It's my first time to write a letter via TopGear.com.ph. Your column has been very helpful in a major, major way though I'm still totally confused about which car to buy.
I love the Mitsubishi EX GLS and GT-A but their prices are too steep. I only have a budget of around P750,000 to P800,000 and I'm thinking of getting the cheaper Mitsubishi GLS. My sister told me, however, that the Lancer GLS is a 2008 model and this made me reconsider my plan to buy it. I happen to read your January 20, 2011, column on choosing between a hatchback and a multipurpose vehicle (MPV). Now, I'm interested in the Honda Jazz and the Nissan Grand Livina.
Kindly give me your advice. I will be using the car to and from work. My usual passengers are my two kids and their cousins.
Here's another thing to consider: I can only drive automatic due to a left-knee problem. And I heard automatic cars are not good on flooded streets.
So what do you think is the perfect vehicle for me? Is it the Mitsubishi Lancer, the Honda Jazz or the Nissan Grand Livina?
Thanks a lot for taking time to read my message. More power to you and your column.
Thanks for the email. It's my major, major pleasure to receive and to reply to it.
The Mitsubishi Lancer is the odd-man out in this equation. It's not a hatch nor an MPV so I'd chuck that one out of the list.
The Honda Jazz is hard to beat. It's one of my favorite cars. I always tell people that if I had to buy a single car and use it in a typical setting--work, play, long drives, fun runs and even out on the track--the Jazz is the best choice. It's the best real-world compromise. It offers excellent driving dynamics, and a very roomy and versatile interior with its ULT (utility, long and tall) seating system. The engine is a pretty decent 1.5 VTEC that makes 118hp mated to a five-speed automatic transmission with manual override controls. About the only fault I can find with the Jazz is the price, which, for a B-segment car, is quite expensive. But after a long, hard thought, the top-model 1.5 V variant is really worth it at P857,000.
The Nissan Grand Livina is an excellent choice, and it's very affordable, too. It has loads of space and is a seven-seater, but it's quite narrow so it's not as roomy as the Jazz. The seats also fold flat to the floor, but you still don't get the airy feeling offered by the Jazz. If you'll be using this primarily to bring the kids to and from school, then I don't think space would me too much of a concern until after a few years. The Nissan Grand Livina's engine is also a real gem: a 1.8-liter making a modest 126hp with an amazing spread of power. You'll really be gunning the throttle most of the time with this engine--and it loves to rev. Besides, you'll most likely get a better offer from a Nissan dealership than a Honda dealership. The Nissan Grand Livina is a great performer—it's surprisingly fast, highly underrated yet very good MPV.
A pair of wildcard choices include the Mitsubishi ASX, which is halfway between a compact SUV and an MPV; and the Kia Soul, which is halfway between an MPV and a C-segment hatchback. Both are easy and fun to drive and are in the P1.2-million range for the top-model variants. Both have 2.0-liter gasoline engines, which deliver decent fuel economy and decent power and speed. The tall ride height for both vehicles makes them easier to drive for a lot of females. Plus, I think your kids will love the Soul's funky and playful interiors.
Hope this helps you make the right decision. Good luck and God bless!
P.S. Make sure the kids get quality reading material--Top Gear being one of them!
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