I’m car shopping busily and it sucks big time. I have no idea why desis push other desis, infact torture them until they accept, to only buy Honda or Toyota.

For the money that I’m investing, to get a ‘dubba’ 95′ Honda with manual windows and coffee stained back seats, I can get a slick 2001 Dodge Neon or a ultra equipped 2000 Mercury Mystique clad in leather seats and 4 disc changer attcahed to 6 Bose speakers. I know that these cars might lose their values soon but why should I end up rotating the windows when I have a choice to click a button to make them go up/down.

Oh !! yeah, I love Honda Civic and that’s like the ideal middleclass vehicle. It’s like buying a Kinetic Honda or Hero Honda Splendour back in India. As days go by, I’m petrified to even look at other cars also. It’s like wearing a blind-fold from the minute and finding my way through fellow dudes.

Seattle’s used car market is huge and costly too. Unlike the lazy/pleasant lifestlye, the car market is busy. The cars come and go in no time. So the minute you narrow down on the car and try visiting the car on the weekend, there are couple of others who want to test ride the car there and you end getting fed up by competition and come back after eating masala dosa in Redmond’s Namaste.

Back to the honda syndrome, the minute I start describing the nice Mustang, I got to see/ride, my friends would go busy saying,”Thuddu waste da. Onnu Honda/Toyota vaangu, illaena kamunu engakuda bus’la vaa”. To run from them, can someone help me with escape velocity ?

49 responses to “HondaToyotaToyotaHondaHondaToyotaToyotaHonda”

  1. I completely agree with this. Some of the other cars that you can explore are Nissan Altima, Volkswagon Jetta or how about a really cool Mini Cooper! These are real good value for the money and a lil’ better than Honda & Toyota.


  2. Honda, nothing beats it….get a Civic or an Accord or Pilot..Odessy might be too early for you now 🙂 you could also try their Hybrids.


  3. Can’t agree more. Forget about others’ viewpoints and resale values…Buy what you want, there are so many better cars available in the market for the same amount of money that you might spend on honda’s or toyota’s…


  4. I hate this Honda/Toyota obsession among desis..especially the bland looking corollas and civics of a bygone era. But all said, my 2000 ford contour at 90K miles has innumerable problems…a/c doesnt work, neither do the power windows(imagine my plight in summer!)…on the driver side it just doesnt work, the other windows work on and off..and the engine(a v6) sucks when it comes to response…compare it to the 92 honda accord that my friend has…boy the steering and brakes are perfect/the acceleration is great and the engine is smooth as ever at 140K miles…

    as an automotive engineer who lives/studies and works in motown (more so in ford town, dearborn) you can take my advice…

    if you want looks/comfort/and the feeling of being in some kinda cockpit go american..

    reliability/quality…jap cars

    performance/precision engineering ..german

    these are just thumb rules..i m not saying all american cars are bad on reliability or all jap cars look bland…used car buying is based more on luck than anything else..because it primarily depends on who owned it and how it was maintained…

    Now if you are buying an used car and you are gonna have it till the odometer atleast touches 200k is the best bet..(the latest honda accord looks cool as well)..

    all said, this is the time to buy GM have employee discounts plus GM cars have been doing great in quality studies of late (JD power)’s a good bargain!

    In recent times American cars have been improving quality..after seeing people flocking to buy jap if you are looking at an am car look at a model after 2001..



  5. LG: Onga angst puriyudhu…

    I know that these cars might loose their values soon but why should I end up rotating the windows when I have a choice to click a button to make them go up/down.

    Point is, I am worried whether u are perfectly aware of everything that these dodges and mercurys have on offer, other than the power everythings. There is a reason why these cars are part of Enterprise fleets. They are cheap (and high on maintenance after the initial period) and the rental firms don’t want to keep them past one year after which u see them in the used car markets.

    So, even though being in a Honda/Toyota/Nissan without “power everythings” might look odd to you, my friend here who drives a 14 yr old Camry with 185 k miles on it, smiles and asks me to tell you about the frequent 6 hr long drives (one way) that we use the car for….

    P.S You might wanna look into the Nissans. They rock!


  6. First time commenting in your page…

    I completely agree with with Varun’s comments.

    I am having a Chrysler sebring model and I am completely satisfied with its performance and looks/comforts.

