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Friday, December 2, 2011

BMW Launches All-New 1 Series: Two Styles, Same Ugliness


Asian Carmakers Corporation (ACC), the official distributor of BMW automobiles in the Philippines launched the all-new 1 Series a couple of days ago. And while the second-generation 1 Series offers increased dimensions in almost every way, it also multiplies its ugliness quotient.

All-New Kia Rio to Launch in Philippines January 19

Photo courtesy of Kia Press
Our intrepid friends over at Top Gear Philippines has managed to sneak out some juicy information about the all-new Kia Rio. It's going to be launched soon. On January 19, 2012 to be precise. If the reports are all true, Columbian Autocar Corporation (CAC), the official distributor of Kia automobiles in the Philippines, has already pencil-booked that date for the Rio's launch.

The same report indicated that the all-new Kia Rio will remain with two engine choices: 1.2-liter (86 horsepower, 120 Nm of torque) and 1.4-liter (106 horsepower, 135 Nm of torque) 4-cylinder engines and two transmission options: a six-speed manual and a four-speed automatic.

The top-spec Rio is said to carry features such as a chilled glove box, cruise control, rear parking sensor, Bluetooth connectivity and even a push button engine start/stop button. The range-topper will have a 1.4-liter engine mated to the 4-speed and will have a 5-door hatchback body.

Hyundai to Launch Diesel Accent and Hatch Really Soon?

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Press
Our friends at Top Gear Philippines has reported that the much-awaited (and much-delayed) Hyundai Accent diesel and hatchback versions will soon roam the streets of Manila.

According to the site, Hyundai Automotive Resources, Inc. (HARI), the official distributor of Hyundai automobiles in the Philippines already has one CRDi-powered Accent at their office brought in for pre-launch testing. Also, HARI has already received the green light to sell the Accent diesel and hatchback variants from their Korean head office.

So, what's stopping them? Apparently, supply. When there's adequate stocks of the Accent Diesel, HARI will begin shipping these fuel-sippers into the country. Oh, we can't wait!

UPDATED: Toyota, BMW Talk About Swapping Engine Tech


UPDATE: The Toyota-BMW team-up has just been confirmed as the two companies have signed a mid- to long-term agreement to develop next-generation lithium-ion batteries with the option to expand the partnership into additional areas as well. In addition, BMW has announced that it will supply Toyota with 1.6- and 2.0-liter diesel engines beginning 2014. These engines, however, will be used for Toyota products solely for the European market.

The Japan Times has reported that Toyota and BMW are reportedly beginning discussions on swapping their green technologies. In this agreement, it's believed that Toyota would open up its gasoline-electric hybrid technology to BMW, while the German automaker will provide diesel engines for Toyotas.

The BMW/Toyota team-up is all to save money on "core technologies". For BMW, this would mean a better stronghold in the US market where gasoline-electric hybrids are strong, while Toyota's interest would be to improve its diesel position in Europe.

There is still no deal in place, but one can only imagine seeing a Lexus powered by a diesel BMW engine or a BMW with a Toyota/Lexus hybrid engine.

The Rundown on RON

Photo courtesy of stock xchng
Go to any gasoline station and chances are, you’ll come across a number emblazoned on the pump. Typically, they range from 93 to 100. And though there’s a general consensus that the higher the number equates to better (and more expensive) fuel, what does this actually mean?

Subaru XV Scores Top 5-Star Rating in NCAP Safety Test

Photo courtesy of Subaru Press
If you're going to hit something head on, it better be a Subaru XV. Well, that stems from the crash test results of Subaru's new baby crossover. All in all, the XV has received top ratings for "adult occupant protection", "child occupant protection", "pedestrian protection" and "safety assist". Subaru has already gotten another Top Rating with its Legacy two years ago.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

First Drive: 2012 Chevrolet Colorado

Photos by GM Press

The week before our departure date, there were some worried and anxious faces as Bangkok was facing the worst flood in its modern history. With Thailand’s capital serving as our jumping off point to Northern Thailand, Chevrolet’s regional office coordinated with us back and forth to make sure that our seat time with the all-new Colorado pick-up truck would push through. Luckily, we were given the thumbs up, and before we knew it, we were touching down at the Chiang Rai International Airport.

