1 of 10
In terms of fun factor alone, the Mazda 2, particularly the hatchback variant, belongs in this list. The Mazda 2 is a fun car to toss through a corner while its 1.5-liter powerplant responds to the slightest tap of your right foot. If you prefer to swap the transmission cogs by yourself, a 1.3-liter Mazda 2 with a five-speed manual transmission is available. Either way, the Mazda 2 is the automotive equivalent to the fountain of youth.
The Ford Fiesta shares the same platform as the Mazda 2 but that’s where the similarity ends as the former is a totally different car. It’s larger than the Mazda 2 which means it’s slightly more spacious inside. It’s also got this neat center stack that, according to Ford, was inspired by today’s cellphones. You can also bring it to Atoy’s Bodykits and have it look like Ken Block’s rally car and that’ll certainly make it look like more than a million bucks.
The old, pudgy Accent that’s a favorite of taxi operators and fuel-consumption-conscious motorists is gone. In its place is the all-new Accent that was launched less than a month ago by Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. Thanks to its coupe-like profile and eagle-eye headlights, the all-new Accent looks much, much better than the previous-generation Accent. A diesel-fed variant will also make its way here next year so the taxi operators and fuel-consumption-conscious motorists who passed on the previous-generation Accent ought to place an order for it before a waiting list gets started in the dealerships.
The current eighth-generation Honda Civic may have reached its shelf life but it still looks as good as the first time Honda Cars Philippines’ launched it in 2006. No wonder then that the Civic is almost always in the shortlist of people who are shopping around for a brand-new car. It’s also not surprising that you’ll find a lot of Civic FD’s getting some modifications done in countless aftermarket shops in the metro.
Like its stablemate the Civic, the Honda Jazz is almost always in the shortlist for people who’re looking to buy a brand-new car, particularly for those who can't afford the Civic. While the Jazz may be classified as a subcompact car, its interior packaging belies its size as it is undoubtedly the roomiest one in its class. The fact that it also looks like the previous-generation Civic Type-R is also a bonus.
The Ford Focus is another vehicle that has reached its maximum shelf life but sadly, we and the rest of Asia would have to wait for 2012 for the next-generation Focus to arrive. That doesn’t mean, however, that the current-generation Focus should be forgotten because it still has a lot to offer. Its handling, for example, is still one of the best in its class while the hatchback on the five-door variants offers a lot of usable space to stow stuff.
Like the rest of its stablemates, the Suzuki SX4 is one car that tends to be overlooked by those shopping for a brand-new car, and that shouldn’t be the case because specs-wise, it can match up with those in its class. The SX4 Aero, for example, is on the sporty side and can easily go up against, if not top, the more popular choices like the Honda City and Toyota Vios. The SX4 Crossover, while not as ergonomically roomy as the Honda Jazz, handles nimbly around corners.
Hankering for a Mini Cooper but you can’t pony up the millions of pesos it takes to buy one? Then the Suzuki Swift is your next best choice. Styled like the Mini with its dimensions proportional to that of the Mini, the Swift also handles like a Mini which means it can drive around corners like the proverbial “rails on a track.” Some owners have even gone as far as painting the roof white, just like that of the Mini.
The Chevrolet Cruze is proving its worth as the car that’ll salvage the reputation of the brand with the bowtie in the market. It’s more spacious than the other cars in its class, it can tackle a corner with aplomb and its styling gives it an aggressive presence on the road. While its long-term reliability is still hard to determine because of its relative newness to the market, the mere fact that a popular tuner like Francisco “Pacho” Blanco can tweak it to the point that it can win races ought to say something about the car’s capabilities.
Great Wall CoolBear.
What’s a China-made car doing here, you ask? We’re talking about the coolest cars in the country and the CoolBear’s styling is definitely that. Sure, the boxy design may have been around since the late 1990s but until the Nissan Cube or the Toyota bB are officially sold here, the CoolBear will be the torchbearer of the mini MPV class. A CVT-equipped variant has also been made available recently so that means Great Wall is confident about the local market.