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April 30, 2014

Toyota Wigo Busts Out into the Market with 27.9 Percent Market Share in Entry-Level Hatchback Segment

The newly launched “mini” hatchback of the number one automotive company in the Philippines starts strongly in its first full month of sales. Toyota Motor Philippines’ (TMP) has sold a total of 627 units of the Wigo making a mark in the automotive industry. It posted a 27.9% share in the entry-level hatchback segment outpacing its competitors in March.

No Fear: Taking on Mount Pinatubo in the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon

Photos by Ulysses Ang
UPDATE (1): We have included the official video of the Jeep Thrills Pinatubo at the end (5/19).

“It’s the fear that kills you,” muttered our instructor, Kenneth Rialp, as he gave us this off-roader’s golden rule to live by. And with that, The Philippine Star writer Angel Rivero and I set off in our bone stock Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited CRD to tackle one of the most challenging off-road destinations in the Philippines: Mount Pinatubo. And we’re not doing it alone. We’re doing it with at least 20 other Jeep Wranglers and a handful of Jeep Grand Cherokees as part of Jeep Philippines’s Jeep Thrills Pinatubo.

April 29, 2014

A North Expedition with the All-New Ford EcoSport and Fondo Manila

Ford Philippines partnered with Fondo Manila for a road cycling event known as “Northern Expedition”. Forty participants composed of professional and leisure cyclists geared up for a two-day cycling ride, conquering 80 kilometers on Halsema Highway, known as the highest elevation point in the Philippine highway system at 7,400 feet, and a 70-kilometer stretch via Ambuklao Road near Baguio City.  Three all-new EcoSport units were used as support and gear vehicles throughout the grueling journey.

New Gadget is a Device Powerbank That Can Jumpstart Your Car!

We live in a time where our smartphones constantly run out of juice. In fact, that’s the reason why a lot of “power bank” or portable battery chargers have popped up. But in a sea of available brands, there’s one that should pique the interest of gadget lovers and car enthusiasts alike: the JunoPower Jumpr.

First Drive: 2014 Honda City 1.5 VX

Photos by Ulysses Ang
UPDATE: Read our in-depth review of the Honda City 1.5 VX Aero Sport Modulo. (8/12/2014).

Car manufacturers constantly play a game of upmanship each time they come up with a new vehicle. Once in a while though, a car becomes more than merely “best in class”, it starts to transcend segments becoming something that’s totally different and unexpected. The all-new City is one such example. From its humble beginnings as Honda’s B-segment sedan, it has morphed into a car that can take on the competition a segment or two higher. And to prove this point, Honda made us drive it from the confines of the urban jungle all the way to La Union.

April 28, 2014

Road Closures During Obama's Philippine Visit

Several roads and major thoroughfares will be closed for US President Barack Obama’s Philippine visit from Monday, April 28 to Tuesday, April 29.

The following thoroughfares will be closed:

Monday, April 28, 2014
  • All 4 terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) from 12:30 to 1:30 PM.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014

These roads will be closed from 8 AM to 12:00 PM:
  • Gate 3, Fort Bonifacio
  • Entire stretch of Lawton Avenue
  • Stretch of McKinley Parkway from 5th Avenue to 28th Street, Bonifacio Global City.
  • Upper McKinley Road from C5 to Lawton Avenue
  • Entire stretch of Bayani Road from C5 to Lawton Avenue
  • No right turn from McKinley Road to Lawton Avenue
  • All 4 terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) from 12:30 to 1:30 PM.

Isuzu Philippines Kicks Off 2014 D-Max 4x4 Drive Series in Pampanga

Photos by Ulysses Ang
Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) kicked off the 2014 Isuzu D-Max 4x4 Drive Series last weekend at the Eastgate Center in Barangay San Jose, San Fernando, Pampanga in front of a visibly excited crowd of off-roading enthusiasts and pick-up lovers.

Philippine Car Price Guide: April 2014

UPDATE: We updated several items for this month including links to test drives (4/29).

