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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas from

To all our readers, a Merry and Blessed Christmas to you all! Take extra precaution driving where ever you're going and remember, don't drink and drive!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Top 5 Picks for 2011

Photos by Ulysses Ang and Hyundai Press
At, we don't mince words and though we've existed for less than two months, we just had to come out with our very own Top 5 picks for 2011. Take note...these five cars were launched in 2011. At the same time, these are the cars we've managed to spend some seat time in--so Ferraris and Lamborghinis don't count.

Anyway, continue after the break to find out our Top 5 picks in preferential order.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Test of Man and Machine: Ford Focus Endurance Challenge

Photos by Mikko David
It just piques your interest when you receive an invitation from Ford labeled ‘Top Secret’; after all, it always implies something exciting. So with the giddiness of a 10-year old kid, I clicked ‘open’ and lo and behold: it’s an invitation to race—to race for 12 non-stop hours behind the wheel of a Ford Focus TDCi. With thoughts of the glitz and glamour of the 24 Heures du Mans (‘24 Hours of Le Mans’ for the non-French speakers out there), I immediately did my best impression of Steve McQueen, replied yes and encircled my June 4-5 with a big, bright red circle.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Safety with Children

Parents all want the best for their children. They are thus inclined to purchase all sorts of books, toys, strollers, and gadgets for kids when preparing for a trip; they want to educate them and keep them entertained. Yet in one aspect, many parents remain negligent: safety in ferrying children in cars. How many times do you see children standing up unrestrained in the front passenger seat, or a mother carrying a kid in her lap, sometimes without a seatbelt?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Mercedes-Benz Unveils 2013 SL-Class

Photos courtesy of Mercedes-Benz Press
The Mercedes-Benz SL-Class has always been regarded as the brand's technical tour-de-force: a car where they only put the best. Unfortunately, putting a lot of stuff also means putting on a lot of weight, a perennial problem of Mercedes-Benz's two-seater grand tourer. And with a name that somewhat translates to "Sport" and "Light", it has become ironic indeed.

The Importance of Motor Oil

Photo courtesy of stock xchng

Whether you drive a car or sport utility vehicle, your motor vehicle is one of the biggest investments you’ll make in your life. And with car prices going up every year, it makes perfect sense to take good care of your car. Pamper her right and she could last 150,000 kilometers or more. Ignore her and you’ll be spending lots of time at repair shops or worse, the scrap heap.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

First Drive: 2012 BMW 116i Urban and 118d Sport

Photos by Ulysses Ang
It's as if everything conspired to make the day's drive difficult: the heavens opened up and the traffic was horrendous. Yet, for all the troubles we faced that day, by the end of it, there was a general consensus that the all-new BMW 1 Series is one exceptional automobile. Rarely does a car prove itself while stuck in traffic, but that's exactly what this premium hatchback did. For a minute, you can forget that the BMW 1 Series's "dual personality" stood for the Urban and Sport line and instead, label it as equally capable whether at speed or at rest.

Green with Envy: Ford Takes Lead in In-Car Green Technology

Photos by Ulysses Ang
The tides certainly have turned—it’s this singular thought that raced in my mind after turning on the TV.  A few seconds of a generic daytime soap turned into a bombardment of ads; after all, what would you expect from the land of consumerism?  The ads for Cialis and Robitussin were easy to ignore, but the ones from Ford weren’t.  It’s the sort of car ad I wasn’t accustomed to: quoting gasoline mileage and maintenance cost over horsepower and torque.  The US financial meltdown was certainly a factor, but moreover, it’s the overall change in corporate social responsibility that’s fueling this newfound green initiative.  And car companies like Ford are taking the lead.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Volvo XC90 Named as Sweden's Most Valuable Export Product

Photos courtesy of Volvo Press
Viking Cars, Inc., the exclusive distributor of Volvo passenger cars in the Philippines has shared us a bit of news which names the XC90 ("the late comer") as Sweden's most valuable export product since its launch in 2002.

