Are there cars that are available at low price tags yet come with modern amenities and features? Yes, of course there are options that tick students' requirement boxes. But before we start discussing such vehicles, we need a clear understanding of what students require in a car.
(Image credit: kia.com)
Features to Consider when Choosing a Car
In an ideal situation, every student would like to own a car loaded with modern gadgetry and capabilities, but that would cost a lot. A student's need for a car is way different from the needs of a working individual. The best students' car should fulfill the following requirements.
Price: This is the most important factor. A car for students should be affordable, at least in terms of purchasing or paying off in installments. But affordability does not mean that the car should be lacking in quality. Even a reasonably-priced car can be of good quality and have good features.
Fuel efficiency: It goes without saying that spending capability is limited, especially after using a good amount of money on purchasing a car. A student car should return good mileage; no compromises on that.
Low maintenance: Continuing the thread of limited budget is low maintenance cost. An ideal student car cannot be one that requires service at a humongous cost. Basically, maintenance should be low.
Maintenance internals: When getting a car for yourself, make sure that your car needs servicing over longer intervals. More rounds to the service center mean more spending.
Design: Design matters, especially for students and young people. If you are compromising on the design on the altar of low price, sooner than later you will find your car to be more and more dull-looking, especially so when new designs enter the market after you make your purchase. Go for a new design.
Safety: Ultimately, safety matters the most. Make sure that you are not buying a car that's barebones in safety. Even if not loaded with safety features, your car should have at least front airbags and crumple zones.
Resale value: Remember that you will not continue forever with your student-day car. When you decide to sell off your old one and acquire a bigger car, the old car should be able to fetch a good bargain in the used car market. Therefore, choose brands that get good resale value in the used car market.
Now, with these aspects clarified, here is a list of vehicles that would be perfect for students.
Best Cheap Cars for Students in the Philippines 2020-2021
1. Toyota Vios
- Eye-catching design
- Capacious interior
- A good number of safety features
- Supple ride quality
- Value for money
- Engines lack spoke
- No Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Interior styling not too appealing
The Toyota Vios is quite affordable and hence omnipresent on the Philippines roads. From the outside, the compact sedan looks enchanting, especially its flowing side profiles, and curvy taillamps impart a much-needed freshness to the newly updated vehicle.
On the inside, it is roomy and well-equipped in terms of several comfort and convenience features, which include a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system and roof-mounted AC vents. The redesigned seats offer better support and comfort too.
The front-wheeled drive Toyota Vios comes in two gasoline powertrain options. An 1.3L engine belts out 98hp power and a 123Nm torque while another 1.5L mill is capable of producing 106hp power and 140Nm torque. Both engines are attached to either a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) or a 5-speed manual transmission.
A plethora of safety features make the Toyota Vios one of the safest cars in its segment. Those features include ABS with EBD and brake assist, electronic stability control, hill-start control, five 3-point seatbelts, ISOFIX child seat tethers, and more. Even the base variant is offered with 3 air-bags. For your peace of mind, the Toyota Vios has earned a much-deserved 5-star ASEAN NCAP safety rating.
2. Toyota Wigo
- Best for city commute
- A potent drivetrain in this segment
- Spacious interior
- Gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- TRD S model ups the game in styling
- Unstable at higher speeds
- Cabin acoustics could be better
- Engine emanates little noise
Toyota Wigo is widely popular since it is one of the cheapest cars in the Philippines. But despite its affordability, it doesn't lack the reliability that Toyota has been known for over the years. The car has been designed keeping urban riders in mind, as the compact size and dimension allow the vehicle to maneuver city lanes and traffic without much strain.
The tallboy design ensures the car has a spacious interior with a comfortable knee room and headroom. The top variant receives a touchscreen infotainment system and steering wheel-mounted controls. Dual airbags and ABS are standard for all variants.
From the outside, the Toyota Wigo looks attractive. A new TRD S model offers a more modern look with a front lip spoiler, side skirts, and rear bumper extension with a diffuser. It also gets TRD decals and a rear chrome badge for a updated look.
This 5-seater hatchback is driven by a fuel-efficient 3-cylinder 1L gasoline engine that churns out 65hp of power and 89Nm torque and is mated to 4-speed automatic and 5-speed manual transmission.
3. Suzuki Dzire
- Looks enticingly modern
- Well proportionate design
- Roomy and spacious interior
- Best-in-class fuel efficiency
- Likeable engine performance
- Steering feels tight on higher speeds
- AMT gearbox is not as responsive as 5-speed manual gearbox
The Suzuki Dzire has the edge factor that will truly make you a proud owner. The new generation Suzuki Dzire is a huge step-up from the previous iteration; it has been rendered edgier and way more enticing.
The Dzire holds on to the chrome accents on the grille and the front bumper, but the design has undergone a complete change. The vehicle also embraces brand-new headlamp and taillight design, giving the whole car a revamped look. Its exquisite look combines a flowing line and finely crafted accents to exude a modern sedan vibe.
