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Old 2nd December 2020, 15:05   #76
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Default Re: Why young & 1st-time drivers should start with a humble / cheap car

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Originally Posted by locusjag View Post
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1) Start with an automatic transmission equipped car - ignore the pains of moving off from stop by modulating the clutch and avoid the worse harassment that our public metes out to learners, when you happen to stall it. Learn to maneuver in traffic with an automatic and then learn to drive with a stick.
No offense, But I highly disagree to this point. Once somebody learns on automatic, he or she would never make the effort to learn a manual. And as everybody knows, Manual makes you a better driver. With 3 pedals, you are a lot more attentive.
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Old 2nd December 2020, 15:31   #77
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Default Re: Why young & 1st-time drivers should start with a humble / cheap car

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Originally Posted by F1 Freak View Post
No offense, But I highly disagree to this point. Once somebody learns on automatic, he or she would never make the effort to learn a manual. And as everybody knows, Manual makes you a better driver. With 3 pedals, you are a lot more attentive.
I don't know if learning with a manual is viable or even useful anymore, given the direction the market is headed in. Besides, I've known too many people that learned to drive but never actually got around to driving in our real world traffic. Ever seen a car with an 'L' sticker getting cursed at in our traffic? It's a harassment that most people simply don't want to experience. In that sense, starting out with an automatic makes sense because their ease of getting used to navigating in real world conditions is so much more.
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Old 2nd December 2020, 16:05   #78
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Default Re: Why young & 1st-time drivers should start with a humble / cheap car

I would never want to be anywhere near a new careless driver who does not mind getting his car damaged, a perfect recipe for disaster. I feel for the greater good, people should learn driving in a new car so that they would be more careful and follow all the traffic rules. Learning would take maximum of 15 to 30 days, so not worth it.
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Old 2nd December 2020, 17:28   #79
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Default Re: Why young & 1st-time drivers should start with a humble / cheap car

I agree with the premise – learn in a basic car where one can also learn how the mechanics work and then move up. However, I do not think that is the way most new drivers learn these days – because they have access to more refined, superior machines. I made this observation even among my friends, those who have moved up the ranks handle modern machines very well and quite responsibly. But those who skipped the hoops in the beginning are more prone to what I would call ‘rash-driving’ short fast bursts in the city, hard braking every now and then…
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Old 2nd December 2020, 21:08   #80
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Default Re: Why young & 1st-time drivers should start with a humble / cheap car

Instead of being humble, I decided to bumble and fumble. Yes, it has had it's fair share of trouble and niggles keep popping up every now and then but what a car to drive. In 2 years of ownership, I've done Hyderabad to Manipal (770 km), Manipal to Bangalore (400 km) and the greatest yet, Bangalore to Lucknow (1900 km, rear brake pads and ABS sensors gave up along the way).

Each time I crank it, I expect new errors or parts to fail, but when I get going, it brings a smile to my face. The car is sensitive, high-maintenance and needy but worth the effort. In the past few years I've realised that ICEs have few years remaining. Hence, I decided to foray into used cars with at least 2 liters of displacement. Why buy a Swift with Swift money when there is a high-risk doorway open? As expected, this car gained me infamy in college (the rich guy, small boy - big car, ameer fauji ka bachha and whatnot. Sudeep Sir, your comment was uncalled for. Richard Hammond drives long cars as well. But then again, every MBA student doesn't buy a Superb during internship) but for all there is, was totally worth it.

Tackling those small and twisty Manipal roads and climbing Agumbe at night while using paddle shifters, unforgettable. I wouldn't be happy if either of the 2.0 TDI or DSG-DQ250 were missing while I was doing these trips. Those moments will always remain with me. Next step? Used 530d because buying new cars in India is pointless and I must taste the N57 engine and RWD before I die or ICEs die.

P.S.: Some pictures from my new Fujifilm X-T100. Yes, those are D1S LED bulbs that fit HID setup without any conversion and a VW head unit (glows red at night). I like to fiddle around with things.
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Old 2nd December 2020, 21:24   #81
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Default Re: Why young & 1st-time drivers should start with a humble / cheap car

I remember learning to drive on a Maruti Esteem in 2007. Dad used to be super cautious about his car and I remember if I were to learn driving from him any longer, it would have strained our relationship. :-D

Later I moved to a humble WagonR. It was the proper first car experience. I have by far spent the maximum amount of money on that car on it's upkeep and modification than I ever did on any other car.

Later I moved to a Hyundai Verna in 2013 and it was an amazing ownership for 7 years.
In the meantime we bought the automatic Celerio for wifey to learn on it and our Weekend runs to the grocery.

I sold my Hyundai Verna before the lockdown and I am really now used to the compactness and ease of drivability of the Celerio. It nowhere matches the performance of the Fluidic but for sure gives that tension-free low maintenance drive.
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Old 3rd December 2020, 08:23   #82
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Default Re: Why young & 1st-time drivers should start with a humble / cheap car

I believe learning to drive on a manual is better. Even if it is comparatively harder, it is a better way to learn to drive. After that one can easily drive an automatic. Even more better if this is a non power steering one, which ofcourse, is extremely rare today.

