Friday, April 29, 2016

Press Release: Mazda Philippines unveils Mazda 6 sedan and CX-5 crossover Skyactiv-Diesel

Berjaya Auto Philippines, the exclusive distributor of Mazda vehicles in the country has just launched all-new variants of the highly acclaimed Mazda 6 executive sedan and the CX-5 compact sport utility vehicle.

Featuring Mazda's latest Skyactiv-D diesel engine technology, the all-new Mazda 6 and CX-5 diesel come equipped with a 2.2-liter two-stage turbocharged motor that produces 173hp and 420Nm of torque. More remarkable is the lowest in the world 14:1 diesel engine compression, the Skyacitv-D is Mazda's answer to the quest for lower emission, high combustion efficiency, more power and torque and superior fuel economy.

"The Mazda Skyactiv-D diesel engine is amongst the most advanced in the world, and with the availability of low-sulfur Euro4 Diesel fuel, we are proud to be able to introduce the engine into not one, but two of the critically acclaimed and award-winning Mazda 6 executive sedan and the CX-5 compact crossover," shared Berjaya Auto Philippines President Steven Tan. "Skyactiv-D is the cleanest and most fuel-efficient diesel engine available in the market and our customers deserve the best that Mazda can deliver."

To put the all-new Mazda 6 and CX-5 diesel to the test, 30 motoring journalists were invited to the Skyactiv-Discovery Press Ride and Drive event for them to experience the Skyactiv-D engine in both vehicles. The 114km drive to the resort town of Mabini near Anilao, Batangas started from the newly opened Mazda Makati showroom. After a brief product overview by Mr. Chiaki Santo of Powertrain Planning Development from Mazda Motor Corporation of Japan, the convoy then  drove along the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) straight to the Southern Tagalog Arterial Roadway (STAR) to Batangas. The highway legs allowed the journalists to experience the smooth power and torque of the Skyactiv-D engines to the hilt. With traffic slowing down as the drive reached Bauan, Batangas, both the Mazda 6 and CX-5 diesels relied on the highly effective i-STOP ignition start and stop system to reach commendable fuel economy figures despite the distance traveled.

The second day drive to Tagaytay from Anilao took the Lemery route on the way up.  The 68km drive was characterized by a smooth ascent up the Tagaytay ridge via mildly winding roads for the journalists to experience the much praised  handling prowess of the two latest diesel-engine variants. After a brief lunch, it was back to Mazda Makati to cap the two-day 246km drive.

The all-new Mazda 6 and CX-5 diesel are both available at the Mazda showrooms located across the country. Priced at P1.985 million for the Mazda6 Skyactiv-D and P1.985 million for the CX-5 Skyactiv-D, Mazda aims to target a larger share of the executive sedan and compact SUV market who not only value practicality and fuel efficiency but also put a premium on a driving experience that is unlike any other.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Press Release: Honda launches much awaited all-new Honda Civic

Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI), Honda's automobile business unit in the Philippines, has unveiled the much anticipated iconic all-new Honda Civic. The 10th-generation Honda Civic charms with its completely redesigned exterior, modern and expansive cockpit interior with a host of new and advanced technologies, and Honda's first locally available VTEC Turbo engine.


From the outside, the all-new Honda Civic has a more aggressive style inspired by the "Revolutionary Silhouette Advanced Neo Sedan" exterior design concept. Its unique sporty design is further accentuated by its low and wide stance, sleek and swept-back bodylines, and sharply defined character lines that give the 10th-generation a coupe-like stance. Its bold front fascia is complemented by Honda's Signature LED Lighting, which includes full LED Headlights, and LED Daytime Running Lights. The athletic design of the all-new Honda Civic is also distinguished by its distinctive C-Shaped LED Tail Lamps that truly highlight its unique brand identity.

The top-of-the-line variant, the Honda Civic RS Turbo gets sportier treatment with an RS Design 17-inch Alloy Wheels, Gloss Black Front Grille, Wing Type Trunk Spoiler, Chrome Door Handles, LED fog lights and RS Emblem.

