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Old 1st November 2020, 07:28   #1
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Default The last car for someone on the verge of retirement?

Greetings my 4 Wheel'd Brethren!

I'm absolutely clueless about cars so do bear with me.

A middle aged gentleman I know is nearing retirement and is on the lookout for a 4 Wheeler that sits within the 10L price bracket OTR.

This would be his last 4 Wheeler and hence expects the vehicle to last at least 3 Decades, so simply put spare availability and service(quality and cost) are of the essence, plus this also means that fad models are out of interest as they'd be selling well now but things wouldn't be so certain in a year or two.

He doesn't have any inclinations towards electronics and convenience features, if he could save some bucks opting for a model without PS and with manual winders then he'd go for it without a second thought.

Basically this person is looking for a car the same way I'd look for a Motorcycle i.e absolute utilitarianism. But the only problem is that he has asked me for advice and I'm not a magazine thumper hence clueless about the current market and it's offerings.

The only general thumb rule I know is to opt for an option with even number of cylinders considering longevity, though I'm uncertain if the same principle applies for Diesel's or even 4 Wheelers in general.

P.S. The two options that came to my mind are the Alto 800 for its indestructible F8D engine and the Bolero as I get the feeling that it's a replacement for the Ambassador i.e a proper long term car, minimalistic and reliable, which again is just my assumption from mere observation.

So do kindly advice.
Thanks in advance,
A.P.

Last edited by ashwinprakas : 1st November 2020 at 07:30.
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Old 1st November 2020, 07:36   #2
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Default re: The last car for someone on the verge of retirement?

I would say look at what new cars are popular among cabbies in your area. Dealers and spare parts shops will have plenty of spares stocked up for them, and even when the spares run out, there will be plenty of parts cars to get pieces from.
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Old 1st November 2020, 08:05   #3
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Default re: The last car for someone on the verge of retirement?

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Originally Posted by ashwinprakas View Post
This would be his last 4 Wheeler and hence expects the vehicle to last at least 3 Decades, so simply put spare availability and service(quality and cost) are of the essence, plus this also means that fad models are out of interest as they'd be selling well now but things wouldn't be so certain in a year or two.
3 decades is quite an ask. Capitalism and governments are incentivizing quantity (buy & replace) over quality(Long lasting quality stuff.) With all the complexity & abundance of electronic sensors in cars today, things can and will go wrong. I doubt many of the cars of today would be running in 2050s like the cars from 1980s are running today.

A car which could last a senior citizen 15-20 years is going to be the simple Maruti hatchback like the Ignis with a stick shift. I'd pick the lowest model to avoid all (fancy) electronics.

If $$$ is a problem, I'd recommend buying a used Etios Today (Toyota will generally support their cars) and invest rest of the cash.
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Old 1st November 2020, 08:48   #4
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Default re: The last car for someone on the verge of retirement?

Agree with landcruiser123 here. Would suggest to spend at most 5L now and invest rest of the amount for upgrade later, if required.

We have a 2007 Indica at home with below 40k on odo, but looks like part availability may become issue in not so distant future.
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Old 1st November 2020, 09:10   #5
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Default re: The last car for someone on the verge of retirement?

Two vehicles that sprang to my mind are the Omni and Qualis.
But then, both will be too old by now as used purchases.

By that extension it has to be the Eeco and Innova now, but one too basic, the other too expensive.

Looking at the government fleets, I would say go for either the Bolero or TUV300.
Again, just like the Ambassador, the Bolero needs frequent rust care and currently both Bolero/TUV300 have 3 pot diesels.

Trust me, kind of know the type of uncles.
"nah, nah..just a simple vehicle. No power wavar anything or hydraulic. Just complications. Something simple...multi-purpose maybe..RWD..4 cylinder...parts should be available.".
And the moment they test drive a modern Maruti or Hyundai small car..."okay. Will take this one... cheapest variant...in solid white.." sorry

Not just now, have to factor in him driving in his 70s too.
So easier to drive, better.

My list
For brand new purchase
1. Maruti Eeco
2. Maruti Alto/Spresso
3. Maruti WagonR 1.2
4. Hyundai Santro(?)
5. Maruti Ignis
6. Maruti Ertiga
7. Mahindra Bolero
8. Toyota Yaris

....Mahindra TUV300/Plus....Mahindra Scorpio....Toyota Innova Crysta......

