Here's an update on the Singapore Latio / Tiida. The car is now pushing 9000 km and things are moving along rather well. I'll break up my comments into catergoies.
PERFORMANCE: The car is opening up quite a bit and proving to be quite zippy, abeit in a quiet stealthy sort of way. Let me explain. I took a drive in a 2003 Opel Astra 1.6 lately and thought to myself, "wow this car is quite powerful". However a quick traffic light drag race later and the Latio proved to be the better car! Its really in the manner that the Latio delivers the power that gives you the illusion that its not that powerful... but it is. There is still issues with the fact that starting off does not feel that brisk, but the car really comes into her own on the road.
NOISE VIBRATION HARSHNESS: I'll have to clarify about my previous comments about the 3000rpm NVH... you'll have to forgive me, but the car is VERY VERY QUIET and there seems to be this point in the rev range at 2900rpm when the engine 'awakes'. Now when I say awakes, think of awakes to regular car decible levels. so though it does wake up at 3000rpm, its still at very very tolerable levels.
HANDLING: Driven smart, the car has very predictable handling, very typical initial understeer with hints of oversteer on mid corner liftoff. No complaints there. She still stops really really well. (on the better tyres of course) and I have found that ABS is not usually summoned.
ECONOMY: So far if I behave myself I am averaging real world 12 km / l. That's with 80% highway driving at 90km/h some stand still traffic and some full throttle overtaking. The worse it has gone is 9.8 km/l when I was in Go-Kart mode.
COMFORT: For friends that know me, you'll know of my 'fight' with the drivers seat. Yes friends... where the rest of the world finds this car seat fine, it is absolutely driving me CRAZY! This is whats happening. Apart from a perfect everything else, the car seat seems to be not quite right. It will sink your bum low and lift your knees up high. this coupled to a highish seat height and a steering wheel that feels just a bit to far away causes my thighs to hurt. So far in no matter what seat position I put the chair in, there will always be a muscle group that hurts. I've not elaborated much about this in my previous posting as I wanted to be fair about the car. I guess fair advise to potential buyers. Take a really long test drive and make sure you feel right about it. The car is absolutely perfect if not for this one issue of me vs. the car seat.
NIGGLES: The rear parcel shelf is annoying me a little. I have been hauling stuff lately and it's a chore to put on and off. Its not a big problem. It's a really small thing, but I am thinking of leaving the shelf at home. Also a little clunk-clunk sound has surfaced when I turn the steering full left (or was it right) nothing alarming and probably just mechanical noise.
SO FAR: Apart from the 'Seat War' i'd recommend this car. Much more refined than a Jazz/Fit 1.3 and swifter than a Swift 1.5.
Thanks for the comments so far. I'd like to know if there is anyone waging their own 'seat war' of their own too.
These comments are for the poster of this message:
"...Please tell us more about the engine power, and suspension on bad roads!..Tarek..."
Engine Power: It really is quite fast. Delivery is very very smooth and because the car is so well insulated from the road noise, the power of the car is not very apparent. As stated earlier, the initial take off from the traffic lights are not as fast as I would like it to be, but decent enough for a 1.5 litre engine.
Suspension: Driving on cobbled roads (like you find in some carparks and all over the old part of Malacca, the car with my tyre upgrade is excellent. Having compared it to a Mitsubishi Colt and Honda Jazz on stock tyres, I can assure you that the Tiida is miles and miles above in comfort and noise on this type of surface. On bad and undulated roads, the car handles fair. Its not magic carpet, you do get bounced around a bit, but not very much, this I suspect is helped due to a longish wheelbase of the car. So while its not quite Citroen territory, it is very very acceptable and expected for this type of car/ car class.
The Tiida of this main article is now pushing 10,000km everything is still running smoothly... oh hang on, some things I have found. The car occasionally drops the RPM during idle to around 600rpm. this causes very very mild vibration through the car. Please note, this is very very very slight and only the most sensitive would notice it.
Will update you soon... and yes... seat fight still on...
Good luck with your seat war! Personally, I've always found the seats in most Japanese cars on the high side, as compared with the German makes. Sorry to hear that its afflicting muscular pain! Surely hope you'd find a cure to pain you're up against...
Thanks for the insightful information and wonderful comments. Regret to hear about the situation with car seat.
Would like to know if anyone can advise on the significant differences [in terms of drive-ability (handling), fuel consumption and other issues etc] between CVT and 4AT model.
On paper, both 4AT & CVT engines are identical.
Appreciate further comments on this topic where applicable.
Thanks & Cheers!
Potential Latio soon to be owner.
Thanks for all the well wishes. The seat war is still waging and the victor is not in sight. :)
Back to the previous comment, I think the CVT is well worth it. It potentially uses the engine more effectively, particularly on the move. Agreeably it may not take off as quickly as a 4AT, but when the 4AT changes to second and third gear, the CVT will begin to shine. Additionally if you are referring to the Singapore market, then the better specified Sedan Premium is much nicer. The centre arm rest is a good addition and leather seats are very nice in feel. I'm not a big fan of the Alcantra. It feels nice, but I don't like it when your clothes cling to it.
If you live in Singapore, you may want to consider a used Latio. You could save a bit if you are on a tight budget. Cheers.
Sorry for your problem with your driver seat. I think you caught a real drawback with this car. This is a part of a review which comments on your problem (the thickly padded driver's seat forces the seat-height adjustment ratchet on to the left-hand side, which could be mistaken for the handbrake. The seat lacks comfort over a long (say, two-hour) tour, highlighting the absence of lumbar adjustment. And the footwell is too shallow to make the footrest a convenient item).
I am not glad to say that I started to think about buying another car for my dad because of this problem. He owns Skoda Fabia 1.4A/T which is a good car, but lacks comfort completely in seats. at first glance when you look at the driver & passenger seats you get the feeling that these seats are not designed for a normal human :p, you must have a flexible back shape :).
Finally I think you can start thinking about replacing the front seats my friend as changing the material itself could help even a little bit relieving your pain.