Over the past few years, the compact family car segment has seen its dominant position amongst the different car classes diminish, thanks to the growing popularity of subcompact cars and compact crossover SUVs. However, such a decline in popularity presents several opportunities, as dealers are eager to push the sales of their respective compact cars.
As a continuation of our AutoIndustriya.com Best Buys for 2011, we bring you our picks for the best bargains in the compact car class and see which cars can offer the best bang for your hard earned buck.
Starting off is the Honda Civic which is a definite veteran of the market, having been on sale since late 2006. Old as that may sound, the Civic really does not look its age; if anything, it still looks futuristic both inside and out. For the drive, the Civic has a sporty one, with a good suspension set up, powerful i-VTEC engines mated with 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmissions. It's also one of the largest and the roomiest in the class, and comes with a great list of features including USB input (with full iPod connectivity). Also, better deals on the Civic might be easier to come by now since the new model could arrive towards the end of next year.
MAKE & MODEL: Honda Civic
VARIANTS: 1.8 V, 1.8 S, 2.0 S
PRICE RANGE: PhP 858,000-1,120,000
TOYOTA COROLLA ALTIS
It's simple really: the Toyota Corolla Altis is the standard setter of the class. Some may call it the boring, no frills choice in the market, but the Corolla Altis has it where it counts: value. It has become better, more sophisticated, better equipped and better refined over the years, and thus the Altis has consistently maintained its position as one of the top choices in the market. And in the Philippines, where the perception of resale value is a top consideration for a sale, then this Toyota could be just what you're looking for.
MAKE & MODEL: Toyota Corolla
VARIANTS: 1.6 E, 1.6 G, 1.6 V, 2.0 V
PRICE RANGE: PhP 784,000-1,125,000
If there's one car that is helping Chevrolet bounce back from their past troubles, it has to be the Cruze... and with good reason. The Cruze looks great, it drives great, has decent fuel efficiency and has an extensive list of standard kit. The Cruze also gets a new VCDI diesel variant for improved power and efficiency. Chevy has also been offering great deals and freebies on their cars lately and, as an added bonus,they just extended their warranty period to 5 years. Now that sounds good to me.
CAR: Chevrolet Cruze
VARIANTS: 1.8 L, 1.8 LS, 1.8 LT, VCDI
PRICE RANGE: PhP 808,000-1,228,888
The Ford Focus may be one of the veterans of the current crop of compact family cars, but it can't be denied that it is still one of the best value propositions in the segment. It is one of the few around that come in both hatch and sedan forms, and features a more premium, European design theme to it. In terms of equipment, the Focus comes with the full package, and is even offered as a highly efficient turbo diesel with a first-in-class dual clutch transmission variant. And with a new model coming out sometime next year, it's possible for a smart shopper (and the adept bargainer) to get the current model for a good price.
CAR: Ford Focus
VARIANTS: 1.8 Style 4D, 1.8 Trend 4D, 2.0 Ghia 4D, 2.0 TDCI Ghia 4D, 1.8 Trend 4D, 1.8 Trend 5D, 2.0 Sport 5D, 2.0 TDCI Sport 5D
PRICE RANGE: PhP 779,000-1,099,000
If the previous entry was one of the oldest in this bunch, then the Elantra from Hyundai is the newest. Launched at the recently concluded Manila International Auto Show, the Elantra marks Hyundai's re-entry into the compact car segment, one of the few classes that the Korean brand hasn't made an impact in lately. That's about to chage as the Elantra gets the new design philosophy of Hyundai, looking very similar to the Accent on the outside with a generous touch of the Sonata on the inside, and comes as a 1.6 liter or a 1.8 liter. The best part? The price of the range topping model with all the bells and whistles is just over 900 grand.
CAR: Hyundai Elantra
VARIANTS: 1.6 GL, 1.8 GLS
PRICE RANGE: PhP 798,000-938,000
Next on AutoIndustriya.com's Best Buys: Compact SUVs