About the owner:
Muhammad Abdullah is from Lahore, currently a student of Computer Science and is an avid automotive enthusiast. His YouTube channel can be found here.
Why this car instead of other available options…
We had owned a Suzuki Liana 2006 and our budget was around 10 lac. And in that price category, you only have two choices, i.e the Suzuki WagonR and FAW V2. WagonR is simply a huge compromise if you’re replacing a saloon car with it. It costs the same as V2 but has very less to offer except fuel economy and resale value. My dad was reluctant to get the V2 because of the resale but I convinced him that we’ve already kept the Liana for 10 years and the resale isn’t that big of an issue for us so the pros outweighed the cons.
Alright so starting with performance, it doesn’t give you that saloon car feel that Liana gave us, but as soon as you floor it, it really does give a sensation of it’s own. It’s a 1.3L 90HP engine in a car smaller than a saloon car, so yeah, the drive is fun and effortless. The electronic throttle and steering wheel are very responsive. The brakes are very effective owing to the electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and ABS. Alright so enough about the stellar performance. The drive isn’t perfect. Don’t get me wrong, it’s much more comfortable than the WagonR or Cultus but when you go over 100 kmph, you hear wind noise that gets annoying.
Then there’s the fact that window controls for the driver and passenger are in the center console, you get used to it but it still is a slight inconvenience. The air-conditioning is also just as good as the other saloon cars out there. The seats are exceptionally comfortable as a lot of my friends say but the interior design lacks greatly in terms of design; it looks as if someone at FAW literally used Microsoft Paint to design it.
The boot space is very good for a hatchback. I’m at 6’ 2” but headroom and legroom aren’t a problem in this car either. The independent rear suspension does a good job overall so for the city traveling where speeds aren’t more than 80 kmph, I’d rate the comfort to a 9.5/10. Moving on, we’ve driven it a total of 21,000 km till date and we live in Lahore so maintenance hasn’t been that much of an issue here and the parts prices are also somewhat reasonable but the FAW authorized workshops aren’t as established as Toyota’s or Suzuki’s.
So to sum up, better than WagonR or Cultus, but in comfort, the saloon cars are still better.
Maintenance and Spares…
Till now, we’ve been getting it maintained from FAW Momentum Motors and so far we’ve only used FAW genuine parts so the air and oil filters aren’t that expensive, even the brake-pads etc cost very nominal but to be honest the first brake-pads didn’t last more than 15000 KM maybe it’s because I drive like a lunatic from time to time and check out the Anti-Lock brakes by braking real hard a lot of times.
Traveling within city & highways..
We’ve driven it a total of 22,000 KM and on a daily biases, we drive it a total of 60 kilometers in city and we drive to other cities once or twice a month. So yes, I’ve driven it on the M-2 Motorway and the N-5 Grand Trunk Road. On the speeds even above 120 kmph, it’s just as smooth as butter but the wind noise is a problem. But it has no problem accelerating even at high speeds and it’s really fun when you floor it. The N5 highway isn’t as smooth as the Motorway but the good suspension does make up for it.
I’ve driven it with the OBD2 connected and according to that it gives around 14 km/l if driven with a light foot on the pedal but if you drive a little rough it drops to 12 km/l but the actual average I calculated turned out to be more than the OBD2 because on highway it recently gave 17 km/l which I calculated by filling up before the journey and then after and then dividing the kilometers traveled by liters consumed.
Things I miss in this car..
Oh I’ve got a long list. First of all, they don’t have an automatic variant here, a lot of people want that if they want a car for inner city traveling, I would have preferred an automatic too. In an interview, the CEO of Al-Haj FAW said that used Japanese cars destroy our local market, well, mister, had you offered an automatic V2, half of the car buyers, would have ditched the Japanese cars in favor of an automatic V2. People want to buy cheap cars with automatic transmission but the only choice our markets offers is used Japanese cars and that’s a huge setback. Second, they know about the wind noise and so far they’ve done nothing to rectify the problem. Third, they need to somehow eliminate the ‘China di gaddi’ phobia from Pakistani people’s minds.
The main reasons for buying this specific car will be value for money, passenger safety. It’s not that I like Chinese car over the Japanese ones, but Pak Suzuki, IMC and Atlas Honda really need to offer the basic safely equipment in their vehicles as standard. Then there’s also the usually omitted fact i.e emissions. I mean EURO 4 compliant vehicles aren’t that common yet and Al-Haj has taken a great step by introducing a technologically advanced car in the market in this price segment.
If you live in any of the eight major cities where FAW has a dealership from where you can get relevant parts and services, I’d say go for it. But if you live in any of the smaller cities where Pak Suzuki presumably has a dealership but FAW doesn’t, then you are going to have to pick a Suzuki. Then if you only drive short distances and you’re very conscious about the fuel economy then WagonR is a better vehicle for you. But if you occasionally travel on highways too and drive a lot within city, then I’d say V2 is the better choice.
A 3d animation professional with over 20 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations & production facilities of Pakistan, an avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver writings to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com