Kia Sonet: How I almost ended up buying an accidental used car

The SA too had glanced at them and read more on this tab and immediately remarked to completely ignore the car and not go ahead.

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Major Update

Short Version– Dodged a missile, decided to keep my Pre Owned iMT for much longer now.

Longer version

So I visited the used car dealership in Mumbai to checkout the car on Saturday. I visited the same in my Sonet, to also check what value the dealer would give, for my Sonet, thus enabling easier transfer.

Quoted price for the DCT Sonet was 10.75L. We checked out the car, and it was easily apparent that the owner had not maintained it well. Not too serious, but was pretty sure, it would need a good dent paint job on the outside, and a detailing session on the outside as well as interior. I got major red flags which I would describe below-

Red Flag 1 Me and wife were discussing in the entire journey to let negotiate the price down to atleast 10.25L from the 10.75L. So after checking out the car, we asked the dealer straightaway the final price. He slashed the price to 10L immediately, and with little more pestering agreed to a price of around 9.8L. 9.8L for a 31K Km run GT Line Sonet was music to my ears (especially considering I was getting offers of around 10.25L for my preowned Sonet iMT HTX).

Red Flag 2 Despite the heavy discounts, the dealer also agreed to completely change the exterior look of the car, by repainting the panels and areas that had lost paint. I was happy with this as well.

Red Flag 3 During inspection we observed the car didn’t feel as strong as my iMT Sonet. Can’t describe this in words, but it felt like everything right from the panels, the door handles, windows, or the bonnet, nothing felt as strong or heavy as my Sonet’s. This is the first time I started suspecting something was amiss. On closer inspection we also observed that all 4 doors made creaking noises, seatbelts missing clips, passenger seat headrest having tears and the inner door handles had lost some paint. There were even scratches on touchscreen panel and even the steering mounted buttons had started losing there color. This is in stark contrast to my iMT Sonet, which still looks like it’s out of the factory (age difference between both cars is just 5 months).

Red flag 4 Next we decided to take the car to a KIA dealership for inspection. Autobahn KIA, Powai were extemely helpful in this regard as they went out of their way and accommodated my special case and allotted a service technician for test driving this car. During my drive to the dealership (which was an hour long drive which took me through traffic, highway etc condtitions) I observed the gearbox and engine behavior. Both behaved amicably and I felt satisfied with the drive. Even when the service technician drove the car, he commented that there are no issues with the engine, transmission and suspension setup. However, he cautioned me that there seems to be an issue with alignment of steering which could either be minor or something major as well. He mentioned we can get the underside of the suspension and steering column checked to confirm on this fact.

Red flag 5 Untill the technician was getting car ready for testing the underbody of the car, I was guided through the service records of the car. Here comes the bummer. After scrolling through numerous menus and tabs regarding the service of the car and after most of it being good or nothing serious, I saw the words – TOTAL LOSS!

The SA too had glanced at them and read more on this tab and immediately remarked to completely ignore the car and not go ahead. He mentioned the car has been in some major accident and the car’s structure and chassis has been damaged beyond repair. He remarked it might look good on the outside for now, but he won’t trust the car one bit going forward. All my thoughts regarding the panels not being so strong etc, came rushing back! By this time, even I had decided to completely avoid this car. I would be immensely thankful to Autobahn KIA Powai that they went out of their way on a busy day and saved me! They didn’t even charge a penny for this. Kudos, keep up the great work.

I returned to dealership and didn’t straightway reject the car, as all this time, they had my car at their yard, and I wanted to end this cordially.

What I learnt

  • Avoid all deals going forward that are too good to be true.
  • As my dad had remarked earlier, since my iMT Sonet looks as good as new, and there isn’t even a minute niggle with the car, there is no need to replace it. I won’t be replacing this car atleast for next 5 years at the minimum since it solves all my major requirements.
  • I would also be avoiding any deals in Mumbai for forthcoming future, and look for deals only in Pune if and when needed, as I wasted an entire day.
  • I felt like I betrayed my buddy (iMT Sonet) and gave the car a great wash the day I returned. It shines like a new penny! Hope she forgives me. Behold the pics of MY Sonet.

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