Review: 2011 Ford Fiesta 1.6 Trend Sedan


Just like the Ford Focus before it, everyone’s in love with the hatchback version of the Fiesta. And you can’t blame them; it’s absolutely stunning from just about any angle and with the right paintjob (the molten orange hue comes to mind), you’ve got one of the best head-turners money can buy. But while everyone’s all oohs and ahhs over the Fiesta hatchback, tucked neatly alongside it is the equally capable Ford Fiesta sedan.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Race Driver 101: Driving the TRS-Ford Focus PTCC Race Car

Photos by Ulysses Ang

It’s not everyday you get the opportunity to jump from a virtual race car to a real one without the hard work and perseverance. Ask any racing driver and he or she can tell you that those years of training pays off at 0.1 of a second at a time. So what happens when you place me—a totally “green” racer but hardcore Playstation driving champion behind the wheel of a Philippine Touring Car-spec Tuason Racing-Ford Focus race car? Not the utter disaster that you’d expect, but not the fairy tale ending either. Let’s just say, I won’t be climbing aboard a race car any time soon.

UPDATED: Subaru Unveils Production BRZ Sports Coupe

Photos courtesy of Subaru Press
UPDATED: We just had to share these additional photos with you including shots of the BRZ's interior as well as its engine.

Toyota's UK office has already unveiled the GT86 a couple of days back, and now, it's Subaru's turn. The BRZ Sports Coupe has been officially unveiled courtesy of these two shots. Of course, more shots will be available when it blows the covers at the Tokyo Motor Show.

Taming Your Inner Monster

Photo courtesy of stock.xchng
Is there a monster in your car? Look carefully in the rearview mirror, because the monster might just be you. Normally, you maybe the most attentive and courteous motorist out there, but sometimes you can become a nasty and dangerous speedster. Even the best of us, myself included, fall prey to aggressive driving behavior. It’s a steadily growing problem with the increasing car sales and the shrinking road infrastructure. However, it’s also a problem that’s easily rectifiable.

What is Aggressive Driving?

The US-based National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines aggressive driving as “when individuals commit a combination of moving traffic offenses as to endanger other persons or property.” Likewise, it’s an on-road behavior that’s largely motivated by impatience, annoyance and hostility towards other drivers. In the Philippines, this feeling is usually evoked in an attempt to save time.

Aggressive driving is different from road rage, which is the actual perpetration of violence on a person or property because of a driving incident. They are, however, closely related. Aggressive driving, if left unchecked, can lead quite easily to road rage.

In our roads, aggressive driving is quite prevalent. The most common occurrence is the refusal to let another driver change into one’s lane, even if the other driver signals and enters properly. This has led some drivers to forego signaling altogether, in the expectation that signaling will only make other drivers react aggressively.

Even worse behavior that’s almost considered normal include: blocking the intersection even if the way forward is already clogged and driving into oncoming traffic just to get ahead of the crowd. If you want proof that it happens almost any day are uniquely Philippine road signs proclaiming: COUNTERFLOW NOT ALLOWED.

Why Does Aggressive Driving Take Place?

Human beings tend to be territorial creatures, and thus consider not just the vehicle but the road as part of their personal domain. Thus, there’s an instinctive aggressive reaction when we feel threatened by other vehicles.

Another factor is the relative anonymity afforded by being in a closed metal capsule and tinted windows. After all, you’ll probably never encounter this particular motorist again, so we don’t other being courteous to him. Man’s competitive instinct can lead a driver to respond by being overtaken or cut off by another vehicle as a challenge, and thus an impromptu drag race starts off.

Driving may also lead some to feel a sense of power which they may not have with their jobs or families. In some cases, it may even manifest itself as a “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” effect, where someone normally polite and courteous becomes a maniac when put behind the wheel.

