# The math of owning cars – diesel or petrol ?

There are many factors today to decide on what car to own. Compared to a few years ago, these days the fuel price of petrol has skyrocketed from about 55 bucks to a whopping 75 bucks per litre. So is it really high then or is it just a perception that owning petrol cars is now more costly? Lets do a reality check shall we?

A petrol sedan costs on the road in Bangalore, about 8.5 lacs. While a diesel version about 9.8 lacs. For about 50000km of drive irrespective of where you take it and how you finish the distance, and in how much time for calculation – we just consider the distance alone.

We further assume petrol price is 75 bucks, and the fuel economy is around 12kmpl. Similarly diesel is 46 bucks and the fuel economy is around 15kmpl (maybe more though). With this assumption, for a distance of 50000kms we need about 4167 litres of petrol and 3333 litres of diesel. The cost of this fuel is respectively Rs.312525 and Rs.153333 for 50000km of usage. Add these values to the base prices of the vehicle mentioned above and we get a cost of Rs.1112525, and Rs.1133333.

Let us take service costs for petrol to be Rs.1000 for first service, 3000 for second, 5000 for third and 7000 for fourth and 10000 for fifth. So the total here is 26000 bucks. Consider the same for diesel to be Rs.1500, 5000, 10000, 12000 and 15000 and we have a figure of 42000 bucks.

Add this again to previously computed values and we have Rs.1138525 Rs.1175333 for a petrol and diesel vehicle over about 50000km of driving.

If you were to drive about 15000km every year, you will need 3 years to manage this distance. However if you are even more conservative then perhaps 5 years to complete the same distance.

So for the first 50000km the diesel vehicle is atmost about 40000 rupees more expensive to own! Now what then differentiates the diesel from the petrol vehicle is not fuel price, service cost or features – but just the engine characteristics – not even mileage as the arithmetic is more or less close.

So tell me which one would you now consider?

# The Beat Diesel Test Drive

Though this review comes after a long while, it carries with it some salient points about the Chevrolet Beat which is now in an improved version with a diesel heart and much unlike its predecessor where some key areas are concerned. It was a sweltering hot winter afternoon in Bangalore when I decided to take up the test drive for this car. Briefly I will take you over with the process so you may understand this car all the way from the dealership perspective upto the drive itself.

Dealerships

Firstly and interestingly a google search for Chevy dealers in Bangalore throws up only three results which are shown below:

Kropex India Ltd
Bangalore, Karnataka, 560068

Phone: 080-43574357 / 09663388830 / 9663388812
Fax: 080-43574353

Sundaram Motors
Bangalore, Karnataka, 560001

Phone: 080 – 22070709 – 13 / 22070751 – 3 / 9880631313

Trident Chevrolet
Bangalore, Karnataka, 560043

Phone: 080- 43430500

Upon visiting Kasturba road for a different reason which i will come to in a different post, I found that the Sundaram GM dealership was under lock and key and they seemed to have moved elsewhere. While I did not care to check, I also knew the Outer Ring Road showroom was a mere showroom of a very small size without any servicing options. I do remember there was one on Mahadevapura Main Road leading to whitefield, but it was somehow conspiciously missing from out here in this list above !! Since the Singasandra one was near my home, I reached there after informing apriori that I would be there.

Cars in the showroom

The showroom itself is impressive with an entire range of cars put up there under the Chevry Umbrella starting from the barebones Spark upto the Fully loaded Captiva. The Sail sedan and hatch are yet to make it even to showrooms as they were just recently showcased at the auto expo in Delhi.

A friendly supervisor let me meddle with all cars including the Cruze until the test drive itself was ready. One thing that struck me immediately was that all Chevy cars were low in seating much like yours truly Honda. Somehow I think these are not suitable with back problems for easy ingress/egress. The Beat thankfully was a bit more supportive of the driver if not necessarily the passenger.