Under its hood is a DOHC VTEC Turbo Engine that delivers a maximum torque of 22.0kg-m (216Nm) at 1,700--5,500 rpm, and a maximum power output of 173PS (171hp) at 5,500 rpm. HCPI retains a 1.8 liter engine option for the all-new Honda Civic which produces a maximum torque of 17.4 kg-m (171Nm) at 4,300 rpm, and a maximum power output of 141PS (139hp) at 6,500 rpm. The all-new Honda Civic is powered by engines that boast a powerful driving performance with uncompromised fuel efficiency. Both engines are mated to a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) developed under Honda's Earth Dreams Technology. The RS Turbo is also equipped with paddle shifters for a sportier driving performance.

Harmonizing with the aggressive sporty design of the all-new Honda Civic is an interior that defines modern refinement. The all-new Honda Civic boasts a dynamic and wide cockpit design integrated with high class soft-touch materials. The RS Turbo Variant gets leather seats, steering wheel, and shift knob.

For a stronger driving character, the all-new Honda Civic consists of a high deck console that attributes to the wide and spacious front row, which also allows for more leg and knee room. Its instrument cluster was also designed for more versatility and utility. The full color TFT Instrument Cluster of the all-new Honda Civic includes a Multi-Information Display that allows for quick browsing of vehicle speed, and vehicle-related information. This is easily operated through a soft swipe on its Electrostatic Steering Wheel Controls.

For audio and entertainment, the all-new Honda Civic is equipped with a new seven-inch Advanced Display Audio (RS Turbo gets incorporated navigation system) that provides advanced touch controls, entertainment features, and Smartphone connectivity. Climate controls are also featured on the Display Audio screen, which may be adjusted through the Climate Control Button.

To fully extend the key innovations of the all-new Honda Civic, its Smart Key features numerous functionalities. It includes the Remote Engine Start Function that conveniently starts the vehicle engine and turn on its Auto Climate Control System from the outside, which allows the cabin to cool even before entering the vehicle. The Smart Key Entry System also consists of a Walk-away Auto Lock Feature, which is an auto lock function that automatically bolts all doors after sensing the Smart Key away from the vehicle by approximately 2.5 meters.

In terms of safety, the all-new Honda Civic delivers a class leading performance. The New Ace Body Design, and low and wide platform of the all-new Honda Civic not only attribute to its premium sporty styling, but also help realize better torsion rigidity and above class crash safety. Its full suite of safety features includes driver and passenger SRS airbags (with side and side curtain airbags for the RS Turbo), Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), Hill Start Assist (HSA), Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), Emergency Stop Signal (ESS), Multi-view Reverse Camera with Dynamic Guidelines, Seat Belt Reminder, ISOFIX and Immobilizer. The all-new Honda Civic also gets an Electric Parking Brake (EPB), which replaces the conventional pedal or handbrake lever with a single button or switch. The Auto Break Hold (ABH) incorporated in the EPB provides more convenience in different driving situations.

The all-new Honda Civic promises to deliver an all new customer driving experience with its striking sporty design, powerful driving performance, advanced set of key technologies and innovations, and premium quality and upscale interior. With the unparalleled combination of all its features, the all-new Honda Civic has already received several global awards. Since its first global debut in North America, the all-new Honda Civic has already earned global recognition from having received a total of 14 awards from leading institutions. Some of which include the "2016 North American Car of the Year," and "2016 Canadian Car of the Year" awards.

The all-new Honda Civic is available in 1.8 E (P1.088 million) and RS Turbo (P1.398 million) variants with the following colors:

Cosmic Blue Metallic (new color)
Midnight Burgundy Pearl (new color)
• Lunar Silver Metallic
• White Orchid Pearl
Rallye Red (RS Turbo only)
Modern Steel Metallic (1.8 E only)

All Honda car dealerships nationwide are now accepting reservations for the all-new Honda Civic. Customer delivery will commence by June 2016. For more information and updates on the all-new Honda Civic, visit or any authorized Honda dealership nationwide.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Try out the 4x4 capabilities of the Isuzu D-Max and Isuzu MU-X at the Isuzu 4x4 Action Playground

Isuzu Philippines is holding the first of its planned five Isuzu 4x4 Action Playground events this weekend at the Exploreum parking lot, which is at the back of the SMX Convention Center and the Exploreum interactive science exhibit, of the SM Mall of Asia Complex.

