The Toyota Corolla is surely a gem and I never knew that I'll be driving one too.
So, this is how it all begun. I did have my VW Polo 1.2 TDi as my daily driver since ages but it wasn't legal for the Delhi NCR. Biting a hard bullet, I went to Gurgaon in a train on 26th July and joined the internship the next day. I was living at my cousin's place which was just 1.5 kilometres away from office. The to and fro travel costed me Rs. 700 the day it rained and 'find the wheels' bug bit me way too soon. (Maybe rain was just an excuse, who knows?)
I was a hardcore VW fanboy strict on budget and was suddenly reminded of the Polo 1.6 MPi which was a pocket rocket with a perfect power to weight ratio. I did have some direction that I wanted something fun (a manual of course). If not a diesel turbo spool, then a high displacement petrol would do it too. If a petrol, then it should have been a four pot.
A few cars I would still consider over the Polo:
- VW Vento: An elongated Polo but the engine would be a 1.6 Petrol. This was a plus side but would lay hands over a Highline only.
- Ford Figo: Heavy Build like the Polo
- Honda City I-VTEC: I was just in love with the 3rd gen City as it was such a cute car but would choose one if it had fog lamps and sunroof
- Honda Civic I-VTEC: I have had feelings for this car since childhood. Low slung and its looks are killer.
My first preference was to purchase the car directly from an owner. However, most of the people on OLX turned out to be dealers while the others were quoting unreasonably high prices.
2011 Civic with a third party insurance run 70k quoted 3.5 lakhs
2013 Vento run 1.1 lakh quoted 4.7 lakhs
2013 Honda City V Manual run 45k quoted 4 lakhs
Post these quotes, I planned to switch to the window shopping mode. So, here's the chronology: TeamBHP classifieds
: No luck Cars24
: Polo 1.2 MPi which was wrongly mentioned as 1.6 in Flash Red and 3rd Owner. Cleary a deal breaker Spinny
: Polo 1.6 MPi Candy White, Cosmetically Highly damaged OLX
: Polo 1.6 MPi Candy White (Cosmetically fine, First Owner, Mileage: 58k), Honda Civic 2011 (Looking speckless, First Owner, Mileage: 72k), Vento Silver (But a comfortline)
An OLX dealer ticked some of the goodies on my Wishlist and I jotted down the address to plan a visit that Sunday.
Destination: OLX Autos (Car Dilwado), Sector 44, Gurugram
Booked a Rapido that Sunday afternoon under the scorching sun in excitement and there it goes. I saw all these cars in flesh. Polo 1.6 MPi
Absolute Love at first sight.
This was exactly how my 1.2 TDi looked like and I won't miss it anymore. No words to express how I felt but I was satisfied. Took a test drive and the condition was good enough.
Upon closer inspection, I found a lot of orange peel on multiple panels and the bumpers highly repaired. However, I could just live with it as I was planning to make the 1.2 TDi the donor car.
I was carrying my VCDS cable along and wished to scan the vehicle once for any major engine faults but thought of having a look at other cars as well. Polo 1.2 MPi
: Flash Red and Comfortline which meant that it would miss out on a lot of goodies I was now used to. A big no! Vento 1.6 MPi
: I didn't even bother to ask its price as they had the Polo 1.6 which was my main focus. Honda Civic
: The Civic was a teenage love and I still admire it the same way. However, this particular car for sale didn't give me the confidence to lay hands on it as I seriously doubted its mechanicals. Moreover, I just popped up the hood and found the engine oil mixing in the coolant. So, had to bid a goodbye to this infatuation. Mitsubishi Outlander Junior
: Not on the list but I felt it was something uncommon and clutterbreaking.
