What Car Should I Buy?

What Car Should I Buy?

Updated on April 18 2024

When people find out how much I love cars, the question that I get asked the most is, what car should I buy?

While this is a valid query, the truth of the matter is there is no quick and fast answer. Just like clothes, cars differ in how each type fulfills a certain need. What does this mean, you ask?

Consider these types of vehicles along with the pros and cons for each type.

Sedan

A four-door sedan, for instance, was the default choice back in the day (before SUVs) simply because it offered relatively decent space, a spacious trunk, and ease of driving in the city and out on the highway. It somehow fits most lifestyles.

Pros and Cons of Sedans

Pros

A. Compact and subcompact sedans are relatively more affordable than a crossover or SUV.

B. Due to its smaller size and compact dimensions, sedans are easier to park and maneuver around town.

C. Sedans are easier and more affordable  to maintain since the spare parts are cheaper.

D. Offers enough room and cargo space for small or medium-sized Filipino families.

E. Subcompact practicars like the Mitsubishi Mirage and Toyota Vios are more fuel efficient than a crossover or SUV.

Cons

A. Not ideal for larger families who need more than five seats.

B. Sedans have a lower ground clearance. This is an important factor to consider if you live in flood-prone areas or places with rougher roads.

C. Sedans are not ideal for off-roading. Consider this fact if you are the adventurous type who loves going out of town during the weekends,

Station Wagon

Admittedly, station wagons have had a stigma over the years as being a “mom mobile” or an ugly jalopy. And yet, newer offerings like the Subaru Levorg and Mazda6 Sports Wagon are actually sexy and sporty.

The biggest draw these wagons have is their utility and space that’s more than your typical sedan. Some even rival the best SUVs out there. What sets this thing apart from the sports ute is that they drive just as great as a sedan.

Pros and Cons of Station Wagons

Pros

A. Station wagons have more usable passenger space and cargo room than a typical sedan.

B. Unlike hulking SUVs, station wagons have a lower lift-over height making it easier to load and unload cargo in the back.

C. With a lower ride height and a lower center of gravity (like a sedan), station wagons have better driving dynamics than a crossover or SUV.

D. Station wagons have sleeker bodies which improves fuel economy.

E. Depending on the make and model, some station wagons are ideal for "soft-roading" or mild off-roading with standard AWD and protective body cladding.

Cons

A. Station wagons are not as rugged-looking or as visually appealing than modern crossovers or sedans.

B. Although station wagons are more versatile than a sedan, it still only has five seats. If you need seven seats, you need to look at an MPV or SUV.

Sport Utility Vehicles or SUVs

Evolving from a mix of a station wagon and off-road vehicle, the more urban friendly SUV offers more space and versatility than a sedan. Then there are the added ground clearance and raised driving position that make one feel in control and give that extra sense of security. Ideally, SUVs are for those that tread rougher terrain, as well as floods on a regular basis.

Pros and Cons of SUVs

Pros

A. SUVs have more cabin space and are roomier than a sedan or station wagon.

B. SUVs have a higher ground clearance and are more rugged than a sedan.

C. With a higher driving position, SUVs offer better visibility and a clearer view of the road ahead.

D. Most SUVs have seating for up to seven passengers.

E. SUVs are available with diesel engines that offer more pulling power and better fuel economy.

Cons

A. SUVs have higher price tags.

B. SUVs consume more fuel than a sedan (diesel SUVs will slightly offset this).

C. Parking can be a chore since SUVs are bigger, longer, and bulkier than a sedan or station wagon.

D. Since SUVs are bigger and heavier than most cars, the maintenance costs are higher as well.

Pick-Up Truck

These rigs used to be seen as workhorses, simply used to haul cargo. As market tastes evolved, however, so did the pick-up truck. Now, you see them being driven on a daily basis, ferrying families to school and work, as well as being used on weekend trips out of town. That cargo bed is utilized as a large trunk while the raised ride height gives that feeling of security that a lot of buyers today look for in their vehicles.

Pros and Cons of Pickup Trucks

Pros

A. Superior versatility. Pickup trucks can carry larger and heavier items while still ferrying up to five passengers in relative comfort.

B. Pickup trucks have a larger towing capacity.

C. The higher ground clearance makes pickup trucks ideal for tackling flooded roads or rougher pavement.

D. Most pickup trucks have standard four-wheel drive (4WD) for tackling provincial roads and mountainous terrain.

E. Pickup trucks with potent turbocharged diesel engines offer tons of usable torque for hauling or pulling heavy cargo.

Cons

A. Pickup trucks are harder to park and maneuver around town due to their sheer size and length.

B. Diesel trucks may offer better fuel economy than a gasoline truck, but diesel spare parts are more expensive.

C. Most pickup trucks have a ladder frame chassis and leaf spring suspension, resulting in a choppier and less comfortable ride over longer distances. Other trucks like the Nissan Navara have an innovative coil-sprung rear suspension in an attempt to improve the ride comfort.

Multi-Purpose Vehicles or MPVs

The MPV or Multi-Purpose Vehicle is a favorite among Filipino families. MPVs are not as tough or as rugged as an SUV or pickup truck, but it has seven or eight seats, enough cargo room to accommodate larger cargo, and the ride comfort of a sedan. Also, it has a moderately higher ground clearance than a station wagon, making it ideal for flood-prone Philippine roads.

Pros and Cons of MPVs

Pros

A. Abundant and flexible interior room for five to eight passengers.

B. Cavernous storage spaces for carrying larger or bulkier items.

C. Smoother ride comfort for long distance driving.

D. Higher driving position for better visibility.

Cons

A. MPVs are not as stylish as an SUV or crossover.

B. May be harder to park due to its size and length.

C. MPVs are heavier than sedans and are less fuel efficient.

Sports Car

Toyota 86, Mazda MX-5, Porsche 911--all these cars are designed to provide smiles per mile and fun behind the wheel.  Of course, they aren’t the most practical things on the road. So don’t expect your Mercedes-Benz SL to haul a balikbayan box as that’s not what it’s designed for. But if you regularly go out on the open road and don’t need to bring along the entire barangay, then this is probably the car for you.

Pros and Cons of Sports Cars

Pros

A. Faster acceleration.

B. More engaging and exciting to drive.

C. Nifty handling.

D. Sports cars are never short on style.

Cons

A. Limited seating capacity.

B. Less cargo space.

C. Sports cars generally consume more fuel than a sedan or station wagon.

Different Strokes for Different Folks

In a nutshell, all these choices simply represent the various needs of different people. Some people will want a car for the daily commute to and from work. There are those who want and need one for the family--to haul gear and  the whole brood. And there are folks who want a rig to carry around their toys as they head out to their favorite bike trails or leisure playground.

What Car Should I Buy?

Ask yourself this question: What is it going to be used for? Is it your daily driver? A school bus for the kids? A workhorse? This is then followed up with, why not take it out for a test drive? This way, you will be able to see if the car is indeed for you. It’s like trying on a pair of pants to see if it fits.

Again, each vehicle is designed for specific needs. Which vehicle fits yours?