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June 29, 2012

Photo Break # 2: Road Less Traveled

Photo by Ulysses Ang
Here's the second installment of Photo Break. This time, we're featuring the Mazda CX-5 as we found this interesting mountain road in Batangas.

All Photo Break photos can be downloaded as a desktop wallpaper This one's in a 1280x800 pixel resolution. Enjoy.

June 28, 2012

Lexus Tops J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Initial Quality Study

Lexus earned the honor as the highest-ranking nameplate in the automotive industry in the 2012 J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study (IQS) with 73 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100).

Lexus has ranked highest in the IQS study in 14 of the last 23 years, beginning with the brand’s first model year in 1990.

June 27, 2012

Ford Philippines to Conclude Manufacturing Operations by Year-End

Ford Motor Company today announced a restructuring of its local operations that will result in the closure of the company’s Santa Rosa manufacturing facility when production of the Ford Escape ends later this year.

This decision, part of Ford's ongoing restructuring of regional manufacturing operations to improve efficiencies and costs, and better leverage economies of scale, was made following a comprehensive assessment of opportunities to bring a new product program to the Philippines.

UPDATED: Subaru BRZ PHL Specs Leaked

With the Toyota 86 officially launching next week, Motor Image Pilipinas has already begun pre-selling their version of the acclaimed rear-wheel drive sports car. So, how much is the BRZ worth in Philippine Pesos? Well, if you're expecting a hefty discount versus the 86, you'll be disappointed. The Subaru BRZ is currently pre-selling for P 2,200,000 with deliveries starting 4th quarter of 2012.

However, the differentiating factor between the BRZ and its 86 cousin is the specs. The BRZ is expected to be better loaded, if just a tad. Preliminary specs include:

UPDATED: 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe Sliding Sideways Real Soon

C! Magazine, the Philippines's leading car enthusiast magazine has blown the covers off the 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe with an exclusive first test. The sport coupe is currently on the magazine's Facebook page cover photo and some digging reveals a July or August 2012 release date, raining a bit perhaps on the Toyota 86's parade. There will be a slight price increase, topping out at P 1,990,000.

June 26, 2012

Volvo Launches S60 Polestar Performance Concept

Photo courtesy of Volvo Press
Volvo Cars Official Motorsport and Performance partner Polestar presents the Volvo S60 Polestar, a performance concept car developed with the aim of satisfying the performance minded driver.

"We are proud to present Polestar’s interpretation of the Volvo S60," says Christian Dahl, founder and CEO of Polestar. "It’s a car developed with our own preferences in mind which, we, from experience know, are shared by a group of active drivers."

Review: 2012 Nissan X-Trail 2.5 4WD

Photos by Ulysses Ang
When it’s said that the compact crossover segment is the most highly contested out there, that’s an understatement. Consider this: it’s the only segment in the Philippine market where every carmaker has a entrant be it utilitarian, upscale, luxurious, or sporty. Everyone from the Japanese (the original purveyors of the compact crossover genre) to the Americans, and even the Europeans are all in the act. Sad to say, when it comes to buying an actual compact crossover, top-of-mind choices often take precedent over what’s actually good or recommendable.

June 25, 2012

Simply Brilliant: Driving the Hyundai Eon to Baguio

Photos by Ulysses Ang
Normally, when you think “road trip”, your mind gravitates towards bringing a crossover or a large van with you where it is you need to go. So when we were invited to drive Hyundai’s newest (and smallest) city car, the Eon up Baguio, there were questions as to whether the diminutive vehicle would actually make it in one piece. We actually conjured up scenarios where the Eon would be thrown about by the crosswinds of passing busses or stalling up the steep climb up Kennon Road.

June 24, 2012

Columbian Autocar Corporation Extends Partnership with Philippine Azkals

Photo courtesy of Kia Press
Last May 2011, the Columbian Autocar Corporation (exclusive distributor of KIA vehicles in the country) kicked off a thrilling partnership with the Philippine Azkals. This affiliation stemmed from KIA’s desire to support these talented athletes who have been representing the country in local and international football competitions. It’s no secret that KIA has fallen in love with the game and CAC is determined to help the Azkals in their pursuit of excellence in sports. In the course of 2011, CAC has been present in Azkals matches and several of the players have expressed their support for Kia on various occasions. In December 2011, Azkals veterans were also given their own KIA vehicle to drive around.

With a year of exciting collaborations with the team, CAC extended their contract for a second year as the Azkals’ official transport provider. Held at the Azkals Sports Bar last June 21, the signing event was witnessed by the motoring and sports media.

