Thursday, January 2, 2014

Year of the Horsepower: 12 Fun-to-Drive Cars to Expect in 2014


Happy New Year! It’s now officially 2014—the year of the horse. And like that graceful animal known for its speed and agility, this year is bound to be filled with new and exciting cars for every budget. Though car manufacturers are known to be tight-lipped about their whole-year plans, we just had to peer into our magic crystal ball to give you 12 fun-to-drive cars in 2014.


# 1: BMW X5

The BMW X5 is set to enter the third generation and like its predecessors; it aims to set new standards for luxury, versatility, and above all, driving dynamics. Several engines, designed for both thrust and efficiency from a 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline-6 (both in diesel and gasoline) to a 4.4-liter TwinPower Turbo V8, power the new X5 while a close-ratio 8-speed automatic guarantees a smooth response. Several new features debut on the X5 including Active Roll Stabilization, Dynamic Damper Control, and rear-axle air suspension for improved handling. Inside, the X5 receives two distinct BMW Lines packages. The biggest news of all is the availability of a rear-wheel drive variant dubbed the X5 sDrive.


# 2: Ford Ecosport

Designed to marry the agility, affordability, and fuel efficiency of a compact with the flexibility and spaciousness of an SUV, the Ford EcoSport is seen as the aspirational alternative to a typical sedan. It rides on the same platform as the Fiesta and shares roughly 30 percent of its components, but it looks muscular and athletic complete with a 200-mm ground clearance and 550-mm of water wading depth—higher than some “hardcore SUVs”. Running on the Fiesta’s 1.5-liter Ti-VCT engine, the 108 horsepower EcoSport comes with either a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed PowerShift transmission. Inside, it’s sophisticated and well-equipped: push-button engine start/stop, Ford SYNC, and even a chilled glove box.


#3: Honda Accord

Designed from the inside out, the new Accord embraces a customer-focused design allowing for increased passenger and cargo space as well as a sportier driving character. Better, but no bigger, the new Accord is shorter but roomier than the model it replaces. It features a dynamic new design with a bold grille, strong character lines, and tapered rear fenders. This 9th-generation model also uses more high-strength steel than ever before for better handling and comfort. The front Double Wishbone is now gone, replaced by new MacPherson Struts. All-new engines, dubbed Earth Dreams make their debut. On some models, the Accord should be made available with Honda’s new suite of safety systems including collision mitigation braking and blind spot monitoring.


#4: Hyundai Accent, Elantra, and Tucson

Hyundai enters the new year by sprinkling some much needed refresh magic onto the Accent, Elantra, and Tucson. All three models receive modest revisions inside and out. Outside, all three models receive updated headlights, bumpers, tail lights, and wheel designs. The story continues inside the cockpit where new gauges, improved interior materials, and better NVH isolation make for a much more comfortable experience. Mechanically, little change is expected with the exception of the Accent which finally adds a 1.6-liter CRDi sedan to its line-up. Worldwide though, Hyundai is close to launching their new Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design language in the all-new Genesis Sedan and Sonata. These two new upscale models may make a possible appearance locally later in the year.


#5: Kia Soul

The funky Kia Soul enters with an all-new take on design, improved driving dynamics, and features to keep it fresh and, well, different than the rest. Designed in California, the Soul is boxy with its upright stance, squared shoulders, and distinctive fender flares. It comes in a wide palette of colors too. Riding on a longer and wider platform than the vehicle it replaces, the Soul promises more room than ever before. The body and chassis are now 29 percent stiffer improving the ride and comfort. Steering feel is enhanced through the new FlexSteer system. Motivation comes from either a 1.6-liter or a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, hopefully boasting Kia’s new Gasoline Direct Injection or GDI technology.


#6: Lexus RC Coupe

Lexus’s first two-door coupe since the LFA, the RC Coupe brings to life Lexus’s promise to focus more on design and emotional appeal. The RC Coupe features deeply contoured lines with L-shaped patterns in the headlights and tail lamps giving a sense of visual drama. It features the widest and lowest application of the spindle grille yet while 19-inch wheels and tires add elegance and sophistication. Inside, the RC Coupe has a driver-centric interior with two distinct zones: operational and display. Genuine shimamoku wood highlights adding a unique Japanese touch. The RC Coupe’s dedicated rear-wheel drive platform and 3.5-liter V6, with at least 300 horsepower, promises exhilarating performance.


#7: Mazda3

Mazda finally brings its brand of style to the compact car class with the all-new Mazda3. “All-new” is an understatement since it shares almost nothing with the outgoing 3. It features all-new Skyactiv engines in 1.5- or 2.0-liter flavors mated to either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic. The all-new 3 sits on a platform giving it a longer wheelbase. A shorter length and lower height still imbues the 3 with a sense of sportiness. The body features a decisively “cab rearward” posture and together with its sleek and stylish KODO lines, it expresses dynamism. Inside, the 3’s cabin is driver-centric and includes Mazda-first features such as a heads-up display system called Active Driving Display.


