Pros & cons of choosing a compact car in the Philippines

Updated Jun 03, 2021

If you are wondering about bringing home a compact car, this article on can definitely help.

Here are practical insights into the top reason both positive and negative why compact cars are a dodgy option for buyers. Compact car is one of the most bought vehicles in the Philippines because of what they have to offer. Read through our post on to gain better understanding about this type of vehicle.

1. What are compact cars?

Driving in the Philippines wherein traffic is a big headache for most motorists, and there are more cars on the road than ever! Buying a compact car for driving can be daunting, without the proper information.

By definition, a compact car is a smaller-sized auto than sedans or larger vehicles. The compact car's interior is 100-109 cubic feet, smaller than a mid-sized auto with 110-119 cubic feet inside the cabin. Popular examples of compact cars are the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and other similar cars made by many manufacturers. Among recently and currently available makes are the popular Honda Fit and the Toyota Yaris, both are updated too! Compared to larger and fancier cars, most compact cars are the butt of jokes whenever on the road. Many buyers are choosing a compact car for daily driving.

The compact car is the bread and butter of most Filipino motorists, even with more options to choose from. This does not make it any easier when weighing the pros and cons of choosing a compact car in the Philippines.

compact cars

A compact car is a smaller-sized auto than sedans or larger vehicles

Compact cars - Top Choices

2. What is the difference between a sub-compact and a compact car?

Okay, now compact cars are an option but for some, a “sub-compact” is sweet enough to seal the deal. What is a sub-compact and how different is it from a compact car? First of all, subcompacts used to be those tiny cars that can drive around that can fit only a few adults at best! Competition to develop the sub-compact line is hot and is almost like compact cars. For example, the Honda Fit has the same interior as the Honda Civic Hatch (the model year 1993) and newer models get better with more features added.

subcompact vs compact cars

Now compact cars are an option but for some, a “sub-compact” is sweet enough to seal the deal

What are the changes in relation to their design? Look at the pros and cons of choosing a compact car, they are the following;

  • More trunk space for more luggage room.
  • Improved legroom for better comfort.
  • More headroom for taller individuals to sit inside the cabin.
  • When sitting in the cabin, having more hip room to sit more comfortably.
  • These changes make the formerly cramped cabin of sub-compacts a bit roomier.

Is it a compact or sub-compact? How similar are they and does it even count, when they share many general features and specifications. Let's move on; to why compact cars are of interest to buyers, looking for new car.

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3. The Pros of compact cars in PH?

Why are compact cars the best option? What makes attractive and an alternative option, and better solution for everyday driving. These advantages will point anyone in the right direction, weighing all the good points as definite reasons to get it.

  1. Fuel is getting expensive with pump a price that doesn’t seem to go down! They have better mileage per liter or by the gallon, and compacts are more fuel efficient with new engines.
  2. A compacts is less expensive, and can be a second car because  it takes space .
  3. Now, traffic is bumper to bumper and maneuvering in a tight space with a humongous vehicle is not safe. A smaller lane is occupied, so chances of having a knick  by passing motorcycles is less!
  4. Compact cars are best for first-time drivers.
  5. Going to work, malls and other places where people go, you’ll need to find parking space! When parking is full; it can be problem if you find that the last space might not fit your car. A small car fits almost anywhere, and parking it and backing up is easier than with a larger sedan or SUV.

    Honda Brio 2018 on the road

    These advantages will make someone think twice, whether a compact car is a worthy investment

  6. Most compact cars aren’t the usual “budget meal” because many models now, have significant improvements than ever before! Most units have extra features, to make it an attractive option versus more expensive models.
  7. They have improved leg room, head room and more trunk space unlike earlier compacts which had problems like these. No more feeling like a giant inside a small, but have comfort even if stuck in traffic for hours!
  8. Smaller compact cars with less complicated engines will need less maintenance.
  9. Compact cars emit less emissions, unlike bigger cars that do so!
  10. Inside the cabin, the smaller space will make it easier to reach for stuff! No need to ask anyone to reach over, so you can get what you need.

These advantages will make someone think twice, whether a compact car is a worthy investment.

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4. The Cons of compact cars in PH?

Now, what are the major deal-breakers why a compact car is a “NO-BUY” option for some? There are several reasons and some are valid, while some are not!

  1. Don’t expect it to drive like a pocket rocket because it can’t. These cars are for easy and unhurried urban driving, not out in the highways. Driving it at break-neck speeds is not safe at all for the chassis and the engine.
  2. Small is not beautiful, but can be inconvenient for compact cars. Yes, even with improvements in the size of the cabin, it’s still cramped! Most of the time; men don’t choose compact cars but women prefer them.

    a compact car

    Compact cars' small size and weight are not safe on the road

  3. The low ground clearance can be a pain, especially with flood season that can damage the under-chassis.
  4. An SUV suspension is a no contest with compact cars, with average suspension systems. In short; bad roads can make quick work of the under chassis in due time because it is not heavy duty.
  5. Long trips can be a pain, especially with the limited luggage space, in the back. A carry-rack is not advisable to install one for safety reasons.
  6. Some consider it as a “budget lunch” without any redeeming quality, and inferior to bigger cars in general.
  7. Its small size and weight is not safe on the road, and will not protect those inside in an accident.

Now, consider these disadvantages and whether a compact car is an opt-out option!


5. Important issues consider when choosing a compact car in the Philippines

Buying depends on the pros and cons of choosing a compact car is not easy, but considering key needs focus is important. Here is a table that may help narrow down everything.

Pros & Cons of choosing a compact car
  Yes/No/Depends Remark
Fuel efficient Yes Better than a guzzler
Affordable (Price) Yes Won’t be hard to pay
Motorcycles cannot nick it in traffic (does not occupy the lane) N/A Accidents happen all the time
First car option Depends Optional for individual
Maneuverable Yes Easy Parking
More features for less price Depends Individual preference
Improved cabin space Yes Better comfort
Less maintenance Yes Not always
Environment Friendly Yes Less emissions
Easy reach inside cabin N/A N/A
Cheaper Insurance N/A Good but not always
Slow acceleration No Not good on highways
Small cabin No A bit cramped
Low ground clearance No Bad on bumps
Average suspension system Depends Depends
Less luggage space Depends Not good
Budget lunch "cheap car" Depends Deal breaker for some
Small and light No Not good

One of the best alternatives is the compact car for Filipino motorists, because it costs less and is fuel efficient which is important. Rising gas prices and traffic makes it a good stop gap for the moment, for everyone. It may not grade well as higher-end models, but will provide mobility with some premium features which is value for money!

>>> Click for more car buying tips on

Norjan Ismail Abbas

Norjan Ismail Abbas


Norjan enjoys writing about various topics, and car is among them. Don't ever ask him which his most favorite car is since he has none. He believes each car is beautiful in its own way.

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