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The Korean war has a new front in the country—and it’s between two promising subcompact cars.
For the longest time, the Toyota Vios has been the undisputed king of subcompact sedans in the Philippines. Whether you’re a hardworking taxi driver or a company rising star, Toyota’s got a Vios for you.
Currently, the entry of other contenders in the market such as the Mitsubishi Mirage G4, Nissan Almera, and Chevrolet Sail made the entire segment much more interesting.
This time, it’s the Korean brands hungry for their slice of the pie. Hyundai and Kia just surprised the automotive industry by subsequently releasing their newest offerings to the Filipino market: the Hyundai Reina and the Kia Soluto. The question now is this: which Korean subcompact sedan will emerge victorious between the two?
Kia Soluto: the Firstborn
Last December, the Ayala Corporation became the official distributor of Kia Motors in the country, managing the Korean brand through its subsidiary, AC Industrial Technology Holdings.
AC Industrial vows to make Kia a more significant player by bringing three new models in the country. For its first offering, they announced the arrival of the Kia Soluto in the Philippines.
The biggest selling point of Kia Philippines for the new subcompact sedan is its price tag: you can drive this new car starting at P625,000. This is even lower than the price of a less powerful Mirage G4!
Not only is the Soluto’s starting price hard to ignore, but almost everything they teased about the new model makes it a powerful contender. It’s powered by a 1.4-liter dual-CVVT engine that can push up to 94 hp and crank around 132 Nm of torque.
As for the exterior, the Soluto sports an eye-catching grille on its fascia, which complements its sporty trims. Meanwhile, the interior is where the model truly excels.
For a subcompact, the Soluto appears to be spacious enough and comes with a wide assortment of modern conveniences such as a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, and steering wheel controls.
If you want more features like leatherette seats and rear parking sensors, you can get the more expensive EX variant for P735,000.
Hyundai Reina: The Unexpected Twin
Not even a day after Kia announced the arrival of Soluto in the Philippines, Hyundai Asia Resources Inc. unveiled its contender to the subcompact market.
Dubbed the Reina, Hyundai’s new subcompact sedan is poised to heat up the rivalry in terms of price and performance. And you’ll know why.
If the Soluto has a sportier look, the Reina gets your attention with a more aggressive styling. Its front end is designed with its edgier headlights and an asymmetrically hexagonal front grille (albeit a little inconsistent with its styling as it flows through the vehicle’s rear, which has a more casual appearance).
Under the hood is where it gets bizarre: its 1.4-liter engine pushes out 494 hp and 132 Nm of torque. If those numbers are familiar, that’s because the Soluto also has the same performance. All the other features are also present, such as two types of transmissions to choose from, standard dual airbags, and anti-lock braking system.
Although there aren’t many details regarding the Reina, Top Gear Philippines that it will only come with a 2.8-inch infotainment system. Meanwhile, the Hyundai website says that it only has one variant.
So where does the Reina excel? The starting price for Hyundai’s brand-new subcompact sedan is P598,000, which is even lower than what Kia offers for the Soluto. This is perfect for budget-conscious drivers who are looking for a reliable yet affordable drive.
The Soluto and Reina are two vehicles cut from the same cloth, yet they have their own advantages and disadvantages. Will the former win because it offers more features, or will the latter emerge victoriously because of its affordability? We will have to wait and see.
About the author
Dino Mari Testa Veteran journalist, researcher, and photographer Dino has written more articles than one can imagine. He's eCompareMo's go-to-guy for all things personal finance, motoring, news, pop culture, and random fandom. Check out his LinkedIn.