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    Thread: Story of the Black Pearl - My Ford Figo Diesel

    1. #1

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      rharish's Avatar
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      Story of the Black Pearl - My Ford Figo Diesel

      After talking to Evolution88 I thought I must start an ownership thread of my Figo. I haven't thought of creating one thread still as I have had a wierd relationship with the car. But here I am and here is my ownership thread. Its a pretty long story with a lot of history and small stories. Thats how I like to tell about my car. Hope you guys like it too.

      Purchase Decision

      In my family we have never had a car. We have never used or hired a car so far except for two occassions. One to take all my luggage and drop me at college hostel from my home town for the first time. The second was to take all luggage, gifts and other stuff from my home town to Bangalore after my brother got married. Needless to say we were sitting within a lot of luggage in the car on both occassions and it wasn't comfortable.

      Now to 2011. Thats when I had graduated and joined a software firm in Bangalore. Since a very long time I have been passionate about travelling by road. I used to go on long rides by my bicycle when I was in school. During the last two years of school my dad bought a Bajaj Discover 125 which I used to ride occassionally. I did go on *short* long rides on it. Well ok, my friend had a girlfriend in a nearby village and we used to ride there from time to time. And during college times, I would have ridden it probably 10 times. All mounting to about 12000 KM in nearly 5 years. After joining in Bangalore I brought the bike here and started riding it more. Somewhere down the line, I fell in love with the bike and thought I would keep it forever. Maybe keep it in my living room in a huge glass case or something. But reality was different. Me being 6 foot 2 inches was becoming uncomfortable on the bike and it also started to show its age. So I sold the bike to a place where I would never be able to see it again and got a new one. A Suzuki GS150R in 2012. Fantastic bike. It deserves a seperate thread by itself which I shall start soon. All the while my parents being parents were averse to me riding the bike on the highways. I did manage to ride from time to time on the highways. Some they knew some they didn't. But I knew this couldn't go on for a long time.

      Like most of the guys of my age and group, I also had a girlfriend. She was in Chennai and my parents were in Erode. That means I would travel to these two places almost once every month. Since parents didn't like the idea of me riding, I had to resort to buses. I tried every single travels and none of them were comfortable for me other than the multi axle Volvo buses. To be honest, a guy slightly more than the six foot mark with a 100 KG frame couldn't fit into any of the other buses. I was scared to board most of the muti axle Volvo buses for the drivers look like Alonso in mufti to me Since most of my travel would be planned in the last minute, railway tickets were never possible for me. Something had to be done for this.

      In my office I became eligible for a company car via lease. That means I pay the EMI and I would get tax benefit for that. My dad thought it would be a good idea to get a car in this as it would satisfy my above two problems and also get tax benefit on the way. Being a bike guy all my life, I was averse to the car. I also realised I would be hitched soon and needed a car after that. So I have to buy a car. Sooner or later. So why not now? That's it. The decision was made. I am getting a car in the lease policy. No downpayment needed. Just EMI for now. Perfect as I wasn't really excited about the car thing.

      Next up is the search for the car. Oh wait. I should learn to drive first! I did have a car licence already but how I got it is another story. Right now I wanted to learn how to drive.
      2004 Bajaj Discover 125 DTSi - 26000 KM - Sold
      2012 Suzuki GS150R
      2012 Ford Figo Diesel Titanium

    2. #2
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      nitin's Avatar
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      Great beginning to the thread. Write faster. Even though I know what the car choice is cant help but feel some suspense.
      '08 Suzuki Swift - 1.3 VXI - sold
      '13 Skoda Rapid TDI - 1.6 Code6'd - sold
      '11 Honda Civic - 1.8 VMT - FFE + Intake - sold
      '12 Hyundai Verna Fluidic - 1.4 VTVT
      '16 Hyundai Creta SX AT
      '16 Suzuki Alto K10 AMT VXI(o)

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      Learning to Drive

      About 100 meters from my house there is a driving school. I registered there. Next day morning by 6 AM a thin instructor turned up near my house in an old Santro that had about 68000 KM on the odo. He introduced himself as John and said he has been a driver for about 35 years in Chikmagalur before retiring and started tutoring part time. During his last 15 years he has been driving a Merc is what he said. Pretty good experience huh?

      For some reason I was super confident about driving. I thought I could pick it up very easily and it was too. Within the first half an hour I could operate the steering, brake and accelerator well. It felt almost natural for me. Next day I could shift with ease. The remaining 8 days of learning were pretty much fun. I would just drive around with minimal support from him. The car was so simple and not like how I imagined it to be. He did provide me some important tips on driving long distances and driving inside the city.