The same press release indicates a special promo for all would-be XC90 buyers this Christmas season as Viking Cars, Inc. is offering up to 20 percent off on the XC90 until Christmas Day, December 25.

Dodge Teases 2013 Dart Interior

Photos courtesy of Dodge Press
After teasing us with some shots of the 2013 Dart, Dodge has finally shown us what to expect inside. And we're liking what we see.

The gauge cluster, in particular, looks highly sophisticated thanks to its integrated TFT display. Add to that the new "racetrack" ambient lighting (it goes all the way to the foot wells, door handles, map pockets, center console and cup holders).

What does all this bode for the Philippine market? The rumor mill suggests that CATS Motors, Inc., the exclusive distributor of both Mercedes-Benz and Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge cars is planning to beef up its North American offering. Although nothing's final yet, we cannot discount that the Dodge Dart may make it to our shores, perhaps giving the likes of the Honda Civic and Mitsubishi Lancer EX a run for their money. 

Bad Santa! 6 Stocking Stuffers Any Car Guy Wouldn't Want to See

Photo courtesy of stock xchng
Christmas is the season for giving and receiving gifts. And as much as we love receiving gifts we’ve dreamed about all year, harsh reality sets in and there’s bound to be some duds along the way; especially when the giver buys the intended gift at the last minute. So, to all gift givers out there, before you head over to the automotive section of your neighborhood department store, read this carefully. Here are just some stocking stuffers you should probably avoid giving to your special someone as he or she probably won’t appreciate the five minutes of effort you put into it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

MD Juan Holds World War II Re-Enactment

MD Juan Enterprises, famous for building replica World War II Willy's Jeeps in the Philippines recently had some fun. They managed to do some authentic re-enactment of the Abucay Line Battle and they shared their press release with us. Read it after the break.

First Drive: 2012 Ford Ranger

Photos by Ulysses Ang
Remember that memorable diner scene in When Harry Met Sally--the one where Meg Ryan had a fully-clothed orgasm? I had the very same experience with the all-new Ford Ranger as we traversed through the roads of Northern Thailand; and while Ryan's character faked her's, mine was all real. The moment I stepped into the Ranger's cabin, I just couldn't stop grinning ear-to-ear and that smile stuck on like the Joker's all the way throughout the drive. Mind you, I'm not the sort of guy that likes pick-ups, but this one truly blows me away. It's that good.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Review: 2011 Chevrolet Cruze 1.8 LT

The Chevrolet Optra is the automotive equivalent of cheap chocolate—it’s sweet at the beginning but leaves a bitter, cough syrup-like aftertaste. In an odd marketing twist, Filipinos bought the Optra in droves, perhaps driven by curiosity over the Chevrolet brand and the affordable price tag. Well, in the end you only get what you paid for and soon there were countless people who complained about the Optra’s propensity to be lackluster. You name it, it didn’t do it well. Soon, interest waned and the Optra was lost in the bowels of automotive dullness. Thank god.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Philippine Car Price Guide: December 2011

This blog is called, so what's a better way to showcase our service by providing you, our readers, with the most comprehensive Philippine car price list.

This chart will be updated monthly to reflect new models or changes to existing ones. Take note though, that this price guide serves only as that--a guide...there are some instances where dealers (or even manufacturers) change their prices at a whim.

The table will take a while to load, but hey, it's worth it!

Review: 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe Drift Car

A decade ago, it would have been hard to imagine Hyundai as remotely ‘pulse quickening’. Though they had a pretty solid line-up then, they’re not exactly the sharpest knife in the cupboard. Then, Hyundai turned around 180-degrees and as quickly as Popeye would gulp down a can of spinach, suddenly churned out world-beating cars that are sexy and fun-to-drive as they are solid and reliable. And leading the charge is the Hyundai Genesis Coupe.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Custom Mercedes-Benz SLR Proves You Have Money, But No Taste

Photos courtesy of Jalopnik
Car enthusiast website, Jalopnik has reported what could very well be the gaudiest and ugliest custom Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren ever done.