#8: Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Single-handedly Mercedes-Benz’s most sellable model, the all-new C-Class promises to be the company’s most sensual design yet and fitted with a host of new technical innovations to keep it in the lead. Riding on a new platform, it’s bigger and roomier than before yet weighs some 70 kilograms less. The exterior design is Mercedes-Benz’s interpretation of “modern luxury” and has the same swoopy, complex lines seen of late. Inside, it borrows a page from the company’s sports car line with a high center tunnel and circular air vents. Under the hood, it has a wide range of engine: 3 diesel engines and 5 gasoline engines with power figures ranging from 115 to 333 horsepower.


#9: Peugeot 208 GTi

Recreating an icon—that’s the goal of the Peugeot 208 GTi, a B-segment sized hatchback that packs a serious sports car punch. It eschews more modern sports car tech and goes back to basics: it’s available solely as a 6-speed manual. The 3-door hatchback features Peugeot’s new look but is liberally sprinkled with red highlights and ‘GTi’ badging to differentiate it from ‘lesser’ models. Inside, the 208 GTi has a small diameter D-shaped steering wheel and sport bucket seats. The 208 GTi is powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine good for an even 200 horsepower. Add a lightweight body and you’ve got a recipe for some fun. The 208 GTi can do 0-100 km/h in 6.7 seconds.


#10: Subaru WRX

Subaru’s iconic sports sedan returns and promises to be the best handling, most powerful WRX ever. With an all-new 2.0-liter turbocharged Boxer engine, the WRX has 268 horsepower and 350 Nm of torque equating to a 0-100 km/h time in just 5.1 seconds. It can be combined with either a 6-speed manual or a Sport Lineartronic CVT—both firsts for the WRX. It rides on its own unique platform that’s stiffer for better handling. Further elevating the WRX is a Torque Vectoring Control system that improves cornering speeds while upgraded brakes provide surefooted stopping power. The WRX features Subaru’s iconic flared wheel arches, quad-tip tailpipes, and a lip spoiler to give it a hit of aggressiveness.


#11: Toyota Corolla Altis

Perhaps one of the most anticipated new cars for 2014, the all-new Corolla Altis is now injected with the same “fun-to-drive” characteristics seen in other Toyota models. The new body is much more angular, sportier, and more aggressive than before, borrowing styling cues from other Toyota models of late. Certain variants of the Corolla Altis feature LED daytime running lights and tail lamps, a sports kit, and 17-inch alloy wheels. Underneath, the Corolla Altis rides on a bigger platform which means more space and better handling than before. Engine-wise, Toyota could opt to stay put with their current 1.6-liter and 2.0-liter line-up, though others say, Toyota could bump up the base model to 1.8-liters and keep the 2.0-liter as the range-topper.


#12: Volkswagen Beetle

No other car comes close to being recognized as an icon as the Volkswagen Beetle. And now, Filipino buyers can finally get back into “Beetle Mania” with the reintroduction of a modern classic this 2014. Despite a recognizable silhouette, the new Beetle features a clean sheet design with more masculine and sporty lines characterized by a longer hood and a sharply raked windshield. Inside, the Beetle promises a driver-centric interior while leaving a lasting impression because of color-coordinated panels and the use of high-quality materials. The Beetle also marks the first time a gasoline engine is used in Volkswagen’s local line-up offering TSI or Turbo Stratified Injection in 1.2- (105 horsepower) and 1.4-liter (160 horsepower) versions.

43 comments:

  1. Mouth watering choices :) btw honest opinion been wanting to trade my 2011 Monty GTV 4x4 AT for an FJ Cruiser? is it worth it? Pros and Cons? Also am confused with FJ's seating capacity is it 5 or 7?

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    1. We'll release our verdict on the FJ Cruiser within the next few weeks. I suggest that you wait for it before trading your Montero Sport for it.

      As for the seating capacity, the FJ is a tight 5-seater.

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    2. Here's our review of the FJ Cruiser:

      http://www.carguide.ph/2014/01/review-2014-toyota-fj-cruiser.html

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  2. Good news,which one comes first.and the price is right.

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    1. The Corolla Altis will be first to launch with a firm date of January 15.

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  3. will it be too much for hyundai if you included the all new Santa Fe?..and is peugeot 208 gti available in our country?..how is it compared to volks scirocco cuz they look identical..

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    1. The Santa Fe was just released about a year and a half ago, so don't expect any changes to it. Unless they decide to bring in the long wheelbase model. We shall see.

      As for the 208 GTi, yes it's actually being sold already AFAIK at Peugeot dealers. If not, they're pretty selling them now. It's smaller than the Scirocco.

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    2. its really good to have the LWB SF but if its price would be over 2.6m i'd rather have the bigger and (i guess) better ford explorer..and actually i was waiting for the new mazda cx9 but i was disappointed by it..i just hope mazda3 wont fail any of my expectations..

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  4. when is the eco sport and mazda 3?

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    1. Mazda3 will be shown to the public in April at MIAS and it will be launched mid-year so safe to assume sometime in August. Likely same scenario with the Ecosport.

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    2. Ecosport by April.. earliest maybe March...

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  5. Hi Uly, any idea when the updated CX5 is coming out? Thanks.