The Isuzu 4x4 Action Playground is an obstacle course that was designed to show off the off-road capabilities of the Isuzu D-Max pickup and the Isuzu MU-X SUV. However, unlike the usual off-road tracks that are created on dirt lots using backhoes and bulldozers, the Isuzu 4x4 Action Playground utilizes man-made obstacles that are made out of heavy-duty steel, thereby minimizing the time and effort needed to transport and set up what will essentially be a roadshow that the Japanese truck maker will bring around the Philippines this year.

The course starts with the Slipper Roller which shows off the wheel articulation capability of the vehicle by showing how all four wheels are touching the surface despite it (the surface) being of varying height. The next challenge is the Articulation Ramp which pitches the vehicle to one side at what seems like a 45-degree angle, thereby putting the passengers on the right side as if they're lying down on the vehicle's doors. The main draw though is the 20-foot-high Thrill Hill where the vehicle first approaches and then climbs up a 40-degree ramp all the way to the top of the obstacle and then down the other side at a 320-degree angle. Going up the Thrill Hill, the sensation is as if you're lying down on the seat even if it's actually upright while the way down feels like you're practically standing up. I looked at the pro driver who was giving us the tour and it's as if he's literally standing on the brake pedal.

Other than the Action Playground itself, Isuzu Philippines also has on display its lineup of vehicles at the venue which interested customers can check out. Of course, Isuzu Philippines also has something for current Isuzu owners who drop by the venue and that's on-the-spot discounts of up to 30% on Isuzu parts and accessories which can be availed onsite.

The Isuzu 4x4 Action Playground event is until April 24, with the venue open from 10am to 9pm though the Action Playground obstacle course itself is only open until 6pm for safety reasons.

Isuzu Philippines plans to bring the Isuzu 4x4 Action Playground in four more locations around the country so do follow the Facebook pages of Isuzu Philippines and the Isuzu 4x4 Action Playground to know when and where the 20-foot Thrill Hill will appear next.

Photos and video taken with Starmobile Muse

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Nissan finds out some Mitsubishi vehicles have worse than advertised fuel economy figures!

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation is in hot water these days after a couple of its vehicle--and another couple more that it makes for another Japanese carmaker--has been found to have fuel consumption figures that are worse than advertised.

According to Mitsubishi, the testing method for the fuel consumption data it submitted to Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism was different from the one required by Japanese law which resulted in "better fuel consumption rates than the actual rates."

The four vehicle models found to have been affected by the wrong test data are the Mitsubishi eK Wagon and the Mitsubishi eK Space and the Nissan Dayz and Nissan Dayz Roox which have been manufactured by Mitsubishi since June 2013. As of March 2016, Mitsubishi claims it has sold 157,000 units of the eK Wagon and eK Space and supplied Nissan Motors Corporation with 468,000 units of the Nissan Dayz and Nissan Dayz Roox.

Nissan supposedly found out about the discrepancy in the fuel consumption figures as it was developing its next-generation vehicles by examining the fuel consumption figures of its competitors. Nissan then requested Mitsubishi to review its own in-house results and it was during the course of its internal investigation that it learned of its incorrect testing method "which provided more advantageous fuel consumption rates than the actual rates."

The major fallout of this debacle is that, other than stopping the production and sale of the aforementioned vehicle models and the matter of compensation between the two car brands, Mitsubishi's incorrect testing method has been applied to its other Japanese-market models. And considering the seriousness of the matter, Mitsubishi will also look into its products manufactured for overseas markets as well.

"In order to conduct an investigation into these issues objectively and thoroughly, we plan to set up a committee consisting of only external experts." Mitsubishi concluded in its statement. "We will publish the results of our investigation as soon as it is complete."

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Press Release: Honda brings out the New Brio Amaze 1.3 S AT Special Edition

Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI) rolls out the New Honda Brio Amaze 1.3 S AT Special Edition, equipped with new and exclusive features that provide a more dynamic customer experience for Honda's "Everyday Amazing" compact sedan. With its limited availability in the market, customers are already encouraged to reserve at their chosen Honda dealership to be one of the few to own this exclusive product.

