I've been a reader of Top Gear Philippines magazine since 2008 but I just signed up on your website a few days ago. Your magazine is very informative and I used it when I bought our first brand-new car.
Right now, I need to decided on a new car again. I need something that is less than four meters long. It has to be fuel efficient, comfortable even during long drives, loaded with technology, easy to maintain and reliable. The car should also be able to handle bad road conditions.
I'm now choosing between the Honda Jazz, the Ford Fiesta and the Suzuki Jimny.
I'm from Cavite and my weekly routes take me to Parañaque, Laguna and Batangas. Twice a month, I visit our farm in Pampanga and Tarlac.
Thank you very much in advance for your advice.
Thanks for your email! It's great that you've finally decided to make yourself a regular TGP website and forum visitor!
Regarding your needs, I'd rule out the Honda Jazz--for the first time--because it's not very capable in handling bad roads, plus the suspension is really firm and quite low compared to those in other cars. You might end up gouging your under-chassis pretty often should you find yourself treading on bad roads. It's only for these reasons, but given your needs, they really are deal-breakers in your case.
The Suzuki Jimny seems to be your ideal choice because its size is very comparable to a typical B-segment hatchback. The problem is, its very tall ride height and short wheel-base make it a bad highway cruiser especially if you'll be going to Tarlac and Pampangga via the North Luzon Expressway and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway. It's also really tight inside. I've never bothered to drive one on an extended test simply because shutting the door with me inside is a Herculean effort (although I was about 70lbs heavier last time I remember getting into one). It's pretty capable off-road, of course. We're talking about a super hard-core trailing off-road driving, not the pansy stuff going over bad roads, which people think is off-roading already.
And now for the Fiesta. The Ford dynamically is just as good--if not better than the Jazz. Its suspension is ever so slightly softer, which allows it to handle bad roads better. If memory serves, it also has a slightly taller ride height based on observation during times I'd park a Fiesta alongside my brother's GE-body Jazz.
Compared to the Jazz though, it's not as easy to get in or out in a Fiesta. The back seats of the Fiesta, with its deeply curved C-pillars and matching doors, deliberately ignore the mini-MPV/van profile that most Japanese hatchback designers favor. It goes instead for a sleeker, more stylish C-pillar and swoopier overall profile. The rear cargo hold also isn't as roomy as the Jazz's, but you made no mention of needing a lot of cargo space so I guess it's not that high up in your priorities.
Hope this helps you out, good luck and God bless! Happy motoring!
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