While bigger is better for many occasions, a more focused and compact package may be able to surprise you in more ways than one. We’ve tested many of these cars already, and some of them are quite good looking, feature-packed, and a good value for money. All of these models come at a price of under P750,000 for their top of the line models.
The small hatchback is a perfect city slicker, able to squeeze through tight streets and zip around with frugal gasoline engines. They’re great whether you’re in the market for a first car, or even as a spare car. Any of these vehicles will serve you well, so let’s get to it in no particular order.
Honda Brio (P598,000 – P735,000)
When you take the Mobilio RS, chop a third of it off and shorten the wheelbase you get the Honda Brio; a small hatchback that excels in looks and refinement. The Brio is a good looking car, there is no doubt, but beauty is not just skin deep. In our testing, the Brio proved to be a very well behaved hatch. It resists feeling too light on the highway but remains light to drive within the city. It has a good loadout of features like speed sensing door locks to name one, and ample space for all passengers, which is surprising.
It’s also quite powerful for what it is. With a 1.2-liter i-VTEC motor running the show, it produces 89 hp and 110 Nm of torque, which is more than enough to get it up to speed, but not too much that fuel economy starts to take a dip. You get the option of a 5-speed manual transmission or a CVT, and the top of the line RS trim is indeed something to needlessly gawk at on a daily basis thanks to the RS design elements tatted all over the car.
Kia Picanto (P590,000 – P745,000)
Kia’s own feature-rich entry into the small hatchback segment is the Kia Picanto. It comes available with two gasoline engine options, the first being a 1.0-liter, while the other is a 1.2-liter motor. As far as transmission options go, the small South Korean hatchback can be had with either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic. Power for the 1.0-liter motor is rated at 67hp and 96 Nm of torque, while the bigger 1.2-liter engine produces 84hp and 121 Nm of torque. With its power figures, this puts the Picanto squarely with other small hatchbacks in its class.
When it comes to features the Picanto is no slouch as it comes with a few segment-leading features. It is one of the few small hatchbacks in the country that comes with Apple CarPlay and Android auto for select variants. It also comes with a reverse camera with dynamic lines giving it an advantage over its competitors. Interior space is ample within the Picanto, the dimensions are compact, and there is a quality feel to the cabin. It is after all a global model and is built to cater to multiple markets.
Toyota Wigo (P568,000 – P700,000)
One of the newer models on this list thanks to a facelift in the last half of 2020. The Toyota Wigo now comes with a more aggressive front end and a host of new features. Recent additions to the vehicle include a new head unit that now comes with a reverse camera, a dash camera, and a new body kit for the top variant the Toyota Wigo TRD-S. Even with the exterior refresh, its engine remains the same, still being powered by a 1.0-liter gasoline engine that produces 66hp and 89 Nm of torque. Transmission options have also been carried over with the Wigo still being available with either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic transmission.
Despite its small form factor, the Toyota Wigo comes with enough interior space. While its small engine will have a hard time getting the small hatchback up to speed quickly, it’s still plenty good enough especially for drives within the city. The interior space is also good and its practicality puts it on par with the rest of its competitors in its class.
Chevrolet Spark (P694,888 – P734,888)
Chevrolet’s smallest offering in its lineup, the aptly named Chevrolet Spark, is one of the more capable in its class. It stands as the car with the most power on this list rocking figures of 97 hp and 128 Nm of torque coming from a 1.4-liter gasoline engine. While it is not the most powerful motor in the world, it is spritely because of the car’s lightweight, and easy handling. It also comes with a 5-speed manual or a CVT, either of which will give you good service.
It also comes loaded with features. All models have the Chevrolet MyLink System which allows for seamless smartphone pairing through a USB connection which allows for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. It’s a well-equipped hatchback that did surprise us in its review, and for less than P750,000, it a good deal.
Suzuki Celerio (P558,000 – P598,000)
Suzuki’s smallest model in the line up has got quite a few big things going for it. For one, it has a sub P600,000 price tag for the top of the line CVT model. Second, it’s very fuel-efficient in the city and easily tops the others in this list. With the brand’s 1.0-liter K10B engine, that produces 67 hp and 90 Nm of torque, the Suzuki Celerio excels in the habitat that is built for, the urban jungle – paired with either a CVT or manual transmission.
It doesn’t have the most features on this list, but for the price of its rivals’ manual variants, you get clutchless operation.