Choosing between three Toyotas

It's a choice between two Vios variants and one Altis. Which one should our reader pick?
by Botchi Santos | Sep 23, 2009
Hello, Top Gear!

I really need to solicit your advice and/or expert opinion. I have this dilemma right now--nothing too big that Top Gear can't handle. The family will soon (hopefully this month or within the year) be buying a brand new car to replace our 14 year old Corolla 1.6GLi MT. From more than ten choices, the family has decided to focus on these three models: Vios 1.5G AT, Vios 1.5S AT, and Altis 1.6G MT.

We have chosen those three, even if they are under different categories (sub-compact vs compact and AT vs MT), because of the price. They cost less than P900,000, already inclusive of LTO registration, insurance, freight and discount.

For comparison, the Vios G and S are top-of-the-line variants with two airbags and has an all-disc brake set-up while the Altis G is middle variant with only one airbag, front disc and rear drum brakes set-up. What we need is a car that is not expensive to maintain in the long run, quite frugal in fuel consumption, and can accommodate five adults in relative comfort.

Please help us choose what to buy.

Thank you very much!

Adrian Basa

Hi Adrian!

Thanks for taking the time to write in! We're glad to be of help to fellow car-lovers like you.

Your situation is an interesting one. I've had a lot of people ask me similar questions in the past and contrary to popular opinion, I've always gone against the grain.

I'd recommend the Vios top-model variant over a mid-level Altis.

The short-end of it is because in the long run, I've always felt that I went cheap on myself if I didn't get the top-model variant of a car model I can afford. It makes me regret what I bought. Buying a mid-level variant of the higher class car makes me feel like I over-extended my financial means and could not afford to go the full-monty. But again that's me.

The Vios will always represent better value for money, it will cost slightly cheaper to service, and noticeably cheaper to run as it will be more fuel efficient thanks to the slightly smaller (but no less punchy 1NZFE 1.5-liter) engine, weighs less and gives off less aerodynamic drag. And another bonus is it's easier to maneuver in traffic and easier to park.

In terms of interior space/roominess, there's not much difference in them. The Altis does have a significantly bigger trunk and a longer nose. That's where most of the increased overall dimensions come from.

Admittedly, the Vios will be a pinch tighter in the back, but how often will there be five of you in the car?

If city driving is your primary use, the Vios in S or G variants get my vote. The added safety benefits (dual airbags and ABS 4-disc brakes) are a bonus.

Eitherway, both cars are fine choices so good luck and keep us posted!

Botchi Santos

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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