A BEAR IN A COMPACT CAR

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With the vast assortment of compact cars in the market offered with very low down payment schemes, you think twice on either keeping your two-decade old ride or buying a second-hand car. Think about it. Your old reliable ride has been going strong all these years, but what about its maintenance cost? Besides the regular oil change and tune ups, what other major repairs have you spent on it? I don’t want to open a can of worms but there are some car owners there who have spent so much on their car that it sometimes doesn’t make good economic sense to keep it—a money pit, as some people would call it. Don’t worry folks, I am guilty of being one of them. More often than not, it is pride that takes the lead in keeping a beloved old car.

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Driving a five-year old CX-7 recently made me think of upgrading to a newer model. But will I give up my trusty steed? Ah, that is a question I would not like to answer right now. Should I consider a second-hand car? That depends. If I was looking at a second-hand car with a price range of around P250,000 to P300,000, it doesn’t sound much. But I would have to set aside an extra budget of P20,000 for repairs, just in case. For this price range, I would have to look for a car where I would fit in the drivers seat. I am six feet tall and the size of a polar bear. To play it safe, I would have to look at an AUV or if I am lucky enough, a Mitsubishi Galant or something similar.

Although I would want to avoid getting a front-wheel drive as I have been used to driving rear-wheel driven cars for years. I recently drove a front-wheel driven Mazda CX-7 and the experience freaked me out, big time. The steering feel was just spooky. But hey, I would have to leave the Jurassic world at some point in time, because majority of the cars available now are front-wheel drive. Nowadays, rear-wheel drive vehicles are either sports cars, trucks or full-size SUVs that are way out of my budget.

One factor to consider when buying a compact car is fuel economy. I have seen some of these cars with their small 1.0-liter engines go 17 kilometers on a single liter of fuel. Although these small cars have a bit of pulling power, it won’t win any load carrying competition. But hey, it will surely get you to where you want to go.

For a car nut like me who enjoys working on his ride, to consider getting a compact car is a little bit like a dog going meow. But hey, if a dog has to be bilingual to make it in this world, let us drown ourselves in catnip and meow all night. So if you see a polar bear driving a compact car, please don’t scream “the circus is in town.” It’s just a polar bear going with the times. Now, the fun part is going around the dealerships and see just what car I would fit in. Ha! That would be a good laugh.

But seriously, I want to find a compact car with a down payment of less than P100,000. With my theoretical budget of P350,000, the balance of P250,000 can be used to pay for the monthly payment for the first two years, at least.

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