Dubbed "Red Gold Dream SLR", it costs US$ 11-million and is decorated with everything from 500 rubies (including the wheel nuts) and 14-karat gold. If you're still not convinced, it runs 700 horsepower (currently). But, the owner, Swiss club owner Ueli Anlicker wants to bring up the power to an even 1,000 horsepower before ultimately selling it.

View more eye-scorching pictures after the break.

2013 Ford Mustang Illuminates You with a Galloping Horse

Photo courtesy of Ford Press
Ford has revealed an interesting new feature for their upcoming 2013 Mustang.

Available as an option, the Mustang will be able to project the image of a galloping horse onto the ground besides the vehicle when the driver unlocks the doors. It may seem trivial enough, but Ford could pretty much send the industry trend here as we've seen with ambient cabin lighting and illuminated door sill plates.

Interesting indeed. Let's wait and see how this comes out.

Mercedes-Benz GP to Tweak Name for 2012 F1 Season

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz Press
What's in a name? Well, a lot if you're Mercedes-Benz.

For 2012, the Mercedes-Benz GP Petronas Formula One team will be changing its name formally to Mercedes-Benz AMG Petronas Formula One team. According to Mercedes-Benz honchos, the addition of those three magical letters signifies their seriousness and promised competitiveness for the 2012 season. With tremendous success in DTM racing, team principal Ross Brown and company will surely have the weight of the world on their shoulders.

In other news, the Mercedes-Benz AMG Petronas Formula One team have also announced that they will be delaying the launch of their 2012 challenger, the F1 W03. The launch will only make it to the second winter testing on February 21 in the hopes the additional development time will make the car much more competitive.

UPDATED: Dodge Teases Dart Compact Car

Photos courtesy of Dodge Press
Dodge is finally getting serious with their compact car offering. After often ridiculed with the terrible design and quality of their Caliber hatchback, Dodge is trying to hit the bulls-eye with the 2013 Dart. The full reveal is slated at the 2012 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, but Dodge is quick to reveal teaser shots of their all-new compact sedan.

Plus Sizing the Right Way

Photos by Ulysses Ang
Large diameter wheels and low profile tires are everywhere now from car show rooms, motor shows and even the race track. So whether the vehicle came from the assembly line or was upgraded after it was delivered, Plus Sizing probably played a role in its tire size choice. Plus Sizing allows tires and wheels to make a statement while providing functional improvement.

Review: 2011 BMW X6 xDrive35i

BMW’s claim to fame has always been anything sporty. Be it a coupe, convertible or sedan, as long as it carries the famed blue and white propeller upfront, you immediately know it carves curves like no other car could. But what about BMW’s recent product expansion; specifically the likes of the X1, X3 and X5? They certainly sound antithetical to what the brand stands for, especially carrying the moniker: Sport Activity Vehicle. Things become even more confusing with the X6—BMW’s newest niche—the Sport Activity Coupe. It’s an odd prescient for a vehicle that’s essentially a tarted up X5. Beyond the looks which are an acquired taste, does the X6 still have some BMW goodness baked into it?

Passport to Punishment: Mercedes-Benz Driving Experience

Photos by Ulysses Ang
We car journalists are a spoiled bunch. We’ve been through countless track exercises both in the Philippines and abroad which are supposedly meant to test the car’s abilities. The problem is, most of the time, they’re meh. They’re designed to keep the cars safe more than anything else. So after a while, these things get boring. And tedious. And repetitious. So it’s not hard to imagine what happens when you receive yet another driving experience event invitation. Granted it’s from Mercedes-Benz, the idea of babying multi-million peso cars through a snoozer of a course isn’t exactly something to look forward to. Plus, the drive to Subic and the cost of toll and fuel means it won’t come cheap. But here we are at the sprawling Subic International Airport, having dragged ourselves from bed just three hours ago. Are we ready to sleep again, but this time behind the wheel?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Special AVT GPS Navigator Deals Makes for Great Christmas Gift

Still don't know what to give that car guy friend of yours for Christmas? Well, consider the AVT GPS Navigator. With over 300,000 points of interest programmed and a built-in speed camera warning feature, it is the go-to source for OEM fitment on new cars.

