Which Subcompact Sedan is the Better Practicar?

Which Subcompact Sedan is the Better Practicar?

Updated on July 18 2024

These are three of our best practicars, each ably providing drivers and car owners a great premium on price, safety, performance, and fuel economy. Whether bought brand-new or used, the Toyota Vios, the Nissan Almera, and the Mitsubishi Mirage G4 represent three of the best practical cars (practicars!) in the local market today.

So how do we compare three of our favorite things? Will our four practicar essentials still work as the criteria for this ultimate car comparo? Of course! Would the repossessed Vios do well against a used Almera? How would they do against the perennial dark horse, the Mirage G4? Let’s find out.

The Four Essentials to a Winning Practicar

Automart.Ph is dedicated to giving its customers used and repossessed car options for their daily use and ticks all the boxes without breaking their budget. To answer these requirements, we have the practicar---a budget-friendly and safe practical car that’s a solid daily driver.

To pick the ultimate subcompact practicar, we’re basing our choice on the following criteria: Price, Safety, Performance, and Fuel Economy. The winner at each criterion will get 5 full points while the other will get 4 or less. As always, design and styling, comfort, interior space, and other features, will be secondary and won’t figure in for this practicar comparison.

Savings on Your Subcompact Sedan

For this comparison, we’re comparing 2020 models of the Vios, Almera, and Mirage G4. Not only because getting the latest (2021 or 2022) models is rather counterintuitive, but because here at Automart.Ph, we do have some 2020 models that are 30% to 50% more affordable and practical to get than their brand-new counterparts---a definite plus if you’re in the market for a low-cost high-quality drive.

Why is this significant? Because the 2020 models were pretty pricey back in their day:

2020 Toyota Vios 1.3 E CVT Php 891,000
2020 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 1.2 GLS A/T Php 869,000
2020 Nissan Almera 1.5 E A/T Php 824,000

While these will form the bases of our analysis, the whole point is to pick which fits our criteria, particularly in price. That's why if you do a quick Automart.Ph search for any of these three brands and their 2020 models, you’ll find dozens of units on the website with prices ranging from Php 660,000 to Php 370,800.

For example, this repossessed 2020 Toyota Vios 1.3 E has a bid price of Php 630,000. Considering that it’s got less than 12K on the odo and a nearly 30% markdown on the price, this unit’s going to sell itself pretty quickly.

As the middle child, the 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage G4 comes in cheaper than the Vios but retails a bit more than the Almera. As a used car option, it is quite desirable and has a high resale value. As of this writing, Automart has all but sold off its stock of repossessed 2020 Mirage G4’s across its managed warehouses, leaving us with no point of comparison unless we consider the repossessed 2020 Mirage G4 GLX model which ranges from Php 443,700 to Php 370,800 depending on mileage, condition, and transmission (AT or MT).

The Nissan Almera was the most affordable of the three. As a used car option, like this 2020 Nissan Almera 1.5 E, has less than 26,000 km on it and is priced at Php 472,150.

The Nissan Almera wins the battle of the prices with 5 points, the Vios comes in second with 4 points, and because we didn’t get a real read on the Mirage G4, it gets third-place with 3 points.

Safety by the Numbers

Safety is a big deal for these brands, and it shows---these three are some of the safest cars on the road today. Each model has also been recognized for its safety protocols and has received ASEAN NCAP recognition (New Car Assessment Program for Southeast Asian Countries). Here’s a quick rundown of how these subcompact sedans value driver and passenger safety.

The Toyota Vios was awarded an ASEAN NCAP 5-Star Rating with a high overall score of 81.63, in November 2017, based on the new safety protocols set in place by NCAP for 2017-2020. This is a big deal because these new protocols surpass previous standards and are the basis for all standards for vehicle safety around the world.

If you want a reliable and affordable subcompact sedan that's also safe, the Toyota Vios is the car for you. This Vios variant has seven airbags that include two in the front, plus driver knee airbags, as well as side and curtain airbags. It also has ABS + EBD, vehicle stability control, hill-start assist, and power door locks and windows, and child lock protection, among others.

The Nissan Almera was given a 4-star rating in the Adult Occupancy Protection category by the ASEAN NCAP in 2013. Building on that recognition, the 2020 Almera comes with seven airbags, an anti-lock braking system (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), and the Nissan Intelligent Mobility suite, which controls a set of safety systems that include lane departure warning, automatic rear braking sensor, an automatic emergency braking system, and brake override system (BOS) and ISOFIX tether anchors.

The Mitsubishi Mirage G4 also received a 4-star rating in the Adult Occupancy Protection category by the ASEAN NCAP in 2013, but more importantly, it won the Grand Prix Award for Adult Occupancy Protection. This award was given because of the Mitsubishi Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution (RISE) body which redirects impact energy away from the interior during a collision. Apart from that, the Mirage G4 also offers standard safety features, which include front airbags, three-point seatbelts, as well as an anti-lock braking system with EBD, and others.

For leading the field in safety standards and implementation, the Vios gains 5 points in this criteria. Nissan Almera comes in second with 4 points, while the Mirage G4 takes three points.

Super Subcompact Performance

We’ve established how affordable and safe these subcompact sedans are, now we need to know how well they perform, and it all comes down to lifetime and use. First, let’s take a look under the hood.

