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Thread: A Tale of Taxis and a Punto Taxi!

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    A Tale of Taxis and a Punto Taxi!

    I didn't know that a two day visit to Pune could provide so many insights into automobiles. And an aberration. Here is the tale of the taxis I took, and saw.

    1. Indigo XL - Booked through Easy Cabs. When I called them to book the cab to HYD Airport, they said that they have only VERITO's and Indigo XL. I said no problem. The cab arrived 15 minutes late causing unnecessary anxiety. The cab was nothing less if not dirty. The worn out seat, badly exposed seat railing, a stink from the faux leather, an aftermarket looking rear AC vent, and a sleepy driver. And yeah, the repeated screeches from the engine compartment caused more doubts on whether I would reach the Airport or die somewhere on the way due to the last two factors.

    2. Enjoy MPV - Well! This was a surprise. We were picked by the Hotel cab which was the Enjoy. The boot was little - good enough to take two cabin size bags. The middle row had captain seats with a malfunctioning (read stuck) arm rest. No doubt I felt as though I was almost touching my colleague next to me, the cab seemed deceptively small but spacious. The ride was more car like. No unusual or excessive movements for the passenger. The driver who often drives an Innova was not impressed with the car. Well, the multijet motor seemed to do its duty quite well. All in all an impressive ride but seems to have quality issues. But this car could serve the customer for a longer time and good enough for a family of 4 + 2.

    3. Innova - I'm not at all impressed with this car right from the first time I had taken it. Wasn't impressed this time as well. Despite the Captian seats in the middle row and obvious more space available, it seems a claustrophobic place. My Punto's seats seemed better than the Innova. And obviously the feel. And ride... too much of vertical movement within the cabin; not a place where a person with travel sickness (like me - except when I'm in the front seat... and driving!) will feel comfortable. With the third row, boot space isn't much too far compared to the Enjoy... or so it looked at least.

    4. Etios - The experience of Etios probably explains why it has not picked up sale numbers. The car feels built to a price. The light weight body can be felt even by the passenger. The D4D in the engine compartment is very audible to the back seat passenger. Every small thing on the road sounds aloud in the cabin revealing its thin and light build. Ride is decent. Interior build quality looks average at best. Cabin space is very good but comfort is average. I observed that the driver was going up to 80kmph on 4th gear before shifting to 5th. I inquired with him about the FE. He said that it is about 18kmpl (car has done 9K) and expected to go up; and that the car is low on maintenance. I asked him why he does not upshift earlier to improve the efficiency. The answer came that the pulling power is not great. And even I felt the same listening to the revs of the engine. Overall, an average car with average experience.

    5. Punto! - No. I didn't travel in this cab. But saw the first Punto on the road with a Yellow Board (used by Cabs) in Pune - the hometown of the Indian Punto. Why and how on earth somebody could do this?

    And to top it off - quite a few FIATs (all models) were on road. And a Palio in pristine condition suggesting that some spares were easily available in Pune than in other places. Or is it?
    Vijeth
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    Re: A Tale of Taxis and a Punto Taxi!

    he he, i have seen Palios in yellow board, now beat that

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    Re: A Tale of Taxis and a Punto Taxi!

    Vijeth, Off lately I've too seen a Pune registered silver Punto MJD as Private Taxi in Navi Mumbai and a Linea too.

    I don't think its a bad idea though. Getting into the Private Taxi market will also help rolling of the spare parts and avoid shortage in the market.

    I guess the Linea Classic was intended for such Taxi market but failed to create any interest :(
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    Re: A Tale of Taxis and a Punto Taxi!

    You have a point there, Rudrah.

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    Re: A Tale of Taxis and a Punto Taxi!

    Quote Originally Posted by Vijethcm View Post

    2. Enjoy MPV - Well! This was a surprise. We were picked by the Hotel cab which was the Enjoy. The boot was little - good enough to take two cabin size bags. The middle row had captain seats with a malfunctioning (read stuck) arm rest. No doubt I felt as though I was almost touching my colleague next to me, the cab seemed deceptively small but spacious. The ride was more car like. No unusual or excessive movements for the passenger. The driver who often drives an Innova was not impressed with the car. Well, the multijet motor seemed to do its duty quite well. All in all an impressive ride but seems to have quality issues. But this car could serve the customer for a longer time and good enough for a family of 4 + 2.
    I am surprised to see your experience with the Enjoy MPV. Some of our office transporters had begun replacing Innovas with the Enjoy MPV due to it's low upfront investment. However, after a few weeks there was a lot of uproar from the employees to go back to the Innovas since employees complained of 'tiredness' with the Enjoy more than the Innovas. This was especially true for those travelling to Mumbai airport for international travels from Pune.

