Subcompact confusion: Hyundai Accent or Toyota Vios?

Help our letter sender decide
by Botchi Santos | Apr 13, 2011

Hi, Botchi!

I'm an avid reader of your Top Gear column. I never imagined I'd be the one looking for your professional advice.

My family will get a compact car in late April or early May. Since I'm the one in charge of the vehicle type to get, I might as well get a professional insight.

We currently own a Toyota Innova J and we're planning to get a car that will be used daily. Since my parents are not working, we greatly consider maintenance and fuel expenses.

My choices were trimmed down to just two: the Toyota Vios J and the Hyundai Accent 1.4. I want to get a hatchback but it won't suit our needs and it won't fit our family of P600,000. I was about to get the Vios when the Accent became available.

The Vios has proven itself and it's very dependable but in a year or two, maybe even three, there will be a newer model. On the other hand, a fresh model like the Accent (honestly, I like it physically) but it’s Korean. Although I’ve heard good reviews about the current-generation Accent,  I've also heard some flaws from owners of its previous-generation particularly in the suspension.

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Please help me decide. Thanks and more power!


Hi, Zai!

The Toyota Vios is truly a safe and solid choice, and you're correct in hypothesizing that there will be a new one in two to three years. But then, so what? A really good car is timeless. It will give you years and years of loyal service with minimal worries and costs--and the Vios fits these qualities to a T!

My personal advice, though, if you’re getting the 1.3-liter variant: Don't bother with the automatic transmission and just stick with the manual. The 1.3 isn't exactly a wolf in sheep's clothing; burdening it with an automatic transmission just makes things worse and fuel efficiency goes down.

As for the Hyundai Accent, a good friend of mine and a fellow motoring journalist got one and he's very happy with the car. Unfortunately, I have yet to drive one so I can't comment about its driving dynamics, space and pace. If Hyundais of recent times are to be the basis for building an educated guess on how the Accent fairs, however, I'd say it looks to be a real winner considering that the Starex, Tucson, Santa Fe and Genesis Sports Coupe are all fantastic cars in their respective segments. They offer great value for money.


Sorry I can't offer more help. Thanks for the email. Take care 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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