Following its aggressive sports marketing strategy, KIA will be one of the major sponsors at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. As one of the official FIFA partners, KIA will be supplying vehicles from its model line-up that will be used during FIFA events. KIA is also boosting its brand recognition through a number of marketing activities and A-board advertisements in the stadiums during the games.

KIA Motor’s commitment to sports and passion for football are showcased in its continued partnership with the Philippine Azkals. With the different sports sponsorships, KIA Motors Corporation will continue to strengthen the brand as a global automaker that is adventurous and young-at-heart.

June 22, 2012

Ford Philippines Upgrades Explorer 3.5 V6

Photo courtesy of Ford Press
Continuing to raise the bar on customer expectations for a modern, capable, fuel-efficient SUV, Ford Philippines today launched the all-new 3.5L Ford Explorer Limited with deliveries beginning next month.

The all-new 3.5L Ford Explorer Limited features additional segment-first technologies that include Active Park Assist, Lane Keeping Technology, Blind Sport Information System and Adaptive Cruise Control.

June 21, 2012

First Drive: 2012 Toyota 86

Photos by Ulysses Ang

Upon his appointment as Toyota Motor Corporation CEO, Akio Toyoda has one goal: make Toyota fun-to-drive once again. As the founder’s grandson, Akio-san knows that one vital ingredient to make this dream a reality is to create an affordable and spirited sports car. Before the birth of the 86, it was puzzling that Toyota—being the world’s largest automaker, didn’t have a single sports car in its line-up. The absence was made even more obvious given the carmaker’s illustrious past: Toyota Sports 800, 2000GT, Celica, MR2, and Supra. Now, after years of anticipation and excitement, the long wait is over as the company has introduced a new addition to its line-up; one that finally re-introduces a legend: the Toyota 86 sports car.

June 20, 2012

AVID January-May 2012 Sales Up 27%

While total industry sales rose marginally by 0.6%, the first five months of the year saw sales of the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors (AVID) increase by 27% to 12,887 units versus the 10,151 sold in the same period last year. Passenger car (PC) sales went up by 77% or 8,004 units from 4,528 units sold last year. Top three contributors to this growth are Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI), The Covenant Car Company, Inc. (TCCCI), and Motor Image Pilipinas, Inc.

For the month of May alone, total sales rose by 11%, likewise driven by higher PC turnouts of 1,476 units, or a 47% increase.

Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Brings Perfect Business Deals Promo

Mitsubishi Motors Philippines brings the perfect time for entrepreneurs and those who are planning to start their own businesses.  The Mitsubishi Buhay Negosyante Deals promo offers flexible terms that will suit your budget and allow you to own the ideal and dependable vehicle for whatever your business may be.  Aside from the easy financing deals, customers are also entitled to exciting freebies and rewards when they purchase the L300 Deluxe, Adventure, or L200.

June 19, 2012

Review: 2012 Ford Explorer 2.0 EcoBoost GTDi

Photos by Ulysses Ang
The all-new Ford Explorer with the 2.0 EcoBoost engine is still a month away (deliveries start in July), but this author is lucky enough to have sampled, by all intents and purposes, the “base” Explorer. Of course, the P 2.250-million price tag is anything but base, but it still saves you something like P 200,000 compared to the V6. As with anything that’s deemed to entry-level, expect the Explorer experience to be diluted. The question is, by how much? The Ford Explorer V6 has raised the bar quite a bit by providing excellent driving manners and numerous creature features at a truly competitive price. So, how will its little brother, the Explorer EcoBoost fair?

June 18, 2012

Toyota Motor Philippines Launches 86

Photos courtesy of Toyota Press
After years of anticipation and excitement, the long wait is over. Toyota Motor Philippines uncovers the legendary 86 sports coupe in June of 2012. Made famous by car enthusiast, the number “86” presents multiple meanings behind it, including the rich history of Toyota sports cars and the emotions that went into building this vehicle. It shares the same number based on the motor show concept “FT-86”, which in turn was patterned on the 1982 Toyota AE86 also known as the hachiroku; a car which never relied on beastly horsepower but instead on a combination of a lightweight design, responsive power and a perfect balance. 30 years later, the 86 is reborn with the spirit and the heart of its predecessors; the 2000GT, Sports 800 and the AE86.

June 13, 2012

Philippine Car Price Guide: June 2012

Here's your monthly installment of the Philippine Car Price Guide. In this update, we've included some price movements from Chevrolet, Hyundai, and Mercedes-Benz.

Other notable changes include the official removal from availability of the Ford Focus (the all-new one's just around the corner), the arrival of new cars from Kia including the Kia Sportage 2.0 LX M/T, Sorento 2.4 LX 2WD 5-Seater M/T, and 1.6 Soul LX with 6-speed AT, simplification of the Mitsubishi Adventure range, and of course, the arrival of the Toyota 86 into our list.

