Avanza, Aveo or Fiesta?

Help our letter sender decide
by Botchi Santos | Dec 27, 2011

Howdy, Botchi!

My wife and I are planning to buy our first family car this December, and we're having problems picking a car.

We first thought of getting a seven-seater Toyota Avanza. We found out, however, that it's too big for us since our family is just composed of me, my wife, our 10-year old daughter and our two-year old son.

Our next options are the minis--Suzuki Celerio and Chevrolet Spark. But my wife finds the driver's seat too low and she may end up having difficulty driving.

We then compared sedans in the market. We came upon these two choices: the Chevrolet Aveo and the Ford Fiesta. Both are roomy enough for two adults and two kids.

Monthly amortization is our concern since our budget is in the range of P10,500 to P12,000.

Do you have other suggestions for a family that wants to own a car but is tight on the budget?

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More power and thank you in advance.


Hi, Jon!

Thanks for your email and we apologize if it's quite late in reply as we've been going through a whole lot of emails and we’re trying to answer them all.

A few years back I myself was in the same boat--trying to find an affordable run-about that was easy to acquire. Your cheapest option, when you consider monthly payments will be buying a Toyota through Toyota Financial Services' (TFS) lease-to-own program. The car is purchased and the owner's name as it appears in the OR/CR will be 'Toyota Financial Services Leased to (your name).' Some people are picky over the name that appears on the OR/CR but in reality this doesn't make any difference since your name is listed anyway.

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The big difference with a vehicle leased from Toyota Financial Services as compared to a traditional financing scheme are lower down payments (as low as 10%, subject to qualifying from TFS), noticeably lower monthly payments, and slightly lower annual insurance costs, which you have to consider. As an example, with my own Toyota Yaris, my monthly amortization is about P400 lower than a comparable bank-financed scheme. Over a four-year period, that works out to just under Php20,000--substantial savings indeed, one that you can use to further pay your annual comprehensive insurance mandatory for all leased and financed vehicles.

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From Toyota's line-up you can chose from the Vios (the best-selling vehicle in the country and for good reason), Yaris (highly underrated but very easy to drive everyday and fun, too) and the aforementioned Avanza. In your case, the Avanza might make better sense as your baby won't be a baby for too long and having extra space is always good for added versatility. An all-new Avanza is scheduled to come out very soon so keep an eye on that, or for good bargains on the older model, which I'm sure Toyota will want to sell-out quickly with the arrival of the new one.

The Chevrolet Spark is quite cute, and although I have yet to drive it myself, looks to be a very promising car indeed. Colleagues say it's a fun zippy car to drive in town. But when loaded up with four people, I'm not too sure if it has enough grunt to get things going at a decent pace. Power is always good to have in abundance especially when you need to overtake pesky drivers. The Chevrolet Aveo, however, is getting on with age--not one of Chevrolet's better offerings at the moment. I haven't driven it myself yet but from the onset it gives off that old car feeling. It was conceptualized and designed many years back and thus doesn't offer the modern feeling and convenience of a car conceptualized and designed much more recently. Unless you get a really good deal on the Aveo, I'd much prefer the Spark despite being a hatchback, or look elsewhere.

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The Ford Fiesta seems to be the best option in your shortlist. It’s fast, fun, and it offers excellent driving dynamics. While the sedan isn't as exciting as the hatchback, the trunk is really helpful for people who load up their cars regularly. A family like yours would most likely need a lot of space for gadgets and whatnots for the kids. Ford offers a lot of easy-to-bring-home packages for all their cars, and sweetens the deal with free insurance and servicing packages from certain dealerships, too. Do drop by a Ford dealership for a test drive as these special deals are also worth checking out.

A wildcard entry for you is the Hyundai Accent. This car is amazing, very roomy and fun to drive. It’s packed with features you don't expect in a car of this class. The variant range is quite big, from a lowly sub-P600,000 variant to a top-end automatic with multimedia and navigation system. I enjoyed driving this car immensely when I had it, so if you haven't tried one yet, you best make a beeline for the nearest Hyundai dealership to try it out. 

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Hope this email is of some help to you Jon. Thanks, take care and God bless you and your family!

Botchi Santos
Consumer editor

Lost in a sea of cars and not quite sure which one to get? Click here to email your car query so Botchi can help you pick the right vehicle!

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