      Next up car selection.

      Selecting the steed

      Being the first car in the family all of us got excited. Each of us had some kind of requirement. Dad wanted a car that could seat six. Mom wanted something that was bigger than what our relatives had I wanted a car that could fit me comfortably in all seats and brother wanted the Civic! You see this is what happens when we had no clue about the total cost of ownership or well, about cars itself. Two things we were clear. We wanted a Diesel since that delivered better fuel efficiency than petrol and was cheaper than petrol. The car must have ABS and airbags. With such a vague idea in mind, dad, mom and me visited several showrooms.

      Tata - This was our first stop. Sat inside Vista and we loved it. The bluetooth option was pretty interesting. Next to it was a Manza parked. Mom jumped into it and felt like being in a ship. Needless to say, she was impressed. She no longer liked the Vista and wanted to go for the Manza. This was followed by the Safari and the Aria. Same story. The sales rep must have been super happy. Since we sat in almost all the Tata cars, we thought we would check out the Punto and Linea as well. Moving from Aria, these two felt like rat holes. Rejected straight away. Collected the pamplets and quotations for all the Tata cars and moved out.

      Maruthi - Maruti was our next stop. Dad sat in the Swift and Ritz and he thought they were cramped. The Eritga though was spacious he was worried about the ingress and egress in the last seat.

      Toyota - We entered the showroom and waited for a while. No one bothered to approach us and we left.

      Hyundai - It was more crowed than Reliance Fresh! I sat straight away in the i20. It was super cramped for me. The steering wheel was near my knee and my head was touching the roof! I told the sales guy I might not fit properly in the car. He said yes sir you don't fit properly. Next minute we were at the exit of this supermart. Little did I know that there are things called driver seat height and distance adjustments. The sales guy was also not bothered to tell us too.

      Mahindra - I liked the Verito. Parents didnt. I liked the Scorpio. Parents didnt. Parents liked the Xylo and XUV. I didn't. Thar looked interesting but none of us wanted to buy it. Reva looked cute.

      Volkswagen - I like the Polo but it had a 3 month waiting period. So parents ruled it out.

      Renault - I liked the Pulse. The keyless entry and start impressed me but the lack of ABS means it is out of the list. I must say that the sales rep there was fantastic. He spoke to us in length and understood our requirements. He asked us to buy a small car first since it was the first and then go for a bigger one later on. He explained the Pulse very well including the small features. Fantastic chap.

      By now, we had no clue what our budget was, never test driven any car, never bothered to check the specs but by purely sitting in the car we liked the Tata ones. Next day at office I checked the budget eligibility for me. And it meant I had to choose between Vista and Swift in terms of price. I conveyed the same at home and asked them to add Polo some variant which might fit in also. I had no clue if such a variant existed but still asked them to check. Dad and my brother went out to the showrooms once again and came back saying we shall get the Figo! I said ok. Now I have never sat in the car or test drove it or know about the specs or even the price. But I agreed to it. This isn't exactly the conventional way of picking the car. It is infact completely opposite to how I approach things in life generally like selecting my bike. But since I was only half hearted in car ownership thanks to my biker nature, I didn't mind.

      That night I read about the Figo. Reviews, issues and ownership threads. It sounded pretty convincing. Next day at office, I sat inside the Figo for the first time. A friends car. I couldn't fit in the driver's seat. Then he said there is a lever below the seat. Lift it and push the seat back. Wow! This car has a magical feature to increase the driver's leg room! What more, the seat could be lowered too! Incredible! I am mighty impressed! Later I came know that this is there in almost all the cars and felt sheepish. Anyways, armed with the tips on negotiation provided by friends I set out to all the Ford showrooms in Bangalore.

      Finally that night by about 9:30, the sales guy from Cauvery Ford came to my home. My demands were reverse sensor, mats, idol, perfume, teflon coating, car cover, underbody coating, 3M CR70 sunfilm on the front windsheild and extended warranty on the top end diesel Figo in Sea Grey colour for 7 lacs OTR. He spoke to the manager for 15 minutes and it was done. I gave him a check for 10K and booked the car.

      10 days later after office formalities, the car was ready to be registered. I asked them to register at Koramangala as it would give me KA01 number plate like how my brother wanted. They did. I was too apprehensive to drive the car home in BTM from Binny mills. So took a friend along who drove the car home. There it was. 19th July 2012, I became the owner of a Sea Grey Ford Figo Titanium Diesel!