The New Brio Amaze 1.3 S AT Special Edition bears new exterior features, such as fog lights and 14-inch alloy wheels, especially designed to embody a stronger styling statement for the New Brio Amaze.

On the inside, the New Brio Amaze 1.3 S AT Special Edition is designed with an Interior Trim Garnish for a classier and a more sophisticated feel that complements its spacious interior. It also comes with an Advanced Audio (USB, Auxiliary Connectivity), and new exclusive features, such as Rear Seat Arm Rest, Driver and Front Passenger Vanity Mirrors, Driver and Passenger Seatback Pockets, and a total of five Cup Holders. To ensure utmost customer safety, the New Brio Amaze 1.3 S AT Special Edition is now incorporated with a Security Alarm.

The development of the Brio Amaze proudly embodies the application of Honda's "man maximum, machine minimum" design concept, as it proudly showcases high levels of Honda DQR--durability, quality, and reliability.

Considering its compact size, measuring at 3,990mm (length) with 2,405mm wheelbase, the New Brio Amaze boasts a powerful yet fuel efficient 1.3-liter i-VTEC engine, which delivers a maximum power output of 100ps (99hp) at 6,000 rpm, thus providing a more comfortable mobility in a wide variety of driving situations.

With all these features in place, the New Brio Amaze 1.3 S AT Special Edition will retail at P719,000. Customer deliveries will start on the third week of April 2016.

The New Brio Amaze 1.3 S AT Special Edition will be available with the following colors: 
  • Crystal Black Pearl (New) 
  • Lunar Silver Metallic (New) 
  • Tafetta White

Find out more about the New Brio Amaze 1.3 S AT Special Edition by visiting any authorized Honda dealership nationwide, or

Thursday, April 14, 2016

You can now place your order for the all-new Ford GT...subject to Ford's approval, of course

A few months ago, we shared's report that the all-new Ford GT will officially be brought into the Philippines by, well, Ford Philippines, with interested customers advised to "check back in February for application details." Unfortunately, February came and went without a single word from Ford about its supercar.

Well, Ford has announced that it is now finally accepting applications for the Ford GT for the Philippine market at

The all-new Ford GT will be a limited production model, with only 250 units to be produced per yer and the initial ordering period being limited to the first two years of production for 500 units total. As such, the Ford GT Conceierge Service will coordinate with approved buyers of the supercar "for a personalized purchase experience."

"The purchase process for the Ford GT is as unique as our all-new supercar," said Ford Performance global marketing manager Henry Ford III. "We understand GT customers are strong ambassadors for Ford Motor Company, and we look forward to providing them a service as distinct as the car itself."

So, how will Ford go about its approval process for the GT? The first step requires answering an online questionnaire for the American carmaker "to know more about you and your past experiences." These include your ownership experience with Ford vehicles, if you work with Ford in some capacity, if you're a motorsport enthusiast, and if you're "an influencer of public opinion."

Understandably, it seems Ford has a preference for owners of the previous Ford GT since it asks for its vehicle identification number and its average driven miles per year, among other things. More important, Ford also ask about an applicant's vehicle collection, not just the "three most significant vehicles" in it but the three most "'historically significant' Ford and/or Lincoln vehicles."

Besides personally working with approved buyers from spec'ing their cars to choosing their preferred Ford dealership in GT-approved markets--too bad for South American, Eastern European, African, Australian, and most ASEAN market buyers--and through years of ownership, the carmaker has also put online a Ford GT configurator that will allow anyone to virtually build their version of the supercar from a varied palette of colors, wheels, and interior schemes and then share their creation on social media. The Ingot Silver/Competition Orange Ford GT in the photos below is one of two examples I created through the configurator.

One intriguing part about the configurator is that it teases two "Special Edition" variants of the Ford GT that are "coming soon."

As for the price though, Ford still would not reveal how much the Ford GT will go for as it invites everyone to visit the Ford site again soon "for pricing information."

