The Beauty of Lateral Upgrades (Get More for Less Money)

When I last created a thread on retaining your 5 year old car, most of you agreed on the sheer value of this proposition. After all, each additional year (after the 5th) that you hold on to your existing car results in huge monetary savings. Yet, some petrol-heads moaned “We want to drive a bigger car. We want more power. We want safety features.” Then, some other BHPians went "But it’s been 5 - 6 years and we *want* to upgrade our car to something quicker. We are bored of our current drive.”

Well, I am not going to let you throw your money away just yet. Introducing the beauty of lateral upgrading! Lateral, by definition, means toward the side. On Team-BHP, the term lateral upgrading means to sell used and buy used. Its a fantastic way of getting substantially more car for not-so-much-more money; a transaction where the differential value is overwhelmingly positive in your favour. Net net, you get way more for way less. I want to show you how to upgrade your existing car, to a newer make, with lesser mileage, from a higher segment, with more power / features / safety....all at a fraction of the price.

Consider these real world examples:

My OHC – Civic upgrade : I sold my ’03 Honda City Vtec with 73,000 kms on the odo, put in another 4.5 lakh rupees (less than the cost of an Indica Turbo) and drove home in an ’07 Honda Civic. With only 7,400 kms on the odo! A sedan that’s merely 2.5 years old and a giant step ahead of the OHC in terms of safety (modern shell + all wheel discs + ABS + airbags), road behavior (especially at speed), space, amenities (including leather seats, electric mirrors, tilt + reach steering et al) and overall construction. A segment up at not so much more money. In fact, I could have easily settled for a 25,000 kms '06 Civic for 6.5 lakhs (net differential only 3.0 lakh rupees), but choose to stretch for this virgin car instead. Link to my ownership thread.

Friendly Mod Aditya sold his ’96 Contessa and bought a 2000 year Lancer for a differential of Rs. 25,000. That’s right, merely 25K. For the additional money put, how much more value did he derive from the swap? A thoroughly modern Mitsubishi Lancer that’s infinitely more reliable, refined, safe and dynamically rich than the antique HM Contessa. His Lancer has only a third of the Contessa's odometer mileage.

Humorous Moderator Ajmat sold his 5 year old Honda City, and bought a 2.xx year old Skoda Octavia RS. Difference = About 4 lakh rupees. Importantly, the “newer” car was twice as new, had 1/3rd the mileage (15,000 kms) as his outgoing Honda, with nearly 50% more power, all wheel disc brakes, ABS & Airbags and a long line of kit (xenon headlamps, sunroof etc.). Again, a full segment up for not so much more money. Link to Ajmat's RS ownership thread.

My neighbour is in the process of selling his 4 year old Tata Indica Turbo for Rs. 2.3 lakhs. Family demands a sedan, his running doesn’t really dictate a diesel, hence he is buying an ‘09 Ford Fiesta 1.6S for Rs. 4.75 lakhs. The Fiesta is less than a year old, has 9,000 kms on the clock and is still within factory warranty. The reason its going so cheap is Ford’s new “Fiesta 1.6 @ 5.5 lakh rupee" offer. For only Rs. 2.4 lakh more, my neighbour ends up with a near-new fun to drive C-segment sedan. Considering that his Indica Turbo is now out of warranty, and the Fiesta within, the Ford will probably cost less to maintain too!

A BHPian who was tired of his 6 year old Maruti 800 sold it for Rs. 1 lakh, added another Rs. 1.5 lakhs to the kitty and drove home in an '07 Hyundai Getz. The Getz has the space of C segment sedans, is refined, has great ride quality and a proper "big hatch" feel. Much unlike his bare basic Maruti 800. Not a bad upgrade for only a lakh and a half, wot?

A friend wanted to upgrade his '05 Honda City (NHC). Though I did try convincing him to retain the car (only 45,000 kms on the odo), he / his family wanted a bigger car. Out went the NHC for Rs. 4.6 lakhs and in came an end '06 Honda Accord 2.4 AT that had run only 36,000 kms. Price = 8.0 lakhs. For only 3.5 lakhs more, he got a proper D segment car (two segments higher) that's roomier than the Mercedes E-Class. Plus, a whole lot more power, safety, a nice automatic transmission and within extended warranty coverage.

Power to the people