Chevy Beat

(Image courtesy: www.chevrolet.co.in)

As we already know, the petrol Beat has been doing its rounds for a year or more now so many people already know the cockpit internals of the car along with a billion digital meters and displays. So its worthwhile just dwelling into the new diesel and outlining its good points and pitfalls. My test drive was about 3-4 kms which included great highway roads, congested city roads, broken gravel roads, ditches and road humps, curves and straight lines and some U-turns. This was a clear representation of what a test drive must be like. So how did the Beat Diesel perform? Read on!

# Eagle Eye Holidays (coffee estate) review

What is your idea of a holiday? Now that you have perhaps been to hundreds of resorts already do you still expect the 101st to be of the same ambience? Like a great reception with uniformed people welcoming you with some flowers or whatever, and then a grandoise room awaiting your fall on the bed to be in peace with yourself?

Or are you ready for a different type of experience? Are you the types who would prefer to check out something that tests your perception and mental skills a bit ? Besides that is your idea of a coffee estate something thats deep inside the clouds many thousands of feet above sea level with winds that chill your body to make you want that hot cup of tea more often than not?

My trip to Eagle eye holidays makes me think I need something like this again though i am unsure whether I would get such a right mix of things most often or not. Without much ado then let me tell you what made this trip memorable to me. Eagle eye Holidays is a coffee plantation or estate as we would often refer to it. This is situated near Kadavanthi or Kadathi, which is few tens of kilometres away from nearest proper civilization called Alduru (read: Aaldoooru). Alduru itself is few tens of kilometers from Chikmagalur which is the nearest proper town.

Reaching Chikmagalur from Bangalore requires that you partly travel on NH4 highway upto Nelamangala, and then take left to get onto SH48 which goes to Kunigal, Adichunchanagiri, Channarayapatna and Hassan along the way to Chikmagalur. The road upto Chikmagalur is what makes it worthwhile to undertake this journey. If you are a car driving maniac and are true to your wheels, you are not going to forget this hair rising highway drive. My current love is my Figo and speeds of 130kmph was a child’s play on this road. Particularly the SH48.

Though the NHAI is still developing the toll booths at a few places, the road by itself is an awesome piece of highway for speed racers! Don’t get me wrong, racing need not always be with another person, and need not always be of the rash type! If you are the expert driver types this drive should see you reach Chikmagalur in 4 1/2 hours flat. Such is the quality of the highway. But wait a minute… if you thought that’s all this highway is about quite contrarily – NO! How about throwing in some great looking paddy fields and rural sceneries on the way? And some lakes? How about the old tree lined roads you’ve always seen in your childhood? Some small hillocks? Lets make it more greener – Add some windmills churning power from the winds, and some neat twists and turns of the road. This is what being cheerful on a long drive is about. You got to drive to experience the talk.

And you thought its all over when you reach Chikmagalur? Wrong again. Is this all you can think of? Assume I make the road the airport runway tarmac types, smoothen it off a bit more, add greater angle to the twists and turns, remove uphill components, and also subtract oncoming traffic. This then becomes nothing short of annilhation. Add another car who is spirited in testing your driving skills and negotiation and we have nothing short of a F1, well expect your car of course

The 30 odd kms between Chikmagalur and Alduru is sheer awesomeness for both speed drivers and slow drivers alike. The pristine beauty of large trees around, the amazing tranquility and discovering your inner self. Enough to rejuvinate you for some time to come.

Every good thing or bad thing will have an end. And if the good comes first the bad comes next in the cycle. After Kadavanthi somewhere along the way the next 10-20kms of road gets bad with potholes all around and this is where you feel the need for perhaps a cheap hatchback with 20" alloys to take on the road like a monster! The map given by the resort is more of a type you would use for a treasure hunt, leave alone navigate somewhere. In this case the treasure being finding the resort itself. Add poor road signages and you are now really one with nature. If nature wills you will get to the treasure else not.

Its therefore essential that you stick to the map. Yes, take some glue, stick the map to the windshield, use the same glue and stick your nose on that map as well. Why? Because if you dont, you would forget that right turn at the paddy field landmark and the left turn at the dam gate landmark. Sounds punky in 2011 isnt it ? Welcome to some rural tones!