So, if you want to be one of the few Filipinos who can afford to buy the all-new Ford GT for their collection, you only have until 11:59pm Eastern Daylight Time on May 12 (May 13 at 11:59am Philippine time)  to place your order.

Good luck! And don't forget to give me a ride once you get it!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Caltex, Robinsons Handyman strengthens partnership with "Release the Power of X" X-Men movie promo

Chevron Philippines, Inc. (CPI), the distributor of the Caltex brand of lubricants in the country, is strengthening its partnership with Robinsons Handyman by increasing the number of participating branches of the hardware store chain nationwide.

"We started our partnership with only nine participating Handyman branches last December, and as of today, Chevron lubricants are now available in 20 branches nationwide," said CPI Area Business Manager for Lubricants, Philippines, and Vietnam Joe Bronfman. "We've seen such strong reception from customers, especially for our premium range of Havoline synthetic gasoline engine and motorcycle oils."

According to Handyman General Manager Stanley Co, he hopes to have Chevron's products "in 10 more Handyman stores nationwide by end of the year."

Helping to mark the strengthened partnership between Chevron Philippines' Caltex brand and Robinsons Handyman is its exclusive "Release the Power of X" X-Men Promo Packs for the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse movie.

With every purchase of a "Release the Power of X" promo pack from participating Robinsons Handyman and Caltex service stations nationwide until June 12 "or while stocks last," a customer gets a free X-Men: Apocalypse t-shirt and a promo coupon for five different raffle draws. For the first four draws, the first prize is an X-Men: Apocalypse Magneto helmet while the consolation prizes are: a pair of  X-Men: Apocalypse movie passes for 20 winners for the first draw; 20 X-Men: Apocalypse t-shirts for the second draw; 20 X-Men: Apocalypse wash bags for the third draw; and 20 X-Men: Apocalypse hoodies for the fourth draw. For the Grand Draw, the prize is a Yamaha 150cc motorcycle.

"The X-Men Promo Packs that Caltex Lubricants and Handyman offer right now give us the perfect occasion to incentivize our customers while also giving them value for their money," Bronfman added. "We’re excited and looking forward to further this partnership not just with Handyman but with the rest of the Robinsons group of companies."

Photos taken with Starmobile Muse

Press Release: Ford Philippines delivers record March and First Quarter performances

Ford Philippines today reported its best-ever March performance as retail sales rose 46% year-over-year to 2,746 units, driven by strong demand for the all-new Ford Everest, Ford EcoSport, Ford Ranger and Ford Explorer.

The March performance capped a record first-quarter for Ford in the Philippines with overall sales increasing 49% from the previous year to 7,876 units. Ford is the third best-selling automotive brand in the Philippines, and one of the fastest growing this year.

"Very healthy demand for our full lineup of Ford vehicles in the Philippines has continued throughout the first three months, particularly for our exciting choice of SUVs and Ranger pickup," said Lance Mosley, managing director, Ford Philippines.

"Our record first-quarter reflects the strong appeal of the Ford brand among Filipinos, and our continuing efforts to provide the best customer and ownership experience," he added.

March sales were led by the all-new Ford Everest which delivered retail sales of 1,151 units. The Everest is Ford's best-selling nameplate this year, with quarterly sales now totaling 3,530 units

The all-new Ford Everest has transformed customer expectations with its blend of capability, exceptional ride quality, dynamic handling and host of advanced technologies that offer outstanding safety, connectivity and convenience.

The Ford EcoSport compact SUV continued to lead its segment in the Philippines delivering March sales of 669 units and contributing to its first quarter total of 1,830 units. Built on Ford's global B-segment platform, the EcoSport offers a great balance between the agility, affordability and fuel efficiency of a compact car with the flexibility, style and ride height of an SUV.

At the recent Manila International Auto Show (MIAS), Ford further expanded its SUV lineup with the introduction of the EcoSport Black Edition and Everest Titanium 2.2L 4x2 with Premium Package.

"We continue to expand our lineup of global Ford vehicles and connect with the many lifestyles and work requirements of our Filipino customers," said Mosley.

