I started driving when I was 17. My dad was adamant that his little girl shouldn’t be dependent on anyone for anything, and so my driving lessons began in our Maruti Alto – almost every middle-class Indian’s first car.
From being the family chauffer to driving friends around in the middle of the night, from getting scolded for the first scratch on it to sneaking it out for a small outer city tours – the memories attached with the Alto are galore.
And so when I was finally capable of investing in something big – it had to be a car! And like most of my decisions, it was taken in the spur of a moment. I just knew that I was going to buy a car. “Which one?”, people asked! “Mahindra Thar!” I told them as if in reflex. It was my dream car since my teenage days. Having driven that jeep a few times, I always thought it was a perfect match for my kind of wild.
But my hopes were shattered when I went through the cars specs. For an on-road price of INR 10 lakhs, it didn’t have much to offer. It was meant for off-roading purposes, and the top-end variant that boasted to suit city rides didn’t have any specs worth considering. I realized that my first love was too over-rated and hence, it lost its charm!
My friends came to my immediate rescue. Soon I was made to walk through tonnes of options. Zigwheels, CarDekho, Auto-portal, replaced my routine NEWS websites. Having driven the Alto all my life, I no more wanted to look into the hatchback segment. And definitely, I am not that classy lady who drives a sedan down the road. I am rather the regular, old tee-shirt paired with sneakers sort of a girl and I needed a bad boy who could handle just that. SUV’s which were then the obvious choice seemed to be too bulky! That’s when I realized that I needed a beast with a dose of cuteness and a pinch of adventure. My perfect match would be smaller and sleeker than the SUVs but rugged, with quality design and best in class features! A perfect value for money.
Yeah, I know! My demands were exhaustive but I am renowned in my circle for being too picky, and still having my way! My friends were adamant too. Despite the checklist, they were hellbent on finding me my perfect car. Only two cars ended up being the finalists – Hyundai Creta and the Ford EcoSport. While Creta is the new black on the Indian roads, even with several friends vouching for it, I fell in love with the EcoSport. It seemed just perfect to me. The test drive further assured me that this was the one I was waiting for.
Ford gave its most selling car – the EcoSport a facelift in 2018 making it even more desirable and the best Compact SUV in the segment. Since I am an ardent fan of the manual transmission, I decided to buy the 1.5 Petrol Titanium, which despite being the mid petrol variant has been smartly packed with all that you could ask for at this price range. Its engine pulls a decent 121.36bhp@6500rpm and 150Nm@4500rpm of max power and max torque respectively. The car is sporty, and is packed with super-awesome features such as an 8.0 inch touchscreen infotainment system, rear parking sensors, front map lamps, speedo with gear shift indicator display, fog lamps, puddle lamps on outside mirrors, smart entry with capacitive sensor, audio and bluetooth control on steering wheel to name a few. A friend once told me that a car should give you the cockpit feels! And at this budget, this one surely gives you a high!
But still, it wasn’t done. The dealer wasn’t budging on the price. And I couldn’t finalize a colour for myself. Of all the variants that I had noticed on the road, white was the most common one, black was okay, orange a total no-no, blue a bit closer to my heart and grey seemed to be the wise man’s choice. I hadn’t still made up my mind when one day I paid the showroom a random visit. Outside, there were a few Ecosports lined up, of which blue seemed to be the best. But then when I entered the showroom, something made me stop right in the tracks.
There was this Red, one hell of a beast – rugged and cute at the same time, looking at me straight in the eye. It was love at first sight! Unblinking, I asked the sales-rep if I could have this one. He laughed as he nodded in affirmation.
Now that even the colour was finalized, I had to find myself the best deal. In one of the conversations, the sales-rep had told me that they were facing month end pressures so it would be great if I could book the car sooner. That was my cue. I called up every single dealership in the town to get a hang of the discounts being offered. Armed with that, I created a quote for myself, one that was not only the cheapest but also impossible to bag.
And then I put my supreme negotiation skills to use. I forwarded this quote to the dealer I was interacting the most with and told him to share his final quote with me. He called me up almost immediately and set up a meeting for the next day.
The next day, on 30th August 2018, to my utter disbelief, not only did I bag the discount, but also managed to get the wheel cap, seat covers and the accessory kit for free in addition to the complete 3M coating. For hypothecation, I chose State Bank of India, for it offered me a better rate of interest at the cheapest processing fee.
By 15th September, I could see the car standing at the dealer’s yard.
On 23rd September this hunk was finally mine.
And though I waited for almost three years to buy my first car, I am glad that instead of going for the easy options of buying a second-hand one, or a cheaper hatchback, I was daring enough to get the car that doesn’t make driving feel like a chore.
There will be people who will tell you that your first car isn’t going to be your last car, that minimalism is a better way of life. But when you make a lifestyle choice for yourself, make sure that you listen to your heart. Choose what makes you truly, madly, deeply happy, choose what makes you look forward to living out the next day to its fullest!