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Old 6th October 2010, 11:47   #1
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Default Middle class guilt and the car buying decision

My parents are thinking about buying a car. They are retired, in their mid 60s, living in Delhi and confused. Essentially a comfortable vehicle that can drive up to hill stations from Delhi in the summer with moderate amounts of luggage and for nearby weekend trips. They are keen on low running and maintenance costs and will own it for 5-7 years at least.

But it's a complex decision for many reasons. My parents have strong middle class values although economically they are now quite well off. My mother in particular is opposed to what she sees as "flashy BMW culture" and is also against SUVs for their fuel-guzzling. On the other hand in his heart my father would like to buy a quality European sedan (e.g a 5-series BMW) although there is no way he will be willing to fork out 40L plus -- so in an ideal world I would find him a preowned 5-series. He did show some interest in the 320d CE but that's really too small and cramped for my aging parents and has limited luggage space too.

He also showed interest in the Honda CR-V but again my mother is against it for ideological reasons. Clearly an SUV makes some sense from my parents' requirements regarding ease of cross-country driving, being comfortable for older people and ample luggage space. So this is an area in which I would be willing to push against my mother's objections.

My father somehow sees Skoda as a proxy for quality European cars and has been checking out the Laura 1.8TSI and the Yeti. I am not keen for well known reasons, Skoda Shield notwithstanding.

What are my options? I can:

(1) Advocate the Corolla Altis: Don't worry, be happy.

(2) Persuade my mother to agree to a CR-V or Outlander or X-trail. As a Cedia owner I am a Mitsu fan but I think the Outlander nose is ugly as hell. It looks better on the RVR but that is some way from entering this market. The Toyota Fortuner IMO is a bit heavy and unwieldy for city use and besides would not pass muster with my mother even if the more subtle urban SUVs could!

In my heart I want to see my father in a pre-owned 5-series and enjoy his retirement years, but I fear it would be costly to maintain. And would provoke marital discord. So is an urban SUV the best option or are there other choices I am missing?
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Old 6th October 2010, 11:54   #2
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Remember that you father, at this point of time, will be better off with all the money he can have and save. Hence there is no point buying a car that is expensive to maintain, especially when you are going the pre-owned route.

I would recommend either the new Outlander or a diesel Altis. Sounds too different right? Let me explain.

If they want complete peace of mind coupled with good economy and decent space at the rear bench with outstanding ride quality, the Altis fits the bill.

On the other hand, if they want to have that little bit of panache in their life, the Outlander is a Mistubishi, spacious, has a good GC and is equally troublefree. The only grouse, it drinks petrol. The CRV is a bit outdated when compared to the Outlander.
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Old 6th October 2010, 12:07   #3
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I think what fits the bill is the Newly launched .. To be launched Skoda Yeti.

It would be the most suv like car that you could choose and it should be in the 14-16 L range. It would be a good idea to check with your friends and family who own skoda how the After Sales Service is.
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Old 6th October 2010, 12:13   #4
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Toyota Corolla Altis Petrol - absolute peace of mind! Diesel is too costly besides the highway and the hills performance wouldnt be as good.
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Old 6th October 2010, 12:17   #5
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Corollo altis suits the bill quite well. You can also have a look at Honda Accord and Toyota Camry if you are want a better car than corolla.
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Old 6th October 2010, 12:17   #6
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May I suggest Hyundai Sonata Transform? I think it should meet your criteria of comfort, reliability, low running/maintenance costs and you also get great A.S.S.

If Europeans are a priority, maybe you could look at Jetta/Passat as well.
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Old 6th October 2010, 12:21   #7
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The way you started off, it looked like you are deciding between M800 and alto. . If your parents are looking at the segment you mentioned, their thoughts are not really of middle class.

Coming to the point, Your dad will drive it or he will be driven. Its important to answer that.

Altis is good but plain. Will the city do good ?
Outlander is petrol. How about captiva AT. its drives like a car.Easy for your dad.

