(Photo Credit: Straits Times)
Category A Certificate Of Entitlement (COE) prices fall below $30,000 for the second time this year, why and how did that happen? Is this a good sign for car buyers?
The fall in Cat A COE prices is mainly due to the increased quota from the Land Transport Authority (LTA) for the months of August to October. The total COE quota increased from 8,202 in July to 9,225 bids in the current period.
The increase in COE quotas stem from the higher-than-usual number of deregistered Cat A cars in this period of 2018. Cat A car quotas went up from 2,867 to 3,328. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for Cat B and E (Open Cat) cars, with their quotas slashed from 2,559 to 2,529 and 1,113 to 1,055 respectively.
The numbers may seem confusing, with the overall COE quota going up and Category B and E quotas going down. That’s because the rest of the growth goes to Cat D, which is for motorcycles, which also saw a high number of deregistrations in this period.
Regardless of what experts might say about the drop being temporary and that we should still remain cautious about buying a car, the undeniable fact is now might be one of the best times in years to buy a new Cat A car.
COE prices have been in a downward trend since the start of the year. Apart from Cat A dipping to $25,000 at the start of July this year, premiums for Cat A have never been lower since 2010. This is despite LTA’s implementation of a zero-growth scheme on cars, a big step towards a car-lite society in Singapore.
The drop in Cat A COE prices are good news for many Japanese and Korean car brands that mostly sell affordable, small cars. Owning a car is a luxury in Singapore, and with Cat A prices under $30,000, now is a good opportunity to purchase a new small car for under $80,000 (including COE).
After looking through the new car market, we have come up with five Cat A cars worth getting for under $80,000. The prices stated below are correct as of 21 September 2018.
1. Honda Jazz 1.3 (A) $72,999
(Photo Credit: Torque)
Recently undergoing a facelift earlier this year, the Honda Jazz has been a familiar sight on our roads since its arrival five years ago. The new car has a new front grille and LED headlamps with LED daytime running lights.
The Jazz is popular in Singapore for good reasons. It’s comfortable, affordable, practical and spacious for a hatchback this size. The 1.3 litre engine produces 98 brake horsepower (bhp). With the car’s small size and engine, it also promises good fuel economy and an easy time behind the wheel.
2. Hyundai Elantra 1.6 (A) GLS $72,999
(Photo Credit: Hyundai Singapore)
One of the best-selling cars in Singapore, the Elantra sits in an interesting position on the list of Cat A cars. It has a 1.6 litre engine producing 126 bhp, just making the Cat A criteria. The criteria states that the car can have a maximum engine size and bhp output of 1.6 litres and 130 respectively.
For its price, the Elantra is quite well-equipped, with the car coming with a navigation system and a keyless ignition. For a small car, the back seats are spacious enough for three adults, and the boot has an impressive capacity of 458 litres.
3. Kia Cerato 1.6 L (A) $72,999
(Photo Credit: Kia Singapore)
The new Kia Cerato is one handsome car to behold. Arriving hot on the heels of the fast and stylish Kia Stinger, which was released early in the year, the Cerato boasts similar looks to the well-praised Stinger but without the hefty price tag and bomb of an engine. The Cerato has a 1.6 litre engine producing 126 bhp, which is very similar to the Hyundai Elantra.
Apart from its looks, it is also a very practical small car. The back is spacious, and the boot has a capacity of 502 litres. This car will be able to carry both people and bulky goods with ease.
4. Mazda 2 Hatchback 1.5 Standard $74,800
(Photo Credit: Mazda Singapore)
Despite being around since 2015, the Mazda 2 Hatchback still looks relatively fresh. Mazda has some of the most stylish and reliable cars in the market today, and the cheapest car in this line-up does deliver on that.
It has a 1.5 litre engine delivering 114 bhp, and the car’s small size makes it easy to drive and park. Unfortunately, that does mean compromising on the boot size and rear occupant space. However, its low fuel consumption and price will ensure that it remains popular in the market.
5. Suzuki Swift 1.0 Standard (A) $74,900
(Photo Credit: Suzuki Singapore)
The Suzuki Swift is back for its third version, and it remains the preppy little hatchback it was when it first arrived in Singapore in 2004. The new Swift has a sharper-looking front end and a bigger boot as compared to the previous iteration.
The Swift has a reputation for being a fun, cheap car to drive around, and it continues to achieve that while being more practicable with more space in the back than the previous version. Its engine is a turbocharged one litre putting out 109 bhp.
Fans of the Suzuki Swift might be more excited about the faster Sport variation, which you can get with a manual transmission. However, the Sport is currently only available from parallel importers with a price tag of more than $100,000.
Even though Cat A COE premiums are low now, prices still can fluctuate according to demand at the next bidding. So, buyers should still practice due diligence and not buy cars on impulse due to low COE premiums.
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