|Photos by Ulysses Ang|
CarGuide.PH deals with anything and everything automotive with the Philippines. So, things wouldn’t be complete without our very own Top 5 Picks of the year. We’ve reviewed and featured quite a number of new cars on CarGuide.PH so picking just five outstanding vehicles launched in 2012 is hard business. At the same time, take note that these cars are mainstream vehicles, so don’t expect anything north of PHP 6-million to appear in this list.
Anyway, the list starts after the break and find out our Top 5 Picks of 2012 in preferential order.
#5: Mazda CX-5
Why we chose it: Who says you can’t combine driving fun, frugality, and practicality all into one package? The Mazda CX-5 may sport a crossover body style, but it handles like a sports sedan with sharp handling and quick reflexes. The magic formula is called SKYACTIV which combines a slew of technologies all in the name of efficiency without sacrificing the ‘zoom-zoom’ ethos the brand’s known for. Plus, the CX-5 is actually available with a six-speed manual which incidentally is one of the best equipped in a mainstream vehicle. All this and you’ve got ample space for five and enough luggage space for that trip to S&R.
#4: Subaru XV
Why we chose it: Normally, raising the suspension on a compact car is a recipe for disaster, but Subaru did it right when it transformed the fourth-generation Impreza into the XV. Now, it’s the Swiss Army Knife of cars with 220 mm of ground clearance (5 mm more than the Forester XS), good off-road capability, and good on-road driving dynamics. Plus, it’s mighty comfortable, reasonably loaded as well (standard moon roof), and very safe (standard 6 airbags, traction control, and of course, all-wheel drive). The XV is also one of the new breed of Subaru which offers excellent fuel economy to go with that stellar all-weather capability.
Review here and here.
#3: Ford Focus
Why we chose it: Ford brings their A-Game with the all-new Focus. Packed with class-leading technology, the Focus redefines “bang for the buck” with features such as Active Park Assist, BLIS, and other electronic aids commonly seen in luxury cars. Plus, crammed into the stylish new body is a family of new engines headlined by the segment’s first-ever direct-injection gasoline engine. And the Focus isn’t just about good looks and exciting new features, it manages to retain its sharp driving dynamics—the biggest reason why it became so popular in the first place. And you’d think all this tech, all this sportiness won’t come cheap; fear not. The Focus is actually budget-friendly as well.
#2: Mitsubishi Mirage
Why we chose it: Mitsubishi resurrects an old nameplate to bring forth an interesting new concept: Mirage. Designed as an “in-betweener” in the sub-B (micro) and B (sub-compact) category cars, the Mirage is extremely simple and efficient in its design. Function triumphs over form in every aspect of the Mirage: it may have a small footprint, but thanks to clever packaging, it’s got a cavernous interior. It may not look sharp, but it’s extremely aerodynamic. The 1.2-liter 3-cylinder engine may not push out the numbers its rivals may boast, but thanks to a sub-900 kilogram curb weight, it propels this car with gusto. And who can forget the Mirage’s extremely generous equipment level (GPS navigation, Smart Key keyless entry, push button engine start/stop, to name a few) and surprisingly affordable price tag.
#1: Toyota 86 / Subaru BRZ
Why we chose it: It took a directive from Toyota’s company chairman and the help of Subaru to make it, but the end result is the best, most driver-centric car to come out of Japan in ages: the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ. The ingredients of the so-called “Toyobaru” twins are simple: a light curb weight, a balanced chassis, low center of gravity, and a great drivetrain that matches. Plus, when these ingredients are put together, the result is more than the sum of their parts. The 86 and BRZ aren’t about sledgehammering through corners; it’s more about finesse. Plus, they’re actually livable enough to be driven every day with a decent trunk, fuel economy, and ground clearance. Now, if only we can have a better radio…