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Sunday, March 20, 2005

Test-Drive Day...

I went for a post-LASIK check-up yesterday morning and on my way home, my Bro called me and wanted to go test-drive. Yes, he is going to get a car. None of us know nuts about cars so we thought that it would be better if we went together, least we appear like lonely goons in the showroom. So hence, we went car shopping. Already outdoors, I touched down at Queensway MRT before walking over to the "Car" Park. Since we wanted something practical, we would be looking at something around 1.5 litres and preferably below S$70k.

First Stop, Chevrolet
Went in. Noticed the Aveo and the Optra. Finally decided to focus on the Optra. It looks big for its category and the sales lady claimed that it has the longest wheel base for 1.6 category. Interior looks pretty luxurious to me. The door was heavy, closes unlike a Japanese make. Car is heavy, handling was so-so. Steering wasn't too light, not a lot of acceleration, probably due to its weight. Never got to try it at higher speed though. Sales lady was quiet. Wasn't impressed enough to consider buying.

Dough required : S$60,988 for Chevrolet Optra 1.6 DOHC (A) Sedan

Second Stop, Peugeot
The most fun stop of the day. What could it have been any other way when the 307cc and 206cc were there. The sales guy was also friendly. By comparison with the previous sales lady, he definitely had a lot to say about his product. Very nice fellow. For certain reasons, the 206cc was not available for test-drive, but he still got the keys and gave us a glimpse at the roof-closing mechanism for the convertible. A big boy's toy is as good as it ever gets here. End up, we test drove the 307 CD 1.6 Hatchback. Handling was good. Acceleration was tad lighter than european cars at low speed, but not as light as Japanese models. Suspension was good, ride was smooth. The sales man even offered to let me go off the conventional boring straight roads that the other car dealers would use, he brought me to this winding region where I could steer left and right. The drive was good, it felt like a rally car(not that I drove any). He also said that Peugeot is renowned for its handling and the wheel base is modeled after their rally car's.

Dought required: 307XS 1.6A Hatchback : S$82,400
206CC 1.6A : S$102,400
307CC 2.0A : S$129,400

Third stop, Toyota
Just across the road. There wasn't a lot of people in the showroom as expected. Couldn't stop the sales force. I approached an uncle in white polo tee and asked for a test drive. He said,"I'm a customer here". You really shouldn't get dressed up in white polo-tee tucked into black pants when you are at the Toyota showroom unless you are selling. I retreated quickly and went to the enquiry counter to ask for a test drive. I would rate my encounter with the sales man that I encountered at Toyota as the worst of the lot. He was the ONLY sales man, who asked me to fill up the entire form for test-driving. He had an acidic tongue, extremely sarcastic. Mannerism were crude. Not very respectful. Sales talk... never really took notice. The ultimate was when we said that we might return the next day if we make up our decision, he said,"But I'm not working tomorrow." We kept silent. He did not even offer to come meet us at the showroom should we come, he simply gave us his name card and told us to call him if we intend to buy. Then, he walked off. We threw his name card away the moment we walked out. We may consider getting the car, but the commission will not go to this bugger.
Its common knowledge that Toyota Vios is pretty value for money. All models, Altis or Vios, assembly in Thailand. Of all the Japanese brands that I saw yesterday, seems like Toyota is the only one which claims all of its production from Thailand, the rest, claim Japanese origin. Acceleration smooth and reasonable handling(which Japanese make isn't). The brand pushes itself and has no lack of buyers, I guess that explains the ethic of that sales man.

Dough required : Toyoto Vios 1.5 Auto, S$60,488

Fourth Stop, Opel
Went into this small showroom, test drove the Meriva. Bro did not like its look and shape. End of story. Anyway, the car had this weird Easytronic gear switch, I couldn't quite figure out the hang of it. Its not just step and go...along the way, the car would stall abit and you are supposed to do a quick release of accelerator and step back. The sales lady said that it would take a bit of getting used to, IF I intend to buy a car just to get used to it. Interior of car is spacious no doubt. Panel is a bit "flat". Assembly in Spain.

Dough required : Opel Meriva Easytronic MPV Classic, S$69,688

Fifth Stop, Mitsubishi
Sales lady was nice. Actually, the sales lady from Opel recommended her(ex-colleague). Anyway, I have heard people saying that Mitsubishi is "noisy". Its not that bad, only very light hum sound which I supposed wouldn't be noticeable most of the time anyway. The pick-up and handling is pretty good. I actually prefer it over the Vios. Made in Japan.

