The decision in our new car project 2015 to replace our 8 year Nissan Latio came down to either the Toyota Corolla Altis Elegance, or the Mazda 3 Sedan Deluxe. While the Kia Forte K3 really had some nifty and unique features, we finally decided not to risk a South-Korean designed and built car. Possibly we were overly conservative since many reviewers note that the South Koreans have really caught up with the Japanese. The Nissan Sylphy that we liked a lot several days ago was a third choice, but for just a bit more, we could be considering alternatives that were better regarded along general vehicle reliabilities. Interestingly too, Nissan cars seem to fare badly in overall reliabilities, going with Consumer Reports, though our Latio didn’t give us issues during its 8 year span.
The toss-up between the Altis and Mazda 3 was very close. There was marginal difference in their overall packaged prices (just S$200) and apart from slight differences in performance, horsepower and rated fuel consumption, both otherwise had almost identical feature sets – with the feature differences between them nice to haves but not especially consequential (e.g. how doors are locked – by proximity or car movement). The decision was finally based largely on the country of manufacturing – Japan or Thailand. Many consumer level sedans are now manufactured in the latter, and there’s nothing to say that a vehicle made in Thailand will be less reliable than one made in Japan. The item could be manufactured in China and still be fabulous as long as there’s good quality control. But we were thinking of potential resale value down the road, and in this regards, we figured Japan-made vehicles might have the advantage. A quick check online among Singaporean car owners also showed favor for the Mazda 3. So, it was to be a Mazda to replace our Nissan.
The Mazda showroom was pretty crowded in our return visit though, and this part of the island was experiencing an uncharacteristic heavy early evening downpour. The salesperson who’d worked out a package for us during our noon-time visit was busy with other customers. We ended up waiting for more than an hour, and well past the showroom’s normal closing hours of 1800 hrs before we were served. It must had also been our salesperson’s lucky day, as ours was the third deal he closed today.
We wouldn’t have bought the car without Hannah’s approval of course. She sat in for today’s test drives – alongside Peter who was too perplexed by the new surroundings – and at the end of each, we asked her for her opinion. She didn’t like the Altis for some reason that she couldn’t explained. As for the Mazda 3, at the end of the test drive, the very astute salesperson showed her the retractable sunroof – Hannah was sold on the spot.