Choosing a brand new first car is not easy.
Many people don't realize how difficult it can be in a market that's as competitive as ours. There are so many choices available at relatively affordable prices, and even more attractive discounts. Do you go for a hatchback or a sedan? What engine size should you get? Should you buy from an established brand or a new one?
Yes, all these and more are just some of the many factors beyond simply looking at the SRP or the design of the actual vehicle. Many don't realize that they'll spend the next few years paying for the monthly amortizations of the vehicle. It's not a fling. It's a long term relationship.
But what if there's already a choice in the market that ticks all the right boxes on your checklist, one should really be the first on your list?
That's where the Volkswagen Santana automatic comes in.
Let's see how the Santana automatic fares by evaluating how it fits the not-so-obvious criteria for a first car.
Your first car has to be comfortable and easy to drive
This goes without saying: traffic in the country's primary urban areas can get quite bad.
Generally speaking, the daily commute during rush hour can be very time consuming, as drivers can spend anywhere between one to two hours on the road each day. That goes up during the rush hours, when it rains, or when Friday and payday come together. That's why it's important to pick a vehicle that will deliver when it comes to comfort and ease of driving.
The Santana is perfect for these situations, as it's not all about handsome Teutonic looks. The tires, the seats, and the suspension system are all tuned to deliver a comfortable ride whether you're commuting in the city or driving on the highway. For convenience, you have all the power features you'll really need such as electric power steering (EPS), power windows, power-adjustable mirrors, and central locks.
But for urban traffic, what many drivers really love is a proper automatic transmission, and in that regard, the Santana has the edge. The gearbox in the automatic variants of the Santana is one of the best in the industry, as it has 6-speeds and smooth shifting all throughout. That means no messing around with a cumbersome shifter, and your left foot can take a rest for your drive.
Some variants even have automatic wipers or even cruise control for effortless driving over long distances on the expressway.
Your first car needs to be efficient to run and maintain
If you bought your car with a full payment, good for you. But if you made a downpayment, you'll be paying for the car for the next 12, 24, 36, 48 or even 60 months. That's not an easy thing to do, even with the lowest interest rates, as your car will eat a significant portion of your salary for quite a while, and that means you'll need one that has low running costs.
One way is to look at the fuel consumption, and that's where the Santana shines too. The combination of a 110 PS 1.5-liter four cylinder engine and a 6-speed automatic gearbox with BlueMotion technology means the Santana can drive with fewer trips to the gas station. In our independent tests, and without really trying, the Santana automatic was already returning 9.2 kilometers per liter in average city driving.
And then there's the affordable maintenance. There are no hidden charges; all you have to do is talk to your dealer's many service advisors so you can get a better idea of the ownership costs over the next few years. Also, like any other Volkswagen model, Santana owners only need to visit the dealership for servicing once a year. That means less downtime, less hassles, and more driving.
Your first car should be safe
There was a time when vehicle safety was not high on the list of a car buyer's priorities, but progress has raised the awareness in the market that vehicles must not only be comfortable, good looking, efficient, or fun to drive, but safe too.
That's why the Santana automatic has a long list of safety equipment. Anti-lock brakes are standard to give the driver much more control under emergency hard braking. On slippery roads or tricky weather conditions, there is the electronic stability program to ensure that the Santana remains controllable.
In the event of an accident, all Santana variants have dual front airbags, while top-of-the-line SE versions have dual side airbags. In heavy weather, you've got rear foglamps as standard for all models for improved visibility, while SE models have front foglamps.
There's also the structure which is very rigid thanks to the safety cage architecture to help create a passenger cell that is safe for its occupants. And if you have toddlers, you can securely attach childseats via the ISOFIX anchors in the backseat.
Your first car must be high quality
The Volkswagen Santana may be a new product in the Philippines, but in its home market it has been a consistent best seller since it started production in the early 1980's.
Only cars that have a proven track record in quality and reliability can thrive with almost four decades of production, and that's what the Santana is. And over each generation, Volkswagen has leveraged their vast expertise in engineering to make the Santana better because no matter where a Volkswagen is made, it follows the same high standards.
Volkswagen uses only rust-resistant 100% galvanized steel for the unibody frame of the Santana, and they even use laser welding for perfect seams and maximum rigidity. The rustproofing processes are also highly complex and effective, as well as the painting processes.
And when it comes to the assembly lines, well we know the Germans to be thorough with quality control, and each Santana that leaves the assembly line either meets or even exceeds those expectations of quality. And any first time buyer should always always choose quality with a first brand new car purchase.
Your first car should be from a reputable brand
When buying a first car, there are many who are tempted to go for a new brand in the market, one that has attractive offers with discounts, low downpayments, or freebies. But don't be swayed too easily; you should stick to brands with a strong reputation not just in the market, but in the world.
Every Volkswagen has a proud reputation that stems from a high degree of engineering, quality control, fuel economy, drive performance, and everything else in between. And together with local distributor which is a subsidiary of one of the country's biggest conglomerates, it's hard to go wrong.
They're here to stay, and they're very focused on keeping customers satisfied for the long haul.
There are four variants of the Volkswagen Santana automatic for you to choose from. The base model is the Volkswagen Santana 180 MPI AT S which retails for PhP 898,000, followed by the version with a Blaupunkt audio unit at PhP 929,000. The high grade model is the Volkswagen Santana 180 MPI AT SE which retails for PhP 962,000, as well as a version with Blaupunkt audio at PhP 993,000.
You can visit www.volkswagen.com.ph for more information on your first car, the Volkswagen Santana automatic. You can also visit any of the 9 Volkswagen dealerships in the Philippines, and take the Santana for a test drive and see how it fits your needs.
Volkswagen Quezon Avenue
Volkswagen Sta. Rosa
Volkswagen Cagayan de Oro