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Old 23rd January 2022, 23:13   #1
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Default Best enthusiast / first car for an 18-year old college student under 4 lakhs?

Hello there, I turn 18 in about 3 weeks and I'm looking for a first car that is also a good enthusiast car, I'm one of the emotional guys when it comes to Automobiles so drive feel/emotional connect is very important.

The original plan was to buy a brand new Duke 250 or RR310 but around December 2021 I had a change of heart and shifted (pun intended) towards a used enthusiast car instead.

At first a Honda City 1.5 VTEC was a no-brainer but I'm not so sure. We will not be purchasing the car until May-June 2022.

My Requirements:

1) Seating/Comfort - Comfort is appreciated but not a priority I'm happy in terms of interiors and comfort as long as I have a nice speaker system and the drivers seat can accommodate my 5 foot 9 inch but slightly chunky frame. We have a '17 Honda City for daily/city use and '11 Toyota Innova 2.5 V (Type2 -> Type4 converted) for Highway hauls.

2) Fun to Drive? - Oh absolutely, it should fun to drive it's my first car after all, I'm willing to make sacrifices (like comfort and interiors) for the fun factor. I want a Manual transmission.

3) Fuel efficiency- FE is not an issue, with the City for dad and mom preferring the Innova this car will not see much use outside of weekend trips and juvenile tomfoolery. Although a minimum mileage of 7-8kmpl in the city would help in convincing the parents. Furthermore we are looking to get an electric scooter to replace our old '13 Vespa LX125 as a errand vehicle so I will be using that for commuting to college 90% of the time.

4) Fuel - Not leaning towards either petrol or diesel, although most of my options that I've considered are petrol with the exception of one car (You'll see it later in the list below).

5) Body Type - Again not leaning towards anything particular, I'm open to everything.

6) Aftermarket Support - Odds are I will keep this car for atleast 3-4 years so I would like the car to have good aftermarket support in terms of mods.

7) Budget - I was initially given a budget of 3-3.2 Lakh (on road Bangalore + Gear) to get my very own bike but that cash has been reallocated to the car (Hence this post). Current budget is 3.5 Lakh and willing to extend to 3.8-4 lakh. We have 30k reserved outside the budget to get any repairs done (if needed) and getting quality of life improvements like a modern head unit and speakers. Any money saved will be re-invested into the car for mods down the line and fuel.

8) New or used? - Definitely used, the only new car I'll get in Bangalore with 4 lakh in hand would be the base model Alto, might as well get a Duke 250 at that point.

I don't have hands on experience with most of these cars so I'm depending on TeamBHP and family input to determine the pros and cons. If it helps I'm located in Bangalore.

P.S: I know the basics of driving a car but you wouldn't want me behind the wheel any time soon, Will be taking a 21 Day course from Maruti driving school before I get my car.

Last edited by GreasyCarb55 : 24th January 2022 at 00:40.
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Old 23rd January 2022, 23:59   #2
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Default re: Best enthusiast / first car for an 18-year old college student under 4 lakhs?

Down below are the cars I have shortlisted:

Gen 1 G13B/K12 Maruti Swift:

1) Good aftermarket support (as far as I know)

2) It's a Maruti so convincing the parents is gonna be easy.

3) Maruti reliability, peace of mind and cheap running costs.

Best enthusiast / first car for an 18-year old college student under 4 lakhs?-swift.jpg

Maruti Baleno G16B Sedan:

1) Same reasons as Swift, Good Aftermarket.

2) You can get these really cheap and in decent condition from what I've seen.

3) The usual peace of mind you get with a Maruti.

Best enthusiast / first car for an 18-year old college student under 4 lakhs?-baleno-1.6.jpg

Maruti Baleno Alturus G16B:

1) Same reasons as the Baleno Sedan.

2) Wagon body is unique

3) I mean look at this beauty.

