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Pubsamare

Help with buying a used hybrid car

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Guys, I am planning to upgrade from my manual EK3, and am looking at buying an aqua, as it suits my budget and other requirements. My biggest concern is the battery. There are some adds saying battery 100% and some saying battery has been replaced. How should I check the battery? Is it a big concern? Anything else to check when buying a used hybrid vehicle? 

I would value other recommendations as well. Although I would prefer a manual, I have to settle for an auto due to family concerns. Budget is 3 - 3.5M.  Prefer a sedan, but a hatch with reasonable space is OK, but prefer to avoid very small ones like the wagonR, etc. Will be driving mostly on colombo city traffic, with occasional long trips. Something reliable as my wife will also be using it. I would also like to have some power under the hood and driving pleasure, but I know I might have to compromise on that due to other requirements and comittements. Fuel efficiency is not a big concern, but a good efficiency is most welcome. Resale value is also a minor concern as I will only be using it for 1.5yrs max. 
Appreciate if you guys could help me, as you always have!

Edited by Pubsamare

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"Fuel efficiency is not a big concern, but a good efficiency is most welcome."

why a hybrid then?

With so many hybrid issues and battery issues

there are ways to fake the battery health so beware

they way aquas are depreciating due to  battery concern u may have issues getting rid of it.

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Thanks for the advice tiv. Since I would be driving mostly in city traffic, a better fuel efficiency would be an advantage, but being a hybrid is not necessary. Considered aqua mainly because it has a 1500cc engine. I might not be comfortable with 1000cc ones, so opted against the vitz. Any other suggestions for my requirements? And I'm quite ok with brands other than toyota, and resale value is also not a big concern as long as my other requirements are met. 

I would prefer something after 2010 or so. I considered mazda axela and FD1(although before 2010), but they seem above my budget. 

Edited by Pubsamare

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2 hours ago, Pubsamare said:

Something reliable as my wife will also be using it. I would also like to have some power under the hood and driving pleasure, but I know I might have to compromise on that due to other requirements and comittements. Fuel efficiency is not a big concern

Well you're in the right path to NOT buy a hybrid... while I'm not a hybridphobiac - aquas did develop battery issues more frequently than the others. So, the best option would be get yourself a normal ICE car - if a used hybrid is a must the least troublesome out there would be a fit shuttle. For 3.5 you could manage a 2010 Axela... the FD1 will be marginally out of range - those are my top picks for that price range you can get a nice CS3 for well below your budget (2011+) - Lancer EX will be out of range. Or if you are not afraid to die of boredom a 2011-2012 Yaris is also possible - boring but generally reliable car : there's a 2011 model for 3.3 on the quick site as we speak. 

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Okay..so I am going to go the other way....

For starters you say fuel efficiency is not a concern but you hint that you are.....so what actually is it ? I am guessing you don't want something that does 4kmpl but as long as it is an average family type car that does 8+ would be okay ? 

Secondly...do not believe any of the adverts....go look at the car...and if you think it is worth a 2nd or 3rd look..take it for a proper check up yourself (this applies to gasoline and hybrids). Then decide if the vehicle is worth considering the after purchase fix ups you will have to do. Remember...there will be after purchase fix ups no matter what you buy..only a very very very few cars that have been taken care of like a baby (usually by an enthusiast) will truly be buy-and-drive without any serious fix-ups.

Thirdly..about Matroska's comment about the Fit Shuttle....not true...it is a numbers game. You get 1000s more of Aquas and standard Fits in Sri Lanka than the Shuttle. Therefore, you hear about the normal Hybrid battery issues a lot more frequently than with the Shuttle. Also....I do not believe these are "ïssues" with the car, but consequences of using a car in an environment it was not designed for with no resources to properly take care of them (both from the owners side and from garages/service centers). Note that these cars have no issues in Japan.

Finally, what should you buy ? Well...for starters...if you come across a really good, honest and loved Aqua do not turn away from it in fear of "what-if" issues and then opt for a Axela or a Fit Shuttle or something that is just average. The same applies other way around too....first and foremost go for the most honest and well taken care of car. The Aqua is a good choice....so is the fit shuttle....they are both different categories of cars. The Aqua feels lively although the steering is dead and light. The Shuttle has a better driving feel but the body dynamics suck....The FIt, which shares the same Hybrid system and platform as the Shuttle series, does have the DCT issue. But can you find a gasoline variant of it ? Also..there are a few 1300cc Vitz and the 1300cc Vitz a completely different feeling car than the 1L variant (added benefit is that it seems like the 1300cc variants were typically purchased by people who actually wanted a decent car and not a cheap set of wheels with a Toyota badge on it). There are a few 1500cc RSs as well.