For used purchase - not necessarily for longevity
1. Alto K10
2. F10D WagonR (too old now I guess)
3. Any WagonR
4. Qualis (again too old by now)
5. Bolero 2.5l
6. Ertiga diesel
7. Etios
8. Innova (ones within budget may have already done a couple of lakhs kilometres)


My choice.
He may be happy with either a WagonR 1.2, or the Ignis or the base model of Ertiga.
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Old 1st November 2020, 10:05   #6
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Default re: The last car for someone on the verge of retirement?

Well, since the gentleman is a senior citizen, I would strongly advice against buying a Bolero type car with a bad ride quality. Also, the Bolero is an absolute pain to drive with its notchy gearshift and awkward steering position, so that is not something a senior citizen should have to put up with. The Eeco is not good as a personal car, because a car is something that has an aspirational value attached to it, and a box on wheels is not exactly the ideal last car for anyone. Not to mention it's worse than average ride quality.

Now, realistically speaking, a modern car just cannot last 3 decades. If maintained well, a maximum of 2 decades can be achieved. I would recommend him to buy a Swift Dzire VXI petrol. This car has PS, power windows, remote locking, all the necessary safety features, and needless to mention, is very reliable and has great part availability. This should cost under 8 lakh rupees. If he can spend a little more, he can also buy a Ciaz sigma, Ertiga Vxi, Vitara Brezza LXI/VXI or even a Baleno Delta. These cars have reliability, parts availability, good ride quality, fuel economy and are decently equipped as well.

Please don't let him buy a car without power windows or power steering, because when age catches up slowly, one would really appreciate the convenience of not having to roll down the windows with that awful handle.

EDIT: would also not recommend a small car, because this will be the only car he will have, so a small car with its cramped interiors and small boot will be a problem when he has to travel on the highways or go to the airport or railway station. Also, cars like the alto are a pain to get into because of the low roof and the S-presso has a terribly choppy ride quality.

Also, if his running is going to be low, no point buying a diesel car, because diesel cars don't like to sit idle. Not sure if this happens with modern cars, but my 93' Tata Estate always takes up air when it sits for a long while, and requires air removal in order to start.

Last edited by Sanidhya mukund : 1st November 2020 at 10:34.
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Old 1st November 2020, 10:24   #7
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Default re: The last car for someone on the verge of retirement?

The oldest running cars I have seen on Indian roads have been the Toyota Qualis (many places in India) and the Ambassador (largely Kolkata).

The best bet might be a used but very well maintained Corolla. Apart from being mega reliable, being a truly global vehicle, it would be cheap to maintain and should enjoy good parts availability.

With the growing trend of SUV-like form factors, the sedan might see a corolla-cross like morphing, but the essence of it might continue for a long time to come.
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Old 1st November 2020, 11:11   #8
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I would suggest the WagonR 1.2 ZXi Automatic for him. Although he may be fine with a bare bones car for now, he will surely appreciate the little comfort and convenience that the top end model offers - power windows, electric mirrors, central locking, power steering etc. The K12 engine is bulletproof. And it has sold so much that getting spares for decades to come shouldn't be a problem. Also, I strongly suggest he goes for a tall boy design like WagonR as ingress and egress is going to be that much more comfortable as he progresses in age. There is less than 50,000/- separating the Manual and Automatic. At around 6 lacs, he can use the remaining money for fuel and service for years to come.
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Old 1st November 2020, 12:08   #9
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Default re: The last car for someone on the verge of retirement?

Nothing wrong with the Alto but as this would be the gentleman's final car purchase, it may as well be a car that feels more complete and thus I would suggest the newly released petrol S-Cross. Even if it is not a top selling Maruti, parts will not be an issue (from personal ownership experience of a Kizashi). The S-Cross is also built to be durable which is something I feel all the new Marutis don't do as well as the older ones. Height is perfect to enable easy ingress and egress for older people, there is enough space for him to load it up with his friends and even do a roadtrip considering its excellent highway manners. Basically it would be a do it all car and will not leave the gentleman wanting for anything more
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Old 1st November 2020, 12:43   #10
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Default re: The last car for someone on the verge of retirement?

Few valid points are already raised about the impractical criteria of keeping a car for 30 years.

1. Indian road conditions, agressive traffic & other factors in anyway wreck havoc on our cars. Right from outside body to internal components (like bad fuel quality on advance complex engines)

2. The only maker who could support really long term maintenance is the least durable one. (Maruti)

3. Even if you manage to keep something running such long, you may end up spending more on up keep compared to the EMI on a new entry level car.

4. Regulation will simply not allow this 30 year plan to work. Govt along with corporate greed will make it super expensive & hard to keep something on road for 30 years.

So what are the options?

