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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Review: 2014 Honda Civic 2.0 EL MUGEN

Photos by Ulysses Ang
Editor’s Note: Click here for our review of the 2012 Honda Civic EL.

The Honda Civic is in a very peculiar situation. Next to its other stable mates: City, Jazz, and Accord, it’s quite pedestrian in every sense of the word. Designed during the 2008 economic downturn, Honda banked that buyers would opt for a simple compact sedan with solid but unremarkable virtues: spacious, frugal, and reliable. Instead, all of its competitors moved in a completely different direction, offering cars with features a class or two higher. The initial supply problems (Thai floods) didn’t help things either. And though the Civic is still selling pretty well, it’s not anymore as lauded as its predecessor (at least for critics). Knowing very well that the compact segment is shrinking and the battle getting all the more competitive, Honda rushed in to refresh the Civic this year. The question is: is it enough?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Maserati Celebrates Centennial Gathering

The unique Maserati Centennial International Gathering marked the culmination of the company’s official Centenary celebrations last week.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Philippine Car Price Guide: September 2014

We know you’ve been eagerly awaiting the September 2014 edition of the Philippine Car Price Guide. Since there were a lot of cars that made their debuts at the recently concluded Philippine International Motor Show (PIMS) last week, we decided to delay this update until we could get information on the new and upcoming models that were shown then. And now that we have the info that we need, here’s the September edition of the 2014:
  • BMW X3
  • BMW X4
  • BYD F0
  • Chevrolet Captiva
  • Chevrolet Trailblazer LTX
  • Ford EcoSport (update)
  • Ford Focus (update)
  • Ford Ranger Trekker
  • Honda Brio
  • Honda Brio Amaze
  • Isuzu D-Max X-Series
  • Isuzu mu-X
  • Lexus NX 300h
  • Mazda3 Speed
  • Mazda6 (update)
  • Mercedes-Benz C-Class
  • Mitsubishi ASX
  • Nissan Urvan (update)
  • Nissan X-Trail
  • Peugeot 508 (update)
  • Peugeot 3008 (update)
  • Peugeot 5008 (update)
  • Subaru WRX
  • Subaru WRX STI
  • Toyota 86 (update)
  • Toyota Fortuner
  • Toyota Hilux
  • Volkswagen Jetta

Petron Value Card Holders Now 2-Million Strong

Petron Value Card, dubbed as the ultimate motorist loyalty card, now has over 2-million cardholders nationwide. The lucky 2-millionth member, Charlie Toh of Davao City, was recognized in simple ceremonies at the Petron Bajada station last August 15, during Davao’s Kadayawan Festival.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Review: 2014 Volkswagen Beetle 1.4 TSI Comfortline

Ask a kid to draw a car and chances are he’ll trace a curvy line, using three semi-circles interconnected together. Without meaning to, he would have subconsciously penned the all-too-familiar silhouette of the Volkswagen Beetle. In the Philippine context, there’s no car out there that’s more memorable as the Beetle. Loving called ‘The Bug’, the Beetle was the quintessential symbol of mobility. In the 1960’s, the Beetle stood for freedom of movement for the everyday man. As a result, everyone had one or at least knew someone who did. Although the decades that followed saw the rise of the Japanese economy car, ask anyone old enough about the Beetle, and they’ll regard it only with fond memories.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Ferrari Posts Record First Half 2014 Sales

The Ferrari S.p.A. Board of Directors met under the chairmanship of Luca di Montezemolo (before stepping down) to examine the financial results for the first half of 2014.

The figures show growth in all indicators despite the planned reduction in car deliveries.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Title Race for Philippine GT Championship Heats Up in Clark on September 27

Now halfway through the 2014 season, the Yokohama Philippine GT Championship returns to the Clark International Speedway this September 27 and 28 for Round 4.

Friday, September 19, 2014

PIMS 2014: Toyota Updates Fortuner, Hilux; Shows Unique Fun Vii Concept

The largest automaker in the Philippines showed off its latest motor show brand identity display, Wave Design at the Philippine International Motor Show. Opening the waku-doki themed display was concert queen Sarah Geronimo. After her mini concert, it was down to business where Mr. Michinobu Sugata reiterated Toyota’s commitment to bring motorsports to the people by bringing the third round of the Toyota Vios Cup to Manila. The race, which will be held on October 18 to 19 will be at a specially designed circuit in McKinley, Taguig.