Another serious problem is drivers who try to punish others for a particular driving behavior which displeases them. This “vigilante” behavior includes driving too closely to the vehicle in front (tailgating), braking suddenly as a warning to the vehicle behind (brake testing), deliberately blocking the passing lane, using headlights on full beam to punish other drivers, and shouting or making obscene gestures to other drivers.

All these behaviors are exacerbated by the stress and time pressures of modern life. On top of that, the ever congested roads also lead to feelings of frustration and are responsible for cases of aggressive driving and the lack of respect for other drivers. It must also be remembered that aggressive driving is a learned behavior, so children can learn this irresponsible behavior from parents who drive aggressively or from the media which portrays aggressive driving in a “fun” context such as car chases in films and video games.

The Four Realities of the Road

Motorists who might respond to provocation from an aggressive driver should think about the four realities of the threat:
  • Men, women and children are seriously injured or killed each year as a result of senseless traffic disputes and altercations.
  • There are mentally and emotionally disturbed individuals on the road. Charged with anger, fear and/or personal frustration, and often impaired by alcohol or drugs, these motorists have murdered or maimed other drivers form seemingly trivial reasons. Explanations such as “He stole my parking space,” “She kept on honking her horn”, “He gave me ‘the finger’,” abound in police blotters. 
  • Many motorists are armed with knives, clubs and other weapons. Some also carry guns. More importantly, every driver is armed with a weapon more deadly than any firearm: a motor vehicle. 
  • Anyone can become an aggressive driver. Aggressive driving behavior affects old and young, males or females, rich or poor. Do not underestimate the potential for violence in any driver.

Proper Driving Begins With You

Any driver should keep their cool in traffic, to be patient and courteous to other motorists and to correct unsafe driving habits that are likely to endanger, infuriate or antagonize other people. Be aware of the behaviors that have resulted commonly in violence:
  • Lane blocking. Don’t block the passing lane. Stay out of the far left lane and yield to the right for any vehicle that wants to overtake you. If someone demands to pass, allow them to do so.
  • Tailgating. Maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you. Using a still point of reference such as a lamp post, count “one thousand one, one thousand two”. That’s the amount of space you should have between your hood and his bumper. As you go faster, increase the count to four or even five.
  • Signal use. Don’t switch lanes without first signaling your intention, and make sure you don’t cut someone off when you move over. After you’ve made the maneuver, remember to turn your signal off.
  • Gestures. You are playing Russian roulette if you raise a middle finder to another driver. Obscene gestures can get you killed.
  • Horn use. Use your horn sparingly. If you must get someone’s attention in a non-emergency situation, tap your horn lightly. Think twice before using your horn to say “hello” to a passing pedestrian or car; the driver in front of you may think you’re honking at him.
  • Failure to turn. In most areas, right-hand turns are allowed even at a red light. Avoid the right-hand lane if you’re not turning right as not to block the flow of traffic.
  • Parking. Don’t take more than one parking space and do not park in a handicapped or reserved  parking space if you’re not entitled to do so. Don’t allow your door to strike an adjacent parked vehicle. When parallel parking, do not tap the other vehicles with your own. Always look before backing up.
  • Headlight use. Keep headlights on low beam, except where unlighted conditions require the use of high beams. Dim your lights for oncoming traffic; don’t retaliate to oncoming high beams with your own in order to “teach them a lesson”. Don’t approach a vehicle from the rear with high beams and remember to dim your lights as soon as a passing vehicle is alongside.
  • Merging. Always look before merging onto any road. Don’t immediately swerve three lanes to  the left or the right; always merge to the lane nearest you. On highways, merge on the rightmost lane and if traffic permits, move out of the right-hand lane to allow other vehicles to enter from the on-ramps.
  • Blocking traffic. If you are pulling a trailer or driving a cumbersome vehicle that impedes traffic behind you, pull over when you have the opportunity so that motorists behind you can pass. Also, do not block the road while talking to a pedestrian on the sidewalk.
  • Mobile phone use. Don’t let cellular phones become a distraction—keep your eyes and attention on the road. Mobile phones are a godsend in keeping up with friends or work, but are bad for driving safety. The amount of distraction contributed by mobile phone use is similar to that of driving under the influence of alcohol.
  • Displays. Refrain from showing any type of bumper sticker or slogan that could be offensive; this might include personalized “2 FAST 4 U” license plates.
  • Eye Contact. If a hostile motorist tries to pick a fight, do not make eye contact. This can be seen as a challenging gesture and incite the other driver to violence. Instead, get out of the way but do not acknowledge the other driver. If a motorist pursues you, don’t go home. Instead go to a crowded area like a convenience store or maybe a police station where you can get help and there will be witnesses.
Reduce Your Own Stress

