Sunday, October 7, 2012

New Ride

Don't worry. I'm not replacing the Shark anytime soon. Me wife's trusty Chevrolet Optra was getting a tad long in the tooth so it was time for a replacement. My initial choice was the Hyundai Elantra 1.8 though it took the wife some convincing as her family is mostly into Hondas and Toyotas. This is when the problem started. To summarize:
  • The car was promised for delivery on August the 22nd. Original booking was done many months before.
  • Me and my wife proceeded to book the registration number.
  • We were informed that the delivery of my wife's car was delayed due to the Hari Raya hols.
  • On the 29th we were informed that the car was finally ready for delivery latest by September 5th and to pay the full downpayment which was not small mind you (RM3X,XXX+).
  • The downpayment was promptly paid. My wife sold her Optra earlier to partly finance the downpayment.
  • On September 6th my wife's Elantra was still MIA. The SA also asked me to take another colour which was not even in my 2nd or 3rd choice. No way! If you are paying so much for a car at the very least you would want a colour you desire. I got pissed and cancelled the booking as the SA still could not tell me when my wife's car in the colour she wants (silver) would be here. I requested for our downpayment back in a few days so we could buy another car.
  • The SA could not tell me when our money would be refunded. I called the branch manager which told me 4 weeks! WTF! When I mentioned I would do whatever it takes legally to claim my money back in as short a time as possible I was told "we can't stop you from doing whatever you want". Talk about customer service! The branch manager even blamed his SA for taking the full downpayment when the car was not here while the SA blamed his manager for telling him to take the downpayment as the car is here. Don't know what kind of sales organization this is.
  • A written complaint to the Sime Darby Hyundai MY website was equally ignored and whomever that managed the customer service was so ignorant or was it stupidity? to even send me a follow up email asking me to rate their service. Obviously I gave the worse rating and demanded my money back which also went unaswered.
  • Took a legal letter to finally drive them to action and I got my money back in only 3 working days. Yes, 3 working days and 4 if you count Saturday as a working day instead of 4 weeks.
No matter how good the Hyundai end product is I will never again buy from Hyundai MY/Sime Darby or at least from that Penang branch on Sungai Pinang road. Period! Between myself and my wife this is our sixth car and we have never seen such ridiculous car sales service.

Anyway I ate humble pie and we placed a booking on my wife's first choice, the new and much maligned (in the American press) Honda Civic 2.0S FB2 in polished metal metallic colour and got her car in bout 2 weeks. Compared to the Elantra's lovely fluidic curvy organic lines the new Civic is a myriad of angles and straight sharp lines except funnily for the mismatched front grille and foglights. Replacing the ridiculous looking front grille with a Modulo item helped clean up the overall front end and results in a much sportier and better looking (to me) car. Never has so small a change resulted in so large an aesthetic impact.

At the showroom on the day of collection. I would say the new Civic is quite a looker with the Modulo front grille and certainly loads better than the USDM non-Si equivalent.

Back home.

Settled on 3M Crystalline tint and PPS teflon coating. Don't have the bandwidth to spend so much time personally waxing, polishing and detailing two cars lar. Shiny eh? HID main headlights work a treat.

Took bout 6-7 hours to get the PPS treatment done. Work only got completed late at night. I only had the exterior painted parts coated. PPS also have coatings for interior and windscreen.

You can read up about 3M Crystalline tint over at MotoIQ. I settled for Crystalline 70 for front windscreen and 60 everywhere else. Don't like the super black tint look lar. Invites trouble from the authorities and everyone else. The Shark in comparison has au naturale tint and Autoglym DIY BST "coating".

Close up of the Modulo front grille. Massive cost (RM890) but worth every penny. The Ah Beng in me is asking if I should go for red Honda badging? Wife in her typical practical way is telling me to not waste money.

The morning after. Side view.

Back home after the coating and tint work.

The Playstation/spaceship lookalike dashboard. There is no engine water temperature gauge but interestingly there are separate low and high water temperature warning lights. The MID already shows you average fuel consumption but Honda decided to add a real-time fuel consumption digital gauge just to let you know how much emphasis is placed on fuel consumption and your driving style.

For such an expensive car (to me) hard plastics are abound everywhere for the interior. Electric power steering feels over assisted especially at slow speeds and has no feel. Wind noise is minimal below 120 km/h and SOHC engine feels quietly refined but lacking the Honda top end pull though to be honest I have yet to whack the car hard given that it has yet to undergo it's first 1K km service. Quick bursts of overtaking acceleration is more than sufficient. Most of the noise is from the tyres. Car is pretty agile with decent handling on fast corners so long as you don't pretend its a Type Aarrr with equivalent handling and power.

Chassis feels sufficiently rigid though I would have liked less body roll. The Michelin PS3s tyres are not helping here with its soft feel sidewall. Pedal gear shifter will automatically shift down for you if you are too slow but will not auto-shift up. Pressing the green econ button dulls engine throttle response and power even more. Turbo lag without the turbo rush on a NA car? I have yet to muster the patience to use Econ mode long enough to compare with standard mode on fuel efficiency. It is too early to talk about overall fuel efficiency but for such a large car, 17" wheels and a much larger capacity engine, I can safely say the Civic has as good or even better fuel efficiency than me wife's old Chevrolet Optra 1.6 at it's best. Brakes can certainly do with better stopping power though I've been spoilt by the Shark's Wilwoods. Stock ride height is very Low which is giving me reservations on getting the entire Modulo bodykit including front, rear and side skirting.. Don't say I didn't warn you. OK, will stop here for now.

Remember this blog is for the Nissan N16 Sentra :)


Firdaus Asri said...

Nice ride bro!! Somehow I feel the new Civic has grown more on me now. The electric power steering is known to cause artificial feel in terms of weightage but if you can go past that, I don't see much difference.

Side track a bit, my experience buying from VW Goh Brothers Juru was awesome. I still remember vividly where the don't have Polo GTI test car available, guess what they drive out the showroom car for me instead! And encouraging me to nail the pedal all the way till the Sungai Dua toll and back :)

Buying it even good too. It took them few days to get the financing approved and I only had to take a day off to drive up to Penang, signed agreements and exchanged my Satria GTi with the new car on the same day. And they got a ready buyer for my old car :)

Andrew Saw said...

Good to hear Bro. Cars nowadays are not cheap and a positive buying experience really adds to the joy of a new ride. I went to Goh Brothers in BM for the Elantra (yes they are selling Hyundais too) but the SA did not dare to promise me any car then.

Did not mention in my post I even had to find a buyer for the old faithful Optra. Th trade in value is bordering on the ridiculous @ 15K for a 7 year old car costing 91K when new. Sold it off for 19K.