The segment-defining Ford Ranger pickup truck delivered March sales of 694 units, helping boost its quarterly total to 1,771 units. Consumers continue to appreciate the unmatched versatility, capability and reliability of the Ranger’s ‘Built Ford Tough’ credentials. 

The premium Ford Explorer SUV contributed sales of 99 units in March, with first quarter sales totaling 312 units.

The sporty Ford Fiesta, featuring the high-performance 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine, delivered sales of 67 units in March with overall first-quarter sales of 217 units.

The new Ford Mustang recorded March sales of 27 units, driving up its first quarter total to 79 units. Equipped with either a V8 5.0-liter or EcoBoost 2.3-liter engine, the Mustang comes with world-class handling, more precise steering control and enhanced ride comfort.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The cars that were launched at the 2016 Manila International Auto Show

The 2016 edition of the Manila International Auto Show was held over the weekend and, as has always been the case for the country's top annual motor show, a handful of all-new or updated vehicle models were launched during the four-day event. Here are the vehicles and their respective prices:

Chevrolet Sail (1.3 L - P688,888; 1.5 LT - P768,888; 1.5 LTZ - P818,888)

Chevrolet Philippines has a new subcompact sedan offering in the Chevrolet Sail. To be available by June 2016 with either a 1.3-liter engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission or a 1.5-liter mill with a four-speed automatic, the Chevrolet Sail was reportely named by J.D. Power as the Best Premium Compact Car in Initial Quality and the Most Appealing Premium Compact Car in China.

Ford EcoSport Black Edition (P998,000)

The 1.5-liter Ford EcoSport Titanium variant is fitted with trims and accessories "all coated with a black finish," like the 16-inch alloy wheels, lower grille surround and upper grille bezel, dual halogen headlamps with signature light, front fog lamps with black bezel, and side turn signal lamps on black-painted exterior mirrors. Completing the look are roof cross bars, a rear spoiler, sports pedals, and illuminated scuff plates. It also features keyless swing gate, push-start button, rear parking sensors, and SYNC 2 among others for added convenience to the driver.

Ford Everest Titanium 2.2-liter 4x2 AT with Premium Package (P1.799 million)

Another variant has been added to Ford's already extensive Everest lineup by fitting the nameplate's Premium Package, which was previously only available to the 3.2-liter 4x4 Titanium variant, to the 2.2-liter 4x2 Titanium. This includes HID projector and auto-leveling headlamps, power panoramic moon roof, LED daytime running lamps, headlamp washer, 230V inverter, power liftgate, 3rd row powerfold seats, adaptive cruise control, heads-up display warning (collision mitigation), lane keeping system, lane departure warning, active park assist, and eight-way power adjustable passenger seat.

Hyundai Elantra (1.6 GL MT - P828,000; 1.6 GL AT - P928,000; 2.0 GLS AT - P1.033 million)

Although it officially went on sale in February 2016, MIAS 2016 marks the official public debut of the all-new Hyundai Elantra compact sedan which, incidentally, I wrote the cover story for Top Gear Philippines' issue of that same month. The design of the all-new Hyundai Elantra is an evolution over its predecessor though the interior is a different story as the cabin has a more driver-centric layout. In addition, despite being classified as a compact car, its interior space is equivalent to that of a midsize sedan.

Hyundai Veloster (P1.548 million)

First unveiled to the public at the 2012 Manila International Auto Show, the Hyundai Veloster has finally--and officially--been launched in the Philippines. What held Hyundai Philippines from introducing the Veloster back then was the dirty Euro II-spec fuel sold locally. With the country effectively switching to Euro IV at the start of 2016, the local distributor can finally bring its Gasoline Direct injection technology into the country led by the 1.6-liter turbocharged GDi engine of the Hyundai Veloster which puts out 201hp and 265Nm of torque.

Peugeot 308 GTi (On indent order, price upon inquiry)

The Peugeot 308 GTi is the hot hatch version of the standard 308 with its 1.6-liter mill putting out 270hp. To help distinguish it from its plebeian brethren, the 308 GTi has a checkerboard front grille, GTi logos on the front wings and rear hatch, and aerodynamic reflectors. According to Peugeot Philippines marketing and communications director Ricardo Magsajo, the 308 GTi on display at the show is the first and only one of its kind in the ASEAN region and that it will serve as the company's halo car.

