Wheels Asia - - Azfar’s column - TEXT AND PHO­TOS AZFAR HASHIM

Our writer delves on his girl­friend, or so we thought…

In my last col­umn, I spoke all about my dearly beloved (no, not about my girl­friend, but my aging Subaru Im­preza WRX). Which I ended off by say­ing some­thing along the lines of, well, for what it’s worth de­spite the pocket-bust­ing up­keep and main­te­nance, I love this car to bits. Oh mother of irony. I ac­tu­ally thought deep af­ter see­ing that col­umn printed out in this magazine. Am I tor­tur­ing my­self fi­nan­cially just to hold on to this dream­come-true? Am I think­ing right?

Af­ter all that pon­der­ing and af­ter re­plac­ing the set of wheels, I fi­nally told my­self this: That’s it, I am no longer go­ing to hold on to this car, and I am go­ing to sell off this car and set­tle for one that’s more af­ford­able to keep. I’ve even planned to do so be­fore re­new­ing both road tax and in­sur­ance in two months’ time.

So I be­gan look­ing around used car deal­ers; I kid you not, I have spent three Satur­days back-to-back go­ing to Macken­zie Used Car Cen­tre and Turf City Car Mall to look at the po­ten­tial re­place­ment. And here’s the big­ger irony: De­spite be­ing a mo­tor­ing jour­nal­ist with more than a decade’s worth of ex­pe­ri­ences, I do not know what ex­actly I wanted to buy (al­though I al­ready have a bud­get set in mind).

I was think­ing a Suzuki Swift Sport be­cause it’s sim­ply small and fun – but op­er­at­ing a small busi­ness that re­quires me to travel up north reg­u­larly, the small boot space makes it a lit­tle ridicu­lous. Then the Toy­ota MR-S and Mazda MX-5 came to mind – it will surely de­liver end­less smiles per hour, but the re­stricted cabin space for two and non-ex­is­tent boot space makes it an im­prac­ti­cal choice. I also con­sid­ered the rare Volk­swa­gen Jetta 2.0 TFSI and I thought this will be it – how­ever the unit I viewed looked rather tired and isn’t aging too grace­fully. On top of that, the car dealer re­fused to budge from his price.

And then I thought I should per­haps shift my con­di­tions; hence I de­cided to scour around for an SUV in­stead. Which is the most con­ve­nient so­lu­tion for me per­son­ally – at least if I set­tle down and have kids in the near fu­ture, I do not have to go through an­other round of car re­place­ment just be­cause my pri­or­i­ties have changed. SUVS are like jeans you see – it can be used for any­thing.

At this point, I have nar­rowed down my choices: A Subaru Forester. To be frank I was skewed to­wards the Forester as I just want to have that sim­i­lar sen­sa­tion of speed the WRX de­liv­ers to me ev­ery sin­gle day; but akin to be­ing given a good smack to the back of my head, I was re­minded by the girl­friend that the whole point of chang­ing the car is to save costs on main­te­nance and up­keep. Al­though in­sur­ance pre­mium for the Forester is cheaper than the WRX, the 2.5-litre tur­bocharged en­gine equates to a higher road tax and of course, petrol and main­te­nance costs.

The com­pro­mise? A 2.0-litre non-turbo’d Forester… and 2.0-litre Suzuki Vi­tara.

Yes, I know there are other mod­els that I should in­clude too, like the Honda CR-V, Toy­ota RAV4 and Mit­subishi Out­lander. How­ever I have this psy­cho­log­i­cal bar­rier af­ter that re­al­ity check above: No to any­thing be­yond 2.0-litre.

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