A girl’s perspective on buying a car

I am back in the period where I have a to shop for a new car again.

To keep the long background story short, I am in the market to search for a nippy city car. I have no children and Geoff has his BMW 5 series. I drive less than 5 km on average a day, where one full tank of petrol can literally last me a month. I only drive to work on weekdays, once a week drives from KL to PJ and occasional longer drives to airports or external meetings. Generally, I just need a good city car. Geoff’s car now serves as our family sedan for grocery shopping, transport for when the kids and parents are around and when we decide to start a family.

So we started looking at the usual channels to browse for cars of interest. We read the auto magazines. We checked Motor Trader and Autocar. Of course, we also looked at online sites and reviews.

Other than the usual auto magazine’s websites like Motor Trader or Autoworld, Paul Tan’s blog is really a good read. From a girl’s perspective, his reviews on cars and test drives can be very confusing. Half of his articles on the car’s torque, engine and stuff like that, are lost with me. I glaze over these jargons that I can’t understand. However, I know a lot of guys who are really into cars, do read his blog quite religiously.

As a girl, even car shopping or researching at the dealership is an awkward position for me. Other than the usual financing questions and “cool” external features, I don’t know what to ask. If the salesman opens up the bonnet to show me the engine, the only kind of comment that I can possibly make would be, “Errm… looks clean.”

I am sure that the salespersons are very familiar with how to handle different types of customers. If it’s a family, talk about all the safety and family features of the car. If it’s a man, let him smell the engine. If it’s a woman (like me), tell me how many cupholders and what cool features, colours and stuff. And that’s exactly what I got.

As I mentioned, I am looking for a nippy city car. So I start hunting around for a nice hatchback within my RM 100k budget. Also, we determined that once you get off the Proton ownership, you really don’t wanna go back. So we have loads of Japanese, Korean and European cars you can choose from. As much as I want to drool over the Audi A4, BMW 1 series, Merc A series and all, I really can’t afford them and should strike them immediately off my list.


Car Shopping

After much research and deliberation, we narrowed down to 2 choices. 

Honda Jazz. The reason for this car are purely financial. This car is not as common as the Honda City or Toyota Vios. It’s affordable (approx. RM 106 k) and will surely fetch a healthy resale value.

I already own a Honda and am happy with their service and after sales support. Test driving this car gives me no major suprises. Other than the fact that this is a lower end car than my current Accord, I am automatically at home driving it. The acceleration is not great but the power steering was wonderful. I could nip around corners easily.

Peugeot 308 Turbo. This car is a little above my budget going for approx RM 113 k. A few things I really like about this is the colour. I love red and unfortunately, there’s not a lot of hatchbacks out there selling in this colour. The other thing is the moon roof. The current models don’t have this, but the upcoming ones in June / July will have a full moon rooftop. The acceleration on this car is amazing as well. Without a power steering, the car feels heavy around corners. But it has 6 airbags compared to the Honda Jazz’s 2 airbags, so of course it’s a much safer car.

Ultimately, I know I am comparing a beautiful European car versus a Japanese mass produced car. They’re both completely different specs and classes. So I have to make a decision financially or emotionally.

Don’t ask me about car specs. I wouldn’t be able to explain this properly. So do check out their websites for this.

My parents’ have made it clear that I should make a financial decision and go with the trusted Japanese Honda. Friends (male friends), on the other hand is telling me to go for the French Peugeot.

In the next month, I will need to sort out the sale / trade-in of my current car. After which, I will proceed to book my final choice and by July, I should be cruising in my brand new ride.


[Update] I ended up getting myself something practical. The head wins over the heart this time. I got myself a grey Honda City. A nippy city car that serves all my needs in a practical checklist.

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