Hi, Top Gear Philippines. I hope all is well. I am planning to buy a new car, and I am eyeing either the Toyota Yaris or the Honda City. Can you please help me choose?
Hi, Cathrine. Thank you for spending the time to e-mail us.
The original Toyota Yaris was a spunky left-field choice. I owned a previous-generation Yaris and loved it because it wasn't very mainstream. I admire your choice of picking a hatchback, even if the all-new Yaris has become very conventional.
The all-new Yaris is a good car, and is massively bigger and comfier than my older-generation one. It's a solid choice. The problem is that there's the Honda Jazz. Like the Yaris, the Jazz is a hatchback, but it offers just so much more: more power and better flexibility and performance around town, thanks to the CVT. The Yaris is over-geared for city driving. As a result, it's slow in cut-and-thrust driving. Ultimately, the Jazz is more enjoyable to drive.
The Jazz's sedan twin, the Honda City, has grown a bit more adventurous. The subcompact sedan has also become even more refined, building on the strengths of its predecessor, but injected with more excitement. Of the sedans in this segment, the City is arguably the very best in all-around performance.
Both the Jazz and the City also have the ULT (utility, long, tall) seating arrangement. You can drop, fold or flip the seats to allow carrying larger, bulkier objects with ease. No other small car in this segment offers this ingenious piece of kit. And before you--or other people--think that this is a Honda-paid advertisement, I actually do not own any Honda, but rather two Toyotas!
Looking for other options? I like the Ford Fiesta hatchback with its conventional torque-converter-equipped automatic transmission, and the Hyundai Accent CRDi, which is very fast and fuel-efficient thanks to its diesel engine.
Going for a slightly bigger vehicle? Check out the Chevrolet Trax. I'm a huge fan of this one. Or consider the Hyundai i20 Cross Sport. Both are slightly bigger than the subcompacts you mentioned, but they offer a taller driving position and better ground clearance, which is helpful when traversing bad surfaces and encountering the occasional flash floods.
Do you want something closer to a sedan in height and width, but need more space? The Suzuki Ertiga and the Honda Mobilio are also excellent choices. Both have comparable width to a City or a Yaris, so driving them around town isn't as daunting as one would think. Even if the Ertiga and the Mobilio are both longer, they are still pretty wieldy.
I hope this helps. Thanks and God bless. Take care!