There’s some strong competition in the small car segment, particularly since factors like fuel efficiency, dependability, after sales service and parts, and price weigh most heavily. The first car inevitably shapes a customer’s perception of a brand and can influence brand loyalty and biases when they move on to purchase their next car.
As such, choosing a first car that ticks all the boxes can be a challenging experience for the first-time buyer. One candidate that makes it easy is the Hyundai Reina. The Reina is Hyundai’s latest product seemingly tailor-made for this segment. Built in China specifically to cater to a massive market of first-time car buyers, it has finally made its way to the Philippines. Let’s take a closer look at the Reina and why it would make an ideal first car.
Unlike other brands who put their badge on another car as their own to be able to compete in categories they wish to be a part of, the Reina looks and is very much Hyundai. It has their Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 with its distinct hexagonal grille and character lines emanating from the front to the rear making it unmistakably Hyundai. Bumpers, door handles and side mirrors are color keyed.
You’ll notice a lack of chrome bits. Everything that would usually have chrome trim is black, like the grille and window moldings, where fog lights would be, and steel rims with plastic covers. Bling aside, these measures keep costs down. Despite that, it still has a clean and upscale look.
Open the door and you’ll be greeted by a well laid-out interior without frills, is functional, and well put together. Knowing it was an entry level vehicle, you’d probably give certain concessions for a drab and plastic-y interior. Hyundai has blessed it with a pretty good-looking two-tone cabin. You do get predominantly matte grey surfaces with black center console and faux-brushed aluminum trim on the steering wheel and air con vents and dashboard accent.
Next to the tilt adjustable steering wheel, you get adjustable headlight levelers and remote adjustable side mirrors. The driver sits on comfortable two-tone fabric seats. Central door locks and power windows are standard, though the controls are in the center console, right underneath the air con controls.
The basic radio is integrated into the center stack, giving it an upscale feel. It no longer has a CD player, and sadly, there’s no Bluetooth. However, it comes with a USB input to play your own tunes.
Under the hood, it’s powered by a 1.4L MPI gasoline engine that puts out 95-hp at 6,000 rpm with 132-Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. This is mated to a five-speed manual transmission that drives the front wheels.
For safety, you get dual SRS airbags; one for the driver and one for the front passenger. There’s ABS to bring you to a stop safely. There are also seatbelts even in the back seat.
Being a small car, it’s easy to drive. It’s not a performance car so don’t expect amazing acceleration figures. However, there is a good balance of power and economy. This car will get you from point A to B with minimum fuss. You won’t need more than what the 1.4L engine offers for what you’ll use this car for.
Steering is accurate. ABS will give you peace of mind if you ever need to brake hard. The ride is comfortable, but does have some body roll. Still, handling is predictable under normal driving conditions, of course.
The electric power steering makes light work of getting in and around town, especially in tight areas. It also makes parking easy.
For passengers, getting in and out of the front and back seats is painless. There’s room for five. For their things, there’s more than enough room in the trunk with 475 liters of space.
This car would make an ideal first car. It dots the I’s and crosses the T’s at the price point of P638,000; a good deal that’s more affordable than other cars in its class. It also comes with a five-year warranty.
With much of the basic car needs covered, there’s little left to do but stick the keys in the ignition and drive. It’s a great time to be in the market for a car with choices like this available.
Text and photos by Neil Pagulayan