About a week ago, I was at Jollibee in San Pedro, Laguna buying dinner. While at the parking lot, I saw a brand new Suzuki Ertiga parked beside my car. I have always been intrigued by the Ertiga because of its looks and size, as well as Suzuki’s reputation for having very efficient engines. I noticed that the driver was inside the Ertiga with the window down, so I decided to ask the driver about his car – and the conversation went something like this. “Sir, if you don’t mind me asking, did you consider the Toyota Avanza before choosing the Ertiga?” The Ertiga owner answered “yes.” He then explained the Ertiga was his choice because of price. He felt he was getting a better buy for his money. But I said, “it’s front wheel drive.” His reply was “it has better mileage and it was more spacious.” After the short conversation, I said thank you for his time and went on my way.

    Now, what is the significance of the event I just narrated? Hmmm. What was it? When I got home, it made me think on what was really meant by getting a good buy. Is it how much he got the car for? The potential gas savings he might get? Or was it what he really needed?

    The price of both cars (Ertiga and Avanza) are not that far apart but engine layout made me think; one has front-wheel drive and the other has rear-wheel drive. On a front-wheel drive car, the differential and transmission are integrated into a smaller package, and is thus lighter with two drive shafts to drive the wheels. Meanwhile, the engine compartment has less real estate to occupy thus generating more space to be used by the passenger area. As for the rear-wheel drive layout, the transmission and differential are two separate units plus there’s a propeller shaft to connect them. Handling wise??? I would refrain from commenting as it would be up to the driver’s skill to dance properly with a rear-wheel or front-wheel drive car. For durability, I would stick with the rear-wheel drive because I am a dinosaur.

    For creature comfort, I would have to admit, as a dinosaur, with a front-wheel drive layout, you get better legroom. I tried this before when I saw an Ertiga on display in a mall. The person behind me had also better legroom.

    I am not saying that the other car is way better than the other. No. I see it more as two products vying for a piece of a particular market but with different concepts of what the market wants. The owner of the Ertiga knew what he was looking for. The biggest gamble, on my opinion, was the engine efficiency. He would only find out after he bought the car and drove it around. By defining what you really need and what you want in acquiring a brand-new or a second-hand car, just like having a grocery list, would level out the cost of the car. Rather than having a car in your garage and feeling half-hearted about it.


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