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Car buying advice for around 2.5 million


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Hi motorheads ?, this is my second post since I asked for advice 2 years back.

I am searching for your valuable inputs to buy a car. My requirements,

*Automatic transmission


*A car with low cost maintenance and less issues (don't want to spend a big amount on a frequently needed part change or big one off cost)

*I am fine if I get 8 kmpl coz I'll be driving in Colombo.

*A nice looking ride

After reading through the forum and speaking to people I have come with the following options.

*Nissan Sunny/bluebird (N16)

*Honda Civic (ES3, EK8)

*Corolla 121

*Yaris (1300 cc)/ Vios 2004 ish model

*Kia Cerato 2011

*Hyundai Elantra 2011

*Lancer CS1 2008 ish

Was advised to stay away from the 1st Gen Mazda 3/axela and Belta. Heard a few mixed reviews about the Elantra. 

1. Are the models I've selected to go ahead with good or is there any other I should consider?

2. Of the ones on the list is there one or a few I should be looking for over another for maintenance cost/ value for money/ good car reasons? 

Thank you. ?


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The Civic and the Lancer  does stand out as he better option in your list.  The Corolla is a pretty good car but most of them are really badly used/maintained. SO you won't be able to find a good Corolla. Some of the Civics have gone through rcier boys but still good examples are available, especially those that have been in the hands of enthusiasts. 

I cannot see why the Mazda 3/Axela is a no. They are pretty good cars and most are in pretty good shape too. I don't think you have verifiable evidence that the Mazda 3/Axela is actually bad..but just hear-say. Stories like parts not available, etc...

If you are okay going for a Yaris/Vios I cannot see why you are saying no for a Belta. The Belta is a newer version of the Yaris/Vios you are looking at with the same platform with some improvements. Being an entry level sedan it is not as nice as the Civic, Lancer or the Corolla.

I do not think the Korenas of that era has aged well. So I would not comment on their suitability.

Have you thought of a Corona or Carina (T200 series) ? 


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Hi iRage, thanks for replying. I've seen that you are an active member on the forum. ?

Yes I'm very interested in the Civic. I find the lancer interior look a bit boring, but interested given its low maintenance cost. At the moment the Bluebird is on the top of the list due to nice interior, exterior, low maintenance expenses tho fuel at average 7kmpl in Colombo is said to be less than the average of 8 on the other models I've mentioned.

A user of a 2004 Mazda said that he had issues and was finding it difficult to detect the issue. That discouraged me, though I love the look of it.

I thought the Cerato was value for money. Saw a Cerato and it looked very nice. Drove a 2014 Rio and didn't have any complaints with the Korean ride. 

Yes, I was recommended to consider the Carina Ti my road and Corona. But I don't like the look of it ?

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Well....you are disregarding the Mazda base don one particular experience. If the error was not detectable why do you think it is the ar ? It could very well be that the car was taken to a bad mechanic/s who had no idea what they are doing. Besides....the N16 is not a Bluebird...it is a Bluebird Sylphy which is a Sunny...and there are plenty of those cars that have much more issues than the Axela/Mazda 3.

Yes..the Cerato rdes well...but the plastics are not that nice and after sometime it really does not weather well and just looks old. In countries like the US it did well because they gave rather aggressively extensive warranties.

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Oh I see. I actually didn't think of it that way. In fact the Axela was on the top of my list due to its style and since it covered all I was looking for. I removed it coz I don't want to be saddled with costly issues. 

In your opinion is it possible to get a good 2004 Axela Auto? Is 2.4m the right price for a 2004 Axela and 2.6m for the 2007 Axela? 

I saw a 2019 post on the forum that the AC cooling is 55,000 to repair (part plus labour). Just wondering if there will be many such issues. Any idea?

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You need to accept the fact that ALL these cars are a decade or more old..which means it will have many components that are well used...some would have reached its end of life and would have been replaced, some would be nearing its end of life and would require replacing or some will have some decent life left in it. This is why there are pre-emptive maintenance work schedules prescribed by the manufacturer. Vehicles depreciate on the second fact...so no matter what car you buy you will have to under go a maintenance work. If you want a car you can just pump and drive...then go for a brand new car (even then you never know). Your concern should be if who ever used the car and repaired it would have done so properly..proper parts, done on time and by proper people. If those are done properly then your burden is minimized. 

Now..some car designs have faults (but those would have been rectified by now...hopefully properly). Some cars have designs that are not suited for local conditions (eg. DCTs in SL and the AC compressors in Allions/Premios). These are not fualts...these are things that may or may not pop-up depending on the way the car is used. So are there many cases of it ? I don't know. Is it a design fault ? I have not heard of any recalls or issues of it in Japan...so I do not know...maybe in SL it is common. A failure being common should not be something to kee you away from a car. You just need to check if you are willing to spend on it...and when you spend on it if you will actually get enough use from the repair you did (for eg. if you replace the AC compressor at 55K is it going ot fail every 6-12 months ? Or will it last for 2 years ? How long will you use the car for and how many times will you ahve to replace it ?)

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