Wednesday, January 9, 2013

40 Cars to Watch Out For in 2013: Part 3 of 4

Barely a week has gone by, and it looks like it’s going to be yet another banner year for the Philippine automotive industry. Building on the high of record sales last year and the continued robust growth of the economy (this year’s an election year after all), car manufacturers and distributors are setting their sights on 2013 to be an exciting year for those hoping to purchase a new car.

Although there’s no way to be completely certain of what’s going to arrive at a showroom near you, an educated guess (and some luck) is all that’s needed to find out what’s in store for the coming 12 months. Peering into the magical crystal ball, here is CarGuide.PH’s fearless forecast on the new and exciting vehicles that lay ahead this 2013.

Link to Part 1, Part 2

21.    Land Rover Range Rover (Certainty: 80%)

The venerable off-roader gets its biggest makeover yet by switching to an all-aluminum monocoque body, a first for a SUV. The resulting moves means a lighter curb weight (down by 420 kilograms) compared to the outgoing model. Yet, the Range Rover features standard air suspension as well as a myriad of technologies designed to help it tackle the toughest terrain. The highlight of which is the latest version of Terrain Response. The engine choices have been simplified to one gasoline (5.0-liter V8) and two diesel engines (3.0-liter V6 and 4.4-liter V8) all of which are mated to an eight-speed automatic. The all-new Range Rover has already landed in several markets including left-hand drive North America, so there’s a great chance it will land in the Philippines within early to mid this year.

22.    Lexus IS (Certainty: 70%)

Lexus will finally endow its aging IS compact sports sedan with some L-Finesse love when a full redesign is expected to happen sometime this year. Lexus’s aim for the all-new IS is quite high: it wants to create a direct link to the IS F and even the LFA with the all-new IS. Benchmarked against its European rivals, the IS is expected to deliver class-leading dynamics without compromising luxury and refinement. Hammering its sportiness message across is the all-new “F Meter” that reconfigures the dash cluster into a single-bezel gauge. Expect the IS to arrive in two flavors: the IS 250 and IS 350, the latter enjoying an eight-speed automatic.

23.    Mazda3 SKYACTIV (Certainty: 60%)

Free from the clutches of Ford, Mazda is now an independent brand with its own distributor. One of the earliest things they could do is to rectify the problem with the current Mazda3: the engine. Yes, the 148 horsepower 2.0-liter is alright and all, but you can’t help but feel that the entire drivetrain just feels so old. Enter the magic of SKYACTIV. In other countries, the 3 is already powered by a brand-new 2.0-liter SKACTIV engine, so bringing it into the Philippines should make a lot of sense. What’s more, the 155 horsepower engine is mated to a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed automatic. If ever the Mazda3 SKYACTIV does arrive, expect a minor exterior refresh and a price adjustment (hopefully downward) to go with it.

24.    Mazda6 (Certainty: 100%)

Mazda engineers blame the previous models’ lack of sales due to the “vagueness in its design and execution”. Well, they aim to rectify that when the third-generation model finally lands sometime in 2013. Mazda hopes that the all-new 6 finally embodies the “zoom-zoom” philosophy the brand’s known for by finally applying the KODO “Soul of Motion” design language and adding a dash of SKYACTIV into the mix. The all-new Mazda6 is quite large—larger than the all-new Honda Accord and Toyota Camry and yet, weighs some 150 kilograms less than the current model. Don’t expect the clever i-ELOOP brake energy regeneration system to end up in the Philippines, but do expect the arrival of a 2.5-liter version of the SKYACTIV engine good for 189 horsepower. This powerplant easily accelerates the Mazda6 from a standstill to 100 km/h in just 7.8 seconds while returning close to 17 km/L. It’s like hanging your cake and eating it too!