PIMS 2014: BMW Shows Off First-Ever X4 and Refreshed X3

Asian Carmakers Corporation, the official importer and distributor of BMW in the Philippines, made waves at the Philippine International Motor Show (PIMS) by showing the complete line-up of its X Series line. The BMW X Series Pavilion provided guests with a chance to experience endless explorations with the complete range of BMW X Series composed of the X1, X3, X4, X5, and X6.

PIMS 2014: Volkswagen Previews Golf GTI (w/ Complete Specs)

Volkswagen showed off its sporty side by unveiling two new additions to its line-up. The first is the Jetta Sport Edition, a new variant of Volkswagen’s globally best-selling compact sedan that now offers a more stylish exterior. The second is the Philippine sneak peek of the much-anticipated all-new Golf GTI Mark 7, a car that Volkswagen Philippines will launch in 2015.

PIMS 2014: French High Fashion at Peugeot

Peugeot, through its official Philippine distributor Eurobrands Distributor, Inc. (EDI), showed off a bit of French high fashion at its pavilion in the Philippine International Motor Show. With a full model line-up display: 3008 crossover, 5008 MPV, 508 executive sedan, Expert Tepee family van, and RCZ sports car, Peugeot held a mini fashion show to welcome special guests on the opening day.

PIMS 2014: Mazda Launches New 3 Speed Model and Equips Bose on Most of Line-Up

Known for its “zoom-zoom” driving fun, Mazda Philippines is adding yet another reason for buyers to consider getting a Mazda: Bose sound system. At The Philippine International Motor Show (PIMS), Berjaya Auto Philippines has announced that more local Mazda units will feature the Bose sound system as standard equipment. During the same event, the company also unveiled its new range-topping variant for the Mazda3: the Mazda3 Speed.

PIMS 2014: Mitsubishi Shows Off Its Heritage and Future

Mitsubishi Motors Philippines (MMPC) is using the Philippine International Motor Show to showcase a robust line-up of vehicles including concept cars that have debuted in other international motor show such as the Geneva Motor Show and Tokyo Motor Show. MMPC flew in these concepts along with the Pajero Dakar Rally car to showcase the brand’s heritage as well as future product direction. Aside from these concept cars, MMPC’s pavilion also has a sneak preview of the all-new Outlander as well as the recently soft-launched ASX crossover.

PIMS 2014: Honda Reveals Brio and Brio Amaze Pricing (and Its Racing Heritage)

In a page seemingly lifted from their 43rd Tokyo Motor Show 2013 exhibit, Honda Cars Philippines decided to show off the brand’s racing heritage by bringing over not one but two motorsports inspired exhibits: the NSX Concept and the Japan Super Formula open-wheeled race car. Of course, they decided to use the Philippine International Motor Show to finally unveil their all-new Brio and Brio Amaze B-segment car.

PIMS 2014: Nissan Launches All-New X-Trail (w/ Complete Brochure)

Nissan Philippines is aiming to increase excitement in its local line-up as the unified company launches the all-new X-Trail at the Philippine International Motor Show (PIMS). Perhaps the model with the strongest consumer recall locally, the third-generation X-Trail is Nissan’s global compact crossover offering that is slated to be sold in over 190 countries worldwide. The Philippines is one of the first countries in the ASEAN market to receive the X-Trail which is built at Nissan’s Kyushu, Japan plant.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

PIMS 2014 Events Schedule and Highlights

Ask and you shall receive. This is the CAMPI Philippine International Motor Show (PIMS) official schedule of events and activities from Thursday, September 18 to Sunday, September 21. See you at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. Gates open at 10 AM and don’t close until 9 PM.

Challenge Accepted: Honda takes the All-New City on a Fuel Economy Run

Photos by Ulysses and Honda Press (Jam Ramos)
For our full review of the Honda City 1.5 VX Aero Sport Modulo, click here.

Honda has always prided itself with producing environmentally-friendly cars. From creating CVCC in the 1970s to bringing VTEC in the 1980s to developing gasoline-electric hybrids in the 1990s, Honda has successfully broken the barrier between what’s possible and impossible. The Japanese company’s relentless pursuit of engineering excellence as well as its unconventional approach has put them in high regard when it comes to drivetrain design. Locally, their approach is no different. Apart from introducing variable valve timing to its products, Honda is the first car company in the country to be Euro-4 compliant across its entire line, a feat it has done as early as 2004.

