A reader asks: Which secondary car below P1 million should I get?

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by Botchi Santos | Nov 26, 2013

Hi, Botchi.

I have been an avid reader of your column, but I have never imagined sending my own e-mail to you. I hope I get a response. I\'m planning to buy a second car, probably a sedan below P1 million. I have short-listed the following cars: Kia Forte Koup, Hyundai Elantra and Toyota Vios. I know the Elantra and the Vios are reliable cars, but I\'m really curious about the Forte Koup. For a car below P1 million, the features and the looks are enticing, but I haven\'t read any reliable reviews. Is it a bad car? Or did it just not click in our market? I hope Top Gear Philippines can review it in the future. Please advise.

Arvin Estrella


Arvin, thank you for your e-mail.

Good to hear you\'re getting another car! Yes, I have to agree that the Hyundai Elantra and the Toyota Vios are pretty good cars. For P1 million, you can also get the highly underrated but highly capable Mitsubishi Lancer MX or an entry-level Honda Civic. Despite lacking any high-tech toys, they still deliver the goods. Going the other way, the Hyundai Accent CRDi hatchback is one attractive proposition, thanks to its excellent CRDi diesel engine, making it a real pocket-rocket on the road.

Now, on to the Kia Forte Koup. Indeed, it is a most excellent car. (Please note that this is a two-door coupe, unlike the four-door sedans that you also mentioned. This car graced the cover of our Buy Issue in August 2009, as driven by our EIC in South Korea. The sedan version is simply called Forte.) The only problem is that Kia doesn\'t seem to be pushing this car as much as its other models, partly because it is a relatively old model and is supposedly due for a full-model change soon.

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I myself haven\'t driven it, but it looks really good and if other Kia models and vehicles are anything to go by, the Forte Koup should be a really good drive. I\'ve been trying to secure a test drive for the past few years, but unfortunately there has never been a test unit available due to limited stocks, so Kia can\'t spare a potential customer car for test-drive duties.

Best to schedule yourself a test drive, if possible. Let me know. Maybe I\'ll tag along so I can drive it myself.

I hope this helps. Good luck and be safe!

Botchi Santos
Consumer Editor

Do you want Botchi to help you pick the right car? Send your inquiry to topgear@summitmedia.com.ph.

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  • Quiz Results

  • TGP Rating
    --/20
    Engine
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    Power
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    Torque
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    Transmission
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    Fuel
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    1.8 E CVT
    Starts at P1,110,000
    TGP Rating:
    --/20
    Pros
    Light on amenities, Honda kept styling it long after it was done.
    Cons
    Light on amenities, Honda kept styling it long after it was done.
    Verdict
    Honda’s winningest combination comes when you opt for a six-speed manual transmission available in the Civic hatchback Sport, in which …
    Learn More
  • TGP Rating:
    /20

    Starts at ₱

    TGP Rating:
    /20
    Starts at ₱