As 2020 draws to a close and 2021 is dawning, we can’t help but take a step back and have a look at some of the best cars that we were able to review and get our hands on. From small hatchbacks to big behemoths, there are a lot of cars of many different shapes and sizes assembled on this list. Among the most memorable, however, we were able to pick out 10 models that we found hard to forget. From Caco and the team, here are our picks for the top 10 cars we’ve reviewed in the year 2020.
By the way, there are quite a few cars that we haven’t tested yet at the time of writing. Hopefully, in 2021, we’ll be able to and include them in a list for another time.
10. Suzuki S-Presso
Let’s kick off this list with the most affordable car of the bunch, the Suzuki S-Presso. Coming in at just P518,000, the S-Presso is the most bare-bones automobiles on this list today, however, while it doesn’t have all the trimmings it is still one of the quirkiest cars that we’ve gotten on a review. It makes the list not because it has an overall great score, but it makes it because it was so memorable. Even if we had a limited time with it we found ourselves fondly reminiscing about the good times we had in it and how we got big folks to fit in the back. (Looking at you Jack.)
9. Kia Picanto
In the 3rd quarter of this year, we took three of the most popular small hatchbacks out on the road for a 3-way comparo to see which model will be the best buy of the bunch. Models like the Honda Brio, Toyota Wigo, and finally the Kia Picanto were all duking it out to see which would win. Funnily enough, the Toyota Wigo was edged out by the Picanto even if it was newer and had more space. What really won us over was the fit and finish that you don’t normally find in small hatchbacks. It doesn’t feel like its price point and to top it all off, you get a great set of standard features and a rather responsive and peppy 1.2-liter gasoline engine. It was the best of both worlds when we did our comparo, and it was one of the most behaved and most fuel-efficient on the highway, proving that small cars can indeed go far. While it was the most expensive among the three, it felt like you were getting your money’s worth at P745,000 which is a feat in the category.
8. Suzuki XL7
Another comparo winner, the Suzuki XL7 makes it on our top 10. Simply put, Suzuki cars are a great value, and the XL7 is no exception to that. At just P1,068,000, you get something that we believe is a better value than some of the other offerings out in the market with an appearance that is a bit more unique compared to the other models that are kitted out or a bit bare. Suzuki has done enough to make it stand out, and in our comparo with the Mitsubishi Xpander Cross, it won us over with its more understated looks and its features, which include a massive 10-inch infotainment screen.
A more premium offering in the market, the Mazda6 gets a spot on the list simply because of its exciting drive and its unassuming exterior. You don’t know it until it’s left you behind and all you have to look at are the taillights. It’s a pretty quick midsize sedan, which could make your granddad want to drive instead of being driven in it. It’s got enough torque at 420 Nm which can even rival some diesel engines in the midsize SUV category. It’ll pull you hard and put you in the back of your seat if you put the pedal to the metal, and it will also corner like it is on rails. You truly feel like you are one with the car, then it can also double as a midsize sedan with all that room at the back.
5. and 6. Geely Coolray and Ford Territory
We couldn’t decide between these two crossovers for the 5th and 6th entry on our list, so we decided, why not both? Starting off with the subcompact, the Geely Coolray is one of the larger entries in its category. Loaded with features and with an interior that is very striking, this model from Geely won the hearts of thousands when it was first launched also thanks to it being one of the most bang-for-buck options in the market today. Starting at just under P1,000,000 and with a price that tops out at P1,195,000, the Coolray was one of the most popular cars on AutoDeal.com.ph throughout 2020. It has a 1.5-liter engine and a sharp drive that is tons of fun to wring out thanks to the generous amounts of torque. It even has great handling characteristics and a lot of tech that will make your head spin, as well as one of the best 360-degree cameras in the market today. Even after other manufacturers stepped up their game and unloaded model after model, the Coolray endured and kept its place among the top contenders in the Philippines, except for one.
