Yes, you read the title correctly – we’ve compiled a list of 6 cars you should buy recond over official units.
For those who have been following us would know that we don’t usually recommend recond cars, but for this post, we’ll make an exception.
But before we get started, we should clarify the misconception that recond car are better equipped than local spec cars isn’t true. Companies like Toyota and Mercedes-Benz have been fitting their cars with generous safety equipment, matching or even surpassing recond cars.
So, let’s take a closer look at the cars you should buy recond over official.
Any Audi model
The main reason why you should pick a recond Audi over an official import unit is purely because of weak dealer and aftersales support by Audi Malaysia.
Furthermore, the number of Audi service centres in Malaysia is rather lacking – only 7 service centres throughout Peninsular Malaysia and none in the East Coast.
Prices for a reconditioned Ford Mustang start from RM 200k for a 2016 unit, powered by Ford’s 2.3-litre EcoBoost turbocharged petrol engine, before climbing well over RM 600k for a Roush-tuned unit.
But why pick a reconditioned unit over a brand-new unit? Simple, SDAC Ford’s aftersales is marginal at best, making it a wiser option to skip the official channel and dive into the recond option and benefit from the cheaper price.
A brand-new Ford Mustang for SDAC Ford isn’t cheap – expect to pay roughly RM 520,000 for a Mustang 2.3, while those opting for the Mustang 5.0 would need to fork out RM 650,000.
While both UMW Toyota Motor and TC Subaru did offer the 86 and BRZ as an official imported model, these cars are priced well above the budget of many potential buyers. When the duo were on sale, they were priced between RM 225k to RM 260k.
As for a reconditioned unit, a quick check on Mudah shows that a 2012 unit will set buyers back for RM 105k, topping out at RM 203k for a much-newer 2018 unit.
For those looking for an MPV but find that a used Nissan Serena a bit too common, then the Toyota Voxy is a good alternative. The Toyota Voxy is also sold as the Toyota Noah and Toyota Esquire.
A 5-6-year old Toyota Voxy is priced from RM 92k, a fair bit more than the Nissan Serena.
Like the Serena, Toyota Voxys brought in by recond dealers only have two front airbags. The 6-airbag option is a JPY 45,000 cost option in Japan, and it looks like not many Japanese owners went for that option.
Toyota Vellfire 3.5 / Toyota Alphard 2.5
UMW Toyota Motor only sells the Alphard with a 3.5-litre engine, while Vellfire is only 2.5. If you want an Alphard without the penalty of a higher road tax, your only option is to get a recond unit.
On the other hand, if the Vellfire’s 2.5-litre engine lacks the grunt you need, you can actually get a Vellfire with the Alphard’s 3.6-litre V6 engine.
In addition to being cheaper than UMW Toyota Motor’s official import unit, those shopping for a reconditioned Toyota Alphard/Vellfire can get one kitted up with the full Modellista bodykit, or even a hybrid model.
Toyota GR Supra 2.0
When UMW Toyota Motor introduce the GR Supra in Malaysia, only one variant was offered – the GR Supra 3.0. The lesser Supra 2.0 isn’t sold by UMW Toyota Motor.
This is where recond dealers step in, as some recond dealers have brought in the Supra 2.0, priced at a more palatable RM 320k (the Supra 3.0 by UMW Toyota Motor costs RM 590k).
Just like the Supra 3.0, the cheaper Supra 2.0 is powered by a BMW engine, in this case, a 2.0-litre B58 turbocharged four-cylinder engine that does 258 PS and 400 Nm. By comparison, the Supra 3.0 churns out 388 PS and 500 Nm out of its 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six engine.
Before you buy that reconditioned car, remember these few pointers.
Firstly, no matter what a reconditioned dealer tells you, a reconditioned car is a used car.
As such, you need to do your due diligences before buying one.
Start with obtaining the vehicle’s auction sheet to verify the car’s history.
If a recond car was exported out of Japan via a Japanese auction lot, which happens most of the time, companies like recond.my or scrut.my will be able to trace the car’s history.
The auction sheet is the most reliable method to verify the car’s condition when it left Japan, in addition to confirming the actual year or manufacture and mileage on the odometer, three things that dealers often tamper with.
Be extra wary if the dealer provides you with the auction sheet, as we’ve came across cases whereby some shady recond dealers resorted to editing the auction sheet to make the car appear flawless.
Also keep in mind that reconditioned cars were never adapted for our local driving conditions. Officially imported cars like the Toyota Alphard/Vellfire have recalibrated ECUs and larger side mirror to suit Malaysian driving conditions.
It is also worth mentioning that there no recond car dealer that will sell you the car at its advertised price. There is always some hidden charges and the customary 'processing fee,' amounting to several thousand Ringgits, applies, further minimizing the price gap between a reconditioned and brand-new unit.
Another point is that reconditioned cars from Japan have infotainment and vehicle controls in Japanese, which will be an issue if you can't read Kanji. In the past, you can easily swap the head unit with an after-market one but these days, many of the cars settings and controls are integrated into the head unit so it's no longer possible to swap it with an after-market unit without losing access to some of the car's functions.
No two recond units are the same, so selecting the right car from the right dealer is crucial.
The recond market offers a lot of good deals, and not all recond dealers are shady. While recond cars are cheaper, buyers need to do some homework. It’s just like buying a used car.