We put a Bajaj RE (Tuk-Tuk) against a Toyota Fortuner on a typical drive to a mall.
We compared them over a 5km journey to the mall, we choose this route because it contains both congested roads and open roads with 2 to 3 lanes in each direction, so a good mix of road types in the Philippines.
This was not a race it was done in the way the drivers would normally drive to the mall, driving at normal road speeds and sticking to the speed limit.
The Toyota Fortuner driver opens the doors and he and his passages get in starts his engine because the car is very hot adjusts the aircon.
The Tuk-Tuk has already pulled away as he has no doors to open and his Bajaj RE is not too hot inside.
The Toyota Fortuner then has to reverse to turn round while the Tuk-Tuk had done a U-turn in the road. The Tuk-Tuk is already 1 minute ahead of the car.
At the gate of the subdivision, there is always a lot of traffic as you turn out but it is moving traffic. The Bajaj RE being much smaller and having fast initial acceleration from standing is able to nip out in a gap far easier than the car and gains another 15 seconds.
Very shortly they come to a busy road joining from the right that always causes a bit of a hold up as cars, motorbikes, Jeepneys etc. keep pushing out and don’t give way as they should. The Tuk-Tuk manages to squeeze between the front of a Jeepney and the rear of a car that is trying to bully its way out. The car has no choice but to stop and wait for them to move and loses another 10 seconds.
The next obstacle is a Jeepney that has stopped to pick people up, as normal it does not pull completely over to the kerb, as there are cars coming in the other direction the car is forced to sit and wait. The Bajaj RE Compact is called compact for a very good reason it is just 1.3 metres wide so manages to get past the Jeepney without needing to go on the other side of the road.
At this point the car was already 1 minute 25 seconds behind the Tuk-Tuk, but now things start going really badly for the car. The Jeepney pulls away and the car is still stuck behind it as the driver of the Jeepney crawls along looking for passengers, it stops to let someone off and again the car has to stop, however this time after waiting 10 seconds there is a break in the traffic coming towards him and he manages to get past the Jeepney. The Tuk-Tuk is long gone.
The road opens up into 2 lanes each way, it is now the Toyota Fortuner could catch up if he broke the speed limit, but as the Bajaj RE can cruise at 70kph and has a top speed of 80kph the car would have been doing more than that.
Oh dear just as the Toyota Fortuner driver thought he could gain on the Tuk-Tuk there is a tricycle turning left and a truck parked on the right, so he has to wait for the tricycle to turn. The same happened to the Tuk-Tuk but he slid between the tricycle and the parked truck.
The Toyota Fortuner is away again but then there is an idiot on a tricycle straddling 2 lanes, the car driver shakes his head and mumbles to himself about the tricycle driver not being able to make up his ******* mind, his wife at this point starts giving him grief because he got annoyed and blasted his horn at the tricycle driver. After a few seconds, the tricycle driver wakes up from his red horse induced coma from the night before and moves over. The same happened to the Tuk-Tuk but he still had room to overtake as the Bajaj is narrow.
Finally, the car driver arrives at the mall and manages to park after 3 shunts to get in a tight parking space. The Bajaj RE driver parked in one go as it is so small. In fact, the Tuk-Tuk driver is already in the mall and has started shopping by the time the car parked and locked his doors.
Tuk-Tuk is ideal for Philippines roads
This is just one example where I have done the same journey as a friend in a car and no matter what type of roads they are the result is always the Bajaj RE arrives first, some times by a small amount sometimes by a huge amount.
There is no doubt that with the roads in the Philippines and the way they drive here the Tuk-Tuk is perfect and takes it all in its stride.
On the very narrow roads where a car has to move over, slow down or stop the Tuk-Tuk does not because of its size.
On a long journey of 64km that I have done many times in a car it always takes about 2 hours 30 minutes even though Google Maps say it should take 1 hour 52 minutes, the Bajaj RE did it in 1 hour 58 minutes.
The only time the Bajaj loses out is if there is an Expressway as the Bajaj RE only has a 200cc engine it is prohibited from using the Expressway.
On low slow climbs the Tuk-Tuk also loses out if it has 3 passengers plus the driver as it does slow down to about 50kph, however on a drive to Tagaytay I did find cars were coming past me as it is a very long climb, but every time there was an obstruction I caught them up so it was still as quick as a car.