Nepali Times
Need for speed

So what if there's no space on the roads? So what if they are all potholed? So what if traffic jams make getting from Dhulikhel to Kathmandu three hours? Car sales are booming like never before.

Car prices are coming down and sales have never been better. Upwardly mobile urbanites are graduating from motorcycles to cars in greater numbers. With better paying jobs and higher disposable incomes, they are not prepared to wait. And thanks to generous finance schemes, they don't have to. Competition is prompting dealers to offer better after-sales service and many are upgrading their maintenance facilities.

"Nepalis are working harder and are willing to invest in cars," Anup Baral of Sipradi Trading, the agent for Tata in Nepal, told Nepali Times. "The fuel situation is worrisome and the market is unpredictable, but we are seeing higher sales than in 2006."

Tata Indigo CS

The Tata Indigo CS is smart?a blend of hatchback and saloon whose compact build is handy for Kathmandu's crowded lanes. The interior feels spacious for the smallest sedan in the world and is kept uncluttered. The rear seats fold down to increase the size of the boot. The 1405cc diesel version comes with a charcoal-black interior while the economical 1193cc petrol version comes with a beige interior. The car, who's official distributor is Sipradi Trading, also comes equipped with a new front grille and headlamps, along with a thinner rear bumper for a smaller profile. Despite its name, the Indigo CS is available in six different exterior colors. This is a relatively cheap car, ideal for the first-time buyer.

Kia Sportage

The all new Kia Sportage compact SUV, whose sole distributor is Continental Trading Enterprises, tries to appear youthful and adventurous, and it is bulky enough to be noticed. Kia claims the new model has improved traction and is equally at home performing the city crawl as it is on the open road and off-road. Inside are smart storage compartments and reclining rear seats along with all the safety requirements: central locking and keyless entry. There are 2.0 litre inline four cylinder petrol and common rail diesel engine versions. Sportage is available in six colours.

Skoda Laura

If you want soft leather seats, enough leg room to stretch out, and a silky smooth engine, check out the luxurious 1,896cc Laura. This 1.9-litre diesel-powered car has won numerous awards in Europe and is fitted with a 'rough road' package of upgraded shock absorbers, protective underbody coating and 160mm ground clearance to cope with Nepal's potholes. Morang Auto Works, the distributor of Laura, has a fully equipped workshop for its servicing.

Naza Forza

The Forza, a Malaysian subcompact offering, is the updated version of the Naza Sutera. Although still powered by a 1.1-litre engine, the 1,075cc car comes with all power options and safety features. Buyers can choose from an array of six shades of this fuel-efficient automobile. Its distributor, Alpine Motors Company, offers two years warranty and five free servicings. Spare parts are also easily available.

Hyundai i10

The Hyundai i10 supermini, distributed by AVCO international in Nepal, offers choice: five models are available in 10 colours. The i10 Era model is powered by a 1.1 litre petrol engine, while the i10 Magna is powered by 1.2 litre engine. The two-tone beige interior looks good and is comfortable, with front and rear arm rests and space to fit five adults comfortably. Hyundai has paid attention to safety with front airbags and an impact-sensing automatic door unlocking mechanism among other features. The car also won an award for the Indian car of the year 2008.

Mahindra Renault Logan

It's already won the Business Standard Motoring Jury Award 2008. Its high quality has also led the J D Power Asia Pacific 2007 India Initial Quality Study to rank the Logan as 'Best Entry Midsize Car in Initial Quality'. This product of a joint venture between Renault and Mahindra is affordable, reliable and low-maintenance. This is also one of the safest cars as it has an anti-lock braking system with an electronic brake force distribution. Local distributor Agni is offering the car in a 1.4-litre petrol and a 1.5-litre diesel version. It also features state-of-the art technology such as advanced in-built trachometer.

SsangYong Actyon

The newly launched Actyon A200XDi SUV replaces the unhandsome Musso. Hansraj Hulaschand, the SsangYong Motors authorised distributor in Nepal, says the fuel-efficient 2000cc advanced XDi 2.0-litre diesel engine earns the car its green credentials. It comes with CD player, power steering and electric windows and rear-view mirrors as standard, and with audio control on the steering wheel.

Perodua Viva

Local distributor NemLink International Traders is offering this sleek, fuel-efficient, Malaysian supermini in three different sizes: 660cc, 850cc and 1.0 litres. Front airbags, a collapsible steering column, anti-lock brakes, alarm and central locking are standard?and signs of Perodua's attention to safety. With engines enhanced by Dynamic Variable Valve Timing, Double Overhead Camshaft and Electronic Fuel Injection, the performance is high. Colours range from glittering silver to passion red.

2009 Subaru Forester

The new Forester is bigger?and claims to be better?than the old model. This SUV remains as practical as ever, and is well powered by a turbo-charged 2.5-litre engine with four-speed automatic gearbox. It has the clearance for Nepal's rough roads, a spacious interior and a huge boot. The roaring machine is fitted with standard safety options. Its distributor here is Vijaya Motors.

Special Dasain and Tihar Festival Offer:
Padma Shree Private Limited offers one electric bike free of cost (model TDR64ZWG) in each purchase of Mazda vehicles. Offer will be valid from 17 September-15 November Nemlink Int. Traders will be offering a Perodua Scheme in which 6 Installments is free from any bank.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)