What’s it like maintaining a Fiat Linea for last 11 years & 88,000 km

It is always the first choice of each family member for city duties while the Toyota Innova Crysta is preferred for its practicality on highways & effortless, fast & comfortable cruising.

BHPian daretodream recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

My Tuscan Wine Fiat Linea 1.3 Multi-Jet Diesel (MJD) Emotion variant (Top end) bought in Jun-2012 has completed 11 years and is currently at 88000 KMs on the odometer.

Instead of an ownership thread, sharing a few pointers from a long-term review perspective in a FAQ format:

How much did it cost then? Can you show photos of then and now?

It had cost me 11.37 Lakhs on road in Jun’12

Picture from Jun’2012:

After pooja

Picture from Jan’2023:

Yup, we have a larger family now. More on that later

Odometer just crossed 88K KMs. It’s nothing compared to the distance other well-known FIAT owners on this forum have covered (2L+ KMs).

How has been the usage/running over the past 11 years?

  • First 3 years – a lot of highway runs (Bangalore-Chennai-Bangalore) and I averaged ~14K KMs annually. This is because my family was in Chennai.
  • Next 6 years: Once my family shifted to Bangalore, my running reduced to ~8K KMs per year.
  • Next 2 years: Since 2022, the usage reduced to ~3K KMs per year as we got a 2021 Crysta 2.4AT Z into our garage for highway duties.

So, over the 11-year ownership period, I have averaged ~8K KMs/year.

Below graph shows the usage of annual running and cumulative running.

How has been the service cost over the past 11 years?

  • As with taxes, and inflation, the annual service cost has increased over the 11 years.
  • The annual service cost averaged ~13K for 1st-4th years, ~23K for 5th to 8th years, and ~30K for 9th-11th years.
  • Of course, it has not been a linear increase each year. There are troughs and peaks as the maintenance schedule for some years(15K, 45K) are lighter than other years (30K and 60K service).

The graph below shows the annual service cost and cumulative service cost.

Okay, so how has the service cost per km been?

  • What I share below is very unique to me and should not be generalized.
  • My running in the last 2 years is ~3K KM/year but the annual service charge for the last 2 years is ~INR 35K. So, this skewness in the last 2 years of my ownership has changed the overall ownership numbers.

The graph below shows the service cost per kilometer for each year and cumulative.

How has been the availability of spares after FIAT shut operations?

In my 11 years of ownership, for 9 years I used FIAT authorized service center in Bangalore (KHT- 3 years, Vecto-2 years and MPS-3 years).

I skipped 1 year in 2020 due to Covid and had low running.

In 2018, I used a BHPian’s garage and then reverted to Authorized Service Center due to the lack of confidence inspiring work despite high word-of-mouth marketing.

I have not had any concerns about the availability of spares through FIAT Authorized Service Centers. Whenever my car goes for servicing, I request to share that keep old spare parts in the same boxes post replacement during servicing.

I observed that spare parts are, in general, fresh supplies (not ageing/very old inventory. Some of the important spare parts are imported across multiple countries (Turkey, France, Germany).

For example, I did my recent servicing on 7th July. I am attaching a few pictures of spare parts which have import/packaging date, which are decently recent.

Pictures from my 2023 servicing done on 07-Jul-2023:

Belt Stretcher – Packed on 24-Jun

Filtering Element- Packed on 24-Jun

Trans Belt – Imported from France; Packed on 21-Jun

Timing Chain – Imported from Germany; Packed on 03-Apr

Sealing Gasket – Imported from Turkey; Packed on 02-May

Pad – Made in India; Packed on 23-Feb

Cabin Filter – Packed on 03-Sep-2022; Made in India

I do not have images from 2022, however, I had got the wiper blades changed and they were also from fresh stock

Can you summarize all your annual servicing details in a table?

Sure, please find below:

What about the discretionary costs towards Tender Loving Care (TLC) for your car? What about Fuel?

Here you go-

What is your dirty laundry (things which you do not like and need fixing) with Linea?