You have already selected the best possible solution. Alto 800. Spend the least possible amount on this purpose. Spend the least possible amount to keep it running for 12/13 years (target that 13/14 mark for replacement) & purchase the next one at that time depending on what's available !! Avoid buying higher variants, rather buy base or similar but spend on max possible Extended Warranty.

If the gentleman is wealthy enough, then you may consider going higher up the range but I guess stick with Maruti & petrol for peace of mind !!

Unfortunately, if you abuse Alto or rather a Maruti, you may have to spend a lot in up keep (body works, suspension or such). So advice the gentleman avoid abusive driving style. Definately use this car as one may use a scooty but slow down in speed bumps or broken roads & let others passby when challenged by agressive traffic.

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Old 1st November 2020, 12:50   #11
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Default re: The last car for someone on the verge of retirement?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashwinprakas View Post
This would be his last 4 Wheeler and hence expects the vehicle to last at least 3 Decades, so simply put spare availability and service(quality and cost) are of the essence
Quote:
Originally Posted by landcruiser123 View Post
If $$$ is a problem, I'd recommend buying a used Etios Today (Toyota will generally support their cars) and invest rest of the cash.
Having an Ignis sigma, I would absolutely NOT recommend it for somebody who is going to use it as their ONLY car. It’s tin can build quality is light (pun intended) years behind the Jazz, that it’s parked next to.

My recommendation would be a lightly used Etios or Jazz V MT. Toyota & Honda build their vehicles for owners who are in it for the long haul, in my opinion, and your best chance of getting fuss free ownership over at least 15-20yrs. Both the above options have decent ride quality with proven reliability & build quality.

Finding parts for both the cars shouldn’t be a problem as they both are international models.

Any sedan or pretend SUV may be too much to handle for a senior citizen especially if they are prone to running into things or have minimal experience with relatively large vehicles.

Since they plan to keep it for as long as possible, I would pick up a new Jazz V MT, if I was in their shoes. If money was tight, I’d buy either of the above used, after a trusted mechanic/ASC has thoroughly checked the vehicle with a fine tooth comb.

Last edited by ChoosetoCruze : 1st November 2020 at 12:56.
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Old 1st November 2020, 12:56   #12
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Default re: The last car for someone on the verge of retirement?

It will have to be a Maruti. I vote for a manual WagonR. The tall boy ensures easy ingress and egress for oldies and there will be no dearth of parts anytime soon.

The Dzire will be my next best bet, but I don't think it offers anything over and above the WagonR for the given set of requirements

Edit: instead of buying a 10lakh car, but one with 5 lakh and invest the remaining. Even conservative returns will ensure enough funds for a similar new car after 15 years.

Last edited by Eddy : 1st November 2020 at 14:18.
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Old 1st November 2020, 13:25   #13
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Default re: The last car for someone on the verge of retirement?

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It will have to be a Maruti. I vote for a manual WagonR. The tall boy ensures easy ingress and egress for oldies and there will be no dearth of parts anytime soon.
+1 to WagonR. Except for safety, the car ticks nearly all boxes that the gentleman is looking for. This car is the epitome of utilitarianism for urban middle class in India.

Another car I would not hesitate to recommend is Brezza. It has a lot going for it just like WagonR and at the same time, addresses the safety aspects as well. The experience of owning a Brezza should be relatively more luxurious as compared to WagonR which is an added advantage.

Both these cars are super-successful in our country and spares, etc for the next couple of decades should not be a challenge. But for 30 years, honestly too far to predict!

Last edited by warrioraks : 1st November 2020 at 13:27.
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Old 1st November 2020, 13:50   #14
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Default re: The last car for someone on the verge of retirement?

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Originally Posted by warrioraks View Post
+1 to WagonR.
+2.
I owned a Wagon R for 15 years till last year. No issues. Did 250 K km as well.
Low maintenance, easy ingress (my grandmother, 90 now, had no issues), easy urban mobility and parking, decent space for bags in case of airport / station pickups.
In fact, seeing my car, my dad bought one just after retirement - still running fine after 12 years.
Only thing is: there is supposed to be an upgrade / facelift. Maybe wait for that?

Last edited by chinkara : 1st November 2020 at 13:52.
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Old 1st November 2020, 13:58   #15
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Default re: The last car for someone on the verge of retirement?

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Originally Posted by Eddy View Post
It will have to be a Maruti. I vote for a manual WagonR.
+1 more.

New WagonR is a keeper for an elderly gentleman. Spacious and elderly friendly ergonomics, excellent driveability with the K12 motor, reliable and fuel efficient. The box design ensures most practical usage of the available space.

With modern rules - keeping a car for 30 years won't be possible though - as government is keen to implement the scrappage policy.
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