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55 minutes ago, iRage said:

For starters you say fuel efficiency is not a concern but you hint that you are.....so what actually is it ? I am guessing you don't want something that does 4kmpl but as long as it is an average family type car that does 8+ would be okay

 

1 hour ago, matroska said:

Well you're in the right path to NOT buy a hybrid... while I'm not a hybridphobiac - aquas did develop battery issues more frequently than the others. So, the best option would be get yourself a normal ICE car - if a used hybrid is a must the least troublesome out there would be a fit shuttle. For 3.5 you could manage a 2010 Axela... the FD1 will be marginally out of range - those are my top picks for that price range you can get a nice CS3 for well below your budget (2011+) - Lancer EX will be out of range. Or if you are not afraid to die of boredom a 2011-2012 Yaris is also possible - boring but generally reliable car : there's a 2011 model for 3.3 on the quick site as we speak. 

Yes, I could live with 8-10kmpl in city limits. My ek3 does 10-12 in city traffic. That range would be ideal. 

I have no experience with hybrid vehicles. What is the correct way to check the hybrid battery? Should I go to the agents?

Thanks for the suggestions to guys, I will have a look at the shuttle as well. 

About the 1300vitz, does it have adequate power? 

I do like the axela. Should I expect out of the ordinary repairs in a 2010 axela?

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1 hour ago, Pubsamare said:

About the 1300vitz, does it have adequate power? 

 

Yes...it has the same amount of power as any 1300cc car....the 1500cc variant has the same amount of power as any 1500cc car. The 1000cc variant has the same amount of power as any 1000cc car..it is just that the car is too big for that engine and with the CVT gear box the 1000cc engine from the dark ages is just dreadful. The 1300cc is actually a pretty decent match for the car.

The 1300cc Vitz would put out about 90hp...the 1500cc about 102hp. To put it in terms you would be comfortable with...

Your EK3 with a D15B (?) engine should put out about 102hp and a Civic with a D13B engine puts out about 90hp. Granted the Vitz is about 20 kilos more than an EK series Civic.

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7 hours ago, iRage said:

Thirdly..about Matroska's comment about the Fit Shuttle....not true...it is a numbers game. You get 1000s more of Aquas and standard Fits in Sri Lanka than the Shuttle. Therefore, you hear about the normal Hybrid battery issues a lot more frequently than with the Shuttle.

If you take the cars inOP's range it's mostly Honda Fits (GP1-GP2-GP5)  and aquas. There are a lot more aquas that GP2's but if you combine the total Honda Hatches that's more of an equal number.

Of the lot aquas developed a lot of hybrid battery related issues compared to Honda's. (I work in a IT company. IT folk love hybrids - and most of us bought hybrids during the middle of the last decade - during the last two years the aquas started serially getting hybrid battery problems)The problem with the Hondas are almost always not the hybrid battery but other stuff. GP5 - DCT, GP1- the famous oil burn issue. These are inherent issues. Despite the GP2 having the same IMA setup as the GP1 , there is no recall on the oil burn issue on the GP2.  If i was asked to buy a hybrid right now with that budget I'd buy the GP2. 

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6 hours ago, Pubsamare said:

I have no experience with hybrid vehicles. What is the correct way to check the hybrid battery? Should I go to the agents?

Yes - it's 4000 something to get a comprehensive battery report. 

6 hours ago, Pubsamare said:

I do like the axela. Should I expect out of the ordinary repairs in a 2010 axela?

AFAIK nothing 'scary' in the axela - the usual 10 year old car problems might be there. 

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Well, since you dont plan to keep the car for a long time I would go with something which is very minimum in depreciation and something you can sell quickly.

So I would go with the grandmas car 'Yaris'. 

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5 hours ago, matroska said:

If you take the cars inOP's range it's mostly Honda Fits (GP1-GP2-GP5)  and aquas. There are a lot more aquas that GP2's but if you combine the total Honda Hatches that's more of an equal number.

Of the lot aquas developed a lot of hybrid battery related issues compared to Honda's. (I work in a IT company. IT folk love hybrids - and most of us bought hybrids during the middle of the last decade - during the last two years the aquas started serially getting hybrid battery problems)The problem with the Hondas are almost always not the hybrid battery but other stuff. GP5 - DCT, GP1- the famous oil burn issue. These are inherent issues. Despite the GP2 having the same IMA setup as the GP1 , there is no recall on the oil burn issue on the GP2.  If i was asked to buy a hybrid right now with that budget I'd buy the GP2. 