      I named her 'The Black Pearl'. Same as the ship in Pirates of Carribean and began my journey of discovery and learning.

      The First Date

      Next day morning I thought I would go out and tank her up. Once I engaged the first gear and released the clutch slowly, I realised how powerful this is compared to the Santro in my driving school. The steering felt brilliant. I could feel the tyres turning directly. Wow. Incredible realtime feedback. 7 lakhs was not wasted I what I thought. I did however find it difficult to adjust to the brake, accelerator and gear box. I went to the bunk about 5 KM from the house. The entire time I found it very hard to slot in the 3rd gear. Lot of harsh brakes and gear shifts later I was at the bunk. Tanked up and while returning, I stalled the car a couple of times. Finally I managed to return home a whole 2 hours later. Completely exhausted and worried how I would drive this. Clearly I did not learn much at the driving school. Not an ideal first date but I was resolved to tame this beast. That evening I went out again and got a big 'L' symbol in the front and back. Loved the A/C, steering and power of the car. But I knew I had a long learning curve ahead.
      Last edited by rharish; 7th Dec 2013 at 12:05.
      2004 Bajaj Discover 125 DTSi - 26000 KM - Sold
      2012 Suzuki GS150R
      2012 Ford Figo Diesel Titanium

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      Learning to Drive Again - A story of dings and dents

      It was day 3 of ownership. The time was 3:45 AM. My brother woke me up to go pickup some relatives coming by bus from Silk board. I got up and washed my face with cold water so that I am fully awake and alert. Now normally I don't need this cold water treatment if its the bike. Riding would be involuntary. Almost like muscle memory. I don't have to think much. But today was car. The story was different. My mind has to constantly tell the other organs to act. Release the clutch slowly, turn more, margin is fine, brake gently, a dab on the accelerator and so on till it becomes registered in the muscle memory. I was a bit groggy when I got in the car. Came out of the gate and turned left. Thud! more like THUD! I knew I hit something but I didn't know what. Got down and checked. Here is what I saw on the gate wall.



      On the car was this.



      The above image isn't my car. I found a Figo with a similar dent yesterday which I clicked. The dent above the tyre was deeper in my case. So the door, rear left quarter panel and the bumper are dented! Day 3 and I got this gift. A harsh lesson in knowing the margin of the car. Needless to say I lost sleep that day.

      Day 20 of ownership. On the way to office a Dio on my left suddenly banked to my side. I didn't know what to do. If it was the bike everything would have worked automatically. Shift down to get sudden engine braking and then left right gone. But this is the car. I turn right a bit but no avail. The left mirror hit the Dio guy who didn't even lose balance. This was the result.



      Day x of ownership before first service. There was a speed breaker before a railway crossing. My front tyre climbed it partially and then I breaked and stopped the car. A/C was on. It was time to move. A lorry had come very close to me on the opposite lane. There was no space for him to go. I had to move to make space for him. I release the clutch a bit hoping the car would move forward like it usually does. Surprise! surprise! The car moves backwards! The lorry guy expecting me to move forward also moved forward. Guess what happens next? His bumper and my bumper lo-fived each other. Lesson: When the A/C is on, more power is needed to climb the speed breaker. Cost of the lesson is this.



      These three incidents were enough for me to get furious. These three clearly meant I didn't know how to drive. For a guy like me this was a huge dent on the ego. So in the next few days I was driving day in and day out. I had a friend whose house has an unusually steep slope to the parking. I practised stopping and starting there first without A/C and then with A/C. On sunday afternoons I practised on the flyovers in ORR. Now I could comfortably stop and start off again on slopes without going back. Time to conquer where I lost. Went back to the same speed breaker where I moved back. I could do this comfortably. I could stop at any point in the speed breaker and then move ahead without going back. Next I started practising the half clutch stop. A few attempts and I could do it. Although I don't prefer doing it, its still a good thing to learn. To get the margin right I started driving in super crowded areas like Chikpet, Tavarakere and even Ejipura. Every day was terrific learning experience. Weekends were spent fully on just driving in tough places. I was looking forward to the time I would drive next.

      Me and my brother are super motion sick. Rash driving with sudden acceleration, braking and turning in any car even on flat roads would make us puke. Only super smooth driving could keep us sane. I must learn how to drive smooth. Here is what I did. Put a bag with some books on the rear seat. My brother would sit next to me and I went to Vijaya bank layout on traffic free sunday afternoons. I would start driving around and he would pick turns at random. I should turn in to it smoothly without making the bag fall. This means I should brake, turn and accelerate smoothly. Each successful turn without the bag falling means I get one point. Nice game it was and my driving skills also improved a lot. We did all the above for the first three months of ownership.