    In Detroit area where I live, or for that matter, in any place in US, if you are a desi without a Toyoto or a Honda car, they look at you as if you have commited a blunder!!!

    If you are planning to buy any used cars, make sure you check the car history in, then take it to a mechanic and do a 100 point check (might cost some 20 to 30$, but it is worth it) and get their certification.

    – Karthik


  7. and btw:
    my personal sedan choices..

    nissan altima (the new one)
    honda accord
    mazda 6 (partly ford owned, so not really jap)
    volvo s40
    toyota camry (low on looks, but then toyota is toyota..not a great automotive pioneer but one heck of a manufacturing wizard)
    pontiac g6 (interior sucks)



  8. I own neither a Honda nor a Toyota (all my desi friends do). What I have is, a 93-Nissan and a 94-Volvo, and they are both awesome. Absolute value for money.


  9. It’s actually pretty easy sitting here and suggesting, but poi partha thaan puriyum adhula enna kashtam irukkunnu. Car, kalyanam are all very risky things, oru nimishathil decision edukka mudiyathu. 🙂 And most of the times, the opinion of many others in these matters turn out to be wrong. Stay true to instincts. Good luck.


  10. forget what others say…. you are the one who’s going to drive it, own it, it may be worth it in the end to be diff from the rest of the crowd….
    here i’m r’bering Robert Frost’s famous lines….

    Two paths diverged in a wood and I – I took
    the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference
    by Robert Frost

    btw: if i r’ber my physics well…escape velocity is 11.2km/sec….adhukku neenga NASA vai thaan contact pannanum !!;-)


  11. machaan..
    namaku edhuku car??adhum michavan use panna car?
    oru Honda vaangara dhuttu la 10000 Bonda vaangalaam la?
    summa kaila oru packet kadala vechukitu..apdiyae kai veesitu kaathaada nadanthe pogalaam ennakaetaa..


  12. Some of the other cars that you can explore are Nissan Altima, Volkswagon Jetta or how about a really cool Mini Cooper!

    Ramya – True. I like the volkswagen and nissan. If only I decide to buy volkswagen, it has to be beetle. I just love for the history upon which it runs !!


  13. Prabhu, Ferrari vaanga ingum ‘remba’ naal aagum !!

    Sriks, I have read about the hybrids. Kick A** stuff. BTW what’s the odyssey. Goto see that.

    Sowmy, Thats’ right, follow the instincts. Thanks.


  14. Varun, Thanks a ton for that worthy advice. GM cars…hmm. I’m looking out for them already. Also thanks for your car countdown list.

    Karthik, Thats nice to share your non-honda/toyota experience here. I have taken carfax subscription for a month and also have all firestone car service numbers around Seattle 😉


  15. raapi, noothula onu sonnalum ……. correct. only that i would reach the destination after two days later 😉 to accept it, walking through america, it looks different than driving through. both have their own pros/cons.

    while walking you can see colors around. i mean true colors of flowers. not other way machi !!


  16. Anti, To truly say I loved the honda and toyota before started to look out for cars. but when I started doing it, i end up with a really ‘dubba’ car that discourages me. either i need to raise my budget bar or i should end up buying american car. but the point is desis, look you as someone commiting a crime.

    The minute they seem to push me to buy a honda car, i see them as Kathala Kathala kamal with those graphic devil kombu on their head 😉

    But yeah, I love those Nissans. Cheaper than honda/toyota and looks better than them.


  17. Prius – is not just another hybrid. It has too many features to be listed :-).
    It is a Toyota and that is not a good reason to be dismissive.


  18. beetle..nice car..but unfortunately its cuteness has led to the tag of being a girl’s car..and worse, of not being a straight guy’s car..unfair but true..

    but the old beetle was a classic..

    volkswagen is bad on quality..the 97/98 jettas have a lot of transmission issues..


  19. Guru, you have not mentioned budget but assuming that it is not going to be too frugal, I would suggest looking at a 2000-2001 Toyota or Honda. For one thing, these at least have the power options, not to mention CD players (even if not CD changers and Bose systems), but more importantly these don’t lose value rapidly as when buying the newer ones once you are out the dealer’s door. Again when it comes to resale value, these are hard to beat. Actually if you are not looking for short-term use and throw, I would even suggest the Toyota Prius. With the current craze for it (and the tax deduction being the highest this year before it scales down next year), you’ll have no dearth of buyers to dispose of it when you want. Let me know if you need more info.


