Today is Singapore’s 42nd National Day, a public holiday, so I went for a few test drives at Ubi. My parents came over to my house at about 9am. We instructed Mum a few things before we left her alone with Mayenne and the rest of us left the house for Ubi.

First stop: Toyota. We were the first customer at the showroom, and we found out that they just brought in some new cars of existing models fitted with body kit. The salesperson told us that they have 40 sets of ‘limited edition’ VIOS and ALTIS with body kit that admittedly made the cars look impressive.

I first tested the VIOS, then tried the ALTIS. VIOS engine is too loud and the feel is inferior. ALTIS is surprisingly solid-feel and quiet, but the steering wheel is very heavy. Indeed, the test drive and the free limited edition body kit made the ALTIS worth a consideration.

Next stop: Chevrolet. In contrast to the Toyota sales team, a salesperson came to us without any long-winded greetings or selling and just showed us the price list immediately, like, that was our only concern. My dad was impressed with the Optra, especially after seeing the body kit. However, we were a tad disappointed that the kit is optional. We didn’t manage to test drive because the car was not available.

We thought of dropping by Mitsubishi, although I had no car in mind to test, except for the new Lancer EX, which I understood was to be launched only from tomorrow and thus probably no test drive yet. But surprise, surprise. We managed to get a chance to try it out. In fact, it was such a popular car that the salesperson himself ordered one. My dad felt the body work is not as solid, and he himself has bad experience with Mits a decade ago. But I liked the sound of the engine and the interior is definitely the best among what we have tried. The boot door is also thoughtfully designed so that the hinges does not get in the way when loading stuffs to the brim.

The last stop was Nissan. I wanted to show Angie the LATIO, so I went back to the showroom again. This time, we got her cousin to show us around. Since I have already tested the Latio Sports, I decided to let Dad do the testing. He was impressed with the cabin space but felt that it is not as stable as ALTIS. Then we spotted the SYLPHY, and I didn’t realise that they had a 1.5l 4AT model. Imagine, the engine is the same as the lighter LATIO Sports, yet bigger than the LATIO sedan. No surprise when Dad tested the SYLPHY and felt the pick-up is not as responsive. But he was impressed with the luxury factor, and especially now when the deal throws in a few body kit that makes the car so much more nicer. However, the boot door was the conventional ones so there are space wastages. And the price is too high for a 1.5l car.

Verdict? I personally liked the feel of ALTIS, and the limited edition body kit makes the car somewhat unique. Toyota also offers optional 2-year warranty which Dad felt is good. I liked the Lancer EX for its newness and design, but at a price. I liked LATIO for its features, value and cabin space, but road-holding somewhat loses to ALTIS. Dad said don’t bother considering Chevrolet because the maintenance would be costly.

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