Oh and by the way you would like to call the resort for directions would you? Well assume that none of the mobile signals show up besides good old airtel and you are lucky to be holding phones of other operators services and there you hit the jackpot of ruining one chance to reach the resort with any sort of help.

The more I followed the second map that showed me the way to resort, the more I felt lost by each passing minute. Some 2kms away from the resort (lets correct that terminology shall we: say coffee estate) the last right turn takes you to a stone graveled road that will test your car in and out. after two gates when you take left onto the property, with a mile or more to, you begin to wonder if this is a con-job. Yes, i would say yes, its a master crafted con-job to disprove the very perceptions you had of how a resort must be.

The last mile makes you wonder whether you entered someone else’s property by mistake and what if that guy let loose his gunmen on you. Straight from a movie flick. As your car struggles hard to cope the incline, you reach a dead end with a 180 sharp hair pin bend. As you wonder "what more?" and whether your car would want to take that hair pin bend, two people come to you and say "welcome to eagle eye holidays". It was a hot afternoon and we reached a bit late after some searching around and panicking. And a welcome drink was more than welcome. it was gulped down even without understanding what was given to us. The reception is more of a shack made with wood on a higher platform. And once you get onto the platform, you are no more interested in thinking about the journey.

The view of the western ghats and the valleys below soothen you down and you just want to rest a bit with the cool windws blowing on you under the thatched roof. Before we stepped into our room, lunch awaited us. The food given by resorts is always questionable. Here too some foodstuff werent great, but not all foodstuff was bad. Given this fact, Eagle Eye holidays provided good food at best if not sumptuous. Some items like the next day morning’s breakfast were yummy to keep away from. The rooms themselves were well appointed and there are many different types of rooms. Valley view rooms, glass houses, (for the brave) the tree house which is mostly open and perched on tree tops, hutments, and standard rooms are available. The rooms themselves are between 2,500 bucks a night upto 5,000 a night. We stayed at a waterfall room which in my opinion is a ridiculous idea. Agreed the management wanted to save a few boulders and/or could not avoid removing a few rocks so they integrated those and few faux rock arrangements into a thematic waterfall room. However neither was there a waterfall which is swithced on for an hour, nor does the room lend itself into any kind of ambience as such. The Tree house or hutments would make better rooms to stay in in terms of practicality. Also given the foregone conclusion that the waterfall room is costly (at 5k a night) its best to avoid this altogether.

Other than that the hot water facilities are governed by solar water heaters perched atop and in between trees. Due to the tropical climate of the coffee estate, there is no dearth of hot water which gets generated by the solar during the scorching afternoons. The upholstery like blankets towels, bedspreads are hand washed daily in front of you and its a job well done compared to a washing machine type of wash cycles. Due to the sprawling nature of the 130 acre estate, there is enough room to dry clothes daily. The management have also created a 30 feet deep lake in the middle of the property. A natural trail of road leads to this lake which offers coracle rides and fishing activities. Again dont expect professional fishing equipment to be handed over to, but with whatever stick and wheat balls used to lure the fish, my cousin who accompanied me on this trip was able to catch a good sized fish. If you want to laze around and do things that are not of the usual resort type, these activities fall into that list.

Being situated at a coffee estate there is no dearth of good coffee provided at all times and there is no restriction on the amount you can have. if you are hungry you eat. Period. A stroll upto the lake, and few peaceful hours later, its time for some campfire. Of course hot drinks are served during this nightly hour with some loud music and dance to follow. To add some dazzle to the show, the clear sky makes it possible to view the wonderful constellation of all the stars for those hungry stargazers. During the day time, there are plenty of subjects to shoot photographs with in the resort – flowers, fruits, birds, objects, elevations, winding roads etc.