It's just about learning the hard way. Or covering all the bases.

Ambassador was a great car to learn driving on. With steering and gearshift requiring great effort compared to today's cars, it's good car to learn befor going on to enjoy better comforts in modern cars. And not to forget the commanding driving position where one can see the chrome headligt ring!!

After wrestling with Amby's steering and gearshift - not to mention the unreliability - I bought a Bolero Camper. Be it an utterly utilitarian vehicle, I felt it was luxurious compared to the Ambassador. And driving was much more comfortable, and reliability was good.

The point I am trying to make is, try and learn on a most basic car available. Once one gets 'hands free' on that, one can drive any other vehicle.
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Old 3rd December 2020, 09:05   #83
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Default Re: Why young & 1st-time drivers should start with a humble / cheap car

Agree on most points for a newbie driver. I learnt driving in an Ambassador which was one year older than me. This was with a column shifter.
My mentor was my Father's driver assigned by the Govt of Karnataka. He was on the verge of retirement and never exceeded 80KMPH ever in his life. He taught me driving, basic maintenance including replacing flat tyres.
Post this my first car was used carb Zen, then a MPFI Zen.
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Old 3rd December 2020, 09:25   #84
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Default Re: Why young & 1st-time drivers should start with a humble / cheap car

It's all in the head really!

But starting the other way around can make you a better driver. My wife did a refresher course with the Toyota driving school here when it was time to rejoin work after the maternity leave. She had taken a break from driving for the obvious reasons.

And the great thing was - they made her drive their very wide Etios MT during the rush hours. And it was only her and the instructor in the car. And she drives better than most out on our roads here due to this. Using both mirrors, keeping lanes, parking without aids.... Well, driving as it should be. Even her seating position is good - not like most who drive with their chin on the steering wheel while sitting so high inside a car!

Totally worth the premium that was paid over the ridiculously deficient and utterly dangerous driving schools here. I feel bad for the students when I see them packed like sardines in a rickety old 800 or Alto and going around an empty road in circles in the early mornings. The idea is clearly to get license and not to learn. High time govt comes down heavily on these schools.

A slow driver on the road without awareness of his/her surroundings is even more dangerous than a fast driver who is paying attention. Its as if all transgressions are forgiven if one is slow and honking till kingdom comes. And that is one of the biggest problems on our road.

So, the vehicle doesn't really matter. Infact the bigger and more demanding it is, the better you'd be!
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Old 3rd December 2020, 10:17   #85
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Default Re: Why young & 1st-time drivers should start with a humble / cheap car

Agree with most of the points. Learnt driving on a 1988 M 800 Dx. The car had terrible steering play but was mechanically sound otherwise. My dad had just upgraded to an i10 and handed over his beloved 800 to me.

Lack of driving aids really helped me learn the use of IRVMs, ORVMs and a general sense of awareness. I have a top end Ecosport currently with a rear facing camera and parking sensors, but every time I slot into reverse, my neck automatically turns to check the rear side.

I also learnt a lot of basic maintenance driving around in the 800- Cleaning, assembling and tuning carburetor, cleaning distributor brushes, cleaning spark plugs, checking fan belts, safely adding water to an overheated radiator (still have nightmares from the first time I tried this )
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Old 3rd December 2020, 14:29   #86
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Default Re: Why young & 1st-time drivers should start with a humble / cheap car

Basics laid out perfectly. Superb post. Started with Honda Activa and Maruti Alto. A few Royal Enfields and a Hyundai i10 later. Now onto Innova AT and Thar 2020 AT. From an aggressive driver to a calm traveller. Now able to understand the technical stuff on a basic level that helps me make wise choices. It has been a superb journey so far. Every vehicle has its fun and fail factor. Give me a tractor to ride and I shall enjoy it. All the best to new drivers. Drive safe and more importantly have fun and dont depend entirely on your machine. Your skill sets do 90pc of the work. Learn new things everyday. Cheers.
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Old 3rd December 2020, 14:32   #87
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Default Re: Why young & 1st-time drivers should start with a humble / cheap car

Sharing a real world experiment that I did with two women in my family 2 years back:

Women 1: Learn driving on an Automatic, long tail sedan (4m+)

Women 2 : Learn driving on a Manual, hatchback

We opted for Maruti Driving School for both cases, as based on feedback it is the best one in the business. (I loved their simulator, btw.)

Summarizing the experiences below:
Women 1
  • Started with the Theory class, all went smooth.
  • Had slight trouble learning to navigate the simulator (which is only available in manual).
  • After a brief experience of manual simulator, an AT car (hatchback provided by Maruti) made her very comfortable.
  • Completed the course 5 classes earlier.
  • As we had earlier negotiated to have instructor teach on long-tail sedan. She could learn to manage the tail in 3 classes and instructor gave his Okay.
  • We never utilized the remaining 2 classes.
  • She has been riding on long tail sedan since then (~ 2 yrs), and is absolutely comfortable and confident in city and/or highway.
  • She has completed about 20k km without any hassle.


