Wednesday, March 02, 2016

the volvo

Unbelievably, the Lancer’s time is about up, in three month’s time. It turns 10 in June. It’s time for us to think about how to proceed.

My take is: We don’t need a car. A car is a huge depreciating expense in Singapore. Most things we do is around the area. School is 10 minutes walk away. The kids, at 8, 10 and 12, are older and they quite comfortable doing the bus-walk connections on their own. It’s just a matter of getting used to life without a car.

KK’s take is: We need a car. Ours is still a young family. He doesn’t trust public transport. Most importantly, he needs the car to play golf on Sundays at Kranji.

Conclusion: We will get a car, one which KK promises will be the last one.

To his chagrin and perhaps some frustration, I am completely dis-interested (I say, “Just buy whatever car you want and I’ll drive it. Just try not to get manual and can you not spend too much?”). He goes about doing research on cars and doing his calculations.

A few factors which he thinks about:
  • COE prices are apparently lower now. A new car will spare us maintenance trouble in the first few years.
  • Second-hand cars on the market now were bought at a time when COE prices were much higher, meaning it might be more worth it for us to get a new car (at lower COE price) than a second-hand one.
  • But if he gets a cheap car (second-hand), he will have spare cash to buy a second motorbike or a two-seater car for himself (Oh man).

For a time, he leans toward new MPV and SUV-type vehicles. Safety is his priority. His eyes the Subaru Forester. He heads out to car showrooms on his own and test-drives a variety of cars.

Then another option presents itself. Brother-in-law Ho Choon’s car, a S60 black Volvo, is also reaching its 10-year mark. It is the car which he loaned to us to drive to KL. It was a perfect, solid drive.

Would we like it for 18k? (its scrap value) Of course we would have to pay for the renewal of its COE. KK did his sums. If the car doesn’t give us too much trouble in the next 10 years, it would be a good deal.

* Lancer (gray) and Volvo (black)

We take the car and try it out. We also bring it to the mechanic to suss out its innards.

Conclusion? The mechanic – a dead-honest guy - says it isn’t worth it. There are problems which haven’t as yet manifested itself, but which will come. He can fix it all, for 10k, but after punching in the numbers on his calculator he advises us against it.

The whole world also advises us against it. Because Volvo parts are expensive, its maintenance will cost us an arm and a leg. Because it’s a 2-litre car, fuel consumption is higher. Because it’s an old model, its engine is not as efficient as the newer ones. Because its more than 10 years old, insurance and road tax will be higher.

Honestly, I also don’t like driving the Volvo. Perhaps it’s a matter of getting used to, but unlike the nifty Lancer in which I feel light and small (easy to park etc), I feel like I’ve put on a fat, heavy suit of armor once I’m behind the Volvo’s wheel. It’s bigger. I can’t turn the steering wheel with one hand. The leather seats are huge. (KK says this also means that should the Lancer crash we'd be dead, but might stand a better chance in the sturdier Volvo)

Because of the cars “luxe” feel, I also feel like I’m someone’s chauffeur.

Jo’s, probably. She absolutely loves the Volvo. This girl, who has been intently hanging over KK’s shoulder as he checks out cars online, loves how quiet and solid the car is. She also loves all the features which trumps everything in the Lancer hands-down. The bright car light which comes on automatically, the glove compartment, the cup holder, the beige leather seats, the overall feel of the continental vehicle.

* Hello, Princess

Too bad. We’re returning the car and Ho Choon will probably scrap the Volvo.

As someone who likes to use things until their natural death, I actually think scrapping cars at its 10-year-mark because of the fear of the trouble it will bring is really environmentally-unfriendly. The Lancer and Volvo are both fully functional. But will have to be discarded just because. Well that’s Singapore.


Anonymous said...

Dun think it gets turned into scrap metal, some gets sold onward to developing countries. Anyway, so what are we getting in the end... Jun

Sher said...

is it? cos they say "scrap the car" mah.

still dunno wat we're getting.

strikingreality said...

Volvo is one of the safest cars in the market. Like you, I don't think I will be able to drive a big car, but I must say, I thought the smaller Volvos looks quite good.

Sher said...

i guess safety is paramount... glad i tried driving a volvo though. its completely different from the lancer.