We apologize for the slight delay in uploading this month’s Philippine Car Price Guide. Though there were numerous launches at the Manila International Auto Show (MIAS) this month, we just had to wait for a handful of vehicles which weren’t launched at the annual motoring event. Well, we think the wait is more than worth it. We’ll also update the test drive links in the Car Price Guide in the next few days.

In this month’s update, we have:
  • Honda City
  • Hyundai Grand i10 (update)
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • Kia Picanto 1.0 LX
  • Kia Soul 1.6 CRDi LX
  • Mazda3 Skyactiv
  • Subaru WRX
  • Subaru WRX STI
  • Tata Manza
  • Tata Vista
  • Tata Xenon
  • Toyota Yaris

April 27, 2014

Chevrolet Philippines Opens New Dealership in Tarlac

Chevrolet furthers its reach in the Philippine market as the company opens its newest dealership - Chevrolet Tarlac. With a growing population of 1,273,240 residents and being a highly urbanized and agricultural province, Tarlac is expected to be a sizeable market for Chevrolet. A hard-working and historically rich town in Region III deserves top quality vehicles from a brand that combines performance, style and utility with a century-old heritage.

Michelin Pilot Super Sport Prescribed for New Volvo Polestar

Michelin Philippines Chief Representative Michael Nunag announced that starting June 2014 all of the new Volvo S60 and V60 Polestar, will be fitted with 245/35R20 Michelin Pilot Super Sport ultra-high performance tires. The new Volvos will be sold on four continents around the world.

The Polestar engineered cars are Volvo's fastest production cars ever and with their 350hp six cylinder turbocharged engines are able to accelerate from 0 to 100km/h in just 4.9 seconds.

Caltex "Labanan Para Tsuper Healthy" Campaign Expands Through Strong Partnerships

One of the best examples of successful public-private-partnerships in community programs is seen in the links among Chevron Philippines Inc. (CPI), marketer of Caltex fuels and lubricants, the city health offices (CHO), the Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association (FEJODAP), and the Metro Bus Operators Association (MBOA) to bring TB awareness to public transport workers. Above photo shows a health center nurse training drivers to become certified volunteer treatment partners.  The treatment partners will in turn conduct TB awareness training for fellow drivers in transport terminals.

The “Caltex Labanan ang TB para Tsuper Healthy” campaign works by holding TB awareness seminars during downtimes of jeepney and bus drivers in terminals to avoid disrupting their livelihood. To date, Caltex has reached more than 14,000 or 60% of 23,000 PTWs in Makati, Manila and Quezon City with help from 57 volunteer treatment partners trained by CHOs.

April 22, 2014

Honda Cars Philippines Launches All-New City and Confirms Brio for PHL Market (w/ Complete Brochure)

Photos by Ulysses Ang and Honda Press
UPDATE 2: We have driven the all-new Honda City to La Union! Read about our First Drive here. (4/29).

UPDATE: We have included more photos, higher resolution of the brochure (spec sheet), and the official press release (4/27).

Honda Cars Philippines is aiming to set the standard in the sub-compact sedan segment with the launch of the all-new City. Penned under Honda’s new design language—Exciting H Design—the all-new City is a mix of angular lines, creases, and curves that look to elevate Honda back into the forefront of design. Beyond the design, the all-new City also presents new convenience features and a revised powertrain for improved power and efficiency.

Mazda Offering First Public Test Drive of All-New Mazda3 April 25-27 at BGC

Mazda Philippines is offering the public its first taste of the all-new Mazda3 with its public debut and test drive this coming weekend, Friday, April 25 to Sunday, April 27 at the Bonifacio Global City.

Together with the rest of Mazda’s “KODO” line-up, the Mazda6, CX-5, and CX-9, the public will be able to test drive the all-new Mazda3 from 9am to 6pm (09:00 – 18:00) by visiting the Mazda booth located at 9th Avenue, High Street, Bonifacio Global City (Big Bear Area between Nike and Krispy Kreme).

Though we’ve driven the all-new Mazda3 to Baler, Aurora and back, this is your first chance to try the all-new Mazda3 for yourself.

