I've always loved driving (at least outside town, certainly not inside it). And stretched myself to pick the OHC in 2001 on a tiny salary.
9 years and 73k kms later, the car still serves me well. But purely from a financial pov, does it make sense to own a car, esp when you start with a new one ? The alternatives of using public transport/autos/taxis etc needs a little more planning-ahead, but thats not too bad a thing, and there's tons of options now.
Lets see - I paid 8.2L for the car in 2001. Today, I might get 1.8 at most. Thats an erosion of 6.4L - almost Rs.8.80 - per km! Of course fuel, on an average, at 11-12kmpl, has been at Rs.4.60. Insurance, maintenance, tyres, minor repairs etc would be another 2/- per km or so. That adds up to a cool Rs.15.40 per km!
In town : bus fares are 85/- for a Volvo day pass, autos are 8.50/- per km, even Meru cabs etc are 15/- Outstation Indicas cost 6.50 and even Innovas are under 12/-
Of course, it'll be different for diesels, and for higher usage. But most don't even keep a car for 9 years, and a Honda's wayy more reliable, and I've not included voluntary upgrade and other costs.
Financially, taking a cab makes a lot more sense anyday! In fact, you can pretty much do it off the capital needed upfront alone! Of course, the "fun-to-drive" sinks dramatically, and a little bit of the convenience - or at least the notion of it - reduces. But throw in a few go-karting trips, and you're still way better off :)