Hot sedan options for a single dude

Mitsubishi Lancer GT-A, Honda Civic, Toyota Altis or Mazda 3?
by Botchi Santos | Apr 8, 2010

Hi, Botchi!

It's my first time to surf Top Gear and I'm amazed at all the information I'm getting about cars. It's too techie for me but I promise I'll start buying the magazine--not always but as often as possible.

I hope you could help me. I've never had a new car before. I always get it second hand. Why? I find brand-new cars tough on payments and I don't know if I can bear the first scratch.

I currently have two cars--a 2003 Honda CR-V 4x2 and a 2005 Mazda 3 1.6 S. I'm planning to sell or swap the Mazda 3 for a top-of-the-line sedan. I'm eyeing brands like Mitsubishi, Honda Toyota, and Mazda. Of these cars, which do you think suits me considering the following:

1. Looks (I'm single and I want a car that looks hot!)
2. Performance (I want it to fly once in a while, hoping a little road bragging isn't too bad)
3. Maintenance (Parts should be readily available and costs shouldn't be too high if I'm not having the checks/repairs done at the casa)
4. Fuel efficiency

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I just know how to drive; for the rest of it I'm damn stupid! Hope you can help me. Thanks for your time!

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God bless you and Top Gear!

Best regards,


Hi, Alain!

From your message I assume you're looking at getting something along the lines of a Mitsubishi Lancer, Honda Civic, Toyota Altis or Mazda 3--all with the top-model 2.0 liter engine and automatic transmissions, correct? Here's my take on these babies:

Mitsubishi Lancer EX GT-A - This fits your criteria to a T! I've driven it for a short period of time and was pretty much going fast most of the way, with the engine being new and tight. I got about 7.5 to eight kilometers a liter. Dynamically, this is the best and I love the bodykit, the big 18-inch wheels and Rockford Fosgate sound system. The INVECS III CVT transmission, when left in automatic mode, ensures that power and acceleration are always plenty, thanks to seamless shifting; it will play a pivotal role in fuel economy. Just be careful with it as CVTs, when abused, don't last long. That the Lancers are now made here means you buy this and you're supporting the local economy well while being assured that spare parts will always be plentiful.

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Honda Civic 2.0 S - This is the most premium feeling sedan--like a proper executive class vehicle. It's not as sporty as the Lancer, but has better ride quality and refinement. It feels expensive and classy, like a Swiss watch feels hefty in your wrist. I've driven it twice but it's mostly in-city driving and eight kilometers a liter is the best I got. It looks a bit safe and generic unless you get the optional Modulo bodykit which is expensive but changes the look and feel of the Civic's presence on the road. Paddle shifters a nice touch but feel soul-less when flicking through the gears.

Toyota Altis 2.0 V - This is as safe and as generic and as bland as you can get. It does the job very competently and convincingly, making you feel you're in a Camry-lite and the spaciousness helps a lot to form that opinion in your mind. But it has zero driver's appeal behind the steering wheel. The Toyota Altis is a super reliable car, but probably best left for the wife and kids. Since you're single, it's not for you at all. Drive it carefully and you're easily looking at about ten kilometers a liter--and do drive it carefully since it has no sporting pretensions at all.

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Mazda 3 2.0 - I haven't driven one in ages but I do remember that the engine was thirsty. Looks good and handsome but I find the interior tight. Drives well dynamically, too, egging you to go faster and faster.

My top pick would be the Lancer, followed by the Civic, the Altis taking a close third and the Mazda 3 a distant fourth.

Hope this helps you out tremendously Alain! Good luck and keep us posted on what you decide to get. Take care, keep it safe out there and God bless! 

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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