Traffic stress—indeed, anger in general—is hazardous to your health. The stress from road congestion is a major contributing factor to violent traffic disputes. Making a few simple changes in the way you approach driving can significantly reduce your stress level in the car.

Consider altering your schedule to avoid the worst congestion. Allow plenty of time so that you don’t have to speed, beat traffic lights, or counter flow. Think—is it really the end of the world if you’re a bit late? Could you plan your day so you could leave a little earlier?

Improve the comfort of your vehicle. Put the air conditioner in full blow, install a nice sound system to enjoy uninterrupted music or get a pillow or seat cover to make your seat more comfortable. Listen to classical or jazz music, this reduces your anxiety.

While in traffic, concentrate on being relaxed. Don’t clench your teeth. Loosen your grip on the wheel, take a deep breath, and do limited exercises and stretches for your arms and legs. Don’t drive when you are angry, upset, or overtired. Most importantly, understand that you can’t control the traffic but you can control your reaction to it.

Adjust Your Attitude 

Give the other driver the benefit of the doubt. Assume that other drivers’ mistakes aren’t intentional and aren’t personal. Be polite and courteous, even if the other driver isn’t; it’s better to err on the side of caution.

Before reacting to another driver’s mistake, ask yourself, “How many times have I made the same mistake?” Before initiating or responding violently to a traffic situation, ask yourself, “Is it worth being paralyzed or killed? Is it worth the time and money for a lawsuit? Is it worth a jail sentence?” Remember, split-second impulsive actions can ruin the rest of your life.

Encased in metal armor, many motorists who are normally passive become enraged road warriors when they get behind the wheel. Don’t become one of them. You should remember that (a) cars are not bulletproof; (b) another driver can follow you home; and (c) you’ve got to get out of the car some time.

Avoid all conflict if possible. If you are challenged, take a deep breath and get out of the way, even if you are right. You don’t want to be dead right. Instead, try being more forgiving and tolerant. Recognize the absurdity of traffic disputes and focus on what is really important in life. You cannot fight every battle. Save your energy—and your life—for something worthwhile.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Volvo S60 Wins Car of the Year in the Middle East

Photo courtesy of Volvo Press
Viking Cars, Incorporated, the official distributor of Volvo cars in the Philippines shared to us good news: its S60 sports sedan was recently crowned as the Car of the Year in the Middle East. The award was presented at the Middle East Motor Awards 2011 (MEMA).

Subaru Launches WRX STI S206

Photos courtesy of Subaru Press

There's no doubting that the days of the Subaru Impreza WRX STI are numbered (at least in its current form). So, it's just fitting that the folks over at Subaru Tecnica International give it a proper send-off with the S206 (well, at least in Japan). The S206 joins the long list of "S" series STI's.

Review: 2011 Volvo S60 T6


Volvo is typically compared to other upscale German makes; after all, they’re going for the same sort of buyer. For example, if BMW has their 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz their E-Class, Volvo has the S80. The same goes for the rest of Volvo’s line-up from Edward Cullen’s ride—the C30, all the way to the large, 7-seater XC90. However, the Volvo of late is shifting direction. Not anymore are they content with merely being a German alternative, they’re working to reaffirm the brand’s unique Swedish identity. Consider the move an upward shift in Volvo’s Maslow Hierarchy of Needs. There’s no need for the Swedish automaker to involve itself in a pissing match with the Germans; no, this time, they’re carving their own turf.