  20. Lazy,
    I am a recent victim of such pressure and succumbed to the Honda Civic. My car is great awesome mileage and a good CD player with decent speakers. No complaints at all.
    But something aches within everytime I see a Altima or a Jetta zoom past:) I miss the satisfaction of my hard earned investment:)
    So buy what YOU like:) Whether good or bad you have to pay for it:)


  21. LG: You can forget about buying a Cooper second hand! I mean, that car has been rated as having the best re-sale value these past two years! And with a 20k price, the lowest price u’d be able to find one for would be the just over $10k, cos its only been out since 2001-2002.
    And next time someone says that the Beetle is a “chick car”, correct them by saying its a “chick magnet”. Both the Mini and the Beetle are on my list of Must-Own cars!
    And as for Hondas/Toyotas being branded “desi cars”, stop and think whether u wanna move away from these cars just cos they are branded that way! They are reliable. So do u wanna forego them just cos of their image? I think that its sometimes ok to go along with the pack!


  22. guru,

    try a scion. that way you can not only have a cool looking car but also be within the warm confines of desi land.

    btw, there is nothing wrong with the desi agmark brand of toyota and camrys. the value for money is just too good to ignore. if you wanna use and throw, go for the american models. if u wanna keep and use, go in for the toyotas and hondas. that’s about the choice you need to make.



  23. Here’s the equations I observed/heard/read:
    Jetta, MiniCooper, Pontiac… => Chick car
    Toyota, Honda => Typical Desi car
    Nissan => new “desi” car a.k.a Gulti-oreffered car
    Mustang => Guy’s car [youngster’s mainly]
    Mazda => Risky car
    Chevy => Hardcore American car [my F1-desi pal has a MonteCarlo, no complaints so far.]
    Ford => So-so ones, good comforts
    Mitshubishi => Not good in gas

    Varun & aNTi have better insight.


  24. Oh, BTW, I almost bought a Scion but didn’t for some financial reasons. That’s a “Cool” car.
    However, you may not find it in the used car market as they are pretty new and there’s a long wait for those new cars.


  25. Ya, chey.. I missed mentioning the Scion. I havent got my first pay check yet, but when it is time to buy my first car, I think if its gonna be a new car, it might more or less be a Scion Tc! Hyper reliable engine from a Camry in a car that probably weighs 50 percent less! Awesome! And not many ppl know its a Toyota! And gives me all I want at the 18k range.
    But LG, are u looking to buy a new car or a used car?


  26. Hey Lazygeek,
    Desis make the smartest money choices, so go with the flow. Whats wrong with owning a car that every other desi has? I bought a camry at 36K miles, i’ve now added more than 50K miles to it. It still drives like a dream in every weather condition. Your heart may ache now when you see snazzy looking american cars drive past, but, u’ll surely appreciate your old toyota when you dont have to shell out big bucks for car service and when you can sell your car in a week (to another desi ofcourse)!


  27. Lazygeek, I am an occasional visitor to blogs now. This was quite an intresting topic, since I have also started to look for cars!


  28. Thennavan/Morpheus, Thanks for the suggestion.

    Ashwini, I will probably end up with a altima and probably be driving the vehicle whizzing past you.


  29. As varun suggested above, beetle is a girlie car. Take it from me, Jetta all the way boss. But neenga gas mileage appadi ippadi endrellam paarthaal, toyotavum hondavum thaan best bet.

    My opinion-
    1) Get a Nissan for about 2-3K. Drive it around for an year or so. Even if it breaks down, you aren’t losing much. After an year, you can jump to step 2.
    2) Get a new Acura/Jetta/Beemer according to your mood and moolah. Whizz around.
    3) 3-8K is the risky band of business. Depending on your luck, your maintenace costs will be low.
    4) Don’t get a car above 8K. Better get a new one for that


  30. Guru,
    All said and done about American cars, the only good thing is if you want take back some “dates” when you go back to India, it would do the needful …:) just kidding…make you choice boss, I am sure you will never a right answer. 🙂


  31. Ajay, Nice way to put it 😉

    Katz, Seriously if you read through the post you would agree that I want to go with the pack(as anti said) but then it’s not a original sin[not the angelina jolie movie] to go for an american car. As many has agreed, if someone is planning to sell a car soon after buying, a jap car will hold the value. others might dimnish soon. but i’m just contemplating whether to go with luxury or value for $. I’ve no pre-determined illusions to be a ‘diff desi’. I’m just trying to live the life of a desi as it comes except that I’ve a blog where nice people like you would comment on my silly thougths 😉

    Anti, looking for a used car. thats again was forced into my mind by fellow friends. i have nothing wrong to say about them except that I don’t submit to some of their views.

