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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Review: 2015 Toyota Hilux 4x2 G M/T

Photos by Ulysses Ang
Sometimes, you just don’t see the point of pickup trucks especially if they’re used for more than just hauling stuff. Consider this: our roads are overly crowded and then you just had to drive a five-plus meter long vehicle that offers about the same level of interior space as a compact and a versatility factor reduced by about 40 percent given the cargo bed isn’t useful in the urban jungle (unless you want your stuff getting wet or stolen). It makes you think: you should have gotten an SUV in the first place.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Nissan Philippines Adjusts Patrol Royale Price

Nissan’s flagship large SUV, the Patrol Royale is getting a price adjustment for the 2016 model year. Meticulously honed for over five decades, the Patrol (now known as the Patrol Royale) is the first four-wheel drive vehicle, according to Nissan, designed to take on the climatically demanding Middle East region. It packs a 5.6-liter V8 gasoline engine mated to a 5-speed automatic with a 4WD system with a rear locking differential.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Toyota and Lexus Top Auto Focus People's Choice Awards

The Philippine automotive market’s best-selling standard midsize SUV, the Toyota Fortuner and Lexus’ luxury compact SUV, the new NX200t, nailed the prestigious “Automobile of the Year” title in their respective categories at the Awards Night of the “2015-2016 Auto Focus People’s Choice Awards” (AFPCA) held last Friday, October 16, 2015 at the Grand Ballroom of the Valle Verde Country Club in Pasig City. Both are first-time winners of the top award.

Mazda Pampanga Rises Again

Mazda customers from Central and Northern Luzon now have a new home as Mazda Pampanga opens the doors to its latest full-service showroom along Jose Abad Santos avenue in San Fernando, Pampanga.

Subaru Eco Challenge Adventure Drive Shows Fuel Efficiency of Subaru Vehicles

Subaru, known for its rally-bred sporty handling showed off a very different side at the Eco Challenge Adventure Drive: fuel efficiency. Subaru brought out their entire AWD line-up (sans the Impreza) on a fuel economy challenge that spanned more than 100 kilometers through a mix of both city and highway driving conditions.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Volkswagen Passat Now Officially in the Philippines

After 42 years and 8 generations in production, and with more than 22 million vehicles in its series sold worldwide, the Passat is finally available in the Philippine market (this is after a preview done a month ago).

Power Gets an Upgrade: Toyota Unveils 2016 Land Cruiser 200 (w/ Comparative Specs)

No other vehicle out there is synonymous with power and prestige as the Toyota Land Cruiser. As Toyota’s flagship SUV since 1951, the go-anywhere and do-anything quality of the Land Cruiser combined with its uncompromising mix of power and comfort has earned it diehard fans everywhere (it’s actually sold in all global Toyota markets barring three—Canada, North Korea, and South Korea). The latest iteration, the Model 200 has been around since 2007 but now sees a substantial upgrade that makes it worthy to be called an all-new model. In other words, power gets an upgrade.

Isuzu Philippines Adds More Power to mu-X and D-Max with New 3.0 Engine

Known for their stellar comfort, reliability, and durability, both the Isuzu D-Max and mu-X are adding a new adjective to their name: powerful. In response to public clamor for a bigger engine, Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) has finally introduced new variants of its well-received D-Max and mu-X fitted with a 3.0-liter VGS Turbo engine.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Road to Roland-Garros Begins at Peugeot Philippines Tennis Open

Peugeot Philippines announces the first ever Peugeot Philippines Tennis Open (PPTO), a nationwide tournament aimed to discover Filipino tennis champions who may, one day, represent the country in international competitions.

RGM&Co. Partners with Car Awards Group, Inc.

R.G. Manabat & Co. (RGM&Co.), the Philippine member firm of KPMG International, partnered with the Car Awards Group, Inc. (CAGI) as the official tabulator of the Car of the Year-Philippines (COTY-P) Awards and Truck of the Year Philippines (TOTY-P) Awards 2015. RGM&Co. will conduct an independent validation of the scores and aid in refining the process and methodology of the awards. The awarding ceremonies will be held on 13 November 2015 at the Fontana Hot Spring Leisure Parks & Casino in Clark Field, Pampanga.