Again...it is a numbers problem...there are far more Aquas on the road than the Hondas therefore you hear more about the Aquas going bad than the Hondas or any other brand. The Hondas might not have directly had hybrid battery issues but the IMA and other integrated systems had issues that made the whole thing go bonkers.

Then on top of that there is also the issue that the Aqua being a famous car, a lot of crap cars were brought down by car salesmen. The garage I got the Trueno fixed at had a garage next to it that would fix up beaten up unregistered Aquas. The importers would bring down the car with the parts at that time.

At the end of the day it is not something wrong with the Aqua but the fact that the car is being put to use in an environment it was not designed for. Same with the Honda DCT issue...Someone was talking about the old threads claiming to be from the Jurassic era....well..we did say this would happen...basically cars going bad because we simply do not have the environment nor accessibility to the required resources to properly take care of them.

My father in-law has an Aqua which he bought around 2014....every year he puts a good 16,000km or so and so far he has not had any issues with the battery or anything else and has not done anything apart from routine maintenance. And he is a normal car user...does not do all the precautionary stuff like some of us would because of paranoia. It is the same thing with a few other acquaintances in Japan. Even in Sri Lanka there are quite a few car guys and non car guys I know who have Aquas...the car guys' Aquas..the last time I checked had no issues (apart from some of their suspension and wheel mods giving them problems) except for one. Then the non car guys..some of them had various issues...some of these issues were because the vent system for the battery was clogged and pretty much grilled  the battery (I had to source some parts for them in Japan)...and for some the issues just did pop up without knowing why. Others...well...they have no issues what so ever apart from usual battery degradation (and a few of them are the thel higanna types we keep referring to). Some still use them some sold them off without any issues tied to their cars.

I would have no issues buying a Hybrid in Japan. However I would not buy one in SL....at the end of the day none of the manufacturers have a Hybrid system that actually is fit for purpose for an environment like Sri Lanka for the way we use them (none of the Hybrid systems for any market are actually recommended for severe use..which is what we have in SL). In Vietnam they have been trying to get Toyota to launch Hybrid models and even shown business models to actually manufacture them in Vietnam, as Vietnam already manufactures everything from the Camry to the Fortuner; however, Toyota keeps turning it down because they do not want to service the model here. Even the Prius C in Sri Lanka, according to the TL based Japanese staff, was the result of a hard fought financial decision rather than a technical one.

 

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3 hours ago, iRage said:

Then on top of that there is also the issue that the Aqua being a famous car, a lot of crap cars were brought down by car salesmen.

This is common to any popular model (Vitz, Wagon R nowadays) in SL due to popularity - I'm certain  you know how many high milage and messed up  vitzes get sent here nowadays and 80,000 km rolled back to 15,000 .Any buyer buying a used Toyota has higher probability of running into a dubious unit than with another band. Yes the Aqua is not a bad vehicle at all but the OP gets to chose from a contaminated sample set. This could apply to the shuttles as well as there might be multitudes of them used  and abused in tourism anyway  in the context of this question as I told OP to avoid hybrids but if a gun was pointed at him and forced to buy one he'd be marginally safer with a Non-Aqua, Non-DCT hybrid from around 2012-2013 and that leaves us with (I've ignored CRZ's,Freeds and Insights, the latter due to being the oldest) GP1 and GP2 and we all know that the GP1 2012 models developed the famous oil leak issue (which funnily enough is an actual recall) and that leaves OP with the GP2. 

3 hours ago, iRage said:

basically cars going bad because we simply do not have the environment nor accessibility to the required resources to properly take care of them.

Can think of so many instances : GD1's developing CVT issues , Axio Dashboards cracking, DCT, premature battery failure on hybrids and electric cars....the list goes on.  

Edited by matroska
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6 hours ago, matroska said:

This is common to any popular model (Vitz, Wagon R nowadays) in SL due to popularity - I'm certain  you know how many high milage and messed up  vitzes get sent here nowadays and 80,000 km rolled back to 15,000 .Any buyer buying a used Toyota has higher probability of running into a dubious unit than with another band. Yes the Aqua is not a bad vehicle at all but the OP gets to chose from a contaminated sample set. This could apply to the shuttles as well as there might be multitudes of them used  and abused in tourism anyway  in the context of this question as I told OP to avoid hybrids but if a gun was pointed at him and forced to buy one he'd be marginally safer with a Non-Aqua, Non-DCT hybrid from around 2012-2013 and that leaves us with (I've ignored CRZ's,Freeds and Insights, the latter due to being the oldest) GP1 and GP2 and we all know that the GP1 2012 models developed the famous oil leak issue (which funnily enough is an actual recall) and that leaves OP with the GP2. 

