Saturday, November 06, 2004

Buying a car

Several eons ago, there was only one car to buy in India. Everywhere you looked, there was this car the size of a bar of soap taking the desi babu where no car had gone before. I knew that things had changed a bit. There were more choices. So, when I went out looking for a car, I was naturally expecting to shop around.

I wouldn't say that I was disappointed, but I did feel a bit let down by what the fancier looking cars had to offer for the price they charge. I am told it is the excise that hikes the price. In any case, I found invariably that the cars were underpowered, lacked finish and in general were tagged with a price much more than what they were worth.

Let me first be clear about what I wanted. I really want a sports convertible. :) But I would have settled for a good looking car with a spiffy engine under the hood, low maintenance and nice interior. And yes, above all, 5-speed manual transmission. No compromise there.

First I checked out the Mitsubishi. I had heard a bit about the Lancer. To my surprise, the 5-speed ones came with 87bhp! A bit low for the car that size and weight. Next, the Skoda. I had never head the name before I came here. I am told it is Czech brand, now bought by VW. The interiors were nice, the car had good stuff to offer, but at 15 lakhs (roughly USD34K) it was way overpriced. I suddenly missed the Audi I sold before I came here. :(

Then the Opel Corsa Sail. Underpowered, overpriced, modest looking. Thumbs down. I had looked at a used Opel Astra Club, and it didn't work out because of the problems with the car.

Looked at Mahindra's Scorpio. As I shut the door, there was a bunch of clanging noise as though every single nut and bolt in the door creaked. I was soon out.

Now I have my eyes on the Fiat Palio 1.6 GTX. Seems to just about fit the bill. But the showrooms here are closed on Sundays, and that means that I have to wait yet again. Oh well.

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