SsangYong Tivoli (1.6 SX MT - P785,000; 1.6 SX AT - P845,000; 1.6EXG - P945,000; 1.6 Sport - P1.04 million; 1.6 Sport R - P1.08 million)

SsangYong Korando (2.0 SXD MT - P1.09 million; 2.0 EXG AT - P1.09 million; 2.0 EXD - P1.25 million; 2.0 ELX AWD - P1.39 million)

SsangYong Rodius (2.0 SX MT 11-seater - P1.29 million; 2.0 EX AT 9-seater - P1.49 million; 2.0 ELX AWD 7-seater - P1.59 million)

SsangYong's reentry into the Philippine car market officially took place a day after the local distributorship agreement was signed between the Korean carmaker and Berjaya Auto Philippines through SsangYong Berjaya Motor Philippines.  

Subaru Forester (2.0i-L - P1.448 million; 2.0i-Premium - P1.648 million; 2.0XT - P1.918 million)

Subaru has updated its Subaru Forester compact crossover vehicle by fitting it with a new grille, taillights, and alloy wheels outside while its interior receives a refreshed cabin design starting with the new head unit and LCD cluster display. Other updates to the new Subaru Forester are its steering-responsive headlights, enhanced suspnesion "for maximum comfort and handling performance," and its X-Mode feature which synchronizes the throttle, continuously variable transmission, and the carmaker's Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system "to help anyone safely drive through any difficult terrain."

Photos taken with Fujifilm FinePix XP80 except for the Ford Everest

So long, Bugatti. The Hennessey Venom GT Spyder is now the world's fastest roadster

With a top speed of 408.84kph, the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse is the world's fastest roadster--at least until March 25 when the Hennessey Venom GT Spyder broke the record by doing 427.44kph at the Naval Air Station Lemoore in California with Ford Performance Racing School director Brian Smith behind the wheel.

The record-breaking run comes two years after the hardtop Hennessey Venom GT--also driven by Smith--obliterated the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport's record as the fastest production car in the world by doing 435.3kph--4.23kph faster than the Veyron's record-setting sprint of 431.07kph.

What makes the run of the Venom GT Spyder even more special is that it was achieved minus the removable roof AND a six-speed manual transmission as opposed to the Veyron's seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

"2016 marks the 25th anniversary of Hennessey Performance," said company founder John Hennessey. "I thought that this would be a special way to celebrate 25 years of making fast cars faster. I've wanted to test the top speed of our Venom GT Spyder, without the roof, ever since our coupe ran 270.4mph (435.3kph) on the Space Shuttle landing runway at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in 2014. This was a great way to validate the technical excellence of our car which includes high-speed stability with an open roof."

The Venom GT Spyder utilizes the same twin-turbo 7-liter V8 engine that produces 1,451hp @ 7,200rpm and 1,745Nm @ 4,200rpm as the hardtop version. To commemorate the record-setting event and the company's 25th anniversary, Hennessey Performance will offer a limited-edition run of three "World Record Edition" Venom GT Spyders at a cost of $1.3 million each "plus tax."

Now, the bone of contention here on which car is actually the fastest depends on the record-certifying organization you'll believe.

Guinness World Records certified the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport's record since the organization was there with the German Technical Inspection Agency (TÜV), when the car established its 431.07kph top speed at the Ehra-Lessien test track in Germany in July 2010. Bugatti did a similar run at the same track for the Grand Sport Vitesse in 2013, only this time it was just the TÜV that was present and certified the record.

For the Venom GT Spyder though, Hennessey Performance tapped independent speed testing firm Racelogic, the manufacturer of the VBOX GPS data logging equipment and the same company that clocked the Venom GT's 435.3kph run in February 2014. Certifying the Venom GT Spyder's run were Racelogic technical director Jim Lau and Naval Air Station Lemoore Air Operations Officer Commander Darren Fouts.

Check out the Hennessey Performance Venom GT Spyder's 427.44kph run in the video below.

