A reader asks: Which hatchback should we get for our mother?

Help your fellow reader by taking the poll
by Botchi Santos | May 13, 2014

Hyundai Accent hatchback CRDi 1.6 AT or Kia Rio hatchback 1.4 AT?

Hi, Top Gear! I've been an avid reader of your magazine since I got involved in our family cars. I always read Botchi's section because it really helps us consumers form an opinion on multiple cars all at once.

Moving on: My family has four cars, an Isuzu Crosswind Sportivo, a Toyota Altis, a Mazda CX-7 and a Toyota Fortuner. We're thinking of buying a car for my mom. She used to drive our old Toyota Camry and three-door RAV4 back in the day, and she's thinking of coming back to driving. So I'm helping out my mother and doing this for her. She wants a three-door, RAV4-like car, but the only car that has a vibe like that--the Suzuki Jimny--is a disappointment. So we've narrowed down our choices and shifted categories with the likes of the Hyundai Accent hatchback CRDi 1.6 AT and the Kia Rio hatchback 1.4 AT.

Here's a list of what I like about these cars:

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* fuel efficiency;
* subcompact body (and it looks like my mom can easily drive either of them);
* stylish design; and
* price of under P1,000,000.

The Accent offers a bit of styling, unmatched torque and fuel efficiency in its class being a diesel. But the Kia, with its slightly cheaper price than the Accent, offers a more chic style and it's loaded with technology that my dad and I are so geeked about. It's also sporty and fuel-efficient. I found two previous issues of your magazine featuring the Rio and the Accent on the covers, January/February 2012 and March 2013.

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We are torn between the two and have yet to schedule our test drives. It would really mean a lot if you could help us out.

Thank you so much in advance!

Robert Tajonera


Hi, Robert! Thank you for being an avid Top Gear reader and follower. I'm glad to hear your entire family seems to be a driving family. More power (and safety) to you guys!

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As for your quandary, it's hard to compare the two cars on your short list.

As you've mentioned, the Accent CRDi hatchback offers unmatched pace for the price, giving boy-racers something to sweat about on an open highway or a twisty piece of road. The one thing I can complain about the Accent is that the suspension doesn't seem well-matched to the power offered by the amazing CRDi engine. But unless your mom's a race driver, she probably won't mind.

(Watch: We take the Hyundai Accent Hatchback CRDi out for a spin)

The Kia Rio is definitely one damn fine looker: handsome, sharp, sophisticated and very European-like. It also drives really well, with a suspension on the firm side of comfortable. It's somewhat rarer, too, compared with the Accent in general (especially if you include the more common sedans for the latter), and has the added cache of sharing design cues with Volkswagen and Audi (thanks to its designer, Peter Schreyer, who is formerly from Audi).

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It would be a tough choice for me if I were the one buying, because I love different attributes of both cars. But in your mother's case, she might better prefer the Rio because it feels better-built and more solidly screwed together. That's not to say the Accent isn't well-built, but do back-to-back drives in both cars and you'll see what I mean. And for women, feeling safe and secure is of paramount importance, more so than dynamic handling and performance abilities.

I hope this helps. Good luck. Regards to your parents and happy motoring!

Botchi Santos
Consumer Editor 

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


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