Appreciating the Simple Things in Life—12 Best Cars for Under P700,000 Manny de los Reyes April 28, 2020 Automotive, Features Being locked down inside our houses get us thinking about the most important things in life—health, food, and shelter. Trying to protect ourselves from an unseen enemy that can make us seriously sick or even kill us while we do everyday things like buying groceries and going to work the bank or the gym, is a sobering reality. In an instant, what was our daily routine came to a screeching stop. All plans, all goals, are put on hold. Looking forward to that new movie? Missing your fave resto? Planning to buy that new outfit, watch, shoes or handbag? Suddenly they’re the farthest in your hierarchy of wants and needs. Life has become simple. Back to basics. We wear t-shirts and shorts everyday. But we do need a car to transport us to buy our day-to-day needs (and to bring our heroic front-liners to places of work). We don’t need a luxury car to do that just as we don’t need to be in full makeup and wardrobe to dash to the grocery. Keep it simple, right? Here then is a list of cars that cost below P700,000. In an age when the second-bestselling Toyota is a 1.8 million-peso Fortuner, finding a decent sub-700k car might seem downright impossible. It’s not. There are actually 22 different models from 14 different car brands that come with price tags below P700,000. Here now are the 12 top sub-P700k models arranged by price from lowest to highest: 1. Suzuki S-Presso (P518,000) It’s amazing that the newest car in this list (it was supposed to be unveiled last March 18) is also the cheapest. The Suzuki S-Presso is a tall but tiny crossover powered by a 1.0-liter engine mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. It’s not much bigger than its legendary off-roading sibling, the Jimny, but has the advantage of having four doors, making it as versatile as any crossover. Like most crossovers, though, it comes only with front-wheel drive. 2. Suzuki APV (P588,000) Equally amazing as the new S-Presso is Suzuki’s other Top 12 sub-700k entrant (Suzuki actually has four models priced below 700k). This other entrant is not a tiny hatchback—it’s a van! Okay, it won’t compete against a Hiace or even an Innova, but hey, the 1.6L-powered (biggest engine in this group) Suzuki APV seats eight! And at P588,000, the APV gives you literally the most car for your money. 3. Honda Brio (P598,000 MT / P658,000 AT) The current 2nd-gen Honda Brio is a more mainstream version of its slightly oddball but still lovable predecessor. That first-gen model was arguably the best in its class. Unfortunately, it was substantially more expensive than the competition. The new Brio (still powered by a 1.3L engine) addresses that crucial weakness. It still has class-leading build quality, refinement, and overall performance, but is priced very, very competitively—to the point that it is now the third lowest priced car on this list and, get this, the cheapest automatic-equipped car you can buy in the country. 4. Kia Soluto (P625,000) Kia is on the warpath and is pricing their cars much more aggressively than before. The well-built Soluto is their spearhead, offering a full subcompact sedan size at a price point more common for tiny hatchbacks. It comes with a 1.4L engine mated to a manual or automatic, although the latter breaches our 700k limit at P735,000. 5. Hyundai Reina (P638,000 MT / P688,000 AT) Much of what you can say about the Kia Soluto applies to the Hyundai Reina, which has the same platform and shares much of the mechanicals. Hyundai owns Kia, after all. Both solid-performing subcompact sedans are highly similar, right down to the 1.4L drivetrains, their dimensions, and even the smell of their interiors. But while the Soluto leads the Reina in terms of pricing for manual transmission variants, the Reina reigns when the automatic models are compared. Only the Hyundai automatic slips under our P700k ceiling at P688,000. 6. Nissan Almera (P657,000) The Almera needs no introduction. It’s a wallflower relative to the Vios and Mirage, but it’s a supremely solid and comfortable car—and among the biggest and roomiest in this size and price class. The Almera comes with two engines (1.2 and 1.5), four trim levels, and six variants (MT and AT), but only the entry-level 1.2L manual-shifted version comes in under P700k. 7. MG 5 (P658,888) If you want a low price but still desire a certain amount of exclusivity, the MG 5 is your cup of English tea. MG is an almost-century-old British brand now owned by China’s SAIC conglomerate. With its elegantly understated European design, the MG 5 is one of the better-looking cars in this bunch. It’s powered by a 1.5L engine shared with the popular MG ZS SUV and comes in four variants, although only the entry-level manual transmission model slips under our P700k ceiling. 8. Toyota Vios (P662,000) Talk about needing no introduction. The Vios is an absolute no-brainer, especially if you want zero issues with reliability and after-sales maintenance and want maximum resale value. The country’s bestselling car comes in eight variants, but only two (1.3 Base and 1.3 J variants, both with manual transmissions) are priced below P700,000. 9. Volkswagen Santana (P686,000) You won’t see a Volkswagen Santana in Germany or the U.S. But you’ll see thousands upon thousands of Santanas in Mexico, Brazil, China, and other emerging markets. It’s VW’s version of an affordable subcompact sedan. The price is right, and even if it’s not a pure German model, it still oozes with that unmistakable Teutonic solidity. The minimalist Audi-esque lines will make the Santana look fresh several years down the road. The 1.4L-powered Santana is also available with an automatic, but that version retails for a whopping P200k more. 10. Chevrolet Spark (P694,888) The 1.4L -powered Spark is Chevrolet’s contender in the tiny hatchback segment. Like the Honda Brio, it’s a surprisingly solid little car whose build quality, refinement, and riding comfort belie its tiny dimensions and low price. 11. Chery Tiggo 2 (P695,000) The good-looking Chery Tiggo 2 is the newcomer (make that the comebacker) of this bunch. The bigger and more important distinction, however, is that it’s the only other crossover (aside from the smaller Suzuki S-Presso) in this list. This makes the Tiggo 2 substantially more versatile than the subcompact sedans and hatchbacks here, especially with its higher ground clearance. The Tiggo 2 comes with a 1.5L DOHC 16-valve VVT engine—the second biggest in the group. There’s an automatic version, but it overshoots our P700k limit at P770k. 12. Mitsubishi Mirage (P699,000) Here’s another no-brainer (except that only the hatchback version manages to squeak in under our P700k ceiling). The bestselling Mirage G4 sedan starts at P735,000, so only the entry-level yet fully equipped Mirage GLX hatchback makes it to this list. All Mirages come with a 1.2L 12-valve MIVEC 3-cylinder engine, so expect excellent fuel economy with a reasonably peppy performance (especially with a stickshift).