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Old 30th November 2020, 14:53   #31
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Default Re: Why young & 1st-time drivers should start with a humble / cheap car

I couldn't agree more on getting a beaten up budget car to master driving skills and learn more about cars. I got myself a 2010 i10 1.1 iRDE2 Magna this January for 1.6L. The car was in amazing condition(engine and interiors) with some scratches on front/rear bumper, a minor chip on windshield(which I replaced under insurance within few months) and no spare key.

Why young & 1st-time drivers should start with a humble / cheap car-img_9409min.jpg

It was my first week when I was driving alone, I parked my car on a metro station's parking and there I did my first mistake. To save myself from the hassle of locking car with manual key, I locked my car from inside and moved out with lights turned on. Few moments later, I learned something which no owner would want to learn on a brand new car. I called Hyundai and they arranged RSA(paid) and I got the car unlocked and battery jumpstarted.

After driving a smaller car for over 10 months now I feel really comfortable in driving through bumper to bumper traffic, parking parallel or reverse and driving on slopes(flyover traffic).

Things I learned:
- Cars are not the smart as we beginners expect them to be - you have to turn off lights manually. Not sure if that's the case with premium segments as well.
- Use keys to lock your car. Period.
- Get an annual RSA subscription, it's worth every buck.
- Importance of parking cameras and other driver aids like hill hold assist.
- Importance of rear wipers during rains and my hate for Creta/Seltos for deliberately omitting such basic yet life saving feature from many variants.

After driving a 10 year old car for 10months and 8k km. I have a learned a lot about cars and things I want in my next car. Owning an old car for this long will definitely help me make an informative purchase as per my likings rather than buying the hotcakes in market.

Note: I understand i10 has structural rigidity of a soda can and provide no safety in case of a mishap, so I keep myself way below the speed limits and try not to cross the 60kmph mark.
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Old 30th November 2020, 15:22   #32
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Default Re: Why young & 1st-time drivers should start with a humble / cheap car

So true! In fact my first car was an OMNI! With its little F8D with carburetor & an LPG kit from factory, it was cheaper than a Kinetic scooter to drive per km.
  1. Tremendous space. Crazy! Was fit for the needs I had back then.
  2. Was also my daily driver to the office. Probably was one of the most unique cars in the multi level parking lots at one of the biggest brand names in the IT hub of Hinjawadi/Pune.
  3. Was a hoot to drive. With the "pusher" RWD instead of puller "FWD" the car behaved quite spirited when pushed.
  4. Had the old school recirculating bolt type steering without any power assist. Was very "direct". And the wheels turned exactly under the driver seat. A bus like experience!
  5. Being a very light, tall van with no wheelbase to speak of - the car reached its dynamic limits very fast. So - it gave a lot more adrenaline rush when cornering compared to the SC-SUV that I drive now. The Nexon feels boring in comparison! Always safe.
  6. No AC, nothing powered / central. A bare bones van. Used to sweat like hell in it. And it used to fog up really bad in the monsoons! But a lot of enjoyable memories with this car.
  7. Excellent headlamps. Never even needed to think of headlamp upgrade for this car. Solid blinding throw from the stock bulbs. Hardly any car of today achieves such good illumination of the road in stock form. Nano, Omni & EECO. The relatively cheapest cars come with best lighting in stock form. Ironic.

A fun Bollywood like story - Living up to the stereotype of the Omni being the car used for "abductions" (no offence to any victims) - My sister/cousin-in-law actually eloped in my Omni to her wedding with my cousin! Long story with the usual background of parents opposing the tie-up. All is well of course afterwards. Happily-ever-after. All due to that one leap of faith with the Omni perhaps.

Finally it started showing signs that the chassis was slightly bent because the left rear wheel constantly developed excessive wear compared to other 3. This was even after changing the whole rear rigid axel + differential. This expedited my car change a lot & I swapped to the more accomplished Tata Vista much earlier than I would have otherwise.

Here's my car a day after delivery back in 2006. The grab handle at the bottom is my Caliber 115. Hoodibaba!