If you're still not convinced, the AVT Navigator PN-403 has a special offer just for this Christmas. Starting December 1, 2011 to January 31, 2012, the PN-403 can be yours for just P 7,000. And it's available at 0% financing for 3-, 6- or 12-month installments.

Toyota and Subaru Confirm 86 and BRZ Plans for Philippines

In two separate announcements, both Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) and Motor Image Pilipinas (MI) have announced that the Toyota 86 and the Subaru BRZ will be made available to Philippine car enthusiasts.

TMP, the Philippine office of Toyota Motor Corporation has announced that the Toyota 86 (or in Europe, the GT 86) will be launched in the Philippine market. In an interview held at the sidelines of the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota Motor Philippines President Michinobu Sugata was quoted as saying, "We are launching the Toyota 86 in the Philippines quite soon."

Speaking in a non-committal manner, another Toyota Motor Philippines executive said that the Toyota 86 is slated for a mid-2012 launch with a price tag of no more than P 2-million.

On the other hand, MI has confirmed that the Subaru version of the two-door sports coupe, the BRZ will be on sale in the Philippines by mid-2012.

This just means that both the Subaru BRZ and the Toyota 86 will be made available at roughly the same time. This equates to more choices to car enthusiasts in the country. We can't wait!

Is Your Car Safe for the Holiday Travel?

Photos courtesy of Ford Press
Whether you plan on visiting your mother-in-law in Bicol or simply want to have some R&R in Baguio, your car needs to be up to the task. Imagine what would happen if it wasn’t. Likely, you’ll find yourself stuck by the side of a deserted road; or worse, be towed away by the highway patrol. Imagine the stress, helplessness and agony.

You have to take matters into your own hands. If you’re planning on taking a road trip this Christmas season, make sure you provide your car with some basic maintenance.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Honda Aims for Best-in-Class Fuel Economy in Every Segment

Photo courtesy of Honda Cars Press
Even if current Honda products are no slouch when it comes to fuel economy, the Japanese automaker recently announced a new undertaking: "Earth Dreams Technology".

Under this new corporate direction, Honda will align itself to accomplish "top-of-industry" fuel economy in every vehicle class within three years. It may sound like a lofty goal, but Honda is confident of achieving this fully encompassing its power plant line-up as well as a new "fun-to-drive" CVT transmission. In addition, Honda hopes to its hybrid systems to more use such as potentially powering AWD systems and such.

Seaoil Offers Cash Rebates for the Holidays

What timing for the Christmas Rush! Seaoil, one of the Philippines's leading independent oil firms has just announced a new promo for the Christmas season. Read on to find out more!

CATS Motors, Inc. launches Mercedes-Benz Actros Truck in the Philippines

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz Press
The year-end typically means slower days (or even weeks) as businesses wind down and prepare to close their books on yet another year. Well, that’s not the case with CATS Motors, Inc., the official distributor of Mercedes-Benz vehicles in the Philippines, as they launched a brand-new portfolio in their business: premium-class trucks.

Deep Dive: 2012 Ford Ranger

Photos courtesy of Ford Press
Pick-up trucks, by nature, serve a single purpose: they’re a workhorse. They are the modern ‘beast of burden’—rarely beautiful, but highly prized for their durability and dependability. However, as consumers are introduced to much more sophisticated fare, how can this lowly beast remain true to its humble origin, and yet, serve its new generation of masters?