Volvo Car Group Celebrates 50 Years of Child Safety

Volvo Car Group’s (Volvo Cars) dedication to protecting the smallest and most vulnerable car occupants celebrates its 50-year anniversary in 2014. This ground breaking work started with the world’s first rear-facing child seat prototype in a PV544 back in 1964 – and the latest innovation is an Inflatable Child Seat Concept that is easily tucked away in a small bag when not in use.

Icons Converge: Ford Mustang Celebrates 50 Years at Empire State Building

Two of the world’s most recognizable icons came together last April 16-17, as the all-new 2015 Ford Mustang convertible will be on display on the observation deck of the Empire State Building in New York. The display – replicating the same feat from nearly 50 years ago – coincides with the global celebration of 50 years since Mustang debuted at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York.

AVID Finishes Q1 with 13 Percent Growth

The Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors (AVID) saw its sales accelerate by 19% in March to a total of 3,189 units versus February sales of only 2,675 units. The group’s laudable growth for the month was equally boosted by the solid performance from both the Light Commercial Vehicle and Passenger Car segment.

Review: 2014 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDI

Photos by Ulysses Ang
In the age of celebrity nicknames such as “Kimye” (Kim Kardashian + Kanye West) or “Brangelina” (Brad Pitt + Angelina Jolie), it was just going to be a matter of time for the automotive industry to follow suit. And Volkswagen seems to have done just that with their compact crossover, the Tiguan. Though one might think it’s named after a nomadic desert tribe like the Touareg, it actually stands for Tiger + Iguana because Volkswagen thinks this feisty little number combines the best attributes of these two animals: power and grip. Indeed, the name is quite suitable for one of the best surprises in the compact crossover genre.

April 21, 2014

JCT-Blanche Dominates on the Drag Strip at Round 3 of 2014 NDRC Southern Series

Round 3 of the highly-contested 2014 National Drag Racing Championship (NDRC) Southern Series was held last April 5 at the Batangas Racing Circuit Drag Strip. And while the JCT-Blanche Nissan GT-R may not have beaten the 8-second mark, but a best time of 9.391 seconds was enough for Jonathan Tiu to win the Pro Class yet again.

Ford Revives Escort for Chinese Market

Before the Focus, the Philippines had the Lynx; but for the rest of the world, Ford’s compact sedan was the Escort. And now, the nameplate’s being revived but for the Chinese market (for now). Shown at Auto China in its final production form, the Escort is a compact sedan based off Ford’s global c-segment platform.

This Could be Your All-New Chevrolet Cruze

While others have reported on a refreshed Chevrolet Cruze (with a Malibu-like front grille), here is the Cruze that the Philippines would most likely get: the global Cruze which was debuted at Auto China in Beijing.

400-Horsepower Golf R 400 is a Design Study Volkswagen Should Build

Normally concept cars are things of pure imagination: outrageous lights, wheels, doors, and what have you. But once in a while, there comes a concept car that seems almost ready to cross the line between design studio to showroom floor. Once such example is the Volkswagen Golf R 400—a car which, as it says on the tin, pushes out 400 horsepower. Concept car my a**!

Volkswagen Shows Updated Touareg at Auto China

One of the most successful premium SUVs, the Volkswagen Touareg has been given a timely nip-tuck and has been shown to the public at Auto China in Beijing. The changes to the Touareg are both comestic and mechanical and will only be a matter of time before we see this updated premium SUV roam the streets of Manila.

April 18, 2014

2015 Subaru Outback is Still Basically the Raised Legacy Wagon You Love

It seems reports of Subaru ditching the tall-riding wagon look for the all-new Outback are greatly exaggerated as the company unveiled the fifth-generation model at the New York International Auto Show. Like its predecessors, the all-new Outback is instantly recognizable as a tall-riding Legacy, something that has attracted a fiercely loyal clientele since the first generation launched in 1995.

2015 Subaru WRX STI Goes to Rallycross

Subaru has a long and successful history in the world of rallying and they’re about to right a new chapter using, what else, the all-new 2015 Subaru WRX STI? Using the New York International Auto Show, Subaru has showed off its new Global RallyCross Championship competitor.

