Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Bargains of Christmas - Sub-Compact Sedans and Hatchbacks (2013 Picks)

Our yearly feature during the season that everyone loves is on its second year. Finding a car for yourself (assuming if you are a good guy) or for your loved ones in each category is daunting, let The Ultimate Used Car Guide help you.

So, how are these bargain picks are chosen? Here are some criteria that were followed:
  • A vehicle must be available between 2003-2012
  • Reported problems from owners are minimal, 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
The basic in the automotive food chain, sub-compact sedans and hatchbacks are popular among first time buyers. And why not? They possess a fuel efficient engine, a practical partner inside the city, has low maintenance costs, and comfort for four people. Below are the best sub-compact picks which are great Christmas buys.

For minimum budgets the first generation (2003-2007) model is a great buy, and those who want something new must consider the second generation (2007-2013) model. Why the Vios? Fuel efficient, parts are widespread, comfortable, and easy to drive. And with its best seller status, finding a unit that suits your need is easy. Just steer clear of ex-taxi units.
Recommended trims: 1.5 G (2003-2007), 1.3 E/G or 1.5 G (2007-2013)

Other bets:

2010-2012 Ford Fiesta Sedan
Ford's sub-compact contender is available in either sedan or hatchback (it is a nominee, too) and a great market bargain thanks to low residuals. It may have a tight back seat but it is one vehicle that is enjoyable to drive. The powershift transmission is jerky in the city, so we vouch for the automatic models (added in 2012 for the 1.4) or manual (available in the 1.4).
Recommended trim: 1.4 Trend (2010-Current)

2003-2012 Honda City
Another great choice in the sub-compact field is the Honda City, and in the year range you will encounter three generations. You will encounter some 2003 units of the first generation (1996-2003) model but we recommend springing up to a second generation (2003-2008) model, since the price difference is narrow and you get a plethora of amenities including folding rear seats, ABS brakes, and airbags. Choosing the third generation (2009-Current) model will reward you with a modern but large interior and trunk and most importantly, priced less than a new unit.
Recommended trims: 1.5 V (2003-2008), 1.3 S or 1.5 E (2009-Current)
2006-2012 Hyundai Accent
What is a taxi driver favorite is also a great used car purchase. The first generation (2006-2010) Accent has a diesel engine which is definitely fuel efficient and fast if you unleash the devil in you. With just the basics, never be picky with amenities but rather with the unit condition as there are private owners selling theirs. You will also encounter second generation (2011-Current) units but we recommend to steer clear of the 1.4 since they are fuel thirsty unless an ECU reprogramming was done. An engine update was done in May 2013 to resolve this issue.
Recommended trims: 1.5 GL Power (2006-2010), 1.6 GLS (2011-Current)

2006-2012 Kia Rio
Give the first generation model (2000-2005) a miss since reliability isn't stellar and the sedan variant is bare (no power windows, steel rims). Go for the second generation (2006-2011) Rio since it is a leap forward from the model it replaced and you get the basics. Quality is at par with the Japanese, and with low prices, the package becomes appealing. You can snap a third generation (2012-Current) model but we recommend the 1.2 models since the engine is light and peppy.
Recommended trims: 1.4 EX (2006-2011), 1.2 LX/SX (2012-Current)

For the second time in a row, the Toyota is our pick. It may not have the bells and whistles but it provides unadulterated driving fun for less. No fancy CVT tranny or any flexible rear seats here, but it has the goods covered.
Recommended trim: 1.5 (2007-Current)

Other bets:
2010-2012 Ford Fiesta Hatchback
Why we chose the Ford and exclude the Mazda counterpart here? The latter, although fun to drive and practical, loses in the availability factor. Which leaves us with the Fiesta since they are aplenty in the market. It has everything the sedan (good and bad) minus the trunk, and it is one enjoyable vehicle.
Recommended trim: 1.4 Trend (2010-Current)

2004-2012 Honda Jazz
What is not to love the Jazz? The first (2004-2008) and the second generation (2008-Current) models offer a flexible cabin, powerful engines, and a perfect pick for newbies. If you are buying a first generation model be reminded of the following: i-DSi engines require eight spark plugs (as opposed to the VTEC's four) and the CVT transmission is fragile.
Recommended trims: 1.5 (2005-2008), 1.3 S or 1.5 V (2008-Current)

2005-2011 Hyundai Getz
Basic as it is, the Getz is one enticing option for something less than P350,000. You get something fuel friendly, roomy, and reliable. There are numerous engine picks but go for the 1.1 since it has decent power. No airbags or ABS and cheap plastics come standard, but the thought that counts, thanks to the power of depreciation.
Recommended trim: 1.1 GL (2005-2011)

2008-2012 Hyundai i10
Another Hyundai on the sub-compact hatchback recommended list. The tiny body is a revelation: good amount of equipment for the price, peppy engines, and most importantly decent space. Even at second hand prices, those who do not want to spend on a new car but want something easy to drive in the city would find this car appealing.
Recommended trim: 1.2 GLS (2009-2012)

2004-2012 Kia Picanto
Heaps better than the Kia Pride it replaced, the Picanto is one great economy car that is also fun to drive. The first (2004-2011) and second generation (2011-Current) are easy to drive, has decent space for four, and decent power. For the second generation model, steer clear of the 1.0 since it lacks power whenever needed.
Recommended trims: 1.0 LX DX/LX (2004-2011), 1.2 (2011-Current)

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