If i were you, i'd go for sonata transform. cash in some huge discounts ( they sold only 16 in GTO sept report) and pamper them with rear seating comfort and whole lot of goodies.very easy on maintenance hence mom is khush.
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Old 6th October 2010, 12:40   #8
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I think even Laura is a great option or even Jetta/Passat (I wouldn't stress on these two with their long overdue makeovers), I know we at Team BHP have a history with Skoda and some folks have had some serious trials with the company. But then outside of Tbhp, I have known people who have enjoyed the car and the company services in equal measure. But if you wish to play safe from the point of view of A.S.S, the japs are always a good bet, the Honda Accord and Toyota Corolla(Petrol).

Out of curiosity, wouldn't driving a large SUV be an issue with your parents, especially at this age, to be able to learn to tame a new(different and at times unwieldy) beast?

Last edited by better4worse : 6th October 2010 at 12:42.
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Old 6th October 2010, 12:45   #9
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I too was misled by the words 'middle class' in the title. Man you need to edit it to 'upper class'

If your parents want SUVs then the Yeti and Suzuki Grand Vitara are the ones to pick below 20 Lakhs.

If they prefer sedans below 20 lakhs, then you have a lot to choose from---The Sonata has the most in leg room and its cost of maintenance is among the cheapest. There is also the Altis, Jetta,Laura and Cruze to choose from, depending on individual tastes.
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Old 6th October 2010, 12:50   #10
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Fully appreciate your parents traditional value systems.

Hence, what I would suggest are as follows- all from the Brand New stand-point;

1. Toyota Corolla Altis or the Altis D - top choice in my opinion.

2. Honda Accord - lovely, not too flashy, very nice car indeed.

3. Skoda Laura or even the Superb - lovely indeed.

4. Chevy Cruze - lovely car indeed - great value.

5. Skoda Yeti depending on the pricing it comes in with.

6. VW Jetta could be considered too.

7. The next lower level would have options such as the VW Vento, the Honda Civic / City , the SX4 and perhaps even the Optra Magnum- also the Scorpio.

All the above listed will be easy and enjoyable for your parents to drive.

All have more than adequate luggage space.

None of them are too flashy or ostentatious.

All of those in the upper segment embody some top class, excellent features, comforts and high quality finish, fit and feel that your parents will appreciate in their advancing golden years.

The next lower level are still very good in terms of what they offer taking into account the prices.

Ultimately it is question of how much they want to spend to acquire the vehicle in the first place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Car Fan View Post
My parents are thinking about buying a car. They are retired, in their mid 60s, living in Delhi and confused. Essentially a comfortable vehicle that can drive up to hill stations from Delhi in the summer with moderate amounts of luggage and for nearby weekend trips. They are keen on low running and maintenance costs and will own it for 5-7 years at least.

But it's a complex decision for many reasons. My parents have strong middle class values although economically they are now quite well off. My mother in particular is opposed to what she sees as "flashy BMW culture" and is also against SUVs for their fuel-guzzling. On the other hand in his heart my father would like to buy a quality European sedan (e.g a 5-series BMW) although there is no way he will be willing to fork out 40L plus -- so in an ideal world I would find him a preowned 5-series. He did show some interest in the 320d CE but that's really too small and cramped for my aging parents and has limited luggage space too.

He also showed interest in the Honda CR-V but again my mother is against it for ideological reasons. Clearly an SUV makes some sense from my parents' requirements regarding ease of cross-country driving, being comfortable for older people and ample luggage space. So this is an area in which I would be willing to push against my mother's objections.

My father somehow sees Skoda as a proxy for quality European cars and has been checking out the Laura 1.8TSI and the Yeti. I am not keen for well known reasons, Skoda Shield notwithstanding.

What are my options? I can:

(1) Advocate the Corolla Altis: Don't worry, be happy.

(2) Persuade my mother to agree to a CR-V or Outlander or X-trail. As a Cedia owner I am a Mitsu fan but I think the Outlander nose is ugly as hell. It looks better on the RVR but that is some way from entering this market. The Toyota Fortuner IMO is a bit heavy and unwieldy for city use and besides would not pass muster with my mother even if the more subtle urban SUVs could!

In my heart I want to see my father in a pre-owned 5-series and enjoy his retirement years, but I fear it would be costly to maintain. And would provoke marital discord. So is an urban SUV the best option or are there other choices I am missing?