The only downside to this resort is that the rooms are aligned across a path which is very steep which makes it impossible for old people to climb and this could be a dampener to people wanting to go to this resort. It took over ten to fifteen minutes for me to switch between reception and room each time which shows difficultly level. Not that I am lean, well built and all that. I’m the usual paunchy type of mid-life-crisis-beating-man Early mornings begin with chirping birds and a great breakfast, not to mention some games like shuttle, table tennis, and strong coffee again with a great view of the mist settling in the western ghats valleys. Post breakfast there is just about time to go for a 2 hour trek deeper into the estate. If one would like to skip it, we can have long chats over breakfast and freshen up with a bath and just enough time to pack the bags and leave. This is offically called the two-days-one-night-package-syndrome that resorts exhibit. Best part of the journey was just the occassional treats we packed for eating on the way, full meals taken care of package at resort, and some lunch on the way back home. Plus meals for your car (fuel). No other nonsense expenditure.

Its also worth mentioning that once you are in the resort its NOT worthwhile planning trips to Shringeri, Augumbe mountains, or Belur or Halebid which are all nearby. This is an exclusive deal. Not an all-in-a-single-day deal. So bottom line is would I recommend this resort to others?

• For the off the beaten path ambience – YES
• For the cost – SORT OF YES
• For the meals – YES
• For the peace of mind – YES
• For the drive – Oh YES!!
• For the hospitality – YES
• For the coffee – YES
• For their payment mechanisms – NO! (they accept only cash, so there is no confirmation of prior room booking)

The pictures would speak more than anything else. What are you waiting for? Hit the road now!

# Your next loan could be denied because of your CIBIL report!

So I happened to apply for a car loan at SBI. I was anticipating that a usual home verification would happen and later on the loan would be sanctioned. I was pretty right in my assumptions except that I did not anticipate that the officer who would verify my credentials would come armed with a CIBIL report.

The report she showed me was nothing less than astounding. She pointed out to me on what all loans I had taken since 1999 for a whole period of ten years. My bike loan, esrtwhile car loans, personal loans, credit card spends – everything was in that report neatly outlined. Courtesy CIBIL.

CIBIL is the credit information bureau Inida limited, a company that helps money lenders understand their credit worthiness of their borrowers. Every time you go for a new loan or credit card spend in huge amounts, these details are at regular intervals shared by the lenders (banks) to CIBIL. So in essence there is a history maintained with CIBIL on a regular basis on the new loan(s) you have taken and the status of the old loan(s) you have already borrowed. Each time the lending agency notifies CIBIL that a particular loan has been closed, CIBIL makes the pending amount “0” on that loan, which is technically when the loan is ACTUALLY closed.

However there are few cases where the lending agencies do not notify CIBIL on loan closures, or perhaps more regularly than others, which leads to some inconsistent information about your loans. It is at this point that we as borrowers must go behind these banks, to make them send the closure report to CIBIL so that your credit history is made CLEAN by reflecting the proper status. Also, there are two types of reports that CIBIL generates – a customer copy (which is essentially your copy) and the lender copy (which is what banks prefetch while issuing a new loan to you each time). The former copy is more detailed, has the account numbers, amounts, and types of loan sanctioned, sanctioning authority, etc. The latter also indicates the amounts, and closure status while it does not give the account numbers and other sensitive information to third parties. This is for obvious security reasons of your data not being able to to be misused.

Along with the famous Dun and Bradstreet Corp of the USA, CIBIL has ushered in a new era of helping lenders understand clearly the profile of their borrowers, and borrowers understand clearly their spends and loans they go into to help make them plan more efficiently for their life needs. So then you may ask what is the way to get your own CIBIL report.

The answer is very simple. Go to www.cibil.com and signup as a customer. Needless to say you need to provide valid credentials like address proof, id proof etc. For a meager amount of about less than Rs.200, you can in no time access your credit (loan) information to help yourself better understand what you have been spending on, and how much of your credit history is clean in terms of repayments.

# Pictures speak a thousand words : Goodbye Koramangala, goodbye Swift.

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