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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Honda Aims for Best-in-Class Fuel Economy in Every Segment

Photo courtesy of Honda Cars Press
Even if current Honda products are no slouch when it comes to fuel economy, the Japanese automaker recently announced a new undertaking: "Earth Dreams Technology".

Under this new corporate direction, Honda will align itself to accomplish "top-of-industry" fuel economy in every vehicle class within three years. It may sound like a lofty goal, but Honda is confident of achieving this fully encompassing its power plant line-up as well as a new "fun-to-drive" CVT transmission. In addition, Honda hopes to its hybrid systems to more use such as potentially powering AWD systems and such.

Seaoil Offers Cash Rebates for the Holidays

What timing for the Christmas Rush! Seaoil, one of the Philippines's leading independent oil firms has just announced a new promo for the Christmas season. Read on to find out more!

CATS Motors, Inc. launches Mercedes-Benz Actros Truck in the Philippines

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz Press
The year-end typically means slower days (or even weeks) as businesses wind down and prepare to close their books on yet another year. Well, that’s not the case with CATS Motors, Inc., the official distributor of Mercedes-Benz vehicles in the Philippines, as they launched a brand-new portfolio in their business: premium-class trucks.

Deep Dive: 2012 Ford Ranger

Photos courtesy of Ford Press
Pick-up trucks, by nature, serve a single purpose: they’re a workhorse. They are the modern ‘beast of burden’—rarely beautiful, but highly prized for their durability and dependability. However, as consumers are introduced to much more sophisticated fare, how can this lowly beast remain true to its humble origin, and yet, serve its new generation of masters?

Monday, December 5, 2011

We're Moving to

Fellow we beginning counting down to the end of 2011 and the approach of the new year, let me announce it here that we're officially moving to our own domain name: The URL is still the process of being sorted out (you know how the internet is), so you will probably see errors, missing files and such during this movement process. However, let me assure you that it's all part of the growing up process and I hope you continue reading my blog!

Seaoil Recognized for Environmental Program

Photo courtesy of Seaoil Press
In lieu of a slow news day (it's the end of the year after all), here's a press release from the folks at Seaoil:

SEAOIL Philippines, Inc., the country’s leading and largest independent oil company, was awarded the “Outstanding Environmental Management Program Award” by the Philippine Franchise Association (PFA) at the recent Franchise Excellence Awards (FEA).  The company was recognized for pioneering the use of ethanol-blended fuels in 2005 through its Biofuels Program. 
In 2005, SEAOIL together with the Department of Energy and USAID launched a nationwide information campaign on the use of biofuels after the implementation of the Biofuels Act.  The Filipino-owned oil firm was also the first to introduce E85 fuel, a special fuel blend containing 85 percent ethanol available in selected stations, and is being tested for Philippine National Standards certification. The FEA is one of the country's most prestigious annual events that recognize the best franchise practices across various industries and organizations, and is a member of the World Franchise Council and Asia Pacific Franchise Confederation, the group that holds the annual Franchise Asia Awards.   
(L-R): Franchise Asia 2011 conference committee chairman and Philippine Seven Corporation president Jose Victor Paterno; PFA vice-chairman and Manels Group of Companies chair Manuel Siggaoat, Sr.; SEAIL president and CEO Francis Glenn Yu; and FEA chairman and Quisumbing Torres Law Office partner Atty. Leo Dominguez.

Review: 2011 Suzuki Grand Vitara 4x2

Close your eyes for a minute and imagine these in an automobile: a longitudinally-mounted four-cylinder engine, rear wheel drive, 17-inch alloys and vented disc brakes all around. These ingredients can certainly pass as the prerequisites for a sports car, but believe it or not, this is the same stuff found in the Suzuki Grand Vitara. But before you start thinking of doing drift moves with the Grand Vitara, it’s not meant to be pummeled on the race track. It’s designed and engineered to be comfortable and competent for the everyday drive; traits which are much more important than lap times.

The Suzuki Grand Vitara has gone through numerous nips and tucks since its 2005 introduction. When compact SUVs with six-cylinder engines were the ‘in-thing’, Suzuki plopped in a 2.7-liter V6 and then a 3.2-liter unit under the hood. Cool as these engines maybe, with the gasoline prices at astronomical levels, Suzuki dropped these gasoline hungry engines for something that can deliver more km/Ls: a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. What’s more, they shunned the all-wheel drive configuration and went for the really basic stuff: two-wheel drive. In short, the Grand Vitara has successfully transformed itself from something quirky to something much more mainstream.

I’ve always wanted to try the 6-cylinder Grand Vitara, so forgive me for my lack of enthusiasm with the 4-cylinder model. I understand that the move was needed in these fuel conscious times, but 166 horsepower certainly pales in comparison to 230 horsepower. Still, I have to admit, I was quite satisfied at how the 2.4-liter unit performed. It does a good job of hauling the Grand Vitara’s 1,620-kilogram frame. It’s responsive from the get-go, plus it’s quick witted enough for those overtaking maneuvers. That said, the engine is somewhat vocal and throaty as the revs build up and the automatic gearbox can get confused if you’re switching from ‘docile’ to ‘aggressive’ driving. And the lack of a fifth gear (the Grand Vitara’s gearbox is only a 4-speed unit) means it starts to lose steam once it reaches triple digit speeds. Fortunately, the Grand Vitara comes with a ‘Power’ mode which keeps the revs higher and dents its fuel economy figures. During my drive in the city, the Grand Vitara averaged about 6.7 km/L with the ‘Power’ mode on, 7.3 km/L with it off. Those figures are comparable to the likes of the Ford Escape (6.9 km/L), Toyota RAV4 (7.2 km/L), but are paltry compared to the Honda CR-V (12.07 km/L) and Hyundai Tucson (8.3 km/L).