Established in 2004, CAGI is an organization of motoring journalists from the country's leading print, broadcast and online publications. Since its incorporation, the group has strived to find the best vehicles in the country through comprehensive testing involving quantitative and qualitative analysis of the vehicle's performance, design, safety, value and other relevant factors.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

UPDATED: Reborn: The All-New Honda Legend Arrives in Manila (w/ Specs)

UPDATE: Added photos from the launch event (10/21).

Car enthusiasts of a certain age will remember the Honda Legend from the 1990’s. Locally, it was Honda Cars Philippines (HCPI)’s first (and at the time, the only attempt) to crack the premium sedan segment. Although it didn’t really translate to strong numbers on the showroom floor, it did pave the way towards the realization that Honda wasn’t just about pocket rockets and screaming VTEC engines; they could build a car that can challenge the best that the world has to offer. Fast-forward to today and HCPI is once more challenging the norm by introducing the all-new 2015/16 Legend—the brand’s new crown jewel poised to deliver an unprecedented mix of driving pleasure, refinement, comfort, and environmental performance.

First Drive: 2016 Subaru Levorg 1.6 GT-S

Photos by Ulysses Ang
Repeat after me: turbocharged wagon. That should be reason enough why you should consider getting the Subaru Levorg over any other executive car offering out there, but allow me to explain further. See, the executive tourer/shooting brake/wagon segment was pretty much cornered by Subaru with their Legacy GT wagon a few years back, but its demise meant you could only get that fix with a Mazda6 Sports Wagon or an Outback. Sure, these are pretty good machines in their own right, but they’re not turbocharged wagons. Now though, everything is back to normal and you finally get a sort-of-Legacy wagon.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Uber Manila Announces Partnership with Lifeline Rescue

Uber Manila has announced a partnership with Lifeline, the country’s only dedicated Emergency Quick Response service with US-certified life-saving medical equipment and staff. Starting today, Uber users can avail of free Lifeline Rescue (only in the event of actual medical emergencies) in the rare event you encounter a medical emergency while on an Uber ride.

What Makes the Cummins 2.8 ISF Engine So Special?

Earlier this month, we took a closer look at Foton’s first-ever SUV, the Toplander, in, of all places, the USA. Though their venue to globally launch the Toplander or Sauvana as they call it elsewhere seemed odd, it merely cements the Chinese brand’s strong partnership with American diesel specialist, Cummins. In fact, Foton is single-handedly the biggest customer of the 2.8 ISF light-duty diesel engine, accounting to about half of Cummins’s annual output (200,000 out of 400,000 units). But what makes the Cummins 2.8 ISF so special? Well, that’s what we found out next.

Subaru Launches Outback 2.5i-S for PHL Market

After giving us a taste of its upcoming Levorg sports tourer, Motor Image Pilipinas (MIPI), the official distributor of Subaru vehicles in the Philippines is showing even more wagon love with the introduction of a new variant of its flagship Outback crossover.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Nissan Celebrates 2nd Anniversary in the Philippines

The glory days of the 80’s and 90’s saw Nissan become a household name in the local automotive scene, ingraining itself in the Filipino psyche through their iconic vehicles like the Nissan Sentra, California, and Stanza. However, over the years, Nissan slowly took the backseat in the minds of the market because of shifting consumer preferences.

BYD Launches Emergency Roadside Assistance Campaign

SOLAR Transport and Automotive Resources Corp. (STAR Corp.), the exclusive distributor of BYD vehicles in the Philippines, has announced its BYD Tulong Tuesdays Campaign, which offers Emergency Roadside Assistance to motorists and car owners plying the streets of the City of Mandaluyong. The service is open to all types of cars and brands, and is STAR Corp.’s way of extending the same 5-Star service commitment it provides to BYD customers to the motoring public.

Ferrari's F12tdf Pays Homage to Road Race Victories

Ferrari unveiled a new limited edition model, the F12tdf which pays homage to the Tour de France. Though unveiled in a striking shade of yellow, the F12tdf isn’t referring to the annual cycling race, rather a grueling GT race that took place in the 1950’s and 1960’s where Ferrari, particularly the 250 GT Berlinetta won four consecutive times. The F12tdf features technical innovations to its aerodynamics, engine, and dynamics and only 799 will be built.

An Ace of a Prize at Stake for Kia's Lucky Drive for Australia

Kia begins early countdown to one of tennis’ most awaited tournaments with Kia Lucky Drive to Australia!