What to Look for in a Used Car: A 4 Step Guide

Photo courtesy of stock xchng
In tough times, there’s a huge temptation to compromise on your car purchase, and buying a used car is one place to save thousands, if not millions of pesos.  Sure, we’d all like to drive a brand-new Mercedes-Benz, but boy, that Corolla sure is tempting for just a hundred grand. After all, it’s just for getting back and forth to work—how could it go wrong? Generally, there’s nothing wrong with bargain hunting as long as you’re hunting the right game. And when it comes to used cars, there are some things that you should always check.

DTS Chips Now Available in Manila

Photo courtesy of DTS Philippines
Car enthusiasts, at one point in their lives have thought of putting more horses under the hood. Though the manufacturer-quoted horsepower is more than enough for some people, there are some who long for extra power and performance attainable only through expert tuning. Normally this is an easy feat, especially for gasoline-fed cars. Unfortunately, those with diesel-powered ones aren’t so lucky.

The road to diesel performance tuning is often a dead end. However, given the continuous rise in pump prices, diesel-powered cars and trucks will undoubtedly become a popular choice for both the masses and enthusiasts alike. And now, the question beckons: how do you get more horsepower for your diesel car? Thankfully, the answer now is quite simple: the new DTS diesel tuning chip.

A UK-based company, DTS has been in the manufacture of diesel tuning products since 1998. And because of their long history in the business, whatever tuning system you end up with, chances are, it was ultimately made or supplied by DTS.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Review: 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STI Sedan


Ken Block, you should have stuck with Subaru. You may have a nifty new ride, but is it in the form of a legend? If you decided to stick it out, this may have been your new ride: the Subaru Impreza WRX STI sedan. The name’s certainly a mouthful, but what’s 14 syllables between friends? Hopping into the WRX STI feels like meeting up with an ex-fling: she’s familiar, but there’s always something new about her. And you’ve got to admit, she’s packing some new curves this time too. You’re an unlucky guy, Ken.

Goodyear Launches New Eagle F1 Range

Photos by Ulysses Ang
Ever since we were young, the Goodyear Eagle F1 has always been synonymous with ultra-high performance vehicles, requiring the very pinnacle of tire technology. Cars such as the Chevrolet Corvette, Ford GT and even the McLaren F1 have all made the Eagle F1 as their O.E. or Original Equipment tire of choice. Drivers such as Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher have won championships on cars with nothing less than Goodyear Eagle F1 tires. It comes as no surprise that it’s won numerous awards across the globe including six in Asia during the past two years alone.

Toyota Reveals GT 86 Sports Car

Photos courtesy of Toyota Press
After countless teasers, concepts and production mules seen around the world (particularly near the Nürburgring), Toyota has finally taken the wraps off its much-waited FT-86. Though the reveal is supposed to be at the Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota's UK office has released the first official photos as well as some initial specifications.

It has also been revealed that the car will be dropping the "FT" moniker for something much simpler: "86". Yes, that's right--the car will be called the Toyota 86. However, for Europe, the two-seater will be called Toyota GT 86. Of course, depending on where you are, the 86 will be called by different names. In the US, it will be known as a Scion FR-S.

Welcome to carguide.ph

Photo courtesy of stock.xchng
It’s been 13 years since I’ve started clicking and typing about cars—in a self-made website back on the sem-break of my college freshman year. At the time, it was nothing but a hobby—a welcome distraction from what I consider as the most tedious course in the world: Legal Management. Dealing with the typical corporate stuff like accounting, finance, obligations and contracts; my mind numbed up at the fact that I couldn’t do anything artistic. Combined with my passion for motoring, putting up a motoring website was something I, along with my brother, wanted to do.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Review: 2010 Subaru Tribeca


