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January 2, 2020

12 Cars to Watch Out for in 2020

As the world enters a new year, carmakers in the Philippines are once again bullish with the prospects of a growing industry. After being hit hard by the implementation of the new vehicle excise tax in 2018, and some subsequent recovery in 2019, the industry is once again looking to new models to further fuel their growth this year.

Discounting models which have been previously announced for a 2020 launch including the Audi Q7, Land Rover Defender, Maxus T60, Lexus LM, MG ExtenderMitsubishi Xpander CrossNissan Leaf, Nissan Patrol, Porsche Taycan, and Subaru Ascent—here are 12 cars which will (probably) arrive in the next 12 months.

#1. Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban

Chevrolet’s big boys often play second fiddle to the likes of the Toyota Land Cruiser and Ford Expedition. Well for 2020, it looks like they’ll be taking the fight back with a completely re-designed Tahoe and Suburban. Both of these beasts now feature independent suspension all-around (with optional air suspension available to boot), while the possibility of plopping in an inline-6 diesel engine could make it the “torque” of the town.

#2. Ford Explorer

Most predicted that Ford’s mid-sized SUV, the Explorer would have dropped in sometime in 2019; thankfully, it didn’t. Marred by quality issues, it’s only now that the carmaker’s been able to sort things out at its Illinois assembly plant. With that out of the way, this all-new model marks a dramatic departure with its all-new rear-wheel drive architecture. With that, it’s sportier and roomier than its predecessor as well as more capable and comfortable, too. Its powertrain options are all turbocharged, making up to 400 horsepower in its bonkers ST version.

#3. Honda City

With a promise of “delivering value beyond everyone’s imagination,” the all-new City is Honda’s next visible step towards a renewed renaissance. Not only is it larger than its predecessor, but the decision to install a 122-horsepower turbocharged 1.0-liter engine exclusively lights up the imagination of pocket rocket fans everywhere. Apart from great torque, the all-new City also gets its own RS variant which dials up the sportiness.

#4. Hyundai Elantra

Hyundai focused their attention mainly on its volume drivers such as the Accent and Reina for 2019, but 2020 may be an opportune time for some brand building. One vehicle they can seriously consider bringing in is the all-new Elantra. Technically, it’s a refresh of the current model, but it’s so substantial it might as well be a new generation model. It features a strong angular styling outside, while inside, the refresh gives it more stowage. The likely engine is the 128-horsepower 1.6-liter, but hopefully Hyundai takes a gamble and opts for the 152-horsepower 2.0-liter instead.

#5. Isuzu D-Max

Its first full model change after eight years, the all-new D-Max is the short in the arm that Isuzu needs to fight back in the pickup truck segment. Designed in collaboration with Mazda, the all-new D-Max sits on a brand-new platform that enable the chassis, engine, and suspension to all work cohesively (sounds familiar?). Apart from better handling and comfort, the D-Max now joins the 800-mm water wading club. For engines, the 1.9-liter RZ4E remains but thanks to a downsized torque converter and lockup clutch, the responses will be faster, and fuel economy even better. The bigger news is the new 4JJ3-TCX which replaces the 4JJ1-TCX. This 3.0-liter engine makes 190 horsepower and 450 Nm of torque.

#6. Jeep Gladiator

There’s no hiding Jeep Philippines’s excitement over the Gladiator, and for good reason. With the new vehicle excise tax being favorable to pickup trucks, it’s about time for Jeep to play in the segment too. Based off the Wrangler, the Gladiator’s been stretched to carry cargo—albeit a more leisurely 726 kilograms. Despite not matching a true workhorse’s payload capacity, at least it does have the best legroom among all mid-sized pickup trucks. The most likely powertrain is the 285-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 gasoline engine, but cross those fingers and hope that the EcoDiesel V6 would be made available.

Photo courtesy of Kolesa via Motor1
#7. Kia Sorento

A glance at the Kia lineup suggests that the Sorento is desperately due for a full model change. True enough, Kia has confirmed that its mid-sized SUV is indeed due for a global launch this year. Given that the Philippines is also left-hand drive, it’s not far off that we’ll get it fairly quickly (likely by end of the year). Not much has been revealed yet about the all-new Sorento, except that it shares its platform with the Hyundai Santa Fe. Interestingly though, it’s been spied testing around the Nurburgring Nordschleife suggesting that at least it’ll handle very well.

Photo courtesy of Pickup Truck News
#8. Mazda BT-50

Mazda is shedding the last of its Ford ties with the all-new BT-50. Hoping into bed with fellow Japanese carmaker Isuzu, the BT-50 is set for a global debut around six months after its platform twin, the D-Max. This puts a likely global launch date of around March or April, with the Bangkok International Motor Show the most plausible venue. Not much is known about the BT-50’s powertrain, but one thing’s for certain, with the all-new Ranger also debuting this year, Mazda’s got a lot to prove that they can design and engineer a better pickup without Ford’s help.

#9. Nissan Almera

Another sub-compact offering that’ll likely enter the market in 2020 is the all-new Almera. Doing away with its predecessor’s generic design, the new “Emotional Geometry” gives it a highly angular appearance. Lower, wider, and longer than before, the Almera boasts one of the roomiest cabins in its class. Like the City, it also gets turbocharged power—a 100-horsepower 1.0-liter engine. Power aside, Nissan Intelligent Mobility features also debut here for the first time. This adds a suite of driver assist features including blind spot warning and intelligent emergency braking.

#10. Nissan 370Z

Promised way back in 2018 (for a 2019 launch), the 370Z is finally reaching Philippine shores in 2020. It’s a decade old, but Nissan understands that its brand needs some more excitement after demand for its legendary GT-R has waned. The 370Z could give them that. The large displacement V6 is old-school tech, but the 350-horsepower output is still enough for it to go against the likes of the Ford Mustang and even the Subaru WRX STI. The best part is that the 370Z doesn’t require any special tools to service which means a possible nationwide rollout instead of limiting it to just one high-performance center.

Photo courtesy of India Car News
#11. Toyota IMVs

Four to five years has past since the second-generation Toyota IMV line-up (Hilux, Innova, Fortuner) hit showrooms, so they’re all due for a substantial refresh throughout the year. The running gear will most likely be left untouched, but all models will receive tweaks to improve its handling and riding comfort. The Innova is said to be the one that benefits the most in this round with “SUV-like design details.” Oh, and given Apple CarPlay and Android Auto’s rolled out in the Fortuner, this technology will surely find its way in the Hilux and Innova too.

#12. Volkswagen Teramont

Large, boxy, and fitted with 7 seats—Volkswagen’s Teramont SUV certainly has the right recipe for success. Known as the Atlas in the U.S. where it originated, the Teramont is a more luxurious take on its American sibling. It comes with all sorts of luxury features including available Nappa leather. The safe bet though is that VW’s going to keep the pricing to around the P 2.5-million mark which could mean bringing in the 186-horsepower 330 TSI or 252-horsepower 380 TSI models. It was supposed to arrive in Philippine showrooms in 2019, but a recent global refresh could explain why Volkswagen Philippines opted to push back its launch to this year instead.


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