Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Top 5 Picks for 2015


If you’ve been following this small blog since it launched in 2011, you’ve always known that we cap off the year with our annual Top 5 Picks (see 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011). And unlike other award-giving body, we don’t categorize entries based on performance, price, or any other parameter. For this list, we’re grouping everything together.

In order to be included for consideration, the requirements are simple: first, we should have driven it in the past year (full test drive, not first drive). Second, it should be fairly mainstream with no SRP above P 4-million. And lastly, we should have loved every minute of it.

2015 is a year where we’ve seen competitive segments. In fact, there are a lot of great new cars out there and only a few not-so good ones. However, only five can make it to our list. So without further delay, let’s get on to our Top 5 Picks for 2015.


#5: Honda Odyssey

Generally, MPVs are hard to get excited about because you do expect a chauffeur to drive it for you. But not so with the Honda Odyssey. Thanks to manageable proportions, we actually enjoyed piloting it around town even if we rarely had more than two occupants at any given time. What’s more, it pushes all the right enthusiast buttons: it’s nicely designed, well-finished, and actually sporty. It also gives the traditional executive sedan a run for its money by giving much more tech and space for just about the same price.

Full review here.


#4: Volkswagen Golf GTI

Admittedly, we were on the minority when we weren’t smitten with the Volkswagen Golf GTI. Aside from the high price tag (we even quoted horsepower per peso as a measurement), it had a laggy infotainment system and chintzy tartan fabric seats. However, we sort of take it back. We’re largely forgiving most of the shortcomings of the Golf GTI primarily because it’s a good all-rounder. If you want a car that can do the mundane like grocery shopping as well as track days, this car has it pat. The engine is down on power for sure, but the cohesiveness of the entire drivetrain makes it a standout.

Full review here.


#3: Ford Ranger

This year is the year of the pickup truck. We’ve seen everyone launch or substantially upgrade their offerings giving class-leading this or that. The reason is the Ford Ranger. It was the first to deliver a full-on smart and premium approach to the once beast of burden. It has effectively transformed pickups into lifestyle vehicles. The 2016 update continues that trend. Though it can’t claim class-leading numbers or specs in everything now; compared to all other trucks out there, the Ranger by far, is still the most convincing. It’s the easiest to drive, the most sophisticated in design and execution, and definitely unbeatable in value.

Full review here. And here.


#2: Mazda MX-5

It’s hard for any car with a 25-year nameplate to outdo its legendary originator, but the 2015-2016 Mazda MX-5 does just that. This is a car that manages to nail everything so convincingly well that we actually considered selling a kidney to get one. In Soul Red. Compared to any other car this year, it’s one that’s packaged so well in everything: from drivetrain to features to pricing. It’s pretty hard to beat this in terms of pure driving fun, and we would have loved to name it our Top Pick of the Year. However, it’s just too much of an extrovert’s car and we just can’t take the added attention on the road.

Full review here. And here. And here.


#1: Mazda6 Sports Wagon

We just can’t give enough love for the Mazda6. We loved that it’s always veered away from the executive car norm for something only driver-owners would love. But now? With the appearance of this 2015-2016 model with a sexy wagon body to boot? Everything is perfect. The automotive gods have spoken and the planets have all aligned to give us a lovely, fun-to-drive, tremendously capable, well-finished, and surprisingly frugal executive wagon. It’s everything we need. Among all the cars we drove in 2015, we added the most to its odometer in the week we had it: 800-plus kilometers. If that’s not enough to show our love for the Mazda6 Sports Wagon, we don’t know what is.

Full review here.

28 comments:

  1. That's your top 5 list? 1 wagon, 1 pick up, 1 Van... And a Golf GTI? Lol Uly, I think you're getting old. You're beginning to develop a taste for dad cars hahaha... :))

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  2. CG Phil Guys, please help save the manuals.

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  3. Top 5 for 2015... I would go
    5.) Hyundai Tucson
    4.) Ford Everest
    3.) Lexus NX
    2.) Peugeot 308
    1.) Mazda MX-5

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  4. Ford Ranger and Everest - not worth the money. Palagi lang sira at maraming diperensya ranging from engine knock, a/t transmission, door locks, rattling, etc.

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    1. do you have both vehicles? As I have both. Any bad experience?

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  5. I still don't trust American and Korean cars due to reliability and quality problems. The new Ford Focus may have a strong 1.5 engine(178hp), but American cars have many problems from electrical to engine problems. I would still choose Japanese cars, specifically the Mazda 3 Speed for a bachelor like me.

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    1. Or wait for the new honda civic with 1.5L turbo engine.

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    2. retro minded.

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    3. By your words I can tell that you have never owned, or maybe not even driven, a Korean made car. So how can you say they have reliability and quality issues if you don't own one? I have a 2012 Tucson, and never had issues with it, never even changed its battery. I've driven my brother's 2013 Fortuner, and proven even more that Hyundai quality and performance can match that of Toyota's. In fact, based on my driving experience Hyundai diesel A/T's has better turbo response. So, you were saying???...

