Saturday, October 23, 2010
Mitsubishi Lancer GT vs Proton Inspira vs Kia Forte SX???
A fellow reader, RallyArtMan wrote that he has been a fan of the Mitsubishi Lancer GT but has not bought into the model as he wasn't keen to be living on a shoestring budget in order to service the higher hire purchase loan. His monthly salary is RM6,800 and he has decided that he could allocate a budget of approximately RM90k for his new car purchase, which has the Kia Forte SX looking as THE better bet.
However, of late, he noticed that of late, there were many "relatively new" units up for sale at between RM85k - RM95k. The Lancer GT is therefore within his hire purchase means, albeit with a higher interest given the used car standing; so he is in a dilemma as to whether he should go for a used Lancer GT now, wait for the Proton Inspira in November 2010 or plunk the deposit down for a spanking new Forte SX.
Haha, this feels like an agony aunt but here goes... Dear RallyArtMan, you are indeed in a lil' bit of a fix, albeit a good type of fix. Imagine, just 2 years back, the Lancer GT would not have been in your reach. Just 2 months back, your only logical selection would have been the Forte SX. But today, all three are within your reach; although the Lancer GT is only available used (no difference than new actually, if the adverts that you saw included a 2009/10 model as the unit is essentially less than a year old even!)
I myself was a fan of the Lancer GT when it was first launched, and nearby plonk down the monies for it but I needed a more convincing business car and the Camry became the selected choice then for a lil' bit extra moolah. The Lancer GT still looks like a handsome car even after so many years and still sells in volume all over the world.
Next to a Forte SX, its looks are a lil' bit aged but its Evo X-DNA dictates that it has an aggressive stance even when stationery. A friend whom owned the Lancer GT revealed that he sold off the car a year back because while it looked great, it was slow to pick up OTR and its CVT transmission was relatively costlier to service and was not exactly as sporty as expected. As such, he traded in the Lancer GT for a Mazda 3, and was happy as bird.
Now, the 1 or 2-year old Lancer GT would have made a good purchase at RM85k, provided that the Proton Inspira has not been in the works. With the Inspira in the works, the whole equation would have been totally mixed-up. Here was a CBU Lancer re-badged as Proton, with the local contents in the form of the front and rear bumpers, sports rims and tyres. Make no mistake, it may be selling as a Proton; but the chasis, engine and transmission systems are pure Mitsubishi and brought in from Japan, not made in Tanjung Malim. Heck, it even has Lotus' engineering works in its suspension setup and Continental chipped in to design a tyre that would maximise the Lancer's chasis setup (and these were all not available when it was a genuine thorough-bred Lancer GT). Proton even had the standard foglights on the Inspira taken from MMC's RallyArt division, something that the Lancer GT owners had to upgrade by themselves.
And most importantly, if you are a driver whom have the capability to use a manual transmission, you can essentially go for the Inspira 1.8M, which coupled the bullet-proof 4B10 engine with a 5-speed manual for what-should-be-a-great-driving-experience. All these for just a mere RM80k even!
So if it was me, between a used Lancer GT (RM85k) and a new Inspira 1.8M (RM80k), I would go for the latter and utilise the RM5k savings on upgrades for the Inspira. Read the reviews from many car magazines' journalists and you would realized that most reported that the Inspira is a more inspiring drive compared to the older Lancer GT, as the Inspira is the improved version.
And if you're one of those whom drool after the Evo X looks like many Lancer GT owners, you would be able to transform the looks of your Inspira to a Evo X with that sum of monies, although that may invalidate your warranty.
Then, between the Inspira and Forte SX at sub-RM80k, I would be biased towards the Forte SX as the design board is fresher with nice European curves, and it has more features and specifications (please refer to my earlier postings) compared with the Inspira (which I would assume would assimilate the Lancer GT's, although I could stand corrected in November 2010 when the Inapira's features are known for sure). Throw in the newly-offered 5-years warranty and your purchase of the Forte SX would be a no-brainer decision actually. Or simply hold on to next year for the Kia Koup, the sportier 2-door version of the Forte.
Haha, at the end of the day, you would sleep in the bed you make; so any of the 2 almost-ultimate driving machines ie Proton Inspira or Kia Forte SX, would both be well-worth your monies.
(And if you still hanker over the Lancer GT, wait a few more months after the Inspira is officially launched and the used car pricing should dip even further- much to the owners' aghast!)