Can think of so many instances : GD1's developing CVT issues , Axio Dashboards cracking, DCT, premature battery failure on hybrids and electric cars....the list goes on.  

Fair enough....but still...I would stay away from a Hybrid....which the OP is willing to do....so a large engined Vitz is a possibility...this was not a popular car and those who actually have it have taken care of it (at least those I have seen have been taken care of) because they did not buy it because it was cheap but because they wanted a decent hatchback. Is the OP willing to look at the Korean offereings ? Those would provide the fuel consumption the OP is looking for; in the right trim it would feel as refined as any Japanese car (perhaps the Fit would have a slight edge over the VItz on this); also most of the examples would have a decent maintenance history with the agent. Personally, I do believe the Japanese cars still have that slight bit of finesse' over the Korean equivalents, but considering the junk you would come across in Sri Lanka....Koreans do offer a much better value proposition in terms of the quality of the car you get (not because they are built better but because Sri Lanka gets a lot of junk imported).

As for my comment about cars being used outside of their environment...I meant that in a general term and not just in terms of Hybrids...so yeah totally....the export Corolla also had some cracking issue but I do believe when it did that was addressed by the agent (granted I have come across only one of these so no idea if it was common).

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Really appreciate the valuable advice guys. 

I am quite ok with korean ones. I had a a look at the rio and cerato, which were within my budget. I have not used kia cars before. (My father had a hatch sometime back, I remember it being a decent car) Are they good? Specially maintenance and reliability?

With your advices, I feel it would be better to avoid hybrids, except may be the gp2 or a one of a kind aqua, if there is one.😀

I did a search for the vitz, and it seems I will have to try hard to find a good 1300cc one. I could not find a 1500cc one. I will keep an eye for them. 

Any other cars that I should look at?

Thanks once again for your time and advive guys. 

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How about Honda Civic ES is it too old, or may be even a early FD 2007-9 should be starting around Rs. 3.5 Mn.

You may need additional cash to fix few issues  

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Pubsamare..Now that's a catchy one! 😁

Well, i can relate to your story directly. Used an EK3 and then switched to an Aqua in 2015. Here's my story,

I have completed 4 years with my Aqua and has done 143000KM as of today. When i bought the car, i have to change the rear wheel hub which cost me 15k. Ever since until end of 2019 i never had a trouble with the car. It has a great pulling power and does very good with fuel. In june 2019, i have to change the battery with a recon and still driving same without any issues. I've actually made a battery with the help of a known guy using cells of 2015 batteries. Now i'm planning to sell the car and my upgrade will most likely be another hybrid!

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On 1/13/2020 at 11:21 AM, kush said:

How about Honda Civic ES is it too old, or may be even a early FD 2007-9 should be starting around Rs. 3.5 Mn.

You may need additional cash to fix few issues  

Yes, ES is a bit too old, wanted to go for something newer. But coming from and ek3, FD1 was my first choice, but it is a bit above my budget. 3.5M is my max, including the insurance and possible repairs of the new one. 

On 1/13/2020 at 11:47 AM, Jbreak said:

Pubsamare..Now that's a catchy one! 😁

Well, i can relate to your story directly. Used an EK3 and then switched to an Aqua in 2015. Here's my story,

I have completed 4 years with my Aqua and has done 143000KM as of today. When i bought the car, i have to change the rear wheel hub which cost me 15k. Ever since until end of 2019 i never had a trouble with the car. It has a great pulling power and does very good with fuel. In june 2019, i have to change the battery with a recon and still driving same without any issues. I've actually made a battery with the help of a known guy using cells of 2015 batteries. Now i'm planning to sell the car and my upgrade will most likely be another hybrid!

The decision to change my ek3 was a difficult one, but necessary due to practical reasons.

The reason I initially considered aqua was because of the engine, with 1500cc I hoped for the pulling power that I am used to. What ever the other requirements, I dont feel like going for something that would not give that pleasure of driving. 

This is going to be a difficult decision, I guess I will have to spend a lot of time hunting cars. Thanks a lot to all you guys for the valuable advice. I'll update once I make the change.

Cheers. 

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