Why young & 1st-time drivers should start with a humble / cheap car-omni_lpg.jpg

Last edited by Reinhard : 30th November 2020 at 15:51.
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Old 30th November 2020, 15:40   #33
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Default Re: Why young & 1st-time drivers should start with a humble / cheap car

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Slow, mechanical & dent-friendly. Once you master an old Jeep, you can pretty much drive anything on the road:
Attachment 2087291
Jeep surely is dent friendly, as long as it does not dent someone else's car

There has to be categories regarding this topic.
1) 1st time driver with existing car.
2) Young drivers with existing car.
3) 1st time driver and 1st time owner.
4) Young driver and 1st time owner.

Think about the varied thought process for each of the category listed above.
Definitely they wont be the same.

Cheap car can also be a pocket rocket if bought second hand.
Other factors such as parking also come in to picture when buying a car.

I dont think most people will think on these lines, what we indians want is more bang for buck and that is what matters at the time of car purchase on most occasions.

Last edited by silverado : 30th November 2020 at 15:45.
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Old 30th November 2020, 15:40   #34
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Default Re: Why young & 1st-time drivers should start with a humble / cheap car

While I agree with most of the points made in the thread opener, there are some that could go the other way too.

For instance, while small cars are preferred, I think the heft of a bigger, taller vehicle often provides a better sense of the dimensions especially while parking, it is not going to have skittish handling like the average small hatchback and will invariably have a heavier, hence stronger, body that can not only withstand dents and scratches better but also provide a degree of solidity in the event of a crash.

For another, a habit of carelessness, like not being concerned with body damages and bad driving techniques like riding the clutch and lugging the engine just because it doesn't matter with an old car, will carry over to the newer vehicles and prove to be costly mistakes.

Rather, I would dissuade inexperienced drivers from starting off with new, high-end vehicles only to ensure that they don't mess up the engine and cause expensive body damage. But if they know the essentials of driving (even theoretically), their car-owning experience doesn't have to start off with a small car. Even a big, powerful (torquey but not high accelerating) older vehicle should serve the purpose equally well. As mentioned in a post above, jumping from a Santro to a Creta can be quite disastrous. An old Bolero-Creta changeover, on the other hand, could be a much smoother transition.

On this, I'm totally with GTO. Get started with a jeep, and you'll never be intimidated by having to drive any other vehicle
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Old 30th November 2020, 15:53   #35
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Default Re: Why young & 1st-time drivers should start with a humble / cheap car

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reinhard View Post
[*]Was a hoot to drive. With the "pusher" RWD instead of puller "FWD" the car behaved quite spirited when pushed.[*]Had the old school recirculating bolt type steering without any power assist. Was very "direct". And the wheels turned exactly under the driver seat. A bus like experience!


This is one vehicle I always want to drive even in it's barebone form. Steering is indeed the icing on the cake, with such direct feel and feedback. Another thing is it's ability to squeeze through the tiniest of spaces. Parking was always a breeze. Driving/steering position is what I like the most in an Omni, a truck/bus like driving posture which is a different feel altogether compared to other conventional cars.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reinhard View Post
[*]Being a very light, tall van with no wheelbase to speak of - the car reached its dynamic limits very fast. So - it gave a lot more adrenaline rush when cornering
With a good set of rubbers, it can be pushed around corners but one should know where to draw the line. Still the thrills it provide is of a different kind. I long cherished a dream of criss crossing the whole country in an Omni, never borne fruit though.

Just cross posting my love affair with Omni from another thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bibendum90949 View Post

I've had used Omni a bit during my early 20 's and I always loved the car - it's commanding view of the road ( though at the expense of safety ) , rear wheel drive , direct steering feedback ( you literally know where the tyres are on the road) , smallest turning radius you would ever find , sliding doors to load big and odd shaped items, soft suspension that makes it glide over broken and light potholed roads. The merits goes on and on.