The merely competent drivetrain is mated perhaps to one of the Grand Vitara’s bright spots: the chassis.  Despite the chiseled appearance, the Grand Vitara actually uses technology similar to those found in Land Rovers.  The old ladder-on-frame layout is gone, and in its place is a unique uni-body with a built-in frame chassis.  Theoretically, this set-up reduces weight while maintaining the toughness of a ladder-on-frame set-up.  Though I had no way to test chassis flex, it had the excellent ability to absorb the sharpest of road ruts. It can ride through the deepest of Manila’s potholes with the poise and comfort for a mid-sized or full-sized SUV. Almost nothing can unsettle this car and its occupants. The overall ride’s on the stiff side and passengers may complain of some jitteriness at low speeds, but it’s not discontenting.

Wrapped around the chassis is a clean and timeless body that’s still as fresh as it first came out in 2005. From the outside, no one can complain about the angular lines.  Throughout the car, it’s filled with the nice design touches, some of which have become the norm in modern crossovers like the chunky lamps and strong upright profile. Perhaps the only thing that dates the Grand Vitara’s styling is the rear door-mounted spare tire cover emblazoned with the words, ‘Suzuki’.

Inside, the Grand Vitara’s cabin is stylish without being over the top. It’s sporty all around without being too dreary. In terms of space, the Grand Vitara’s just right—not too small, but not too big.  It reminds me of compact SUVs from a generation ago, with enough space for your wife and maybe two kids. However, if you need to fit the yaya you may want to consider something bigger. The cargo bay opens up traditionally, via a sideways opening door as opposed to a vertical hatch. Again, this betrays the Grand Vitara’s age, but it’s a joy for those with garages with low ceilings. The deeply recessed gauges are lovely too—easy to read and a perfect fit to the Grand Vitara’s cabin. Suzuki even managed to fit a multi-information display panel in there as well. The careful placement of the metallic accents is a nice touch too.

The excellent gauges and metallic accents are still not enough to distract you from the rest of the Grand Vitara’s cabin which is rather plain, especially given the P 1.27-million price tag. It’s solid and all, but there are no hints of luxury in here—the steering wheel and gear lever are finished in urethane and not leather; and the audio system itself lacks any external audio interface. Plus, the speakers themselves aren’t up to par as well—Sting sounds like he’s singing from a well. These shortcomings are a shame since the ergonomics are good and the driving position is comfortable. The overall visibility can’t be faulted too.

In the realm of compact crossovers, we have to remember that the competition’s fierce. Some have gone towards the value-for-money route; others, performance; and others still, comfort and refinement. The Suzuki Grand Vitara lies somewhere in the middle of these traits—ultimately ending up as a jack of all trades, but a master of none. The Grand Vitara certainly has the right stuff going for it, but Suzuki needs to inject something different to make it stand out of the crowd. Perhaps the return of the V6 would help?

2011 Suzuki Grand Vitara 2.4
Ownership 2.4
Year Introduced 2006 (Facelifted 2008)
Vehicle Classification Compact Crossover
The Basics
Body Type 5-door crossover
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/R
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.4
Aspiration NA
Layout / # of Cylinders Inline 4
BHP @ rpm 166 @ 6,000
Nm @ rpm 227 @ 3,800
Fuel / Min. Octane Unleaded / 93~
Transmission 4 AT
Cruise Control No
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,500
Width (mm) 1,810
Height (mm) 1,683
Wheelbase (mm) 2,640
Curb Weight (kg) 1,580
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Independent, Multi-Link
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Vented Disc
Tires 225/65R17
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 2
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes
Traction / Stability Control No
Parking Sensors No
Exterior Features
Headlights Halogen
Fog Lamps Front
Auto Lights No
Auto Wipers No
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjustment Tilt
Steering Wheel Material Urethane
Seating Adjustment Manual
Seating Surface Fabric
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 60/40
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes
Climate Control No
Audio System Stereo
No. of Speakers 4
Steering Wheel Controls Yes

5 Tips in Picking the Right Car Insurance

Photo courtesy of stock xchng
Most people think car insurance is a necessary evil—another add-on to the growing mountain of fuel and car maintenance bills. In fact, ever since the Land Transportation Office (LTO) mandated Third Party Liability or TPL for all vehicles, most see it as nothing more than a requirement for car registration. However, this line of thinking has got to change. Imagine driving along EDSA at half past midnight when a 10-wheeler truck suddenly losses its brakes and rear ends your car. Imagine that after a night’s worth of partying, you suddenly find your car missing from the parking lot you left it in. It is times like these that you’ll be glad you took the time to purchase a good car insurance program.

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

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.