Honda Cars Philippines Updates The CR-Z Hybrid

Hybrids aren’t exactly popular in the Philippines, mainly due to the fact that the government doesn’t really give a single damn about it. So hybrids tend to be expensive, since the reason why hybrids have affordable prices in most countries is due to government incentives and other programs that will make people be attracted to owning an eco-friendly vehicle. The Honda CR-Z though, is the most affordable way to owning a hybrid in the country, and as an added bonus, the hybrid is wrapped in a beautifully designed package.

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The exterior has been updated with a new grille, a black highlight at the bottom of the bumper, new alloy wheel designs, and a set of new colors with a two-tone finish optionally available. Inside, the CR-Z gains new features, which includes Honda’s excellent Display Audio infotainment system with navigation, smart key with push button start, an electronic parking brake, which now enables Honda to add a center armrest.

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The powertrain is carried over from the pre-facelifted CR-Z, still powered by the L15 1.5 liter SOHC i-VTEC mated to an electric motor. New features that aim to improve the driving experience further are Active Noise Cancelling and Active Sound Control. Depending on the driving mode selected, the Honda CR-Z can be really quiet, or give off a raspy engine note when in Sport mode.

The Honda CR-Z’s line-up has been reduced to 1 variant, with a price of P1,440,000 for the manual, and P1,530,000 for the CVT, with an additional P30,000 if you want the two-tone paint scheme.

Volkswagen Philippines Nips and Tucks The Jetta, Polo, and Tiguan

Volkswagen presented their 2016 market plans at the media at their annual Media Appreciation Night, and in the event, 3 cars in the Volkswagen line-up were updated.

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The first one includes the arrival of the facelifted Volkswagen Jetta. Now with the option of a 1.4 liter TSI turbocharged, direct injected petrol engine, the Jetta now caters to a wider customer range. The 2.0 TDI diesel still remains. The petrol powerplant produces 160 hp and 240 Nm of torque, while the diesel produces 140 hp and 320 Nm of torque. The good news now is that, whereas before it was only available with a manual, the standard (and only) transmission choice now is Volkswagen’s excellent DSG (direct shift gearbox) dual-clutch transmission, with 6 gears for the diesel, and 7 gears for the petrol.

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I swear to all of you that the Volkswagen Jetta has been updated. It isn’t obvious at first glance, but trust me, it has been facelifted. The Jetta now possesses a new grille, dominated by its horizontal design. 17-inch “Queensland” alloy wheels are equipped, while for the petrol variant, the 16-inch “Navara” alloy wheels are equipped as standard. The inside gets an upgrade, too. Now fitted as standard is the 5-inch Composition touch screen system with Bluetooth functionality and rear aircon vents. The Jetta also gains more safety features as well. Apart from the usual ABS with EBS, plus Electronic Stability Program with Comfort Brake Assistant, it also now includes Hill Hold Assist, six airbags, and cruise control.

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The Polo sedan gets an upgrade, too. Gone are the drab black door handles and black side mirrors. They are now made more premium looking by being painted. A new, horizontal grille now graces the front of the Polo as well.

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The Tiguan, meanwhile now gets more equipment. Called the Business Edition, the new Tiguan is still fitted with the 2.0 TDI diesel engine and 6-Speed Automatic combination, but now gains automatic Bi-Xenon HID headlamps with LED daytime running lights, headlamp washers, 18-inch “New York” alloy wheels, and power folding heated mirrors. Inside the Tiguan now gains the RCD510 touchscreen system with Bluetooth functionality, 12-way power driver seats, and Vienna leather interior.

Other plans that have been laid out for the Philippine market include the introduction of the R badge in the market, first as an equipment line called R-Line for the Passat and Touareg. The regular models of the Volkswagen Golf will also make its arrival this 2016, and they also made indications of the arrival of the Volkswagen Beetle Dune.

Go Flat Out’s Best Of 2015

2015 has led to a number of great things for Go Flat Out. The diversity of the cars that we have driven this year has increased so much, and the number of car launches we were able to attend to has also increased dramatically. This makes the year 2015 a big leap forward for the future of Go Flat Out. 2016 will surely be the year of the midsize PPV (pick-up based passenger vehicles) such as the much awaited Mitsubishi Montero Sport, and Toyota Fortuner, and these cars will surely be battling for COTY for next year, but for this year, here’s our top 3 vehicles that were launched in 2015.