I can vouch for this car. Forgot to mention that the rear wheel drive helped me in getting out of sticky situations during monsoons. It has its limitations - the frontal protection is minimal. I drove this van always knowing very well the chinks in its armour - minimal frontal protection, no cornering abilities like a small hatch etc. But for my usage it was perfect and I loved every moment of my time with this car.
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Old 30th November 2020, 16:09   #36
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Default Re: Why young & 1st-time drivers should start with a humble / cheap car

Fully agree with the opening post. I turned 19 recently and my father has started giving me our EcoSport to drive a lot more than before as he is more confident of my driving now. Though I was aware of the basic controls and ABC modulation from a very young age, after getting my license my father encouraged me to practice as much as possible on our humble Maruti 800 before switching to a larger vehicle.
Another point mentioned by many members is that it is difficult to manage bigger vehicles if one learns to drive in a small car. I totally disagree with this argument as I can very easily drive 3 different sized vehicles namely the Maruti 800, EcoSport and Fortuner with the same level of ease even though having learnt driving in the smallest one among these. But I do agree that a cheap and old car is better suited to the newbies.
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Old 30th November 2020, 16:10   #37
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Default Re: Why young & 1st-time drivers should start with a humble / cheap car

I started learning on the Padmini , courtesy Apte Driving School, Pune. I couldnt agree more that one should learn the car ground up (literally so). Here's the fun part. After I got my license, I visited Bahrain where my parents were posted. There, I got to try a Lincoln Towncar in all her majesty, so from Padmini to Lincoln Towncar, a 4 Litre V8 monster.
But to cut to the chase , my first owned Indian car was the Santro, as humble as you could get back in 2003, with a bit of a zip in it.
I am also guilty of stalling my father's and my wife's attempts at driving, more so my father. He was doing fine, learning to drive all by himself at the age of 60 ( he had been chauffeur driven all the while), but a few small close calls and vocal disapprovals from my side did it in for him.
As for my wife, the day she backed our Nano out of our parking lot and reversed straight into a BMW5 , was the day she lost her confidence. Not much damage done to either car (none at all for the Bimmer) , but the owner saw her from the balcony and came rushing down. And then I gave her an earful for the embarrassment caused.

What I see nowadays though is that the Swift is one of the default options for the car driving schools in Pune atleast. I think its a bad choice.
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Old 30th November 2020, 16:17   #38
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Default Re: Why young & 1st-time drivers should start with a humble / cheap car

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackwasp View Post
• Dents & scrapes won't break your heart
Attachment 2007534
Couldn't help but notice that the car here is a Karoq. That scrape must have shattered someone's heart.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackwasp View Post
• It's easier to move up than down! Start with a basic car, then work your way up. Not only will you be better prepared, but you will also then appreciate the comfort & ability of a superior car.
Attachment 2087267
I couldn't agree more. Every time you upgrade to a car from a segment above, you will appreciate every tiny bit that is better than your previous car. You will notice what each extra penny is getting you. IMHO, if you make major upgrades in successive buys, you will miss out on the full extent of this.
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Old 30th November 2020, 16:24   #39
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Default Re: Why young & 1st-time drivers should start with a humble / cheap car

Another small point to add:

Start early. Don't wait until you are 18.
Taking the car out of parking, and parking it back in, could be a good learning.
This will teach us, slow maneuvering as well as driving on incline/ declines.

Then, slowly take the car to your next street, (Striclty under Adult supervision)

I did this when I was young, before I was 18, on our Omni, and I was able to get a feel of driving it before I turned 18. Post that, I was able to go on short trips under a learner license. But by then, I was very comfortable with the Clutch and the steering. (Remember, the Omni had no clutch assist whatsoever, and It's steering wheel was as large as a Hula hoop, and without power assist)
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Old 30th November 2020, 16:49   #40
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Default Re: Why young & 1st-time drivers should start with a humble / cheap car

I do not think a vast majority of car owners care about driving or car itself, they want something to take them places.

I would say buy whatever that is useful, desirable and affordable - New! Wherever possible.

