FAMILIAR with those magazine quizzes? You know, where you discover the kind of person you are by the car you drive? For example, if you’re a fun-loving extrovert with a yen for danger and an eye for the ladies, you probably drive … wait for it … an Aston Martin!
Such quizzes mean absolutely piffle in real life – for the majority, the choice of car is dictated by less-exciting factors like practicality and budget.
Okay, so when I was much younger and slightly more foolish than I am now, I turned my nose down at Asian cars because they were perceived to be, well, boring. As a teenager, I was a regular reader of glossy car magazines that filled my head with lofty visions of some day owning a flashy car or two.
Reality struck when I started working. I didn’t have an inheritance when I became an adult, so it took years to garner sufficient resources for a used Japanese car.
It would be temporary, I told myself … but as the years progressed, the enormity of my dreams became more uncomfortably obvious.
Still, the young and foolish have a stubbornly resolute streak, and sometime in the early 1990s, I pawned all my earthly possessions to acquire a pre-owned French car.
It had loads of character, my friends agreed. Cars with character, I later learnt, also spent a lot of down-time in the workshop, bleeding their owners to the marrow. So I sold it after a couple of years, but did I learn my lesson? Not really, because when you’re young, you take pride in laughing in the face of good sense. I got another French car.
I was luckier because this car stayed with me for six years before maintenance costs began to escalate. By then, I had been dragged kicking and roaring into my 40s, and you’d think some pragmatism would have taken hold of me.
To a point, yes ... I didn’t get an exotic super bike to signal my mid-life crisis, I got a pick-up truck instead … more macho, no? Too late, I realised there were many women as well who drove trucks. There went the machismo out of the window.
The truck phase lasted a couple of years; my missus loved it, and the behemoth was friendly on the wallet. However, it was odd when we dressed up in our best for functions … and made our entry in a truck. Not cool, especially if you’re wearing traditional clothes. Look, if you drive a truck, only jeans are appropriate.
So I moved on to a more practical, er, Japanese car – entry-level, economical and easy to maintain. As a friend helpfully pointed out, I had come a full circle.
You’d think owning a practical Japanese sedan had nothing to with style or statement, right? However, at a car showroom recently, the salesman told me the prices of the new generation of the car I owned were going up by a few thousand bucks.
“They want to place themselves as premium brand, unlike the ‘other’ brands,” he said.
That’s a double-edged sword for me. On one hand, if and when I change my car for the new model in the future, I’ll need to fork out more, and the last thing I want on my head as I coast into retirement is another big loan.
Read the full article:http://thestar.com.my/lifestyle/story.a ... =lifefocus