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Buying a first car for budget ?..


Bhathiya Fernando
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Greetings All,

  this is my first post. I'm looking to buy my first car (manual) which will be using for short distances and sometimes for long (100 - 300 km) distances with 4 passengers. my budget is maximum 2.0 mil. (having 100K more for minor repairs) and i already have an offer for suzuki zen estilo 2011 model for 2.15 mils. is it ok to bargain it for 2 mil. and buying it ? yet to see this car as the owner is bringing it in next weekend from colombo. this car is said to have a mileage of 64000 kms and was informed that minor repairs are being done in these days like repairing rack, replacing brake pads, fixing engine mounts and polishing by the owner.

i left out toyotas and nissans as i worried about selecting a decent car among them due to my lack of knowledge on the subject and fear of having a major repair after a short time which will cost a fortune.

so veterans, please advice me on the above offer and if you have any suggestions please enlight me.

highly appreciate the help..

bathiya 

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17 hours ago, Bhathiya Fernando said:

suzuki zen estilo

Sadly not the best of cars....very unrefined and mediocre build quality. A car just having 64,000km (assuming it is accurate) and just 10 years old needing a steering rack repair is a testament to the quality of components. Just like the Maruti 800s and Celries...these cars have rather cheap parts for repairs, but sadly the parts hav very short life spans.

Sadly in the current market you will have to resort to much older Japanese cars (around the early tomid 90s ?). Personally, I do feel that a averagely maintained slightly older Japanese car would be better than the Zen. Don't get me wrong..India does make some good cars...but Marutis (especially from the era you are looking at) are not those.

Yes..it will be hard to find a decent Japanese car that has not been messed around with and is actually good. But I do feel the search will be worth it. Let it be the Zen (or a newer car) or an older car. You say you cannot buy an older car because you know nothing about cars to pick a good one. The same goes for newer and non Japanese cars as well...YOU CANNOT INSPECT AND DECIDE TO BUY IT ON YOUR OWN! You MUST take it to a proper car check place to get a proper inspection done. So at the end of the day it really doesn't matter whether it is a Zen or a Toyota/Nissan.
 

As for your 100,000 budget for repairs...you might be pushing it....remember...trust no one when it comes to buying cars in SL. So be prepared to change the timing belt (if it has a belt), brake pads, suspension bushes etc...no matter what you buy (you can forego things like the timing belt if there are verifiable records...and by verifiable I mean you can call up the agent or someone and see if the repair is logged).

 

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Thank You very much @iRage for your response and advice. your deduction contradicts with what I heard from my friends a bit, but given the facts yes, I know you are right. I think the same goes for Alto k10 right? so thinking steering away from it.

as per what you said, and with a good fuel consumption in mind,

I am thinking of doctor sunny (1500 cc) , corolla 110, and

found out ford laser and fiesta (90's) are under 1.8 mil. (think prices are artificially inflated ) will these be easily maintainable?

peradua kelisa 2004 / 2006 are close to my budget, are these worth for a buy considering the future repairs.?   

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I was about to suggest a Viva Elite since I had good experience with it. I was shocked to see the price of those now.. Looks like going around 3mil.. Dang..!!

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17 minutes ago, kmeeg said:

I was about to suggest a Viva Elite since I had good experience with it. I was shocked to see the price of those now.. Looks like going around 3mil.. Dang..!!

yes, friend of my father has a perodua axia, but that kind of vehicle is out of reach..

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5 hours ago, MOHD Inshaf said:

What about a Nissan March K11? It’s going for around 2 mil these days

yes, I checked on that, it is said March is a good car but does low on fuel. it is safe and comfy, but if i'm to think about the worst case how much will it cost to repair the engine and the transmission?

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3 hours ago, john cooper said:

I have done a quick scan with Fast site, I can see some 2004 KIA's within your range if you keen.

thank you @john cooper, I am looking into them,  sorry for my poor vehicle habits. but are Kia reliable vehicles in the range I can afford ? I assume there are plenty of spares for them but will the maintenance be easy ? searching the forum for some reviews..

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11 hours ago, Bhathiya Fernando said:

Thank You very much @iRage for your response and advice. your deduction contradicts with what I heard from my friends a bit, but given the facts yes, I know you are right. I think the same goes for Alto k10 right? so thinking steering away from it.

as per what you said, and with a good fuel consumption in mind,

I am thinking of doctor sunny (1500 cc) , corolla 110, and

found out ford laser and fiesta (90's) are under 1.8 mil. (think prices are artificially inflated ) will these be easily maintainable?

peradua kelisa 2004 / 2006 are close to my budget, are these worth for a buy considering the future repairs.?   

