A Top Gear PH reader asks: What\'s a good small car for a girl?

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by Botchi Santos | Sep 20, 2012

Hi, Mr. Botchi! I need your help!

I have a friend (girl) who is planning to buy a car of her own. Her budget is P600,000. The car will be used more on city driving. She\'s eyeing the Suzuki Celerio 1.0 AT that has a fuel consumption of 34.34km/L (according to Suzuki\'s website), but she\'s also open to other options or willing to wait if a new model of the Celerio is coming out.

Her other choices are the Hyundai i10 GL AT and the Hyundai Eon .08 GLS MT (but prefers AT if it\'s available).

Also, we have no idea about the costs of maintenance of these cars.

Thank you for your help.

Jon Leslie Go


Hi, Jon. Of the cars you mentioned, I did not particularly like any one of them. The Eon, I feel, is too small and underpowered. The i10 (if you can still find one as the Eon has replaced it) is cramped inside. And the Celerio looks like a toy.

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I suggest you look at the Kia Picanto. Of all the small and affordable cars in our market, it\'s the one I love the most. Roomy inside, looks classy, not cheap-feeling, and very good to drive.

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If you can wait a little more, the Mitsubishi Mirage, due to be launched soon, looks to be just as good, if not better (i.e. more room and more engine power) than the Picanto. These are my two solid recommendations for your friend.

Standard preventive maintenance servicing costs should be pretty standard: roughly P1,500 to P2,000 depending on whether you use synthetic engine oil or mineral engine oil, every 5,000km. Spark plugs and air filter are usually changed every 10,000km or more at pretty much standard prices (an air filter would cost about P1,500 to P2,000 each; spark plugs, roughly P200 each).

You do have to realize that affordable cars are also engineered to be affordable to service and repair, so rest easy. Big-ticket items for these cars are often comparable in cost to similar/competing models of other brands. Both cars (Picanto and Mirage) can be had for under P600,000 depending on specification/variant.

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Alternatively, a base-model Toyota Vios can also be had for under P600,000 depending on spec/variant.

Lastly, take the manufacturer-advertised fuel-mileage figures with a grain of salt. While it is possible to achieve these figures, it is very difficult to do so, and requires ideal driving conditions (cool day, no traffic, highway driving).

Hope this helps. Good luck!

Botchi Santos

Consumer Editor



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