  • In 2018, When I did servicing with a BHPian’s well-known garage, they changed glow plugs. I am unsure of the quality because they went kaput within a year and despite all efforts from them and FIAT ASS, they are stuck and can’t be taken out. The only way is to open the cylinder head to take them out. However, I am living with it as Bangalore weather is not so cold to need glow plugs. However, this error keeps flashing each time I start the car.
  • BlueandMe used to a drain battery. So, it is permanently disconnected. So, I miss the ability to take calls on Bluetooth. It takes me back by 2 decades.
  • There are some scratches on the right rear wheel arch which I need to tend to.
  • The bulb holder for the Front Right headlight low beam has an issue due to which that bulb’s focus is very close to the car (like within 12-15 meters from bumper). Service center says that we need to change the headlight assembly. I told them to leave it as-is thinking headlight assembly would be very costly as my usage is very low.
  • I changed the tyres to Michelin Primacy in 2015 (at 3 year mark when I crossed 45K KMs). Since then I am on the same tyres and Odo is at 88K KMs. So, I have done 43K KMs on Michelin but it is 8 years now. While tread marks are great, I know the rubber is old. I am yet to take a call on this as it is a significant cost. Please refer to the last FAQs 9 and 10.
  • Last 2 years, the maintenance cost has increased very significantly. I never had any breakdowns but over the past 2-3 years, each time car went for service, many parts needed change (old age of components) which added to the overall service cost. These parts are across timing belt, water pump, suspension, mounts etc.

Alright, so, 11 years and 2 months done with your Linea? What is your Outlook?

My office commute has shrunk post Covid due to WFH option. On days when I must go to the office, I use my Scooter (Suzuki Access 125) as I have to travel from Bellandur to Rajajinagar. I do take Linea at times depending on the weather – rains or too hot or too cold.

I got Linea when I was in my early 30s. Now I am in my early 40s. I and my family have grown with the car. My family has grown from 2 to 4 in the last decade and our kids have also grown. Son is 10 now and daughter is 5. So, we found travelling with other family members (Mother In Law, other relatives) difficult with our children sitting in their laps- meaning both the children and adults are not comfortable any more during long highway rides. So, in 2021, we decided to get a 7-seater.

The decision was to be made between getting an SUV or a MUV. We evaluated Fortuner, Endeavour, Carnival and Crysta. While I wanted Fortuner or Endeavour, everyone else in the family wanted Crysta post back to back test rides across all these models. So, In Aug’21, we brought home facelifted Innova Crysta 2.4AT ZX (Pearl White) under my wife’s company lease and it has taken over the highway duties since then.

Crysta was a large upgrade in all possible ways – especially the engine(1.3L to 2.4L), power(~100bhp to 143bhp), torque(209NM to 343NM), seats(5 to 7), electronics (BlueandMe to Apple CarPlay with many other electronics aids), safety (2 Airbags to 7 Airbags), Transmission(MT to AT), light (Halogen to LEDs).. you get the jist – every possible way.

Family’s head is with Innova and the heart is with Linea. So, Linea is ALWAYS preferred by each member of the family for city duties while Crysta is preferred for practicality for highways and that effortless fast comfortable cruising. Given a choice, even from a driving pleasure perspective, I would prefer Crysta even when travelling alone because of the Torque, Power, AT, and road presence (other vehicles give way). It is at a different level altogether.

However, there is something classic and romantic about Linea which is missing in Crysta. Maybe because it’s our first car or we are just non-rational human beings getting attached to material possessions.

So, coming back to the question – what is the ownership outlook on Linea?

The car has the excellent build quality of a tank, the ride quality of a train and superb handling, steering feedback and braking- I doubt I will get the same mix of these factors in sedans today available in the market. I must admit that I have not checked out the offerings in the market.

I will continue to own Linea at least until 2024. With some major maintenance and a large number of parts replaced in the last 2-3 years, I feel Linea is relatively new from the mechanicals perspective.

Next year this time as the lease gets over, we will transfer Crysta from the company name to our name. At that point, we will be eligible for a new lease. That time we will have all options open- from not buying any car and continuing with Linea to getting a luxury car. On one hand, the heart says you live only once, go for a luxury car. On another hand, head says cars will be a depreciation disaster and continue using Linea, our first love.

So, we are not getting ahead of ourselves at the moment- we are enjoying and loving our Tuscan Wine Fiat Linea.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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