Monday, December 5, 2011

We're Moving to

Fellow we beginning counting down to the end of 2011 and the approach of the new year, let me announce it here that we're officially moving to our own domain name: The URL is still the process of being sorted out (you know how the internet is), so you will probably see errors, missing files and such during this movement process. However, let me assure you that it's all part of the growing up process and I hope you continue reading my blog!

Seaoil Recognized for Environmental Program

Photo courtesy of Seaoil Press
In lieu of a slow news day (it's the end of the year after all), here's a press release from the folks at Seaoil:

SEAOIL Philippines, Inc., the country’s leading and largest independent oil company, was awarded the “Outstanding Environmental Management Program Award” by the Philippine Franchise Association (PFA) at the recent Franchise Excellence Awards (FEA).  The company was recognized for pioneering the use of ethanol-blended fuels in 2005 through its Biofuels Program. 
In 2005, SEAOIL together with the Department of Energy and USAID launched a nationwide information campaign on the use of biofuels after the implementation of the Biofuels Act.  The Filipino-owned oil firm was also the first to introduce E85 fuel, a special fuel blend containing 85 percent ethanol available in selected stations, and is being tested for Philippine National Standards certification. The FEA is one of the country's most prestigious annual events that recognize the best franchise practices across various industries and organizations, and is a member of the World Franchise Council and Asia Pacific Franchise Confederation, the group that holds the annual Franchise Asia Awards.   
(L-R): Franchise Asia 2011 conference committee chairman and Philippine Seven Corporation president Jose Victor Paterno; PFA vice-chairman and Manels Group of Companies chair Manuel Siggaoat, Sr.; SEAIL president and CEO Francis Glenn Yu; and FEA chairman and Quisumbing Torres Law Office partner Atty. Leo Dominguez.

Review: 2011 Suzuki Grand Vitara 4x2

Close your eyes for a minute and imagine these in an automobile: a longitudinally-mounted four-cylinder engine, rear wheel drive, 17-inch alloys and vented disc brakes all around. These ingredients can certainly pass as the prerequisites for a sports car, but believe it or not, this is the same stuff found in the Suzuki Grand Vitara. But before you start thinking of doing drift moves with the Grand Vitara, it’s not meant to be pummeled on the race track. It’s designed and engineered to be comfortable and competent for the everyday drive; traits which are much more important than lap times.

The Suzuki Grand Vitara has gone through numerous nips and tucks since its 2005 introduction. When compact SUVs with six-cylinder engines were the ‘in-thing’, Suzuki plopped in a 2.7-liter V6 and then a 3.2-liter unit under the hood. Cool as these engines maybe, with the gasoline prices at astronomical levels, Suzuki dropped these gasoline hungry engines for something that can deliver more km/Ls: a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. What’s more, they shunned the all-wheel drive configuration and went for the really basic stuff: two-wheel drive. In short, the Grand Vitara has successfully transformed itself from something quirky to something much more mainstream.

I’ve always wanted to try the 6-cylinder Grand Vitara, so forgive me for my lack of enthusiasm with the 4-cylinder model. I understand that the move was needed in these fuel conscious times, but 166 horsepower certainly pales in comparison to 230 horsepower. Still, I have to admit, I was quite satisfied at how the 2.4-liter unit performed. It does a good job of hauling the Grand Vitara’s 1,620-kilogram frame. It’s responsive from the get-go, plus it’s quick witted enough for those overtaking maneuvers. That said, the engine is somewhat vocal and throaty as the revs build up and the automatic gearbox can get confused if you’re switching from ‘docile’ to ‘aggressive’ driving. And the lack of a fifth gear (the Grand Vitara’s gearbox is only a 4-speed unit) means it starts to lose steam once it reaches triple digit speeds. Fortunately, the Grand Vitara comes with a ‘Power’ mode which keeps the revs higher and dents its fuel economy figures. During my drive in the city, the Grand Vitara averaged about 6.7 km/L with the ‘Power’ mode on, 7.3 km/L with it off. Those figures are comparable to the likes of the Ford Escape (6.9 km/L), Toyota RAV4 (7.2 km/L), but are paltry compared to the Honda CR-V (12.07 km/L) and Hyundai Tucson (8.3 km/L).

