Napoleon Complex refers to the phenomenon of small people trying to compensate for their lack of stature by advertising their ownership of big and fanciful material things. That probably explains why many Filipinos tend to gravitate toward bigger and luxurious SUVs despite only requiring a small hatchback for their transportation needs. And so there’s really not that big of a market here for small hatchbacks compared to larger segments.
But for those of us willing to accept reality, there’s the likes of the Suzuki S-Presso, well-built and equipped with enough features to meet the daily driving needs of the everyday Juan.
The Suzuki S-Presso measures 3565mm x 1520mm x1565mm, with a 2380mm wheelbase and respectable 180mm ground clearance. It’s powered by a conservative 1.0-liter gasoline engine good enough for 67hp and 90Nm of torque. A 5-speed manual is the only transmission option.
Small cars are known for not being too good at transmitting external noise, vibrations, and harshness (NVH) to the occupants, but Suzuki raises the S-Presso’s interior comfort through optimized body characteristics. Improved insulation, combined with intricate improvements to optimize airflow, deliver the ideal balance of design and aerodynamic performance.
Safety is enhanced by Suzuki’s signature HEARTECT platform that keeps the S-Presso’s overall weight light while ensuring the body’s strength and energy-dispersing capabilities in case of collision. Other safety features of the S-Presso include dual airbags, rear parking assist, and anti-brake locking systems.
As for the Suzuki S-Presso’s interior, this five-seater possesses multiple travel conveniences such as cup holders and personal storage spaces, an air conditioner with heater, and front power windows. Its luggage compartment is listed to accommodate 239 liters of cargo space.
With a starting price of PHP518,000, and available in only one trim (GL MT), the Suzuki S-Presso is as basic as a daily driver can get. For those who want more out of their hatchback, or are looking to appease their low self-esteem issues, here are some of your alternatives on the market.
The Toyota Wigo receives a mild refresh for 2020, and as is often the case with these minor updates, the biggest tweaks can be found on the car’s exterior. Sportiness levels up a few notches with the façade, beginning with more deliberate fog lamp housings that now link to the lower grille via blacked-out horizontal trimmings. Headlamps are now projector-type and taillights are now LED. The top-of-the-line TRD S trim receives added TRD sideskirts, custom lighting systems, two-tone rear spoiler, and TRD badging.
Toyota’s spritely city car is powered by the same 1.0-liter 3-cylinder DOHC engine with VVT-I found in the outgoing model. It’s good for up to 65hp and 89Nm, with top variants getting paired with a 4-speed automatic transmission, and the lower ones receiving a 5-speed manual gearbox.
Apart from the retooled seats, there’s very little change in the standard Wigo cabin, but the top trims do get push start ignition, touchscreen display, powered side mirrors rearview camera, digital A/C, and keyless entry. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity is available solely to the TRD S trim.
Despite its size, the Toyota Wigo has a surprising amount of legroom at the backseat, making it perfect for barkada nightouts after work. Another barkada-centric feature—both G variants come with an iPod dock that links to four speakers. Navigation display and steering wheel controls are also on hand for added convenience.
The 2020 Toyota Wigo offers buyers a choice of four trims. Airbags, ABS, and seat belt warning coming standard in all, while the G variants enjoy vehicle immobilizer and alarm system additions.
The current version of the Mitsubishi Mirage has already been updated with Dynamic Shield, but it is yet to arrive at our shores. Alas, the one we have remains to be the 2019 model year Mirage. No need to fret though, as this version is still plenty impressive. Running on Mitsubishi’s dependable 3A92 1.2-liter 3-cylinder engine, the Mirage churns out 77hp and 100Nm. Car buyers have a choice between a 5-speed manual and continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Exterior-wise, the Mirage boasts a simple yet stylish exterior that gives it a subdued attractiveness without calling too much attention to itself. The top-of-the-line Mirage GLX CVT variant is fitted with more chrome accents at the front, dressed up by swept-back headlights and an angular front bumper with integrated fog lamps. A wide lower grille that runs the entire length of the bumper gives it a smiling quality. The rear end gets a similarly well-defined bumper, large distinctive taillights, and slim horizontal reflector lights.
Inside, the 2019 Mirage has a pretty straightforward interior layout. There’s piano black trims all around, highlighted by a few silver highlights here and there. Though the use of hard plastic prevail, the Mirage's interior is as upscale-looking as it can get, for the price point at least.
The 2019 Mirage comes with a touchscreen infotainment system with GPS Navigation, push start button, and control buttons laid out in ergonomic fashion. The 2019 Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback comes in only two trims, with the top-ranging GLX CVT variant available with standard safety features such as dual front airbags, anti-lock braking system (ABS), and brake override system (BOS). The infotainment system also turns into a rearview monitor when the gear is in reverse.
The Honda Brio receives some styling refresh for its latest version, making it edgier than its predecessor, thanks to a more pronounced version of Honda's 'Solid Wing Face' design language. The signature diagonal creases on the side doors carry over, albeit with some slight modifications, particularly to the rocker panel. But the biggest change can be found in the rear, where the design takes a more vertical approach and gives the new Brio a taller, more spacious-looking stance than the outgoing model.
Inside the engine bay of the currently available Honda Brio is the brand's signature 1.2-liter, 4-cylinder i-VTEC engine with Programmed Fuel Injection that’s good for 89hp and 110Nm. Transmission choices fall between a 5-speed manual and Honda's Earth Dreams continuously variable transmission (CVT). The RS CVT trim and the range-topping RS Black Top CVT variant boast a sportier suspension tuned stiffer than the base.
The cabin of the new Brio shares a lot of similarities with the Honda Jazz, with a few distinct touches all its own. The circular AC vents of old has been replaced with rectangular louvers this time around, punctuating the Brio's sportier turn. The new instrument panel also looks a lot more ergonomic than the old one. As for the Brio’s infotainment system, the high-end variants house a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen operated audio system with Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, while the low-end trim gets a traditional 1DIN integrated audio system.
The design changes mentioned earlier about the Honda Brio’s rear do more than just enhance the car’s aesthetics—they also add more usable space to the cabin and cargo hold despite the car remaining relatively the same size. As for safety, the Brio's body has been infused with Honda's G-Con platform technology, imbuing the car with improved impact absorption during a collision for the better protection of vehicle occupants. The Brio also has driver and front passenger airbags, engine immobilizer, speed-sensing door locks, anti-lock brake system with electronic brake distribution, and burglar alarm.
Photos from Suzuki, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Honda