There comes a time in a man’s life when he goes past having 2.1 kids. A time when he can no longer fit his family in a sedan, or even a wagon. The time has come for (gasp) a minivan. Ending one’s days of blissful driving for the sheer utility of a van may be inevitable, but there a few vehicles that just might provide an equitable solution, giving each kid his own seat, while still being kind to the guy behind the wheel. One of them resides atop the product line of sports-sedan/wagon expert Subaru: the full-size, all-wheel drive Tribeca.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Review: 2010 Mitsubishi Strada GLS Sport


Let’s face it: it’s hard to fall in love with a pick-up truck, let alone imagine using one every single day. It’s designed to be first and foremost a workhorse—it’s the thing utility companies use to install your cable television or fix your broken internet connection. You didn’t care how it looked or how it went over ruts; what’s important is that it can haul your stuff. Well, not anymore. The arrival of the luxury pick-up trucks in the late 1990’s; particularly the gigantic American ones transformed the lowly pick-up into a status symbol. And now, the Japanese brands are in on the act.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Review: 2010 Mercedes-Benz E 300


It’s not everyday you get to drive a legend; let alone twice.  Even before setting foot inside the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class, you know you’re about to taste a piece of history, a history that starts way back in 1953.  At the time, there was no Beatles, the American Civil Rights Movement was still in its infancy, and a bottle of Coca-Cola cost just 4 cents.  And yet, Mercedes-Benz was already creating waves with its W120 sedan, now lovingly referred to as the “Ponton”.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Review: 2010 Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG


Flying halfway across the world, the least thing I would have expected was to meet my wife’s tito—who happens to share the same passion as I do: fast cars. But as if fate waved its magic wand, that’s exactly what happened and how I ended up at a Mercedes-Benz dealership south of Boston, Massachusetts. Stepping into Tito JC Cabanos’s corner office is like stepping into the McLaren-Mercedes trophy room: on display were shimmering awards and trophies. Yet, JC’s passion for the three-pointed star doesn’t end with his sales accolades: hung on the wall was a painting of Sterling Moss’s 300 SLR and on his desk, a shot of him sitting in a late-model SL, with oddly enough, a large lobster draped on the hood. After exchanging tales of kamustas, JC decided that there was no better way to heighten the Mercedes experience than driving one of the most formidable Mercedes-Benz cars on the road today: the C 63 AMG.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Review: 2009 Mitsubishi Galant SE


Before the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord, there was only one executive car of choice, and its name is Mitsubishi Galant.  This nameplate has an almost mythical ring to it especially in conjuring up images of a sharply-styled and sporty sedan that’s capable as it is comfortable.  However, somewhere along the road to the present day, it has lost its way; ending up in executive car limbo in the process.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Review: 2009 Toyota RAV4


Go ahead. Stare as much as you like. What you’re seeing on these pages is the 2009 Toyota RAV4. We’re not kidding! That’s how “subtle” the changes are, considering the nips and tucks done here we supposed to keep the RAV4 fresh against the slew of its newer competitors including the exemplary Subaru Forester. We’re not saying that the RAV4 is a terrible car though. In fact, despite being one of the first to arrive among the current crop of compact crossovers, this “cute-ute” remains fairly commendable, though it has truly fallen from our graces.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Review: 2009 Suzuki SX4 Sedan


Success plays mind games on people.  Sometimes it pushes you to do greater things, sometimes it makes you complacent and sometimes it makes you do silly things.  Take Michael Phelps for example: the sheer weight of eight Olympic gold medals hung around his neck had caused him to smoke pot.  In front of the camera no less.  And much like Phelps, Suzuki is leaning towards downright silliness.  The sheer success of their Swift sub-compact has caused them to move up the automotive ladder.  They set their sights on the Mazda3 and the Honda Civic with (drum rolls please) the SX4 Sedan.  That’s a pretty tall order considering that the SX4 has a wheelbase of just 2,500 mm—making it even shorter than even Honda City.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Review: 2009 Hyundai i10 1.1 GLS A/T


