A Top Gear Philippines reader asks: Cruze or Elantra?

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by Botchi Santos | Jul 26, 2012

Hi, Botchi. I\'ve really wanted to have a car for a long time now. And now I\'m about to get one. The only problem is that I don\'t know what car to get. After days of researching, I\'ve narrowed down my options to two: the Hyundai Elantra and the Chevy Cruze.

I\'ve read that these two are fuel-efficient cars. That\'s important to me because from time to time, I take trips out of town. But most of the time, I\'ll be using it in the city. I really want the Cruze, because for me it\'s more masculine. But I\'m afraid because, as everyone says, it\'s difficult to maintain and find spare parts for Chevy cars. So now I\'m seriously considering the Elantra.

Help me, Botchi! Am I making a mistake? By the way, my budget for the car is less than P1 million.


Chris Ariel Esparaguera


Thanks for the e-mail. We really appreciate it.

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The Chevrolet Cruze and the Hyundai Elantra are perhaps two of the cars that best represent this segment in the motoring industry: brave, new and adventurous. It\'s a welcome change from the usual Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Mitsubishi choices, and one I fully support.

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Interestingly though, both the Chevrolet brand and the Hyundai brand are locally managed by the same group of people. Hyundai has enjoyed a very positive image in the last five years, and Chevrolet will follow suit, so no need to worry about after-sales servicing and concerns.

Both cars are pretty good. Truth be told, if you could stretch your budget more, the Cruze diesel is the best variant to get. It\'s really fast and fuel-efficient, and it handles well. It is over P1 million, however, but I feel the premium is well worth the satisfaction you will get with a Cruze diesel.

But to stick to your budget, the Elantra is hard to beat. It is my favorite car in this segment because it offers so much for so little. It\'s hard to beat. It drives really well, handles really well, looks really good, has a lot of tech (six-speed automatic transmission, a powerful and responsive 1.8-liter engine, fancy multimedia system), and is priced well below P1 million, making it extremely good value.

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Other alternatives to look at? The Mitsubishi Lancer is hard to beat, and has a good range of variants to suit most budgets. Handles really well, too, and very handsome and very sporty.

Don\'t worry about the Chevrolet brand\'s negative image. The new group handling it--The Covenant Car Company Inc.--is more than capable, through their dealership network, to help you maintain your Cruze (should you get one) in optimal condition all the time.

Good luck finding your new car! Take care, drive safe, and God bless!

Botchi Santos
Consumer Editor



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