Last edited by shankar.balan : 6th October 2010 at 12:56.
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Old 6th October 2010, 13:08   #11
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Good to see a couple of us thinking on similar lines.Sonata Transform.

1. Toyota Corolla Altis or the Altis D - top choice in my opinion.
Poor man's car or a taxi all over the world.
2. Honda Accord - lovely, not too flashy, very nice car indeed.
Good choice
3. Skoda Laura or even the Superb - lovely indeed.
Mommy's tantrums on failure/breakdown
4. Chevy Cruze - lovely car indeed - great value.
stunning looks and powerful. No rear comfort.
5. Skoda Yeti depending on the pricing it comes in with.
Again you will be buying from the first batch
6. VW Jetta could be considered too
No idea on that one.

Last edited by blackbeast : 6th October 2010 at 13:09. Reason: minor edit
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Old 6th October 2010, 13:13   #12
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Respect your parents culture values, it is better off to keep a sizeable amount aside for their proposed trips.

IMO you should also consider Toyota Innova. Fits the bill for space, comfort and luggage carying capabilities. One can drive this or be driven. Why go in for a pre owned one when they can begin the retired innings with brand new car well within budget and later splurge on other amenities if needed.

Laura/Yeti have a Skoda badge and we ay T BHP know what skoda is capable of as far as After sales is concerned. Same applies to VW also.
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Old 6th October 2010, 15:03   #13
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I think its the Toyota Innova that suits your parents. Its good to drive, comfortable, spacious, reliable and your parents dont need to climb into it.
If it wasn't a Skoda product, I would have suggested the Yeti also.
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Old 6th October 2010, 15:09   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Car Fan View Post
My father somehow sees Skoda as a proxy for quality European cars and has been checking out the Laura 1.8TSI and the Yeti. I am not keen for well known reasons, Skoda Shield notwithstanding.

What are my options? I can:

(1) Advocate the Corolla Altis: Don't worry, be happy.



In my heart I want to see my father in a pre-owned 5-series and enjoy his retirement years, but I fear it would be costly to maintain. And would provoke marital discord. So is an urban SUV the best option or are there other choices I am missing?
Only one car comes that fits your criteria to the T, the Skoda Superb 1.8TSi. Let your father test drive it, I am sure things will be a lot clearer for him then.

Second best option is the Altis petrol.

I own all 3 of your mentioned cars- 5 series,Superb and Altis. Hence in terms of VFM I recommend it in the following order- Superb,Altis,5
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Old 6th October 2010, 15:25   #15
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Thanks for the suggestions all!

Just to be clear - I said the guilt was middle class not the budget! Clearly the budget has to be more than the usual middle class range to induce guilt The budget as I should have stated initially is in the 10-20L range, quite flexible. My guess is that the vehicle will be 75% chauffeur driven and 25% father driven, usually on longer trips and weekends. So a manual shift is ok.

(1) Interesting that many people agree with the Corolla Altis choice. If they are to get a sedan I will push them towards that one on grounds of reliability and comfort. Also its light steering is good for Delhi traffic. I don't think they will drive that much so petrol should be fine. In any case the price of diesel will likely align with petrol over the life of the car.

(2) Sonata Transform is an intriguing choice that I had not considered. Excellent price, comfort, features and of course reliability. Only question is whether it is a bit large for Delhi traffic/parking, which is really why I did not consider D segment sedans. Plus the i40 may replace it in the near future. Of course the i40 will be priced at a premium so this might still be the way to go (the petrol variant's pricing is unbelievable). Will recommend a test drive for my parents, but I suspect a Corolla Altis will be more practical.

Same goes for Superb 1.8TSI - will recommend a test drive as Sahil suggests. But then I might as well check out the Accord too! I guess I should get my parents to actually test as many candidates as possible rather than engage in abstract thinking.

(3) The good thing about soft road SUVs is that they are quite easy to drive and very comfortable, so I don't drivability is a concern. The Yeti is clearly an attractive contender depending on the price, but I still think that a Japanese vehicle is more appropriate for retirees who need peace of mind. So I will continue to advocate this option if the Altis/Sonata/sedan is not found suitable for any reason.

(4) The Innova suggestion is of course very logical, but neither of my parents likes it for some reason even though I agree it would suit their requirements.
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