Volkswagen Philippines Launches Tamed Golf

Last year, Volkswagen launched its iconic hot hatch, the Golf GTI. The Golf GTI is world renowned for its fine handling characteristics while being able to give its owners practicality and everyday usability. Over the course of many generations, the basic recipe of the Golf GTI has been kept intact, and it likewise applies to the standard Golf, but questions were raised by people last year. Where is the standard Golf?

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The Volkswagen Golf is one fine looking machine. It is a conservatively designed car, but it isn’t a boring car to look at. The car has so much class and elegance, a design that will surely stand the test of time, and German cars have been generally known for this. 16 inch alloys grace the base Comfortline variant, while 17s are equipped in the Highline variant. Nicely designed automatic Bi-Xenon HID headlamps with LED daytime running lights, active cornering lights, also complement the Golf 1.4 TSI Highline’s elegant exterior design. LED tail lights are equipped as standard on all variants.

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Inside is one of the classiest and most premium cabins in its class. Well thought out details that is very German are the felt-lined bins around the cabin. Not only do they feel nice, but they eliminate noise when these items are loosely moving around the cabin. The little details, people, that make the driving experience that much more pleasant. The interior is beautifully crafted and well screwed together, with a solid door thud unlike any other in its class, and materials that are posh and premium to the touch. In the middle of the well trimmed dashboard is a 5-inch touchscreen infotainment system. The Golf remains the class benchmark in terms of interior quality, but it is not to the point that it’ll faze BMW, Mercedes-Benz or even Volkswagen Group’s own Audi. Another feature that I appreciate in the Volkswagen Golf are the rear aircon vents. Guys, us Filipinos live in a hot country. This is the one thing we will wholly appreciate with all our hearts, and not all car manufacturers give plenty of attention to this aspect of a compact car.

Powering the standard Golf is a 1.4 TSI turbocharged, direct injected petrol engine, which is good for 148 hp and a punchy 250 Nm of torque. Mated to Volkswagen’s excellent 7-Speed Direct-Shift Gearbox (DSG), their marketing brouhaha for their dual clutch transmission, the Golf 1.4 TSI is good for 0-100 km/h in 8.2 seconds, which is certainly no slouch, and is fast enough for most people. Equipped with BlueMotion technology, the Golf 1.4 TSI is equipped with engine start/stop technology, which shuts off the engine in let’s say, a set of lights, and regenerative braking captures heat energy from the heat of the brakes and converts it to electricity.

One thing the Germans are known for in our market is their generous standard safety kit. Standard on all variants are 7 airbags, ABS with EBD, electronic stability program, and an electronic locking differential.

The standard Volkwagen Golf is one of the world’s most loved cars, and it’s one that I wholly love as well. Now that the standard variant of the Golf has arrived, are you now tempted to own your first ever German car? I sure am.

Golf 1.4 TSI Comfortline: P1,590,000
Golf 1.4 TSI Highline: P1,739,000

Suzuki Philippines Enters The Subcompact Segment With The Ciaz

Suzuki is known for its small hatchbacks such as the Swift, Alto, and Celerio, but the typical Filipino usually looks for a sedan, which is why Suzuki has entered the subcompact sedan segment with their new Ciaz.

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In a segment dominated by the Toyota Vios and Honda City, plus some interesting and quirky models such as the Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta, the Suzuki needs to stand out, and in this case, it stands out in value for money. The exterior design is pretty much on par with the competition, with the conservative but sleek design that somehow makes the Ciaz look like a bigger car. The design is, while not the sexiest in the segment (the crown belongs to the Mazda 2),  it is the most cohesive, front to back. The proportions are nicely done, eliminating some awkward proportions that seem to plague the designs of most cars in this class.

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Inside is an exercise of restraint, but the colors are tastefully done. The materials are still on the cheap side, but with a price (as I’m going to highlight later) that is a little less than its competitors, then it’s not a problem, and besides, there’s only a few rare cars in this segment that truly feel posh inside. The standout feature of the Ciaz, however, is its rear legroom. With a 2,650 mm wheelbase, the Ciaz has the longest wheelbase in its class, and it certainly feels like it in the back seats.

Powering the Suzuki Ciaz is a 1.4 liter petrol engine found in the Swift and Ertiga. It is good for 92 hp @ 6,000 rpm, and 130 Nm of torque @ 4,000 rpm. The transmission is mated to either a 5-Speed Manual or a 4-Speed Automatic. With a MacPherson Strut fron suspension and Torsion Beam Rear Suspension, and a platform based from the Swift, we certainly do hope the Ciaz will not be a boring car to drive.

