A reader asks: Should I get the Lancer, the Vios or another car?

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by Botchi Santos | Mar 16, 2014

Mitsubishi Lancer vs. Toyota Vios in the Philippines

Hi, Botchi. Is the Mitsubishi Lancer EX 1.6 GLX MT worth getting? We are selling our current car, and I am leaning toward getting the Lancer afterward. Its price nearly matches that of the Toyota Vios 1.3 E MT, and its design is much more refined (for me). But I also like the design of the Vios.

My issue with the Lancer is that I think it's nearing its refresh, while the Vios has just undergone a face-lift (although still with the same innards). And since I plan to have my next car for at least the next five years, I might drool over the new one when it gets released in the near future.

Do these vehicles have a big difference in terms of fuel consumption in city driving? I will use the car mostly for traveling to and from the office (Manila and Makati).

I would appreciate your other suggestions that fall under the same price range (P600,000 to P800,000) or category. I am also considering a trio of hatchbacks (Hyundai Accent, Ford Fiesta and Honda Jazz). I am concerned with the space, though. I used to own a 1996 Honda Civic and 2004 Honda CR-V, so I'm a little hesitant with the hatchback. But other than space constraints, I have no other issues and I like them as well.

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Do you have any news on when the next Lancer will come out, and which cars in my price range or category will be getting a major face-lift or refresh in the near future? I can consider them as well.

Thanks a bunch!

Francis Gamban


Thank you for your e-mail, Francis. We really appreciate hearing from you guys out there!

Your concern is indeed a common one among car buyers. We all don't want to end up with last season's (to borrow a phrase from the fashion industry) wares. We want the newest, the latest and the best our money can afford.

But my friends in the computer business also say that it's difficult to end up owning the newest, latest and greatest all the time because technology keeps coming up with even better stuff. It's much the same thing with cars.

Off the top of my head, the new Mazda 3 and the Honda City and Jazz are coming out this year. Hopefully, they will have base variants that fall within your budget.

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Among the already available cars you should consider:

The Ford Fiesta got a significant refresh, chief of which is the Aston Martin-inspired front grille (love-or-hate relationship with me at the moment). Suffice it to say the hatchback is still a cracking great drive, though.

The Hyundai Accent will remain as is for the next few (one to two) years as Hyundai locally is having difficulty satisfying local demand. It has recently received some minor cosmetic tweaks, and the diesel sedan variant has arrived.

The all-new Toyota Vios, while retaining much of the older model's major components (engine and transmission as well as electronics), isn't just a face-lift. The suspension is all-new, and the chassis has grown bigger, heavier and safer (not to mention more refined). I've yet to drive a regular all-new Vios, but I have had the opportunity to drive a race-prepped unit by Tuason Racing School stuffed silly with TRD race-only parts...and it's amazing! The brakes in particular are phenomenal! But that's jumping ahead of things. The bigger body means fuel efficiency has dropped significantly, so you might not get the running cost savings you were expecting from the older car.

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(Read our review of the Toyota Vios 1.5 G MT.)

The Lancer? I actually really like it. It is one of those highly underrated cars, but offers surprisingly good pace, space and refinement, precisely for the same amount you'd expect to pay for a smaller vehicle. Fuel consumption is comparable at almost 9km/L in city driving (and with my admittedly heavy right foot).

There's still no official word yet on whether there will be a face-lifted or upgraded Lancer anytime soon, but that's missing the point. The point is the Lancer of today is a great value-for-money vehicle, one that you'll be happy to own for as long as it starts, runs and doesn't leave you stranded on the side of the road.

(Read our review of the Mitsubishi Lancer EX 1.6 GLX MT.)

Other cars (like the Vios) might be newer. Other cars (like the Fiesta) might look smarter. But you'll feel really smug and happy driving your Lancer 1.6 GLX. I can wholeheartedly recommend this one to you. And you don't have to wait to get the car or color you want--the Accent has a 30-day waiting list, minimum--as the Lancer is built locally here in the Philippines (at Mitsubishi's production facility in Cainta).

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I hope this helps and doesn't confuse you further. Good luck and God bless! Happy and safe motoring!

Best regards,

Botchi Santos
Consumer Editor 

Do you want Botchi to help you pick the right car? Send your inquiry to topgear@summitmedia.com.ph.

Artwork by Lloyd de Guzman


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