One of the key contributors for my decision to go for Verito is this gem. I am not a automobile or mechanical engineer and with little or no knowledge, I was impressed by whatever I have read about this engine. Hopefully, it stays true to its reputation and serves me well for the next few years.
I love to drive sedately and steadily and I never enjoyed ripping the machines apart. I am happy with the power the engine produces at 65 BHP. As a driver, the first thing you come in contact in a car is the steering wheel and according to me, it is good and responsive. When @sridhark rode the car, he felt that it was little stiff. I heard that the smoothness improves after the first service. Is that right?
One of the key reasons, we went for Verito is the suspension. I find it good and manages our famed “Indian” roads very easily. The passengers don’t feel any jerk or jump when you cross a mini-mountain (a.k.a speed breakers) or go over Pallanguli (pot-holed) roads! I have driven Etios and we felt that it was horrible.
I was very worried about the AC before buying this but after using it for couple of weeks, I can say it works just fine. When the car is parked in direct sunlight, I use the technique of letting the fresh air in and keeping the blower at speed 4. I switch on the AC after couple of minutes and allow the fan speed to remain at 4 for 5 minutes. The cabin cools down by then and after that I reduce the fan speed to either 2 or 1, depending on the number of passengers. Though the peak summer is behind us in Chennai, I am pretty confident this would take me through comfortably next summer. The AC vents are circle in shape and comes with an option of shutting it off completely or rotating 360 degrees, which I find it very useful. Particularly, if you are travelling alone, the ability to shut off one of the driver facing vents helps you to avoid freezing inside the cabin.
The city driveability is again a positive feature. The car can run without stalling at lower RPMs and it is very helpful in slow moving traffic. But in a stop-go-stop traffic conditions, I have seen multiple instances of the engine going off. Again, I would believe it is more to do with my driving style. While driving in the second gear, I tend to use clutch a bit more than required, having moved from a petrol car earlier. This I need to reduce as I get more used to this car. There is also a sudden acceleration I have noticed when you take off the foot from the clutch. Probably, it is the way diesel cars are!
No complaints about NVH levels as it is one of the plus points of the cars. There is definitely a diesel engine clatter but not very intrusive. If you roll down the windows, the noise is pronounced but if you use AC, it is barely audible. Switch on the music system, you can just about forget the noise. Wonderful!
The clutch has been improved in the newer versions of Verito compared to Logans. I have read about the hard clutch but the new Verito has a hydraulic one and it is very soft.
First of my grudges comes in the form gears. I am not very happy with the gear shifts. The slotting is not to my expectation and I think it may be due to the newness of the machine. I hope the smoothness of the gears improves after the first service.
Braking is another key aspect which is definitely not inspiring. I didn’t get a comfortable feeling with the brakes. The suggestion to improve that is to go for better rubber but is there a guarantee that it would improve? I don’t think so!
The choice of colours and on top of it, the paint quality in Verito has definitely gone down compared to Logan. The white colour what you get is called Diamond white, which is not a pure white you find in cars like Etios or Sunny. The gloss and the shine is definitely a notch lower than what we see in other cars. A big compromise which I hate to accept. In order to mitigate the impact, I went in for a 3M paint protection program at a cost of Rs3.4K. 3M gives you one year guarantee for this.
The headlights are adequate and the D6 version comes with Fog lamps. I have not yet used the fog lamps in Chennai and may not be used at all in Chennai. The D6 also comes with a de-mister and again not used so far. Not able to comment on the effectiveness of the same.
The rear-view mirrors are okay but not the side-view mirrors. It could have been little bigger to cover a wider view but unfortunately not. Due to the presence of middle head-rest on the back seat, the visibility while reversing the car is very poor. It takes some time to get used to.
Chrome should be dear to some big boss in Mahindra, I guess. You get a good amount of chrome all over the body. It starts with Chrome on the front bonnet, on the roof-rails and on the rear appliqué. I am ok with the front and the roof-rails (!?) but not at the rear. They could have avoided having a meaningless and long chrome strip of chrome on the boot opener. They already have the Mahindra logo nested on a piece of chrome.
The overall build quality is good and the sheet metal used is much better than cars like Etios. The interior plastics are definitely cheap though, which is a minor irritant. Particularly, the AC vent with a silver plating, is an example of that. The switches for AC, central lock are straight out of 1990’s and you feel for the price you pay, they can definitely work out something better.
The most important aspect for any Indian buying a car is the mileage. The current Driver Information System shows it around 13kms. Mind you, I drive mostly in the city through narrow roads and heavy traffic. I have not tested using full tank method but I am just relying on the DIS, which is not very reliable. I will give it some more running in before really start worrying about the mileage. I am pretty confident it should return not less than 15kms in city driving conditions.
I am looking for a reverse camera to be fitted in and under body anti-rust coating, which may cost upto Rs10K.