The Toyota Vios 1.3 E CVT. The Vios has a 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine that churns out 98 hp and 123 Nm of torque through a 4-speed CVT transmission. This translates into great acceleration, easy maneuverability in traffic, and a smooth ride on highway runs.

Unsurprisingly, it’s the Nissan Almera that tops the field in engine size with a 1.5-liter in-line four-cylinder 16 valve DOHC engine that puts out 99 HP and 134 Nm of torque with a 4-speed automatic transmission.

We’ve previously compared the Mitsubishi Mirage G4 with its smaller sibling, the Mirage compact hatchback, and noticed how light it was in the engine performance department. Comparing it now to the Vios and Almera, the disparity is even greater.

But how does the G4 fare against the Vios and Almera in terms of overall performance? Your car maintenance and expenses will add up over time, and how you save money on these things will make owning any of these models worthwhile. (For consistency, we crunched the numbers using 91 octane gasoline for all three models, calculating cost over 150,000 km.)

Overall, the Vios, G4, and the Almera performed consistently, more or less, from zero to 150,000 km. In city driving, the three reached the same break-even point (around 27,000 km). After that point, they began diverging. While the Toyota Vios’s initial cost was high, over time its overall expenses were the lowest among the three. The Nissan Almera (surprisingly) costs more over time compared to the other two. Our dark horse, the Mirage G4, coolly coasted in the middle lane from start to finish.

For highway driving, all three proceeded at a consistent pace. Around 115,000 km, the G4, and the Almera closed in and switched around 130,000 km. After that, the G4’s overall costs were lowered slightly till the end.

If we were to compare the graphs, the Mirage G4, despite its lighter engine and power output (or, because of these), offers a more cost-saving performance, over time. In close distances and traffic, it straddled the middle, providing adequate performance (sounds boring, we know, but reliability isn’t one for wild antics), but in long runs proved to be the better performing vehicle.

This type of consistent performance and utter reliability is what we would expect from a practicar. For this criteria, G4 grabs the win with 5 points, followed very closely by the Vios with 4 points, and the Almera, with its less-than-stellar city driving at third (3 points).

Breaking the Tie: Fuel Economy

How are these subcompact sedans at fuel economy? Well, let’s look at the numbers. Please note that at the time the analysis and research for this article were undertaken, the price for 91 octane unleaded gasoline was at an average of Php 50.47. For the 95 octane, it was Php 51.46. Far cheaper than what they are today.

Toyota Vios Mitsubishi Mirage G4 Nissan Almera
City Driving 14 km per liter 12 km per liter 9.8 km per liter
Highway Driving 23 km per liter 24 km per liter 21.3 km per liter

Hands-down, the Toyota Vios is the ultimate fuel saver, outpacing the Almera and G4 and leaving them in the dust. While the G4 proves to be an able rival in highway driving, overall, the Vios’s average fuel economy (of 18.5 km per liter in combined city and highway driving) edges it out. The Almera isn’t even in the race.

Speaking of Octane Levels…

Is there a difference in expenses when using different octane levels? How big is it?
I'm glad you asked that question, my dear fellow, because, yes, there is. And while we won't dabble into the technical nitty-gritty, it’s safe to say that the effect these two octane levels have on the overall costs/expenses over time are quite significant.

For example, at the 50,000-km mark, this difference is multiplied. Add in the cost of maintenance over time, and you’ll have a difference in expenses between the 91 octane and 95 octane for the Toyota Vios at more than Php 74,000.

For the G4, it's a bit more, with nearly Php 110,000. The Almera? It's over Php 144,000! (Quick tip: Consider sticking to the fuel type that your car is built for. Check out this Automart.Ph article about the top ten money-saving car maintenance tips and find out why.)

For this criteria, whether it’s for city or highway driving, or if it’s 91 or 95 octane, the Vios takes the win with 5 points, followed by the G4 with 4 points, and rounding out the three is the Almera, with three points.

And the Winner is: The Toyota Vios

Toyota Vios: 18 points out of a possible 20 points

Price: 4 Points
Safety: 5 Points
Performance: 4 Points
Fuel Economy: 5 Points

Mitsubishi Mirage G4: 15 points out of 20

Price: 3 Points
Safety: 3 Points
Performance: 5 Points
Fuel Economy: 4 Points

Nissan Almera: 15 points out of 20

Price: 5 Points
Safety: 4 Points
Performance: 3 Points
Fuel Economy: 3 Points

There’s no denying its popularity, appeal, and practicality. The Toyota Vios, no matter the model year, continues to be one of the brand’s bestsellers and is recognized for its affordability, safety, fuel economy, and performance (and reliability.

But that’s the beauty of these vehicles: they are practicars that can help get you from Point A to B with minimum fuss and worry. And they’re just three of the many practicars available at our managed warehouses around the country.

In the battle royale of subcompact practicars, our choice is the Toyota Vios. But we’d like to know: which one is your ideal practicar?

Automart is your gateway to the most affordable high-quality repossessed, used, and second-hand Toyota Vios, Mitsubishi Mirage G4, and Nissan Almera cars in multiple managed warehouses around the country, at the best possible, walang patong prices.

We take pride in providing you with excellent customer service as well as highly-trained professional advisors who can help you throughout the entire process---from inquiring about the models you want to inspect, to on-site inspections, through the purchase process, and to finally taking your vehicle out of the lot and back home with you. Looking for the right practicar? i-Automart na yan!