Two variants are available, one of which is the base GL (if you want to call it that, because it is well equipped for as “base” model), available as a manual or an automatic, and the GLX, which is only available as an automatic. Both are well equipped. All variants have ABS and EBD, 2 airbags, touchscreen infotainment system, keyless entry, and for the GLX, power folding mirrors, push button start, an Android-based infotainment system, automatic climate control, leather seats, 16 inch alloys, and leather seats.

GL MT/AT – P738,000/P773,000
GLX AT – P888,000

Go Flat Out @ 2016 MIAS: In Photos

Apart from the local launches of the facelifted Subaru Forester, Chevrolet Sail, Hyundai Veloster Turbo, facelifted Mitsubishi Mirage, SsangYong Motors‘ PH return, and Kia’s first public appearance of the new Sportage, there were a few surprises at the 2016 Manila International Auto Show. For instance, Peugeot PH brought in the country the 308 GTI, the first and only one in the whole Asian continent, though this is not yet for sale, nor have they made any announcements for their intentions to sell the hot hatch.

Then there’s Ford’s Black Edition of the EcoSport, and the Ford Everest 2.2 Titanium with Premium pack. Essentially, this variant of the Everest makes all the Blind Spot Warning, Forward Collision Alert, Adaptive Cruise Control, and all the other features of the 3.2 Titanium with Premium pack available in the 2.2 liter, non-AWD Titanium variant, because, let’s face it, not everyone buys the highest trim because of the powertrain or the AWD, but for the features.

Mitsubishi also gave a silent launch of the facelifted version of the Lancer EX, and this is probably the last facelift the Lancer will be receiving before the car ends its production cycle.

Mercedes-Benz also silently made the first public appearance of the facelifted Mercedes-Benz A-Class, and perhaps grabbing the most attention in Mercedes-Benz’s booth is the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45, which is done in an amazing coat of silver plus some orange highlights that actually make the car pretty interesting and head turning.

Of course, who wouldn’t take notice of the tuner displays at the tent beside the World Trade Center? Personally, I have a bias towards Japanese tuners, and it’s these cars, especially the Toyota 86 and Toyotoa Corolla AE92 that captured my attention.

Go Flat Out @ 2016 MIAS: Chevrolet Sails Through MIAS With The New Sail

Wanting to have a piece of the subcompact sedan market, Chevrolet Philippines wants to have a chunk of the rapidly growing subcompact sedan market, and for some reason, they think it’s a good idea to replace the stylish Chevrolet Sonic, a subcompact designed for global markets, with a subcompact sedan developed primarily for developing nations. Hmmmm…? So here it is then, the new Chevrolet Sail, and it’s here to replace the Chevrolet Sonic.

Sailing (pun intended) from GM’s Chinese plant, the Chevrolet Sail is being marketed by Chevrolet Philippines as your first sedan, your first Chevrolet. The exterior is typical Chevrolet, with your large double vented grille, proudly wearing the golden bowtie the brand is known for. Its compact dimensions hide a somehow expansive interior room.

The interior is well laid out, and easily catching your attention is the large almost Tesla-esque touch screen system. The interior is best described as no nonsense and straightforward, without any pretentious details to making it like a pseudo-luxury car, such as fake metal accents, etc. Surprisingly, the top trim variant is equipped with a sunroof.

There are two engines available. The 1.3 liter petrol, mated exclusively to a 5-Speed Manual, produces 103 hp and 127 Nm of torque, while the 1.5 liter petrol, mated exclusively to a 4-Speed Automatic, produces 113 hp and 141 Nm of torque. See the developing country roots? The Sonic, for about the same amount of money as this Sail, had a more modern 6-Speed Manual and Automatic Transmission.

There are three variants all in all, and listed below are the prices of all three variants.

1.3 L MT: P688,888
1.5 LT AT: P768,888
1.5 LTZ AT: P816,888

Go Flat Out @ 2016 MIAS: Hyundai Wants You To Have A Veloster Turbo

With the theme Ang Gusto Mo, Gusto ng Puso, Hyundai wants to tell Filipinos that we are all ears, and we’re listening to what you want, and it starts with this, the all-new Hyundai Veloster hot hatch.

Priced at P1,548,000, the Hyundai Veloster is one of the easiest ways to owning a (somehow) fast car in the country. Being the Turbo model, the Veloster is powered by a 1.6 liter turbocharged, direct injected petrol engine, producing 204 hp and 265 Nm of torque. Power goes to the front wheels through a 7-Speed Dual Clutch Transmission.