Established in 2010, the annual promo for Kia test-drive participants gives a once-in-a-lifetime prize of a trip to Australia to watch the Australian Open, live. Since then, Kia fans and tennis enthusiasts fervently anticipate the contest.

CAGI Completes First Testfest at Fontana

The Car Awards Group, Inc. (CAGI), successfully completed the first test day for the search of the 2015 Car of the Year - Philippines and Truck of the Year - Philippines. Held last Saturday, October 10, 2015, the Fontana Convention Center served as the staging area for the qualitative testing, as well as part of the technical testing. A total of 15 vehicles joined the first day of trials, and were driven by CAGI jurors around a pre-determined route, inside the Clark Freeport Zone.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

UPDATED: Subaru Confirms Levorg for Philippines, Sales Start January 2016 (w/ Specs, Brochure)

UPDATE 4: It has just been launched for the Philippine market (12/16).

UPDATE 3: We added the official brochure below (10/25).

UPDATE 2: Read our first drive of the Subaru Levorg 1.6 GT-S here (10/20).

UPDATE 1: Motor Image Pilipinas has confirmed a price range of the Levorg (indicated below); we have also included more photos from the launch (10/17).

The end of the turbocharged Subaru wagon is greatly exaggerated as Motor Image has finally confirmed the arrival of the Levorg for the Southeast Asia region, including the Philippines with reservations sales to start by January 2016 at all Subaru dealerships nationwide.

While you wait for our First Drive impressions, here’s what we can tell you.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Volkswagen PH Extends Financing Promo to End of October

Volkswagen Philippines is extending the zero percent down payment, zero percent interest promotion on its popular Tiguan, Touran, and Polo Sedan models for the month of October. Touareg customers on the other hand will enjoy zero percent interest for 36 months.  The promo, which began in September, has been extended due to insistent public demand.

Review: 2015-2016 Mazda CX-5 AWD Sport

The first of the full Skyactiv line of vehicles, the Mazda CX-5, first introduced in 2012, is still at the top of its game. It delivers a driver-centric experience without sacrificing practicality and efficiency. It’s a rare breed of car that’s both a personal and popular choice; something the husband and the wife won’t disagree over. Simply put, Mazda didn’t need to revamp it. It’s good as it is and still sells briskly. Except, the Mazda3 happened and since then, the company has had to sprinkle the same sort of updates particularly because the CX-5 commands a price premium over its non-crossover stable mate.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Showing Your School Spirit Can Win You Big

With the school year coming into full bloom, students of the country’s select universities get another way to show their love for their schools in the Hyundai i20 Cross Sport University Tour. Hosted by Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc., the exclusive distributor of Hyundai cars in the Philippines, the University Tour gives students a chance to cheer for their schools while showing their talents through the i20 Cross Sport “Show your School Spirit” Decal Design Contest.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Philippine Car Price Guide: September-October 2015

We sort of missed the September 2015 update for the Philippine Car Price Guide. Still, don’t panic since here’s the October 2015 edition. In this update, we’re highlighting the following:
  • Chevrolet Trax
  • Foton Gratour
  • Foton Toano
  • Foton Toplander
  • Haima S5
  • Hyundai i20 Cross Sport
  • Hyundai Tucson
  • Mitsubishi Mirage Special Edition
  • Nissan Juke
  • Nissan NP300 Navara (price increase)
  • Nissan NV350 Urvan (price increase)
  • Nissan Patrol Royale (price decrease)
  • Toyota Avanza
  • Toyota Land Cruiser 200

2016 Nissan Juke vs the Competition

In the span of a week, two new sub-compact crossovers have entered the Philippine market, the 2016 Nissan Juke and the 2016 Chevrolet Trax. Now, how do these two sub-million peso offerings fare against the current segment leader, the Ford EcoSport? How does it do (theoretically) against the Mazda CX-3 and of course, the in-between sized Honda HR-V.

Wonder no more as we have our usual comparative chart after the break.

UPDATED: Chevrolet Enters Sub-Compact Crossover Battle with 2016 Trax (w/ Brochure)

UPDATE: Adding the official press release below as well as some event photos (10/20).

After a lengthy preview and striptease (since MIAS actually), Chevrolet is officially throwing their hat into the sub-compact crossover ring with the launch of the 2016 Trax. Designed top-down to take on the urban jungle, the Trax comes with the segment’s first turbocharged engine and is offered at an attractive price that starts below the one-million peso mark.