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    4. By your words I can tell that you have never owned, or maybe not even driven, a Korean made car. So how can you say they have reliability and quality issues if you don't own one? I have a 2012 Tucson, and never had issues with it, never even changed its battery. I've driven my brother's 2013 Fortuner, and proven even more that Hyundai quality and performance can match that of Toyota's. In fact, based on my driving experience Hyundai diesel A/T's has better turbo response. So, you were saying???...

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    5. Intayin mo 10 years. Compare mo japanese vs korean na mga sasakyan na mga 10 yaers old. Tignan mo kung ano mas tatagal. Sabagay madami din naman kia pride na umaandar pa pero ang condition naghihingalo na. Pero daming japanese car kahit ginawang taxi buhay na buhay pa din. So what if you own a 2012 korean car? Tsaka mo na ipagyabang yan kung tumagal na ng 10 years. Masyado pa yan bago ara magkaroon ng issues.

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    6. There are so many people complaining about Korean cars having mysterious knocks, and transmission problems. A taxi driver driving a kia rio also said that the engine is good but the weak point is the chassis and suspension. Masyado daw maalog kaya over time maybe may nagloloose na parts, and yung mga hyundai accent daw sa company nila ang daming problema pero yung mga vios wala. Also, feedbacks from buyers of korean cars complain about quality issues and poor servicing from the casa. The 5 year warranty will also tie your car to them, jumping up the cost in maintenance, tsaka sakit sa ulo pabalik balik sa casa tuwing nagkakaproblema yung transmission.

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    7. I own a Ford Escape. Bought it mainly because it was cheaper to own based on consumption and PMS. A year later, my sister bought a CRV (what I really wanted to buy). 5 years down, I regret my choice. I should've learned from my sister's previous experience with a Ford Lynx (yes, yes, it's a re-badged Mazda 323. Still has a Ford badge on it). Not to mention, Ford's customer service is really pretty bad.

      Around the same time my sister bought a CRV, my aunt also bought a Hyundai Elantra. Casa-maintained all the way, even the battery and tires. In terms of mileage, #1 usage goes to the CRV, #2 is my Escape, #3 is the Elantra. The CRV is in the best shape today out of the three.

      Definitely sticking to Japanese for my next car.

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    8. I had two Toyotas (Altis and Vios) and two Hyundais (Elantra and Santa Fe) the past five years and the quality of Japanese cars are not on par with the past. Maybe because they are not made in Japan anymore. I can say that Hyundais are of better quality as compared to the Toyotas that is why we sold the Toyotas and kept the Hyundais since we only have two slots in the garage. Long term reliability depends on the owner na how well he maintains it.

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  6. Sir, i'm surprised you chose the Golf over the new Mazda 2.

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    1. Because we haven't done a full test drive of the Mazda2 yet? We'll see in 2016.

      Website based these on drives we've done on our roads. No first drives, no first impressions, no fancy junkets. It's just the car and nothing else.

      After all, should you care which car company treated us the best? Or would you rather know which car we think is the best?

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    2. The Mazda2 cannot be compared to the Golf GTi. In terms of output, the Golf GTi produces twice as much power as the Mazda2. The Mazda2 does not even match the power & torque output of the Fiesta Ecoboost. The Golf GTi is more in the league of the Subaru WRX. The Mazda2 may be the local car of the year but it is miles away from the true performance compact hatchback that is the Golf GTi.

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    1. We haven't driven it in Manila. If it's good as it was in Taiwan, maybe it'll make it to the top picks list in 2016.

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  8. The problem with the honda odyssey is that it is extremely difficult to get laid when driving one. It's a soccer mom vehicle. If you're single, avoid this car at all cost.

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  9. Since quite a few people are asking why you chose this over that, any chance you could publish a list of cars that are qualified? Just to give us readers a clearer picture of the cars that got beat by these 5 above. :)

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  10. I own a fortuner 2012 and a mazda2 skyactive top of the line...i don't see any problem to both of them...it depends upon the user how to take care...

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  11. I had a ford escape in 2006. after 5 years, replaced it with a 2011 ford escape. this year i'm choosing between a 2016 ford escape or a 2016 ford everest. my considerations: safety and comfort, that's why i'm leaning towards the escape (again). only the space will make me think of the everest. i'll decide after a test drive. (before the escape in 2006, i had a ford lynx. and before that, a civic, lancer and corolla.) i'm very confident of the safety of ford vehicles coming from my actual accidents. i will trust ford with my life over japanese cars. finally, the comfort ride of my escape(s) and my explorer sportrac is a "want" that i can never find in the japanese cars then and now (don't count those high-end japanese cars, of course).

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    1. Ford Lover...cheers bro. love my Fiesta, Ranger and Everest.

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  12. top picks for the young hot and wild
    ford ecosport, kia rio, chevrolet colorado, hyundai sta fe, peugottepee

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