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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Plan to Upgrade My Wife's Car - Part 2

I've been always a car enthusiast, and although Malaysia tax makes any car barely affordable by other countries standard, but I still can't help falling in love with it. It's a beauty and marvel of human's engineering. Remember a story that in stone age, people got killed by the lion, while some warrior manage to kill a lion after having a spear on hand. Now with guns, lion are no match to human, but not because of the brute power of the individual. Only because of the intelligence of human being in developing the tools and that make us the supreme species in the world. I felt the same for cars, another tool that makes thing impossible possible.

Following up with my earlier post, we only have 1 car shortlisted, which is the Suzuki SX4. With our improving financial stand, I propose to my wife for a stretch in the budget and look at what is offered within the range of RM130,000. As there is where most of the much better B class car is priced, and just for a search, why not. Again, a few cars came into picture, such as the Toyota Altis, Honda Civic, Nissan Sylphy, Mazda 3, Mitsubishi Lancer, Ford Focus, Peugeot 407, even Volkswagen Polo. Tight cabin car such as Mazda 3 and Volkswagen Polo is rejected. Bad depreciation car such as Ford Focus and Peugeot 407 is rejected as well. Mitsubishi Lancer is one of the victim from Proton, and leaving us with only Altis, Civic and Sylphy.

Let's take a closer look of these cars:

Toyota Altis 1.8E (RM112,990)
140bhp and 177Nm coupled with CVT-7speed, MacPherson Strut + Torsion Beam, Ventilated Disc + Solid Disc, Foldable rear seats, Halogen, Amber Head Display, CD+MP3 with 4 speakers, Fabric Seats

Nissan Sylphy 2.0 CVTC Comfort (RM114,880)
133bhp and 195Nm coupled with X-CVT, Independent MaxPherson Strut + Torsion Beam, Ventilated Disc + Drums,

Honda Civic 1.8S-L (RM119,980)
140bhp and 174Nm coupled with Auto-5speed, MacPherson Strut + Independent Double Wishbone, Ventilated Disc + Solid Disc, Non Foldable rest seats, Halogen, Multiplex Meter, CD+MP3+iPod with 6 speakers, Leather Seats

When cars reached this range of pricing, it's already a very good car and as a consumer, we are always just looking for more features for the money that we are spending. First of all, Altis interior is dull crazy and it's so boring. We take lowest model of 1.8 for comparison and it fit all we need. The engine response is alright and as you can see from the numbers, all performance is almost the same and the comfort level from this car is very very good. Good thing about Toyota is everything is within expectactions. When you buy a Toyota, you already know what to expect and that's boring to me. Surprisingly the brakes & handling is quite good.

Moving on to Nissan Sylphy which my wife don't like as it's too big! But I do take a look anyway and it's a surprisingly good deal. The interior is more dull than Altis, imagine that! Cannot believe there are design that's more dull than Altis. The space inside is bigger Camry or Accord! Safety list is also good with a solid bar near radiator to protect from direct crash. The ride is comfortable and the handling is ok but the engine response is a little slow to my liking. Anyway my wife don't like it so it's out of our list.

Finally Honda Civic and there are few trimline choices but we delete the lowest end model as it does not have what we need. We tested the Civic right after the Altis and if you know about both cars, you will know our response. It's heaven and hell. Lucky that the Altis facelifted is alright in its exterior but still the 4-year-old Civic design still beat the Altis back to hell. On interior, I don't even want to mention as it's not comparable. Civic is famous for its 2-tier meter and deep dashboard design which is incredibly nice and challenge directly to those higher class cars. The engine response for 1.8 is good and it basically meet everything we need. Handling is much better than Altis but overall the main point is the Altis dull design turn this Civic to Angel.

Right after we tested the Civic, I made the deposit. Somehow once you hit this price range, the Suzuki SX4 is no longer in the picture. For young couple like us, it's no brainer for Civic. The only concern is the model is already reaching its 4-year-old cycle where new Civic model is expecting to launch in 2011. Anyway it's too good to resist and we need the car as well. So we don't bother to wait for the new model. A word of advice is that if you don't have the budget, don't ever compare to those higher class car.

Honda Civic is always my wife's dream car and I want her to live her dream as well but importantly, I need a better car to protect her and the family when we are travelling. We spent more and more of our time on the road, and I'm not risking it as long as I'm afford to do so.


Kh said...


Congratulation to your decision. Buying car in Malaysia is really a headache. It took me few months ~ close to a year to make my decision. Same as you, I have gone through all the models you mentioned above except the Polo since these models were not really at affordable price about 1.5 year ago.

Both Civic and Altis have been my dream cars for more than 10 years but surprisingly, I made my decision on the 407 at the end.

Was looking for a car that packed with features and most importantly, safety features. Stability controls ( ESC / DSC / VSA / VSC whichever they called it ).

Price depreciation is what most will first think in car buyer mind in Malaysia followed by the after sales services / parts and etc coming as second. I made my decision since I intended to keep the car for some years and after 10 years, i think there are not much different in terms of 2nd hand value :p

Head over to youtube and search for DSC and watch some video, you may want to reconsider getting the car with that feature if you still can.

Oh, another thing is. The 407 is a D segment car which carries almost the same price with the Civic 2.0 and came with packs of goodies. 7 Airbags, 10.1 JBL speakers, DSC, Leather seats and a lot of torque on the road when you needed the kicks. With Teana also joining the D segment .. there are a lot of choices now in compared to 1.5 years back.

KVINLIM said...

Kh, totally agreed! If depreciation is not an issue, 407 does give the best bang for money. It's by far one of the best equipped for that range, only it's a little too big for my wife. Nice!

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