There are also some minor changes with other brands not mentioned above, so without further adieu, here's your June 2012 price list:

June 12, 2012

Review: 2012 Honda Accord and 2012 Honda Jazz

On any other day, it’s like comparing apples to oranges, or more appropriately in this case, comparing a bottle of Gold Eagle to Stella Artois. They’re both brewed from the same combination of cereal, barley and wheat but the end result couldn’t be further apart. Yet, you cannot deny that the fundamental ingredients are the same. The same could be said about driving two cars from the same manufacturer, in this case, Honda. At first glance, the sub-P800,000 hatchback Jazz and the sub-P2-million Accord may seem worlds apart, but they do have the very same basic ingredient: superb engineering. And that’s the basis of this back-to-back drive.

June 11, 2012

Leaked: Ford Focus PHL Specs and Pricing

Ah sales just got to love 'em. After we got wind that the all-new Ford Focus is expected to bow in early July (we're keeping the exact date secret, so you'll have to check back once in a while), we just had to keep our neighborhood Ford dealer a call and lo and behold: they're ready to divulge the specs and pricing of Ford's new compact car offering.

Kia Launches Value-Oriented Sportage, Sorento Models

Columbian Autocar Corporation (CAC), the official distributor of Kia vehicles in the country has released two new value-oriented models that nicely fills in their crossover line-up. In an announcement on Kia Motor Philippines's official Facebook page as well as print ads, Kia is now offering the Sorento 2.4 LX 5MT at just P 1,090,000 while the Sportage now has a new 2.0 LX 2WD 5MT variant at just P 988,000.

This is certainly excellent news for those wanting to buy a Sportage or Sorento, but found the prices rather prohibitive. Before these two new variants, the most affordable Sportage stood at P 1,158,000 while the Sorento started at P 1,490,000. These new models represent a savings of P 170,000 and P 400,000 respectively. It's understood that both of these new variants offer less content compared to their higher-priced siblings (for example, the Sportage removes the passenger airbag, fog lamps, roof rails, door courtesy lamp, illuminated ignition key hole, and rear storage box), but hey, cash savings is still cash savings!

Mazda CX-5 Receives Five-Star Euro NCAP Safety Rating

Mazda’s all-new CX-5, unveiled in the Philippines last April, has been awarded the maximum five-star rating by the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP).

This rating, alongside being named a "Top Safety Pick 2012" by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in the United States last March, confirms the all-new Mazda CX-5, which employs Mazda's new lightweight, highly rigid SKYACTIV-BODY, as among the safest cars in the world.

June 7, 2012

HCPI Launches All-New Odyssey, Pilot

Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI), Honda’s automobile production and sales subsidiary in the Philippines, today launched both the all-new Pilot and Odyssey. Following the launch of the new City last January, the all-new Civic and Jazz Special Edition in February, and the all-new CR-V in April, the all-new Pilot and Odyssey not only strengthen Honda’s return to the Philippine automotive market, but also expands its model line-up.

Since the introduction of the Pilot and Odyssey in the United States, each model has received numerous awards and recognitions from various bodies and institutions due to its outstanding roominess, versatility, efficiency, and safety. Both models have unit-body construction and independent suspension that provide car-like driving feel and ride comfort.

German World-Traveler Completes PHL Tour in Mercedes-Benz G-Class

Globetrotting in his 1988 Mercedes-Benz G-Class for the past 22 years, Gunther Holtorf finally arrives in Philippine shores—the 199th on his continuously growing list of countries in his round-the-world journey.

Gunther’s ever-reliable G-Class named “Otto”, his companion since he began the world tour, has already clocked in 800,000 kilometers—approximately 20 times the length of the equator. Gunther and Otto have shared many memorable journeys; especially that he eats, sleeps, cooks, showers, and practically does everything in his car.

June 6, 2012

2012 Subaru XV 2.0i vs 2012 Mitsubishi ASX GLS SE

From the get-go, it seems the Subaru XV is designed to take the Mitsubishi ASX in a head-to-head grudge match. Consider the general design: both originate from all-wheel drive compact cars (the XV is from the Impreza, the ASX is from the Lancer EX); consider the drivetrain: both sport 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engines mated to CVT transmissions; consider the price: both are stone’s throw from each other topping out at close to P 1.550 million apiece; lastly, consider the naming: both are christened with a string nonsensical letters. These factors easily make the XV and the ASX the most inseparable rivals in today’s compact crossovers, and the perfect subject for our first head-to-head test.