      During the first service, I claimed insurance and got the dent repaired. I decided to leave off the other two as I was sure that these things would keep happening in Bangalore traffic. First service was done at 1588 KM.

      Now that the first service is done, it was time to hit the highway. Our first ever highway outing on the car. The natural choice is to Erode, my hometown. Door to door distance was 280 KM. Thinking back it was quite funny. I maintained a constant 80 KMPH. Whenever the needle climbed up, my brother would shout. He was more scared than me! With one break I reached the destination. At the end of the journey my right knee was under incredible pain. I couldn't move it much. The same thing happened on the return journey as well. Coming back to the knee pain, I started Googling and figured out that the problem is lack of under thigh support. I was driving with the seat in the highest position so that I could see the edges of the car. This was the problem. So I pushed the seat further back and lowered it fully. I could almost see only the viper fluid vents. But this position provided me the maximum thigh support. Next drive to Erode and I didn't get any pain. Good thing. During this trip I didn't know what the mileage was. I filled up diesel for 1200 I guess and the entire trip was done!

      After a few months we were going to Erode again. This time we started by 7 PM from Bangalore and it was raining slightly. My visibility was quite less. At Attibele toll, the lines were long. Now at this toll, a lot of people in cars and tempos have a very bad habit of cutting lines and coming in near the toll plaza. I was behind a lorry and a tempo was trying to get in. I was furious. I didn't want the tempo to get in. So I was maintaining a very close gap between the lorry and me. Little did I know that the tail light of the lorry wasn't working. He braked and I braked after a slight delay. Result was this.



      A scar left by a hook on the bumper of the lorry.

      Lesson: When you take the driver's seat leave the ego outside. Maintain sufficient distance between you and the vehicle ahead. Next time, instead of inching forward just honk. It works 99% of the time. The image above is again from a different car with a similar scar. I got it fixed without claiming insurance.

      One thing is clear. Learning driving is a life long thing. It never stops. Keep improving.
      Last edited by rharish; 7th Dec 2013 at 21:51.
      2004 Bajaj Discover 125 DTSi - 26000 KM - Sold
      2012 Suzuki GS150R
      2012 Ford Figo Diesel Titanium

    5. #5

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      Hey rharish loved your post...Figo being my first car too and learnt driving after I had got it booked. Can relate to your story in many ways. I got my Figo delivered on 5th Jul 2012 and been driving since then. I have a pulsar 150 and that again was my bike on which I learnt riding. I also had few scratches on the car the first when I drove my wife to my in-laws and I blamed her for the scratch There have been occasions where I have misjudged the distance and on some I was not at fault. I have had two tyres changed as on my first trip due to extra air it busted and second one was a puncture turned bad. Here I would agree to what you say learning to drive is a life long thing and that's why I am at GH, fantastic forum of like minded people always there to help, answer and cheer you up. One thing that makes me overcome these bad experiences is the love for Figo and the feel good factor. It's my pride and it's best in every sense. I also had knee pain while driving long distance or in heavy traffic. I am still trying to find the perfect seat placement. I love road trips too and the pleasure to drive Figo makes me forget all those bad instances wherein I had sleepless nights due to my mistakes and could have been easily avoided. But kudos to you and your spirit, many miles to go. I have done around 11.5 KM all on my own and the longest run being from delhi to ranthambore some 450 KM. Keep sharing and enjoying the drive. All the best!!
      Last edited by invincible_444; 8th Dec 2013 at 18:07.

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      @incincible_444 Figo is indeed a gem of a car. First car for many of us and boy it does make us fall in love with it!

      Hope everyone was safe after the tyre burst. Can you tell more about it? Did you maintain more tyre pressure? If so then how much?

      And regarding the seat posture, just look for the position which gives you maximum under thigh support. With the seat at the lowest and farthest position, I get support almost till the bottom of my knee. It is very very comfortable.
      2004 Bajaj Discover 125 DTSi - 26000 KM - Sold
      2012 Suzuki GS150R
      2012 Ford Figo Diesel Titanium

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      The Black Pearl Setting Sail

      Driving inside the city isn't really a pleasurable thing. So whenever I got a chance, I set sail on The Black Pearl to longer destinations. One funny thing is I have never bothered to check the fuel efficiency. So far, I have done these trips aboard.

