Honda City, Hyundai Accent or Toyota Vios

By Botchi Santos

Hi, Botchi!

I currently own a 1994 Mitsubishi Lancer, and I have never looked forward to buying a brand-new car simply because I can't afford one and I am pretty much still comfortable with my old car. I received a promotion recently, however, and this allowed me to avail of the company's car-plan benefit. That's where my confusion began.

As I've said, I've never experienced this confusion in the past because I wasn't interested in new cars and I rarely read magazines for reviews about this car and that--not until now. You can just imagine all these information suddenly creeping up on me.

I need a car that will get me going in both city and highway driving. I need your help and expert opinion on the right car when it comes to durability, efficiency, power and speed given my three choices: Honda City, Hyundai Accent and Toyota Vios. If you have other options for me, please do suggest.

Thank you very much and more power.


Hi, Andy!

I know what you mean. As much as I love driving the newest cars myself, I very rarely buy a new one to replace my current cars. Newer cars tend to be more complicated, but they do offer benefits that old cars can't--safety and efficiency, plus a good dose of boosted performance.

Here's what I think about the cars you mentioned:

1. Honda City - This feels most like a proper junior executive car. It's firm and sporty, and it gives an almost European feel to the suspension. It has excellent brakes, steering feel and responsive engine--probably the best engine in its group as Hondas are known to be obsessively engineered particularly in the engine department--and a solid build quality. It's also roomy inside, thanks to the ingenious ULT (universal long and tall) seating arrangement system, which allows you to flip and fold seats out of the way to make room for large cargo. It looks a bit serious on the inside though; it's not very fun-feeling especially when compared to the Honda Jazz. But the Honda City is a very good car--probably the best in this segment in terms of providing a somber, luxurious and serious feel.

2. Toyota Vios - In terms of reliability, there is one proof that the Vios is as reliable as death and taxes. It's a good thing indeed, but image-wise, it just kills the Vios. The Vios is a favorite of taxi fleets. Taxi fleets want something very tough, very simple, easy to maintain, sips fuel like a miser, and has very affordable parts that are readily available. Driving the Vios is okay--nothing really special--but there's also a sense of indestructibility about it. Resilience is a better word to describe the feeling of safety that the Vios offers. Whereas the City feels like a solid structure hewn from a single block of metal, the Vios feels like an organic, shape-changing and adapting material that wraps around you. It feels rubbery, less sharp, less precise to drive, especially when you're on the move. But traffic driving is a strong suit of the Vios because it's engine is very responsive low-down, whereas the City's engine tends to pull all the way to red line better with a slight loss in low-end grunt as a compromise.

3. Hyundai Accent - Ah, the surprise, left-field entry. I love this car because driving it really surprised and amazed me first time out. It has good driving dynamics, and spacious-feeling front seats although passengers have complained that the back seats feel tight. The dash layout and architecture are very nice, very modern and the higher-end variants come with a nice dash-integrated audio system. It feels light and quick on its feet but, admittedly, it doesn't have the same solidity as the City, and it's about similar to the Vios in terms of feel. I do think the Accent looks fresher and newer. Because of that, it's more attractive.

The Honda City represents the very extreme right-wing choice for many executives looking for an entry-level company car because it feels very much like a big, grown-up car, with a big-car feel and air about it. The Toyota Vios is the safe middle-ground default choice, most likely due to aggressive fleet sales discounting but also because it hardly breaks and, if something does, rest assured it will be cheap to repair. The Vios feels very much like a tool in that sense--a simple device to get you from point A to B, in the safest, most fuel efficient manner possible. The Hyundai Accent, despite its growing popularity, is still a left-field choice but a very good one nonetheless. It drives well without the somber feel of the City, yet is as efficient as the other two, and has a quirky design that makes it stand out, but in a good way. It is the newest one, too!

Hope this helps, good luck and God bless! Drive safe.