Before mentioning Go Flat Out’s Car Of The Year, there were rules that were imposed. There is a P10 million price cap in order to keep things accessible, and that cars above that price would almost always be the choice for COTY. There are 4 of us who are voting for the COTY, and each of us is assigned to pick our top 3 new cars for 2015. Each first place pick will incur a score of 3 points, 2 points for the second place, and 1 point for the third place. Only all-new cars for 2015 are eligible, so this means facelifted cars or cars that received minor changes for 2015 are not part of the COTY.

3rd Place: Lotus Exige S (5 pts) 

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The Lotus Exige S has been the antithesis of the current trend in sportscars and supercars. Whereas everyone was making things more complicated by introducing features such as yaw control, torque vectoring, intelligent AWD, and such, the Lotus Exige S keeps things simple, and we love it like this. Where analog meets digital, the Lotus Exige S is a mixture of modern technology and old-school driving involvement. For instance, the Lotus Exige S does not have any sort of power steering, therefore you completely have an authentic feel of the road at your fingertips, and yet it has a drive mode selector in which you can control how much the traction control intervenes the driver’s inputs, and how responsive the throttle input is by changing algorithms in the engine’s mapping. In an age where the Porsche 911 and BMW M4 now has an electric power steering system, and the Porsche 911 line-up now all has turbos except for the GT3 line, the Lotus Exige S is a breath of old-school fresh air in a polluted modern digital world.

See track review of the Lotus Exige S here

2nd Place: Volkswagen Golf GTI (6 pts) 

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The Volkswagen Golf GTI has been the benchmark of hot hatches for decades, and despite being challenged by numerous other hot hatches from all over the world, the Golf GTI still manages to hold on and continue to trounce past others when it comes to its unmatched blend of performance, refinement, and practicality. The Volkswagen Golf GTI manages to be a legitimate track-day car, whilst being a quiet companion when you want it to. You can practically wake-up in the morning, drop off your kids at school, and then go straight to Clark International Speedway to have fun and ditch work, but the boss won’t be happy for you doing just that, because he is practically envious of how much fun you’re having in the Volkswagen Golf GTI.

1st Place: Mazda MX-5 (10 pts) 

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The Mazda MX-5, like the Toyota 86, is proof that having fun doesn’t need a lot of horespower, and we love that idea. In an age where lap times, 0-100 km/h acceleration times, what G forces can a car handle, being to matter more than how it actually feels to feel connected together with the car, the Mazda MX-5 gives us hope that fun actually means driving the car, throwing away any expectations about numbers and other whatnot that spoil the sensation of driving. The Mazda MX-5 is the prime example of what a sportscar should be, because after all, we buy a sportscar because we want to have fun, don’t we? Therefore, this fun-loving Mazda MX-5, with a score of 10 points, is Go Flat Out’s Car Of The Year. We’re beginning to sound like loyalists to the Mazda brand, because for the past 3 years, it has been a Mazda dominating the COTY ranks, but we promise, we are totally unbiased. It just so happens that almost every car Mazda develops is so good.

Best Car Launch: Aston Martin Manila

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We at Go Flat Out love the Aston Martin brand, and we’re glad to be part of the brand’s launch in the Philippines. Prizes were given away to lucky guests, and poker tables were made available, showing what is the lifestyle of an Aston Martin owner. James Bond would be proud if he became part of this local launch of Aston Martin Manila.

Best Car Drives: Lotus Exige S Track Review

Autohub’s Track Day event was an opportunity to test out the Lotus Exige S at Clark International Speedway, giving us a taste of what’s it like to drive a car that focuses on lightweight performance the Lotus brand is known for, while delivering a driving sensation undiluted by any of the modern day nannies that somehow make a few sportscars feel more like a video game rather than an actual sportscar.

