Tuesday, July 2, 2002
The Cefiro Brougham VIP, since its 2000 launch, has carved out its own market niche, that of a limousine-like conveyance with features that could only be found in European sedans costing two or three times its price. Thanks to the electronic gadgetry, bag loads of space and of course, that legendary, silky-smooth 2.0-liter twin-cam 24-valve V6 VQ engine, the black-and-gray sedan found a steady market. With the 2002 Brougham, Nissan Motors Philippines is hoping that lightning could strike again.
It was around two years ago when we last stepped into an Opel. As competent as the Astra was, back then we concluded that the Honda Civic and the Ford Lynx—our top two for the 1.6-liter segment had nothing to fear from this diminutive German car. However, much like enjoying a good French wine, a single two-hour sitting may not do enough justice to this car. So this time, we’re taking a four-day affair in the hopes of confirming our original findings—or else swallow our pride and admit that we made some booboos before.
Wednesday, March 13, 2002
Honda Civics stuffed with DOHC VTEC engines have earned a reputation for being the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of the compact car world. Behaving not much differently from its more docile stablemates, the Civic undergoes a transformation once you spin the engine past 6000 rpm. The second VTEC cam profile engages, the engine note turns into a Formula-One soundtrack, and you have about 2000 more rpm to go before reaching for the next gear. Suddenly the unassuming little Honda can give a BMW 325i a run for its money, at least on this side of 100 km/h.
Ever since the introduction of the Honda Civic back in the early 1990s, it became an overnight success. The ‘bug-eyed’ generation seemed to have no end as it seemed that everyone owned a Civic, whether it was an LXi, VTi or SiR. Funny thing is that when Toyota released its Corolla back in 1998 it had all the safety equipment and some of the luxuries like better plastics and an upgraded stereo system. Nonetheless, the Civic still ran away with the sales lead.
Tuesday, March 12, 2002
Critics said that it was the rear end that did it in; some claimed it was borrowed underpinnings; some even proclaimed that it was due to having only one displacement available. Whatever the reason, the Ford Lynx, after making a big splash in September 1999, soon became close to extinct in the 1.6-liter segment. Despite combining the sporty attributes of the Honda Civic and a bit of luxury and class that became the trademark of the Nissan Exalta, it didn’t quite threaten the leaders in its class.
Saturday, February 16, 2002
When we hear the word Porsche, three adjectives immediately spring to mind: air-cooled, rear-engined, and flat-six. With the advent of the latest Porsche products, each of these trademark characteristics has come under assault. Noise and emissions regulations have led to water-cooled engines, the Boxster has its engine in the middle of the chassis, and the upcoming Cayenne will be powered by a V8 engine. Hey, the Cayenne is even an SUV, for crying out loud! To those who might wonder what a Porsche truly is, to what the brand really stands for, they should go back in time, just a few years to the last of the “true” Porsches, the previous 911, codenamed 993.
Monday, January 21, 2002
The wind buffeted even more as the tire noise filled the cabin. I knew for a fact that this vehicle was being driven at its very limit. The odometer indicated a mere 3,525 kilometers—pretty young to undergo such a harsh treatment. The stiff ride sent every single road imperfection straight to my spine and into my brain, registering with great tenacity like hot needles on cold, bare skin. My pulse quickened as I gripped the gear lever trying to find another gear—I wanted to go faster—I needed another upshift. To my surprise—that was it. Only five gears?