Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Brand new wheels! My 1st New Car

August 2016

I digress a bit for this post, as lately my overseas travels have been limited to Macau (to catch up with my girlfriend, now wife) and Bangkok (to catch up with my best friends based there). I thought I could and should add a post about my driving experience (or lack of), since they form part of my domestic travels, wherever I am based.

Boring discussion on cars in Singapore

For readers of this blog not from Singapore, our island nation takes the record for the most costly country to own a car. This is mainly due to high taxes, in the form of a Certificate of Entitlement ("COE") imposed by the government to regulate the number of cars on our tiny island.

During the 2006 economic downturn, COE prices were at a record low of S$0, which resulted in many affluent Singaporeans taking the opportunity to purchase cars. As Singapore recovered from the downturn, COE prices steadily rose to around S$75,000 in 2015. As the 2006 COEs came to expire after their 10 year validity, the COE quota increased in early 2016 resulting in COEs dropping to a  "low" of S$ 35,000.

Me and cars in Singapore

With cars being so costly, and with an efficient public transport network, it did not cross my mind to purchase a car till 2013, or to utilize my driving license which I obtained (after 3 attempts) way back in the year 2000. I do have mixed feelings about my Fiat Punto, with the benefits to my social life offset by the constant gearbox breakdowns and dodgy mechanics. This experience taught me 2 lessons:

  1. I would be married earlier had I driven a car in Singapore. The social benefits cannot be detailed.
  2. My next car, if ever, was to be a brand new one.

With the drop in COE prices in Mar'16, it was the opportune time to look for my first new car purchase!

My shortlist:

  1. Subaru XV - S$97,000
  2. Hyundai Veloster Turbo - $120,000
  3. Mercedes A180 Style - S$136,000


  1. The Subaru was spacious, comfortable and the most affordable of the 3 options. My main grouse was that the pickup was sluggish and not sufficient to get me out of the busy Mountbatten road junction.
  2. Its unique 3-door design and sporty look attracted me. However, none of my friends, including my girlfriend, approved of its Ah Beng (Singapore slang for gangster) exterior. Furthermore, it was rather pricey for a Korean car.
  3. The best drive of the 3 by far. My buddies were goading me to splash the cash without a doubt. But I needed to convince myself to significantly increase my budget. 

The decision:

I chose the Mercedes A180, convincing myself  that I would be able to fork out the additional monthly repayments if I cut down on my alcohol and good food consumption.

Being a luxury car, I thought black would be most sensible. White would turn yellowish over time, and other colors (blue, green, purple) would be dated after a couple of years.

I did insist on changing to full leather upholstery though to accommodate my active lifestyle, and since I had to wait 6 months to indent the leather seats, why not spend another S$3,900 to install a panoramic sunroof!


after 6 months of waiting, in which I convinced my girlfriend to marry me, and I was told I would be leaving my job, the car arrived...

I surprise myself at times, as I never saw myself the type to drive a luxury brand car. It has been a great drive thus far, though I sense there are many disgruntled Singaporean people and birds that like to vandalize/damage luxury brand cars (already having to repair my car for damages in my 1st month of owning it).

OK. Long boring post about my first brand new car over.

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes every ounce of hard work is worth it when you're purchasing a car. It's expensive and it's a pain, but it's so exciting to go through and to finally get in the end. Congratulations on the engagement, by the way! Good luck with your new car, it looks awesome! P.S. I can't believe that cars are so expensive in Singapore!


be nice!