The Decision

MPV vs sedans

See Botchi's take on a letter-sender's options

Hi, Botchi!

I’m planning to purchase a new car and these are my choices: Mazda 2, Honda City S, Toyota Altis 1.6, and Toyota Innova.

Here are my considerations:
1. Fuel efficiency since I live in a high area and I will be traveling up and down most of the time
2. Maintenance cost, which should be on the low side
3. Value for money

I hope you can help me decide.



Hi, Mark!

Since you live in a high place and you travel up and down regularly, maybe you should look more at multipurpose vehicles simply because they offer versatility. I normally recommend a small car for people but if you live in Baguio or Antipolo where the niceties of city living aren’t as easily accessible compared with areas in Metro Manila, a small vehicle can be very limiting.

I suggest a Toyota Innova diesel MPV for you. It’s pretty sturdy, reliable, and rock-solid as long as you fuel up with high-quality diesel like Petron’s Turbo Diesel of Shell’s V-Power Diesel, which are specifically designed for CRDi-equipped diesel engines.

If MPVs aren’t your thing, a sport-utility vehicle like the Hyundai Tucson diesel would also suit your needs. The only downside about CRDi engines is that they require very specific and expensive fluids such as fully-synthetic oils and injection system cleaner chemicals that are costly. But the savings, efficiency and power you get out of these babies are well worth it.

If your budget forces you to stick with small cars, Honda Jazz is your best option, being a very versatile vehicle. The Mazda 2 is tight and the engine is quite weak. Despite the great handling, it wouldn’t be the best car when it’s fully laden and you need to go up steep inclines or when you need to overtake. Honda City doesn’t feel as tight and well-built as the Jazz, in my opinion, but it is definitely a competent car. With a 1.5-liter engine and a five-speed automatic transmission, it has ample power for long uphill pulls. However, Hondas are more expensive to service compared with Toyotas.


For the Altis 1.6? Sorry, I’m not a fan of this car. The 1.6-liter engine is underpowered for a car that has considerably grown in size and weight. It won’t be efficient at all especially if you’re doing a lot of mountain driving. You need a very good power-to-weight ratio to keep an engine as efficient as possible and I feel that the Altis isn’t the best car to offer this given your consideration.

So there…the Innova is the best for you, followed by the Jazz (over the City) because of its versatility.

Take care, God bless and keep it safe out there!

Botchi Santos
Consumer editor

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