25.    Mercedes-Benz A-Class (Certainty: 100%)

Eagle-eyed car enthusiasts should already notice that a couple of the all-new Mercedes-Benz A-Class luxury hatchbacks are already running around Metro Manila. Distancing itself from the tall-boy look of its predecessors, the all-new A-Class is much more dynamic and younger, clearly aimed as a direct rival to the BMW 1 Series and Audi A3. Its available equipment is very reflective of that: Drive Kit Plus for full iPhone integration into the car’s Bluetooth system, a huge range of alloy wheels, and a special Mercedes Sport range of body kit. Fortunately, the all-new A-Class provides as much go as show thanks to a choice of engines. Locally, the A-Class will be made available with a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine good for 120 horsepower (A 180 BlueEFFICIENCY) or 154 horsepower (A 200 BlueEFFICIENCY). Both of these models come with the next-generation dual-clutch automatics with seven gears.

26.    Mercedes-Benz E-Class (FL) (Certainty: 90%)

After just four years, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class sees its biggest mid-cycle refresh yet. Gone are (a) the four headlights seen in the segment’s best-seller for 17 years and (b) the relief pontoons over the rear wheels. Don’t fret though; designers have cleverly “split” the headlamps by using a strip of LEDs. At the back, a new lamp design “emphasizes” the sedan’s width. Inside, the E-Class gets a new dash cluster and head unit design along with a new analogue clock. Among the new safety systems onboard the E-Class include the Stereo Multi-Purpose Camera which can build a three-dimensional view of the road ahead at a distance up 500 meters. The engine and transmission line-up are expected to remain largely the same.

27.    Mercedes-Benz S-Class (Certainty: 80%)

Mercedes-Benz’s flagship will finally see a full-model change after a lengthy 8-year model cycle. Codenamed W222, the all-new S-Class will see a global introduction by early this year and a possible entrance to the Philippines by later in the year. The all-new S-Class is set to go back to the model’s roots by introducing some ground breaking technology including autonomous steering. Inside, the car is expected to have an all-LED lighting including those in the vanity mirrors as well as a two-spoke steering wheel. In a break from tradition, the S-Class will also be made available in a coupe and convertible form. As for styling, it’s deemed to be more conservative than the outgoing model but will echo the curves of iconic Mercedes-Benz models of the past such as the 540K.

28.    Mini Paceman (Certainty: 70%)

The seventh model in the Mini range, the Paceman is more than just the Countryman with the two rear doors chopped off. The exterior is restyled and is sleeker thanks to a sloping roof line, horizontal tail lamps, and a sleek rear glass that haunch up. The suspension is also sportier, making the Paceman sit lower than the Countryman. Inside, the Paceman gets some fiddling including the migration of the power windows switches from the center console to the doors. It’s set for sale in Europe by March, so it should arrive in the Philippines by mid to late 2013.

29.    Mitsubishi Outlander (Certainty: 70%)

Already previewed at the Philippine International Motor Show last year, the all-new Outlander should finally be available at Mitsubishi showrooms this year; unless of course, they’ve changed their minds. Ditching the shark-inspired nose of the previous Outlander, the all-new model features a more aerodynamic skin as well as a lighter body (some 90 kilograms less actually). Likely, the Philippine market version will have a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine which is paired to a CVT transmission. Other features of the Outlander include a powered tail gate, a Rockford Fosgate audio system, adaptive cruise control, and the latest version of Mitsubishi’s Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC).

Rendering courtesy of

30.    Mitsubishi Mirage Sedan (Certainty: 70%)

Hot on the heels of its Mirage hatchback, it should come as little surprise that Mitsubishi Motors is hard at work in developing a four-door version of its popular B-segment passenger car. In fact, Mitsubishi Motors head honcho, Osamu Masuko, himself confirmed that the Mirage sedan will start production by June or July this year at the Laem Chabang plant in Thailand. According to Mr. Masuko, there will be no mechanical changes done to the Mirage sedan so expect the very same 3A92 1.2-liter 3-cylinder engine offered on the hatchback. The chances of the Mirage sedan arriving in the Philippines within 2013 are slim, unless Mitsubishi Motors Philippines orders ahead. In which case, it should arrive in the third to fourth quarter of this year.

1 comment:

  1. Like the 3 articles. well-researched. looking forward to part 4.