The interior now concurs well with the redesigned exterior. A 7-inch multimedia audio system, along with a signature D-shaped steering wheel, imparts a classy look to the interior. There is ample space even for tall people, and a curved ceiling provides a spacious and airy feel to the car. The boot storage is also spacious enough to stuff it with your belongings in case of a long drive.
A max power output of 82hp and 113Nm torque is delivered via an updated 1.2L K12M, VVT, 4-cylinder, DOHC, 16-valve engine, which provides a good return of miles for your fuel. The transmission is handled by a 5-speed manual gearbox or AMT gearbox.
In terms of safety features, the car is equipped with a pedestrian protection system at the front, dual airbags, and is based on a new generation HEARTECT platform that disperses crash energy to minimize damage. Also provided is the ABS with EBD, a brake assist function, and ISOFIX seat anchors.
4. Mitsubishi Mirage G4
- Good fuel economy
- Decent engine
- Easy maneuverability and parking
- Feature-packed interior
- Sufficient cabin and trunk space
- Value-for-money car
- Some features are not available across all variants
- Engine sometimes makes sound
- Uses cheap cabin material
- Low on acceleration
The Mitsubishi Mirage G4 is the sedan version of the Mirage hatchback, oozing with practicality thanks to a large wheelbase and a big trunk. The stylish car features an aerodynamic design with a chrome-surround honeycomb grille, halogen multi-reflector headlights, LED turn signals, and 15-inch alloy wheels.
On the inside, you are presented with a spacious cabin packed with some modern features like a 6.75-inch touchscreen with GPS navigation and a multi-function steering wheel. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also part of the infotainment system.
Cruising takes place through a 1.2L MIVEC 3-cylinder engine, which puts out 76hp power and 100Nm torque. The mill is connected to either a 5-speed manual or CVT transmission with the power transporting to front wheels. The engine delivers excellent fuel economy.
You can have the car in three variants: the GLS will ensure extra features like ABS with EBD, brake override system, and ISOFIX anchors.
5. Kia Stonic
- Refreshing exterior design
- Spacious cabin for a subcompact SUV
- Cool to drive
- Affordable price
- Slightly stiff suspension
- Manual variant is a bit underpowered
The Kia Stonic is a new entrant in the Philippines market following its good show in many global markets. This is currently the smallest and most affordable compact SUV from Kia in the Philippines.
The car is an all-out winner. The brand's signature tiger-nose grille completely sets it apart from other cars, and other areas of the exterior also have refreshing design elements. From the roof rails to the aerodynamic slant, chunky alloy wheels to the integrated rear, the car is a head-turner.
Equally impressive is the interior design: the steering wheel, the infotainment system, the instrument panel and the switch controls―everything has the stamp of fresh design language.
The instrument panel is a 3.5-inch TFT LCD multi-function affair, with all necessary information displayed clearly and stylishly. There is a USB port and a 12V socket too. The infotainment system is a massive 8-inch touch-screen that comes wedded with 6 audio speakers.
The Kia Stonic is available in two variants: the LX and EX. However, there is only a single engine option; the 1.4L 4-cylinder naturally aspirated petrol engine that produces 94hp power and 132Nm torque with 5-speed manual transmission, while mated to 6-speed automatic transmission, it belts out 99hp power and the same 132Nm of torque.
The Kia Stonic comes fully prepared with a sturdy body cage that lends strength to the car. Hill start assist control, rear parking distance warning, and electronic stability control (EX model) ensure safety on the move. Also, a rear camera lets you park smoothly into tight spots.
6. MG 5
- Athletic exterior
- Massive infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Spacious and practical cabin
- Good safety features for an entry-level car
- Soft steering
- Engine and drivetrain are slow to react
The MG 5 is a substantial car integrated into aerodynamic styled lines. It comes with high-end features and comfort at an accessible price. The design is modern and accentuated by an attractive front grille along with subtle crease lines on the hood. The grille beautifully flows and merges into its LED headlights to set up a beefy contour, signifying a robust inner architecture.
The interior of the car is as distinctive as the exterior. It is capacious enough and equipped with advanced comfort features. A massive 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system and an electric sunroof provide a premium glow to the interior.
Then there is a plush steering wheel overlooking an elegant meter console adjacent to a sleek layout running across the dashboard. The MG 5 is laced with features like keyless entry, automatic climate control, and cruise control.
The car is available in four different variants. All variants are powered by a 1.5L 4-cylinder gasoline mill that churns out 112hp power and 150Nm of torque, mated to either a 5-speed manual or CVT gearbox.
Safety features include front passenger and side curtain airbags, ABS with EBD, cornering brake control, and brake assists as standard. Overall, the MG 5 is a car with high safety, style, and performance features.
7. Kia Soluto
- Great infotainment system
- Comfortable ride quality
- Capable engine
- Ample space in the cabin
- Solid value for money proposition
- Needs better exterior styling
- Lacks some safety features
- Outside noise cancellation could be better
The popular Kia Soluto sits side by side with the Kia Rio and is decently spec'd and nicely designed. The subcompact sedan is meant for those riders who want a competitively priced vehicle equipped with useful features.