Ford Philippine August Sales Soar 138 Percent

Ford Philippines today announced an all-time record monthly performance with overall retail sales in August soaring 138 percent year-over-year to 1,967 units.

The record month was led by the Ranger’s all-time best monthly performance in the Philippines, continuation of the all-new Ecosport’s early success and continuing demand for the Fiesta and Everest nameplates.

Car of the Year 2014-2015 Kicks Off Testing

The Car Awards Group Inc. (CAGI), the organization of motoring journalists behind the Philippine Car of the Year awards, recently launched their 2014-2015 Car of the Year-Philippines (COTY-P) and Truck of the Year-Philippines (TOTY-P) testing season.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Subaru Palm Challenge 2014 Crowns Cebu Winner, Last Stop is Manila

Motor Image Pilipinas (MIP), the authorized distributor of Subaru in the Philippines has identified the second member of the Philippine Team through the 2014 Subaru Palm Challenge Philippine Face-Off Cebu Leg.  Now going on its sixth year in the Philippines, its second year as a national search, the contest aims to find 10 mentally and physically strong challengers, from across the country, to represent the Philippines at the MediaCorp Subaru Challenge in Singapore this November 2014. There, they will go head-to-head with challengers from around Asia such as Singapore, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

Hyundai Posts 10 Percent Growth in August

Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI), the official distributor of Hyundai vehicles in the Philippines, quells the ghost month with August sales up by 10% to a total of 2,073 units compared to its year-ago level. With positive sales performance in August, Hyundai’s year-to-date sales tally reached 15,676 units, 7% higher than the recorded 14,713 units for the first eight months of 2013.

See and Experience Toyota at the 5th Philippine International Motor Show This Weekend

This September, see and experience Progress In Motion as the number one automotive company in the country, Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP,) joins the 5th Philippine International Motorshow (PIMS.) Organized by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI), the 350 square meter Toyota booth will feature the Vios One Make Race Model, the best-selling Vios, the mini hatchback Wigo, the well-loved Innova and the new Fortuner and Hilux. Moreover, Toyota will also showcase a concept car called the “Fun Vii” representing the brand’s commitment to its future in mobility. The 5th PIMS will be held from September 18 – 21, 2014 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

Review: 2014 Subaru WRX CVT

Photos by Ulysses Ang
After driving countless cars throughout the year, there is only a handful you can seriously consider owning; one such car is the Subaru WRX. In Ice Silver Metallic. With the Lineartronic CVT. After tasting what it’s capable of on the track early this year, it’s time to what it can do on public roads. And you know what? It can rekindle your love affair with the open road. It’s a car you beg to drive and then drive some more. It’s the car you want to bring through the “scenic route”, meetings and appointments be damned. Plus, it comes in a package that makes it logical to own. The only thing left is to resist the temptation to sign that check.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Class Higher: All-New Mercedes-Benz C-Class Now in the Philippines (w/ Complete Brochure, Video)

Mercedes-Benz’s best-selling model globally, the C-Class, has received its most dynamic and radical change yet as it aims to become the benchmark in the premium mid-sized sedan category. Indeed, the German automaker is promising that the all-new C-Class (W205) is now “one class higher” in performance, agility, safety, and comfort. In a jam-packed launch last week, Mercedes-Benz Philippines through its exclusive distributor, Auto Nation Group, Inc. launched the C 200 AMG. This will soon be joined by other engine variants and design lines in the near future including the Avantgarde and Exclusive line.

Chevrolet Philippines Revises Captiva for 2014. Now with 400 Nm of Torque!

Chevrolet Philippines is once again readying an assault in the compact crossover market by revamping and re-introducing the Captiva for 2014. Headlined by revisions to its drivetrain as well as new features, Chevrolet is aiming to enlarge its share in this growing segment.

Petron Lakbay Alalay: Beyond Roadside Assistance

The country’s longest running motorist assistance program, Petron Lakbay Alalay, has evolved from being just a seasonal activity into a series of year-round ongoing programs. Still manned by volunteers, Petron Lakbay Alalay is now activated year-round, each time there is a long holiday weekend like the one held last August at the Petron station on SLEX.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Isuzu Philippines Corporation Launches All-New mu-X (w/ Complete Specs)

UPDATE 3: Here is our First Drive (11/25).

