Want to buy a cheap pre-worshipped car for under Rs. 2 lakhs

Which is why I am pinching pennies, and looking for a cheap, reliable, but if possible, a good looking car.

BHPian Balthazar recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I recently started working, 5 months ago. The plan was to commute using the Delhi Metro, but due to the pandemic, that is not an option. I have been using my father’s old Swift, but I need my first car soon. My requirements are fairly unorthodox, since I am on a contract which expires next year. I am paid fairly well for an entry level position in my field, but I do not know what the future holds. For now, I am assuming the worst, which entails 15,000 to 20,000 a month in 2022-23. Which is why I am pinching pennies, and looking for a cheap, reliable, but if possible, a good looking car.

My requirements are:

Budget

Strictly under Rs. 1.5 to Rs. 2 Lakhs. Due to my budget, I am only limited to the second hand market, and from my searches, 8-11 year old cars.

Make and Model

I was initially okay with any car, and was looking at old Altos. But I found out that upping my budget bit more (Rs. 50,000 approx.) opened up old Citys, Civics, and other seemingly decent options. So I am leaning towards them now. I know that the one cardinal rule of buying cars that have spent a decade on Indian roads is to not look at the make/model, but the condition of the car in general. So that is what I am going with. That said, I detest the tall boy design, which removes a lot of cars from the running. I would still prefer sedans over hatchbacks, and anything over Wagonrs, K10s etc.

I have personally been looking at Citys, Civics, some base model Polos, and Accents. Open to suggestions.

Maintenance

The lesser over the next 3-4 years, the better. Since they are so old, I would prefer cars that are cheaper to run, and reliable. Which brings me to-

Reliability

The most important criteria. Over my ownership, I would prefer something fairly reliable. Please tell me what to avoid, and what to look for.

I have just started my search. This will be my first car, and I haven’t settled on anything yet, since I have only just begun actively looking for something. The list is quite vast at this point. I need some advice on which cars to avoid, what to look for, so I can make a shortlist and start from there. I live in Delhi, which means diesels are out. I do not want any CNGs at all, so I am avoiding that. Anything older than 2010 would not be fruitful because of the 15 year lifespan of petrol here.

Please point me in the right direction folks.

Here’s what BHPian omar had to say on the matter:

Considering the budget, I wouldn’t recommend a sedan unless it is clean and well maintained, more so since it will be your first car.

I would recommend a 2011-2012 first generation (facelift) Jazz. Its a great car, which is more sedan than hatchback in terms of space. In fact, you won’t like the internal dimensions of any another hatchback after using it! It has a proven engine, and is also fun to drive once it is off the block. The build quality is also better than the other mass market alternatives available.

Here’s what BHPian 07CR had to say on the matter:

If by this you mean your monthly salary will be in the range of 15K to 20K, and I assume you don’t have any other substitute income (through parents) and you plan to utilize the entire 20K corpus for your daily needs as well, then I am afraid you should not go for the Citys and VWs.

I ran a quick search on OLX in Delhi, with the following filters:

  • Cars between 2011 and 2021
  • Petrol cars
  • Cars from brands (Toyota, Honda, Maruti and Ford, a bit dicey about old fords for the reliability)
  • Budget between 0 to 2.2 Lakhs (You can shave off atleast 20K, in negotiation)

So based on the above information, I would suggest the following, and on the order of my preference:

1) Toyota Etios / Etios Liva (Boring choice. But won’t demand any attention from you! Nothing lasts like the Toyota)

2) Honda Brio (One of the few desirable entry level hatchbacks, you will also find a fairly new model in your budget. Quite fun to drive too)

3) Ford Fiesta Classic / Figo (Cars, that won’t shout that you bought something cheap and will offer you plenty of fun! I am just not sure how much the old Fords would be for maintenance. That said, post 2014, Ford has been exemplary in ASS department for most buyers)

4) SX4 (Dicey about the parts availability; being a Maruti, it should be reliable)

Here’s what BHPian Sanidhya mukund had to say on the matter:

I recently helped someone select their car. The said person had the exact same set of requirements as yours. I looked at online portals, Maruti True Value website and even visited a couple of used car dealers in Safdarjung Enclave. Based on this, I would like to state a few points that might be helpful to you.

When we started our research, the idea was to get a good mid-size sedan or premium hatchback. We were only looking at post 2010 petrol cars because of the NGT rule. We came across several examples of Civics, Citys, old Corollas, SX4s and Ventos/Rapids. In that budget, the newest cars of these models that we could find were 0f 2011, while most other examples were from 2006-2009, and hence pretty much useless with only 2-3 years of validity remaining. But the most major deterrent was the fact that most of these cars had a few things in common:

  • They had seen several owners and had clearly tampered odos.
  • Almost all the cars that we saw had aftermarket CNG kits; you can never be sure of how well the kit has been fitted. These things could be potentially lethal if not done properly.
  • Most cars, being old and high mileage had sagging seats, stinky interiors and rubbish body work.

This was when we decided to look for a segment lower. We were now looking at hatchbacks. I simply avoided the Skoda Fabia and VW Polo because those cars have very expensive spares and most examples needed the usual expensive repairs – suspension, steering racks, etc. These cars were reasonably cheap, but the parts bill would surely mount up to 30-40 percent of the price one would pay for such a car. The only decent cars we could find were 2010-13 Maruti Ritz, 2010-2014 Ford Figo, 2010-2013 Toyota LIVA/Etios and a couple of later Esteems/Ambassadors/Accents in decent shape. We also found multiple Swifts and Dzires, but those cars held their value very well and the sellers would not negotiate much, given the fact that these cars are still in high demand.

Eventually, one thing was clear. Whatever car you buy, a 10 year old car is bound to require work. Yes, you can find a few reasonably neat cars, but an old is an old car and things will go wrong. Since the man wanted a hassle free commuter, I suggested him to look for 2016 and later Maruti Alto 800/K10, WagonR, Ritz, Hyundai Eon, Hyundai Santro and Renault Kwid. Datsuns were also considered as a wildcard entry because we saw many nearly new ones going for less. Eventually, we found many low mileage examples, especially of Renault Kwid and Alto, all being post 2015. We had almost finalised on to a red 2016 Renault Kwid RXT with merely 28k on the odo, but this was when we got an awesome Hyundai Eon, 2015 model that had only done 2.4k Km on Cars24. We even verified the odo reading through the Hyundai dealer and they confirmed that it was indeed that low. He test drove the car and it drove just like a new one. The rear seats even had the plastic coverings intact. He immediately paid the deposit to reserve the car. It had been advertised for 2.5 lakhs and we got it down to 2.37L. The owner is very very happy with his purchase, he got a nearly new car with validity upto 2030 and no niggles/issues. It is an awesome commuter car and the interiors also feel very premium for the price.

Look for a post 2015 Alto 800/K10, Renault Kwid, Datsun Redigo, Hyundai Eon or Tata Nano. You can easily get a reliable, newish, low mileage example that would be an efficient and reliable commuter. If you are keen on getting something bigger, look for good deals on Ford Figo, Hyundai Accent, Maruti Ritz and Toyota Liva.

Hope this helps.

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