First crack: Hatchback vs MPV?

Help our letter sender decide
by Botchi Santos | Jan 20, 2011
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Hi, Botchi!

I hope you're doing well as you're reading this mail.

We are planning to get a new car anytime soon but we do not know exactly what to get. We're a small family--just me, my hubby and a son who's soon turning two, and a yaya.

I'm planning to use the car daily going to work from Las Pinas to Alabang and during the weekends on our trip to the in-laws in Fairview . Our budget is around P800,000. With the heavy daily traffic along Alabang-Zapote road and our long trips to Fairview, fuel-efficiency is important to us. Also, we tend to carry a little bit more luggage during our weekend trips (big stroller, half a sack of rice, etc.), so we need a little bit more space. It also would not hurt to have a good-looking interior and exterior. The Ford Fiesta sedan has caught our eye, but we're still undecided. We also saw that Mitsubishi has a promo for the Adventure is on promo at the moment but we're not really sure if we really need a utility vehicle like that. With all the promos going on, you would really be tempted to just get them.

This would be our first time to buy a brand new car. Our last one is the ancient Ford Lazer (which we actually really like because it's roomy), so we really have no clue on what car to get.

Thanks and regards,

Josephine

Hi, Josephine!

It seems the P800,000 budget is the threshold most people are looking into right now so here's a couple of wild-card recommendations, which fit into your budget more or less:

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Honda Jazz 1.5 - There's no better vehicle that delivers pace, space, versatility, reliability, not to mention very good resale value after five or more years, than the Honda Jazz. Honda has built a solid reputation with the Jazz and it's not hard to see why. It drives so well and it's very easy to get in and out of the car, thanks to the quasi-multipurpose-vehicle (MPV) styling that makes it a popular choice for ladies as well as old people who find it difficult to enter or exit vehicles with small doors. Your rice cargo and stroller will get lost in the Jazz's cavernous boot. After-sales service from Honda is outstanding, too. It's a little over your budget--too bad--but it's worth it.

Ford Fiesta 1.6 - Up until recently I felt that Honda's the best in terms of dynamic handling capabilities. But the Fiesta is just so much better, thanks in part to its sharp chassis, powerful 1.6 engine and twin-clutch transmission. Sadly though, its styling doesn't offer as much space and versatility as the Jazz. I do prefer the hatchback over the sedan but obviously your sack of rice and stroller won't fit on the back of the Fiesta hatch so the sedan makes more sense.

Nissan Grand Livina - Driving an MPV will make you look very mommy-ish but this fits your budget and has all the space you will need, and more. The engine is pretty powerful yet surprisingly fuel efficient. The six-speed manual is a rarity, not to mention a joy, to row through. Reaching 200kph with a full load is easy. Okay, maybe that's not a good idea. It seats seven people and the last two rows may be folded flat to the floor and give you extra cargo space for very big loads. The Livina offers a great ride and feels tough as nails. This should last you a very long time.

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The Toyota Vios and Yaris won't offer as much space as these three, as much as I would like to recommend them. Other cars will be costing much more. You've got a lot of trying and testing to do among these three cars so knock yourself out at the dealerships.

Take care, good luck and God bless!

Best regards,

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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