Piloted by Bucky Lasek and Sverre Isachsen, Subaru has previewed its new GRC competitor which features a wide body kit with a carbon fiber roof scoop, side mirrors, and rear wing. The wheels are provided by Method. And like all other GRC competitors, the tires are Yokohama. Subaru of America will reveal more details of its GRC competitor in the fall.

Aside from the GRC, Subaru has also announced that the all-new WRX STI will compete in the Rally America Championship with Travis Pastrana and David Higgins driving. That racing WRX STI should arrive later this year.

Nissan Shows Off A Sexier Murano in New York

Based on the design brief that will “elevate your experience”, Nissan unveiled the third-generation Murano at the New York International Auto Show. Based off the Resonance Concept, all-new Murano has the unmistakable Nissan family look: the V-Motion front-end, boomerang lights (with available LED headlights), and the floating roof treatment.

2015 Honda HR-V: This Is It (for the US Market, At Least)

Although much of the hype surrounding Honda’s presence at the New York International Auto Show centered around the all-new Fit (Jazz), the company also showed off their newest sub-compact crossover destined for the US: the 2015 Honda HR-V.

2015 Dodge Challenger Keeps Up in Muscle Car Race

Keeping up with the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang, Dodge revealed a series of changes for its own muscle car, the Dodge Challenger at the New York International Auto Show. The 2015 model promises to have best-in-class horsepower and the segment’s first eight-speed automatic transmission.

Audi A3 Named World Car of the Year

One of the main highlights of the New York International Auto Show is the announcement of the World Car of the Year. And without making you guess (or even click to find out which automobile won), the Audi A3 walked away with the prestigious award for 2014.

The third-generation Audi A3 overcame 23 other cars including the BMW M4 and Mazda3 to win the title. World Car of the Year is voted by an international jury comprising of 69 top-level automotive journalists from 22 countries around the world. This is not the first time the “brand with four rings” won the accolade. It won it in 2005 with the Audi A6.

Other winners in the 2014 World Car of the Year awards are: BMW i3 (World Green Car of the Year, World Car Design of the Year); Porsche 911 GT3 (World Performance Car of the Year); Mercedes-Benz S-Class (World Luxury Car of the Year).

April 16, 2014

AMG Teases Interior of Porsche-Fighting Mercedes-AMG GT

Everyone just got a glimpse of AMG’s new Porsche fighting high-performance automobile, the Mercedes-AMG GT through its sensationally appointed interior.

Mazda Unveils Next-Generation MX-5's Skyactiv Chassis

The last time everyone got excited about a chassis unveil, it was when Subaru showed off the BRZ Architecture in 2013. Now Mazda is doing the low-winded striptease of their all-new MX-5 starting off with its chassis which made its debut at the New York International Auto Show.

Kia Reveals a More Muscular Sedona MPV for 2015

Kia has taken the wraps off its all-new Sedona (local market Carnival) at the 2014 New York International Auto Show. The debut of Kia’s large MPV means that the Peter Schreyer transformation of the entire Kia range (at least in the US) is now complete.

Ford Focus Remains World's Best-Selling Nameplate; Gets Updated for 2015

Ford Motor Company has revealed that its compact car, the Focus, remains the world’s best-selling nameplate according to Polk Automotive’s new vehicle registration data for the 2013 calendar year. This growth has been fueled by markets such as China which has seen Focus sales grow as much as 50 percent. And not wanting to rest on their laurels, Ford has unveiled a refreshed version of their four-door model at the 2014 New York International Auto Show.

MINI Updates Countryman; Shows It in New York

The odd four-door MINI, the Countryman gets a slight makeover this year, showing off some new exterior and interior detailing which can escape the untrained eye.

Test Drive Your Dream Car at the 2014 Auto Focus Test Drive Festival from April 24-27

In the midst of this summer car buyers and automobile enthusiasts will have the opportunity to conveniently see up close and test drive all brand-new models of BMW, BYD, Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Isuzu, Kia, Lexus, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Peugeot and Toyota as they get together at the Mall of Asia’s Concert Grounds for the Caltex Auto Focus Summer Test Drive Festival.

