How to choose a variant

Which variant is best for you? That’s a question only you can answer. So that’s that, we hope you found this insightful—kidding. When you’ve already navigated the sea of choice by looking at news, reviews, and consulting the highest power in the land—your wife—then the choice should come out, right? Nope.

Well, it also goes to show that even if you’ve chosen a model, there is a minefield of terms that you need to navigate. Extra words on the spec sheet mean extra money that you need to shell out. Here are a few things that you have to consider when choosing between variants. 


So if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. There is no reason to put financial stress on you or your family when you just want a bigger set of wheels, more tech, and a leather interior. Regardless of what accessions are put on the car, if you can’t afford it then don’t buy it. 

When it comes to purchasing a car, you don’t always need the latest and greatest features. Sure they can enhance the experience, but if your bank account says no, either wait a bit and save up more cash, or just settle for a lesser variant that will perform as a car should. 

At the end of the day, a car is still a car. Even if you get the lower trim level, you will still have four wheels, an engine, and seats. How many seats and how much power the car puts down is another story. 

We cannot stress how important it is to be financially responsible with your car purchase. Repossession is a very bad experience that we urge consumers to avoid at all costs. Remember that a higher variant is a want, it’s not necessarily a need. The basic function of a car is to get you from point A to point B, anything over that is nice to have. 

Consider what you will do with the variant, and where you will be taking it, Take note of what terrain you may encounter on the way to work. Consider the seasons and your everyday route through the Metro. Also, consider your hobbies and interests. Look for a variant that can serve all the needs of you and your family amicably. 

An example of this is in the mid-size SUV market. Top-of-the-line variants usually get a 4x4 system. A 4x4 variant would be inadvisable if you’re just taking it around the city or highway to run errands. You will get reduced fuel economy because of the extra weight, and if the SUV will never see the trail then it’ll be a waste of money if you’re not going to use the feature. On top of that, having a front-wheel differential is an added part to maintain, which means an added cost for you to fix if it does break. 

For MPVs and crossovers, there is an option in the lower trim levels to get only five seats. To get the lucky seven, you’d have to splurge a bit more. If you’re looking to start a small family, you might find yourself using the extra row at the back very sparingly throughout the lifespan of the car. 

For vans and minivans, consider if you value seating capacity over outright comfort for a few. Captains chairs do come at a premium, so when choosing a minivan or a fullsized one, picture yourself using the car first before making a decision. 

If engine options are concerned, just ask yourself if the extra power will benefit you in the long run. When it comes to reaching speed limits here in the Philippines, almost any vehicle, be it a car or motorcycle, can reach the 100 km/h limit on the highway, though if you’re on a bike with less than 400 cc, we can’t recommend it. At any rate, having the bigger engine is a want, not a need. Although power is also needed as it ensures that you merge in time, and ensures that you can carry whatever weight you have in your car. 

If you go off the beaten path often, then it may be advisable to get a 4x4 or AWD model. If you constantly need to seat more than five in the car, then get the variant with the seven seats. If you constantly find yourself on the highway, and your car feels underpowered, get a bigger engine. If you deal with dogs or find yourself handling liquids often, then get a leather interior. If you’re constantly stuck in traffic or find yourself in tight spots when it comes to parking, then an around-view monitor could help make life much easier. 

Also, ask yourself if you’ll be using some features such as a panoramic sunroof. How often would you end up using that feature? The times when you can are few-and-far-between especially in the scorching heat of the Philippine sun. 

While there are features that are nice to have, there are also features that are useful in their own right. Picture yourself with the car day-in and day-out. If you find that you need something, and you will be using it often, consider it. Adaptive cruise really isn't that handy if you're stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, right? 


Higher trim models may come with all the features, but these models can also come with a different colored grille, a spoiler, or even an entirely new bumper. Fresh out of the factory, and rolling on a fresh set of alloys, the dealer presents you with the keys to your car. It looks good, and you’re set apart from lesser variants. It’s a good feeling that comes at a cost, however. 

Though controversial, usually top-end models have the best looks straight out of the factory. However aesthetics can only do so much, but we can’t deny that it can ultimately tip the scales in favor of a higher trim. 

However, we cannot deny that most cars have a healthy aftermarket of parts and accessories. Who says you can't dress up your mid-tier or base model to look like a top-tier offering? That being said, however, it won't always be a one-to-one replica, but the option is there if only the looks are important to you. 

While the top trim is usually good, it comes at a cost. You also have to discern if your hard-earned money is going to pay for features that are worthwhile. Consider these steps when choosing your variant.

Do your due diligence and research on the particular model you want. Also research on the features that come with the top-spec variant. Once you have that, make a mental checklist of the notable features that you would want to have in your next car. 

After making that mental checklist, look at your budget and see what you can afford. If you can afford the top variant, and like all the features then go for it. However, if budget is an issue, remember your mental checklist and look at a lower variant. When looking at the lower model, separate your wants from your needs, and then picture yourself with the extra features on a daily basis. 

Compare the top trim model with the lesser variant, and fill out all your needs and wants in terms of features. If a model ticks all the boxes or is good enough, then go for it, unless your heart says no. 

It’s a tricky question to answer, really. There is no one-size-fits-all solution because a lesser variant may cater to the needs and budget of a different person. It is important that you know what you need, and what you can afford. Cars can embody want more than needing very easily. Just a few additions can add thousands to the price tag of an otherwise affordable automobile. Keep in mind that each person uses an automobile differently, so our criteria may not apply to you. This list is done in light of the Which Variant articles, which point you to what we think is the best bang-for-buck under each nameplate. 

Once you make your choice, consider using our 'Buy Online' feature. All you have to do is select the model that you want to purchase, choose a variant, and make a reservation to quickly get the car in your garage. 

Latest Features

View More Articles

Popular Articles