Women 2
  • Started with the Theory class, all went smooth.
  • Had slight trouble learning to navigate the simulator.
  • After a brief experience of manual simulator, the MT car was an uphill task as balancing the pedal mechanics as well as building road awareness was just too much.
  • Half of the course on-road was about pedals, and she was not comfortable going in the fast lane.
  • By the time the course ended, she mastered the pedals. However, the situational awareness on road was not developed.
  • As we didn't have a hatchback so remaining practice was done in a sedan at home.
  • She could never build confidence till date. At best, she is okay to go for grocery in off peak hours.
  • She doesn't drive AT sedan till date as she isn't comfortable. (Probably confidence, due to the AT sedan being expensive.)

One last tip:
Being a good driver doesn't mean that one is a good tutor as well. I myself have driven in several continents, all across India, regular 1000+ KM drives... But let me tell you, I did learn few things from the instructor by sitting in the back seat, as I picked up my skills over a period of time and don't understand the mentality of a beginner. Instructor could give easy tips (like for perpendicular parking in reverse), which I never use. 'Women-1' was comfortable in using those techniques and gradually matured to MY technique after an year or so.
She did explain that while my technique is superior, but for a newbie its very difficult to comprehend.

Hope this helps to fellow members!

Oh btw, given the topic, I learned to drive a car in our friendly Fiat Premier Padmini in mid-90s, when it was an ART to slot the 4th gear. (For some reason, our car's 4th gear will foul with reverse and won't slot easily. Also, it required muscles to manage the gear lever attached to the steering column!)
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Old 3rd December 2020, 19:16   #88
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Default Re: Why young & 1st-time drivers should start with a humble / cheap car

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Originally Posted by blackwasp View Post
...it's an opportune time to push the case for cheap & humble cars as your first ride...
As someone who's spent a lot of time teaching others to drive, I'd like to put forward my take on this.
  • Getting a cheap car is important, but getting a mechanically sound car is even more important. All the lights should work, the gears should shift like they're designed to, the clutch should bite, and the engine should start at first crank. As a learner or newbie driver, one doesn't want to be stranded on the road when the car stalls at a traffic light, just because the starter motor is a dud (happened to one of my trainees).
  • Get a car that can keep up with the traffic. If the learner driver doesn't get a taste of highway driving, s/he has not learnt everything.
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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
...old Jeep. Slow, mechanical & dent-friendly. Once you master an old Jeep, you can pretty much drive anything on the road:
I'd beg to differ here - learning to drive at slow speeds is not the best thing to happen. It does get one ready to ace the DL test, but does not prepare one to manage their own car in fast-flowing traffic. Personally, I'd be quite worried if my car cannot easily get up to cruise speeds like 100 kmph (imagine the limp home mode kicks in on the way from Noida to Agra). And cars like these leave the finesse out of driving, making a bully out of the learner.
  • Get a small, lightweight car, that does not allow one to bully other road users. SUVs and 4WDs are not the best for learners - once one learns to bully one's way through traffic, one will never be able to handle expensive, powerful cars that are too delicate to be kissed by a dog.
  • Find out from your FNG if the clutch can be fixed economically in a manual transmission car. Some dual-mass flywheel-equipped cars can be really expensive if a clutch job is required. Learners WILL burn clutches before they learn not to.
  • Lastly, but most importantly, as a learner or newbie, do NOT get a car with acceleration characteristics that push you back in your seat! My suggestion: restrict a learner's car to 100 bhp at most. I cringe every time I see a 20-year-old at the wheel of a nice Merc or Porsche. Wait for 4-5 years and at least 20-30k km before you graduate to that Lamborghini you always wanted to take out for a spin.
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Old 3rd December 2020, 19:20   #89
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Default Re: Why young & 1st-time drivers should start with a humble / cheap car

Wonderful post and I completely agree. I got my car driving license in 2004 and got 2 wheeler endorsement done on it (Paper-book license) in 2007. I did not have any driving experience by then. In 2009 , one of my colleague wanted to sell his Zen(1998 model ,Carburetor one) and I bought it from him for 54K. Drove if for 5K km in next 15 months, got enough confidence to drive in crazy Mumbai Traffic. I sold it to the previous owner at same price. My colleague ( previous owner) felt that he lost one of his lucky charm and wanted the car back. I bought used Swift Vxi after that.
But I must agree , it was no heart-burn when I had few more dents and scratches on the car in getting used to car driving. Had it been a brand new expensive car , it would have been quite painful.
However when I bought my first 2 wheeler in 2007,it was brand new .
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Old 5th December 2020, 07:07   #90
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One thing we can't neglect , whether it be a newbie or veteran is the safety on road. Old car is ok , but there should be standard safety features and enough shell strength especially when it is a new driver. Being BHPians , we should stick to the same basic principles whether selecting a car for ourselves or a learner.
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