Be Road Trip Ready with Mazda's Summer Service Promo

Take advantage of the 20% discount on parts and labor during the Mazda Summer Service Promo when you bring your Mazda in to any Mazda authorized dealership for Preventive Maintenance Service and General Jobs during the month of April and May 2014.

Mazda Produces One Millionth Skyactiv-Equipped Vehicle

Mazda Motor Corporation has announced that global production of its three full-SKYACTIV vehicles, the Mazda CX-5, Mazda6 (known as Atenza in Japan) and Mazda3 (Axela in Japan) has surpassed one million units, reaching 1,040,000 units as of the end of March 2014. All three models adopt the full range of Mazda's SKYACTIV technologies. The milestone was achieved approximately two years and four months after production of the Mazda CX-5 began in November 2011.

Chevrolet Camaro's a Class Act; Wishes the Ford Mustang a Happy 50th Birthday

Showing that Chevrolet and its Camaro’s a class act, the Bowtie brand has sent a birthday greeting to the Ford Mustang which is celebrating its 50th birthday this coming April 17. The intense rivalry between these two so-called “pony cars” has been intense as of late to the point that Chevrolet’s been comparing them to other great rivalries outside the automotive industry. If these two great rivals could get along once in a while, why can’t we all?

April 15, 2014

Hyundai Philippines Posts 19 Percent Growth in March 2014

Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI), the official distributor of Hyundai vehicles in the Philippines, experienced 19% growth in March to a total of 2,030 units compared to February sales of only 1,710 units. March’s gains pushed three-month sales to grow modestly by 1% to 5,983 units from last year’s first quarter sales of 5,951 units.

Petron Formulates Fuels for the Filipino Motorist

As the only and the biggest Filipino fuel refiner, Petron takes pride in its capability to formulate world-class products for Filipino motorists. Having served the fuel needs of the country for more than 80 years, Petron has a deep understanding of the driving conditions on Philippine roads, with its R&D team constantly creating fuels that will deliver optimum efficiency for every type of vehicle. Whether you are driving a luxury sports car, a family van, a cargo truck, a motorcycle or a public utility vehicle, Petron has a fuel designed to meet your motoring needs with the best value.

First Drive: 2014 Mazda3 1.5 V and 2.0 R

Photos by Ulysses Ang
Normally, you launch a new vehicle in the relative safety of a hotel ballroom before inviting motoring journos to flog them on a racetrack or let them loose on public roads. Not so with Mazda. From the company that promises zoom-zoom, the best, and perhaps the only way, to prove your product’s mettle is to drive it 600 kilometers from Manila to Baler, Aurora and back. It’s a baptism by fire—one that not only proves that the Mazda3 is a class-redefining sports compact, but one that clearly says that Mazda’s back big time. (For the complete specs and press release click here or how it stacks up against the competition).

April 14, 2014

One Challenge, Five Destinations: Isuzu D-Max 4x4 Drive Series to Kick Off in Pampanga on April 25-27

You love the great outdoors, you got the right equipment, you live for off-road fun. So, are you ready to take on the challenge?

Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) is inviting you to the 2014 Isuzu D-Max 4x4 Drive Series in Pampanga. Featuring the exciting all-new Isuzu D-Max 4x4, the event is scheduled to hit full throttle on April 25 to 27 at the Eastgate Center, Brgy. San Jose, San Fernando, Pampanga (at the back of Robinsons Starmills). Activities are set to start at 10:00 am and will last until 6:00 pm for the three-day staging (except on the opening day when the first hour is reserved for invited guests).

Volvo Cars' Torslanda Celebrates 50 Years of Success

1964 was a milestone for Sweden’s automotive industry. That was the year Volvo Cars opened its gates at the Torslanda plant, marking the biggest industrial investment in Sweden’s history.

With a capacity for building up to 200,000 cars a year, the plant raised the bar for the development of new models, production volumes and manufacturing technology.