Chana Launches Back to Business Promo

Focus Ventures, Inc., the official distributor of Chana vehicles in the Philippines is helping boost Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) by launching their new "Back to Business" promotion.

With Back to Business promotion, you can own the Chana Star 2, Multi-carry 2 Dropside, Multi-carry 2 Panoramic Body, or Multi-carry Double Cab with Pick-up for a low down payment of just P 99,000. In addition, customers are entitled to a free 3-year LTO registration as well as Third-Party Liability (TPL).

The promo is available for financing transactions with 30 percent down payment. Rates are subject to bank approval through BDO. The promotion runs until July 31, 2012.

For more information about Back to Business, contact any of Chana's network of dealerships or visit the Focus Ventures website at

June 5, 2012

NMPI Launches Grand Livina Highway Star

Photo courtesy of Nissan Press
The summer season may be over, but the streets are just starting to heat up as Nissan Motor Philippines, Inc. (NMPI) announced that the Grand Livina Highway Star will be available at all Nissan dealerships nationwide starting this weekend.

DLSU Greenhills Holds Safety Seminar for School Bus Drivers

In preparation for school opening this June, La Salle Greenhills held a safety seminar for school bus drivers on 31 May 2012. Hosted by the PALS (Parents Association of La Salle) under the leadership of  president Cindy Banaria and Information Chair Fe Rizo, the safety seminar consisted of a specially-designed two-hour module aimed at re-orienting drivers to defensive driving and other safety considerations.  More than 80 participants listened to the resource speakers led by former LTO/LTFRB chair Alberto Suansing, who is now executive director of PGRSP (Philippine Global Road Safety Partnership).  The seminar is part of PALS' thrust to look after the safety and welfare of LSGH students.

HARI Supports Mind Museum in Taguig

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Press
Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI) has signed a Deed of Donation as it partners with The Mind Museum at Taguig (TMMT). With this newly forged collaboration, HARI will be sponsoring the Atom Gallery of TMMT, an area in the museum with the most number of interactive exhibits. Its support in promoting the love and understanding of science concepts among the Filipino people is very much aligned with HARI’s corporate social commitment to nation-building through education. Present in the signing were (1st row, from L-R) Bonifacio Art Foundation Inc. (BAFI) President Antonino T. Aquino, BAFI Chairman Joselito D. Campos, Jr., HARI President & CEO Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo, HARI Chairman Richard L. Lee, (2nd row, from L-R) BAFI Corporate Secretary Edgardo M. Cruz, Jr., BAFI Board Trustee Carlos S. Rufino, HARI Chairman Edward S. Go and BAFI Managing Director Manuel A. Blas II.

Shell Launches V-Power Nitro+, Nitro+ Racing; Phases Out Super Premium

Photo courtesy of Shell Press
Shell launched its latest generation of premium performance fuels namely Shell V-Power Nitro+ Gasoline, Shell V-Power Nitro+ Racing and Shell V-Power Nitro + Diesel. The Philippines is one of the first countries in the world to see the introduction of the new premium performance fuels, which will directly replace the Shell V-Power fuels and Shell Super Premium currently available in the Philippines.

Jollibee Drive Thru Cross-Country Challenge Day 10: The Video

So, here's the last day of the Jollibee Drive Thru Cross-Country Challenge. We hope you enjoyed watching our 10-day adventure around the Philippines. Until the next one!

Jollibee Drive Thru Cross-Country Challenge Day 9: The Video

It's done. And we didn't win! :-( Still, that won't prevent us from posting the last 2 days of our 10 day adventure. If you want to follow me or my partner Neil Almighty of 99.5 RT, you can follow both of us on Twitter: @carguideph and @neilonradio.

Jollibee Drive Thru Cross-Country Challenge Day 8: The Video

We didn't appear anywhere in this episode, since we weren't able to make it this far in Mindanao. But still, watch it :-)

June 4, 2012

Surprise! Honda Launching Pilot, Odyssey in Philippines

Honda Cars Philippines (HCPI) is adding 2 new additional cars to its local line-up. And while we all thought it was going to be more variants of the Civic, this is actually their big surprise: they're actually launching the all-new Pilot and Odyssey.

For those who remember, both the Odyssey and the Pilot aren't new to our market. However, we can't deny that they were sales duds appearing either too late (Pilot) or too expensive (Odyssey) for our market. However, that doesn't prevent Honda from trying once again.

Based on overeager sales agents, Honda is selling these two vehicles at close to P 3-million. P 2,700,000 for the Pilot and P 2,900,000 for the Odyssey. Though the launch is still a couple of days away, we were able to snag some of the specs for these two vehicles: