Buying a car is not a small decision. It’s a pretty major investment with lasting implications. And for a first-time buyer, choosing the right car can be quite intimidating—especially if you don’t have a good amount of knowledge on automotive brands and models.
This is one of the topics discussed on TikTok by Reph Bangsil, the video sharing platform's new go-to resource for anything about cars. According to the car enthusiast, racer, reviewer and founder of Reph Motors, the decision would largely depend on your budget.
For those looking for affordable options—say, within the P50,000 to P150,000 range—a good first car to have would be a Toyota AE92 (small body) or a Toyota AE 101 (big body). Reph also suggested a Honda Civic VTI.
For those with a higher budget—P150,000 to P300,000—he highly recommends a second generation Toyota Vios. It was the first modern car given to him by his parents as a graduation gift. “Sobrang dami kong natutunan sa kotse na yun. Napaka-cheap niya sa gas, napaka-cheap niya sa maintenance. It’s everything that you would want in a car. I think it’s a perfect starter car,” he says.
Reph says he was able to use that Vios for a couple of years, and it never really gave him problems. “It’s so common that it’s used as a taxi cab because reliable siya. Sa three years na I had that, ang naging problema ko lang was a clutch master which was about less than P5,000. That’s why for me, that’s a perfect starter car.”
Reph actually had two Toyota Vioses. He drove the newer generation of the said car model for about four years and it was always a very pleasant experience. People with a little more budget can go for a Honda Civic FD 2006 or newer models. “When the Civic FD came out in 2006, it was one of the most futuristic looking vehicles at that time—it even has a digital speedometer that its competitors then don’t have. It’s up to par with the cars that we have now,” he says. Reph trusted it so much he was able to buy two of the said car at different points in time.
For those deciding on getting their first car, Reph suggests not going for a complicated vehicle. “Go for a car that you often see on the road, that’s used by a lot of people. Go for a citizen’s car,” he says. Getting a less popular car, he says, may pose problems eventually. “Baka dahil bihira mo lang sya makita sa road, maintenance is a little harder pala. Taxi cabs is a good basis kasi alam mong bugbog sila, and yet they are able to serve their purpose.”
Manual or automatic? It really depends on the person who’s going to use it. It’s simply a matter of choice. Personally, Reph prefers a manual car for a starter car. “Syempre at your first chance of having a car, gusto mo ma-feel mo ang shifting, yung driver-vehicle relationship.”
Many people prefer automatic and that’s perfectly fine. “If you just want to go around the city, go to the grocery, go to work, go to church, nandyan ang family mo, it’s best to use an automatic,” he says.
As for deciding between getting a second-hand car or a brand new one for a first car, he highly suggests the former. “Your first car kasi is the one you’re going to have the most mistakes with. Nine out of 10 times sasabit ka, mababangga ka, matatapunan ng pagkain, mapa-flatan—these are things that you have to experience para when you have a brand new car, alam mo na ang gagawin just in case something happens. There’s also that greater appreciation for the car, kasi you know how it feels when its components are working or not working right.”
[For more car tips, check out @rephbangsil on Tiktok and YouTube.]