    Lb, Thanks for sharring that experience.

    This was quite an intresting topic, since I have also started to look for cars!

    Vinod, Best of luck to you and ofcourse to me. Let me know when you get one !!


  32. 1) Get a Nissan for about 2-3K. Drive it around for an year or so. Even if it breaks down, you aren’t losing much. After an year, you can jump to step

    AnonyMouse, I would probably got with point 1. Am coming near that.

    Sriks, Just imagined me with a bunch of Perichampazham packets in the Frankfurt airport. Can’t control the laugh.


  33. lol. Look into the Mazda 6 as well, while you’re at it. I”ve owned one for about 2 years now. No problems so far, great looks, comes with Bose speakers n stuff. Think out of the box.

    I know the feeling of getting pushed towards a Honda and Toyota.. and the more I heard it, the more I knew I wasn’t going to get one :-).


  34. Jettas may look good and manly but be ready to spend hundreds of dollars on MONTHLY basis on repairs.

    I think every desi in US goes through this stage where he wonders why every other desis buy Toyota or Honda and the rebels go and buy something else anyway.

    I have a friend who bought Jeep Grand Cherokee and sold it within 3 months for a huge loss.

    And Jetta less said the better. I have it for last two years and am repenting the day the “rebel” in me made that choice. Every other month I am spending on big repairs. And even small malfunction costs $600 plus as parts of Jetta are very costly.

    So good bye Jetta next week and I have already finalized a neat Camry SE.

    I learnt a bitter lesson by NOT going with the flow, so just adding my 2cents. At least in this matter fellow desis are right.


  35. volvo jetta and passat is what i would bet on !{oh and i used that too ! }
    never that honda civic or whatever and definitely not camry


  36. Hey Lazy awesome post!or rather thanks for the post that invited so many comments on an issue that needs to be addressed ;)…the honda-toyota craze in desis. very informative comments section!

    havent finished with all 44 comments above. agree with Varun.


  37. In Detroit area, its almost always true that the moment you see a Honda Civic/Accord or Toyota Corolla/Camry(or sometimes Nissan altima/Mazda Protege), chances are there’s a desi behind the wheel (Its a joke between friends..we see these cars and we say “desi poraan paar” no offense for we are all part of the community).
    Most americans still drive american cars in motown since its Big 3’s last frontier.



  38. I have a honda civic that I have been using for 10 years now. I have put 130k miles on it , so far. No issues or maintenance except for the regular oil changes. Compare this to the “maintenance stories” of the American Car users. You can also check out Hyundai. It is good and is not expensive.


  39. LG,

    I started out with the same mindset as you ‘to not buy a desi car aka honda/toyota’. Eventually I succumbed to the pressure and ended up with a bland ’99 corolla with everything manual except the tranmission.

    But I’m more than happy now. After a year of owning it, I’ve spent around $250 so far for oil changes and regular services/maint. Not a single time has the car died on me, no repairs, and absolutely 503% reliable. With less than 10% depreciation after a year and 10K miles, what more can anyone ask?

    My roomie who owns a 2001 Mustang has shelled out over $1K on maint/repairs and the price is 30% down within a year! Upside – cooool car.

    My advise: Go desi! You’ll never regret it.


  40. Lazy,

    trust me, the hype behind jap cars reliability is not exaggerated. They are reliable workhorses and how !! I have a 99 Honda CRV EX(bought it new back then). I have put on 100K miles on it. It is still going like new. Long drive, short drive. Doesn’t matter.

    On the other hand, a friend of mine has a 2001 Ford Taurus at 65K miles and it is problem ridden. Brand new American Cars are a pleasure to drive. You can try rental cars from Enterprise for that. But, for long term reliability, nothing to quite beat a Honda/Toyota/Nissan.

    Good Luck.