Then the Ford Territory was launched after the Geely, but it held its own. Raking in inquiry after inquiry for the Blue Oval. There was no shortage of buyers looking for a Ford-branded crossover with the premium features and an attainable price tag. Though it is more expensive than the Coolray, it does have more space and is one full segment above the Geely in terms of size. You do get more for your money as well, and it essentially is a more sedate drive compared to the Coolray, and it is much smoother thanks to that CVT automatic, and 4-cylinder engine. The Territory is a bit of a bargain too, coming in at an affordable P1,179,000 for the Trend variant, and P1,299,000 for the Titanium, which is not bad considering you get a fully-loaded compact crossover from a name brand.
4. Nissan 370Z NISMO
Undoubtedly one of the hero cars for a generation of enthusiasts, the Nissan 370Z is one of the more iconic models on this list. Pretty much a living legend at this point due to how old it is, it still drives like what dreams are made of. Especially in its uber-special NISMO trim, the 370Z was likely your starter car in a racing game, or a car that you just kept during your entire virtual racing career because of how familiar it felt. Regardless, it was one of the most nostalgic experiences that we’ve had in 2020, which is odd considering the platform’s age. It’s really a “they don’t make them like they used to,” type of ride. There is something different about hydraulic power steering and the old-school engine tunes where you have to really wring it out and work hard to keep the car in the powerband. We only wish that it came in a manual transmission, but for the sake of lap times, we’ll let the paddle shifters do all the work.
3. Kia Stinger
While we were able to test this car way back in 2019 when it was first launched, the whole team just got to experience the Kia Stinger this year and get it on video. The first time was great, but the second time was even better. With a torquey V6 engine with two turbochargers, the Stinger is definitely not all show. Stab the throttle hard and abruptly enough and you will get wheel spin. It’s that lively of a car. Similar in scope to other hardcore performance cars from Europe, the Stinger is a great machine from a brand that has come into its own in terms of technological advancement and quality, Kia. Forget what they say about the South Korean brand because as it is, the Stinger is a very unique and exciting choice that’s pretty underrated. Sure it’s not the most premium out there, but you will be one of the few. You got a lot of other two-doors on the road like the Ford Mustang, or the Toyota 86, but the fact is, they’re a pretty common sight on Philippine roads. The Stinger is exceedingly abnormal, and a unique experience, and one that stuck to our minds because it was so interesting.
2. Toyota Supra
Before you ask the question, “Is that a Supra?” it is, but not quite but it is and we still love it. Making it to number 2 on the list, the Toyota Supra is definitely a car that you will fawn over once you get to drive it. On paper, it doesn’t seem like a lot of power, with 335 hp and 500 Nm of torque, you’re pretty much trading blows with the Stinger, but don’t believe the numbers, because the Supra is indeed a fast machine. It may only have what it has on paper, but on the road and in the driver’s seat, it is a different beast. Though the beast doesn’t even have fangs nor does it have claws. In the city, it is a very sedate experience, and surprisingly, we didn’t have too many issues going over speed humps because the wheelbase is so short. Even the fuel economy of the Supra was a shock to the system because it was pretty frugal for a straight-6 cylinder.
1. Ford F-150
Is it really a surprise? Really? The Ford F-150 is a monster of a pickup for the Philippines. It’s almost too big to fit on the roads or even go through a drive -hru in McDonald’s. It barely fits, but that’s the thing, it still does. We love it because it is so imposing, and we love it because it’s a great decision by Ford to bring in this behemoth. The size alone is already so enticing, but the V6 EcoBoost engine is a marvel. This guy weighs a lot, but it gets up to speed and can even keep up with other sports cars. Heck, if you put this guy next to an EcoBoost Ford Mustang, you’re going to see a very tight race. It’s that quick and for a car of this size, it’s nuts. On top of that, you get first-class seating thanks to massage chairs, peace of mind with a 360-degree camera, and a plethora of other goodies and bits and bobs that make the ride or drive even rival some midsize sedans. Plus, yes, this is the only pickup that any of us would be happy to ride in the back of, because it is surprisingly comfortable. Almost as surprising as Caco’s golf swing. (Sorry Jack)