Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone! Today I’m going to talk about what I think are the best cars of 2014. After carefully evaluating every car I test drove this year and reading a lot of reviews and comparos by some car magazines and car blogs based in the Philippines, I came up with my own list of winners in every category that not only give the best bang for your buck, but also revolutionizes its whole category. Let’s start!


Yes, it may be in the market for quite sometime, but nothing can still beat it in terms of how much you get for how much you pay for. The Hyundai Grand i10 and the Honda Brio are really close behind and actually the Brio is a better car to drive with its more powerful drivetrain and playful handling but they cost almost 100k pesos more while having less kit inside. There is also the Toyota Wigo which is much, much cheaper than the 3 but I don’t like how Toyota cut corners on the Wigo. Kudos to Mitsubishi for making a stellar package.


Not a lot may agree with me on this because of how much Honda have priced their new vehicles. It may be pricey but when you consider its safety features, crash test ratings and amount of space and tech inside, it’s hard to beat the City and the Jazz. I got to test most of its competitors including the City and I must say the City feels the best. It has the best in-car entertainment because of how easy you can connect and use your gadgets. The City/Jazz may not be a diesel but it can rival the fuel economy of diesel competitors easily thanks to Honda’s “Earth Dreams” campaign. What makes it really good also is that the Honda City is assembled here in the Philippines.

Oh, the darling of the compact category. I really love this car. A lot of my friends (some of them are race instructors) praise its really great handling for an all-stock car. The ride is still comfortable but not as soft as the Nissan Sylphy and Corolla Altis. Mazda’s design language called “Kodo” is both striking and beautiful with those flowing lines and it continues inside the interior where you are greeted with a sporty and inspiring dashboard and readouts. There is also a very cool heads-up display. The 2.0 liter Skyactiv engine in this car paired with Mazda’s own 6 speed automatic transmission is a gem to use and the most responsive I’ve tested in this class.


I never drove one of this but it caused so much hype in the motoring world. A lot of its competitors have a big V6 engine while this Mazda only has a 2.5 liter Skyactiv engine but because of the Skyactiv technology, the difference in power is only felt when you really push it hard in a straight line. But when the road gets twisty, it is where the others fall behind. With its very beautiful “Kodo” design, Skyactiv technology, purposeful interior and competitive pricing, the Mazda 6 wins my vote. Did I mention it won the prestigious Car of The Year Award last year?

With the Mitsubishi Evolution X being out of production, there is no better sportscar for your money than a Subaru WRX STi. Ok, the Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ maybe the more popular choice now for its price along with the Hyundai Genesis Coupe especially if you’re into rear wheel drive cars and drifting but I love the concept of a family sedan with four wheel drive and a big engine with a turbocharger upfront. In one side you have a 5 seater car with a big boot that you can use with your family for trips and groceries while on the other side you got a track day warrior than can blow the competition on the race track.

The first time I saw this car in the news made me love Multi Purpose Vehicles. Kia’s new design language made MPVs desirable but it doesn’t end there. This new generation Kia Carens may be smaller than the old gen but it is actually bigger inside and the engine might be smaller too but it actually produces the same amount of power in a smaller and lighter package paired with a smooth shifting 6 speed automatic or 6 speed manual transmission making it produce very good fuel economy figures. The Toyota Innova is bigger but it doesn’t feel as premium as the Carens and it’s already old and needs an update. Actually, nothing in its class feels as premium and as safe as the Carens. The only disadvantage you can get is the quite steep price for some people because at above 1 million pesos price point, you can get a much bigger base model SUV but with less kits, poor fuel economy in the city and more expensive maintenance cost.

It’s a close call with the Ford Ranger 3.2 Wildtrak. Both are great trucks with great tech inside and out of this world capabilities. I have driven both of these behemoths and I liked the updated Colorado more. Actually it is a dead heat for both of these trucks in terms of the ability they have but the smaller 2.8 liter engine of the Colorado produced the same amount of horsepower and more torque than the Ford’s 3.2 making the Chevy a little bit ahead in the game.

It’s been a really great year for Mazda. Every car magazine, in print or online, favors the Mazda CX-5 in every compact SUV comparison they make. Its actually easy to see why. The CX-5 is the best looking, it has one of the best engine and transmission combo in the segment and it drives the best which is all according to every reviews I read.

This is the much larger and pricier variant of the Santa Fe but still is classed as a mid-size. Even if this doesn’t classify as a mid size, the ‘normal’ Hyundai Santa Fe would still be the winner for me here. It is the most comfortable of the lot based on my test drives and it is the most powerful before the 200hp Chevrolet Trailblazer came along. I actually love how spacious it is and how premium it feels inside plus the fact that it does have a lot of technology for your entertainment and safety making the premium price justifiable.

It is hard not to consider this giant thing the most loved full size SUV in the country. Politicians love it, businessmen loves it, or any high profile person has one. Even if a lot of horrible stories of ‘power tripping’ has been made with this SUV, there is no denying the amount of presence and security it gives to the person driving it. Plus in this country, the love for Land Cruisers started decades ago and every generation never failed to impress.


Once again, when it comes to comfort and space, Americans always do it right. The Town and Country was and forever will be designed for the convenience of the American family. The result is always a big people mover with a lot of storage areas for those long out of town trips we all love.


Nearing its 10th year in the market, nothing can still beat Hyundai’s formula for an ideal van for the filipinos. The Toyota Hiace Super Grandia may look more compelling but it is so big that it becomes a chore to drive. The Hiace also has an underpowered engine for its heft and an outdated 4 speed automatic transmission. The Grand Starex meanwhile has the most powerful 2.5 liter diesel engine in its class since 2006 and a more superior 5 speed automatic transmission. There are also many variants to choose, from a very spacious 10 seater to an extended family hauler 12 seater or if you are the type of person that wants the van for yourself and some of your friends in complete luxury, they have 7 seater variants that have captain seats in the middle and a choice between two 6.5 inch screens mounted on the frontseat headrests or a 22 inch TV screen paired with high fidelity sound system.

About the author:

J.I. Alvarez is your average car enthusiast that loves…well…cars and also the people behind it. I love driving but hate Metro Manila traffic. For any questions or violent reactions you can always contact me through my Facebook and Twitter accounts. Never Drink and Drive.


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