Best Car Drives: A Trip To Batangas With The Volvo V40 Cross Country 

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The Volvo V40 Cross Country impressed us with its ride comfort, speedy acceleration from its diesel engine, and fuel efficiency that further made us love diesel engines. We explored the beautiful sceneries around the province of Batangas, and we were glad to have done this trip with the Volvo V40 Cross Country. We’re still confused though if the V40 Cross Country is a hatchback or a crossover.

Motor Image Pilipinas Launches The Subaru Levorg

Many car enthusiasts will remember the days when Subaru used to offer a wagon version of the Impreza. Subaru was also once known for its wagons, but now, their wagon range has shrunk, now limited to the Outback, and now, this, the new Subaru Levorg.

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Levorg, which is a combination of the words Legacy, Revolution, and Touring, the Subaru Levorg fills a slot that was left by the Subaru Legacy, albeit in a smaller package. Despite the “Legacy” from the Levorg’s name, the Subaru Levorg is actually based on the Subaru Impreza WRX. This means that the Subaru Levorg is surely going to be a hoot to drive. The exterior is in my opinion one of Subaru’s best exterior designs, drawing some hints of the WRX, while adding some certain European flair to its exterior design. In the front, a chiseled from bumper, “hawk-eye” LED headlamps and Subaru’s hexagonal grille dominate the front. Thankfully, there is a functional hood scoop up front, and as we all know, a Subaru with a hood scoop means a top mounted intercooler, where it should always be in a Subaru! An integrated rear spoiler, C-shaped LED tail lights, two exhaust pipes with a diffuser round up the aggressive look of the Subaru Levorg.

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Inside, the Subaru Levorg’s interior is easily identifiable as a Subaru. It’s not exactly the most sculpted, but it’s functional and nicely done. Blue stitching highlight the interior’s trimmings and a flat-bottomed steering wheel provides a sporty interior feel. Thanks to its wagon body, trunk space is huge at 522 liters with the seats up. Standard equipment for the Subaru Levorg include a touch screen infotainment system, smart key with push button start, voice command, 5 USB ports with 2 exclusively for charging, rain sensing wipers, and auto on/off LED headlamps with automatic high beams. The Levorg is also the first locally sold Subaru to have Subaru’s Rear Vehicle Detection, which combines Rear Cross Traffic Alert, which senses if there is a car coming from the left or right side when reversing, and Blind Spot Monitoring, which warns the driver if a car is present in the car’s blind spot upon signalling.

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The Subaru Levorg is powered by a 1.6 liter DIT (Direct Injection Turbo) 4-cylinder horizontally opposed boxer petrol engine, which produces a healthy 170 hp and 250 Nm of torque. Power is sent to all 4 wheels (Symmetrical AWD) via a CVT, which should help fuel efficiency. Further aiding fuel efficiency is the Levorg’s Stop/Start function, which shuts off the engine when the driver holds onto the brake while in D, and starts again once the driver steps off the brake. Helping the car have a more agile handling is Active Torque Split and Active Torque Vectoring, which varies the power distribution in all 4 wheels, and can brake the inner wheel when the car is turning in order for the Levorg to rotate better in a corner.

There is only one variant for the Levorg, the 1.6 GT-S, and is sold at a price of P1,718,000

Aerohub Is Autohub Group’s New, Fancy Way Of Solving Our Traffic Woes

Autohub Group is the distributor of Lotus, Mini, Rolls-Royce in the country, and is also the owner of several other automotive related businesses such as a few Ford dealerships, and the distributorship of V-KOOL high end tints in the country. Not anymore just a provider of automotive solutions and luxury cars to the nation, Autohub group is ready to take to the skies with their new Aerohub Aviation Services.

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Aerohub will be providing private aircraft management, block hour offerings, chartered flights, and fractional ownership of Robinson Helicopters. Each helicopter is able to have up to 5 fractional owners, but 4 fractional owners is the minimum requirement for Aerohub to purchase a new Robinson Helicopter.

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Each owner will be able to have 6 flights in the helicopter per month. Overnight flights will be counted as two flights, and owners will be able to reserve one full weekend with the chopper on a first come, first served basis, via an online booking system. All flights will have a pilot, and the fractional owners are not allowed to fly the chopper themselves unless they have been accredited by Lionair Inc.