The Toyota S-FR is Probably Not a Miata, But Could Be Fun

Despite a softening global demand to its 86, Toyota is showing off yet another take on the affordable sports car genre with the Toyota S-FR. Though currently in a concept car form, the production-ready S-FR (at least from photos) is meant to slot below the 86 to become Toyota’s entry-level sports car.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Honda Cars Philippines Ends Q3 with Record-Breaking September

Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI), Honda’s automobile business unit in the Philippines, closes September with 2,093 vehicle sales. HCPI posted a 54 percent growth from the same month last year.
This sustained strong performance is attributed to the introduction of new market players and continuous product updates coupled with easy-to-own financing options.

Petron Now Locally Producing Full Range of Euro-4 Fuels

Following the successful launch of its Euro 4 gasoline products in June, market leader Petron Corporation announced its diesel products, Turbo Diesel and DieselMax, now meet global Euro 4 fuel standards.

Tokyo Motor Show 2015: Subaru to Debut All-New Impreza 5-Door Concept

Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI), the manufacturer of Subaru, is showing off (at least in concept form) of what could be their most important product in the next few years: the Impreza 5-Door Concept. As a start to the company’s “Prominence 2020” announced in May 2014, this debuts not just a new styling direction for the brand but a brand-new platform which will underpin all other future Subaru models.

The Impreza 5-Door Concept will feature Subaru’s Dynamic & Solid theme which expresses value exceeding its class. This can be felt from the dynamically sporty driving feel to the solid performance as well as innovation and peace of mind provided by its wealth of safety and technological features.

CarGuide.PH will be at the 44th Tokyo Motor Show which will run from October 28-30, 2015. For up-to-the-minute updates during the show dates, follow us on Twitter or Instagram.

Tokyo Motor Show 2015: Mitsubishi eX Concept is Future EV Crossover

Mitsubishi is holding the global premiere of their brand-new concept car at the 44th Tokyo Motor Show this end of October. The eX Concept is a brand-new compact crossover that’s designed for the urban environment while keeping some design elements of a shooting brake. Though it’s purely a design concept for now, the eX Concept does preview future design elements as well as technology for Mitsubishi.

Peugeot Launches 3-Year All-In Program

Peugeot Philippines, together with the Unionbank of the Philippines will offer special rates and packages for the month of October 2015. Low down payment schemes, all-in packages, and a first-in-market 3-year free comprehensive insurance program are available for the complete Peugeot model lineup to offer its clients the opportunity to bring home a Peugeot with the best deals possible until October 31, 2015.

Philippine CoTY Tests Start this Weekend at Fontana

The Car Awards Group, Inc. (CAGI), is all set to begin their 12th testing season to determine the best of the best among the recently launched vehicles in the market today. With firm commitments from almost all car manufacturers and distributors, this year’s test fest promises to be a busy one for the participating members.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Foton's Game Changer: Upclose with the Toplander

During one otherwise uninteresting afternoon, I received a rather peculiar phone call. “Sir, would you be interested in driving the Foton Toplander in Indiana?” Given the quality of our cellular service in Manila, I was almost sure I misheard the other person on the line. “Sure,” I said. When will you need me to submit my Chinese Visa requirements? “No sir. You won’t need it. This drive will be in Indiana, USA.” A long pause ensued. A Foton drive in the Midwestern US? They must be kidding, I thought. Lo-and-behold, two weeks later, I was actually on a 31-hour plane ride to Columbus, Indiana to see the Toplander.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Nissan Philippines Previews Juke (w/ Specs)

Just in time with its new brand campaign, “Rediscover Excitement” as well as its second anniversary as part of the global Nissan family, Nissan Philippines, Inc. brings to market the Juke sports sub-compact crossover. Featuring a unique exterior design, motorbike inspired cabin, and dynamic handling, the Juke is now available for reservations at all Nissan dealerships nationwide with deliveries to start by January 2016.

Mercedes-Benz Philippines Launches AMG GT S, CLA 45 OrangeArt Edition, GLA 45

Auto Nation Group, the exclusive distributor of Mercedes-Benz vehicles in the country showed off the newest offerings from high-performance division, AMG, headlined by the local debut of the Mercedes-AMG GT S supercar. This was joined at the event by the CLA 45 OrangeArt Edition and GLA 45.

