An UBER Mega Sale! Ex-Uber Cars Are Going For A Song!

clifford chow
24 May 2018
 

UBER is out! But their ex rental cars are going for cheap! Here are some of our picks!

With the demise of UBER, Lion City Rentals (LCR), which had supplied the lion share of private hire cars here (no pun intended), found itself in a fix!

Without prior knowledge of UBER pulling out of our city state, the car rental company invested in thousands of these compact cars to line its fleet.

Popular cars like the Honda Vezel crossover, Mazda 3 and the Toyota Vios, which formed the bulk of the LCR fleet, some of which only have delivery mileage (some with less than 20km) on them, are certainly going for a song at certain used car dealers.

Real Owners Affected

With this news, private owners of the mentioned models, and some others like the Mitsubishi Attrage may also find themselves in a less than ideal situation, if they intend to sell off their cars at the moment, as it would simply make more economical sense for buyers to purchase a near-new used car.

For instance, near-new former LCR-owned Mazda 3 from January 2018 is going for an average list price of $80,000, while a similar car from 2016 would have an asking price of approximately $76,000; a relatively small difference in cost, but with more time on the “COE clock”.

Not only owners are affected, dealers who happen to be holding on to these existing makes have also been caught by this massive release of cars.

Current owners who may want to sell their cars would also be better off holding on to their Mazda 3 and Honda Vezel cars for a few more years, or even drive them till end-of-life, as selling their rides now would not fetch a price favourable to them anytime soon.

Other People’s Gain

But what may be Lion City’s loss, is to the advantage of private buyers.

While they do hold thousands in their fleet, we do see the possibility of LCR increasing their asking price after selling off their initial batch of cars; in the case that reception is good, which in this case, it actually is, according to our sources.

Here is a lowdown on some of the cars you can expect to find as a bargain.

Honda Vezel

The Vezel is one of the few Parallel Importer masterstrokes in beating the authorised dealer to the game. Instantly recognised as a very practical crossover, the Honda Jazz/Fit based car provided excellent fuel consumption numbers, and generous legroom for occupants, thanks to some ingenious planning of its floorplan, built for flexibility.

You can expect two models available, and we would recommend the fuel sipping hybrid model, which returns a healthy combined 24.4km/l. While it may cost a little bit more, those who will be clocking higher mileages will definitely benefit from savings in the long run.

Mazda 3 Sedan

The Mazda 3 beat Toyota’s Corolla Altis as Singapore’s best-selling sedan, and mostly thanks to LCR’s massive fleet buy.

Unlike the “official” Thai-built Corolla which carries the Altis badge, the Mazda 3 is Japanese-built. High numbers may not necessarily mean a bad thing for a buyer looking for a good deal though, as the car would likely go for lower profit margins from dealers, since they would want to have their cars move quickly.

While that is said, we would recommend this car for young families, which have no need for child seats, or young couples, as cabin space might not be its strongest point.

The 3 is powered by a 1.5 litre engine good for 118bhp, and gets a 6-speed automatic driving the front wheels.

Toyota Axio (Corolla)

The Axio, for those who may not know is the Parallel Imported Japanese-produced variant of the Corolla. Powered by a proven 1.5 engine, mated to a CVT transmission, the compact sedan delivers well on fuel consumption figures at 20km/l.

Space on the inside is generous, and ride comfort is one of its best qualities. If you are not too interested in that many frills, the Axio makes a great cost-effective family car.

Toyota Altis (Corolla)

Toyota’s “official” Corolla offers a little more in terms of frills versus its PI counterpart. Standard alloy rims, including a full-sized spare, disc brakes all around, and an infotainment unit which features SatNav are just some of the draws.

While it is Thai-built, the car benefits from a little more grunt, provided by a 1.6 litre which produces 128bhp, about 20 horses more than the Japanese-spec car. Its CVT transmission also ensures that fuel economy is respectable.

Toyota Vios

The 2016 Vios features a dashboard, with dials in the correct place, meaning that they are sited in-front of the driver, and not in the middle of the dash, like in previous generations.

While it may be Toyota’s entry-level sedan with lesser frills, it does not come across as very basic. The E model Vios has sufficient gear in its equipment list, including a double-din in-car entertainment unit and a robust interior, making it a very good daily driver for the family.

Its proven 1.5 litre engine, like its larger Corolla sibling also benefits from VVTi technology, and unlike the recent extensive facelift which utilises a CVT transmission, this car is mated to a proven 4-speed automatic gearbox.

Mitsubishi Attrage

This is possibly the smallest and cheapest ex private hire car. For those who may be looking for a near-new bargain, year-old examples can be found on offer at approximately $60k, close to $20k off a new unit.

Under the hood, a 1.2 litre 3-cylinder engine powers the car, through a CVT automatic, while we would dare say that its 20.8km/l combined cycle fuel efficiency figures is its strong point.

The Thai-built Attrage will not however win any prizes in terms of passenger comfort or space; neither would its build quality attract those who are a little fussy.

But if you are searching for a bargain, with lots of time on the COE “clock”, the Attrage is a viable option… that is if you plan to keep the car for the long run.

Mitsubishi Lancer

We cannot deny that the Lancer is a little long in the tooth, with the not-so-fabulous distinction of being in the market for 10 years.

That said, the Lancer’s GS platform is pretty decent, and Mitsubishi and ensured that the Lancer could handle well (after all, it had to be able to accommodate the demands of their mental rally-inspired Evo X). Coupled with decent cabin and boot space, the Lancer makes for quite a good family sedan.

Most units in the market are 2016 models, and are powered by a 1.6 litre engine, mated to what the Mitsubishi calls their Invecs II transmission, basically a four-speed automatic, popular in the late 90’s, instead of the newer CVT found in the 1.5.

However, residual values may not be a strong point for the car, part of this reason is believed to be how the car tends to be dogged by various quality issues, and buyer sentiment.

Warranties

As most of the cars are new, with some displaying delivery mileage, they would most certainly offer peace-of-mind, with reliable motoring.

For cars which have been bought from a parallel importer, like the Toyota Axio and Honda Vezel, warranties will be subject to the PIs they were initially purchased from. It would be advisable to look out for the “Lemon law” clause.

As for vehicles bought from official dealerships, cars like the Mitsubishi Lancer and Attrage carry a 10 year engine warranty and 5 year overall warranty with unlimited mileage.

Toyota’s warranty for their cars is 3 years or 100,000km, whichever comes first.

Warranty for Mazda cars is also 3 years or 100,000km, whichever comes first.

Cars which have been originally obtained from their respective official dealerships, will benefit from the remaining length of time or mileage left on their warranties.

We do hope that this will provide you with some good insight, especially if you are looking for a ride at a bargain.

And we just have to say this – HURRY! WHILE STOCKS LAST!