Honda, Mazda, Holden or Toyota?

In the afternoon, Vivian and I accompanied a friend from MBF to shop for a new car. Basically, she is shopping for a new small'ish car less than $25,000. She has done enough research, and when we picked her up from the Central station today, she was pretty certain that she will be getting the new Honda Jazz VTi. Little did she know that more we looked around today, more confused she was...

Honda Jazz VTi

First of all, we went to the Honda dealer in Rosebury. The car is quite nice - high ceiling, good enough leg room for us Asians at the back, nice interior, good back-seat design, reasonable engine, cool steering-wheel-mounted automatic transmission control, etc. However, the sales lady did not impress us. She was talking loud, and her expression was demanding. She kept on saying that the car was unique, and it is different from other small cars on the market. Yeah, right. Of course all the models of different brands are unique, but what do they differ? Then she is not making reasonable answers, but just "err. the engine is high performance and fuel efficient, and it is very good" Well. And she talked like she is the boss there. At the end, she did not make the sale, and I'll suggest her boss to reconsider her role there.

Mazda2

Then we went around to Mazda to have a look at the new Mazda2 as well. It is a newer car than Honda Jazz, but the sales is more willing to negotiate the price. It feels a bit bigger, more solid, has got a better review from Drive.com.au, has some clever usability designs, around $2,000 cheaper than the Jazz, and actually in the colour our friend likes (somehow it is very important). She actually test-drove it before, and she claimed that it is similar to the little Honda. However, she has problem with the lack of ABS breaks in these Mazda2's. Well, ABS breaks are nice, but I don't think they make that much difference to a little 1.5 litre front-wheel-driven 4 cylinders. To get the ABS you have to get the top-of-class Genki, which then drives up the price as well (to get the useless side-skirt and real spoiler as well). The guy who seved us is a Greek/Italiano (I can't tell the difference), and he is surely a hard working guy. He said that he will be working whole weekend - Saturday and Sunday. Gee.

Holden Astra SXi

After Mazda, we went to the Sutton City Holden to have a look at the Astra, as somehow some people said a new Astra would cost around $25,000 drive away as well. And it turns out they have some 2002 model of Holden Astra City SXi which match that price. Astra is actually a different class of car - bigger chase, bigger engine, European, nice built and good quality. But the bottom of the model SXi has only 3 doors, which can be quite inconvenient (and less helpful for ministry as well). The interior also felt much less equipped comparing with similar priced Honda and Mazda. All other Astra's are well above the price range we are looking for - at least $28,000. So at the end we did not spend too much time there knowing that she surely will not buy it.

Toyota Corolla

Our last stop is at the Sydney City Toyota to have a look at Corolla. There was a deal on 2002 model of Toyota Corolla Conquest with drive away price just under $25k. A Cantonese speaking guy came and served Vivian and her friend, so to me I cannot pick up much of the details. But it is actually quite a nice car - it is in the same league as the Holden Astra in terms of size and engine. Conquest is well equipped, has nice interior, good trim, and more importantly it has 5 doors! The only problem is that it is last year's model run out sale, and the colour selection is really limited. Neither does it equip with ABS breaks, and it does chew up more petrol. But I think it is actually quite a good value.

So, after four hours of driving around, shopping and comparing different cars, our poor friend went home more confused...