Sixty-six horsepower isn’t something to get excited about.  After all, the last time I’ve driven a car with that little hood ponies was an early 80’s Toyota.  And let’s just say the memories aren’t so great: each time we encountered a steep enough incline (and it’s not that steep), we had to turn off the air conditioning just to reach the top.  But times certainly have changed and with the advent of modern technology such as fuel injection, computer-controlled transmissions and so forth, having 66 horsepower isn’t as limiting as it used to be.  Take for instance the Hyundai i10—a car that’s unarguably one of the most exciting I’ve ever driven.  Exciting?  The Hyundai i10?  It’s easy getting caught up in prejudices with small and cheap cars in general; and I too fell victim, having put very low expectations from this P 558,000 car.  But believe me, the i10 made me appreciate that fun-to-drive doesn’t necessarily mean having the most horsepower or having the flashiest badge

Monday, January 26, 2009

Review: 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX


Everyday traffic in Manila is such a finicky creature.  One moment, you’re cruising the length of EDSA at about 80 km/h and the next; you’re stuck behind the Love Bus.  You think you can escape it by leaving earlier (or later) or by taking another route, but after sometime you realize: traffic here doesn’t follow a particular time or place.  It comes and goes at will and no amount of u-turn slots and bus lanes can fix it.  The best you can do would be to make the daily commute much more bearable: a roomy and comfy cabin, a compliant ride and a nice stereo would be welcome things to have as you crawl next to everyone else.  But what about the times when things are moving faster?  When you wished you had a quick car with excellent performance and strong brakes to haul you in?  It may not be more than 14.28 percent of any given week (that’s Sunday to you non-mathematicians), but as an enthusiast, you just want that extra kick available when you need it the most.  Luckily, there’s the Subaru Impreza WRX—a car that’s equal parts comfortable and racy; an automotive equivalent of Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Review: 2008 BMW 320d Sport


There’s always something just right about the BMW 3 Series.  Beside the papa bear excess of the 7 Series and the mommy bear conservatism of the 5 Series, the 3 has always balanced the act quite well.  And buyers seem to agree: the 3 Series accounts for more than 50 percent of BMW’s annual sales.  BMW considers the 3 Series so important that it has as much trim choices as the rest of the sedan line-up combined.  Locally, there are at least six—ranging from the poverty spec 318i to the ultra-cool 325i.  With so many choices, which is the best?  Although the obvious is the 325i, the price of ownership stings the wallet a tad too much.  On the other end of the scale, as tempting as the 318i is, it’s just too entry-level.  And then there’s the 320i, but everyone seems to have one of those now.  So, it’s the new 320d then.  Though it may not have that famed inline-6 upfront, it’s offers an excellent mix of style and performance in every sense of the word.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Review: 2008 Isuzu Alterra and D-Max


Isuzu has always been a force to be reckoned with when it comes to diesel engines.  Their formidable direct-injection lean burners have always been the first choice when it comes to reliability and dependability.  Tune into the news, and chances are, you’ll see an Isuzu truck delivering relief aid to typhoon victims.  This unparalleled reputation has translated well to their passenger vehicle line as well.  The Alterra, D-MAX and Crosswind have been continuously selling strong despite the stiff competition it’s been facing of late.  Not wanting to rest simply on its diesel superiority, Isuzu has been continuously upgrading its products, all to cater to the ever finicky buying public.  Coming from the same basic gene pool, the 2008 Alterra and D-MAX represent the newest offerings from the world’s diesel leader.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Review: 2008 Toyota Yaris 1.5G


I’m not getting any younger.  The moment I stare at the bathroom mirror, I notice the sagging gut and developing eye lines.  I’m feeling every bit of my 28 years on planet earth, and though most say that I still have long ways to go, I believe it’s about time to say bye-bye to youth and enter the world of being a potential family man.  With wedding bells ringing not more than three years ahead, I had to step up and make the two most important purchases in any man’s life: a house and a car.  The first was easy—my dad offered his old house provided he can bunk with me even after I’m married.  The second wasn’t; as a motoring writer, I have driven over 220 cars, so choosing the right one can fill up an entire Excel worksheet with pros and cons.  In the end, I settled on a car that I haven’t driven before; a car I purchased solely on gut feel: the Toyota Yaris.