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Fiesta, Jazz, Swift or Yaris?

By Botchi Santos
 

Hi, Botchi!

I am a big fan of Top Gear Philippines magazine. I bought my very first copy at a school book fair. If I had more baon, I'd have bought every single issue there.

Anyway, I'm kind of lost in a sea of cars and I don't know which one to buy. I'm 21 years and fresh out of college. My parents are thinking of buying a car as a graduation gift for me. I'm looking at hot hatches since they really bring out my status as a single bachelor.

My choices are the Ford Fiesta, Honda Jazz, Suzuki Swift, Mazda 3, Toyota Yaris and Hyundai i30. I don't care about cargo space nor comfort. I just want a car that's sporty, fast, easy to park and drive, durable, and reliable. It should grip corners and it shouldn't rust over time. My budget is P900,000 and I can't go over that.

Now, even if these hatchbacks are what I have in mind, I'm still open to other options, which may be compact and subcompact cars like the Mitsubishi Lancer EX, Honda Civic, Hyundai Accent, Honda City and the Toyota Vios. I'm also willing to consider any car you'd recommend as long as it's within my budget.

Thank you so much and more power.

JV

Hi, JV!

Thanks for your email. It's very refreshing to find a query from someone looking for a fast car to drive hard just for the heck of it, without consideration for mundane everyday requirements and limitations we all have to live with!

Since you've carefully qualified and identified your requirements in a car, I'd recommend you take a closer look at these cars:

Ford Fiesta. This is easily the best performer in its class, thanks to its 1.6-liter engine and six-speed dual-clutch transmission. Handling of the Fiesta is truly on the sporty side, and it corners like it's on rails. The six-speed twin-clutch transmission, however, shifts pretty slowly--almost comparable to a regular automatic transmission. I can't understand why Ford did something like this. But the Fiesta is really sharp and it’s very enjoyable to drive--very fast, and very able on both road and track. No wonder Ken Block drives it now.

Honda Jazz. This is almost as good as the Fiesta, dynamically speaking, but it comes in a better package overall because of the space and versatility of its interior. Since you don't care about interior space, then this makes a very, very close second to the Ford hatchback. When you consider the aftermarket industry's support for this car, however, it has the ability to outdo the Fiesta, which currently has a very limited aftermarket support.

Toyota Yaris. This is not as sharp as the Ford Fiesta but it handles and drives quite well. There's a Vitz (the Yaris's name in Japan) Netz Cup One-Make Race Series, a proof that the Yaris has a fine starting base for performance. There's also immense aftermarket support for this hatchback. Too bad though that its transmission is overly long-geared and the engine doesn't make as much power as the Fiesta and the Jazz even if they all match when it comes to fuel efficiency. I'd say it's down a step or two compared to the Fiesta and the Jazz. A new one is rumored to come out in the second half of the year so watch for that as well.

Suzuki Swift. This is a really fine-handling car. No wonder it does well as a starting point for Super 1600 Rally Car Formula. It's also a popular track car in Japan and Europe. My problem with this is it's fairly old, and it really feels old. The space, interior layout and dash architecture traces its roots back to the 1990s. And it's also very tight--the tightest among this bunch of cars. But right now, there's already a huge aftermarket support for the Swift. Suzuki is also selling the stylish and aggressive bodykits from its Suzuki Sport model range. The Suzuki Swift deserves a second look if performance is all you're after. It does have the least powerful engine but it comes with the option of a proper five-speed manual transmission like the Yaris.

Among the cars listed above, the Yaris will probably be the cheapest and the Jazz, the most expensive. The Swift may potentially be the most difficult to maintain due to Suzuki's limited dealership network. The Fiesta, if you consider a typical Ford car's performance in the used-car market three to five years from now, will probably be the worst. Nothing is perfect but it's important for you to be happy with your decision. I myself bought a Yaris a few years ago because there was a huge discount from Toyota. I used the money I saved on performance mods: wheels, big brakes, coil-over suspension, copious amounts of chassis braces and basic engine bolt-on bits plus an RS bodykit. I'm happy with it! I saw the Yaris's potential for a good tuning platform despite its being the second-best out of the showroom floor because performance is also important to me. Not everyone shares my views on car and tuning though, and some people prefer to leave a car stock right out of the box.

There are two adages car enthusiasts adhere to: "If it's stock, it don't rock!" and "If you wanna rock it, stock it!" The decision is all up to you.

Given your budget, looking at bigger cars may disappoint as you'd only be able to get entry-level variants that are no fun to drive.

Good luck and I hope this helps. Take care and God bless!

Botchi Santos
Consumer editor

Lost in a sea of cars and not quite sure which one to get? Click here to email your car query so Botchi can help you pick the right vehicle!

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  • dominic Apr 21 2011 @ 03:56pm
    what about the i30? it's also good, very European hatch, but I suggest the diesel one
  • Giovchan Apr 21 2011 @ 05:01pm
    @dominic-just because it's a HYUNDAI?

    I suggest Honda Jazz..
    • dominic Apr 21 2011 @ 06:06pm
      No, I recommended it because it is in his list, and I'm a fan of diesel cars
  • tidus1203 Apr 21 2011 @ 05:10pm
    Given your criteria sa Ford Fiesta na ako among the choices and I will quickly dismiss the Yaris and the Swift. And don't forget the Mazda 2 probably the most fun to drive in the class...
  • Rommel0917 Apr 21 2011 @ 05:29pm
    Fiesta or Jazz, you might want to check out as well the April issue of Botchi's wrong car right car. The guy eventually decided to get the Jazz.
    • tidus1203 Apr 21 2011 @ 05:37pm
      Everyone has their own criteria. The April issue guest of WCRC was looking for space, this guy is looking for performance...
  • bayen Apr 21 2011 @ 07:19pm
    mag Jazz ka na bro. best resale value. daming aftermarket options. sporty pa dating.
  • ronzkie73 Apr 21 2011 @ 09:20pm
    @JV - if i were you i go for jazz since i owned GE 1.5 variant taffeta white. it's provide me comfort with performance, coolness, quality, handing, practicality and running costs (esep-esep ka about the fuel cost). also, you'll get many options on themes such J's racing, spoon, noblesse, ings, modulo, mugen. for me, it's really cool fun utility vehicle. have a nice day!
  • engr_kristian Apr 21 2011 @ 10:40pm
    Fiesta or the Jazz, either way you can't go wrong. The deciding factor would ultimately be you coz only you know which one fits your personality the best. For me personally, it's the Jazz over the Fiesta. The 1.5L Jazz offers practically the same power as the 1.6L Fiesta meaning it has a better engine. The Jazz also has better rear brakes & is lighter so you can get more output from the engine. The Jazz also has a more appropriate tranny coz the Fiesta is 6-speed, way too many for a relatively small engine so it will just keep on shifting. On the other hand, the Fiesta is cheaper but it seems you're not very much concerned about that.
  • chelou001 Apr 21 2011 @ 11:25pm
    GO for honda jazz because of credibility on the road the looks, the space and paddle shift feature
  • vinci24 Apr 22 2011 @ 09:01am
    kaya walang Hyundai i30 kasi mahal masyado. Jazz for me!
  • rtociv Apr 22 2011 @ 10:51am
    you can read the different forums to get a opinion from real owners. I've read in FCP that the fiesta has problems with it's suspension, although some claims it can go 200 km/h
  • 6thgear-nitro Apr 22 2011 @ 11:03am
    the Honda Jazz 1.5V could also reach 200kph, after the break-in period, fill it up 99 or 100 gas.. hit the highways and see.
  • MerryWarner Apr 22 2011 @ 03:35pm
    Jazz so that you can peel off its badge and make it a Fit. Or put on a Red badge to look like a Type R. And having the prestige and exclusivity of joining a same make Honda car club... amongst the thousandths. The possibilities are endless in a Jazz.
  • Theognosis Apr 22 2011 @ 04:34pm
    You can't go wrong with any of these hatchbacks. I prefer the Swift because it's just so beautiful. It's the perfect toy car if you own many cars. In terms of functionality, I think the Jazz takes it. But then, the Fiesta is cheap and funky so...it's a headache, really. :)
  • joelklim Apr 22 2011 @ 05:33pm
    honda jazz is the best among the choices..
  • yellow_vette_z06 Apr 22 2011 @ 08:56pm
    the fiesta is slightly cheaper than the jazz but i like both so now i'm having a hard time of which one to choose. hmm, choices, choices..........
  • barry Apr 23 2011 @ 10:09am
    JV, just pick between the two: a jazz and a fiesta. no more questions ask...
  • hopeless Apr 23 2011 @ 10:56am
    Honda Jazz or Ford Fiesta, you can't go wrong with your them. Just choose the one with the looks that you like the most.
  • Drift Apr 23 2011 @ 11:03am
    or wait for the new Accent Hatchback :)
    • dominic Apr 23 2011 @ 05:53pm
      Sir wala pa daw plans ung HARI sa Hatchback, pero sana dalhin nila dito
  • francolim1990 Apr 23 2011 @ 04:01pm
    honda jazz will be my pick, if i were you.
  • 17Sphynx17 Apr 24 2011 @ 09:19am
    I believe it would depend how long you plan to own the car.

