How To Own These 5 Fancy New Cars In Singapore (Even With A Low Income)

Nic Tse

Newsflash: driving with Grab is great. Not only can current car owners turn their depreciating asset into a money making machine, aspiring car owners can brilliantly get around the gahmen’s plans to go car-lite and bicycle heavy.

However, if you think that this is a puff piece about how cool, rewarding, enterprising, liberating and life altering it is to drive with Grab… you cannot be any more right. Why, you ask? It’s simple; you get the chance to unleash your inner Top Gear and drive one of the following new models with pride and style, all without paying as much as you think you would. Notice we said new, not second hand. Because no one likes sitting where the previous guy has been planting his arse on for the last few years. Cars can be an intimate issue like that, OK?

All right, back to our favourite five new rides.

Audi A4

Audi has always been obsessed with ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ –advancement through technology. And making tech breakthroughs they did all right, when even their entry-level A4 sedan can slalom with the kind of agility that puts highly modified cars to shame. Their prized virtual cockpit, something the German auto giants gushed about in the R8 supercar, has also been improved to indulge drivers in a 12.3” LCD infotainment portal. The optional 3D Bang & Olufsen sound system in the sedan delivers crisp surround sound to turn boring drives into soulful sing-alongs.

Price: $168,000*

BMW 5 Series 

Billed as ultimate automobile for business athletes, the all-new BMW 5 Series has now absorbed the cutting edge technology previously available only in the 7 Series line-up. In-car connectivity is powered wirelessly by Apple CarPlay and drivers can seamlessly access an array of apps via the high-res 10.25” touch screen display. To further enhance hands-free driving, gesture control can be used to adjust settings. The BMW 5 Series may function as some kind of a smartphone on wheels, but let’s not forget that the ‘athlete’ in ‘business athlete’ suggests the distinctive BMW driving pleasures and performance are more alive than ever.

Price: Starts at $280,800* for the BMW 530i

Kia Niro

Pertaining to the government’s inclination to greener cars, start acquainting yourself with Kia Niro if you fancy an eco-friendly ride that doesn’t fall short in the style department. The hybrid SUV is Kia’s serious attempt to leave footprints in this particular market segment, by leaving little carbon footprint. Not only is the exterior pleasing, the cabin is spacious. And as per the Korean automaker’s trademark feature, the seats come ‘air-conditioned’.

Price: $115,999*

Mazda 3

If you’d paid a little more attention to the road, you might have noticed more Mazda 3’s zooming around than you can remember. It is fast becoming that dependable everyday sedan and more. The ‘more’ exists in the form of the car’s styling, which sports curvaceous lines for that modernistic appearance. The ‘more’ also closes the gap with their continental counterparts with features such as the sunroof and heads-up display. Although the back seat may come across as compact as with the nature of the sedan, there is no lack of comfort as you get from Point A to B.

It is thus not hard to imagine why the Mazda 3 is gaining even more ground among car shoppers and it remains a must-have for rental car companies’ fleet.

Price: $102,800*

Honda Vezel Hybrid

Singapore is seeing increased demand for hybrid vehicles and the new Honda Vezel Hybrid is set to continue bucking this trend. The combined gas engine and electric motor delivers greater power at higher fuel efficiency for you to go the distance –be it on your Grab jobs or your personal joy rides. Lesser trips to the petrol station translates to more savings.

Speaking of savings, it doesn’t stop there. Your decision to go green qualifies you for some seriously electrifying CEV rebates.

Price: Starts at $107,000

*Prices stated here at this time of writing do not include COE

These rides are sweet! How much lesser am I paying for them?

You aren’t exactly paying lesser like you are given a straight up discount off car prices. What you are really getting through becoming a Grab driver is value. The reason why car ownership doesn’t make sense in Singapore is because the money you paid doesn’t commensurate with the utility. Sure, depreciation starts as soon as you buy your new car. But you can immediately cushion the damage by pushing it more hours beyond what other people would have done, and that is to just drive to work and back home.

It is also possible for you to take advantage of the Grab driver incentives and break past your previously stagnant wage.

That said, you’d still have to deal with the monthly maintenance…

Monthly maintenance

Let’s put on our thinking caps and do some mental sums. Using the Mazda 3 sedan as illustration, the maximum car loan you can take out is 70% of the car’s value if the open market value (OMV) is less than $20,000. Max loan tenure is 7 years. In this case, the down payment would be $30,840 and the monthly loan repayment would work out to be approximately $993 (COE taken into account). Here’s a breakdown of the other main costs:

 

$$$

Monthly car loan

993

Petrol

500

Road tax (broken down to per month basis)

57

Commercial auto insurance (per month)

208

HDB season parking

110

Shopping mall parking

80

TOTAL

1,948

 

For private non-Grab use, this figure is likely be lower as you won’t be guzzling as much petrol. Your monthly remuneration at the office may allow you some capacity to stomach the upkeep, or it may not. Either way, remember: every minute that your car sits idle is money lost. That is never a good idea.

The only way to ensure that your new car is always on the move while actually earning you money is to drive with Grab, duh!

Driving with Grab: Turn losses into profits

With weekly incentives, ride options such as GrabShare (you could earn 40% more on fares by picking up multiple passengers!) and new driver’s app features such as Back2Back jobs (accept a nearby job while still in a job), you could be looking at limitless earning potential and have no mean-faced boss micro-manage you.

According to this report on Grab by TODAYonline, you would have learned two things: a good chunk of Grab drivers is actually really young, and profits could go as high as $6,000 a month (after deducting petrol and rental). Of course, there is the other extreme end cited in the same article, where a driver earns about $600 a week. We would have to adjust for a more prudent figure here since monthly car loan repayments are at least twice as high as rental costs.

But are those a realistic reflection of your income potential? On their website, Grab estimates that a driver earns an average of $38/hour during peak hours and $30/hour otherwise. Using that as a gauge, let’s tabulate the disposable income of a Grab driver who goes full throttle 5 days a week:

Disposable income per month is $3,188. Not too shabby!

No matter what, one thing is for sure. Whether you are driving full time with Grab, or you are driving part-time during weekends as a means of income supplement, being one step closer to your dream car is only as far-fetched as Singapore producing her own supercar that can fly to 100km/h in a freaky 2.7 seconds. Hey, we did that, didn’t we?

Now, it is your turn to Grab your livelihood by the scruff of the neck, make the quantum leap and live life on your own terms! Log on to Grab Singapore to find out more details and perks of signing up as a driver.

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