      Bangalore - Erode - Bangalore. This has been done 5 or 6 times so far. I don't really remember the correct number. One way would take me about 4 hours. Fuel for 1500 rupees and I would have the round trip done. This route has become very routine for me now. In the future I would do this more often I guess.
      Bangalore - Chennai - Bangalore. This has been done 2 times so far. More trips to follow. A tank full of fuel is enough for me to do the trip along with some roaming in Chennai and fuel for a day or two to office here in Bangalore.
      Bangalore - Mysore - Bangalore. This was a quick drive. I don't remember much details of this as to a large extent the route and traffic was like outer ring road only.
      Bangalore - Shivanasamudra Falls - Bangalore. This was the first time I drove in the car on two lane roads. Quite an enjoyable experience.
      Bangalore - Puttaparthi - Bangalore. The only thing I remember about this trip was the last section to Puttaparthi. It was two lanes and was an absolute delight to drive on.
      Bangalore - Gokarna - Murudeshwara - Baga, Goa - Bangalore. This has the best and most memorable trip so far. It was during this trip that I fell in love with the car. It was the first time in my life I had covered 100 KM in one hour. It was the first time I drove through forests. It was the first time I drove in near zero visibility. It was the first time I drove in the ghats. It was the first time I loved the ghats on four wheels. It was the first time the car made my heart skip a beat.

      The part from Yellapur to Gokarna was like playing video game. Fantastic two lane roads with minimal traffic, clear markers, a lot of changes in elevation, lot of run off area and I was feeling one with the car. That stretch was like an orchestra to me. A turn comes, I lift the foot off the accelerator, approach the curve turning smoothly. At the exit start giving linear acceleration and accelerate off the exit. It was perfect. Some turns I was taking at 80 or above. Interesting part was none of the co-passengers were feeling motion sickness! While returning from Hubli, for the first time in my life 4 lane roads looked boring although I had a vehicle that could cruise at 120 all day. I could do the return journey from Baga to Bangalore in just 10 hours with just one break for lunch. Such a pleasurable trip. I am just waiting to hit the ghats again on the Pearl. I don't remember how much fuel this trip took. I think it was slightly lesser than 2 tank fulls.

      In the past 1.5 years I have not driven the Pearl much. It has clocked nearly 15000 KM in this time thanks to some highway outings. These days I am driving in the city more as my office commute by car has increased. Hope to hit the highways soon. Or more of the ghats soon.
      Last edited by rharish; 9th Dec 2013 at 21:54.
      2004 Bajaj Discover 125 DTSi - 26000 KM - Sold
      2012 Suzuki GS150R
      2012 Ford Figo Diesel Titanium

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      Quote Originally Posted by rharish View Post
      for the first time in my life 4 lane roads looked boring
      That's what Figo is capable to!

      I know some who say that it is tiresome to drive in ghats and need to rest once reach the destinations. They like to drive on straight roads and on 4 lane highways to reach fast the destinations. While, this is rare among those who drive Figos!

      Quite a few times, we took express highway to avoid ghats on old Mumbai-Pune highway, well no doubt with utter displeasure in my heart, on the request from the friends driving other cars.
      Last edited by Dev11; 11th Dec 2013 at 08:46.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Dev11 View Post
      That's what Figo is capable to!

      I know some who say that it is tiresome to drive in ghats and need to rest once reach the destinations. They like to drive on straight roads and on 4 lane highways to reach fast the destinations. While, this is rare among those who drive Figos!

      Quite a few times, we took express highway to avoid ghats on old Mumbai-Pune highway, well no doubt with utter displeasure in my heart, on the request from the friends driving other cars.
      True that sire! Since that drive every time I go to my hometown I prefer the ghat route. But sadly my brother doesn't let me. For simple transport drives and covering huge distances in a day, 4 lane roads are perfect. Thanks to Figo the driving holiday start point is always with a ghat

      Since that drive every time I go to my hometown I prefer the ghat route. But sadly my brother doesn't allow me to. Can't blame him as he is more motion sick than me.
      2004 Bajaj Discover 125 DTSi - 26000 KM - Sold
      2012 Suzuki GS150R
      2012 Ford Figo Diesel Titanium

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      Finally measured the real city mileage of the Pearl by tank full to tank full method. It comes to 14.9 KMPL. Is this normal? #Figo owners can you comment?
      2004 Bajaj Discover 125 DTSi - 26000 KM - Sold
      2012 Suzuki GS150R
      2012 Ford Figo Diesel Titanium

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