I wished to test drive it but then was reminded of the pain of sourcing the parts for a Mitsubishi. Dropped it immediately. Honda City Fourth Gen
: I do like the Honda City and the car was in a decent condition too but was quoted much higher than its worth post the 70k kilometres mark. Alto K10
: Just checked it out, the dealer told me that the car had been lying there since long and was a mistake on their end as it was registered in Chandigarh. It was in a mechanically decent condition but the safety factors pulled me back. Toyota Corolla Altis
: Did I even want a Corolla? There were 3 of them, prefacelift silver 1.8 V Automatic, prefacelift off white 1.8 J and Facelift Golden 1.8 Manual. I asked the salesperson about the Golden one and he handed me over the keys but was hesitant to give me a test drive. Let's keep the rest of it for later.
First things first, I had never experienced a sedan and I didn't want to experiment it in the worst traffic of Delhi NCR. So, had kept all the sedans on the side and then focus on the Polo 1.6.
The negotiation begun on the spot and the dealer quoted 3 lakhs for it as it was rare. The IDV was just around 2.4 lakhs and I wanted to pull down the dealer to that amount or somewhere near. Finally, we negotiated around 2.65 lakhs and I was ready to strike off the deal but here comes the twist. Another person who had purchased a Polo 1.6 MPi from him a few months back came with a friend and they signed off a deal within seconds at a much higher price! I may be crazy for the 1.6 Polo but not to such an extent that I would spend over what it's actually worth.
With a heavy heart, I begun checking out the other cars and then I came across the 2011 Toyota Corolla Altis 1.8G Facelift
. It seemed as if it was peeping out from a corner and wanted someone to take it away from that place.
On unlocking the doors, this car still had its 'new car smell' and I was pretty stunned. Moreover, the mileage 21,986 kilometres was actually unbelievable for a Toyota. This was the reason why the dealer was offering the test drive just to serious buyers. I did go through a few checkpoints and found something interesting.
- Steering Wheel: Toyota wheels suffer discolouration on the edges and the buttons. They can be replaced but are hard to source in mint condition. These buttons can be repainted as well but the odds were almost negligible as the interior was in a perfect condition.
- Tyre Code: The tyres were 195/65 R15 Bridgestone Turanza and they were straight from the factory. The car was made in October 2011 and so were the tyres. They had at least 70% tread left on them. Popped up the trunk and I was greeted with something assuring.
The factory QC paint codes were intact and the spare wheel speaks for itself. The tyre codes for all 5 matched.
- Shocker Mounts and other rubber parts: I asked the mechanic to jack up every corner of the vehicle one by one and checked for any repairs and replacements or any major damages and I fortunately found none.
- Stickers and info badges on the car: I did have the entire second hand car checklist in hand and it was customary to do this as well.
The entire checklist satisfied had also ruled out the possibilities of having the meter rewind. Moreover, the entire service record was available with Toyota which I confirmed before purchase.
At this point of time, I had to choose between headaches which came with a fun to drive car or just cruise around tension free in this unknown city. After some thought, I choose the Toyota.
Post negotiation, I held 10k for the registration and drove to my cousin's place.
P.S. No one knew that I would be bringing a car home, and that too a Corolla. It was a shock for almost everyone but I enjoyed it.
To be honest, it is a typical cultural shock for me, moving from a Volkswagen to a Toyota. I miss the solid thud and a few nifty features VW offers (multi-stage opening doors, flip key, a classy boot opener, master control for power windows post locking to name a few). The Corolla Altis has many upsides in terms of features and has a lot of goodies on offer too! However, Polo is a car which you would turn back to have a look at in the parking lot and you'd feel as if its smiling back at you. Corolla Altis, initially, wasn't the one for me. It was more of an executive feel compared to the enthusiasm I had. It feels like an arranged marriage and now I am gradually falling in love with it.
It is a pristine condition late 2011 Corolla Altis G with a 1.8 Litre NA Dual VVT-I engine (16 Valve DOHC which is an improvement over the previous iteration) in the Champagne Mica Metallic Shade.
Looking forward to maintain a dedicated thread as a lot has happened from 31st July till date and I have already clocked 3000 kilometres on this beauty!