Making sure to the people that you are not just driving a normal hatchback, the Veloster Turbo is aggressively designed, with a large, bold hexagonal grille up front, big twin exhaust pipes at the back, and aggressively designed front and rear bumpers, coupled with large 18-inch alloy wheels.

Inside is space for 4 people (5 if you’re a murderer) because the rear center seat is almost useless. At least the interior is practical and spacious enough for normal-size people to actually fit in the back seats, alongside some space for luggage and their stuff for the weekend getaway. Standard in this sole Turbo variant are features such as a touchscreen infotainment system, smart key with push button start, HID headlamps with LED daytime running lights, and a powered driver’s seat, because Hyundai thinks the passengers are inferior compared to the driver, and don’t deserve electrical adjustments for the seats (of course, I’m kidding). If ever you become like that douche who crashed a Hyundai Genesis at the AutoFocus test drive event last 2015, Hyundai’s got you covered with 6 airbags, ABS with EBD, electronic stability program, and hill start assist.

Go Flat Out @ 2016 MIAS: Mitsubishi Spices Up The Mirage

The new Mitsubishi Mirage has been spiced up by Mitsubishi, filling it with plenty of new features that make it an more attractive economy car to own than ever before. It makes the life of someone who can only afford an economy car much more pleasurable and rewarding. Here are a number of changes you need to take note.

In this new Mirage, there are new HID headlamps with LED daytime running lights that spices up the Mirage’s front, while LED tail lights are standard across the line-up. In conjunction with the Mirage GLS’ smart key, some lights will stay lit if the driver approaches/leaves the car, and these are premium touches found in cars a segment above or two. The interior design has been slightly revised, now with better materials, and the Mirage now has a more stylish set of wheels to choose from. The grille up front has been revised with a less aggressive, but more grown up design, which now includes a chrome strip that runs throughout the width of the Mirage.

The Mirage’s powertrain remains unchanged, still powered by a 1.2 liter three-cylinder petrol engine, good for 77 hp and 100 Nm of torque. It continues to be mated to a 5-Speed Manual or a CVT. Of course, with these changes comes with a price increase, and the new Mirage now starts at P553,000

GLX MT/AT: P553,000/P603,000
GLS MT/AT: P663,000/P713,000

Go Flat Out @ 2016 MIAS: Subaru Gives The Forester A Minor Nip and Tuck

The Subaru Forester was once an underdog in the Philippines’ compact crossover segment, but upon the release of this generation’s Forester, it easily climbed up the ladder, becoming one of, if not, the country’s best selling compact SUVs. It’s not hard to see why everyone loves the Forester. With standard Symmetrical AWD across the line-up, and Subaru’s trademark horizontally opposed Boxer engine, the Forester combines comfort, practicality, sportiness, and even off-road prowess in one sensible package.

The Forester’s face has been revised, now incorporating Subaru’s design language. It is now equipped with LED headlights across the line-up, and the front end has been revised as well, now having a sportier front bumper design. Exclusive to the Forester 2.0 XT are steerable LED headlamps that move as your turn the wheels at night. The rear lights are now finished in LED strips, and the new two-tone alloy wheels designs finish off the Forester’s revised exterior.

Inside, the changes are less dramatic, but upon closer inspection, the materials have been updated. The car feels more premium overall, and I especially love the feel of the new climate control knobs. Across the line-up, there is now a touch screen infotainment system, while the Forester 2.0 XT’s screen is bigger, and the buttons have been replaced by capacitive touch points, similar to Honda’s Display Audio system.

Engine and transmission combination is unchanged from the past variants. Still powered by the FB20 2.0 liter boxer engine, producing 150 hp and 198 Nm of torque, while the 2.0 XT is equipped with the FA20 2.0 liter DIT (direct-injection turbo) boxer engine, producing a whopping 241 hp and 350 Nm of torque. This is exclusively mated to a CVT, which has been revised to eliminate the CVT’s buzzy noise under hard acceleration, and simulates a “kick-down” when digging your foot down the throttle, all for the name of refinement and sportiness.

The Subaru Forester has a P50,000 price increase, but those who reserved the car at Manila International Auto Show has a P30,000 discount coupon, which can be used for the car, or for maintenance and accessories.

2.0 i-L: P1,448,000
2.0 i-P: P1,648,000
2.0 XT: P1,918,000