Dough required : Mitsubishi 1.6 GLX CVT, S$61,988

Sixth Stop, Hyundai
After so many Japanese sedans, it would be so boring to test the Accent. At S$48,888, the lowest of its category, you cannot expect much from it. Only reason to get it, would be its low cost. Heard from friends, in fact, everyone, that, at high speed, its feels like you are flying. Having had similar experiences with Honda City, I decided to not bother test-driving it. We had our hands onto the Tuscani instead.

Acceleration is pretty good. A bit fast for my driving. Steering is a bit stiff and suspension is too, the sales man said that all true Sports car are like this. Pretty car. So easy to put up speed without knowing. Interior rear seats are also remarkable "spacious" for a coupe. The rear sitting comfy and broad, the headroom is a tad higher than most rear of coupes I have sat in. For a coupe in its category, the price tag is as affordable as it ever gets.

Dough required : TUSCANI 2.0 FX 2 DR AUTO, S$78,888

Last Stop, Honda
Drove the Civic. Steering is not bad, easy to pick up speed without knowing, same as the Tuscani. The interior is so-so if you are opting for the basic package, without the leather seats. The panels are so boring though. Insurance kills. Highest of all the Japanese brands we had seen. The sales man is pretty good, talks well. I'm impressed with his words, on how he justify the higher cost of owning a Honda. He claimed that its definitely not on par with the European cars, however it definitely has a higher prestige as compared with the other Japanese makes(that, i do not feel, a Japanese model IS a Japanese model to me). And that for people who intend to buy, drive and sell the car away after 3 years, its recommended for the resale value is "there" and its not difficult to find buyers(he was talking about the Civic, not Jazz nor City). I'll probably use that kind of reasoning to brand the Honda if I were selling the brand itself too. Between European and Japanese car prestige to justify the above-than-average-Japanese-price-tag, not a bad one.

Dough required : CIVIC 1.6 Sedan VTi-4AT, S$75,000

Tired, worn out. Met up with Mei at Chinatown. She was done with her shopping. After which, I brought her to this pub that I discovered in Keong Saik some time back. Nice place to drink and chat during Happy Hour.

Supposed to meet some friends at Chjimes for dinner, however, on the way, we went past Burger King which is currently offering "Win a Peugeot 206CC with every purchase of Value Meal". I would get to have my dinner at less than half my budget and stand a chance to win that baby. Why not? I had my dinner at BK before I proceed to rendevous point.


At 2:10 PM, Blogger FF said...

My fav is Peugeot 407. Can't afford it though, if I had a budget of $70k, i'd go for the vios.

At 8:27 PM, Blogger lancerlord said...

You did those test driving all in 1 day? When I got mine, I intended to test drive a few cars. But the crowd wasn't really an appealing sight. Got mine after test drive the second car.

At 8:43 PM, Blogger TriplePeriod said...

ff: Peugeot's handling is nice maaaaan. I like the way it steers and you can "feel" and "control" the acceleration as you step on it, not like the Japanese cars, where the speedo just goes up monotonously and almost too rapidly for my liking at times.

lancerlord: Yup one day. Possible. I spend on average 40 to 50 minutes at each stop. Its always go in, aim at model, ask for test drive and talk about the price. Very straight-forward.

At 12:11 AM, Blogger ivan said...

the 407 drives pretty differently from the 307 and 206. but it sure is a looker, esp after it's latest facelift.

Chevrolet is actually thai or korean made if i remember correctly so you might want to consider this, if i'm not too wrong, it's also a korean (i think daewoo) car with american badging, you might want to check up on this

And the hyundai coupe is a thirsty beast, despite not being too fast. 0-100 in 10.5 is not coupe-like.

At 11:41 PM, Blogger TriplePeriod said...

ivan: I forgot to say that the insurance for that Tuscani is a killer. They really categorise it under "Sports" car.

At 8:24 PM, Anonymous wildy said...

chanced upon your blog while doing a google search on "206cc singapore".

the salesman you visited at peugeot must be the same one as mine; Martin? he did the same rooftop opening and closing for me as well. for that red peugeot. i'm actually seriously considering that car, but wondering whether it is worth the dough.

decisions decisions


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