Hi, Botchi. I'm an avid reader of your column, but this is my first time to write.
We are planning to buy a second car (we have a Mitsubishi Montero Sport), and our budget is around P800,000 to P950,000. We are just three in the family, and we will be using this new car when driving to and from the office or school, and (as I've mentioned) as a second car.
I've been looking at the Mazda 2, the Honda Jazz and City, and the Ford EcoSport, but I'm having a hard time choosing. I know that you are a big fan of the Jazz, but aside from the bigger space it can offer, what are its other advantages? I feel that the Jazz is outdated already.
This is where the 2 and the Ecosport come in. I haven't been to the dealership, so I haven't seen any of the cars' interiors. Based on the reviews I've read, they all have their advantages. I just want to know your thoughts. You are also free to suggest. Thanks a lot.
Hi, Xander. Thank you for dropping us a line.
I have yet to drive the Mazda 2, but it should drive pretty well, based on how all other current Mazda models drive. My only complaint about the 2 is that it's still quite small (and expensive, too).
The Ford EcoSport is very attractive indeed. It has a great price for a package that offers far better versatility and mobility, thanks to its raised ride height and good ground clearance. I generally dislike the EcoSport, though, because the engine is underpowered for a vehicle of its size, and the dual-clutch transmission is jerky.
Cruising on the highway, the EcoSport is okay. But its jerky transmission ruins the driving experience when you're slogging through traffic jams; when you need to be able to cut and thrust as needed; or when you're moving off an incline from dead stop. And did I mention it is underpowered? I thought so.
I drove the EcoSport on a cross-country trek in Thailand when it was launched. Even though it had a completely new engine, it had much difficulty reaching 100kph on the highway with only two people on-board. If you can live with the jerky nature of the gearbox and the power deficit, the EcoSport is all right because the room inside is pretty good. And as mentioned earlier, it offers the advantages of good ground clearance, enough for most flash floods and poorly surfaced roads in our country.
As for the Honda City, you may read about my impressions of the car here.
And finally, the Honda Jazz. Launched in June 2014 in the Philippines, it is actually just about to enter its mid-year life cycle. You might find it looking dated because there are so many of them on the road. It's still the best car in its segment: best room and space, best driving dynamics, best safety gear, and best in-car electronic convenience equipment. It's very versatile, too, thanks to the ULTR (Utility, Long, Tall and Refresh) seating system.
It's a tad pricey, but worth it. Nothing--and I mean nothing--can beat the Jazz's overall package and offering. There's a reason we consider the Jazz one of the absolute best cars in the market. And the sheer number of Jazz units on the road means a lot of motorists agree with us.
But don't take my word for it. Test-drive all four cars to find out. Because in the end, it's you who will be driving your car of choice, and you should be happy with it.