Photo from Hennessey Performance's Facebook page

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Cars and Trucks of the 2016 Manila International Auto Show

Now on its 12th year, the 2016 Manila International Auto Show (MIAS) has over hundreds of cars and trucks occupying more than 30,000sqm of floor space of the World Trade Center, the adjacent World Trade Center Tent, and the Philippine Trade Training Center next door.

On display are brand-new cars from some of the Philippines' major car brands, with some launching all-new or upgraded models for the local market like Ford (Ford EcoSport Black Edition variant), Hyundai (all-new Hyundai Elantra, Hyundai Veloster as well as Hyundai commercial vehicles), Subaru (updated Subaru Forester), Peugeot (Peugeot 308 GTI), Chevrolet (Chevrolet Sail), and Mitsubishi (updated Mitsubishi Mirage). Returning Korean carmaker SsangYong also launched its local models (SsangYong Tivoli, SsagYong Korando, and SsangYong Rodius) a day after the signing of the distributorship agreement between Berjaya Auto Philippines, which  is the official distributor of the car brand locally, and SsangYong.

More than just the cars though, visitors to #MIAS2016 will also see a lot of custom cars displayed side-by-side with meticulously restored classic cars, which is very timely after the Land Transportation Office issued--only to later rescind--an administrative order banning cars that are 40 years old or older.

So, if you've yet to go to the 2016 Manila International Auto Show, we suggest that you head there now. Enjoy!

Photos taken with Fujifilm FinePix XP80

The Girls of the 2016 Manila International Auto Show

A car show isn't a car show without girls and with the 2016 Manila International Auto Show closing its doors at the end of the day today, let's look back at the lovely female specimens that stood beside the beautiful cars and trucks we equally love to ogle at.

One thing I noticed at the #MIAS2016 is that there are a lot of new faces. Sure, the popular ones are still there like Geng Maderazo, who incidentally was named as the 2016 Manila International Auto Show Babe yesterday, Zai Ebido, and Arra Castro, but the new models outnumbered the familiar girls we usually see at car shows.

Another thing worth noting is that, instead of going the usual sexy route with figure-hugging dresses and exposed cleavages, Chevrolet did things differently by clothing its girls with a conservative blazer and a skirt combo. 

So if you've yet to drop by the country's biggest annual car show, make sure you drop by today... unless you'd rather watch the ho-hum Pacquiao vs Bradley fight.

Photos taken with Fujifilm FinePix XP80

Monday, April 4, 2016

Who knew helmet manufacturer Bell has a limited-edition line of Star Wars-inspired head gear?

For the Star Wars fan who happens to love either skateboarding or trail-riding on his or her mountain bike, Bell has teamed up with Lucasfilms to come up with a line of helmets that profess your love for the popular movie franchise.

First was the Segment and Segment Jr. models of rigid bowl-style helmets with designs that feature: everyone's favorite bounty hunter, Boba Fett; the Imperial logo for Darth Vader; and that piece of junk we all know as the Millennium Falcon.

More recently though, Bell has released two Star Wars-inspired designs for its new Super 2R line of trail-riding helmets. The awesome thing about them are that their color scheme and design mimic the helmet design of the two Star Wars characters these represent: Boba Fett and the Stormtrooper.

The Boba Fett Bell Super 2R has a distressed paint scheme to replicate the battle-damaged design of the one used by the  popular character. It also has Boba's Mandalorian insignia on the removable chin bar. However, it's the Stormtrooper Bell Super 2R's design that really kicks ass since it mimics the design elements of the original, albeit painted only, like the faux vents on the chin bar and the back of the helmet. There's even a "TK-421" mark on the adjustable visor!

It's also worth noting that both the Boba Fett and Stormtrooper Super 2R helmets are designed with the
Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS), a patented technology that reduces the rotational forces on the brain that's caused by angled impacts on the head.

As we said, the Stormtrooper Super 2R helmet is so gorgeous that it's no surprise Bell lists it as "Out of Stock" on its online store while the Boba Fett Super 2R will only be available on the online store by April 8. Both helmets though are supposedly available "in stores now" as well as on with prices ranging from $219.95 to $239.95.