What matters most when looking for a car, according to our readers  

Updated Jun 14, 2021 | Same topic: Best Advice for Car Buyers

It goes beyond design, features, or performance.   

There are few things more exciting (and more terrifying) than being in the market for a car. Having your own set of wheels is a very tantalizing thought, tempered by the prospect of having to balance so many different factors before you’re actually handed the keys.
The Philippines as a car market isn’t the most ideal in the world. We say this in light of the perpetual complaint that some of the cars we get here are woefully compromised in terms of features compared to their overseas releases.

Philkotse poll

Our Philkotse poll results showed customers prioritized both sticker price and running costs 

Yet there will always be potential customers who’ll ask for brochures and contact details of the first available sales agent. It's still a free market after all, and getting bigger as more contenders come in. With an ever-shrinking piece of the automotive pie, carmakers’ efforts to maintain (if not expand) their respective customer bases go into overdrive.      

We tested the waters with a recent poll on our reader’s car-buying habits, specifically on what would top their list of considerations when buying a car. Six criteria were laid out, in an attempt to cover every available offering in the market.

Suzuki S-Presso

Affordable cars with flexible payment terms are on the rise

The top three answers all had something to do with finances. For a majority of Philkotse followers, price was paramount when deciding which car to buy. Not surprising, given the popularity of low/zero downpayment schemes or low monthly amortization offers.        

Buyers also prefer having a diesel engine and seven seats, pointing to MPVs and SUVs. The initial high acquisition price of an oil burner is usually compensated for by lower running costs. Having room for more people on board maximizes the vehicle’s utility, making it easier to get a return on the initial investment.  

Innova interior

The more occupants a vehicle can accommodate, the higher the value for consumers 

Fuel efficiency is the third factor. Having a car that can go for days or weeks between trips to the gas station is certainly a plus, which means more trips on a single full tank. Reduced fuel costs free up more of the budget for other car-related expenses such as accessories, maintenance, and registration.     

Mitsubishi Mirage G4

Car buyers want vehicles that make fewer trips to the gas station

The money aspect has always played a major role in car purchases because it’s what makes the transaction possible to begin with. It’s now placed front and center more than ever, as the current pandemic forces the market to choose between having to realign finances and the need for a safe means of personal mobility. Carmakers will have their work cut out for them in delivering what every consumer expects: increased mileage for every peso spent.

Your knowledge matters with our industry reports and insights on Philkotse.com.

Joseph Paolo Estabillo

Joseph Paolo Estabillo


Joseph has been a member of various car clubs since he got his driver's license in 2004 – old enough to remember riding in taxicabs with analog meters, but his fascination with cars goes way back. After nearly two decades of working in broadcast media, he shifted gears by coming on board as Philkotse’s first Filipino member and staff writer in 2017.

Apart from his role in Philkotse as Content Team Lead, Joseph has written episodes for Drive, which has been airing on CNN Philippines for five seasons running. He has also delivered content for various car dealerships based in the U.S., spanning multiple brands such as Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Jeep, Dodge, among others.

Keeping his hopes high and his revs low, he dreams about owning a Kei car when he retires. Hates slow parkers.

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