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For the first 4 years of ownership, maintenance fees will be take cared by Aerohub, while hangar fees are paid by Aerohub. Each fractional owner will have an 8-year term, and at the end of the contract, owners can extend their term or liquidate their assets and shares of the aircraft.

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Also, the Rolls-Royce cars can also be fractionally owned. The terms and conditions are the same, and each owner can have the Rolls-Royce for 6 days a month. Those that are fractional owners from Aerohub will be given a discounted rate to the Rolls-Royce cars, and likewise also applies if the fractional owner will also apply for the Aerohub program.

Audi Philippines Launches The Bigger, Lighter Q7

Bigger doesn’t need to mean heavier. The Q7 was a heavy crossover, and now that this new one has been launched, it promises better comfort, more fuel efficiency, better handling, and loads more tech.

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The new Q7’s exterior follows Audi’s new design language for SUVs, which now has a more edgier shape rather than a flowing design. As a result, the Q7 somehow looks more like a large wagon rather than a true SUV by design. The Q7 now has a bold, three-dimensional single frame grille, and traditional Audi design cues for the headlights such as the LED daytime running lights are seen here. For the S Line variant, Matrix LED headlamps are equipped, and in conjunction are sequential turn signals for the head and tail lights.

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Inside, the Q7 follows a concept of less is more. There is less… uhhh, dashboard area and more room for people. There’s also a lot less buttons in the cockpit. The MMI infotainment screen pops out when the vehicle is started in true Audi fashion, and perhaps the most noticeable feature of the cabin is the Audi Virtual Cockpit. Standard on all variants, a 12-inch TFT LCD replaces the traditional gauge layout. It is an ergonomic and highly customizable display that can even feature the navigation system so that the driver won’t have the need to look away too much from the road when glancing at the navigation screen. Interior room has been increased all around, with a great emphasis placed on head and legroom, plus an increase in third row room that can fit small adults comfortably.

The Audi Q7 is powered by a 3.0 liter V6 TDI diesel engine that produces 272 hp and 600 Nm of torque. It is mated to an 8-Speed Automatic and quattro AWD is standard. Around the middle of 2016, Audi will equip the Q7 with a 2.0 liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, producing 252 hp and 370 Nm of torque.

Q7 3.0 TDI Prestige: P6,630,000
Q7 3.0 TDI S-Line: P7,380,000

The Ferrari 488 GTB Is Your New Turbocharged Ferrari For Christmas

Ferraris have been deserving of the prancing horse badge not just because of how it drives, but also because of how a Ferrari’s sings when driven hard. With turbos, this poses a challenge to the Maranello company’s acoustic engineers. We’ve seen countless cars that once sounded atmospheric become as muted as a mouse when their newer, turbocharged models are released. Take for instance, the BMW M3. Once a naturally aspirated V8, now has a downsized inline-6 with turbos. Performance has been boosted, but the sound has been its achilles heel. Thankfully, this does not (entirely) apply to the newly launched 488 GTB.

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The Ferrari 458 has been one of the best cars to drive in the world, and the 488 GTB should no doubt be good to drive as well. The biggest, and most obvious change to the Ferrari 488 GTB over the 458 Italia is its engine. Gone is the naturally aspirated 4.5 liter V8, in place is a smaller 3.9 liter V8 with twin turbos, producing just less than 100 hp more than the 458, at 660 hp, and 760 Nm of torque. Ferrari’s excellent 7-Speed DCT provides ultra-fast shifts, helping this car sprint from 0-100 kph in 3 seconds flat, while 200 kph is achieved from a standstill in just 8.3 seconds, faster than how most cars sprint from 0-100 kph.

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Apart from the engine, subtle but noticeable changes have been made externally. The side vents are bigger, and now incorporates a blade design that optimizes air flow. The same applies to the front, where a blade is placed in the middle that likewise does the same job as the blades in the side vents. All this help to further increase the car’s downforce.

No pricing was given, but al 4 units destined to the Philippine market have all been spoken for. Now, it’s time for the Ferrari fans to go to the dealership if they want to see one in advance.

When Life's Too Slow, Just Go Flat Out

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