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Continental car vs Asian (Japanese) car — Which should you buy?

When you’re thinking of purchasing a new car, you might be wondering if you should go for a continental or Asian car, that is something of a Japanese, Korean, or even Malaysian make.

If you are able to afford both, what exactly should you compare and consider when choosing between a continental car and an Asian car?

Continental car brands

What is the meaning of continental cars? Such cars are essentially made in continental Europe. Some of the best continental car brands come from Germany, Italy, France and England.

Some popular continental car brands include:

  • Audi
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW)
  • Jaguar
  • Volkswagen
  • Volvo

Understandably, such cars are more expensive than a Japanese or Korean car because they require you to pay higher import taxes. Also, COE price and fuel consumption for continental car brands is usually higher due to their higher powered engines. Continental cars are also known for their luxury design, excellent engineering and high quality engines.

Best Japanese car brands

Japanese car brands are quite common on Singapore roads for the simple fact that they are more affordable than continental cars. There are also many big-name Japanese car brands that make reliable, fuel-efficient cars. Some of the most recognised Japanese car brands include:

  • Honda
  • Toyota
  • Mazda
  • Mitsubishi

It’s no wonder then, that Japanese car brands, specifically Toyota and Honda, are among the highest number of newly registered vehicles in Singapore (data from July to September 2020). They are closely followed by popular continental car brands BMW and Mercedes Benz though.

Other Asian car brands

Of course, let’s not forget that there are also car brands from Korea and Malaysia. From Korea, you have Kia and Hyundai, while from Malaysia, you have Proton.

Some of these Asian car brands are the cheapest cars to own in Singapore. And better still, they are easy to maintain and reliable rides.

Continental cars vs Japanese cars

Frankly speaking, in the competitive automobile industry, each car brand has their own unique selling points. It is not fair to paint all the car models under a specific brand in a broad stroke.

Perhaps, you need to figure out which is the right car for you based on your lifestyle and budget by thinking about other criteria.

Car size – seating space and boot capacity

You may consider size in terms of seating space and boot capacity based on your needs. If you are going to buy a family car, you definitely need something roomy and flexible. On the other hand, if you are buying a ride for only you and your spouse who do not have children, you can opt for a smaller space.

Car engine size

Related to the internal space, is the engine size. A larger car typically has a larger engine. A car owner who has a continental Audi with a smaller engine could end up paying lower road tax than the owner of a large Toyota Camry, since road tax is calculated based on engine capacity.

Long-term car maintenance

Also think about the long-term maintenance of your car. As Asian cars are quite common in Singapore, it will be easier—and more affordable—for workshops to get their hands on parts to maintain your car, when compared to a continental car.

Car insurance premiums

Don’t forget to take into consideration car insurance premiums. Premiums will differ based on the make of your car. Since Japanese cars are cheaper to import and maintain, they would most likely receive a lower premium than continental cars, with all other things held constant.

Compare at car insurance to get accurate information for your car purchases.

However, if you can afford the expenses that come with owning a continental car, you could be getting a smoother ride with impressive bells and whistles. Drivers with continental cars undoubtedly enjoy the prestige and superior driving experience that come with one.


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