Name:  Baleno Wagon.png
Views: 534
Size:  527.5 KB

Honda City 1.5 VTEC

1) Fantastic aftermarket support.

2) Legendary FTD factor and the D15B VTEC is revv happy

3) An absolutely gorgeous car + VTEC JUST KICKED IN YO (yes I'm 17 how could you tell?)

Best enthusiast / first car for an 18-year old college student under 4 lakhs?-city-vtec.jpg

Last edited by GreasyCarb55 : 24th January 2022 at 00:05.
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Old 24th January 2022, 00:28   #3
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Default re: Best enthusiast / first car for an 18-year old college student under 4 lakhs?

MK1 Skoda Octavia VRS:

1) Amazing Aftermarket support

2) A gorgeous car to this day

3) 1.8L engine makes 150hp and is a fire breather.

4) VAG cars are gonna be a harder sell to my parents

Best enthusiast / first car for an 18-year old college student under 4 lakhs?-octavia-vrs.jpg

Toyota Corolla/Altis:

1) Legendary Toyota reliability

2) 140hp makes this the second most powerful car on the list.

3) Added benefit of being a comfy car but not sure about aftermarket support.
Best enthusiast / first car for an 18-year old college student under 4 lakhs?-corolla.png

Older Jetta Diesel:

1) Identical 140hp makes it the second most powerful car on the list along with the Corolla.

2) Not sure about aftermarket/maintenance

3) 2.0L Diesel should give a kick of torque

4) Again, VAG cars are gonna be a harder sell to my parents
Best enthusiast / first car for an 18-year old college student under 4 lakhs?-jetta.jpg

Wildcard Entry - Maruti Gypsy Soft Top:

1) Because why not, aaj kuch toofani karte hai

2) Go anywhere capability + great aftermarket

3) Can you even get Gypsy's that cheap?

Best enthusiast / first car for an 18-year old college student under 4 lakhs?-gypsy.jpg

Last edited by GreasyCarb55 : 24th January 2022 at 00:39.
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Old 24th January 2022, 09:54   #4
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Default re: Best enthusiast / first car for an 18-year old college student under 4 lakhs?

Don't want to come across as a party pooper, but this is your first car and you're just turning 18.

- Many of us are still alive because we started off on cars <100 BHP. I don't think a fast car is the ideal first car. When my kids turn 18, they will start off with a slow car.

- You need to focus on your education, girls etc. instead of spending time repairing an old Octavia or finding parts for a Baleno sedan.

My suggestion: Buy the newest Grand i10 or Swift that you can find. If you get a WagonR 1.2L, go for it (it's a fun breadbox). Learn the basics of driving, don't go out on the highway yet and read up on our many driving advice articles.

While "enthusiast cars" are fun to drive, so are regular cars. I enjoy driving any car, even an S-Presso or an Innova. Related discussion on the topic (Is it necessary for "fun-to-drive" to only involve fast + tight handling cars? I don't think so!).

Last edited by GTO : 24th January 2022 at 09:56.
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Old 24th January 2022, 10:06   #5
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Default Re: Best enthusiast / first car for an 18-year old college student under 4 lakhs?

Get a well maintained good car for that money that won't leave you embarassed infront of your friends. Your budget will get you a Swift petrol in good condition. Add an aftermarket alloy and good tyres and you should be good to go.

Driving takes time to learn and lots of miles behind the wheel, the less you need to worry about the car, the better it gets. I finished all the circus behind the wheel in my dad's car while growing up, so I understand what not to do with my own car
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Old 24th January 2022, 10:30   #6
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Default Re: Best enthusiast / first car for an 18-year old college student under 4 lakhs?

I feel too many ideas (enthusiast, VAG cars, VTEC etc.) picked off the forum and other conversations. Not belittling your knowledge or requirements - but at this stage you are, I'd keep it simple. Something that is reliable, cheap to maintain and decently fast.