2014 Mazda3 vs the Competition

So where does the all-new 2014 Mazda3 stack up against its compact car competition. Here, we’re pitting the 2.0 R 4-door against its most likely 2.0-liter competition: the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla Atlis, Mitsubishi Lancer EX, Subaru Impreza, and Ford Focus.

The information presented below cannot be too segment specific since this will be a new feature of this site (each time a new car comes out), so you cannot expect things like Active City Stop, i-Eloop, etc. This serves as a handy reference guide only. The best figures are presented in bold.

The chart below is a high-resolution .PNG file. In order to see it, you can simply click it. Otherwise, you can open it in a New Window or click ‘Save As’.

Toyota Motor Philippines Offers Motorists Assistance

Summer has officially arrived and what better way to enjoy this yearly vacation by heading on to your next get-away destination! Have a worry-free road trip by making sure that your vehicle is in tip-top shape.

Have your Toyota checked by Toyota-certified technicians for free!  Simply visit any of our 41 dealerships nationwide from March 31 – April 16, 2014 to avail of a Free 20-point vehicle safety inspection.

April 13, 2014

MMDA Posts Complete EDSA Re-Blocking Details (and They're All Here)

UPDATE: MMDA has said that South-bound re-blocking schedule has been postponed and will start at 2:00 PM on Wednesday, April 16 and not Tuesday, April 15 while North-bound re-blocking has been moved to 8:00 PM on Friday, April 18 instead of 5:00 AM.

The Metro Manila Development Authority or MMDA has officially published the complete re-blocking schedule along EDSA this coming Holy Week. The affected areas will have some lanes closed next week as early as Holy Tuesday, April 15 and work is expected to be completed by Easter Monday, April 21.

Mazda Philippines Redefines the Compact Car Class with All-New Mazda3 (w/ Complete Specs)

UPDATE 2: Our first drive of the all-new Mazda3 is here (4/15/2014).

UPDATE: See how the all-new Mazda3 stacks up against the competition here (4/14/2014).

Ten years since the Mazda3 nameplate made its debut on Philippine soil, its third and latest generation arrives on local shores. Packing the most recent evolutions in all the key aspects that have made the first and second models (launched locally in 2004 and 2012, respectively) a success both here and abroad, the all-new Mazda3 pushes the boundaries in vehicle design, engineering, and manufacture not just at the level of the C-segment, but of the automotive industry as a whole.

Mazda Makati Temporarily Closes

Effective April 1, 2014, Mazda Makati dealership closes its operation temporarily while a new facility is being planned and developed. The new facility, currently under study and development, will meet the new requirement of Mazda’s new standard in providing superior sales and service customer experience.

Honda Cars Philippines to Provide Road Assistance to Motorists During Holy Week

In continuous effort to provide utmost customer service, Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI) together with its dealership network nationwide will set-up its annual Honda Emergency Assistance Team (HEAT) to provide on-site road assistance, service and support in different travel destinations nationwide from April 16 to 20, 2014 (except April 18, Good Friday).

NLEX, CAVITEX, SCTEX Brace for Holy Week Exodus

The NLEX, CAVITEX and SCTEX have drawn up contingency measures to cope with the expected surge of vehicles during the Holy Week.

The move has become a traditional exercise for the three expressways to ease traffic flow and make it more convenient for motorists as they turn up in droves for the traditional observance of the Holy Week in the provinces.

Kia Gets Nod of PBA Board

The application of Columbian Autocar Corporation (CAC), exclusive distributor of KIA vehicles in the country, to join the PBA pro basketball league, has been approved by the PBA Board of Governors.

Ms. Ginia R. Domingo, president of CAC, said in a press statement "We are elated to receive word of the acceptance of our application to join the PBA and thank the board of governors for their vote of confidence."

Domingo added that the basketball community can look forward to more exciting times ahead with Kia's entry into the PBA. "KIA's joining the PBA bodes well for the game given the renewed interest and popularity in the league.”

"KIA's joining the PBA is yet another testament to the success of KIA 's global strategy of engaging our customers through sports marketing. With our entry into the PBA, expect us to live up to KIA's marketing axiom as the brand with the Power to Surprise", Domingo quipped.