Botchi Santos
Consumer editor


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  • Kyoichi Sudo Mar 10 2012 @ 08:39am
    Why not try the new Rio? The Rio is much more better than the three and what's more is we already test drove one, the 1.4L sedan AT, its so comfortable especially in the back seat and despite being only no.2 from the top-spec, it is still well equipped and the price, of course, is very affordable.
    • rdjl_13 Mar 10 2012 @ 09:00am
      I agree. Check the new Rio. It looks good! :D
    • meganekon Mar 11 2012 @ 04:43pm
      Agreed, Andy should check out the Rio, though I would recommend the 6-speed manual tranny more than the auto. Doesn't do any justice for the peppy engine eh xD
    • barry Mar 13 2012 @ 01:14pm
      kala ko yung c'eed yung sinasabi mo. hehe. pero mas grabe yung 5door red color. waaaapak!
  • issanewbie Mar 10 2012 @ 09:35am
    Hi Sir Botchi! This is very informative, really like your column. I can so relate to Sir Andy, I was in the very same situation before (except that I'm a lady driver). As for me, I got 2012 Honda City 1.5e and what Sir Botchi just wrote validated that I made right decision in choosing my new car, no regrets at all. :)

    *** just realized that in choosing your own car, you just need to follow you heart, get one that you really like and you will never regret no matter what others will say. ;) happy choosing...
    • hondajazz Mar 10 2012 @ 03:44pm
      tama follow your heart. :)
    • barry Mar 13 2012 @ 01:16pm
      for the car you love...hehe. happy choosing!
  • 17Sphynx17 Mar 10 2012 @ 10:52am
    Based on letter senders description of his situation, among his choices I believe the top pick would be the Hyundai Accent 1.4AT specifically. Just remember that fuel rating should be noted for this particular vehicle to avoid any problems. The 1.6 model is already hitting the same price point with the Elantra already which is also not a bad choice.

    I have not seen/driven the Rio so I can not comment on it as a wild card pick.

    My wild card pick for this price range always stands (at present) to be the outgoing Ford Focus. It can be availed of discounts to drive its price closer to 800k for the 1.8AT 5-dr model. This is considering if you really are opting for the 1.5 engine size for the City or Vios, or the 1.6 Accent. Price is already close and you get a slightly bigger car with a larger engine.
  • 17Sphynx17 Mar 10 2012 @ 11:34am

    Stop spamming the comments section. You bring nothing productive onto the table. STFU!

    • Kyoichi Sudo Mar 10 2012 @ 12:11pm
      HyundaiBest-"Sinusubukan pa akong habulin, eh ako nakakatpid pa sa gas, sila mag rerev pa ng sobra sobra para lang mahabol ako! hahahah!"

      Is This guy thinking or he's just st*p*d?
      • 17Sphynx17 Mar 10 2012 @ 12:57pm
        baka yung kanya nilalaglag galing sa ere, yung parang isang topgear challenge na nilalaglag nila isang kotse galing sa chopper tapos may kotse na tatalunin ito in ground travel with the same distance.

        May ganun din ginawa sa mythbusters sa alam ko para gayahin isang commercial naman sa US.

      • hondajazz Mar 10 2012 @ 03:46pm
        he is just st*p*d!
  • troybentz Mar 10 2012 @ 11:44am
    here there are as many accent taxi's as there are vios taxi's. only the honda city would make you look cool!
    • hondajazz Mar 10 2012 @ 03:47pm
      yea honda city talaga! :)
  • markdejesus76 Mar 10 2012 @ 12:03pm
    For his type, Vios would be the best. Nothing wrong with a favorite car by taxi operators naman. It just means that it's that reliable, economical, and reasonable value. If you care about your image on the road, just don't buy a white base model vios.
  • Kyoichi Sudo Mar 10 2012 @ 12:09pm
    @HyundaiBest, "Sinusubukan pa akong habulin, eh ako nakakatpid pa sa gas, sila mag rerev pa ng sobra sobra para lang mahabol ako! hahahah!" Dude, seriously? All cars Rev-Up to speed up ok, even your Accent Taxi Revs ok.
  • borikyo Mar 10 2012 @ 12:40pm
    2012 Honda City 1.3 MT or 1.5 AT with Paddle Shifter
    • hondajazz Mar 10 2012 @ 03:48pm
      the best!
    • meganekon Mar 11 2012 @ 04:47pm
      The City with 1.3 M/T is more than enough, imo. Sayang nga lang at na-phase out yung 1.5 M/T :(
  • rgenesis5008 Mar 10 2012 @ 12:42pm
    Can you please stop commenting on articles already, we Hyundai lovers and the brand itself is being demoralized because of your comments. Despite loving Hyundai, we need to be fair to the competition and applaud them if their cars are better.

    P.S. to every other user, TG staff who hates the f*cking HyundaiBest, can't we ban this user from the website? he's just too annoying!!
    • markdejesus76 Mar 10 2012 @ 07:13pm
      Freedom of expression po yan ee. di yan pwede.
      • gogogo Mar 10 2012 @ 10:14pm
        hmmm hindi ba spam na ginagawa ni hyundaibest? nakailang post na siya na parepareho lang eh. hehe
        • hondajazz Mar 11 2012 @ 07:35pm
          onga e.dakilang spammer.kairita.
    • kapangyarihan_ng_kabayo Mar 12 2012 @ 08:56am
      your sentiments and concern have already been forwarded to the Chief.
  • koneleaves Mar 10 2012 @ 12:58pm
    Go for the City. I've been driving it for almost 3 years. So far no regret seen we bought it.. (1.3S MT). I Agree to issanewbie (just realized that in choosing your own car, you just need to follow you heart, get one that you really like and you will never regret no matter what others will say. ;) happy choosing... )
  • gogogo Mar 10 2012 @ 01:10pm
    sa tingin ko ang agenda talaga ni hyundaibest eh siraan yung hyundai kaya ganyan siya. at feeling ko wala naman talaga siyang santa fe kasi nananaginip lang yan eh. sino ba naman ang makakatipid sa gas na nakikipagunahan? hahaha!
    • hondajazz Mar 10 2012 @ 03:48pm
      for sure walang santa fe yang pulubi na yan.nakikisakay lang yan!hahaha!
  • mindkinetic Mar 10 2012 @ 01:54pm
    i would suggest the letter sender to do away with the vios . firstly there is a growing issue regarding it's cooling system (notice how taxi driers leave the hood open for aito copiously ventilate the engine department), in addition because "commonality" you tend to compromise attention unless getting less attention serves you well.the accent in the meantime has still to pass reliability test , only time will tell. the materials used in the interior of the accent has also been unremarkable. in this line on thought may i suggest that you do evince very well the CITY. this in the meantime will be your best predilection. the city's performance is the best in this segment not withstanding the choices you have just scilicited. ye exterior's design will retain its easthetic value even years to come. and because the city is nimble , negotiating meander roads will be a bliss.
    • hondajazz Mar 10 2012 @ 03:49pm ftw talaga! :)
  • james12 Mar 10 2012 @ 02:23pm
    maybe he need to check out the ford fiesta or wait for the diesel accent
  • someonespecialisme Mar 10 2012 @ 03:14pm
    as much as i love the honda (not really the city but the city is the only honda here), i might recommend the vios considering the following
    1) since you're getting the car through a car-plan of the company, (no offense) you might not be really able to afford the car under normal mortgage plans
    2) honda's parts are more expensive than toyota
    3) both are (i believe) reliable but the vios might have more surplus parts and cheaper parts available in the market
    4) but on the car alone, id prefer the city pero if my factors are correct, id get the vios.....just get the 1.3G or 1.5G so you wouldn't look like a taxi and dont get silver or white :) get the gold or black or maroon
  • someonespecialisme Mar 10 2012 @ 03:14pm
    hyundaibest is just a troll..don't feed the troll LOLOLOL
  • hondajazz Mar 10 2012 @ 03:52pm
    Vios - Everywhere you look you can see a vios, weak engine.
    Accent - Not sure if it is really reliable, only time can tell plus the cheap materials that is used.
    City - Good looking, very reliable car(especially the engine), easy to drive :)
  • 17Sphynx17 Mar 10 2012 @ 04:16pm
    I just find the 1.3AT of the Honda City a bit weak compared to the previous generation engine. Perhaps it is the weight of the new against the hold which I felt held it back.

    If it is so, I would think a good choice is really the 1.5 because he wants to drive it on the highways as well.

    For the Vios, I actually liked the previous generation 1.5AT compared to the current generation. That was one peppy and strong car. Good in city and highway as a daily driver I really have nothing bad to say about that model. For the current one, I am not emotionally connecting to it in anyway though which is sad for me personally.
  • chinitoguy30 Mar 10 2012 @ 04:47pm
    Let's be practical. Choose Toyota Vios! Cheaper to maintain, simple car and fuel efficient.
  • rickyricardo Mar 10 2012 @ 05:53pm
    Vios - Mahina air conditioning at pang-masa dating. Low cost maintenance? Every 5,000kms. PMS

    Ibig sabihin twice ka pupunta sa Service Center ng Toyota kesa sa Honda. Mas magastos!

    City - Malakas air conditioning, pang-Jr. Exec. porma. High maintenance? Every 10,000kms. PMS

    Hyundai Elantra 'wag Accent! Pareho lang halos presyo.
  • roadrage Mar 10 2012 @ 06:38pm
    City - civilized exterior appearance, refined engine
    Vios - reliable package but lacks appeal
    Accent - sexy exterior but may appear exaggeratedly designed to some eyes. engine has knocking
    @Andy > if you take car as a means of transporting you from point A to B only, its practical ti choose
    Vios. If you have additional considerations, get the City.
  • warak1422 Mar 10 2012 @ 08:25pm
    or mag Jazz ka na lang
    • hondajazz Mar 11 2012 @ 07:38pm
      pwede din. :)
    • barry Mar 13 2012 @ 01:28pm
      pwede ford fiesta at saka honda jazz? boto ako don!
  • yokam888 Mar 10 2012 @ 11:39pm
    if you plan on keeping your car for years (like your lancer) go for the city. honda engines are very reliable. medyo mahal nga lang ang parts and maintenance but you won't go wrong with a honda.
    • hondajazz Mar 11 2012 @ 07:40pm
      super agree ako sa'yo cars are very reliable especially the we can see meron pang mga umaandar na 1992 honda civic.imagine 20 years na un pero sumisipa padin! :)
  • maklo02 Mar 11 2012 @ 01:34am
    I agree with most comments here, city or vios. Gawin mo, go to a honda and toyota dealership and then just look around, feel the car, test drive, and then take a good look at it. Then ask yourself, do I see myself driving this car? (city or vios) You'll know by the gut-feel. Both cars a re great! But now you have to decide:) Goodluck and remember have a fun and safe drive!
  • borikyo Mar 11 2012 @ 09:22am
    Sir Andy, ganito na lang, sakay ka na lang ng Vios at 2011 Accent, compare mo yung ride, then test drive/ride mo yung 2012 City...we had a free driving experience with the city last 2011 sa Honda Cars Laguna, opinyon ko lang, exciting talaga ang City, pinang rally namin sya sa Laguna pero stock parts...naaawa kame sa kotse, pero pinoprove nya na kaya nya ang ganung eksena.
    • hondajazz Mar 11 2012 @ 07:40pm
      grabe tol pinang rally nyo pa talaga ah?hehehe.ayos yun!honda ftw talaga! :)
  • anson Mar 11 2012 @ 12:12pm
    to letter sender andy , as long it's a brand new car , you don't have to worry about the cost of spare parts and service , that will come latter years , maybe after 5 years . as of year 2007 all spare parts are expensive regardless of brands .
  • francis.buendia24 Mar 11 2012 @ 01:01pm
    how about the altis or the cruze?
    • mindkinetic Mar 12 2012 @ 02:51am
      the altis and the cruze is way beyond the budget of the letter sender
  • lomo13 Mar 11 2012 @ 10:26pm
    sounds like the would-be-buyer is not really a car nut like most of us.

    go for a test drive, sit in the car and take it out for a spin.
    sometimes you can fell which is which as early as the first sight, entry, seating and grasping of the steering wheel.

    given that he'll be getting the car via a car plan, it may be subsidized in one way or another so maintenance costs won't be a problem.

  • kyrejohn Mar 12 2012 @ 09:22am
    Hey andy, wag ka makinig kay Accent boy. naghahanap lang yan ng kadamay sa bulok sa sasakyan. read between the lines sa reply ni Sir Botchi. oo gumanda ang itsura ngayon ng Accent pero t@ang ina performance/reliability bulok pa rin.
  • kyrejohn Mar 12 2012 @ 09:54am
    Ako rin same position 6 months ago. Heres my final judgement.

    City-The best choice (though overrated), but it is so costly. To buy and to maintain.Even insurance!
    Vios-When in times I feel cheap. But in the end its a Taxi car. And dashboard is so 2000 and late
    Accent-Same as Vios. Plus 1 sa Pogi exterior. Minus 1000000 sa Engine knock and other problems.
    Lancer (not EX)-Affordable.Reliable.Ugly.
    Jazz-2nd best to City. Cavernous. But costly too.
    Fiesta-Affordable. Fresh Looking. Not that roomy inside and some horror stories on Rack and Pinion (fixed).

    I got myself a Fiesta. Its within the budget, fresh design, have some features previously seen only on TOTL eg turn signal on side mirror etc, i never had Rack and Pinion problem or headlight watermarks, space is enough for my starting family. IKA NGA SULIT!

    If I had more money (or at least a company subsidized loan ^_^ ) ill buy a City or Jazz. But no way im buying a Vios or Accent.
  • Cleaners West London Mar 12 2012 @ 03:02pm
    The Hyundai Accent is an economical subcompact available in three-door hatchback and four-door sedan body styles. The Accent has long offered a strong value proposition in the import market as one of the least expensive options in the segment. Recently, Hyundai’s improvements in quality and styling have brought the car more in line with Japanese and American offerings, such as the Toyota Yaris and Corolla, Honda Civic and Fit, the new Ford Fiesta and Focus and the new Chevrolet Cruze and upcoming Sonic.
  • Kim John Mar 12 2012 @ 04:05pm
    ford fiesta men!
  • barry Mar 13 2012 @ 01:42pm
    @andy: better go to honda, toyota and hyundai showrooms that is nearer to you and feel free to test-drive the cars that you mentioned. consider these four criterias: price, performance, space and utility. happy choosing! :)
  • barry Mar 13 2012 @ 01:44pm
    best pick? ford fiesta and honda jazz. pwede din!
  • Andrew Marcella Mar 13 2012 @ 05:17pm
    (Your thoughts on the article...)
  • Andrew Marcella Mar 13 2012 @ 05:19pm
    rio hatchback!
  • bbulusan Mar 14 2012 @ 03:43pm
    Sir Andy, go for Honda City. ;)

    Accent, how about the engine knocking issues ok na ba? dami reklamo... http://*****.com/forums/hyundai-cars-talk-83/2011-accent-engine-knock-80216/
    • kyrejohn Mar 15 2012 @ 09:51am
      ****** yung nama asterisk. ano ba top gear? insecure much??
  • bayen Mar 15 2012 @ 03:45pm
    among the choices of andy and based on his needs and wants, id go with the city. its perfect for him. the new city is also very nice, updated guage cluster, steering wheel audio control, and overall package its just very nice. paddle shiftters pa for extra excitement factor. :)

    vios, nothing wrong with this one its just that its too common. design wise the inside is just too boring. well... most toyotas are. its very reliable though and tried and tested na. its built like a tank. wala nga lang that much excitement about it. everyday boring car. :)

    accent, no so sure about its reliability, been reading some negative feedback about its engine. i hope hyundai is doing something about it though. value for money though is exceptional. resale value though, hondas and toyota are still the best.

    good luck andy and congrats with your well deserved promotion.
  • adgarcia Mar 17 2012 @ 08:32am
    Go for the Accent 1.6. It has Bluetooth connectivity.
  • raistlinx Mar 26 2012 @ 03:11pm
    Go for honda city.
    I'm planning to buy too this year. My first choice was accent but with the engine issue, ill be staying away from it. Since they cant fix the problem.
    So i'll be buying honda city 1.3 MT or ford fucos TDCi MT(dunno if its still available though).
  • techno_rk Mar 28 2012 @ 07:02am
    Sa tingin ko mas babagay dun sa letter sender yung Honda CIty kaysa sa Vios at Accent, since nandun yung exclusivity na hindi nagiging taxi. That's not saying the Vios is bad though. We own (and now use it as a taxi) a 2007 model Vios and sa ngayon never pa kami nasiraan. I'd rather not speak of the Accent though.
  • hondajazz Apr 01 2012 @ 12:23pm
  • sooper Apr 11 2012 @ 09:59pm
    I have owned a lot of cars in the past 3 decades and have had my own share of heartaches. If you will be buying a brand new car and this will be your only car for daily use then I suggest you stick to the japs, ie toyota/honda. I have owned 2 Hyndai's (Sta Fe and Gets) and to tell you the truth they broke down bad way before I was over with the bank payments. Sta Fe had electrical harness problems which they could not fix and Gets needed a top overhaul at 2 years and this was not because of an overheat. I had owned a bn 93 civic and drove it to 250t kms and the only thing I replaced were the oil, tires and brakes! My wife vios had a gas tank replaced because she drove it over a cliff. That said, Toyota and Honda to me are bulletproof cars and will last you a lifetime given TLC. Hyundai though looks very sharp, comes with so much accessories are just sauced up meals with not much meat in them. If you are going to get it with a 5 year loan, expect big repairs (engine, tranny, electricals) way before you finish your loan. And besides, there is a reason why Toyota is number 1 all over the world, their cars just keep on running and running and running. Just my 2 cents worth. Good luck on your purchase.
  • atmar Apr 13 2012 @ 05:22pm
    hindi kaya minalas kalang bro?

    yung toyota sa america kept running also till it killed the family inside.....hmmmmmm.
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