I'd say get a used Maruti Alto K10 or a Swift (older generations). Spend some moolah on good alloys and a good music system and you'll be good to go. Over the next 1-2 years, you and your friends can run the car as much as the situation requires without worrying about it too much. Keep it for ~2 years and as you get better understanding on what suits your preferences, spend more on a more specific car later.

That's what I did nearly 2 decades ago. A used 10 year old M800 and one that was extremely well used over the next few years between the 4 of us roommates/friends for long holiday road trips, girlfriend (prospecting) adventures and what not And whatever we threw at that car, monthly expenses stayed at a bare minimum. And I shifted to a Vento diesel after that, with full understanding of what I wanted from my "proper" first car.

Last edited by ninjatalli : 24th January 2022 at 10:33.
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Old 24th January 2022, 10:48   #7
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Default Re: Best enthusiast / first car for an 18-year old college student under 4 lakhs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GreasyCarb55 View Post
Hello there, I turn 18 in about 3 weeks and I'm looking for a first car that is also a good enthusiast car, I'm one of the emotional guys when it comes to Automobiles so drive feel/emotional connect is very important.

I don't have hands on experience with most of these cars so I'm depending on TeamBHP and family input to determine the pros and cons. If it helps I'm located in Bangalore.
While the MK1 Octavias and Jettas understandably appeals to you, those may not be ideal first cars for someone who is just about to qualify to be behind the wheels. Same with Gypsy too, though it can give loads of fun, it's best enjoyed after you have clocked enough miles/years under your belt. As a first car, it's best avoided.

A good, fun to drive and reliable hatchback can be a good point to start with. The first gen Figo can be added to your list too. It's a brilliant car and a driver's delight - way ahead of Swift.

Best wishes to you as you learn the ropes of driving. Don't want to be a spoilsport nor sound philosophical, but there's a long way ahead in your life and keep the adrenaline in check as GTO suggested. Live to Drive and Drive responsibly

Last edited by Bibendum90949 : 24th January 2022 at 10:53.
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Old 24th January 2022, 11:04   #8
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Default Re: Best enthusiast / first car for an 18-year old college student under 4 lakhs?

The swift will be a good balance between cost, support, features, space, and family use.

The Corolla is good, but on the larger side.

No to Gyspy. While a good cool image factor, but it's not going to be too comfortable. Soft top (mostly), Dont come cheap - and no for family use.
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Old 24th January 2022, 12:01   #9
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Default Re: Best enthusiast / first car for an 18-year old college student under 4 lakhs?

Welcome to the driver's club. Unfortunately, most of the advice you will get here is from "Uncles" and perhaps some "Aunties" who have cut their teeth on sub-100BHP cars as @GTO said, or like in my case sub 50bhp cars (Premier Padmini).
But its good advice to begin with and learn the basics-a Wagon R or even a Celerio may be a good option and would be available in your budget. As far as possible, go for a car that has ABS & dual airbags-or ask your folks to stretch your budget a bit to around 4.5 to 5 lac and get a used Ignis. It would have them by default from base model onwards.

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Old 24th January 2022, 12:13   #10
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Default Re: Best enthusiast / first car for an 18-year old college student under 4 lakhs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Don't want to come across as a party pooper, but this is your first car and you're just turning 18.

My suggestion: Buy the newest Grand i10 or Swift that you can find. If you get a WagonR 1.2L, go for it (it's a fun breadbox).
1000% Agreed.

My tennis coach (in college) bought his 18-year-old son an RX7. The boy promptly wrapped it around a tree and found himself in a hospital.

My 18-year-old was given a 2009 (in 2020) Honda City AT to start with because we had one around. After he cut his teeth on the City and since he is a teetotaller and very responsible he quickly became the family designated driver and graduated to my wife's Corolla and later my Camry if he is driving either of us.

Last edited by navin : 24th January 2022 at 12:15.
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Old 24th January 2022, 12:52   #11
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Default Re: Best enthusiast / first car for an 18-year old college student under 4 lakhs?