The chances of getting a pre-worshipped vehicle is slim (refer the first sentence), cars are build very well these days (across all brands), you probably wont even know if its abused until something eventually breaks in your hands many months from purchase - usually because as a new driver you did not instinctively know that something was wrong / about to go wrong in the first place.
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Old 30th November 2020, 17:25   #41
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The most important thing for 1st time driver is to be able to drive a car he/she feels comfortable with and make sure they get to drive it lots! The more the better, under as many different circumstances as well.

They need to gain experience, so I would say make it as easy as you can for them to gain experience. Whenever possible, don’t force a particular car on them.

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Old 30th November 2020, 17:35   #42
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Can't agree more with you. Lovely thread. I learnt driving in the early 2000s on an old Mahindra which had a 3+1 gear system. My instructor told me - learn to drive this and you will be able to adapt to any vehicle easily. I then drove a few Maruti's and then bought the XUV300 only 3 days ago. What you will really appreciate and feel humble about is the transition from small to big. You will feel happy for all the comforts, switches and features. Also, you will most likely be a responsible driver. You need to appreciate the luxuries in the big cars but always remember from where you started. While power is something that is available on the tap of a foot, like an old saying goes - with greater power comes greater responsibility. Rather than just trying to overtake everything in the vicinity, I think the bigger cars need to appreciate and respect the smaller cars on roads/highways.
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Old 30th November 2020, 20:09   #43
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Nailed it. I loved all the points. Driving a less expensive car for a first timer also makes you humble when you are young.
I drove a Premier Padmini for 3 years from 2007 to 2010 before buying a Punto. I loved the mechanical feel it instilled in me.
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Old 30th November 2020, 20:37   #44
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Default Re: Why young & 1st-time drivers should start with a humble / cheap car

Totally agree!

I advise the same logic (applies even better) to beginner motorcycle riders.

I suggest them to start with a 100cc, ride it for 6 months, and then move in on to a 150cc and then to the entry level performance segment (250+ to 400cc). Getting acquainted with the dynamics and mechanics of the machine is vital!

I started driving in a rugged Mahindra Armada, and then did quite some mileage in a humble Maruti Omni, and then the jellybean zen diesel, and then the Wagon R. And when I graduated to Swift diesel from Wagon R in 2006, it felt amazing to exploit the power, handling and that turbo kick of swift. Same with our UVs, a couple of Sumos (70&85bhp), to 120bhp Sumo Grande to 140 bhp Safari Dicor to 154 bhp Storme V400. The learning curve of driving large, hesby body on frame SUV was unique. You can do crazy speeds, take corners in a sedan or a low hatchback. To do the same in a SUV is where skill, sense of judgement and experience comes into play.

Kids these days want to start off with a 45 bhp KTM 390/ 110 bhp Polo TSI. The beauty in driving/riding is to outskill the particular car/motorcycle and then to move on to the more powerful segment.

Not only power, but the dimensions, learning the basics(like not having to depend on a lane change camera instead of ORVM, or rear cam for parking or an iMT) and also to experience a few minor dents without having to worry much. I am amazed to see how many noob drivers( less than 5 years driving experience) don't know that they are coasting or lugging the engine, and that they are not in the right gear, or how to use engine braking in addition to brakes etc. Starting with a basic car would help them better.

Last edited by PrasannaDhana : 30th November 2020 at 20:49.
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Old 30th November 2020, 20:40   #45
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Default Re: Why young & 1st-time drivers should start with a humble / cheap car

Though I learned driving on an Ambassador and Jeep, it never felt like 'my' car. So after I got a small job, when my father took me too buy me my 'first car' I had only Wagon R in mind, which was epitome of practicality. But I saw a second hand zen parked in dust at the dealer and thought of giving it a try. The moment I sat inside the car, it was love. Father too was against it but eventually bought it for me for Rs. 1.3 Lakhs, Rs. 10,000 of which I contributed from the peanuts I received as salary, and that too only to stop me yapping.

The beauty never let me down, was a hoot to drive, and was cheap to maintain, even after I scratched front right side of the protruding plastic number. Learned a lot of parking lessons with this one. So yes, I'd vote for first should always be the cheapest reasoning.

Here is the 2003 Zen I owned for 4 years and loved every minute of it.
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