Who said sedans were a dying breed?
While there are loads of SUVs and crossovers on the road today, there's no denying that the B-Segment sedan market is as strong as ever. In fact, it's a big chunk of them in the passenger car market today.
The best-selling passenger car in the segment (and in the country) is the Toyota Vios and, this year, the Japanese automaker has just rolled out a new one. That just means one thing: Let the battle for B-segment sedan supremacy begin. Who pulls the best figures in the top of the line, B-Segment sedan class? Read on.
The 2019 Vios has to fight eight other cars in its class, all of which wanting a piece of the B-segment sedan market. In alphabetical order, we start with the Chevrolet Sail, a relative newcomer in the class as it debuted two years ago. The Ford Fiesta on the other hand is one of the senior models, now in its eighth year in the market. Honda has the City, which is one of the strong sellers in the segment thanks to its relatively long heritage and solid reputation. The Hyundai Accent on the other hand has diesel appeal on its side.
If you're looking for something with a sporting flair, there's the Mazda 2. Nissan's Almera on the other hand is another good seller in the segment. Suzuki has the Ciaz, which is aimed to take on the upper (pricier) half of the B-Segment. As for the 2018 Vios, it joins the fray with a significantly redesigned exterior and interior.
1.5 liters and below
One look at their respective spec sheets and it appears that there is a common theme under the hood. Of the nine cars here, five pack a 1.5-liter engine. These cars are the Chevrolet Sail, Honda City, Mazda 2, Nissan Almera, and the Toyota Vios.
The Mitsubishi Mirage and Ford Fiesta have three cylinders each with 1.2-liters for the Mitsubishi and 1.0-liters for the Ford. The Ciaz on the other hand has a 1.4-liter mill while the top-spec Accent comes with a 1.6-liter turbodiesel.
Consequently, the Mirage, with its small engine, has the lowest power output here with 78 PS and 100 Nm of torque. Up next, the Ciaz with its 1.4-liter engine putting out 92 PS. It may have a 1.5-liter but the Nissan Almera doesn't break the 100 PS mark with its 99 PS rating.
First to break the 100 PS mark is the Toyota Vios, making 106 PS, followed by the Mazda 2 with 108 PS. The Chevrolet Sail meanwhile manages 109 PS from its 1.5-liter engine. Making the most of its 1.5-liter engine is the Honda City, which produces 120 PS. However, thanks to boost, the tiny 1.0-liter in the Fiesta pulls 125 PS and 170 Nm of torque.
But the most powerful car here is the one with the biggest engine and the lone turbodiesel here. From its 1.6-liter CRDI, the Accent trounces the pack with 136 PS and a class leading 300 Nm of torque.
Tale of the tape
No surprises in guessing which car here is the smallest. With most hovering in the 4.3 meter mark, the Mirage G4 is the shortest at 4,245 mm. It is also the narrowest but, interestingly, the tallest.
At the opposite end of the scale is the Suzuki Ciaz at 4,490 mm. Some may argue that it's practically a C-segment sedan but Suzuki insists on calling it a B-Segment. The Sail does pip the Ciaz as the widest car by just a mere 5 mm.
Pop the trunk
B-segment sedans have grown quite a lot in size these past couple of years and it's reflected in their cargo capacities. Most of the subcompact sedans of today offer over 400 liters of trunk space, which should be enough for most.
We say most because one car doesn't even reach the 400 liter mark. That's the Chevrolet Sail with a rather diminutive 366 liter capacity. The second smallest trunk here is quite far off the Sail and it belongs to the Mazda 2 with 410 liters.
Despite being the smallest car on the outside, the Mirage has a surprisingly large trunk at 450 liters, beating out the Sail and Mazda2. Even through the Ciaz is the longest car in the group, it doesn't have the largest trunk. That honor belongs to the Honda City with a whopping 536 liters. That's more than some C-segment sedans out in the market today.
Full tank, sir!
Being efficient is one thing, but having a long range is another. Fuel tank capacity is just as important as fuel economy, as a bigger tank means less stops in between fill-ups. That's the theory, at least
With that, the Sail brings up the rear with just 39 liters, followed by the Honda City at 40 liters. The Nissan Almera edges the Honda by 1 liter at 41 liters. Both the Mirage and the Vios are at 42 liters each while the Accent and Fiesta have 43 liter tanks. The Mazda2 has the second largest fuel tank at 44 liters but it's the Ciaz that comes with the biggest at 45 liters.
Surprise and delight
B-segment sedans are far from the bare-bones, entry-level models they were in the 90's. In fact, a lot boast features that were previously reserved for more upscale, premium cars. The Chevrolet Sail for example has a sunroof standard for its top-spec, LTZ trim. Ford on the other hand has a novel three-cylinder engine which makes even more power than the larger 1500cc rivals. Honda on the other hand is packed to the brim with safety features, from seven airbags to stability control.
As previously mentioned, the Hyundai Accent is the only one with a turbodiesel engine, and a punchy one at that. Mazda2 meanwhile has a trick heads-up display plus an infotainment system that wouldn't look out of place in a luxury European car. The Mirage's diminutive exterior hides a surprisingly space-efficient cabin and the Nissan Almera has a rear blower to keep passengers at the back chilled. If it's size you're after, the Ciaz is one to consider. Plus, it even comes with a web browser. Just don't use it while driving.
So what's the Vios' USP? There's not much when you compare the spec sheet with other top-spec models but it does pack smartphone mirroring for its touchscreen display. Also, all variants come standard with stability control and seven airbags.
All the variants here are top of the line models and the priciest versions of these (not so) small sedans. These cars pack either an automatic transmission or a CVT.
The price leader here is the Mitsubishi Mirage G4 GLS CVT at Php 816,000. The rest of the group are priced beyond Php 900,000.
First to break through that price is the Ford Fiesta Titanium EcoBoost sedan at Php 905,000 and, for a little bit more, the Chevrolet Sail LTZ starts at Php 917,888. Php 930,000 nets you the Hyundai Accent GL CRDI with a dual-clutch transmission. Nissan's Almera VL is just a few thousands more than the Accent at Php 933,000. The last car within the Php 900,000 is the Suzuki Ciaz GLX, which starts at Php 963,000.
Three cars here are priced beyond the one million peso mark and it starts with the Honda City VX+ Navi at Php 1,059,000. It is then followed by the Mazda 2 SkyActiv R sedan at Php 1,065,000. The most expensive? Surprsingly, it's the Toyota Vios G Prime at Php 1,095,000.
Comparing the Vios to the rest of the competition, its spec sheet figures put in in the middle of the pack. It's not the most powerful, nor does it have the biggest trunk or fuel tank. It's also one of the more expensive choices to choose from. On the flipside, it is well equipped, particularly in the infotainment and safety front.
As for the rest of the competition, they pack best-in class figures which could sway buyers away from Toyota's cash cow. However, the rest of them will have to contend with the long-trusted T-Badge but as it is, the Vios' main rivals put up a very good fight.
Of course, the deciding factor will be a real-world road test. Will the new Vios deliver and, more importantly, is the top-spec model worth its asking price? Watch this space.