I remember my first car with fondness. I also remember the first time I touched a steering wheel. After MBA, I had some time to kill and enrolled for driving classes. My parents believe that there is no point in learning to drive if you are not going to drive regularly and there was no way dad was going to let his kids touch the car. I was a fast learner (nope, am not boasting… the instructor told me that) and got my license before joining work. When I moved to Gurgaon my colleagues advised me to buy a car to make life easier but for me the move was temporary. I knew I would move out soon enough. It was only when I moved to Gujarat and had to use local transport on a daily basis that I decided to buy a car. Summer was approaching and travelling would be torturous. The options were- buy a new cheap car or buy a good second hand car. I decided to go for the latter since I had not driven in years and it wouldn’t matter if I damaged it a little here and there. I purchased an old Zen- the best car for beginners. I also joined driving classes again to gain confidence. My first scratch on the car was when I drove my friend R and his wife N for dinner in Rajkot. R was quite encouraging. I was able to drive the Zen ‘coz he would come every evening with me.
And then another job happened. I moved to Mumbai. I didn’t need the car since driving there is a pain… but travelling on trains is a bigger pain. I decided to drive instead. The car has been with me through the worst jams, some minor accidents and moved to 3 states with me (Gujarat to Maharashtra to Haryana).
KC and I had been thinking about buying a new car for almost a year. No, nothing was wrong with the car but the whole Delhi mentality got to me and I wanted a new car. The Zen started looking shabby.
We even checked out Alto but I decided to stick to my Zen. And then petrol prices zoomed so we decided to manage with what we have. Finally, we started looking for a car when his company came up with a lease policy for employees.
My priority was a car which is not very common (I10 and Swift were sooo out), looks good, is a comfy drive and mileage is decent. We looked at below options:
- Skoda Fabia: An excellent drive. We were looking for diesel cars initially but when we worked out the difference in prices of diesel and petrol… we were going to end up spending more on a diesel car despite the rising prices of petrol. It would take us 2-3 years to break even. Also, the dealers do not give discounts on diesel cars to push the petrol variants in the market. Skoda overall is ok but it is expensive. We would not be able to afford the highest variant and variants in our budget would not include Anti brake system, air bags and have cheaper interiors. What is the point of spending 5 lakh if the car will not even have safety features?
- Chevrolet Beat: It is supposed to have the highest mileage and works out to be cheapest in the category. But when I drove it, it was worse than my current Zen.
- Honda Brio: I loved the looks… it was a comfy drive… the only problem was that the dealer was not giving as huge discounts as Skoda but we could still afford the highest variant.