Vehicle options for a dad-to-be

Top consideration: Optimum comfort for the baby
by Botchi Santos | Aug 18, 2010

Hi, Botchi!

I’m going to be a father soon and I want to a vehicle that is comfortable for me and my baby. I like going on trips outside the city with family and friends. My budget for a new vehicle is P900,000.

This may be the most unusual comparison yet but I’m considering the following vehicles along with some of the things I like about them:

1. Mitsubishi Strada GL – It has a big engine, its stance is great and macho-looking, and I’m sure it can take me anywhere--even through floods. I also like it for its diesel engine.

2. Toyota Altis – It’s comfortable and quiet. It’s a great car and I think it has a great resale value.

3. Suzuki APV – This is big enough for more passengers and it’s well within my budget.

I don’t have a specific need and I think that’s where my dilemma lies. Do you have other suggestions?

Thanks! I love your magazine!

Joel

Hi, Joel!

Thanks for sending us an email and congratulations on becoming a future daddy!

Of course, a daddy would want the best ride he can get for him and his family. Here’s my take on the cars in your list:

1. Mitsubishi Strada GL – This is definitely the best pickup in this variant range compared to those from rivals like Nissan, Toyota, Isuzu and Ford/Mazda. That it has a powerful engine and a tall ride height similar to that of the 4x4’s means you have more go-anywhere capability with this truck. BUT it is a pickup truck and it will definitely be on the harsh side. It may be too harsh for your baby’s comfort.

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2. Toyota Altis 1.6 G– Your current budget can get you the base-model 1.6-liter variant, which in my opinion is very slow and underpowered considering the Altis has gone a long way from just being the new Corolla replacement to a new model all on its own. It definitely needs a 2.0-liter engine to feel just right. I wouldn’t recommend this one either.

3. Suzuki APV – I enjoyed driving this vehicle and short gearing makes it decently sprightly for city driving. Out on the highway, it doesn’t have the legs necessary to make it a comfortable cruiser. The crosswinds you’ll be encountering on the SCTEx going up north would make driving the APV very scary since it’s pretty tall, slab-sided, and it has a high center of gravity. Despite its being a mini-minivan, it’s not all that roomy.

Here are my suggestions:

1. Honda Jazz 1.5 V – At P842,000, it fits right within your budget. The interior is really spacious and very versatile even for someone as big as I am. You can flip and fold seats flat to the floor, load it up with a surprising amount of gear and have a blast driving it alone through some twisty mountain roads. It also drives really well. I took one from Manila to Pangasinan and back all in one day and averaged about 14 kilometers per liter cruising mostly at 120 kilometers per hour with other adults in the car. We know it can hack it on a long out-of-town drive.

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2. Nissan Grand Livina – This is an underrated but truly fun and versatile car. The base-model Nissan Grand Livina XL Elite with six-speed manual transmission fits your budget while the second-tier XR Luxury variant with four-speed automatic transmission is just a few thousands of pesos above your P900,000 limit. These guys are super fast. I’ve cruised in the Livina at 197kph on the SCTEx (before authorities set a speed limit there) yet it still delivered an amazing 14km per liter of fuel. The seven-seater mini-multipurpose vehicle also has a versatile interior: you can flip and fold the seats to stow more cargo and despite the seemingly tight interior, it has decent space even at the back. I also love the snickety-snick feel of the six-speed manual along with the light clutch that makes city driving easy on the left leg.

There is a bunch of other nice cars that fall within your budget but they don’t quite fit the criteria you mentioned. So what do you think? Tell us what you decide to get. I hope everything pans out well. Good luck and God bless you, your family and your soon-to-be-born baby!

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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  • 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:
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    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 …
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    TGP Rating:
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