I would suggest getting a hatchback or a compact suv as a first car. Sedans have too many blindspots and you will spend way more in taking care of minor dents and scrapes. I speak from personal experience as the year I got my license I started driving my Dad's Accent and scraped it thrice.

Thankfully my Dad felt the need for a second car and we got an used Alto on which it was much easier to learn.

I wouldn't suggest an Alto now as it is too old. An used Tiago/swift/i10 would be the best option.
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Old 24th January 2022, 12:56   #12
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Default Re: Best enthusiast / first car for an 18-year old college student under 4 lakhs?

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Originally Posted by navin View Post
1000% Agreed.

My tennis coach (in college) bought his 18-year-old son an RX7. The boy promptly wrapped it around a tree and found himself in a hospital.

My 18-year-old was given a 2009 (in 2020) Honda City AT to start with because we had one around. After he cut his teeth on the City and since he is a teetotaller and very responsible he quickly became the family designated driver and graduated to my wife's Corolla and later my Camry if he is driving either of us.
What car would you suggest?

Having eliminated the Faster options like the MK1 Octavia VRS, Jetta 2.0 TDI and Corolla it leaves me with a WagonR or a Swift.

If I were to go for the Swift would you recommend getting an early Gen 2 Swift or should I go for a later Gen 1 Swift?

Do you think the City VTEC is a valid option or should I stick to the newer cars?

Last edited by GreasyCarb55 : 24th January 2022 at 12:58.
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Old 24th January 2022, 12:58   #13
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Default Re: Best enthusiast / first car for an 18-year old college student under 4 lakhs?

I think everybody here has driven the most prominent point home. Start off on a lower powered car (preferably under the 70-80hp mark). I am 20 now and I started off on a Chevrolet Spark. Drove it around for a year and 3-4K km (along with a Renault Kwid) and it's only now that I extensively get to drive the Jetta.

Secondly, don't go for attention hogs like the Jetta, Octavia Mk1 etc. These cars can be very demanding in terms of maintenance. Even running repairs such as suspension and a clutch overhaul will quickly see them transform into moneypits like a college student for you. Even the Maruti Baleno. It might be a very reliable car, but even pristine examples are more than a decade old today and will demand some attention here and there. Some parts (SGP) aren't cheap either.

My suggestions are as follows:

- Toyota Etios Liva
- Ford Figo (1st Gen)
- Honda Jazz (1st Gen)

These to me represent the perfect combination of affordability, reliability, space and even safety. The Honda Jazz especially makes a strong case for itself. Quality interiors and good looks which appeal to the opposite sex too

If you still think you have the time to devote to an automobile and want to treat it as a project car, I would suggest picking up a Suzuki Zen MPFI. When you have had enough fun getting to grips with the 1.0 lump, you can go ahead and plonk a 1.3 G13B from the Esteem in it. An 85hp engine in a 700 odd kilo car. Only reason why it isn't in my primary recommendation list is safety.
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Old 24th January 2022, 13:01   #14
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Default Re: Best enthusiast / first car for an 18-year old college student under 4 lakhs?

I'd suggest get your hands on a well-maintained VW Polo 1.6 or a Skoda Fabia 1.6 for around 2-3 lakhs and you're set for your college life. These cars are quick enough to keep you entertained, easy to drive, quite reliable and with a nice set of wheels, you can even up the 'cool' factor.

If you're looking for something newer, try getting your hands on Swift 1.2L or even the Ignis 1.2L if you can find one in your budget. Please don't let your first car be a boring one. You'll hate it after a point!
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Old 24th January 2022, 13:14   #15
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Default Re: Best enthusiast / first car for an 18-year old college student under 4 lakhs?

18 year old, 4 Lacs?

Get a used old Octavia or Laura Manual. Safe build, fun to drive, arse to maintain, BUT you'll thank us later for that back-seat!
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