Five Cheap Vehicles In The Market Today That We'd Buy

Gerald Yuen
19 May 2022

With the recently challenging COE climate distorting our perception of what makes cars sensible and desirable, it comes as no surprise that aspiring vehicle owners are always on the hunt for cheaper and more affordable rides to kick start their vehicle ownership journey.

It is no doubt a mathematical challenge to navigate vehicle prices in Singapore. Given the various aspects to consider including loan amounts, down payment and annual depreciation, we felt that it could be realistic to form a shortlist and assume an owner keeps the vehicle for the entire lifespan of the vehicle’s COE. We were left rather dazzled by what we found in the market today - a couple of off-beat choices proved to be pretty tempting options!

Toyota Corolla Altis

If you are a driver who just needs a car for simple point A to B jaunts, we can’t go much wrong with Toyotas, and the Altis will make plenty of sense especially for one that has its COE renewed. The 10th-gen Altis might not look fancy, but it was not meant to turn heads. Its bulletproof reliability is verified by the tens of thousands of Altis taxis operating on busy Bangkok streets till today, some clocking mileage in excess of 350,000km and counting! If fuss free motoring is your priority, the Altis will not disappoint.

Suzuki Swift

The Suzuki Swift is sized perfectly for quick city runabouts - a polar opposite from the Corolla Altis in terms of dimensions. But that is precisely why we find the Swift appealing. With a short wheelbase, short overhangs and a simple, reliable automatic gearbox, you can pilot this compact hatch very confidently in narrow streets and multi-story car parks - attributes that are sorely missed in newer, larger cars that can feel cumbersome in tight spaces. Some well maintained examples can be had at an annual depreciation of under S$8k. Yes, it’s a crazy world we live in!

Volkswagen Scirocco

With a forced induced motor, the 3rd-gen 1.4-litre Scirocco supplies more than sufficient punch for local roads primarily due to the majority of torque made available low down the rev range. Some might argue that it looks way more sleek than the Golf sibling, too. Some examples might be listed at slightly over S$8k depreciation per year, which is quite a “steal” under current market conditions. We will have the Scirocco documented as part of OneShift’s Used Car Buying Guide very soon - check it out if you’re in the market for one.

Honda N-Van Turbo

This option might be off the beaten path, but it packs no lack of functionality. The N-Van by Honda is a microvan produced for the Japanese market. Local parallel importers have decided to import it into Singapore - a move we find massively refreshing. The N-Van is a sibling of the more popular N-One kei car, a classification reserved for cars that do not exceed a certain dimension and engine capacity. Trust Honda to endow its pint-sized stature with pragmatic packaging. There is a slight caveat though: to own the N-Van, you will need to set up a local company (if you do not have one) as this needs to be registered as a Light Goods Vehicle (LGV) presumably under Category C COE (unless bids are made under the pricier Category E, which doesn't make financial sense!) It might be a more tedious affair, but rewards (both financially and in terms of lifestyle) we reckon will pay off handsomely.

Fiat Doblo

We had a go in a manual Fiat Doblo a couple of years back, and were left impressed with its suspension that is well judged, but not too soft to induce nauseating symptoms. It drives more like a car than a commercial vehicle capable of carrying at least 750kg of payload - a real bonus for a vehicle classified under Category C (and necessary paperwork required to set up a company just like the Honda N-Van). If you’re looking for an extremely practical ride that doesn't break the bank (some examples are going at an annual depreciation of under S$7.5k), the Doblo should be part of your shortlist.

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