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    1. Updated CX-5? The 2WD was just updated late last year with the launch of the PRO model. I'll be surprised if they'll update it real soon.

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    2. I read somewhere that they are refreshing the interior to match the new 3. I guess that will be later than 3.

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  6. Any chance the Honda Mobilio or Honda City (diesel) is coming this year?

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    1. Likely no. Honda's been more of a gasoline-based car maker here. The City though is rumored also to make a launch appearance this year at PIMS (August). Buuuuut...it will likely arrive late 2014-15. You have to remember, it has to be launched first in Thailand before making its way here.

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  7. I'm really interested in the beetle but they are overpriced compared to other brands with the same engine size and features.

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    1. There's no pricing on the Beetle yet. Let's wait and see first.

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    2. definitely sure that it will be priced higher than how u see in the US market.

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  8. How about the new jazz and vezel I really love the vezel:)

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    1. There's a good chance we'll get to see the new Jazz before the year's end. I suspect though that the Accord will come out first given it's already out in several ASEAN markets including Thailand. The Jazz will likely bow in at the upcoming Bangkok Motor Show and we might see it before the end of the year.

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  9. Is the Honda vezel coming to the philippines?

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    1. Apparently, Honda might do a turnaround on its model strategy for the Vezel. The car launched at the Tokyo Motor Show:

      http://www.carguide.ph/2013/12/tokyo-motor-show-2013-honda-shows-jazz.html

      Might not be the same Vezel developing markets including the Philippines will get. Blame the Forex rates, but Honda might actually develop a "simpler" Vezel either still based off the City/Jazz platform or they might even base it off the Brio Amaze.

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  10. how about the civic type R and gusto ko malaman kung maglalabas ba ang toyota na 2.0 RAV 4?

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  11. I commented on the Hyundai Azera when you reported about its launching but I haven't heard anything about it since, what gives?

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    1. Hyundai has quietly brought in the new Azera since late 2013. It's already in our Price List section. Because it's a niche model, it's only available as an Indent Order model. Price is: P 1,988,000 for the 3.0 V6.

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  12. Do you think Toyota Philippines will launch the Rush 7-seater mini SUV here?

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  13. is there any news about new models of fortuner and montero?..

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  14. I hope the new 2014 Elantra's retail price doesn't skyrocket along with its refreshed design. I'm planning to purchase a new car this year and the 2013 Elantra's price is very reasonable. The new Jazz is interesting as well.
    I'm also eyeing the Ecosport and the Soul as optional choices depending on their price. P1M is my max budget and I can "probably" stretch it to P1.1M
    Will Nissan and Chevy bring their Juke and Trax to the country?
    Small Crossover Vehicles appeal to me the most.

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    1. Actually the 2014 Elantra now brakes the P 1,000,000 mark. The January Philippine Car Price Guide will come out next week. Watch out for it.

      As for the Juke and Trax, we MIGHT see the Trax, but I won't hold my breath for the Juke unless the Nissan Philippines will do something about it.

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  15. @uly

    HND-9 Concept came out last year and it was rumored as the new genesis coupe which will be released on late 2014 to 2015. I hope you can give us light about this thanks.

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    1. The one in the photo above isn't the HND-9 Concept. It's the Genesis Sedan for the Korean domestic market. It might receive some styling tweaks before its NAIAS unveil, so we'll have to wait just 2-3 days to see.

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    2. Will there be a new genesis coupe this 2014 base on the fluidic design 2.0?

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  16. When is the new Subaru Levorg in the Philippines available?

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  17. The Subaru Levorg isn't even out in Japan yet, but let's wait and see. If you do want a turbocharged Impreza-sized Subaru, the all-new WRX and WRX STI are coming out in MIAS 2014 (April).

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  18. Any reviews on the Ford explorer limited especially covering resale value?

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    1. http://www.carguide.ph/2012/02/review-2012-ford-explorer-35-v6.html

      http://www.carguide.ph/2013/01/short-cuts-2013-ford-explorer-v6-limited.html

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  19. Sad news..The 4x4 2.2L Ford Ranger Wildtraks just got phased out! Will be replaced by 4x2 wildtraks daw. Do you have any info when this will be?

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    1. That's truly sad news. Haven't heard about this, but I've heard that there is no stock of the Ranger XLT 4x2 A/T at any Ford dealership. This could be a subtle way for Ford to market the Wildtrak 4x2. If ever this will happen, I bet they're going to do it quietly.

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  20. Hi! I'm planning to buy my first car this year. I got my eyes on Honda Jazz, Honda City, Toyota Vios, and Toyota Yaris. Can you help me pick? After the review, I am now also considering the Mitsubishi Mirage. Is the 2014 Honda Jazz coming soon? Should I wait for it? Thanks and more power! :)

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    1. Jazz is coming really soon. Around May I heard.

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  21. which would you choose between the new wrx and brz in terms of mileage and *gasp* comfort (gf's concern; since im fine with any of these two.. and also since wrx sti and mustang v6 is way out of my budget right now) in city driving with occasional tagaytay, subic, and maybe baguio trip?

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