The merely competent drivetrain is mated perhaps to one of the Grand Vitara’s bright spots: the chassis.  Despite the chiseled appearance, the Grand Vitara actually uses technology similar to those found in Land Rovers.  The old ladder-on-frame layout is gone, and in its place is a unique uni-body with a built-in frame chassis.  Theoretically, this set-up reduces weight while maintaining the toughness of a ladder-on-frame set-up.  Though I had no way to test chassis flex, it had the excellent ability to absorb the sharpest of road ruts. It can ride through the deepest of Manila’s potholes with the poise and comfort for a mid-sized or full-sized SUV. Almost nothing can unsettle this car and its occupants. The overall ride’s on the stiff side and passengers may complain of some jitteriness at low speeds, but it’s not discontenting.

Wrapped around the chassis is a clean and timeless body that’s still as fresh as it first came out in 2005. From the outside, no one can complain about the angular lines.  Throughout the car, it’s filled with the nice design touches, some of which have become the norm in modern crossovers like the chunky lamps and strong upright profile. Perhaps the only thing that dates the Grand Vitara’s styling is the rear door-mounted spare tire cover emblazoned with the words, ‘Suzuki’.

Inside, the Grand Vitara’s cabin is stylish without being over the top. It’s sporty all around without being too dreary. In terms of space, the Grand Vitara’s just right—not too small, but not too big.  It reminds me of compact SUVs from a generation ago, with enough space for your wife and maybe two kids. However, if you need to fit the yaya you may want to consider something bigger. The cargo bay opens up traditionally, via a sideways opening door as opposed to a vertical hatch. Again, this betrays the Grand Vitara’s age, but it’s a joy for those with garages with low ceilings. The deeply recessed gauges are lovely too—easy to read and a perfect fit to the Grand Vitara’s cabin. Suzuki even managed to fit a multi-information display panel in there as well. The careful placement of the metallic accents is a nice touch too.

The excellent gauges and metallic accents are still not enough to distract you from the rest of the Grand Vitara’s cabin which is rather plain, especially given the P 1.27-million price tag. It’s solid and all, but there are no hints of luxury in here—the steering wheel and gear lever are finished in urethane and not leather; and the audio system itself lacks any external audio interface. Plus, the speakers themselves aren’t up to par as well—Sting sounds like he’s singing from a well. These shortcomings are a shame since the ergonomics are good and the driving position is comfortable. The overall visibility can’t be faulted too.

In the realm of compact crossovers, we have to remember that the competition’s fierce. Some have gone towards the value-for-money route; others, performance; and others still, comfort and refinement. The Suzuki Grand Vitara lies somewhere in the middle of these traits—ultimately ending up as a jack of all trades, but a master of none. The Grand Vitara certainly has the right stuff going for it, but Suzuki needs to inject something different to make it stand out of the crowd. Perhaps the return of the V6 would help?

2011 Suzuki Grand Vitara 2.4
Ownership 2.4
Year Introduced 2006 (Facelifted 2008)
Vehicle Classification Compact Crossover
The Basics
Body Type 5-door crossover
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/R
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.4
Aspiration NA
Layout / # of Cylinders Inline 4
BHP @ rpm 166 @ 6,000
Nm @ rpm 227 @ 3,800
Fuel / Min. Octane Unleaded / 93~
Transmission 4 AT
Cruise Control No
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,500
Width (mm) 1,810
Height (mm) 1,683
Wheelbase (mm) 2,640
Curb Weight (kg) 1,580
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Independent, Multi-Link
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Vented Disc
Tires 225/65R17
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 2
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes
Traction / Stability Control No
Parking Sensors No
Exterior Features
Headlights Halogen
Fog Lamps Front
Auto Lights No
Auto Wipers No
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjustment Tilt
Steering Wheel Material Urethane
Seating Adjustment Manual
Seating Surface Fabric
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 60/40
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes
Climate Control No
Audio System Stereo
No. of Speakers 4
Steering Wheel Controls Yes