UPDATE 2: We have also included the complete specs below (9/14).

UPDATE: We have included the official television commercial below (9/10).

After months of anticipation, Isuzu Philippines Corporation has finally revealed its new flagship SUV: the mu-X. Replacing the Alterra, the mu-X comes in three variants all packed with new technological and design features combined with Isuzu’s penchant for delivering efficient performance.

Mercedes-AMG Debuts SLS Successor: Meet the Mercedes-AMG GT

Although Apple certainly took the limelight with the launch of the all-new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Mercedes-Benz was launching their own game-changing vehicle on the other side of the world: the Mercedes-AMG GT—the company’s follow-up to the wildly successful and critically acclaimed SLS AMG. The Mercedes-AMG GT marks only the second sports car developed entirely in-house by Mercedes-AMG. Thus, this car features the hallmarks of dynamic performance. However, the company also promises everyday practicality and efficiency that goes with that track capable performance.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Review: 2014 Honda Jazz 1.5 VX+ MUGEN

Photos by Ulysses Ang
There are hatchbacks and there is the Honda Jazz. From Generation One, the Jazz has always been known for combining a sharply styled body, stellar frugality, and mind-blowing interior packaging. Most importantly, it has made small hatchbacks cool again. Since then, a handful of competitors have entered, each outshining the Jazz in one aspect or another be it in terms of price, handling, interior technology or frugality. Nonetheless, the Jazz is still regarded as the most well-rounded hatchback of the bunch. And coming from that, here is the all-new, 2014 Jazz—a car that’s far better than its predecessor and one that simply towers ahead of the entire small hatchback segment.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Ford Adds Limited Edition Trekker to Ranger Line-Up

Ford Philippines today announced the availability of the limited edition 2.2L Ford Ranger Trekker model, an XLT variant in manual transmission fitted with additional accessories and an exclusive Trekker decal that complement the sporty look and confident stance of the Ranger.

Subaru Crowns 2014 Palm Challenge Davao Leg Winner

Motor Image Pilipinas (MIP), the authorized distributor of Subaru in the Philippines, officially began its nationwide contest of the 2014 Subaru Palm Challenge Philippine Face-off by holding the first leg at SM Lanang in Davao City. Now going on its sixth year in the Philippines, its second year as a national search, the contest aims to find 10 mentally and physically strong challengers, from across the country, to represent the Philippines at the MediaCorp Subaru Challenge in Singapore this November 2014. There, they will go head to head with challengers from around Asia such as Singapore, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Roadster is Back: Mazda Reveals All-New MX-5

Just in time for its 25th anniversary, Mazda has finally unveiled the much-awaited, fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 at simultaneous events all over the world. Although we would have wanted to see Duran Duran belt out some vintage pop, we weren’t lucky enough to be at any of those launch events. Still, we’ve managed to gather the key message of the MX-5’s reveal: the roadster is back.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

This is It: All-New Volvo XC90

Months of speculation ended today after Volvo Cars unveiled its all-new Volvo XC90, delivering on its promise to introduce a visually striking, premium quality seven-seat SUV with world leading safety features, new powertrain technologies, an unrivaled combination of power and fuel efficiency and a superlative interior finish.

JDM Subaru WRX STI Packs the Same JDM Engine

Alongside the launch of the WRX S4, Subaru has also made available its high-performance flagship sedan: the WRX STI. It carries one big difference from the global market model: the engine. For years, the global market WRX STI (including ours) has been using the turbocharged 2.5-liter EJ257, while the JDM model has been using the 2.0-liter EJ20.

Subaru Launches WRX S4 in Japan

Subaru has pulled the wraps off the WRX S4—the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) version of the WRX. The “S4” stands for four key attributes of the vehicle: “Sports Performance”, “Safety Performance”, “Smart Driving”, and “Sophisticated Feel”.

Ford Philippines August Sales Soar 138 Percent

Ford Philippines today announced an all-time record monthly performance with overall retail sales in August soaring 138 percent year-over-year to 1,967 units.

