- Toyota Vios - Looks good compared to the previous gen Dugong Vios but drives bland. Ride too soft and ancient engine and gearbox is lacking in power and response. Driving an appliance comes to mind vs a Car. Sorry to Vios fans.. Also IMHO very expensive for what you are getting but it's a Toyota so you know what to expect in terms of resale value. Can't stand the fake stitching on the oh so plastic dashboard. Seriously it's fake stitching moulded on the plastic to make it look like a leather trimmed dash. More than 90K for the top spec super bling TRD model. Super Ouch!
- Nissan Almera - Similar driving dynamics as a Vios perhaps worse. Super laggy throttle response. Big and relatively cheap though. Hokkien saying is "Pang Gee Tuah Tey". Pardon my spelling. Has external aesthetics only a mother or someone that paid hard earned cash will love. Starting to look nearly decent if you splash more hard earn cash to get the Nismo bodykit, shocks and wheels.
- Volkswagen Polo Sedan - Only took a look at it and didn't bother test driving. Let's just say not my cup of tea. Very expensive also IMHO for what you are getting unless you really dig the VW badge/branding. Apollo tyres anyone?
- Ford Fiesta - Excellent driving dynamics but new 1.5 litre engine lacks power when compared to earlier 1.6. Expensive too @ 86K but you get 2 or was it 3 year?s free service including parts. Not so expensive when you take this into account. Rear drum brakes despite the higher end price. Nice semi leather seats on the hatch.
- Pug 208 - Tried the 5 door variant. Very nice and lovely to look at. Fab interior where plastic aluminium trim really does look and feel like aluminium unlike the Fiesta. The interior really makes the rest of the cars I tested look outdated. Lovely seats! ICE head unit does not accept CD though. I know some of you are going to say who listens to CD nowadays but I do. 1.6 engine makes decent power and with good ride and handling though wifey complained the ride was hard and bouncy at the rear. Second hand value a suspect and after what I went through with my better half's Chevrolet Optra I'll compromise with something that has a better resale value. If one buys car purely on emotion this would be the very top of the list.
- Kia Rio - Very nice and with tons of features and bling like all the latest Kias. Even has turning lights that come on when you turn. No kidding! Top spec features very nice 17" rims! 1.4 engine feels underpowered with all the bulk and large wheels. Probably not helped by the 4 speed auto-box. Decent ride quality despite the large wheels. Price not cheap (80K for top spec) and like the Pug suspect resale value. This was my final top 3 contender for ownership along with the 208 and the car below.
- Honda Jazz Petrol. Looks small externally but has loads of interior space even for nearly 6ft me. 1.5 litre SOHC L15A7 engine makes decent power and throttle response. Decent ride and handling. @ 74.8K a very good bargain considering it used to cost more than 100K. On top of this the latest spec comes with 4 disc brakes and VSA (Vehicle Stability Assist). Also test drove the Hybrid but No Powerlah Bro! Might look tame and feminine in stock form but can also be done up to look like the below..
The N16 Files would like to wish
You A Very Happy and Prosperous Chinese New Year!!!