    I personally did not have a chance to experience a journey in the Enjoy MPV but one of my juniors had to endure this car during two of his Mumbai airport journeys. He shared with me that even for the drivers this new MPV was a big pain since the driver's seat was not very comfortable for them and the whole car rattled big time whenever going over bad road patches. Soon all the Enjoy MPVs were replaced from the entire fleet.
    Last edited by Sid; 19-05-2014 at 10:53 AM.
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    Re: A Tale of Taxis and a Punto Taxi!

    Well... maybe it is purely in the mind. I invariably get dizzy in an Innova and Xylo everytime I take them!

    Also what if those Enjoys were driven around like a truck instead of a car? It would have added to the fatigue? No firm answers...

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    4) Punto 1.3 Active (54000 kms Sold)
    5) Renault Kwid 1.0 EASY-R (New Arrival)

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    Re: A Tale of Taxis and a Punto Taxi!

    Quote Originally Posted by Vijethcm View Post
    Well... maybe it is purely in the mind. I invariably get dizzy in an Innova and Xylo everytime I take them!
    Yea, it is a lot about the mind.
    Xylo gives me a wobbly stomach as well. Luckily, I have not needed to travel in a Xylo too much.
    My lug nuts require more torque than your Honda makes

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    Re: A Tale of Taxis and a Punto Taxi!

    :-). That's good Sid! I can count the number of times I have been in those two demons. Five fingers are too much to add!

    In the end nothing more comfortable than the driver's seat of your own car. Ain't it?


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    Vijeth
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    Re: A Tale of Taxis and a Punto Taxi!

    True that Vijethcm.

    And most of us here are lovers, not drivers
    My lug nuts require more torque than your Honda makes

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    Re: A Tale of Taxis and a Punto Taxi!

    I saw around 3 Punto taxis in Pune and got chance to talk to one of the driver of Punto taxi and he said buying Punto is much more easy and it is cheaper than Indica Vista with longer warrenty period so why no Punto instead of vista.

    He was happy with the car.
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    Re: A Tale of Taxis and a Punto Taxi!

    Hmmm...

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    Re: A Tale of Taxis and a Punto Taxi!

    Interesting thread and interesting observations.

    While I agree with you all on the ride quality of the Xylo, I am a huge fan of the Innova's ride comfort and car like behavior thanks to the Monocoque and the lack of body roll. It is a capable cruiser and can take you in great comfort at 120 kph, beyond which the engine will become thrashy and can make the passengers feel real grumpy. Infact it is my favorite cab for all my Mumbai-Pune runs as it is safe, allows me to work and last but not the least, very comfortable.

    The Indigo XL is another favorite of mine in the taxi segment as the rugged nature plays to its advantage in dealing with the broken roads of Mumbai. While the unDzirable makes be uncomfortable, the indigo gets my full thumbs up. It does not have the sophistication that one would expect, but it does the job nevertheless. I would prefer the Indigo Manza> Verito> Indigo XL> Etios> Dzire in that order when it comes to the choice of cabs for intra city runs.

    Now, coming to Rudrah's point, the Linea classic can really score in passenger comfort as the flat ride of the linea makes its rear seat a great place to be under any road conditions. With the lower TCO, am sure it will be a big hit with the fleet guys, but would need some hard sell. It would bode Fiat well to have a dedicated institutional sales team chase after such customers. But Fiat being Fiat, will not do this!

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    Re: A Tale of Taxis and a Punto Taxi!

    To add - I have seen quite a few yellow board Lineas (pre Classic). Largely Hotel run cabs for its guests. Its excellent ride could be the reason!

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    Re: A Tale of Taxis and a Punto Taxi!