The Kia Soluto features a minimalist but eye-catching design. The unique tiger-nose grille extends up to the halogen headlamps. The accents on lower-grille fog lamps and the straight character lines all over the body enhance the car's look.
The Kia Soluto's interior feels roomy and uses leather upholstery for comfort; however, the lower trims make do with fabric seats. You get a 7-inch infotainment system, six speakers, a rear-view camera, and audio controls mounted on the steering wheel. There are rear parking sensors as well, but those are reserved for the upper-end variant.
A 1.4L gasoline engine pumps 95hp power alongside 132Nm torque and sends it to front wheels. The engine attaches to either a 4-speed automatic transmission or a 5-speed manual transmission and returns excellent fuel economy.
Safety-wise, the car is the recipient of dual airbags for the front occupants, 3-point seat belts for all five, and an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with EBD.
8. Honda Jazz
- Energetic look
- Capacious interior and boot
- Impressive ride quality
- Flexible seating configuration
- Stiff suspension
- No leather-wrapped seats
- Lacks safety feature on base and mid-level trims
One of the most popular subcompact hatchbacks, the Honda Jazz is the most capable vehicle with great ride quality. The car carries a refined and powerful engine, ample cabin and boot space, advanced safety features, and more.
The inside of the car uses quality material, and at the same time, features a 7-inch touchscreen system with Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, speed-sensing door locks, and automatic air conditioning to keep the occupants comfortable during a ride. The five-seater also has ample space to carry along luggage and accessories.
Powering the Honda Jazz is a 1.5L 4-cylinder engine that can displace 118hp power and 145Nm torque. The engine pairs to a 5-speed manual gearbox in the base model and a CVT gearbox in the high-spec models.
The higher models also include a new upscale RS variant, which gets front airbags, side-curtain airbags, ABS with EBD, hill start assist, stability assist, push start button, and multi-view reverse cameras as safety features.
9. Kia Picanto
- Improved looks
- Stylish interior
- Powerful and frugal engine
- Good handling
- Spacious and practical cabin
- 5-year warranty
- 7-inch infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Exterior styling may not be for everyone's liking
- Gasoline engine only
Trust Kia to always give fresh new designs to its cars. The Kia Picanto sports a muscular front with big, bold headlights bridged with a classy grille. The car has a tall-boy cabin, which means easy ingress and exit. The design also imparts a substantial side profile to the car.
The interior of the car has been given a matte-like look providing a luxurious feel to the vehicle. The cabin is spacious and conspicuously modern. Beautifully designed steering mounted controls, along with a 2.6-inch mono-LCD make the steering station elegant and convenient. A 7-inch touch-screen audio system and ports for AUX and USB complete the very thoughtfully design dash space.
The heart of the vehicle is a Kappa Dual CVVT Engine, available in two different capacities. The 1L engine produces 66hp power and 95Nm torque, and a 1.2L engine churns out 83hp and 122Nm torque. The car is available in both automatic and manual transmission.
The car body has been made with more than 44% advanced high strength steel and hot-stamped steel, giving it an enhanced rigidity for increased cabin strength and protection.
Overall, the Picanto is a great looking, promising, and feature-rich vehicle that should be a great deal for students. The car comes with a 5-year warranty and roadside assistance.
10. Suzuki Celerio
- Looks modern
- Agile handling
- Fuel-efficient engine
- Tailor-made for city commuting
- Good space within the cabin and trunk
- Stiff ride quality
- A few essential safety features missing
- Highway performance is not a strong point
The Suzuki Celerio is not amongst one of the most advertised cars. Nevertheless, the hatchback manages to remain in the buyers' good books in the affordable segment. Good fuel efficiency, impressive design, and nimble handling are a few reasons for its popularity.
The car features a sharp front fascia and distinct character lines that add to the design and overall aerodynamics. The interior is capacious with ample legroom for all five occupants while there is a 7-inch multimedia touchscreen along with a highly legible speedometer inside the air-conditioned car.
The Suzuki Celerio is underpinned by a 1L petrol engine outputting 67hp power and 90Nm torque, which will suffice for a city ride. The motor is connected to either a 5-speed manual transmission or CVT that offers the best fuel efficiency.
The safety features include dual airbags, ABS, reverse sensors, and ISOFIX child mounts. At the same time, the high seating position, better visibility, and high mounted shift lever increase the overall confidence while driving.
When you are looking for a cheap car, it is important to stick to the goal. Ensure that you do not go beyond your budget while chasing fancy features that are not exactly useful. Then again, it is you who has to decide what exactly means cheap for you. The cars listed here belong to different price brackets because of the features and newness of the design. Go for the best pick according to the list of requirements that a student should ideally have from a car. Most importantly, the safety features of a car are always more important than luxury features. Go for a car that has at least good safety features embedded into it.