These 6 hatchbacks should ease your Jazz blues
With Honda Philippines discontinuing its ever-popular Honda Jazz, local car companies are now itching for a shot at the subcompact hatchback throne. While the segment has clearly seen better days, no thanks in part to the arrival of the subcompact crossover, I still believe that there is a market for a fuel-friendly yet zippy hatchback.
The number of models available in the subcompact hatchback market belies the notion that hatchbacks are dead or their popularity waning. Today, we’ll be listing down the 6 best hatchbacks that have a shot to fill in the void left by the Honda Jazz.
Honda City Hatchback RS 1.5 CVT
Honda Philippines wants you to forget all about the Honda Jazz by returning a marquee name to its sporty roots. The recently announced 2021 Honda City Hatchback RS 1.5 CVT has the same Utility, Long, Tall, and Refresh (ULTR) seats that made the model so popular but is bulkier and, dare I say, sportier than the Jazz.
Powered by an all-new 1.5-liter DOHC engine, the same one found in the 2021 Honda City RS sedan, it makes 119hp and 145Nm of torque. It promises peppy acceleration and good fuel economy and, because of those ULTR seats, offers the best versatility with all your luggage, no matter the dimensions. The 2021 Honda City Hatchback RS 1.5 CVT should be available at your nearest Honda dealership by now so why not give it a look and at the end of the day, maybe you can ask yourself, “Jazz who?”
Toyota Yaris 1.5 S CVT
The 2021 Toyota Yaris 1.5 S CVT may be growing long in the tooth, but it certainly is no slouch. What is basically the hatchback version of the ever-popular Toyota Vios, the Yaris offers all the same standard amenities as its best-selling brother but at a more practical package than its sedan sibling.
There’s a performance version of the Yaris coming in the next few months, but that’s a completely different car and won’t match the The 2021 Toyota Yaris 1.5 S CVT in terms of space and fuel economy. WIth the proven and practically bulletproof 1.5 liter 2NR-FE engine mated with Toyota’s expertise in CVT technology, it makes a respectable 106hp and 140Nm of torque. While not quite having the same sporty aspirations as the competition, you can trust in Toyota’s renowned reliability and support which makes the Yaris quite an underrated choice.
Volkswagen Santana GTS 180 MPI SE
While Volkswagen Philippines wants you to see the 2021 Volkswagen Santana GTS 180 MPI SE as a wagon, we’re really being pedantic here. If you want to go the Euro route and not completely break the bank, then the Santana GTS is easily one of the most affordable ways to do so. While some may balk at the fact that it isn’t one of Volkswagen’s more globally mainstream models, the Santana GTS still runs on the same platform as the VW Jetta and Golf, giving it more Euro street-cred than we currently have for it.
Because of Volkswagen's shared platform, the 2021 Volkswagen Santana GTS 180 MPI SE has one of the most versatile and spacious cargo amenities and interiors in this segment. It has a 1.5-liter multi point injection naturally aspirated engine that makes 108hp and 150Nm of torque and it can reach a top speed of 185kph, thanks to a six-speed automatic transmission. Traditionally, Volkswagens are meant to be affordable yet capable commuter cars and, unless you start accepting the fact that this isn’t a Golf or Polo, you’re missing out on a lot.
Suzuki Swift 1.2L Special Edition CVT
The 2021 Suzuki Swift has always been the wildcard in the hatchback segment. It’s not particularly the most powerful or the most spacious, but it’s the only model that embraces what it is: an affordable, sporty and fun hatch. If the 2021 Suzuki Swift 1.2L Special Edition CVT were an NBA team, it would be the New York Knicks without the brute firepower that other teams have — but you always root for them and are always fun to watch.
I love small hatchbacks, and the Swift pays homage to the OG fun-hatch, the Mini and the blacked out A-pillars alone are a clear giveaway. It has the smallest engine in this list, a 1.2-liter DOHC engine that makes 82hp and 113Nm of torque.
But don’t let those numbers fool you. The curb weight of 860 kg makes this the lightest in the segment, giving you unparalleled maneuverability and the most "smiles per gallon." Suzuki also offers a Special Edition version that adds go-fast bits like wrap-around side skirts, front and rear diffuser, spoiler as well as liveries that make you live your rally fantasies. Fully specced, the 2021 Suzuki Swift 1.2L Special Edition CVT is still the most affordable compared to the competition.
Kia Rio 1.4 EX
How can a Korean company out-Volkswagen Volswagen? The answer to that question is certainly the The 2021 Kia Rio 1.4 EX. The long-running nameplate is now fully grown up and can take on the European brands any day with subtle yet classy styling. There comes a point when a car elevates itself from being inspired by a brand’s design philosophy to just beating it at its game altogether.
Kia’s interior game has leveled up and the 2021 Kia Rio 1.4 EX definitely shows this. With every panel well crafted and put together, you’d swear the only thing missing is a different badge on the steering wheel. While the 1.4-liter engine can muster just 99hp and 133Nm of torque and it still uses a traditional four-speed automatic transmission, The Kia Rio can’t be without its charm. Buyers won’t experience this level of ergonomics and quality on any other car at this price point.
Mazda 2 Hatchback 1.5L Elite
I don’t understand why there aren’t any more of these on the road. The 2021 Mazda 2 Hatchback 1.5L Elite offers a wide array of technological advancements as only Mazda can provide at an affordable price. It might not be as fresh as other subcompact hatchbacks in this list but it still certainly is brimming with enough tech that no can only be found in more expensive models.
The 2021 Mazda 2 Hatchback 1.5L Elite features Mazda’s 1.5-liter SkyActive Engine making 108hp and 141Nm of torque. Pair this with Mazda’s proprietary G-Vectoring technology that controls the torque being sent to the drive wheels to minimize body roll during cornering, giving the Mazda 2 Hatchback real performance capabilities, much more than other cars in the segment. It also has a premium interior, typical of all Mazda models and aggressive styling to boot. If the Mazda 2 Hatchback isn’t on the short list for your next vehicle, now is the time to get to know it better.
While subcompact hatchbacks no longer have the same marketability as they used to have over a decade ago, they still have so much to offer in terms of practicality, fuel economy and sheer driving pleasure. If you are looking for a model that you can take home right now, head on over to our specs comparison page to find out which one is best for you.
Photos from Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen, Kia, Mazda, and Eric Tipan