Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Bargains of Christmas - Sub-Compact Sedans and Hatchbacks

Christmas is just around the corner, and you're asking what car would you want to gift to yourself (if you are good this year) or to your loved ones. Your Ultimate Used Car Guide is here to solve the problem by giving you some recommendations.

So, how are these bargain picks are chosen? Here are some criteria that were followed:
  • A vehicle must be available between 2002-2011
  • Reported problems from owners are minimal, they are based from local forums and several of my reviews
  • Vehicle value must be excellent, since they are good bargains. 
  • Must offer a competitive advantage over its rivals and must fit the buyers needs in a category
  • Availability in the second hand market must be widespread
For this day, let's delve more in the sub-compact sedan and hatchback category since most car buyers start here. Seeking a fuel efficient steed that is easy to maneuver, practical to own, and could carry you plus three passengers; start with this list.

Ok, you could almost predict that in this category, the Vios is my pick. And for all the reasons I can make and say; it is one reliable, fuel efficient, practical, and with brand new prices that can get you a brand new hatchback, you can have a trunk for less. You can't either go wrong with the first generation sold from 2003-2007 or the second one in 2007 to 2012 (with a third generation Vios being launched next year) models.

Other bets:
2002-2011 Honda City - This model has three generations spawned for this feature. The SX8 model, available from 1996-2003 are dirt cheap to buy due to the age and a practical choice for college students with less cash. The 2003-2008 City is something to be careful of, the continuously variable transmission is fragile and thus, advising you to stick with the manual ones to avoid future headaches. The latest one which was sold from 2009 up to now is a better model than the previous one and can be a steal at lower prices.

2006-2010 Hyundai Accent - Diesel frugality is the very main selling point of this vehicle that gained popularity with taxi operators. There are some decently maintained units from private owners that is a great deal. However, just don't be picky when it comes to features since it is basic as long as you satisfy your hunger for efficiency. Wonder there is no 2011 model? This is because while the second generation model is an improvement for the brand, several cases of fuel knocking have been floating in automotive forums and thus, can be a hassle.

2006-2011 Kia Rio - Excluding the third generation model, only the second one is what I recommend since the first had various reliability problems and won't be satisfied with one (unless you are cash strapped and desperate for cheap wheels). While basic in packaging, it will give you a pleasurable ownership experience since you can have one for less and quality of late 2000s Kias are at par with the Japs.

Why would I pick the Yaris over the category leader, the Jazz (don't worry, this one is included but as an other bet). Simply this very main reason: CVT issues of the Honda made me pick the Toyota simply because it uses a conventional automatic transmission. Reliable and practical in a sense but the main weakness lies upon the rear seats, they are not flexible. But if the main concern is ferrying passengers (most of the time), this is one choice.

Other bets:
2004-2011 Kia Picanto - Among the vehicles listed in the other bets category, you can find some units selling in the P200,000 range. A good thing with this model is the very excellent fuel economy, maneuverability, and this is a far cry from the Kia Pride it indirectly replaced (relevant in the Philippines). So, don't fret with this little bugger.

2004-2011 Honda Jazz - This is the benchmark of the category and also a bargain for the class. Flexibility? Check. Fun to drive factor? Present. Peppy engines? Ok. But quality? Doubt so, especially with the first gen model. The CVT tranny is known to be a sick child and the gear can get worn out, so do yourself a favor by picking the MT ones. 2008 and later ones (known as the second iteration) do not have reported problems but do remember it drinks more than the first.

2005-2011 Hyundai Getz - There are numerous reasons for picking this over the smaller i10 from Hyundai's stable. It has more room, more space in the boot, and several engine configurations to choose from. Does drink gas like a bird and reliability is decent enough makes the Getz an enticing option. Just remember that options such as airbags and an expensive material trim is not available but you wont be complaining at this price point right?

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