5 Tips in Picking the Right Car Insurance

Photo courtesy of stock xchng
Most people think car insurance is a necessary evil—another add-on to the growing mountain of fuel and car maintenance bills. In fact, ever since the Land Transportation Office (LTO) mandated Third Party Liability or TPL for all vehicles, most see it as nothing more than a requirement for car registration. However, this line of thinking has got to change. Imagine driving along EDSA at half past midnight when a 10-wheeler truck suddenly losses its brakes and rear ends your car. Imagine that after a night’s worth of partying, you suddenly find your car missing from the parking lot you left it in. It is times like these that you’ll be glad you took the time to purchase a good car insurance program.

Friday, December 2, 2011

BMW Launches All-New 1 Series: Two Styles, Same Ugliness

Asian Carmakers Corporation (ACC), the official distributor of BMW automobiles in the Philippines launched the all-new 1 Series a couple of days ago. And while the second-generation 1 Series offers increased dimensions in almost every way, it also multiplies its ugliness quotient.

All-New Kia Rio to Launch in Philippines January 19

Photo courtesy of Kia Press
Our intrepid friends over at Top Gear Philippines has managed to sneak out some juicy information about the all-new Kia Rio. It's going to be launched soon. On January 19, 2012 to be precise. If the reports are all true, Columbian Autocar Corporation (CAC), the official distributor of Kia automobiles in the Philippines, has already pencil-booked that date for the Rio's launch.

The same report indicated that the all-new Kia Rio will remain with two engine choices: 1.2-liter (86 horsepower, 120 Nm of torque) and 1.4-liter (106 horsepower, 135 Nm of torque) 4-cylinder engines and two transmission options: a six-speed manual and a four-speed automatic.

The top-spec Rio is said to carry features such as a chilled glove box, cruise control, rear parking sensor, Bluetooth connectivity and even a push button engine start/stop button. The range-topper will have a 1.4-liter engine mated to the 4-speed and will have a 5-door hatchback body.

Hyundai to Launch Diesel Accent and Hatch Really Soon?

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Press
Our friends at Top Gear Philippines has reported that the much-awaited (and much-delayed) Hyundai Accent diesel and hatchback versions will soon roam the streets of Manila.

According to the site, Hyundai Automotive Resources, Inc. (HARI), the official distributor of Hyundai automobiles in the Philippines already has one CRDi-powered Accent at their office brought in for pre-launch testing. Also, HARI has already received the green light to sell the Accent diesel and hatchback variants from their Korean head office.

So, what's stopping them? Apparently, supply. When there's adequate stocks of the Accent Diesel, HARI will begin shipping these fuel-sippers into the country. Oh, we can't wait!

UPDATED: Toyota, BMW Talk About Swapping Engine Tech

UPDATE: The Toyota-BMW team-up has just been confirmed as the two companies have signed a mid- to long-term agreement to develop next-generation lithium-ion batteries with the option to expand the partnership into additional areas as well. In addition, BMW has announced that it will supply Toyota with 1.6- and 2.0-liter diesel engines beginning 2014. These engines, however, will be used for Toyota products solely for the European market.

The Japan Times has reported that Toyota and BMW are reportedly beginning discussions on swapping their green technologies. In this agreement, it's believed that Toyota would open up its gasoline-electric hybrid technology to BMW, while the German automaker will provide diesel engines for Toyotas.

The BMW/Toyota team-up is all to save money on "core technologies". For BMW, this would mean a better stronghold in the US market where gasoline-electric hybrids are strong, while Toyota's interest would be to improve its diesel position in Europe.

There is still no deal in place, but one can only imagine seeing a Lexus powered by a diesel BMW engine or a BMW with a Toyota/Lexus hybrid engine.