    Long term value (5 years and above), the Jazz would easily win. But if you just plan to own it up to the point of its warranty (limited), 3 years (Standard) & 5 year max (extended). I believe the Fiesta would be a better choice.

    Although, it is true you have to get used to its first gear as to how it shifts with the auto tranny.
  • fortis Apr 24 2011 @ 03:14pm
    nothing beats the Jazz
  • larry_5190 Apr 24 2011 @ 09:03pm
    suzuki swift... its name speaks for itself.... swift!
  • keithdb Apr 25 2011 @ 09:25am
    see Dinzo's running article on the Fiesta on this site. Fiesta has the upper hand in features IMO.
  • TheThird Apr 25 2011 @ 11:02am
    hintayin mo nalang ang nex gen yaris/vitz...but for now i'll go for the fiesta hatchback...[ ]
  • 9020ely Apr 25 2011 @ 01:06pm
    go for the jazz;-))
  • Giovchan Apr 25 2011 @ 02:55pm
    Ford Fiesta!!!! i don't suggest i30 magmumukhang unano ka dun e.. jazz maxadong malaki swift medyo outdated yaris mahina..
  • tidus1203 Apr 25 2011 @ 03:44pm
    I actually saw the new Vitz/Yaris and the new Swift in pictures and sorry to say very UNDERWHELMING...
  • francis.buendia24 Apr 25 2011 @ 08:52pm
    chevrolet cruze.
  • zetsumei Apr 27 2011 @ 01:29am
    The way I look at letter, I think you'll like better the Ford Fiesta with its aggressive look and features. Like you said you don't need space. I don't think you'll be the one paying for the gas so Fuel Consumption shouldn't be an issue. Then Fiesta it is. However if you were looking for a versatile, practical car with a solid resale value, Jazz is the best option here. ULT seats, great fuel economy. Aftermarket support. I test drove Fiesta and Jazz, and the Jazz completely won me over. I'm just waiting for my Brilliant Orange to arrive here in cebu =) good luck in your new car!
  • RaffyDavid May 15 2011 @ 11:38pm
    Im all for the Fiesta. It's a great car and no shame in getting the base variant for P681k.
  • techno_rk May 16 2011 @ 04:53pm
    All of the vehicles you considered above are great performers, and all of them has some sort of motor sports pedigree. Based from your requirements I would have gotten a Honda Jazz, which has endless possibilities for customization and many car clubs are existing to help you in this endeavor. Though personally any of those on the list will be a good buy.
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