Advice needed: Want to buy my first car on a 5L budget

My main criteria is reliability, build, ride quality, and basic safety. My budget would be around 5L for the car alone, plus 50k-1L on repairs if needed.

BHPian iceman101 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Hi there, fellow petrolheads! (dieselheads? ev-heads?)

I’m new to the forum, so apologies if I’m breaking any forum rules with this thread.

Some background, I’m almost 21 and have been driving for a quarter of my life. I have been into cars and bikes for as long as I can remember.

(I remember a conversation I had with my uncle when I was 6, telling him that I wanted to make engines for Lamborghini when I grow up. When he asked me why not the entire car, I replied, “The car is too colourful on the inside. I don’t like it, I prefer Porsche for that.” Little did the 6yo me know about the VAG group’s structuring.)

All grown up now, I have clocked a couple ten thousand kilometers on the family cars, and my two bikes, a Hornet 160, and a G310R.

My car journey started with a humble swift, as my father was reluctant that I absolutely must learn driving a manual first. Super grateful for that. After the Swift, my family switched to a Honda City and now a Nexon EV. I’ve had good experience driving all of them. A couple of times a month, I get to drive my friends’ 520d and W222 S-Class, when we go out for breakfast drives. So you could say I have amassed quite some experience driving all kinds of cars.

As much as I love driving the family cars, I have to stay respectful of the fact that everyone in the family uses them, so I try not to push them too hard or take them out for long very often.

Which brings me to a solution, getting a car of my own. Having been into the mechanical aspect of things for a long time, I want to get a car that I can work on myself, and push hard when I want to, knowing that I’ll be able to fix it without a large dent in my pocket.

Also, I have always had a thing for old Japanese cars, and always wanted to get one as my first car. I am least concerned about interiors or plushness. My main criteria is reliability, build, ride quality, and basic safety. My budget would be around 5L for the car alone, plus 50k-1L on repairs if needed.

The cars I have shortlisted are the following

1) Used Mitsubishi Lancer: A legendary nameplate globally. However, I’m told that the model released in India wasn’t all that good. Secondly, difficult to find in good condition for a good price.

2) Used Toyota Corolla: Absolute rugged engine, definitely won’t give too many problems. Would be convenient for the family as well as it is a comfortable car. However, not too driver focused. And all second hand examples for sale have been used for 80-100k km already.

3) New Tata Tiago: WILDCARD. Not my top option. However, if worst comes to worst, this car is a good new option that can be had with a lil budget stretch. The engine is extremely dull, however, it can take some abuse.

4) Used Honda Civic: Can be had for 2-3L easily. However, having a Honda in the garage, I am well aware of the bloodsucking average that it gives. That is honestly my only gripe with it, other than the difficulty of getting parts.

5) Used Honda Accord: Same problems as the Civic + expensive servicing if I do decide to get it done from a dealer.

That’s the extent of my knowledge on the subject. I would love to hear more options. If not, which one would you suggest from my list, and why?

Would love to know your thoughts! Thank you so much!

Here’s what BHPian IshaanIan had to say on the matter:

Wouldn’t the Civic give the same mileage as a Corolla? Both use 1.8L NA Petrols engines at the end of the day. Maybe the Corolla gives you more torque lower in the rev range and as a result better fuel efficiency in the city but it cannot be that bad. Besides, the more pressing point would be that while reliability of these cars is great, parts would still definitely cost a lot probably in 15-30k range for a headlight or a bumper just as an example. If you are okay with that, then why not consider the Cedia? It handles better than the Civic, doesn’t mind if the roads aren’t too good and like the Corolla, it has a more tractable motor.

Fabia 1.6 and SX4 1.6 are both the cheapest fun to drive and own options that I can think of.

Here’s what BHPian ObsessedByFIAT had to say on the matter:

Welcome aboard iceguy101!

Sorry, but I am not sure if I understood your requirements correctly?

  • Do you wish to buy a car and get your hands dirty on it? Like a resto-mod kind of a job?
  • Do you wish to buy q car for your daily commute, with some added fun and no hassle of sharing it with rest of the family members?
  • Do you wish to build something ground up, use it and feel a sense of accomplishment?
  • What is the kind of budget you are ear marking for your project car?

I hope you get a drift!

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