    Quote Originally Posted by Vijethcm View Post

    4. Etios - The experience of Etios probably explains why it has not picked up sale numbers. The car feels built to a price. The light weight body can be felt even by the passenger. The D4D in the engine compartment is very audible to the back seat passenger. Every small thing on the road sounds aloud in the cabin revealing its thin and light build. Ride is decent. Interior build quality looks average at best. Cabin space is very good but comfort is average. I observed that the driver was going up to 80kmph on 4th gear before shifting to 5th. I inquired with him about the FE. He said that it is about 18kmpl (car has done 9K) and expected to go up; and that the car is low on maintenance. I asked him why he does not upshift earlier to improve the efficiency. The answer came that the pulling power is not great. And even I felt the same listening to the revs of the engine. Overall, an average car with average experience.
    Fantastic analysis of the driving characteristics of some of these taxis from the passenger's perspective. I use the radio taxi service called 'Tab Cab' in Mumbai for those night outs where drinking is likely to be involved. This particular taxi service uses only CNG installed Toyota Etios cars in its fleet. I couldn't agree more with every single point you made - from the vehicle being built to a price, to the fact that although cabin space is good, comfort with those inadequately contoured seats and flat rear bench is actually pretty average. I don't like sitting in the front passenger seat of the Etios, reason being that whenever there is an open stretch and the driver floors it beyond 80 km/h, there is this insecure feeling due to the ultra light build quality, the lack of adequate sound dampening leading to excessive road and suspension noise and the fact that the electronic steering does not seem to weigh well at high speeds. That leads to the car feeling twitchy with even minute steering inputs. Invariably, I end up asking the driver to keep it below 70 km/h.

    Actually, its got to do with the fact that our standards for how a good car should drive are set too high. Just a few weeks back, a ride in the front passenger seat of mnemonic's Linea T-Jet on the Mumbai Pune expressway had me amazed with its solid high speed dynamics. While the Palio feels solid at 120 km/h and makes you feel like its actually doing, say a 100 km/h, the Linea feels like its doing 80 km/h at similar speeds! Its really that great. Its a fast and secure inter city express. Hence, we are spoilt rotten by our Italian beauties.

    As much as we wouldn't like to see the Lineas and Puntos becoming taxis, all Fiats that we have witnessed in India - from the Padmini to the Uno, from the Palio and Siena to the Linea and Punto actually make the best taxis. Also, while being a cab can play havoc with the reputation of a car maker (ala Tata), it can also do a world of good if the cars are reliable and not a big pain to maintain, provided spare parts are provided over the counter and are easily available. That's probably something that has kept the prospective cab market away, inspite of all the goodwill created over decades by the Padmini. having said that, have witnessed quite a few Unos being used as cabs a while back.

    Other than the Etios, I also get a chance to sit in the Mahindra / Renault Veritos / Logans when I call for 'Meru Cab' service. While they fare better with ride quality, the beige interiors in all these cars are of poor quality materials and start looking bad really soon. Beige was always a bad option for a dust ridden country like ours. Plus, somehow, either they are really poorly maintained or seem to have issues with CNG kits installed in the petrol models. 3 of the 5 cars I had a chance to ride in had a problem idling. They would shut off at signals and required coaxing from the starter to get working again, only to shut off by themselves at the next signal. And both the Logan and Veritos feel right out of the 80's in terms of the looks due to the aggressive cost cutting ways that have ensured them looking like slabs of metal from every damn angle. But hey, that would be okay if they drove/rode any better. No wonder these cars failed to catch the fancy of the prospective car owner.

    Again, fantastic analysis of the other cars/MUVs as well. Will have to wait for a ride in those to experience how they ride. Had a brief ride in the last bench of the innova and while it was a pathetic experience, I will hold on to my thoughts before I ride in the front of middle passenger seats to form an opinion.

    Also, sorry for having replied so late. Wanted to post my thoughts earlier, forgot to do so.

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    Re: A Tale of Taxis and a Punto Taxi!

    @roms! Thank you for some nice words and cant agree any lesser that our italian beauties have spoilt us... well more on this in the following paragraph.

    If a Punto taxi was a surprise... niw beat this... I am in Netherlands on a short visit and saw Punto and Bravo used as driving school cars! But nothing bad since there are many more private use ones here with a fit and finish quality which puts our Indian puntos to shame. And did I see a few more 500 and Panda? You bet I did. Many of them!

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    Vijeth
    1) Yamaha RXG (Sold)
    2) Tata Nano (Sold)
    3) Palio NV 1.2 (Sold)
    4) Punto 1.3 Active (54000 kms Sold)
    5) Renault Kwid 1.0 EASY-R (New Arrival)

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