I have no idea which deduction you are talking about :)

To be honest...I would put the doctor sunny and Corolla 110s at the bottom of the list. Even a Corolla AE100 goes for nearly 2 mil now..so slightly decent ones would easily cost more than 2mil. Same with the Dr. Sunny, good ones are going to be touching very close to your budget and thse cars being somewhat significantly old you would need more than just 100,000 for preemptive repairs (thus purchase price should be as low as possible from your 2mil). You should first look at cars like Lancers and 323/Axelas....March...finding a good one would be as hard as finding a good Dr. Sunny or Corolla. They were bought with the expectation of being cheap to run but with high fuel consumption etc...most people started to neglect on good maintenance.
But looking back at what JC had mentioned...yes...Kias would be an option if you can find a good one. Most of them would have been imported by the agent..and the agent does have parts (for the most part). Also, look at Protons. I beleive Gen2s go for around your budget

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On 7/26/2021 at 12:11 AM, Bhathiya Fernando said:

sometimes for long (100 - 300 km) distances with 4 passengers.  suzuki zen estilo 2011 model for 2.15 mils. is it ok to bargain it for 2 mil. and buying it ? yet to see this car as the owner is bringing it in next weekend from colombo. this car is said to have a mileage of 64000 kms and was informed that minor repairs are being done in these days like repairing rack, replacing brake pads, fixing engine mounts and polishing by the owner.

 

Well just to add my 2 cents - The Zen Estillo even in good condition is an ideal city car and your long distance trip will be a bit harsh - the Indian cars are obviously low in build quality, simple mechanical stuff and cheap parts so it's basically a cycle of repairing within short intervals. 

One other new(ish) car in your budget range or below is the Micro Panda - it's a relatively more comfier car than the Maruti's but the interior etc can age prematurely - they have held up better than expected though. 

 

18 hours ago, Bhathiya Fernando said:

I am thinking of doctor sunny (1500 cc) , corolla 110, and

Well most doctor sunny petrol's are actually equipped with carbureted engines (as opposed to EFI - there are a few EFI B13's but quite rare) now the thing is most mechanics tend to muck up carburetors in Sri Lanka and as a result there can be a lot of annoying stuff from sudden RPM spikes to emission test woes and so on - not that I'm saying anything with an EFI engine is bullet proof - personally i'd be a little more comfortable with a car with EFI specially if it was my first car. 

The 110 though an okayish car fetches a higher price - ones in your budget would be poorly maintained and maybe with dodgy paperwork etc. 

Mazda's are decent cars too - a good choice and they are not yet crazily priced. 1998/99 Honda Cities are another option will be under 2 Mill probably. Perodua Kelisas are also nice cars - though not very comfy on a long drive for spirited city driving it's perfect. But you'll probably need to look at the pre-facelift model for below 2Mill. Did you consider Station wagons? Corolla elephant back, Nissan Wingroad/AD etc?

If you're not overly worried about resale here are a few more things you can try : 

1-Focus on Manual transmission cars where there's an auto variant available : people will always go for an auto nowadays and will skip the manual as a result manuals tend to be cheaper. 

2-Cars with duplicate CR's tend to fetch lower prices. As long as the paper work is good and the original owner in the book is the person selling you the car it should be ok. For instance i saw a Carina 190 series car with a duplicate CR advertised about 300,000 below the others (granted there may be other issues) 

3- Since you don't drive a lot, Diesels will not make sense but they are priced a bit cheaper than their petrol counterparts. Now a diesel engine on it's last legs will be a nightmare but a well maintained diesel engine will keep running and running and running. 

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13 hours ago, iRage said:

Kias would be an option if you can find a good one.

I searched the forum and found out reviews for Rio, spectra etc.. are kind of mixed in terms of maintainability, spares etc..

proton wira is under the budget, so will consider that. found one Gen 2 on those fast, shade sites but it's price is near the maximum.

2 hours ago, matroska said:

below is the Micro Panda

thank you @matroska for your response..

one of my friend also suggested, but I read and heard that maintainability is poor. I am looking into kelisa and think I can bare the less comfortableness. before the estilo I was looking into station wagons even though they felt like big as a first car, and I like them, but given their prices (except the ones in 80's) and expected cost for repairs I thought they are out of reach.

I heard mazda spares are somewhat expensive. At the present, I am thinking of using my first car for a long while with less worries (now I doubt it with my budget), so manual transmission is what I thought of. Duplicate CR is ok as long as it is valid. but I prefer petrol over diesel.

You know, I would like very much if I could buy a car for under 2.0 mil and ride it for at least two years with minor repairs. But that's not how the story goes given the budget, so I will wait for few days at least this travel restriction eases and go to colombo and try to find a car.

So thank you Dear friends, for your valuable responses, advices, and time.. 

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On 7/28/2021 at 1:41 AM, Bhathiya Fernando said:

I heard mazda spares are somewhat expensive

Not really the case....the reality is that the likes of Nissan and Toyota have cheap cheap Chinese parts and fake genuine parts. If you get the real thing in terms of parts...the Mazda genuine parts would be more or less the same (or even less) that the ACTUAL Toyota/Nissan parts in SL.

On 7/28/2021 at 1:41 AM, Bhathiya Fernando said:

At the present, I am thinking of using my first car for a long while with less worries (now I doubt it with my budget), so manual transmission is what I thought of.

If cars have had their preemptive maintenances done on time with proper parts and skilled labor...then yes...your aspiration is do-able. It will be a deecnt car with not too much fuss other than you being very disciplined about doing preemptive and running service work. Sadly....in SL only a very very few cars have had such treatment in their life time (they are there...but very very hard to come by...and their owners hardly want to sell them off considering the current market). With the models you are looking at...it is even harder to find such good examples because 95% of Sunny, Corolla owners bought them because of their reputation to be cheap to run and rugged enough to handle low maintenance.

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