The record month was led by the Ranger’s all-time best monthly performance in the Philippines, continuation of the all-new Ecosport’s early success and continuing demand for the Fiesta and Everest nameplates.

Driving Her Way to Success: How PSBank's Auto Loan Helped Grow a Business

Putting up a business does not always require formal training in sales, management or marketing. Take the case of Mrs. Tess Amante, a licensed veterinarian who decided to take an entrepreneurial path founded on practical skills, intuition, perseverance and passion.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

2014 Lateral Drift Held at the Historic Quirino Grandstand

Last August 23, 2014, Saturday, Twenty five Filipino drifters from the amateur and pro division burnt rubber and battled it out it at the historical Quirino grandstand parade grounds, a place where Filipino Presidents were inaugurated, and now paved way for another inauguration of third leg of the Hyundai Lateral Drift Champions.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

CAMPI Announces 5th Philippine International Motor Show Highlights

In celebration of the Philippine automotive industry’s exponential growth, the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI), the country’s largest auto industry organization, gathers motoring industry players for the 5th Philippine International Motor Show (PIMS) happening on September 18-21 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

Kia Concludes PBA Team-Naming Contest; Rewards Lucky Winners with Trip to US

It’s all systems go as Kia Sorento gears up for its inaugural run in the Philippine Basketball Association’s (PBA) 40th season. The first big step for the team was settled as Cong. Manny Pacquiao was hailed team coach and soon after, the influx of players via the PBA Dispersal Draft and 2014 Rookie Draft.

Go Big Time with the Chevrolet Colorado

Over the last couple of years, the Philippines has experienced the most unpredictable weather patterns and climate changes that led to flash floods, landslides, and other serious calamities; hence, the local market has turned their heads to high stance vehicles like pickup trucks to ride out the country’s ever so changing conditions. With the peak of the rainy season now at hand, Chevrolet Philippines- The Covenant Car Company Inc. (TCCCI) launched their Go Big Go Colorado campaign to address the market’s demand to own a power-packed, reliable, and affordable pickup truck, with its best-in-class 800mm or 2.6ft water wading capability, that can see them through the harshest weather conditions and roughest terrains- the Chevrolet Colorado.

Barbados to Host 2014 Race of Champions

The 2014 Race Of Champions will be held at the Bushy Park Circuit in Barbados on December 13-14 after the Caribbean venue saw off a wide range of contenders from all round the world to host the prestigious motor sport event.

Review: 2014 Subaru WRX M/T

Photos by Ulysses Ang
Say what you want, but there’s a level of purity to a manual transmission that cannot be matched by any sort of automated gearbox. There’s something about having complete control of when to up or downshift that cannot be replicated by a two-pedal set-up. And though everyone else sees the manual gearbox heading the way of the dinosaurs, Subaru sees things differently. Backpedaling on their decision to offer the all-new WRX solely with a Lineartronic CVT, the 6-speed manual finally arrives to the Philippines six months later.

Monday, September 1, 2014

There and Back Again: What Makes the All-new Honda Jazz Handle So Well

Photos by Ulysses Ang and Honda Press (Jam Ramos)
UPDATE: Here is our in-depth review of the Honda Jazz 1.5 VX+ MUGEN. (9/9/2014)

For those who say that there aren’t any good driving roads in the Philippines, I say you should go out more often. And though some so-called enthusiasts are more than happy pummeling the tires off their cars in a straight line (think NLEX, SLEX, or anything else ending in ‘EX’), real men like it bent. And twisty. And hardcore. Located a mere 15 kilometers or so east of the Ortigas Central Business District is the start of the infamous “Tanayburgring”—a clockwise loop of twisty, mountainous road stretching from Tanay, Rizal looping down to Quezon, Laguna, and Cavite before ending back up in Makati City. It’s a long, arduous route with no fancy pants coffee shop stopovers (at least for the first part) and one that really separates the men from the boys. So like a boy entering into puberty, I took to the Tanayburgring (well, at least a part of it) for the very first time and my weapon of choice: the all-new Honda Jazz.

Volkswagen Philippines Turns Over Beetle to 8-Year Old Raffle Winner

Automobile Central Enterprise, Inc. (ACEI), the official importer and distributor of Volkswagen cars in the Philippines, formally turned over the new 21st Century Beetle to eight-year-old Cherub Nikolai Bedaño.