Ford Gets Closer to Connected Cars with Help from University

Ford Motor Company and St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University have reached the final phase of a large-scale research project aimed at enhancing vehicle communication technology. As a result of the work that leverages university telematics expertise in space robot communications, Ford has filed several patents on technologies that can serve to advance connected cars of the future.

Delo Celebrates 80 Years with "Lets Go Further Today with Delo" Campaign

Delo , a global brand distributed by Chevron under the Caltex master brand in Asia Pacific, has some treats for Filipino motorists as it celebrates 80 years of bringing people further.

Honda Launches Zoomer-X

Honda Philippines, Inc. (HPI) has released two new motorcycles designed for the new breed of rider who want technology, innovative features, and practicality. In their new campaign dubbed “Generation S”, HPI launched the all-new Zoomer-X. The Zoomer-X joins HPI’s other Generation S offerings: the BeAT-Fi and Click125i.

Review: 2015 Toyota Camry 3.5 Q

Photos by Ulysses Ang
Why fix if it isn’t broken? That’s more or less the theme of the 2015 Toyota Camry. It’s been the country’s best-selling executive sedan for quite some time. Theoretically, Toyota could put their feet up and call it a day, and it will still sell very well; a nod to the strong recall and reputation of this model. But Toyota’s not giving its competitors any time to catch up. It’s been given a timely nip and tuck just to keep its competitors at bay without straying far from its long-held virtues.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Foton Unveils Gratour, Toano Vans

Foton Philippines is getting two new additions to its MPV/van line-up with the formal launch of the Gratour and Toano which were unveiled alongside the Toplander at the Big Show 2015 in World Trade Center in Pasay City. According to the largest commercial vehicle manufacturer in China, both the Toano and Gratour are destined to make a splash thanks to its space, utility, and flexibility.

Foton Charges into SUV Market with Toplander

Foton is expanding its line-up with the unveil of not one, not two, but three new offerings at its annual Big Show which is happening now until tomorrow, October 4, 2015 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. The biggest commercial vehicle manufacturer in China, Foton has quickly established itself as a formidable commercial vehicle brand in the Philippines despite being established just eight years ago. Headlining the charge is the Toplander.

Win a Mazda2 in Zalora and Mazda's "Drive for Fashion" Raffle

Zalora, Asia’s online fashion destination, and Japanese automotive brand Mazda have teamed up once again to bring in the “Mazda2 Drive for Fashion” raffle game where participants are given a chance to go home aboard an all-new Mazda2 Skyactiv R. The online raffle found on Zalora Philippines’ official website runs now to November 30, 2015 and is open to all Zalora customers.

Volvo Ferries Premiere Pianist Cecile Licad

Volvo Philippines continues to support music and the arts as it becomes the official transport of world-renowned pianist Cecile Licad. In celebration of the 40th anniversary of Sanctuario de San Antonio and the 19th Francisfest, Licad performed along with the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra on October 2, 2015.

Conducted by Gerard Salonga, the evening was filled with sweet notes and a repertoire that delighted all guests. More importantly, proceeds of the concert supported outreach programs, such as the scholarship program for deserving youth, the PGH Pediatric Hospital Ministry, The Prison Ministry, victims of Typhoon Yolanda in Samar, and poor Franciscan parishes in rural areas.

Licad will be ferried in a Volvo S60, a sleek and stylish sports sedan.

Willie Torres Bags 2015 Yokohama Philippine GT Championship

After bagging two 1st place finishes at the 5th round of the 2015 Yokohama Philippine GT Championship last September 27, Willie Torres is provisionally now the new GT 300 champion with one round to spare.

UPDATED: Volkswagen Caught Cheating on Emissions

UPDATE 3: Volkswagen Philippines issued a statement (10/03).

UPDATE 2: The Dieselgate scandal has caused some heads to roll (9/26).

UPDATE 1: More information provided below. Seems the cheat involves engines worldwide (9/23).

Volkswagen is the middle of a corporate catastrophe that undermines a loss of trust towards consumers and government regulators. Just last week, the US-based Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has discovered that certain VW models are able to circumvent emission requirements during testing with a “defeat device”. This affects close to 500,000 cars and could also mean that the German automaker could face stiff fines.